Friday, 29 August 2014

So far, so great



Six weeks into 100% plant-based eating and raw 'til 4 on the majority of days, and I'm noticing a real change. I wasn't looking for weight loss but seven pounds have gone anyway. I don't think I look much lighter but I can get my 'fat jeans' on and off without undoing them and frankly they're not safe without a hefty belt. I'm not going to lie, this makes me happy. I wasn't enjoying the middle-aged spread.

But that's a nice side effect. I started this - and the shuffling>jogging>running 28 days ago - to get fit and healthy. One night aside, I've slept really well, my mind is sharper and I feel great. I have actual useable energy that shows up when I call for it. I haven't eaten anything sweet, beyond fruit, in that time and it has not been difficult which, as someone with an infamously sweet tooth, surprises me.

I've also developed an unexpected interest in cooking and recipes so that I can eat whole foods and know they're not messed with. It seems savoury is my strength. I tried cookies and tweaked the recipe. Big mistake. On the upside, that pothole in the lane has now been filled.

What I'm most interested to see is that my body has responded and strengthened so quickly after decades of crappy eating and so soon after having hit near rock bottom during The One Where I Had No Iron. Best of all, I was supposed to have a migraine this week. Because it's 'this week'. I've had one 'this week' since I was 14 and they've been getting worse. Nothing. Not even a twinge. In fact a couple of days ago Evie said, 'Mum, you haven't had a migraine in aaaages.'

I think the changes I'm experiencing are largely down to the smoothies I have for breakfast now, instead of the toast/porridge I'd've eaten before. I don't test gluten intolerant but the difference is marked now that this first meal is whole, living food. Personally, I feel more benefit from vegetables than I do fruit but veg smoothies can be pretty bleh for my palate. I miss my juicer. I had a really great one that I found, unused, in a second hand shop but then I accidentally set fire to it. Twice. Time to go juicer hunting again.

So in short: so far, so great. No downside. I don't watch what I eat, I eat whenever I like but my happier body is not asking for food/energy all the time in the way it was (see: sugar/carb cravings) because it's working on top grade fuel.

Bullet points? Don't mind if I do.

  • Grocery bills haven't gone up.
  • Cash flow is different as I will invest in food supplements (like ground flax/chia/berries) for my smoothies that can be pricey, but they last for weeks and weeks.
  • I also take a big Vit B Complex and my mega-iron pills. In a month or so I'll get my iron levels checked and see if I still need to be taking these. Happy to keep doing it; happy to stop. Come the darker days I'll add in Vit D.
  • Our food is more interesting.
  • Charlie and Evie now eat at least one vegan meal every day and both love it. Charlie has been a vegetarian for 10 years and Evie hasn't eaten meat (by her own choice) since she left China eight years ago.
  • Evie is increasingly interested in 'healthy food' and loves that I'm getting fitter.
  • I look healthier. #shallow #butmoreconfident
  • I feel healthier. 
  • Fruit smoothie but veggie juice. At least until I find my Secret Ingredient.
  • Sugar cravings? Dates dates dates. Seriously. No sugar hangover either. They got me through those tricky early days.
  • Exercise-wise, it's an incredible boost to see and feel what you can do, if you just start with what you can do. Try to move every other day, as much as you can, and your body will love you for it and respond joyfully.
  • Plant pasties. No really. Turns out they're my signature dish. Brit to the core. Don't fit in a Mason jar.




Wednesday, 27 August 2014

CPE to the rescue

A thank you to Mel, Rachel, Milena and others who joined in less publicly after my last post.

Passion is a double-edged sword I suppose and it simply doesn't matter what the objective rights and wrongs are of something...people will change when and if they are ready. Most will not.

I'm returning to lessons and guidance in how to let go of my desire to control how people react to truth (and yes I believe some truths are universal). I am conflicted myself on some issues (other than the eating animals one) and it's true, when I feel I'm ready to shed another layer of illusion, I look for those who speak the truth from their hearts, I listen, and I learn. If I really want to be of service, that's what I need to do. And remember where I came from. Remember how long it has taken me to get here despite being in full possession of more facts than most. How much further I have to go.

I do believe in the power of what some call prayer although I see it more as a meditative co-creative place that, with practice, we can access. I need to spend more time in that practice, and that of being a loving presence in my own life space.

