Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 23, Week 4: Entertaining

And we’re back, folks! It’s Laura, here.

It was nice to have a quick posting break over the weekend.

Boston VegFest was actually a real bummer this year. There wasn’t really anything new or exciting, and it was more crowded than ever. I mean, it was so crowded that you literally had to push your way through people to move. And, most of the time it was really hard to even see what any of the vendors were selling or the nonprofit groups were sharing. I ended up getting so frustrated. My favorite food to get at Vegfest is from Belmont Vegetarian, but even that was slightly disappointing because they didn’t have as much selection as they did last year for their dishes. I think they had half of what they usually offer. It was still really good though. I didn’t take any pictures, sadly.

Luckily, the day was redeemed by going to the Museum of Fine Arts after. They had an amazing Haruki Murakami exhibit. He’s been one of my favorite modern artists since high school.

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See? Instant mood brightener.

Anyways, on to MoFo business, now that I am back from the break.

Today is simply an introduction to the week.

This week’s theme is entertaining. It’s going to be a bit of a mix of entertaining things for me.

Tuesday I’m going to be posting about unicorn-themed finger foods, Wednesday I’ll be posting only on Instagram and will keep it a surprise (or maybe I will also post the photo here with a bit of text…who knows),  Thursday will be a unicorn-friendly showstopping dessert pizza, and Friday will be a kid’s food post with an elaborate unicorn bento box.

The weekend through Tuesday will be gearing up for the ultimate in entertaining since it’s my birthday Sunday and Halloween on Tuesday. Most of this will still probably be unicorn themed a bit since I’m going as a unicorn for Halloween and doing some really fun Halloween stuff this year, like going to an all-vegan Halloween party on Saturday and participating in an all-vegan trunk or treat event on Tuesday which I plan to infuse with unicorns at every point.

I decided after making all the cakes and sweets I’ve made for this MoFo that I don’t want cake for my birthday which may be disappointing to some, but I’ll try to figure something out instead.  Maybe a trip to Like No Udder, Rhode Island’s (where I live) own vegan ice cream shop, is in order if I can fit it in.

Excited to share what I have in store for the last week of Vegan MoFo! I heard a rumor that we may lose power due to a storm tomorrow, so if I’m not around tomorrow as promised, that may be why. I promise I will catch up in my own way if so.

 

 

 

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How running as a vegan might save my life somehow.

Okay, I have to try to write this out fast because I need to be on time to a job interview (!!!)

Good thing I already have it mostly formed in my head.

This isn’t a food post as usual. But, it has a lot to do with my life story, my interests, my path to a better life, health, and wellbeing which all fits into why I started and continue with this blog. Plus, most of my followers are people who I care about deeply, and it will hopefully make them happy to see me write about this!

It also relates to my most popular post ever, which was also not about food (go figure?!) that you can read here.

Anyways, I have been feeling horrible mentally lately. My mind is often telling me I am unable to make important decisions, motivate myself to get out of bed, do anything important, and that I am basically crap, even though I know deep down I am not and am much more capable than I feel, which is the most frustrating part. It may be my old friend depression returning, but it may be something else as well, because recently my doctor told me my thyroid test came back abnormal, and I have to get it rechecked soon. That would be nice if I actually had a hormonal reason for this misery, although I remain quite doubtful.

However, despite all the negativity creeping into my life these days, I am still plugging along at many things I hold dear to me now and somehow managing to convince myself I have to do them to feel better, or just do them regardless even if I do not feel better.

One of these things I have been keeping up with is running.

I may have mentioned somewhere that you have read that I could never really run, even as a child. I had completely given up on the idea long, long ago that I would ever be able to run at all, even if I was almost late to somewhere I had to walk more than 5 minutes to get to and being late would get me in trouble. It was especially evident in school when I had to run whatever they make you do for the physical fitness testing, I often felt I tasted blood in my throat after running for about 5 minutes.

This was seriously something I thought was impossible. But a year ago, apparently I set out to do just that. While I still can’t run 30 minutes straight which is my goal eventually, I am well on my way. I am registered for a 5k in mid August, and it is going to happen by then, I know this.

How do I know? I started the couch to 5k program on my phone a few days before I graduated from my community college on May 16. Today I just finished week 5, day 2 of the program. At first, it was easy, even with my long-held beliefs and self doubt about being able to do this. Week 5, day 2 of the program I am using is as follows:

5 minute warm-up

5 minute run

3 minute walk

8(!!!!!!) minute run

4 minute walk

5 minute run

5 minute cool-down

Before I started this run my mood was hopeless, and as I began to walk the warm-up, I was telling myself I was not going to be able to do it, especially the eight minute run.  But as soon as the buzzer went off to start the 8 minutes, something somehow changed! I was telling myself “here we go, you can get through this!” Then, before I knew it, it told me I had five minutes left. And since I had just finished running for 5 minutes successfully about six minutes ago, it triggered even more positive self talk! For a short second a negative thought crept in, reminding myself I still had to run another five minutes after I got to walk for four minutes after this (would I even finish these eight minutes?) but it quickly returned to all this self praise as my legs kept moving regardless. I told myself “I am really going to do this!) and as the buzzer went off telling me to start walking for four minutes, I was crying tears of joy.

Then I ran for another five minutes and cooled down and finished the work out, like a pro (gotta tell myself that! haha).

