Kathryn

About Kathryn

I am a writer. In a world of instant messaging and texting, I ponder. I grope. I dig for the gold in every day experiences. I hope to inspire in a way the reader says, "Yes! I get that. I've felt that. That makes sense to me." I hope to help people see life, with themselves as powerful creators of their experience. "Life happens not TO you, but THROUGH you," some wise person once said. I also hope to make you laugh, make you think, then hopefully act in a way that serves you well, on your path to a happy, healthy, long, long life. With this perspective, I am available for eulogy writing, end of life memoir, and biography writing. If you would like help, I am here. I want to help you leave an inspiring legacy. Everybody has a story. You have a story. Email me at Kathryn@loveandlettuce.com

What I Can’t Live Without

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Does what you really want get trampled by what you want right now? Ever wonder why the deepest life desire to be lean gets smothered in her sleep by the cheap foam pillow of a mid-afternoon craving?

One of my cravings is chocolate. I even say, “I can’t live without chocolate.” Can’t live without? That’s a little strong, isn’t it? What makes a normally reasonable woman say such a thing?

What if she believed some other crazy crap too? Like: I have to give up chocolate to be lean; I can’t seem to have just a little; Chocolate makes me fat; and it’s in my mouth before I realize it.

Let’s look a little deeper.

• Are any of these statements REALLY true?
• How can I know they are true?
• How does believing this make me feel?

I know, I’m pulling a Byron Katie (spiritual innovator) on you here. Habit.

Going a little further into “The Work.” What if we turned these statements on their heads?

• I desire chocolate but I can’t live without being lean.
• I CAN have just a little.
• Chocolate makes me lean.
• I absolutely know when chocolate is in my mouth.

How much of our existence is about what we agree to believe? Yep: A-g-r-e-e. I look at these new turned-on-their-head statements and I think…they are actually truer! Holy moly this stuff works!

What if I made another agreement with chocolate? Maybe this week I might try on: “Chocolate makes me lean.” Followed closely by, “I can’t live without being lean (healthy).”

Cheers Lovelies—to new agreements and living into our deepest desires.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

The No Caffeine Experiment

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Ever go without your morning beverage, only to nod off in your business meeting and develop a splitting headache? Ever think, “I’m not doing that again.” Coffee, coffee, coffee. Or tea, tea, tea. Or mate, mate. Or matcha. Black, green or any shade in between, caffeine has been my drug of choice. Is it yours?

I like it better than alcohol. Way better. It’s probably on par with chocolate. I like the lift, the clarity, the energy. I’ve always thought I’d be settling for a less dynamic life without my daily hot caffeinated beverage, even though my naturopath said, “sleep will be your new favorite drug.”

I didn’t believe her.

But then, after years of sleeping just okay, I experimented my way to her suggestion, nearly spontaneously doing without caffeine and now–I’m dreaming like a baby! I feel younger and happier and have way more energy. I flirted unmercifully with my guy just the other morning. He took a good look at me, smiled and said, “Boy you look like you got some good sleep.”

Boy, I did get some good sleep. And let me tell you why sleep is so important: Did you know sleep deprivation effects your ability to think clearly, your immune system and could make you fat? Yep, all that good exercise and food could be going to waste if you’re not getting a good 7-9 hours a night.

I forget what even made me try this experiment. I know I started playing with mint tea, laced with turmeric, stevia and almond milk, which isn’t a lot different than the Japanese Matcha (green tea powder) or the South American Yerba Mate. Well different, but still warm, creamy and satisfying.

The trend I’m noticing–experiment. Play around. Crowd out old habits with new ones. Find your “true north” not your “oh, I could never do without that.”

Cheers Lovelies! To Good Sleep!

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

Cleaning Broken Things

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I’m cleaning all our broken things, in hopes they’ll spontaneous un-break themselves. I’d settle for a temporary reprieve, just time enough for me to decide how to replace them. So wiping, washing, vacuuming and polishing I whisper, C’mon you’ve got a few more miles or days in you…but my reeks-of-coolant car and my warm fridge don’t answer back.

Our car, a 2003 silver Civic, has been overheating (periodically) for months, even though I frequently top off the coolant and tighten down its shiny new radiator cap. The original diagnosis—a blown head gasket—a grand-plus repair job. Eek. Really? That’s about the car’s trade-in value. So, armed with the mechanic’s bad news and the knowledge of my meager retirement account, I suggest less expensive possibilities. After all there’s no white smoke coming out the tail pipe or tell-tale clacking sounds, as skeptical friends have pointed out. The nice gray-haired mechanic with the grease-stained hands and smart-as-a-whip eyes only nods at my alternate realities, while dropping the new cap into my hand. He knows I’ll be back.

