Tag Archives: climbing

Pause

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Woohoo! I’m alive!! I have finally come through the other side of an incredibly stressful and completely jam-packed week and a half. I am now a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR), after spending 5 full, consecutive days from Friday-Tuesday practicing how to deal with emergencies or any kind of injury/illness in the outdoors. The course was extremely intensive and required a lot of critical thinking, so I was exhausted by the end of each 10-12 hour day, but then still had to stay up late to do homework for my other normal classes in order to not fall behind. As of today I have now made up the TWO exams that I missed on Monday, and all my work is back up to date. Finally, I have a chance to pause and breathe. And sleep.

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A few vegan things that the WFR taught me included how to pack a full day’s worth of healthy snacks and lunch without relying on Shaw, which should be quite useful next year when I won’t have a meal plan. I went with the ol’ PB&J or AB&J (almond butter) for my lunches, and then brought an assortment of veggies like baby carrots or bell pepper (that I cut up that morning), cashews, apple + PB or AB, and a Bobo’s Oat Bar just in case. I try not to eat a lot of bars since they all have a disheartening amount of sugar, so I didn’t end up resorting to the Bobo’s bar after all. They key to vegan snacking, I discovered, is to have a protein/fat source along with it, such as the cashews or PB/AB, or else you can snack all day long on your low carb carrots and never feel satisfied. Also, for the sandwiches, PB&J gets old pretty quickly for me (especially since jam has LOTS of sugar), so I like to do hummus/salad greens/cucumber/whatever veggies you want sandwiches, which turn out really well and stick to you for a good while due to the hummus. And all of my sandwiches go on Dave’s Killer Bread! Recently I found a type of Dave’s bread called Powerseed (comes in a red bag) that is only sweetened with fruit juices, has low sugar, and has lots of protein from all the yummy seeds and nuts inside! Highly recommend it.

Back on the adventure front, I am excited to be shadowing our Ladies Rock Climbing Trip to Moab this weekend! Shadowing is the first step to becoming a Trip Leader in our Outdoor Rec program, so I’m on my way. Also, I plan to stay in SLC this summer, rather than go home to Nevada, and work with the Outdoor Program for their really cool Summer Program where we work with younger kids from the South Salt Lake area and take them on fun day trips and camping trips. This is the best way to really get my foot in the door with the program, so I’m hoping by this coming fall I will be a member of the main lead team on a trip or two!

The only thing still bringing me down (now that the WFR wall of doom has been broken through) is my very possibly broken middle right finger. I smashed the tip of it between two kettlebells at crossfit on St. Paddy’s day (how completely unlucky!). It began bleeding profusely from my nail bed upon impact and I started running around the gym shouting and grasping my bloody hand like a small child. It was quite the scene I must say. Anyway, it swelled up to be pretty large, and while the swelling is pretty much completely gone, my finger is still rather tender and weirdly kind of numbish/tingly when I put pressure on the tip. I would post a picture, but it almost made my roommate throw up when she saw it, so maybe it isn’t appropriate for all viewers. Unfortunately, this injury has set me back a little bit in crossfit, since I can’t really grip super heavy bars, and I’m a little worried about the upcoming climbing trip where all fingers are rather essential. Nonetheless, yesterday I made it down to crossfit after not going for a solid 6 days (darn you WFR!) and got a PR clean and jerk at 105lbs! What a great way to fully de-stress and get all the yuckies out of my system, even with a lame finger; it was the icing on the cake and totally rejuvenated me to return to the real world in my “life after WFR.” Just goes to show how amazing exercise and working out are for your body, mind, and soul.

I hope all of you who may be pushing through some tough parts in your life get a little hope from this post. Just know that whatever it is, it is impermanent. After some nitty gritty perseverance and hard work, you too will have a moment to pause.

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A Report on Vegan Camping (And General Spring Break Adventures in Moab)

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A Report on Vegan Camping (And General Spring Break Adventures in Moab)

Back again! This week is my spring break, and I spent the first part of it, last Friday through this Wednesday, in the Moab area with my two friends Charlie and Devon. Charlie and I tend to do lots of crazy adventures together that result in interesting stories, and Devon added some craziness to the mix as well!

Charlie is not a big plan ahead kinda guy, so I was forced to either plan all of our meals and food or depend on Charlie’s stash of 15 bags of top ramen, a large jar of peanut butter, pancake mix, and various canned soups. Of course, I had to choose the first option, and I forced the boys into eating vegan with me for almost the entire trip.

