Vegan, Baby

plantbased-diet

One day while at work, I overheard a conversation regarding a supervisor’s recent and significant weight loss. Seeing as I am constantly on the lookout for tips and tricks to aid in weight loss my ears instantly perked up. He was describing how he switched to a whole foods plant-based diet after watching Forks over Knives, a documentary on Netflix. Intrigued, I decided to join in on the conversation. Talk turned to how since switching his diet/lifestyle he has lost fifty-some pounds, and has more energy than ever. His wife, who made the change with him has lost around forty pounds. They just eat a plant-based diet. That’s it. No crazy supplements, no intense workout schedule, just simply eating whole foods. It seemed too good to be true, but it was obviously working for them.

That night I decided to give the Forks over Knives documentary a watch. I was FLOORED. The Western diet is so excessive and unnecessary yet we never seem to question it. We eat meat, eggs, drink milk and have no idea that these things are actually causing more harm than good. The documentary is filled with so much fascinating information, I had to pause it at least 7 times to call my mom and gran to tell them the latest incredible discovery. They honestly got sick of talking to me and said they would just watch it on their own. I was totally inspired to learn more, and adopt a whole foods plant-based (vegan) diet for myself.

I spent the next week or so following vegan foodies on Instagram, reading blogs, watching more documentaries, investing in plant-based cook books, etc. I cleaned out my cupboards, fridge and freezer, throwing away some and giving away most. I felt as though I was totally prepared to take on this new lifestyle. I ate oil-free, salt-free French fries, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, black beans, all the broccoli, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, and cucumbers I could get my hands on. I had giant bowls of whole grain cereals with almond milk, veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, I thought I was totally killing it…until I stepped on the scale. In about a two-week’s time I managed to gain a whopping ELEVEN pounds by eating a vegan diet. I was devastated.

So I went back to my previous diet using the Weight Watchers points system, and researched how the hell I managed to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time, consuming foods that are proven to be better for me. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. If you Google the phrase “gained weight on vegan diet” you’ll get back over 600,000 results. Apparently it’s pretty easy to go a bit overboard when switching to a vegan diet. I wasn’t ready to give up on transitioning to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, but I was scared to death of continuing to gain weight.

Enter Jordan David of Conscious Muscle; a vegan bodybuilder and online vegan fitness coach. It was through pure luck, or perhaps some sort of Divine Intervention that I stumbled across his Instagram profile one day. I got the distinct feeling that maybe this guy held the answer to my failing vegan lifestyle transition. A fair bit of research and some positive input from my sister-in-law later and I was purchasing his “Transformation Package”; a package that contains a personalized nutrition guide/menu, a training routine to compliment the nutrition guide, and unlimited guidance and coaching for the first month of your program. I recently received my personalized nutrition guide and training program, and it is a bit daunting…I’m not going to lie. However, I’m confident that having structure and a coach for guidance will help me succeed in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and ultimately lose weight and insure I have a long, healthy life ahead of me. I plan to begin the program on June 1st, and am spending today and tomorrow preparing myself –and my fridge- for this change.

I will be documenting this lifestyle change via this blog and my Instagram. I hope to inspire others to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet, and become knowledgeable enough to answer any questions people may have. For now, I’d be more than happy to point you to reputable sources of information 🙂

Spring Update

Hey everyone!

So I got an email the other day about my account going to be charged X-Amount of money in order to keep this domain and it made me realize that I better start you know…using this thing if I’m gonna be paying for it. I want to try to use it as more of a every day blogging platform type thing. Okay, I don’t think that made any sense, but hopefully you’re still picking up what I’m putting down. That having been said, here’s a month by month update on my life so we’re all on the same page going forward.

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Bite, Chew, Swallow

You could feel it building all day. Or, not building. Crumbling. You could feel your grip on it slipping through your fingers like the grains of sand that made up the beach you frequented as a child. You know you have no choice. It’s going to happen. You don’t want to binge. You’re not even hungry. But you keep shoving the food in. You’re terrified. Bingeing is terrifying. Not because of the amount of food/calories you’re consuming, but because of the complete lack of control you have over the whole thing. Your body is acting completely independently from your mind. You don’t even take the time to consider what you’re doing. You hardly take the time to breathe. Bite, chew, swallow. Bite, chew, swallow. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until there are no more bites to be had. Until your spoon scrapes the bottom of the container. Until your hand reaches the slippery bottom of the bag. Until the plate is no longer home to a mountain of pizza rolls, but to a few crumbs. The only evidence there was ever a mountain there to begin with.

