Plant based “bread”!! Thank you Airbnb!

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I love the things I learn from the guests that come thru my home.  Last week I had guests from the mountains of North Carolina.  Seriously.. They are practically living off the grid, and were on a vacation from that lifestyle, into our lifestyle of Netflix with a side of beach.  Diane was so excited to find yucca root here at a bargain price.  

  
I’d seen it at the store, but had no idea how to cook it, or eat it, or what it was! She peeled it, and juiced it to bring the pulp home for tortillas the next day.  

So I decided to try this stuff out for myself..

  

I peeled the root and it produced the juice, the pulp, and a floury consistency inside the blades..

  
Then I made patties with the pulp, and added the floury stuff while heating up coconut oil in a pan.

  

   

Used another pan to heat up my last sneaky chickpea and carrot burger…  

Spread creole mustard on each yucca patty, added spinach, and pickles (I have a lack of mushrooms, and other toppers available at home right now)

Cut it into quarters.. And voila! A complete meal made out of vegetables, roots and beans! What!?! 

   

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Rigorous Honesty.. I relapsed

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One week check in and I’ve gained 2lbs. This definitely isn’t something I want to post. Man how much power that has over me that I’ve never really thought about. That’s a fail.. And I don’t fail. Obviously that’s not true, but I can’t ever remember admitting when I failed at something.  
It reminds me of the time when someone told me “newsflash – you’re not perfect” and I’d like to fall out… 
“What do you mean I’m not perfect??? Yes I am.. What’s wrong with me?? What is it that has come out of alignment and needs my attention!??!!!” 
Like seriously… That isn’t an option for me, and I’ve never realized what a perfectionist I am.. Or can be.. Until now. In fact when friends have shared about being a perfectionist, I don’t relate at all.. I’m in THAT kinda denial. I mean there are places that prove I’m not. The state of my car. Oh my gosh does my car need cleaning?? It’s got bits of trees in it from the bonfire.. Fishing poles.. Camping equipment.. Dust and pollen.. I haven’t cleaned it since I’ve been home because in my mind I’m leaving soon.. Well I’ve been saying that for a month now, and I still have a week before I leave. See.. I’m not a perfectionist .. But now that I’ve admitted that about my car, I’m sure I’ll be washing the car today hahaha

  
Okay .. So week one .. I’ve gained 2lbs. I should totally quit and give up. Obviously this plant based diet isn’t working. Obviously all this hard work of shopping for recipe specific food, and cooking.. And blogging, and making meetings.. Obviously it isn’t working!! I’m doomed. I’m just doomed to always be fat.. I’m gonna be that person that gets cut from their house because the trips out have become fewer and farther between.. Grocery shops have been bigger and bigger .. And it just hurts too much to stand up and ask my skeleton to hold all of that weight, so I haven’t gotten out of bed in I don’t know how many years… 
Okay so that line of thinking isn’t gonna help me. Rigorous honesty.. That’s the only hope I have of this program working for me.. Which means I need to admit that I gained 2lbs.  
I need to reflect mindfully on the week, and the times that I didn’t abstain. The times that I sneaked and thought I’d still have a weight loss so no one would ever know. Wow… I did that. I had Mcdonalds for breakfast yesterday. I had chocolate while I was in New Orleans. Amber lived across the street from the best international market that I have found around here.. In the south. It has my English foods.. That I probably shouldn’t claim as my foods anymore.. But it has the custard powder.. It has the galaxy chocolate, and the malteasers.

  
 It has the steak and kidney pies, and then all the curry and spices you could ever wish to need. I went in there to get diced tomatoes and basil for the eggplant pizzas I was making for dinner.. 