Of course I still wish there was a healthy, loving debate possible about this topic. Maybe there is and maybe I'll find it if I keep looking. For myself. And in the meantime, I'll take this from one of my heroes:





Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Looking for a better way

When it comes to freely expressing my opinions I tend to work in one of two ways. I'm either calm and deep in my conviction, or I'm explosive and deep in my conviction. The deciding factor seems to be whether or not the topic up for discussion is merely personal opinion or is something that involves actual suffering for me or someone else. So, in effect, I'm able to walk the 'lead by example' line as long as I believe that whatever The Other Side decides in the end, it's no biggie if we disagree. And most of life falls into that category for me. I'm quite 'Big Picture'.

But put me in any debate on a moral issue - not just animal welfare but yes, that's my focus - and I'm rubbish. I find it almost impossible to be calm and instead I fall into the method that alienates people. So I'm asking you (yes, you three) for advice on how to remain calm about the outcome when the outcome really matters.

This is my question, how does one walk away and say,'The world is unfolding just as it should. The pain and suffering just 'are'. There will always be suffering. There will always be a shadow side to life. It is my role to simply shine my light more brightly. Behold, how shiny I am.'? And, um, why?

Because I believe in shining your light in the darkness, I really do. And I do believe in individual freedom. And I don't appreciate having opinions forced on me although I do try to listen just in case my head's up my backside, and I do find it remarkably easy to turn on my heel and walk away, which for most of us is a simple solution. But when there is brutality in the world that has been normalised; to which many millions of people have become desensitized to the point where it's good joke fodder...what do you do? How do you bite your tongue and just vaguely hope that people will change?

My personal belief is that until we end the use of other beings to literally chew up and spit/shit out without much thought beyond #allthenoms, we will never raise the vibration of the human race to anything that is capable of saving itself and the planet it lives on. And maybe that is the world unfolding as it should but I love humans as much (almost) as I love other species so that prospect makes me sad.

Tell me, how do you present your strongest beliefs? What works for you? Is the example of good living really the only acceptable way these days? Where is the middle ground between that and (in this case) the raging, bucket-of-blood swinging activists at the extremes of the animal rights movement?

This is not about influencing others to perhaps take up exercise, shop locally, volunteer at a soup kitchen, downsize their car, meditate, or leave sweet notes for strangers. Those things are wonderful and totally worth modelling and promoting because when the choice made is 'no thanks', no one is dying a horrible death in order to make a cheap sandwich that will probably end up at the side of a road, or an ugly handbag that'll wind up in a boot sale as soon as a more fashionable one is available.

There are some who will never change. Perhaps they genuinely can't or perhaps their life is just too hard on a daily basis to consider changing something so fundamental. I understand that. Feel compassion and acceptance for that. But there are others who enjoy great freedom and have deep intelligence and big hearts who just...refuse. That's where my compassion disappears, to be replaced by frustration on a good day and anger on a bad. That is part of my shadow side, I guess.

I need to work out how to speak about these things without making people mad but people (me included sometimes) get awfully touchy when you challenge their core habits. Especially around food! How do we resensitize? Before it's too late.

The health reasons for not eating animals are well-documented. That's an easy one with which to lead by example. Wanting an end to the suffering involved...why isn't it just plain bloody obvious? I genuinely don't understand how it's possible to be all,'Well of course it's a personal choice' about it, anymore than I could be that way about beating children. Yes. I just said that.

Among the friends I spend actual face-to-face time with - and I am blessed, at least until I publish this, with many - I can count the vegans/100% plant-based on the fingers of one, er, finger. Some of the smartest, nicest people I know and love are meat-eaters and a few of you read this blog. So, if you can think of some other topic that you've struggled with in this way and can throw me a few ideas on how to communicate in a useful way, or perhaps you have tips on this one you want to share, please do. There has to be a better way than mine and I need to find it. Because this matters.










Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday Motivation

It's Bank Holiday monday here today and so the heavens have opened as is the Great British tradition. I have a run to do so it had better ease up later. Or else.

Just a handful of MM today:

The easiest breakfast smoothie
This yumminess is very similar to what I have if I have a sweet smoothie in the morning. Delicious indeed.  Ella Woodward's website, DeliciouslyElla is a great resource too.

Approaching the Natural
I came across Sid Garza-Hillman recently and love both his philosophy and his podcast. This small book is next up on my wishlist as a result. You can find him online at sidgarzahillman.com. I remain unconvinced by the hat.

Vegan Life magazine
I just discovered the first issue of this magazine and it's lovely. Recipes, news, lifestyle, inspiration, fashion, interviews, all with lots of lovely photos. I'm looking forward to issue 2.

