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20 Jul

I don’t know why this makes me laugh…

Me: What should we have for dinner?

Kieran: Something healthy.

Drew: Olives!!! I want olives for dinner. Wait… I want bacon. Bacon for dinner.

Reminds me of last week when Drew went to Trader Joe’s with me and insisted on carrying the bacon home with her cradled in her arms like a baby. It’s the only meat she’ll eat and she asks for it all of the time. We don’t make it often, so it’s a huge treat. I think she’d rather have bacon than chocolate. Is she really my child?


A few weeks ago, my body was craving meat. I started eating better and my body still craved meat, my BODY was asking for it. So, a little bit of chicken here and there has made my body much happier for now. It’s interesting to try to listen to intuition and just honor what my body asks for without morality judgments. It definitely feels good to not have to worry SO much about what to serve for dinner to please everybody.

Something healthy with olives. And a small side of bacon for the princess.


I resolve!

6 Jan

How are these for Buddhist/Yogi New Year’s resolutions?

1. To speak more clearly.
2. To be more comfortable being uncomfortable.
3. To stay in present – especially with my kids.
4. To take care of myself as well as I take care of others.
5. To master pincha mayarasana – consistently and not just on a whim, wondering how I got hanging out there stable as a rock?
6. To fill every Cosmic Dog class until the place is bursting.
7. Dare I say it? Lose those pesky 10 pounds – which is really going to help my pincha.
8. Gut and get rid of every single piece of clutter in my life that is either non-essential or not beautiful.
9. Organize the garage, file and/or destroy every single piece of paper floating through my space, maintain folded clothes in the kids’ closets, alphabetize my spice rack.
10. Save more than I spend.
11. Finish reading books instead of stopping 50 pages before the end.
12. Finish my year of Vegetarianism, thus reaching my goal and never having another issue with wanting meat. Again. (September)
13. Oh yea – have more fun.
14. And – put a stop to the “wanting mind”.

Ha! The mind is a funny, funny thing – isn’t it?


6 Nov

I never really understand those people who decide which way to vote on the morning of the election. Until now. I just keep wavering on Prop 2. I’ve done a fair amount of research and I’m really torn.
Years ago, pregnant for the first time, I did all of the research about natural childbirth, and the statistics involved with intervention versus natural labor. I was adamant that natural was the only way to go. I was judgmental and opinionated. Then, I gave birth! I clung to my principles and managed to go natural (with a lot of support from my good friend Julie M) and had two more babies sans medication.  After pain like that, I will never pass judgment on anyone choosing the ever popular epidural. I get it.
Same with meat. I’ve committed. No meat for me. This process isn’t easy, but I’m not making that decision for anyone else. I’m also fascinated with the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, the local food movement, and just generally exploring alternative relationships with my food and all things holistic.
Within the last few days, as my mind has been wandering around these issues, I found Emily’s blog. Emily is Lisa’s BFF and I enjoy my friendship by association with her. All of Lisa’s friends are super-fascinating, and Emily is no exception. So, below I stole one of her great posts for your reading enjoyment. It seems to me that we could all use a little introspection into what we’re eating, where it comes from, and more personal involvement with it. Emily is a great example of this. I don’t know what I’m most impressed with, Emily’s honesty, her sense of adventure, or the fact that she killed, plucked, gutted and butchered 10 roosters while her husband was gone. She also documented and wrote about it. You go girl. I hope you enjoyed your rooster dinner – you certainly deserve it.

Meat II: Eating My Words

Our first backyard ‘rooster’ dinner.

So, in a previous post I exposed my sentiments of, what Dustin and I like to call, skeptical environmentalism. In other words we are environmental because it’s practical. It makes sense that you should eat meat that comes from one animal and is raised in your backyard. Just as it makes sense to use “real” plates, instead of paper, because you have a dishwasher and paper plates cost money. So, to eat my words we bought half of the neighbor’s steer and to further make my point (and to get rid of half of the enormous monthly chicken feed bill) we slaughtered a dozen of our chickens (all roosters) on Saturday. It was, to say the least, an amazing experience. Katrina, the famous localvore blogger of Kale for Sale, came to join in the fun. I was grateful for her presence because she did bring a sense of order to the whole operation that Jeremy and I would have probably botched. Dustin suddenly had to “work” and so I was left to oversee operations on my own. The little kids were always near and interested, but not totally aware of what we were doing exactly, except that it must be fun because we were adults and seemed to be ‘playing.’

We started off with a prayer. It somehow seemed appropriate as we were about to extinguish living beings. I prayed that we were grateful for this experience, for the chickens who would provide sustenance, and very grateful that we didn’t necessarily have to rely on this as our only options for meat (read: COSTCO). I truly felt like Ma, only lacking an apron and a bonnet. Jeremy was the non-contested self-appointed chicken killer and did a great job. This time he held onto the chickens until they stopped moving…this was much less dramatic than watching them flip around without a head. We then blanched them in some almost boiling soapy water and Katrina and I began plucking. Whew, what a job. Nobody was kidding when they said that it’s time consuming to pluck a chicken. I was REALLY glad that Katrina was there then. She was great and even had a system to the plucking madness. The plucking was done in the heat of midday with our backs scrunched, most uncomfortably, over a plywood table. We had a great time visiting as we worked and Jane was good to help out. She really wanted to pluck her own chicken.

