Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello all!

So it is now July and I have been vegan almost this entire time. I will admit, there have been times I have experimented with foods, and it is amazing the difference it has made in my personal well-being. My stomach is no longer capable of handling dairy on really any level. It makes me incredibly nauseous and bloated. No amount of ice cream is worth THAT! Beef apparently does the SAME thing to me now as well. I attempted to eat a burger maybe a month and a half after I adopted a vegan diet and was horribly ill that night. I attempted some pasta with a meat sauce about a month or so later, and the same thing happened, except this time I was sick to my stomach for almost two days. The best way I think I can describe it is that my body simply rejected what it now saw as foreign. At first I thought maybe it was food poisoning or something like that, but the second time it happened, it just didn't seem quite right. It is just another testament to how animal products just really are not good for your body. I mean think about it. The transition to being vegan was really easy, at least for me, as far as the way it worked with my digestive system. Attempting to back pedal was absolutely horrible! Again, at least for me, but I will say that overall, I have felt better in all this time than I ever have in my entire life. I have more energy and just FEEL better. I no longer feel bloated or weighed down either. That whole stuffed feeling after eating dinner is entirely gone. Adopting a vegan diet may in fact be the best thing I have ever done for myself as well as for my kids. Live well, eat well!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ok, so it's been 4 days now that I've been eating like a vegan

So let me start out by saying I went out to The Vegan Society online and took a 7 day pledge to eat vegan. Today is day 4 since I made that pledge. Surprisingly, it has been much easier than I thought it would be. It's not as difficult as some might think...even if the dishes do take some creativity to make. Case in point, tonight we had a vegan mac~n~cheese for dinner with a vegan chocolate cake. The mac~n~cheese passed the kid-test as did the cake. It was actually very good...without an ounce of cheese. You can find the recipe here at this link:

Vegan Mac~n~Cheese

It really is VERY good...truly.

Even the chocolate cake that I baked tonight was good. It was moist and had a fudgy/brownie texture. It was SO yummy! Here's the link for that recipe:

Vegan Chocolate Cake

It just goes to show that veganism is not limited at all...we shall see how all of this pans out when I have completed my pledge period. Oh, and something interested happened to me just yesterday. So the kids and I grabbed lunch at a little restaurant yesterday afternoon. I ordered a vegetable soup. So the waiter brings out our food and I saw the soup - it looked pretty good. So I reached into the soup to take a bite and brought up shredded chicken. That was surprising. What was even MORE surprising was that I was REPULSED by it. I can't explain it and I don't even pretend to understand it. I could NOT bring myself to eat just was not appetizing in the least. I mean it was actually GROSS...I don't get that at all! Especially since I'm not an animal rights activist. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I DON'T CARE - I DON'T LIKE THE IDEA OF ANIMALS BEING MISTREATED SO LET ME MAKE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR. I just mean that I'm not going to be forceful or persistent to others regarding my personal choices. So all of that aside, I found the chicken just gross and unappetizing...honestly it was just odd. Oh well, c'est la vie! Happy life and good health!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hmm, so time to spice things up perhaps?

Ok, so there are many debates about "diets" and "lifestyles" in regards to health and nutrition. I have some thoughts to share on a few topics within these subjects. Personally, I have always been drawn to French cuisine, a vegan lifestyle, and Mediterranean diets in general. So here are my thoughts...

French diets aren't really diets, but a lifestyle, according to Mireille. I would be inclined to agree with this statement. The same can be said for adopting a vegan diet as well as a Mediterranean diet. The question remains, what do you do with what?

To start with, French food is very rich indeed and most of it is truly delicious. There is no denying that the French know food. Personally, after following Mireille's suggestions, I lost a total of about 6 lbs since I started this blog back in February, so clearly, it can work. I never felt deprived and I never felt as though I was missing anything.

In regards to adopting a vegan diet as a way of life, there seem to be many issues surrounding this type of lifestyle. It seems that there is a general belief that vegans are animal rights activists and extremists. While it is true that many vegans ARE animal rights activists and choose to be vegan for the sake of the animals, I think being vegan gets lost in translation. There is much more to veganism in that it is simply a healthy way of living. There have been numerous studies that show adopting a vegan lifestyle can add up to 10-12 years to a person's life. With that said, I have considered adopting a vegan lifestyle for the health benefits. Something interesting is that there are so many options in being vegan. There seems to be a belief in place that a deterrent to being vegan is the lack of variety. That simply is NOT true. Thanks to some friends, I have come across several really wonderful recipes that are vegan that most omnivores would never realize ARE vegan! So just food for thought...veganism is not necessarily about animal rights activism, and being vegan does not mean being limited!

