Thursday, April 29, 2010

Miso soup for breakfast!

not actually my soup, but this looks like it----------------------------->
Check me out. I got up early enough today to make a batch of miso soup for breakfast. And it was delicious! I will have to report back later to let you know whether or not it was filling. Right now, 45 minutes later, my satisfaction holds, but until lunch? Unsure.

It was really good soup. I'm looking forward to adding new things to it in the future and playing around with different flavors and types of miso paste. I started with plain brown rice original miso paste.
Anyway, this is how I made it (per the instructions on the lid of the miso paste, modified only a bit, cut in half because it was for one):

* onion (I just cut a red onion in quarters and used about a quarter, sliced)
* 1/2 tsp. EVOO
* 1/2 cup vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 tablespoon miso paste
* some leftover brown rice (my own addition!)

1) Put onion in a medium sauce pan with EVOO, saute until onion starts turning translucent.
2) Pour in broth and water.
3) Add miso paste and rice.
4) Simmer 5 minutes.
5) Enjoy!
*I'm mad at myself now for forgetting to add nori, the delicious salty seaweed that I bought just for this, but have actually been enjoying as a snack! Tomorrow?*
Wishing everyone superhero thoughts this morning! Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting back on track: Today's Plan

breakfast: 1 banana w/ some peanut butter

snack 1: another banana (hey, bananas are delicious and ripe right now!)

lunch: brown rice, beans (haven't decided what kind but right now I'm thinking aduki or white), EVOO; steamed greens (collard and kale w/ lemon juice and sea salt = delicious!)

snack 2: seaweed rice crackers

dinner: vegan bean burrito! (multigrain tortilla, refried beans, salsa, onions, other veggies); side salad

snack 3: vegetables with dip (probably kraft catalina for lack of creativity!)

snack 4 (if hungry): airpopped popcorn with EVOO and sea salt

exercise: Curves circuit training (30 minutes); Gazelle cardio (30 minutes)


I feel pretty good about today's plan. Last night I really rocked my cardio session! I started to get that "high" about 20 minutes in, and it lasted the rest of the hour. It was fantastic! I love it when I really get into my exercise. I have always been more of a cardio person than anything else. But I have gotten much better results since adding a strength routine (Curves) to the mix, so I know now that I need both. I still don't have any flexibility training in my regular workouts, so I would love to start some sort of yoga or pilates regimen. No extra time or money for that right now, though. Hopefully eventually!

My meal plan is just a loose plan, really. I am not counting points or calories anymore, so if it changes, no big deal. The only reason that I wrote this down today is because it's day one of "no chips allowed" and I really need to hold myself accountable. Plus it's nice to see (in writing) how few processed items got in there. I am really focused on eating mostly whole foods, and I'm loving that. (damn "natural" ruffles!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Going "cold turkey"

... off of chips. I shouldn't be eating them. I am addicted to chips! Every time I open a bag (or tube, if I'm eating Pringles!), I eat the entire thing. If I'm sharing chips with someone, I get upset because I am unable to eat the entire bag/tube myself. I think that I will find happiness at the bottom of the bag, but that hasn't happened yet. So like any addiction, the best way to quit is cold turkey.
(BTW, is the phrase "cold turkey" anti-vegan?! Is it implying something about cold, dead turkies meant for consumption? I have no idea, will have to look it up!)

There are a few conflicts going on in my head about this decision.

One: Every time I've ever tried to not eat something, I end up craving nothing but it and eventually overeating/binge-eating on them. But,

Two: It takes 30 days (21 days? Two weeks? Hmmm...) to end an old bad habit or to learn a new good one. So if I just force myself to stick with this for a month, the cravings should be gone...right? However,

Three: I hate the idea of NEVER eating chips again. I love chips. Chips are my favorite food in the whole entire world. Wouldn't it be mean to myself to never eat them again? But,

Four: It's not like they are good for me. Chips (both potato and corn) fulfill no healthy guidelines. They are not on the food pyramid (maybe in the top under "use sparingly") and so I should probably not be eating these often, anyway. So,

Five: Why not just limit them? Tell myself that they are a weekend treat. Because,

Six: like I said earlier, I can't eat just a bit of them. I would eat a bag or two every weekend if I told myself that they were a "weekend treat". But...

Seven: Cutting out a food that I love just for the sake of dieting kind of sounds a little eating-disorder-ish to me. So, in conclusion:

I will give up chips, but only for the time being. Maybe eventually I'll be in a healthy frame of mind and be able to eat anything in moderation. For now, chips don't make the moderation list for me.

Hopefully by getting rid of the chips, I'll be able to become a superhero that much sooner! Right now chips are one of the only things holding me back. Wish me luck! :-)

Down another 2 pounds!

Goodbye, 190's! I won't be missing you. Now that I am out of the 190's, I doubt there is a scale out there that will tell me I weigh 200 pounds, which rules. :-)

TGIFridays as a vegan...