Here are the chickens–plucked but not yet gutted.

After all twelve of the chickens were plucked we began the cleaning and gutting process. I was a little nervous about this part, I haven’t opened up any kind of animal since the crayfish in seventh grade. Jeremy began with a tutorial and showed us how to cut the chicken open to pull out poop (by far the worst part), intestines, stomach, liver, heart, esophagus, to finish by scraping and cleaning any other residue that was left. At the end, they were looking like true “freezer” chickens. Katrina delved right in and was marvelous…I followed and soon began to like this process. It was kind of fun to be able to recognize the organs by touch as you’re pulling them out. Katrina and I had an easier time because our hands were smaller to get into the chicken. We then bagged and froze them. It was an exhausting, yet rewarding day.

So, I decided that we should eat a few of them for Sunday dinner. I made a brine of salt and water and let two chickens soak in it overnight. The next day Lily and I went out to the barn with some red potatoes, carrots, and red onions drizzled in olive oil and ranch seasoning. We stuffed the chickens with onions, rubbed butter all over them and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We placed the chickens on top of the potatoes and roasted them for almost two hours, rotating positions every 30 minutes. The barn smelled delicious and…the chicken was the BEST I’ve ever tasted. It just fell off the bones, was so tender and flavorful. I was so glad that, after all that work, the chicken wasn’t disgusting. We are definitely going to have roast chicken for Thanksgiving and you’re all invited. So far my experiment with eating meat out of my backyard has been successful. I’ll let you know how our first steer steak turns out.

Dustin got home just in time to see the chicken neatly lined up in the freezer, the kitchen scrubbed and disinfected, and all bloody remains carefully buried in the back. He only participated in the eating…I feel a bit like the “little red hen.”

The vegetables were delicious cooked under the chicken. The chicken drippings added so much taste.

The chickens prepped and ready.

Lily, rolling up her sleeves. She was a great helper. This is her stuffing the chickens with onions.

Meaty subject

30 Sep

Assuming I don’t fall off the wagon tomorrow, I will have made it one month without eating meat. I promised complete honesty and here it is. One day I had the impulse to eat bacon, which we rarely have. It smelled really good, despite the fact that Dan cooked it outside, and I almost ate it a few times by unconsciously reaching for it. Yesterday was Dan’s birthday and I made him spicy carnitas. I had a tiny pang of craving for it, but was easily satisfied with my amazing pomegranate avocado salsa. All in all, honestly, I really didn’t miss the animal flesh. 99% piece of cake. Piece of cake, now that sounds good.

When I spent my year and a half as a vegetarian/vegan in the mid-90’s, we were so poor. Young college kids with a baby. My diet consisted of baked potatoes and brocolli, oatmeal and pasta. We would go out to dinner and I would order rice pilaf. There was no money for good stuff like pineapples, mangos, and avocados.

This time around it’s been much more fun. I’m able to try a much bigger variety of food and realizing that many of the foods have “meaty” qualities to them. If I feel like I need something substantial, then avocado on a salad or in a soup – or even olives have some weight to them. Mozarella cheese, good fresh tomatoes and balsamic are a meal in itself. I branched out and tried quinoa and loved it – it’s a brilliant grain that is much more digestable to me than brown rice. It’s interesting, how removing the meat as the centerpiece of my diet has made veggies and grains much more valuable to me. I’m buying higher quality produce, and actually enjoying it a lot more. I love the couple at the Farmer’s Market who line their crisp apples up from sweet to tart, and the bread vendor who sells wheat bread that actually tastes light. I insist on getting real tomatoes now and have discovered that grapes from the Farmer’s Market are impeccable. Overall, I’m eating much better tasting, much healthier food. Mix in a little chocolate and I’m a happy girl.

Got me

10 Sep

OK now, I promise, this will not become a vegetarian blog. It will not be an overly-sentimental, self-righteous, liberal pet-toting place to come reading. BUT….

I have to say I’m at the point in my practice of ahimsa that I can’t pretend not to be aware of what I’m eating. I found this wonderful vegan blog called Vegan Vice. It’s a great home-spun blog authored by a very dedicated vegan mom who loves good food. Awesome ideas and recipes for families. She had a link to Meet Your Meat. (tricky woman caught me… it didn’t say PETA on it!)

I have a general aversion to PETA because I don’t think the way to raise awareness is to use fear or dramatics or to start a fight. I admire the cause, but I just don’t think you’re a bad person if you eat meat. It’s not that simple.

That said, I’ve been doing a little thinking. Thinking about reading Diet for a New America again. Thinking about doing some deeper research. Thinking about the fear of the animals that ends up in my own body.

