Hi Becky,

This is your page to keep us updated on your progress and experiences. I can’t wait to hear how you’re doing!


26 responses »

  1. rebkos says:

    Well, it seems Im getting stuck in a trend of only posting every two months or so. NOT GOOD! Life has changed considerably for me since this blog began. I am now working full-time (atleast for the time being) as a law office assistant at the Alaska Public Defender’s Agency. It absorbs most of my time and free brain power, and whatever’s left goes to the kids, so needless to say, not much time to write. I’ll try to keep checking in though. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that after plateuing for some time, my weight finally started to drop again, and Im down to 200 lbs this week!! That is what…22 lbs lost since I started the Vegan Challenge on Labor day. (Was that five months ago?? Im so bad about keeping track.) I think it is partly due to being more active, and partly due to me taking up my hot cereal breakfast again, which I’d let go for a while. Im still not “exercising” per se, but would like to work that in sometime soon. (I always say that.)


    SO, maybe nobody wants to hear about this, but I find it interesting. Have you ever seen a segment on Dr Oz where he talks about poop? (If not, you could probably find it on YouTube.) Basically, he shows how light brown and soft (but not too soft) is the way to be, and signals that your insides are healthy and functioning well. Then he points out all the variations and what they may mean you’re doing wrong. Well, starting out, my poo was never “normal”. I was never constipated, but it sure didn’t look light and soft. For months after starting the vegan diet, it continued to look very dark and blobby…and rather disgusting. Then, after 4 months on this diet, it suddenly changed! It has been “normal” for a month now with no variation! So Im guessing this means that it took this long on a plant-based diet to get things working the way they’re supposed to in there. THAT”S a wake-up call. Im sure it would have happened quicker if Id done some sort of detox or fast or something, but that wasn’t something I was interested in.

    Im enjoying this way of eating so much that I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back to a non-vegan diet. Between the veggie lasagna recipe I found on the Engine 2 Diet website, the faux meatball recipe I’ve been making, and the hot cereal recipe I use, I feel like I want for nothing. I made a killer whole wheat crust pizza the other day with sauteed mushrooms and eggplant, roasted peppers and carrots, onions, olives, and fresh tomatoes. Mmmm mmm mmm. My husband even agreed it tasted better than the “cheesy” version I made for him. For quick meals, Im a big fan of cooking up a bag of fiesta style vegis (from Kroger) that has beans in it, and maybe adding it to some brown rice Ive cooked ahead for the week if Im feeling extra hungry. SO simple, and tasty. I try to eat several pieces of fresh fruit each day, and fit in a cup of matte. One thing Id like to start doing is drinking hot lemon water when I wake up instead of coffee first thing. Sounds like it is super good for you. If you are interested in any of the recipes Ive mentioned, let me know and I’ll supply some links to access them.

    Before, I couldn’t smell foods cooked with cheese and meat without salivating. Now, it doesn’t really bother me. Bacon, sausage, and hotdogs are still mildly tempting, but its because there smell is so strong I think. I bought some faux sausage from Morning Star farms in a moment of weakness, but it really isn’t very good. I was happy to have it when I couldn’t partake in the sausage I was smelling though, so I think I will reserve it just for those times. Another quick meal is BLTs, but with hickory flavored tofurky deli slices and vegenaise. Surprisingly tasty. Ive got back my table sugar consumption to zero, and even weaned myself off brown sugar on my oatmeal. I have to be careful with things like trio bars, because even though they are pretty low sugar, I try to binge eat them still. (Sugar and I go way back, and I have lost my self control when we get together.) Now, if I need something sweet I just eat a few pieces of dried fruit, or maybe some Bobs Red Mill granola (which is oil free, Im happy to report) and it curbs my self-destructive urges. I’ll tell you, one thing I don’t miss is that feeling of being stuffed and lethargic after eating a regular meal in the typical American diet. It seems that even if I eat twice what I “should”, I never get sluggish and uncomfortable. And the extra gas that I had initially when increasing the fiber in my diet is virtually gone, so you really do adjust, it just takes some time.

    So, that’s an update on where Im at today. Still far from where I want to be, but only 25 lbs left to my pre-pregnancy weight, so almost halfway there, and with very little effort and zero calorie restriction. Not too shabby. I have an aquaintance doing weight watchers right now, and honestly, I feel sorry for them. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to convince anyone else to change their diet, but that’s fine too. Surely, how we eat is a personal freedom, and if you’re just not feeling it, you have that right. But when your health starts to decline and you get colon cancer or are battling obesity and the effects of diabetes, don’t say we didn’t tell you about this amazing way of life and all of it’s benefits!

