Tag Archives: vegetarianism
March 1, 2013

Goal #10 Try vegetarianism for a month – Check

So 28 days came and went just like that,  and I was a vegetarian for a month. It was actually much easier than I expected. I think it’s mainly because there’s an end date. I knew I could go back to eating meat again on March 1st (which I did. I had a meatball sub for lunch and it was delicious!).

Upon reflection, here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Restaurants in the Manhattan, KS area have very very limited options for vegetarians. I really feel for the true vegetarians in this area. 
  • I thought I would try a lot new vegetables this month, but ended up not doing it as much as I would like. My schedule was a bit crazy this semester and I just didn’t have enough time to find good recipes. I did give kale a try, since I have read so much about how “super” it is. I didn’t like it at first. It was too bitter, and soapy. But then after talking to some people, I tried it again. I used it in an Italian style vegetable soup, which has some sweetness in it, and counterbalanced the bitterness of kale quite well.
  • I made a butternut squash mac and cheese. Basically, I used pureed butternut squash as a substitute for a lot of the cheese in a traditional mac and cheese. It’s a healthy dish, but the conclusion was, I would rather be unhealthy and have a real mac and cheese (with real cheese). 
  • I lost 2 pounds this month. Before the month, I thought I would lose more weight than that. During the month, I thought I would actually gain weight because I found myself eating a lot of carbs and cheese! So, in the end losing 2 lbs is actually a pretty decent result.
  • Of all the new vegetarian recipes I’ve tried, this is my favorite: America Test Kitchen’s Vegetable Lasagna (video)
  • I will most likely eat less meat in my regular diet now. In fact, I would like to do this (vegetarian for a month) once every year to cleanse my system. 

 Here is a gallery of every single meal I had this month: 

February 4, 2013

2013 Progress Update #2

Goal #10 Try vegetarianism for a month (happening right now)

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Day 1: apple; beans soup, tandoori paneer masala, gulab jamam, veggie burger with grilled veggies.

This is happening right now! Feburary, 2013 is THE month. Of course I would pick the shortest month in a non-leap year to try this, despite many friends telling me to pick a summer month to get better and more variety of vegetables.

I grew up eating meat or seafood as the main component of any meal, and I don’t think I have ever gone more than 3 days without either. So this is a challenge for sure. I am on day 4 right now, which means I have already broken my own personal record! So far, it’s hasn’t been that difficult. (It’s definitely easier than quitting smoking). I think it’s because for the past year or so, I have really been trying to live a healthy lifestyle, especially since I started practicing yoga regularly. It is only when I look at the menus of the restaurants in town that I really realize how difficult it is for true vegetarians to eat out here. 

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Day 2: banana; fruits & Luna bar; pad see ewe with tofu; Thai spring rolls.

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Day 3: oatmeal, veggie pizza, broccoli & tofu panang curry.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight

I think this is the most difficult goal of them all. Losing weight has never been easy for me. I have said that it’s more difficult than quitting smoking (which is my benchmark of doing anything difficult). If I could achieve this goal, I would rank this as the greatest accomplishment of my life.

Since 12/2012, I have lost 33 pounds, which is absolutely amazing. But I lost most of those pounds at the beginning, in the first 6 months or so. The progress was so much slower, if at all, towards the end of the year. I am still about 25 pounds off my target weight.

I figure that, like most people, I tend to have more will power, or motivation at the beginning of the year, so I must take advantage of it. The New Year yoga retreat that I went on definitely made a positive impact. It was so great to practice yoga almost 3 hrs a day and ate such healthy and yummy food (and had them prepared for you every single meal). It was the perfect kick start to this year to get this goal back on track. The yoga challenge at Orange Sky Yoga (going to at least 5 classes/week) gives me extra motivation. Not that losing weight is the reason I go to yoga. It’s just a very nice bonus.

I am hoping that this month of vegetarianism is going to help too. But all in all, I am very pleased with the progress so far. I mean, look at the 2 pics below. The photo on the left was taken on April 7, 2012, when I went to Tiffany Cruikshank’s yoga workshop in Wichita the first time. At the time, I just started going to yoga classes, for maybe 2 months. The photo on the right was taken on Feb 2, 2013, when I went to Tiffany’s workshop again. Maybe I should set the deadline of getting to my target weight by the time Tiffany visits Kansas again next year, and take another picture with her. 🙂

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April 7, 2012 vs Feb 2, 2013

Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people

Tulum

Tulum yoga retreat

Over the years, I have grown to really enjoy meeting new people, as often as possible. I think it’s partly because I was so shy as a kid and that I feel like I need to make up for lost time.

