Minimalist vegan entertaining?

I already told you -about 90000000 times- what a stellar introvert I am.

I love staying at home, don’t mind being alone, and to sum this up I get anxious when I need to entertain people at home.

You might be asking yourself: “well then why should I listen to anything you have to say concerning entertaining???”

The answer is- because if you happen to be anything like me and the mere thought of having 5 or even 3 (ok- couple) of friends over gets your heart racing – then simple and focused entertainment is the only way to go.

And I happen to be available to tell you all about my tricks in the vegan department- not that I’m anywhere close to the Martha Stewart style- on the contrary- I keep everything simple and deliberately do not try and go overboard with the food and the plates- mainly because our house is small and I don’t own any “fancy” stuff, and I don’t have any wine glasses since no one at the household drinks alcohol anymore (I stopped a few years back -here is a link to my previous post on the subject- How I improved my blood works results).

So that’s the first “problem” I have- I don’t have alcohol at home so I don’t serve any- but my (2)friends know that and bring a bottle of wine they finish while here and everybody is happy.

Why is that a “problem”? because alcohol is usually #1 on the host’s list of “must serve so everybody will be smiling”, which means that if you have no issues with alcohol- and your guests don’t either- enjoy yourselves-and if you or one of your friends are avoiding any kind of alcohol fear not – I’ve got you covered.

Why vegan entertaining?

Well because if you happen to be vegan that’s probably your comfort zone, and even if not all your friends are- veganism is “a thing” now- so people like to “get the vegan experience” and “see what the hype is about”, plus it’s cheaper than the alternatives, easier to make and more environmental. If you’re not vegan-then why not learn a trick or two that might come in handy if and when you get a vegan friend? also, it’s healthy, nutritious, and cheap food so what’s the harm? no harm.

Tip #1: oh the mighty freshly baked bread!

People love freshly baked bread, so unless you happen to have no carbs no gluten guests- here is a link to a previous post where I tell you how I conquered the sourdough monster. The sourdough starter monster.

What to put next to it?? well- vegan butter is an option, olive oil too, pesto, tahini, and hummus are great just add some cut veggies on the side, and if you happen to have any olives- great!

Here are 2 links- to my tahini and hummus tricks:The tahini trick .+ The Hummus secrets!

#2: Soup- or salad?

if it’s autumn- or better yet- full-on winter- then one hearty soup or stew is all you need to entertain- especially if you happen to have the bread mentioned above to go along.

What kind of soup?? veggie soup, lentil soup, bean stew, you can even go wild and add a vegan sausage to the stew, and the whole stew will taste “heartier”, pea soup, corn chowder- whatever. can never go wrong with a freshly made soup when it’s chilly outside, it messes only one pot, and it’s super filling and nutritious.

Here are links to a post about your options: “Stone soup” 5 ways!+The perfect pea protein!

Summer? go salads, one big salad with a lot of fresh greens -and cooked stir-fried beans or lentils- can satisfy anyone -if accompanied by #3.

#3: Antipasti!

the Italians know what’s there to know about food- so they invented the ultimate dish- a variety of veggies cooked in the oven and drizzled with olive oil and some salt.

To shorten the baking time and save a little on the oil front: boil the potatoes before baking. they come out tender and yummy. add condiments- and serve next to the big salad with legumes- with a side of tahini from the first course. because tahini is yummy and healthy and goes great with salads and antipasti in my opinion.

#4: dessert: banana ice cream -with whatever you like!

People usually can’t believe this is vegan- because if your frozen bananas are ripe enough- they turn into a sweet creamy yummy texture that goes with just about anything you like: ground coffee, (coffee flavor) cocoa powder (chocolate flavor), frozen berries- wow, nuts, dates, coconut- add a little lemon peel or ginger- already upgraded.

#5: tea and a little something.

Yes- even in the summer- people seem to enjoy finishing their meal with green tea – I have herbs in my garden- they are easy to grow but also easy and cheap to buy. put these Medjool dates’ oranges and walnuts- and you are settled. in summer- summer fruit- grapes, apricots, etc.

What to serve instead of alcohol? I serve soda water with ice and lemon. that’s what I have and although I don’t mind my friends bringing over their wine and having it while we eat- I’d instead not buy and stock alcohol at the house. I remember my drinking times too fondly to be absolutely immune to it, and I know that in my case- moderation is a fiction not a reality.

The important thing I try to remember each time is that anxiety won’t get me anywhere, and my family and friends would probably rather have me relaxed and attentive- with simple food, rather than stressed and upset- with supposedly fancy food. (which I have no clue how to make anyway so).

