Thursday, June 28, 2012

What is the Worst Thing You Could Ever Hear?.....

.....  That one of the few people in your family who you (thought you) knew to be supportive--and who cared for you unconditionally--has apparently been lying, so to speak.

I went to my mother's house to mow her grass today.  I tend to find myself doing nice things for her all the time.  Every since I came out as queer, she has been one of the few family members who I always expected to be supportive and to love me unconditionally.  She even used to wear a button to work that says, "I'm Straight.  Not Narrow."  Well, that feels like total bullshit right now.

When I went over there this evening to mow, I was inside drinking water, getting hydrated for this mow in 100+ degree heat.  We started talking and somehow got on the topic of religion.  I had told her a story about how my brother recently got God-bombarded by our grandmother on Facebook when he posted this.

As our grandmother tells it:

When I brought this up to my mom, she said, "Well, you know that is what I believe, right?"  Then we got into a whole discussion on religion, and I asked her, "So if you believe all of what is said in the bible, do you honestly believe that I chose to be queer?"  And her reply was something like, "Honestly?  Yes.  You may not have chosen it specifically, but there are factors in the world that led you to make that choice.  I only hope that one day you will see the light."

I have a lot of this sort of attitude in my family--even knowing that there are ones who feel the same way but don't vocalize it.  However, I never thought my mom was one of those people.

I think one of the worst things you can ever experience is hearing someone who you believe will always love you unconditionally, basically say to you that they think you chose to be mistreated and discriminated against.  Needless to say, no lawn got mowed today.

I suppose this gives me one less reason for missing this place when I finish school and move away.  I had just hope that this would be one reason that would have remained intact.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


So... my brother made this soup the other day (near the beginning of my fast), and it gave me the biggest craving for soup.  To satiate this craving, I told myself I was going to make a "soup juice" that would mimic the flavor of soup.  Boy, was that a terrible idea!

I made the "soup juice" yesterday.  It had the following in it:

1 head of green cabbage
8 tomatoes
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 bags of carrots
4 pieces of celery


It tastes like soups armpit!  And now I'm still stuck drinking it.  I have about 40 o.z. of it left.  It goes by very slowly, because I hate it so very much.  I know it is good for me.... but it tastes like gym socks.

Lesson learned.

Day 4

This would be day four of the juice fast.

So far, things have been going remarkably well.  Most of the negative parts people claim to experience on days 1 - 3, I have not experienced them at all!  On day one I was a little light-headed and felt kind of high.  But beyond that, each day has been progressively better.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  I needed to talk with him, because I ran out of my prescription drug--which is an anti-depressant.  However, I definitely wanted to talk to him about the juice fast as well, to get his insight as a physician.

I will say that I was a bit worried going into this appointment, as (the last time I went there) I previously spoke with a nurse instead of a doctor.  At the time, I was having serious medical concerns.  I couldn't leave bed due to nausea, exhaustion, and blinding migraines whenever I was out in the light.  She ran all kinds of blood work on me--which ended up costing me over $500 with insurance.  All of the blood work and tests--thyroid testing, blood sugar testing, kidney function testing, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.--came back OUTSTANDING.  So what was her "reasoning" as to why I was feeling sick?  "Well, I think you just need to get more exercise!"  SERIOUSLY?!  My blood work and tests come back absolutely perfect, I'm vegan, but.... it must be that I need more exercise.

Turns out that our furnace was leaking carbon monoxide.  My room is in the basement.... right next to the furnace.  Literally, the foot of my bed is maybe three feet from the furnace.  Due to this nurse's fat hating incompetence, I could have died.  Luckily, we caught it on our own, because we had the furnace serviced about a week later.  See..... fat hate kills.

Anyway, because of this, I was a little concerned about what it would be like when I met my actual doctor for the first time.  The office is covered in those "Your Weight and Your Health..." posters and literally has an item sitting on a table in the waiting room that says "Vat of Fat" on it.... I'm sure you can guess what that entails.  However, Dr. Constance is AMAZING!  First of all, he asked me how I'd been feeling since I have been off of my anti-depressant.  He said he could refill it, but that I should try and go without it if I do not feel like I need it (but keep the prescription in case I start having those feelings again).  He was also very legitimizing of his patience feelings.  "Only you can know how you feel."  He was surprisingly very supportive of the juice fast.  From everything I've seen from a lot of doctors--or should I say, "tools of the pharmaceutical industry"--they're pretty anti-juice fasting.  However, he's not a pharma-tool.  He's actually the Dean at the SIU School of Medicine.  He basically told me, ".... so long as you are taking in calories and drinking enough water to remain hydrated, it is not going to kill you.  People have fasted culturally and spiritually for thousands of years."  He also said that I don't need to "take a baseline" to determine my health.  I appear to be in very good health.