I managed, but it wasn't really a well-rounded meal. I figure though, that if I can be vegan at Friday's, I can do it anywhere. (Except for BBQ places like "Corky's". I went there as a vegetarian once, and there was only one thing on their menu that didn't have meat: an onion loaf. Basically a fried loaf of onions, which was delicious, but made me sooooo sick later.)

Speaking of fried onions, of course I couldn't resist ordering an appetizer platter at Friday's. I got one with chicken wings (for Stacey obviously!), onion rings, and green bean fries. OMG, the green bean fries were amazing. They assured me that everything was fried in oil and that butter wasn't used, so although these things were vegan, they were not healthy and I definately ate too many of them.

For the main course, I got a BBQ chicken salad, (no chicken, cheese, or ranch dressing, please!). We fortunately got the "cool" waitress, (the one with lots of facial piercings and wearing fishnet stockings with her Friday's polo shirt), so she didn't have snobby issues with my veganized order.

Gotta say, that salad was great and filling all on its own. It has black beans and corn in it, which is why I chose it.

Next time, no appetizer tray. The salad was enough!
Luckily it was Sunday, so I have the rest of the week to "work off" those fried goodies. :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confession: I've already gotten lazy!

No surprise for those who actually know me. I cooked for a week and a half, and then stopped being creative with my meals!

My basic meals now are still vegan, and some are even superhero, but most are very easy and quick. For instance, I am eating bean burritos at least every other day. Refried beans, salsa, tortilla, and sometimes (if I'm feeling creative) some brown rice and a bit of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Easy, vegan, delicious. But I feel like I'm eating too much processed foods in the tortillas. The last ones I got were from Whole Foods, and only contained like two ingredients, so not too processed, but still. Alicia was very clear about limiting the whole grain products and focusing more on the whole grains themselves. So I need to watch out for that. But still enjoy my bean burritos, because they are great, vegan, and easy!

The other popular meal I eat almost daily is beans and rice. I cook a big pot of brown rice on the weekend and eat it through the week. My favorite rice meal? A bowl with brown rice, white beans, sunflower seeds, EVOO, and a dash of sea salt. Yum! But almost every night I have beans and rice in some sort or another.

I have found a very easy, very lazy way to be a clean-eating vegan. Leave it to me, right?

I am determined to learn to cook at least one meal from TKD next week, even if it kills me. I need to cook if I'm going to make this diet last a lifetime!

Saying "no" to honey, wool, leather, and silk...

Time for me to talk about the parts of veganism that don't really affect my health, but are very important to the cause.

Honey, wool, leather, and silk:

These are the items that I haven't really thought about much in my transition to vegan eating. But I really should! They all contribute to the exploitation and death of animals, which is one of the main reasons that I became vegan.


First of all, bees are animals. Bees are sensative animals that, like animals on the factory farms, can't speak up and defend themselves, so people like me have to do it. I need to stop eating anything that contains honey, even traces of it. I no longer want to support the honeybee industry. I had no idea how badly the poor bees had it until I read this article:


This will be a tough one for me, because I love a good wool sweater in the winter. And I intend on still wearing the ones that I own, because it won't do anyone any good if I throw them away. Also, if I just HAVE to have something wool, I will just buy used. That way I'm not really contributing to the wool industry, I'm contributing to Goodwill or the Army Salvation. Here's the article that helped me wake up to how bad wool really is:


This one is more obvious. Hello, of course the cow had to die in order for us to use its skin for fashion/furniture/car interiors/etc. So if I'm not going to eat the cow, I shouldn't use its skin for the same reasons: animal rights and environmental issues. Like wool, I will continue to use my leather items until they break or I donate them. Here is a great, eye-opening page full of articles about the production of leather:


Like honey, I never thought of silk as being cruelty to animals. I mean, worms are just like bees: I hated them and avoided them, and was kind of scared of them! But this is different than just cringeing when I see a bunch of worms after a rain storm, and freezing in fright when a bee comes anywhere near my face. This is about mass production of silk from silkworms, and the torture and murder of innocent unknowing beings. Here's a great article that is very informative about the silk industry (actually this one talks about down too, something else I should have mentioned!) :

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"healthy" processed foods...

Okay, I am officially done with Nature Valley granola bars. Delicious? yes. Healthy-ish? yes. Pronounceable ingredients? Yes. Vegan? You betcha.

However, these gave me gas and made me crave junk food. So, I'm done with them. I will give them to my dad, since he seems to have an iron stomach and Stacey says he won't eat them.

I ate one on Monday for breakfast, and was so excited to have found a healthy pop tart replacement. The whole day I was bloated and uncomfortable. And I was craving more simple carbs! Yesterday, just because I remembered how delicious they were, I ate it again for breakfast. Same results. So I put 2 and 2 together and decided to try the natural route for breakfast today. And wa-la. No stomach pain or cravings.