  
But there it all was in all its glory and I just had to buy that galaxy selection box.. I mean it’s only there because it was just christmas, and it’s such a good deal.. English chocolate isn’t ever cheap over here even when we do find it. I bought the box and had eaten two of the 8 bars by the time Amber got home. We had dinner and then I decided they had to see how awesome this store was. They’d been living in walking distance from it for over a year. I even rationalized that we were walking there, so we were getting our exercise. Needless to say, more chocolate was bought, sampled, shared.. And the beast was awake. I ate another bar on the way home in the morning, stopped and had mcdonalds for breakfast.. Made quinoa and peas for lunch.. And was sure to share a picture of that healthy meal!

  
 I ate a bag of pretzels for a snack.. The family size bag.. Hmm what else .. The more I’m thinking the more I keep remembering eating. I made bean soup for dinner and didn’t eat any of it… I ate a bag of roasted chestnuts.. Two crab pâté sandwiches.. Then ordered dominos for movie night with Anthony.. Because he was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day. He looked frail. Looked like he hadn’t been eating since he moved out.. So we HAD to share a cheesybread and a Philly cheesesteak sandwich!  
… And here I am, wondering how I could’ve possibly gained two pounds? 
Okay.. So put the bat away. Celebrate the percentage of meals during this week that I did eat healthy, plant based food.. And keep walking towards 100% as the goal. I need to stop thinking in terms of fail or success.. Progress not perfection. This was a HUGE week! I grew my support network.. Found an OA sponsor (I prob should’ve called her at some point this weekend) I cooked four new plant based recipes that were really freaking good.. And even added a desert to that menu! Oh yea .. And left it in ambers freezer.. Ha.. Wow.. I brought my vegan choc dip, and forgot all about it once that craving was stirred. I made some meetings. I journaled about the noise in my head… And now admitting I am powerless over this beast.. From the moment that chocolate was in my range.. My defenses were down, and autopilot kicked in… Step one.. I’m powerless over compulsive eating, and my life becomes unmanageable. ✔️
What didn’t I do?
I didn’t call my sponsor.

I didn’t make a meeting in New Orleans. I looked them up, but there wasn’t one on a Friday .. Should’ve gone to an AA meeting instead… 

I went around “places and things” (English chocolate) 

I didn’t blog or talk about any of the noise that was going on in my head. 
Progress.. Not perfection. Week two.. Let’s do this!

Swedish Fish 0 – 1 Me

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Day 6 … I feel so fat today. I’ve been feeling healthier, smaller, standing taller.. just from the knowledge that I am putting healthy food into my body… but today I just feel plain fat.. My disease is on point today. I see my reflection and see no difference.. no weight loss on the scales, and that’s what I would be losing if I replaced today.. just had one bag of Swedish fish.. they are chewy enough.. they’d take longer to eat.. it would curb this craving.. I know.. We can walk to the dollar store.. that way we would burn the calories off that we are consuming and it would be a win win!

I know damn well that the last time that was the plan, I got to the bottom of the stairs, saw the car and said fuck it.. drove to the store, bought 5 bags of candy or so, drove home, locked myself back in my room, and opened each bag over the rest of the evening.. clearing the bag before I even knew it. The only moment that I had checked in and realized how much I was eating was if the bag was empty when I reached in for another one.

