Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vegan Baked Penne recipe - this is good, people!!

I've been absent for weeks now---focusing on other stuff.  I've done the elliptical everyday for two weeks (except one day).  Not sure how much weight I've lost but I've definitely lost a lot as my clothes are all baggy.

The other day my neighbor gave me a bag of fresh-picked tomatoes from her garden along with an invitation to help myself to the basil plant.  This inspired me to concoct a super awesome vegan dish that I have to share.  I mean, this dish totally rocked.  It was also the first time I've had pasta since before I went on my juice fast.

5 cups cherry tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 bunch (large branch) basil
8 cloves garlic
Oregano, sea salt and other seasonings.
1/2 cup vodka
Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella cheese (Follow Your Heart)
Yves Ground Round
Dreamsfield penne pasta (I use dreamsfield because it's low carb)

Start with the marinara sauce:

First, take the skin off about 5 cups of cherry tomatoes.  (It's easy if you put them in boiling water for a minute before transporting them to ice cold water---the skin will just fall right off).  Once skinned, I processed the tomatoes and put them in a crock pot.

Saute one yellow onion along with 8 garlic cloves.  Put sauteed mix in crock pot.

Take a bunch of fresh basil, chop finely and put in crock pot.

Add sea salt, black pepper and oregano and other seasons to taste (I use something called Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's).

Add a half cup of vodka.  This will extract additional locked flavors.

Cook on low for 5 hours.  Timing with slow cookers are subjective based on brand and size. My "low" becomes more of a high as it starts lightly boiling after a few hours.  This is usually when I know it's done.

Dissolve a half container of Tofutti cream cheese into the mixture along with one package of Yves Ground Round.

Boil a box of low carb pasta from Dreamsfield til al dente.  Then mix with marinara/ground round concoction.

Spread in a baking pan or casserole dish and top with a layer of shredded Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese.  The brand I use is from Follow Your Heart.

Cover with foil and baked in preheated 350 oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

You are done.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for extra flavor.

For a pasta junkie like me who had been on a pasta hiatus for almost three months, this was the best way to break my pasta fast and it was well worth the wait.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012


This last week I swapped my electric guitar for an elliptical trainer.  Gotta love Craig's List.  It was a bit of a hassle as the woman who I swapped with forgot the AC adapter and had to mail it to me but yesterday I used my cross trainer for the first time and I can honestly say that last night was the most focused, clear and at peace I've felt for a long while. 

I stopped taking Lamictacl almost 4 weeks ago and I've been taking the Spirulina, Chlorella and Vitamin D religiously. I've also adhered to my vegan diet aside from feta cheese which I occasionally sprinkle on a kale salad.  I've had ups and downs... moments of brain fog and extreme fatigue.  Yesterday, I either broke out in a rash or was bit by something because my right hand has a few small red welts all over it.  Chlorella is a detoxer so it's possible that the rash is a result of detox.  I'm sure there's plenty of toxins still in me.  30 days of juice fasting was not long enough to purge my body of all the crap I polluted it with over the years.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gimme Head with Hair

Back when I was still on the juice fast, I got a bottle of organic spirulina tablets from Trader Joe's.  Spirulina is a single-celled algae that is considered a superfood because of it's health benefits.  It's supposed to be a purer source of protein than meat.  I took it periodically while fasting but it was not something I took daily.  A few days ago I decided to take it every day with my Vitamin D since, apparently, Spirulina is also very good for cognitive functioning among other things.  I think today was either my fifth or sixth consecutive day taking it. 

One major problem I've experienced over the last few years is my hair falling out.  It's so frustrating when I run the comb through my hair only to pull out tons of hair.  It's been so bad over the years that my hair has clogged up both my bathroom sink and shower.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I stopped taking the lamictal just under 2 weeks ago.  I hadn't felt much of anything in terms of withdrawal.  A couple of years ago, I'd decreased my dose and went through a serious emotional breakdown and was grateful not to have experienced it this far.  Then a couple of days ago, I started to feel depressed.  Of course, this could just be depression and not related to the fact that I stopped taking Lamictal. 

Along with the depression, I feel dumb as a doornail.   It's really difficult to stay focused.  Yesterday, my friend Stacy called me and I kept forgetting what I was saying.  This has happened in the past but it seems more pronounced now.  Then yesterday, I found myself googling the most painless way to commit suicide.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Time Passages

Recently, I made a playlist of music that I listened to when I lived in NYC.  It included lots of stuff from the 90's like Violet by Hole, Sour Times by Portishead, Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, Only Happy When it Rains by Garbage, Only Love Can Break Your Heart by St. Etienne, Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground.  It includes music from Oasis, Bjork, Massive Attack, Tricky, The Breeders, The Orb, Nirvana and music that carries with it the imprint of a time in my life that has long since passed... a time in my life where I was young and free and never once thought about the consequences of my actions.  Unlike today, which is all about consequences...some of the consequences I'm dealing with, in fact, are a result of that time in my life.

I listened to this playlist yesterday as I soaked in my bathtub and was overwhelmed with a plethora of emotions including sadness and guilt and wonder.  If I knew then what I know now, would I have done things differently?  I think so.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Morning Fog

It's been about a week since I stopped taking Lamictal cold turkey.  I was taking 200 mg/day.

I haven't had any headaches nor felt that I'm in danger of having a seizure.  What I have felt is fatigued and spaced out.  Sort of like I have ADD or what I imagine having ADD would be like.  I have trouble focusing or staying focused. It's difficult for me to piece together a sentence sometimes.  I hope that within a week the Lamictal will be out of my system completely and all of these withdrawal symptoms will cease all together.

I started walking daily again and even started to run, which is something I haven't done in years.  The main reason that I'm interested in running is not for weight loss but rather to improve my brain function and memory.  I did some research on holistic remedies for ADD and something that consistently came up was cardio exercise.  It's great for depression and focus.  Given the current uncertainty of my life and work situation, it's important for me to be focused and stress-free so I've decided that I will incorporate exercise into my every day routine. 

Yesterday I made lunch for my neighbors (black bean burritos).  I ended up drinking my two bottles of Tribunal with them.  It's the first time I've had more than a glass of wine since before my fast.  I wanted to use the wine so that I no longer was tempted by having it at my disposal.  I've decided I do not want to ever drink alone again. Not good for the mind, not good for the body, not good for the soul.

Yesterday while I was on the deck drinking wine I realized that I was appreciating wine more than I had in a very long time. By not having wine for almost two months and then experiencing an afternoon of drinking wine with my neighbors, I appreciated it more than when I drank it nightly all by myself.

It's so easy to take things for granted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

When I was about 20, I started having grand mal seizures.  Prior to this, I believe I was having petit mal seizures.  Grand mals are easy to diagnose whereas other types of seizures aren't.  I could've been having seizures for years prior to that first grand mal.  As a teenager I had weird neurological problems that went undiagnosed.  Perhaps they are linked to the seizures I started getting in early adulthood.

When I was about 16, I would experience really loud feedback noise in my head usually when I was about to fall asleep.  It was creepy and when I told my mom about it, she didn't really take it seriously.  Probably because we didn't have health insurance and she had gotten insanely in debt due to vision problems I had as a teenager.  I sort of hate myself for that.  Had I not had these vision problems, then mom wouldn't have gotten so deeply in debt and her life would've been different.  But that's another story...