Monthly Archives: January 2013

Not Vegetarian, not Vegan: Caretarian

*One month into the journey of living a healthier, “clean” vegetarian-eating lifestyle.*

Its no secret that I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much my whole life. Only within the last few years have I began to face the reasons why food has been a crutch for me & within the last several months (with the last month being a true, 100% dedication) have I begun to make healthier, life-changing eating habits.

Several years ago, during college, I did a rotation at a pig slaughterhouse. Even though I was in the vet department, I personally saw the execution of hundreds of pigs. Saw the way they were exsanguinated & drowned in their own blood…suffering for your breakfast bacon. I swore off pork (and I did really well for several years until about 2yrs ago when I accidentally ate a piece…and I hate to admit, but it was really good!). That was the start of making me look at meat differently & where it came from, however, it wasn’t enough for me to cut it out completely.

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I’ve struggled with this. I’ve always felt “guilty” about eating meat. Felt guilty about eating eggs. Felt guilty about buying leather products. Felt guilty about eating fish & seafood (my favorite!). It was an internal struggle for me being an “animal lover”, priding myself on being involved in animal & wildlife conservation & rehabilitation, being their “voice”, all the while I’m aiding in their slaughter. Its weighed heavy on me for years, but yet I did nothing. I’ve always kind of, sort of, in-a-way, been on the verge of being a vegetarian. I could go for weeks & not eat any meat, but I’d never made an “conscious” decisions to cut it out completely. And then this past fall I had a wake-up call from a co-worker. He’s a hunter & on a lazy Saturday afternoon we were discussing hunting & my issues with it. He asked me point blank,”How can you be such an animal lover & preach conservation if you’re eating meat. That’s hypocritical.”

Whoa!

I was actually speechless. And trust me, it takes a lot for me to be speechless. But I had no response because I knew, in my heart, that he was right. I made the decision then & there that I was done. Say what you will about me, but I’m not a hypocrite. I’d never take a stand on something unless I can support it 100% & I won’t back down from it…and he was right (which I hated) but my behavior wasn’t matching my beliefs.

The transition didn’t happen overnight. I decided that on Jan. 1st I was making the full-throttle commitment to become vegetarian. For several months I slowly started buying products to stock my pantry, began researching what vitamins I would need, what changes my body would go through & vegetarian recipes. I wanted to be as prepared as I could for what I knew was a lifestyle change. Through my research I discovered more about what “clean” eating is; and how you need to cut out preservatives, buy & eat mostly raw foods, as well as, cutting out most dairy products & meat.

Overwhelmed…yeah, I think so!

Luckily for me, I’ve got a plethora of friends that are vegetarians/vegans & have guided me through this process with tips, recipes, & emails of support that its been a fairly smooth transition. Although, I’ve been buying mostly all “vegan” products, I’m not a vegan. Northern Ohio (and the area I live in) isn’t the most friendly of places for living a vegan & “clean” eating lifestyle. For my personal home, I buy all soy & plant based cheeses; non-dairy products, but I don’t freak out if I’m somewhere & they don’t have vegan friendly options. So….I’m still eating dairy when I have to. I’ve started to make as many products homemade as I can (insert my weird obsession with Little House on the Prairie, country living) & will post recipes for the homemade mayonnaise, ketchup, bread, cottage cheese & other staples that I’ve been experimenting with. I’m very, very happy to say that I haven’t touched meat in exactly one month! And I’m loving it! One of the main health reasons for wanting to make the switch to a plant-based life was my weight & my skin (I’ve got dozens, upon dozens of skin allergies). Although, I haven’t noticed to much difference in the red-undertones my skin has had since adolescences, my mother has….so I’ll take it. Since weeding out meat & preservatives I’ve lost 20pounds, with 7 of those pounds being just this month since weeding it out completely. I’ll take that too! That’s with no extra exercise, other than my daily walks with my dog. And I do feel lighter & not as weighed down, I also seem to have more energy (which is awesome). It’s been a very positive experience for me & one that I’m gladly hoping to stick to.

