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Entries tagged with “vegan food ireland”.


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Yep, you read that right – today, I’m officially 40 years old. (Took the pic this morning, the first of my 40s!).

Gulp.

In all honesty, I’m not embarrassed to admit it. In fact, I’m embracing it. While it would be great to shave a few years off that number for the sake of grey hairs and a few laugh lines, I like myself better now than I did in my 20s.

I feel better about the choices I make – there’s a certain confidence that comes with age and experience. The things I used to obsess over when I was younger don’t even occur to me anymore, maybe because there are a whole slew of NEW things to obsess over now (like grey hairs and laugh lines!).

I remember in my 20s and even into my 30s I spent a lot of energy worried I’d miss something. It was hard to say no to invitations – what if something amazing happened and I wasn’t there? It was very important to feel included, whether it be in a club or in the telling of a joke. I hated missing out. You know the saying, “She goes to the opening of an envelope…?” Well, that was me. These days, I miss a lot of things…on purpose. I leave the bar after a couple of drinks. I politely decline invitations on a regular basis; my favourite Friday nights are the ones I stay in with Mountaineering Man with a bottle of wine and some home-cooked food.  If I walk into a room and have no idea what the conversation is about, I’ll leave it.

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I’m much kinder to myself today than I was when I was younger; the constant self-loathing and beating myself up…what was that about? I was my own worst critic, even if I didn’t show it to the outside world. Too chubby, fat arms, not smart enough, not interested in the right things, not interesting to the right people, too mainstream…these phrases were a regular part of my internal monologue for many years. It was exhausting.

I was painfully insecure, though I often acted the opposite. When I think about how that lack of confidence manifested itself back then, I cringe. I used to manage a group of designers at a job I had in my late 20s and during my most insecure moments I pulled rank with them. I tried to prove my authority and demand respect rather than earn it, and needless to say it didn’t work. Now I see the people I manage as equals and we work together and help each other out. It’s more productive and frankly, a hell of a lot more fun.

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vegan salad

Roasted butternut squash on mixed greens with crispy shallots and sage leaves is pure vegan goodness

My hometown of Los Angeles can be a bit odd at times, to say the least. It’s not unusual to overhear someone at Starbucks place an order that would make even the most seasoned barista’s head spin: “Non-fat, half-caf, half-decaf, low-fat tall soy latte with one squirt of no-sugar vanilla syrup, extra hot and served in a grande-sized cup…to go.” It’s also quite common to see menu items that sound more like rabbit food than nourishment for humans, like macrobiotic sea cake with a side of millet or heirloom-varietal organic brown rice biscuits with honey and carob chips. In the health-conscious, model-and-actor Mecca of LA, people can be certifiably obsessed with what they put into their mouths, and restaurants and even Starbucks must cater to the oft-ridiculous requests of its customers if they want to stay in business.

In Drogheda, I get a double-take when I ask for low-fat salad dressing and I once got a cup of instant coffee when I asked for decaf at a local café (I sent it back). There aren’t a lot of choices around here, especially for people who want something healthy and/or beyond the average meat-and-potatoes fare. I imagine being a vegetarian in Ireland is about as unproblematic as being an alcoholic in Kuwait.

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