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Lately, I’ve been reflecting on how I became a vegan. And while there were many factors, the biggest came from a friend of mine who I looked up to. I remember when I found out he was a vegan and completely wrote him off. What’s interesting, I think, is that he was never angry with me for writing him off. In fact, he never even really argued with me about veganism; he only showed me compassion–over and over and over again. I became really confused when he would offer to buy me burgers when we went out to eat. It seemed as though he was more interested in my well-being rather than shoving ideals down my throat. He had no need to defend his views or attack mine. Years later I look down at my plate of brown rice and leafy greens and remember the man who showed me love instead of hate.

 

Much love,

-M

Macrobiotic Diet

It has now officially been three months since I went completely vegan and my excitement hasn’t gone away at all. I’m continually trying to improve the health and well-being of myself, others, and the environment. Lately, I’ve been researching something called a macrobiotic diet. It’s not entirely vegan, but I’m beginning to apply more and more of their ideas and just omitting the non-vegan elements. Check it out!

Much love,

-M

Leaving the Dark Side

Like I said before, my roommate is also a vegan–it’s been great to learn and try new things with him–but I feel like we’re still not educated in the “vegan realm.” I feel as though we’ve been abusing loopholes in the system (or as I like to call it, the “dark side” of veganism); Bocca burgers and oil can’t be a very healthy diet. We’ve been talking a lot and I think our goal is to slowly transition to a raw vegan diet. We’ve been trying to research the benefits of different grains and veggies, but it seems like a tedious/time-consuming project. Any thoughts/suggestions?

-M

Sorry!

So, um, yeah. Sorry I took a hiatus! I’m back in the States and in my fourth year of undergraduate studies for the philosophy major. After getting back from China I knew two things: (1) There is nothing that I’m more passionate about than philosophy and (2) I definitely want to go vegan.

So, I am very proud to say that as of August 6 I have been vegan and feeling so much better! Ellen let me borrow her book, The Kind Diet, which has been pretty inspiring. Also, my roomie is vegan, so its been quite an adventure to bounce ideas off of him. Switched my toothpaste over to Tom’s, but I’m still looking for good vegan deodorant as well as shoes :/ If you have suggestions, let me know!

Anyway, when I finally invest in a camera, I’ll be sure to post all of my fails and successes in the kitchen!

 

-M

I made it to Beijing, Ellen!

A couple days ago, we took a bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing.

The train station was massive -- what else would you expect from Shanghai?

It’s silly, but I already miss Shanghai! On the up-side, the internet is faster here, so be prepared for a bombardment of photos! On the first full day here, we went to Tiananmen Square. It really gave me the chills being there.

The center of the protest, which is now roped off.

Tiananmen Square is so huge and is filled patriotic ideals.

Wish you were here!

xoxo,

-M

Day Dreamzzz

Hey Malachi!

I’m jealous of all the cool places you’re going and things you’re seeing. :) I wish I could come visit you. My days at work get a little tiresome, so I find myself daydreaming A LOT… mostly about these things.

I want to run on trials like this. It rained today while I was at work and I felt like I could fly if I could just get out of there and run! :p

I miss the trails that are so close to my parent’s house. Running downtown is awesome, but I’m out of places to go that I can get to without driving, and I miss trees and running on dirt!! The pavement hurts my shins much more than trails do.

chocolate chip banana muffins

I spend waaaay too much time thinking about food and baking at work. Hey, that’s when I came up with the recipe for these awesome pb banana chocolate chip cookies though! I also think I should write down my recipes more often; I remember these muffins being delish, but I have no idea how I made them. It’s time to re-create and record. :)

OMG, the Farmer’s Market is back! And I am SO HAPPY about it. :) Above is swiss chard (I love how pretty the leaves are with the red veins!), sorrel, asparagus, zucchini, and a summer squash. When I went last Saturday, there were a lot of people selling potted plants, and now I keep thinking about the herbs I want to grow inside when I have more space after I move to a new apartment in July. I want to grow basil and rosemary for sure. There was a lady selling stevia plants too, which I thought was so cool! I had never seen that before. I don’t know how easy that it to grow though or if it’s doable inside.

