Run By Fruiting

Over a month ago, I switched my diet to an entirely whole-foods, plant-based diet. I was not strict, had dairy at times, and just yesterday I had a piece of sashimi, I have not yet started truly scrutinizing labels, but there it is.

And–dear G-d do I feel better. I’m not anti-meat. But, BUT, I know the way most Westernized societies consume animal products, and the quality of products they consume, is not sustainable.  It’s also unkind. I don’t want to be unkind. Not to the animals, not to the planet.

I was a vegetarian for ten years, I did it all wrong. I ate a fast-food diet of fries and junk. I ate a fuckton of processed foods. Macaroni and Cheese, canned soups, bottled salad dressing. I gained weight, looked like crap, broke out all of the time. My hormones were INSANE. My PCOS went off the charts. My endometriosis was insanely painful. Again, hormones.

The last few months, I was eating a lot more meat. I was convincing myself that I needed more meat because I was preparing for the Boston Marathon, and damnit, I needed meat, right? Sure, I was feeling more sluggish, but HEY! Training for a marathon, here! Completely normal to feel tired! About three weeks before the marathon, ovary pain kept me up all night. It’s happened before, I know what’s going on when it does.

About a week before Boston, I had one of the worst lady months of my life. Severe pain, nausea, migraines, shaking instability, weakness. I started feeling really, really bad (passing-out, bad) about 3 days before Marathon Monday, so I went to get some blood work done.  My hemoglobin was so low I needed to get a blood transfusion. My hematocrit was pathetic.

Or in my lady basket. Whatevs.

I couldn’t run. I was depressed. My PCOS had robbed me of the chance by deciding that April was cyst-rupture month.

Enter Rebekah Borucki and Danielle Diamond. *at once, a meditative three-way. 😉 They were starting a vegetarian challenge the very day I was supposed to run the Boston Marathon. It felt like as good a time as any. As good an idea as any. So I joined the #XenBliss challenge, and I am so glad I did.

In the group, there was a lot of talk about going completely vegan. While I’m about 90% vegan, I don’t foresee myself being 100% vegan. Occasional sustainable sushi, vegetarian-rennet based cheese, and humanely raised eggs/milk will probably remain in very small ways in my diet. Mostly in baking, let’s be honest.

While I previously watched many documentaries and read a lot of literature on the benefits of a plant-based diet, I never took it seriously for me. I mean, I didn’t eat much meat to begin with. I wasn’t being so bad on the environment–on myself.

40 days meat-free has me re-thinking my thinking. And I’m back to Michael Pollan’s famous quote “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Also, plantain chips are from G-d, and serve as proof that he loves us.

How’s my health now?

I’m back at the gym. My doctor is superduper impressed, and I feel AMAZING.

So I re-watched some documentaries, watched some new ones, read some new literature, and I’m educating myself. I’m not a nutritionist, and this is entirely anecdotal, but the environmental impacts are real, and I really want my kids to have a great earth to grow up in.

Plus, my favorite vampire was a vegetarian.

Just to let you guys in on what I’ve been watching, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites that are available to stream on Netflix.

For the recipe to go with this overly-preachy post? A salad that you WGAF that it’s vegan, because it tastes like a miracle.

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad.

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

Tex-Mex Mango Bean Salad

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: marinate/chill/6 hours

Keywords: vegan vegetarian

Ingredients (serves 8-12)

  • 1 can rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 can rinsed chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed peas
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 5 scallions, chopped (the whole thing, save the root)
  • 5 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped

for the dressing

  • juice of one lime
  • 3 tbsp recaito
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or more evoo)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce of your choice

Instructions

whisk together dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large bowl

add all remaining chopped veg and beans to the bowl

toss and marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.

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Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

The Lies Our Elders Tell Us…and Waffles.

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I’ve not been able to work out for a FREAKING MONTH, and it’s driving me batshit insane. I’ve become somewhat more of a fidgety mess. Most things in my life have suffered for my lack of movement. Being on the *insertsportsingacronymforhealthrelatedbenchinghere* list, has taken its toll. … Read more…

High-Energy Granola Bars

The Marathon That Wasn’t.