No.. I can’t just have one… that’s the whole point.. one turns into two, and they just start multiplying like rabbits. Even if I did just have one.. I’d want to do it again.. eventually.. I’d always want more.. its not like that one is THE ONE.. the one to end the cravings.. no.. it will never stop.. there’s no end goal for this.. I am walking away from sugar.. I am walking away from fast food.. I am breaking up with them.. and break ups SUCK!!! I mean, what is going to keep me company at the movie theatre now? What am I going to turn to when depression hits? Where am I going to hang out with my friends???? I already quit drinking.. now restaurants are too tempting… the grocery store is like a stealth black ops mission.. in.. grab the list.. and out.. without being seen.. all it takes is a brief encounter and the romance of it all.. it all comes whirling back, reminding me of our good times.. those moments where chocolate was really there for me. The fact that I can slow this inner battle down enough to rationally look at it in black and white, and reaffirm my commitment to complete abstinence from junk food, is amazing! That’s what I would be losing if I relapsed right now. I would be losing the little distance that I have put between me and this behavior. Not today… So I feel fat. I am fat.. I should be thankful I have moments when I don’t feel fat, because those are the moments I get to plug my attention into something else other than my self-consciousness. Those are the moments that I get to see the beauty around me, and think about others. Those are the moments that my mind is free enough to create. It’s not about the reflection. It’s not about the number on the scale. It’s about not wanting to die from some obesity related illness. It’s about freeing myself from the obsessive repetitive thoughts about how fat I am. It’s about freeing myself of the shame and embarrassment I have to go through.. every time I want to hang out with friends. It’s about loving me… and putting that chocolate bar in my mouth isn’t loving myself. It’s like putting a needle in my arm, or smoking crack. One won’t ever be enough, and that’s okay.. because now that my attention wont be on my health and my weight.. ill have room for new experiences in my life.. just like sobriety provided. Kinda excited!!!

Post Katrina Stress Disorder with a slice of Fuck You Cancer!

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Holy fucking shit balls! I don’t know how much longer I can be in this panicked state of mind and self. Bad weather never used to affect me. I feel convinced that I am about to know what it feels like to be that house on the tv that got hit. Why this time? IDK but given I keep having a mental picture of it.. its really fucking concerning me. I am usually the one cool calm and collected.. the voice of reason and decision if needed.. but I am by myself, so I really don’t need to the voice for anyone.. just me.
There are so many things I could be doing right now that are on my to do list, and I cant fucking function. I keep pacing towards something but forget what it is by the time I get half way there, wherever there is for whatever it was. Im just circling my house, and I thought maybe I could sit down and blog it out.. I finally got all the way thru the act of putting music on so im not just listening to the wind howling around. This shit is no joke for a Katrina survivor. 
I remember those outer bands. I remember driving thru it, evacuating last minute along the coast. 

  
 Ok I cant fucking talk about that right now.. y’all don’t even know what it was really like to be down here for that .. unless you were here of course. My guests ask about it, because they see the cement slabs that are still here.. stairs leading up to nothing, where a house once stood. They always seem so completely shocked when I start talking about it, from my own personal experience. I’ve come to realize that most people hear “Katrina” and they think “New Orleans, Superdome, flooding, looting” that’s about it.. that is how the summarize THE most traumatic experience of so many lives. Did you know that Post Katrina Stress Disorder is a diagnosis? I’ve been telling that story a lot lately.. maybe because I’ve had guests almost the whole time that I have been home. Maybe the Universe is telling me that it is time to confront this one. Work thru it and file it away forever to stay.
If y’all could see my scrunched up face, tears forming and falling, my breath halted trying to catch up with the moment of pain that comes with those memories.. the floating bloated bruised bodies.

   
   
 The flock of dead birds laying on the ground at work 3 weeks later. The weeks without electricity or potable water. Lemme tell you a story about a survivor.
It was March 2005 when my nightmare started. I was working Mardi Gras for Dominos Pizza. It was insane hours.. Thursday thru Sunday I probably slept 10 hours, and worked my ass off the rest of the time.. chugging energy drinks like they were bottled waters. While catching the pizzas from the oven, 9 every 3 seconds, a pain invaded my abdomen like no other pain I had ever felt. I passed the cutter off and went to the lobby where the hot bags were stacked, and laid on them, clutching my lower abdomen tight. After the doctor and a few tests, I was told that I had tumors and they wanted to perform a biopsy. I was a bit of a junkie at the time, and I took the pain medicine prescriptions and never went back. My mother was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months later. She wanted me to come visit, but I couldn’t. Work had me tied up, and to be honest, I didn’t want to go. In June my sister got married. I was supposed to be the maid of honor, but I didn’t go. I was “managing my pain” and managing my store at my new place of employment, very poorly.. and couldn’t take off of work. I was caught in a three way love triangle, and a complete mess really.. Mum was getting sicker, but I still wasn’t visiting.
August 2005, Hurricane Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico. Thankfully it wasn’t my first experience with hurricanes here in the South. I knew the basics. Stock up, food, water, flashlights, batteries, and fill the tank up. I was managing a gas station infront of Walmart at the time. I couldn’t leave until the tanks were down to 1,000 gallons for the National Reserves to use after the fact. We seranwrapped the pumps and hit the road. 

