Self-Love: Part 1, The Body

In third grade, at the age of 9, I sat in my bathing suit on a bench with my classmates, waiting for our turn to get back in the school pool for swimming lessons. We had been learning various styles and had taken this break to watch our teachers demonstrate the next stroke. I remember being cold, wet and covered in chlorine, and hugging my knees into my chest to get a little warmer. The boy next to me (whose name I remember exactly, but will not share, tempting as it is) glanced at my huddled body.

Whoa,” he exclaimed, “You have huge thighs!”

I remember this as vividly as if it happened last week. I remember looking down at the fat on my legs, almost lit in blue under the fluorescent lights, rubbing together. I remember looking around me and noticing the girls in my class who were skinny. I remember realizing I should be ashamed. I remember learning to hate my body. I remember how it took me nearly eight years after that before I was willing to wear shorts in public.

Of course, I don’t want to place all the blame on this boy in third grade. Certainly that experience was a root in what would become decades of self-hate and self-abuse, but I could find a million more examples of things that concretized this belief that my body was too much, ugly, and in need of fixing. It was the magazines I read with pictures of girls and women whose stomachs were flat. It was the after-school specials about eating disorders that, somehow, seemed to glamorize these women’s ability to control what they ate. It was the high I felt after the first time I made myself throw up (at age 11). It was when boys started asking out the girls in class who wore jean sizes smaller than me. It was everything in a patriarchal society that told me I had to be be less. To be small. To shrink rather than grow.

But these external factors, for me, were just the instigators. The real work of body-hate began when, after internalizing those initial messages, I found ways to practice daily mantras of self-abuse so fervently that it become a part of me. Like green eyes, self-hate was just something I had. Can you imagine looking in the mirror everyday from age 9 until about age 17—(that’s 2,920 days)—and saying, “I hate you”?

Of course you can. This story is not unique.

The daily “I hate you”‘s did indeed stop in late high school. Instead, that mantra became more like every other day. It was a small victory that I was grateful for. I had found a confidence in myself through a variety of things, including punk rock, Left politics, great grades, and a loving boyfriend (and my family, who was never not a source of love). I started wrapping my head around feminism in a way that encouraged me to challenge hating my body. And as a, at that time, vegetarian, I found a way to keep off weight without starving or vomiting.

College deepened all the positive body forces even more. My feminism became more militant. I became vegan. My politics more firmly rooted. I had my first queer relationship. All of these things were ideal foundations from which to be a body-loving crusader. And, on good weeks, the “I hate you”‘s sometimes happened only every three days.

Throughout grad school, I continued to surround myself with amazing women (and mostly amazing men, and lots of amazing folks who don’t fall in either of those categories). I was part of a community of queer, fat-positive, feminist rebels. I continued to have mostly wonderful relationships with partners who seemed to truly love me and my body. I started teaching impressionable first-year college students about the patriarchy and how it works to shame women and encourage eating disorders and self-hate. And I talked about it as though I was removed from it, as though it was something that happened to girls who just hadn’t learned feminism yet. And that, Don’t worry, one day too you can speak about this from a distance as though it doesn’t impact you at your core, as though it doesn’t make you want to cry for being part of the statistics you’re sharing so cooly.

But that was a lie. Even with all the body-acceptance ducks in a row, I still continued to hate my body.

The hate started to develop in more unique and targeted ways. I started noticing two prominent themes in the self-hate that swirled about my brain and in my chest and out my mouth: I hated myself because I worked out harder and ate significantly “cleaner” than almost anyone I knew, and I was still not skinny. I hated myself because I knew better than to hate myself–I was a feminist!—and still I hated myself.

A therapist once asked me why I wanted to lose weight. This question, to my surprise, was incredibly hard to answer. She pointed out that I was within the “normal” BMI range (something, in my normal life, I would have called “bullshit” on, but giving my therapist a feminist critique of the BMI system after telling her how I made myself throw up my food for the past four days seemed a little misguided). She pointed out that I had relationships with people who found me attractive. She pointed out that I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with the people in my life who were also not skinny. I nodded. These things were true.

