Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soy Latte anyone?

Upon receiving my issue of Frankie magazine this month, there was an article reviewing various non-dairy milks. What timing! The article gave resounding applause to Bonsoy brand Soy milk so I, assuming this person who's been doing this whole non-dairy thing for longer than I have knows what their talking about, embarked upon a non-dairy treasure hunt of sorts to Cole's. (the only grocery store in town.) I'd noticed the other day they had a broad selection of non-dairy milks in the refrigerated section, so I headed there first. Alas, no Bonsoy. :/ So I picked up a litre of Sanitarium Organic soy milk and thought I'd call it a day. But then, a flashy flashbulb...err...lightbulb went off in my head: the long-life milk shelf in the coffee aisle!! So I rushed over to the coffee aisle and was welcomed by a cornucopia of non-dairy milk choices! Inluding, sound the trumpets, Bonsoy! I clutched this cardboard box of hope in my arms like a newborn baby and carried it home, praying all the way it wouldn't taste like...well, disgusting.

My only memory of soy milk is of that line in The Santa Clause when Tim Allen chugs the glass of milk, pulls a face, and says "I think the milk's a little sour" to which the girl on the couch replies "It's soy milk, you said you're lactose intolerant." So, my whole life, I have assumed soy milk must be disgusting. Like sour milk. All thanks to The Santa Clause. God bless the media, right? So here I am with my Sanitarium organic Soy Milk and my Bonsoy Soy Milk (also Organic, but not labeled so.) I try the Sanitarium first because it's cold. Verdict: It's not bad at all! Surprisingly sweet (which I note later is due to added sugar. booo!) and a lot like Up-and-Go or, for you American's out there, Carnation Instant Breakfast. I pour the Bonsoy over ice, since it has yet to be refrigerated, tastes like milk!!! Oh my gosh! I find that I don't mind it at all! It's not bad! It's actually milky, albeit with a slightly mealy after-taste, but I can live with this stuff! Look forward to it even!

For those who know me well, you know that Milk has always been a massive comforter for me. I've drank it my whole life, plain, like water. I have a love affair with it. Nothing soothes me after a good long cry than a glass of milk. So, the discovery that Soy Milk is actually quite delicious, the fact that I could be quite happy to never drink dairy milk again...this is HUGE for me. Humongous. The gravity of it is enough to bring a full grown elephant to his knees. Really. I'm shocked at myself. Somewhere my 10 year-old self is gaping at me in horror and I don't even care! This is a miracle, for sure. :)

So now, the true test: how does it taste in coffee?

Soy Latte

I made my latte (or maybe it was a cappucino. I don't know, I'm not a barista!) with Bonsoy Soy Milk, OxFam organic fair trade coffee's Africa blend, and Natvia brand stevia sweetener.

It passes! I don't think I like the coffee Chris bought, this Oxfam one, but the milk itself doesn't taste bad! It only gets that mealy after taste if I let it get really cold but, as long as it's hot, it's nice. :) The texture is nice, and it wasn't hard to stretch with the steam wand either. I'm very very impressed. Also, Stevia is a sweetener that I've replaced Splenda with and I think I'm going to leave it out of my coffee. My morning coffee is one of my few indulgences when I'm dieting and I think I'm going to keep my teaspoon of raw cane sugar in there since the Stevia just doesn't cut it. It's really nice in iced tea though!

Nutritional Data

I was curious, from a purely nutritional point of view, how Bonsoy stands up to my usual Whole and Skim milks I use. I've never liked Skim milk much, it tastes like water. (Bonsoy has a LOT more flavor!) but, on a health kick, Chris has been buying it lately to use on cereal with whole milk to use in coffee. I grew up on 2% milk, which I don't have in the house at the moment or else I could compare it also. Bonsoy tastes most like 2% to me. It's not as heavy as full cream milk, but not as watery as fat free milk either.

One serving of each is 250ml.
I don't know what all of this means, I'm not a nutritionist. I just like that there's less fat and less sugar! There's also less calcium, but I'm not worried about that. I always get more than enough by the end of the day. I should say that none of these milks have added sugar, and that the sugars are natural from the carbs. I think that's where they come from. Ha! Again, not a nutritionist.

In all, I think my morning coffee rings in about 90 calories. 11 of those from my teaspoon of sugar. I think the yummy factor the raw sugar adds is worth 11 cals a day, don't you?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jet Set!

