Comradia

I'm a Punjabi-Canadian, agnostic Sikh, feminist, left-leaning, aspiring vegan, law student. My interests include: food, Bollywood, Desiness, politics, literature, and stationery. Currently, I'm going through a lot of self-exploration & embracing a fluid/flexible moral code.
- Comrade Jas
My separate site for reblogging: http://comradereblog.tumblr.com/
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So I realized I haven’t actually made a post on this since March 17! Goodness! No wonder my head is full of thoughts. I just picked out some of my favourite food pictures to tag into this. I’ve had some serious deliciousness during this time.

I loved the cookies I made: chocolate chip almond & peanut butters! I used the leftover dough for delicious cookie dough ice cream (I bought Almond Dream to use for this but seriously should stick to Bliss Coconut Ice Cream because it it the most delicious).

I’m starting to reach the point where I have too much work to do to actually finish it all, so I made a list of the bare minimum that is necessary to accomplish. Prioritizing for exams is very important. I also pulled out a lot of my Indian food from the freezer, so that should keep me sustained for all the ridiculous studying that I need to do. 

So what have I been up to? I’ve had some awesome hang outs with great friends that I love!

I randomly met a bunch of awesome grad students after a talk on animals & law by Gary Francione (lots of thoughts on that which will have to wait for post-exams post). We went out for burgers and then just spent the whole evening together. One of them lives next to my building, so I had a bus buddy from downtown! It was awesome :D and we had the greatest conversations.

Somewhere at this point my friend introduced me to Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy and I’m in love with Noel Fielding now. What I would do to find some tall skinny person in tight black clothes with eyeliner. #swoon

With my friends: we’ve hit up the Noodle Box twice, we finished our constitutional law assignments, we watched Hunger Games! My Hunger Games evening was so much fun: my friend came over for Indian take out with Doctor Who watching, followed by Hunger Games, then the local watering hole. While waiting at the bus stop, I bumped into my bus buddy from the previous week! It was awesome and on our way home, I suggested she come over for my vegan banana brownies and she AGREED! So at 2 am, we watched Blink from Doctor Who and ate brownies. #AwesomeSauce

The next day my friend came over to help study and do brownies. I find I work better when people are around sometimes…I really need to find my study sweet spot.

I keep meeting new people and feeling very comfortable with speaking to strangers, which excites me because it helps with the ultimate political goals. Yesterday, I hit up bubble tea, Vietnamese restaurant, and vegan dessert at Market Green. This was so much fun, with two great and lovely ladies.

Yesterday was fun too! Post classes ended up going to the beach, then coffee shop, then pub with my friend. When being dropped off, I suggested we eat brownies & my friend AGREED! (<— notice this weird theme?). We were going to play my Wii but the batteries of the remotes were dead, so we ended up watching Doctor Who. I love the 2-part library episodes with vashta nerada. So much fun!

Other things that I am into now courtesy of a particularly enabling friend (she introduced me to Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy): The Mighty Boosh, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and Rachel Maddow. I’ve also watched the Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2010 twice now. Richard Ayoade & Noel Fielding are hilarious! #NicheCorner

Oh my science! It’s been (nearly) a week since I last blogged. How can this be? Have I been doing nothing at all for a week? Was I in a coma the entire time? No, I apparently got over the novelty of recording my days in Tumblogs. Anyways, I still enjoy diary entries, so I’m posting now.

My last post was on Thursday, March 8. Let me just track back the things I have been up to since then.

On Friday, I cleaned like a crazed person and my apartment was spectacular. Unfortunately, it was exhausting and it felt like the whole day just blew past without any time for reflection. For dinner, I went to the Joint for vegan pizza with some very interesting new people from the local vegan club. We spent 4 hours chatting and it was very interesting - range of topics feminism, veganism, anarchy, etc. I’m pretty excited to meet people outside my law school circle, it helps add some diversity and reminds me that there is a real world outside. Although, I’m still in this circle of being around critically thinking people. It’s a pleasure but sometimes I wonder if it is wise…

On Saturday, I grocery shopped like a maniac. I had to kidnap a grocery cart to my apartment to get all the stuff inside (I promptly returned it). My friend had invited me over to watch The Princess Bride and have vegan paella (so awesome!). She had a panic attack over these ants in her apartment, so I went there early to just provide some company and pretend to do readings (read for a total of 30 minutes).