  
 We exited New Orleans joining the endless traffic of people also still evacuating. My ex, her two girls, and myself in one car… my assistant manager and her girlfriend in the car behind me. 6 hours later we had moved 40 miles, if that. We neared the Six Flags exit…

 
Anxiety and sobbing crying again. I keep telling myself that I survived it all already. I survived 2005. It’s already done.. it shouldn’t be effecting me right now.. but it is. That shit was unimaginable.  I don’t think I can tell the story and portray just how fucking horrible it was. Seeing people stripped down to their survival instincts. Needing gas but having to decide if its worth risking being car jacked after the fact. Bartering cartons of cigarettes to move around unharmed. The smell.. the illness.. I remember the first time I heard an actual song on the radio again.. it had to be October… “ooo thinking about our younger years.. “ The endless days at work because no one came back. 

  
 They moved me to a store an hour or so north of where mine was. Mine was destroyed. People were detoxing off of drugs.. off of cigarettes.. living in the blistering heat of September with no electricity. 

  
 No one came. No one came to help.. for sooo long.. and when they did, they parked a truck and gave out bags of ice that we had to line up for hours to have a chance of getting one. The MRE military meals were brought in.. disgusting things, but when you’re hungry and cut off from the world, you eat it. 

  
 The government were giving out credit cards with $2,000 on it, and people were staying where they were with it.. relocating permanently. Those of us back here worked non stop, rebuilding work, or rebuilding homes.. cutting away the black mold… 

  
emptying houses after houses of furniture that had been left sitting in abandoned homes. I am sure that most of us really didn’t even feel the magnitude of what was going on. Disconnected in order to keep going. Military began policing the streets. Marshall Law was in effect and it was every man for themselves. I’m not sure they were prepared.. Some of them rookies, some of them treating us like wild animals.  

  
Flat tires were common due to the debris and nails from all the blown away buildings. Neighborhood after neighborhood of total devastation and nowhere to go. My house had three oak trees thru the roof and laying in the living room and kitchen, stacked on top of each other. I was homeless. I stayed on the couch of a friend, if I even left work. It was mid October when I knew I had to go home (England). I told my boss I would be back in two weeks.

