Monday, October 10, 2011

Um... Don't even know what day it should be...

So, my vegan challenge is just that, a challenge. That's ok though, because I'm not completely done. I am still working on getting as much vegetarian and vegan foods in as I can, with occasional supplementation of meat.  I still believe that I will end up being about 90% at some point, but I am still working on it. I'm not ashamed of it. I'm going to try another recipe from the Happy Herbivore cookbook again tomorrow. I have to say, that I love it. I bought 3 at the same time, and this is the one that I keep going to.

I found a new product that I tried today, that will actually help my journey, and it's delicious. It is called Olivio~ like butter, but non dairy and non soy! Although it is coconut spread, it's not sweet. It may be slightly more sweet than butter, and a little less salty, but it is great. YEAH!!

Yesterday during the football game I made my first batch of vegan chili. I didn't use a recipe, I just kept adding what it needed 'til it tasted "real." I used TVP for the first time. I sent a few bowls home with mom, and she actually told me it was really good, and if i hadn't told her there was no meat in it she would have never known. I will try to post the recipe, but I really didn't measure anything. I'll also post a picture tomorrow, too.

Tomorrow I plan on making a tempeh recipe which will be a first using that as an ingredient as well. Can't wait to give another recipe a try. More pics and kid reviews on that one also!

Well, until then... have a great night! :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 4- 7~ 30 Day (not-so) Vegan Challange

After looking through the last post, I realized that while I stayed true to vegan eating, I didn't eat enough whole foods. So, day 4 the emphasis changed from just vegan, but to whole foods as well. Plus, pictures of beans in various forms is a bit BLAH, so on to some color today! But...but, not so fast, had to have another muffin for breakfast. Why, you ask? Because honestly, never on earth would I have allowed myself to do that before. I am sort of doing it because I can. (I'm so mature, right?)  I also decided that  I don't want my blog to just be about beans and kale, so I think I am going to do an overview of what I ate with a few thumbnail pics if it's something stellar, but, then onto my real life. I am more than what I eat, you know! Your primary foods (as described by Institute of Integrative Nutrition) are not the things you put in your mouth, but your relationships, spirituality, career, and physical activity. We can't be well and whole, just by eating well. We have to find balance, which I am proud to say I've done a much better job of now than any other time in my recent history. So, with that, onto a quick secondary food overview for days 4 through 7.

Day 4- Vegan still :) (9/29)
Boring food, as I said started off with a muffin, had a leftover bean burger for lunch. Both, just as delicious as before. Dinner was spaghetti squash with broccoli, onion, mushrooms, carrots, ginger, and garlic in hoisin and chili sauce. This invention was the highlight of the day. YUM!!
*I must make a note however that the following took place between the hours of 5 PM and 6 PM while I was preparing said squash deliciousness: My son's friend didn't get picked up after football practice, so being the smart boy he is, he walked to my house, which is only about 2 blocks from the school. Upon coming into the house my son told him "Aaron, you can stay here, but you don't want to eat here!" This made me question how much of my challenge anyone but myself was enjoying!! (Damn kids! :))
Same Breakfast
Leftover Lunch
Squash Deliciousness

 For the record, I would have loved smaller photos all next to one another, still can't figure it out!!!

Day 5- Vegetarian... not vegan :(
I knew going into today I was going to take my son out to eat because of the comment from the previous day. I still decided I wouldn't eat meat, but it was cold out, and when we went for dinner, I didn't want a salad. cold day + salad = NO THANKS! So, here is day 5:

Lunch - Miso Sesame Tofu
I did not eat ALL of that tofu, either! That was the whole block. I've made this several times before, and it is always great, and one of the things the kids like, too. For dinner, I had a salad and spinach pie at Alpha Coney. The spinach pie has cheese in it, so therefore, I went off plan today. :(

Day 6- Vegan Challenge... Until 4th Meal!!
I have no pics of my food for today. I don't know why, I just don't. I was SO good, that when I took Grandma to breakfast this morning, I ate a restaurant!!!!!  I was very proud, though. The bacon did look alright, but didn't taunt me the way I thought it would. Lunch was a vegetarian sub at Jimmy John's with a friend. Then, I waited way too long for dinner. STEAK Quesadilla at the Taco Bell drive-thru. DOH!! I know... stupid, but, it was really what I wanted. DAMN YOU 4th MEAL!!