“I just…want to be skinny,” was all I could manage for a moment. I then explained how viscerally I react to the extra cushion on my body. How seeing those same big thighs rub together makes me feel hot with anxiety. How rubbing my hand down my stomach on days it’s not flat can literally catapult me into sobs. How the pinch of a button against your skin while trying to close a pair of jeans over your un-taut flesh in a dressing room sometimes made me sweat with rage. It was less logical (I mean, of course I could still point to patriarchy, but since I could name that, it was no longer quite as easy a target), and more embodied. Hating my body had become part of my body. 

There was a real shift for me back in 2010, right around when I started this blog. I did my first cleanse and started eating in ways that made me feel good (my binging and purging was, for the first time since age 11, almost non-existent). I am definitely grateful for the way cutting out refined sugar and other processed food helped improve how my body felt. It was a lot harder to hate something that felt so good!

But as I dug deeper into the “clean eating” blog world, I started noticing that most of these bloggers and Youtubers were still smaller than me. Waify, even. I remember thinking my remaining fat was just a result of the toxins my body was still clinging to, so if I could just do some more cleanses (and stricter ones, and longer ones), then maybe I’d have the body I’m supposed to have. The idea that my curvy body was the body I was supposed to have still didn’t seem right to me.

I made some progress away from that when I recognized that I was having some orthorexic tendencies, and started wanting to have more fun with friends again. I didn’t want to be the one who never ate any of the shared sweet potato fries at happy hour. I didn’t want to be the one who brought juice to parties because I wasn’t eating solid food that day. That no longer felt like self-care to me. I am grateful for the friends and partner I had in my life at the time who inspired me to “yolo” it a bit more. Loosening up about food (not throwing my healthy preferences out the window, just not being quite as restrictive), unsurprisingly, loosened me up about my body. Having more fun meant less time to dwell on food and my body (and less time dwelling on food and my body meant having more fun…it was a nice circular chain reaction). Being more social and not cleansing all the time gave me other stuff to talk about. It was a great leap forward.

(There is about a year between then and now that I am going to gloss over for now because body stuff became very much a result of a different kind of self-hate, and I plan to write a separate post about that in Self-Love, Part 2!).

Fast forward to today. After a year of tumult, I am in a place with body-love that feels manageable. There are still days that I feel like I am back to square one. But there are way more days and weeks that I feel really really awesome about my body in ways that are decidedly more significant than any other time in my life. Part of this is due to simply affirming that I love my body, even if I don’t actually believe it. “Fake it til you make it” sometimes works. (I have learned so much and been so so inspired by Lacy Davis, who writes about exactly this and a bunch of other really helpful stuff).

It’s also because I made an intentional shift from focusing on what my body looks like to focusing on what my body does. I love my body for getting through daily yoga practice. I love my body for it’s ability to lift heavy things, whether that’s dumbbells or air conditioners. I love my body for it’s resilience, for surviving the hell I’ve put it through. I love my body for the ways it feels pleasure (from food, from sex, from dancing, from bike rides). I love my body for being able to werk a pair of stilettos (thanks strong core!). I love my body for it’s energy.

And, to my delight, there are moments I love how my body looks too. I love how it fills out a pencil skirt. How it looks muscly in a tank top. I love how even though my thighs are still the thickest things on me, that I think I rock a pair of short-shorts. I love how it looks in a halter top and shows my chatarunga back.

I have been doing a lot of work and reading about self-love, and a version of this pops up in pretty much every text on the subject: “Nothing changes by hating yourself. Things only change when you love yourself.”

I have been repeating that mantra in my brain everyday. I try to look in the mirror and say, “I love you” at least once in the morning. I try to talk to myself the way I would talk to a friend. I try, when I’m doing my daily gratitude lists, to include my body among the things for which I am grateful. I’ve been getting into tapping, a practice that encourages working through negative emotions on a cellular level and replacing them with positive ones (I’ll try to do a post on this soon too!). I’ve committed myself to reading blogs that make me feel good and avoiding blogs that make me feel shamed. And I’ve tried to engage with other media that features positive body role models.

