The (Vegan) Body: Why I Use ‘Queer,’ Cauliflower, Gender, Dressings, Food Lately


A few great articles to share that I’ve collected lately. Gearing up for the new semester this next week. Things might be a little quiet on this corner of the internet, but never fear I’ll always pop up again once the dust has settled.

This article on using the term “queer” is a fantastic post on identity and the politics therein.

“‘Queer’ is a sub-culture that exists outside of mainstream ‘gay culture’, where people arechallenging the whole system, not trying to fit into the dominant one, which oppresses so many no matter the rights we appear to ‘win’. A lot of the music and art and writing I love comes from this culture. So when I use the word ‘queer’ I’m associating myself with this and telling others that I’m part of queer culture myself.”

Pretty much.


Raspberry chipotle cauliflower and tofu BBQ?! Yes, please. This looks fantastic and I’m thinking it’d be just swell with some GF mac and cheeze and a huge pile of greens. Also, I heard that Trader Joe’s has a cauliflower rice in the frozen section. Hoping it’ll appear at my Trader Joe’s soon.

Loved this article about non binary gender through the experience of this amazing writer.


As odd as it may seem, I’ve just now followed Dreena Burton’s blog. Can’t wait to make this mango-hemp dressing; I’m imagining it on a kale salad with some marinated tofu on top.


Lots of rain here these days. Even though it’s summer, I’ve been loving miso soup bowls with lots of noodles, greens, mushrooms, and tofu. Also jamming on lots of brown rice tortillas and hummus of course.


Pumped into my Brain: My Favorite Podcasts and Where to Find Them


Most Saturday mornings you can find me in my comfy clothes, putzing around my apartment, headphones in. Streaming straight into my brain is one of several podcasts that I look forward to each and every week. As a lifelong NPR listener, the podcast style, format, and accessibility mingle to make the perfect listening material for me. I listen to a wide variety of podcasts that cover an even wider range of topics. I guess the one thing they have in common is me. That they encompass many of my interests and provide me with a little brain food for  those bookless, articleless, and campusless moments. I listen to them at various parts of my day and week: in the car, in the shower, in the kitchen, on a walk, walking to and from my car and various buildings on campus. You name it. If it’s streaming on my phone, it’s probably a podcast.

So, as promised for quite some time now: my favorite podcasts. In no particular order. Where to find them and what they’re each about. And really, why I love them. I hope you can find a little brainfood here among this far fetched list of audio goodies. All links are provided, and you can easily access any of these by just searching for them in your favorite podcast app.

Rise and Resist

Co-hosts Lacy Davis of Super Strength Health and Holly Noll of Plantfit Gym in Oakland, California and Fitquick Protein Waffles team up to make an invincible and inspirational strong lady duo. By far, the podcast I look forward to MOST each week. This is the only one I listen to that’s not only fun, funny, and inspiring but that makes me feel STRONG! Everything from listener questions to dealing with creepiness and intimidation in the weight room, these ladies cover a wide range of topics relating to vegan health and fitness. While fairly new on the podcast scene, these ladies pack each and every episode with a powerful punch, discussing their “one rep snax,” weekly happenings in their lives, and offering tips and advice for a wide range of issues that impact those interested in living strong, healthy lives.

Lacy also did a roundup of her favorite podcasts a while back if you’d like another list of some good listening. Sayward Rebhal over at Bonzai Aphrodite did too!


Sexy Vegan Radidio

I’m pretty much a fan of anything and everything self-proclaimed “vegan personality and cookbook extraordinaire” Brian L. Patton, aka the Sexy Vegan put his mind to. In my humble opinion, he’s the vegan with the Midas touch. I adore his books, recipes, Tweets, Instagrams, and the poignant humor he infuses into each and every one. This same effervescence translates into each one of Brian’s podcast episodes. Brian’s combination of recipes, cookbook reviews, interviews with vegan personality types, couples with his impressions of the latest and greatest developments in vegan products to make each episode a delight to listen to.


Citizen Radio

My (week) daily go-to for a dark comedic view of the news with a charged progressive spin. Partners in life and in breaking-the-political-spectrum-amazing-leftiness Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein infuse even the darkest developments with a tinge of honesty, hope, cynicism and crass. I love the way they present news updates and politics, analyzing big stories and giving voice to smaller ones, all from a progressive point of view.