As far as a Mediterranean diet, that usually includes a lot of seafood. It is well known now that seafood is crammed full of DHA and whatnot. From there, it really revolves around what you want to eat and how you cook it to eat it. It has long been touted as a healty lifestyle diet to adopt as it is lean and full of grains, fruits, and veggies. So from a nutritional perspective, it would seem that this could be a viable options if animal rights issues were just not up your alley.

Ok, so the bottom line here is that whatever diet you choose to follow or adapt, the real clincher is ensuring that you take in enough fruits and veggies and just eating in a balanced manner. That's what doctors, experts, and nutritionists have been saying for years. It is no surprise that every single study that comes out about nutrition says that people need to eat more fruits and veggies as well as whole grains.

Another note on veganism...more personal and close to home for me. I have been asked if I am going to have my children adopt a vegan lifestyle should I do it permanently. I honestly do not know the answer to that. I believe making this choice is exactly that, a choice. I do not want to force them to adopt a vegan lifestyle because they are still so young (both under 5 years old). The truth is though that complete nutrition can be accomplished without eating animal products from meats and cheese to dairy and eggs. It's not a question of proper nutrition, but more that they be able to make the choice when they can. My children eat in a healthy and balanced manner - in fact, they love their fruits and veggies!

Some people will even advocate that being vegan is Christian and as such will quote scriptures from Genesis or from the Gospel of Jesus (which by the way, is not widely accepted as part of the Holy Bible as it was found much later and was never associated with the Bible). There are equally as many quotes that contradict that and one story in particular comes to mind. One of the most well-known stories about Jesus was the story of loaves and fishes. There were not enough loaves and fishes for everyone to eat and he told his disciples to feed everyone anyway and there were miraculously enough loaves and fishes to feed the entire crowd. With that said, it would seem that fish are okay to consume if Jesus fed an entire crowd of people in that manner, at least that's what the logical assumption would be from that.

After all is said and done, the way that you choose to eat and live your life is entirely your prerogative. If you choose to be vegan due to animal rights beliefs, great! More power to you in taking a stand for what you believe in! If you choose to eat for health reasons, that's great too and should not be discounted as any less valuable. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing a diet and everyone feels as though they are correct. We, as people, cannot expect that others will think the exact same way because everyone is different. It just isn't possible. With that said, I'll be getting off my soapbox now and simply wish you all the best for your health!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's been a week since my last post...

And I am sorry for not keeping up with it better over the past week. It has been crazy hectic for me with the kids. We've been battling colds and ear infections so I've been a little preoccupied. That and my husband, as wonderful as he is, decided to send me a TON of chocolate as a "just because" gift. He's overseas currently and did it just because he was thinking of me...he's just the sweetest! Chocolate was on my list of offenders though and I hadn't told him that I had embarked upon re-casting prior to him ordering it and sending it. I have had the HARDEST time keeping it in moderation. On the bright side of things, over the past week, I haven't gained anything - I've only maintained. Now that most of the chocolate is gone, I'm going to try again. It does make me feel good to say though that I did keep my portions in check! I think the largest portion I had was maybe 6oz in total. If nothing else, here's a breakdown of my day today:

Breakfast (2.5 oz)
Two waffles - plain

Lunch (didn't weigh)
Two portabello mushrooms sauteed in butter and olive oil
2-3 bites of chicken
1 spoonful of mac~n~cheese

Dinner (5 oz)
Chicken, Peas, and Gemilli pasta in a White Wine sauce
Two chocolate truffles (Godiva - thanks honey bun!)

So my meals today were wonderful! I would venture to say that the mushrooms I ate at lunch were the most spectacular part of my day! For those that may be interested, here is my recipe for how I cooked them (slightly adapted from Mireille's):

Sauteed Portabello Mushrooms
1 tbsp butter (unsalted)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp parsley flakes or 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt (personal preference)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper (personal preference)

Heat the butter and olive oil until they sizzle in a saucepan that has a lid. Place the garlic and various herbs and spices into the sizzling oil/butter mixture. Cut the stems off of the mushrooms. Place the mushrooms top side down in the buttery mixture. Cook the mushrooms in the mixture for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Then put the mushroom top-side down again and cover this time with the lid. Let them cook for approximately 5-8 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on your heat setting and your chosen type of saucepan. After they cook, turn the heat off and pull the mushrooms out of the pan. You can drizzle the liquid that is still in the saucepan over the mushrooms or eat them without the extra liquid. It is absolutely YUMMY! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 5: Not as bad as I thought!