  2. rebkos says:

    Hi Jackie! (And anyone else reading this..)
    I’m still here! It has been tough to keep up with life lately, much less blogging. My weight is hanging on at about 207, but still haven’t started regular exercise. (Yes, hanging my head in shame.) My clothes are getting looser though, so that is very encouraging.
    I meant to tell you that I was very inspired by the little piece you did on your refrigerator. I decided to break down and buy a couple of those blender bottles, and am trying to make green juices or smoothies for my husband and I to have on hand in the fridge each day. I borrowed my Dad’s jack lelanne juicer and having been making the “mean green” recipe from that Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documentary (recipes are on their website). It contains a lemon, which I think acts as a natural preservative, so I don’t mind leaving them in the fridge for up to 12 hours. It is convenient because the hubby can grab one for work, and I can grab one for while Im out running errands, and they fit in the cup holder. The only problem I am having is what to do with all the pulp. Since it is a mixture of fruits and vegetables, it is a bit more savory than sweet, but an odd combination. I attempted to make a green soup with it in the vitamix today, but not too thrilled with what I came up with. I took all the pulp (a mixture of romaine, kale,parsley,lemon, apple, celery, ginger, and cucumber), added carrot juice, hot water, turmeric, garlic, salt, pepper, and a large green chile pepper. When it was hot, I mixed in a can of whole black beans, but had to mix it with some vegan cornbread just to make it palatable. I am definitely full, but not looking forward to finishing it. I chronically cook too much food. I can’t bear to let all that good fiber and nutrients go to waste though. Makes juicing kind of a tough sell for me, unless I am treating a medical condition. The juices taste good though. It takes so much more produce to make a meal though, so it is more expensive. Any thoughts on it?

  3. Becky says:

    I know I have been an absentee blogger lately, but I have not faltered on the Vegan Challenge. For three full weeks now I’ve eaten a plant based diet and its definately not getting boring yet. Today I made 4-grain hot cereal for breakfast, a Swiss chard-chocolate-banana smoothie with chia seeds for lunch and miso soup and Asian coleslaw for dinner. I have enough leftovers to last several days, so hopefully I won’t experience a miso burnout. According to Dr Oz, it is good for reducing belly fat. I am gung ho about trying lots of new recipes, but the family is less so I’m afraid. To my surprise, tofurky sandwiches are a big hit, and mexican “meat” crumbles are terrific in a taco salad. I think I may have lost a couple pounds and may be down to 215 (I was 222 three weeks ago) and I’m still not exercising, but going to start soon. I’ll try to get some official measurements soon. Been slacking on that, but it feels good to not obsess and still lose weight.

    • Jackie says:

      Yay!!! I thought I had lost you!!!

      Can you post your Asian soup and coleslaw recipes? And…I would say that 7 lbs is a fantastic weight loss!! Good for you! I agree with you on the “not obsessing with food” comment. I feel the same way! For the first time in my adult life, I am losing weight without having to think about it. I love how great that feels!!

      So glad your back! I missed you!

  4. Jackie says:

    Hey Becky… Check out our hits! 401 already!! And it doesn’t include mine!! 🙂

  5. rebkos says:

    And about the salmon, no we didnt smoke any. 😦 your dad went to chitna and got salmon. Maybe he smoked some of his? Speaking of your dad, he is someone who’s health I worry about a lot. Do you think he would watch FOK and give this diet a chance?

  6. rebkos says:

    Anything chocolate is good. 🙂 I think I’ll make one today with kale. I’ve never had anything but spinach in my smoothies. I was surprised that the green smoothie revolution book doesnt use green cabbage in any recipies. Another I’d like to try is kale and watermelon. I have a bunch of frozen watermelon chunks in my freezer.

  7. Jackie says:

    Oh my word Becky! You just changed my entire perspective on the green smoothie! This chocolate banana shake is the stuff dreams are made of!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing that recipe!!

    I didn’t have spinach, so I used organic celery instead. Mmmmmmmm!!!!!

  8. rebkos says:

    I started with a bunch of spinach, added a cup of soy milk, 4 tsps of cocoa powder, a tbsp chia seeds and some stevia. I started the blender, then dropped in a frozen banana.

  9. Jackie says:

    Let me know how the soy “meats” taste. You are a brave soul!!

  10. Jackie says:

    You can certainly add them. They probably won’t blend in very well, but they will taste good! Tahini is optional in my hummus recipe… So don’t worry about it! It will still be delish!!!

  11. Jackie says:

    Did you smoke any fish?? I may have to beg you to send me some after our challenge is up! Mmmm….. I do so LOVE smoked salmon!!

  12. Jackie says:

    Hey Becky…I’m hungry…can you post your recipe for the chocolate banana smoothie? I want to make it for lunch!

