Before the Vegan Experiment

This is me, last August, just one month before I started my 10-month whole-food vegan challenge.

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After the Vegan Experiment

This was taken last week, on my 40th birthday.

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Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

Well, my journey is almost at an end. I turn 40 tomorrow, and that will officially end my 10-month vegan challenge.

For the next two days, I plan on enjoying a few of my previous favorite foods, such as: pizza, milk chocolate, cheesecake, and a hamburger.

Hopefully I won’t get too sick, but regardless, on Monday, I will again set aside animal products in favor of my new favorite way to eat: plant style!

I don’t care how tasty that cheesecake is….nothing is as rewarding as the feeling of good health!

After this weekend, I hope to have some current pictures of me to post on my blog. It will be fun to see the “before & after” pictures side by side! πŸ™‚

See you all then!

Jackie

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Mmmm…now this is LIVING!

My lunch today. Whole wheat tortilla wrap (Sam’s) with spicy roasted red pepper hummus (Costco), loaded with fresh veggies (my garden). Add a huge side of crisp, juicy grapes (Costco), and VOILA, plant based lunch heaven!

Food should always taste this good!

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Four Weeks And Counting…..

It is the end of May, and I have just over 4 weeks to go. The burning question on everyone’s mind seems to be: “Will you go back to eating meat?”

Answer: “NO!” πŸ™‚

I began this journey as an experiment, to see for myself if all the hype was true. What I discovered is that, while this lifestyle may not work for everyone, it does work for me.

The changes I made were simple. I completely eliminated ALL animal products from my diet, and I ate only whole food, cutting out all processed food.

While I realize that this may sound daunting, it has actually been very simple and easy to do. The benefits were felt practically immediately.

Some of the things that really stood out to me were:

I felt good…pretty much all the time.

I never experienced any cravings, and I was able to kick my sugar habit without effort.(I attribute this great blessing to the many, many green smoothies I drank in the early days.)

I had more energy.

I felt MUCH more positive about myself.

I began to really ENJOY food…more than I ever did before.

For the first time ever, I experienced the feeling of true hunger. (when you eat garbage all day, you don’t get to know what hunger really feels like)

My grocery bill went down…believe it or not! Processed food costs considerably more than whole-food ingredients.

I began to enjoy cooking again, and I look forward to trying new recipes, and experimenting with old ones.

There are many more positive outcomes from my “journey”, but this is a good start for now.

As for any “cons”…honesty? None that I can think of! πŸ™‚

With the exception of a few periods of “plateaus” my weight loss has been slow, but consistent. Averaging (including the plateaus) to about one pound per week.

In the past, this slow of a weight loss would never have satisfied me. However, since I don’t consider myself to be on a diet, the weight loss I’ve experienced has really just been a “perk”, not the focus of my efforts.

I am confident that this weight will continue to slowly melt away, and that it will never come back again to haunt me, unless, of course, I go back to eating junk all the time….which I can’t imagine myself ever doing!

FYI: I realize this was written in the “past” tense, but that was a snafu! I am still experiencing all the same benefits today! πŸ™‚

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Whoo Hoo!!!

Got on the scale today. 177!!! πŸ™‚ I went “shopping” in my basement, and lo and behold, my size 14 jeans all FIT!!! πŸ™‚

Now, for those “Skinny Minnie’s” of you, this may not seem like much to be excited about. However, for someone who, last fall, could barely squeeze into an 18, it’s a pretty big deal! πŸ™‚

I’m looking forward to start running again, now that I’ve lost an entire “toddler”!

πŸ™‚

Mmmm….hot haystack bowl

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We had Hawaiian Haystacks for dinner last night. I tossed the leftover brown rice, quinoa, and veggies in a bowl, and today I microwaved them for about 5 minutes. Then, I added some fresh orange and pineapple chunks, a few tbsp teriyaki, and some hot chili paste. Voila! Hot Hawaiian Haystacks!! Very tasty!! Vegan/gluten free.

6 Week Menu

All recipes came from Dr. McDougall’s Mobile Cookbook

 

Gluten Free Vegan Goodness!

Veggie Topped Baked Potato with Spinach Salad

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Veggie topped baked potato with bean hummus and sprouts. Mmm!!

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Plant Strong Baby!!

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Nasty Nasty Virus!

Just wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that I haven’t “flaked” out, rather, I am suffering from a nasty virus, 7 days and still counting!

As soon as I am back on my feet I will post my next menu and feedback from the last menu.

Stay tuned…. πŸ™‚

Recipes for Menu #1

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Menu for Week of Jan 23rd-30th

This week all my recipes came out of Get Healthy, Go Vegan

Β 

Monday: Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chowder (page 74) with fresh whole wheat rolls.

Tuesday: Hopi Corn & Chili Stew (page 78) with corn chips.

Wednesday: Basmati Rice Burgers on Whole Wheat Buns (Page 80)

Thursday: Cajun Bean Soup with Tortilla Chips (page 81)

Friday: Fettuccini with Roasted Pepper and Mushrooms, served with a spinach salad (page 105)

Saturday: Cinco de Mayo Black Beans and Rice wrapped in whole wheat tortillas served with a fruit smoothie (page 148)

Sunday: Mom’s Day Off

Still Vegan Strong…5 months and Counting!

