Pump it, Bump it, Cut it Up

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The mountains of my youth. This is home, and it always will be. I did an amazing hike with my parents while up in NC last week. Super fun and a great way to get some fitness in.

I mentioned previously that I’ve done a bit of a shake up with my workouts lately. In Miami there was a lot of walking: at least a mile or two, or five, every day. It was amazing and that’s something that I totally miss about living in a place where everything that you need is at your fingertips. Also as I mentioned, while I was down there I had a bit of frustration with my work out routine — I began to feel a bit bored with it and a little frustrated with my fitness progress.

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Walking shoes bought in Miami. I’ve taken to going on more walks these days to keep up the wandering I started this summer.

Let me step back here for a minute and really talk about what it is that I do first off. I’m a volume lifter. That means low weight, high reps. I do most of my exercise in my own apartment, not at the gym. This is what works for me; I like the time to unplug and listen to a podcast or NPR, make lovey eyes at the cat and walk into the kitchen every time I need to. I take about 1 rest day per week, more if I need to, and have 2 days of cardio.

Lately, I’ve bumped up my reps even more and made an effort to keep a better count of sets I’m doing each day. A few new movements tossed in the mix and I’ve been a bit sore lately. Such a welcome feeling! I love kicking my own ass, and feeling super strong both in the process and as a result. Nothing like it in the world.

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That said, my eating has gotten a bit of a bump up too. I’ve been paying attention to macro nutrients, which are the big 4 primary groups of foods that your body needs. That breaks down to: carbs, fats, proteins, and greens. Okay, so greens aren’t REALLY a macro, it’s just the first three, but to me they are! With each meal, I’ve been trying to get in my greens, complex carbs, and proteins. Often, as shown above, this translates to greens, grains, and beans! This past week, it’s been mainly lunches of red quinoa, black beans, massaged kale salad dressed with a bit of olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, and red onions with tomatoes thrown in. Oh, and I added a roasted pepper just for kicks. Basically the feed bag formula!

This week it’s something similar: I’m making fresh hummus, brown rice cooked in homemade veggie stock, and some adzuki beans. Those will go with greens and a few fresh veggies for my lunch bowls this week; the hummus will be a side with some carrot sticks or as a snack smeared on a brown rice cake with sliced local tomato on top. I’ve been playing with my oils lately–trying to use a few different ones and measuring them out etc. to make sure that part of my eating is well balanced. I eat a bit of peanut butter a couple of times a week, and the occasional avocado, so my cooking oils tend to fill in the fats gap in my food consumption. Been digging coconut oil these days! And there’s always a bottle of olive oil in the cabinet above the stove for cooking. Stoked to play with a few more sauces and dips in the coming weeks, getting a few of those down before the semester begins next month.

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Breakfasts are often overnight oats soaked in unsweetened almond milk. These usually get mixed with some protein powder (Vega’s french vanilla these days) and I often soak the oats with chia seeds. I also keep Lara bars, fruit, and some sort of nuts on hand for snacks and to keep hanger at bay. I’ve been making more of an effort to prepare as much as possible in my own kitchen. This is not only rewarding (cooking is a great stress relief outlet for me) but it’s also something I’m trying for my own and for overall environmental health. Example: I’m doing away with canned beans! I’m cooking my own from dried, bulk purchased beans. Not only is this a bit cheaper, but the beans are so delicious cooked this way! The waste and energy that goes into packaging is also greatly reduced.

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This has led me to renew my love of beans, try a few new ones (I’ve never cooked adzukis before!) and get more creative with ways to season, prepare, and eat legumes. I got this idea from my father who has been cooking his own beans a lot lately, too. I’ve adopted his bean cooking formula: soak over night in a brine (1 teaspoon salt per every 2 cups of water) wash, rebrine, bring to a boil, let sit for 2 hours, bring to a boil again, another 2 hours and done! So far, this has worked perfectly for all of my legumes. If anything, smaller/softer beans like garbanzos and adzukis will only need one boil/cool round. When you’re done, the beans will be al dente. You can eat them as is, reheat them, or add them to other dishes. I drain my beans and put them in the fridge after they’ve cooled. Lately, I’ve just been adding them to kale salads and spooning them into my lunch bowls, sans augmentation.

