{The (Vegan) Body: The Queer, emotionally resilient, vegan body} + cat photos, life update

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Wow. What a week it’s been. I successfully presented my first graduate school paper, finalized the presentation for my second, and connected with friends and colleagues over the recent tragedy that’s hit out campus and community so, so hard.

As many of you likely know, tragedy struck FSU’s campus this past week. A gunman entered the packed Strozier library–one of the most symbolic sources for the exchange of knowledge on campus–and shot 3 students. He was killed on the library’s steps after firing on police responding to the incident. Earlier that day, I’d been on the second floor of Strozier for over five hours researching articles for my advisor. I thought to myself: “I love it here. I love this library. I feel safe here.” Sadly, for me and for a lot of other students these feelings have been shaken. This link on “Emotional Resilience” is especially prescient in light of what happened early Thursday morning.

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If there’s one thing that’s come out of the FSU shooting this past week, it’s been the wonderful support network I’ve been lucky enough to form here. A classmate invited a group of grad students out for lunch on Friday afternoon, and we shared our thoughts and feelings about the event. Over margaritas, I got to talk and commiserate with my grad school BFF about what’s been going on. I’m so, so, grateful for this little academic family of mine.
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This NPR article about LQBTQ bodies fascinated me. I’ve been extremely impressed with the FSU campus health services. I always walk in with bated breath, the same questions on my mind when I’m meeting with a new health care practioner: “Are they going to hound be about my diet?” or “How is the queer part of my life going to surface?” and always “What if they aren’t trained in/well versed in queer issues?’ The feelings of alienation and isolation are always a possibility for me and a lot of people when they go to the doctor. I”m happy to say that I had a really good experience and that the campus health center is the most LGBTQ-friendly place I’ve been to on campus so far. This bathroom sign made me so happy and I felt safe and comfortable knowing that though I’m a cis-gendered queer woman, I wasn’t invisible here.

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Why Paleo Didn’t Work for Me” article is so interesting, especially in light of Anne Hathaway’s recent switch from vegan to paleo that I brought up last time.

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Drinkins AS MUCH kombucha as possible these days! I LOVE the stuff! Unfortunately, my attempt at making another kombucha scoby was a failure, but I’m hoping to try again this weekend.

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It FINALLY feels like Fall here! And I thought NC weather was weird. Florida panhandle is even weirder.

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Maybe not 50, but a lot of shades of gray–my second favorite color. (After black, of course.)

I’m constantly thinking about the cult of thinness that the media so fetishizes. I love, love, LOVE this article. It’s a fantastic collection of sources and thoughts about thin privilege and what that means (especially for women) in today’s world. I really think this thin fetish is slowly changing–at least in the spheres I occupy (definitely in the tattoo culture world, it’s the curvier girls dominate the visual sphere and are often held up as feminine ideals, but I see a wider range of more naturalistic body types in this area than in any other.) but there’s still a long way to go and veganism as it’s so often seen as a temporary “cleanse” diet or a way to lose weight is a lifestyle I see equated with thinness or the desire to be thin far too often.

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Where you’ll find me these days: surrounding my about a zillion books strewn across my kitchen table. I know I say it all the time, but I love this life.

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This, however I do not love. This came on my Pandora station as an advert the other day. I turned pandora off. NO. NO NO NO NO NO. I’ve been contemplating deleting the app from my phone. I just can’t support a company that partners with Monsanto–the very premise of which I am whole heartedly against. (If you haven’t seen Food, Inc. it’s definitely not a vegan documentary but it really highlights a lot of the issues with this huge big bad wolf of a food conglomerate. And it’s on Netflix for easy access.)

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 Treated myself to my FAVORITE restaurant in town the other night. 100% vegan and gluten free: mac and cheeze, BBQ tofu, and raw kale salad. Amazing.

Take care, out there folks. Be safe as you embark on your travels this week. Have a great Tofurky day–I’m hoping to get my Traditional Medicinals tea review written over my little break!

The (Vegan) Body (1)

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The odalisque.

So, I’m not really sure how to start off this new series of mine. I’ve collected a few links to share today–different stories about different bodies that I think can all be in dialogue with the vegan body. I came up with the idea for this series this morning, after reading this article yesterday. The labels and standards and that damn beauty myth that the fashion industry and media are constantly perpetuating definitely makes me want to scream regularly. I too, like Myla Dalbesio, am a size 10. Well, 10-12 really it depends on the cut just like with everything. (Even shoes, thanks for fetishizing tiny feet, world.)

I’ve written about bodies, specifically my own vegan body, here on the blog a few times. (I’m primarily thinking of my “Not Skinny,” also published via Vegan Bloggers Unite that is still to this day one of the pieces I’m most proud of writing, and a “Debunking Vegan Stereotypes” posts I did way back in Veganland’s infancy. Also, my identity post and all of my tattoo posts are totally body relevant.) Like a lot of my posts, the ideas for this one have been rolling around in my head for several years and just haven’t found a way to knit themselves together yet. But suddenly this morning, thanks to Myla, here it is:

THE (VEGAN) BODY!

