I have a problem with “I need you “songs

Lately, I’ve been running with some trance playlists on Spotify.

People these are 2019 worldwide hits, and yet- the lyrics, for many of them, are focused on the likes of:

#What will I do without you.

#I can’t go on without you.

#How will I survive without you.

#Now that you’re gone. the rooms are empty, my heart is lonely, the doors are squeaking (ok-probably no doors squeaking but you get the point). 

In my experience, and I can definitely be wrong here but this is my personal impression so far- Most of those songs- are sung by women.

Here I was, 50 something women, thinking we have made some progress on the dependence/independence issues, and I find out that in the oh so important territory of music-we are still sounding like the desperate sixties with the “I want you- I need you -where are you- please don’t go” and so on.

Do young men and women still believe that they cannot manage without their partner- boyfriend-spouse-lover?

Is it possible that it is mostly women that feel this way?

If this is true- what can be done to change this destructive way of thinking?

If this is not true- then why are many song lyrics still making us believe that it is true?

Before we continue- I have told you before that I live with my partner (no -we are not married, did not see any point in that), and we have been together for almost 18 years now

So you might justifiably disqualify me from this discussion, on the grounds of being so-called “depended” myself.

I have 2 answers to that (Though I always tell my kids that if you have one good answer, there is no need for 2..):

#1: After giving this much thought, and I mean a lot – I believe I can truly say that I am not dependent on my partner.

Financially– we have separate accounts, and although we divide the household bills between us- I always make sure that I have enough in my savings to cover all the bills on my own- should I need to do that. 

*Read here more about the separate accounts: Why I believe in seperate accounts

Traveling alone– my preferred method: my partner doesn’t like traveling the world, and I like to go check places and things that interest me- whether near my house- or as far as  Guatemala. (even further is possible!)

*read here about my wonderful trip to Antigua. alone of courseVegan and frugal in Guatemala-my month in antigua (and a side note on traveling alone).נ.

home fixing- I don’t mind dealing with plumbers, electricians, etc- on the contrary– they like coming over since I always make them herbal tea and some homemade cookies to make their job more pleasant. I am not scared of these things and try to make sure to read on-line about possible ways to fix problems on my own before calling an expert, I can unclog simple sink problems on my own, and try to maintain things in good shape around the house in advance so as not to spend extra money on calling a pro. ( for example -never ever throw coffee grains or oil down the kitchen sink- it will clog it! don’t ever flush wipes -should you use those things to begin with- down the toilet! they clog up the sewer! 

And things like that. 

But what about love you might ask-

Well I believe I have  2 benefits here- my age +the fact that we have been together for almost 18 years.

I try to lead my life in such a way that does not make me constantly depended on my partner’s love-acceptance-approval.Why I bring myself flowers every friday (and how I do it frugally!)

I love him very much, and I hope he loves me, but I have grown to understand that being totally depended on him to make me happy- is a huge mistake, and has done nothing but to make me miserable. 

 

I lead my life intentionally as if he will any day decide to pack his things and leave, and I am emotionally prepared for that situation- though it is definitely not something I wish for -on the contrary.

I told you I love him very much, and I also appreciate him tremendously-those 2 do not necessarily come together and in this case- they do.

I totally believe that this approach has benefitted our relationship- since it enhances the sense of freedom and choice- in our relationship.

I do not have to hide any shopping from my partner ( mainly because I am frugal and seldom buy things- but also because we have separate accounts and my money is mine- to spend or save or whatever with it.

I don’t get angry with him because I want to do something he doesn’t want to do- I always do whatever I want- alone.

And if he tells me he loves me – well then this is still music to my ears since I don’t take his love for granted, but I do my best (Admittedly sometimes it does’t work so well…) not to get worked up if he doesn’t say a thing , because that’s life -people have their ups and downs, and each and every one of us should lead a full and satisfying life by him/herself- whether he /her has or doesn’t have- a partner.

 #2: Let’s suppose I were depended on my partner, I am not a young and promising post millennial that can rule the world ! Wake up and free your selves because that is the only way to get freedom!

love to hear your opinion on this- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My summer diet-useful tips here!

Summer is here-

And where I live this means temperatures are around 30+celsius( 86+ Fahrenheit)- and this is considered “spring”…

So no way I can keep eating the same way I did during the winter-

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20181225_102709.jpgYou get the point.

For breakfast, I used to have homemade rice milk, heated in a pan, with flax seeds, turmeric and homemade rawnola (homemade granola that didn’t go through the baking process. just because I didn’t feel it needed it. no laziness involved, though I might not swear on it).

Or apple stew, again heated, with ground flax seeds and rawnola again.

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Now- I am gladly back to my smoothies-

Frozen bananas, homemade rice milk, dates, water, turmeric, carrots, and an apple. quantities are definitely a matter of taste and preference in my opinion.

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These are the flax seeds, before going into the machine as pink Floyd said.

 

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Ok this is how they look after being processed by my oh so powerful Vitamix.

These are really good for you and for such a superfood- not that expensive.

read my post on that: Flax- point! how I simplify my healthy eating with minimum cost!

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Yea they look ripe to the verge of too ripe, this is when they are sweet like actual sugar, I kid you not. this is exactly when no one wants to eat them.(except for really strange people that don’t mind eating a mushy banana that almost collapses in their hand, and the mothers of these strange people, that convinced them that they are still good to eat as is).

Peel them’ freeze them, and you will thank me later. trust me.

FROZEN BANANAS

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Ok, these are, obviously my Watsons, carrots.

Why bother taking a picture of them?

Well because I am sharing another great tip here, you are most welcome.

