Friday, July 6, 2012

Leaning In

I am trying to be more vegan than not. It's not necessarily easy. I'm working on things like planning ahead, packing a lunch, cooking.

I wish i could find amazing vegan ranch dressing that tastes like hidden valley, and mayo that tastes like Hellman's and cheesy bread that tastes like Papa John's.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Veg Pledge Day 2 and 3

Yesterday's salad left me crazy hungry and with a headache.  I decided I needed more umph in my dinner, and traffic didn't allow me to get to Pei Wei.

I ended up at my favorite Thai place where I ordered stirfry noodles, veggies, and tofu. I ate half the order, and it filled me. Headache gone soon after eating. I decided the headache was hunger induced.

Today, day 3, was Taco Bus day. I had a tostada with a stuffed pepper, beans, tomato, and cabbage.  The pepper was stuffed with cheese, which I THINK was sheep cheese. It wasn't a lot, and I am ok with that. I also had some beans, which I pretended were not lardy. I got a strange look when I asked for no onions or cheese on the tostada.

I went grocery shopping and stocked up on Thai noodles to add to my soups. Tonight I'll have my leftover noodle dish.

Also, at the grocery store, I walked past the deli counter. They had just fried chicken, and that's all you could smell. It turned my stomach.  I had chicken last Friday!  Today I couldn't take the smell. Interesting ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Veg Pledge Day 2 Dinner

Dinner from the local Thai place. Stir fried noodles, mushroom, cabbage, carrot, baby corn, and tofu. I added Bragg's Liquid Aminos for a soy sauce touch. Mmmm!

Veg Pledge 2012

I have taken the Veg Pledge!  Seven days, all veg.  No meat.  No meat products.  Wow.  I've been meat free 3-4 days a week, but a whole week?  What was I thinking??? 

Day one was yesterday, and I did good.  I had a huge "taco salad" with greens, tomato, avocado, veg refried beans, vegan sour cream, black pepper, and blue corn tortilla chips.  It was quite tasty!  For dinner I had a Budda Roll and Miso Soup from the neighborhood Japanese place.  Budda Roll was on the "vegetarian" list of rolls, and was shitake mushroom, carrot, and avocado wrapped in seaweed and white rice.  OK, so brown would be better, but I like white rice!

Today is Day 2.  I've had the same taco salad, and a few french fries.  They were good, and they were handy.  For dinner I'm planning a trip to Pei Wei, where I can get something noodly or ricey.  Their Thai Basil Chicken (with tofu instead of chicken) is amazing.  Their Bangkok Noodles are yummy (without onions or chicken).  And I'm told they have a good new salad that is quite tasty.  So one of those will be my dinner.

Tomorrow is a trip to the Taco Bus.  This lunch was scheduled before I took the pledge, so we'll see how creative I get...  I am bound and determined to do this!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Surviving a Toxic Week

I have not posted in a very long time.  Sometimes life takes over and it takes a while to clear your head and come back to what is really important. 

I am once again, health-focused.  I've somehow managed to lose 15 pounds in about 7 weeks.  Suddenly my pants are baggy, and shirts fit better, and people are saying "what are you doing?"

The best compliment came the other evening when a gal I know looked me up and down and said "OMG you look so good!"  I was wearing a black tank that fits snugger than most of my clothes, and a pair of baggy pants with the waistband rolled over.  Apparently the look worked, as I got many compliments that night.  I must get more of those tanks...

So what AM I doing?  In the words of Kathy Freston, I'm "Leaning in".  I'm playing with veganism and vegetarianism.  I'm a "Flexitarian".  I'll eat what I want when I want, but I'll make conscious choices, eat wisely, and remember how certain foods make me feel so I can control my overall well-being.  If I choose to eat meat, I will do so in extreme moderation.  I have no plans to give up sea bass or mahi-mahi or tuna or crab or shrimp.  That will be my first meat choice, because well, I like it, and it doesn't make me feel yucky inside!  And sour cream.  Until I find a perfect non-dairy sour cream, it's still in.

I've eliminated about 99% of dairy.  Coffee and tea drinks are now made with soy or coconut based "milks".  I've eliminated about 90% of the meat in my life.  Surprisingly, this meat and potatoes girl hasn't had such a hard time with that one.  And I really have no appetite for most of what I used to eat.

I've been toying back and forth with all this for months.  What sent me over the edge was a wonderful film called Vegucated.  It did a wonderful job of walking one through the process of conversion and why it's important to overall health and well-being. 

After watching it, I had lunch with a friend at Chipotle.  I think we all know my love of Chipotle.  I looked at the meat in the trays and thought I was going to throw up.  Something in my brain had changed and I had no appetite for what I used to love!  I ordered a salad with no meat, but rice, black beans, hot salsa, and sour cream, and of course the dressing.  It was so good!  And I felt amazing after eating it.  I didn't feel bloated or too full.  So for the next three days I made my own version of that salad and pretty much lived on it. 

