Monday, February 6, 2012

Vegan-ary Day 6 Super Bowl Edition

Yesterday was day 6. And I was worried about my willpower. Because I don't really have any. And it was the Super Bowl. I've always really loved the Super Bowl. Not because of the football, but because of the commercials and the food. In years past we could be found gorging ourselves on pizza, wings, cookies, brownies, chips and cheese dip, maybe some little meatballs or pigs-in-a-blanket. This year, we had to come up with a Vegan spread.

Now the goal wasn't necessarily to eat healthy, just to eat vegan. I still believe that by cutting out all animal fat we still had a pretty healthy day as compared to Super Bowls gone by.

Our menu:

Coca cola brownies (box of brownie mix, 2/3 can coca-cola, mix and bake according to pkg directions)
Ranch oyster crackers
Spring Oreos
PB filled pretzels

We were sufficiently satisfied by all our choices. The brownies and cookie dough balls were amazing. I mean, if people and dessert could marry, I would live in polygamy with those 2 desserts. The oyster crackers were pretty good, but a little heavy on the onion powder for me. If I make them again, I will cut back on the onion powder and they will be perfect. The "cheese" sauce...well. It was fine. We ate it, and there have definitely been some things we have thrown away so the very fact that we ate it says something. However. Some vegans will say things like "so good even non-vegans will eat it" or "it tastes exactly like I remember cheese tasting". Ok. I will not lie. The people who say that must not have had cheese in a looooong time. This stuff was edible, I loved that it didn't give me a stomach ache, I loved that it didn't leave me feeling bloated, but it did not taste like cheese. It didn't. Now if I was desperate for football food I would probably make it again, but it wont be a weekly staple by any means. If you're thinking of trying it I recommend you use Fritos Scoops instead of plain tortilla chips. It tasted better on the Fritos.

Oreos and PB pretzels are accidentally vegan foods. I love accidentally vegan foods. They really help when I'm having major cravings and will power issues!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Vegan-ary Day 6

We got a cold morning run in, thanks to having my mom as babysitter. We did 2.3 miles in 30 minutes. Slow. But that includes a couple walk breaks. We still havent come up to full running since doing the walk/run program at our last Half and then taking a nearly 2 month layoff after. Anyway, it felt fine and we were really glad when it was done. We decided that this week we are going to run 30 minutes continuously by the end of the week. It's time. We usually run a really hilly route, so this week we are going to the track. The nice flat surface will give us a chance to work on our time goal and get our running confidence back.

For lunch we decided to be brave and eat a couple new (to us) things. We tried Morningstar riblets and The Vegan Zombie Mac and Cheese.

Wow. Okay, the riblets actually tasted pretty good but I have a huge mental block when it comes to fake meat. The idea of it just grosses me out. Now, I think it's a fabulous tool to help someone transition. Like my husband. He has a hard time going without meat. It doesn't feel like a real meal to him without a meat and a couple sides. For him the fake meat is really helping. For me it's kind of creepy. On the plus side, it tasted (and actually kind of looked) like a McRib, which I always loved.  Maybe on a bun I could get past the creepy...anyway, it tasted okay and I ate it and moved on with my life.

Now...the Mac and cheese. Ok the prologue to the story is that I love the Vegan Zombie. His videos make me laugh and his recipes always look great and many taste great too. But I promised to give the good, the bad, AND the ugly so in the interest of full disclosure I did not dig the Mac and Cheese. I ate a few bites. I gagged. I gave it to the dog. Even the dog wouldn't eat it. True story. In 6 years my dog has never turned away food. Until today. Like I said, I am a huge an of the Vegan Zombie recipes, but this one just wasn't a match for me.

Ok, the Super Bowl deserves its own post. Stay tuned.

(not today, but isn't he cute?)