Hello! Today was day 5 for me. I am happy to report that I did not gain anything after my splurging yesterday so that made me ecstatic! On another note, I did an experiment today to see how not paying attention to how much water you drink can affect your appetite or your perception of your appetite. In doing so, I have learned that I am one of those people that can't differentiate between needing water or needing food. Interesting, eh? As a result, I did rather poorly all day today, but this does help me in seeing what I need to work on. I also need to work on incorporating more fruits and veggies. Without further ado, here was my day:

Breakfast - 4.1 oz
Honey Greek Yogurt
Vanilla almond granola

Lunch - 5 oz
Red beans and rice

Snack - 3.8 oz
PB&J on multigrain 100 calorie rounds

Dinner - forgot to weigh it and is more of a snack than dinner per se...
Mini Nilla Wafers (one handful)
Milk (approx 5-6 oz in the cup I used)

Something else I realized about myself is that without drinking lots of water, the food I crave is carbs. Not that carbs are bad necessarily, but I had to literally force myself to not have any more Nilla Wafers or a second PB&J! I also realized that I was eating what I was craving even though it did not make me happy. I guess that shouldn't be surprising seeing as how cookies made my offender list, but I thought that eating it would make me happy, but this is not the case. So if nothing else, I can walk away from today realizing that drinking water is absolutely key in helping me eat better. I did, however, get happy upon realizing that my Valrhona chocolates arrived today. I had ordered some as per Mireille since giving it up altogether is no way to be happy! I had a small piece and it was absolutely heavenly so I am now happy again. Despite my somewhat off day, tomorrow is another day; c'est la vie!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 4: What a day!

Ok so today hasn't been the best day ever for food, but I did pay attention to portion control. The day started out great wasn't until the afternoon that I didn't do quite so well, but eh, the food made me happy. Anyway, so here's the recap of my meals today.

Breakfast: 4oz
Honey Greek Yogurt
Vanilla Almond Granola

Lunch: 3.7 oz
The other half of my Sonic Burger

Dinner: (less than half total order)
3 chicken strips from Popeye's (Spicy)

Dessert: (enjoyed every bite)
Small DQ Blizzard (Snickers)

I know - lots of fast food today, but it was just that kind of day. Appointments at odd times led to eating what I could when I could. I need to learn how to plan to have snacks on hand in order to combat this issue in order to make it a non-issue. Oh well...I am happy to report though that as of this morning, I am down almost 2lbs total! We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 3: My day...

So today has been interesting...kind of. Did I mention that I have two kids? Well I do. Our oldest is 3.5 years old and our youngest is a year and a half. Our oldest one is also in preschool that starts at 8am and has to be dropped off by 7:45am. So this morning, I was not woken up until 7:20am. My little alarm clock decided to sleep in this morning. Naturally, this means that now I'm running around like a chicken with my head chopped off since I've got to be out the door with the kids by 7:30 to get our oldest to school on time. We just barely made it on time, thank goodness! In the rush, I had not realized how thirsty I was until I got back home with our youngest. I downed an entire bottle of water! Afterwards, I ate breakfast which was an Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin English muffin with some mascarpone cheese...YUM! Total ounces 5.2!

My day's menu:
Breakfast - 5.2 oz
Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin
Dollop of Mascarpone

Lunch - 6 oz
Leftover Mac~n~cheese
Grilled chicken breast

Afternoon snack - 3.2 oz
PB&J on multigrain bread

Dinner - 6 oz
half Sonic burger w/ Mustard (no cheese/bacon or anything else)
half small tater tots

*Not so good dinner because of a last minute trip to the doctor's office. Our youngest woke up from her nap with a crusted eye which meant pinkeye and I didn't have anything ready made. As per Mireille, adjustments are key so less is more day in and day out. I will have to compensate for my food intake today. On the bright side, after this weekend, I am down a whole pound! Just gotta keep it up!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 2: The Truth Comes Out

