Sunday, April 8, 2018

Vegan Spanish Tortilla

I love to travel and this morning's spontaneous breakfast (which normally isn't so fancy) took me back a few years ago to my adventures in Europe: living in Italy for 6 months, working an under-the-table hostel job, my Italian boyfriend Danielle, being an aimless flaneur on the streets of several old and romantic cities, sketching from park benches, getting lost in parks and museums, drinking wine sitting at fountains and in plazas, hitchhiking from Rome to Barcelona, and walking the Camino de Santiago which took me through tiny towns and countrysides in Spain. Ah...Spain...and now a vegan tortilla to take me right back in my mind...Spain is a beautiful country and I hope to visit again soon! I love how food inspires! As much as I love what I'm doing, oh how I crave being out in the world.

I love to walk the Earth! 
Born to wander!
Born to cook!
Born to make art! 
Born to love!
Born for adventure!
Born for beauty! 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Carob Pudding Loaf

Off the cuff and with no recipe other than inspiration and intuition, I made a carob pudding loaf with plantains, dates, sapodillas and more.

I celebrated my 38th birthday on the 3rd and wanted to bake something special but I don't eat chocolate/cacao/cocoa, so carob is a wonderful substitute. This loaf is totally whole foods based as well, which means I did not use refined flour, sugar or oil.

It's most, dense, delicious, dark and handsome!
Just how I like it!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

When women--especially populations of women who have historically been oppressed and trapped through various institutions in less powerful social positions, such as Women of Color/Ethnic Women/Indigenous Women, LGBTQ, Trans Women, Disabled Women, and others--are loved, respected, empowered, treated as equals, paid as equals to men, given the same rights given to men, given rights over their bodies, are allowed the health and independence they deserve, and are not forced into molds but are encouraged to be authentic, everyone wins! International studies show that local economies soar, education and wealth is more fairly distributed, democratic values spread, social justice issues take precedence, technological innovation skyrockets, public health improves, domestic violence decreases and much more, when the wellbeing of women is placed as a priority. We have to put women, children, Mother Earth and animals first. That's the revolution!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Good job, Target!

So exciting! I heard that Target has vegan makeup and it's true! The brand Pacifica is labeled as "vegan and cruelty free" and it's a nice selection with quality ingredients. I bought lipstick, waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Ooh la la!

In fact, Target has tons of vegan food such as meat alternatives in the freezer section, plant milks, lots of organic items, lots of low sodium and gluten free items, and much more for really good prices. I really appreciate when huge companies take the little step to provide healthy, compassionate options for customers.

It means so much!

I was brought back to St. Pete for a reason! I love it here!

My goal is to open a commercial kitchen, commissary, and dining space in Saint Petersburg, FL! At my home base, I will offer vegan nutrition consultations which can include designing meal plans and meal preparation for folks who wish for me to be their personal chef. My space will also offer opportunities for community meet-ups where I provide the food; cooking demonstrations and nutrition classes; vegan outreach/activism; and much, much more. It won't be a typical cafe but will rather serve many purposes and can even be rented by appointment for special events which require catering by a creative, health focused chef, moi! :) I would also love to use the space as a store-front for unique items, literature, and specialized ingredients for vegan cuisine; for time banking; for heirloom seed sharing; for community garden seminars; for fruitlucks, potlucks and raw vegan food parties; for support groups; and for other community advocacy endeavors. I'm so excited and can visualize this place so clearly! Now, it's time to set up a business strategy to make it happen!

Miami still feels appealing, but I have to trust that I got all the way to Hollywood, and then had to leave the same day for a reason. I mean, I turned down the apartment I had reserved and had paid a deposit on, and even had some great work opportunities lined up.  As soon as I arrived, mom and I, it was crystal clear that we were in the wrong place. I could feel it and my mom started crying... It was so obvious that we had driven across the country to the wrong destination. So, we left and traveled to the Gulf coast/Pinellas County which is a peninsula surrounded by Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is so relaxed, beautiful, and progressive here. Veganism and the plant-based movement is really growing here too, so I feel I'm in the right place at the right time. I can feel it! You know when something is right for you and you have to get out of the way and trust Spirit to guide you through your intuition. I have never been wrong when I do that.

What's also funny is that months before leaving Santa Fe, I had in my head images and feelings of Florida are of the Gulf coast, as it is the only area of Florida I have experienced. Some folks believe that what we see/say in our mind is what comes to be and I agree with that. So, while the plan was to go to the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, what I visualized was a different place--I felt called to go home, to come here. I find it interesting and even auspicious that in spite of my planning, I had a vision and intuitive knowing and feeling in my heart-mind and that was linked up with what, at this time anyway, seems to be best for me, Mom and Maggie, as well as my other family members who live here, and what is in alignment with a higher purpose.  I believe that our dreams, goals and desires are gifts for the Creator, who places them inside of us for a reason, therefore, it is our duty to follow our hearts and dreams, for ourselves and for others. Once again, an omnipresence that placed those images and dreams inside of me guided me, in spite for my best thinking and planning. No matter how I tried to go one direction, I was gently led where I am supposed to be. And now that I'm here, I can laugh and feel gratitude, and see the humor of my follies and struggles. I can learn my lessons and reap the blessins'! 