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*after several months of experimentation, my homemade bread is turning out nicely*

So I’m coining my lifestyle change (drumroll please!) “Caretarian”…which means, I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not a vegan…but I’m Carey. I’m doing this for Carey. I’m making lifestyle changes for Carey. I’m eating healthier & loving Carey more. I’m caring about Carey & what she puts into her body. I’m not stressing about following a strict diet, if I want chocolate…I’m going to eat chocolate. If I feel like indulging & eating a bag of popcorn & having a beer (okay, maybe 2) for dinner (like I did tonight)…I do it. But at the end of the day if my conscious is clear, clean, & I’m feeling good about the decisions I’ve made that day….then I’m a good Caretarian.

Last week when I told my co-worker that he was the reason I’ve made a commitment to getting healthier in 2013 & reminded him of what he said. In typical man-fashion he said, “I’ve been known to change a few women’s lives…”

Rolling my eyes is also part of living the Caretarian lifestyle.

Blessings & good health in 2013

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” –1 Corinthians 6:19-20-

(my verse for this chapter of my life story)

 

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One Thousand Gifts…Week 2

25- The sound my cowboy boots make when I walk on asphalt…heel, thump, heel, thump (don’t judge my dorkiness) cowboyboots1

26-cups of hot green tea

27-flower scented Scentsy bars

28-news that my dad’s cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else in his body

29-quiet moments spent in prayer

30-the endless laughter I get at watching the squirrels run, play, & chase each other in my backyard (usually before my dog notices them & defends his property from the evil-doers squirrels are). Boy, are squirrels nuts! Winking smile

31-unexpected gifts of piles of books!

32-afternoon Friday lunch date with my Grandma

33-a job to get up & go to

hoofprints134-walking the trails at work & seeing them full of hoof-print tracks

35-co-workers that make a work day fun

36-seeing deer when I’m out hiking

37-honoring Martin Luther King, Jr & a reassurance of faith in people when they stand up for what is right when “enough is enough”

38-The rhododendron & holly bushes outside my living room bay window that attract dozens of wild songbirds. I get to watch them from only a few inches away (the bird-watcher in me loves this favorite thing about my house).

39-When I’ve wronged & hurt a family member (after I’ve become defensive & full of excuses on “why” I hurt them), my conscious doesn’t let me relax until I’ve apologized & corrected my behavior.

40-my brother came through his surgery with flying colors

 

 

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Cancer strikes again…

Its 2am & I can’t sleep. Just like I haven’t been able to sleep sound for the last several days. I’m a worrier; anxiety & anxiousness are terms I’m very familiar with. I don’t “relax” very well, never have, & when left to my own thoughts (like at 2am) my mind doesn’t shut off.

You see 3 days ago we learned that my dad has cancer. Cancer…a term that our family is way to familiar with. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any person on the planet that hasn’t had some kind of personal connection to this awful disease & now its hit my family hard (again). Several months ago we lost my Grandma to cancer & I’d be lying if I said my first thought wasn’t, “I can’t go through this again…not my Dad…this is my DAD.” Our family has been through this several times; my Papa is a cancer survivor, my Grandma battled it for 10yrs before her body was ready for rest, & my step-Grandpa put up a good fight before he, too, just got tired. Along with several, several, several extended relatives…you would’ve thought I’d be stronger when hearing the news. But its my Dad.

I went into typical “Carey” fashion like I do whenever I get hit with a bad blow. I hibernated, shut down & went into hermit mode. I could tell when people started finding out because, although appreciated, my phone, texts, emails & Facebook accounts were blowing up with well-wishes & “thinking of you’s”. …I just couldn’t return calls or even acknowledge them (and I’m so thankful that family & friends know how I am & didn’t take offense). This lasted for about 24hrs. before I actually told my first person that, “my dad has cancer”. Even saying the words out loud released a floodgate & I now know this can be handled.

I think anytime you hear a diagnosis like cancer you automatically go to the worst-case scenario & with the pain of my step-Grandpa’s death (less than 2yrs) & my Grandma’s (less than a year) still so raw, you can’t shut your mind off from going “there”. I’m the only girl, & any man who is any kind of father, will tell you that the dad/daughter relationship is just different, than that of a son’s. A daughter compares every man she dates to her dad & a dad never thinks any man is good enough for his daughter. A dad will give his daughter $20 to get gas, but tell his son’s they, “better get a job”.

It’s just…different.