Oh, wait -need I remind you AGAIN that I am no dietitian, nutrition expert, any kind of expert, just an early retiree, ex-lawyer, a firm believer in nutritious healthy yummy easy vegan food and lots of exercise as means to get great health and good spirit?

I believe in using your brain since there seems to be a point in almost all organs we have in our body ( there is still a question about the appendix though, but this is not the place nor the moment to open this to discussion).

Why would we have such a powerful organ as the brain and let it go to waste?

No way people-use that brain of yours, don’t accept anything you haven’t checked yourself and understood fully well how it works and if it fits you and your beliefs.

So eat what you want, when and how and how much you want to-

And only try my advice if it fit your body and mind.

Back to the great tip-

Carrots are a real treat, they are super nutritious, light on the calories and that orange color is really psychedelic-

But-

No way anyone is going to eat them unpeeled.

And when you want something to eat, 98% of the time- you won’t start peeling a carrot.

maybe those strange people that eat very ripe bananas will, and their mothers as well, but everyone else- well -they will grab a handful of walnuts instead.

So?

So peel them ahead.

Sure- but they dry like the Sahara in the fridge after being peeled.

True.

So I read somewhere that people put them in mason jars.

Tried that.

Had to fight for 30 minutes to get each carrot out of the jar because they would cling to their carrot friends for help. yes, it was devastating.

So I simply peel them and put in a regular pyrex, cover with tap water and store in the fridge. I change the water every couple of days- yes use the water for watering the plants or washing the dishes or something.

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Apple.

Another vital ingredient. so pretty, and super nutritious. goes well in smoothies.

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Who needs sugar when nature lets us eat Medjool dates???

Then for lunch-

protein and vegetables, and some carbs.

Today for example:

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Lentil stew, combined with pasta, with vegan parmesan (nooch with ground cashew nuts and garlic powder. and some salt to taste) and some basil from my garden.

(love the sound of that, might repeat it a few more times).

Eat lighter, but don’t forget your protein and vitamins, drink more fluids- no sugar added-

And enjoy-

the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole truth about early retirement.

I think someone should tell the absolute truth about early retirement.

And I think that someone is going to be me.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not bout to tell you I regret taking the step and retiring at 50. au contraire mes amis

I truly believe I made one of the best decisions I have ever made in my whole life.

But- 

There is a but.

And I think that people searching for information on early retirement, striving and saving every penny towards early retirement, deserve to hear everything I can share from my experience. 

Maybe what I am experiencing will never happen to you.

Maybe it will happen to you- but you wouldn’t even notice.

And maybe- this is something of a common and mutual experience that might happen to you too, and when it does, and you start getting all worked up about it- you will remember having read this post, smile to yourselves – and think- well, glad I have that angle covered.

I believe the most dominant feature of early retirement, is time.

Time =freedom to do whatever you desire. 

That is absolutely true.

but there are 3 things you need to understand about all that free time you suddenly have:

#1:  More time= more time to contemplate your life.

Now, this can be a good thing. you can eventually reach far better conclusions than you ever did when having no time to fully think about your life- and yourself.

But sometimes- this process of reaching those conclusions- can be a very difficult and long process.

Now if you are -and always have been- a very self-aware and self-connected person, and every major decision/situation in your life has always been a result of deep thinking and contemplation- well then my friend- if you exist at all- congratulation! no need to read the sad posts of usual humans like moi. go save the world.or something.

But if you are anything like me, then your whole life you were trying to figure out right from wrong, good from evil, and trying to keep up with work (you want to step up the ladder? fine- work harder-more responsibilities- less time for your kids and your house- your spouse- yourself- more stress- you get nervous and unhappy- you become mean and nasty- you regret your behavior- but can’t help it- you are so stressed-this is just an example- right??).

And now suddenly you have so much time.

You start thinking.

And you realize that so much has gone wrong.

you understand that living in regret isn’t going to help anyone, but you have no idea what now?

I understand there are some people that retire and start traveling around the world with their spouse, all the while holding hands and experiencing fireworks where fireworks should explode. (trying to keep it clean here-excuse my beating around the bush so to speak).

Because I wish you all the best- I hope that if this is your dream, then may you accomplish it and write posts from Bali and Mozambique to show pictures of you two.

If that is not your dream- and you would rather travel alone or with a friend- hope you achieve that dream.

The point is that suddenly you have not only the opportunity but the obligation -to think what it is you really want to do with your life.

Where are you going?  

Who do you want to go with?

maybe no one- which is great. maybe someone who is with you already and is on the same path as you are- and every moment with him/her makes you smile-great. maybe this is someone who is far away or left -what now? maybe you haven’t met that someone yet and you are seeking for a way to find him/her?

I think you get the point.

Don’t wait until you retire to find ways to address your relationships with the people that you love and care deeply about or you might get to early retirement and realize you made a wreck of your life, and now you have the time to acknowledge every moment of it…

 

#2: “When I have more time: the misconception: I don’t have time to exercise now- I will start exercising/exercise more when I retire early”.

Again- this is my own opinion and mind you I am no health instructor or wellbeing guru or anything of the sort.

I am a 50 year old that has been exercising most of her adult life, and never delaying any exercise to “when I have the time”.

I believe that health and a serious exercising routine go hand in hand, and continuity is crucial-especially at a “mature” (yes I just wrote that funny thing) age.

Though not being any sort of health expert I know for certain that my body isn’t getting younger -and that is an understatement- and the time it takes to recover from each exercise- is time to be respected and acknowledged, and definitely not something you can depend on the goddess of sports (Diana?) to fix for you- when after years of minimal /no exercising- when retiring early you suddenly start exercising full time.

