Cheating Veganism

Deciding to go vegan can be a tough decision, but with these crafty pointers, your animal-loving self can cheat the ism.

Choosing to bow out from the gastronomic, animal-eating world is never an easy decision. Whether it is for spirituality, saving the animals—and their teats—or just experiencing something new, getting used to eating like a vegan can be a challenging task.

As any cook knows, making a meal without things like butter, eggs, cream and other kitchen essentials is torture. Add a lack of umami to the equation (the savory flavor often provided by meat) and even a seasoned chef would throw in the towel.

To ease the pains of an animal-free diet, I have gathered together some of my favorite vegan-friendly cure-alls for the health conscious culinaire. These eleven items will make your life easier, your meals tastier, and your non-vegan guests happier while keeping your conscience crystal clear.

If you’re thinking about becoming a vegan, stock your kitchen with these items.

You can see the list here.

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Just Decide Already

It all leads to the same place.

If you never had to make a tough decision again, would it lessen the quality of your life? If you could turn back the hands of time and re-choose your choices, would it serve you in the long run? Does the famed and extremely comforting idea of “keeping our options open” actually provide us with any solace?

The ideas behind these questions were spurred from an article a friend shared on Facebook.  It focuses on the idea that reversible decisions are less conducive to happiness than decisions we stand behind. The article touches on psychosomatic concepts describing how the mind can adapt to any given situation, making the present situation the best possible outcome. On the other hand, keeping your options open creates an endless query of uncertainty. This unknowable outcome produces stress, distraction, and ultimately unhappiness.

Deciding to not to decide is one of the worst decisions to make. I know this from experience.

My life circa summer 2009.

The mother lode of life-altering choices came to me just after graduating college in Southern California. I had been in a ridiculously long-distance relationship with a woman from halfway across the world. For most of my entire senior year, I was hell bent on leaving everything I ever knew behind and transforming myself into an Argentine. As the months drew closer and summer approached, I crossed paths with an old fling that never really took off. Well, needless to say, it began to take off.

I was stuck in the middle of two roads and time was running out. On top of this, I felt horrible. I tried to deny the problem and enjoy the moment, but behind every action, was a thousand pounds of guilt. I will never understand how men can be proud of cheating. Anyways that is another story.

I had a decision to make. I could clearly see down each path and they were as opposite as day and night. To make matters worse, I decided to keep both doors open as long as I could. I would have been better off trying to eat soup with a fork. Not only was I unsuccessful, but I had changed my mind about 100 times a day. The stress was building and I could no longer decipher what I actually wanted. I felt responsible for the lives of three people, and I was blowing it on every account.

Not exactly effective.

It finally began to be too much, to the point of breaking down. I didn’t remember who I was. I felt like I had a growing lump of coal burning a whole through my stomach. I knew I was afraid to leave my family and the life I had known for years, so I decided to stay in California.

As soon as I made this decision, the weight lifted. I became a new born soul, ready to live up to my choice. I had not an ounce of proof that the choice I made was correct, but I had all the time in the world to prove it. Within the first two weeks, I had already chosen to see how beautiful my life was going to be and how unfitting it would have been had I chosen the other direction. My mind was adapting to my new reality.

The choices in life do not matter as much as we lead our selves to believe. Surely, there are some decisions where a definite yes or no is understood, but in the more ambiguous choices, the most important factor is commitment. Once committed, we can begin to fulfill our decisions.

The part that we most often do not understand is that the illusion of choice—the idea that one path will lead us to something different than the other—holds us back from moving forward. In any given decision, the outcome will equate to the same result. This may be difficult to understand, especially in the example I have given between Argentina and California, but when you decide to change the focus from the decision at hand to the person deciding, a different story unfolds.

Oh the choices!

Although the choices may look different, the one deciding them is the same. Any decision made will reflect the state of the person deciding. So whether I choose to move to Argentina or stay in California, I will attract exactly what I am already attracting. This is not to say that once I have lived in either place I will not have different experiences, but in the moment of choice, either decision will bring forth the same exact result. The choice at hand is a product of who I was in the past. In this light, the decision has already been made.

It is not choosing the correct path that is required, but choosing a path. All paths are correct. This is the same concept behind spirituality. Every spiritual practice is valid. There are infinite ways to reach Enlightenment/God/Satori/etc. It is not the path you choose, but the fervor for which you traverse it.

So choose. And stay committed. Don’t look back and steady on. The path you are on is correct because you are on it. There is no judgement, only progression or stagnation. Move forward and you will reach your goal.

The key to happiness is commitment.

Unlock the door.

Healthy Kitchen

How healthy is your kitchen?

I’m not talking about how clean you keep your countertops or how many organic vegetables are neatly organized in your fridge; nor am I concerned with the state of the dishes, sink or your small wastebasket designated for composting. What I am talking about is how well your kitchen supports healthy food choices.

Yes, that is correct. Your kitchen makes decisions that affect your health.

The environment of the most important room in the house greatly dictates how one approaches food.

Traditionally, the kitchen was the center of activity in the home. In the Vedic science of establishment called sthapatya veda, the kitchen is the furnace from which warmth and life springs. In feng shui, the kitchen represents nourishment and prosperity, sustaining life. And in many other societies, the kitchen acts as a sphere of social, familial, and political connectivity. Literally, the center of life, the kitchen radiates heat, replenishes energy and connects society.

Today, however, the kitchen has become a wasteland of shiny appliances and unused barren spaces. Once the largest room in the home, the kitchen has now been reduced to a mere box. Barriers divide it from the rest of the house, keeping it segregated and confined.

The modern kitchen, rather than inciting words like warmth, comfort and love, is instead synonymous with adjectives like sterile and sanitary. It is no wonder we do not know how to feed ourselves. The very instrument used to create nourishment has been transformed into a metallic machine incapable of inspiring the brightest souls.

In order to reclaim our health, we must first reclaim the kitchen.

Click here for the full article.