On Sunday, I bought a BIKE! I’m so excited to have another means of transportation. Moreover, it is quite exhilarating! I love the tinging sensation of pain my lungs, the out of breathness, and the flushed face feelings. It will be so much fun over the summer in Victoria. I also made these delicious roasted veggies - turns out roasted radishes are absolutely delightful! 

On Monday, I woke up on time to go to bloody Contracts class. And guess what? Class was fucking cancelled. Yeah. Anyways, as a result, I was really exhausted the whole day. It’s really a blur, I can’t remember much. Except that my constitutional law professor is so AWESOME! She had a great discussion with some of us after class and she endorsed my idea of violent revolution to change the system ;) 

On Tuesday, I had made this total fail of a crockpot creation (I really need to follow recipes - which will be easier now that I have two new cookbooks), so I had to make a new dinner. I made a strategy to follow for final exams. It’s time to really kick it up a notch and start getting things done. This weekend is a catch-up on Contracts, Torts, and Constitutional. I’m almost caught up on the latter two but the first is just going to kick my ass.

On Wednesday (today), I had a fabulous day because I slept in. I got my new cookbooks. I went to my favourite class (constitutional). My law school friends are so delightful, we hung around after class chatting until another class showed up 25 minutes later. Then we decided to carry the conversation to the Grad House over food. So class ended at 3 pm, we left the pub at 6 pm. So many laughs! We are such a loud bunch of people and have such great conversation. I love them! I came home to delicious vegan kheer in the crockpot (followed a recipe). It’s been a great day!

So that’s the skeleton list of what I have done. Now just some broader things that are going on.

I seem to have buried Foucault under some law readings, but I have been sticking to daily readings of Butler’s Gender Trouble. I find it resonates so much with my thoughts/beliefs/values. I am slightly disappointed at myself for not having read it before. I keep reflecting on my undergrad degree and I’m somewhat regretting having finished in 3 years. I feel like there was so much more I could learn and trying to cram it in now is difficult with my law school course load. I feel like my head might explode with so many insights/thoughts/frustrations/etc. Thankfully my summer position is on animals, law, theory from feminist/queer/postcolonial perspectives. My efforts to read more philosophy/theory are related to becoming more familiar with these perspectives. I’m so glad to have some great supports from the most random places when it comes to this process of educating outside the law school For instance, I was referred to the Cyborg Manifesto by a Twitterfriend (that’s a thing right? in the Facebook age, we are all friends!)…anyways point being, it totally relates to the work the prof I’m going to work with in the summer is doing (in fact she wrote a paper drawing on Harraway’s ideas with animal rights). I just wish I could do #ALLTHEthings at the same time…Alright, I feel pretty good with getting this written. It’s easier than carrying it all around in my all the time…

Apologies for spelling/grammar errors…I’m too lazy to edit as usual & I’m also kind of intrigued by the idea of how language constrains what can be considered intelligible in ways that reflect power hierarchies.

These past two days have been awesome! I love life these days (I may be actively focusing on awesome things).

I ended up going on a downtown adventure after classes yesterday. I hit up the stationery store. I’m still looking to find the perfect love letter paper. I’m thinking I should find some TARDIS blue. But my fountain pen is purple ink & I kind of want to use that. #stationerygeekproblems

The shop next door sold a bunch of awesome games! I need to set up a crew of people to play with, that and I would benefit from having a dining table. I just don’t know how I would get it from store to my apartment. #toomuchhassle. But I want to game!

I then decided to hit up this fabulous used bookstore. It’s amazing and stuffed to the brim. I picked up Vol. 1 of Foucault’s History of Sexuality.

With this in hand, I decided to head to the ocean because I love it. On the way, I happened to stop to tie my shoelace, looked up and noticed the Irish Linens Store that my friend had recommended to me! I picked up those lovely handkerchiefs. I’ve found them awesome! I love using fewer kleenex (or facial tissue paper, because kleenex is simply a brand).

I sat there for a good hour near the ocean reading Foucault. It was fabulous and I managed to have a friend decide to join me for dinner. It got cold, so I headed to David’s Tea. The Read My Lips soy latté is so delicious. It’s love in a cup. 

I then went to Lotus Pond again because I can’t get enough of those vegan soy balls. I found a recipe that I want to try.

Is it just me or do I think way too much about food? 

Anyways, today was awesome! We had a brilliant community building exercise at the law school. It was so enlightening and empowering. I’m so pumped to be a part of this progressive change that we are all striving for.

