Friday, April 30, 2010

Tearful 5K?

Tomorrow is my 5K. I am nervous about my knee and excited about the race. I watched Biggest Loser and cried through their 5K. I sure hope I don't cry through my 5K!

What I Ate Yesterday:
6:30 AM Big fruit salad (orange, grapefruit, strawberries, and pear)
Practice run/walk for saturday's race
10:00 Orange and Apple(on the way to hair cut)
12:30 Green Smoothie (24 oz)
4:00 small handful of pecans and raisins
5:00 Salad and Bowl of Amy's Lentil Soup w/sliced fresh avocado and slice of home made ww bread

I find that I get real hungry around 3:30 so I have been inching dinner up earlier and earlier because a snack just doesn't cut the hunger enough. I sometimes feel hungry before bedtime but I am fine if I drink a glass of water. I think maybe I need to have a bigger lunch so I won't get hungry so soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Banquet Food

This morning found me and my handsome son at the Senior Breakfast and Capping Ceremony. It is a wonderful tradition that I have been looking forward to for a long time. I wasn't sure what to expect of breakfast but figured there would be at least some fruit as it was held at a nice convention center.

No Fruit. In fact, nothing edible at all. On my beautifully set table was a plate holding 4 limp pieces of bacon, a pile of reconstituted eggs (sprinkled with parsley), and 2 eggo-style pancakes. Not even an orange slice. Waa! I was really hungry so I tasted the eggs - they tasted like chemicals, no way was I going to touch that bacon, so I ate one pancake, plain, and regretted it immediately. It left an aftertaste of freezer burn in my mouth and dropped like lead in my stomach.

Lesson Learned: Next time I will request a vegan meal and if that isn't possible (or I don't feel brave enough yet) then I will eat in advance. I can't expect other people to be in charge of my health.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wild Red Beans

Something that has impressed me is that there has been very little complaining about this diet. Ike will tease a little about being the only teenager who doesn't get ice cream, chips, or hamburgers (and he does - at school, church, friend's homes), but he doesn't complain.

In fact, everyone eats what I make, no matter how many veggies I stuff into it. Regardless of how healthy it tastes, they like it! And eat it until it is all gone! No food fights!

So many strange things happening in our home.

The following recipe had me worried - I thought they would complain - but they loved it.

Wild Red Beans
2 carrots - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
1 onion - chopped
2-3 minced garlic - minced
1 1/2 cup wild rice
3 cups water

Spray a large sauce pan with Pam and quickly saute  garlic, add chopped veggies  and saute until veggies start to soften - add a tablespoon of water if veggies stick to pan - then add 1 1/2 cups wild rice and 3 cups water. Cover with lid and cook 30 minutes or until rice is done.

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 15 oz can black beans - drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans - drained (you can use all kidney if you like, I like the black bean texture)
1/3 cup green onion - chopped
2 tsp Red Hot sauce - or to taste
Spray sauce pan with Pam and quickly toast the chili powder and cumin, then add tomatoes and beans and simmer while rice cooks. Add hot sauce to taste and stir green onions in right before serving. I don't add any salt because the tomatoes and beans are packed with salt, but if you are using salt free beans and tomatoes you might want some extra salt. Garnish with parsley and serve with hot sauce on the side.

Serve beans over rice with a side of citrus salad (grapefruit and oranges - they taste wonderful together).

This is the wild rice mix I like - got it at Costco.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Little Set Back

Nine weeks ago I couldn't run for more than one minute. So I started a running club and invited a bunch of women who don't run. We begged our marathoner friend, Michelle, to coach us and signed up for a 5K at Garden of the Gods on May 1.

Here we are 9 weeks later, running for 2.75 miles! We talk about how amazing it is that we can run for more than 30 minutes! Remember back when we thought we would die after 1 minute!?

Not my knees - my knees are less hairy and more puffy.