Another thing that made me know I could trust him was his general disdain for the BMI scale.  "You have to take many things into account: genetics, body frame size, diet, exercise, other illness.... The BMI scale is too simplistic."  Wow.  I don't think I've ever heard a doctor say that--other than academic doctors in books.  Purely awesome!

As of this morning--on day four--I'm at 282.6 lbs.  I started on day one at 294.8 lbs.  That is a loss of  12.2 lbs. in three days.  The further I get along, the more I think I can make it through these 10 days.  But I will admit that the first few days were total shit, and all I wanted was to sit in front of the couch and snack on pumpkin seeds.  But now, I really do think that I can do this--for at least ten days!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Juice Fast and Other Updates

I know it has been quite a while since I've posted  a blog update.  I've been very busy with school, work, and making of the "life decisions."  That said, I believe I will now have a little more free time for blogging--so long as I can get over my "lazy bastard" syndrome.  I literally just spent about an hour or so coming up with things to do on "teh intrawebz" that would allow me to avoid writing this blog post.  But once I got over the lazy, I was good to go.

So, these are the things I want to talk about today:

  1. My juice fast
  2. My decisions recently regarding school and life
  3. My upcoming vacation
Well, we'll start with #1 first.

The Juice Fast

So, like many fatties, I have tried just about every diet under the sun--most with no results.  I've also come to find that--during the times I did have results--I had different reasons as to why I lost weight.  For example, when I was first coming to grips with my queerness, I didn't realize that I was actually suffering from multiple eating disorders.  So when I "started Weight Watchers" back in the day, it wasn't so much the "program" that helped me lose weight, so much as it was the fact that I was coming to grips with my sexuality at the same time and this led to my eating disorders subsiding (at least to a degree).  So, needless to say, I don't typically fall into the bullshit espoused by fad diets.

That said....  I was kind of interested when I saw the documentary by Joe Cross, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."

Admittedly, I tend to be kind of apprehensive about stuff like this when I see it.  I just assume that it is total bullshit.  However, there is a difference between watching a documentary--where you're practically walking with someone through a part of their life--and watching some bullshit infomercial where you know that it is photoshopped.  Yet, I was still questioning the legitimacy of a juice fast as being healthy.... so I embarked on about three weeks worth of research into it.  I wanted to know if anyone had produced any peer-reviewed studies about this topic and what their results were.

What I found was that 1.) there haven't been any peer-reviewed studies I could find on this particular subject--yes, they've had them on "fasting," but that typically involved water, no juice.  So you have a bunch of pharma-fan people and juice fast guru people--both claiming that the studies are out there, but providing no citation--cheering on their side of the argument.  So I decided to say screw it, and try one for myself.

Yesterday was my "Day 1" of what is currently going to be a 10 day juice fast.  Needless to say, when I went to make my breakfast juice yesterday, I got a bit ambitious.

This was WITH having already drank a full bottle of juice.  Buh.  It's watermelon, strawberry, pineapple, and ginger.  It was basically delicious and I'll be drinking it for breakfast at least through tomorrow.  I've been sharing it with my sister-in-law, who claims she is doing a juice fast too.  Of course, she ate soup for dinner last night.  So take that however you'd like to.  :)

Overall, yesterday wasn't too terrible--except for discovering that beet juice basically tastes like dirt.  I think I'll be able to stick out the 10 days, but who knows?  I had a dream last night that I was eating meat--sausage, to be exact--and was enjoying it.  Needless to say, I woke up wanting to wretch.  Gross!  But, other than that, so far so good!

I would like another juicer.  Mine I've had for about 3 years and I had only used it once prior to this experience.  But I'm sure I could get a better one.  I think this is the one that dude used in that documentary (or close to it).

School/Life Decisions

I'm crazy.  This may be true.  I may be suffering from a grad school "Senioritis" situation.  I doubt it.  So, I've had every plan of taking the GRE and applying to Ph.D. programs in the fall, and very likely moving to NYC in about a year to pursue my Ph.D.  However, I recently decided that this was a terrible idea.  So what is a "good idea" according to crazy me?  Apparently spending the next year--to finish up my degree--and then moving to L.A. to pursue a career in the entertainment industry (either as a writer or an actor).  I know.  Crazy, right?

