I drove to Indianapolis and stayed overnight so I could attend a talk by the Dalai Lama on Friday morning. I adore the Dalai Lama. Beyond the pop culture icon he’s become, he’s also very funny and doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously, which is unusual when you think of most well-known religious leaders. He supports the notion of secular ethics, and I appreciate this very much. He spent part of the time talking about secularism, and that people who follow a religious faith should not attach negative connotations to secularism. I like that he encourages the pursuit of knowledge and advancements in science and technology. I like that he dismisses the notion of magical powers. He said to the audience, “You should not come here thinking I have healing powers, because I don’t. A woman came to see me at one of my lectures because she thought I had healing powers. In 2008, I had surgery on my stomach. I was in hospital one week. That should scientifically prove that I don’t have any healing powers.” I like that he dismisses any notion of hero-worship or cult of personality that may develop around him. He said, “To those of you who came here expecting something magnificent, that is the wrong reason [to attend]. I have nothing to offer you.” He spent the next hour talking about compassion, technology, money, and happiness. I’ve decided whenever the Dalai Lama is within 5 hours of my location, I’m going to go see him. This was the second time I’ve seen him and it was definitely worth the drive.
On another note, I’ve been cooking again. I’m trying to lose a few more pounds before I go to Italy (I leave in less than a month!). I’m using the Lose It program on my ipod touch, so I’m not sure I’ll get to my goal weight before it’s time to go, as I’m trying to lose only 1.5 lbs a week, but I’ve been having great success with the program and am quite happy after this morning’s weigh-in. Part of the whole lifestyle change is trying to eat better food (and less dairy). The experts always say that the best foods to eat are the ones you make yourself using fresh ingredients. I went to a website called Eating Well, and they have a 28-day vegetarian menu, categorized by how many calories you want to ingest a day. I went for the 1200 calorie menu, since I’m already trying to eat under 1390 calories a day on the Lose It program. The meals look great, but it would take a small fortune and an incredible amount of time to buy all the ingredients necessary for 28 days and to make three meals a day. So, instead I chose about 15 recipes I want to try, and then whittled that down to 6 recipes I want to try right away. I bought all the ingredients yesterday and last night I made veggie burger pitas. Let me tell you, they were fantastic! I’ve always wanted to make my own veggie burger because I know they are better than the frozen kind you buy at the store. Well, this is my dream recipe. It has all the ingredients I love and it wasn’t as hard to make as I thought it would be (I’d never toasted pine nuts before, or ever worked with bulgur). Even my husband, who is a meat-eater, but sympathetic to my vegetarian endeavors, said he could eat vegetarian meals like that everyday. Here’s the recipe, if you want to try it. It includes the nutritional breakdown too, which is quite helpful when you’re counting calories. This morning I baked Morning Glory muffins. They, too, were fantastic.