it starts tomorrow

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challengeMy vegetarian Lent challenge begins tomorrow.

Today I walked over to a public cafeteria to order lunch and while I was there I perused the menu to check out their meatless options. It’s just a simple lunch counter and I wasn’t expecting much. Turns out my only option would have been a grilled cheese sandwich served with potato chips.  Grilled cheese is a delicious option and I would be happy with it on any given day, but I think I would get tired of it rather quickly if that is the only offering. And I doubt it would help my waistline at all. I have some vegetarians in my family and more often than not they end up ordering a grilled cheese sandwich when we go out.  I have noticed that a lot of restaurants have a practice of “carbing up” the vegetarians as an afterthought. However, I have seen some that have actually tried with their meat-free options and I applaud them for that.

I took my measurements tonight – neck, bicep, thigh, waist, hips and weight. Not because I expect to lose any weight, but because I want to see if and how my body might change. It’s a scientific experiment really. Will positive change lead to more positive change? That is my hypothesis.

I’m not going to post my measurements here because I don’t want to obsess over the numbers. Plus, what if nothing ends up changing? That would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it? For fun, I did place them in an envelope to open once my challenge is over. And if there are changes, even better!

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It’s time for a change

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contemplatingI’m used to starting out each new year promising big life changes, whether it be for health, mind, home, relationships, etc., only to never fully commit to any of them. Sometimes I start the year strong but I have yet to follow through on anything. And I know I’m not unique that way.  I’ve learned my lesson and have been honest with myself about how I am and didn’t make any false resolutions this New Years. However, I still want to take strides to enrich my life and hope that has a positive effect on my environment and my family. There are so many changes I would like to make but I must start small.

My husband and I have been “flexitarians” for years  – I rarely cooked meat at home and when we did eat meat we usually stuck to chicken or fish (I suppose technically you’d call that a pesce-pollotarian?). Our meat intake increased when I was pregnant and my iron was low which resulted in daily roast beef sandwich cravings.  And for a variety of reasons, it snowballed into cooking more and more meat at home until it became a staple in our diets again. I guess in my mind, as the working mother of a small toddler, I rationalized it as easier because meat becomes your main dish and then you just fill in the plate around it.  However, I’ve noticed a few things since we’ve added meat back into our regular diet. We have gained weight, our daily ailments have increased (dull headaches, sore joints, just general feelings of ‘blah’) and our grocery bill is higher.

Now that’s not to say I blame meat for all of these things – that would be dumb.  I could definitely exercise more, switch out more caffeine for more water and get back into couponing and extreme budgeting as I used to do. But, I do see heavy meat eating/cooking as my personal gateway to a slew of other poor behaviors and habits that have seeped back into my life.

For this reason, I have decided to try to go vegetarian for Lent. Now, some points of clarification:

  1. Although I was christened as such, I do not identify myself as Catholic. I just consider Lent to be a good block of time to measure by. And I’ve always liked the idea of a personal sacrifice with the goal of gaining more insight and self-awareness.
  2.  I am not anti-meat-eating. As an aside, I do think Americans in general consume way too much meat to be considered a balanced diet which contributes to a large amount of health issues and ugly things no one wants to talk about like inhumane treatment of animals to meet demand.
  3. Notice I said I will “try” to go vegetarian. I don’t expect to be perfect and I’m not going to abide by strict vegetarian doctrine, but I will make my best effort to live 40 days meat free. Why? Just to see what happens.

I’m not sure how successful I will be, but I do hope that by being more conscious of my food intake it will influence other choices in my life and will lead to positive effects on my environment and my family.

I hope to document my journey here to keep track of my thoughts and experience and hold myself a little accountable.

The Versatile Blogger Award

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First I’d like to apologize for taking so long to acknowledge this, but I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by a follower and fellow blogger! Thank you  Travis, aka The Tasty Thumb, for your nomination! The Tasty Thumb’s blog is loaded with delicious recipes, both savory and sweet. If you’d like to check out his blog, then click here  to visit The Tasty Thumb!