Preperation really is the key to this diet. Last night I made a big pot of oatmeal, and a big pot of brown rice. No excuses for not eating clean today! Except that last night, I bought a bag of "light" lays potato chips during a weak moment at Schnucks. They are vegan, just not healthy. Lots of unpronouncable ingredients. And very low-calorie, so despite being off of Points, I still feel entitled to eat large quantities of things like this with no guilt. I need help!

I will probably eat the rest of the bag tonight. I was just proud of myself for not eating the whole bag yesterday. Baby steps! :-)

Here's the plan for today:

breakfast - oatmeal with karob chips and a banana
lunch - baked potato, salad, pumpkin seeds
dinner - brown rice, beans (unsure which kind yet), steamed greens (collard, turnip, and kale)
snacks - almonds, therestofthelightlayspotatochips, sliced vegetables
exercise - Curves circuit training and Gazelle cardio (90 minutes total)
Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Labels! And how Stacey is coping.

It was fun to go to the grocery store with Stacey (live-in boyfriend) and to really read the labels on everything.

For once, I didn't care AT ALL about the calories, fat, fiber, anything like that. All I read was ingredients. And not only was it eye-opening (did you know that nutrigrain bars have milk ingredients?!), it was liberating.

I have always, always, always focused on calories. Since June of 2009, I've also focused on fat and fiber, to calculate Weight Watchers points.

It was very nice to be free from all of that. Now all I care about is whether or not something has animal ingredients. And it's not always clear. Glycerin can be animal or plant derived, so I consider it an animal ingredient since I'm not sure. A lot of foods had "calcium" in the ingredient list, but I was unsure whether or not it was an animal ingredient, so I avoided it.

For the most part, it's best to get whole foods, that only contain one ingredient, and are 100% natural, like whole grains and fresh produce. But to be honest, I'm not to the point where that's all I buy yet. Plus Stacey has no interest in going vegan, so I scanned the backs of all of his questionable selections to see if I could join him in a bite or two.

Verdict? Most "food" that Stacey likes, I can no longer enjoy with him. But he did find some kettle korn flavored chips that were vegan. Score!

It was nice to suddenly no longer even crave to eat one or two of his chocolate dipped ice cream cones (yes, he eats stuff like that on a regular basis) or half of his Totino's pizza. I still indulge in some baked french fries with him, and make both of us big bowls of airpopped popcorn with EVOO and sea salt, so we're not missing any bonding over food or anything. Just bonding over different foods now.

Plus, he loved whole grains. He prefers to tear up little slices of deli ham into his quinoa, and melt some shredded cheese over it, too, but he likes it. He hates beans, though! Which I wish he didn't, because they are becoming more and more of a staple for me every day.

He's very supportive of my decision to go vegan. He loves me, and wants what is best for me and my health, and since he now knows that's veganism, he's supportive and happy for me. Do I wish that he would become vegan, too? Of course. Do I think that he ever will? Nope. Will I pressure him into trying all of my vegan dishes? Yes, except the ones with beans, since he's expressed his dislike. Will I tell him WHY I went vegan? Yep. Will I judge him for eating meat and dairy? Not at all.

I believe that we are all on our own journeys in this life. Mine is now a vegan one, and Stacey's isn't. No judgement here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost More Weight!

Hurray! I've lost another 1.5 pounds. I know this is from eliminating dairy, because I ate a lot of processed crap last week. Yes, I admit it. So I need to stop that immediately, because I know that's not really following the Vegan plan.

Well, I guess it is, since I ate absolutely no meat or dairy products, but I'd rather be a more clean-eating vegan than one who depends on processed foods.

Speaking of processed foods, I think that I finally found a replacement for my poptarts: Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars! These are vegan, have only 5 or 6 ingredients, all of which are pronouncable. So I will allow myself to indulge in these a couple of times a week, and see if that effects my weight loss or not. I feel quite satisfied right now, and I ate one about an hour ago. I have a banana in my purse for when/if mid-morning hunger strikes.

I think that if I am going to follow TKD better, I will eventually have to wake up earlier and cook breakfast. But for now, these little crunchy granola bars will help me be a happier vegan. I'm not near superhero status yet, but hopefully in the near future I will be.

Here is my plan for today:

breakfast: granola bar, banana
lunch: Amy's rice and vegetable bowl (frozen meal)
dinner: whole wheat cous-cous, white beans, sunflower seeds, EVOO; steamed greens
snacks: air-popped popcorn with EVOO and sea salt; cucumber slices, carrot sticks
exercise: 30 minutes Curves circuit training, 60 minutes Gazelle cardio
p.s. That picture is not me! Well, if that girl does weigh 191.5 pounds, she's 8 feet tall. Just thought it was a cutsie representation of fitness.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm not giving anything up!

I keep reading articles written by vegans about how they are not giving anything up by being vegan. And I finally get it!

When I wanted to be vegan, all I could think about was never eating cheese again. How will I live without ordering a big cheese pizza every once in awhile? And what about birthday cake and ice cream at parties? And the cookies that I make with my parents and brother at Christmas? I wouldn't be allowed to eat those, either?!