After the community conference, I hit up a meeting of the Victoria Vegan club. I’m so pumped, they were all such an amazing and rad bunch of people. It was so nice to be around people that understood some of the struggles that I was facing and that had similar ethical viewpoints on their relationships with animals. I also appreciated their general social justice ethos. Moreover, it was awesome that everyone came from such diverse backgrounds, ages, etc. but were coming together to work on this fabulous Victoria Vegan Festival scheduled for Canada Day.

I’ve tried to keep this post shorter. I’m thinking I’ll separate my critical reflection posts from my diary posts…it’s a false dichotomy but it probably allows for better engagement.

I’ve been feeling like I need to shift some things to prepare for exams and to just deal with  the sense that things have been stagnating.

I’m keeping it a realistic list with a narrow time frame, so that I can actually accomplish it #pragmatism. Also, most of it is things I’ve been trying but I haven’t written down.

  1. Attend #ALLTHEclasses, including Contracts.
  2. Close internet browsers while in class (note: I am currently in class as I write this).
  3. Catch up in readings for: Contracts, Criminal, Torts, and Constitutional.
  4. Read Ziff for property.
  5. Eat more delicious vegan foods & keep up the cooking attempts (so far, pretty good track record on creating deliciousness)
  6. Make sure to actively socialize (I’m pretty good at this but it’s important to recognize that I need it as part of my balanced lifestyle).
  7. Keep up the 30/30 technique. It works really well for me.
  8. Read some critical theory literature. (I think I could use this for portions of my 30 technique.)
  9. Follow the news more.
  10. Optional (not really a resolution): Re: point 7, it may be helpful to find a 30/30 buddy. 
  11. Stop posting pictures of food on Facebook - keep it to Pinterest & Tumblr (teach mother how to use Pinterest via the phone).
  12. Use social media sites more effectively. (See point 11)
  13. Make more lists, this is quite entertaining.
  14. Re: point 13, don’t make these lists ridiculous, that renders them ineffective

Alright, essentially I want to be a good student, vegan, well-informed, and have fun. I like this!

Introduction

I guess I have decided this will be bi-daily posts, which means they’ll be super long and filled with too many pictures. I wonder how long I will keep this up for, but anyways, I’ve decided to add sub-headings. Exciting, right? I find they help organize my thoughts and this is how I write exams, so it’s good practice (wtf, did I just justify tumbling as exam practice…yeah, I totally did #facepalm).

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Yesterday turned out to be a total wash of a day. It was like the way my Reading Week felt: I didn’t get any work but I didn’t have any fun. I hate when I do this. It’s the most useless way of spending one’s life. I’d much rather just have fun. Next time, I need someone to tell me to just go out and do something fun.

Crockpot Creations

Check out my first efforts with the Crockpot. I probably should have found a recipe, but instead I threw in things that I thought would be delicious. I put in lentils, red kidney beans, rice, broccoli, a red bell pepper, a celery, tomatoes, and a carrot. It turned out to be mush, but totally delicious mush. I’m pretty glad about the Crockpot, so many ideas. Next up: vegan kheer. Yeah, my mouth waters at the thought too.

Gardein Buffalo Wings

I’m such a hungry bear (speaking of which, I currently think I may be hungry again after eating dinner & having two smoothies #facepalm), I decided my mush would not be enough to feed me, so I pulled out these Gardein wings. I’ve never actually tried any Gardein products. I was feeling really strange about the smell of the sauce. I think having been vegetarian this long, one develops aversions to things that are associated with meat, which obviously buffalo sauce has been for me. However, the wings were delicious. I’m so excited about learning more about my food. I’ve just recently learned about TVP (textured vegetable protein). It’s fascinating, I’ve been eating it for years, just not knowing what it was.

Desserts!

I finished up the last two vegan gulab jamuns…and I also had some of my vegan pineapple coconut ice cream. I love this ice cream so much. I need to find a vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’ve been craving that.

Porn

Best sub-heading, right? I ended up “watching” (only half-paying attention to) Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Yeah, I know, I don’t know why I watched it. I suppose when I’m having a terrible day, the solution is to add its terribleness. It was a dumb movie, nothing that pushed the boundaries or anything like that. But it got me thinking about porn. 