Ok so apparently my willpower was not as strong as I had hoped. *insert sheepish grin here* I couldn't stick to it today. It wasn't because it tasted bad because I still think that the leeks tasted good, but it was boring after eating and drinking the same thing the day before. It was the monotony that I couldn't take. As a result, I caved today, but I still did be careful with what I ate, practicing portion control just like is recommended. More specifically, what I did was weigh everything that I ate and nothing over 4-6 oz per meal total. Mireille mentioned that less than half a pound or 8 oz should be enough to satisfy and anything more was considered overeating. As a result, I ate breakfast which totaled out to be 5.8 oz, lunch was 5oz, and dinner was 6oz. What was even better about these meals though was that I ate what I wanted to and it made me happy! Here was my day:

Cream drop biscuits
Strawberries cooked in butter and some brown sugar
Creme fraiche mixed into the strawberry concoction

Creamy broccoli cheese soup
Cream drop biscuits

Homemade macaroni and cheese
More cream drop biscuits (LOVE those things)

Things like biscuits are on my list of offenders, BUT in my defense, Mireille does not advocate just giving up offenders cold turkey because it can be difficult. Normally, I would have eaten 3-4 biscuits every time I ate. Instead, I limited myself to 2 at breakfast, 1 at lunch, and 1 at dinner. This is huge for me even though it might not sound like much to others, but I'm pretty proud of myself! Over time, I hope to bring down my offender count even more for things like biscuits as well as other offenders like pastries. My biggest offenders fall in the bread way of things - biscuits, pastries, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, biscotti, danishes, doughnuts...anything like that is what makes up my list of offenders. In any event, I thought I did pretty good today. I do not anticipate a full 2 lbs lost as of tomorrow due to only managing to do the leek soup for one day, but perhaps I'll end up with something positive either way tomorrow! Here is hoping and I will be sure to update some time tomorrow with whatever happens!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 1: Not doing too bad so far :)

Today is day 1 taking in the leek soup as recommended. Not doing too badly at all although I do feel tired. The only reason I am tired is because all I've had is leek soup as my source of nutrition, but that is to be expected. I've had 3 cups of soup today and eaten 1 of the leeks. I will say it is amazing how intensely you become attuned to the food that exists out in the world when you do this. I went out of the house this morning to run some errands thinking that if I could stay away from being home, it would be easier not to eat something I'm not supposed to today. If anything it was harder. There is so much temptation out there between drive thru this and drive thru that. It was absolutely crazy! I stayed strong though and did not have anything. I have not cheated today and have no intention of cheating tomorrow either. The reality is that it is not that hard, but you really should make sure you have an easy kind of weekend when you do this. I am definitely tired...there is no doubt. I can push through it though! I know I can! It is about 4pm now and there are only a few hours left before bedtime. 2 more cups of soup today and possibly one more leek when I get hungry is all I have left for today. Tomorrow night, I get to eat food...I wonder what I'll eat?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Night Before...

Ok, so for those of you who have surely heard of French Women Don't Get Fat and for those of you that haven't, this is going to be a blog/personal diary of how this will be incorporated into my daily life. Truthfully, the core concept behind this book is moderation is key and enjoy what you eat, even if it means having a glass of wine or champagne at every meal. My question is can you spoil yourself and still not get fat? In response, I have prepped the Magical Leek Soup that Mireille Guiliano recommends to kick off the first weekend. I cheated a little (if you can call it cheating) and had a small cup with one of the leeks tonight for dinner to see what it would taste like. Personally, I really liked it. I put a cup's worth of the broth into a mug and drank it with a little salt and little pepper. I then scooped one leek out and put some olive oil and a little salt/pepper and it was quite good. I was pleasantly surprised considering the way that I have seen so many people report the Magical Leek Soup as being less than enjoyable. She does not say forget about the salt and pepper, but says to use it sparingly. It really kicks it up a notch! Here is the recipe in case anyone else is interested in giving it a shot. I start with the official Magical Leek jump start tomorrow! Here we go!

Serves 1 for the weekend
2 pounds leeks
1. Clean the leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut off the ends of the dark green parts, leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of pale green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)
2. Put the leeks in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.
The juice is to be drunk (reheated or at room temperature to taste) every 2 to 3 hours, 1 cup at a time. For meals, or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, 1/2 cup at a time. Drizzle with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Season sparingly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if you wish.
This will be your nourishment for both days, until Sunday dinner, when you can have a small piece of meat or fish (4 to 6 ounces -- don't lose that scale yet!), with 2 vegetables, steamed with a bit of butter or olive oil, and a piece of fruit.