When I began planning I realized I had no idea what to bring camping as a vegan. Also, I didn’t have a cooler, which was considerably limiting. I ended up purchasing a small cooler from Smith’s the day of departure and adding some hummus, salsa, mixed greens (which I didn’t use), garden burger patties (which I also didn’t use), and some soy milk. The rest of my stuff was relatively stable without refrigeration.

I had three staple camping foods on my menu plan for dinners that I have come across during my time with the Outdoor Rec program at school: burritos with beans, rice, and veggies; curried quinoa with veggies; and gado-gado (which I honestly have no idea how to spell).

For the Burritos:

Stir-fry some veggies and garlic in a pan; I used bell peppers and onion. Then set those aside and cook up some brown rice (boil-in-bag is pretty easy), toss in a can of beans, mix in the veggies, and season with some salt and pepper.  Add salsa on top and serve with tortillas.

Curried Quinoa:

Stir-fry veggies with garlic; again I used bell peppers and onion, also some chopped carrots. Set aside and cook the quinoa. Add in a ton of curry powder to the quinoa and maybe some salt and pepper too. Stir in the veggies. I also like to add some type of seed for a richer taste, so this time I added raw sprouted pumpkin seeds. Some people also enjoy raisins, but I prefer to leave those out.

Gado-Gado:

This dish is a Thai noodle peanut-buttery dish that really sticks to your ribs. Definitely my favorite, especially after a long day.

Stir fry some veggies with garlic (bell pepper, onion, and this time I added cauliflower too). Then cook some Thai straight cut rice noodles. Drain the water and add in quite a few scoops of peanut butter. The amount of peanut butter depends on how much rice noodles you have and also on how peanut-buttery you like it. Add in a few squirts of soy sauce, which you can also adjust to your tastes. Keep stirring it up until all of the noodles are coated (be prepared for some tiring stirring with all that peanut butter in there). Add in the veggies and mix it up one last time.

On the first night, we got into camp well after dark and had some considerable issues trying to fire up the stove. Charlie had neglected to test the stove before leaving. We made use of Charlie’s abundant top ramen store and ate raw, crunchy top ramen cakes for dinner. I also had a Bobo’s Oat Bar to give a little extra substance. Other than that, however, the planned meals worked out beautifully!

For breakfasts, we did pancakes, oatmeal, and cereal. Pancake mixes aren’t vegan, so that was a small fudge of my veganness for one morning, please don’t tell on me. Also, a camping tip for oatmeal: if you forget to bring any normal sweetener for your plain oatmeal, pancake syrup works pretty well.

Each lunch consisted of fresh-in-the-field as my dad likes to call it (not pre-made in the mornings) PB&J sandwiches. One jar of strawberry jam was just enough to get us through all five lunches. For trail snacks, I brought apples, lots of Clif bars, and Bobo’s Oat Bars. I also indulged in way too many Oreos because 1. Devon bought a package of double-stuffed, 2. Oreos happen to be vegan, and 3. they are stupidly irresistible and get me every time. However, I’m fairly sure I burned off the calories with all of our climbing, hiking, and rappelling we did.

Which brings me to the actual adventures we had! Unfortunately, I do not have the time or space to write it all out, and most people probably don’t have the patience to read through it all, so I’ll just add some photos and mention some highlights:

Charlie’s first trad leads (starting on ’30 Seconds Above Potash’ a classic 5.8 crack climb!)

First desert tower summits (Owl Rock and Bullwinkle Tower)

Three awesome rappels (Cable Arch, Looking Glass Rock, Morning Glory Arch)

Lots of hiking and messing around in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

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Vegan Valentines

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I did not have a traditional Valentine’s Day today, but I definitely had a great day anyway. Part of the greatness of my day is due to vegan pizza from The Pie, which is one of the most famous pizza places in Salt Lake, especially for the college crowd. Part of being a true college student is eating some really really really good thick pizza every once in a while, and normally, going vegan would really hinder that. But not at The Pie! Audrey and I ordered a vegan veggie delight pizza, which consisted of marinara, vegan cheez, and a pile of yummy veggies. This was my first experience with melty vegan cheez, and it was pretty positive! The taste is quite comparable, but the texture is a little interesting. When melted, it reminds me a bit of cheese sauce out of a can (which could be further proof of how unreal that cheese sauce stuff is), except that it definitely is shredded cheez, not sauce, before baking. But when combined with a bunch of other toppings, the cheez texture is hardly noticeable and the pizza is still on a godly level of deliciousness.

