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Everything posted by Christopher

  1. The dough is very basic, and the recipe is vegan. The recipe isn't a secret, and I'll post it when I'm near the computer where I have the recipe saved. Christopher
  2. That's great! I worked on a sprout farm in college and we sprouted garbanzos. The dog that lived on the farm loved garbanzos. The dog hung out with a bunch of goats and learned how to climb things. It was a very cool dog.
  3. That's great, Nicole! Great cause! One of the coolest dogs I've ever met was a pitbull.
  4. Hahahahahaha....thanks, Tasha! And thanks to everybody else for taking a look. It's one of the few family traditions we have, and it's been awhile since we've made them. It's been a lot of fun, and this year is the first year I felt I really started getting the cuts down at least vaguely like my great grandmother's cuts. Christopher
  5. When vegans bash vegans, it looks bad to those who already think we're all crazy. Fortunately, I've seen more people realizing vegans aren't what they thought; they're seeing higher profile vegan celebrities and sometimes stumble upon vegans who surprise them because they aren't what they thought they were. I've always felt strange calling myself vegan because I do think it's an important description that carries with it a certain sense of activism. I'm not very active; I usually tell people I'm a strict vegetarian who consumes nothing from an animal. Most people say, "Oh, so you're a vegan." Sometimes I explain things in greater detail, and other times I don't. While I'm not much of an activist, the way I eat has had an affect on people I know. My wife went vegetarian and then vegan with me. My mom went vegan. A friend at an old job went vegetarian and kept talking about how one day he'd give up cheese. At my current job, a friend went vegetarian after chatting with me and her son followed her. Her husband is leaning toward going fully vegetarian (he's seen a lot of health improvement since eating better). Another co-worker came up to me the other day and asked me if there was a wide variety of good vegan cheese. I told him there are a couple kinds that I think are all right if used certain ways, but I don't get a block of vegan cheese and eat it with wine or anything. He said, "Then I guess I'm a vegetarian..." Maybe I should have told him there's good vegan cheese and tried selling him on going vegan, but it's in his mind (and I'm not too fond of most vegan cheeses). In time, there are great odds he will stop consuming dairy products--he's not into it for health...he was appalled when finding out how animals are treated and he's since chatted a bit more about how it bothers him. Some people make the leap quickly, and others take time. By just being calm about the way I eat and when talking about the way I eat, I've seen people give vegetarianism and veganism a go. In almost every case, the people I work with have always respected me and never tease me because I respect them and dodn't fit the stereotype they expected. Only one time in eight years have I had to deal with somebody picking on me for not consuming animal products. The funniest thing was my co-workers spoke up for me, telling the guy how vegans get protein, calcium, and all that good stuff. I didn't have to say much at all, and it showed that people listen and think about it when they come to me with questions and I answer them. Maybe only a handful will ever make the leap, but I think more and more people are seeing that vegans don't fit a stereotype and they are more willing to consider making changes themselves. It's definitely in the interests of reducing suffering to be calm and not fight about what constitutes being vegan. Discussions are cool, but being angry isn't going to win over all the people who think "Vegans are all pushy!" I don't like people getting in my face and pushing their views on me, and I return that courtesy to everybody I meet. So far, the results have been nothing but positive...
  6. I can be really bad when I'm on the go. I eat at my desk at work (small company and really no place to go eat lunch), so I tend to go through lunch pretty quickly while working. My wife's family was strapped for cash and she had to contend with a hungry father and hungry older brother, so the quicker they ate, the quicker they could get what little seconds there were. If my wife and I need to zip off someplace, we can put dinner down like the Simpsons eating, but we've been trying to make a better effort to slow down even on those meals that are little more than sustenance.
