Why I’ve Chosen to be Vegan

Before I get into the topic of today’s post, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who wished me luck with my surgery two weeks ago. I’m proud to say that last night, I walked a bit over three miles and I feel good today. I feel like my abs got a bit of a workout, yes, but that’s a good thing in my book.  I am utterly convinced that by being in shape before the surgery and eating a plant-based diet, I am healing by leaps and bounds every single day. I had a similar type of surgery 9 years ago, and I don’t remember feeling this good, this soon after the surgery. I also ate meat and dairy at the time and hardly ever worked out.

In case you need to see how much animals are like us, please see this video on three horses that were reunited after being separated for several years and watch their reactions.

When I mention to people that I’m vegan, there are a range of responses I get, sometimes depending on how well I know the person. “Do you eat fish, though?” is one question. “How much percentage vegan are you?” is another. “What does that mean?” is a third question. And the most commonly asked are “Why? Don’t you miss meat? or dairy?”  Now I’m not always able to express myself easily verbally, but with writing, I seem to do alright, so I thought I would write a post about it, and if I educate some folks in the reading of this, well, I will feel it has served a purpose.   Because some folks are more comfortable  and fluid when talking about this issue, I’ve included some of their videos or links in this post.

Chase Avior, What the World Needs Now (a talk on veganism) [Ladies, note that the man giving the talk is vegan. You don’t need to eat meat to have a good body. :-)]

I’m a vegan because I love animals. Plain and simple. I LOVE ANIMALS. Notice I didn’t say just domesticated animals, but “animals,” period (or “full stop” for those of you in other countries that use different terminology.) Do I occasionally miss the smell of or taste of meat? Occasionally, if it smells particularly good. But here’s the thing. It stops there. I get this image in my mind of a cow being slaughtered, or a pig being slaughtered at just 6 months of age, or a chicken being scalded alive because the assembly line just goes too fast for the slaughterhouse workers to keep up, and any kind of desire to eat that meat vanishes.   (I feel the same way with milk chocolate and cookies made with eggs, because of the reasons discussed below. And that’s saying something because I have a HUGE sweet tooth!)

I was vegetarian for about two years before making the switch. I thought to myself “well, the chickens laying the eggs aren’t being harmed, and besides it says “free range” on the label.” I also thought “well, the cow normally has to produce milk so I’m not doing anything that isn’t necessary.” That is, until I started reading up more about the dairy industry and the poultry industry. That was before I took an Intro to Animal Science class, and learned that while it used to take turkeys 25 weeks to grow to full maturity of 18 pounds, nowadays, they grow to full maturity (in the industry’s eyes) in 16 weeks and are 25 pounds.  And you know what? Cows aren’t supposed to be pregnant for the majority of their lives (and they need to be impregnated by the industry in order for them to produce milk, as the lactation is meant for baby calves. Not humans, but baby calves.)  Cows are supposed to live for 20 years, not 6 or 7.  As humans, we wouldn’t want to be taking antibiotics every day, even when we’re not sick. So why would we want to put something into our bodies that was fed antibiotics almost every day of its life? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

I remember my professor stating these figures in his powerpoint lecture with what sounded like a lot of pride.  He was proud of the agribusiness industry for having been so smart and learning how to make products so much more efficiently (the amount of feed that had to be consumed per turkey to reach maturity was half of what it used to be.) The agribusiness folks had been so smart when it came to increasing the efficiency.  He said it with pride, yet I heard it with disgust. In nature, an animal doesn’t change the way it grows so rapidly over a period of 40 years. In nature, a bird doesn’t grow its breasts so large that it can’t even support its own weight and topples over and dies.

I’ve decided I just don’t want to be related in any part to misery or pain to animals. People say to me, well, just because you decide to not eat meat, doesn’t mean that the agricultural business will stop producing meat. But here’s the thing. There is one thing that came across loud and clear during my professor’s powerpoints. Consumer preference is very important to agribusiness. It is one of the main factors that determines the path of their industry.  Lamb is no longer a preferred meat source, so less lambs are produced now than before in the United States.  Imagine, then, if consumers, one by one, or group by group, started to eat less meat and animal products.  Just think about what could happen! (And if you doubt that consumer preferences make a difference over the long run, well, just read this article on McDonalds and how they are closing hundreds of stores this year, and why.)