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

The disgusting test you need to take.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

My dear coworker and friend passed away a month ago at the age of 40, leaving behing4 young kids and a broken-hearted husband.

She died of colon cancer, and one of her last wishes was that everybody she knew goes and checks themselves for possible signs of colon cancer- meaning- as far as I understand – doing a blood occult screen test -or if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps -undergoing the dreaded colonoscopy.

If you are young and think- oh- that’s for old people- I am writing this post in loving memory of my friend, who discovered she had colon cancer before she turned 39 and battled it in every possible way for a year until her body surrendered.

So, sure, it’s disgusting, and the test itself is even more disgusting. but the alternative is so much worst.

The occult blood screen test is not definitive- its a statistical survey- meaning a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean you can relax- but a positive result can mean the difference between catching this wretched thing in time- and not.

I linked an article about the early signs of colon cancer:

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/signs-and-symptoms-of-colon-cancer.html

The friggin occult blood screen consists of taking a sample of your stool and sending it to a lab that checks for invisible blood remnants.

this means you. need .to. take. a . sample. of. your. stool.

Told you- disgusting, but there’s a tube and a small brush, no need to dig into it. and you can put on gloves. even 4.

Since turning 50 I take this test every year, but had I known about it before- I would have done it earlier. because it takes 5 minutes, and it can save lives.

Again- if you happen to have a family history of this type of cancer or a doctor’s recommendation- you’ll need to go through the much worst test- the colonoscopy- which I haven’t done but I know people who have- and to say the least -it’s not pleasant.

But! on the bright side- they all said they lost a few pounds and felt like “wiping the slate clean and starting over”- so that’s a positive.

Please take care of your health- that’s one of the most important assets you’ll ever have.

The cooliflower.

No pressure!!!

I’m not a gentle lady.

That is actually an understatement.

I don’t go to gyms and lift heavy weights because I learned that at the ripe ageof53.5 +after having spent almost 30years in a mostly sedentary job- my back isn’t thankful after a weight session.

My exercise routine consists of swimming 43*50 meters in the pool in an hour ( breaststroke. it’s known as the slowest stroke of all -that’s my excuse for not doing 50*50 meters in an hour). +running 6 kilometers 3 times a week+ going for a 6-kilometer walk- 5 times a week. and gardening -which includes lifting stuff that needs lifting around the garden. and stuff needs lifting.

But my exercise routine wasn’t the point. the point was- I’m not gentle. I do everything in the house- including opening a sewer clog using this metal “snake” of a thing, moving heavy furniture, and whatnot.

It’s not a big deal in my opinion, but where I live- I noticed women “wait for their husband to come home and take care of stuff like that”.

Honestly- it amazes me time and again.

Isn’t this exactly why they invented Youtube?

So women can learn how to change a car tire and open a clog in the sewer?

I admit I don’t like using power drills and power saws- I am clumsy and don’t trust myself to work safely enough, but I love fixing and building and painting stuff, and if something can be built by hand- I’ll be the first in line to try.

I think you get the picture -my hands aren’t gentle.

This means I break dishes while washing the- because I insist on applying the soap and scrubbing fiercely while quickly- and those buggers like to slip away, and it means I brush my teeth like my life hangs on it.

Growing up I saw my mother go through a lot of dental issues, and that made me a dental zealot.

My kids never missed a dental hygenist appointment, and I have a feeling that although they joke about my dental fixation -they will appreciate it someday. (!!)

So my dental routine consists of brushing my teeth twice a day with an electric brush + using dental toothpicks to make sure everything is clean.

And twice a year paying a visit to the dental hygenist and getting my teeth cleaned.

I am writing all this not because I think you want to know my dental routine (although- who knows??) or because I want to boast about my top-notch dental care.

No no no-no-no.

I’m writing to tell you that despite all that- my non-gentle brushing resulted in my gums receding to such a point where the hygenist couldn’t even touch a few areas without me squirming ( ok- more than squirming. I was vocal too).

So I went to see a periodontist (gum specialist in case you wondered-now you have another strange word for scrabble) and he made me go through an excruciating hour of dental photos, then told me that if I don’t stop scrubbing my teeth the way I do- I will need a gum implant soon.

And that- is no fun at all. and costs a lot too.

He told me to stop brushing my teeth with the electrical brush, and gave me this small and soft brush- kind of like the one kids use (when they are two years old or something) and told me to start brushing using 2 fingers only and applying 0000000 pressure on the brush.

At first, I thought he was joking.

2 fingers?? what can you achieve with 2 fingers??

But he seemed quite serious and said that If I want to avoid further deterioration in my gum situation- I’d better start paying attention.