Vegan-ary Day 5

I'm still here, still going on the vegan-ish diet. Thursday I donated blood at the blood drive at work. The lady who I ended up with was the most polite phlebotomist ever. However, she also must have been brand new because she butchered me. She put the needle in and missed the vein or something so I ended up with THREE OTHER PEOPLE coming over and the needle never leaves my arm. They just dig it around and around until they get it where they want. It hurt SO bad! Anyway, civic duty done but it wore me out and left me woozy so our run was put off again.

Friday was my day off work. I did tons of laundry, washed some dishes, and watched some Gilmore Girls. Pretty good day off! Dave got home around 2 and we finally got a run in. And it was rough... Giving blood kicked our butts and we were s-l-o-w but another 30 minutes went in the books.

Yesterday we spent the day trying to rearrange the basement and failing miserably. So we will probably be back at that today. Apparently rearranging things the day before the Super Bowl is anxiety-producing for my husband. Whoops.

We also have a rainy run scheduled for this morning. I'm hoping to feel much much better than we did on Friday. My veins are feeling clean and my body feels good, so I'm counting on a good strong run. We shall see.

I am having one adverse effect that I blame on the diet. Pimples!! I have 2 new, painful ones that have broken out in the last day and a half. Dr. Google thinks it might be dairy detox?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegan-ary Day 2

I survived Day 2 of massive diet overhaul, although the cravings were pretty intense.  It wasn't really cravings for anything specifically, more like I just wanted to eat...and eat...and eat, all. day. long.  Just after lunch I started getting a migraine.  I medicated it, but it still hung on kind of dull and in the background for most of the rest of the day. 

Since we were rained out of our run Tuesday, we were supposed to run yesterday instead.  Well, my husband got trapped at work and couldn't get home in time to run before daycare closed.  I really didn't have it in me to tackle the treaddy, and he can't tackle it because his head bumps the ceiling, so we decided to run today instead.  I'm really anxious to see how it feels now that my body is already starting to feel more "cleaned out". 

The only other change I've really noticed so far is that this morning I only snoozed twice when my alarm off.  I always snooze 4-5 times because I'm so so tired in the mornings.  But this morning, just twice and then I was up and at it.  Maybe a coincidence, maybe a result of the dietary changes.  Only time will tell, but I liked it and I hope it's a habit that is here to stay.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vegan-ary Day 1

This is my 100th blog post. For some reason I find that really exciting :-)

Today was a successful day by my standards. I didn't eat what most would call a "balanced" diet, but I expected that. The first few days are about breaking old habits and cravings and getting acclimated. Once that happens I'll start focusing more on variety and balance.

The last few days, we were well aware that Vegan-ary was approaching and so we wanted to eat any foods that we knew we were going to miss. This was an attempt to "get it out of our system" in hopes that these same foods wouldn't trigger us to cheat or want to cheat. So we have binged on down home southern comfort food, fast food breakfast sandwiches, Chinese buffet selections, BBQ, you get the idea. We were so miserable after last nights Mexican splurge. Bloated, heartburn, stomach cramps, diarrhea. Basically how we used to feel all the time. And we have been feeling like that for days, since our "cheat-proof binge-fest" started.

Well today, after one day of Vegan-ary, I am happy to report all the bloating, heartburn, and stomach issues GONE! I'm still really exhausted and feeling too lazy and tired to clean or do anything besides veg in front of the TV really, but I'm hoping those will improve with time.

My run today was cancelled due to rain...and I just didn't feel like running in the rain.  So I'll move that back to it's regularly scheduled Wednesday.

Basically, no drastic changes yet, just ridding myself of the heartburn and all. Thankfully no major cravings yet either.  I did have a mild headache all day and just SO tired.  I also realized that I bought myself a little miniature Ben and Jerry's ice cream cup so I could have one last ice cream splurge, but I forgot to eat it!!  Ugh.  Now it's mocking me.  I plan to feed it to the kids soon :-)

The Month Formerly Known as February

The hubby and I embarked on a non-New Year's Resolution on January 1st...but we are ready to grow the challenge.

