22 February 2013

My Ongoing Food Conundrum

Anyone who knows me has probably noticed the ongoing struggle that I have with my diet and food in general.  I don't mean the eating junk food vs. eating healthy battle, but a more complex set of intertwined dilemmas what I am eating, where it is coming from, how much fossil fuel was used to get that food to me, how much am I spending on produce (probably 75% of my grocery purchases), can I sometimes eat meat and feel okay about that or not, and a lot of that comes down to "which is worse, item A or item B."  Ethics, compassion, environmental awareness, and my persistent desire to want to try every type of ingredient in the world.  Which is unfortunately obstructed my ethical beliefs and continually evolving relationship I have with what I want to eat, what I choose to eat, and what I sometimes secretly eat and feel like a horrible hypocrite about eating.  (Please to ask me to elaborate about that at this time... because I won't.  That's a different topic for another day.)

Another issue is how I choose to identify myself based upon my dietary choices.  Currently my self designated label is: ethical omnivore who eats mostly vegan.

Why?  Well, my philosophical beliefs combined with what I will admit is a slight lean towards selfish, hedonistic enjoyment of food determines "what I would eat, if everyone I would eat was available to me."  Example:  Eating humanely hunted wild game is more ethically sound than eating CAFO beef or factory farmed chicken.  The amount of suffering the animal endures in it's lifetime is the determining factor for me.  However, I have little to no access to obtaining wild game so I pretty much stick to beans, nuts, whole grains, etc. as protein sources.

Here are a few photos of meals I've prepared over the last week.  I'm a bit disappointed that I forgot to photograph the beet, caramelized onion & kale vegan quesadillas I made because they were out of this world amazing.  Next time!

Broccoli, onion, & sriracha vegan quesadillas (make with pepperjack Daiya "cheese").

 Vegan root veggies & wilted kale with Organic Seeduction bread from Whole Foods.
(Topped with sriracha and nutritional yeast, which is my mostly discovered food love.)

 Two muchrooms, two tomatoes, & a quarter green bell pepper quickly sauteed with a dash of olive oil, drizzle of balsamic, and sriracha.
Topped with raw sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and a handful of bruised Italian parsley.
(Would have been better with added white beans, but alas my pantry is lacking.)

16 February 2013

The Tale of Four Testicles, Part One (and Recap)

This should probably be the third installment of the saga of how having two intact male dogs in a small house isn't much fun, but I had hoped the situation wouldn't develop into a several days long epic.
Lola Lulu (black dog) meeting Valentine (red dog).

Summary of events, thus far:

- Two days ago I rescued an elderly purebred Hungarian Vizsla from the Pima county shelter.  Yes, I forgot to ask if he was neutered (entirely my fault)... I was distracted by his severely atrophied right rear hip and leg.  He was old, very sweet, and could only walk on three legs, so of course I took him home and named him Valentine.

- Initial introductions in the yard with all four dogs went smoothly.  Foxtrot (my foster English pointer, a 7 year old intact male) got kinda stiff & stared at him, but I intervened and he let it go... until we got into the house and he jumped Valentine.  Thankfully he was just being nasty/threatening (read: loud and snarly, but didn't bite down or break skin), but the dogs were separated which meant Foxtrot went into his crate in the bedroom.

Foxtrot meeting Valentine; notice the fully upright, tense tail and stiff posture. 
- To set the stage for these events, I live in a small one bedroom cottage style house.  In Arizona we call them "casitas."  There are no doors to separate the rooms, with the exception of the bathroom.  The only other doors belonging to the closet, the kitchen (leads to the backyard), and the living room (leads to the outside world).  Other than using crates/kennels there isn't any way to keep the dogs separated except outside in the yard (which is separated into two yards if you shut the gate).  Valentine FREAKS OUT in a crate: panting, drooling, trying to "dig" out of it, and he actually got his lower jaw stuck between the bars and I had to help him get un-stuck before he hurt himself.

- I tried reintroducing them in the yard twice yesterday (without my two dogs) and the first went very poorly, while the second was not too bad.

- Overnight Valentine has free reign of the living room and kitchen.  I use the sofa to block off my bedroom doorway (my dogs can easily jump over, but Valentine can't) and I'll let Foxtrot get up on the bed (with a slip lead on, so he doesn't bolt over the sofa and pounce on Valentine) to cuddle before bed.  He is still sleeping in his crate overnight.

- The daily routine involves rotating the dogs in and out of the house (which does mean either putting Valentine in the back yard by himself and giving Foxtrot house/front yard freedom or putting Valentine temporarily in a crate so that I can let Foxtrot out into the yard.

Just typing this all up is exhausting...

Fast forward to this morning:  Valentine is in the backyard, Lola & Gatsby are in the front yard and I brought Foxtrot out on a slip lead.  He didn't posture or behave nastily toward Valentine at the fence, so I opened the gate.  Foxtrot mostly ignored him and paid complete attention to me (being somewhat of a nuisance, but I'm letting that slide for now).  Only the smallest incident occurred when Valentine sniffed Foxtrot's rear and Foxtrot stiffened up & whipped his head around... I said his name and he swung his head back around toward me, relaxed instantly, and I praised him.  He then happily followed me into the house and I shut the door behind us, wanting to end this "exercise" on a good note.  We also had some cuddle time on the couch and he got to hang out with me in the kitchen while I got breakfast started, before he went back into his crate and I let the other dogs into the house.


We'll try again this afternoon and see how that goes.  Foxtrot's intense bond with me is working toward a positive end.  His choice is basically between getting love & attention from me or fighting with Valentine and this morning he chose positive attention from me instead of the latter.


11 February 2013

Backsliding and Becoming Buried

Once again I have been neglecting both my blog and my constant inclination to write.  To say my life has gone to the dogs is something of an understatement.  We're rescued five more dogs since my last post and I think I might have shaved my legs once or possibly twice since then (honestly not sure about that).

My spare time is usually the several hours past "bedtime" that I'm unable to sleep and I spend it watching social/cultural/food-related documentaries or British mystery TV shows on Netflix.  The former of which sends my mind churning and gives me plenty to write about, but by that time of the night I'm too unmotivated to do more than write out an outline that inevitably gets lost under pages of notes about dogs, potential fosters, shelter contact info, etc.

I've been cooking less or at least cooking less interesting things.  Mostly peanut butter and raspberry preserve sandwiches (usually with sliced jalapenos in the mix) or some concoction of brown steamed rice with veggies, beans, etc.  My home has also become almost unbearably cluttered, which doesn't help my mental state (which is already overwhelmed as it is).

The combined symptoms lead me to believe that I am:

A.   Over-worked


B.    Becoming depressed

My solution to that is to drink a lot of coffee today and start sorting things to donate & get rid of.  That might sound like an odd place to start, but it's mentally refreshing for me to get rid of "stuff."  Over the years I have become less and less a fan of "stuff."  Having too much of it around actually annoys me, but I often don't have or don't make the time to get rid of it properly.

More later today about better and brighter things, but for now I need to get to work...