The Sob Story Starts Here:

I was vacuuming my daughter's apartment (picked her up from college and helped her move out) and jammed the vacuum cleaner into my knee cap, dislodging the knee cap and causing great suffering and gnashing of teeth. A day later I was at the orthopedic specialist's office, begging him to make it better. He gave me a cortisone shot under the knee cap, prescribed some arthritis medication and told me not to run until it is healed. How long is that? One week? 3 months? Arrgghh!

Roland is concerned about my mental state. I have worked so hard for this - and to have it taken away by a vacuum cleaner - a cheap stinky vacuum at that! So he took me to the fancy runner's store (they don't carry clothes in my size) to get a special fitting for new running shoes. Oh, these shoes are so fabulous! I can't wait to start running in them.

I will run as much of the race as I can - and we will still celebrate our success with breakfast at Adam's Mountain Cafe (my new fav. restaurant) - but this isn't the real race for me. I need a new race to work towards - maybe something in June?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cholesterol Report!

One of the major reasons to start this lifestyle was to reduce our cholesterol, which was high. Here are the results after 8 weeks:

Mine dropped from 225 (overall score) to 179 - a drop of 46 points!
Roland's dropped from 263 to 195 - a drop of 68 points!

I can't wait to see the results in 8 more weeks.

Here is a animation of why you don't want high cholesterol:

Bring on the spinach!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Starving To Death!

"Starving To Death" is fun to say. My family says it a lot. Go ahead, say it with dramatic flair!

In the last week, 2 people have told me that they ate a huge healthy meal consisting of whole grains, dark leafy greens and fruit and an hour later they were "starving to death". I know exactly what they mean.

Before we dove into this head first I made a few plant heavy meals just to test the water. It was frustrating to make a big dinner and an hour later we would all be rummaging around the kitchen looking for a snack/second dinner. We felt real hunger - almost as if we hadn't had dinner at all! So we snacked on chips, ice cream, cold cereal, cookies, brownies, until we were satisfied.

We weren't actually hungry at all. It takes at least 3 hours to digest a big meal loaded with fiber rich plants. We were experiencing cravings so strong that we misread them for actual hunger. Dairy, sugar and fat are extremely addictive. Even if your tummy is full your body will tell you it is starving until you give it dairy, fat, and sugar.

Once we got off the addictive stuff we could eat a plant heavy meal and feel satisfied for hours. Most of the time I am full for at least 4 hours.

Please, if you are discouraged because you feel like you are starving after a healthy meal, please remember that you are not starving - you are addicted. If you want to feed yourself and your family healthy food you will feel very satisfied once you break the addictions. And the food will taste much better.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Road Trip Food

Today I am going to pick up my daughter at college. This is what I am bringing on my 8 hour drive:

4 books on tape (Prodigal Summer, Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Agatha Christie mystery, Omnivore's Dilemma)

Green Smoothie
Hummus and fresh veggies (cucumbers, carrots, snap peas)
Scored oranges
Sliced apples
Trail mix (nuts, raisins, soy beans, homemade granola, craisins)
Big green salad with veggies and a pita

That should get me there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

8 Week Update

In 8 weeks I have lost 28 lbs. I am averaging 2 lbs a week and eating as much as I want. One more pound and I will go from obese to overweight on the chart.  I had my blood work done this week so we will see if my cholesterol of 225 (total) has dropped. I'm pretty sure it has.

Other benefits:

I can now "run" 2.5 miles without stopping (if there is someone to yell at me!).

This is prime allergy season for me and I am not suffering from allergies at all. I'm not taking any antihistmines.

A fog has been lifted from my brain, my thoughts are clearer and I am less forgetful.

Energy! I can clean all morning, shop all afternoon, and still have energy for a long walk in the evening - all on the day after we did taxes late at night!

Sex drive? Check!

Food tastes amazing. Fruit is like candy used to be. I actually prefer a salad to most any meal (I still think this is weird).

Very few cravings. In fact the only time I crave is if I get too hungry - which is rare because I am always eating.

I wake up fresh and ready to go.

I have no need for caffeine at all. I used to drink at least 3 diet Dr. Peppers a day. Now it tastes gross to me and water is much more satisfying.

