Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Back to Basics Tour

Listen, I'm not going to tell you guys, again, about the eternal reassessment going on in my head, because fucking kill me already with that noise. Maybe I'll tell you a little . . . But seriously, I want to bang my head against a rock to make it stop. I laugh at myself, I want to punch myself in the nose. I laugh, I cringe.

Did you guys see Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium? It was almost a great movie. It had great potential, but didn't quite get me there. Anyway, in the beginning Natalie Portman's character was a child pianist prodigy who has turned 23 years old and is still at the same level of brilliance that she was as a kid -- which is beautifully brilliant nonetheless -- and she explains to Mr. Magorium, "I'm stuck." He goes, "To my floor?" (har har). And she says, "No, as a person." I sucked in my breath a little at that. Because she was stuck and she wasn't; she was to her own and others expectations and she wasn't because she was still magical. I feel similarly. I'm not stuck as a person -- I feel very viscerally my own constant flow of magic that I create -- but I feel there's a cog going on somewhere. It's the reason for the NEVER ENDING EVALUATION/REEVALUATION I put myself through. My personal problem is that I often feel things need constant tweaking towards perfection, when, I may just already be there. I'm there in most all areas; it's this creative cog I feel most. It's the want to just do good and create beauty ALL THE TIME. That seems strange sometimes, when I look outside of myself. When, you know, I'm putting myself under a microscope from yet another, outside angle. Where's that rock?

Oh and I busted my knee. Yup. I was so pumped for the Tri training that in my gung-ho'dness, I did something to my knee. It isn't anything super definitive to me; there was no popping or exact sprain. Husband thinks I have tendinitis, which I don't compute well. It's sore in a certain spot in the front. It almost feels like a bruise. There's a little swelling and I know instinctively that if I don't rest it, it could be chronic. Husband barked, "Rest, ibuprofen, work on your core until you're better," and I said, confused, "Ok," and then I sat in the chair for quite a while wondering why my body felt a bit broken. The hip and now the knee. I kicked myself for taking for granted my athleticism thinking I could take it off the shelf whenever I felt like it, slip it on and GO like I've always done no matter how long between athletic uprisings. And I spent a long time coming to terms with this -- coming to terms gingerly so it wouldn't turn into an excuse. I didn't want to admit that at 40 maybe I have to approach how I put my body to work differently. Maybe I can't just bang out training five days a week all of the sudden. Apparently. So, I've postponed the triathlon, to one in September, and I'm going to rest and then start from the beginning and work more on strength and core work and build it all back up; muscles, joints, wind. Age 40 means different but like hell does it mean dead.

I'm doing some new experiments with my diet too. Husband joked that by the time I'm done, I'll only be eating seeds, kale and one kind of fruit. I'm back to more raw foods because I know -- I know like no other knows -- that a raw plan heals a body. The recovery when on raw is undeniable. I'm also going gluten-free for a bit to see how that goes. I know too that gluten can build as a toxin eventually. I think it can work against good digestion. This does not include sprouted grains/breads because the sprouting process destroys natural gluten. And lastly I've been experimenting a lot with more homemade stuff. I'm on a Back to Basics Crusade because the excess packaging of shit is pissing me off as is all the bullshit that everything is processed with, vegan stuff included. The chemicals and additives and other extraneous crap and bullshit -- ug, I'm so over everything. And not for nothing, but homemade stuff tastes like a million bucks. The freshness and flavor is a good slap in the face.

A couple weeks ago, I started with jam. I got a canning kit and made a big batch of organic strawberry jam. It was ridiculous. My girls couldn't believe how it good it was.

I also recently got a Soybella Soymilk Maker after reading a fantastic, instructional post from the beautiful and wise Julie Hasson. I followed all of Julie's suggestions such as soaking the soybeans overnight and rubbing the beans to get the skins off to insure a less "beany" taste, and ta-da, this morning I made this:A quart of soy milk was made in about 15 minutes after a night of soaking beans. I added 3 TBSPs of agave a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of vanilla. The taste is still a bit different than commerical soy milk, but I know that's because we are so used to stuff that's processed to high hell. I will gladly get used to this slight variation because I realized if I keep this up I would spend pennies on the dollar by making instead of buying soy milk, not to mention cutting down on all the packaging and waste. The Soybella also makes raw nut milks -- fresh almond is my all-time fav -- and I can't wait to try that next.

Since I won't be baking much in the next couple weeks because of the gluten-free experiment, I decided to bake the pugs some vegan doggie treats. I veganized and tweaked a Martha Stewart natural anti-flea doggie recipe. The Sisters Pug loved them.The funny-looking round ones I baked with a bit of peanut butter.
Here's the recipe:

Mami's Summertime Vegan Doggie Treats

1 C. whole wheat flour
1/4 C. wheat germ
1/4 C. nutritionals yeast (natural flea repellent)
1 tsp sea salt
2 TBSP of canola oil
1 clove (or little less) minced garlic (garlic can be toxic to dogs if in excess, which is why I used a little less than a full clove. Garlic is a natural bug repellent, for humans too.)
1/2 C. vegetable stock
peanut butter (optional)

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or brush with oil. Mix flour, wheat germ, nut. yeast and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix minced garlic, oil and veg. stock into flour mixture until well combined. Fold onto a floured surface, knead for two minutes. Dough will be kind of sticky. If too stick add a little more flour, if too dry, add a lil water or oil. Roll out and cut into shapes, big or little depending on your dog's size, and place on baking sheet. If making the peanut butter version, roll dough into a little ball, poke a hole in the middle with the pinkie and fill with peanut butter. Bake 15-20 min. Should be kind of golden. Let cool and then store in a plastic container or left over jar or butter tub.

