Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Whole Foods?

Interestingly enough, on Mondays and Wednesdays I sometimes find myself eating my lunch on the floor outside my America on Film classroom. A girl in my class who is sometimes waiting in the same spot asked me what I was eating today and commented that she often wonders what I am eating but is usually afraid to ask for fear of seeming nosey. I found this incredibly amusing, as I am one of the nosiest people in the world. I was eating homemade vegetable sushi (avocado, carrot, cucumber, nori, and brown rice) with some shredded daikon. This conversation led to her asking where I got the nori and me detailing it's precise location in the Symphony Whole Foods.

Already I was proud of myself today for taking two leaps at social interaction. Now, instead of dwelling on my success at being a functional human being for the afternoon, I would like to discuss Whole Foods as a whole. Why is it important to me that I buy my food there as opposed to Shaws or Stop and Shop? Someone asked me this quite recently and I would like to elaborate.

Above the simple fact that a lot of my favorite foods (or even a variety of vegan foods in general) aren't available at the average supermarket, there are the environmental and health concerns:

1. Whole Foods is an active participatant in the non-GMO project. I have no desire to eat genetically modified foods. Anything that has been genetically engineered to withstand endless amounts of Roundup (a pesticide) is not something I want to be putting in my body. Mother Nature had it right from the beginning, and Whole Foods makes an enormous effort to avoid and protest the sale/distribution of genetically modified foods.

2. Whole Foods also has a great deal of locally grown/locally created products in stock. This contributes to the local economy as well as putting less strain on the environment. They are also avid supporters of the Free Trade and Organically grown movements.

3. Whole Foods does an extraordinary job of providing proper nutrition labeling and information to their consumers.

4. Whole Foods was also listed alongside Trader Joe's and Starbucks as one of the most wholesome and friendly environments to work in Forbes. Their employees will go out of their way to help you and generally give off a feel-good vibe that really enhances my grocery shopping experienced.

These are just a few of the many reasons when I am doing my grocery shopping and I have to give my money to a particular store, I choose to shop at Whole Foods. I can feel much better about the direction my money is taking and even better about the food I am about to eat, not to mention I can feel super good about my shopping experience lacking the same stress I would be feeling at another store.

I'm excited for tomorrow. It will FINALLY be March, and I'm so very happy for that. Also, does anybody else think Orson Welles looks like a total creeper in Citizen Kane?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's a Sunday kind of day...

So the better part of my Sunday was spent moseying. I kept myself a safe distance to the heater since it snowed last night. Again. My theory? February would like to get a few last words in before it turns into March. Typical.

The good news is that I made the prettiest lunch ever that was SO good and SO filling that I'm still comfortably full and it has been about 6 hours. I wanted to use the last handful of romaine I had in the fridge before I started in on the lettuce my mom brought me, so I decided on a salad. I had half of a red pepper in the fridge and some carrots that my mom brought. Ever since I was a little kid I've had the hugest thing for balsamic vinegar, so it guest stars on almost every salad I make. Since it was so cold here in Boston today I decided to cook up a vegan apple sausage and some green beans. Delicious. I think I'm so full because of the apple sausage. They taste heavenly and are very hearty soooo... I took another picture!

Now that I've started with the picture posting I just may keep putting them up! It's surprisingly easy. I'm also going to post a picture to give you all a visual to go along with yesterday's blog post. My mom took this picture of me with my sister and my dad on her new droid. We were briskly walking through Boston Commons trying to get to the car! I'm the one on the left with the cranberry juice sticking out of her pocket...

Besides sitting next to the heater studying all day, I also spent a fair amount of time folding laundry. Turns out when you do tons of laundry in one night it means folding the same tons of laundry the next day. Who knew? At least now my room is super clean with not a single piece of dirty laundry in sight. I'm excited for school tomorrow because I have my first exam for Roman Civilization. I want to see if my studying paid off... Plus after hanging around the house all day I could use some time at the gym to burn off this extra energy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lazy Friday and Super Saturday!

Usually I find February to be terribly dull and I rejoice in it being the shortest month of the year. Now I know I failed at updating yesterday, but I was surprisingly not at school as long as I usually am. After my early class and going to the gym, my boyfriend picked me up so we could hang out, do some laundry, and cook dinner.