Now, I get it. I'm not giving anything up. I no longer WANT to eat things with animal products in them. I want to focus on eating a plant-based diet. I don't want meat, dairy, or eggs to be in anything that I eat. Therefore, I'm not giving anything up. What I want to eat has changed.

I'm sure that I will still get cravings for dairy, when I'm at a party and I'm standing near the cheese plate (those little cubes of cheese look so cute and tasty, one wouldn't hurt me, right?) or when birthday cake is getting passed around (there aren't many eggs or much milk used to make this cake, is there?). But it will pass, and I will remember why I chose to be vegan.

Yes, I CHOSE to be vegan, I don't HAVE to be. No one is forcing me to abstain from consuming animal products. Nope, this is something that I WANT.

I'm not giving anything up. I'm just eating differently now. :-)

And it feels great.

My "first" trip to Whole Foods...

My first trip there in a loooooong time anyway. And my first trip there as a vegan. It was fun to find all the items recommended in TKD. I did get a couple of processed vegan junk food items: Rice Dream Mint Chocolate Pies, Newman's Own oreos... some sort of seaweed rice crackers.

And yes, I have already tried all three of these, and the verdict is delicious! I only ate two bites of the Rice Dream thing, because I was admitedly intimidated by the nutrition label: 330 calories and 19 grams of fat. Yeah, definately not an everyday food. But I agree with Alicia when she recommended these as spectacularly evil-tasting vegan junk food.

The seaweed rice crackers taste good, but healthy, which is my way of saying that they are not greasy like chips. But not salted cardboard, either. Good.

On to the healthy items I purchased: quinoa, barley, millet, whole wheat couscous, aduzki beans (sp?), red beans, kidney beans, black beans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, collard greens, sweet potatoes, whole grain tortillas, nori, miso paste, brown rice pasta.

I ultimately decided against getting the umeboshi plums. I've heard so many bad reviews about them, and they cost $15.99, which just isn't in the budget right now. I know that some day I will get suckered into trying the "Magic Weight Loss Tea", but that day was not yesterday. They were out of brown rice syrup! I was sad, because that was something that I really want to try. Next time...

And yesterday was tax-free day at WF, so I got away without paying sales tax. Awesome. Today I get to start trying new whole grains, which are now the staple of my diet. I'm very excited to see what quinoa tastes like, I've heard nothing but positive reviews.

I will let you all know what I think after I try it. This weekend I will be experimenting not just with grains, but with miso soup and steamed greens for breakfast. Sounds foreign, but I'm game to try anything.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breakfast sucks. Poptarts, how I miss thee.

The biggest change I've noticed this week? I'm now hungry when I first wake up. It used to be I wasn't hungry in the morning, I would wait a couple of hours until hunger hit. Now, when I wake up at 7, my stomache is growling by 8. I wonder if this is because of no dairy, or something else. Maybe that I've stopped nighttime snacking? So my stomache is literally empty after my eight hours of sleep? Possibly.

Anyway, I hate the breakfasts that I've been eating. All I can think of "to-go" is a piece of fruit with some nuts or seeds. Not satisfying. Well, it does cure my hunger and keep me physically satisfied until lunch (usually) but it's just not what I really want. Probably because I'm sort of detoxing from my old faithful breakfast of poptarts. I just really want something sweet and processed in the morning, is that too much to ask?

I just don't know what to do about this meal. It's supposedly the most important one of the day, and I treat it as such on the weekends. Mostly because on the weekends I have plenty of time to prepare and eat it. Through the week? I eat it in hiding at my desk. Or if I really wanted to, I could scarf it down in five minutes at home before work, or on the way to work. Either way, it's not a good meal experience.

This is why I'm considering making granola bars, because of my craving for anything cookie-like in the morning. But should I be trying to replace my poptarts, or should I just let it go and learn to love fruit and nuts for breakfast? I'm not sure. What would Alicia Silverstone do? (you know, if she were on a budget and had to work Monday through Friday 8-5?)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dairy Dreams

Last night, a big part of my dream was me drinking milk. Now, I've never really been one to drink straight milk, so I can only assume this is a crazy part of detoxing from dairy. In the dream, I kept on opening up and consuming more and more of those little school-lunch milk cartons. I remember that they were 2% and that nothing had ever tasted so good to me. (Oh, and I was at the zoo with my friend Zachary Ty Bryan--note: he's not my friend in real life.)

Then at the end of the dream, I suddently remembered that I was vegan, and sunk to the ground, crying. It was very dramatic. And funny in retrospect.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vegan Granola Bars Recipe

I found a good-looking recipe for vegan granola bars that I am going to try this week! Plus? All of the ingredients are good for superheroes! (Please correct me if I'm wrong about that, but it seems to me they are.)

Michelle's Vegan Granola Bars Recipe

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup large-flake oats
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup whole flax seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ cup chopped, dried fruit
½ cup rice syrup, maple syrup or agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Turn out and press into a baking pan.
Bake 15 minutes and leave to cool completely on sheet before cutting and wrapping.