You’re struggling for air. You’re uncomfortable. You can feel the consequences of your unwanted actions settling in to taunt you. Have you always been able to feel your neck? If you turn your head side to side, will it sway with you? Your jeans feel too tight. Did they cut into your flesh when you put them on this morning? Are they even really doing it now? No. It doesn’t work like that. Your feet begin to tap restlessly on the floor. They want to take you to the scale. Your mind isn’t ready to deal with that. The back of your throat itches. Clear it. Your fingers twitch. Run them through your hair to stop them from doing something stupid. Something you’ve never gone through with before, but have thought about doing over and over and over again.

Your brain slowly starts to come back online. Blink, blink, blink. Notice the carnage surrounding you. You want a drink of water to wash the lingering taste out of your mouth but you’re not sure your body can take anything more. A groan. Was that you, or the floor boards protesting your weight? Go upstairs. You can feel the masticated food slosh in your stomach as you go. Track down the biggest sweats and sweatshirt you own. The ones that should make you feel like you’re swimming in cotton. The ones that trip up your feet like vines in the jungle. You strip off your clothes, not making eye contact with mirrors. Not making eye contact with yourself. Don’t look down. Your normally massive outfit feels suffocating. Deep breaths. You climb into bed, ignoring the squeak of the mattress and frame. Deep breaths. Tomorrow is a fresh start. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow you will be better.

We’ve Gotta Talk About: Sexism in the Workplace

It may have been a bit naive of me, but I really thought that the glass ceiling was beginning to crack. Feminism is being discussed more and more frequently. More females are taking a stand for equality. There’s a female presidential candidate. I thought that maybe things were headed in the right direction for womankind.

Turns out I was wrong.

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We’ve Gotta Talk About: Freelance Workers Not Getting Paid

Getting into the wonderful world of publishing is rough. A great way to get your foot in the door (or at least get close enough to the door that maybe you can start politely knocking), is by doing freelance work. It’s a great way to practice your writing or editing skills, get your name out there, and do some networking. The one drawback that I’ve found when it comes to doing freelance work, however, is not getting paid. And that’s just unacceptable.

I’m currently in the middle of getting shafted for the second time in the freelance world. I know…fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on this new guy who’s trying to get out of paying up.

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Why The Plus Sized Fashion Industry Can Kiss My Plus Sized Ass

Earlier this week while browsing through some of my favorite Instagrams and waiting for my Forever 21 Plus package to arrive, I had an idea; Why not try to become a plus size model? I’m not entirely unfortunate looking and hey, I can rock the larger sizes when I put my mind to it. With gorgeous women like Ashley Graham out there preaching body positivity and acceptance I thought, now’s your chance, Jordan. The train is heading in the right direction. Hop on now! Sadly, after researching some modeling agencies that have plus size, oh excuse me…’curve’ models, I discovered that I’m actually “too fat” or maybe just “not the right type of fat” to be a plus size model. Which just seems ridiculous to me. How can someone who wears plus size clothing, every single day of her life, be “too fat” to wear that clothing and have her picture taken? The answer is the astounding lack of representation in the plus size fashion industry.

But first, let’s talk about the term ‘plus size’. What does it even mean? Well, Wikipedia defines it as, “a euphemistic term given to clothing proportioned specifically for people whose bodies are larger than the average person’s.” The fashion industry defines it as “a term for models who are size 8 and up”. Google defines it as “(of clothing or people) of a size larger than the normal range.” And last but not least, the most worrisome definition of them all comes from popular website Urban Dictionary. There, the top definition for ‘plus size’ is:

“A nicer way to refer to someone who is overweight, typically a female model. It is a term that tries to make being overweight seem like a GOOD thing when in fact it is not. The modeling industry has been criticized for starving its models so now some people feel the need to turn things around and make muffin tops the new trend. We come in all shapes and sizes but that doesn’t mean we need to embrace being unhealthy whether that means glorifying big thigh gaps and collar bones or saying a “real woman” needs to have something you can “grab onto” or that her belly needs to be able to serve as a natural pillow that you can rest your head on.”

I’m not even sure where to begin here. Using the words ‘average’ and ‘normal’ in definitions of plus size alludes to the fact that women who wear those sizes are wrong, different, other. And while it’s great that lately there has been this outcry of women telling you to ‘love the body you have’ and that ‘beauty has no size’, one quick look at the fashion industry tells you that it most certainly does.