So The Foods these days: macros at every meal! Trying creatively to get good fats in, eating almost exclusively from my own kitchen. Completely gluten free. Eating frequently, and loving every bite.

Food updates on Veganland are always based on my own personal experiences and what’s working for me at the time when they are written. They are in no way intended to serve as a model or act as medical/dietary advice. As always: you do you!

Last Few Bits of Miami, NC, (Un)Plugging Back In

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On the morning of my last day in Miami, on a walk I’d taken a dozen times while living there, I finally looked down and saw this. I couldn’t have found a better message to end my summer sabbatical if I’d tried, and it’s something that’s stuck with me.

After 8 weeks away from my home base, I completely unplugged. I shut down my laptop, left my iphone in the guest room at my parents’ house, and severed nearly all connections with the outside world. And I’m so glad I did. You might have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from the internets lately, even (GASP!) Instagram. I’ve taken this unplug mentality back with me, back to home base after a week long vacation in the foothills of the mountains of my youth. From sea, to mountains, and finally back to my cozy flat that’s somewhere in between.

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Also taken on that final morning. That city completely and utterly engulfed me while I was there. It’s certainly still on my mind these days.

I’m also a bit in between these days. Striking a balance between unplugging and plugging in at various times. Making a few small changes in my day like leaving the phone in the other room are things that have really helped me maintain a sense of work/home separation. Unplugging almost entirely for a week really helped me regain a good sense of that, and it’s something I hope to carry into the semester ahead.

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Getting back into my own space again has allowed me to sit back and acknowledge some of the changes I experienced during my time down south. I did a TON of walking while away. This is something I realized is fairly absent from my normal day-to-day and I’ve decided to make more of an effort to keep my urban wanderings a part of my regular life. A podcast and walking shoes on, just strolling through trees, buildings, side walks, streets, and gutters. There’s something so calming about that.

I’ve also bumped up my work out routine. While away this summer, I felt the muscle memory-boredom-need-to-change-it-up feeling creep in. Getting back to my own space has allowed me to kick it up a notch and that’s felt pretty fantastic; my body is doing some pretty cool things these days and I’m beyond pumped to fuel it and feel strong.

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Which brings me to balance. Balance, balance, balance. It’s like this little mantra I’ve had going in my head for a couple of years now. Striking a balance between health and indulgence, that balance between total fatigue and just pushing it to the edge during my workouts, juggling professional and personal, public and private.In the bit of downtime I have before the semester begins, balance is something I think a lot about–mainly as it pertains to the fitness changes I’ve done lately and the food habits that ensue. This sums it up perfectly.

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On that note, I’m thinking of a food update post sometime soon? Very macro-centric lately, and LOVING it. Summer foods — lots of tomatoes and fresh produce treat me well. Also somewhere in the near future: those book and podcast posts, hopefully a bit on food preservation.

The (Vegan) Body: On Tatcalling, LGBT+ bodies, glimmers of hope, long ways to go

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I’ve been so glad to see more and more articles and stories on the interwebs about LGBT+ issues in the past weeks. Issues surrounding gender, race, and sexuality are finally being talking about in what I hope is a progressive way. I was glad to see this article in the Guardian about domestic violence in the queer community, an issue that often goes unnoticed perhaps especially with regard to trans folks. Now that marriage equality has been achieved, it’s time to attack some of these other issues: violence especially toward trans folks and queer people of color, workplace discrimination, overturning discriminatory state laws that allow persecution of LGBT+ folks “based on religious freedom,” domestic violence in the queer community, and the white cis male domination of the community in popular culture and media.

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I’m so, so overwhelmingly happy about the SCOTUS decision last week! With that amazing step in the right direction comes a very sad realization for a lot of us–that we have so, so far to go as a species. With this glimmer of hope is the realization that we have a lot of fighting left to do. Hey allies! Don’t forget that! We still need you! I’ve been pretty pleasantly surprised to see the media nodding to this fact, as seen here.