Now, just as with everything, people try to get their message across in different ways. Below is a video shot this past weekend by a friend of mine, BSG, at an event where lambs were being shown/exhibited, and at the same time, eaten by others.  If even one person heard the message, then that’s one less person who eats meat. It’s hard to look at the live animal in front of you and then look at what you’re eating and not make the connection between the two.  My personality is more of the way that Chase Avior speaks, but everyone has their own way of dealing with issues that they believe in passionately.

If you’re more into movies or books, a few I suggest are Peaceable Kingdom: Journey Home, and Milk? (available through Amazon Prime Instant Video), or Cowspiracy.  I’m going to go see the Maple Farm Sanctuary in MA that is featured in Peaceable Kingdom, in a few weeks, and can’t wait. I’ve been told I should watch Earthlings but I have also heard that it makes Food, Inc. (I believe I saw it through Netflix) look like a Disney movie on the agriculture industry, so forewarned is fair-warned.

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What a difference a week makes, and other things

This face...how can you NOT love this face??!! I took this last night as she was getting ready for bed. She sleeps right next to me.

This face…how can you NOT love this face??!! I took this last night as she was getting ready for bed. She sleeps right next to me.

Wow. I had my surgery one week ago today. I remember waking up in the recovery room and being like “yep, this is what I remember the pain to be from the last time.”  They gave me one of those handheld control things where you can click on the button to give yourself a dose of pain medication when you want it. Seeing as I was in pain, every time it lit up, I pressed it. Later on, they told me “we couldn’t believe how much morphine you gave yourself. How are you awake right now?” and the best line from one of the nurses (and I think she was serious) was “do you do street drugs?” (I think my answer was obvious when it was clear I had no idea what she was asking. I was like “um, I’m a runner?!” once another nurse clarified the question for me. I admit, I was a bit insulted. It was taking everything I had to just stay awake and answer her questions, and now she’s insulting me for it? I got the impression she was very bothered at having to take care of me. (Luckily she was only there for one shift, of which most of it, I slept, due to the effects of the aforesaid morphine.) Everyone else was much nicer.

After a week of percocet (yay, I love percocet, and no, it doesn’t bother my stomach at all, as many people have asked), and ibuprofen, I’m almost out of the percocet but definitely feeling more like myself. I want to get out there and run and I look at the runners around the reservoir with envy, but i know i have to take it easy. Not walking up stairs seems to be key. When I do, it seems like my incision tightens up or something, and I’m reminded “um, you just had surgery last week, you know.” Anywho, it does appear that the swelling in my stomach is starting to go down. I’m still hoping for that flat tummy, and I will have it, only a matter of time.  (Yes, I am determined.) I am utterly convinced that my being in shape BEFORE the surgery is totally helping with my recovery AFTER the surgery.  As long as I don’t sneeze (as I did the other day and burst a blood vessel in my leg, wow, that hurt!) or laugh too much, the healing will continue.

My mom has been visiting since last Thursday and has been a huge help. She gets bored just sitting around so she already cleaned my entire kitchen so it looks like it’s completely brand new, much better than I could have done.  Makes me inspired to look inside my fridge now – it’s super clean and organized!  Of course, having my furballs around me 24/7 is also a huge help on my mental outlook. It’s going to be so hard to go back to work when my healing time is over!

This week I will attend a training session so I can start doing independent contract work as a bar essay review grader – basically what it means is that people who are studying for the bar can do practice essays to prepare for the real thing. Then I get to grade them, and I get paid for my work. I passed the bar in three states, so these three I will start with (and was glad to see they are some of the more high paying states) and then I will see if I have time to do grading for other states. Just have to get myself certified for each state in which I want to grade. Looking forward to making some extra cash and putting it toward my savings. Granted, a lot of the work for that won’t start to hit until after the middle of May when bar review actually starts, but by then, I”l be done with classes (by next week actually!) and then I’ll still be off work. Since I don’t plan on taking more than one class this summer (medical terminology), I figure I can use the time wisely. That and to sell off stuff I don’t use anymore, or donate.