  7. Yeah, I love figs. I'm taking it easy on them; it can be tough having them around the apartment. People at work have liked them, and most of our friends do, too, so there are plenty of people to share them with. They're sooooooooooooo good! (that is, if you like figs)
  8. Zack: The weight loss is coming along. It's not showing on the scale as much as in my clothes. I've done some traveling with work, recently, and bought some new clothes for a Seattle trip. I went down 1 - 2 sizes in slacks, depending on the manufacturer. I seem to be leveling out a bit with the mass from lifting, and now I'm slowly seeing things on the scale. With increasing the intensity of tennis matches with my friend and increasing mileage walked and jogged, I expect to really start seeing the loss. Potter: Yeah, I was always like that. If I was out playing football or anything with friends, I was the last one to want to stop. But I could never jog. I'm fortunate to have a good friend at work who is always asking how things are going with exercising; my wife and I get out walking regularly; and every weekend I have to face my friend on the tennis court--and if I don't keep at it, not only do I feel it when playing, but I hear it from the friend. He has nine years on me and while I hope to be in half his shape when I'm 47, the teasing I get if I slack off and he knows it is merciless (but in good fun), so I have all the motivation I need. And, of course, reading the forums here
  9. It's a tradition in my family to make fig cookies around Christmas. In recent years, with a lot of other things going on, we haven't made fig cookies. Last weekend, for the first time in probably five years, my wife, my mother, and I got together and made fig cookies. The designs for the cookies were brought over from Sicily by my great grandmother. The story goes there were a bunch of cloistered nuns near the village who made the cookies and shared them with everybody. My mom made them with my great grandmother, and I've made them with my mom for years. It's a pretty time consuming thing, but it's a great way to sit around with family, chatting, and having fun. Anyway, the photos: Grinding the Figs My Mom and I Rough Sketches My Wife Did of the Traditional Shapes My Wife Forming a Shape A Bird My Wife Made The First Batch (The Second Batch Was Better Looking
  10. I jogged a mile this evening. I know for so many people, that's nothing. It's something I've never been able to do. I don't get along with running. When I was a hyper, scrawny kid--sure, I ran around, but I could never run any kind of distance. When I played football in high school and worked out regularly, I could never make it around a 1/4 mile track even once without having to walk. When I was biking 20 miles a day when I went vegetarian on a dare in my early twenties, I tried running around a track and couldn't. Lately I've been playing tennis almost weekly with an evenly matched partner and upping the distance and intensity of my evening walks. The guy I play tennis with used to be a personal trainer and his goal is to get me into a 5K sometime in 2008. Last week after playing the best tennis match we've played yet, we hit the track. Walking to the track, my friend said we were going to do a light jog, and he told me we'd do half a mile. Having never been able to go 1/4 mile, I thought 1/2 mile would be out of the question, but I did it and could have kept going. Tonight I jogged a mile. It may not be much for many, but for me it's something I've only dreamed about... And I know it will only get better...
  11. 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 Danish, 1/4 Italian, with some German and Scottish in there somewhere.
  12. A recent issue of Men's Health (I think last month's issue with Jamie Foxx on the cover) had a bit about testosterone levels. It discussed lower levels in the U.S. compared to some other countries. There are lots of things that can affect levels: environmental factors, stress, drinking... I have low testosterone levels from a medical condition--it's what led me to start lifting weights regularly. Since I started lifting last February, things have only gotten better, but I have a long way to go. The only way to really know what your levels are is a lab test. Having low testosterone levels sucks, and if anybody has reason to wonder what their levels are, get them checked out. Low testosterone levels can really do a number on the body. Christopher
  13. I played tennis for the first time in several weeks. It's still too hot to be October in Texas, but the co-worker I play tennis with gets up early, too, so the sun doesn't come up until we're close to wrapping up. It was a great match this morning--a great way to begin the day. After tennis, my wife and I went to a park and juggled for awhile. I don't know why I go through periods where I don't juggle for a long time, only to get back into juggling and struggle to get back in the hang of things. This time around, I haven't had any real catching up to do. Runs with four clubs have been great, and I know with some srious practice, I'll have five clubs again. Lifting weights has helped with endurance while juggling numbers. I think the coolest thing this morning, though, was just getting out and juggling with my wife. She figured out a trick that's stumped her for a long time, and while passing clubs, her passes were much more accurate than mine. She did some great recoveries from my stinky passes and was throwing some tricks. She also caught some different tricks from me she's never had thrown her way. It was great seeing her figuring some cool stuff out, and it felt good feeling confidence while juggling again. It was a mighty fine Sunday!