No sooner have I started really feeling the jetlag than I am hopping on another plane back to brisbane for Elisha's 30th bday bash at Cloudlound in Fortitude Valley. Claim to fame: I can pack a bag for 3 days and 2 nights in 15 minutes. :-D It helps that I really haven't settle back into the house yet so I haven't had time to fling all my things across its four corners yet.

We have a flight out tomorrow morning and will be there for most of tomorrow, all day Saturday, and are back Sunday evening. I have to admit that the last thing I want to do right now is hop on ANOTHER plane, especially since I haven't been able to see much of Chris since I've been back but it can't be helped. I've gotta be there for my Chica Beebs! Mel O'conner is coming too, I'm traveling with her actually and we're sharing a room at the Sebel together. I don't know what the plan is for tomorrow night but I want to budget HARD, because the last thing I need to be doing after last week is spend more money.

Speaking of which, as promised, here are my favorite things I took home with me from Texas:

1: My bday gift from beebs; gold and khaki Coach Hampton signature turnlock tote and matching wristlet wallet/clutch

I can't find a picture of the clutch, but it's checkbook size and has a gold wrist strap so, when I don't want to carry my handbag, I can just pull the clutch out and be good to go!
I LOVE this bag. Because I'm tall and, well, a bit wide ;) I need to carry handbags in proportion to my size. Smaller handbags make me look a lot bigger than I already am, in other words. So I was walking around the Coach outlet and the bags I originally loved online just didn't work with my proportions. I was disappointed initially, but then I found this bag! I don't usually like the signature bags (the ones with the "C" pattern) but something about this bag, maybe because the C's are gold and sparkly, made me fall in love. I love the chunky zipper and the pocket on the front, and all the pockets on the inside really keep things organized. I NEED lots of pockets. :) love.

2. Kara's xmas gift to me, the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 3

It's overwhelming how much I love this eyeshadow pallet! Plus it came with 2 eyeliners AND a shadow primer. This shadows are super pigmented, reflective and many of them are super glittery to boot! I'm going to be so sad when my faves start wearing down.

3: My New York and Company drapey tee

This is the comfiest tshirt. I want it in 15 colors and to never wear anything else for the rest of my life. Only complaint is that it's seriously flimsy fabric. Spanx will be required!

Concerning the Home

Chris and I have been talking a lot about home design in recent months and it's come to a point where I really have to start deciding what my style is!! I don't know how to describe what I'm looking for....maybe rustic? You know I love a good log cabin. :)

What I like:

I like old things. Call them vintage or antique or even new things made to look old, I love them. Give me peeling paint over a waxed finish any day!

I like midmod patterns for drapes, pillows and furniture.

I like a whitewash finish for furniture.

I like cozy, cluttered and lived-in vs. clean lines and minimalism.

I love bright colors. I love orange, turquoise and teal, yellow and red. Chris doesn't though...

I like crystal door knobs and cabinet/drawer pulls.

I like the contrast of rustic and modern in the same space.

I like wallpaper. A lot. Which is unfortunate since we're in a rental.

Those are the only things I know for sure. I'm going to be posting a lot more of my inspirations in coming weeks and, while it may seem a bit schizo at first, hopefully it will all be a lot more flowing and consistent by the time we're ready to make purchases.


I could make an entire post all about kitchens but, since we're in a rental and it would only be torturous to fawn over what we can't change, I'll start in the dining room. I want a white table for sure. I noticed a lot of designers putting dark brown chairs with the whitewash tables and I like the idea of some contrast, but I think I'd really like to have turquoise chairs or something like that.

Another thing I always wanted was a window frame mirror. I want to hang one on the wall opposite the table:

I want to hang pictures and frames on the wall right next to the table. I think. Our clock is there at the moment, but I saw this at Tilman's Roadhouse on my bday and had never seen it done so randomly before. Very cool. :)

(mirror collage is cool too!)

I WILL own the Michael Aram twig cutlery set one day. Mark my words!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crystal Renn

For those of you who aren't familiar with Crystal Renn, she is most known for being the most wanted supermodel in the Plus Size modelling and fashion industry. I think one of the greatest reasons for her fame is the fact that she started out like any other model but, after struggling and overcoming an eating disorder, she gained some weight and started working the plus-size circuit. She's been on both sides of the industry and was beautiful! A lot of people rejected the idea of her as "plus size" because I think the largest she ever wore was maybe a straight-size 14. Plus size by Australian and UK standards, but not American.