These are a small handful of tools I’ve been utilizing in the mission of self-love. Make no mistake, loving yourself often takes work. Hard work. I am fumbling through the project of loving my body with tiny victories and frequent defeats, but I am pushing through, because I have come to realize that the stupid cliche about the importance of loving yourself is really fucking true.

I would love to know how you practice self-[body] love. Let me know in the comments.

Have a super loving, awesome day! xoox

Friday Five!

Hello! I hope you’ve all been having an excellent week. I’ve been very busy (hence the no new posts), but with mostly very good things. I feel a bit exhausted, but pretty happy. That’s not a bad place to end the week! Here’s a cute sign I saw at a bar I was at last weekend:

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[all of you are.]

And here’s the Friday Five!

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Miso Maple Sweet Potato Tacos with Coconut-Cilantro Sauce 

This past Tuesday, I had a thought: I haven’t had enough Taco Tuesdays in my life. And so begins my quest to ameliorate that void. I think these sweet potato tacos from the kitchen would be a perfect contender for such an evening, no?

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Getting Real About Health and Diet

Gena’s thoughtful reflections never fail to hit me on a profound and lasting level. In her most recent post, she discusses the ways in which “health and wellness” culture frame food as a panacea for literally almost everything. This includes some food-cures-everything folks who insist that “cancer is an idea,” and that anyone who has any health problems has them because of something they are doing wrong. This whole process becomes a neoliberal tool of putting the onus on the individual to “pull themselves up by their [healthy, vegan, free-range, organic] bootstraps” in order to be well. As Gena notes, part of this is just bad science–some illnesses are not directly prevented or treated with food. Additionally, this phenomenon ignores structural issues entirely (not everyone has the resources to eat food for optimal health). It’s a post worth reading, sharing, and remembering (because I know I certainly need to check myself when I start feeling holier than thou about my eating habits).

Freezing Eggs, Privatizing the Work/Family Clash

Speaking of neoliberalism, have you all read about how Apple and Facebook are paying to freeze their female employees eggs? (side note, i wonder if this covers non-female ID’d egg-bearers?). Of course, easing the cost of this expensive procedure is a good thing, but, as Bryce Covert writes, “While most women say they freeze their eggs because they don’t have a partner yet, a quarter does it for professional reasons. It’s a hyper-individualized answer to a collective problem: the fact that both men and women work, but our workplaces don’t allow for a family life.” As someone in a career that consistently tells you to put your job before your personal life, I am pretty empathetic to the heaviness of this issue. What do you think about it?

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m very into the sound (and the delightful look!) of these pumpkin peanut butter cookies. There’s a lot of version of the pumpkin cookies floating around right now, but this one is not only vegan and gluten-free, but also uses stevia as a sweetener. Must try!

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Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy 

cats on the internet (like this and this); cats IRL; healthy communication (take that, Mercury); teaching and my smart and chah-ming students; yoga; getting a friend’s CSA because he’s out of town and eating the most delicious and colorful farm-fresh veggies; the kind mechanic who saved me lots of dollars on my car; the best Sunday Funday that involved the HONK activist street band parade, a walk through Harvard Square, and a night of wine and yoga friends; putting up fall/Halloween decorations; admittedly, this First Lady veggie-centric Vine; Halloween costume-planning; friends (far and near) showing up in the best ways (email, calls, real life, texts, everywhere i turned); emoji-heavy texts from momma.

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What made you happy this week? xo

Friday Five!

Hello! I definitely felt the full moon energy this week, anyone else? It was a long and feelings-y week, and I’m grateful for this upcoming three-day weekend (even though, on Monday, I will not be celebrating Columbus, but rather Indigenous People’s Day)! Here is a picture of the beautiful leaves on my lovely New England campus:

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And now four things from the internet plus a list of stuff that made me happy this week!