Next I began ordering my Tom Kha Tofu soup to be made with vegetable broth.  And I've tried things like veggie sandwiches, portabello mushroom "burgers", and other wonderful bean, tofu, and veggie things that I would never have tried.

Daiya.  I had read about it, but until I tried it I was convinced there was no good cheese substitute.  Love it. 

Caffeine.  I've pretty much given it up.  Have not had coffee in weeks.  Until yesterday.

In the last week, I've digressed.  It began with a bit of potato chips.  Then it was a sandwich with lunch meat (disgusting habit).  Then it was a bit of chicken, cheese, more cheese.  A cheese sandwich.  A veggie sandwich with cheese.  Eggs over easy with wheat toast bacon and home fries, cheese spread on crackers, prosciutto wrapped melon, spicy Thai shrimp, a double latte, and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries.  Yesterday I was feeling yucky.  So I had the latte.  Felt nauseas.  So had the grilled ham and cheese.  By the end of the day, I thought I would pass out.  Headache, shakes, cold sweats like you get when you have a fever, and the stomach was so bad, I finally had to give into the nausea.  It was awful.  I was so glad that I was the only one left at work when that happened.

On the way home, I got my special Thai soup and rice, and steamed dumplings.  I had the dumplings (which do have a bit of chicken and shrimp in them), and a bit of soup.  Things started to calm down.  I laid down, sipped my sparkling water, and fell asleep. 

Today I woke feeling a little groggy but much better.  And I realized...I had inadvertently put myself into a toxic situation.  I realized that I'm not waking feeling crazy groggy and tired anymore.  I have more energy, although some days are more challenging than others, especially if I have a little wine or stay out late. 

I feel "clean".  I don't feel like my insides are fighting a constant battle with my outside.  And of course, I'm down 15 pounds.  I'm going to keep it up.  We'll see where this all leads.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vegetable Lentil Soup

I bought a slow cooker. I need more veggies, and soup is a good way.

This morning I dropped a few things in. I read lots of recipes and then kinda winged it.  Here's what I ended up with:

One 16 oz can lentils
One 8 oz can tomatoes with chili peppers
One 4 oz can diced chili peppers
A few handfuls of the following frozen veggies:  carrots, sweet potato, peas, collard greens
1/4 tap curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric and paprika
16 oz vegetable broth
1 cup water

Tossed it all in and will let it simmer on low about 8 hours. It already smells good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Cravings

I have cut way back on fast food consumption.

I have cut way back on meat consumption.

I have cut out, almost completely, high fructose corn syrup consumption.  Not easy since its in most every conventional packaged product on the market in some form or another.

I have become more conscious of where my food comes from and what is in it (like the evil GMO stuff).

I have cut way back on processed food.

I do most of my grocery shopping at the health food store, opting for healthier, organic convenience foods.

I cooked soup this week! With fresh ingredients even!  Yes, cooked! 

I have been doing this with food little by little since before Christmas (i had already cut out HFCS sodas.)  I find that I am no longer craving fast food.  Except for the crazy $0.99 spicy sausage sandwich at Checkers. But I'm not giving into THAT very often.

I have also eliminated 99% of the dairy in my life. And discovered Daiya shreds which allows me to skip my cheese and eat it too. It even melts. Its a cheesy goodness miracle.

I thought cutting back on meat would be hard. It hasn't been. I'm actually craving whole foods now. How cool is that?  And rice and beans are a good thing!

So when I opted to have seasoned fries and rice pudding for dinner last night, I forgave myself.  It wasn't a crazy number of fries, and it was all so good. That's another thing, everything tastes better.  Its like my taste buds have broken away from a cult and are free for the first time.

I'm more congested from the pudding this morning, but that's the choice I made. And I can live with that for a day.  It was very good pudding. Filled with all things evil I'm sure, but once in a while, I'll survive!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy Tom Kha Tofu Soup

I made this in less than 30 minutes, in the microwave.  Microwave? Yup.  In the microwave.  Why? Because I was lazy. 

The Thai Red Curry wasn't the right choice. I am determined to find the chili paste. I substituted Bragg Liquid Aminos for the soy sauce, and added much more than it called for. I also forgot to add the lemon and lime juice. Oops!

The end result was a good veggie soup that can be made quick with the right ingredients. This made about three generous servings, and I poured it over rice.

2 eight ounce containers of Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth

1 five ounce can coconut milk

1/2 container pre-diced red, yellow, and green bellpeppers (2-3 handfuls will work, or one whole diced bellpepper of choice)

1/3 container Cremini Mushrooms, sliced and then halved

Splash Sesame Oil

1 teaspoon each lemon and lime juice (or a good squirt of organic juice in a container)

2 teaspoons soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

1/2 teaspoon Thai Chili Paste (or more to make it hotter, taste as you go)

Half a cup cooked rice

Poor veggie broth in bowl and heat in microwave 3 minutes on high.

