Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Emily has asked lots of wonderful questions in her comments and I will answer them ASAP. But I just got back from my  2 MILE RUN (ahem), actually it was 3.4 miles over all, and I am really stinky and the sweat is drying and that makes my skin itch so I need to jump in the shower.

What I really wanted to tell you was that the word "control" has been top of mind for me lately. I think I am enjoying my new found control over my body as much or even more than all the physical/mental benefits I am experiencing. And those benefits are very significant! But the control, I never felt like I had control over my cravings or my appetite.

It has been 6 weeks today that we started this program and I am in control of myself.

Self Control.

It's a wonderful, powerful new feeling. I love it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Drop Out

Hey, hey. Don't be thinkin' that just because I haven't posted for a couple of weeks that I dropped out of this new lifestyle! No way baby! I am in it all the way. I've been up in the mountains where you have to make an effort to find technology and I got too relaxed to make that effort.

But not too relaxed to be successful! I lost 4 lbs in the 2 weeks I was gone! I have NEVER lost weight on vacation before. I wasn't hungry at all. And I ate delicious food. My mom joined me for part of my vacation and she ate healthy with me the whole time and didn't complain once. She is a woman who lives mostly on chocolate, prime rib, and pastries - if she can do it anyone can.

Here is a link to a wonderful Veggie Lasagna that I've made twice now. I used whole wheat noodles and added a light sprinkling of pine nuts to the top. It was so so good! A little salty - but you know how I feel about salt - yum! I got this recipe from the FatFree Vegan Blog  one of my favorite sources for recipe ideas. Check her out.

Also - big news on the running front:
I ran 2 miles on Saturday!
Ack! I have never run 2 miles in my life! I'm pretty sure I ran/walked 1 mile in high school - but never 2 miles! I can't believe I did it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good, Better, Best

Good news is that you eat this way while you travel. Ike and I had a layover in Seattle and I was getting hungry. We stopped at Starbucks to get him a hot chocolate and I noticed that they had oatmeal - plain - with your choice of toppings. So I ordered nuts on mine. Delicious and filling, a little salty, but good.

Better news is that when your mom takes you to Tucanos (brazilian meat resturant) there is a wonderful huge salad bar that even serves collard greens (took me a while to figure out that salty taste on the greens was bacon). She feasted on meat of all kinds and I didn't feel one bit left out. I don't even want meat anymore. Weird.

Best news - running at 3200 feet is so much easier than 6500 feet. And it is flat here. Most Idahoans will tell you that this is high desert country, but compared to Colorado it is positively balmy. I did my running homework and felt great!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pants Falling Off

Roland's pants fell off of him yesterday. He was walking up the stairs and they slid right off. We have been "vegan" (I love that label!) for a month now and people's pants are falling off. Not my pants, of course.

In the past month I have lost 18 lbs and Roland has lost 22 lbs!  Last night we talked about if we would keep eating this way if we stopped losing weight and decided that we would. This has turned into something bigger than losing weight (although that is VERY important to me). We both feel like we could eat this way the rest of our lives. Why?
  • The food tastes better. I am tasting the real food rather than the salt, sugar, butter, dressing, and gravy that I used to dump on the food.
  • I feel better. I wake up refreshed and hop out of bed after 6 1/2 hours of sleep ( I used to need 8).
  • The dark circles under Roland's eyes are nearly gone.
  • My hangnails are gone.
  • We don't even miss meat. Roland says he misses cheese, but I don't.
  • My kitchen is cleaner. Veggies are so much cleaner than animal products.
  • I can run - On my old diet I doubt I'd be able to keep up with my younger skinnier running buddies.
  • PMS might be a thing of the past.
  • Eating veggies and fruit is starting to get easier and easier.
  • I am free of cravings. I don't crave anything at all - except fresh food loaded with healthy nutrients.
We laughed last night when Roland was describing a salad in a wrap and it made him salivate! Whoda thunk? Salivating over raw veggies that aren't dunked in ranch dressing!

Ike is going to do the diet with me "hard core" starting tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if it helps his eczema and asthma. We are going on vacation so my posts might be a little irregular.