He also said I needed to buy an even smaller toothbrush for the gap between my teeth and my gums and keep using the toothpicks -no slacking there- he said.

Now I hope you remember I’m not a dental professional- not a medical doctor nor a dental hygenist- so if you have a dental problem go see a pro -and anyway I think your teeth are so important that checking and getting them cleaned regularly is a priority.

I know it costs money- but what I found out in my 53.5 years of existence is that the money spent on prevention- is always a fraction of the money spent if matters deteriorate to the point of serious medical intervention. plus the pain and inconvenience are significantly lesser.

So if you happen to brush your teeth aggressively -my periodontist says: don’t!

No pressure people.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility

The lamest frugal tip that can save you money!

*This topic was addressed by me before- but I recently saw that there were technical problems with the post+ in my opinion money saving is important enough to be reminded of again- so here it is!

My closest friend is a retired lawyer like me. we used to work at the same place for 13 years, then I moved away-but we kept our relationship through thick, and thin. 

I am telling you this, not because I think this is a valuable piece of information for you, (though- who knows, right?) but because she is an outstanding example of “documentophobia”- (I just invented this word, yes I did), I mean she has a deep fear of documents.

Yes, she was a lawyer. like me, for almost 30 years, and if that strikes you as odd- then you need to revisit old sayings.

Such as, for example:” the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot”. here is the link to the history of the proverb. (the reason I put the link is that I knew the phrase differently- I knew the version saying the shoemaker himself goes barefoot- which I believe says something about a person-I mean with all due respect- neglecting your own needs is one thing, but letting your children go barefoot is something completely different as Monty Python used to say.)

https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100502785

Anyway- I was talking to her on the phone, and the subject of her “study room” came up.

She said that she loves her study room, she spends most of her time there- that’s where she writes and watches “documentaries” on Youtube (I suspect she believes watching TVshows on Youtube qualifies as “watching documentaries”-no matter the actual content of the show-perhaps telling herself that it’s the streaming platform that defines the content. no, she is certainly not daft- she is one of the brightest people I know- she just has an issue with double and triple standards).

But- she said- the boxes are getting in the way.

“What boxes?” I asked. (knowing fully well she moved to her apartment more than 25 years ago- plenty of time to unpack even if you are a slow unpacker).

“Oh, the boxes containing all the papers I can’t seem to bring myself to sort out”.

“What papers?? ” I asked again. she is as retired as I am-so no work-related papers.

“Well- All the mail I get gets thrown immediately to the box under my work desk” she admitted. “I can’t bring myself to deal with it- now there are 5 full boxes and it’s blocking my space!”

I gave her a piece of my mind for about 30 minutes straight, and even promised her I would make the trip to her house (a 3-hour drive) to help her sort out the boxes, but she seemed to be content with the venting.

The thing is-

In the past few years only- I learned about various sums of money that were either about to part ways with me due to new regulations in the bank- which immediately got me writing to the bank and asking for a discount- and after haggling for a while-got it, or discovering I was double-charged with car insurance- got it canceled via mail too- or that my late grandmother left my son some money that’s been sitting in a distant bank for more than 15 years.

*I want to be clear here- when I tell you that going through your mail and reading every bank report is important- I do not mean those “Persian prince has recently left you a huge inheritance” kind of mail.

what I mean is- Please don’t get intimidated by bank statements and insurance mail or any other formal mail, and please don’t stuff it in an unopened box under the table.

Turns out tables don’t read and sort your mail for you, strangely enough.

If you don’t understand the babble they wrote- write your bank and ask for an explanation. or ask someone who understands the difficult language they (sometimes??) use-surely, not on purpose. I use Dr. Google many times.

Your money is important -and being aware of your monetary situation is super important too.

I happen to believe nobody owes me anything- and that establishments in general- and private monetary ones specifically- do not need to put my interests above their profit, meaning I need to take care of myself.

This means I know I have to read the official mail I get- be it paper mail- or via Gmail. and don’t be surprised to see that sometimes the important stuff -such as a rise in bank fees or negative interest rules- appear in the last paragraph of a long (and boring- super boring) document.

My friend? oh, she’ll probably keep stuffing the mail into the boxes under her desk. but you don’t have to.

Take care- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

I’m not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility

The Hummus secrets!

Dramatic headline? well, the tips I am about to give you deserve the drama+ I have a flair for the dramatic.

First -why bother with hummus secrets? you go to the store and buy hummus and get it over with.

No no no no!