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My own vegan body, pre work out. It was cardio day!

With this new occasional series (I’m hoping to make it like my “Through the Looking Glass” posts–kind of a some what stable addition to the blog that pops up from time to time) I’m looking to share really anything and everything that I think we as socially and health conscious folks (Yes, I’m assuming, Dear Reader, that if you’re here you’re at least interested in these issues to some extent) we can apply this world view and lens to a lot of different topics that pertain to our bodies, whether they’re 100% vegan, vegan tending, occasional vegan, or just health and food loving/aware and/or conscious.

So, there’s my somewhat incoherent-stream-of-consciousness-my-brain-is fried-from-academia rant that I hope will in some ways inform or at least set out what I’d like to do here. And now… for some links!

I’m choosing to focus on 2 women in the media for this first installment, since one article was the impetus for me to put my thoughts into this series and I feel that the second article goes right along with it.

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The body of insanity.

A bit on the Myla Dalbesio piece–I’m so so SO glad to see a major fashion label like Calvin Klein pick up a more normal bodied model like Myla. But, it still feeds into THIS stereotype. The only type of “plus” we’re used to seeing is Marilyn Monroe. The perfect, still fairly svelt hourglass. Myla’s beautiful (let’s be honest a bit of a crush here) but the fact that we even have to get excited about or that there needs to be a reaffirming article about a more normal bodied and sized woman getting signed to Calvin Klein is indicative of a wider problem.

To sum it up, I give you my brief blurb from when I shared the article via Facebook:

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And via a text to a friend earlier:

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And while we’re on the topic of women’s bodies in the media, let’s talk about Anne Hathaway’s recent public return to an omnivorous rather than vegan diet. A lot of people in the vegan community are engaging Anne’s shift as another high profile example of the ex-vegan phenomenon (which by the way FASCINATES me! And I LOVE how Sayward is approaching it in her work). While part of me agrees with this approach and is a little disappointed,  I’d like to say that what Anne eats is 100% her choice. Perhaps more importantly, it’s honestly pretty upsetting that we’re choosing to criticize something she has every right to do as agent over HER OWN BODY. I personally think it’s unfortunate to lose an advocate for veganism. As someone who’s wholeheartedly devoted to both the ethical and health concerns of a vegan lifestyle, hate to see someone not be able to continue living and eating in this way that’s given me (and so many other vegans that I know) so much. Again, the public scrutinization placed on the (ex vegan) body is perhaps doing more harm than good.

I’m hoping for some feedback from all of you as well–if you see an article, photo, sign, billboard, tweet, instagram post, have a thought, the cat looks like an odalisque, please, SHARE IT! Just go up to the “Contact” tab at the top of the page (or click that nice link I just embedded for you) and let me know! Email would work best but feel free to reach out to me here via the comments section or via social media as well. Don’t forget to tell me how YOU think your item relates to the (vegan) body.

Stay tuned for my upcoming review on Traditional Medicinals revamped Women’s Wellness teas! Coming Soon!

November, full force

IMG_4303Good morning! It’s finally fall here! Things around here have been busy, busy, busy, and CRAZY! It’s officially paper writing time in these parts, and I’m pouring everything I’ve got into 3 separate 20 page textual exhibits of my first semester art historical prowess. I just finished my rough rough draft of the first paper, on Eva Hesse’s Untitled from 1970. (The last rope piece she made before she died.)

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Because of the drain my academic pursuits are putting on my time, I think it’s safe to say that my Veganland has been slightly overlooked. Because time is of the essence, I decided to take a few pictures around my apartment today and share a few fun links with you all.

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I finally managed to figure out how to successful store the mountains of library books that have slowly accumulated throughout the course of the semester. Right now my dining room table is covered in them. Also if you’re looking in a good investment opportunity, might I suggest the post-it company?

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In honor of the new season of American Horror Story Frida and Diego do a Bette and Dot meet Amazon Eve mash up.

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I think I’m slicing into these delicata squash tonight. I kept seeing them pop up all over blogs and just had to grab a couple for myself during last week’s shopping expedition. Can’t wait to try them out for myself.

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A sure sign it’s finally fall: my coconut oil has solidified!

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Working my way to a well-stocked healthy fridge and freezer. I’ve got 2 tubs of greens, ginger miso broth from Trader Joe’s, fresh tahini dip I just made, fermented salsa and jalepenos that I did a few weeks ago, homemade pasta sauce, and olives. I usually take some time on the weekends (over the course of a couple of days) to do some food prep and start a few kitchen projects. This week, I began the quest to make my own kombucha mother (let’s hope Scoby doo here turns into a fruitful little probiotic rather than mold colony).