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Chile Spiced Roasted Delicata Squash Rings

Love this simple, beautiful recipe from Tasty Yummies (featured on Free People Blog). It’s seasonal, it’s easy, and has a sure-t0-be-good flavor combination (chile powder, coconut, and squash, yum!).

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The Amish Farmer’s Reinventing Organic Agriculture

This interview with two Amish farmer’s caught my attention right away. One of the interviewed farmer’s states:”‘In the Second World War…my ancestors were conscientious objectors because we don’t believe in combat…If you really stop and think about it, though, when we go out spraying our crops with pesticides, that’s really what we’re doing. It’s chemical warfare, bottom line.’” The rest of the interview discusses how organic labeling is a “negative-process certification,” so you can do nothing on the farm and get that label. But for Samuel Zook and John Kempf, they approach farming from an actively non-violent and holistic framework. Cool!

bell hooks and Laverne Cox 

Do I really need to say anything more than just the names of these two really incredible and important women? They talk about how celebrities can embody a decolonizing social justice practice within the confines of a colonizing institution. How to bring social justice theories outside of the academy. How it’s sometimes scary to go around talking about the “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.” How bell hooks doesn’t much like OITNB (to Cox’s (jovial) horror).They talk about safe space, and loving kindness, and high heels, and courage.  And more. It’s a pretty wonderful hour and a half–put it on in the background while you’re cooking!

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10 Ways to Make Affirmations Work Better for You

NPR released a report on the science behind positive affirmations, and in response, Claire Hannam published this helpful list of ten ways to make the positive affirmation process more effective. I used to be *mega* skeptical (okay, downright cynical) about positive affirmations, but now they are a huge (usually daily) part of my life. I don’t think they are a cure-all–(I’m a Marxist, after all, I can’t put all my stock in consciousness)–but I think they help a lot. And I’m going to incorporate Hannam’s tips to make my practice even stronger.

Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

friend dinner dates; friend study dates; dancing my butt off at this show; hosting a dinner party for my colleagues; yoga; getting to talk about deconstructing pop music and hip-hop in my mass comm class; mom phone calls; two fall runs in which I explored different parts of my new ‘hood; acorn squash & pomegranate seeds; roasted carrot hummus gifted from my dear pal; highland kitchen cocktails & midnight playground romps; kitten cuddles.

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What made you happy this week? 

Animal Rights and Prison Abolition: Why I Don’t Support Prosecuting Animal Abusers

22 year-old Andre Robinson is currently on trial for kicking a stray cat, an act which he recorded and posted on his Facebook page. I did not have any desire to watch something so awful, but it sounds like the video is quite violent—the cat has been said to have flown about 20 feet after impact. The fact that Robinson is on trial and has not received a plea bargain is a result of a new direction in the criminal punishment system that has been bolstered by an influx of bills that treat animal abuse as a serious, prison-worthy offense. But as appalling as Robinson’s actions were, I do not support the criminalization of animal abuse.

Animal rights activists have been at the forefront of using the legal system to hold animal abusers accountable for their egregious actions. PETA ensured that a man in Virginia receive a year in prison for starving a pit bull. The Animal Legal Defense Fund in California offered a $1,000 to ensure the arrest and prosecution of a man who set a cat on fire. And at Robinson’s trial, animal rights activists fill the court room demanding “justice.”

Understand first and foremost that I am deeply sickened by animal abuse. (Especially when it comes to cats! I mean, I am basically this person!). The acts committed by the people who have been prosecuted are completely unacceptable.

But the solution is not to strengthen the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). For those of you who don’t spend your days around people who use terms like “the Prison Industrial Complex,” let me give you a basic rundown. Basically the PIC is the name used to describe the “overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems” [1]. In short, prison has become a business that literally profits from caging human beings. The more people getting put in jail, the more money the privatized prisons make (and even the State-run prisons). That alone should be enough to make anyone skeptical of the system, but it only gets worse.

