Friday, August 29, 2008

Got a Vitamix!!

I finally purchased my factory-refurbished Vitamix blender. I'm so happy. It will make preparing my daily green smoothies so much easier. Easier = more likely to do it. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Labels

On one of my message boards there's a discussion going on about the label "vegetarian" and the way it is used. It is a conversation that is rehashed time and time again and the main idea is that it makes like so much more difficult for true vegetarians when folks who eat fish label themselves as vegetarian.

I'm the first to admit it. Six or seven years ago when I first made the transition to strict vegetarianism (I used to call myself "vegan" even though I still used some animal products like leather and wool especially for my footwear, outerwear and crafting), I found it wildly offensive that people just had no idea what I ate. I would be in social settings and someone would offer me food and I'd say, "Oh, well, I'm vegan" and they'd try to offer me some kind of cheesy dish or something with eggs or say "But you eat fish, right?" I would even balk at "so-called" vegetarians who did eat eggs or dairy because they were not pure vegetarians like I was. I was haughty and self-righteous. To the point of even holding disdain for omnivores (who I maliciously called "meat-eaters") and all those who were not so advanced in their vegetarianism as I was.

So when I hear vegetarian folks complaining that people who call themselves vegetarian but eat fish make it difficult for "true" vegetarians, it really pulls me back to those days. Because I know it's not true. I've been through such a journey that I've come to realize that it's really just an argument to prove that I am true (read: better) and you are not. In actuality, what someone else labels his or herself really has no bearing on me.

It makes me think about a few years ago when newspapers declared that a RastafarI woman had won the Miss Jamaica pageant. I was so incensed that one who would dare label herself as RastafarI would ever find herself in something as vain and demeaning as a beauty pageant. What RastafarI principle was she upholding by being a pageant contestant?

Fast forward to today and, well, it doesn't really phase me. Because, in all truth, I cannot (and should not) define what it means to be [insert label here] to anyone else. I can only define myself for myself.

I mean, I get that some folks call themselves vegetarian to try to be hip, cool, "in" or "green" or whatever. I get that it is annoying to hear someone who eats fish and even chicken calling themselves vegetarian. But it doesn't have any bearing on me and who I am. I am happy to explain for the gazillionth time that I don't eat x, y, or z even if your "vegetarian" sister does. I realize that being vegetarian is outside of the mainstream or the norm and since most people don't put that much effort in finding out about the "other", I just can't be that mad about it or invest that much energy into it. It's one of the most useless exercises to try to get people to fit into your idea of what holding that label should be.

It's like being told you're not "Black" enough.

When you define yourself for yourself, it really doesn't matter what labels others give you or what labels others give themselves. It gives you f*r*e*e*d*o*m*. Especially when those labels that others have given you just don't or won't fit you anymore. When you define yourself for yourself, you are free to continually bust up and disregard those preconceived notions (which is really all a label is). You are free to work on being yourself. Authentically.

When Rain Clouds Gather

by Bessie Head. I bought this book sometime when I was in college for a class. I haven't the faintest remembrance of what class it was I bought it for but I finally took it off my bookshelf and read it. I am definitely big on African authors especially women. Amazon has some good reviews so I won't waste space giving details here (ignore the negative ones because they are really completely off base). But I will say this: it was a good read. A bit rambly at times but overall, just an enjoyable, not-too-long novel. I really loved the way it ended. Tragedy, yes, but love and healing prevails. I also really appreciate that Ms. Head showed that the oppression of Black people sometimes (and quite often) is perpetrated by other Black people.

Find the link to the text here if you don't mind reading the whole thing online.

I've borrowed The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy from the library. It's not an express loan so I'm going to see if I can get through it.

Went to see a holistic loctician today

Just a quick note . . .

It was a good experience. Yendys offered a few suggestions for me. Some I had already known like that I need to take a Vitamin B complex and increase my intake of raw greens. I have a Vitamin B complex that I've been taking sporadically. I really hate to take pills especially because it seems that I pee most of it out. I am going to see if I can find a liquid B complex--one specifically formulated for stress. I am already committed to including much more greens in my diet. She also thought that I might have some issues with my liver/elimination which I already knew but it was good to have some confirmation. Once I wean Z2, I am definitely going to do a total body cleanse. Another suggestion Yendys made was to take a chondroitin/glucosamine supplement to help balance out the sugar in my body and red clover as just an overall tonic. She told me to keep up with the apple cider vinegar rinses and offered me two products (a therapeutic scalp rinse and an oil she makes herself with fresh herbs).

She also thought that maybe I'm not getting enough protein. I've had the suspicion for a long time that I do no properly assimilate plant protein. My body must be able to use it somewhat because I'm not wasting away and I successfully nursed Z1 and am nursing Z2 with no undernourishment issues but the fact that my skin and hair are just so lackluster . . . I just can't seem to wrap my head around eating flesh again. I know, labels take away your freedom but I've just been vegetarian so long that now, it is a large part of who I am. A part I'm not ready to let go of yet. But, it seems, I really need to.

It pains me to think of having two pots on my stove cooking--one with flesh and one with veggies. I love the idea of a unified, peaceful (death-free) kitchen. Man, in your 20s, ideals die and they die hard.

I can't say I feel overly hopeful or encouraged in any way after seeing Yendys. But it was a positive experience and I definitely want to put aside some money every few weeks so that I can see her at least four times a year. Her energy is inviting and warm and she could only help to heal my hair.

Do I ever write "a quick note?" You should know better!
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