One thing I have learned this past year: I really like meeting yogis. Albeit with a small sample size, almost every yoga person I have met is kind and supportive. And I love getting to know them. For example, I went on a one-week new year yoga retreat on my own, not knowing anyone there. (That’s something the younger me would never do). I really didn’t know what to expect (which was part of the fun). I ended up meeting the most wonderful group of people there (picture gallery of the trip here). As a naturally curious person, I like to hear other people’s stories, especially stories that are unexpected or different from mine, hence this goal. And I got to hear many interesting stories there in Tulum. How often do you get to meet 19 strangers that you actually like? 

With the internet, I see no reason not to keep in touch with people nowadays. I even reconnected with my first girlfriend recently after 22 years of not knowing where each other was! But that’s another story. 🙂 The point is, I hope to keep in touch with this group of new friends and see them again in the future. Another New Year retreat would be great!

Goal #15 Become an expert in multiple disciplines – Publish articles or present at conferences in 5 different fields.

I have presented on film studies at a screenwriting conference; cultural studies at an American culture/popular culture conference. For my day job,  I have also published several articles and presented at various conferences on librarianship. So, I need to present/publish on 2 more disciplines to accomplish this goal. I am currently developing a yoga and emotions research project that could be appropriate for either sensory science or sports science/kinesiology. It’s still in an early design stage. The good news is when I mentioned the concept to several yoga teachers at the yoga retreat, they all showed interests in possibly participating in the research. I am hoping to have the design ready by summer time. I am actually very excited about this project! It’s fun to research something you’re actually interested in.

Goal #23 – Conquer the fear of doing a handstand

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Practicing at home

I definitely had a mini-break through at the yoga retreat in Tulum with Kathryn Budig, who gave us plenty of useful tips. The remaining part is of course practice, practice and practice. I am at the point where I’m getting more comfortable kicking up to handstand against the wall. Balancing is still a problem. The fear of kicking too hard and go from handstand to savasana is still very much there. The Tiffany Cruikshank inversion workshop helped, and I learned more about the mechanics of the pose. The game plan is to keep practicing close to the wall until I get the balance right.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word 5 times that week

I have to admit, sometimes I forget. Either I forget to pick a new word for the week, or use it 5 times. That’s the difficult part about having a goal that is “on-going”. But still, I am growing my vocabulary much more than if I hadn’t set this goal. I think that’s what counts.

Here are some of the words I have learned:

Franchise – the right to vote.

Disbosom – to reveal; confess.

Potvaliancy (noun) – Brave only as a result of being drunk.

Empurple – To color or become purple or purplish.

Algid (adj.) – cold; chilly.

Compotation – an act or instance of drinking or tippling together.

Exordium – the beginning of anything.

Pseudology – Lying considered as an art.

Kibitzer – a giver of uninvited or unwanted advice.

Goal #1 Visit all 50 States.

Visited Portland on 1/24/2013. Even though I spent less than 24 hrs there, I was able to try a homemade chai soda at Blueplate Lunch Counter and Soda Fountain, grilled cheese at Byways Cafe (#60, and #61 Diners Drive-ins and Dives I visited); went to a refreshing noon-time vinyasa yoga class at Yoga Pearl, and had coffee at Prasad; walked around the Pearl District and the Alphabet District for hours. I would say it was a good, productive travel day. I didn’t get to eat at Pok Pok like I planned to, cause it was a bit too far away. Maybe next time. With Oregon crossed off the list, I now have 14 more states to visit to accomplish this goal.

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Clockwise from top left: Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain; Byways Cafe; Yoga Pearl; Prasad.

Goal #13 Get tenure

Final tenure review is fall, 2014. I just had my 4th year reappointment interview on 1/31/2013. I should find out soon whether I will still have a job or not. Fingers crossed. 

September 29, 2012

Progress Update: September, 2012

Goal #1 Visit 50 states (in progress)

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Kathryn Deiss, Michael Stephens, me, and Jenny Levine all loved R2!

I went to Telluride, Colorado for the Risk and Reward Library Conference (aka R2 Conference), which was hands down the best library conference I’ve ever attended. The entire conference challenged convention library thinking. Everything was planned and executed meticulously. It was such an exciting experience. However, while I was intrigued  when I first learned of the conference,  I actually spent quite a bit of time debating whether I should go or not because it would be an expensive trip (and Telluride isn’t exactly easy to get to). What pushed me over the edge was this goal #1 of my 45 things list. I had never been to Colorado before, and that did it. I was going! And I am so glad I drove 14hrs there (and 14 hrs back, in pouring rain no less!). Not only did I get so inspired by the ground breaking conference, I got to know so many cool people!

After checking off Colorado, I now have 15 states left to visit. Not sure which state I will get to go next though.

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Goal #10 Try vegetarianism for a month (in progress)

I’m still in preparation stage for this goal. Since as long as I can remember, a meal is not a complete meal unless it has some meat. And I love meat. So when I first set this goal, I thought it’s going to be a tough one. But as I gradually become more health conscious, this doesn’t seem as daunting as it once did. My plan is to do this in the summer next year.