PMS? What PMS?

And, my hair and fingernails are growing fast.

What I ate yesterday:
  • Oatmeal with blueberries
  • Ran 2.5 miles (ack! I still can't believe it!)
  • Banana and grapes
  • Lunch at Olive Branch - Amazing bean burrito with vegetarian green chili and delicious pico de gallo
  • Small handful of almonds
  • Small piece of 70% dark chocolate
  • Vegan quiche
  • apple 
  • Lots of water! Very thirsty day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Food Ideas

Getting started can be overwhelming. So here are a few things I have learned in the last 2 months to make it easier:

1. Fill your kitchen with lots of food. The more you have around the more you will eat with abandon - and that's what you want - to eat as many veggies as you can. Buy all the produce that looks good to you and buy lots of it: a box of oranges, bag of grapefruit, large bags of leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine), box of mangoes. This is why I love Costco, their stuff is big!

2. Eat the same ol' same ol'. Don't try exotic new recipes everyday. You will wear yourself out and eat lots of stuff that you don't love. Look at what you eat now that is healthy and incorporate more of that. The first week we ate this way I made a grapefruit/orange salad for breakfast everyday and a big dark green salad for lunch. After the first 2 days I didn't have to think about breakfast or lunch - it was automatic.

3. Keep a list of the meals you like. Have your family rate the meals on a 1-5 scale. Start a recipe file with notes on the recipes about what works and how to improve the food. Then:

4. Serve the favorites. When you find something you like, serve it over and over.  Some of our favorites have been hummus and a toasted pita (served daily for almost 2 weeks, now I eat it several times a week), baked apples (about once a week), veggie lasagna, tofu stir fry, bean burgers, burritos,  and green smoothies (served just about everyday!). In the last 3 weeks we have had lasagna 3 times and it makes us feel normal. The regularity of food creates a "Comfort Food" feeling. "Comfort Food" that is strengthening your body.

5. Cook/prepare in bulk. I make a huge salad and eat on it for a few days. When we find a recipe that we like I double it for 2 meals and a lunch here and there. Freeze leftovers for a stressful day. When you are chopping veggies chop extra for salads and snacking.

6. Sharpen your knives. Nothing will make you want to quit faster than dull knives. If you live near me I can sharpen your knives on my electric sharpener (I got it cheap at Walmart). Otherwise, take them to be sharpened or buy a good quality knife.

7. Keep your appliances on the counter. I love to have my counters clean and clear of appliances but I am using the blender and processor everyday now, sometimes multiple times a day, so I leave them out - it saves time and makes my life easier.

8. Forget "diet food". I haven't eaten carrots and celery at all, until this week, because they seemed like "diet food" to me. In the past I used those foods on diets that I hated, so I didn't want them until now. Instead I had cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and other stuff. Try new veggies. Get preparation ideas online and try something new each week.

9. Read Eat to Live. You don't have to make all the changes, but reading the book will help you understand the whole nutritarian movement, and teach you a lot about your body. While you are at it, find friends who eat like this. They are dying to talk about it and will most likely share recipes and food ideas with you.

10. Bookmark this page and check in often. I will try to encourage you with recipes, success stories, and real life reporting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fireman Food

Lots of you have asked me for food ideas. It can be overwhelming to make such a drastic change in your lifestyle. Our change was drastic. We truly went from a sugar, fat, refined food diet to a purely whole food, vegetable and fruit diet.  And the results are A-MAZ-ING.

I will try to include more food ideas on the blog. But right now I want to share a link with you. The Engine 2 Diet is so similar to what we are doing. It is a quick read (not as much detail as Eat To Live) and full of macho man stuff. If you are a man, or if you have a man in your life, you will probably like this book. It has firefighter stories, recipes, exercise outlines, and sound nutritional advice.

This link has lots of videos to watch, especially about what to eat.

There are lots of recipes too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dining Out

We just returned from a conference in Los Angeles. When Roland asked the concierge at our fancy hotel in Hollywood if there were any vegan friendly restaurants nearby, Roland was informed that in Los Angeles all restaurants, of any standing, are vegan friendly.