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Another highlight of my day was completing my first ever lead climb. I know this is un-vegan, but it is also a huge milestone for me, so I think it is totally worth reporting. For those non-climbers out there, lead climbing is when you climb up a rock trailing the rope, and you clip the rope in as you go. This is as opposed to top-rope climbing, where the rope is already anchored at the top of the rock before you climb. Lead climbing results in a lot more responsibility safety-wise for the climber, and falling can be a lot more serious (although you still won’t die or get too injured hopefully). Anyway, I lead a 5.8 climb up Big Cottonwood canyon this morning with my friend and climbing partner Charlie. I was so stoked!! The goal is to climb Cathedral Peak this June with my parents, so today I made one huge step towards that goal.

All in all, between climbing achievements and heavenly slices of vegan pizza, my Valentine’s Day was a success! And it just goes to show that there are so many ways to find happiness when you are surrounded by good friends, food, and mountains; you don’t need a bouquet of roses to be content.

The First Vegan Shopping Trip

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Going shopping on a new diet for the first time is always a challenge. Today two of my roommates and I piled into my car to go to Costco and Traders Joe’s to stock up on vegan essentials. Well, actually only one of my roommates went vegan with me, so the other got to buy whatever she wanted. The tough part about going shopping is that you walk past isles full of delicious looking morsels that are very much NOT on your diet, or in this case, not vegan. Especially Trader Joe’s, where they have the shelves stocked with tasty looking hippie snacks, as I like to call them, because they actually look healthier than the average snacks at the grocery store, making them even more irresistible. However, on a positive note, Costco and TJ’s really delivered today!

At Costco, we bought:

  • A huge bag of organic brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Organic quinoa
  • Chia seeds
  • Organic apple sauce (no sugar added)
  • Ancient grain tortillas
  • And toilet paper (at last! Oh the woes of having to buy your own TP as an adult…)

These all seem like pretty good vegan staples, including the toilet paper, because vegans do poop too. We have some good complex carbs (with protein) from the rice and quinoa, and we have some good easy and versatile protein from the beans. Also, in baking, chia seeds and apple sauce are key to many recipes as thickening agents since eggs are environment-ruiners. Also, bananas can be used in a similar way, but you automatically end up with a strong banana flavor that way (which honestly is a great thing anyway; bananas are a beautiful fruit).

At Trader Joe’s I got:

  • 4 different cooking sauces (curry, peanut sauce, soy-saucey-stir-fry stuff, etc.)
  • Vegan cereal with relatively good protein and very low sugar
  • Light coconut milk (for cooking, not the kind you put in your coffee)
  • Vegan butter
  • Chicken-less mandarin orange chicken
  • Chicken-less chicken tenders

These last two items are especially fabulous because they are frozen (a college kid’s favorite), and I happen to know they are delicious because they were part of the first vegan meal I ever had during Vegan Night when this whole thing started! Even if you are a complete dairy and meat indulger, you should try the mandarin orange “chicken” because it is quite nice. Also, if you are ever in need of a snack, TJ’s has tofu spring rolls with peanut sauce in the refrigerator section which served as my dinner this evening.

On another note, I had a divine vegan meal at Shaw for lunch today, and it wasn’t even Meatless Wednesday! Audrey (vegan roommate) and I have recently taken up filling out a comment card in Shaw upon most visits asking for more vegan meal options, so maybe they are already starting to listen. Today’s dish was tofu in an almond mole sauce with rice and corn-bean salsa. The almond mole wasn’t actually very mole-y tasting to me, but it was a delectable Mexican-like sauce that really jazzed up the tofu bricks quite well. Unfortunately, I ate this large meal of three tofu bricks and a good scoop of rice at 2:15ish and then proceeded to work out at 4. Rowing with intense effort and doing snatches and hang-cleans doesn’t mix well with recent Mexican food ingestion, vegan or not. No I didn’t throw up, but it was a close call. You have been warned.

Lastly, I just want to put out there that I got a great package from my parents today containing a brand spankin new set of 8 quick draws, a guide-ATC belay device, and a cleaning tool (all of these are climbing gear pieces). The goal is to climb Cathedral Peak in Yosemite this June with mom and dad, so it is time (or maybe even a little past time) for me to learn to lead climb! Hurray!! I am so lucky to have such rad parental units, and I cannot wait to get these quick draws into some bolts!!!!