My stress level has definitely gone down since last week or the last day of work, about ten days ago. I’ve been able to get caught up on schoolwork, and even finish everything for one class, although admittedly, the workload for that class was negligible. I think it’s being home so much with my animals who have such a calming influence has something to do with it. I wish I could always spend this much time with them!  I’ve also been able to watch a lot of youtube videos of financial vloggers and am getting inspired at their progress at paying off debt and also saving at the same time. I’m an information junkie and admit it, I’m always ready to learn about new things, tips or tricks, and especially when it comes to finances and animals. I’ll add links to some of their channels on this blog in case you are curious.

I’m putting together ideas for more posts on this blog – since I have the time, I’d like to be more productive with it, and also use it to discuss causes and topics that really mean a lot to me.

One other thing I did – as you can see below, I’ve been collecting change for a bit of time now. Added it up and had $36.31 in total, so tonight my mom and I rolled coins together. I put everything that’s rolled up in my little fire-proof safe. And from now on, I’m going to be more vigilant about picking up change I see – in just the past two days, I found 26 cents! (Hey, mock if you will, but every little bit does add up eventually. There are even blogs out there of people who update their tally every day of found change.)

Total = 36.30. Not bad for just being loose spare change. Always keep your eyes to the ground, you never know what you might find.

Total = 36.30. Not bad for just being loose spare change. Always keep your eyes to the ground, you never know what you might find.

Farm Sanctuary: An Inspiration

I started reading a book last week by the same title as this post, Farm Sanctuary, by Gene Baur. I left some of it to be read after my surgery as I knew I would have a lot of down time and didn’t want to take too many things of value into the hospital. So no ipad traveled to the hospital with me. It’s a book I cannot put down.

The man is impressive with how steadfast he has been in his principles, and it all started with one animals who was considered “downed” at the Lancaster Stockyards. In case you are unfamiliar with this term, it means the animals who are brought to the stockyards and are usually too sick or weak to even get out of the container they’ve been trucked in on. Sometimes it’s a day or days old calf. Sometimes it’s an animal that the food industry considers “past its prime.” Basically, ti’s an animal that no one cares about and thinks it’s too expensive to put out of its misery – you see, the farmer can get more money for an animal that is still alive (even just barely) than one that is dead. And it costs money to euthanize an animal and put it out of its misery. God forbid, right? Wouldn’t want to treat a living creature with any sense of decency…. (Yes, you can tell that that attitude really angers me.)

Gene Baur just kept at what he felt was right.  He used common sense too. He got a degree from Cornell because he knew it would give him more credibility when talking to those in the agribusiness sectors. And it did. When he realized that there was a gentleman who lived close by to their sanctuary who worked in a business that involved the killing of animals, he invited him over for a meal (meatless, of course)  and everyone treated the man with respect. That gentleman didn’t feel threatened at the meal and he saw that they weren’t all a bunch of folks who were not willing to meet someone different from themselves. The man later ended up getting rid of his business.

If you don’t want to take my word for it that he’s a pretty cool guy, then just check out this video of him being interviewed by Jon Stewart. (Hat tip to my good friend DB who alerted me to it.)

If you notice in the interview, Jon Stewart mentions that a lot of vegans can be very rough on others who don’t eat the same way they do. I feel like if I were to preach to everyone, oh you should eat this, or don’t eat this, that will just push the person to do the opposite. No one likes to be told what to do after they’ve reached the age of what, 5? But you will also notice that Gene Baur doesn’t act all sanctimonious. (And he actually makes Jon’s day when he tells him that Baco Bits are vegan!)

Gene Baur will now be one of my inspirations for following my dreams and helping out animals. If he could start with basically nothing and persevere, then I can too. I can’t wait to go back to volunteering at the animal shelter once I am allowed to lift more than 8 pounds. That’s why I hope to recover quickly. (I’d like to go back and just socialize with the animals or take care of the chickens. In fact, I think I will do that as long as the shelter staff or my fellow volunteer, Janice, is ok with it.)  There is a lot of work to be done. Like Gene, I know I can’t save them all, but to save even one nor make even one’s life better for the rest of its days on this planet is to do right. As my mom and grandma used to say to me a lot while growing up, you never know if you don’t even try. (And with that, I’m off to continue working on my research paper of how to start a farm sanctuary in NC.)