Evie
Yep, my girl. At very nearly nine years old she is more glorious every day. And also feisty as hell. It's a winning combination. She is my motivation on All The Days.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Let it love what it loves



Me? I'm a comfort eater. No diet that ever worked on the basis it could make you feel full and thus stop you eating between meals would ever have worked for me because I had no interest in whether or not I was hungry, I just kept eating. Eating fatty, sweet, stodgy food that would sedate me. And I could eat a lot of it. Inheriting a tall, beanpole body from my father meant for some time I could carry the weight this eating brought. Passing as 'statuesque' and only occasionally crossing the line into 'fat'. So I fooled myself it was okay. That I could get away with it. That clearly I didn't have an issue because hey, I could still squeeze into a size 12-14. Just about. And for many people, a UK size 12-14 would mean that they were in their very best shape. But that doesn't apply to a person whose natural shape resembles a spider.

I became aware of the concept of comfort eating decades ago, no doubt through my regular afternoon dates with Oprah, and I understood immediately. Did nothing about it, mind. Just understood a bit more. As I began to really do some work on my thinking and beliefs during my 40s it was an interest that, like my middle-aged waistline, expanded. I started to question why I ate the way I did. Exactly what pain was I deadening? What issues wasn't I dealing with? And I simply couldn't line anything up. Sure I have plenty of mental/emotional issues to choose from, who doesn't? But really none of them manifested as a desire for cake or cheese. (Cheese was the Big Tranquiliser Gun. A cheese sandwich could literally put me to sleep within 15 minutes. Snoring.) I'm hideously analytical and love to examine my navel; I wasn't avoiding anything. So my examination of my comfort eating would fade away and I'd carry onto something else.

Which brings me to now.

I had planned to eat very healthily for a couple of months and then maybe scope out the gym again once I felt a bit better. Or maybe a yoga class. Maybe even (whispers) Zumba. It was a mid-term goal/option. A week after I started eating 100% plant-based and 70% raw I pretty much had to start running. Or I'd've gone mental. Sure, my muscles were are wasted and it's a struggle to do even tiny amounts but my head, my spirit and yes my body needed to move. I still didn't join the dots. Then today I found myself marvelling that I don't want that old comfort food anymore. I know it's delicious and lovely and it really is, but..well...just, no thanks. And then it clicked. I had been sedating something. I had been suppressing deep discomfort. I was (un)dealing with an issue. But it wasn't mental or emotional, at least in the first instance. It was physical. My body needs to move. It needs to change its place on the ground, in the air, in a room. It yearns for the freedom and joy of movement. But I didn't have time to indulge it - I had a car to drive, a desk job to do, a movie to watch, a book to read. And guess what, those activities are all the ones where I ate the most. Just, it transpires, to allow me to sit the f*** still. I was also struck by the Lightning Bolt of Dur that suggested perhaps the reason I mentally flit about like a lunatic and stick at nothing is because, thwarted of physical movement, I constantly moved myself in other ways. Enforced change where I could, not where I should.

I actually just had to stop typing and give my poor body a hug at that point. Ha.

I'm not hyperactive. I can be positively slothful; when I really want to. It's lovely to lie around relaxing. When I really want to. And now I have to be aware of when I really want to. Looking back, movement has been my escape my whole life. From the child of a dysfunctional family who found peace in a dance studio; to the heartbroken, emotionally abused young woman who sweated out the hurt and the alcohol in a fitness studio and gym; my body set me free.

Nowadays there is very little in my life that I want to escape. In fact I can't think of anything personal, but plenty of a global nature. Perhaps that's why I can now see more clearly the joy that movement brings me. Can appreciate it as an expression of the sacred; of Life.

I don't intend to sedate my body again. I'm not going to imprison it in my thoughts and feelings of shoulds and ought tos. I'm going to let it run and skip and dance and sweat all it wants to, I'm going to give it what it needs to thrive and I'm going to love every minute.

Mary Oliver knows her shit.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday motivation



When previously I've set about creating new habits I have, even when I've ultimately succeeded, hit some bumps in the road. Usually at three weeks and three months. In fact, with the plant-based, whole foods, 70/30 raw eating and the beginners' running, I was planning on treating myself to something nice - head, back and shoulders massage maybe - at these points. Just to incentivise the process and be kind to myself. But I forgot. Because I haven't hit bumps yet. Four weeks into the eating I only want more raw and more whole foods. Two and bit weeks into the running and I'm thriving. Being me, I have to examine this and understand.