  13. rebkos says:

    So, Jackie has made a believer out of me! Those green smoothies are incredible! I made up another one yesterday with spinach, cocoa, banana, soy milk, stevia and chia seeds. Amazing! Maybe it was the chia seeds that did it, but after my chocolate-banana “shake”, I had energy for like the next 12 hours! Cleaned tons, cooked a delicious stir-fry, vacuum sealed a bunch of fish…it was a very productive day. I am typically so low on energy that Im not motivated to do anything. I just do what I have to, trying to conserve what I’ve got to make it until bed time. I’ll tell ya, having bits of seeds stuck to the sides of my blender will be the least of my worries from now on…SO worth the extra cleaning required. I am excited to put together a plant-strong road-trip menu for Sunday. I have lots of new foods and recipe ideas to try out. Im going to try to make miso soup, and if I like it, try to eat it for dinner each day. I also got some ezekial bread and some tofurky sliced “meat” to try making a sandwich that will trick the family into thinking they’re getting meat. Also going to try tricking them with mexican “meat” crumbles in tacos soon. I bought some expensive sprouted tofu to try out as well, and am finally growing some alfalfa sprouts. I thought the sprouts would taste especially good on a hummus sandwich. Bought a bunch of red peppers to make red pepper hummus too, but didn’t bother getting any tahini. Jackie, do you think a person could just throw whole sesame seeds into the food processor with everything else in lieu of using tahini? Im excited to try the black bean dip you made as well. So many recipes, so little time.

  14. rebkos says:

    Making veganized sourdough hot cakes for breakfast. Mmmmm.

  15. rebkos says:

    The old vitamix works famously!!! I shouldn’t have been so intimidated. It runs like a new car that’s been garaged for 20 years! I just made my old standby green smoothie:
    1/2 carafe crammed with spinach
    2 c water
    2 tbsp flax meal
    1 frozen banana
    Handful frozen strawberries
    1 c frozen cranberries I found lurking in the back of the freezer

    Wish there was a way to keep the flax meal in the drink and not stuck all over the sides of the carafe. Do any of the other add-ins you’ve tried do that??

  16. Jackie says:

    Becky, I’m pretty sure you can get the Trio bars at SAMs. They don’t have processed sugar, just sweeteners like rice syrup or organic cane syrup. Very low sugar. They are made up of dried fruit, nuts, and grains.

    As for the formula…I have no idea. You could try it and see if she tolerates it. But…I’ll bet it is made with GMO soybeans.

    Chia seeds…Start with a tablespoon, to see if you don’t mind it. I just toss them in whole. Drink your smoothie quickly though, because they will thicken it considerably!!

    And…I LOVE that you are doing this with me!! You are so inspiring and knowledgeable about this! I LOVE all the links you send my way!! I especially love the link to Engine 2!

    If Grandma’s old vitamix doesn’t work out, I would start saving your pennies for a new one! For Christmas perhaps? The wet blender and motor is only about $350. It will make this sooooo much easier for you!!

  17. rebkos says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas, Jax! I will definitely try to make some of those things ahead, especially the hummus and quinoa salad. I have never seen those Trio bars, but we only have Sams Club here, not Cosco. They sound like they would be sweet. I can’t really trust myself with packaged sweets yet, because I know I will binge eat them. Im trying to get my only sugar from fruit and the teaspoon of brown sugar I put on my hot cereal in the morning. Avoiding the chips is no sweat for me, since I don’t ever buy chips or soda.
    We ARE going to visit Christy, and hopefully I can drop in on Carolyn as well. We have never been to the peninsula (pathetic, considering I was born here), so Im really excited to see all that beautiful scenery with the fall colors. I would love to have some great recipes to share with them as well.
    I did get the green smoothie revolution book, and several other “vegan” books, but haven’t had time to dive into any yet. I am looking forward to reading the smoothie book first because I know my body needs greens right now, and that is the fastest and easiest way to get a lot in at once. I bought a box of organic baby spinach at Sam’s, and did a final clean on the vita-mix this morning. I never could get the stuff all out of the cracks, but oh well. I tried. When the kids wake up it’s green smoothies for everyone! (Well, except the baby, of course. Speaking of the baby though, thinking about trying to switch her to soy formula supplement instead of the lactose free one…any thoughts?)
    I think you mentioned using chia seeds in your smoothies before. Do you just toss them in, or do you add water to them to make the gel first? How many would you use in a two-serving recipe, for instance?
    Today is a new day, and I am reinvigorated! I WILL SUCCEED AT THIS! WE will succeed in this!!! People think Im nuts, especially when they hear I agreed to your 10 month goal, but I think they’re nuts for not considering it seriously themselves!

  18. Jackie says:

    Make sure you have a good supply of road trip snacks!