This is the man that never spanked or hardly raised his voice to us kids, but you knew you were in deep trouble if he said, “we need to talk.” (which in my case, ultimately resulted in me bawling & confessing before he could really get into his “talk” mode). One of my earliest memories is with my dad, I was about 4 or 5, we were on the golf course picking up golf balls & came across a turtle crossing the sidewalk. He picked it up & moved it into the woods and said, “whenever you see a turtle trying to cross the street, move it to the other side.” (and to this day I always do!). As a teenager he told me, “don’t ever stay with a man that hits you or keep a dog that bites.” And even recently he put a note in my work-lunch that I found the next day, after I took home leftovers from a dinner ate at my parents house. That’s the man that got cancer…the man I’m terrified of having to say “good bye” too.

But I’m also, very, very thankful. I’m thankful because I’ve got a mom that will be on my dad’s ass like crazy making sure he follows doctor’s orders. I’m thankful because I’ve got so many friends & family that are lifting up my Dad’s name in prayer…even friends that don’t personally know my dad, but know me & care about me & know that I’m going through a struggle. And above it all, I’ve got my faith. I’ve got my faith in God’s goodness, my belief, that this is just one of those bump’s in the road & regardless of the outcome…its going to be okay. I know that God is always good & even when I can’t see it, He always has a purpose.

Even tonight, my devotional happened to be Luke 12: 22-34, which is about not worrying & trusting that God is your provider & knows what you need. “And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest.” (Luke 12:25-26).

So 2013 has certainly started off different than what I was expecting, but its still going to be a great year! It’ll be full of challenges & probably some tears, but also joy & thankfulness.

Any one can be thankful for the good times, but you also need to be thankful for the bad because joy is always worth the wait.

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One Thousand Gifts…Week 1

My Women’s Bible Study is reading Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts. It’s the author’s story of her journey to find 1000 things to be grateful for during the course of a year. Regardless of what darkness she was going through, she forced herself to find the joy in the midst of “deadlines, debt, drama, & daily duties.” To look & be thankful everyday for God’s glory.

It’s “Eucharisteo: grace, thanksgiving, & joy”

It’s getting in the habit of keeping your eyes on God & your hands open in thanks…even when the thanksgiving hurts.

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As suggested by my good friend & Bible Study Leader, Pastor Heidi Strickler (faith in flip flops), I’m working on my own “One Thousand Gifts” list of thanksgiving.

“God wastes nothing & makes everything work for his plan. He is always good & you’re always loved”

-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Week 1

1- time spent with my brother, Chad, & nieces Haylie & Alexis

2-Women’s Bible Study classes started & the selection is One Thousand Gifts

3-my dog Waylon got scared & ran up to me looking for comfort & reassurance

4-sound of church bells ringing from an old, one-room church down the street from mechurch bells

5-the older lady that works at the dry cleaners. She’s always smiling & chatting, reminds me of my late Grandma C.

6-the local gas station (only store in town) carries chocolate peanut butter Bugles, the perfect salty/sweet snack when a craving kicks in

7-lazy mornings spent watching a Little House on the Prairie marathon (despite the fact that I’ve seen every episode a dozen times)

8-a vehicle that is showing her age, but still manages to get me where I need to go safely

9-phone calls from my mom reassuring me about things that I’m worried about

10-pulling up the driveway & seeing my cat sitting in the upstairs window.

11- when the raining downpour starts after I’ve arrived to work & not on my drive or walk into the building.

12-payday!

13-supportive texts from my Sister-in-Law, Robin.

14-a 60* day in the middle of January

15-when a cooking recipe turns out exactly as good as you hoped it would

16-the sound of rain as I’m falling asleep

17- A Sunday morning church service message that fits exactly what struggles lie on my heart

18- Pastors that are also close friends that pray over me

19- afternoon lunch dates with my Grandpa

20- evening walks with my dog

21- a good hard cry

22- bible scriptures that speak to a need I’m going through

23- a dog that is crazy happy to see me after a long, rough day7.28 (4)

24- friends that hug, love, & pray on me when they know I’m hurting

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A Dog’s New Year’s Resolutions.

Pretty sure my Waylon could’ve wrote this!!! This should be on all of our 2013 resolution list!

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Animal Protection Laws: How does your state rank???

Definitely worth sharing! Proud of my home state of Ohio for rising above the bottom (as we’ve been for so many years). As with most change, it took some heavy consequences before we wised up to change our wildlife & animal regulation laws, but we did! I’d love to see the whole map a bright shade of green one day!

2012 animal welfare laws

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Filed under All creatures great & small, Inspiration, Some thoughts..., The Adventures of Waylon Moonshine