And so they are.

We found that politely asking what vegan options were available opened an entirely new, unprinted, menu to us. The most memorable meal was a Risotto with mushroom, cauliflower, and beets. It was delicious and not on the meat filled menu. My sister took me to a fun restaurant in Redondo beach called, Happy Veggie, where we dined on spring rolls, "chicken" curry, and a big salad - delicious. One night we ordered delivery of a scrumptious meal consisting of: vegetarian chili, potato corn chowder, kale salad (my favorite: barely steamed kale, quinoa, purple cabbage [diced] green onion, pecans...), and an African country vegetable dish that had wonderful flavor.

My experience is that the vegan options are not only healthier, they seem fresher and taste better too! And it feels indulgent to order something that isn't on the menu. When we ate at The Getty the chef delivered our food rather than the waiter. La tee da.

Here we are at The Getty. Compare this to the picture in the side bar, looks like the carb face is going away. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shopping Shopping Shopping

The first few weeks on this diet it seemed I was at the store everyday buying new food. I have settled down now and could get away with once a week shopping, but I usually go twice. This is what I buy:

Every Week
large bag  o' spinach (sometimes 2 bags)
large box of baby greens (organic!)
bag of peppers
apples (pink lady are my favorite right now)

As Needed:
broccoli (usually every other week)
snap peas (when they look good)
baby tomatoes
any produce that strikes my fancy (last week it was mangoes and strawberries)
frozen blueberries
frozen stir-fry veggies
frozen tropical fruits
frozen veggies
soy milk (we don't do very much soy)
Coaches oats
raw nuts
Balsamic vinegar (Kirkland brand)

For The Boys:
whole wheat bread, cottage cheese, bagels, yogurt, cheese sticks, tortillas, eggs, granola bars,Soy Energy Blend (our new junk food! In the snack isle).

Sun Flower Market
Every Week:
romaine lettuce
any produce that is fresh/in season (this week it was asparagus and more strawberries)
pita bread

As Needed:
dried beans (especially garbanzo as I make hummus)
roasted garlic (so good!)
flax seed

Of course there's a lot more that I buy for special recipes like whole wheat noodles (best price at King Soopers), seasonings, and stuff like lite soy sauce. Whenever I go to any grocery store I take a long observant walk through the produce department and snatch up anything that looks fresh. If it is on sale I'll buy multiples! But only buy what you can eat in a week. It only stays fresh that long. I am learning to buy less on the weeks Roland travels.

Now I mostly shop the produce department. It saves times. And money!

If you have suggestions for what I should be buying please tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Money Money Money

Probably the most often asked question I get is:

"It must be so expensive to eat this way!"

Okay, so that isn't a question. But it sounds like a question when people say it. Actually, it isn't expensive at all. In fact it is cheaper.

Our monthly grocery bill, for a family of four, was right around $850 per month (this generally includes toothpaste, light bulbs, and other sundries). Now we are spending at least $50 less per month - maybe even less than that - I only have 2 months of data to compare to our old eating habits.

I think it seems more expensive because the standard American eater looks at produce as a side. They are willing to shell out $2.99 for chicken, $3.00 for milk, and .65 for a single yogurt. But produce, a side dish (right?), seems expensive if you buy it and let it rot in the fridge.

Tomorrow I will tell you what I buy every week.

What I ate today:
Huge Spinach Smoothie
3 mile run/walk
Big fat green salad with veggies and baslamic vinegar
1/4 cup Soy Energy Mix (Costco in the snack department)
Oranges and Grapefruit (make extra for breakfast on the road tomorrow!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

How To Get Back on The Vagon - Wagon

Before we ever started eating nutrient rich food, Roland told me he would have my cinnamon rolls for Easter. I said sure, but I wasn't going to indulge (self-righteous voice).

Well, we all indulged!