First, it’s important to note who gets locked away and who doesn’t. In the US, Black men are incarcerated at rates far greater than any other population. You can read more about this phenomenon in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which, as the title suggests explains how prisons are stepping up to act as a new method of racist disenfranchisement. We also know that other non-white people, poor people, and LGBTQ people are locked away at higher rates than their white counterparts [2, 3].

The key thing to remember here is that this is not because people of color, poor people, and/or LGBTQ people (and those at the intersection of all of those) are any more likely to commit crimes, but rather that these communities are targeted by the police far more than their white, wealthy counterparts. A very easy and common example that helps illustrate this is to think about the number of white and/or middle/upper-class college students who smoke pot. A shit ton, right? How many of them go to jail for it: not many. How many Black men go to prison for being caught with pot? A lot more. Despite having roughly the same use rate, this is what arrests look like:

marijuana_arrest_rates_by_race_year

I could keep going with graphs and stats that illustrate the way the system is racist, sexist, homophobic, and cissexist, but the main thing to remember is that it targets those populations, not that those populations “deserve” prison more than other people.

But none of that is getting at my actual point. My point is that prison doesn’t fix or change anything. In fact, prisons are more likely to perpetuate the very things that get people incarcerated in the first place. That is to say, they exacerbate violence, racism, sexism, etc. because they are inhumane institutions.

This brings me directly to the story about Robinson and all the other attempts made by animal advocacy organizations to prosecute animal abusers. If animal liberation is about practicing more compassion toward living creatures, we cannot rely on the PIC to fix humans who have not practiced compassion. The chances of people experiencing and being enabled to practice more compassion in prison is slim to none. Rather than looking at the root of the problem in any criminal case—in this one, a society that enables a human to be so violent and cruel to an animal—we lock people up as a distraction. As Angela Davis notes, the PIC “relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism.” Capitalism and white supremacy are systems that rely on alienation and dehumanization, so is it any wonder that animal abusers exist within this kind of economic system and culture?  The PIC is an extension of this system, and thus is not an institution that has any interest in actually addressing the root of the problem.

When animal rights activists support “tough on crime” approaches to animal abuse, they are strengthening the PIC. The PIC is not a friend to animal rights. The PIC is not an institution that will teach lessons about being better to living creatures.

So, what’s the alternative? Prison abolitionists have been theorizing and practicing alternatives to the carceral state for decades. It will not be an easy road, but there is evidence that transformative justice, rather than punitive “justice,” is possible. Groups like INCITE! and Critical Resistance have discussed moving towards community accountability and committing to addressing the political and economic systems that create violence in the first place. I highly recommend visiting these sites for more reading:

Imagine what it might look like if the energy animal rights activists put into trying to send abusers to prison was spent instead on challenging our culture of violence and working on programs to heal the abuser.

Simple Lemon-Ginger Tahini Broccoli

Hey, remember how this is a food blog and I haven’t posted a recipe in probably at least a month?! Well here’s a recipe! It’s super simple, but it’s such a winning flavor combination, I decided it was worth posting.

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Lemon-Ginger Tahini Broccoli

1-2 cups broccoli, chopped

1 T tahini

juice from 1/2 lemon

1-2 in. fresh ginger, grated

salt, cayenne pepper to taste (optional) 

Steam broccoli. Drizzle tahini over the broc, squeeze the lemon, grate the ginger. Maybe put it over kale like I did.

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This is seriously delicious!

Have a great start to the week! 

Friday Five!

Hello, dear ones. It’s already Friday again! This week has been somewhat better than the last, and for that I am grateful. Things are still a little rocky on my end, but I am focusing on all the awesomeness that exists amidst it. Here are four things from the internet, plus a list of stuff that made me happy this week!

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Swirly Butternut Squash and Kale Soup

This soup from Yes More, Please! looks and sounds absolutely delicious, and perfect for fall. I love how much a little swirl of color can enhance an already beautiful and nutritious dish. To be honest, the majority of the time, I don’t put time into making things look aesthetically pleasing—that’s why I love making food for people so much, because it gives me an excuse! But I do think there is so much value in expressing how much we love the food we eat through mindful and beautifying presentation, you know?