This can cause injuries, and therefore can cause you to stop exercising in fear of more /worse injuries, and this can be the sad and short encounter you have with exercise when actually this is the best natural upper existing. (haven’t tried anything illegal and stopped drinking alcohol so don’t start giving strange examples here people -you understand what I mean).

#3: the same goes for eating healthy. 

Please don’t tell yourselves that you have no time to prepare nutritious healthy food for yourselves and your loved ones.

I don’t like to sound like a bitch (you know what- I don’t really mind this is an important subject) but if you have the time for facebook/instagram/ Netflix -then you have the time to prepare a healthy meal, preferably vegan.(yes I preached here, yes I did).

There are plenty of easy quick healthy meals you can prepare ahead, I am linking a few posts just to get you started.

You cannot expect to rectify the damage of decades of unhealthy eating when you finally retire, and if you plan on that Bali trip holding hands with yourself- then get up and get cooking.

Flax- point! how I simplify my healthy eating with minimum cost!

How to truly Simplify meal prepping

Organizing your online groceries: preparing ahead and simplifying your cooking!(the sequel)

How (and why) I sprout my own sprouts

go salads

How I improved my blood works results

enjoy-the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 days as a dhamma server in a vipassana course: what?? ( no preaching or missionary wisdom included)

Yep.

I spent almost 2 weeks preparing food and cleaning the kitchen&dishes for more than 100 people.

No payment.

sure- it wasn’t easy- but I enjoyed myself immensely, and moreover- I shall share my tips on how to – just in case you decide this is an adventure you would like to experience.

Mind you that only “old students”- no- not mature in age and wisdom- but people that have completed a 10 day vipassana course, can apply to serve in a course, so first- read my previous post on my 10 day course- 10 days I consider a beautiful and meaningful present I gave to myself for my 50th birthday last year.

here is the link:The birthday presents I gave myself-part 1

for those of you who are curious to check if this is one of those cases where the sequel does not fall short of the original- here is part 2- that has absolutely nothing in common with this post- except for both being presents I gave myself for my 50th birthday.

The second birthday present I gave myself. (part 2)

so- why did I voluntarily submit myself to 13 days of hard labor and not the best sleeping conditions?

Told you in advance I am not about to start preaching about the benefits of the vipassana technique.

First, because I dislike being preached to, and every time I read or hear someone rambling about a certain religion/belief I simply shut down.

secondly, I did my first course on September 18 (aka my birthday, I believe I mentioned this before), and since I did a 3 day service in gardening, helped around a few weekends , sat every day for at least 30 minutes every time, and this round of dhamma service for 13 days. meaning I am by no means an expert on vipassana, and I think the best thing is to simply look online or read the book “the art of living” by William Hart ( I get nothing from anyone by writing this so).

last thing: I think the vipassana technique is well known, and frankly does not need my humble non-professional promoting attempts to thrive.

Having said all that- do yourselves a favor and read a little about the technique, and should you decide that you deserve some time off your hectic life, consider treating yourself to this 10-day course.

I am a known skeptic, practical and cynical person, ( I believe it is enough to say that until I retired 2 months ago I was a lawyer for more than 25 years….you get the drift), and I also happen to believe that, well, I know best what my problems are, and I will also be responsible for getting myself, with a lot of hard work, out of these problems, or if I can’t find a way out, then I, and only I, am responsible for learning how to deal with them.

So just in case you feel the same way – I totally respect that. (obviously).

I respect that so much that I need to mention that this, exactly, is what I find myself doing ever since I completed my first course in September’ and this exctly is the reason I find this technique so intriguing.

No guru. no religion. no one telling you what questions need to be asked, and what the right -or wrong- answers are.

Just Working very diligently on finding a way to deal with the problems I have.

I spent many years working hard as a lawyer,  raising 3 children and taking care of almost everything- but never had the time- or the willpower, to confront me. myself. ( and I).

Time to Actually sit down and contemplate certain behaviors of mine that other people seem to have a problem with, other behaviors of mine that I have a problem with, and my general wellbeing.

The only tool vipassana gives you is the technique itself. learning to concentrate on your breathing and physical sensations, as a means to reach a stable and equanimous mind.

Being equanimous through every sensation you feel, every situation that occurs -no matter how pleasant -or unpleasant the sensation is- is the key to eliminating much of the suffering you go through because of the ignorant way we are accustomed to behave -to react- to every situation that occurs.

This is a very simplistic and unjust description of the technique, and if this by any chance interests you and you are willing to put in the hard work -sitting and diving into yourself- while maintaining an equanimous mind- well- try this out. as I mentioned the course is free of any charges.

But- and this is an important but-

Since an operation as big as this cannot live off air, contributions are welcomed, very welcomed, and when I finished the course I felt such gratification- that I immediately contributed some money, and decided that I will donate more- by serving in a course.

Serving, by the way, was even more appreciated by Goenka g-the vipassana teacher that spread the technique worldwide, since he contemplated that giving money is a sign of a momentary gratification whereas while serving you show your gratification all through the serving period.

Serving means you make sure that the meditators that come to the 10-day course enjoy a full-time meditation experience, without the need to prepare their own food or clean after themselves.

The food we prepared was vegan -including all the main dishes- and desserts too. vegetarians that eat dairy products could have cottage cheese, butter and yogurt- that were served separately- and not included as part of the cooking routine. imagine how delighted I was, to find out that the center I was ecological and minimalistic as well. so the laundry and all the cleaning supplies were free of detergents, and a special effort was made to reuse leftover food- for example- soybean stew was served on one of the days- the little that was left (it just turned out so good with the cumin)- was turned into soy hummus the next day.