Day 7 - um... omnivore.
There is a sorta long story here, that sorta goes back to the "lunch with Jimmy John's with a friend" part of yesterday. I didn't feel well. I stayed up too late, contemplating life and it's direction, and I had a BLAH sort of morning, which led to a Blah sort of afternoon. The good part is it included a lot of napping. That, was just what the doctor ordered. The Pizza Rolls, however, were not. This is where my emotional eating gets me into trouble. I knew the entire time, that I wasn't even enjoying them, and that it was throwing me off plan, but, I continued to do it anyway. And, I felt like garbage, because, your stomach IS NOT a garbage can, but I had treated mine as such. And, I know better.

So, there were lessons learned from week one. I lost 7 lbs, I know that I will probably go back to eating at least dairy after the 30 days is done, because it is VERY difficult to find something that fits this lifestyle in most restaurants, and I love being social. That doesn't mean I will eat it everyday, as a matter of fact, I may be a "weekday vegan" after all is said and done. We'll have to see. I'm not going to limit my life for this, but I want to extend it and make it healthier and happier, and I believe that can still be done through awareness and practical application.  Today (Day 8) I am going to do my best to stick with the program~ and I think the silly girl emotions I was having have passed, and that situation has worked itself out, but there will ALWAYS be bumps in the road, and I have to find a healthier way to deal. I'm on the right track. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 3 ~ 30 Day Vegan Challenge

I ended up making The Happy Herbivore's Black Bean Brownies last night. They are delicious. I haven't had one (yet) today, but I'm sure I will soon :) So, here is what they looked like, and even the kids liked them! They are moist, like the type you get individually wrapped in a box.

Black Bean Brownie

First up this morning was a change from my usual breakfast, but another recipe from the same author. These are Apple Crisp Muffins. They were a perfect pair with my coffee on this cool rainy autumn morning. Made my mouth and tummy very happy!

Apple Crisp Muffins

Next up was lunch, and this may seem familiar, but it is miso soup with quinoa. I love it, and I won't ever get sick of it, so get used to it. I'm not sure if I should just shoot a "stock photo" of it and be done with the pics or not yet. I have tried to use a different type bowl each time, just to keep you looking... lol.

Miso Soup With Quinoa
Now, dinner was new and exciting today! Burgers and onion rings. What?! Did I fall off the wagon already? Nope, of course not, they are bean burgers and unfried onion rings. Both delicious. I can't say that I will make the onion rings again, though. I have another recipe (that looks equally as difficult) in another book, Appetite For Reduction. This one was really difficult, and it was just too time consuming for me. They were good, however. The bean burgers are delicious. My stove is a bit funky, so after I had decent (but not great) results on the stove, I pressed the rest into patties and cooked them in the oven on some non-stick Reynolds wrap. (I LOVE that stuff!) Those came out a much better consistency to me, and are more burger like.  These were a hit with the kids as well.
*disclaimer~ I am not a seasoned vegan, and I tried to do as much research as I could before shoving this thing down my throat. While I am fairly certain the bread I ate was not the healthiest choice, I believe it was vegan nonetheless.

Bean Burger and Onion Rings

So, that was day 3. I still don't think I've slipped. I really wanted to put honey mustard on my burger, and I wanted to use Hawaiian Sweet buns for the bread, but they both contained honey. It seems this is one thing even the vegans can't agree on as acceptable or not. But, I left it alone, this time. I may or may not decide that it's ok next time around. I haven't been hungry, lethargic, any crazier than usual... just my normal self minus meat and a lot of other things that goes with that! I'm ready for day 4 :)

Oh, and I'm pretty sure there is another of those bean brownies in my near future with nice cup of hot tea!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 2 ~ 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Well~ I can say yesterday was VICTORY for me. I was really tired for one thing, running off about 3 hours of sleep, and so I was a bit worried about how the day might go. I get super hungry when I'm that tired, and have a habit of letting my willpower slip. Not yesterday, and boy am I glad.  I ended up feeling very light this morning. Part of it was due to... um... well, all the fiber in my diet, and the other was water weight I'm sure. I got on the scale this morning and I am down 4 lbs from day 1. Seriously!! That in itself is enough to make me crazy-happy. BUT I also know myself, and I know that anything I do well at first, I have a habit of slacking off. Don't ask me why - I'm some sort of masochist for sure.