Well, it’s Wednesday. Today is the day I was planning on my Boston Marathon recap. Instead, I’m sitting under a pile of warm blankets, sipping water, and waiting for my next transfusion/infusion appointment. But let’s go back to Friday. On Friday night, I was really quite anxious. I couldn’t put my finger on the issue. … Read more…

Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs

Get Series(ous). #10

Friday, April 10th, 2015. It is the 100th day of the year. This morning I woke up at 4:19 am. It is (probably) the 12th (or so) day I’ve been awake at this time this year. I am elated, I love the word, “elated” about today’s Get Series(ous). post. According to the front page of The New York Times, the temperature today will be 64F (and raining-again, shit.) I’m pretty much going to trust this prognostication even though forecasts are notoriously off-base.

Some books, and some series just hit me so hard, I find it difficult to elucidate my feelings about said books and series in a succinct manner. There aren’t as many of these as you’d think, given that my reading habit amounts to about one book per day.

(In the interest of clarity and transparency, many of these books are for work/school or research for scripts/auditions.)

However, when I do find a book that fits into this most-exclusive category in my “Books I’ve Put In My Brain” Spreadsheet, I want to wrap each of them in bubble wrap and a collection of my feels to hug them forever and ever. (Yes, this is a real thing I have. Yes, I DO rate my books on an algorithm of likelihood of a re-read. Shut it. You know you’re jealous.)

This week’s Get Series(ous). series definitely fits into that category. It’s highlighted GREEN in my Excel spreadsheet which tells me that it has a 100% chance of being re-read MORE THAN ONCE. As I’ve already read/listened to the first two books in the series three times each, I think it needs a new color. Like mochachino or parsley sprig.

Who should read this series?

ANYONE WITH A SOUL WHO CARES ABOUT LOVE AND LIFE. Ok, that might seem a bit extreme–and broad. 

This reader is a fan of the underdog, the underserved populations, the under-appreciated. This reader loves a book with superstar heroes in unassuming miens. This reader may love Hero by Perry Moore,  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving–Rocky. 

All of these share one thing, one specific trait that makes them all wonderfully readable/watchable–hope. All of these books and main characters inspire immense amounts of hope in the reader.

Also, this reader isn’t afraid to laugh at seemingly upsetting circumstances. They understand the catharsis that is making light of a rough situation. This reader craves real emotion in their books, however subtle, knowing that sometimes, subtle is the most gut-wrenching.

What is this series?

 

The Blurb:

A thirty-nine-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Edward Stanton lives alone on a rigid schedule in the Montana town where he grew up. His carefully constructed routine includes tracking his most common waking time (7:38 a.m.), refusing to start his therapy sessions even a minute before the appointed hour (10:00 a.m.), and watching one episode of the 1960s cop show Dragnet each night (10:00 p.m.).

But when a single mother and her nine-year-old son move in across the street, Edward’s timetable comes undone. Over the course of a momentous 600 hours, he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts old grievances with his estranged parents. Exposed to both the joys and heartaches of friendship, Edward must ultimately decide whether to embrace the world outside his door or retreat to his solitary ways.

Why I love it.

Right off the bat, let me again, in the interest of full-disclosure, tell you a little about my family. My nephew, a beautiful and sweet 16 year old boy, has Autism. Specifically, PDD-NOS. My son, aka The Captain, aka My WORLD, my handsomest handsome child with a heart of pure sugar, has Sensory Processing Disorder with a joint Dx of ADHD, and Social Anxiety Disorder. 

So you can see why a series revolving around a grown man who learns to live in a world that seems out of his world might interest me.

But that’s 100% not all of it. That’s not even 20% of it. The Edward series (I’m including The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter) is so beautifully written. It is so sharp and precise, it is as though it were fashioned in relief with an exact-o knife, or imported directly into my mind with a supernatural 3D printer.

It’s so funny. Heartbreakingly so. However, you never feel as though you’re laughing AT the MC, which would turn me off immediately. It’s almost as though you’re laughing at the disorder, as strange as that sounds. Asperger’s takes any verbal or mental filter someone may have, and stretches the hole reallllly wide. Therefore, Edward has a tendency to communicate things that we only really hear in our own minds. That is actually really refreshing.