Add Chili paste, soy sauce, lemon and lime juice, and veggies. Cover and set aside.

Pour Coconut milk in bowl and heat in microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and heat another minute.  Heating them separate will ensure the coconut milk will not curdle.

Add coconut milk into soup mixture.  Stir.

Heat in microwave for one minute. Stir. Heat for another minute.

Spoon cooked rice into soup bowl. Ladel soup on top. Add a splash of sesame oil and enjoy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Groceries and Fast Food

I decided I should make the soup I'm obsessed with, Tom Kha Tofu, rather than continue to get takeout at the local Thai place several times a week. So today I set out to run errands and find ingredients.

But first I backtrack.  At about 11am I decided to eat my leftover takeout. I had ordered Hot, not realizing how hot it was. Overnight it apparently got hotter. I still ate it, and continued on my day.

Some hours later I drove through a fast food place for lunch. Chicken bites, ranch dressing, and sweet tea. I inhaled on my way to Sally's Beauty Supply where I stocked up on a few things.

Next I went to the grocery store. About half way there I felt my tummy get rather, well, violent.  But it subsided, so I passed my house continuing to the grocery.

I found all the ingredients I needed but two. As I made my way toward sparkling water, the violence began again.  I ended up in the restroom!  I was a little horrified! 

Then I got clammy and got a headache.  But my tummy was better. I moved on to the healthfood store where I found my two missing ingredients and began looking for something called Dashi. 

I also want to make miso soup. And because I couldn't find it, and my phone didn't work in the store so I couldn't look up an alternative, I moved on to The Fresh Market.

There I was able to look up the substitution and get what I needed. The substitute is fish sauce by the way.

So tomorrow I will make a soup. Or maybe two.

And I skipped dinner, as I didn't want my tummy to freak out again.  I'm still recovering from having to use that restroom!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meatless Experiment Week 1

I went completely meatless two days this week. It's amazing how different I feel.

I've also cut my meat. Consumption in half, at least. Meat for me usually is chicken with occassional pork, fish, and very infrequent beef.

Being aware of the issues in our food supply has me making different choices. Better quality, less questionable choices.

I'll be interested to see if my weight goes down.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Less Meat, One Heck of a Migraine...Coincidence?

A couple hours before bed on Monday night, I had a heck of a headache building.  For reasons I do not understand (what the hell was I thinking??) I went to bed without taking anything for it. 

I woke at 5am Tuesday morning with a beautiful, knock down, drag out, nausea inducing, light sensitive, migraine.

I immediatly blamed the lack of meat on Monday.  Jokingly.  The migraine hung on for two full days, in which I did eat some meat (not a lot), a grilled cheese sandwich (comfort food), and finally, last night I had a glass of wine.  Seemed to do the trick with relaxing me, as I woke this morning headache free.  Headache free but suffering from a migraine hangover.

I had a little meat today and a huge salad.  I will try a meat free day again soon, maybe even before Monday.  Poor Meatless Monday...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meatless Monday

I decided to embrace Meatless Monday.  I found a recipe for a chilled dish that required no cooking (other than defrosting the rice), and I could make up at in the back room at work.  I stopped at the grocery store on my way to work, recipe in hand. 

Apparently January 2 is NOT the day to look for Black Eyed Peas.  I've not heard of this tradition before, but learned about it in my quest to make this dish.  Not a can or frozen bag to be found.  None.  Zilch.  Nada. 

I did some substitutions.  Between substitutions for things I don't like and not being able to find black eyed peas, it ended up as...
  • 1 can black beans, drained (instead of black eyed peas)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Diced bell pepper (instead of celery, blech!)
  • Bunch Diced green onions
  • Diced tomato
  • 1/3 tube Basil (instead of fresh parsley)
  • Two tablespoons minced garlic
  • I did not add the tablespoon of lemon juice.
Mix in large container, chill for an hour.
It was really good.  I've let the leftovers chill since last night, and it's really smelling amazing.  I probably overdid the garlic, but you can never have enough garlic!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day

Happy New Year!  I have begun the year with split pea soup and a bit of A&W Rootbeer. Both were leftovers I hated to let go to waste.

Yesterday I grocery shopped at a health food store that has very good prices.  I bought salad fixings, vegetarian soups, avocados, Blue Sky Rootbeer for those periodic cravings, raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, and a few other healthy things. I did get some Annie Chuns roasted seaweed snacks in wasabi flavor. They taste like the ocean. They are for when I want chips.

I want to limit my meat and processed food intake.  I want to eat more greens and fruit. I didn't buy fruit, I didn't see anything that's struck me.  I'll pick some up this week.

Since there was Ham in my soup, I'm going to be veggie the rest of the day. One day at a time. That's all I can ask.