Vegans–Just REGULAR people…

How much should we poop?  This question, believe it or not, is  on my mind quite a bit.  I find the whole process of digestion really fascinating—always have.  I’ll spare you my personal bowel movement history, although those of you who know me have most likely heard all about it, but I will tell you I was in complete shock to discover that not everyone poops everyday!  Say what?  As Kris Carr puts it in her book, Crazy Sexy Diet, “If you aren’t having abundant bowel movements on a daily basis, then you’re full of shit, lady.”

The minimum target fecal output is 200 grams, or about ½ pound per day.  Sadly, the average American leaves less than 100 grams per day in the loo.  Vegetarians however, and vegans in particular, are fairing much better when it comes to the amount of poo their putting out.
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Cleaning up…

I think I overdid the sugar.  There has been all together too much of it in my life lately and frankly, I think it is partly to blame for my low energy levels.  With Christmas over and most of the Christmas sweets eaten or given away, it’s time to clean up house.

Luckily, Santa/my mom and dad brought me a stack of fun books that get my wellness engines revving.  I’m loaded with nutritious vegan recipes for all occasions and we’re gearing up (Josh and I) for a month of exploring rawness.  We’ve been wanting to give it a try for a while and with new year right around the corner, we thought we’d challenge ourselves to something new for the month of January.

I'm currently working through Crazy Sexy Diet which has got me feeling crazy sexy...

I love cooked food but one of the downsides of roasting up veggies is that they lose some of their nutrients.  Food also becomes more acidic when its cooked and I’m working on balanced pH for optimal health.  I’ll blog about our adventure along the way and I would love to hear from you. Please send any raw recipes you’ve tried and liked this way!

In January, I’ll also be:

  • learning how to sprout!  Can’t wait to share!
  • practicing dry brushing-– a practice of brushing the skin to get rid of dead skin and cleanse the lymphatic system (among other things like reduce cellulite–got your attention now?)
  • Green smoothies and juice–I had a smoothie pretty much every day this past summer.  It was hot and humid in Seoul and after a sweaty run, I’d go to work with the blender.  My smoothies mostly consisted of fruit, hemp protein, and flax.  In January, I want to experiment with more greenness in my smoothies.  Bring on the chlorophyll.

No Day But Today

We are house/dog sitting this week.  First off, I LOVE the dog.  She’s this gorgeous, loving, and energetic golden retriever and we have become quick friends (I’m pretty sure she becomes quick friends with everyone).  She’s been running with me in the mornings and I’ll tell you what, she’s a fantastic training partner.  This girls got great endurance.  However, she does have a weak spot for squirrels, which are abundant where we live.  I get a great upper body workout  everytime she spots one.  She has been adding an element of fun and love to my life.

There’s been a lot going on lately with starting our new life in the Northwest.  Staying present and not allowing all of it to drive me bonkers has been a challenge.  Its been something I have had to consciously choose to do throughout the day.  On Monday, I was feeling really nervous about asking my employer (of the job I start in January) for the entire month of April off to do a project in South Africa.  I haven’t even worked yet and I’m asking for a month off!  I finally got the nerve and sent the e-mail.  The next few hours my brain struggled with these thoughts, “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! I hope I didn’t blow it….” and “Melissa, who cares.  Stay in the moment and be confident in what you doing…”  I’m happy to say the latter thought won out and I was relatively calm for most of the day.
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Chocolate Almond Brittle

I’ve been baking this week in celebration of Christmas.  Its great that our return to the U.S. coincided with the holidays–an excuse to bake up a storm (and if you see my kitchen while I’m baking, you’d understand that “storm” is an accurate description).  With any and all ingredients at my fingertips, the possibilities are endless.

Here’s a new one I tried out the other day from The Joy of Vegan Baking (one of my faves).  There is actually no baking involved!

Chocolate Almond Brittle


  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 graham cracker rectangles–I used some New Morning Honey Grahams, technically not vegan due to the honey but their ingredient list appeared to be much simpler than the name brand.
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped raw almonds, toasted

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tofu and swiss chard scramble

I had the luxury of going back to the Portage Bay Cafe over the weekend.  Two times in a week!  As tempting as it was the order the same dish as my first visit (it was delicious), I forced myself to try something new.  I don’t recall the exact menu name but it involved tofu scramble, leafy greens and veggies.

Tonight, after an afternoon of baking and spoon licking, I was in the mood for something savory, warm, and healthy. I pulled out all the root veggies I could find, chopped up some green peppers, chard, and used what I could find in our friend’s pantry (we’re house/dog sitting again).  The result totally hit the spot and helped me recover from my sugar gut.
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Love Over Tolerance.

Emily and her husband, John, lived in our apartment building in South Korea.  They were the first English speakers to greet me when I arrived in Seoul (Josh was at work).   Over the next 7 months, Emily and I grew to become close friends.  Her and John moved back to Alaska in July and my last few months in Seoul were not the same without her living upstairs from me.

Last weekend, on their way to Colorado to see John’s family, they came to Washington for an overnight layover.  While on a morning run, Emily said something to the effect of, “I’m not about tolerance, I’m about love.”  This stuck with me.  So often we talk about tolerance and how it will make the world a better place.  Does just tolerating others really make this world better to live in?  nah. Love does.

LOVE. On our apartment roof in Seoul, celebrating Payton's life last June.

Taking Care of Winter Glum

We’ve been back for less than a month, and while I’m still in awe of all the beauty that Washington has to offer, I have to admit, I’m feeling the affects of gray skies.  I feel like I’ve been dragging.  The mornings have been slow and lethargic, the days lacking in clarity, and the evenings lazy.

So, the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about the things that help me to get my mojo back.  Here are a few activities that help me to stay present, relax, and feel less glum during the winter:

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