I was also thinking about how I might live closer to campus this coming year, but that means farther from downtown and thus farther from the Farmer’s Market, which makes me sad. Plus I love living downtown so much! It’s proving more difficult to find a satisfactory apartment than I thought it would be though. Maybe I’m just too picky.

Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend! I miss you!

xoxo,

-E

Old Town

Ellen! A few days ago, we went to an area in Shanghai called “Old Town.” The architecture  was like that of some earlier days of China. Old Town is the first area of Shanghai — where the city originated from. Inside Old Town is the Emperor’s Garden, which is stunning. The wildlife just seems to fit perfectly with the architecture around it.

How has work been going? What kind of food have you been making? Keep me posted. Miss you!

xoxo,

-M

Breakfast

Hey Ellen,

Outside my dorm is a cafeteria that sells rice soup in the morning. It’s light and well-known for being easy on the stomach. They have three different flavors: veggie, pumpkin, and original.

Personally, I love the pumpkin! I eat it almost every morning. Not only is the soup good for you, but it’s also high quality. I don’t know if there are better or worse forms of rice in America, but in China, the quality of rice can vary greatly.

After breakfast, I’m trying to get into the habit of going off on my own to meditate for a while. I found a quiet area that I really like, but I just have to get up a little earlier to have time.

Wish you were here!

xoxo,

-M

WEEKEND

Hey Malachi! I wish you were here yesterday. I went grocery shopping with my aunt at Costco again, then at a different Harvest Health than the one I usually go to. It was amazing, seriously! I felt ridiculous about being so excited while grocery shopping by myself.. I wouldn’t have felt so ridiculous if you were there too. :p The tofu was on sale though! That’s pretty exciting. ;)

SO HAPPY - note that it's unsweetened chocolate almond milk. yayyy!

I might have spent a lot of money on new foods… but hey, I have that summer job, so it’s okay, right?? I wanted to buy cocoa nibs the last time I was at Harvest Health, but the girl told me I should wait until I have a summer job. And now it has been two solid weeks that I’ve worked, so I don’t feel bad about this. :)

I’m most excited about the Kombucha and the cocoa nibs. I have yet to try the Kombucha, but the cocoa nips are so good. They’re also raw and the nutrition stats are pretty sweet!

Coconut milk ice cream = BEST.

I also love that coconut milk ice cream has 5g of fiber per serving. How cool is that?

I also got a 4lb. (!!!) box of strawberries, so much romaine lettuce, and a big box of bok choy from Costco. I’m going to be eating salads like it’s my job for at least the next week. I had two salads yesterday, one with romaine lettuce, spiced tofu, guacamole, raisins, chili powder, and tortilla chips and the other with strawberries, poppy seeds, and balsamic vinegar. No picture though because I might have dropped and broken my roommate’s camera. oops.. It was old though and it’s just stuff, right? I have an old one that I can use, but I hope she doesn’t mind too much. :/

Anyway, tell me about your weekend!

xoxo,

-E

I sat in a crowded room. Below me a pile of rice and greens, in front of me my friend, and behind me a little old lady. I looked up to find my friend’s face paralyzed with a look of disgust and awe — his eyes wide with his lips barely parted. I looked behind me to see what had invoked such a face and found a woman. Hunched over and shaking, she attempted to pick up scraps from a left-over meal. Upon finding us staring at her, she shuffled over to our table and begged for our empty bottle in which she could turn in the deposit. My friend, still paralyzed, couldn’t comprehend what was happening. The woman took the confusion as a “no” and moved on to looking through a trash bin. The girl sitting next to me finally spoke up — her voice was soft as she said, “Last year, Shanghai passed a law to make it illegal for homeless people to be on the streets. They thought that the city looked ‘ugly’ with all of them around and that they needed to ‘clean things up.’” The woman continued to go to the other crowded tables, asking for water. Not one acknowledgment of her existence was given. No one would even give her the recognition of “no.” For them, she was no longer a beautiful person — she was just another nuisance. Her humanity had been stripped from her — she was merely Other. She had spilled into the cafeteria the same way we spill wine on our shirt. For Shanghai, she’s a stain that needs to be “cleaned up” but what Shanghai doesn’t realize is that without “stains,” we would be living in a world of black and white.

