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From vegetarian to vegan: a one month experiment

Most of you know I’m vegetarian. I started off as pescetarian when I came back from Germany in 2013. After a few months, I turned vegetarian – and have been for almost two years now.

It’s been an interesting two years. I still get asked by my good friends if I’m “still not eating meat,” as if it’s a fad I’ll eventually get sick of. :) I’ve been put in more than a couple uncomfortable situations, and I have traveled to places where getting a vegetarian meal can be tricky (I ate a lot of eggs). But overall, it has been such a positive change to my lifestyle that I can’t imagine ever eating meat again.

Taking the next step to vegan has always scared me. That’s why I’ve never done it, or even attempted to try. It’s new territory that I’ve always wanted to explore, I just didn’t (and still don’t) know how to go about doing it. Cooking seems daunting – especially cooking for others. Going out to restaurants and traveling will become harder than it already is. But here’s the thing: I’ve always known that eventually, I would want to make this lifestyle change. And now is the time to test it out.

Maybe this will work, and maybe it won’t. But today marked Day 1 of a 30-day vegan challenge for me. I’ve actually already failed, but that’s okay… I ate a piece of pumpkin loaf that I realized afterwards was clearly made with egg, and then I almost put milk into my coffee this morning.

Over the next month, I anticipate higher than normal grocery bills and a lot of “whoops” moments. It will be tough to change my habits, but that’s what’s fun about these 30-day challenges. :) And with any luck, one month will turn into two months, and a new lifestyle will come from it.

So, if any of you are vegan, I’d love links to your favourite vegan recipes or restaurants!

Time to get rid of some stuff!

One of my big goals for the year was to increase my income by 15% and start selling/donating/giving away things that I no longer need.

Well, I got a small raise at work last month (based on cost-of-living and performance), I’ve been working a bit of overtime, and I’ve also been able to secure over $2,000 in freelance income in the first 5 weeks of the month. So it’s been busy, but definitely rewarding. And it’s still early, but I’m really pleased I’ve been able to get a lot done towards this goal.

But I’ve been really slacking on going through what I own and getting rid of all the things I don’t need. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and haven’t done since I moved into my place in 2011.

My issue is that I like holding onto items that remind me of something good that has happened in my life, or I think I might need again (but never do). It’s a bad habit, and I honestly think my life would be a lot better off if I had less stuff. Just the thought of getting rid of bags and bags of stuff out of my place makes me feel really good. :)

So for the next few weeks, here are a list of things I want to sort through and get rid of:

  • DVDs, CDs, books – I don’t remember the last time I watched a DVD now that I have Netflix, CDs are useless to me once I’ve imported them into iTunes, and I have a Kindle now, so no need to keep a shelf full of books. I’ll probably keep a couple of my favourites, but most of them I’ve only read once and likely won’t read again.
  • Clothing & shoes – I have so much stuff that I just don’t wear anymore, or doesn’t fit me. I want to do a serious (and realistic) cleanse of my closet, and only keep things I’ve worn within the 6 months. If I haven’t worn it, it’s gone.
  • Kitchen – I have a lot of appliances, dishes, pots, and pans that I don’t use, and likely never will. I also want to go through my pantry and fridge to get rid of anything I won’t use again. Like, why do I have meat still in my freezer? Gone.
  • Paperwork – Have to sort out what I can shred, and what I need to keep. I also have shoeboxes full of movie/concert ticket stubs, letters, and other useless stuff that I’m keeping for no reason at all. It all has to go.
  • Electronics – Why do I have 3 old flip phones? Why do I have cables and chargers and other devices that I will never use again? I have an entire drawer full of this crap. Ugh.
  • Furniture – If I get rid of my books, DVDs, and clothing, I no longer need shelving for it. They’re cheap and from IKEA anyway, so will think about getting rid of it. The same goes for my desk. I don’t even use it, so do I really need it? Things to think about for sure.

It’s a bit of an overwhelming task, but writing it down here will help me stay focused. :)

An update on life

It’s been a crazy few months, and I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit. But I’ve still been able to keep up with reading all of the other PF blogs I follow, and I appreciate all of the comments you’ve left on the posts that I have managed to get out. :)

Here’s an update on what’s going on in my world…

On fitness:

photo(4)Three days ago, I was supposed to be running in my 4th half marathon – the BMO Half Marathon. I shelled out $132.17 on my registration back in February with the hopes of training hard through the spring and breaking the 1:50 mark.

But instead, I watched from the sidelines. It was really tough. Especially because I was already registered and really looking forward to this race. Injuries are frustrating, and mine keeps flaring up. I ran a pain-free 6km last month (which was really promising), but during a recent field hockey game, I stepped the wrong way, and the pain was back again for a few hours. My foot feels fine now (averaging > 10km of walking per day), but I’m really aware of how easy it will be to reinjure myself.

Related: Why running is not a frugal activity

Seeing those runners sprint by was really motivating, and even BF admitted that he wanted to start running too. I need to remember that feeling as I head into the summer and start training for the Goodlife Half Marathon in Victoria. :)

Oh, and after one full month of using my FitBit, I’m still extremely pleased. BF and I have switched up our diets slightly, and as a result of eating healthier and walking a lot more, I’ve lost 5 pounds since the beginning of April. Not bad! Part of June’s monthly challange will likely be about running and yoga.

On travel:

I was thinking this would be a quiet year for travel, but so far I’ve already gone to Portland, and to Las Vegas. Here’s what else is on the radar:

  • Edmonton (June) – Just a short trip for 3 days. We are staying with people there, so I’ll have to budget for a flight and spending money. Approx. cost: $450
  • Okanagan (July – tentative) – We’ve been invited by good friends of mine to spend the July long weekend in the Okanagan for some sun, swimming, and wineries. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get the extra day off work, but my fingers are crossed. Approx. cost: $400
  • Seattle (August) – This is my (annual?) family trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays play the Mariners. It’s the third year taking my dad to a ball game, and I know he really enjoys it. Approx. cost: $300
  • Europe (September) – Besides going to Paris, we have no real plans. I’m letting BF plan this one out for the most part because I’ve been to the majority of the big cities in Europe already. We’ve tossed around all sorts of ideas (Paris-Amsterdam-Copenhagen, all the way to Athens-Santorini-Istanbul). Approx. cost: $3,000

On life:

Life is really good right now. A few days ago, my aunt commented about how “soul happy” I seem to be these days, and I think she’s right. Despite losing my job earlier this year, I think I was able to rebound relatively quickly. I feel settled and comfortable, which is something I haven’t felt in a really long time … and while I don’t have a lot of friends here in Vancouver, I think I have really good friends. BF always says that you get to choose who you spend your time with, and I think I’m spending them with the right people. :)

Work has been busy as well. I’m still really enjoying my new job, and appreciate how much the company values work-life balance. This industry is unfamiliar to me, but I’m glad that I broke into it, because I feel like this is where I belong. I’ve always been interested in real estate, architecture, urban planning, etc. and to be a part of a company that touches those industries… that’s really fun and exciting for me.

On money:

Back in March, I made a point to stop stressing about money. Sure, sometimes I stare at my RRSP numbers (currently saving 21% of my net income towards retirement), and sometimes I worry that I’m not doing as much as other people my own age, but I try to stop those thoughts as soon as I get them. Because I’m doing the best that I can to live a balanced life, and I can’t continue to compare myself to other people.

I’m also paid twice a month here at work, instead of bi-weekly. So I’ll have to adjust my mortgage schedule to reflect that. And I want to start tracking and reading up on a few companies so I can figure out what my next stock purchase will be.

Anyway, that’s my update! I hope you’re all doing well. :)

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