Yay for one month!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I ran 1.2 miles today! I didn't do it all at once (that will be in 2 weeks! Ack!) but I did it in 20 minutes! Our running group is doing so great. I am thankful to all the ladies that are encouraging me and sticking to this. It is hard but I sure do feel good about it when I am done.

We are doing the Couch to 5K program and will run the Garden of the Gods 5k on May 1. Anyone who wants to register with us needs to let me know!

Before I ran I made my hummus:

  • 2 cans garbonzo beans - drained (save juices)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons of tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of cumin
  • paprika - 2 dashes

It is creamiest in the blender, but it takes more time and effort in the blender so I usually do it in the food processor.

Process 1 can of beans with garlic and olive oil until smooth. Add the read of ingredients and process until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add the reserved juice 1 tablespoon at a time until you get your desired consistency. Serve with veggies, toasted pita bread, crackers, filling in a sandwich, and as a side with salad. Filling and delicious!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Couldn't Do That

"I couldn't do that!" I have heard that a lot lately. And I understand where it comes from. Heck, I was saying that all last year as we contemplated this huge change in our lives. But a few things happened that made me realize that I need to take care of myself. My dad died at age 71, my mom had back surgery and it changed her life, my father-in-law is in a nursing home and cannot care for himself. I found a lump in my breast had a scary mammogram and found that it was cysts (whew!).

Then I read a book "Younger Next Year for Women", and the authors said,  
you have to grow old, 
but you don't have to decay

That really stuck in my head. I'm not that old but if I don't hurry up and get in gear I have already lived my best years. I have lots of adventure left in me and I want to see the world and do big things.

So when you tell me you couldn't do this I will smile and say, "I understand" and I do, how do you think I got in the situation I'm in? But what I want to say is, "If you wanted to do this, you could."

And let me tell you a little secret - its not that hard. Getting the nerve up to do it is a little bit hard, but actually eating tons of fruit and veggies isn't hard. It is delicious. OK - changing your food prep and shopping habits is hard, you wouldn't want to start this on a stressful week, but it is very do-able.  And it is easier if your spouse wants it, and if your teenager wants to do it (being vegan is real trendy with teenagers right now).

Look at me - preaching the vegan gospel after only living it for 3 1/2 weeks.

Shout out to Rachael who is going vegan-ish! You go girl!

  • 6:15 AM Spinach Smoothie, grapefruit
  • 11:30 Banana (and 2 costco samples: mac n' cheese and salmon)
  • 2:00 Shredded salad (red cabbage, carrot, cucumber, fresh lime juice and raw sunflower seeds), steamed kale with mushroom gravy and raw cashews, big juicy pear.
  • 6:00 Huge green salad, broccoli vinaigrette, homemade whole wheat toast, oranges and kiwi

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rotten Veggies

Before we started vegan I would buy vegetables. I knew I was supposed to feed them to my family so I bought a bag of __________ (insert anything green here) and kept it in the fridge until it was slimy, then I would toss it and buy another bag of _________ and repeat. If I served vegetables at a meal Roland would ask if we were having company. It was a big deal. My idea of veggies was frozen peas and carrots in a chicken pot pie (with a pre-made crust and soup as the gravy - this is still Ike's favorite meal).

I was proud of my fruit bowl. It usually had 5 or 6 pieces of fruit. But I often tossed out fruit when it got old. We ate other garbage instead.

This is what my fruit bowl looks like now. This will all be gone in 3 days. Imagine how great it will be this summer with peaches, melons, tomatoes! Yum!

Here is my fridge -stuffed full of green stuff. 

Lots of people have asked about how expensive this is. It is cheaper than our old diet of meat, cheese, processed foods, cereals, breads, cookies, chips, and junk. I will have a better idea of the expense in a week or 2. I will be able to compare it to last month.

I usually shop twice a week so the food is fresh and we will empty that "fruit bowl" and the fridge in about 4 days. We are eating lots and lots of food - it doesn't have a chance to get slimy!