So, what’s the harm? I just clicked a simple button – the Meet Your Meat video button and HOLY COW! Let me get my head out of the toilet for a minute. Wow. That’s an eyeful. It’s different to read an article about it, and another thing to see suffering on such a huge scale.

I personally know farmers who raise cows and chickens humanely. My family raised chickens for a while. Those were some happy chickens. Dumb, but happy. Certainly, those cows I love to see on my daily drive are some pretty sweet, happy California cows. The cows and chickens in the video? Not so much. I didn’t even get to pigs – I was out of there after the cow castration and the chicken beak removal.

Maybe I’ll go back and finish watching. Maybe I won’t have to. I will put it on my bookmarks tab to watch a bit before the next BBQ.

Think you can take it? Let me know if you can finish watching this.

I guess this is it

8 Sep

The more I commit to yoga, the more I find myself contemplating ahimsa, and the adorable baby cows I drive by daily, and the amount of time I spend yelling at my kids, and the judgment I pass on others, and somehow organically this shift occurs – I start eating less and less meat. Accidentally, with very little effort, I’ve gone a whole week without meat. If I didn’t know myself so well, I would be so tempted to impulsively declare myself a vegetarian and make wild statements about the evil nature of meat eating. I did that years ago, in college and spent almost two years sans meat. Now I know better, or at least I know myself better. (Being that judgmental is a horrible way to live, and always backfires…) I find myself a little older, and a little more humble. Despite my best efforts, I’m sure somewhere in my future there’s a piece of grilled chicken. I’m not going to let that stop me from doing what I can today.

So without grand statements, I will recognize that it is happening – I am transitioning into a vegetarian. I know it’s a process, and I know not all weeks will be as easy as this one.

I contemplate the word ahimsa. In Sanskrit, the A- part of the word means “not like”, and the -himsa part of the word is “lion”. So in essence, the first yama, of the first limb of yoga means “not like a lion”. I find so many different meanings in that phrase. From what I think I know about lions, they sleep most of the time, and wake up occasionally to hunt, usually picking off the young or the weak animals if possible. Firstly, I need to learn not to be lazy like a lion! Second, being aware of those around me who are helpless or vulnerable and need help. And of course, there is the question of eating flesh.

There are so many sides to ahimsa. Applying more kindness to myself on the mat, watching my thoughts for judgments about myself or others, and how we use our planet. But, I also think that to someone committed to the yoga path, ahimsa also means a bit of experimenting with a life outside of killing animals for food, clothing, etc.

Years ago, among other books, I read Diet for A New America by John Robbins and it was pretty eye opening. It’s time to do some more updated reading and perhaps dust off my old books. If awareness is the key, then I’m well on my way. I love animals, but I’ve never been a huge overly-sentimental animal lover. I get a bit turned off by all of the judgment and anger behind the animal rights movement. At the same time, I do give it a lot of consideration and can see the intention behind the PETA type of folks. It’s time for me to gently lean into a new lifestyle, so I’ll be keeping a very honest and possibly humiliating public journal of my vegetarian journey or lack thereof. Check out the new tab on the top of this blog for daily whining and a-ha veggie moments.

Here is today’s self deprecating entry:

Day One: September 6, 2008

Here we go… documenting the transition of one wanna-be vegetarian, from grilled chicken to – ??? I don’t know!!! – to be honest, I’m still not sure what to eat now. What I can promise is a frank and honest look at the process.

After a week without meat, and finding it kind of fun, I’m looking around for veggie blogs and not finding very much about the process – mostly just a bunch of recipes. Let’s talk about the recipes!…. I just can’t stomach tofu. TVP is OKI guess, but I really could live without it. Seitan??? I still don’t know what it is. All of that processed vegan crap in the freezer section of the health food store? Well, I don’t like regular hot dogs, so I can’t even think about stomaching that disgusting looking processed crap in sausage form, let along anything called tofurky.

Yes, it’s going to be interesting. It’s a good thing I’m a creative person and enjoy cooking. I also love what I call “real” food. I’m thinking avocados here… yea, lots of avocados. As long as chocolate is not in the animal family, I think I’m going to be just fine.


14 Nov

So I’ve been meditating faithfully for two weeks now. It’s been the easiest thing ever. Now, literally speaking, I have to be honest and just say that I suck at meditation. I’ve got some pretty good stories going on in my mind and they are like a vacuum, sucking me in. But, non-the-less I enjoy the process of watching where my attachments are and I am reveling in the wave of consistancy I’ve created from daily practice.

I gave up vegetarianism years ago when I gave up perfectionism. For me, the two were intimately linked.  In a paradoxical way, eating meat was very healing for me.

With my past perfectionism in mind combined with other issues from my past, I thought it wise not to make any declarative statement about becoming a vegetarian. I thought, it’s something that should happen without dogma. It should be a natural evolution.

So very quietly, tagging along behind my consistent meditation practice came a desire to stop eating meat. I can’t really explain it, except to say that it’s been a really natural shift. So far I’ve been cooking vegetarian without the kids noticing.

It’s been an unexpected side-effect of meditation and I’m fascinated by it!