Jul 022012
 

After 12 years of almost daily pain, and several days to weeks each year of utter incapacity – it’s hard to explain really, like life itself has been sucked out of you – I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This lifeless feeling has prevailed since April this time, not letting up ever entirely. This has made the realities of running a homestead a glaring issue to be faced. There is always something to do on a homestead, always weeds to be pulled, produce to be processed, meals to be lovingly cooked, hungry creature mouths to be fed, house chores to be done, fences to fix, the list is endless. There is normally precious little time for the breaks to enjoy what all of us work for – deep peace and appreciation for our natural world. There is really no time for incapacity – no time when ‘nothing’ can be done.

With the mobility and balance issues and extreme, indescribable fatigue – I’ve been able to do very little in the gardens, very little around the house, and consider it a blessed good day if I can make our supper. The stairs in the house have become the most frightening part of my every day. Waiting on starting a treatment, it has been explained to me that the cost will be more than we can pay when my benefits are dropped – the job that paid for the environmental improvements to this home now slipping quickly away. I discovered the Swank MS Diet and have returned to veganism and an extremely low fat diet, following Dr. Swank’s plan, in combination with a lot of factors from Dr. McDougall’s plan. Still researching my herbs, I believe nature has what we need to treat anything – we just haven’t found a lot of it.

Danny has been the greatest support a girl could ask for, but has his own issues to deal with that are doubling the difficulty of keeping this homestead going. Oskar has been my constant companion, and Jet and Bella have become avid hunters and protectors of the property.

Wild Rose Herbs is closed. The domains were sold. Please do not contact wildroseherbs.com in search of my products.

As we struggle to find a new order at Dharma Dogs Farm, we’ll keep you posted.

Peace,

michele

Jul 312011
 

My three week Vegan trial is over – and here is the result:

I’m not Vegan.

I have learned over the last several weeks what it means to be Vegan. It’s so much more than a way to eat. Animal rights figure into every single decision. I admire the Vegans I have met – while I do believe in most of what they do, I don’t necessarily agree with it all. It’s a hard balance for me – growing up in a way that taught me reverence for every living being did not mean to not eat meat, but to raise the animal humanely and use every bit of it for something when killed for the family table. I did not like meat – and most of our dinners had names – it was a pretty easy jump for me to become Vegetarian almost as soon as I left my parent’s home. What made me every stray, I really don’t know – but I am very happy to be back to full-fledged Vegetarianism.

Here is the real result of my experiment – I have found enough information in the last three weeks to make me realize the health benefits of avoiding dairy and eggs. Honey is a gift from the bees to me and is very healthful. I make many of my herbal preparations with organic, local honey, and will continue to. I will still eat dairy and eggs on occasion, particularly when it appeases family members during holiday meals, etc. When I do, however, I will be sure the animals have been treated well. I am in the process of finding additional sources for small organic humane farm products.

Most of the Vegan options I have found, I will continue to use and like more than the dairy. These include Earth Balance butter replacement – Coconut or Soy milk replacement for half n half – Tofutti sour cream replacer – Tofutti cream cheese replacer – Coconut and Soy ice creams – Daiya cheese replacements. I am still experimenting with cheese replacements and will be posting a comparison soon.

I expect to eat this way at least 98% of the time, but I am not ready to call myself Vegan. Perhaps in the future, maybe even the near future, this will be true.

Peace,
michele

Jul 172011
 

I’m really feeling pretty good – and liking following my own beliefs a lot more. Danny and I have really had a great week, though occasionally stressing a little over ‘what to eat.’ The truth is, when you eat vegetarian, you can make an entire meal out of anything you have a lot of, and other staples from the kitchen. For real, you ALWAYS can make an awesome meal – use your creativity, or search a good vegetarian cookbook.

When eating vegan, it’s almost as easy – check for animal products – dairy, cheese, honey, dry milk, eggs, egg powder or beaters. Veganism goes a lot further than what you eat. There are animal products in body care products, your clothing, household products – a LOT of things. In this way, I am not vegan yet. I have leather shoes, use a lotion I see has dry milk as an ingredient, I haven’t done the research on every single thing I use in my daily life – I did even find my favorite vegetarian cheese contains a bit of casein – which makes it NOT vegan. I’ve been using rice cheese substitutes, and they do not at all compare – don’t believe what is on the package – I haven’t found a rice cheese that melts yet.

Okay, so tonight, we have our first ripe tomato :) It’s a beefsteak, and we’re having  BLTs – I’ve got homemade wheat bread, Lightlife veggie bacon,  and vegan nayonnaise. We’re having homemade french fries (baked potato strips) and vegan cole slaw (previous recipe) and fresh canteloupe.

Two more weeks – who knows?