Then there’s the refrigerator, which creeps up to a balmy fifty-five while the freezer sinks to a frigid twenty below. After YouTube-ing the situation we diagnosed the problem as a bad defroster coil, but that doesn’t explain the ice in the bottom of the freezer…so I poured boiling hot water into the freezer’s drain and later that evening the fridge got a little cooler, 48-ish, and the freezer crept slightly above temperatures found on the scientist’s Kelvin scale. Remember absolute zero from science class? Alas, like the car, the fix only sort of worked.

So I wipe the smudges of the glass shelves of the Hawaii-warm fridge, which may be festering a hearty strain of kill-you bacteria. At least it’s clean. Reminds me of the advice: “Always wear fresh undies, because you never know!”

Cheers lovelies.

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

Why These Zen Habits?

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The alarm’s piano plunks out a simple melody while electronic birds chirp, “Dawn Chorus” the programmers call the tone. It’s 5 a.m. and I reach for the tablet posing as a cell phone, check the time and pull the “x” across the screen, silencing the alarm. I won’t oversleep because I’m awake and roll into the warmth and the good energy of the man laying next to me and for ten or so minutes open to the Divine and I listen.

Then I sort through my day, imagining my electronic calendar full or empty of clients, depending on what day of the week it is, then I go through my new daily rituals.

Morning: Yoga-meditate-free write.

Rest of the day: Drink water. Eat 8-12-4. Some sort of energy work.

All which hopefully add up to exercise and writing, which will lean me out and get me published. That was the plan anyway. But, as I’ve slowly sculpted out the life that really includes these habits, I realized something–I LIKE yoga, meditation, free writing, drinking water, doing energy work which inspires me to write and exercise. Right this very second, as I do each of these, I am living my dream.

Good for you, you say. Well, we all might choose our own healthy grooves, by experimenting, by trying on a few different lifestyles. It’s not super organic in the beginning. It’s a bit of a grind, with details like making lists, checking the list, leaving reminders, possibly even getting an accountability buddy.

And get this: It’s not just leaning out to 115# and nailing the book deal–it’s the life lived right at this moment, even when the clique chirping birds tells me its time to leave my warm bed. I’m glad as I walk through my day, having done my centering habits. I want to traipse among the brave, achieving souls who do such things. CEO’s. Leaders of small nations. Elite athletes. These are the types who start with morning routines like these.

Cheers lovelies, to feeling your way to your goals, all the while embracing the habits, routines and rituals that add up to your dream life.

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn

Goal Setting Mantra

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Mantra. Goal. Inspirational word picture that says what you really want.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do, be, have? Something that has nothing to do with should. Or that has everything to do with should? Are there things you used to do that you don’t now? Are there things you CAN’T do now that you wish you could? Do you want to be more fully you? What do you still want while you still can? Life is short. When will it be time? Do we really have the luxury of time?

I never thought I could get a college education. Or be in really good shape. Or get published. Or have a man like Lance. I changed. One step at a time. One day after another. One semester. One year. One degree at a time. One word at a time. One calorie at a time. One workout every day.

The Goal Sentence:SMART goal setting acronym:

This is what many of the experts recommend.

Specific.
Measurable.
Achievable.
Relevant.
Time bound.

Specific. (Simple) Measurable. (Either the goal or the lifestyle) Achievable. (Big. Big for you. A little adjustment.) Relevant. (Does it matter to you? Or is it something you SHOULD do?) Time bound. (This is sometimes the sticky one.)

Ideas:

I am an inspired, 112# published writer.

I know…

Because I drink water instead of snacking…

Every day I will…

I love and accept myself…

I live…

I feel…

By June 17th, 2017…

So I’ve written a few goal sentences that incorporate all this criteria, but so far the jury’s out. The date makes me feel like I’m in a steel box in the searing sun–but maybe that’s okay. Maybe change is supposed to make us squirm. Change is not comfort.

The goal also needs to make you feel something, which is different for everybody. Concrete. Vague. Strangely, sometimes the more concrete the sentence is, the less compelling it is.

Because I drink water instead of snacking I weigh 108#.

I am a ripped, sexy plan-based vixen.

You choose.

Cheers lovelies, to carefully considered goals supported by daily habits that all add up to the life we want to live.

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

Zen Habits

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My own set of morning zen habits, the things I do every day to make the goal setting activities happen.

These three activities give energy to my particular brand of happiness, in order for me to live the life I love, which is to be publishing my work, be lean and fit, which both feed me being happy and generous in all my love and friendship and community relationships.

Morning Support Habits: I start with these three at somewhere between 5-6 a.m. always with an attitude of gratitude.