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Should You Really Practice Asana #EveryDamnDay? 

Loooved this article from Kathryn Heagberg about the ubiquitous #YogaEveryDamnDay hashtag that I see all over my Instagram feed. Now, I do practice yoga, in some form, everyday, but the idea that yoga is just fancy looking Instagram-worthy poses totally misses the point. Sometimes, yoga means meditating, or focusing on your breath, or doing some diligent svadhyaya. Heagberg has some excellent insight in here, including this: “And that’s the thing, asana can be such a gift—a tool to move through life more skillfully, a refuge from life’s proverbial storms, and a support for the more subtle practices of yoga, like pranayama and meditation. But if, instead, you find your asana practice is a major source of guilt, shame, or stress in your life, it’s probably time to re-think your practice.”

Thug Kitchen & Race

So, it was recently revealed that the creators of everyone’s favorite explitive-heavy healthy vegan food porn memes are white people. I admit to having gotten a laugh out of the juxtaposition of things like “kale” and “motherfucker,” but we should always be skeptical of anything that is perpetuating the racially loaded term “thug”—even if the creators were black, this term is interpreted by people in the context of a society that conflates thugs with blackness/deviance/criminality. But, more than that, we need to pay attention to the ways that white people profit off of racism. There were several really good responses to this that I read this week, including this awesome rallying cry from Josey Ross and this nuanced piece from Maya K. Francis.

GET IT? It's funny because it's like something Gwyneth Paltrow would drink, but it's next to things "black people would say"! #smh

GET IT? It’s funny because it’s, like, something Gwyneth Paltrow would drink, but it’s next to things “black people would say”! #smh

 No, You Can’t Have It All

Really appreciate the message of this Mark Manson piece. The short version is that we keep striving for having it all and still maintaining balance, but, Mark wonders, “What if the solution is simply accepting our bounded potential, our unfortunate tendency as humans to inhabit only one place in space and time. What if we recognize our life’s inevitable limitations and then prioritize what we care about based on those limitations?” It’s a good read for anyone who struggles with balance and moments of feeling unfulfilled.

Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

the crisp fall weather, and beautiful burst of color in the trees; yoga; co-planning an upcoming co-taught Sculpt class that is going to kick everyone’s butt; group texts (never underestimate the power of a group text for a good laugh and/or warm fuzzies); the feeling of getting cozy under blankets in a chilly apartment; my students and the excellent work they are doing and connections they are making; teacher clothes and finding heels that are not so bad to walk in; the mini-pumpkins I bought; the sweet admin assistant in the math department who gets me the remote for the projector in my classroom and makes the most adorable small talk in her charming New England accent; kitten cuddles; seeing a final proof of an upcoming academic journal article I have coming out; watching and thinking about this show; ritual and routine; broccoli and ginger; & hope.

What made you happy this week? xo

Liebster Award!

I’m pretty sure I did a Liebster Award post a while back, but I just got nominated again by the super awesome bloggers at One Sonic Bite, and I was delighted to have an opportunity to answer some questions and share some love with other bloggers. I think I’m especially into this because it reminds me of being in middle school and filling out those AOL surveys that you’d email around to your friends and crushes. Remember those? I can hear the modem dial-up sound like it was yesterday….

Liebster-Award

The Libester Award is a way to recognize and honor bloggers, often ones who are somewhat lesser known that bigger name blogs. Here are the rules:

  • Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
  • Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
  • No Tag backs and nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

Thanks again to Alexa and Jennifer for the nomination. I hope you check out their blog, because it’s great!

What is your favorite food: One savory, one sweet?

My favorite dinner that I never ever get sick of is kale salad with roasted sweet potatoes and tahini-lemon dressing. I crave a big bowl of greens every night, and sweet potatoes with tahini dressing is such a stellar combo, I think that definitely wins!