Peace,
michele

Jul 162011
 

I’m really happy with the way I eat, but still not sure I’m really vegan. That said, I had an awesome vegan dinner and desert :)

I made a totally vegan cheeseburger sub – with vegan mayo, tofutti american cheese, and Boca burgers. It was AWESOME :) The chips are UTZ reduced calorie Sour Cream and Onion – made with whey, they actually have protein content. I had peanut butter swirl coconut ice cream for desert and it ROCKED :)
I think you can find products to make anything you want vegan. I was completely satisfied with this Friday night dinner – it’s low calorie, nothing bad for you , and vegan. :)
Jul 142011
 

I feel really good – and I’m not really missing cheese :) Danny is really being very supportive. He got me a new book - The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and we are finding tons of yummy recipes. This book helped me get over my first fear – that my favorite staple food, pizza, would be off limits. She has several vegan pizza recipes in the book that inspire much more flavorful pies. I am starting to wonder why I ever liked the cheese-laden slices I was used to eating. There are also some good recipes for ‘cheese’ sauces, cheese block and tempeh bacon, which will come in handy when those tomatoes get ripe!

I also check VegWeb.com quite a bit. There are very inventive recipes here for just about anything you could crave – including vegan fried chicken – hmmm.

I’ve found that I have to eat a lot more to keep my blood sugar stable, but I’m eating mostly fruits and veggies. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t experimented too much with different recipes. I’m really happy with what I’ve tried so far.

The only cheese issue I really am having is eating out. We are going out for dinner one day next week to our favorite restaurant, where I have several vegetarian favorites – but they all have cheese. I’m not sure what to order.

Peace,
michele

Jul 112011
 

Today went pretty good – I even slightly noticed I was feeling a little better – well, at least until the total mental breakdown (work related, not food).

For breakfast, Kashi Golden Goodness with soy milk and tea with soy creamer – this is pretty standard workday quick breakfast, so I won’t repeat myself.

Lunch was a vegan Boca burger with leftover vegan cole slaw and a slice of Rice Vegan cheese. Don’t believe what they tell you on the label – Rice Vegan does NOT melt. Okay, so I haven’t yet found a way to make it melt.

Dinner was awesome – we picked the rest of the spring lettuce in the garden, an onion, and a cucumber we didn’t realize was there (no, it wasn’t huge). We also grabbed a few basil leaves and some chives and tossed these in with our green salad. We had leftover chick pea salad and a slice of homemade wheat bread with this.

So, where did I screw up? I normally make my own salad dressing. I was tired tonite (remember the breakdown?) and just drizzled some Newman’s Own Family Italian on my salad, since that is what Danny was using. It wasn’t until later that I realized there was romano cheese in the dressing. What? Yea, of course there is, but I hadn’t thought of it until later.

It’s okay – I better planned for tomorrow!

Jul 102011
 

My first wholly vegan day was pretty awesome. For breakfast, I had French toast – homemade ciabatta, dipped in soy milk, and lightly pan fried in Earth Balance. At the last minute, I tossed in some raspberries and blueberries from the garden – poured over the toast and added maple syrup.

For lunch, leftover pizza we made Friday night. We make our own pizza crust and our own sauce. I considered adding a vegan mozzarella – but I have fresh herbs in the garden and I had some leftover olives, so I thought I could make a really tasty pizza with no cheese. And I did :)

Dinner was a Barbeque Tofu and Zucchini sandwich with Vegan Cole Slaw (recipes forthcoming).

No cravings for anything and nothing much different than most days.

Peace,
michele

Jul 102011
 

I’ve been eating vegetarian again for about 6 months, finally realizing this is who I really am and that it’s okay if Danny wants to eat meat – I don’t have to. Over these last 6 months, I have lost over 40 pounds and 10 inches. I am obviously right about who I am :)

Last month, Dan picked up Kathy Freston’s Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World. So much of what I found in this book rang true to me, from poisons in our food, to the real causes of cancer, and the inhumane treatment of animals. I immediately began rethinking everything I was eating – no longer eating anything made with eggs unless the eggs came from my own coddled hens. Casein became an enemy – causing cancer almost as certainly as bleach will. I even investigated the alcohol we drink – and personal products we are using.

As I started to eat a lot more vegan, I also realized there are some substitutions that don’t make sense to me. I have found artificial colors and trans fats in many substitute products. I am certainly still learning this way of life – even having been vegetarian for several years in the 70′s-80′s, veganism is new to me.

Today I am starting a three week journey into strict veganism. I look at it as an adventure – one that might continue on for the rest of my life. There is a part of me that feels true authenticity can’t be found in substitutes. This doesn’t mean I won’t carry on vegan – but may give up the substitutes altogether.

That said, I’m still looking for a good vegan parmesan cheese ….

Peace