the musings of a cynical optimist

Blood gushing always

everywhere stabbing gut pain

agony no fun 

blood

 

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Twelve. Twelve is the number of cook books I have. They take up a whole shelf that could be used for actual food. They sit and gather dust. And cobwebs. And dried up ladybug corpses. It is clear I am not quite the person past me thought I would be.

ladybug

a ‘before’ picture

I can find my way around the kitchen. I’m not a clueless gal who can only make toast. But when I have spare time there are just other things i’d rather be doing. Like, a lot of other things. Anything else really. Plus my partner is a phenomenal cook so why interfere with their chance to shine. Right?

Problems with the cook books

  •  Too many ingredients in every recipe – Anything with more than 8 ingredients in it and I am out. I don’t want a bunch of mustard seeds taking up space just because I made one recipe that called for 1/2 teaspoon.
  • They are desserts – I’m cooking in an effort to stay healthy here!
  • It was from a cleanse – I can proudly say i’ve done the wild rose cleanse. I took the supplements without hurling and I don’t need to ever do it again. 
  • It was that shitty raw food book from my last blog post – No, i’m not axing open coconuts in my kitchen without proper supervision 
  • It’s 90s vegetarian – I was a vegetarian once. All the cookbooks from that era are basically cheese and tofu pastas. 

All the decluttering gurus say if someone else can find more value in these than it may be time to part with them so this is a no-brainer. I kept two books and copies of any recipe i’ve ever actually made. Success!

 

There are 3 books I am parting with and each has touched my life in a different way.

  1. The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
    Beauty myth

    True dat

    If there is one book that has most changed my life – it’s this one. I remember in grade 9, feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be in my own body, thinking that being a boy would be so much easier. It was a maintenance thing really. There was the constant shaving of legs and pits, doing hair, covering up bad skin. It was an exhausting amount of hard work. It snowballed from there into confusing double standards in relationships with men, and ongoing fears about how my gender impacts my quest for self-actualization.

    What I learned from this book is that it is easy to control and profit from people who have self-doubt and self-hatred. Being ‘free’ but self-loathing can feel like of a prison. So explore who profits from your self-doubt and then engage with these people and businesses appropriately. Around this time I stopped reading Cosmo -too many mixed messages and pictures of J. Lo Benjamin Buttoning.

    The other thing I learned from this book is that although women have been a main target for this, it impacts men too. This has become more apparent in recent years with men I know fretting and spending a good chunk of money on body hair removal, anti-aging products and make up, a concept unheard of a few decades ago.

    Ultimately, this sort of self hate, regardless of who is experiencing it, is super shitty for sex lives! There is a certain level of inhibition with sex that is not easily accessed when one is worried about living up to fabricated standards of how they should look, act and feel.

    Number of times i’ve reread this book – 0

2) The Raw Food Detox Diet – Natalia Rose

From the forward: ‘As a cosmetic surgeon, my patients are always asking me how to enhance their appearance and quality of life.”  Why a cosmetic surgeon seemed like the best person to endorse this book is anyones guess.

This book lays out the simple steps to becoming a raw foodist. There are 5 different ‘levels’ to graduate through. Inspiring chapter titles include ‘Stop poisoning your cells’ and ‘You need to take the garbage out.’ Science my friends. Science.

Number of times i’ve reread this book – 0

3) 3) A New Earth – Eckhart tolle  

Reading this book requires focus and consistency so you don’t forget what you just finished reading. He offers insight into the human condition and discusses living in the present and shifting your perspective.

The reason I saved this book is because of the way it made me feel after. Frankly, I felt brainwashed into complete contentment at a time when I needed it.

Number of times i’ve reread this book – 0

 

 

 

Every time I have a spare moment or a night to myself, I start to get excited about the possibilities. Maybe i’ll finally write a song again or read a book or cook something.clipart-stressed-out-14.jpg

But first I just need to get a few other things out of the way. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming… and I should probably do something about the pile of notes from musical theatre school a decade ago, and deal with these cassette tapes and photos that are sliding all over the place. Screw it, it’s just easier to watch all of Jane The Virgin tonight. 


