Thinking and Eating

I do both of these things quite often.

Quite often, I find that the first (thinking) gets a little too muddled in the second (eating) at certain times. 

As an individual that tends to get emotional (excited, anxious, stressed, frustrated, morose) when it comes to thinking about any one thing for long periods of time, having myself mulling over something as simple-yet-complicated-and-important as eating always leads to a bit of a mental mess.

This post is not the first time that I have entertained these thoughts, but every so often it feels like I make a shift in my thinking, and things make a little more sense, feel a little more right, and get a little less frustrating; in the last week, I had a shift of this sort. Just a small one – but enough to decide to write about it! As I repeated my belief to someone that they should probably have some protein following their vigorous workout, and as I myself was mixing up a protein-y beverage to consume, I was met with a simple enough response: “I’m not hungry right now.”

Hm. That’s interesting, because my body craves food immediately after I exercise vigorously on most occasions – and I find that many people I encounter share similar sentiments. While I still believe that protein (amongst other nutrients) following vigorous exercise is important for re-building torn muscles and providing your body with a great deal of goodness, an oft-repeated message seemed to ring more true than usual: Not every body is the same.
Not every body feels the way mine does after I work out, or has the same cravings, or enjoys the same food, or is structurally the same as mine, or is going to build muscle or gain/lose weight the same way that mine does.

It seems so obvious, and I have shared these thoughts with others in the past – you can’t expect the same results you see in someone else if you do exactly what they do, because you and that person are not the same! I get very caught up in thinking about how much I’ve exercised and what I’m eating and how I’m feeling and often realize (too late) that I’ve been subconsciously relating my own journey to someone else’s (exercise regimen, dietary choices, muscle bulkiness, etc.).

My process of really thinking about what I ate began when I became a vegetarian, and then four months later began to exercise regularly (and vigorously) and improve my overall diet and think about what I need for a balanced lifestyle. Unfortunately, in my healthy decision making, I developed a tendency to decide a little too carefully about the aspects of my life that were improving my health, such as exercise and my eating choices. What I mean by this “overly-careful decision making” is that I would sometimes feel I hadn’t “earned” certain treats if I hadn’t worked hard enough that day (in my own eyes) or that I would become reluctant to enjoy snacks that looked as though their calorie count was “unreasonable” (I never counted calories, mind you, but sometimes one snack’s worth of calories seems a little crazy, y’know?).

While I’ve not entirely escaped those ways of thinking, I have started to recognize that I don’t need to be self-conscious if I want to have a snack but someone else doesn’t want to have a snack at the same time – I am not glutinous for eating when someone else is not. Nor am I out of shape or unconditioned if my body is responding to exercise and food in a different way than someone else who is doing something similar to me – or even something entirely different. I cannot allow myself to think that a snack will automatically turn into unhealthily stored fat if I eat it without exercising extra to “earn it.” It is not fair to me, when I work hard to be good to my body and my health and my well-being, to criticize myself for doing things that fall outside of the realm of “healthy lifestyle” once in a blue moon – or even more often than that. 

None of what I do for myself is going to be worth it if I cannot be happy along the way. Happy with me, and for me, and for others who are on their own journey that is different that mine. I deserve to be happy, and to share in my love for eating and exercising and achieving peace of mind with those that I care about – and those that I have not even met yet.

I would not say that I have ever been truly unhappy, but there have been dark patches in my healthy journey that left me with certain unhealthy mindsets that I have worked on and made brighter opportunities for learning and improving myself.

My goals have become healthier ones, and are less shaped by thinking that I have anyone to be accountable to other than myself. I cannot say that I do not think of others as I work to better myself, but I am becoming better at thinking of myself first.

This has been a somewhat long and potentially ramble-y post, but it felt like something I wanted to share and put into words I can look at in order to establish them more clearly in my mind! Thanks for taking any amount of time to read any number of the words here, and perhaps some of them will help you with your own “shift” in your thinking along your own journey.


10 Days of West-Coast Moseying – Complete (Trip 2)

One trip down, one to go: With one and a half days of rest following a delayed flight home from God’s Country, G and I set out on the road for Seattle!

I cannot recall the last time I visited Seattle, and I had never been to Portland before; so with a taste for new adventures we began the first leg of our journey.

The Space Needle.

After two to three hours of traveling, we recognized our need for some food (no dinner is not okay) – so we wandered around the somewhat quiet streets of Seattle in search of something that “spoke to us.” It took some devotion to the concept, but eventually we heard the restaurant speaking to us – it kept trying to pronounce its name, and we couldn’t quite understand it..

“Manmoon… Mammoon… Mannoon?… Maw-m-noon… Mah-m-noon…” it whispered.

Mamnoon turned out to be an unassuming-yet-elegant Lebanese-Turkish-Iranian fusion restaurant; “a modern union of Eastern cuisines.”

We looked at the menu listed on the street, were inspired, and went to sit down inside what turned out to be a very upscale-looking restaurant! Dimly lit, dark interior, candles… However, the menu was not the same as that on the street, and we somewhat awkwardly requested to go eat off of the ‘to go’ menu instead – a great decision!

Appetizer, or “mezze”:
Baba ghanoush – Charred eggplant, tahini, lemon

Our shared meal, or “kulage”:
Falafel – Tarrator, tomato, mint, pickles

After our eventual meal, we went to explore the neighbourhoods a little bit before heading back to meet the pets and go to sleep.

The next day was our day to explore Seattle! We made our way to the Theo Chocolates factory for our first stop, and signed up for an hour-long tour of the factory – and sampled a great deal of delicious chocolate. Theo Chocolates was the first fair-trade, organic producer of chocolate products in the U.S.! And its owner brought organic, fair-trade cocoa beans to the U.S. for the first time before beginning his chocolate-making business.