This run was exactly what I needed. Running is saving my life, I believe, because when I am most down on myself and feel like giving up, I am able to run. And in my mind, it was something I had previously deemed impossible. Yet, when I am feeling
my worst, I prove to myself I can do the impossible.

Here is a picture of me shortly after. It was hard to force myself to smile because I was fighting back some proud tears, which actually I have had lately more than I realize…

 

post run

 

 

 

This is a non food related post. It’s about my personal transformation in many ways

Awhile ago, I was having a conversation with a friend whom I had not talked to in a long time, but we are friends with each other on facebook. She said, “this is your year.”

I told her I didn’t want just this year to be my year.

I actually think this next calendar year will be even better! I have a lot planned for it. But really, I think each year can get better and better, considering all the things I have accomplished this year, and how much my attitude and mindset has changed!

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In 2013, starting in April (I’m not one to care about new year type things really, I need more personal reasons to make change in myself), I have gone from being very unhealthy with my food choices, to being a conscious, healthy (with unhealthy vegan food in moderation, which I personally feel is important) vegan. I have lost 65 pounds. I have made working out a routine. I have tackled many of my fears, for example, being afraid to run, math, making up my own recipes, etc. I have started this blog and though I don’t write in it as much as I’d like to or as much about what I want to write about, I keep up with it and do it. I have even improved my health in measurable ways, like my hemoglobin a1c levels, my bmi, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my iron levels (they were very low). I took on an important role in an organization I love and that empowers me and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (Girls Rock). I have tried to make practice of being more creative and doing more awesome things. I am starting to work on having a better social life, something I’ve been neglecting to do for awhile.  I accidentally discovered a recipe I created two years ago was semi famous. And other awesome things I am forgetting or not putting a priority on.

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Next year though, I believe will be even better. I will graduate a college program, something I have been longing for a very long time but never quite achieved. That’s a big one for me. I would like to see if maybe I can win the contest to speak at my graduation, but that’s not something I can control the outcome of (I also think I might start bawling if I started to speak about all the things I’ve accomplished during my time in school. It’s one thing to write about it, but to speak it? heh). I will continue to write in this blog.  I plan to either start a new college program, or begin to work on my career goals. I will volunteer at an animal shelter (which I’m actually starting this year after finals hopefully). I will be a vegan for the longest stretch of time so far. I will continue to be a healthy person and have goals for that…including running a 5k by the time I turn 30 on my Birthday in October (or thereabouts), and starting to lift weights. I will have stronger relationships with my friends. Most importantly, everything about me will get stronger. My mind, body, everything.

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My mom and I! She’s a big supporter 😉

I am sharing this because maybe someone is reading my blog and is feeling badly about their ability to meet their goals, or get healthy, or change their bad habits, or whatever else. I want to inspire people, that’s my primary goal. Well, that and help as many people as possible. If 2013 is the year of the Laura and 2014 will be an even better year from what I can see and so on for the rest of my life, then other people can do the same thing! I don’t want to spew too many cliches. But really, believe me when I say that anything you put your mind to is possible.

Okay. Now here’s the part where I talk about what/who has helped me out when I thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not going to mention everything, but there are some clear, concise things I want to share that everyone can use if they want to.

Mostly it’s just support from other people. Like especially my mom, my aunt, my friends, mentors, doctors, etc.

Also myself, which I’ve already alluded to. Like really. It’s all about my mindset. I watch the Biggest Loser sometimes on tv, and I would tell myself I am my own biggest loser, as silly as it sounds. Actually it’s not really silly. It’s true. I did it without having to go on a tv show that’s actually pretty extreme and a last resort kind of thing. Or, I’ll be my own therapist sometimes, by anticipating the advice another person would give me, but instead it’s me giving myself actually helpful advice, and then just doing what the advice tells me I should do instead of waiting to feel bad I haven’t done it, or have someone else telling me to do it. Like today, I beat my own personal record for running. First of all, I walk and run in intervals, and I keep track of my progress with an app called Runkeeper. Usually I have been setting my activity to “walking” but today, I was like “okay I am going to run!” and set it to run. And I ran. I ran as far as I could for as long as I could, as fast as I could, until I needed to walk, and kept going for 45 minutes. Plus, I set a goal to run faster than my usual record when I was walking more. I wanted to go just under 13 min/mile. Instead, I ran 11:51 min/mile! I was proud and sort of in shock. But I am not surprised. If someone else could hear the awesome things I was telling myself while they were running, I bet they’d do just as well (considering some factors, of course).

Another final thing I want to mention, to make it more inline with the purpose of my blog which is spreading, sharing, and showing the awesomeness that comes with being a vegan is this facebook group I belong to. I really like to follow the work of Christy Morgan, author of the Blissful Bites cookbook, and awesome athlete/vegan educator extraordinaire. After commenting on one of her photos on instagram, she asked me if I belonged to her vegan ladies who lift facebook group. I was hesitant because I don’t think I am ready to be lifting weights quite yet, but she still encouraged me to join. And it’s one of my favorite vegan facebook groups! It is so supportive and everyone there is awesome. Not only do I get inspired by so many other strong vegan ladies, but I can also inspire others there. And it’s very informative and just…really cool for lack of a better description. So, I highly recommend it if you’re a vegan lady and interested in also getting stronger.

Okay, well, sorry this isn’t about food this time! But I hope this is just as tasty a read as any of my other entries. And I hope you were inspired in some way from my story. Here’s to having each year be the year of us for a very long time!