I recently checked out porn for the first time (recently meaning like two months ago). I find it fascinating how people navigate discourse about porn, especially from my perspective as a woman. I was in a course on Sexual Ethics last year, in which this fairly anti-feminist guy pointed out how he thought feminist porn was some fiction & that he knew no one who actually watched. To me, it just seemed like, well why would anyone tell you that they watch feminist porn (especially him)? But it’s also interesting to me that I only know one woman that openly has talked to me about watching porn. I’m not sure if men talk to each other about porn, or how people of other genders approach it. It’s just interesting to me that it’s something that I have never really had discussions about. I just wonder if it has to do with porn being too intimate of an experience, like is it just TMI? (I have really sketch notions of TMI, as I tweet about my menstrual cycle) Or is it this socialization that we shouldn’t talk about sex? Anyways, I was going to theorize more, but I just discovered a pro-sex vegetarian/vegan porn site, so I need to reflect on it…? :O They have nude pictures of people making veggie food…I’m not even sure if I should comment on this.

Straight Edge

Probably a strange transition from porn to straight edge (vxv). I just recently discovered this straight edge vegan movement. It’s fascinating! I love the radicalism. It is also explains to me why someone asked me at some point whether my non-participation in alcohol was a straight edge thing. I don’t really have a position on it yet, but it kind of excites me to learn more about it.

Humble the Poet

So yesterday was a day of discovering radicalism. Humble the Poet is a young South Asian Canadian poet. I know he’s popular amongst a lot of my fellow young desis, including my brother. But I have never taken time to listen to his works. I stumbled on this last night at 2 am. It breaks my heart because the stories are so real, things that I know and have experienced. It’s a brilliant navigation of diasporic politics, social justice concepts, and is artistic. 

This is the type of thing that I truly care about, but it also is so personal that I often struggle with it. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on multiculturalism and gender equality. The literature on the subject was about dealing with tensions between the two. I found myself evaluating the way I was raised and I remembered some really uncomfortable things that I had forgotten. The literature tends to argue that girls in minority cultures are socialized to believe they have less value than their brothers. When reflecting on this, I remembered that my mother use to tell me when I was 5 or so things like “girls shouldn’t talk so much” or “girls shouldn’t laugh so loudly” (background: I was admittedly a pretty loud and talkative kid…heck I still am, and I love laughing). I also remembered that I would ask her “why” and upon not receiving a satisfactory answer would continue to my own thing. On the one hand, I was pretty happy to recall that I’ve always been quite assertive. But, on the other hand, my mom has changed quite a bit and would never say something like that to me, so it made me feel uncomfortable. How do I even deal with that? It’s always difficult to study things that are so personal and that you care so much about. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Today was a chaotic day - but way better than yesterday. I had one of those days where I was rushing to get things put together because I was so unproductive. 

Summer Research Position

I was offered the summer research position on the project on animals, law, and feminism. I’m so excited about this. It’s exactly where I’m at both personally and academically. I’m so pumped about it, I want to start reading some critical theory literature to familiarize myself with the relevant material. I can’t decide what to start with.

Moot

I had my first moot (mock trial). See my chaotic paper mess of preparation and my lovely friend D, who I had dinner with after the moot. She’s fabulous. She’s into Doctor Who, politics, and stationery. I’ve decided the combination of these three things automatically elevates people to a level of coolness. 

Witness my silly self-portrait & my shoes.

Conclusion

Anyways, I’m kind of exhausted now. I think I philosophized about too many things in this post. I’m not sure if I should separate things out into smaller posts, or just keep it lengthy like this. I’m not sure if anyone has actually read to this point, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Added Observations on Food

Also, I cut up a pineapple! And then I made a pineapple, raspberry, and coconut milk smoothie. It was so delicious. I can’t even begin to capture the deliciousness. Oh, I tried rice milk this week! I got this brown basmati kind & I quite like the flavour. I need to go buy some brown rice for my kheer recipe & I want to buy some quinoa, take the plunge and try making it. I also want some more Gardein products (but I think I may have to class them under junk food). I feel like I’ve been eating & thinking about food *way* more since going vegan - not sure if this is good or bad yet.

keepmewhere:

I was chatting with a friend this morning about a recent situation she’s been in. She feels that she has been reacting defensively to perceived criticism, and would like to…not. So she said that she plans to train herself to respond more diplomatically to the kinds of feedback that are making her…

My friend put this together & it’s bloody brilliant. It has reminded of something I learned last year. In a philosophy course I took, we explored how Aristotle categorized 3 types of friends: friends of use, friends of pleasure, and friends of virtue.

Friends of use are ones you have a relationship that is mutually beneficial for each other, in the sense that there may be some exchange of goods or goods for knowledge, etc.