-M

The medicine in China is completely different. If you get hospitalized, they will only give medicine via IV. When I got all my vaccinations in the States, the nurse said that I would probably get sick about a week after getting them and sure enough, I did. I had a really bad cough (and probably a fever) that I was trying to power through. I told my professor that I had a cold and he gave me these:

Yeah — I’m going slightly mad in this photo.

I asked him what they were and he said that “[I] have too much cold, so this give more heat”. I’m still not quite sure what it was, but I guess it was all natural and it smelled like chocolate. All I know is that I woke up the next day feeling better than I ever have in my entire life.

-M

Malachi, I was so excited when I saw that you wrote! Your pictures are all really cool. It looks like you’re enjoying yourself already. :)

I’ve spent my first couple weeks off getting used to work again. I really just have to get used to sitting for 9 hours a day, ugh! This week has been much better than last week. I think the improvement was due mostly to the fact that I ran in the mornings this week before going to work. I have to wake up at 5:30am to get a run in, but it’s so worth it. The city looks seriously pretty at that hour. The sun is just coming up and it’s quiet and I love it.

SO MUCH running lately :) (sorry about the lighting; it was late!)

When I was reading what you wrote, I was thinking about all the things I would really miss for a summer if I couldn’t get them! Can you get all the same foods in China that you can here for the most part? What are you going to miss the most this summer? I may be a little too attached to some foods (ahem, pb), but I don’t think I could go an entire summer without my pb, oatmeal, and green monsters.

It has been beautiful outside lately, like warm enough to eat oatmeal for breakfast on the porch in the sun. Speaking of, you should write about what you eat for breakfast there! I’m so curious. ;)

Irish oats with banana, pb, and cinnamon raisin swirl pb

I wouldn’t want to go a summer without coconut butter either… By the way, it’s warm enough now in the apartment that this melts without a microwave and it is SO GOOD.

Anyway, it sounds like a storm is coming and I don’t want to be in my apartment alone if that happens, so I’m going to end this and get out of here. I can’t wait to hear from you again!

xoxo,

-E

ps. Check out the cookie bites I made last night! Some of them are peanut butter and some are oatmeal chocolate chip, both sugar-free (sweetened with banana!) and vegan, of course. Aren’t they cute? I’ll have to measure my ingredients next time so I have a recipe to post because I want to make these with you when you come home.

In China, they don’t do a lot of grilling or baking. Instead, they often steam their food. In America, we steam vegetables, but that’s about it. Here, they will steam just about anything — including fish and bread.

It may be hard to see, but this is a picture of some of their steamed bread. Personally, I love this stuff. Ellen would never eat it since it’s white, but I can’t really be too picky here. On the other side of the bread is a hollowed out portion so you can scoop food into it.

Another popular form of steamed bread has a red bean past in it. Red beans are a sweeter bean that is often used in making desserts. Next time I have some red bean steamed bread, I’ll make sure to snap a photo.

-M

Alright. When I heard we were going to see a TV tower, I wasn’t all that excited. It took a long time on the subway until we finally stepped outside. But once we got outside, I thought I was in a different world.

All around us were impressive buildings, such as these.

This TV tower was absolutely insane. In the middle is an elevator, which takes you pretty high. In fact, my ears kept popping from the change in pressure as we continued to ascend.

Inside that upper ball is a room that is all reenforced glass. When I looked down and walked, it felt as though I was falling. To say the least, there was an intense feeling of vertigo. I still can’t get over how amazing the view was!Can you find the Mac store??