Recently she's taken the weight off again and is sitting at about 140 lbs which, considering she's the same height as me, I'd wager puts her in about a US size 8 or UK/AU size 14.

Her as a plus-size model working a bikini. Probably obvious here why a lot of true plus size ladies rejected the idea of her as plus size but still, a healthier role model than an anorexic, no?

And here's some very recent shots of her as the face of the 2011 Jimmy Choo campaign looking much slimmer. Now, I've seen what they do in photoshop to these campaign models so, based on her weight, I know there's no way her tummy is anywhere near as flat as the campaign suggests. But still, good on her for getting even healthier still! She's at the ideal weight for our height now(she's the same age as me too which is cool :) ) so I think everyone should just back off. She said she'd have to develop a binge-eating disorder to maintain the kind of size the public wanted from her as a plus size model and that, at the end of the day, that's not healthy either.

Crystal Renn is the picture of health now and has a multi-million dollar campaign to boot. She's more of a role model than she's ever been. Where I used to look to her for inspiration since she was so gorgeous as a size 12 and that's a realistic goal for me to work towards, I look to her even more now that she's proven it's possible to pull the weight off even further and maintain that and be even healthier without having to go to a gym 6 days a week. I love her. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Choice


In summary, I am not a vegetarian. I'm not a vegan. I'll never follow either of these lifestyles perfectly because, at the end of the day, I do believe animals are here for our sustenance. However, I prefer to minimize the number of lives loss so that I might live. I'm currently exploring a more organic and vegan diet and am very curious about the positive impact this could have on my health and will be easing into it with a 6 week trial when I feel confident in my research. You don't have to agree with my reasons or the health impact either of these diets will have on my body, and I don't judge you for choosing differently, It's just something I've chosen for myself. If you'd like more details on why I made these choices, read further. Otherwise, you've got the gist now.

My Choice

A little over a year ago, I posted about my decision to start moving towards a more vegetarian lifestyle. In case you missed my original post, I'll explain a bit about my personal approach towards meat and animal by-products:

I am NOT a vegetarian. However, I do believe that all of us in the westernized world have become painfully detached from where our food comes from. I believe that if we all had to slaughter our animals before we would eat them, all of us would be a hell of a lot more conservative and thoughtful about how much meat we are eating. So I just try and be that thoughtful and conservative in my life towards meat and animal products (like eggs, dairy, leather, etc) in my day to day. Every peice of meat I eat or leather product I buy is a conscious decision. I take a moment every time to consider the life and death the animal may have had to endure to provide that product for me and I feel indebted and thankful. I'm grateful I don't have to slaughter my own meat because I don't know that I could, and the hypocrisy of that has resulted in a lot of long and deep thought for me.

Following a vegetarian lifestyle has been shockingly easy for me. Really. I have always said that could never adapt a vegan lifestyle though, because I'd have to lose all of my favorite things. I LOVE cheese and milk. I'm addicted. Literally, that's not a joke. I fully believe I have some kind of chemical addiction to the proteins in milk and cheese. I crave them! They make me happy. My heart sings for Babybel and fondue and margherita pizza. There's nothing like my morning latte to start the day. So when I started reading Skinny Bitch and they where hard-selling the vegan life-style I just sort of laughed it off. "no way!" I thought. I would never. I could never. It shocked me to say, by the end of the book, I was considering it. I mean, the book is extremely biased. There's a lot of obvious and unexplained holes and double standards in it that make me thankful I'm thoughtful and independent enough to do my own research before taking everything they say at face value. (there's quite a bit of fear-mongering in there that I don't buy into) But the thing that they got me thinking about more than anything else was the health effects of dairy on my body. The fact that I really do have a physical addiction to dairy to an unhealthy extent. They also spoke a lot about the effect that the additives and man-made ingredients can have on your system. And so I found myself considering veganism. Am I crazy?

I've started doing some of my own research to try and answer all the questions and fill some of the gaps the Skinny Bitch book created regarding levels of protien in the vegain diet, why B-12 is only in meat and where do I get iron from? I feel fully satisfied by the research I've done, and have decided to give veganism a try for purely health reasons. I have a little bit more research to do (you'd be SHOCKED how many things contain animal products, i.e. casien and gelatine) and I want to be sure I really do this right catalog the true effect this is going to have on my system so I'll start a 6 week trial when I feel confident I can do it right. Also, we have a LOT of food in the house that would be irresponsible to let go to waste on a whim so I need to reduce that stash before bringing all the vegan foods into the house.