I’m not a hoarder. I just collect things.  And it hasn’t been much of a problem until now. I grew up in a home with lots of space. My room through high school and university was built by my dad and had a double closet so I had ample shelving for all my goodies. 

When I moved to NYC in 2006, I arrived with just one suitcase and one backpack – like a big cliche. I often wonder how I accumulated so much stuff since then. And then I remember that the whole time i was in New York, I had 20 rubbermaid containers full of crap in my aunt and uncle’s basement.

So i’ve decided to clear out a lot of clutter once and for all. There are lots of items I am ready to part with but some have great stories and memories attached to them. And so I will be writing about my experiences decluttering as well as telling stories about some of the neat finds along the way.  That way I get to create and clean at the same time! 

You may wonder why I’m doing this. Will there be before and after pictures paired with annoying hashtags?  Let’s not be dramatic. It’s only 5 days. I’m doing it to remind my body that vegetables are good for it. I don’t know what I weigh but I’m positive my weight has little impact on my ability to love, be loved or get laid. 

It’s been 3 days without a steady intake of caffeine, dairy and sugar. It’s made me a little edgy. Maybe heightened my emotions a bit since eating your feelings with green juice is much less satisfying than Haagen-Dazs. (That creamy goodness just coats ones emotions like a big hug.) There’s only been a  few glitches.

  1. WATERMELON CRUSH:  Juicing is a great way to get diabetes if you juice too many super sugary fruits & veggies. I’ve stuck mostly to apples. But I thought a watermelon, cucumber blend with fresh basil from my window ledge would be fantastic. Unfortunately on the walk home from the store there was a fall. 
melon

Watermelon Tragedy

As the watermelon fell to the ground I yelled “Tragedy!” to the sky. A lovely woman came by and picked it up noticing the huge gashes with juice pouring out. “This is a tragedy,” she said. “But don’t let this stop you from enjoying this melon. It can be salvaged.” Boosted by her encouragement I continued walking the last 6 blocks with watermelon juice dripping down my body. 

     2. I NEED BACK UP:  I know I said I’d do it all by myself but you know what is a real pain? Juicing. The actual juicing is fun but cleaning the juicer is very tedious and the smell of pulp in my compost bin was really starting to get to me. So I called in some back up support from Krokodile Pear. They are a juice bar near my house with the best juices and prices in town. I bought 5 juices for $32. Hey. People change okay?

    3. PAPER STRAWS:  are easily the most expensive part of a a juice cleanse. I bought some that worked out to $1.50 per straw. So if you are looking to avoid the embarrassing ‘juice moustache’ look, I recommend stealing plastic ones from Starbucks. Or getting fancy glass ones from etsy if you are that kind of person. 

krok

These taste better than the ones I made

   4. CASSETTE TAPES:  I mentioned I was feeling a bit emotional. Picking fights on Facebook more than usual. Crying  when I couldn’t figure out the bus schedule. That sort of thing. While the lack of comfort food may be a factor, I’ve also been listening to my old cassette tapes. This trip down memory lane contains a lot of Ani Difranco and the Les Miserable soundtrack. Listening to that depressing story impacted my mood. My brother gave me that soundtrack when I was 12 which I think is pretty heavy stuff for grade 7. But now that I’m older, its very clear to me that Javert has some serious issues. He’s obsessed with work. Does he even date anyone? So many questions. Maybe the answers are in the book I will never read.

    5. HEADACHE + SOLID FOOD = LOVE:   Day 3 was a breeze but Day 2 was a nightmare. I had a huge caffeine headache and was also working all day. I poured peppermint oil on my face but it wasn’t enough. I needed drugs. Not wanting to take drugs on an empty stomach, I had a homemade vegan oatmeal cookie as a base. Then half a raisin cookie. Then some almonds. And a square of dark chocolate. It’s the best I could do that day and that’s all anyone can really ask for. 

