02 April 2014

Ills of Society: The Glorification of Busy

Thesis: The so-called glorification of busy in 21st-century, first world business stems from an unconscious cultural reverence of saints and mystics, and martyrs, to a lesser extent.

Bias: I studied martyrs, mystics, and saints in college and see their characteristics everywhere: self-sacrificing, obsessive, whole-soul commitment to a cause that extends (sometimes) beyond their personal aims.

This Mother Jones article describes the current state (as of 2011 but it's still relevant) of "do everything with nothing" in the American working world as a "speedup," as in the industrial revolution when factory owners would push workers to increase production for a short period of time (and very likely not compensate them properly, either in material or temporal terms, for it...it's just business).

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speed-up-american-workers-long-hours

Many of the workers in this article, under the front of "I'm a hard worker," acknowledge (more like, make a guilty-sounding admission) that they feel overwhelmed at their jobs because of long hours, constant connectivity, and never truly having time off.  There's an awareness of how one functions best at work. Corporate wellness programs, my specialty, hinge on that awareness. People are only going to participate in their company's wellness program if they believe they can benefit, if they believe the program can help them solve their problems, and improve their quality of life, in and out of the workplace. Articles such as these can nudge that seed of awareness to sprout, and a wellness program tends the plant. Work in general can cause the seed to die or be choked by mangy weeds if one lets one's stressors grow untended or loses sight of how one works.

While writing my junior paper at Princeton, I developed an awareness of my exact periods of productivity. While in school, I could generally schedule my life around when I was most able to write and do schoolwork. Of course, in the corporate and retail worlds, shit don't work that way when you're entry-level. The awareness became a little painful as I make more mistakes after 15:00 when my focus for the day is shot, few exceptions. Linda Kavelin Popov's A Pace of Grace confirmed my ideas that my energy and focus during an 8-hour workday is going to fluctuate. For the sake of the self and of others, the most self-caring act one can do is to respect those fluctuations; otherwise, face the energy disorder consequences. I know when to do non-intense work and when I have the energy to focus hard. This awareness makes me a far more productive employee, as long as I have control over when I do most of my tasks, than if I tried to write reports after 15:00 and file in the morning--not gonna happen.


Time management cake: Whole Foods Market's double chocolate cake. There is nothing double chocolate about the original--a piddling amount of cocoa and chocolate does not mean double chocolate! I remade it with my coconut butter-cacao nibs chocolate substitute and it turned out a little dry and not so chocolatey. This would not meet mom-needs-chocolate standards. It can be made entirely in the blender, if you so choose. It's "whole wheaty," despite being gluten-free, and it would be a good proteinaceous breakfast or dessert with almond butter.


Faux Double Chocolate Cake
Modified and mocked from: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3976.

3 ounces coconut butter
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 1/4 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1/3 cup raisin vodka (or applesauce; I was cleaning out the fridge)
2/3 cup pitted dates
2 teaspoons espresso powder/ coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups GF oat flour (for the love of Peter Murphy, people, for the last time, OATS ARE NOT GLUTEN-FREE UNLESS THEY ARE GF CERTIFIED!! They are cross-contaminated with wheat due to processing standards in the US unless otherwise marked.)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the coconut butter, cacao nibs, dates, nondairy milk, vodka, coffee, and vanilla. Blitz until smooth.

Ina large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix well (watch for dry spots). Transfer to the prepared pan and tap the sides of the pan to make it settle. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

 
Parting Shots:

So, speaking of a Pace of Grace, I'm going to be consistent with Saturday posts because I generally have time to write them. Workweek posts are cutting into my sleep, and I'm trying to keep healthy boundaries around no-screen time. Workweek posts will become infrequent.

Why no applesauce in the chocolate cake? It all went into applesauce bread. #freezercleaning

TC is right: no matter where we go, whatever I order looks the same, with varying degrees of freshness. Tofu, veggies, and rice, this time at Rice Paper in New Eden plaza in Virginia.

Chinese takeout from somewhere near College Park, MD.


Except when TC makes it: grilled tofu, sauteed peppers and onions, served over black rice, with grilled pineapple skewers.

Whippy eats things. Like other people's keys.
 

April's Challenge Exercises. I have been doing monthly challenges for a year and this was the ine with which I began last year.

I have bangs again, thanks to TC.
#throwbackthursday/#flashbackfriday to 2004 when I had bangs.


Combichrist concert last night...too many mediocre opening bands wore us out before the main act at 23:00.

Happy Third Anniversary to Gothic Granola, formerly Screwfoot Q!

29 March 2014

Toeing the Fine Line

Call me biased and call me teetering on the fine edge of victim-blaming, but really, one can choose not to be offended in this fairly innocuous trend: #fitfam and the public celebration of physical fitness.

http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/reasons-why-the-fitness-culture-on-social-media-needs-to-be-stopped/

I read this Elite Daily article and wanted to post my meal-prepped box of lunches all the more (Then I stopped posting. More on that later). FitFam is about working towards goals that have to do with physical fitness: for improved health, for better quality of healthy life, for competitions, for improved physical appearance. 

