Sunday, March 23, 2014

Animal Kingdom + Tusker House

We started the day with Kilimanjaro Safaris. Coolest animal ever? Probs. Theses are addax, a type of antelope. They normally live in deserts, but they're critically endangered. I would say as a vegan, this might be a good thing about zoos? And to me, Animal Kingdom seems like a pretty nice zoo, because the animals look like they have a lot of room, even though they are probably invisibly restricted to a certain area, but at least they are protected from hunting here. 

In a theme park that's all about animals and conservation, some of the food options are...ironic. But luckily there is Tusker House. This is a buffet that also has character breakfast and lunch. I'm pretty sure it used to just be breakfast, so I was a little worried when I found out lunch would be a character meal, too. The last character meal I had at 1900 Park Fare was utterly chaotic. SO many little kids screaming and then the characters were interrupting the meal.... It wasn't bad, just not ideal. Luckily, this character meal was far from chaotic. Our reservations were at 11:20, which was perfect since we had been the park since about 8:30 (so we had had breakfast at, like, 7) and it was less crowded since it wasn't quite the "regular" lunchtime yet. 

The guy taking our picture with Donald at Tusker House commented that Donald looked cute enough to eat and Donald shook his head and "hid." Then my mom (LOL) told Donald, "Oh, don't worry, we don't eat you!" And he hugged her. Bahahahahah. It was too cute. 

We were seated and the chef came to our table after we took pictures with safari Daffy Duck. He led my mom and me around the buffet to tell us our options. He was super nice but I can't remember his name (Jason maybe?).

Jollof rice, fried plantains, saffron root veggies and tofu, some chutney and breakfast potatoes (obvs). 

Another perk of an early lunch reservation? They were still serving breakfast, but they were about to switch to just lunch so our chef asked if we'd like allergy-free waffles. UM, yes plz. No question. They were perfect.

Our chef also brought out a special bowl of curried butternut apple soup. It was great! Perfectly spicy. 

This was their apple and endive salad without the cheese. It also had cranberries and walnuts. Super refreshing and interesting.

From top center, clockwise: curried rice, Tunisian couscous salad, green beans, Marrakesh couscous with roasted veggies, and samosas with dried fruit chutney and mango chutney

Tofutti and Enjoy Life cookies. Something I really like about these buffets is that they come with drinks. You can get coffee, tea, or soda, but I really like getting coffee because Disney restaurants always have soy milk (and it was early and I was tired). They had brought a whole carafe of coffee out and I still had some left, so I mixed a little in my ice cream. Really jazzed up the plain chocolate. Then I crunched the cookies up in it too. Yeah, I got real creative :)

Awesome plate of Enjoy Life cookies for my mom and I! We snuck those out and saved them for a late-night snack. 

I can honestly say that this was the best day I've EVER had at Animal Kingdom. This is because I did the Wilderness Explorer activity all day! I didn't find it when we first entered the park but we were on a trail (not sure which, there are so many!) and we ran into a Wilderness Explorer booth and they let me participate. I really thought it was just for kids, but nope!! You get a little book and as you complete the activities in it, you earn badges. Here are some of the activities: Safari Badge for doing the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Conservation Badge for learning about animal nutrition, veterinary medicine, and recycling, Hiking Badge for hiking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and answering questions in your booklet along the way. I also got a picture with the real Rafiki and I didn't have to wait in line! My favorite badges were the African and Asian Culture Badges where you would meet representatives from respective countries and learn something about their culture. This HAS to be my favorite because I'm getting my Anthropology degree in May... But really, learning about other cultures is obviously really important and I have to respect Disney for incorporating it into a theme park. 

Animal Kingdom closed at 6 and the Wilderness Explorer activities closed at 5:30, so I didn't even get all of the badges! I hadn't been to Animal Kingdom since 2010 or 2011, and I remember it being fun, but oh so hot and exhausting. I feel like in the summer, it gets hotter than everywhere else and in January, when we were there this year, it felt cooler than everywhere else. Seriously, I kept my jacket and scarf on pretty much all day. Definitely no complaints though- it made the park SO much more enjoyable. 