When I landed, my step dad picked me up at the airport and drove me to the hospital. There lay my mother, old and frail in the bed. I felt so angry towards her but I couldn’t be so angry at such a frail woman. Fuck you Cancer!!! For all that me and that woman went thru, she wasn’t yours to take! We did so much crying together in those few months that I got to spend with her. We exchanged forgiveness’ that were long overdue. I took her for days out in her wheelchair… not that far because she didn’t have the energy.. but just to get out. She liked the garden center where they had a coffee shop. I looked after my little sister, who was 5 at the time. My mum had been doing her best to keep up the washing and her room.. and trying to make as unnoticeable as possible that she was dying. Her husband wasn’t doing shit, except for spending everything she had on antique record players, drinking heavily at the pub every night, dating a new woman, and whatever else he did that he didn’t let us see. He’d come home drunk and verbally abuse my mother. They’d yell back and forth.. she mostly cried. I am ashamed to say that it took me as long as it did to stand up to him, but I eventually found my adult voice, stood in his face and yelled “DON’T YOU DARE FUCKING TALK TO HER LIKE THAT!” He hit me and I swung back. He left and went to the pub.
I remember taking her to her medical appointments.. hours of sitting in the room talking to the nurses, and the other patients. I remember the naps that she would fall into, and checking to see if she was still breathing. Sometimes her breath would stop, and I’d think that she had gone.. just staring and waiting.. and then she’d gasp a big breath of air and wake up.. and I’d exhale.. realizing I was holding my breath with her. Friends would come to visit once in a while. I heard that the turn out at her funeral was massive. Flowers would come, and line the mantelpiece of the living room. It was originally my gran and granddads house. I’d sat in that same living room and taken goodbye pictures ten years earlier.. as I fled to America. While my mother napped, I’d go in the attic, and root thru the photo albums and other things left behind. I remember taking my little sister trick or treating around the neighborhood. She was so ecstatic that she got to go. Mum picked thru her candy when we got back. I videoed her playing with V.. pretending to take the good sweets. V handled everything like a trooper. She knew what was going on. I remember her telling my mum not to be afraid because it wasn’t her time to go. I am pretty sure that she is a bit of a psychic just like mum. I lost contact with her after Mum died. Her dad took her, and all the inheritance and severed all ties. Seriously cancer.. fuck you!
I stayed until new years, and lost my job for doing so. My mum and I agreed that she would rather I stay and spend the time with her while she was still alive, than leave and then come back for the funeral. My step dad never let me live it down for not being there at the funeral…
January 2nd 2006 I flew back to New Orleans… knowing I would never see her again.. having no idea where I was going to work.. no house.. pretty much nothing. I started on a friends’ couch, and went from there. It wasn’t until 2007 that my panic attacks started. I’d secured a career, had a good woman by my side and two beautiful kids. Life was back on track and my mind collapsed. I’d maxed myself out. I’d filed so much into the “I’ll deal with this later” category that it burst its banks, and full blown paralyzing panic disorder kicked in. I couldn’t say a full sentence. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t process basic math, or tell you my name. I knew it. I heard the words in my head and knew that I knew it, but couldn’t put my finger on how to do it. Or what that word was. I couldn’t be left alone. I’d flinch at everything. I couldn’t feel anything else but panic. It was panic, or nothing. My kids would come to me, and I’d just stare at them.. I wanted to hug them and laugh, and play.. and I couldn’t. My partner would plead with me to talk to her.. to snap out of it.. to tell her how she could help me.. but that mess of a spaghetti of thoughts and memories didn’t have a starting point. My biggest fear is being back there in that place again. I’ve been there a few times in my life. I’m willing to do whatever it takes not to go back there again.. and that’s why I write.. all the shit that flows thru this fucking brain.. I have to let it out or else it grows and consumes me and it wins.
The weather has calmed down again. It’s dark outside, and I don’t hear the wind anymore. I’ve been writing for two hours… need to move a muscle and change my thought.

❤️🙏🏻From Houston, TX to Mobile, AL .. Be careful 🙏🏻❤️

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“60% chance of a tornado touching down within 50 miles of any listed location”

  
That’s all I needed to read on weather.com. A friend called me last night to chat, and while chatting she mentioned that the schools were closed Tuesday due to the storm that was coming. I had no idea that there was a storm forecasted for the area.. But for schools to be closed, it must be pretty serious! I scanned the local news stations to read what was going on in the world and found this… 
“The TOR:CON (Tornado Conditions Index) for Tuesday and Tuesday night is 6 out of 10 for parts of southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the western Florida panhandle, according to Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel. This means there is a 60 percent chance of a tornado within 50 miles of any location in the specified areas. TOR:CON values as high as 5 out of 10 are posted for Wednesday in eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.” 
60%!!! Sure enough, schools have been closed in anticipation.  

  
Please, everyone from Houston Texas to Mobile Alabama .. Please stay safe.  

The National Weather Service estimates that more than 7 million people in parts of five states — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia — are in an area of enhanced risk for a few strong tornadoes and other severe weather during Tuesday’s storms.