I'm sorry.  But I keep seeing all of these articles about people with Master's degrees and Ph.D.s who are on welfare.  I'd rather be the struggling artist than the guy with $100,000 in student loans and a Ph.D. who is on welfare.  Also, it is something I've always wanted to do, but I had immediately assumed it was improbable--if not completely impossible.  So I figure I might as well try it for a year and see if I can survive with that as a career.  If not, I can always go back and get my Ph.D. later.

I've already started taking necessary steps.  I have an appointment with a photographer friend in August to take my first round of head shots.  I have a similar appointment with a web friend who is going to work on my website.  In addition, I've been auditioning for roles in local projects.  Admittedly, that hasn't gone great, but what do you expect when I haven't auditioned for anything in 8 years!  I do have my first part--be it a chorus part--in a play.  My rehearsals start in August and the play will be in Sept./Oct., I believe.


For the last two years, my brother, his wife, and I have gone to New Orleans every year for vacation.  This has been falling in September every year.  Last year, I got no end of shit from my job about taking time off for this vacation.  I have a big responsibility assignment around that time each September.  So this year I decided that I want to take a vacation in October.  Why?  October is my birth month.  I've never done anything big on my birthday, so I decided this year that I wanted to take a big vacation for my birthday.  Because of that, this year we will be going to.....  VEGAS, BABY!

Well, Vegas and California.  We're going from the 19th (the day before my birthday) until the 23rd.  On my actual birthday (the 20th), I've decided that I want to rent a car and drive to Los Angeles.  That way, I'll get a small taste of the place--since I want to move their eventually anyway--and I'll get to enjoy some great sightseeing stuff on my birthday!

In Vegas, we're going to be staying at The Stratosphere.

We're mainly staying there because: 1.) they're one of the nicest cheap hotels in Vegas and 2.) because my sister-in-law has a hard-on to hit up the rides that are on the roof.

I'm looking forward to so much with this trip.  It'll be awesome to actually do something big on my birthday for once.  Also, I get to see a friend--who lives in Vegas--that I haven't seen in years.  Also, apparently Vegas AND Los Angeles have some great vegan restaurants and vegan options that I am looking forward to.  They include:

- Wynn/Encore hotel restaurants:  The owner of these places went vegan within the last few years, so they offer great vegan menus at everything from casual to fine dining.  I'm pumped about trying both!

- Pura Vida Bakery in Vegas:  They serve amazing vegan baked goods as well as typical meals and appetizers.  Their chocolate waffles look amazing!

I can't even get into my list for L.A. as it is WAY too long.  I'm gonna have to work on trimming it down way before we actually go on this trip.


Anyway, I hope to be blogging at least every few days while I'm on this juice fast, to let you all know how it is going.  If you've had experiences juice fasting, I'd love to hear them!  Drop me a comment.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Girl Scout Cookies, Veganism, and Social Justice!

It's that time of year again!  What is it they say?  That's right!  "The cookies are coming!"  Now, you might be asking what brought about my recent fascination with Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookies.  Well, it all started with this YouTube video one of my friends posted on Facebook.  I'll include it here below.  If you are able to get all the way through watching it, then you're a trooper.  I think I made it about three minutes in and couldn't stand hearing this bigot say "...and I quote" one more time.  We should make an "And I Quote" drinking game.... but by the end, there'd seriously be people with alcohol poisoning in under ten minutes.  Anyway, here's the video:

The people who posted this video initially have taken it down after a lot of backlash.  Funny enough, they call themselves "HonestGirlScouts" on YouTube.  If you want to go troll them, here's there page:

If you want to see an awesome response video, here it is:

She's my Girl Scout hero!

So this got me into further researching the Girl Scouts of America.  Seeing as I used to be a Boy Scout--and they are FAR less inclusive than Girl Scouts appeared to be--I was interested in seeing if this was true of Girl Scouts.  I know that Boy Scouts of America has been in the news previous for denying homosexual scouts, as well as homosexual scout masters from being a part of the scouts.  So what I found out about Girl Scouts was even better!  Apparently, Girl Scouts has turned into a group that is very conscious about social justice.  I think that is awesome!  The stuff I found can be more easily summed up by a picture that I saw on Facebook this morning, so I thought it'd be perfect to go with this blog post.  Here it is:

(Courtesy of Geneva Conway.)