Dinner was absolutely delicious. Not to brag, but I make a mean pico de gallo. It is spicy but because the vegetables are fresh it is also a little bit sweet. We also lived a little bit on the edge and got some vegetable rolls (a cucumber roll, a carrot roll, and an avocado roll). It was nice to not make my own sushi for a change! I'm ashamed to admit that I may have eaten about a few (or eight) too many Newman's Own cookies (they make amazing dairy free cookies). Clearly I lack self control. The perfect ambiance to accompany our dinner? Goodfellas. Robert DeNiro is amazing, and I did have a laugh watching Joe Pesci.

After a night like that it would seem as though my weekend couldn't get any better. You would be so wrong. Surprise! My family came to visit me (except for my brother). My favorite thing is to have my family visit. I get terribly homesick when I don't see my family for too long (two weeks is my limit on too long, though I have gone longer). My sister is diving head-first into the college application process, and with an amazing offer from one of her top schools she needed to revisit Boston for a tour.

After the tour my parents took us out for lunch at P.F. Changs, and I got an absolutely delicious brown-rice Buddha Feast. It was five-spice tofu with asparagus, broccoli, and green beans. I have leftovers for dinner so I am beyond excited that I get to enjoy it twice. The thing I love about hanging out with my family is that it is always comfortable, and even if I am not home it FEELS like I am.

Another treat that simply ices the cake? Grocery shopping! Grocery shopping is honestly one of my favorite things to do. It is calming and filled with possibilities. My parents took me to Whole Foods and in honor of that awesomeness, I have decided to grace this blog with its first picture! The food looked so delicious sitting on the table, so I knew I had to document it.

Doesn't that look so amazing? I can hardly wait to start using it! I feel so spoiled with a weekend full of loved ones, clean laundry, and amazing food!

I'm not planning on leaving the house tonight (a bit too cold outside) so I'm going to stay close to the heater and study for the two exams I have this week and maybe watch a bit of Take Home Chef. Maybe February is trying to send me a message that it's not so bad after all...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surrender to hunger...

Something weird happened to me at an ungodly hour this morning that almost never happens. I woke up. My sleeping habits are fairly routine and somewhat boring. Eight hours here, eight hours there. It is a rare occasion that I don't sleep through the night, and an even rarer one for me to wake up feeling monstrously nauseous. It is usually the sign that something is terribly wrong.

Immediately I jumped to conclusions: Lupus. Turned out to be nothing, but one can never be too careful. My more realistic guess was just a case of low blood pressure or blood sugar which can be traced directly back to my failure to eat anything at all yesterday save for a veggie wrap and a kiwi. Luckily I have the smartest mom in the world who, last time she came to visit, brought a nice box of crackers for me. I don't usually partake in crackers (especially lately...they just seem so lonely without cheese), but they certainly did help with their loaded sodium and sugar content. Took me a bit to fall back asleep after that little episode though.

Cut to this morning. Wake up today was 5:30 am. If you do the math you might notice there isn't a terribly large time gap between the unceremonious wake up call from my body and the time I had to greet the day. I laid in bed an extra 15 minutes feeling sorry for myself which resulted in my not having time to pack a lunch, brush my hair (which is often neglected anyway), or pack my gym bag.

Lessons learned:
1. I need to be better about eating on a schedule the same way I sleep on a schedule. I'm a very good eater, don't get me wrong (those of you who know me are probably laughing as you read this), but sometimes after a long day I just don't have it in me to chew anything. Clearly the rest of my body doesn't share the same sentiment.

2. Lying in bed that extra 15 minutes was such a bad idea.

3. Gym bag needs to be packed the night before.

Now that we've covered that let's move onto something exciting! My new study group! How cool is that? I've been approached by someone at school with the intent to be friends. Socially awkward at first, I'm finding this the perfect opportunity to be charming and show off the study guide I spent four and a half hours perfecting almost two weeks ago. My plan is to pretend I made it after they invited me yesterday instead of embarrassingly long before the exam. I will also pretend I made it in less than an hour and neglect to mention the three prototypes it took for me to get my study guide to look 'just right'.