Pop Culture Happy Hour

This podcast is exactly what its name suggests: popular culture in one happy 60 minute podcast. Linda Holmes, head of NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See, spearheads a round table discussion each week that examines the most recent books, comics, movies, shows, other podcasts, videos, and anything else that could be deemed pop culture. Often, Pop Culture Happy Hour shorts appear in the interim between regularly scheduled shows to bring 10-15 minute spurts on newly released items. This podcasts mingles equal amounts of nerdom, analysis, opinion, and comparison into a fun listen. My favorite part: the “What’s Making Us Happy This Week” segment at the end of each episode. PCHH is always edgy, whip smart, relevant, and super helpful when it comes to picking out what to read, watch, or listen to for someone like me who lives under a rock.

Imaginary Worlds

Eric Molinsky’s voice is at once soothing and fascinating. Delving ever deeper into imagined worlds and the suspension of disbelief, this podcast centers on science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and the like. This past week, a look at heroines and the implications therein provided an insightful look into gender, misogyny, and the gaping holes in one of my favorite sub genres. If you like nerdy shows and books like Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, Daredevil, The Avengers, Batman, Star Trek, Star Wars, and characters like Superman, Spiderman, zombies, sexy robots, golems, Joss Whedon, witches and the like then you’ll love this podcast.


In the same geeky vein, I give you Nerdette, one of my latest finds. As hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen say in each episode: “We’re all a little nerdy about something.” And yes, I definitely am. A bit broader topically than Imaginary Worlds, Nerdette’s shows feature themes including: birth control, sex, Game of Thrones, Catilin Moran’s books, feminism, climate change, Kate Mulgrew, and pi day. The most recent episode to drop, “Caitlin Moran on Strident Feminism, Giddy Optimism, and Riotous Laughter,” is a great way to get a feel for the show’s premise, cheeky overtone, and fun pace.


Mystery Show

Starlee Kine has the most fantastic voice to narrate a mystery. She’s what I imagine an American female character from an Agatha Christie novel would sound like: a brilliant, jazz age-nymph who has the uncanny ability to coax tremendous amounts of heartfelt information out of total strangers. How I love this show! (And both of its theme songs!) Small, seemingly mundane mysteries like the brilliant logo that emblazons each episode in my podcast app, have their lids blown off as each one is fascinatingly unraveled before your very ears.


Criminal is a podcast that’s a little close to home for me in the best way imaginable. My now not so local NPR station WUNC’s Phoebe Judge hosts this show all about crime’s perpetrators, victims, actions, and results. Usually brief 20-40 minute episodes provide for brief interludes into the world of criminality, incarceration, murder, and…Venus fly trap theft? Yes, and several of these take place in my home state of NC.

Big Fat Vegan Radio

Vegan drag queen Honey LaBronx (aka Ben Strothmann), and Laura Yasinitsky form the dynamic duo responsible for this vegan podcast. Everything from interviews to vegan lifestyle tips, to vegan drag queendom, this podcast not only has one of the best theme songs ever but also brings a smile to my face throughout every episode.


A few others that have received enough praise that you probably already know them: This American Life, Snap Judgement, Serial, Invisibilia, Radiolab.

I listen to all of my podcasts through the Podcasts app on my iPhone or via iTunes on my laptop. New to the world of podcasting? Just pick a few that seem interesting to you and read up on their descriptions online. I use the “Top Charts” feature on my iPhone’s podcast app to search for new ones to download. I’ll often just listen to the most recent episode to get a feel for the show, and depending on how many episodes are in existence I’ll go back to the beginning and listen to the podcast’s development over time. I HIGHLY reccomend this with shows like Invisibilia, Mystery Show, and Imaginary Worlds. They each have only 1 season and it’s fun to hear their first episodes. Following your favorite podcast(er)s on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram is also a great way to show support and find out what’s happening and when.

Right now is a lull in podcasting season! Many shows are between seasons, or are on sabbatical until the early Fall. Great time to catch up on older episodes and get ready for new ones to stream in just a few short weeks!

Got any recommendations for me to stream? Did I skip your favorite podcast? Let me know in the comments section or Tweet me at @RinVeganland.

Pump it, Bump it, Cut it Up


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.