Hello everyone…I have fallen off the “blogosphere” for a while…and I apologize for that. However, I am going to be better at posting more regularly.

Just a little update on me…..

I have still maintained my vegan status, although over the holidays I did cave a bit and ate regular sugar a few—OK, more than a few—times. I also reintroduced salt, and I am sorry to say that my salt addiction didn’t go away like I thought it might.If anything, my salt use is higher than ever!

However, it is now January, the month of newΒ  beginnings. Not to mention, the countdown clock is ticking even louder now! (my 40th birthday is just 5 short months away) It’s time I get serious and stop playing around. I am going to loosely monitor my caloric intake, as well as begin to exercise each day. Since I am fiercely against dieting EVER again, I will be working on creating more healthy lifestyle habits, instead of short-term diet schemes.

I still have a way to go. I am down to 183 lbs, a loss of 20 lbs over the last 5 months. Not great, but then remember, I haven’t been dieting.

My band of faithful followers is slowly growing, and I have been getting a lot of requests for regular meal ideas.

Therefore, I am committing to posting a menu of the meals I will be making each week. (Menu’s will be posted by Sunday night). I cook a meal 6 days a week, with Sundays off.

I will post the menu, as well as the recipes I will be using. My favorite sources for recipes are: Dr. McDougal’s Mobile CookbookΒ  (iPod app), and Get Healthy, Go Vegan by Dr. Neal Barnard.

Oh….one more thing…..I always make enough so that I will have leftovers to eat for lunch the next day. That way I only have to cook once a day. Saves time and MONEY!! πŸ™‚ (Breakfast is usually cold cereal and rice milk)

Well, that’s all for now! Look for my weekly menu in the next few hours or so.

Jackie

Grades are in!!

I realize that it has been FOREVER since I last posted anything on my blog. So…here is a list of my excuses, as well as current status updates.

– sold my iPad, and I didn’t realize how much I depended on it to keep my blog updated. (I don’t enjoy spending time at my desktop)

-end of term was looming and I was pretty stressed out, trying to get all my papers written.

– did anyone notice that Christmas is next week? Enough said about that!

– I have been cooking meals EVERY DAY, and that takes quite a bit of time and planning.

Ok …….excuses over. Were they sufficient? I hope so. They are the best ones I have. πŸ™‚

Now for my updates.

– I have been able to “keep the faith” without any slips at all…(except in my all too frequent nightmares where I accidentally eat candy and wake up in cold sweats!) I can’t decide if that is pathetic or not!

– I have been on a GIGANTIC plateau, partly because of my fondness for my own whole wheat bread. Mmmmm!!!

Final stats:

– weight – 186
– hips – 43
– waist – 31

Total 3 month weight loss of 17 lbs.

Remember…this challenge doesn’t end now. I still have 7 more months to shed the remaining 40 lbs!!! No stress…and that’s the point! πŸ™‚

Not as much as I had hoped for, but not bad. Especially considering that I haven’t dieted or exercised once! (I’m thinking that if I want to continue indulging in my bread addiction, adding in a daily exercise regime would be prudent!)

And finally….wait for it….drum roll………

I got a 98% in my English class and 99% in my Nutrition class!!!!!! πŸ™‚

(is “got” even a word?)

Yay!!!

Never in my life have I ever gotten such high grades!!

Meatless Mondays

Best Ever Black Bean Hummus

Black Bean Hummus

INGREDIENTS:

1 clove garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans; drain and
reserve liquid
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
10 Greek olives (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Mince garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add black beans, 2 tablespoons reserved liquid, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add additional seasoning and liquid to taste. Garnish with paprika and Greek olives.

This is AMAZING on home toasted bagel chips!

BAGEL CHIPS
(makes 12 chips)

3 whole wheat bagels
Oil spray
Salt

Separate bagel into two halves. With a good bread knife, carefully slice each half into two. Place your bagel quarters onto a cookie sheet. Lightly spray with oil and salt.

Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.

REALITY CHECK

I have been rethinking the idea of running a marathon this April. I’ve decided that, even though I really want to do it, running a marathon in the middle of my vegan challenge would be counter-productive.

The entire point of this challenge is to illustrate to others how simple and easy it is to become fit and healthy. If I throw marathon training into the mix, I am worried that my success could be attributed to the training, and not to the healthy diet.

So, I have decided that instead of training for a marathon (a feat most people would never even consider) I will simply try to incorporate daily walks into my routine. Everyone, regardless of fitness level, has the ability to take a walk every day. This is a much more attainable exercise ideal.

In June, when this challenge ends, I revisit the idea of running a marathon.

Have You Been Inspired?

The original assignment for this blog was to “Make a Difference”. It is midterms this week, and I thought now would be a good time to take a “mini poll”.

If my blog has inspired you to make any kind of healthy change, be it big or small, would you please comment on this post with your first name, and what changes you were inspired to make?

Thank You!!

Sorry For My Absence

I just realized that it has been AGES since I have posted anything worth reading, or even at all! I have to apologize. I was buried under a mountain of school work, but I’m happy to say that most of it is done now! Whew! I can breath again!! So…you should be hearing from me more frequently from now on. πŸ™‚