What I Ate Yesterday:
  • Breakfast: baked apple with raisins and a little drizzle of real maple syrup, orange
  • Lunch: Tomato barley stew (so good! I added salt!), green salad, banana
  • Dinner: (pictured below) Whole wheat tortilla stuffed with "grilled" veggies (peppers, onions, red cabbage, and anaheim peppers), vegan fat free refried beans and guacamole. Ike added sour cream to his. Yum. I was too full to eat anything else.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Q & A

Today marks 3 weeks of vegan living! Yay!

My sister, Emily, should be a journalist. These are the questions she asked me when I was 10 days into the program:

Q. In addition to the eat particulars, of which I am very interested, I want to know: what is your daily routine looking like now that you are making these changes?

A. It takes more time and I am thinking about it a lot! I spend lots of time reading recipes, planning meals, and imagining my new healthy lifestyle. But I can tell that I will get used to it and it will become second nature eventually. I have been reading lots of blogs about vegans/nutritarians and even raw food diets.

Q. How has it affected your time for meal prep?

A. I am finding that cooking veggies is cleaner and easier than meat. The clean up is a breeze! And the house smells better without the meat smell. I actually don't cook as much because the salad is the main course. Instead I chop. I sharpened my knifes - they are getting a workout. I am learning to cook food differently without oil and butter - I do more steaming and sweating of veggies.

Q. Shopping for groceries? How much more frequently do you go to the store? Does it take more time?

A. I have been to the store nearly everyday looking for unusual stuff (TVP, low sodium soy sauce, flax seed, a coffee grinder [for the flax]). And I am making special trips to fancy nature stores like Whole Foods and Sunflower (quickly becoming my favorite place to shop). It's a whole new culture and there is so much to learn and explore. Eventually this will settle down and I can go once a week. We are trying so many new foods! I think we will find our favorites and start using them over and over, much like I use to do. I have to say that I feel much better emotionally in Sunflower Market than I do in Walmart.

Q. Do you need as much sleep, more, less, the same?

A. I am sleeping more soundly and waking up easier. But I can tell that I am still in withdrawal. I get fatigued in the afternoon. I read that is normal for the first 2 weeks. I am doing so many new things to my body. It is in shock!

Q. Has it affected your hormones, like in the PMS category, period, menstrual cycle?
A. I will have PMS next week. I will report on that. I may not see a big difference until next month. But my skin is clearing up (little pimples) and feels softer.

Q. I also really want to know about the exercise. How frequently, how much, do you have a personal trainer, at the gym, at home, is the trainer with you each minute, or only at the beginning & end, is the trainer nice (supportive) or tough-guy coach (pushy), what days do you train and not train, muscular or cardio or both. Morning or evening, once or twice a day.

A. No trainer. I am doing the running club 3 times a week and so far we are running about 12 minutes and walking fast for a total of 35 minutes. We will increase every week. I hate it but I am not going to quit. I would like to hire Cheryl to train me again. She really helped me build my core strength. I hated it too. Next week I will jump from 3 days a week to 5 days and then 2 weeks later I will do 6 days.

Roland will probably work with the trainers. He has been traveling this week and says it is a challenge to be vegan at conferences.

Q. Has it had any affect on your sex life yet?

A. Well, Roland has been gone for 5 days. But he gets home tonight and I am REALLY looking forward to that. So I would say...yes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spinach for Breakfast

You have to try this. It is creamy and loaded with power food. Your body will say "aaaaahhhhh! Thank you!"

  • 4 oz plain soy milk
  • 3-4 frozen banana slices
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax (grind with pestle or coffee grinder [$10 at walmart]) fresh ground is best
  • 1/2 apple in chunks
  • medium handful of frozen blueberries
  • large handful of fresh spinach (I use about 5 cups packed spinach for 2 1/2 servings)
Spinach and milk first until creamy then add remaining ingredients. Drink quickly before it turns black (not an appetizing color for food). makes one large serving for my kids.

Ike is color blind so it looks black to him anyways. You cannot taste the spinach and if you can...just add some more blueberries (cheapest at costco). I keep all the ingredients for this ready to go. Everyone loves them. Introduce them to your kids as blueberry smoothies - not spinach smoothies. Or Darth Vader Smoothies (because they are black like his clothes?) or Halloweenie Smoothies. what ever.