100% Vegan as of RIGHT NOW!

... and I feel great about it.

Last night I had an epiphany, and I just went with it. I didn't want to eat that lean cuisine pizza, and I never wanted to again. So I just did it. No more dairy! No more eggs! No more processed things full of strange and sugary ingredients. Of course, that last one isn't a forever thing as much as dairy and eggs are. I'm sure that I'll still eat some processed junk foods, but they will be vegan, and they will be limited.

I'm really looking forward to the changes that this lifestyle will bring to me. I already feel better, inside and out. I've been vegan for four days now, but TODAY is the first day I'm committed to it as a permanent lifestyle change.

Here's today's meal plan, just to give you an idea of how I eat:

breakfast: almonds and a banana
lunch: brown rice, bean trio, turnip greens, extra virgin olive oil
dinner: bean and rice burrito (frozen, Amy's), side salad
snacks: air-popped popcorn w/ extra virgin olive oil, raisins

The thing that I would love to "fix" is breakfast. I don't have time in the mornings, and need something to go. A piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or seeds is what I've done for a week now, and it's good and satisfying, but it's boring.

Over the weekend I ate oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter mixed in, which was delicious! But I can't eat that through the week because of time. Plus, I'm rarely hungry when I first wake up, I need an hour or so to feel hunger. I usually end up eating at my desk at work, which is frowned upon, so I have to have something that I can "sneak" and a banana and some nuts or seeds works pretty well for that. I'm hoping to find a recipe for vegan granola bars that I can make at home and take on the go. That would be great!

Anway, what else is there to tell? Oh, I did my first "hot body scrub" last night. I plan to continue to do this at night and see if it really helps. It definately felt nice! (For those who are curious, it's from the book, and is just scrubbing your whole body, head to toe, with a steaming hot washcloth). I'm also considering getting the ingredients for the umeboshi-daikon tea, that supposedly helps to speed up weight loss.

To me, that's not as important as eating right and exercising most days. It would be a great bonus if it worked, though, to lose a bit faster. Alicia says that if you follow all of the suggestions on "how to lose weight quicker" you will lose a couple of pounds a week. Sounds awesome, but really I'm fine with a rate of one pound a week. That will have me at my goal by some time in 2011, which is soon enough for me! Especially because this time, I'm staying there, because I know how to eat and how to treat my body.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Feeling Guilty about a lean cuisine?!

Who would have thought that I would ever feel badly about eating a lean cuisine? Not I. I have always thought that my beloved little cheese pizza was the epitome of healthy eating. WRONG. I actually have three pure vegan days under my belt right now. It's crazy, I was planning on doing the every-other-day thing, but ended up having a very vegan weekend.

And tonight I have planned to eat a lean cuisine pizza. It's a cheese pizza, so at least it's vegetarian. But it has a lot of cheese, or cheese-like-product, all over it. So at least one cow suffered to make this delicious little pizza, and I don't want to eat it.

Plus, my body has been detoxing both from dairy and simple sugars, which are both in this pizza. So how can I go back to eating this now, just to make sure that I don't "waste" any food? It doesn't seem right.

I think that I am going to speed things up a bit. I don't think that I can eat that pizza. I may have to give it away. But if I do end up eating it, I'm not going to feel badly about it afterwards. I think that I'm almost to the point where I want to throw my hands in the air and declare, "I am vegan, hear me roar!"

We shall see. I'll let you know what I decided tomorrow.

Week One- Thoughts.

Okay, so I know that it says in the weight-ticker over there that I lost 2.6 pounds last week. That's both true and misleading. This is actually the weight I lost between March 29 and today. So it's for two weeks. But since I skipped my April 5 weigh-in, 195.6 was the weight that I knew when I started this blog.

So really the average weekly loss is probably 1.3, not 2.6. Which is still AWESOME! My goal for 2010 was to lose an average of one pound a week, and so far I'm pretty much doing that. And it looks like since I stopped tracking by calories/ww points I'm still losing well.

I'm really trying to honor my hunger signals as discussed in The Kind Diet as well as putting my meals together with the 50% vegetables, 25% protein, 25% whole grain, or 50% vegetables and 50% whole grain formulas in mind. And chewing well! I really practiced my chewing over the weekend and realized that I don't need or even want as much food as I used to. When I chew really well, I eat about half of what I had planned for.

And I've discovered that I really love beans. All kinds! I have been eating canned, but this weekend I bought a bag of dried and will be trying those out this week. I also really need to get some more grains, because although I'm really loving the brown rice, I know that if that's what I keep basing my lunches and dinners around I'll be doomed to get bored of it soon.

Over all, I've learned that being vegan won't be as difficult as I have always thought it would be. It will be hardest when at family events and when going out to eat. For example, my mom's birthday is next month and I know that I will probably eat a piece of cake, which will have both eggs and dairy in it. But according to Alicia, that cake won't even taste right to me after a month of clean, vegan eating. We shall see.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Whole Foods Shopping?