This is how I got back on the wagon:
  • Last night I threw out all candy that the boys didn't eat. I actually tossed it into the dirty garbage can in the garage. I've never thrown sugar away before. It is empowering. (They aren't much for candy - so I tossed quite a bit. I bought the same amount as last year - so guess who ate all the candy last year?)
  • Drank 2 large glasses of water before bed.
  • Ate a large spinach smoothie first thing this morning.
  • Went on a long walk.
  • Ate a huge salad and pita and hummus for lunch and ate until I was stuffed. 
I am on the wagon. There is still some coconut cake in the fridge, waiting for my boys, but it doesn't even tempt me now.

I am so thrilled! This is a big step. I think I can really do this the rest of my life. Maybe have a little "unhealthy" food now and then - if I really want it. But what I really want is wholesome nutrient rich food.

Michelle, my running coach (it makes me feel snotty to say that), asked me what I do when I crave junk. I told her I eat an orange or some raisins. But really, the answer is, I don't actually crave junk anymore.

Weird hu?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vegan? Vegetarian? Nutritarian!

  • Vegetarian - A person who eats no meat.
  • Vegan - A person who eats no animal food.
  • Nutritarian - A person who eats only foods rich in nutrients.  .
Vegan is what I have been calling myself when actually I am more nutritarian. I admire the moral commitment vegans have regarding animals. To call myself vegan, when I don't think eating animals is a transgression, is probably viewed as villainous amongst very virtuous vegans (how's that for alliteration?).

Eventually I will include the occasional egg in my diet, and I might have a bit of ham this Easter, probably a deviled egg, and for sure a small slice of my 4 Day Coconut Cake (eggs, sour cream, oil, lots of sugar). Out of respect to vegans, I must change my title to Nutritarian. A person who eats only foods rich in nutrients. No room in the diet for less nutrient food (meat, dairy, eggs, fat, sugar, processed food).

What food do I eat? Click Here.

The word "nutritarian" is not on my spell check.
I have finally settled on calling this style of eating "Plant Based" diet. I like that label best of all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Teenagers

Several people have asked what we are feeding the kids.

For the most part they eat what we eat. When we started vegan low fat wholegrain eating (we actually should call it nutritarian eating) Noah, 17, enthusiastically jumped on the bandwagon. He had been lecturing us about our diet coke habit for years and had mentioned his desire to go vegetarian so when we presented the plan to the boys he was all over it, ready to try new foods and eat as many veggies as his 6'5" frame can hold.

Ike, 13, was a little more wary. Can't really blame him, we hadn't done much in the last 13 years to make vegetables a part of his life and most of his favorite foods involve cheese. He still drinks milk with his cereal and has yogurt, eggs, and cheese (on occasion, cheese isn't very good for you - not a lot of nutrients). He  can't stand a salad. Our main dish at lunch and dinner is a big dark green leafy salad. But he doesn't complain, he just eats what he wants from the meal I've made and he knows he can always have a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter honey sandwich. He usually likes my side dishes (veggie lasagna, bean burgers, shepherd's pie, burritos) and pounds down the fruit and whole grain breads and generally is a pretty good sport. But the only thing green that he likes is the spinach smoothie.

Our college students, Hannah and Gabe, are proud of us and the changes we are making. Hannah eats mostly healthy vegan and last summer she did a a few months of a raw diet, so she loves to talk about it with me.

So mostly - they are on board. Although, we just had a dinner of steamed veggies, pineapple, and shepherd's pie and they wanted ice cream afterward. So Noah drove Ike to the store and they came home with cheese, tortillas, and Reese's Peanut Butter ice cream.



What I ate today (no Reese's ice cream- not even appealing):
  • 6:30 Oranges and grapefruit, 5 prunes soaked in soy milk
  • Ran at Garden of the Gods (so hilly! killer!)
  • 11:00 Banana, big green salad with apples, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar
  • 3:00 Small kale smoothie (same as spinach , just add kale instead)
  • 6:00 Steamed veggies (kale, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes), shepherd's pie, pineapple
  • Later tonight - peppermint tea!