  14. Sorry to hear about everything that's going on. I don't know what you did for a living, but is there a way to make a leap to another career using the skills you have so you can continue building a financial foundation? Something that will at least give you security enough to budget, get in your time, and focus on what you'd rather be doing? That balance between making ends meet and pursuing what we really want to do can be tough. Again, I don't know what what your situation is like, but maybe it's time to move to a more creative, gay-friendly community now? Try to find something that will allow you a good glimpse into what you really want to do (cafe and gallery)? Or at least make a leap to something that still pays reasonably well on a contract basis, and work someplace more along the lines of what you'd rather be doing in between contracts? I definitely feel for you; I think we all go through those times. Balancing creative passions and a career can be tough, but there are so many people who have done it and are now living their dreams. I hope you become one of those people.
  15. I did something this morning I haven't done for awhile: I juggled. I taught myself how to juggle when I was 12. When I met my wife fifteen years ago, I was very shy--too shy to talk with her. When she found out I juggled, she told me she was taught how to juggle in elementary school, but never did much with it. She told me she wanted to learn more stuff, and any shyness I had went away. Most of our early dates were getting together to juggle. As things developed, we kept juggling. A lot has happened in recent years (a family member's long illnness, and a wacky brain tumor in my head for who knows how long), and we haven't been juggling as much as we used to. We haven't been juggling as much as we need to. So we dragged out the juggling props, found a shady spot in a park away from the snakes and spiders, and juggled. We had the park to ourselves and it was a great morning. I tend to rebound fairly well after a long time away from juggling, and this morning was no different. There was one thing different this morning, though...I've been lifting weights regularly. This morning I had a great run with four clubs--my best run ever! I had some decent runs with five clubs. When it came to five balls...I could juggle until I decided to stop. Usually when juggling five balls, I reach a point where my arms can't keep up. With clubs, balls, and anything else, there was a lot more endurance, which makes numbers juggling even better. I've never been one to get into numbers juggling as a way to say, "Look how many things I can juggle!" Numbers juggling makes you realize how much time there is for cool tricks with lower numbers, and it really conditions your hands and arms for compensating for bad throws. I've always viewed it as a vital part of doing cool tricks with lower numbers, and weight lifting seems to have really helped even more. It felt great getting out with my wife and juggling. It's been too long since the two of us hit a park with the props, found a shady little spot in the back, and juggled for awhile. It was like the early part of our relationship when we just hung out and did something we both loved. I've said it a lot over the past decade, but we really need to juggle a lot more. I've been doing it since 1981, and I hope to be juggling with my wife when we're 81 and beyond...
  16. That's a great photo. Your kitchen looks like a very cozy place to sit back, eat some good vegan food, and watch the snow...
  17. Great food and beautiful scenery. I'm with Bigbwii...Greece wouldn't be a bad place to live... Thanks for sharing the pics!
  18. I've never had much of a problem with people viewing me as a not-so-masculine thing in the seven years I've been vegan. I had one incident at an old job with somebody saying I wasn't a real man because I didn't eat meat. He said, since he's smarter than animals and can kill them, it's his manly duty to eat them. I pointed out to him that I'm smarter than he was and that I could easily take him down if he wanted to test out how manly he thought he was. He backed off and left me alone (and everybody in the room laughed at him). At 6' 4", I had about half a foot on the guy. I think hitting him with words and making him question if I was serious about taking him down showed just how not-so-manly he was. He never said another word to me after that, and the laughter of the group humiliated him.
  19. I've been playing tennis with a co worker on weekends for the last month. We're very evenly matched and that keeps me getting better. The guy I play with has nine years on me, and if I'm in half the shape he's in when I'm 47, I'll be happy. In recent years, tennis has wiped me out. Now that I'm getting back into better shape and getting the edge on a health issue, playing a match isn't too tough, even in the heat and humidity. I bought Brendan Brazier's THE THRIVE DIET last month, and the suggestions for pre and post workout foods have really been helping me. The humidity did sap me a bit this morning, and I'm not sure I'd have lasted another long set (we warmed up and the match only lasted two sets), but it feels good getting out every weekend this past month and getting back to playing a game I love. I've never been a great player, but it's my favorite game to play, and I'm definitely lucky to have a friend who's evenly matched and up for starting the weekend off with an early match.