26 March 2014

Honors Student Breakfast

Before I had my licence/parents would let me drive, for the super-early National Honor Society morning meetings, Ownie Mom would drive me to school. As usual, she gave me breakfast: a thermos of Earl Grey tea, a pot of Stonyfield Farms organic, low-fat yoghurt (chocolate please!), maybe an apple, and a bag of enhanced trail mix. Trail mix with more stuff became my vice in later years: GORP, M'n'Ms, peanutbutter-filled pretzels, and Quaker Oatmeal Squares. Of course I ate it to stay awake in 2006-2008. I made it for myself and ate it to fill some hunger for the same love and care for my success in 2009-2010.

Reframing and curse-reversing time. I like to eat Bob's Red Mill GF Museli in green juice (at work, which indicates a hunger for something not-food, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt). When I kept seeing Nutrition Stripped's Nourishing Museli on Instagram, I knew I could redo my favourite snack/breakfast.

While not as whole-foods-y as McKel's original, mine is a healthy indulgence served in the same ways the originator recommends: straight, over a green smoothie, or on vice cream. Hiding GF cereal in museli is a good way to make it more nutritious and more of a meal than it is by itself.


Museli

2 cups GF rolled oats
3 cups GF cereal (I used Kashi Simply Maize and Van's Cinnamon Heaven cereals)
12 GF sandwich cookies, quartered and squashed (I used Kinnitoos Chocolate Sandwich Cremes)
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup hempseeds
2 cups raisins
1 1/4 cups goji berries (I used up a bag)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash sea salt

Mix it all together and store in airtight containers. Portioning is recommended.

With some Marley Coffee Rawmeal protein powder and ground flaxseed: breakfast!

22 March 2014

Belief | Cookies

"...Not that I believe in it."

What is it these days with people and belief? I've noticed this attitude particularly amongst my peers; religion or spirituality is an uber-private facet of one's life. If you mention it, goddess forbid you offend someone by simply saying, "Bless you," when they sneeze. Sure, there are plenty of alternatives, but I didn't invoke my higher power by name! 

You can't believe in anything. 


15 March 2014

Resilience--be the rubber

I am rubber, you are glue. Whatever you say to me bounces off and sticks to you.

How. I. Wish.

Resilience...
Is my growth virtue. In doing fasts and generally pushing my limits in the last few months, I learned that not only am I physically fragile, I can be a little too thin-skinned sometimes. The affirmation that helps me deal with this is Julia Cameron's, "Treating myself like a precious object helps me grow strong."

TC sent me this Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia pie recipe for Pi Day. The pie is as if pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and coconut cream pie had a three-way, and this is the result. I found the s.p. at my local Asian grocery store. They are sweeter than regular sweet potatoes and make a fun mash. This recipe is Mama D approved!

Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie
Source: Just a Pinch

Crust:
3/4 c cold, vegan margarine (I used 1 stick Earth Balance vegan buttery stick and 4 tablespoons EB coconut spread)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 3/4 cups millet flour
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 1/4 cups roasted or boiled and peeled Okinawan sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup agave
1 cup nondairy milk (hemp)
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Haupia:
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup nondairy milk (I used 1/3 hemp and 2/3 unsweetened vanilla coconut)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup organic sugar (for white colour; use coconut sugar for brown)
1/3 cup arrowroot

1 cup large flake unsweetened coconut, toasted, for topping and anti plastique wrap stickery trickery

To make the crust, grease two 9-inch pie plates and set aside. Combine all dry ingedients in a large bowl. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into pie plates. Chill in the fridge for an hour.

An hour later, preheat oven to 350 degrees (you can toast the coconut in the preheating oven now until desired degree of brownness). Bake the crusts for 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and set aside. Depending on your timetable, you can either keep the oven on and proceed or take a break and resume later.

Whichever you decide, in a blender or food processor, blitz all the filling ingredients until uniformly combined. Transfer to the prepared crusts, filling each halfway. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until set and not jiggly in the centre. Remove from the oven to a rack to let cool.

In a large saucepan over low heat, begin to melt the coconut cream and nondairy milk. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the sugar, arrowroot, and water. Add the water mixture to the cream mixture and turn up the heat to medium-hig. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Immeditely pour over each of the pies and smooth it out. Top each pie with toasted coconut. Cover with plastic wrap when completely cool and chill in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight before serving.


Parting shots:
Baked sweet potatoes




Really purple sweet potatoes!



Layer one of the pie.


Finished pie.


Vegan pica supper: blended sp and water, steamed spinach, cayenne, Daiya mozzarella, and frozen guac. Someone was cleaning out the freezer...



Purple deliciousness

Haupia, which would be lovely on its own.

Slice at 24 hours

Slice at 48 hours. Mmm pie.


13 March 2014

Cerealously

This blog post is dedicated to the awesome blog that is no more, "Option Pitch and Waffle Crisp" and its intrepid author.

While on a nostalgic Internet search for French Toast Crunch, specifically the Halloween version from Fall 1998, I found a blog called, “Option Pitch and Waffle Crisp,” a Wordpress site on which the young male author discusses college football and reviews food. Adam Nettina had managed to score a box of Canadian French Toast Crunch and reviewed it sometime in the last two years. The more I read the site, the more I noticed what the author and I had in common: twenty-something, higher-educated, Catholic, living in the DMV, eating disordered. Don’t try to look it up, though; Adam took the blog down last year.

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