There is a hugggeeee difference between homemade hummus and store-bought ones- in my opinion. by the way, I know people who prefer the taste of store-bought ones. I mean I heard about them- I didn’t meet them personally. maybe they are an urban myth or something.

The benefits of making Hummus at home are so many, I can’t see the reason to avoid it.

#The cost– 1 kilo of dried chickpeas costs a few $ (here- about 4$), a kilo of raw tahini costs the same, and these will yield your hummus spread for at least 2 months- considering you will eat hummus spread every day. whereas- the store-bought spread will cost you around 5$ a kilo that will last about 2 weeks- again- if you eat it every day.

The ingredients: at home, you know exactly what you put in the hummus, how you washed and handled your utensils, and how you prepared it. no strange tuff with letters and numbers you have no idea what they stand for. on the other hand- most store-bought spreads will hold for 2 weeks- when your homemade one will only be good for 3-4 days in the fridge.

The taste: that is a matter of taste- I am aware- but just try making your own spread and see for yourselves.

OK- there are a lot of benefits but is there a downside you might wonder?

Well- actually no, there isn’t.

This is one of the rare cases of win-win-win situations where life does surprise you with something easy to prepare+healthy+yummy+cheap.

tip #1: Quality of ingredients: What you need to remember is that homemade hummus relies on 6 ingredients only: tender chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, salt, and water.

Since these are fairly cheap ingredients, to begin with- make sure you like the taste of each ingredient before you prepare your dish.

This means preparing tahini dressing with the designated raw tahini you are about to use in your hummus. if you don’t love the tahini taste- don’t use it in the hummus -because it won’t “blend so you won’t notice”- it will change the hummus taste and what is the point of fussing over a dish that isn’t great?

waste of time and money.

tip #2: save the chickpea water!!! this is super important since it turns out that chickpeas love staying close to the water they were boiled with. separation issues- I don’t know- but the fact is that the hummus tastes better using that water, so don’t discard them, plus- don’t use baking soda or salt in the cooking water- because you end up eating this.

tip #3: Fry your garlic! yep. this is a huge one. thank me later. please don’t think I mean every time you want to make hummus you need to turn on the oven. no no no no. that makes no sense at all and goes against everything I believe concerning simple cooking. I can’t stand cooking shows where they make such a fuss over one dish that no real person at home will ever dare try cooking that.

Simple is best.

Whenever you cook anything that isn’t a cake or cookies in the oven- throw a pan of garlic heads in for 15 -20 minutes- until they are tender.

Why not when baking cakes? well, I believe this is obvious. unless you like your cakes to smell like garlic, which is fine with me- to each their own.

The tender garlic heads keep great in the freezer, in a sealed container, and you only need half of a head each time.

tip #4: batch cook chickpeas and store in the freezer soaked in their cooking water! why bother soaking overnight and cooking the chickpeas every time you want to make hummus?? they freeze great and if you learn to portion the quantity that suits you (remember homemade hummus keeps for a few days only!) and remember to pour the cooking water to the container as well- all you need to do is pull the container from the freezer, let it thaw and voila!

last tip -#5: don’t skimp on the tahini! this is what makes or breaks a good hummus- the quality and quantity of the tahini used.

How to?

Oh- just put the boiled tender chickpeas, their water, a drizzle of lemon, baked garlic and tahini to taste, and use a hand mixer to blend, taste, add water or lemon or salt to taste, spread on whole-grain bread and smile to yourselves.

Sealed container and always in the fridge!

Enjoy- there cooliflower.

am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility

About that coconut oil- part 2.

*Disclaimer as usual: I am not a dietitian, nor health certified anything. I am a retired health enthusiast checking stuff that interests me and sharing my personal opinion here, no need to get excited or influenced. do your own research, don’t believe anything anyone tells you, and that includes this post and any other post I write.

So last week I embarked on the important mission of trying to discover who /what is responsible for the wretched rise in my cholesterol levels, a rise that in my humble opinion, should not have occurred, seeing as I am vegan, thus do not consume meat-eggs- poultry- dairy, specifically to the point-butter or fat cheese-which are super-yummy-(I do have my memories people, can’t take those away, I loved eating all of the above. If only they came from vegetables)- but also high in fat percentage.

Last week I came up with suspect no 1: if you are interested in the results- here is the link: About that coconut oil.

But- as any good detective- and even the lousy ones- will tell you- concentrating on the immediate and usual suspect will get nowhere- just watch Kevin Spacy walk out of the police station when a few minutes later the detectives understand who the real Keiser Suze is. (I am not a film lover but this is a good movie if you haven’t seen it- check it out).

So- I tried to check whether my diet changed over the past year- and the truth was- yes. it did.

