vineri, 26 septembrie 2014

trials of a vegetarian....

         As everybody visiting this site might have understood by now; I love being vegan. I feel better, physically and psychically; it helped me see which of my friends understand me and are ready to accept me with all my oddities, it widened my horizons, made me reach out and virtually meet extraordinary people, etc...
          If I'd start to write on all the pluses, I'd never end; then again every vegan had his or her own experiences; encouragements and disappointments, then who am I to insist on something everybody knows already? I'm writing this blog for me as well as for those who have not yet decided. I'd say to them that, if you're reading this, you're already on the right path. If you've acknowledged the fact that you could try to be vegan for the good of everybody, you've already made the decisive step; that of caring! That of refusing to look the other way, completely ignoring what's actually happening around you.
          What is it about autumn that makes me want to write more?I have so many creative activities during this season that I'm starting to think it must be the richness of it that inspires me. That and nature. I'm so lucky to have been born in October!
Lake Buttermere, photo by Chris Warren on Bing
            Thankfully, Autumn is the richest season; you have so many fruits and veggies, so it's the height of the year for vegans. Maybe not for all; since there are countries where you have these all year round; but here, in my darling Romania, since the beginning of time, people had to gather during autumn in order to have food during the cold season. Even before agriculture became industrialized, this was the law of nature, and it hasn't changed much. Except for imported food.
            As I've already said; becoming vegan has opened my horizon; I now no longer feel that being vegan is enough, as there is so much more to do on this planet! I love nature and that is the main reason I've done it; but let's be frank, it takes more than not eating meat to trully call yourself a nature lover!
            First of all, I'm thinking about my living space. I need to make it nature-respectful, so recycling is a must. As well as using as little plastic as possible. Here's a video on what the ordinary plastic does to our nature; if this doesn't convince you, I don't know right now what else will:
Need I say that lights out while you're out of your home is not only saving you money, but the planet also?
              Then there's the matter of food. Because we're always returning to this; this is a food blog, right?
               Just like everybody else around me, I used to buy all my food from the supermarket. Let's be realistic, it's much easier to have it all there and just grab it and put it in your basket; all products from A to Z. Gradually, I became unsatisfied with the vegetables and fruits I found there; so I started buying less and less; except when I was really in a hurry and craved an apple, or an orange, or a banana.

                It's not just the fact that supermarket veggies are usually green-house produced; it's also the aspect of them being shipped for thousands of kilometers until they reach our stores; burning fuel along the way; so no matter how "eco" or "organic" they pretend to be, they are actually not, as long as they came from another country.
If you look it up; or I will do it for you one day; the core of the "organic"/ "bio"/ "eco"concept is that it must respect nature in all aspects. And it applies to all foods, not just veggies and fruits..

               Then there's the problem of buying from corporations, rather than helping your local producers- what we call kilometer 0 products. Even if the product is made locally, wouldn't you help the producer more if you bought it directly from him rather than paying the supermarket for it? If possible, buy from source, and you'll have insured that next year you will still have km 0 products from that farmer you've helped directly...
               Even better-grow your own basic food if possible, like tomatoes, leafy greens, salad, kale, etc... and buy the rest from the farmer's market.