A chocolate cake that turned a bit dry- became chocolate cookies the next day and so on.

I also got to join- like all servers- the meditations in the hall- 3 times a day at least- most days it turned to 4 times  a day-including hall duty- (the meditation hall is open for meditators from 04:20 every morning’ and the servers had shifts -that included opening the hall and monitoring that everything is ok with the meditators- until 05:30 when our kitchen shift began).

Another cool thing is that servers are so appreciated that their meditation cushion is located in the front of the hall, close to the teacher (*to be exact- all teachers beside Goenka g are called assistant teachers or a.t).

The servers are not obligated to “noble silence”- that is the 10-day silence and no contact vow that all participants take. they are committed to “right speech” instead- meaning no-nonsense talk- only work and meditation conversations and a special effort is made to separate genders- as much as possible- we all worked together in the same kitchen and naturally, knives were passed and dishes were washed -but I still thought it made sense – and I am by no means a puritan- because a person comes to the center to concentrate on dhamma work- as a way of showing appreciation to the gift of vipassana he got ( at least that’s what I did) and trying to fit in some internal work too through the 3-4 hours of meditation with the course,  and many times the mere presence of other people -can be a distraction.

I am an introvert- so the permission to speak was something I would gladly give up- I didn’t mind the noble silence at all during my course, but I can imagine that extroverts find it even more distracting to be able to meet like-minded people- and not to be able to chat with them freely.

And a few more things weren’t easy.

I didn’t mind waking up at 3:50 am- this is my usual wake up time at home, but- I go to bed at around 20:00- read and fall asleep by 20:50-21:00.

The problem was there was an evening discourse every evening until 20:00′ and then the servers could join another meditation session- and then the servers would join in the hall at 21:00 (……) for meditation and end of the day session with the assistant teacher.

The assistant teacher was wonderful, and the access to him- for any questions or trouble- was a gift. but I had some serious trouble functioning after 20:00 every evening, after a long hard day at the kitchen…

Another thing is the accommodations…

Sleeping in a shared room was one thing, but sharing the bathroom and showers with 5 other women- well that was a real bummer for me.

I am 50 and an introvert- I believe these two were quite clear -it was definitely not easy for me to adapt to this no privacy -having to wait for the toilet-using a shared shower- thing.

But- on the last day the meditators were allowed to talk again, and many of them approached me and thanked me so much for serving them with delicious food and making their meditation experience so good, that every difficulty was gone with the wind, and I was filled with such joy that makes it possible for me to consider the next time I will serve in a course.

The thing about giving back- is that it actually gives you back- so much more….

enjoy your day-the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My DIY almond milk v. my DIY rice milk: who cares?

Well- you should care.

Because as it happens I have enough free time (yessssssss early retirement) to do you all the favor of checking out all kinds of very important things you were wanting to check but life etc.

I, on the other hand, since being retired and an introvert -have nothing to hold me back from those strange experiments.

*more on me being a class A  introvert -read here: 5 reasons why being an introvert is actually beneficial -and a useful tip

As it happens I am also frugal and a striving minimalist, and love learning how to make stuff from scratch, so you guys get to enjoy all the knowledge without the hard work.

in a previous post I checked out DIY rice milk, and the results were really good: read here in case you already forgot what was written or god forbid you didn’t read the post to begin with:

Making my own rice milk: is it cost effective??

Then I had to try its nemesis: the almond milk.

Almond milk is slightly healthier, since instead of rice- it contains, quite naturally- almonds, that are a great source of protein.

So I checked this out- and here are the results.

#1: the process: 

almond milk takes more time to make in my experience since the almonds need to be soaked overnight, but more importantly- as opposed to the rice milk, that in my Vitamix needed no straining before use- the almond milk has to be strained, unless you are brave enough to peel the brown skin ahead, which is equally tiresome , plus you don’t get the benefit of that great almond residue that is left after straining the almond milk.

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Ok, this is how I strain: no official straining bag, just straining fabric I bought on eBay for I think a dollar for a square meter. I cut out a piece every time I think the previous piece is over the hill, so to speak. (maybe I should have written “whenever the old piece is strained” that would have been more appropriate, but then again, I didn’t so).

IMG_20190330_165536.jpgIMG_20190330_165944.jpgOk- the process is so: after soaking 1 cup of plain raw almonds over night, I add the soaked almonds (sans the water they soaked in!) to my Vitamix, add 2 cups of cold water, and 3 pitted Medjool dates that soaked in a glass of hot water for 15 minutes. this time- I do include the soaking water, be noted.

All in all- 3 cups of water and 1 cup of almonds, make quite a thick consistency.

If you prefer lighter consistency- add more water.

Blend for 2 minutes on high.

Then strain.

The straining is the funny part because it automatically reminds you of all the jokes they make about vegans waking up at 4 in the morning to milk their almonds. hilarious.

Now the thing is- in my experience, and I know websites say otherwise but this is me- almond milk doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator. after 2 days in my fridge, it starts to smell funny and, well, no one wants to use it.

So naturally I tried to freeze it, and though sites say it freezes ok- it. did. not.

The almond milk separated in the freezer into clusters that made it impossible to use plain- only- and not always- in baking.

But-

There is that great residue left after straining the almond milk:

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I freeze the residue in a glass jar, and when the jar is full- I make gluten-free vegan cookies from it!