I am doing 15 minutes of yoga
I am doing 15 minutes of meditation
I am doing 15 minutes of free-writing

The yoga, meditation, free writing combination is 45 minutes and gives direction to my day, and each activity gives energy to the next. The yoga wakes me up, gets me grounded in the earth, in my higher power and in myself, and then I start pointing myself towards how I want my day to go. The meditation gets me receptive, tuning me into purpose, desire and what’s beyond my piddly imagination. The free-writing is for me, an intimate pen-paper-Kathryn combo that feeds my later creativity.

Throughout the Day Support Habits:

Water and tea only between meals.
Eat at 8-12-4.
EFT when I go to the bathroom. (Tapping on body’s meridians, evolving ideas that work towards your goal, each place on body getting closer to your
goal. Theme: The reality of where you are and self-acceptance.) I keep track of it all in my agenda with lists, then read and mark off what I’ve done.

Zen Habits. At first I thought the following were the activities I needed to do every morning to make my goals happen, but as I reread the habits I realized these rituals added up to the life I wanted to live–being fit, published and rolling with my people, so every day I write for hours, I exercise hard and I eat my own version plant-based lean.

A toast lovelies! To creating the life we want with our everyday zen habits!

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

Habits That Add Up to The Life You Want to Live

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Every day No Matter What.

How do you even start to lose weight, get radiantly healthy or really fit?

For me right now, two deep desires get me up and inspired every day: My own version of plant-based, lean-happy and publishing my essays.

This is how I’m experimenting with making those two things happen:

Habits are tools for personal transformation. What we do every day accumulates in our skills, in our thinking, on our bodies and in our relationships.

Skills.
Bodies.
Relationships.
Making money.

The Big Habits. The purpose for these habits are to give structure and direction to each day so I am doing the following:

I am eating well. (Plant based. No SOS sugar, oil, salt.)
I am exercising. (5-6 times a week, at least 40 minutes.)
I am writing. (20 hours a week.)

In the following posts we’ll take just a few zen habits at a time that make these goals possible.

Cheers lovelies, to dreams, to living the life we want.

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

Won’t Stop Your Heart Mornay Sauce

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Okay folks here it is, as promised: My version of a healthier, less-fat Mornay sauce.

The Better-For-You Mornay

Water saute on medium heat until soft and translucent 5-10 minutes:

1/3 Cup Water
2/3 Cup Onion (I like sweet yellows or purple)

Add and warm through 1-2 minutes:

1/4 (5-6 Mushrooms) Cup Powdered Dried Brown Mushroom (Hand Coffee Mill 2-3 mushrooms at a time, and Asian grocery a great place to get these.)
1 Teaspoons Powdered Vegan Beef broth powder
2 Teaspoons Nutritional Yeast
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Fresh ground White Pepper (more to taste)
1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos
Dash Ground Flake Red Chili Pepper (Coffee mill)

Puree in blender:

1-2 Cup Water (Add as needed.)
1/4-1/2 Fully Cooked White Beans
(1/4 Cup Raw Cashews for richness. Leave out if weight loss or health requires.)

Add stove ingredients to blender items and blend until smooth 15-60 seconds depending on blender. Simmer very low to incorporate tastes and adjust flavorings to suit. This is both art and science. Make it yours!

Variations:

Turkey gravy: Add 1-2 teaspoons of sage and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
Biscuit gravy: Add 1-2 teaspoons both white and black pepper.
Mac and cheese: Definitely do the cashews and add 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

To get this really good I stand at the blender grinding more pepper, adding more Braggs and whirling away, continually tasting and adjusting to my own tastes. This is my idea of fun. Let me know what you think.

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Love and Lettuce Radio Show?

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I’m thinking about podcasting, creating a mini internet-based radio show. (In the picture above I’m guest hosting on the All Things Vegan Radio Show.) I’m thinking short (15-20 minutes) with liberal dashes of real life humor, stirring in every day lifestyle tips for living the zen of plant-based lean lifestyle. Could podcasting be an entertaining medium to share plant-based cooking and lifestyle experiments? Would this be of value to you?

Recently I came across The New York Times Modern Love Podcast which delivers fresh and entertaining perspectives on the most compelling of human experiences–L-O-V-E! The velvet-voiced host touts–‘Stories of life, love and redemption.’ Catchy. Then after a brief summary of the current week’s essay, a famous personality reads the essay, after which a short discussion takes place either with the essay’s author or some expert who has some deeper perspective on the driving universal truth within the essay. The simple format resonates with its in-and-out concision.

It works.

This particular Modern Love podcast is worthy of passing on to you: “I Will Be Your Mother Figure” written by Episcopalian priest Rhonda Mawhood Lee, who in her essay, befriends and supports an elderly, gay parishioner. Read by actress Laura Dern.