Now that you’ve had a taste of Shanghai, can I have a taste of your delicious vegan food?

-M

I made it!

I made it to Shanghai, Ellen!

Getting here took forever but it’s obviously worth it. We first took a plane from Grand Rapids to Minnesota, then from Minnesota to Tokyo, and finally from Tokyo to Shanghai. It was so weird chasing the sun — hours upon hours of light. It was finally dark when we touched down and what a gorgeous sight! All the lights overtook me. It’s a beautiful city, full of amazing things to do and see.

This is a picture of part of East China Normal University’s campus — it’s so beautiful here, but super hot and humid!

Culturally, there are some obvious differences. You’re not allowed to throw the toilet paper in the toilet — you have to throw it in the trash. Also, spitting is very common. Yesterday I thought that someone was nearly dying, but it turns out that he just really had to spit (not going into any more detail than that). Also, they are crazy drivers! Seriously, I’m going to die from a car. The lines on the road are there as guidelines, not actual lanes. Or, at least, that’s how they interpret them. Our driver was in the middle of two lanes the entire time and would honk at the cars in front of him as he squeezed between all the cars. In China, pedestrians have to yield to the cars — they will run you over! The water is hard water, which means that you can’t consume it. I feel so bad buying all these plastic bottles of water, but I don’t know what else I can do!

The food is delicious, though. I have a piece of paper that says that I’m a vegetarian and that I don’t eat meat. Beyond that, I just look at pictures of what looks like veggie food and point. Usually they understand and they’ll either sub the meat for veggies or shake their head if it has meat in it.

The top says I’m a vegetarian and the bottom says no meat!

I’m using Adam’s (my roommate) phone, so some of these pictures are blurry. Also, I still don’t have wordpress figured out, so just try to stick with me. I only took pics from one meal so far, but there will be plenty to come (as long as the internet stops going in and out).

So this was a type of vinegar spiced tofu. Super firm tofu — it was really good!

I’m sorry some of these are so blurry! This was a pickled root. I don’t know how to describe it other than it being crunchy and tangy.

So this is a veggy that grows underwater. The bottom portion is in layers. I would probably compare it to the taste of asparagus — Yum! The darker things on the plate are black mushroom — again in a mild kind of vinegar sauce.

I guess we are about to leave to see a TV tower so I have to get going, but I’ll definitely keep you updated! I’m missing my green monstas! I’ll talk to you soon!!!

-M

SUMMERTIME

Hey lovelies!

I’ve had the best couple of days. I’m done with school until next Fall, so I celebrated Thursday night. I haven’t had anything to worry about the last couple days because I don’t start work until Monday. It was sooo beautiful outside today, I just finished an awesome run! It was followed by this for dinner.

FlatOut wrap with hummus, baby bok choy, tomatoes, cucumbers, & a little of the dressing my Aunt made for me :)

My Aunt took me to Costco today and I was so happy to find FlatOut wraps! I am IN LOVE. They have so much fiber and protein for a wrap. :) I also bought quinoa, oatmeal, pb, bananas, dates, and agave. I didn’t realize everything was so much cheaper there! I’m done buying oatmeal from Meijer in little containers when I can get a 10 lb. box that only costs a little more… Seriously, I don’t know how I go through oatmeal so fast, but it happens.

oatmeal with pb, coconut butter, bananas, cocoa powder, & unsweetened almond milk

I only made a 1/2 serving for breakfast today. I just haven’t been as hungry as usual the past couple days. This kept me full for a good 4 hours, which is unusual for me even when I make a full serving. I don’t know… I guess I’ll just keep listening to my body and eat however much feels right.

Lunch was amazing though. I made a BLT salad with leftovers from the other night. It had tempeh bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and apple.

The girl and I went to my favorite consignment shop yesterday; I was so excited to find this outfit!

new pants and pullover, yayy :)

Oh, Malachi and I decided that we’re going to write our posts as letters to each other now. What do you think, good idea? I’m excited about it because he’s leaving (to China!) for the summer and I’m usually pretty bad about keeping in touch with people, so this will be a good way for us to keep up.