Friends of pleasure are those you would do things that you enjoy. I assume in the Ancient Greek context this would involve those people you would drink wine with (but of course you can think of many contemporary parallels…heck drinking wine would probably still be appropriate).

Friends of virtue, on the other hand, were those that helped you grow as a person (Aristotle would obviously not use this terminology, I’m paraphrasing). They are the ones that would help you develop your thoughts and challenge you to think. There are elements of the pleasure/use friends in these types of friendships: you obviously would enjoy each other’s company while drinking wine (or tea as the case may be) and you may have some benefits from each other. But the key is that these friendships help you become a better person (however you want to define that, I personally don’t accept Aristotle’s characterization, but largely because I wouldn’t be a person as a woman).

So in case the point I’m trying to make isn’t obvious, this friend is a friend of virtue. My law school experience has been fabulous as I’ve met a few amazing people that I would characterize as friends of virtue. It’s fascinating because we have at a number of times had discussions about our friendships, another characterization that my friend came up with is “glasses friends,”…

I just realized I turned a discussion about “faking it until you make it” into one of how awesome my friends are…lol…anyways, I digress. I’m just going to apply it until I become super diplomatic & once I’ve mastered that, I will be ready to run for politics.

Tonnes of pictures in this post! It’s a combination of yesterday and today, because god forbid I live a single day of my life without documenting it #kidding

Yesterday, I had a study day. I did my laundry, bought a crockpot (so excited about this), took out the trash, and did readings. See the couple of pictures of my studying mess & my study buddy, Leo, helps me stay motivated.

I had a tempeh burger for lunch, which I didn’t really like. I bought it because it had “real” ingredients and is made by a local company. For some reason, I found it had a cheese-like texture, which was off-putting (I may just be in a cheese-like-aversion phase as part of my early vegan days?). I had aloo gobi leftovers for dinner. Today, I ate the last vegan brownie today with a cup of Forever Nut tea. So delicious! I also had a leftover vegan gulab jamun each day. They turned out so nicely! I want to make them for everyone! And they have kept well in the fridge. #drooltastic

Today was another study day. I’ve been applying the 30/30 technique fairly successfully. 30 minutes of work, then 30 minutes of anything I want to do. In this way, I’ve watched “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “House of Flying Daggers,” and am currently watching “Curse of the Golden Flower.” Yes, obvious theme much? But I love historical period pieces. I especially like it when they involve cleavage/breasts, which only the last film has! #yeahiamweird

My latest attempt at vegan yogurt has actually turned out, except the yogurt tastes like the store bought stuff, which I don’t like but isn’t surprising because I used it as a base. I’m thinking I will buy active bacteria cultures (I saw some packets at Planet Organic, hopefully they are from non-dairy sources) as the bacteria base instead of the store bought yogurt. I will update on it when I get it right. In the meantime, all I can say is that I’m thoroughly enjoying all this experimentation.

I went to the Lotus Pond for dinner! I joined the local vegan club on FB and one of the people happened to be going to this resto, which I happened to want to go to, so it worked out nicely. I got to meet a new person and one of my friends came along. It was exciting! He was super friendly and had been vegan for almost 6 years (for some reason that really excites me). 

I had some reservations after I excitedly signed up to have dinner with a stranger. But when I reflected on it, I figured I’m going to a public place and I, essentially, invited myself. I’m glad I went! But this reminds me of this interesting tension between fear of the unknown and community development. I have a great story about this. Last year, I was running to catch the bus on an early winter morning and the damn bus didn’t stop for me! At that moment, this woman in a minivan pulled up and offered to drive me so that I could catch the bus because she knew that people catch the bus at this time just down the street in front of her house. I, obviously, gave her this total look of “um, no.” She looked like a mom who had just dropped her kids off (it was morning school time) and was wearing a hijab, looked Lebanese (but my differentiation between Middle Eastern countries is largely made up). She was like “don’t worry, I’m not going to kidnap you, I’ll keep the doors unlocked.” I instantly felt like it was ridiculous that I couldn’t just go down the street with this woman and it was kind of cold (I also had a cellphone in my hand). So I got into the car. I also caught the bus and am still alive. Afterwards, I hesitantly told my mom about the incident, expecting a freak out - she was totally normal about it, just made the point that I should never get into a car with men, but strange women apparently is fine (which makes me wonder why she wouldn’t be cool with me having a lesbian lover). When I told my coworkers at Chapters, they all thought I was ridiculous and were surprised that I was still alive - someone went on to tell me about female serial killers. I’ve often reflected on this and have nothing of value to say about it. One thing I did realize was I think I mostly got into the car because she was a minority woman who reminded me of my mother. I’m not sure if I would have gotten in the car if she had been younger/different in other ways. Hm, yup, nothing coherent/intelligent to say on the matter yet. I just get this sense that the creation of community entails some risks.