We’ve decided to take on this 30 day challenge to eat mostly vegan, mostly unprocessed, mostly whole grain foods.  We will do this all of February, plus today to get our total 30 days.  We’re calling it Vegan-ary (ya know…instead of February).  No more “cheat days”, not for this month.  We’re going all in. The rules are pretty simple:

1.      Eat a mostly vegan diet eliminating ALL meat, eggs, and dairy.  We are making exceptions to a truly vegan diet by still allowing honey (as the FoK diet does) and gelatin.
2.      Eat only whole grains at home when cooking or eating bread or pasta.  If we go to a restaurant we may bypass the whole grains requirement, so long as what we are eating is still a vegan meal (with noted exceptions above).
3.      Reduce added oils and sodium when cooking at home.  Again, restaurant meals are an exception so long as we stick to #1.
4.      Eat primarily whole foods (grains, fruits, and vegetables) and cut out most processed foods (which we currently rely far too heavily on)
5.      Don’t break the rules for all of Vegan-ary!!!

I want to post regularly throughout Vegan-ary to document the improvements (or problems) that I’m noticing.  It’s not my intent to document exactly what I’m eating and turn this into a food blog, although I will talk about it some if anyone is interested.  I’m more interested in documenting how I’m feeling, changes I’m noticing, the way my runs are going/feeling/timing changes, etc.  I want to look back and have a record of how improvements in my diet are affecting me. 

When we had our first 8 day streak (January 1-8) we were feeling down because we didn’t notice any changes.  Or so we thought.  What really happened is that we had forgotten just that quickly how badly we had really been feeling before.  This time, I do not  want to forget.  I want it on here in all its glory…the clichéd good, bad, and ugly.  I am so beyond ready for Vegan-ary to begin!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thoughts from January

My husband and I aren’t really New Year’s Resolutions kind of people.  I admire the people who are NYR kind of people.  If you can make a resolution and stick to it just because the calendar flips over to a new year then I think that’s great.  It takes amazing resolve.  Resolve that my husband and I don’t have.  We are not NYR kind of people.  We need a far greater catalyst for change than a calendar flip. 

This year on January 1st we did make a change.  And it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, and it wasn’t because it was January 1st.  It was because there was a catalyst for change and randomly that catalyst occurred just a few days before the New Year.  This happened:

We like to watch documentaries because we’re kind of nerdy like that.  We’re also aware that our four food groups are junk food, fast food, frozen food, and Paula Deen desserts.  We know those aren’t the healthiest food groups to build your day around.  We know it’s a horrible example for our children.  We know that it is shameful (yet oh so true) that days will pass without a single vegetable or fruit passing through our mouths.  For all of these reasons we were completely entranced by Forks Over Knives.  It really resonated with us.  In fact, it kind of terrified us.  But in a good way.  A way that inspired us to finally make some changes that we’ve been working towards for years.

We took a couple of days at the end of December to pig out on some of our favorite foods.  Then on January 1st we completely cut out meat, eggs, cheese, and all dairy, and we switched to all whole grains for our breads and pastas.  We set out with a transition plan that allowed each of us in the house (including the 2 kiddos) 2 “cheat days” during the month.  This actually meant a cheat meal and not a whole day.  We figured 8 crappy meals during the month and 85 really healthy meals was a drastic and marked improvement.  And it would help us get through the cravings and rough times, knowing that we didn’t have to cut out some of our old favorites forever, but just for a little while.

We had an amazing January where we learned a lot about our bodies and our health.  We had an 8 day streak where we were questioning whether there was any difference at all in how we felt.  Then we had our first cheat dinner which instantly brought on all of the symptoms that we had already forgotten about: heartburn, stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue that made us completely worthless for the rest of the evening.  And then when we had our next streak of clean eating, we appreciated finally how much better we really felt.  It didn’t stop us from using all of the cheat days allotted to us, but it did make us wonder how we could feel if we cut out the cheat days.

Would our health improve?  Would our energy soar?  Would our running times go down and runs feel better?

So we decided to find out……stay tuned!