Is there something you would like to do with your life but have been afraid to take the first steps toward doing?  Has any part of this post touched you? Have you read this book by Gene Baur? (Btw, he has a new book out which I can’t wait to read – it’s called Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.)

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Healing

Some of you may know, I had a hysterectomy this past week, so now I’m home for six weeks, recuperating. My mom has come to visit for a week to take care of me. It’s funny, no matter how old you get, you’re always someone’s baby or kid.

I had the hysterectomy because I have a problem common to many women, known as fibroids. They’re basically growths, or tumors, and as long as you are able to have a monthly cycle, well, they can keep coming back over and over again. I had a myomectomy 9 years ago to remove the ones I had then. Much as I wanted to think that was the end of them, nope, it wasn’t. And when I saw the assisting doc at the hospital the day after my surgery, he said my fibroids were HUGE. I write huge in capital letters because that’s how big his eyes got. So now I will just wait until my follow up to find out how huge they really were!   I’m feeling ok right now – some pain and discomfort is expected, but they also gave me percocet and some big ibuprofen pills, and I’m not afraid to take them, so they are definitely helping.

It’s also helping to have my animals all home with me. As usual, Osito is on my right hand side, and Max is on my left. Yesterday, I laid down for a couple of naps and each time I did, I had about 3 or 4 animals on the bed with me. Made me feel loved. They are some of the best medicine I could ask for.

I have a lot of books with me to read over the next several weeks, many about animals. I want to be as knowledgeable about the behavior patterns of animals as I can. And I plan on showing my mom the movie Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home to get her thoughts about animals and see if it changes her mind about what she eats.

I’m grateful for this time off for a few reasons. One, my insurance will pay a good portion of it. Second, I have lots of sick time so I figured I might as well use it. So yes, I am getting paid at full pay for this time that I am out. Third, I get to spend a lot of time with my animals and my family. And it will give me some time to finish up my schoolwork for the semester, which includes a short paper on how to set up a farm animal sanctuary in NC. And finally, it gives me time to look into the job market situation down there too and see if I can line something up. Also, since I”m not doing much, I’m saving a bunch of money and it helps that May is a three paycheck month. So, it’s all good when you get right down to it. There are much worse times of year to be out of work than May in Boston. Right now, it’s still a bit chilly for my liking but I am hoping it warms up pretty soon. At least the sun is shining. Can’t complain about that.

I hope you will all have a great weekend. Just wanted to let you know what I’m up to, which, physically, isn’t much. I also wanted to thank all of you who are friends with me on facebook and who sent me so much support and love and friendly, good vibes on the day of my surgery. It really helped my mental outlook, and continues to do so today. So, thank you very much.

And congratulations to my friend Jill of Jill Will Run for finishing the Boston Marathon this past Monday on what had to be such miserable cold weather! (Rain and lots of it, in the 40s. Your pretty basic raw day where you just want to stay inside and have a cup of tea while looking out at the weather.)

Feeling blessed

Reservoir unfrozen!

Reservoir unfrozen!

Sometimes it’s the simple things that set you up for having a good day and a good mood. For me, this morning, it was running before sunrise. My beloved reservoir has finally completely unfrozen, and if you start running early enough, you can have it all to yourself. On Saturday mornings, I need to open the gym by 8 a.m. so if I’m going to work out before then, it’s going to have to be pretty early! So this morning, I got my butt up and got running by around 5:45. Sunrise was set for about 6:13 a.m. There is just something about being able to run while the moon is still out and the sun is starting to come up.

I run to music but I kept my loudness level down for the first loop around, just so I could hear the geese calling to each other, and also for safety reasons, in case anyone was to sneak up  on me. Right now, the vegetation around the reservoir has yet to fill in (our spring explosion of color has not happened yet, but I suspect it might start this week as the temperatures are slowly starting to creep upward.) It was just a short run – probably about 3.3 or 3.5 miles in total but it was all I knew I had time for and it was just enough to wake me up and feel blessed for being able to run.

