The Broke Vegan

Laughter and Spinach are the Best Medicines


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Biking vs. Bikram

“What was I thinking?!” 

A while ago – I came up with the hair brained idea that my parents, brother and I should bike 25 miles along the coast of New Jersey on behalf of the National MS Foundation, which is an amazing charity that funds research, programs and support for people and families effected by MS. 

While MS Research is a cause very near and dear to our hearts, biking 25 miles is not. 

My parents have been riding semi-regularly for over the last year or so – each of them purchasing their own bikes and fancy-schmancy bike bags. But “riding” is a relative term – they’re casual riders; we’re talking 10 mile rides, around 14 miles per hour, with lots of photo opportunities. 

I don’t ride. 

I take that back – I do own an 80lb mountain bike that I take out occasionally to ride to the bank or the train station… both of which are about 1 mile from my apartment. 

Nevertheless – we decided that 1 week after my dad’s 60th birthday – we’d do this ride. 

GO TEAM! 

With the generous donations of family and friends, we raised over $600 MS, and packed up our bags on Friday to head to Monmouth, NJ. Before I left, my biker-boss (who has ridden almost 500 miles since January) asked; 

Him: Do you have bike gloves?

Me: … nope… 

Him: Do you have bike shorts? 

Me:… … nope…. 
Him: Do you at least have a padded bike seat?! 

Me:….. …….

Probably should have at least invested in that one. 

Saturday dawned cloudy and cool – making me long for my 105 degree sweat lodge in New York.  Like the troopers we convinced ourselves we were, we took off at 9am amongst a pack of enthusiastic riders along the Jersey shore. 

Beautiful houses and stretches of beaches were calling to me as I churned my sweating legs up and down and up and down and OMG WHY AM I RIDING A MOUNTAIN BIKE?!

I kid. 

The 25 miles was relatively flat – and the halfway mark offered fresh fruit, power bars and water to refuel for the ride home. 

Biking is sort of like running – (or so I’m told) – you sort of get into a “groove”, and just keep going. Read: the soreness doesn’t kick in until later. 

And yes – we all got medals :) 

Image

I had warned my Bikram studio not to expect much from me on Sunday – I told them I was biking, and they told me I was crazy. 

They were right. 

My tush was screaming, the inside of my left thing felt like a crusty rubber band and I was chugging coconut water like it was my life blood. 

I made it through the class – sweating like a nut, and yes, for the first time in a long time, sitting out Tulandasana and second set of Triangle. 

Totally worth it and all that – but if I had to pick – 

Biking: 1 

Bikram: 0 


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The Hummus Man

On Wednesdays, my town hosts a local farmer’s market about 3 blocks from my house. During the season, I do 90% of my shopping there, as, let’s be honest, there’s nothing better than farm-fresh food. 

While they do have non-vegan foods (including a local butcher, who advertises “organic rabbits” and YES I do cringe as I walk by and avoid eye contact) this year they’ve brought on a restaurant, Taiim Falafel Shack, which I was convinced sold delicious fried amazing-ness wrapped in a pita. 

Falafels have to be one of my top 10 favorite foods. If you paired falafels with avocado my mind might actually explode. 

To my dismay – Taiim was only selling their in-house hummus (bummer) – no falafels for me. 

BUT – 

after purchasing my first container (house specialty of Masabacha) – The Hummus Man gave me the almost full sample taster, AND a container of Babaganoush to apologize for not having falafels. 

AND he gave me 3 pitas

I am literally swimming in delicious hummus. 

Oh yea – I still got it :) 


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What Bikram Teaches : Yoga Math

This is my second post in a series titled, “What Bikram Teaches” – a personal reflection on lessons learned in the hot room

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f(friend’s wedding) * 2 [A (F + Dnc)] / T(li) = p(B)

Where….

A = Alcohol

F = Food

Dnc = Dancing

T(li) = Time it takes to drive back from Long Island

Equals…

p(B) = the probability that I didn’t drink nearly enough water before a Monday Bikram class.

