No-new groceries check-in

I’m still three days away from pay day and I have bought zero new groceries, true to my goal.

Gotta say, I’m quite impressed with my own pantry-stocking skills. And the beginning of CSA season was admittedly a great help.

I cheated financially and went to dinner with a friend and got drinks with more friends last Friday night, but those were plans made before I knew I’d be strapped for cash. But because I’m using some creativity in the kitchen, I’ve still been spending very little.

Here are some highlights: More

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The no-new-grocery challenge

Budget- and mental health-wise, I hope the days are behind me of eating chips and leftover s’mores ingredients from an old camping trip for dinner.

But I’m still a writer trying to make rent in Seattle, where the cost of living and taxes are high (I love you so much Seattle, but you hurt me sometimes).

I got paid on Friday, but after going over my budget, I realized that I’d still have near-nothing left by the time my checks for rent, my CSA and a health insurance thing clear.

Not wanting to swim in more credit card debt (which is where I put my car repairs and birthday presents to loved ones), I challenged myself to not buy any more groceries until I get paid again June 13. More

Aziz Ansari on meat

Last week I watched Aziz Ansari’s Madison Square Garden special on Netflix.

I anticipated his feminist commentary because of the media coverage it attracted (and I read tons of feminist blogs), but the part that excited me the most was something that, afterward, I couldn’t find much coverage on at all.

He lampooned the meat and egg industry.

He starts by asking the audience to clap if they don’t eat meat … and then clap if they don’t eat meat because they read books or watched documentaries that turned them off of meat … and then to clap if they don’t eat meat because they saw factory farm footage that fucked up their ability to eat meat.

Then he continues:

Clap if you saw that (factory farm footage) and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, that’s disgusting, it’s cruel, it’s inhumane, the government definitely needs to properly regulate the meat industry, there’s no excuse for this – the government definitely needs to properly regulate the meat industry … but, in the meantime, I kinda still gotta eat meat, because I don’t wanna feel weird and hungry all the time.’

Isn’t that so frustrating? Because no one wants to support that stuff.

This is where most people I know are at. Like, they inherently know meat comes from a fucked up place, but they exist in willful denial because they don’t think they have the willpower to give up meat or they think humans were built to consume meat and so we should or they have no idea what they would eat in the alternative … whatever. More

Vegan and dating

For the first time in my life, I’m vegan and single.

When I went vegan, I was in a long-term relationship with a man who didn’t really understand my transition, but supported it, anyway. It was all I could have asked for. We made it work. He kind of despaired when I moved miso and tofu into his fridge, but he let it happen. And I got him hooked on nooch.

Once I asked him if he’d have gone for me if I were vegan when we first met. Not sure if he was joking or not, but he expressed doubt that he would have continued pursuing me if I were vegan right off the bat.

Then again, he said he was only gonna give this chick who lived in Mount Vernon one date and end it, but I won him over with my charm.

Now I navigate the single life with this lifestyle. I don’t think it’s an integral part of my personality in that it’s something I’m going to talk about or use to rule out potential partners. It’s not important to me that I date another vegetarian or vegan because there are perfectly good people who can share the rest of my values and perhaps learn from what I have to bring to the relationship. I have ruled out a man whose dating profile read, “If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I don’t understand you because you’re missing out on a lot in life.” I just ask for open-mindedness and in exchange I won’t try to convert you to my team. More

Food and depression

Some people reach for food when they’re sad, stressed, grieving or depressed.

I starve.

I suffer from depression. It’s totally under control and has been for a couple years now. But once in a great while it can still come creeping back, with or without a trigger.

When I was in the depths a few years ago, I lost between 20 and 30 pounds. One of my great loves – good, wholesome food – was rarely interesting to me. I had no motivation to cook. I was also poor at the time. Dinner would be tortilla chips or graham crackers. Anxiety drove me to throw up what little I could choke down. More

Vegan vanity: Liquid eyeliner

When I first became vegan, the only transition that really occurred to me was the dietary one.

Then when people started asking me if that meant I would start to do away with non-vegan clothing and makeup and all the rest, I didn’t really know what to say except that I was in the process of evaluating that issue.

So part of my plant-based journey is an effort to more consciously understand what’s in the products I use, even the non-food ones. A big part of that includes my beauty products.

For about five years my attention my decision-making on the personal care and beauty product front has focused on finding naturally-based and paraben- and phthalate-free goods. Most of the new cosmetics I use are from Burt’s Bees* and Physicians Formula because of they’re good to my sensitive skin, cruelty-free and they seemed to lack nasty fragrances and irritants.

But I was surprised to learn that so-called “natural” and “allergen-free” and even non-animal-tested products aren’t necessarily vegan. Ugh, so much to worry about! What the hell!

Now that I have this new consideration to inform my choices, several assumptions have been turned on their head and I still have my budget to worry about. As much as I would love to shop exclusively at Petit Vour and Arbonne and not have to worry about the contents and quality of my products, the reality is that most of my products will come from the drug store. And testing out budget items has meant trying products that are vegan, but contain many of the synthetic ingredients I once eschewed (though my thoughts on parabens have shifted, thanks to posts such as this one).

Anyway, come on this cosmetic journey with me as I try to jazz up my amateur makeup routine and find affordable vegan products to love. As with every post on this blog, my efforts are exploratory and educational and aren’t meant to be authoritative.

Today: Liquid eyeliner!

I’ve futzed with liquid eyeliner a bit, namely trying to look schmancy on special occasions with a black line on the lid (possibly a cat eye if I have 15 minutes to kill on eyeliner), but I want to experiment with different colors and brands.

A few months ago I purchased two liners from the ultimate budget brand, Wet n Wild. I mean, it’s a cruelty-free brand and I’d heard its quality is improving, so why not check it out? The brand’s website also makes vegan shopping easy with this list, which I kept open on my phone while shopping at a Seattle Bartell Drugs.

Mega Liner Liquid Liner in Indigo and H20 Proof Liquid Liner in black

Mega Liner Liquid Liner in Indigo and H20 Proof Liquid Liner in black

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Making it work

Traveling/being on the go/dining out with friends must be navigated more conscientiously as a veghead.

But I’ve come across some nice options and accommodations during my recent hectic few weeks.

First: Safeway is actually pretty all right.

I don’t often shop at Safeway anymore except for its gas station. I feel I find more options that fit my needs at local chain markets. But maybe I haven’t looked in the right places. More

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