my balcony-grown kale, tomatoes & others
              Like I said, we don't have fruits and veggies all year round, except in supermarkets, and they come from God knows where. But we've learned to store them over a long period of time. It's not fully vegan, in the literally sense of the word; but even though fruits and veggies are boiled or fried and then frozen, I dare to say it is still better than buying them fresh from the supermarket. Ok, moderate heat destroys part of the vitamins and nutrients; but it's way better than veggies and fruits pumped-up with fertilizers and picked-up while they are still green, sprayed with conservatives and shipped over thousands of km.
              I'm not saying I have the best idea; but it's still better than nothing, right? You could can almost anything, and other foods, like roots and squashes keep anyway; so why not buy them and store them while it's their season? I love nothing better than to have my kitchen well-stocked with as many ingredients as possible; in fact I was just telling my boyfriend the other day that if all markets closed for a month, we wouldn't starve... and I haven't even finished canning for this winter....
             I'm an advocate for cooking your own food as much as possible, and growing it also is my ideal of a plentiful life. 
             If I'm not able to grow it, I buy it from people I know have grown it just as I would, no pesticides, chemicals of any sort, just sun, water and good earth.
Now let's talk about fruits that don't grow here. I find this topic extremely interesting, and I wanted to attack it for some time now. I love bananas, oranges and lemons, avocado and ginger root. None of these grow in Romania, and many of others that can be found only for a short while. My favorite snack is a banana, whenever I'm hungry and need a quick bite. As easy to imagine, I'm not quite happy with the situation. If oranges and lemons can grow closer to us, the other fruits and root respectively don't. I still buy them, but in smaller quantities, and try to buy them by the bulk, so less plastic is wasted.
             I've been snooping the internet for a life with less waste, and Zero waste home has become my muse. I'm learning so much from this site, that at times I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. I'll apply the "bring your own container" strategy when buying these tricky items, so at least some of the harm is reduced. But I will cut down my family's consumption of these items anyway.
Even though it might not be generally agreed upon, it's really not that hard to be a vegetarian in Romania. We have the means, the prejudices make it harder though. Restaurants make it worse. But with the right determination, it is possible. It also depends on what lengths you are willing to go; and it also depends on what you understand by the concept. I am not just a vegan or vegetarian, or whatever you call it. (and yes, I know the difference between the two terms).
                I'm a person who cares; and that is why I'm doing everything. I care about the Earth and its inhabitants, I believe Nature is a Goddess and I worship Her, I believe that by not hurting others I can become a lighter soul, and I'm working on it.
Mother Earth Gaia- Google Images
                I strongly believe that, besides the earth itself, there is none greater, none more majestic or more complex organism that the majestic Tree....and I bow to It.
Yggdrasil - Wikipedia
                Does that make me a pantheist? partially, maybe, I have such a complex set of believes that I really have no idea what I am right now. But one thing I do know, and that is the fact that I was put on this earth with a purpose, and it could be that of compassion and love, and I'm spreading the word by my humble means...

If trees could speak, what would they whisper to us?

luni, 22 septembrie 2014

how to measure one's success....

...or better said when do you know that you've reached some level of satisfaction in your the idea that nags me for some days now.
Well I don't really know about others, but they all seem to measure their accomplishments in how much money they're making, how many super cars they have, how many women, how many pairs of shoes, etc.
I, on the other hand, would like to measure my success in this life by how much I've left behind, especially on how many books I will have written, with my name on them. As I grew up in a home where books were the ultimate authority and were and still are sacred, you may imagine why I will feel like I've left something behind if I manage to write a few and publish them...
There are so many talented people out there that we might think anyone can write a book, but in fact it takes more time, determination and strong will than I would like to admit. I have the skills to do it, but the rest of attributes are harder to find...especially when I'm being sidetracked by other activities.
I'm getting there though, and one day my family and friends will be proud for all the support and encouragements they've given me through time.
Speaking of family and friends, I think that much of one's accomplishment can be measured in that; and one's character is also measured in fiends; the more you have the more your compass points in the right direction.
Now you might say that you only have few real friends, but I am here talking about the real ones, which help and will get help in return, the ones that are there with a shoulder to cry on and not the ones you meet every day for a coffee. Real friends are the ones you don't speak with for months in a row, and then, when you do meet, it's like you've never lost contact. They know you and you know them, they respect and love you and you respect and love them in return; without questioning, without rewards, no strings attached, except for those of two compatible hearts.
I was surprised many times in my short life to see that there are people who don't really have friends, I wonder where do they get their support, their reassurance, their warmth? ok, Family is family, but don't you ever need another opinion, even if at times it contradicts everything you believed in?

I feel accomplished with little things, like a new book on my shelf, a new funny face one of my nieces makes, the quiet and serenity my cats brings, the satisfaction of picking your own vegetables and knowing you planted, tended and will eat them too,

as well as the quiet and peace my motor gives me on times like this beautiful sunset...

the way all falls into place on a quiet afternoon, the smell of good food

and tomato soup in particular, the perfume of ripe fruit...the satisfaction of spending the money I made from writing, as little as they come, the 30 minutes of lunch break at work during a crazy work day... when I get to eat my goodies...

 and read a few lines from a nice book... my friends' laughs around the table after a good dinner that I've cooked and they ate, thanking me for the food at the end...

I know much of my accomplishments come from food, so there is one good reason why I started this blog-journal. Food is a crucial part of my life, my social compass, my health provider and my success measurement unit.
Just thinking that there are so many persons out there who suffer from lack of food, whole countries who eat less in a month than my family does in a week; and that without thinking about water or any other simple needs; makes my skin crawl and makes me respect my food more, as it is a sacred and crucial aspect.

Then I think of all the persons who are not well informed, get sick from their food and their doctors don't really tell them exactly what is good or bad, that it makes me angry, but there is so little you can do for a person who's been eating meat all his or her life and can't restrain from food that makes him or her habit is a nasty obstacle to overcome...and then there are the ones that pure and simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that much of the food we find in supermarkets is plastic, and not only kills them, but also the world around them....but the story about plastic is another one....which I will tell you about at another time....