    Mrs Mays Trio bars, dried fruit, fresh fruit, washed and sliced fresh veggies with homemade hummus and guacamole to dip them in, peanut butter and all fruit jam on whole wheat bread, baked corn chips (homemade) salsa, …

    7 layer dip:

    Re-fried beans, guacamole, hummus, green onions, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, lime

    Quinoa salad: cooked quinoa, cooled. Chopped green onions, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. Mmmmm!!!!! Eat chilled.

    This will all require planning and preparing ahead of time. Take a cooler stocked with your veggies, salads, dips.

    DONT buy potato chips just because they are vegan!! Not all vegan food is good for you!!! Remember…minimally processed whole foods!!!

    Where are you going? To see Christy?

  19. rebkos says:

    Here I am a week into this adventure and I feel like I am still at the infant/toddler phase of being a vegan. Rather than do the mature practical thing and plan out nutritious meals and snacks to have on hand, I have been having rough vegan “impulse” meal experiences. Let’s take yesterday for instance: What did I have for lunch? Why, a can of garbanzo beans. And what did I enjoy for dinner tonight? A large sweet potato. Now while these are plants, I am missing out on the excitement and variety of flavor and nutrients that I am craving. Seems like Im setting myself up for failure. But since failure is not an option…I just feel like an infantile vegan (who needs a few more diaper changes than last week). However, I am no less determined. I need to just learn a lesson and move on. There are so many good recipes out there that Im anxious to try out, and perhaps that’s even part of the problem. I can’t decide what to make! I am looking at some different cookbooks and trying to formulate a menu for the next week. After that we’ll be taking a little road trip, so it is critical I spend some time making and packing vegan snacks and on-the-go meals so I don’t feel like Im missing out on all those gas station hot dogs. Lol! If you’re reading this Jackie, what would you pack if you were forced to leave your vita-mix at home and eat out of your car on the road for a week?

  20. rebkos says:

    Well, finally made it back home again, and back into temptation. I open my fridge looking for vegetables only to find chocolate cake. I feel like I just got sucker-punched. So what do I do? Feed it to someone…anyone…QUICK…just don’t smell it…and most important: Don’t Make Eye Contact!
    The hospital food following Thursday evening’s post was pretty repulsive. I ate to live though, and scarfed it down anyway. Blech. Upon being discharged we went immediately to the grocery store where I stocked up on some fresh fruit and random whole grains from the bulk bins. I decided to “treat” myself to some of those carob-nut energy bite things, thinking they wouldn’t have the same power over me that regular sweets do, but alas, Those things could be my undoing, and they’re not even that good tasting. I just can’t seem to keep my mind on moderation when I have anything sweet in my mouth. Let’s hope I can get beyond that before I screw myself up too badly.

  21. rebkos says:

    Today has been a real rollercoaster for me. The day started out normal enough, with a nice big bowl of homemade 4 grain hot cereal with flax seed meal, a tsp brown sugar and a little plain soy milk to top it. Definitely a meal that sticks with you, and boy did I need that today! Our seven week old daughter woke in the night with a low grade fever so I called the pediatrician and got an appointment for after lunch. Come to find out that the poor thing has a kidney infection! We were then admitted to the hospital and have to stay getting iv antibiotics till as late as Sunday afternoon! NOT how I’d planned my day, needless to say. By dinnertime I was famished, having missed lunch, but one of the kind nurses here offered to go down to the cafeteria and get me a smorgasbord of vegan delights. I had a salad smothered in surprisingly tasty hummus, a large bowl of steamed cauliflower, and a bunch of oven roasted sweet potato fries. I was honestly amazed with how much I enjoyed the flavors and how incredibly full I felt. I had a glass of cranberry juice for dessert and have felt none of the usual late night cravings. Let’s hope I do so well tomorrow!

    • Jackie says:

      Oh my word Becky. What a day! How is she doing? I’ve been there and done that with three of my 4 boys, and it is NOT fun! Sounds like you are being well taken care of though! What a fantastic nurse you had!!

      Good luck, and keep me updated on her progress!

  22. Jackie says:

    Becky, I made the most delicious low-fat hummus the other day. Look for it under my favorite recipes.

  23. Becky says:

    Thanks Jackie for sharing your blog and your experience with us. This is so exciting! I am going to try to find the smoothie book you recommended but am curious why you stopped adding sprouts to your smoothies after reading it. I will be firing up the older-than-me vitamix just as soon as I can get it clean enough inside to not be grossed out by it. Lol. There are seams of twenty year old cement like food particles around the base that I’m trying to clean out. In the meantime I am trying to pick out recipes and do a little meal planning so I can always have a stock of ready to eat food in the fridge. I’d like to try making more Indian, thai and Chinese food, as well as modify some favorite Mexican recipes to try to entice my husband to want to eat vegan too. I love trying new recipes, and I’ll try posting my favorites here if I can figure out how.

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