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I simply put the residue _ oat flour (I grind oat in the Braun hand mixer, add some raw tahini, agave syrup, and a little baking powder and mix. I don’t have measurements since I don’t measure it- I just keep tasting until I am full /it tastes good- whichever comes first. then form small shaped round cookies and to the oven for about 10 minutes- until firm and golden . 

Another thing to consider is cost

Almonds are not cheap where I live, certainly much more expensive than  rice, and even after subtracting the great cookies I make from the residue- since this milk does not perform well in my fridge in terms of keeping for a few days and freezing- I have to say  this Diy milk -in my opinion (!)- is not cost effective, as opposed to its nemesis- the rice milk.

I would make it on weekends- when everyone is having a banana milkshake, and I can use the whole amount at once+enjoy that great residue=cookies!

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first month in early retirement: What do I do all day???

Freedom.

Freedom.

Yes.freedom.

This is going to sound a bit like bragging.I am well aware of that. begging your pardon ahead.

This first month has been like an ongoing vacation.

every

moment

of

it.

Maybe a staycation – since I didn’t travel anywhere.

I had a great time. enjoyed every moment.

learned many things .important things.non-related to work things.

#1: I learned to cook basic Ethiopian food.

Basic Ethiopian staples can be vegan, (simply omit the meat dishes, there are plenty of other dishes to make) super tasty, super healthy, spicy, budget-friendly and very impressive.

Speaking of impressive. I had a lot of my friends come to visit me at home this month.

A lot is an individual number- I am an introvert- so the 5 friends that came over this month- were a lot for me.

I did enjoy the visits but needed a rest afterward. that’s just the way I am.

Every friend that came over was served lunch- including focaccia, salad, tahini dip,beet hummus, and a middle eastern staple called shakshuka- which is eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce. I ate baked scrambled tofu cooked in the tomato sauce. I made the tomato sauce with red peppers- since I had 2 peppers looking like they are done and almost gone- so had to use them.

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About that beetroot hummus- this is tasty but since I baked the beets -it turned out sweet (!!!) and some people found it strange to eat sweet hummus- so beware,

Making the beetroot hummus is actually quite simple- take homemade hummus ( ok- mashed chickpeas with tahini, garlic, salt, lemon, water to taste and olive oil for yumminess-you don’t have to mash it completely- some like to enjoy the chewiness of the chickpeas even in hummus)-to that add baked to tender beetroot. voila.

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Black tahini??

Yep.

Tres impressive.

especially next to the pink beetroot hummus, red shakshuka, and golden foccacia.

Toast black sesame seeds for a few minutes, then add a few tbsp of olive oil to a cup of toasted seeds, use the food processor or hand mixer on high for a few minutes until it turns to this beautiful thing here. tasty and super healthy too.

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Need a quick and impressive lifesaver for entertaining/indulging your family? make your own Foccacia.

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Here I made mini foccacias with the above tomato -pepper sauce. turned great.

You can add any toppings you like. go wild- why should I care.

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how to?

5 cups of flour

1.5 tbsp dry yeast

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil, and more to smear on it before baking

2 cups of warm water

9 not boiling water- warm water- otherwise the yeast will die. yes. die. they are living creatures.

put everything in the mixer and let work on medium for a few minutes. 5-7. until you see stretchy slick dough in front of you.

Drizzle some olive oil- yes this takes plenty of oil- it is what makes this tasty- don’t like olive oil? eat something else.

Cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles.

Transfer to an oven tray+ another baking pan -a smaller one- covered with parchment paper then poke holes in the dough with your fingertips. drizzle olive oil and into the oven -170 degrees Celsius- until the bottom is golden and firm to touch. I find that baking the amount of dough in only one tray yields higher focaccia- but it doesn’t bake well all over, and the solution was dividing the amount to 1.5 trays-meaning the oven tray + a smaller one. ( about the size of a medium pizza pan).

Speaking of Diy: I made my own soap holder, by tying wood sticks from my garden with nylon string I had in my drawers. this is what it looks like:

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enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

Trying to listen to my body

For years I’ve been hearing everywhere that I should listen to my body.

Meaning- my body should decide what I eat, how much of it I eat, how much I train and when I get to rest.

Well, there comes a time (and age) in a woman’s life when she has to admit to herself that it׳s not that simple to trust anyone- yes including my own body-to make those important decisions.

Don’t get me wrong- this is not some kind of self hatred post – on the contrary; I happen to like and appreciate my body immensely, and have a very good relationship with it, where I feed it nutritious healthy food, exercise and rest, and generally give it a lot of respect, and I am rewarded with good health and a well functioning body, that I am very great full for.

Every day.

I am not kidding here.

I have learned to be greatfull for every time I go out for a run, swim, lift weights and do yoga.

These are truly appreciated and most definitely not taken for granted in any way.

And yet- I have trouble trusting my body to make serious decisions about food, because as it happens it sometimes has the persistence and goal setting ability of a 3 year old, and this is totally my own fault.

When we are children, if left alone and not pressured to eat certain food at certain times, I tend to believe your body can maintain a healthy relationship with food, where it can say enough when it is enough, and more of a certain food when the craving is a true need and a simple sugar crush. .

For one thing- it has not yet adapted to my almost 6 years of veganism, and still, from time to time, craves meat, and cheese, and other stuff it ain’t getting.

*I am not vegan because I hate meat and dairy and eggs, sadly I really like the taste of these things, but I choose not to eat them because of ethical reasons- mainly the way animals are exploited for the sake of enjoying these products and the tremendous ecological damage this food choice is causing,

But- this is not a lecture on veganism, though evidently, my precious “body” could use that lecture since it has yet to understand my choice – in spite all those years,

So from time to time, I need to shut my ears and not listen to my body as it tells me it would really like to have a nice steak.