P.S.There is also a new allergy/vegetarian kiosk in the park that I didn't get a chance to visit because after we ate lunch, we were just hurrying to fit everything else in the day because the park closed at 6. Here's a good review of the new kiosk. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ban bossy? let's try banning bullying.

When Sheryl Sandberg's book came out last year and she was making her big publicity rounds, I was so excited. I thought her message was awesome: Lean in, sit at the table don't leave before you leave, speak up, yada yada. I even bought the book. When I started reading it, I realized that I wasn't really included in the audience. I'm still in college and I really don't have any idea what I want to do, but I do know (at least, I'm pretty sure) that I won't be working in tech or business or law or anything like that. And I have never, ever thought about planning my career around my future marriage/family so her advice against that was completely useless to me. I guess the book was just irrelevant to me since I'm still just in the process of figuring out what I'm going to do in the first place and the book seemed to be more for established "professional" women. Maybe that's just me though. I've since donated the book and forgot about Sheryl. 

Of course, she's back in the news with the whole #BanBossy campaign. I do remember her saying a million times last year, "I don't want girls to be told they're bossy, I want them to be told they have leadership skills instead." This immediately rubbed me the wrong way. I've NEVER been called bossy. I have been called annoying though- is there a way to turn that into a compliment???? Probs not. FML. In pre-school, I was weird. I read under a tree far away from everyone else at recess. In elementary school, I'm pretty sure I just tried to get along and not cause problems and then that's what I did in high school too. I didn't do that because I was dumb (alright, maybe a little) or lazy but simply because I didn't want to start fights or hurt people's feelings. But being the "easy-going" and "chill" person that I am makes it REALLY easy for people to boss me around or in other words, push me around and take advantage of me. I've experienced this in college and also on the (part-time service) job. So I've seen how bossiness doesn't have negative connotations just because- the negative connotations are there because bossy people (NOT necessarily just girls) are easily aggressive, selfish, bullies. Bossy people want things done the way THEY want and they're going to get it their way. End of story. Now in college, I usually only "lead" group projects when no one else wants to, and even then I make sure to ask people what they would prefer to do, how we should do it. TEAMWORK, people. But a lot of times when there is someone who wants to "lead" they'll end up just doing the whole thing (or most of it) themselves because they don't want to "deal with people" and their "bullshit." And most of the time, these people are girls who were probably "bossy" little kids.

I think that turning "bossy" into the compliment of "leadership" is only going to fuck up this generation of millennials more than they already are. Selfishness and entitlement is only going to grow when bullies are patted on the back and told that they're good leaders. 

I tweeted about this earlier in the afternoon and then an hour later I found Olga Khazan's article on The Atlantic and found some reassurance. It also helped me figure out why I feel this way- my Myers Briggs type. I've taken the test a few times and every time I get ISFJ. I've always thought I was kind of screwed with this personality type, but it seems there's some hope. 

Sure, bossy is just a word and it seems that Sheryl Sandberg doesn't like the negative connotations it carries. But I would say that bossy is bossy and that there is a way to be a leader without being aggressive, demeaning, and a borderline (or straight-up) bully. In short, there's a reason for the word "bossy." Like I said earlier, growing up, I'm pretty sure I heard it used in reference to both boys and girls. If kids were being good leaders, I'm pretty sure they would just be called "good leaders." 

Monday, February 24, 2014

more buffalo beyond meat creations

This has to be my favorite vegan + gluten free pizza ever. We usually use Namaste gf pizza crust mix, but we didn't have any. Luckily I found this amazing gf + vegan crust recipe from Minimalist Baker. I really love everything I've made from this blog, so I figured this recipe would be just as good. I had to add about 1/3 cup more warm water to the dough and it turned out great! I wish I would have baked it the first time a little less though, because the edges were a little too crunchy (I'll just have to make it again-practice makes perfect, right?) 