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I just stumbled across this blog via Beyond Meat’s Twitter feed this morning. This post about food prep for your week got me inspired to take a few steps toward stocking up even more foods to make my lunches and dinners successful during my on-campus days. While you’re at it, this vegan caesar salad also looks AMAZing.

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He’s secretly got red-brown undertones and sneaky, hidden stripes. My dark demon is a ghost tabby!

I’ve also really been enjoying Ali Seiter’s blog, Farmer’s Market Vegan these days. That tagline! I love it! “Kale and chickpeas with a side of social justice.” What’s not to love?! I’ve especially enjoyed her “Vegan Chews and Progressive News” Posts with a slew of food porn and some great food for thought in the mix.

I found this recipe via Ali’s blog, and methinks it’ll be the loose inspiration for tonight’s dinner. I’m going to marinade up some tempeh with that miso ginger broth I’ve got in the fridge and roast up a delicata squash, serve with some garlicky sautéed baby kale and tahini sauce. Might even roast up some chickpeas to throw in the mix too. Sounds like fall heaven!

Enjoy your week! And stay tuned for my second partnership with Traditional Medicinals coming up soon! I’ll be reviewing their newly revamped line of women’s wellness teas which so far are to die for! Keep your health conscious eyes peeled!

Pumpkin Mexican Lasagna (Vegan and gluten free!)

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PUMPKIN! Every year Starbucks comes up with their oh so popular pumpkin spice latte, which decidedly isn’t for me. (Too sweet! Just their soy milk is too sweet for me!) But this type of clever marketing (really the marketing of fall in a cup) has led to a plethora of pumpkiny products at the health food stores in town. I recently purchased some pumpkin and corn tortilla chips which were… interesting. Slightly sweet and covered in cinnamon, they represented the pumpkin spice camp of fall foods. Definitely not bad, but not what I was expecting.

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So what about savory (cinnamon and nutmeg-less) pumpkin flavors? Those are the tastes I’m after with my pumpkin, I’ll save the good old pumpkin pie flavors for Tofurky day this year. Let’s not forget–pumpkin is basically a squash just like butternut or delicata and can be used as such. (Again the brown sugar/Earth Balance/cinnamon and nutmeg flavoring combinations aren’t my favorites!)

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Enter the Mexican lasagna: basically a casserole that combines the form and structure of a classic lasagna with the components of deconstructed enchiladas. Delicious, and the perfect savory venue to feature pumpkin prominently. I made the first rendition of this for myself, as a tasty dinner on one of the first Florida chilly days a couple of weeks ago. I re-made the dish (with a few pointers from a friend) for a departmental potluck part of our annual symposium this past weekend and it disappeared so quickly I didn’t even get a bite myself! Easily customizable, this casserole is the perfect platform to add in any fall veggies you’d like to incorporate, but I recommend keeping it simple, at least at first.

The pumpkin flavor is complimented by a rich cashew cream, with tomatoes and fresh spinach as delicious compliments. Pinto beans add a kick of protein and a hearty texture made oozey and gooey by Daiya cheese on top (if you’d like).

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Pumpkin Mexican Lasagna

6-8 tortillas (I used gluten free)

1 can pumpkin

1 can pinto beans

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked over night and rinsed well

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 teaspoon thyme + more for garnish

1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes

3-4 cups fresh spinach

salt and pepper to taste

1/4-1/2 cups water

Daiya for sprinkling on top (optional)

First, make your cashew cream. Place the rinsed and drained cashews into your food processor with a heft pinch of salt, some pepper, the thyme, and a clove of garlic. Process, slowly adding the water until a thick, but pourable cream sauce has formed. Be sure to scrape the sides down occasionally to get a smooth mixture. Drain and wash the pintos, then combine with the second clove of garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, and the onion in a small mixing bowl. In a greased baking dish, layer your casserole in any way you’d like. I usually begin with tortillas, then pumpkin, pintos, spinach, cashew cream, and tomatoes, layering until all of the ingredients are gone, and sprinkling with salt and pepper to season occasionally. I try and end with a layer of cashew cream on top, then add tomatoes and thyme to garish or top with shredded Daiya (I shredded up the jalepeno havarti block) if you’d like. Bake at 350 until bubbly.

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Served up with fresh, homemade, fermented salsa and a bit of Tofutti with a small salad on the side. I topped the second casserole with fresh, diced avocado.  IMG_3845

I’m hoping to continue my experiments with this dish. I can’t help thinking that olives would go well, most likely just the canned green ones from Trader Joe’s. Also swapping black beans for pintos would yield a completely different vibe and flavor, but one that would also be fall appropriate and successful as a delicious dinner.

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Even though this recipe is oil-free, it’s sneakily rich. One serving was filling, warm, and comforting after a long day on campus. Definitely something I’m looking forward to perfecting and making more often as the weather continues to cool.

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