I incorporated a lot of vegan cheese and vegan butter because I couldn’t watch my family members devouring my homemade pizza (they are not vegans- that is an under-statement-they consume quite a lot of meat-poultry-fish -eggs on a daily basis). I felt deprived, and any diet depriving person for more than a day- is in my opinion doomed.

So I made a habit of buying vegan “mozzarella cheese”, containing -100 grams- 23 grams of fat- 21 of them saturated fat, and vegan butter- containing 100 grams- 75 (!) grams of fat, 26 of them saturated fat. these vegan butter and cheeses are many (many) times made of coconut oil plus all kinds of additives, and they are considered to be a fairly good replacement for people who- for all kinds of reasons- abstain from eating dairy.

Personally-I haven’t yet found a replacement similar to the original. plus they are much more expensive. which is a shame. but this is my personal opinion- many disagree-and I live and let live.

Oh- and to complete the walk of shame- I baked a lot of vegan cakes-using at least half a cup of coconut oil in each cake. that’s what the recipes required!

The thing is- since turning vegan almost 9 years ago, I adopted this mindset of: “oh I can eat just about anything I want because I am vegannnnnnnnnnnn!!!”

Well- turns out that’s not quite true.

I suspect the abundance of coconut oil-based butter, cheeses, and cakes, had its way with me and resulted in the rise (thus fall) of my blood tests.

The reason I am writing this is this following article I found (Harvard-good enough for me), that stated that coconut oil is correlated to a rise in cholesterol, thus should not be considered heart-friendly- and should be limited in a diet. here is the link to the article:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coconut-oil/

If anyone is thinking: “what’s the problem then- eat moderately! you can eat anything in small portions! “-I already told you -no way. if I like something- I don’t “portion control” it. I just eat it. 

So now I have 2 primary suspects- my menopause, and my vegan cheese and butter passion. 

Only one of the 2 can be eliminated. 

So I am weaning myself off those vegan “mozzarella” grilled sandwiches, I stopped baking vegan cakes, and I will do my blood tests next year and see if there is any difference. 

(In an immature place in my head hope there’s no difference, so I can go back to my grilled “cheese” sandwiches and tell myself “that’s life, babe. can’t stay young forever!”). 

What do I eat instead? 

Well- homemade hummus is a hit here, and tahini, avocado, and tofu. I have a great trick for great hummus. I’ll write about it next time. 

here is the link to what I eat instead of vegan cakes:  

Why I stopped baking vegan cakes.

All of these are great, but I am telling you I am learning to restrain myself, and it isn’t easy. 

The cooliflower. 

am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility

About that coconut oil.

So a few weeks ago I did my annual blood works ( please please please consider doing this. super informative and an important tool in the prevention of a vast variety of unwanted things!).

I was unpleasantly surprised to find out my cholesterol levels were up this year: last year my LDL levels were 101 and this year they were 112. last year my total cholesterol level was 176, this year 195.

*Oh usual disclaimer here- I am not a medically certified anything- nor a dietitian of any sort. I am a health enthusiast who believes in searching and learning everything can concerning my wellbeing and health. I share what I learn- but this is not professional advice- or any advice for that matter- do your own research- there really isn’t anything more important than your health, in my opinion.

I admit these results are still below the level of concern according to the medical charts that accompany those blood tests, but I wasn’t so happy about the rise of so-called “bad cholesterol”- meaning that wretched LDL -as opposed to HDL- which is considered “good cholesterol”. by the way- HDL levels were up this year as well- from 63 in 2021, to 70 in 2022.

After reviewing the results, I started looking for someone to blame for this.

Since I prepare my food and am responsible for online grocery shopping- the only person I could blame was me.

That wasn’t acceptable- so I looked again.

Since I am vegan- I do not eat butter, meats, fat cheese, and other fun stuff that research tends to correlate with cholesterol.

Honestly-

I thought being vegan was a full-proof shield from high cholesterol levels forever and ever.

Well- turns out that isn’t the case for me.

I did find two possible factors I could blame- (and again this is not medical or professional advice- this is only my opinion based on my search- every body is different ( and unique!). do your own research concerning your own (unique) body)-

#1. my hormone levels indicate that I entered menopause officially.

If you are a male reader and this makes you feel uncomfortable or boredor if you find this stuff gruesome regardless of your gender- you are free to go read another post or another blog or watch somethingfunny” on TikTok.

I believe that understanding the mechanism of the human body is useful information, plus I think many men can find it helpful to understand what the women in their life ( sister? spouse? mother? maybe the mother is too much information)are going through. or will go through. because it may affect your life too. (research says some women get really short-tempered when going through menopause- at least that’s my ongoing excuse).