But this is not the only example, I have disagreements with my body on a daily basis too.

My body, evidently- likes to eat a lot.

and wouldn’t mind having breakfast, consisting of heated rice milk with homemade granola and ground flax seeds- in the consistency of porridge if you are desperate to know-then a snack of a banana and an almond cookie.

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Then a toast with some coconut oil and homemade prune jam.

Then coffee,

Then 2 (ok 3) Medjool dates, with raw tahini drizzled on them, and some shredded coconuts, and a few almonds.and a banana.

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At this point, I tell my body to shut the **** up- and give me a break.

Now it is possible that people might think: “well then, she should understand that her body is telling her that he needs something, and if she were to oblige her body with what it craves- it will balance itself at the end”.

Yea.

Not buying that.

I believe our bodies are simply creatures of habit.

You give them meat and dairy for years- they adapt very quickly to this lifestyle and crave those things. you take it away from it- and it will take quite some time for those cravings to stop.

I have been practicing intermittent fasting for the past 2 months- and I can tell you that the first few weeks I felt really hungry, and if I were to “listen to my body” then- I would never have made the change that I see now is very much likes by the same stubborn body.

Creatures of habit.

My blood works are great, see my previous post : and so those cravings are evidently not a sign of a physical need- but a mental demand, and with all due respect to my precious body- I have no intentions of leading my life according to its mental demands.

I didn’t have all those struggles before-

I retired early at the beginning of March, and when at home- and an introvert like me is mainly at home- you have unlimited access to good food, which I certainly did not have when I went to work.

What I brought is what I ate, no discussions with that body of mine,

Now every day I need to negotiate and get to an agreement with my body- and sometimes it doesn’t mind breaching the contract and go sue it…

Having said all that- when it comes to exercise- I try to not over do it- and rest when I feel tired or feel my lower back is planning to go on strike.

love to hear your opinion on this subject.

the cooliflower.

Making my own rice milk: is it cost effective??

This is not exactly fair, I know.

I retired early 5 weeks ago, and obviously (for me) – became even more of a DIY enthusiast.

I think it is socially expected of retired people to upgrade their cooking skills, learn Italian,play the banjo and knit colorful socks. (I have a long way to go.no banjo skills , zero on the knitting part).

But let’s put aside whatever it is society expects you to be or do- since this was never my “thing”- to align myself with society’s expectations of me. better get to the point of this post.

I love being in the kitchen.

It is definitely my comfort zone, I find it to be liberating -artistic- comforting -and obviously quite useful at the end of the day- to spend time in the kitchen.

So in my defense I will say that I have been preparing food from scratch long before I (recently) retired, though my 2/3 of my kids are grown ups now( the youngest one and the only that is still living at home is 14.5, and really is low maintenance) so I truly think that if any of you work full time out of the house and is raising young kids- then just get a nap or a shower if you have 30 minutes to spare…DIY vegan milk is too much of a hassle for you right now…been there- done that.

An excuse which in my opinion is non-valid, is “my kitchen is too small for these adventures”.

Anyone who believes that it takes a designer state of the art new kitchen to prepare good food is welcome to go read someone else’s blog.

Sorry- not here. not me. not my kitchen.

when we bought our house in 2004, it was already an old house- I believe it had some 40 years on it back then- if not more.

we did some renovation -as in electricity, repainting and adding one room, but nothing else has changed, and that includes the kitchen -and it’s cabinets.

The cabinets were painted in a hideous dark green, so we bought paint and repainted them light yellow, and changed the knobs on the doors. after deep cleaning the insides- the cabinets were good to go.

I am happy with my small kitchen, I cook all the time, I eat out very rarely- only when I have to -meaning I am meeting a friend who lives far from me and it is my turn to come over. I much rather have my friends come over to me and I gladly cook for them.

This is my kitchen. as you can see-not big, not new, but very active nonetheless.

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The equation, in my opinion, should be: time (to prepare)+money (to make from scratch) should be significantly smaller than the cost of buying the product+ risk of health issues- as in a large amount of added sugar, artificial additives, low-quality oil or such.

when it comes to vegan milk- amazingly everyone at the house is on board.

that is amazing since except me- no one os vegan at my house- on the contrary,  my partner and my son love eating meat and eggs, pizza and the likes. but surprisingly- like soy milk, and since I started making rice milk and almond milk from scratch, they don’t mind blending it in their shake.

I started making my own milk after reading the label on my regular store-bought soy milk, and understanding the number of additives- sugar being the biggest one- was quite alarming.

The cost was also an issue.

We used to go through around 15 liters of soy milk a month, each cost 3.5 $, that’s 52.5 $ a month.

Now I order 6 liters of soy milk a month from my online supermarket, which is a bit cheaper than the grocery where I live. the cost for soy milk currently at my house is 18$.

To that, I need to add the cost to make the extra 10liters of vegan milk -as rice milk.

a kilo of rice costs 2$ in my online supermarket and yields 4 cups of dry rice.

each cup of dry rice yields about 3 cups of cooked rice, and each cup of cooked rice yields about 3.5 cups of rice milk.so each kilo yields 12 cups of cooked rice- which yield all together 42 cups of milk- 10.5 liters. for 2$.

I don’t add any sugar to the milk- I add 2 Medjool dates -soaked for 2 hours in hot water, to a cup of “cooked” rice, and then I add 2 more cups of water- blend in my Vitamix for a few minutes- and this is it. no straining is needed- my Vitamix is a beast- and makes smooth milk with no residues.