Toppings included: 1/2 jar of pizza sauce (use whatever you like, this time I used the Classico fire roasted kind), 3/4 bag of mozzarella Daiya shreds, about 1/3 pack of lightly seasoned Beyond Meat strips, shredded and tossed in my favorite homemade buffalo sauce ( I doubled the recipe and used about 2/3 cup), about 1/2 cup each sautéed chopped celery, onion, and yellow peppers (give or take, I always end up chopping too much), 1/3 cup sliced black olives. I also drizzled some ranch on each slice. Baby spinach would be a nice addition. 

Have you had any experience with vegan + gf pizza crust? What are your favorite pizza toppings?

P.S. I entered this picture into Beyond Meat's #FanFoodPhoto contest and it would be awesome if you could vote for me! Here's the link!   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

why vegan: so, what's the deal with milk?

I'm taking an introduction to nutrition course this semester and as a proud vegan (4 years in January, what!?), I'm taking issues with some of the recommendations/shit that I'm studying right now for the quiz. For example, my book says that 1 cup of milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium and 1/2 cup of fresh, cooked turnip greens provides 100 milligrams of calcium. So, you could eat 1 1/2 cups of turnip greens to get the same amount of calcium as the cup of milk. Then it goes on to say that turnip greens are more nutrient dense (they're just talking about calcium, though) per kcalorie but milk is more nutrient dense per serving. But I'm pretty sure they're just talking about calcium! Then they also mention that milk is more protein dense as well. should just drink a cup a milk instead of eat the turnip greens? LOLZ NO. 

Turnip greens have shit-ton of other nutrients that milk kind of DOESN'T. Fiber is the most obvious (animal products never have any fiber), and they also have a ton of vitamin K, A, C, and folate. Milk doesn't have any of those. 

It's just kinda weird to think about drinking milk though. Something I always tell people who ask me what's wrong with milk is that we're the only species to drink the milk of another species- and that milk is meant for babies (baby cows) to turn into huge cows! It just seems illogical for adult humans to drink it. Oh yeah, and the whole animal abuse thing. Contrary to popular belief, you can get calcium from things other than milk though!  There's calcium in tofu, tempeh, dark leafy greens, oranges, dried fruits, white beans, and soy milk. I've been told by a doctor that it also helps to not drink soda because the bubbles actually leech calcium from your bones. Exercising helps your bones too, I think...

Anyway, this is just a bit of a rant as I'm studying for this quiz. I'm obviously not an expert on any of this, but it doesn't hurt to think about it. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

food empowerment project

Somewhere in between school work, applying to internships, worrying about graduating, and cooking and eating a million different things, I'm constantly trying to figure out what I want to do when I graduate. A few semesters ago when I took Culture and Cuisine (taught by Brad Weiss! what up!) and I was reading The Inspired Vegan by Bryant Terry (BTW, I've definitely pre-ordered his new book, Afro-Vegan), I got to thinking about food insecurity, nutrition, veganism and how they all intersect. Seriously, if I went to grad school, that is what I would study. Anyway, I still don't really know what I want to do when I graduate in May, but I'm taking public health and nutrition intro courses this semester and I really think that these courses combined with some of my awesome anthropology courses will lead me in the right direction. It's so hard to see a career path from all my different interests.

I found out about the Food Empowerment Project after watching lauren Ornelas's talk at TedX Golden Gate. It's amazing how this organization is working to alleviate not just animal rights issues, but food insecurity and human rights. lauren's talk perfectly shows how all the issues intersect and she tells you ways you can help.The group seems to combine all the issues I care about. I'm not the only one who loved lauren's talk and I've even donated a few recipes to FEP, I just need to get pictures of them.

What do you think?