1) When I gave up smoking I was warned,'Three weeks and three months, mate. That's when it'll get tough.' And sure enough it did, because I believed them. This time I didn't.

2) Eating delicious food that has a life energy still radiating from it (not in a sentient, nervous system way; this is not a Plants Tho situation) is beyond easy. I don't want to eat anything else because that energy transfers itself almost entirely.

3) The running app I'm using starts you off so damn slowly that even someone like me, with extra weight to carry, shot knees, wasted muscles and old shoes, can do it. And succeeding at something every other day makes you feel awesome. Also, I decided to love running so I do. For me, love is always a decision.

4) I am more aware than I ever have been that changing my life means managing that change on a daily basis. It is, as they always say, a practice. I need to be methodical and create a framework within which I can be as free as a bird. Or, in other words, give my brain something to keep it busy while the rest of me flies.

So this week's MM is all about the food and the exercise.

Straight Up Food
Cathy Fisher is a chef and teacher who specialises in vegan food that is not only animal free but also salt, oil and sugar free. There's some good information on eating healthily and a ton of everyday recipes. I like a woman who is not above using a tin of canned beans.

Forks Over Knives
First, if you haven't watched Forks Over Knives I recommend you do. Then make up your own mind. Or maybe just remember bits of it for later. Your call. The link above is to their 'success stories' and they make compelling reading. Very inspiring. The FOK team also have a great recipe app.

MindBodyGreen CEO / Co-Founder Jason Wachob hosts an event at Apple featuring a panel of wellness innovators.

Further to a Twitter discussion with Milena and Anthony, this is an article about....cooking tofu!

After years in a desk job and no exercise beyond walking around fields and the odd yoga class, my leg muscles are pretty pathetic. These simple exercises will help.

I've started taking Dooley with me when I go out on my little training runs. He's a natural, sticking by my side and charming anyone we pass with his extreme handsomeness. I think that running for him, as it is for me, is calming and again like me, he needs it. This is a short, sweet how-to for anyone thinking of running with their dog. I have dreams of taking part in Canicross which frankly, looks bloody awesome.

Friday, 15 August 2014

You can quote me on this

I don't know if it was how I was brought up or how I was made, but I have spent many years - most in fact - of my life trying to be nicer. Like most people I have days/hours/moments when I say mean things, get judgey and just let rip with some acid-tongued nastiness that I rarely mean and quickly retract, but I do try to be nice and most of the time I don't have to try. Despite the snark, I'm a gentle person who can't bear the idea of hurting someone. Which frankly, has been a bit of a hindrance.

Y'know all those quote things on Pinterest that are supposed to fire you up into being your true self? Yeah those. I've pinned a good number of them. From the quietly confident 'The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them', to 'The older I get, the more everyone can kiss my ass'.

There have been many times when I've not done or said things because of the people I've known will see or hear them, but honestly, it has not been because other people might judge the deed or words as 'a bit rubbish' or that it won't compare well with somebody else's stuff/opinions. It's been because I don't want to hurt people's feelings. You're nodding aren't you? Especially if you're British. Don't voice any opinion which might make someone else feel in any way bad. Don't be even passively confrontational. Do not say or do anything that might make another person look at their own issues. Even writing that I feel myself thinking, 'And quite right too...how rude...how mean. You bad, mean person for doing that. You are responsible for the feelings of All The People and don't you forget it.'

So I sat on my opinions. I did not stand up too stridently for the things I believe in unless I was in like-minded company (can you say 'singing to the choir'?). I avoided making anyone feel uncomfortable. I didn't want to upset anyone or - and this is another manifestation of the same urge to maintain a status quo - be 'that person' who bores everyone into a coma with her preaching. After all, we all find our own paths in our own time, right?

Right. Only I often forgot about the importance of finding, and sticking to, my own.

A big part of my (r)evolution has been moving away from those habits and truly standing up for what I believe, saying what I think (with a modicum of care and respect if possible), and allowing others to deal with whatever it might spark in them. Being nice is important. Being kind and empathetic is hugely important. But being those things to the point of personal paralysis and silence is just plain wrong.

I believe in following a vegan lifestyle and a full adoption of that way of being is my ambition. I believe in veganism because of ethics, compassion, morals, spirituality, health, environment. The majority of people couldn't give a toss what I believe in but some get their buttons pushed by it. Only nowadays, as Martha Beck says,'I respectfully do not care.' They can deal with their own issues.