I believe if you feed your kids this once a day (breakfast, after school snack, after dinner treat) you will be making a huge difference in their health. There is a great book called "Disease Proof Your Child" by Joel Furhman - I bet it is at your library. I made this recipe up but it contains all the food he recommends.

I think this smoothie is sweet. But last year we got on a smoothie kick and I didn't think a plain old fruit smoothie was sweet enough. I wanted lots more sugar in my smoothie so I added sweetened yogurt and that helped - but I still wanted more sugar.

Now I think this naturally sweet smoothie is SO GOOD! And oranges! Holy cow are those sweet. Pears are like pure sugar. I think eating this way just tastes better than the old way. Everything tastes amazing.

What has more protein: 100 calories of meatloaf or 100 calories of spinach? (the answer is in the comments)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

PMS Update

You don't have to read this if it feels like TMI.

My sisters wanted to know about how this diet is affecting my PMS. I'm not one of those women who has to lock herself away for a week or use pharmaceuticals to get through PMS. My family reports that I get a little short-tempered and cry more often and make lots of chocolate goodies. I don't know what they are talking about. All I notice is that one week a month I am surrounded by idiots, have pimples, and I need chocolate and Ibuprofin.

I was actually surprised when my period started this week. My skin was clear, I felt good, I hadn't craved any junk food at all, on Wednesday afternoon I felt surrounded by idiots for a few hours, but they may actually have been idiots. I didn't really have any of the normal symptoms that signal that its that-time-of-the-month. No cramps. No cravings at all. Amazing.


What I ate yesterday:
  • 6:30 AM  fruit salad (oranges, grapefruit, pear, grapes, kiwi), a few walnuts
  • 11:30 steamed chard, zuchinni, mushrooms, onion and tomato; pita stuffed with spinach and homemade hummus
  • 4:30 dried apple chips, almonds
  • 6:30 Jason's Deli: Big green salad (dark greens) loaded with veggies and balsamic vinegar, whole grain crackers and hummus (it was salty! I miss salt the most).

I ran today. Pat me on the back.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Running Club

    I started a running club a month ago. We are doing the couch to 5k program. It is hard and I have wanted to quit every week. But I am hanging in there. I hope one day it feels like this (the first minute is silent):

    Onwards from AKQA on Vimeo.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010


    This is what I wrote on day 5 of our program (12 days ago). We were going through withdrawal from our regular diet. Noah, our 17 year old son, was doing it too (last week he added dairy and eggs back into his diet) and all three of us felt crummy. Withdrawal lasted about 6 days. It felt like a fog lifted when we came out of withdrawal.

    Day 5. Today was a tough day. It is snowy and cold and I woke up wanting comfort food. The last few days we've felt a little yucky from about noon on, just tired and achy and today has been the same. I just want to sit on couch and watch TV. After reading the book I realize that I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

    Not only are we withdrawing from meat, dairy (very addictive), refined carbs, and fat, but also caffeine, salt, all sugars, and all the additives and chemicals in our food (it's scary once you start reading labels). Plus my heart is still flopping occasionally and that freaks me out a bit. So today was tough.

    I ran today and tried to take it easy but I can't keep my heart rate within the recommended range and still run. So, that had me worried too. My heart started flopping after the run (VERY slow run - more like a shuffle).

    Food: The theory here is that everything you eat has maximum nutrition. No wasted calories.

    When you give your body so many nutrient rich foods it blunts your hunger. (You are eating 10 times more nutritiously than the rest of America.) I do not crave sugar or bread or meat...maybe salt, but that is all. Besides withdrawal fatigue I feel good. My stuffy nose and post nasal drip (from the last umpteen years) is gone. My jammed finger feels better, my skin is starting to look better and I am sleeping much better. And i won't even tell you about how this has improved my poops. This is only after 5 days. I won't weigh myself until Monday but Roland weighed today and has lost 10 lbs. I won't loose that much because I am a woman and smaller than him.