The rules of accepting this award are as follows:

  1. Thank the award giver and link them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 or 20 bloggers you read and admire.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Linny V Facts:

  1. Half of my family is from New York and the other half is from Kentucky, so my accent can be very colorful at times.
  2. I have a fear of my fingernails breaking off so I constantly press them down to make sure they’re still attached.
  3. My middle name is legally misspelled, and I like it that way.
  4. I really wish hoodies were acceptable work attire.
  5. I tend to overcomplicate projects to the point that I get overwhelmed and don’t do the project at all (e.g. blog).
  6. If I were born a boy my name would’ve been Dillon James. Sounds like a rock star doesn’t it?
  7. When I was a kid I had a speech impediment that made me sound German. One of my famous catch phrases was “I vant to see the virevorks”.

The Nominees:

  1. Domestic Diva, M.D.
  2. Rantings of an Amateur Chef
  3. Meatballs and Milkshakes
  4. Healthy Slow Cooking
  5. Bowl of Recipes
  6. The Hungry Irishman
  7. Homemade Delish
  8. Let’s Spice Things Up in Vegas
  9. Unlikely Vegan Family
  10. Eat Now Talk Later
  11. Le Zoe Musings
  12. Foodimentary
  13. Commadotcomma.com
  14. Geistweg
  15. Weelicious

yay me!

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Fast forward past the cold from Hell – I finally found the motivation today to get off my arse and engage in some type of exercise.  I’ve been neglecting myself and my house these past few weeks since we have all been sick non-stop.  From a series of colds that got passed around and back again, to ear infections, to infant constipation issues, I was starting to consider buying stock in Kleenex and Pedialax.

I had to break out of what was becoming a “crash on the couch because it’s easier” routine and do something. However, I had to start slow. My abs are sore from coughing and the thought of any cardio activity makes me nauseous. Within an hour or so tonight, I was able to pull off 30 minutes of yoga, clean my bathroom and my bedroom, wash dishes and make a round of baby food (mangoes).

I was a little worried to step on the scale since I’ve been off the wagon lately, but was pleasantly surprised to see my weight hadn’t faltered that much. So far, I have shed 42 lbs. of baby weight and I don’t plan on gaining any of it back!

electric food steamers rock!

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me with my super-duper steamer

If you’ve never experienced the joys of an electric food steamer, you haven’t lived. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but seriously, my food steamer rocks! We had put it on our wedding registry (we’re married now – woohoo!), just curious about it really and not expecting to get it. I’m so glad we did because you can cook almost anything in it. Check out the picture below – I’m making hard-boiled eggs and rice all in one contraption! 

Another night we made a layer of corn on the cob, a layer of tilapia filet, and a layer of broccoli and squash – all in one fell swoop – and in only 30 minutes.  By the way, we have found that steamed corn on the cob might even be better than grilled corn on the cob (>gasp<).  You can make all kinds of vegetables, meat, fish, rice, eggs, oatmeal, and even heat up your leftovers in this baby.

I don’t know how some food steamers compare to others, but I do know that ours is awesome. You can find it here.

Next – crab legs!

Poor Gyp Gyp

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We had quite the scare last week when our dog, Gypsy, had a seizure.  I had never seen a seizure in a dog before and naturally it scared the hell out of me. 

For the past few months I noticed when she would be watching me in the kitchen she would sometimes have what I can best describe as head tremors.  They would last less than a minute and I could distract her with a treat and they would usually stop.  Ryan made the observation that they only seemed to happen right after exercise. 

Last Wednesday we exercised her like we usually do by throwing her ball up and down the stairs for a few minutes.  And since it was a nice day we decided to take her for a walk which took approximately twenty minutes.  When we got home I went on the back deck to do some planting and Gypsy followed me out as she likes to lie in the sun.  I heard a thud behind me and turned around to see her on the ground.  Her toes were curled in and her jaw was clenched tight as she was shaking uncontrollably.  The seizure lasted only a couple of minutes, even though it seemed like forever.  Afterward she was up and walking around like nothing happened.  We took her to the Vet ER that night to make sure she was okay. They did blood tests and said that she probably has epilepsy. 

The next day we took her to our regular vet for a follow-up. She said that there is a condition among some labs where they can have seizures after they are over-exercised or over-heated.  However, the only way to check for this is to get a rectal temperature while she is having the seizure, as dogs with this condition have a very high fever while suffering one.  She couldn’t think of anything else that would cause the seizure, and she was hesitant to caul Gypsy an epileptic dog since she is almost six  years old (usually epilepsy appears earlier).

Luckily, she hasn’t had an episode since that night. In the mean time we’ll have to be very careful about how much we play ball or how far and long we walk. She’s happy to be getting much more attention and to be even more lazy.