Finally stepping into this and unlocking some self-imposed chains feels good. I feel Life flowing back into parts of me that nearly withered and died. I am reclaiming who I really am. All of me.



Monday, 11 August 2014

Monday Motivation


It's Monday again already and here's what's had my boat afloat this week: 

Easy tips to make healthy eating stick  
How to make healthy eating part of your routine
Molly at Bold Vegan has a couple of great posts on making healthy eating a part of your routine. Her whole site is great, she's very funny and hell yes..I've always thought it was totally weird how we all suddenly switch off and lie down at night.

Hip Hop dance workout
Back in 1993 Chris Toledo was heading up Reebok's City Jam programme. I was doing some work for Reebok back then and took workshops with Chris so that I could teach City Jam. After one, he came over and told me I was 'a really great dancer'. I floated for a week. Chris is out in the public eye again now doing fitness/motivational/coaching stuff which makes me happy. And seeing this new workout, inspired by the next Step Up movie, makes me want to hit the floor again. How '90's Fitness' do they look!

Becoming vegan over 50
Running for older runners
Life After 50: Run A Marathon, Change Your Life
Firing me up by making me kick against lazy journalism is the whole 'Over 50' thing which, now that I fit that description, I see everywhere. Yes, once you pass 50 you become part of a homogeneous blob along with everyone else aged 50-100. Imagine doing that to the newborn-50s. Still, it's a useful online search tool, so there is that. The comments are the best bits on the first two.

Fletch the dog who ate fireworks
 

What my old-ass dog taught me about everything - a great essay on Medium.

Vending machine for stray dogs
Which I find charming and touching so I try really hard not to think about what would happen to something like this in the UK.

Robin Arzón on the RRP
Because these podcasts are endlessly inspiring. NYC runner and turner-arounderer-of-life in just two years, Robin Arzón has a great story to tell even though I get the feeling she's still only on Chapter two. 'Stay weird.'





Thursday, 7 August 2014

In, out


It's almost 9pm and I'm lying on the kitchen floor. There's a big black dog on my shoulder. I'm not depressed, I literally have a big black dog on my shoulder. I'm stretching out the muscles that are making me run lop-sided and it feels good. I put a tennis ball beneath my backside to press into the muscle group in question and stare at the ceiling. White, wood-chip paper. Carefully applied, no doubt, by Merv the previous tenant. Merv is a semi-retired builder/chippie/P&D man who pulled this house back into shape after the previous previous tenant, known to all as Chalfield Dave, ran it down. Chalfield Dave had a metaphorical black dog and it was huge. His depression led to him to live in one room which he painted as black as that dog. The rest was slowly returning to nature when Merv (and the indomitable Elaine) took over. They made it beautiful again. They took the garden back to its former glory. All in nine months. The cold winter and the stairs - the cottage is four floors, with one room on three of them, one and a bathroom on another - did for them and they took off for a nice housing association new build in the village. And here we are.

After five years, a lot of Merv's work is looking a bit tired. Our financial struggles over that period haven't had us spending money on paint and decor. The garden is big enough to need constant attention that we can't give. Neither of us is a fanatical gardener and are quite happy to let the lawns grow because the bees and butterflies like the wild flowers. Or, like now, the annual toad migration is underway and the grass is loaded with teeny toadlets whose minds are full of routes established long before even this old place was built.

The daylight is fading. With my mind full of nature and nurture, I get up off the floor and make drinks. Tea to Charlie, working upstairs on his current campaign; hot rice milk to Evie in her room, building me firework displays in Minecraft because she knows I love them. Back downstairs, I take my mug of redbush out to the back garden and sit on the steps. Black dog comes too, naturally, and I hook my arm around his shoulders. There's a bright waxing gibbous moon, high in the east. I can hear a moor hen at the pond over our wall, rooks gathering for the night, crickets chirping and of course the rustle of leaves as toads and mice move around. As it gets darker, moths arrive, drawn by the light from the kitchen window. Bats swoop in too.

I breathe, consciously. Slowly. Feeling the life rhythm with the in and out, the rise and fall, the ebb and flow. Feeling everything. My body hums with it, harmonises, loses its edges and becomes part of it all, just for a moment or two. Calling both dogs to me, we head for the field where the wheat smells so good and sleepy deer look up from their beds to check that we're harmless.