Sweet is obviously chocolate chip cookies in a variety of forms. I think my absolute favorite is raw chocolate chip cookie “dough” made by blending oats, dates, cashews, and chocolate chips in a food processor.

What was your first vegan cookbook?

Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard’s How It All Vegan!

What is your specialty dish?

Ha, I think it’s the same as my aforementioned favorite foods. People know me for the “raw balls” (cookie dough) I bring to parties, and my go-to quick dinner for a last-minute guest is my sweet potato kale salad. I’m also pretty solid at making grain bowls and soups!

What is your main reason for going vegan? Environment, health, compassion?

It was a combination of a lot of things. The very first inclination I had to stop eating animals happened exclusively because of my love of animals (and I stopped eating cows and pigs when I was 9). But it wasn’t until I realized that veganism was connected to labor rights and environmental justice that I decided to take the full plunge. The connection to health benefits came years after my original transition. (You can read my “Why Vegan” story in full here. :))

What would your consider the best day off?

A day that included a good workout and some refreshing yoga. A day that included people I loved. A day that included delicious vegan food. A day that included cute animals. A day that included conversation and laughter. Maybe a movie or some wine or a book. But the people, and the yoga, and the vegan food are the non-negotiables. <3

How do you take your coffee?

I am not a coffee drinker! I am a green tea drinker! (Although once in a while I will use a coffee ice cube in a green smoothie!).

Do you carry your veganism into other parts of your life? (Clothing, toiletries, etc)

I have purchased used leather, but don’t purchase any new animal products (no wool, no leather, etc.). I make sure all my bath and body products are vegan as well.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Duh, yes. Being a feminist is a huge part of my identity and it’s integral to my professional life. A big part of my job is writing and teaching material through an intersectional feminist lens. There are obviously lots of problems with particular versions of feminism, but I don’t think it’s a reason to distance myself from the label entirely. Being a feminist is also clearly connected to my choice to be vegan (because all oppression is connected!).

What is your cooking jam?

I’m not sure I’m interpreting this question correctly but I’m going to proceed as though it’s inquiring into what kind of music jams I listen to whilst kitchen-ing. My music cooking choices vary depending on the occasion. I love weekend day time cooking to old soul music, like Otis Redding, or Al Green. This can work for night time too, but I have a fond memory of making brunch with Otis Redding in the background. If I’m cooking dinner for a dinner party, I have been drawn lately to the electronic-influenced music I’ve been putting on my yoga playlists. Artists like this and this and this. In contrast, my Sunday night food prep cooking has been a lot of gritty female singer songwriters who make me feel all the feelings. I like singing along and feeling emo with old Rilo Kiley, Waxahatchee, and Jessica Lee Mayfield, to name a few. And pretty much any cooking is more fun with some good hip-hop.

Are you a wine, beer, hard liquor, cocktails, or non-alcohol type of person?

I enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail in social settings. There have been periods in my life where I didn’t make totally awesome decisions with regard to alcohol, and also periods in my life when I would go months without drinking and it wouldn’t even phase me. I’m in a place now where I enjoy a social drink once or twice a week and feel really good about it. But I have never ever been able to drink beer, I think it tastes super gross.

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I nominate the following vegan bloggers for the award (In the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I’m going to stick to vegan blogs and mostly vegan-related questions.):

Here are my question:

  • What kitchen utensil or appliance could you not do without?
  • If you could only have three spices in your kitchen, what would they be?
  • What is your favorite kind of physical activity?
  • If you could recommend one book or movie to someone thinking about going vegan, what would you recommend?
  • If you could share a vegan meal with three people (real or fictitious, living or dead) who would you pick?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity vegan? (you can interpret “celebrity” how ever you want!)
  • How do you feel about veganism and romantic relationships? Would you ever be/have you ever been/are you currently in a relationship with a non-vegan?
  • What is  your spirit animal?
  • What’s your favorite vegan advocacy organization?
  • What is your favorite thing about being vegan?

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Feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments, because it’s super funsies. Have a great day!