Anyways, community digression aside, back to DELICIOUS vegan food. The Lotus Pond is a vegan & buddhist restaurant (they don’t use things like garlic and 4 other things that I’m too lazy to look up…oh chives was one!). We had turnip cakes (pictured above) which were yummy & this fried mock duck thing that I forgot to take a picture of #gasp Haha, the main dishes were: a Portugese cream sauce hot pot (why would a Portugese-esque dish be in a Chinese restaurant? Colonialism…and yes I just inserted colonialism in a discussion about delicious food…#headshake), chowmein with mock chicken, and these deep fried sweet & sour soy balls. OMG, I loved the balls! #thatswhatshesaid I think this was my first eating out experience since I went vegan and it was pretty awesome. (Oh, the vegan manifesto has received very positive reviews from FB friends, I think my sensitive construction of the message worked quite well).

Before I forget, let me note some interesting discussion points from the evening. I learned a bit more about the military - which is fascinating as I consider military lawyer as a career (apparently they aren’t vegan friendly). Also, I left the impression on my new comrade that I should open a restaurant - for those following my cooking exploits, I think you must be just as surprised as I am. I also may be creating a niche vegan Doctor Who club - my friend suggested it. Proving that I’m a total geek. My new friend pointed out how we judge people all the time & we shouldn’t have so much of an aversion to the notion of judging - he distinguished pre-judging on the basis of race/age/gender/wealth/status from making an informed judgement. It was quite interesting! 

All in all, it’s been a great time. Now to get back to constitutional law, I love that class too much for my own good. I’m starting to really dream about becoming an academic…#facepalm

So, I’ve obviously had to deal with a number of questions about choosing to go vegan recently. I decided the solution was this elaborate manifesto on FB. Copied below, partially for your amusement and partially if I have to remove it on FB I will have a copy.

Introduction

I know a number of people have expressed curiosity in my recent choice to attempt veganism. I haven’t been the most receptive to these inquiries, which I realized was largely due to one early negative reaction that has coloured how I have responded to other people (I’ve taken to being somewhat irrationally defensive). This has admittedly been unfair of me and I apologize to those of you who have been on the receiving end of this. I’m making an effort to overcome the natural defensiveness from the the negative reaction that I received. I’ve also remembered an important lesson from politics: the more you avoid talking about something, the bigger of a deal it becomes. So, I figured it was time to write a manifesto, because that’s what communists do…

The 11th Doctor

But before I begin, I want to set some ground rules. This post is to explain why *I* have chosen veganism. I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should and I don’t want people to try to convince me that I shouldn’t. I ask that you be respectful and I will return the favour. I think food ethics are a personal choice and attempting to impose them on anyone is problematic.

The picture of the Doctor is meant to be lighthearted, don’t jump to the conclusion that non-vegans are uncool - I’m not trying to convey that - especially as Whoites would recall the 11th Doctor enjoys fish sticks and custard (yes, I’m a geek).

Also note that these are my early days and allow for the reality that I’m a dynamic person and am not wedding myself the analysis laid out below. I’m merely setting it down to satiate the people’s curiosity.

Why veganism?

First of all, I’ve been (ovo-lacto) vegetarian since I was 13 years old, so veganism is a natural progression - it’s not like it has come out of the blue. I chose vegetarianism for various reasons and my reasons have shifted and changed throughout my life. Initially, it was because I felt healthier when I gave up meat - the impetus was a month long trip to India during which I was completely vegetarian. I think everyone’s body is different and mine responded better to a vegetarian diet.

Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t feel comfortable with current agriculture practices. I’m also just generally not comfortable with using animals to meet my material needs (clothing/food). But, again, I emphasize this is a personal position and you are free to have whatever relationship with the agriculture industry and with animals that you choose.