What does that mean?

Again- I am not a medical doctor-I did watch all the seasons of “House” (and loved it! it was the most non PC show ever- but it was equally non PC, which in a (very) strange way made it acceptable in my opinion)+I did watch a few seasons of “grey’s anatomy” until I stopped caring about Meredith Grey’s life choices because I kept thinking”girl! get a grip on your life! what’s the matter with you!”-but I find it hard to believe this qualifies me to give medical advice.

But- I happen to believe that before going to the doctor’s office, I need to be educated enough to be able to follow what she-he says and ask the important following questions right then and there- instead of going home and fretting about a lot of stuff I should have asked.

*By the way this does not mean believing Dr. Google when it says that the cold you have seems it could be an autoimmune disease. (see! I remember something from “House!”).

Anyway-

My research concluded that after a certain age- (45 being the average age- could be later or earlier) when a woman reaches a period of 12 months without her period, it is time to get her blood work done- specifying hormone levels.

The hormones that are good indicators for post-menopausal change are (according to the official charts accompanying my results)- Estradiol -between 1.9-46 (mine were 11.8 this year. last year: 72.3), FSH levels between 20-138 (mine were less than 11.8-they didn’t even bother to write the exact number, wheres last year I had 88.7), LH levels between 15-62 (mine were 41.1, last year 5.9), and progesterone levels between 0.11-0.9 (mine were less than 0.2, last year 0/6).

You can see there is a consistent change in all relevant hormone levels- combined with the no period thing- I believe the situation is quite clear. I also went to the OBGYN and she agreed my conclusions were right. I like it when the doctors agree with my assessments.

Some women experience hot flushes (I didn’t), increased heart rate (did that), irritability (check on that too), and increased anxiety (check-double check come to think of it).

The thing is- apparently when estrogen levels drop=the fat distribution in your body changes, making it more difficult to lose that wretched belly fat, and get your behind back in place.

I know- this is just an excuse- but it’s a valid medically backed excuse.

I am aware that some women keep their bodies in great shape at the age of 70 and 80 -all I’m saying is that it is more difficult than before reaching menopause- because of that Estrogen thing.

In case you find this hard to believe- here is a link to a random article I found:

https://www.healthline.com/health/estrogen-and-weight-gain

By the way- I chose not to implement HRT- Hormone replacement Therapy- meaning pills or patches of hormones that are intended to relieve your body of the flushes and night sweats and other symptoms of menopause- because I don’t suffer from those, so I see no reason to put artificial hormones into my body.

*It is my personal belief that my being vegan has to do with the late arrival of my menopause+ the light symptoms I am experiencing. science has yet to back it up but I admit there isn’t enough research on this subject- maybe the vegan worldwide trend will encourage researchers to test this once and for all. what a boost it will be for veganism- if there’s anything that can support the cause is it being declared “the fountain of friggin youth”.

Back to my suspicions: turns out there is a correlation between post menopause and a rise in cholesterol levels-here is the relevant link to the study proving my suspicions:

https://www.uscjournal.com/articles/menopause-cholesterol-and-cardiovascular-disease-0

So?

So nothing- a good investigation never shines the light on one suspect only.

Thorough detective work must be done here before I conclude there is nothing I can do because “hormones and that’s life baby” and all that.

Enter suspect #2: my fondness of vegan cheese and butter spread+ last year’s baking vegan cakes spree: meaning my vast use of coconut oil.

To be continued.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Park farther, get fitter.

My mother is 78, and hates exercising.

At least she is consistent- she never liked working out. even as a teen she did everything in her power to avoid it, and sees no need to change her ways now.

She is also a smoker, started at 16, and kept going for 62 years. still enjoys it.

But- she likes going places-she is an avid art lover, knows a lot about art, and visits galleries often. until a few years ago- she traveled the world, looking for new and exciting places and exhibitions.

I love this about her, I love the fact that she has such a love for beautiful things, that she appreciates the fine arts, and enjoys it so much.

The thing is, for the past few years, her knee is acting up making it almost impossible for her to walk the distance she used to. Add the Covid -19 to this, and she rarely goes out of her house- and she is the ultimate extrovert: unlike me- she loves going out and meeting people, talking with friends, entertaining 20 people -etc.

I tried to convince her to go swimming- that is not only great exercise but also very easy on the knees-

She did go for a while, but now it’s winter here, and she says it’s too cold for her.