This house, this home, this land, this world. The physical, the intangible and all in between. In, out, in, out.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday motivation


Run 1 of week 1 of Couch to 5k, done. I was prepared for it to be absolutely hideous and it wasn't that bad. True enough, my brain said,'RUN!' and my legs said,'Huh???' because it seems all these years at a desk without any regular exercise have led to my leg muscles pretty much wasting away. That's not a nice feeling but I know they'll come back. In terms of having a heart attack and not being able to breathe...not a problem. Evie, my mini personal trainer and cheerleader came with me and we chatted happily as I did my weird jog/stumble/hobble thing. (Note to self: a knee support for your left leg may be in order for a few weeks.) Pictured above: my future running partner and his cute teefs.

Here's this week's Officially Good Stuff:

But really though. A remarkable story that's just my side of crazy. Love love love.

Video of Dr Terry Wahls telling her story. Another transformation story and god knows I love those! Dr Wahls supports patients by recommending her tried and tested diet which is not vegan, more paleo, but her switch to whole foods had amazing results and continues to do so for others.

A favourite food blog started by Cara and Bob when they went vegan in 2010. I love the food, the photography and the vibe.

The same Cara and Bob went on to start Chickpea magazine, isn't it gorgeous?

Kris Carr's 10 Tips for Enjoying More Raw Food
Surely no one can talk about raw food these days without tipping their hat to Kris Carr?

C25K
I am going to be a runner. As of yesterday morning, I am a runner, albeit a slightly odd one, and I can still walk today. I like this app. If I'm running with Evie, so not wearing earplugs, I can still hear/feel the alerts; it has a halfway warning and the intervals are doable (first run is run 60 seconds/walk 90 seconds) and, when I am running with earplugs I can have Spotify or my music playing through it.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Finding my way



These are the times you find out the small stuff about yourself. Not the big philosophies, just the everyday things to which we can become blind due to sheer repetition.

For instance, I've discovered that (like a lot of people) I do way better with firm boundaries in place. Left to my own devices I will simply drift off into erratic free-form, be that physical or mental. Sometimes that's a good thing but often it is not. I could give you hundreds of examples of it not being good but that would be dull for you and not exactly morale-boosting for me, so I won't.

Except for this one: on the four days a week that I'm in the office until after lunch I take food with me. I start the morning with a smoothie, pack a lunch (see picture above) and off I go. In this way I'm able to stick with my new eating plans mostly because I love it and it makes me feel fantastic. I don't mean in a smug 'Look at my healthy lunch' way I mean in a 'This is your body speaking, I just want to say thanks and hey do you need me to do anything because I'm raring to go here?' way.

However, on the three days a week when I'm not in the office and I have access to the cupboards and fridge and bread bin that are full of stuff that the rest of my family still like to eat...holy crap it's hard. Rather than grazing on fresh raw food - which seems to be my preferred way to take in fuel - I go all kinds of haywire.

My grazing inclinations manifest as picking at whatever's within arm's reach. Followed by 'just a bowl of this' or a 'handful of that' and, while I'm not eating anything other than what I want to be eating, I'm replacing the sugar doping with 'my stomach's so full' doping. And the annoying thing is it's pure habit. I don't like it anymore, I just do it because it's what I always did. So, it's boundaries for me while I break that habit. Structure. Lunch prepared in advance on all seven days until I feel I can take off my training wheels.

This might sound a bit regimented and unsustainable, maybe unhealthily so, to some of you and for you perhaps it would be. But for me it is immensely freeing. My mild OCD tendencies adore the simplicity and clean lines, the smooth flow and order. It makes me feel happy. That kind of happy overflows into all sorts of other areas and so does the simplicity and clean lines, the smooth flow and order.

The effect this is having on other areas of my life is only just beginning to become apparent and that's a whole other post. Some of it is on temporary hold as I navigate this week, which traditionally sees me inhaling cake and chocolate while plotting the murder of anyone who looks at me funny. I know better than to try to soldier on regardless; that would simply be setting myself up for failure. So instead of vegetable smoothies in the morning I'm having fruit and nut versions (literally, not the chocolate bar) with added rice milk. I'm eating more healthy carbs with my evening meal and I am allowing some of that doping to go on because frankly, no one needs me Hulking out right now.

I felt myself slip into a moment of negativity about it yesterday. I thought of all the times I've tried to go vegan and failed because failure this time was feeling like a possibility. But then I reminded myself that I failed to give up smoking a bzillion times but guess what? I kept on trying, over and over. And fifteen and a half years ago I smoked my last cigarette. Go me.