  20. I'm always learning something new on the VBB forum I had no idea...
  21. You mention no sex drive and not getting a period. Have you ever had a blood draw to have hormone levels checked? Increased prolactin levels can stop a period and reduce sex drive. Of course I'm no doctor, but increased prolactin levels are more common than a lot of people think, and it can really do some strange things to the body. Christopher
  22. Thanks, guys. Zack: I really don't know what my weight loss goals are. Even with lower testosterone, I'm gaining some muscle mass finally, and if the testosterone comes up naturally (I've been offered a prescription to bring it up, but I'd rather try avoiding it), I'm not sure how bulky I can get. Right now I'm just focused on feeling better. As long as I'm either seeing progress from lifting, or slow loss on the scale, I'm happy. I don't know what my ideal weight is. I'm almost 6' 4" with a big frame, so even lean, I'll probably tip the scale more than most. I can tell I'm losing body fat and gaining some muscle, and as long as that keeps happening, I'm content. I'm interested to see where I bottom out at, but I'm not in a big hurry to get there as long as I keep seeing results and continue being able to do more activities. David: I read a bit about your parents changing the way they eat on your blog; that's really cool. Shortly after my wife and I went vegan, my mom did, too. It's great being able to have thing like a vegan Thanksgiving. I also listened to some of your music. When I met my wife, she was listening to a steady diet of Erasure and Depeche Mode, so what you're doing brought back some great memories. I like that your stuff isn't just a knockoff of other stuff--it's definitely you--and I hope you're able to keep going and doing what you want
  23. In the General Discussions forum, Robert mentioned the blog section on the site, so I figured why not? I already have a blog, but having a place to discuss more health-related things sounds nice. Everybody here is incredibly supportive and cool, and the forums have really helped me out. About me: I'm 38 and in the process of losing some weight (I used to weigh over 400 lbs.--I'm now around 290). Most of my adulthood, I felt like crap, but no doctor could figure out what was wrong with me. I was told I was a hypochondriac by one doctor. In 2004, I was diagnosed with a 2 cm brain tumor (pituitary tumor). It's benign, but it messed up my hormone balance for years. The tumor caused prolactin levels to skyrocket (yeah, prolactin...the hormone that makes women lactate when pregnant...nothing more fun than a guy built like a defensive tackle with the prolactin level of several pregnant women!). With elevated prolactin, testosterone levels dropped to the point I barely had testosterone in my body. It kinda makes ya nutty, but I got better. Last year, I went through a bit of a relapse, and I really got mad about the whole thing. My legs hurt, but instead of letting it get to me, I started lifting weights last February. It hurt like hell at first, but in the six months of lifting, I've never felt better. Reading the VB forum really helped me with the whole lifting thing, and everyday--even though testosterone is still low--I'm getting stronger. And I'm slowly getting back to doing things I really love doing. I've been a juggler since I was twelve, and haven't juggled nearly enough in recent years. I'm wanting to change that. I'm playing tennis with a co-worker on Sunday mornings. For the longest time, tennis just wiped my legs out, but I'm able to get through an entire match again and still get through the day. I've been walking a lot more, and hoping to get back to hiking and biking. I've been married for 15 years. My wife and I went vegetarian eight years ago, and totally eliminated all animal products from our diet seven years ago. I'm sure this blog will kind of double at a training journal. I really don't track what I'm eating and what I'm lifting; I'm just going by the way I feel and seeing results. I definitely see myself healthier than I've ever been as an adult by this time next year, if not sooner...and one of the big things motivating me is reading what everybody here has to say. Know that even if people are silent, you guys really are doing something cool, here. What may seem like a simple post or reply can really affect people. Reading Robert's post about climbing (and falling ) on South Sister and seeing the pics from the walk up the mountain is the kind of thing that inspires others to want to get out and do similar things. I still have a little way to go with things, but a hike like that is definitely in my future...
  24. Congrats! I really enjoy reading this thread. I haven't been 100% Thrive Diet, but reading the book has resulted in a lot of eating changes for me, and the thing that made me finally break down and get the book was you discussing it. Hope you get to feeling better soon! Christopher
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