I am going to add a short trip to Whole Foods to my grocery shopping this weekend. First I will try to get everything at Kroger and Easy Way (a produce store chain in the Memphis area that gets most of its produce locally and is fairly cheap so I've heard). Then I will give in and go to Whole Foods to get some more vegan convenience foods and other items mentioned in The Kind Diet that Kroger doesn't carry.

I found a list online of foods that Alicia recommends getting from the health food store.
(my thoughts in italics)

The List
* Follow Your Heart cheese- will probalby try this, but not necessary. Will definately depend on the price! I'm not really too interested in finding a cheese alternative.
* Vegenaise - will definately get this. I have had it in the past and love it!
* Earth Balance butter - another vegan product that I've tried and love, so again, I will get this!
* Field Roast sausages - I will compare prices of several vegan "sausages" and probably buy at Kroger, because more than likely it will be cheaper.
* Tempeh bacon - not interested. I hardly ever ate real bacon, so no need for alternative.
* Sunspire chocolate chips - will probably need if I want to make "raw balls" a recipe that looks really good in the book!
* Annie's Naturals Goddess organic salad dressing - I plan to make my own dressings with lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. But if it's on sale, sure.
* Brown rice penne pasta - nah. I have plenty of whole wheat pasta already in the pantry. But probably in the future!
* Organic olive oil - maybe when I finish my giant bottle of generic EVOO.
* Balsamic vinegar - definately a Kroger item.
*Gardein Chick'n Scallopini (meatless) - nah.
* Amy's Organics soups - again, not necessary, but will check the prices.
* Whole grain rice - bought a big bag of Uncle Ben's the other day, so no need!
* Organic EdenBlend Rice & Soy Beverage - no thanks.
* Hemp milk - another thing that I will only get if I need it for a specific recipe.
* Leafy greens - Kroger and/or Easy Way for sure.
* Maple syrup as a sugar alternative - Kroger again.
* Rice Dream Mud Pie (Mint is Alicia's favorite) - She describes this snack throughout the book so much that I really have to try it now. I wonder if they are a sponsor! If not, they really need to give her money for the advertising, because I'm sure I'm not the only one who went out and bought this because of her.
* Whole grains - I can get plenty from Kroger.
* Newman's Own Organics Dairy-Free Newman-O's cookies - I saw these at Kroger, not sure I'm intersted. Seems like something I'd eat too many of.
* Luna Bar (Alicia likes the chocolate peppermint stick flavor) - These are amazing. I can get them from Kroger.

This is where I'm starting! I added a couple of my own things to the list:

* vegan bread
* sprouted grain tortilla
* umeboshi plums
* daikon
* nori
* quinoa
* ingredients for "raw balls"


I didn't cook those dishes last night. You know, the flavored edamame and the cherry tomato saute. I have to make them tonight before the zucchini possibly goes bad.

I ended up eating my self-confessed "favorite meal" instead: a four-cheese lean cuisine pizza and a bag of smartpop popcorn. Oh, well.

I still have a few of these, and in the interest of not wasting food, will eat them until they are gone.

My new plan is to be vegan 100% at least every other day. I think that will help speed the transition up a bit.

Since I ate my big-dairy-meal last night, today is a vegan day. My first ever. So I thought I would share my meal plan with you!

breakfast: 12 almonds, 1 medium banana

lunch: 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup bean trio (canned but organic), side salad w/ oil and vinegar

dinner: Mexican-flavored edamame, mint zucchini cherry-tomato saute, 1/2 cup brown rice and steamed greens

snacks: 5 cups air-popped popcorn w/ 1 tsp evoo, 1/4 cup raisins, some other veggie perhaps?

I would definately be having a sandwich or burrito in there, but I don't think the bread products that I have are vegan. They both have something called "calcium bisulfate" in them, which sounds like a milk ingredient. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

I think that I do need to go to the local Whole Foods and get some vegan bread and tortillas, because I love sandwiches and burritos. Yesterday for lunch I had a tortilla with refried beans, rice and salsa. Delish!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One-Ingredient Ice Cream Recipe!

I know this is my fourth post today, but I just had to share this recipe. Who wants to try it with me?

Thoughts about Chewing

I was reading about chewing last night in "The Kind Diet". Alicia goes on and on about how important it is to really chew our food.

She says that she herself tries to chew every bite 30 times. Apparently chewing food thoroughly makes it easier to go to our bloodstream as glucose, because of the chemicals in our saliva. Gross. But healthy!

According to the book, if you are feeling like you have low blood sugar, it could easily be because you aren't chewing enough when you eat, and sitting down to eat some brown rice and a salad and chewing every bite at least 30 times or until it's practically liquid before you swallow it will relieve the feeling.

I was eating almost entirely white sugar and white flour products before starting this diet. All of that food is so soft, it requires very little chewing and sometimes can be practically swallowed whole. (which came in very handy for binge-eating, but for very little else).