600 Hours of Edward

 

If you never asked yourself this ONCE while dating, you’re a fucking liarvillepants.

Throughout every facet of these stories, you never lose sight of what is important to each of the characters. This becomes especially important in Edward Adrift and The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter. But oh man, do you ever get lost in the story. The first two books almost feel epistolary in nature, and this only serves to add to the interest of it all. The reader eventually begins to feel as though they are a part of the data which Edward so carefully collects.

As I mentioned above, I read/listened to this series. I am, by default, a very results-oriented person, and the ability to maintain the narrative whilst I go about the quotidian tasks of daily life appeals to me on a very basely “me” level.

This can be good or bad. If the narrator is great, well then! Hey hey hey! BONUS! Excellent. If the reader is crap??? Yeah. Not so much.

This series is narrated by Luke Daniels. I feel like between him, Tavia Gilbert, the PSM and perhaps this guy….

they’ve been featured on B2B enough that they should have their own graphic or .gif.

luke danielsohsweetbabybuddha that is so fantastically awful I MUST DO ANOTHER!!

PSM

The internet is a beautiful thing…

MOVING ON!!

Luke Daniels’s performance as Edward and company is oddly relaxing. Weird, right? His placentious intonations and utter grip on the motive of the character absolutely lulls the reader into a total blissed-out book zone.

Without giving away any spoilers, in the first book of the series, Edward experiences a very deep loss. Life-changing. Craig Lancaster’s words, performed by Luke Daniels, had me in a shock of terrifically embarrassing sobs in the back of a cab. The driver thought I’d lost it. His pack of tissues smelled like black and milds.

And before you ask, Yes…

luke daniels

will get his own Auralgasm post, but not until I figure out what else to say…If you have any ideas, EMAIL ME! Because, if you have your own completely awful and obnoxious .gif….

The Recipe Inspired by the Series:

In the first book, Edward eats spaghetti (albeit crappy spaghetti) 9 times a week. Yup. 

It was a no-brainer.

Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs.

Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs

Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs

Perfect Fresh Tomato Sauce and Homemade Meatballs

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: bake entree snack side

Ingredients (depends on how big your balls are)

    for the sauce

    • 4 tbsp tomato paste
    • 4 roma tomatoes, ripe
    • 1 medium yellow onion
    • 1, 15.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
    • 1, 15.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
    • 1 tsp red pepper flake
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
    • 4 tbsp EVOO
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

    for the meatballs

    • 1 lb ground beef 90/10
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    • 1 tbsp evoo
    • 1/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
    • 2 tsp chopped fresh garlic
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

    Instructions

    before you make the sauce, make the balls.

    Preheat oven to 400F

    combine all ball ingredients in a big bowl

    mix with your hands

    roll into balls of your preferred size, I did 2″ in diameter.

    place on a cookie sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray

    at 2″ in diameter they take about 20-25 minutes in the oven.

    to make the sauce

    dice the fresh tomatoes into 1/2″ cubes

    dice the onion into 1/4″ dice

    in a skillet, pour in the olive oil and heat to medium high,

    before it begins to smoke, add the onion and turn to medium

    saute until translucent.

    add garlic

    stir in remaining ingredients and let cook for about 15-20 minutes

    AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE!!

    I suggest using a pasta like the riccioli pictured above, or something like a curly tagliatelle, or papardelle pasta.

    Toss all of the sauce with one pound cooked pasta and the meatballs

    I like to top this all with fresh mozz and slide it back into the oven until the mozz is all yummy melted like.

    also good with parmesan cheese or asiago.

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    Auralgasm: Satisfying Audiobooks.

    Last Thursday, I introduced a new series I am starting here on B2b. Today is the first! Plenty of people are anti-audiobook. I hear it ALL the time, “It’s weird to be read to when you’re our age!” Really? Because newscasters are making that shit up as they go? Ok, I’ll buy it.;) Also, plenty … Read more…