I know that after my surgery, I won’t be able to run for about 6 weeks. I’ll only be able to ride a stationary bike or walk which is going to be hard for someone as active as me. I also can’t lift any weights more than 8 pounds for 6 weeks. I usually dumbbell press 30 pounds in each hand right now, so I hope to not lose too much of my fitness. I know this surgery is necessary if I want to get rid of these fibroids and start feeling more like myself when I look in the mirror.

To explain what I mean about my stomach — the doc told me the other day that my uterus is about the size of a woman who is 20 weeks into her pregnancy. So you can imagine how depressing and disheartening it has been for someone who normally works out 4-5 times per week to look in the mirror and see that. However, in the last month as I have changed my diet, I’ve seen the stomach I used to know come back, slowly. Parts of my abs are becoming more defined as I’ve been trying to work them hard in advance of the surgery. The middle bulge is still there, but I know its days are limited and that makes me extremely happy.

Again, I’m not a vain person but I do pride myself on being able to push myself harder than a lot of folks who are my age. I like being the girl dressed in pink at the gym, standing next to the guys in the free weights section and being able to use some of the same size weights as them for some exercises! The hard work pays off as most people think I’m a lot younger than I really am. And the change in my diet to being vegan has also done a great deal for my self-esteem or morale. I used to think of how little will power I had when I would walk by cookies or cakes, etc., and now I can look at something and if it has “milk” or dairy in it, I just think of the animals that have suffered for it, and it’s amazing how that urge goes away.

The sun has started to shine a lot more in the northeast after several days of drizzle and rain. It is so freeing to no longer be a slave to the bus schedule! When I’m riding along in the rain and beginning to feel miserable about the weather, I just think to myself how much money I’m saving by using  my own two legs to get back and forth to places, rather than driving a car. That, and the fact that my rain jacket and rain pants were SO worth the money I spent on them. :-)

The weather really does affect how I feel about my day to day life, and so I am glad I am going to be someplace warmer by next year. You can see the differences in Bostonian’s faces as the weather warms – we’re still “tough” on the outside, but you can tell people are feeling better with the warmth. During that period of February when we got almost 9 feet of snow, I cannot tell you how miserable and exhausted everyone was, but I’m sure your imagination can fill in the gaps. I’ve never heard so many car horns with so much frequency, and that’s saying something in this town, known for its rude drivers!

I was also able to see a good friend yesterday that I had not seen in a while. She’s part of our animal loving “tribe.” She said that when she came into my apartment she felt like she was looking at one of those pictures that asks “how many cats do you count in this picture?!” She held Osito for a little while and Osito worked her usual magic, licking her hands as her way of giving kisses. It’s impossible to not love that little girl when she does that or plays “hard to catch” and runs back and forth in the living room with me. (I’m telling you, for an almost completely blind dog, she gets around pretty well!)

Anyway, this is all my long-winded way of saying how blessed and grateful I feel on days like today. I know in my heart that I’m on the right path. As I found myself picking out kitchen cabinets the other day, I thought to myself, “wow, this is so surreal.” After so many months of planning, things are starting to fall into place. I watched another movie the other day that had profound effects on me – I’ll write more about it in a separate post, and started reading a book called Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur. With every page I read, I think my future is becoming clearer and clearer. It’s a great feeling, one I wish for all of you.

Have a great weekend! If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe or drop me a line below and let me know for what reasons you feel blessed some days!

Setting Priorities and Goals

I promise this entire post is not about food. But I have clarified a few things in my head over the past few days.

1) Watching the movie Cowspiracy really hit me hard this weekend. Until now, I’ve found it pretty easy to not eat any meat products for the past few years. Whenever I felt like “oh, that meat smells good….” I would then remind myself of why I don’t eat meat. Not because I don’t like the taste, but because I don’t want to be part of anything that involves an animal being slaughtered. But I couldn’t give up the dairy quite so easily. Maybe because I’d been brought up to drink milk as if it was water – literally, we used to go through so many gallons of milk every few days in our house. It was nothing to have a few glasses of milk at dinner time. It didn’t matter what we were eating. Spaghetti with milk? Sure! (I know, gross, right?) And it wasn’t skim milk we were drinking but the whole vitamin D milk. Yep. (Let’s not even talk about the powdered milk we drank when times were tough, money-wise. Eeww.)