Now that I'm eating mostly whole foods, I am re-learning the "art" of chewing. It's definately strange! I will start really practicing this at lunch when I sit down to eat a healthy home-made burrito.

I'm thinking that one of the keys to why eating this way helps aid in weight loss is because of the whole "it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain it's full" thing. If I start eating slowly and chewing every bite until it's liquified, my stomach will hopefully have plenty of time to tell my brain when it gets full. The trick is to listen to it!

Today's Recipes:

(also from the Weight Watcher's site)

Mexican Flavored Edamame

* 5 1/3 oz frozen edamame, shelled, about 1/3 of a 16 oz bag
* 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or less to taste
* 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
* 1/2 tsp ground cumin
* 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1) Place a small saucepan filled with water over high heat. Add edamame to pan and bring to a boil; boil for 3 minutes and drain. Place edamame in a serving bowl and set aside.
2) To make seasoning, mix together sea salt, chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper in a cup; toss with edamame until well-coated. Yields about 1/3 cup per serving.

Minted Zucchini-Cherry Tomato Saute

* 1 tsp olive oil
* 3 medium zucchini, diced
* 1 medium garlic clove, minced
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes, or about 10, halved
* 1/3 tsp table salt
* 1/8 tsp black pepper
* 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Saute zucchini and garlic until zucchini is tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper; saute until tomatoes are heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in mint.

My Thoughts:

I'm so glad that I love edamame and tomatoes, I pretty much know that these recipes will be hits. The only concern I have is for the tomato saute. Nowhere in the instructions does it say what level I should heat things (medium, high, low) so I will have to play it by ear, which is not good for a new cook. I need someone to hold my hand!

These both seem easy, but that is the point. I'm easing into this cooking thing, and if I have to start with frozen vegetables and sautes, well, that's fine with me. Hurray, I'm cooking!

My least favorite part of cooking (well, of anything, really) is the cleanup. The cleanup for last night's recipe was pretty minimal, most of it was dishwasher-safe, so I just threw out the onion peels and loaded the dishwasher. Very simple cleanup!

Salad Review:

The salad was very filling. I made it through most of one plate of salad, and was satisfied. An hour later I had a few raisins, but that was probably more to satisfy my sweet tooth than my hunger.

The taste of the salad is interesting for me and my rookie palette. The sauce part, made of shallots, juices, oil, and vinegar? Way too onion-y for me. I had my first "I'm crying because of the onions!" moment last night. The arugula was kind of bitter in comparison to my usual salads of romaine lettuce and/or spinach. I think that it would be good in a mixture of greens, but not sure if I'd want a salad that was pure arugula again any time soon. (not that I have a choice in the matter, since I bought like 20 cups of it! But in the future...)

The only main ingredient that I've tried before was the red potatoes, and even those I've only ever had mashed or baked, never just steamed, and it was a different texture, but the same wonderful potato flavor.

My favorite new food that I tried last night? The edamame. It was delicious! It kind of had a natural saltiness to it, which I loved. It was crunchy and full of healthy things like soy protein. Delicious! I can see myself snacking on this delightful new find.

No pictures of the salad that I made, but it really did look almost exactly like the picture from the recipe site, so I'll post that to give you an idea of what my salad looked like.

I would eat this again, but not for every day, or even for every week. Next time I have a huge onion craving, I know where to turn!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Today, I am officially 25-and-a-half years old. I think the fact that I still count half birthdays as actual events should tell you a bit more about who I am.

Happy 1/2 birthday to me!

New Recipe Tonight!

Let me be honest and admit that it's been a very long time since I've cooked anything that wasn't a frozen pizza or canned soup. I meant to go shopping on Monday, but didn't get to it until last night. By the way, organic beets are not just disgusting to touch, they are disgustingly expensive. However, I got a beet. I just hope that tomorrow night's recipe, which calls for a cup of beets, turns out okay. I don't typically spend more than a dollar for a single piece of produce.

Speaking of produce, I made some great new friends in the Kroger produce section. No one made fun when I asked not just where the shallots were, but what exactly shallots were. Arugula was also foreign to me. It would probably have helped had I known how to pronounce "edamame". I got a lot of "Good luck"s and "Let us know how it goes"'s. Isn't that sweet? I *puffy heart* my local Kroger now more than ever.

Tonight I will be making "Arugula, Potato and Edamame Salad" from the Weight Watcher's website. I found it by searching for vegan foods in the recipe section. Here it is:

Arugula, Potato and Edamame Salad

- 4 medium uncooked red potatoes
- 3 medium shallots, peeled and cut in half
- 2 tsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 12 cups arugula, fresh, washed and well-dried
- 1 cup frozen edamame, shelled, thawed
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Steam potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool and then cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
3. Meanwhile, place shallots on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil and completely wrap foil around shallots; bake until very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove shallots from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Divide arugula between four plates; top each with 1/4 red potato slices and 1/4 cup edamame.
5. When shallots are cool, scrape them and any remaining oil from foil into blender. Add water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper; blend to make a smooth dressing. If dressing seems too thick, add another tablespoon or two of water and blend again. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve. Yields 1 salad per serving.