My next homemade rebellion will be mixing up my own earth-friendly cleaners. I tried a simple experiment by sprinkling baking soda in my sink. I let it set for a couple minutes and then scrubbed with the sponge and wow! Wicked clean.

Gotta get back to my Back to Basics Tour now, and analyzing The Cog of course. Cog or no cog, I am heart-thumpingly grateful for my stellar life, and for you guys too.


Karen said...

Hello, Madness. I love your blog! I linked to it through the Where's the Revolution blog, I believe. I just finished reading the entire thing from the very beginning! It took me a few weeks. And my house is really messy. But, man, it was entertaining! You're a great writer and a great inspiration on things vegan, athletic, motherly, wifely, dogly, you name it! I just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog.

Maven said...

I am feeling this, most sincerely. Though I feel like that's all I ever say in your comments.

madness rivera said...

Wow, Karen, awesome! Thanks so much for the kind words. So glad you came through Where's the Revolution because I love me some Bazu.

I feel you too, Sister Maven.

Kristin C. said...

Back to Basic's Tour, YES!
I am going to bust out some Organic Jams this summer. Mmm. Mmmm.

Greg said...

even in your self-evaluations and cog contemplations you are a constant inspiration, you should know that.

and hot damn, i already planned to get m'self a SoyaBella for my bday this month (also due to miss Julie's great review). now i'm even more stoked! good stuff!

Greg said...

ha! and greg is me, DGMGV. I'm on the Cap'n's laptop enjoying the wonders of pregnancy's eighth month....including bed rest. ;)

julie hasson said...

I'm so glad you like the soymilk maker! My husband and I are feeling just like you, about needing to get back to basics without all of the added crap. Our soymilk tastes better and better with each batch. Last night the hubby added a little freshly grated nutmeg to the soymilk (along with a piece of vanilla bean) and it was fantastic!

I hope your knee is better soon! It sucks when the body isn't quite as resilient. I turned 41 yesterday and I feel your knee pain ;-)

Rachel said...

I'm on back to basics, too. I recently started to make yogurt at home without a machine(so easy!), granola and salad dressings. Learning to can/preserve is on my to-do list for the summer. We're going to try growing our own organic veggies.

PS: To clean a sink or tubdrain, putin some baking soda and add white vinegar. It bubbles up and cleans that baby right, out.

Marigoldie said...

This stuff feels revolutionary. Every step I take away from the overpackaged, chemical-addled glut I feel a wee bit more like a human. It just feels good to simplify, and it's amazing to watch the pendulum swing back a ways. I've noticed that as I age, I am drawn to the old-fashioned way of doing things while my 73-year-old parents fly toward the next big thing. Well heck I'm just trying to say I'd like to make my own soymilk too.

And as soon as I get to New Orleans I'm planting a garden.

madness rivera said...

Thanks DGMGV. Oh my gosh, you're almost there with lil Taylor in hand. Hang in there! Home stretch . . .

Hi Julie, thanks again. Btw, I made the almond milk last night and it was so fantastic! And WAY faster than the soy. I think I'll be making nut milks the majority of the time . . .

Oh yea, Rachel. I am already feeling the power of vinegar and baking soda. I'm loving it.

Marigoldie, it really is ironically revolutionary; back to what's good about old fashioned. God knows many things about old fashioned are NOT good, but a streamlined simplicity feels grounded and true.

Antje said...

I really so admire your "going green"-live and all your enthusiasm with the vegan and green life. I also try my best, allthough I am not completely vegetarian. I often read your posts cause they are so inspiring to me!
I would like to recommend you a book that I just read: it's from Michael Pollan "In defense of food" and it's also this "back to basics-thing" which was so down to earth and so much common sense!
One little thing that I do not understand: in Germany where I live they say that you should not feed garlic and onions (& raisins, chocolate, avocado and some more) to your dogs. The garlic and onions could change the blood of the dogs and if they had lots of it they could get severe problems, even death! I just wanted to let you know - cause even my vet reminds/warns me about the "garlic thing" every time cause it's said to keep the dogs from ticks (that we have a lot of here in Germany) but could be fatal.

Antje/Germany said...

oops after reading the complete doggy-treats-recipe I saw that you already know about the dangers of garlic for dogs....
But one other thing: I often feel so frustrated when I do so much "green things" like going by foot instead of car, or using the bus, or buying organic and recycling and I see others who do not care at all and who eat lots of crap and stuff and often these people feel better than I do and don't have as much health problems as I do and that is really very frustrating for me... This is one more reason that I find your blog so inspiring cause you do your thing and do not get mad at other people who do not "live green and organic"...

madness rivera said...

Hi Antje, I will for sure check out the Michael Pollan book. Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds like you are an inspiration too with living green. I figure we can't live green for any other reason than it's the right thing to do. Hopefully we inspire in that way, but I don't get mad at others for what they're doing or not doing. I like to think that they are making their own progress in their lives in their own way and maybe they don't know yet all the things that we can do together as a community, locally and globally. Just a few years ago I wasn't doing much either. Years from now, I may hopefully be doing much more than today. We can only keep learning and lend a hand and believe others want the same. Take care, Antje. Nice to hear from you out there in Germany!