This has nothing to do with yoga but this version of Juevos Rancheros is my favourite meal right now and I want to share it with the world!  Here is what you do.

1. Spread refried beans on a tortilla (I like Dempster’s Ancient Grain) and put it in the mic for about 20 seconds.

2. Put a whole, ripe avocado on top (just spoon pieces out and spread them over the tortilla).

3. Toss chopped green onion and a couple fried eggs on top.

4. Pour on some salsa and a little hot sauce if you’re feeling sassy (which I always am), eat with a knife and fork and enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today is Day 8 of yoga in a row and I feel most excellent.  Someone told me yesterday that I look exuberant and I’m going to attribute that to all the yoga!

I thought about how much I did not want to go to yoga all day today, ever since I woke up.  Turns out the negative anticipation was a lot worse than the actual class.  I went to my chiropractor appointment and he commented on how my spine is so much better than it ever used to be, and he doesn’t know why but it just seems to be getting better every time he sees me.  So fantastic!  I know it’s definitely from yoga (I’ve been doing Bikram’s for about a year and a half) because there’s nothing else I do that strengthens and stretches and moves around my spine.

So this made me pretty excited to go to yoga.

I got to class early, had a nice little nap on my mat before the bright fluorescent lights came on and interrupted my slumber, then made a little pact with myself that I was going to have a wicked class.

I had a wicked class!!  The teacher said he woke up this morning and thought today is backward bend day (fitting, considering my revelation at the chiro about my spine’s improvement).  Everytime someone moved in savasana he added ten seconds to the camel pose.

So we ended up enduring a 70 second camel pose (this posture’s normally held between 20-25 seconds).  It felt wooooonderful, really.

I had way too much energy after this power class to sit on the bus so I powerwalked my little heart out all the way home to the beat of Lady Gaga.

Happy healthy spine = happy healthy life (to quote a phrase they use often at Bikram’s).

Day one and two of this challenge I did 9:30p.m. Bikram’s (hot yoga) classes.  I had planned on doing Bikram’s again today but it was beautiful outside and the last thing I wanted to do was go to the hot and sweaty studio.  So I decided to try something different.  I signed up for yogatoday.com‘s (free!) weekly class and took my laptop into my backyard and did a 50 minute class on the grass in the sunshine!  It was glorious.

This week’s class is an introduction to Kundalini yoga. It was fun!  She did all these funny moves like “the frog” and this other one where you lift your butt off the ground with your arm strength and straight legs out front and then plunk yourself back down on the floor over and over.  There was a big focus on ab work which killed me a little bit.  There was also about a minute of that one (I’m sure you did this when you were little) where you hug your knees into your chest and just roll back and forth, up and down along your spine.  It feels unreal.  Plus the instructor says a couple minutes of this move a day increases youthfulness – sure, why not!

I liked this cause it was refreshing and different than what I’m used to.  If you’re looking for a cheap way to afford yoga, or an alternative to packing your mat and heading to a studio, register online and try this week’s class!

Ok now I am going to do thirty days of yoga every day in a row.  It will probably mainly be Bikram’s hot yoga, since I already pay for a pass there, but I’m going to try out as many different types around Victoria over the month to see what they’re like!  Yelloyogi.com is a fantastic resource for viewing all the yoga classes offered everyday in the city and has links to their websites and information.

Anyways, in thirty days time I’ll probably be able to do this: (ha).

''The Grasshopper" smoothie from Rebar (apple, mint, wheatgrass & pinneaple)

Well, today is the last day of my thirty days eating vegan.  This month has definitely changed my outlook on food and diet and has made me put more thought into what I’m going to put into my body.  I’m going to continue avoiding meat (chicken, beef & pork) in my diet but I’m going back on fish.  A lot of people transitioning into vegetarianism continue eating fish for the first while and I can see why – my body is still craving this.  Chicken, beef, pork, and dairy though I can do without.

Oh right and I’m back on eggs – love eggs.  I’m not going to be super strict about it – it’s just not my style – but I know that I feel better when my diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables and real, unprocessed foods.  I am trying to clarify for myself why specifically it is that I want to be a vegetarian, and I broke it into the three main categories I can see as to why people choose to ditch meat:

1.  Environmental Concerns.  Livestock accounts for 18 per cent of worldwide greenhouse gases – more than those emitted by all forms of transportation combined – and is a leading cause of deforestation and water pollution.

2. Health Benefits.  Factory farmed meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones and toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops the animals have eaten.

3. Protection of Animal Rights and Ethics.  Animals on factory farms are treated like meat, milk, and egg machines.  All farmed chickens, turkeys, and pigs spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses, many of them so cramped that they can’t even turn around or spread a single wing.

For me it is a combo of all three as to why I’m going to continue striving towards a more veggified (should be a word) diet.  Not only has it made me feel healthier (my body shape has changed and is leaner after thirty days without meat or dairy) but I can also feel more guilt-free about choosing foods that aren’t as harmful to the environment or to animals along the way before they end up on my dinner table and in my tummy.

Paul McCartney endorsed the Meatless Monday movement (as did Alec Baldwin, Twiggy, Al Gore & Simon Cowell)

In my Public Relations and Advertising class, my team is going to put together a PR campaign to try and persuade the people of Victoria to adopt Meatless Mondays (one day a week cut out meat).  This movement is gaining momentum all over the world (San Francisco implemented a meatless Monday resolution at the beginning of April) and we want to try and bring it to the island!  I think Meatless Mondays could actually gain a pretty big following here, with all the students and tree-hugging hippies and activists and outdoorsy people and whatnot.

The MacLean’s article Save the planet: Stop eating Meat suggests that the vegan diet is a more effective way of curbing climate change than driving a hybrid car.  A little food for thought.