About that “cooked” rice – I boil a small pot of water, add 1 cup of dry rice and after a few minutes close the gas and put a lid on it and let it cook itself in its own heat for an hour or 2.

The original  recipe is from the minimalist baker: minimalist baker rice milk-but I don’t strain the milk- since it’s not needed in my Vitamix and I can tell you I tried straining through a thin tea towel and it left such a mess on the towel I couldn’t get rid of it- and because it waited in line for the washing machine- it also developed a strange unpleasant smell- long story short- don’t strain through a towel….

what I use it for? actually everything- yes including a few drops in my coffee.

I heat it in the morning and add ground flax seeds, homemade granola, and turmeric, stir- don’t let it turn to cement- add some water if it is getting tough on you- and enjoy a very filling breakfast- when I don’t have my apples for my apple stew.

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the cookie is made from almond milk residues

I put it in milkshakes, bake with it, and make pancakes with it- just an example.

now for the cost comparison: store-bought milk- 52.5$. and added sugar and strange stuff as additives. DIY milk +some store bought- 20$. dates instead of sugar.

You need to know though that in my experience- my rice milk does not hold for more than 3 days in the fridge, so I simply make 1 cup of dried rice, make rice milk from 1 cup of cooked rice and freeze the other 2 cups separately for preparing ahead.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I improved my blood works results

before I start- here comes the usual drill about the disclaimer and all that- “I am not a doctor or registered dietitian or any other practice that concerns health or nutrition”.

All my tips are based on my own personal experience, what works for me- might not work for you-  do your own research and all that.

Now let’s get talking.

*I am assuming you want to have good blood work results .because we are all raised as achievers and this is yet another test.

*I am assuming you understand how important and accurate these blood works can be, and the huge advantage in checking your health using accurate measures, instead of opinions of this or that person.

I am aware that some conventional doctors have a problem with the vegan diet, and they are still under the impression that “a healthy balanced diet consists of meat-poultry- well at least fish!” (………..)

#I am not a health expert and I am assuming all of you are no fools and would rather do your own research on such an important subject as your health, so I am not going to copy and paste here excerpts from medical articles and pretend this is scientific research when clearly- it is not.

Go read and educate yourselves on this subject. many people wish each other good health and some even add that “there is nothing more important than good health:- I always think -this is so true- so why not act like it? meaning- make sure you eat healthy food, get plenty of exercises, get checked once a year, take good care of your teeth (!) and try to eliminate as much stress from your life as possible?

I am aware bad things happen even to healthy people. we live in a very polluted world, and sticking to our cell phones and computers all the time isn’t making it better.

But- you can still try to correct what is in your control.

What you eat, how you much you eat, the amount of exercise you do, and how you relax.

So -once a year I do a full blood test checkup and analyze my results.

*keeping track of my B12 -folic acid-iron levels is super important to make sure everything is under control.

Being vegan it is important to check B12 levels, since B12 is derived from animal sources, and vegans usually supplement this vitamin. This is the only supplement I take, I see no reason to swallow a ton of pills when I can simply eat a balanced full of vitamins diet.

*to that- add the fear of blood fats- LDL- known as “bad cholesterol, and HDL- known as good cholesterol.and let’s not forget about these Triglycerides…

ok let’s analyze it:

B12:

this year, (End of February 2018) my B12 results were quite similar to last year (545 if this is of interest to anyone- I understand this is a reasonable number so I don’t linger on it). I take 2 tablets of 1000 mcg B12 a week. no chewing or swallowing- I put it under my tongue and let it dissolve. seems to be doing the job. if any of you people is vegan- please don’t play around with this important subject. this b12 is very important so get yourself checked and decide on supplementing if you are low on that count!

Hemoglobin (HB):

12.6, about the same as last year.

Cholesterol:

Last year: (February 2018) 190-exactly a year later- 132.

Bam!

That is a drop of 30%!

Calc LDL (aka “bad cholesterol”) :

last year: 118 this year: 69.

Double bam!

that result was almost cut in half!

triglycerides:

last year 73, this year- 56.

also a drop.

my calcium is 9.37 and my protein levels are 6.64, all in the normal zone.

I was really happy with these results.

Naturally because they are good results ( from what I checked- desired cholesterol levels are under 200, triglycerides are under 150 and desired calc LDL is under 100), but because I implemented 2 major changes to my diet the past year, and I have been waiting to check if I was right in assessing it would make a big difference in my results.

The thing is- basically if you want to conduct a study to research a phenomenon- from what I know- you can’t mix in another component …now I have no idea which of the 2 changes I’ve made- is responsible for the great results…but having raised 3 children I will use the old trustworthy method -when in quarrel- call it a tie.

And the 2 changes I made that are (equally) responsible for the change?

#1. I stopped drinking alcohol. 

I wasn’t drinking that much before- a shot of whiskey (30 ml)- but I used to have that small glass every night.

I called it my “winding down time” when finishing my chores at home- after a long day at work.

I told myself that this is only 30 ml. what harm can it do? I can’t go to sleep without my “nightcap” and a lot of other BU** S***

I stopped drinking totally on June 2018, although I really liked the way alcohol made me relax, and I love the taste of an ice cold beer in the summer, and a glass of red wine is recommended by the blah blah blah and all those excuses.

I had a hunch that small amount of alcohol is responsible for at least a part of my cholesterol results, that admittedly weren’t high to begin with, but I eat a healthy diet and had high expectations that weren’t met last year. but were definitely met this year.

People- do whatever you want- drink- don’t drink- drink only on occasions- (why? because you are in fact an introvert who dislikes events and would rather be home reading a good book? well then go home and read a good book, my friend!).