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After such a crazy week – it was really special for me, and all my friends, to be able to get together and celebrate the wonderful love between 2 of our very own. Congratulations Mr & Mrs Singers :)

Sending positive energy & good thoughts to all you folks in bloggersville

 

 


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Chubby Vegans – Urban Myth or Viable Reality?

I’d like to address something that I recently read about – something that seems so incredibly counter intuitive to the core of vegan philosophy, “do no harm” – that it sort of baffles me that it exists.

And then I realized, I’m a victim. And a culprit.

Vegan Body Shaming.

Yeah – apparently that’s “a thing”.

If you want a serious discussion on what VBS is, you can read the catalyst to my post on One Green Planet, “Vegan Body Shaming : Analyzing the Evidence”. But for the gritty version, and my humble POV, read on.

Apparently, VBS is where external audiences (non-vegans/vegans/media etc) perpetrate this idea that all vegans are skinny. Hipster skinny.

And – as you (should) know – this is so not the case. While studies have shown that vegans have a lower body amounts of body fat (Click here for the SCIENCE!) – some of us still have body fat. Some of us have more body fat than non-vegans. That doesn’t make us any less (or more) “vegan” than the 115lb girl sipping her soy latte in the middle of Brooklyn.

Ah sterotypes… you strike again.

I subscribe to a YouTube channel of a chef who refers to himself as “The Sexy Vegan” - he once answered a fan letter that included a rather insensitive (and admittedly irrelevant) question, “I thought all vegans were supposed to be skinny?!” The Sexy Vegan responded candidly, saying, “I’m working on it!” – and taking it with a dose of good humor.

And that’s fair enough for him.

Maybe he is working on his health and weight…maybe he’s not….

But he’s a CHEF for goodness sakes! You’re not supposed to trust a skinny chef!

Even some well-meaning non-vegans get caught up in the hype. This year for Easter my Dad got me 2 books. The first was “Lean In” by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (the contents of which are for a whole other rant). The second was a decadent, drool-worthy vegan dessert cookbook. He’d even earmarked a recipe he’d like me to recreate. He mentioned to me, almost shocked, “you know – you can be fat and still be a vegan!”

LOL – I know Dad – I am one :)


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What Bikram Teaches : Humility

This is my first post in a series titled, “What Bikram Teaches” – a personal reflection on lessons learned in the hot room

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Lets all try a relatively simple exercise.

Stand up out of your chair

Touch your toes. And don’t bend your knees.

Easy ‘peasy right? Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.

….

allposes About Bikram Yoga

In theory – most of the postures in Bikram look easy – especially for those of us who have had some basic athletic training. In other exercise classes (I’m looking at you Zumba), I’ve even done Spine Twisting Pose to warm up. Granted – Awkward Pose is called that for a reason – but looking at these simple outlines doesn’t seem daunting.

And while many are turned off by the idea of the “hot” room – we all go to the beach every summer. In the throngs of a New York City winter, we long for the days of 98, 99, 100 degree weather – with short shorts and cold showers.

From the outside – Bikram isn’t as scary as CrossFit. (It’s just as addictive – but no where near as scary). It’s not as insurmountable as biking across the Swedish Alps. It’s not as improbable as winning the New York City marathon.

From the outside.

I was an outsider once. I thought I could easily handle these 26 postures.

  • Triangle pose? – No problem.
  • Standing head to Knee – Simple!
  • Cobra pose? – Easy as pie.

Then I actually tried Bikram….

The more I practice, the harder the poses become. The pose isn’t a singular pose – it disguises it’s self as the singular – but in reality – it’s comprised of multiple poses, in multiple parts of the body.

It’s not “Half Moon”

It’s suck the stomach,

push down

center the hips

raise the chin

push down

look up

arch your upper body back

weight in the heels

push and push and push and push.

 

The more I think I know – the more I realize I don’t. And Humility joined me on my mat.