The Modern Love podcast in general, and this essay in particular, have my idea machine racing…thinking about all the possibilities of performance art: its power to convey a social issue, a spiritual concept, or something as complex as personal transformation! Give it a listen. Imagine a future Love and Lettuce version. Then, if you’re so inclined, let me know what you think.

Cheers Lovelies: to reinvention; to showing up every day; to pondering the possibilities; to using your voice to create positive change.

Love and Lettuce,
Kathryn

On the Road with Plant-based Lean: The Kentucky Trip

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Two questions: What can you do when you want to make a change and it’s just not happening? And: What gets in the way, once you’re on the path to your goal?

Maybe sometime awhile back, when you were in a funk, some well meaning soul advised, ‘You just need a change of scenery.’ Could it be that simple? Let’s go with it for a minute.

What would you choose for your ‘change of scenery?’ A tropical vacation perhaps? Or how about a quick weekend trip to the coast? Call me daft, but I often opt for a tinge of grit, a place that will stretch me, a place that lets me know not everybody does yoga, drinks kombucha and eats veggies like a hooved animal–maybe even a place where I’m the one with the accent.

Enter to a place called Kentucky, a place where change is slow and is located somewhere past Saint Lou-ee, Misserah, on the other side of Illinois, across the Ohio River from Indiana. You know it, right? Yeah, me neither. We’ve all heard of Kentucky, but if you or your kin weren’t born there, likely you’ve only a flat mental snapshot.

One of my hoity-toity Northern friends feigns redneck with what she calls a Prine-tucky accent, her slang-word a hybrid of the neighboring town of Prineville, and the state of Kentucky. Kentucky-ans should definitely not be flattered.

My guy’s family is from a town called Owensboro, Kentucky, a town so far west, only the Ohio River keeps it from being Indiana. In search of rental property we could afford, he and I flew and drove past the center of the country, through Illinois and Indiana farmland.

Imagine this: Just as you start to traverse the blue continuous trusses of the Owensboro Bridge, your navigation coos “Welcome to Kentucky.” Welcome indeed. Your eyes take in the business end of the the biggest working river in the U.S. Holy-moly: rusty barges loaded to the gills; blond piles of spent grain in piles on the shore; tall cylindrical concrete stacks billow, powering a coal-fired city.

We thought we were going back to purchase rental property, yet within the culture shock (for me), we found the warmth of family and a big dose of regional culture, especially with the local food scene.

He gobbled shredded mutton at Old Hickory BBQ, while I dumped BBQ sauce on my stale iceberg lettuce salad, smiling at the tang of smoke and vinegar. We shared an order of sweet potato biscuits at the Miller House. I was delighted with the cornbread drizzled with sorghum at Moonlight BBQ. Pretty standard fare, right?

But have you heard of a “Kentucky Hot Brown?” This regional delight is a bedrock of good white bread and a pile of sliced white turkey, topped with a slice or two of red, ripe tomato, then blanketed with plenty of house-made Mornay sauce, which according to one search-engine recipe, is a Béchamel sauce, a sophisticated onion-based light gravy, to which egg yolks, Parmesan, cheddar and blue cheeses are added, then finished with butter, sugar and cream. I need a nap just writing about it. Anyway once this whole “Hot Brown” thing is soaked with that rich, Mornay creaminess, a couple slices of bacon are placed across the top, the whole thing gets sprinkled with bread crumbs and Parmesan, then broiled until bubbly and the color of a Kentucky suntan in August.

Dam gummit it, y’all probably thought this a plant based blog, didn’t you? A place where there are conversations about healthy lifestyles, getting lean and maybe even saving the planet? I’m getting to it. I promise.

My point is culture—one possible obstacle that could derail the shift to a healthier lifestyle. Culture could look like the family we woke up with every day of our childhood; the region of the country our parents or their parents chose; the place we went on Sunday mornings; the media, news and politics the family television steeped us in. We were fed in the “Hot Brown” ways of our people; the complicated loveliness that is to be human.

So, what now y’all? I say we love it all still! I say we find our own ‘Hot Brown’ balance…like inventing a new Béchamel or a fresh version of Mornay! Sauces that are lighter, have more protein and a new kind of satisfaction.

Gosh darned right-on!

This is what I’m here for—lush healthy food. I’m not bull-crapping you. I’m going to show you how beans, onions, dried mushroom-infused sauces satisfy. Show you that palates can change. That bodies can change. That lives can change.

One delicious recipe at a time. One daily water-drinkin’, workin’-out habit at a time. Until one day, a bunch of days have piled up—and you are the ‘you’ you always wanted to be.

A toast y’all lovelies—perhaps to finding a change in scenery, and for sure to rolling around in our lush family culture, and absolutely adapting our food-lifestyle so we don’t stay sick, plump and dull. No dam gummit way! We are healthy, lean and lucid!

Love and lettuce,
Kathryn