It is definitely none of my business

It is your business. totally.

manage your business as you like.

If you are under the impression that you can’t survive without a drink a day, because you are miserable at work and your family this and that and everything else- your choice.

I can tell you the first few weeks without my “nightcap” weren’t nice at all, but afterwards, I got used to not drinking.

I don’t bother to imitate with a glass of wine filled with cranberry juice, because I care not what people might think of me.

I actually find it extremely funny should they think I’m too much of a nerd to drink, knowing the opposite is true…

So I drink water, and when a glass is raised to make a toast-I raise my glass of water.

I decided that what’s in my heart is more important than what’s in my glass, and if the person concerned is not ok with my choices- well I think he or she didn’t deserve me raising a glass of anything to begin with.

#2: the other major change I made- in January 2019 I started intermittent fasting.

Read my previous post to learn what and why and how :

 

and read if you are interested in other peoples opinions.

benefits of intermittent fasting

So there is a tie between stopping to drink alcohol and intermittent fasting- but who cares?

Both decisions are evidently good for my health, I feel great, once getting used to them- I no longer experience any discomfort practicing them, and let’s face it- eliminating alcohol and dinners is quite a money saver too!

I absolutely have no respect for what other people might think of my choices, as long as they pass my strict tests: they are legal’ good for my health, make feel vital and energetic, and make my skin look good. and they don’t cost a lot of money.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thank you again Pexels for yet another great and free photo.

So- intermittent fasting??

well, people read my disclaimer- no doctor, no dietician, no scientific nothing. do what you want, eat what you like, basically, do your own thing, this is my experience, I have no idea what’s good for you if you don’t know either- then consult someone that you believe does know.

now to the point. so after my vipassana course in September, I realized skipping dinner was a valid option for me. actually, I felt much better when meditating on an empty stomach.

So for a few months, I continued to skip dinner, though I did snack in the afternoons.

Approaching  January I stumbled upon an article about intermittent fasting and suddenly it hit me- all the benefits mentioned made sense- i already knew that from vipassana…

So i decided to give it a try.

Intermittent fasting has many variations: 18/6,16/8,20/4,omad- all named after the fasting/eating windows you decide on.

Omad stands for one meal a day.

My choice- since I am clearly a morning person ( i get up at 3 or 4 am every morning- no alarm clock), was 19/5, meaning 19 hours of fasting and a 5-hour eating window between 7:30 and 12:30.

Many times this becomes 18/6, but usually, I can manage pretty well with my 5 hour window.

Am I hungry?

First, I sure was.

I was so hungry during the first two weeks that I was afraid to exercise, thinking hunger might do me harm.

Turns out the opposite was true for me.

Again, use your brain to decide if this is good for you, for me If (short for intermittent fasting) even enhanced my exercise performance!

I workout early in the morning and only drink one cup of black coffee – no cream or sugar of course, and a glass of hot water with 1-2 tbsp of acv.that is apple cider vinegar.

Both are totally acceptable as part of fasting and even recommended.

I eat when I get back from training, and enjoy a hearty breakfast of rice milk or almond milk I make myself, heated for a few minutes, and to the bowl, I add 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds and 2 tbsp of homemade granola. and a sliced banana.

If I have apples I make apple stew with dried pruned boiled with the apples and use the water from the stew instead of the vegan milk.here is a link to the post explaining that genius idea. Flax- point! how I simplify my healthy eating with minimum cost!

Some days I am so hungry (or feel hungry- not necessarily the same you know) that I continue to snack: a few almonds, a few walnuts, a Medjool date (or 2.lets be honest many times 3. I can’t help they are so good . they are the best sweet treat I know, seriously, and I’ve eaten my share of sweets) , a few spoons of granola drizzled with a tahini-agave sauce I make (* simply mix 1:1 ratio of both and add water until you like the taste and consistency. that simple. yes. it is), a cookie, maybe 2. most likely 2, a banana. enough. this is getting ridiculous. 

As you can see, some days my breakfast kind of blends into my lunch through the connecting bridge of “the snack”.

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As for lunch- most days I eat no later than 12:30 many days earlier.

I eat a protein-based meal: beans, lentils, chickpeas, with vegetables and a small side of carbs: a piece of whole wheat bread with tahini, rice, some pasta. potatoes.

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I make sure I am feeling full when I finish eating, knowing that I won’t eat again until 07:30 the next morning. because my meals are protein packed, for me – this makes sure I am fine not eating anything else for the next 19 hours or so.

I drink ginger infused hot water or add herbs to my hot water, acv (apple cider vinegar)  infused water, and that cup of black coffee first thing the next morning. no sugar added to any of the drinks, no fruit, not even my beloved apples. The idea is that the body needs to stop digesting for a substantial amount of time so it can concentrate on using the food we already put into our body, which as you can see in my case- is quite a lot.

after practicing intermittent fasting for more than 2 months I can say that this is a method that works really well for me.

less stress over what to eat at dinner

more free time since not preparing- eating-cleaning dishes

my body feels lighter-yet my exercises improved!

can’t forget the frugal point of view- less food to buy -keep-prepare etc

at first I had some trouble being the cook at my household: fasting and preparing food for others- this is only for the bravest of them all. sorry- can’t do that. no way. so I started organizing everything for my partner and my son’s dinner -ahead. they heat their food and clean up after themselves- so I don’t have to deal with that.

I think people have gotten so used to the idea of 3 meals a day- that they never stop to ask themselves -is this really what works best for my body? my eating habits? my needs?

For me- as of now- this method works great.

love to hear if you tried it- and if not- what your stand is on this issue.

ciao- the cooliflower.