    The salad dressing recipes in the book are lame. Today I tried to eat a huge salad without dressing. It was awful. I couldn't get any saliva going so it was hard work to eat that salad. Roland felt sorry for me and sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on and that helped me salivate and eat more salad. Then we went shopping at Whole Foods and bought Amy's vegetarian chili and some decent organic natural salad dressings and sampled a whole grain cracker that was salty (mmmm salt). For dinner I steamed some fresh spinach and we threw that on top of the chili and toasted some homemade whole wheat bread - it was wonderful.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010


    We have had a few surprises so far:

    1. No hunger.
    2. Very few cravings
    3. On the 12th day we weighed and Roland lost 15 lbs and I lost 13 lbs!
    4. Prunes soaked in soy milk overnight sounds gross but they are delicious.

    What CAN You Eat?

    Fortunately most everyone who knows we are doing this seems excited and interested (maybe just being polite?). They are surprised too. We don't really look like vegans, what ever they look like. I think the stereotype is stringy hair, gauges, piercings, tattoos, hemp necklaces with crystal charms, and t-shirts with slogans like "I like animals more than people". But most of the vegan-ish people I have met the last few weeks have glossy hair, clear skin, slim bodies, and are generally cheerful, energetic, and quite hygienic. One guy needed a bath, but he was making me a vegan sushi roll so I didn't mention the bath.

    Image from pharmacy-in-vegetables.com

    But nearly everyone asks: What CAN you eat?  This:

    As much as I want:
    Fresh Vegetables (try to get 1 lb a day - really hard to do!)
    Cooked vegetables (again with the 1 lb a day - again, hard to do!)
    Fruit (at least 4 a day )
    beans, legumes, bean sprouts, and tofu
    eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes

    Cooked starchy vegetables and whole grains - 1 cup  (oatmeal, squash, corn, potatoes, brown rice, breads, cereals)
    Raw nuts and seeds - 1 oz
    Avocado - 2 oz
    Ground flax seed - 1 tablespoon

    I usually have a couple of pieces of fruit or a smoothie for breakfast, a big salad with all kinds of goodies for lunch, and another big salad for dinner with soup and a veggie side dish. Hummus and toasted whole wheat pitas are quickly becoming a favorite too. There are so many wonderful recipes to discover.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    And So It Begins

    On February 16th, 2010 my husband, Roland, and I started the big makeover of our lives. We went vegan. Completely vegan. No meat, no animal products. We took it a step further and eliminated all sugar, refined food, and oils.

    This was not a decision made lightly. It took us a year and a half to get to the point that we were ready for this big change.  If you had told me last year that I would be happy about being vegan I would have said you were crazy and tucked into my BBQ ribs (mmm...ribs, sigh). But here I am, 15 days into veganism and feeling much better. Bring on the hemp!

    My handsome husband works with overachievers who have, like, metaled in the Olympics or at least hang out with people who did, and they are practically perfect in every way. Did I mention that they are overachievers? They teach people how to eat and how to exercise and how to be amazing. They have been talking to Roland about this plan for over a year. They want to do a CEO makeover thing on him and the family just has to go along if it going to work. So we measured our cholesterol (mine is high, Roland's is higher), heart rate, weight, and body fat and took before pictures (only of Roland - I ain't doin' that).

    On Valentine's weekend we gorged on sugar cookies, pizza, french bread dipped in butter, and pot roast. Then we started the program.

    Eat To Live is what we are following. My doctor endorsed the book and encouraged us to stick with it. So far it has been an amazing experience.

    Because this is such a huge change I need to talk talk talk about it. On this blog I hope to share:
    • emotions/feelings I have as we make this change
    • how it is affecting the entire family
    • how much it costs
    • how awful or delicious it tastes
    • any helpful hints I might have for you non-vegans (how self-righteous that sounds!) 
    • the results of this big change
    • what it is like to go from carnivore doughnut eater to vegan
    • delicious recipes (if there are any)
    • and much much more! 
    Feel free to ask any questions (leave them in the comment section).

    Wish us luck!