So basically, despite being vegan, I had every intention of buying as many of those Girl Scout cookies this year as I can get between my grubby little mitts!  What I actually found was quite surprising.  Some Girl Scout cookies actually are vegan!  But I'll warn.... you fellow vegans out there have to be careful.  Girl Scout Cookies are actually made by two different companies.  That is why sometimes they have slightly different names (for example: Shortbreads/Trefoils, Samoas/Carmel deLites, etc.).  Each year, these two companies are actually the ones who choose what variety of cookies will be out that year.  Each company chooses eight cookies, and those are the ones they produce for the Girl Scouts that year.  Those two companies are ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

Just so you are aware, NONE of the cookies made by Little Brownie Bakers are vegan!  Not one.  However, there are FIVE varieties that are made by ABC Bakers that are vegan!

Here are some tips to know which bakery your local troupe uses:

  • Obviously--if they're sitting right in front of you--you can check the box.
  • If they're selling Thanks-a-Lots, Shout Outs!, or Lemonades, they're selling from ABC Bakers (as Little Brownie Bakers are not making those varieties this year).
  • If they're selling Savannah Smiles, Dulce de Leche, or Thank U BerryMuch cookies, they're selling from Little Brownie Bakers (as ABC Bakers are not making those varieties this year).
  • Also, if you check the website for your local Girl Scouts troop--which you can typically find via the Girl Scout website when you go to look for cookies--They will likely have a resource for the troop leaders about placing their cookie orders, which will tell you who they are ordering from.
Lucky for me, my local troop uses ABC Bakers!  I know you've been waiting for it, so here are the five varieties that are vegan from ABC Bakers this year:

And I know you've all been waiting for this one..................

(All Courtesy of ABC Bakers.)

For the first time ever, a vegan Thin Mint cookie!  Too awesome for words......

Now, I'm sure there are some stickler vegans out there saying, "Well a few of those aren't vegan!  They're made on equipment that is used to process milk products!" or "I doubt any of those are vegan!  They're cookies!  Come on!  Sugar!  Bone Char!  Come on BFGV!  Get your head out of your ass!"

To this, I say:

1.  I am definitely not a stickler vegan for products with those warning labels, "Allergen Information: This product is manufactured on equipment that processes products containing milk."  I might be more concerned if I were actually allergic to milk, but I am not.  Also, if you know much about these types of large factory settings, you'll know that they are generally very diligent about cleanliness.  If they weren't they'd be shut down in no time.  So I typically trust that they're vegan-friendly.

2.  If you also know enough about these large factory type operations, then you'll know that sugar refined using bone char is more expensive than sugar that is refined through other means--or even unrefined.  Therefore, companies who are making products like this--both in such large quantities and in which you'll never actually see the sugar--rarely will use the more expensive stuff.  So you're looking at a better than average chance that this sugar is completely vegan.

I will note for the masses that I am not advocating for the mass consumption of cookies.  However, moderation never killed anyone.  Nothing drives me more crazy than the snotty vegans who say, "Oh... I'd never eat that stuff."  Also, when you're given an opportunity to help an organization that is as socially aware as the Girl Scouts seem to be, you'll make an exception!

So go buy your cookies!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'M FAIL.... or "Falling Off the Wagon"

I am seriously FAIL.


I fell off the vegan wagon and went back to eating animal products.  For about 6 or 7 months now.  I guess my shame kept me from posting here.  It probably would not have been so bad; however, once you've gone vegan and done your homework, you know the terrible things that happen to animals--and your body when you consume them.  So when you "fall off the wagon," you are aware of the terrible things that have happened before your food made it to your plate.  So, like violence on television, you desensitize yourself to it.  "It won't bother me if I don't think about where it came from."  That is a cheap excuse; I admit it.  I think my "falling off the wagon" started due to a mixture of lacking money and going through a depression over the summer.  Unfortunately, it was a hole that I didn't climb out of, and it kept getting deeper and deeper.  Since the same time last year (June 2010) from my last post, I have gained 90 lbs. and I have begun to feel like total crap ever since quitting being vegan.

Before this story starts sounding too sad, I'd like to say this....  I have finally pulled myself out of this hole, and I have begun a vegan diet once more!  I attribute this solely to a friend that introduced me to the "21-day Vegan Kickstart" (

While I'll admit that I haven't used their meal plan, just the idea of this kickstart helped to provide me with that first step I needed to get back to feeling more like me.  I'm on day 3 right now, and I already feel remarkably better.  I can tell I've lost weight--though it is not about that for me--and I feel like I have so much more energy and drive than I've had in MONTHS!

I hope that--if you're reading this--you haven't lost faith in me.  I feel completely restored, and I have a hard time believing I'll have any more problems again with "falling off the wagon."  I never want to feel that way again.  I feel amazing today and I know that this feeling will just continue to grow from here!