Be Gentle For We Are Delicate

The world is harsh. We go through rough patches, hard times, and events that are downright terrifying. There are a lot of people in the world who are currently living in fear. (Let me just clarify that I’m not speaking about a specific event; this fear exists day in and day out and for a wide number of reasons.)

It’s easy to give in to the fear, it’s easy to let it control you and dictate your life. And it’s okay if it does – no judgement.

But please don’t let it convince you that there is reason to lose hope. There exists a force of people in the world who are good! And who are actively trying to make a difference.

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The Ultimate Test

The Starting Line

In my mind, there is a difference between dreams and goals. Dreams are the bigger picture, long-term, “wouldn’t-it-be-nice”, kind of over the top visions. Dreams are the big “what-ifs” on your vision board; the ones that when you sit and seriously think about them coming to fruition you get misty-eyed and choked up. Goals are the smaller (but still quite large) steps in progress to bring you closer to that dream.

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Accidentally Vegetarian

When I was younger, probably 13 or 14 I had decided that I wanted to be a vegetarian because I didn’t like the fact that animals were dying just for our food. I had a discussion with my parents and they told me it was fine as long as I did my research so I was still getting all of my essential nutrients and knew how to look after myself. I started doing the research but quickly got bored and gave up on the idea thinking that I was only one person and I probably wouldn’t be able to make a difference anyway.

A few years ago when my sister was studying nutrition, she made the decision to cut meat out of her diet and commit to a vegetarian lifestyle. She actually did the research and followed through with her plans. After seeing all the changes she’d made I was so proud of her but had become a “meat lover” and still said that I would never become a vegetarian. To add to the pressure I started dating a vegetarian. So I had to learn how to cook healthy, nutritious meals for us that didn’t contain meat. I was still eating meat when we weren’t together but it was fun to learn and try new foods and combinations. I still told him I would never be vegetarian and we respected each other’s lifestyles and were able to work around it.

I’ve been sick a few times this year; flus and never ending stomach issues – the worst being at the end of March. While it was likely enhanced by the stress of my work life I had gotten so sick that I was hardly eating. I was losing weight and not in a healthy way – I was drained in every sense of the term and vowed to make some serious changes once I was able to eat again. I started things slowly – taking note of what didn’t agree with my body and how it affected me.

I’ve learned over the last 6 months just how important it is to listen to your body so I took this seriously.

I started with the basic “flu recovery” foods like bananas, toast, apple sauce, etc and slowly worked my way into regular foods. I noticed right away that anything with meat would leave me in pain. So I cut that out for a while thinking my stomach just wasn’t ready for it yet and just stuck to the other foods that would be easily digested. But every time I went back to the meat, regardless of which kind, I would find myself with the same level of discomfort. But I vowed to listen so I had to come to terms with the fact that despite how many times I said I would never be vegetarian … It seems my body has decided for me.

I’m still doing the research but I’ve already found some pretty incredible new recipes! The tricky part is that I’m also lactose sensitive (yah, I’m a touch high-maintenance) so I can’t have cheese or dairy. This often leaves me searching for Vegan recipes and just making alterations and substitutions as needed.

I’ll post some of my favourites as I go because there are some that I’m really excited to share with you! What are some of your favourite vegetarian recipes? Are there any resources you would recommend for someone new to the lifestyle?

UPDATE: As I continued to introduce foods back into my diet I noticed that eggs weren’t so much my friend either, this has left me accidentally fully vegan … for now it’s a choice I’m comfortable with just because the alternative is an intense amount of pain. Stay tuned though cause I’m sure there will be some adventures, stories, and recipes that I find as I go!

I Am Home

Canaan Valley

I wake before the sun; the moon crying for me like a child demanding my attention.
I stir and fight the restlessness but eventually cave and surrender to the calling.
I prepare myself for a chill that I haven’t felt in months; layers to protect me.
I step out, exposed to the elements and breathe deeply. I am home.

I walk silently, my footsteps light against the ground so as to not disturb it.
I revel in the visible fog of my breathe and crisp air against my skin.
I notice the stillness of my surroundings, the world not yet awake.
I bask in the gentle embrace of the calm and quiet around me. I am home.

I am inspired by the age and wisdom of a sturdy old tree; the stories it would tell.
I am comforted by the gentle give and support of the soil beneath me.
I am born of this earth; not of concrete and skyscrapers but
I am made of the lush green of a dense forest. I am home.

(photo borrowed from flickr – click image for source)