P.S. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this cookbook yet!  ExtraVeganZa is an all-vegan cookbook with everything from Spelt Cinnamon Buns to Shepherd’s Pie.  It’s fantastic!  I made the soy French Toast the other morning and my three-year-old nephew Tyler said it was the best French Toast he’s ever had – and he’s no easy critic.

Now that thirty days veganism is accomplished I’m starting a new thirty day challenge tomorrow: thirty days of yoga in a row.  I am so pumped to get into shape yoga-styles. Woo!

Do you ever get weird cravings?  I woke up this morning with the biggest craving for dirt.  I thought about dirt all day long.  Dark, crunchy, moist dirt makes me salivate.  I know how weird this is.

I know I used to eat dirt for kicks when I was little so I told my mom about this weird craving that’s been haunting me all day long, and she said dirt cravings are called pica and that it means I’m iron deficient!  I thought she was pulling my leg, but sure enough I googled it and she’s right.

Pica is a medical disorder characterized by an appetite for non-nutritive substances (like metal, clay, soil, chalk, paper, etc.)  The craving has to persist for more than a month to be considered pica and it occurs mainly in pregnant women, kids, and those with developmental disabilities (and no I’m not preggers).

In addition, multiple sources I found stated that craving dirt normally means you’re lacking iron in your diet.  Good sources of dietary iron include red meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans, leaf vegetables, tofu, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, fortified bread, and fortified breakfast cereals.  So, being 26 days vegan now, this would make sense, since back in the day my main iron source would have been meat.  (On the other hand though I did donate blood three weeks ago and they said my iron was all good.)

p.s. I tried a spoonful of dirt, just to see what it tasted like!  Not as good as you might (or might not) think.  The flavour’s actually pretty good but it is so gritty and I’m pretty sure my dentist wouldn’t approve.  Anyways it did not satisfy me so clearly it’s not really dirt I’m craving!

That’s a quotation by Doug Larson, in chapter five of Green For Life. I totally agree.  Bacon smell is unbeatable.

I’ve read a lot during this month of eating vegan about how we can get all the protein we need from leafy green vegetables.  But I never completely understood it, because I’ve grown up (as most of us North Americans have) believing that we need to eat meat and cheese to get enough protein.  Boutenko outlines the difference between complex proteins found in meat, dairy, fish, etc. and individual amino acids, found in fruits, vegetables, and especially in greens.

*note: Every protein molecule consists of a chain of amino acids.  An essential amino acid is one that cannot be synthesized by the body, and therefore must be supplied as part of the diet.  Humans must include adequate amounts of 9 amino acids in their diet.

Boutenko explains this difference in a way that I understand and went aha! now I get it.  I’m not sure if it’s because my sister’s getting married and looking at wedding dresses – or just the fact that I’m a girl so clothing analogies work for me – but here is what she writes:

It is clear that the body has to work a lot less when creating protein from the assortment of individual amino acids from greens, rather than the already combined, long molecules of protein, assembled according to the foreign pattern of a totally different creature such as a cow or a chicken.  I would like to explain the difference between complex proteins and individual amino acids with a simple anecdote.

Imagine that you have to make a wedding dress for your daughter.  Consuming the complex proteins that we get from cows or other creatures is like going to the second hand store, and buying many other people’s used dresses, coming home and spending several hours ripping apart pieces of the dresses that you like and combining them into a new dress for your daughter.  This alternative will take a lot of time and energy and will leave a great deal of garbage.  You could never make a perfect dress this way.

Consuming individual amino acids is like taking your daughter to a fabric store to buy beautiful new fabric, lace, buttons, threads, and pearls.  With these essential elements you can make a beautiful dress that fits her unique body perfectly.  Similarly, when you eat greens, you “purchase” new amino acids, freshly made by sunshine and chlorophyll, which the body will use to rebuild its parts according to your own unique DNA.

Contrary to this, your body would have a hard time trying to make a perfect molecule of protein out of someone else’s molecules, which consists of totally different combinations of amino acids.  Plus, your body would most likely receive a lot of unnecessary pieces that are hard to digest.  These pieces would be floating around in your blood like garbage for a long time, causing allergies and other health problems.  Professor W.A. Walker from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, states that, “Incompletely digested protein fragments may be absorbed into the bloodstream.  The absorption of these large molecules contributes to the development of food allergies and immunological disorders.”

……..she goes on to say lots of interesting things I don’t have time to write……..

In summary, greens provide protein in the form of individual amino acids.  These amino acids are easier for the body to utilize than complex proteins.  A variety of greens can supply all the protein we need to sustain each of our unique bodies.

Interesting.  Thinking of it the way she describes it, I would way rather eat greens and have my body build its own own protein instead of trying to digest the protein some cow put together from the grass (or more likely corn) it ate and eventually have parts of this dead carcass float around in my blood.  Kind of gross when it’s put like that.

Today is day 25 not eating meat and I don’t miss it at all.  The thought of putting a piece of chicken into my body just isn’t appealing anymore now that I actually think about where that chicken came from and how it will make my body feel.

I did cheat with dairy the other day (cheesy pesto pasta which yada yada yada led to half a loaf of sourdough and a full container of spinach feta artichoke dip) and it made me feel like shit.  After not consuming dairy for almost a month my body was like what the eff are you trying to do to me?!  I’ve felt out of whack the last couple days since the cheat and have been eating tons of fruit and veg, trying to get back to normal.  Grosses me out that I was eating so much dairy and meat before that this gross feeling wasn’t even there because I guess I felt like that all the time?

Anyways this was a long post, whoever made it all the way to the end (well done, you!)  Five more days to go vegan-styles.