After consuming and purchasing delicious chocolate goodies, G and I moseyed over to Pike Place Market to sample more food, take some pictures, stick some chewed gum to the infamous wall, and stand within the first-ever Starbucks Coffee store!

Hugging my giganto pig friend at the market.
My contribution to the wall!

To satisfy the lyrics of Tim McGraw’s “Southern Girl” where he says: I’ve had some Seattle coffee, some Chicago wind… I tried some coffee from “Seattle Coffee”! G’s favourite spot to go. I had a rice milk sweet chai tea latte, and it was pretty superb (sorry that it spilled in your bag, amiga). 

After that, we walked for a long while uphill to find the vegetarian noodle bistro In The Bowl, which, sadly, was not open during their stated hours of operation! So back down the hill and across the streets we went in search of an excessively late lunch – and we found the Veggie Grill. Boy oh boy oh boy! The choices on the menu were all available to us veggie folks, and it was overwhelming! All of my favourite pretend-meat products were being placed in healthy and delicious home-style meals…

The Crispy Chickin’ Plate with kale salad
and mushroom gravy.

G and her Grillin’ Chickin’ burger.

The search for lunch took us basically until the end of the day, at which time we finally wandered back to the vehicle and started to make our way home – not before stopping to grab some bubble tea from G’s family’s favourite bubble tea shoppe! Then we relaxed around the house, drank tea, watched Wallace and Grommit, and slept for a while in preparation for the next leg of the journey – Portland.

Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe – our juice stop
before hitting the road down to Oregon!
After a great deal of indecisiveness with a great menu,
I decided upon the Zen Calm juice:
A blend of orange, apple, spinach, and mint.

With copious amounts of coffee and cocoa in hand, G took the wheel and I took the camera as we neared our final destination for the next few days. First stop: The Stash Tea outlet. The hype that G built around this magnificent shop was not a let-down as we entered to find walls on walls of teas to smell and choose from, as well as accessories and mugs to go with them. I decided upon a gift for him and a Portland Oregon blend for me! G and I split a root beer tea package that I am excited to rip into and put over ice soon.

At Savor Soup House food truck!
Me: Vegan grilled cheese ‘wich with sweet potato,
kale, & coconut soup.
G: Daily special featuring the Veggie Baguette!

Our first day consisted of establishing ourselves in our residence for our time in Portland, exploring the neighbourhood surrounding the tea store, and grabbing some food to snack on throughout our time there.

The next day, we went walking around downtown and went in search of cafes, well-known stores, boutiques, and of course – food. The food cart district of Portland consists of what looks to be 70-80 carts parked all within a block of one another, and it is AMAZING! I had a difficult time deciding between so many delicious-looking options, but – as pictured above – we finally did decide on lunch.

Portland is known as “The City of Roses.”

On our second-to-last day, we explored the Hawthorne District, which was a wide street lined with endless food stops, boutiques full of jewellery or books or kitchen accessories, vintage clothing stores, and everything else you could hope to find in a 10-block radius. It was hot and beautiful outside that day and I would certainly enjoy going back to that particular area!

Food Fight!: The vegan grocery store!

It was agreed that we would indulge in some salads for dinner that night from a location recommended by a local newspaper author. Of the three possible salad stops, we decided upon the one right next door to our residence: The Garden Bar. While I did not strategize my salad creation very effectively, I was certainly impressed by the quantity of salad I received for $7.00 and enjoyed my fruity seltzer drink to go with it (so many interesting and non-pop drink options in this city!).

Before consuming our salads, we stopped by Powell’s Books to find some new summer reading – I decided upon a philosophy book that complements my psychology studies and a book about the history of sexuality in Canada! The options in this multi-level bookstore were very impressive, and I think anyone could find a book in here that they would enjoy.

Salads and literature – what more does one need?!
Evening snacks: Whole Foods vegan chick’n and falafel
with some superb tea from the Stash Tea house.
For dessert, we went to Henry’s Tavern to have some amazing bread pudding and fruit crumble between the three of us! It was a nice way to end our last full day in Portland, and gave us lots of fuel to head out for our drive the next day. 

Making our way out of Seattle – Space Needle

On our final day, we drove back to Seattle to change vehicles, and we made excellent time getting back to the land of beavers and maple leafs! The trip was a great getaway and I developed a great fondness for Portland and a desire to spend more time there – certainly Seattle as well, as I did not get to explore it very much in our journey!

10 Days of West-Coast Moseying – Complete (Trip 1)

Ah, what a nice couple of weeks it has been!

My trip to God’s Country was greatly desired and extremely uplifting – but far too short to leave me with anything less than a feeling of having been teased with my favourite fella’s company. However, I filled up on hugs and food and photos and filled the crew with baking from Vegan Vices! I had a lovely time, and experienced some prairie land weather “May”hem.

One thing I had wanted to cross off my list of things to do was go to the farmer’s market! So off we went, partially in search (at least for me) of the magical veg*n ‘meat’ products that we knew were sold there (and consumed often by us at home).


I bought some vegan
shrimp. WOO.
(Then forgot to bring
it home with me.)

We were also made aware of a street festival happening that weekend – the Lilac Festival! So we went and walked down about ten blocks of vendors and through endless seas of slow-moving people, finally finding a roasted corn cart that tickled our fancies and made us feel satisfied with calling it a day.

The rest of the weekend consisted of cookie- and muffin-eating good times, a great deal of trampoline activities, touring about the city during down time, and watching Suits episodes that we are way too behind on (season 4 is starting soon!!).

On my last night, we had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant called Bonterra, and I had this really interesting and delicious pasta dish in the photo below! Everything about it was just about right, from the size of the whole dish to the size of the noodles to the amount of non-pasta items.

The next post will cover the second trip down to Seattle and Portland!