The impetus for considering veganism was somone bringing to my attention how the dairy industry parallels a number of the same concerns that I have for the meat industry. This has led me to really critically evaluate the roots of my vegetarianism and consider the type of relationship that I want to have with animals. Particularly, I’m finding that I don’t feel comfortable with the appropriation of reproductive organs of cows. I emphasize again that this is a personal position and I don’t judge/expect/want you to have the same stance as I do. Moreover, I have some serious issues with lactose intolerance. So these two simultaenously fit nicely with the decision to eliminate dairy from my diet. Thus far, it’s been quite good as I have not had any unpleasant stomach aches.

With regards to eggs, I’ve never really been comfortable with them. I’ve given them up at various points during my vegetarianism. I’ve never been big on eating them, but have partaken in a number of baked goods that contain them. To me, it feels natural that to extend some of the above analysis to eggs and choose to remove them from my diet as well.

The decision to become vegan has also re-ignited my commitment to various social justice issues. I’ve found law school to sometimes drain my values and suck me into the corporate system. Since choosing veganism, I’ve found myself more motivated and empowered to exercise my values. To those who wonder what values, I’m thinking of: feminism, socialism, environmentalism, and a general commitment to wanting to change society to be more equitable and sustainble. I think veganism is an exercise that both challenges the system but works within it in ways that make me feel pretty excited and energized. Once again, I emphasize that veganism is an expression of social justice *for me* but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s the only or best way to exercise social justice.

Why Aspiring Vegan?

I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that a flexible moral code is the most realistic approach for me. I feel like it acknowledges that I have to allow space for dealing with the multiple different situations that come about on a case-by-case basis rather than being too rigid. I’ve also realized that I need to be realistic about what is available to me and sometimes I may have to eat things that I would not normally because of circumstances. I’m doing this on a case-by-case basis and so far there has only been two situations where I was out of time, hungry, and the only available food was vegetarian and it was likely going to be thrown away if I didn’t eat it. This is a fairly narrow construction, but it was what I feel comfortable with.

So why not just call myself vegetarian? I think because that’s not what I’m aiming for, I’m making a concerted effort to be vegan. Moreover, I’ve altered my lifestyle in a number ways from what it was when I was vegetarian, so I feel like that label doesn’t adequately capture my aims. Furthermore, I feel like I have a right to choose what label to ascribe to myself and I hope that you can be respectful of this decision.

What about humane meat?

I think it is your prerogative to choose sustainable, humanely raised, grain/grass-fed animals - sometimes referred to as the “traditional” way. It’s not for me. I just point out that realistically, raising animals in the “traditional” way would not meet current meat demands, particularly as these demands are growing globally. I think the humane treatment of animals would entail reducing the overall consumption. In this way, people like me who abstain from the demand altogether would be useful to help in this goal. That being said, I do think any sorts of better regulations and treatment of animals is a step forward, especially if we move away from factory farming.

What about your health?/Will you get enough nutrients?

I’ve always found it fascinating how curious some people are about my nutrition/health upon finding out I’m vegetarian. I think those people should devote more time to being concerned about all the people, especially children, who are malnourished because of the unequal economic relations in our society that make it difficult to attain adequate food.

That being said, I have never had nutrition issues with being vegetarian and I’ve spoken to my doctor about my decision to go vegan and he has no concerns. So I appreciate the concern, but I’m doing fine :). In fact, I’m doing better with regards to calcium because the vegan diet circumvents my lactose intolerance.

What will you eat?

This is a ludicrous question. I love food and the decision to become vegan has led me to make more efforts to cook a diverse number of foods. Trust me, I have tonnes to eat and you will be subjected to endless pictures of my vegan food (FYI: you can block my picture posts if they annoy you, FB allows for that, so I feel like that gives me a license to post as much as I desire).

Conclusion

Alright, I feel like I’ve set up a general framework and pre-emptively answered a few questions. I will just conclude with saying that I appreciate your curiosity and I particularly appreciate all the support that I have received. I also have to credit to the idea of “aspiring vegan” to a friend of mine, she captured it perfectly so I’m using her terminology. 

Keep in mind my earlier point, I don’t want a debate about my decision to go vegan, I’m merely saving myself having to repeatedly say the same story.  I am willing to answer questions and I’m definitely up for being helpful if you are considering veganism or if you have similarly taken the plunge (as I’ve noticed a few of you mention recently). 

I’m also too lazy to back and edit this, so I apologize for the inevitable grammatical/spelling errors.