I have no idea how others really measure their success, but there it is, my simple and straightforward success comes from the acknowledgement that animal flesh is not the food I want to eat; and this so more since I will soon be 1 year old in my vegan diet...but most of all from the peace of mind I got once I took this decision.
Being vegan is not a trend, not a pride matter and surely not something everyone will understand, being vegan is a way of life which implies many more steps, which gets you to the place where you realize that you're not yet there, that apart from not eating animals you have to protect them, protect the environment and leave a legacy to our future generations...and oh so much more!
But again, that will be the subject of many posts to come.... as I'm still just at the beginning of the path...

Still, there is a question always in my mind, nagging me, only made stronger by the studies I take....making me more and more scared every day...

If trees could talk, what would they whisper to us?

joi, 11 septembrie 2014

Is there another world out there?

Sometimes I feel like I belong somewhere else, sometimes I feel like I'm right where I am meant to be...but all the time I see and observe the people around me. Some are happy, some make me sad, some are stressed out and nervous, and some are serene and smile all the time. what do the ones smiling know that the others don't? Do some just immerse themselves in their every day problems and forget how to live? Amaizingly, I observe all these things because I recognize the feelings; the happy as well as the sad ones. Been there, done that, I could say it many many times...
source: bing images

I see all of these detached, from my own and personal bubble, where there are many problems, but where there are also many things to be grateful for, and these latter make all the hard work worth while.
We've all got problems, but if we could just listen around us for a little bit, stop the misery train in its tracks, we could really see that many of them are actually just so big as we make them. But there's a catch, as always. Do not let yourself be wrongly influenced by the world outside, because it will only make you feel worse. Go, have a walk in the woods, listen to what the trees have to say, climb a mountain or a hill, stay on the grass by a stream and clearly think your problems through. The solution will come to you, because you already had it, but were too polluted by the noise around you to be able to grasp it.
And yes, there are people out there, like from another world, who think everything is in their power, who care nothing for a stray dog or cat, who think sheep and cows and chickens are actually living for their sole role as our feeding material; and I mean material in its most cruel and de- personalizing  kind of way.
And then there's hobbits like me, who open their eyes more every day, break from the system, start growing things and decide to change every single day. That's why sometimes I feel like I'm in another world from many of the people I know. Slowly, timidly, I give them little bits of information, I let them see how I discovered this thing or that can be done in a more harmless way, and the people who matter to me start changing bit by bit.
Those who mock my ways do not scare and do not hurt me, I do not envy them for any of their numerous possessions, I do not long to have what they have, I just keep on going my own way. And as through my way I respect everything around me, so do I respect them and their choices, do not judge them, as we are all free to choose.

And yet again, I sit and wonder....
If trees could talk, what would they whisper to us?

marți, 9 septembrie 2014

As if I needed a reminder...

I stumbled upon this interesting site today...

we animals

... talk about a picture meaning more than a thousand words...

good bye dairy products, eggs and zoos....

And here's another site I love following...

Edgar's Mission

These are just a few of the reasons why I decided not to eat animals anymore...and this is the reason I state each and every time someone asks the inevitable question "Why don't you eat meat anymore?" answer, straight from the heart, is, "I decided to no longer eat animals, that's why."
I understand that many don't see, and really don't want to see the ugly side of meat eating...I understand totally, it is disturbing, unnerving, sickening, so we all refuse to acknowledge things that hurt us and make us feel bad or uncomfortable. But I have an advantage: if I'm not consuming it any more, I feel like a better person and feel lighter, don't have so many health problems and feel good on the whole, like in a "Mens sana in corpore sano" kind of way..
I also understand why people don't like can be bothering, having all those extra recycling trash cans, and here in Romania you can choose to do it or not unfortunately, leaving it up to the individual's civic sense of duty so to speak. If recycling is hard, I imagine how reducing the impact on the environment can be; so speaking about carbon footprint is in vain. I'm just starting on this path, trying to reduce waste as much as possible. I guess this is the normal step after going on my vegetarian path...
Even if I'm just at the beginning of this winding road, and so far I'm crazed by the sound of tap water running, eat local produce as much as possible for half a reason (my desire to find healthy food and help local producers) to which I need to add the impact made by transported/packed/belonging to international industry mammoths all sorts of products; I'm encouraged by the abundance of information I can find on the Internet about substitute solutions I never even dreamed existed.

In another order of ideas, I've been wondering...

If trees could speak, what would they whisper to us?