Good thing I wore pink today. It brings out the tired in my eyes. They'll totally think I'm hardcore.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gym Beasts

I truly love/hate to be the one to bring it up, but every gym has one. It lurks behind you as you are exercising, taps its foot in front of whatever machine you are using, and is usually in worse shape than anyone there. That's it, folks. The gym beast. Usually a middle aged woman of Caucasian descent, the gym beast feels that she owns the place and that each piece of exercise equipment is at her disposal. All the time.

Cut to the Fitness Center at my school. I encountered such a gym beast earlier. After signing up for the 12 pm slot on the elliptical machine, I noticed that the young man using it was a few minutes behind. He apologized and asked if I minded that he had a few more minutes to go. In generally good spirits I decided to use this as an opportunity to get my strength training a bit early. I then hop on the then-empty elliptical and continue on with my workout. Time flies, and before I know it I have four measly minutes left on my workout. The other elliptical machines around me are empty, as it is the time of the day where people are going back to class (except for me).

Cue slobbering gym beast.

Gym beast demands I surrender my elliptical in the nastiest tone she can possibly muster for a complete stranger. I smile through my sweat and ask politely if she minds if I finish the now 2 and a half minutes I have left or if she might like to go on one of the other six elliptical machines that are right next to the one I am using.

Gym beast DEMANDS this elliptical because this elliptical is the one she LIKES to use (for those of you who don't use the beacon fitness center, they are all identical). As gym beast follows this with a nasty motion, a decision is made. I climb off, clean off the machine as slowly as I possibly can, and then I relish in climbing on the elliptical right next to her and staring at her as I start a new workout for 15 minutes. Watching her face scrunched up in what is clearly a false sense of gym-ownership, I decide I won't let gym beast win. I then climb off after the extended work out and graciously inform her that her attitude motivated me to do an extra thirteen minutes. Filthy.

Those of you who know me also know I don't like being judged for my appreciation of the graphic novel culture. Gym beast was judging my batman sweatpants, and do not think I didn't notice. I'll post again after my next class, I'm too busy relishing to write about anything else at the moment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let's Talk Chocolate...

When it's a slow day at school and I have already gone to the gym and done all of my homework, I like to read about one of my favorite things on the planet. FOOD! Aside from the obvious effort and research it takes to be a vegan (or even a vegetarian), I think one of the most important things we can do is be educated about the things we are putting in our mouths. Though usually it is information we don't really want to hear because it makes us question the very things we find taste so good, it really does make a difference because, to go along with that age old saying, your dollar IS your vote. Every time you make a purchase you are sending a message about the demand for that product.

It doesn't seem like a lot, and I will admit there are times when I am standing in line at Whole Foods watching them scan the organic apples that I get down on the whole thing. Is that extra dollar really going to make a difference? They don't even know me! It DOES, though. By buying certain products you are creating the demand (not to mention making a healthier choice) and that demand is noticed by the supermarkets. The supermarkets then make the orders to the companies and, though it isn't necessarily an immediate result, it does add up.

Today I was researching chocolate, and I stumbled upon an article written by John Robbins. Can I just say that I love John Robbins? His strength in confronting what he knew was an unhealthy business (and lifestyle) is truly admirable. Walking away from the Baskin Robbins fortune couldn't have been easy... how many of us would really be willing to do that? Everyone should read this article and at the end there is an opportunity for you to fill out a Corporate Responsibility Survey for Hershey's. Encourage them to go Fair Trade and to stop turning a blind eye towards child slavery in the cocoa industry.

First Post!

Since this is the first posting of my first blog ever, I figured I should introduce myself. My name is Moira, I am less than a month away from being 21 years old, and I live in Boston, Massachusetts. I am an archaeology major hoping to teach, travel the world, and document my every experience.

While riding the subway to school this morning it occurred to me that I want this part of my life documented just as much as any future endeavors, especially since it feels like I am forever trying something new. The current attempt: veganism. Allow me to explain myself.

I have been a vegetarian for the past three and a half years. I've felt so much healthier and lighter since ditching meat but I also developed a fairly intense case of lactose intolerance in the last few months. After avoiding dairy I have decided to make a stand! I am going to do the very best I can to ditch animal products in general. Wish me luck!