  • My mom: What are you eating?
  • Me: Grapes & chips.
  • My mom: Haha, what a great combination...
  • Me: Yeah, it's perfect. The chips are jalapeno flavoured & spicy, so the sweetness of the grapes works brilliantly with it. :D
  • No wonder she worries about my diet.

Today has been such a fabulous day - hopefully an indication of how awesome March will be! The big picture is of my vegan gulab jamuns. Mmm, I’m really enjoying being vegan. The food adventures have been amazing and I think I may be getting the hang of cooking. Alright, let me start from the beginning of today.

I had my favourite class this morning: torts. It was brilliant as always - and once again I ran for the bus to make sure I would be on time (although, I don’t think I actually needed to run this time, so maybe I was just overcompensating). 

After class, chatting with people somehow led me to break my water bottle. It was quite the kerfuffle and one of my first thoughts was whether I should be concerned about liability for hurting someone with the broken plastic pieces…#lawschoolbrain

I had a radical law meeting. Apparently my cynicism was/is at a point that I wasn’t permitted to be the one leading a discussion on “what’s missing from the law school?” Somehow, I ended up remarking “but many of my friends are law schools” #badjokes

I hadn’t packed a proper lunch (I had half a dragonfruit), so I went home instead of attending my next class (sometimes one needs a break). I had burger buns (that’s what I had at home) with vegan cream cheese. It’s Tofutti brand, herbs and chives flavour. I actually found it quite good, but I wish there was a herb and garlic flavour, which is my favourite. I think if I just sprinkled garlic powder on the plain flavour, I would be super happy.

I also had a smoothie with it! My god, I’ve used up half of a fairly large tin of almond butter, almost entirely in smoothies. At least it is good almond butter made from just dry roasted almonds, no other ingredients. And almonds contain calcium & protein & happiness.

After this quite yummy lunch, I went to the beach with my awesome friend & her puppies (see this post). It was so much fun! I’m absolutely in love with Victoria, it’s such a delightful city and the ocean is so fabulous. On our walk there, we paused at this taco stand and I had a vegan taco! It was so delicious, but next time I’m going with the spiciest instead of second spiciest #drool.

My friend said she thinks she should plan her hang-outs with me to include food every 10-15 minutes because I’m a total food addict - she noted how she’s seen me looking at pictures of food on Tumblr *WHILE* eating food. The decision to going vegan has somehow exacerbated this tendency, probably because I’ve been trying harder to cook.

I had such a great vegan brownie from Bubby’s Kitchen. It was so moist and delectable.

My dinner plans were to hang out with one of my vegan friends and make dinner together. It was so much fun! We made aloo gobi sabji (potato and cauliflower sabji). The cauliflower was small, so it ended up being mostly potato. But it was quite delicious - I was struck by how yummy it was. We had it with some roti (Indian flatbread) that my mom had packed with me to Victoria out of the freezer (it contained some spinach and daikon, god I love daikon).

Best part of the food today: vegan gulab jamuns. My god, these are amazing! I found two streams of recipes veganizing gulab jamuns: one set tried to replace milk powder with soy milk powder but the one I chose tried to emulate the outcome but used totally different ingredients. Check it out here. It was honestly better than any non-vegan gulab jamuns that I have had (and I have had quite a few, I love them) - who would have thought? But I think the key is that it’s made using ground up almonds (fabulous) and I used coconut milk instead of almond milk/water which probably gave it an awesome kick - also there were pistachios in the centres. Apparently, veganizing can potentially mean more deliciousness. How revolutionary! My friend couldn’t even imagine how gulab jamuns could not be vegan (she hadn’t had non-vegan ones). I’ll need to give some to other people to try to verify deliciousness - maybe have this recipe peer-reviewed…#academicbrain 

The one thing I’m going to do different next time is probably purchase cardamom powder or de-shell it before grinding because I ground up cardamoms and the shells didn’t grind up completely so there was some pieces remaining. I would also use a deeper pan for the syrup because I couldn’t properly soak the gulab jamuns (they were still super yummy). I think the remaining ones that I put in the fridge may actually be more fully soaked up for tomorrow. I’m also going to coat them with shredded coconut.

Gah! I’m so happy right now! And I’ve been menstruating, which usually isn’t a fun time for me but I haven’t had cramps or discomfort this time around. It’s amazing! I’m not sure why exactly I feel so fabulous. Obviously, I’ve made a number of diet changes recently (i.e. going vegan or eating spoonfuls of almond butter). It may just be Victoria weather. It’s so awesome.

Well, I’m so tired, time for bed. <3