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I loved reading this article. Just yesterday I was tatcalled at least 3 times while out shopping, minding my own business, trying to find a new wallet. The one hole in this article is the occasional genuine interest and awe that some people have toward others’ ink. My Alice in Wonderland half sleeve receives a lot of attention, most often from people who love the book or who are genuinely interested in talking to me about my experience getting a sleeve. I’m happy to talk to those people, and that’s just a good reminder that approach and how you articulate interest in someone’s tattoos really determines not only the dialogue you might or might not have with them but also their comfort level. If I’m out and someone, honestly especially men, call out to me about my tattoos or try to touch them I’m extremely uncomfortable.

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Going through the process of tattooing, planning, and caring for my ink is not an invitation to be touched by strangers which is (as this article suggests) a violation of not only the female body by the male gaze and touch but also of bodily autonomy in general. An issue near and dear to my heart. Again: most tattooed people are happy to talk to you and are probably used to talking to complete strangers about their tattoos. Remember: don’t touch, it feels just like normal skin, be kind, don’t stare, don’t be creepy, and approach a tattooed person respectfully. If you get a vibe that they just want to be left alone, be polite and just back off. Something I’m always struggling with is balancing my needs with being polite to tattoo starers and askers. Any suggestions on how to nicely end conversations you’re not prepared for and aren’t comfortable having from time to time? I’m thinking a simple: “Thank you for the compliments on my ink, but I’m really just trying to get my shopping done.” might be what I start turning to.

 

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One of my favorite columns, the Stella Grey weekly write-up, amuses me to no end. She’s sort of like a grown up Bridget Jones. My guilty summer pleasure, other than an ice cream of course.

IMG_8839A fun post on some amazing books to read this summer. A little appetizer for my huge book list that I hope to publish in the coming weeks.And I’ll get around to doing a podcast round up too. Soon! So soon! Any particular ones you’d like to hear about? I listen to a lot of them so it’ll be a mix of vegan, pop culture, nerdiness, and progressive politics. Let me know if there’s a genre you’d like to know more about.

 

Heart of Summer

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Hello, everyone! Still down here on the edge of the world–Miami. This truly amazing city welcomed me with open arms. Then engulfed me in a bear hug and has yet to let go. I’ll miss it here. I’m head over heels in love with this place.

Just a reminder, take care of your pets this weekend! It’s the day of the year when the most pets are lost and shelters are the busiest! Be safe, and take care of your furry friends during fireworks. I’ll be watching them all up and down the beach from the comfort of my balcony tomorrow night. Update: I’m definitely planning a book review and a podcast round up, so stay tuned! Unfortunately it’s a bit tricky for me to photograph the books I’ve been reading while I’m here. While they’ve accompanied me on this excursion, they’re packed up in the car awaiting the drive North to NC next weekend. I’m hoping to work on said post while I’m up there taking a much needed respite from research, academia, and all things art history related. I love this subject. I love it so much in fact that I need to put it aside for a week or so and return with renewed vigor. I can’t wait.

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I love the 4th of July, perhaps not so secretly. To me it’s the epitome of summer, when I celebrate the season and pay a little homage to the sun, something I don’t do often enough as a very pale witch who often hides from UV rays. I’ll be bumming around the beach tomorrow, watching those aforementioned photographs at night, and celebrating my own version of the summer solstice. In many ways the 4th of July is my solstice–the sun seems at its hottest and all things summer seem to float around with abandon. There’s watermelon, swimming, the sweet smells of honeysuckle and the gardens, of fields. The hum of cicadas. All NC summer things, I might mention. This is the first 4th I’ve spent away from my home state. In one of the wildest places I know no less. A great way to spend my last weekend here.

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Enamored with every building, everywhere I turn. Art deco for days.

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Miami design district a couple of weekends ago after an opening I attended. Pure magic, and maybe one of my favorite parts of the city.

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Typical mornings, evenings, weekends. Every chance I get it’s reading on the balcony.

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Have I somehow absorbed the South Beach diet? Perhaps. I think it’s just the heat of summer working its magic. Lots of fresh foods and salads, a little sorbetto thrown into the mix. Lots of water, lots of walking.

 

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Never have I seen so many types of palm trees in one place. My whole life, I’ve wanted to live some place where there are palm trees, and I’ve wanted to live on an island. These past 6 weeks have given me both of those things. Far more variation in palms here than in the pan handle. Loving them and the endless flowers strewn across sidewalks and falling from trees, bushes, and plants. With stray cats milling about, crushing the petals beneath their tiny feet.