Friend/Family and Stranger's Reactions

I'm so glad that Skinny Bitch touched on this subject because it is hard choosing to be different. The people closest to you start judging you and saying nasty things that, regardless of their intention, can be really hurtful. For some reason, everyone takes a person's choice to cut out meat or dairy extremely personally. I don't know why that is for sure. Skinny Bitch said it's because, especially when its for humanity reasons, people feel as though I'm judging them or that my calling my diet humane is also highlighting their diet as inhumane which can feel convicting to them. That makes sense to me. I have to say that it feels incredibly selfish for them to make my personal choice all about them, but whatevs. I feel better about it now that I can kind of understand why their impulse when I announce this decision is to say how they could never do it instead of saying that they're happy for me. Except that I guess no one really is happy for me.... (except Elisha. and Beebs. :) holla!) so I guess they just don't know what to say. My biggest reason for being afraid to take this step is that, if I stick with it, I'm going to have to explain myself to everyone around me for the rest of my life. So, I've decided to just not talk about it. When people try and attack me with "what about this nutrient and that nutrient and blah blah" I'm just going to tell them I don't feel comfortable talking about it. When people say "I don't think there's anything healthy about being vegan" I'll just say that I disagree and, if they try to argue with me, I'll say again that I don't feel comfortable talking about it anymore. Gosh, you'd think that I'd just come out of the closet or something! hahaha God gave people brains for a reason. If they're that curious they can research it for themselves. :)

Home Again!

My visit with my family in DFW has come to an end and now I'm finally back home again and it feels great!

It's gotten to the stage where I feel more out of place in DFW than I do in Moranbah! lol I never thought I'd be able to say that, but it's true. I use the "wrong" words for everything and people get confused. I feel completely lost and overwhelmed in the grocery store because it's so HUGE and there's so much to choose from! And the traffic...I don't get upset by traffic anymore. It's whatevs for me. But my family! It's so intense! I'm just like "it's ok, deep breaths!"

The weather did not stay nice for me unfortunately. It snowed and iced almost the entire time I was there and the air was frigid. So disappointing! Growing up in DFW, we would get maybe one day off from school a year due to sleet icing over all the roads, and there was maybe three to five times in my entire life I can remember snow falling from the sky (it NEVER stuck!) We would try to make snowmen out of sleet! No joke! So, the first time I saw real snow was in March 2008 actually. Chris was visiting the USA with me for the first time, and it was so unreal that it actually snowed for him! The roads were drivable though and the snow melted after a day. It's done something similar to that every year since then, but this year took the cake! FIVE DAYS of snow and icy roads. I'm sorry, but us Texans are just not cut out for that kind of miserable weather. We were stuck in the house every day for most of my trip because of it. :( I am never, I repeat NEVER, moving any further north than North Texas!! Snow is disgusting. I'm not a fan.

I got to do a lot of shopping, which is always fun. I'll do a separate post about my favorite purchases! I came home with about 15 new books as well. Crayzay! My suitcase was so heavy on the way back that all the wheels broke. Oops. hahaha

So, one of my biggest reasons for visiting home was to spend some time with my grandparents. They've both been in and out of the hospital in recent months and everyone had been really worried about them. I only got to see them about 5 out of the 16 days I was in town, which isn't as much as I'd like but I felt a lot better after getting to talk to them and see for myself what state they're in. Nothing in this life is sure, so I feel good that I got to see them as much as I did. :)

You know, visiting my parents in the house I grew up in is one of the most surreal experiences for me. I remember one day in particular, everyone but me was already asleep and it gave me a moment to just soak everything in. I try to explain what it's like to people and I've come up with a lot of different metaphors, but the best I can liken it to is as if I'm stepping inside a memory, or to time travel. My life in the USA has ceased to exist at this moment, it's dead. I've gone through all the steps of grief over its death and have finally come into my element and accepted my new life here in Moranbah and I'm HAPPY! So, when I visit my family, it feels incredibly unreal. Like visiting a ghost...ah. Every way I say it sounds weird! haha It's definitely a good feeling, but also hard to accept that I'm in reality. That drive home with Chris yesterday definitely felt a lot more like coming home than when I visited my family and it used to be the opposite. I love that. I've come so far. :)