I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday!

-E

So I’m falling behind! Ellen has so much to say (which is exciting) and I just don’t know what to write. I’m new to a lot of this scene–wordpress, blogging, etc.–and I guess I’m still trying to figure out what I should and should not write. Is this a place for some sort of deep introspection? Is this a place to post photos? Is this a place for philosophy? If philosophy, should it be my own or others’?Should I wait to post when I have an awesome camera? I need to know! I guess part of my reservation lies in that this is a joint blog. What can I write before I’m off topic? What is the topic? I’m really not sure.

-M

too much math

I really like math. I mean really like math. My roommates would laugh at me for getting super excited about a proof I had just figured out, then I would tell them all about it… and they would listen and pretend that what I was saying was a least a little bit interesting to them. :-p

pretty flower that my girlfriend gave to me :)

I had two math finals today and I feel like I can hardly think. I’m pretty sure they didn’t go very well, so I’m a little frustrated, but I still have a stats final to study for that I have to take tomorrow. That’s why this post is going to be some of the little things that have made me smile in the last few days. Then, I can study for stats, kill this exam tomorrow evening, and celebrate because finally, it will be SUMMER!!

romaine lettuce + banana + red pepper + hummus + balsamic vinegar + orange + coconut + i don't remember anymore :-p

I’ve been eating so many salads lately and it feels soo good!

Running pretty much makes everything better. This run was especially awesome because it was so nice outside and my legs felt great. I’m pumped for summer because I love running in warm weather and I’ll have the time to run as much as I want! :)

date with cashew butter!

homemade chocolate granola + pb + banana + unsweetened almond milk

Have you seen Across the Universe? I saw it for the first time last week and I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack.

Question: What was the best part of your day?

-E

Hey babes!

I thought it would be a good idea to write about my days once in a while so you all could get to know me better. Good idea?

I woke up this morning and went for a run right away, only 4-ish miles though. I’ve been super tired on my runs lately! I don’t know why yet, but hopefully I’ll figure it out soon. It was still awesome though; the weather was perfect.

Post-run breakfast was an orange, half a banana, and coconut butter fudge (just coconut butter, cocoa powder, and a little agave – so good!).

I seriously can’t go a day without oatmeal, so that’s what I made for a small lunch before heading off to a family gathering to celebrate Easter. I made a serving of carrot cake oatmeal for the girl and I to split since we were going to be eating with my fam soon after. Seriously, best oatmeal ever!

1/2 banana + raisins + cinnamon + chia seeds + grated carrot + cocoa powder + walnuts + coconut butter + DCDpb

Hanging out with the fam was nice, but my grandparents weren’t too happy about my new-to-them nose piercing.. I’m probably working for my grandpa’s company for the summer, and I really hope I don’t have to take it out!

the nose ring looks totally professional enough to work in an office, right?

Seeing my brother was especially nice. I miss him now since we’re both away at college! All of my family parties are centered around food and no one else in my family is vegan, but they’re all very considerate about it. My grandma made me a wonderful salad and baked sweet potatoes. :)

Dinner was a bowl of raw zucchini, quinoa, raisins, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, and hummus, also not pictured. I was too hungry when I got home to take pics of my food! Dinner was supposed to prepare me to write a paper for my philosophy class, but that obviously didn’t work too well… :p

Ooh, I made carrot cake cookies today too! I’m terrible at posting recipes though. I usually just toss stuff in a bowl and hope it works out, but it usually does. :) This was some combination of Earth Balance, maple syrup, spelt flour, cinnamon, grated carrot, ground flax seed + water, raisins, coconut, and walnuts. They were awesome, I was so excited! And it was good for me to have dessert to eat for when the rest of my family was eating a very non-vegan friendly red velvet cake.

Anyway, I should really get to work on this paper. Finals are this coming week, then I’m done with classes for the summer, yayy!

I hope you all had a lovely day!

-E

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