I tried making swimming more fun for her- I made a playlist of her favorites (Leonard Cohen, Yves montane, Bette Middler-you get the drift) and gave her my SYRYN waterproof pool friend MP3 with the earbuds to match, but to no avail. she returned it a week later, saying I should stop pressuring her to do things she can’t/won’t do.

She Is right by the way- so I stopped.

Though I’m still very concerned about her wellbeing. I still try and figure out ways to make it more fun for her to get going.

I am aware I sound a bit patronizing, but I am concerned about her health, she has gone through 2 surgeries in the past few years, and I believe the only way to be healthy is to exercise regularly and eat well.

*By the way- although I have been vegan for the past 8.8 years, and feel better than I ever did- I do accept that being vegan isn’t for everyone. I still think that striving to eat healthily can benefit everyone- carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian or vegan.

So a week ago I had this errand to run- I needed to send a package abroad, which meant I needed to go into town- the nearest town is a15 minutes drive from where we live, and with morning-midday- every hour traffic-getting to the center of town takes at least 30 minutes, then you need to find a parking space, pay for parking, run the errand then go through traffic again on the way home.

The thing is- maybe it’s just me- but I feel like people in traffic have become really annoying lately.

They are impatient, they honk with no reason to, they try to pass through illegally, making the whole standing in traffic thing a really bad experience for me.

So last week I decided to beat traffic:

I drove to town- but parked a few kilometers away from the center of town- a lot of free parking- and walked to the post office.

It took me 20 minutes, I really enjoyed it- I like walking, I put my earbuds on, listened to music, and didn’t hear the cars and the honking. I had my running shoes on, comfortable clothes and my mandatory water bottle, and on my way there- I could work on my introvert social anxiety concerning the “post office mission”.

I am aware this may sound strange if you aren’t an introvert, but I’m sure you can relate if you happen to be one.

Running errands, even simple ones, as an introvert, is a thing.

I need to prepare myself ahead, write down what I need, possible ways for things to go wrong, possible ways for me to solve those possible problems, and breath deeply before, during, and after.

Sitting in traffic and seeing everyone try and steal the light or lay their fists on the car horn, and then try to look for a parking space- doesn’t help my social anxiety, it worsens it.

But my 20-minute walk, listening to music, and getting straight to the post office with no parking problem at all was great.

I finished my errand, climbed back up the street (yes- going back wasn’t as fun- it was hotter and uphill all the way- but still better than sitting in traffic.

I thought later that this could be a good idea for my mother too- she lives in a big city, and running errands on foot could be a great reason for her to start walking, beating traffic, parking problems and most important- get some exercise.

Maybe if the walking isn’t done “for exercise” but “to get errands done” it might be more appealing to her.

I tried running this idea past her- she said she’ll try it.

I have a feeling that if she could sack me in the face she would, but I live quite far from her, so no smacks for now.

If you are an introvert and hate traffic and parking mess- and happen to have small errands to run (not groceries shopping, obviously, those I do online)- try parking a few kilometers away- and walking the distance.

You might enjoy it.

The cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

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Things even minimalists need to keep!

When I grew up, there was this saying: “what would you save in a fire? the photo album!”.

Needless to say that isn’t the case in 2022, since every photo anyone takes is sitting in the Google cloud somewhere.

So- if you have spare hands- (and don’t need to carry all your gold bullions)-take your important binder with you.

What is “the important binder” you ask??

lately, I’ve been busy with a procedural thing, which forced me to start looking for all kinds of documents such as my marriage certificate, my birth certificate, my children’s birth certificates, etc etc.

Sure enough- I had no idea where my birth certificate was, or my children’s for that matter- but lo and behold -I did locate my marriage certificate, and I can tell you it saved me some precious time, though locating the document at home wasn’t that easy. at all.

The funny thing is- when I asked my daughter for her documents, she sent them to me as soon as she got home from work. no dilly-dallying and futile searching and drawer banging.

She was very proud of herself, and I was proud of her too- and thought I should tell you all about it so you can create “an important binder” and save precious time and effort too.

How?

Take an old school binder, write “important!” on its cover, and start filing all your important documents:

#1. legal documents: house deed, mortgage documents (if you have one if not- don’t ), bank account opening documents- no -I do not mean every friggin monthly bank statement-I hope you get those online-I mean the few papers you sign when opening an account. why keep them? because sometimes you need to remember what account you had in back 2000 for all kinds of sporadic reasons. just keep the 2-3 pages stating the account number and legal terms. the same goes for your will (I hope you remember I strongly advise on drawing a will- one neer knows, better be prepared, unless you are a Buddhist monk, and even then- you need to decide who gets your food bowl. )

#2. personal documentsthat are legal documents as well: birth certificates, passport, marriage certificate-if you ever got married-and definitely even after divorce!, speaking of- divorce papers, if you have a prenuptial agreement- that too, SAT grades, uni certificate, major work certificates, you get the picture.