I started off my day with the same breakfast as yesterday. Was delicious, again; miso soup and quinoa. I think that Asian cultures are on to something with the whole soup in the morning idea. It fills you up, but doesn't weigh you down.  I am worried about my love for eggs though. I think I could give up most things a vegan is supposed to, but I do love eggs. Even though I've went to free-range organic, giving them up totally may be a chore. We also take my grandmother out for breakfast or lunch every Saturday, and that is going to be a bit tricky, too. MMMM Bacon... Sausage....Uh-Oh!! The image from the video came back. Never mind. Yummy Tofu!  :)

Miso soup and quinoa ~ again. YUM
And I am painfully aware that the photo makes it appear as though it was taken from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. I love these bowls, though.

For lunch, it was super simple. It was late again, and I didn't feel like preparing anything, so I went with something I knew; natural peanut butter on Ezekiel toast with a drizzle of agave syrup and a Fuji apple. I love Fuji apples, they are my absolute favorite.

Ezikiel toast w/natty pb and agave syrup
Fuji apple (the other side was already bitten!)

(I would love to know why I can't seem to put those photos side-by-side, but oh well!)

Now, dinner worried me a bit. My son had a football game, and those nights are good for hitting the drive- thru. My son got Arby's chicken tenders (and it made the car smell terrible) and my daughter got a chicken sandwich at Wendy's (long story~but it involved an incompetent Arby's drive-thru employee).  I got a baked potato. Came home roasted a few veggies with a little olive oil and some salt, pepper and garlic powder, and I came up with this:
Baked potato and roasted veggies

I am thinking of making some vegan apple muffins or black bean brownies. I may have to update again if I get ambitious. All in all today was another good day. Sticking to it for another day :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Day one of the 30 day vegan pledge. First things first... how did I get here?  I have an insatiable appetite for documentaries, food documentaries in particular. I have learned a lot about the effects of a meat based diet, and honestly I don't like what I know. The benefits of switching to a vegan diet, in regard to your health, are undeniable. The problem is, I really don't have anything against meat. I thought to be a vegan or vegetarian you had to sort of hold a grudge against the meat. Well, I didn't... until last night. I did watch an eye opening documentary that I wouldn't suggest to anyone unless you're trying to shock yourself out of enjoying that bacon cheeseburger.
So the plan is to post the photos of what I am eating daily and to record how I feel about the experience. I want to capture the day-in/day-out so I have a record of the experience should I fall off the wagon and ever decide at a later time that maybe this is the way. I have a horrible habit of only remembering the things I want, and then giving it a second shot.  This holds true for many situations in my life, some of which we may or may not delve into at a later time. HA!

So, for breakfast I had quinoa and miso soup. YUM. I did run into a problem right off the bat though. I couldn't use the dashi for the soup, and it adds depth to it. I ended up adding some additional miso later, and it tastes great, although I do miss that "fishiness." I'm sure I will get used to it, but remember, I don't hold a grudge against the little dried fish pellets, so it was really hard not to rationalize just putting a little in there. But, instead there was bok choy, onion, tofu, and seaweed. Made a great breakfast and snack today. I had about 3 of these small bowls throughout the morning. Really great on this cool rainy morning.

Vegan Miso Soup & Quinoa

 My next meal was really sort of a snack, as I ate it way too late to be considered lunch. This may seem odd, but it is delicious. I tend to eat this more in the summer, but it did clear up this afternoon.  It's still cool, but this was great nonetheless.  Simple, basic, and delicious. Warm corn tortilla, avocado, lime, and salt. Wonderful!

Corn Tortillas with Avocado, Lime, And Salt

The last meal for today was delicious as well. Kale cooked in a little hot chili peanut oil and yam. I know it doesn't sound glamorous, and it wasn't. Just yummy. The bitter spiciness of the kale pairs great with the soft sweet texture of the yam. I got the inspiration from this from The Happy Herbivore.  The recipe was a bit more complex, and contained wild rice. I honestly wasn't in the mood to do any cooking this evening, so I took the idea and made it super easy.

Kale with Chili Peanut Oil and Yam

The Happy Herbivore's 5-Spice Harmony Bowl & my simplified take
 I also see why they wipe the edges of the plates in fancy restaurants, because if you don't they look nasty. For the record, the plate is clean, and as you can tell by the size compared to the book, it is huge as well.

All in all this was a successful day. I don't fee like I missed a thing. Honestly I got to eat the things I prefer anyway, so I feel satisfied.  One should also note that I stayed home all day, as well, so there were really no outside pressures, either.

So far so good~ see you tomorrow with another update!