So, here we are! I love Saint Petersburg and the whole area! The adventure just keeps unfolding! What'cha got next for me Spirit? I'm ready to rock! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Planet Fitness: Not The Bully-Free Zone They Claim To Be

I love Planet Fitness, but I do not love that on their numerous TV's located throughout the gym I see so much violence towards women and animals. For example, and this isn't a cultural slam as domestic violence is in all cultures, the Latin soap operas show men raping, beating up and abusing women, and I see this every other day that I'm there, seriously...see this all the time. Those shows display women as powerless objects being batted around and violated on the daily and I’m sick of it!Again, not a cultural slam, but it is on the TV labeled as "Spanish Channel" at Planet Fitness where I see this all the time. Obviously, gender violence goes on in the world far more than anyone wants to think or talk about, but I have a huge problem with how it is propagated, glamorized and normalized through "entertainment."  Not only that, the TV cooking shows glamorize creatures being boiled alive, other "informative" shows I've seen there normalize the harsh treatment by human agricultural workers toward animals in factory farming. The thing is people watch this stuff and it sinks in on a subliminal level as well as other levels, it becomes normative, and can even be teaching people how to behave and this needs to stop. I'm contacting Planet Fitness and asking them to set their environment up to be congruent with the "bully-free zone" they advertise themselves to be. Please join me.

If anyone needs a 450-character blurb that will fit into their contact message box you can use this: 

"The violence towards women and animals displayed on your TV's is incongruent with your bully-free zone message. This isn't a cultural slam, but the Latin soap operas show men raping, beating up and abusing women, and I see this all the time. Those shows present women as powerless objects being batted around and violated on the daily and I’m sick of it. The thing is, these actions become normative when glamorized through "entertainment." Stop now!"

Sadly, there isn't enough room in the message box to include criticism of the violence towards animals, but that can be addressed through other avenues such as the phone, letters, and I voiced my concerns in person to the folks at work and they said they would tell their boss.


Yesterday I posted about violent programming showing women being raped and assaulted, as well as violence toward animals (which seemed to be less salient to most folks who responded) on several of the TV stations at Planet Fitness. My goal in posting that was to rally folks together to contact PF and to ask them to remove said programming since such violent displays are counter to their mission to create a bully-free health club, and rather, perpetuate and normalize gender violence. The idea was that if consumers actively take a stand together, we can invoke real change. My post was specifically meant to confront the culture of violence and to criticize a specific TV program, not criticize Latin culture or the “Spanish Channel” as it is labeled at Planet Fitness.  However, I did reference the Latin novellas or soap operas where I see this offensive gender-based violence almost daily when I am there working out, and that was received by some as culturally insensitive, incompetent, and a product of my white privilege and fragility. I want those who felt that way to know that I hear you, I understand, I care, and I apologize that my words affected you so negatively. I learned a lot from and am grateful for the criticism I received, and I am able to hold it and ponder it so that I can learn to be a better ally.
I specified the shows and TV stations, rather than made a generalized statement about over-arching violent programming on all of PF’s TV’s, because I thought that reference would be helpful for activists to refer to if they contacted PF and asked for certain programming to be turned off.  And I see how that reference was taken offensively by some, which was not my intention at all, and I understand. My point was to specify the exact source and nature of consistent and blatant violent images that I see and I'm guessing other people see within a specific place, Planet Fitness, so that that violence could be addressed. After much deliberation and checking in with other activists, I see that I could have been a better ally to the greater Latin community by not referencing the novellas per se, but by simply organizing a call to action to confront PF regarding general violent programming taking place on many of their TV's. I apologize from heart for my mistake in not wording that more mindfully. I see how my point was then lost in translation as well as hurtful. I am truly sorry and will be more careful in how I verbalize a call to action in the future.

I also would like to add that I feel discussing issues such as attacks on women in public spaces, as well as cultural issues, are extremely sensitive issues which can be hard to establish common ground and a meeting space to discuss and form solutions. I think public forums can be effective spaces to shed light on these issues. My intention was to be helpful and to stand up and speak out about the normalization of women being brutalized in the media and then projected in public spaces, period. I experienced, as I believe others also did, derailment from the issues I mentioned, which is sadly all too common when violence towards women is discussed.

I am extremely aware of the pervasiveness of white privilege, including my own, how white activists can cause harm to others in their attempts to be of service for what they perceive to be the highest good, and I am also aware of the various levels of white fragility that perpetuate oppression. I am aware, in agreement and in alignment with poignant criticisms and actions that seek to dismantle such structures. That said, and with my privileges in check because I have not walked in the shoes of a Person of Color, I want to say that as white woman, I am part of the conversation when it comes to specifically raising awareness and using my voice to address gender and domestic violence. I do not claim to speak for anyone else, but I do humbly speak for myself and wish to use my voice, body and life to confront and reduce all violence in the world. I do not want my actions to perpetuate and add violence or harm. When I see women, any women, and any man, animals or other beings brutalized in one way or another, especially in what is supposed to be a bully-free zone, even if we are of different cultures, I am going to address it. However, I am now even more aware that there are ways which are most effective and ways which are not, and which clearly cause harm in the process. Again, I seek to be an ally to nonviolent movements invoking real and lasting change. My goal is to be effective and truly helpful. Hypothetically, I do believe that if a woman of color, Latin or other, or a man were to have raised the issues I raised yesterday, the tone would have been different, would have perhaps been received differently, and would have perhaps been less triggering for some folks, but that isn't what happened. I raised the issue because it is something I personally see on a near daily basis. By the way, I did contact PF in Santa Fe, will contact the main corporate office as well, and hope others will too.

In conclusion, I wanted to try to clean up some of the mess created in a social/public space, due to me not being as mindful as I should have been. While I do not apologize for raising awareness around the TV programming at PF, which in my view perpetuates, glamorizes and normalizes violence toward women, and other creatures, I do sincerely apologize for any carelessness in my word choices and for offending folks in my process to be of service. Thank you for receiving my humble message. Peace.