With all of these- keeping the originals is super important- and having them scattered around the house hiding in dark closets isn’t going to help anyone.

Please don’t avoid doing this saying “I hate bureaucracy! ” “I am a free spirit letting the wind beneath my wings!” and stuff like that.

This is exactly why you need the binder! because you don’t like wasting your free spirit time on collecting these documents time and again! once you have a designated binder, you waste 0.00 time on bureaucracy-

And can live happily ever after.

Enjoy-the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Sweet veggies??

#Before you start rolling your eyes and saying: “red peppers aren’t vegetables! they are fruits!” –I know -botanically, peppers, tomatoes, avocados, corn, okra, eggplants, zucchini, and string beans- are all fruits disguised as veggies.

(I actually didn’t know that corn and eggplants were fruit. well-if we’re being honest, I didn’t know okra and avocados were either).

That really doesn’t leave any “real veggies” on the veggie list, does it?

But- sorry- who cares?? they are so healthy and yummy, and versatile, easy to use, fun to eat -for all I care you can call them whatever you wish.

These long sweet red peppers have been my favorite snack/salad component lately, and here is an example fresh from the salad bowl-

spinach, sweet long red peppers, mujadara- home made-because there really isn’t anything easier to make than that+ tahini dressing (OK- maybe this is easier than the mujadara) -really couldn’t be happier -in 5 minutes of work. ( because I made the mujadara yesterday that’s why).

#quick mujadara: when you get up in the morning- put a cup of green lentils to soak in hot/boiling water- I mean let them soak- the lentils like to drink up the water apparently- you may have to give them more- then go about doing whatever it is you do in the morning. come back after hour-the lentils are half soft already. yay.

Cut 2 onions and a few garlic cloves, fry with a drizzle of olive oil, salt& pepper, and any other condiment you like, add the soaked lentils, then- let fry for 10 minutes adding a cup of boiling water to the pan halfway through.

Meanwhile- in the same bowl you used to soak the lentils- soak a cup of bulgur-again with boiling water.

when the lentils are almost tender but not too mushi!- add the soaked bulgur- and stir .drizzle the juice of 2 lemons, and let simmer for a few minutes. c’est tout.

Freezes great. tastes great. super healthy and full of complete protein.

#Tahini dressing? oh- this is really the easiest: just mix equal parts tahini and cold water, add some salt to taste, a juice of a lemon, e voila!

So what’s so special about the sweet red pepper? it’s sweet! I am not joking here- this is serious stuff, nothing to joke about.

We, humans, love the sweet taste, and I am aware that I do too, and I accept that.

My coping mechanism is simple -why fight it if you can benefit from it?

Since I stopped baking vegan cakes (read here why: Why I stopped baking vegan cakes.) I feel free to indulge myself with Medjool dates, oranges, pears, homemade granola, and these sweet long red peppers.

I’ve heard that there are dietitians out there telling people to avoid peppers because they are sweet- so accused of being full of “bad sugar”.

I am not a dietitian- neither registered or unregistered- I am merely trying to use common sense here.

In my layman’s opinion- diets are made to fail if a person is denied red peppers or any other fruits and veggies- because they contain sugar.

I am probably biased, being vegan for 8.5 years now, but if there is anything that can keep me eating healthy food, and not feeling “punished” or whatever- is the abundance of fruits and veggies I eat every day.

In my salads, on their own, with my porridge, as snacks-

I don’t count how many fruits I eat, and I personally- being a layman- think that eating fruits and veggies that are tasty -is something to appreciate- not avoid.

So I looked online to see what the health benefits of sweet red peppers were: and found out that they are made mostly of water, some carbs, and mainly vitamins- vitamin A, B, E, and mainly vitamin C (169% of the RDI intake of vitamin c- more-much more than oranges!) plus antioxidants, so really -if you think about it– people should be encouraged to eat peppers every day so that they can keep a healthy long-lasting healthy diet for life- not a crush 20 day eat only sad things and lose 10pounds which will quickly climb back when you inevitably go back to eating like you used to because who wants to eat sad things all day every day?”.

Here is a link to all the nutritional values of sweet red peppers- check it out yourselves:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/bell-peppers#vitamins-and-minerals

As usual-go check this for yourselves-and make the decision that is right for you-

The important thing is to be happy with your food and keep a healthy lifestyle. with or without peppers. (preferably with).

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.