The first modeling management company I looked into when I was doing my research proudly boasts that it is their “mission to let models be healthy and happy, while providing them with an opportunity to work as a model at their natural body shape and size.” You know the saying, ‘sounds too good to be true’? Upon further research into their company, I came across their blog which gives you helpful tips on ‘How to become a model!’ Right after saying that they “really try hard to create opportunities for models that are not the ideal measurements because we feel beauty comes in many shapes and sizes and should be represented.” They go on to state that they “accept model submissions for models who are a minimum of 5’7”-6’1”,” and that they “look for models who are sizes 8-18. To be more specific [they] look for a hip measurement between 39″- 47″.” So by their standards, I’m 1 inch too short and my hips are 3 inches too wide, even though I comfortably wear size 18. Interesting. For an agency that prides themselves on stuff like “beauty at any size” what they really mean is “beauty at any size as long as you’re THIS size”.

The average American woman wears a size 14. The average plus size model wears size 8-12. Where are the women who wear size 18? 20? What about 26? How are ‘plus size’ women supposed to feel when we see a size 8-12 woman advertising clothing for size 22 bodies? Are we supposed to be inspired? Are we supposed to assume that we’re going to look like that if we wear those clothes? Like, ‘oh, if I just buy these skinny jeans and that top then I’ll have that killer hourglass figure!’ Please. It’s no different than ‘straight size’ clothing advertising where they have size 0 models wearing clothes meant for ‘normal size’ women, which is apparently size…what? 6? Bullshit. Do I need to say again that the average American woman wears size 14?? One of the major issues the fashion industry has (and I fear will continue to have) is a failure to recognize that different body types exist! Not every plus size woman is going to have that ‘perfect’ hourglass shape, but that’s what the industry sees as being plus size. It’s what the industry deems an ‘acceptable’ type of fat. Meaning that women like myself, who lack that hourglass figure, are ‘unacceptably’ fat. Along with the despairingly obvious lack of different body types, there’s an embarrassing lack of different races. I don’t think I know of a single Asian plus size model. I can only think of about 4 black plus size models. But I know of about 30 different white plus size models with their long, straight hair, blue eyes, and perfect hourglass bod. Where are my beautiful women of color? Disabled women? Where are the women with flaws? Cellulite? Muffin tops? You know…women people can actually relate to.

It’s bad enough that although more plus size clothing stores are beginning to pop up here and there, for the most part a size 16 woman can walk into a store and not find a single thing in her size. Occasionally stores will have a ‘plus size section’ which is usually a tiny corner in the back of an enormous store that offers maybe 10 different ill-fitting options, but it’s usually at a higher price than the same thing in straight sizes. Fat tax? It’s totally a Thing.

The problem with the plus size fashion industry is that it still ostracizes the women for whom it’s supposedly intended. But here’s the thing. Us Unacceptably Fat™ women, flawed women, short women, are the ones who keep all of the shot callers in the fashion industry in business. We see the ads. We buy the clothing. Simple as that.

Computer Vision Syndrome – It’s Real and I’ve Got It

With the wonders of modern technology, we’re spending more time than ever starting at computer screens, tablets, cell phones, e-readers and the like. I easily spend upwards of 10 hours a day on a laptop and it’s not because I’m some lazy millennial. It’s because I have a desk job and I also write on the side, so get off my case. Besides, I’m not the only one. Research shows that somewhere between 50% and 90% of people who work on a computer suffer from at least one symptom of eye trouble.

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You’re Doing it Wrong: My Experience with Education

Towards the end of summer, two different types of kids emerge; there’s the type that hits the stores for school supplies as soon as they go on sale, and there’s the type that refuses to adjust their sleep schedule until it’s too late. I wish I could say I was in the first group, but that would be a flat out lie. I would continue to stay up too late, sleep too long, and croon “Age Six Racer” along with Chris Carrabba. Well, I still do that. Up until almost the end of my education, school felt like something akin to torture.

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Cutting My Legs Shaving: The Only Guarantee in my Life

Nobody likes shaving. It’s a fact of life. I really don’t like shaving because no matter what I use or how quickly or slowly I use it, I cut my legs up. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m really not. Band-Aid should be cutting me a fucking check…that’s how bloodied up my poor stems get from shaving. So I went on a mission to find something, anything that would actually make my legs all nice and smooth, but without the cuts. Here’s what I discovered.

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