  
Meteorologists at the national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, say the areas at highest risk of the most dangerous storms will be in southern Alabama and southern Mississippi, along with slivers of northeast Louisiana and northwest Florida. That area includes the cities of Mobile and Hattiesburg, as well as Pearl River, Stone and George counties.
The system will bring “a pretty substantial risk for supercells” that could spawn strong tornadoes, but also lines of storms that pose threats as well, said Greg Carbin, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center.

On the Mississippi Coast, storms with large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes are expected to arrive between 6 p.m. and midnight, and exit the area by 1 a.m. Wednesday.

  
The weather service in Slidell has issued a wind advisory for 10 a.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday, with gusts up to 40 mph. A small craft advisory is also in effect from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday and gale warning from noon to 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Temperatures are expected to start dropping Wednesday, with lows in the upper 30s by Friday.
In Louisiana, storms could hit the New Orleans area from midafternoon Tuesday through early evening, said Andrew Ansorge, a weather service meteorologist in Louisiana.

The storms are forecast to spread east across Alabama and into Georgia and north Florida, posing a threat into the evening, Carbin said.
In Alabama, a large part of the state will be under an elevated risk of storms late Tuesday afternoon through early Wednesday morning, according to forecasts from the weather service. That area — which includes Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Auburn and Tuscaloosa — could see tornadoes, winds of up to 70 mph, and quarter-sized hail, the weather service projects.
In Georgia, a total of 3.4 inches of rain is expected in Atlanta from showers and storms Monday through Wednesday, which could produce some flooding, according to forecasts from the weather service’s office in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Please, everyone from Houston Texas to Mobile Alabama .. Please stay safe.  You don’t wanna end up like this guy!

  

Meeting makers make it.. Even if it’s just you!

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Tonight’s meeting was cancelled. I didn’t find out until I got here, and found no one. I called the number of been given at the last meeting and the lady told me that it was cancelled because of the monsoon outside. I almost didn’t come for the same reason, but I know I’ve driven thru this kinda weather to get to dollar general and buy a hoard of candy and chocolate.. and NA taught me that I have to chase my recovery like I chased the drug,.. Which means driving in monsoons to meetings!
  
  I’m so thankful for the peace I feel most of the time. I wasn’t even upset that no one was here. I thought about leaving, but what if another newcomer is on their way here.. Running late because of the rain? I decided to sit and take the quiet room to myself and read my OA book. Step Two. 
  Just as I started, a woman walked in. She thought it was Tuesday and I was here for the support group for Dr Balder. He’s a weight loss surgeon that I actually called and have been contemplating weight loss surgery with. We talked for a few minutes, and I found out that she is the office manager for the clinic. She took my information and invited me back to the support group tomorrow. Win win! 

  
  I’m feeling really motivated and confident today. I was prepared.. I had my dip that I made last night, and snacked on it thru the day while I stayed busy creating my art studio/mancave.. Then I stopped early enough to make chickpea burgers.. So I could eat and be full while out and about to the meeting and back. I don’t even remember seeing McDonald’s! 
  Tomorrow my guests leave so I’ll have the house to myself for a night.. Definitely time to celebrate.  
  Step Two’s first two pages just blow me away.. So I wanted to share them.. Maybe you guys might relate? I know that when I set a goal with others.. I have a greater chance of success because I’m the type of person that hates to admit defeat. Feedback welcome … Comment below .. I love you all! Everyone that reads and gives me feedback or cheers me on.. You guys rock! You keep me going.. And I’m so grateful for that!!! 

   

    
   
  

Do I fantacise about how much better life would be if I were a different weight?

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Well.. My first assignment is reading “To The Newcomer” and seeing if I can relate…. 

I’d say 11 out of 13 would be a sure indication that I indeed qualify.. Do you?

If there’s anyone out there that wants to saddle up on this adventure with me.. I’d totally appreciate the buddy system!  It can be long distance.. There are meetings in many places, and online.

Just lemme know!!