I have been learning some new veggie recipes. And now I don’t absolutely need to eat meat for every single meal. Here are some of the veggie dishes I made in September:

Whole grain shell pasta with spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Apart from the Dutch oven, the immersion blender is my favorite kitchen purchase. I puree at every opportunity, and make a lot of soups now. 🙂

Curried Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

What I’d like to do is to learn how to cook more varieties of vegetables. It’s overwhelming to see so many different kinds of veggies that I have no idea what to do with!

Goal #12 Earn an additional graduate degree (in progress)

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Human Nutrition with an emphasis on Sensory Analysis and Consumer Evaluation at Kansas State University. Here is a description of the programs:

“Sensory Analysis & Consumer Behavior emphasizes issues affecting eating and other consumer product behaviors, and understanding methods for evaluating products from a sensory perspective. Students will integrate food science, physiology, psychology, business, and statistics to help provide insight into consumers’ needs and wants for products, services, and information that enhances their lives.”

I’m taking 1 -2 courses per semester while I work full time. It’s a balancing act, but I’m enjoying it. Expected completion date: 2016 Spring. A lot way to go…

Goal #14 Give a kickass presentation (in progress)

At the 2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) at Kansas City, I co-presented at a pre-conference workshop with 2 very well-established library deans, past-ALA President Camila Alire, and Dean of Marquette Library, Janice Welburn. It was a great experience to work with two such respected leaders of my profession.

I was ecstatic to learn that many people seemed to like our workshop and my presentation a lot, and the reviews I heard from other people were excellent. However, I’m using the best Ted Talks as my benchmark  for “kickass presentations” (so I’m setting the bar extremely high). With that in mind, there is obviously still plenty of room for improvement.  Also I’m keeping this item on the list because I feel that I need to give a solo “kickass presentation”.

Yay! Thank you, friends!

Goal #15 Become an expert in multiple disciplines – Publish articles or present at conferences in 5 different fields (in progress)

I have presented on film studies, library science and popular culture at conferences in the last few years (I’m still on the fence about pop culture counting as a “discipline”. Well, I supposed it could be considered cultural studies). In any case, I am now working on developing a sensory research project. The plan is to have something to present at next year Pangborn Conference in Rio, Brazil! This also ties in with my goal #4 See a football match at Estádio do Maracanã, Rio. I really hope the stadium renovation will be done by then.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word at least 5 times that week (on-going)

1. Fabulist – 1. a person who invents or relates fables. 2.a liar.

Usage highlight: “I’m thinking about writing a screenplay called Fabulist Fabulist. It would be perfect for Jim Carey”.

2. Bathetic – displaying or characterized by bathos.

3. Harridan – a scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew.

4. Ataraxia – a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety;tranquillity.

Goal #23 Conquer the fear of doing a handstand

September 26. 5:30am workout. Smiling upside down for the camera. 🙂

I have been to the Thursday Handstand/Inversion/Arm Balance workshop at Orange Sky Yoga 3 times now. The first session was all handstands. I was quite determined and made some progress. I managed to get upside down against the wall a few times.

The 2nd session also focused on handstand, but for some reason, the fear of hurting my shoulders kept creeping back, and I regressed. I couldn’t even jump up against the wall the entire time. Every time I tried to jump up, my shoulders would resist and hunch. It was very frustrating.

The 3rd one I went to was focused on Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance), which is a difficult pose. Most people find it more difficult than handstand, but I am actually less fearful of it. But my goal isn’t to do pincha (damn it!), but handstand.

I began to incorporate some inversion practice into my Mon/Wed/Fri 5:30am workouts, and noticed some tiny progress. At least my shoulders can occasionally be relaxed enough to let my body rotate up. I can get some air time every once in a while, and getting my legs up against the wall is much easier now.

It is going to be a long process before I can do it in the middle of the room. I am still not confident doing headstand away from the wall. Baby steps at the moment.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight (in progress)

My starting weight: 243 lbs (on December 27, 2011).

Target weight: 184 lbs.

Current weight: 213 lbs (on September, 29, 2012)

Weight lost: 30 lbs.

I still have 29 more pounds to go before reaching my target weight, but I’m officially more than half way there!

Goal #37 Be able to do splits (in progress)

Hanumanasana on 9/26/2012. Progress is very slow.

Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people (on-going)

I met many awesome people at the R-Squared Conference and at JCLC. And I’m really glad I got to spend some time and got to know Michael Stephens, Jenny Levine in Telluride, and Azusa Tanaka in Kansas City. All very intriguing people that I’d love to stay in touch with.

with Azusa, who also has her own 50 states goal, at Woodyard BBQ. My favorite BBQ place in Kansas City.

 

Goal #44 Have my portrait painted (in progress)

I don’t think this counts. 🙂


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