I will let you know how it goes! And, I will take a picture of the finished product and see if I can figure out (or at least have Daddy Dearest help me figure out) how to post them tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My First Kind Grocery List!

Here it is, my first grocery list as a "flirt" on The Kind Diet. In case you think that I've gone completely vegan, you'd be wrong. I still am enjoying my lean cuisines and smartpop popcorns that my mom keeps her freezer and pantry stocked full of for me. So I will partake in those pizza-and-popcorn meals a couple of times every week until I decide to make that sacrifice. That's the whole point of doing this slowly though. I'm learning! Here's the list:

Whole Grains
* brown rice
* cous cous
* bread
* tortillas

Spices/Cooking oil & vinegar (since I'm starting from scatch, cooking-wise)
* lemon juice
* sherry vinegar
* red wine vinegar
* sea salt
* black pepper
* chilli powder
* ground cumin
* cayenne pepper
* popcron salt and seasonings

Fresh Produce
* 4 medium red potatoes
* 4 medium shallots
* 18 cups arugula
* beets
* 2 medium oranges
* 3 medium zucchini
* 1 medium garlic clove
* cherry tomatoes
* mint leaves
* 1 bunch bananas
* 4 small apples
* 1 bag of salad (I know, I know)

* tomatoes
* fat free refried beans
* salsa

pumpkin seeds

Cookies/Chips/Snack Food
* vegan cookies
* natural chips
* wasa crackers
* raisins

* Edamame
* Amy's no-cheese pizza

* aluminum foil
* Diet soda

And at the bottom of my list I have a written disclaimer/note to self:

$100 maximum!!! Things that I can put back if I have to:
* pumpkin seeds
* wasa crackers
* Amy's no-cheese pizza

Obviously I'm buying some ingredients for a couple of recipes. I found them on the Weight Watchers website, and I will let you know how they are. Wish me luck with my first "kind" grocery shopping! :-)

My Thoughts on the "nasty foods"

Alicia mentions three foods that are "nasty" and that everyone should give up, or at least eat in extreme moderation.

1) meat
2) dairy
3) sugar

Here are my thoughts on that. The easiest of these three things for me to eliminate from my diet is meat. I didn't really eat much meat to begin with. People would often ask me if I was vegetarian. But nope, I wasn't. I would still add chicken to my salads sometimes, and eat my mom's homemade roast beef on occasion. Oh, and sometimes I would eat things like pepperoni pizza rolls. Yep, definately not a vegetarian. I have been for a week now though, and it feels great to eliminate this "nasty" food from my life.

Dairy is another story entirely. I eat dairy with almost every meal almost daily. Dairy and sugar kind of go hand in hand for me, too. When Alicia talks about sugar being a nasty food, she means processed and refined sugar. One of my favorite meals is a lean cuisine four-cheese pizza, with a bag of smartpop popcorn on the side. Delicious, low-cal, and seemingly harmless.

However, this meal couldn't be more processed. The pizza itself contains at least eleven ingredients that I can't pronounce, most of which end in "-ose", which definately puts it into the highly-refined, highly-processed, "nasty" sugar group. Same story with the popcorn. And both contain dairy, too. Very nasty meal, according to "The Kind Diet".

I need to replace the lean cuisines with home-cooked food. I ordered a cookbook called "Student's Go Vegan Cookbook: Over 135 Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Tasty Vegan Meals" by Carole Raymond. It has a couple of pizza recipes in there, so hopefully it lives up to its title... the title sounds too good to be true!

Sugar will be the last thing that I get rid of as I take these baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle. First I'm working on being a healthy vegetarian. Also I am eating less dairy and less processed foods, but have not cut them out entirely yet (actually am nowhere near to cutting them out entirely, but I will get there).

Looking forward to see how this new style of eating affects my weight.

Me: In a Nutshell

Hi everyone! My name is Leah. I'm 25 and currently live in Memphis, TN. I work for a small engineering firm as an administrative assistant. My biggest dream for a few years now has been to move to New York City. It's actually a real goal now, and the plan is in the works! I estimate that I will be there by my 28th birthday, which is October 7, 2012. I will be keeping track of that goal on this blog, too. Mostly because my brother (who lives in NYC currently) has promised to follow this blog, and I'm sure he's curious how my NYC plan is going.

My history with dieting is pretty skewed, so I won't go too much into it except to say that I have tried a lot of different diets to lose weight. Also have had some experience with eating disorders. The latter was years ago, but my addiction to food has unfortunately held strong.

I have tried vegetarianism in the past, and really loved it. I really want to do it the healthy way now, and to eventually go vegan.

The book "The Kind Diet" has really inspired me to start the transition to a kinder life. I will start slow, as suggested in the book.