Even when I was married, when I went to the store, I would buy skim milk for my husband and whole milk for myself. Eventually, he talked me into trying 2% and I noticed I didn’t have as many stomach issues as I used to have. So I slowly worked myself down to where I was drinking skim milk. And now I only use almond milk or coconut milk and I find that I don’t miss regular cow’s milk.

I believe I have mentioned I have fibroids, and that’s why I will be in surgery just three weeks from today. I didn’t realize until watching that movie over the weekend, that dairy products can contribute to fibroids. Now, while I will be having my fibroids-producing organ removed (ahem, uterus), I still want to continue not drinking cow milk. The movie showed how many acres it can take to feed a vegan per year vs. just a vegetarian. The difference was astounding – .6 acres to feed a vegan, whereas it takes 1.8 acres to feed a vegetarian. Imagine what I might be able to do with my own garden! (By the way, I love gardening, getting out there and getting my hands dirty, watching something grow from my own labor, and that tastes amazing!) So, priority #1 is to no longer bring dairy products into my home (I’m going to probably still eat the chocolate yogurt I have in my fridge until the next grocery day, just because I love chocolate and I already bought it), but after that, no dairy products enter my doorway.

2) Priority #2,  I set over the weekend was to save even more from each of my paychecks. I’ve been putting away $750 out of every paycheck since last summer. Before that, I was definitely saving but not at such a rate, as my focus had been more on paying down my private student loan, whose balance sits at $12,777.97 as of today (just checked.) As of this weekend, I decided I would start trying to save $835 from each paycheck. That may not sound like a lot more – it’s $170 but I’ve already been cutting down my expenses as much as I can. So this means really tightening the grocery budget and keeping the pet expenses in check as well. I have to admit, looking back at what I’ve spent with Chewy.com (a company I can’t recommend enough, and one, who when you call their number, you get a real live person on the other end, imagine!), I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been planning budgets for pet food, etc., for about $180 per month and I’ve actually spent more of an average of $130/month, so I was feeling pretty good about that. That’s just for their food and litter, pee pads for Osito, etc., no vet expenses.

My take home after savings is now about $2460 a month. I budget it like this:

  • $1050  – rent
  • $55 – internet service
  • $35 – cell (with Cricket Wireless, I get 2.5 gb of data/month, suits me just fine.)
  • $25 – electricity/gas (this goes up a bit in summer, with the AC, but not too much.)
  • $167 – private student loan
  • $538 – interest only payments on federal student loans (yep, that only keeps the loan from growing, folks)
  • $250 – food
  • $160 – zipcar (this is to get back and forth to volunteering with the livestock animals.)
  • $150 – pet food, etc. (still gonna budget higher because some months, it’s higher than others, etc.)

I totalled this up and it comes to $2430. So as you can see, I need to be frugal and keep an eye on these expenses, as there isn’t much room for error. I’m considering it practice for when my life plans change.  Not drinking coffee, and not eating a lot of processed foods should help a lot with the grocery budget. Plus, soon, I can start riding my bike more regularly and going to my local grocer guy who only takes cash for payment but offers produce at an amazing price, and always with a smile.

And yes, I do plan on including personal care items more and more into the grocery end of the budget, such as toilet paper, the occasional need to buy shampoo and conditioner, get a hair cut, etc.  I buy some things in bulk, like toilet paper, paper towels, pee pads, from amazon, so the cost is defrayed over a few months. I also don’t cut my hair that often (it’s below my shoulders) and when I do color it, it’s done at home by me. I take care of my eyebrows mainly by myself. It’s amazing what you can save when you take care of things on your own rather than paying someone else to do it. (Speaking of, after my surgery, I will continue using instacart for my groceries, but once I’m healed, it’ll be me going to my grocer guy.)