This is different. In the past I’ve spent the summer busting my ass working 6 days a week trying to ‘get ahead’ (whatever that means). But this year I did the opposite. I did yoga, and went swimming, bike riding and hiking.

But because I believe in balance, I also ate ice cream religiously, started many days with Baileys in my coffee and ended it with sangria. In my defence, there is a perfectly good explanation for the Irish cream. I ran out of almond milk and was given no other option. 

veg
Pictured: hope and promise

At a certain point my taste buds started craving only creamy, chocolatey, salty treats which led me to my idea to do a 5 day juice cleanse.  A reset if you will. This is my experience so far: 

  1. Going Cold Turkey:  

    Other more qualified people suggest easing into a juice cleanse with a few days of healthy eating so your body doesn’t go into shock.  I did not listen to these people. I started the day with – you guessed it – Baileys and coffee with whip cream for good measure. I had a night cap of both white and red sangria. Because I am a champ. 

  2. Grocery Shopping:

    The thing with juice cleanses is, you can either pay $60/day for someone to supply you with the juice, or you can just do it yourself and it costs maybe  $15/day. Is there a quality difference? Maybe. I decided to juice my own damn veggies except I didn’t actually buy any. So that was a bit of a snafu. Realizing I had no food, I ate a mango and some blueberries before heading to the grocery store. Crisis averted.

  3. Green tea Goblins

    Saying goodbye to my morning java was going to be tough. I decided to substitute with a green tea called something something Buddha because something something antioxidants. I forgot that green tea makes me feel like vomiting. So half way through the green tea I had to lay down and ride out the nausea wave. Some blame the tannins but those are also in red wine and red wine has never let me down before. Thanks Buddha.

  4. Rice cakes:

    I really needed something to settle my stomach so I had a couple rice cakes. If you are keeping track – my juice cleanse thus far contained only solid food and zero vegetables. Still, I took no delight in eating the rice cakes so I’ve decided they don’t count.

After a rough morning  I managed to juice a bunch of fruits and veggies into 5 different combos of green coloured goo and the rest of the day fell into place. For now. 

 

Earthquakes are causing destruction and people are rioting in Baltimore, yet i am moved to write after a major hiatus because of a sample of Pepsi Next i received on my walk home from work.

pepsinext

Pictured here: The future

A lovely gal handed it to me saying, ‘Would you like to try a sample? It is sweetened with stevia.’ And grab a sample i did.

Here are 5 reasons why it blows.

1) It’s sweetened with Stevia! Kinda!

I get that pop (or soda as some folks say) isn’t generally considered a health food, but more and more companies are trying to improve their products by making them slightly less awful for us and i thought this may be the case. Plus the girl told me it was sweetened with stevia and she was pretty so i had no reason not to trust her. But, a quick glance at the ingredient list shows that sugar is listed as the 2nd ingredient only behind carbonated water.  Stevia is the last ingredient. So to sum it up, there is a shitload of sugar and a dash of stevia.

2) The can is green!

Sometimes companies use green to trick you into thinking things are healthy for you or good for the environment. Stevia leaf is green. This drink is brown. It contains no vegetables and does not help the planet. Do not be deceived.

2) 30 % less sugar!

Daily intake for women is 25 grams of sugar per day. This bad boy only contains 17 grams plus caffeine. This particular sample container is only 220 ml compared to the average can which is 355ml.  So after you drink this, you will still have to stress about where to get the rest of your daily sugar intake. Sad times. Luckily, if this product is in a regular tin, you will easily fulfill your sugar quota.

4) No artificial sweeteners!

Instead there are ‘natural flavours’ which i must put in quotes because they are still created in a lab. Even CNN says so. Plus there is caramel colour which is always a favourite.

5) It is no Crystal Pepsi!

This product is not Crystal Pepsi. There is nothing nostalgic about this that reminds me of the good ole 1990s and that alone is reason not to support this beverage. Does it taste better than Crystal Pepsi. Yes. It tastes like a typical cola beverage to me. I don’t know. I’m not a pop sommelier.