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“Cherry on Top of the Vegan Ice Cream” – A Recap of the 2013 Oscars

This post originally appeared on One Green Planet.com on Feb 25, 2013 –  https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/cherry-on-top-of-the-vegan-ice-cream-2013-oscar-recap/

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Excuse me while I rub the glitter from my eyes – I haven’t yet recovered from the glitz and glamor of last night’s Academy Awards!

The Food

Perhaps Hollywood is finally catching on! No starving vegans at the Governor’s Ball (aka the after party!) this year. For the 19th year (in a row!) world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck was serving up dinner, taking special care that those of us who live-by-the-veg were well taken care of. In addition to a full menu for carnivores, Puck’s menu included;

vegetable spring rolls, rosemary spiced nuts, edamame guacamole, Japanese baby peach salad, Chinese mustard dressing kale salad with grilled artichokes and lemon vinaigrette, lentils with cauliflower and baby vegetables, and for dessert shaved espresso ice

Now – I’ve had my fair share of vegetable spring rolls. Sometimes they come from restaurants, sometimes they come from the back of my freezer when I’m feeling particularly lazy. But I’m going to venture a guess that Puck’s are probably better. And “shaved espresso ice” – can I get that at my local farmer’s market?!

Over 1,300 staff members were brought in to help make the Governer’s Ball as delicious as it was fun! (although my invitation got lost in the mail, I’m guessing it was fun)

The Fashion

You know who we have to discuss first, don’t you? Anne. Our dear girl Anne Hathaway… who should immediately fire her stylist as NO ONE should be allowed to walk out of the house without the proper…ahem… undergarments. I don’t care if you’re Lady Godiva – pasties are about $5.00/pair – invest! Although – we will give her a shout out for the fabulous vegan Giuseppe Zanotti strappy sandals

I’m a firm believer in, “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”, and clearly so is vegan-diva Jessica Chastain. Slinky fitted gown + sparkly diamonds + soft, “Old Hollywood” curls = Red Carpet Royalty! Looking stellar in an Armani Prive gown and Christian Louboutin heels girlfriend is flawless. Not only do I think she knocked it out of the park – but an entire awards season of stunning choices, and she is my choice for  Best Dressed – 2013 Award Season!! Thank you for proving that vegan is beautiful!

Your favorite (and mine) Worst Dressed goes to Real Housewife of Beverly Hills – Brandi Glanville – while Glanville has her moment in trashy TV (and no judgement here – I will watch any/everything Real Housewives) – what the heck was she doing here? And with her lady-bits all out?! According to sources, she designed this mess of a gown herself – but apparently she forgot to order enough fabric!

A special nod to fashionistas of the night  goes out to omnivores Naomi Watts, also wearing Armani Prive and Halle Berry in Versace. While I wouldn’t normally have chosen Berry for one of my “Best Dressed”, at around 8:15pm last night my parents called to say, “Did you see Halle Berry?! She looks so great! She’s sill a Bond girl! – Are you going to put her in your article!?”

The Fun

Cue a moderately amusing opening monologue from funny-man Seth McFarlane. Potty humor galore, his “We Saw Your Boobs” number was met with mixed reviews, although I will forgive him that ridiculously sexist performance as he did have Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum do a little soft shoe. You can read his best/uber-forced one liners here

Jessica Lawrence unceremoniously stole the “Best Actress” award from my choice, Jessica Chastian, and immediately face-planted going up the stairs to collect her award. Just goes to show you, don’t send a girl to do a women’s job! :)

And what would an awards show be without the world’s most awkward acceptance speech! This probably has to be one of my favorite moments in Oscar history; “Life of Pi” won for “Best Visual Effects” and VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer launched into a rather long, and very bizarre “thank you” speech. He started talking about Rhythm & Hues (the VFX folks who worked on “Life of Pi”) bankruptcy  – and managed to get played off the stage to, what else, but the JAWS theme song. How appropriate for a movie about someone being stranded in the middle of the ocean!

While I may not have agreed with her last minute fashion choice – the line of the night goes to Anne Hathaway, “this has just been the cherry on top of a wonderful, wonderful dish of vegan ice cream.” And nothing is better than vegan ice cream!

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