You’ll notice I don’t really have laundry expenses added into all of that. That’s because I use a Manatee portable washing machine for almost all of my laundry (blankets and towels, excepting), and a spin dryer (mine is similar to this one on amazon) and then air dry most of my laundry.I used to spend upwards of $10/week on laundry. The cost of the two portable machines has more than paid me back over the past year or so.  Here’s a video of how to use the Manatee on youtube. I just keep mine in the tub and fill it from the tub directly and then let the drain hose go right into the tub drain.

3) Priority #3  – Don’t let up on the downsizing. I need to sell my scooter which will soon be coming out of storage, and also other items in my apt that generally just take up space. I have some items from my grandmother I will likely sell – I have realized, if my apt were to catch on fire, I wouldn’t rush to save them, but I would rush to save the photos of her I have on my bedroom dresser. That tells me what truly holds meaning for me where she is concerned.

4) Priority #4 – this one is still being defined in my mind but it involves making some changes in this world, becoming more involved with causes I care about. The environment. Animals. When I watched that movie, I saw all these people who were so passionate about a particular subject.  I’m going to start researching groups in my area now and in NC and learning ways to get involved. Start reaching out to people now and learn how I can be of help. See if they need someone to help with preparing any written materials for them, on the web or in some other form of media (especially when I won’t be able to do much physically after my surgery.) So maybe it’s more like a goal right now than a priority as I need to make it clearer in my mind. I’ll keep you updated.

I’m home today trying to get rid of a very stubborn cold that came back with a vengeance this past weekend and is totally pissing me off. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and am going to ask them if I can take an antibiotic of sorts, to get rid of it. I need to be done with it for my surgery! Coughing after abdominal surgery – yeah, not something I want to do!

Anyway, sorry this post has appeared to ramble a bit, but I felt the need or urge to write today and put some of these things out there. I like the accountability aspect.

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Things and People I Find Inspiring

I got the impression last week that this post helped some people, and just thinking about writing another one this week kept me inspired to find more to share. I just got through watching Cowspiracy so I feel like I need some inspiration too. It takes three times as many acres to feed someone like me, who is a vegetarian, as it does to feed a vegan. Another reason for me to continue transitioning to veganism.

I can’t remember the last time I had a drink of cow’s milk (I drink coconut milk or almond milk, and usually I don’t drink a glass of it but use it in recipes or to make oatmeal for breakfast.)  I haven’t had a cheese slice in probably about a month now, and have only had it in a few pieces of food like pizza. But watching that movie, well, it really makes you think about what you are putting in your body and how it can affect the planet as a whole, if we all keep on eating meat and dairy. I’m not writing any of this to force anyone else to change, but I’m going to do what I think is right for me. I don’t think I will be buying any more dairy products for my house, and right now I’m working on trying to get through all the groceries I do have.

So, anyway, for inspiration, I suggest watching that movie. You can download it for $9.95 and then watch it as many times as you like. So that’s my first suggestion.

Second, I watch a youtube channel called Preston Smiles. This is one of the first videos of his I saw. I just love how he is totally himself in these videos, especially at the end of this one.

Third, another youtube channel I like to watch is with Brittany Taylor: Simple Living and Travel. I really liked this video of hers titled Keep Being Weird.

Fourth, I have just begun reading a book by Rhonda Byrne called The Power. (She’s the same author who wrote The Secret, which I admit, I never read. Not sure why, but just didn’t.)  This link takes you to the amazon listing for it so you can take a sneak preview at it or listen to a part of the audio file.

Finally, but certainly not least, I found out about an animal sanctuary for abused or discarded farm animals called Animal PlaceIt gives me hope to know places like this exist. I’m going to see what kinds of animal sanctuaries are near me, and if I can’t find work at one, I will most certainly volunteer. I strongly believe all animals are sentient beings – they do feel things, they love things, they hurt and feel sad when separated from their loved ones.

These are just my thoughts and my views on things – you can disagree with them if you choose but if you do so in the comments, please make sure it’s done respectfully. And if you’ve liked this post, or any of it has struck a chord with you, please let me know by dropping a line in the comments, or by hitting like or subscribe. And thanks, as always, for reading.