Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm not a junkitarian, but still....

I am learning a lot by following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan. There's tons of nutritional advice of course, but I'm also learning about how my other diet compares. I'm beginning to realise that although I cooked pretty much everything from scratch and am definitely not a junkitarian, I was still eating a remarkable amount of processed foods, without even really noticing.

I see now how much bread I usually eat. How much pasta. The vegan cheese in quesadillas and grilled paninis, white flour in the cakes and cookies I bake and write about here. The Gimme Lean sausages and white bread french toast on weekend mornings. And I am quite shocked. In an earlier post Sara was kind in pointing out that the biggest change has already been made - moving from omni to vegan - and that giving up a few processed foods would be easy in comparison. And for the most part she's right, of course. But I do miss the breads - especially the artisanal loaves we usually get from this tiny little independent place where they bake the bread in a wood-fired beehive oven and fetch the loaves out on long wooden spades - and the few convenience foods I used to enjoy.

And I guess the difference here is motivation. When I turned my back on animal products I did so because I could not bear to be a part of the suffering, to support the unconscionable cruelty that pervades the animal exploitation industries.

It was completely for the animals.

Eliminating processed foods from my diet is for me and - although I am motivated to improve my own health and drop the weight - the compulsion is just not as strong.

The ETL food is great - a huge variety of beautiful, colorful fresh fruit and vegetables, some brown rice and a little bread (1 slice in 5 days) and I am enjoying what I do eat. The broccoli and red pepper soup is a standout - I could have eaten the whole panful! And the stew from last night (Day 4) actually had me going back to the stove just to recheck and make absolutely sure nothing was left.

It's just that I am missing what I do not eat. And I am also feeling a bit lost without the comfort of our routine. Fridays, for instance, My Beloved and I frequently go for a pizza (cheese-free for me) and a movie. That will not happen tonight and I am totally clueless as to how to make a Friday evening special without using food. Everything I think of revolves around going out for a meal or winding down from the week over a pint or two in our local brew-pub.

I wonder how many of you can empathise and what you found would help?

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day to You!

And may the luck of the Irish be with you today!

No, I'm not Irish but heck, I'm not letting that stop me from making some chocolate-stout cupcakes with whiskey frosting.

The recipe is from VCTOTW and the frosting is just basic vegan buttercream with a healthy dose of whiskey instead of soymilk......The pix are courtesy of my friend and coworker who was terribly excited at the prospect of stout and whiskey at 08:30 in the morning!

And here's another she took having eaten a cupcake!

And how do they taste? I haven't the foggiest! For the first time, I have abstained from sampling my own creations - even to the point that I recruited My Beloved to taste test the frosting last night for the right level of whiskey-ness (yeah, he has a tough life, I know!).

However, today is Day Two of Week One and breakfast is oatmeal with walnuts and raisins, oranges (2) and an apple. And I am strangely content with that!

Oh, and for today's WTF Moment, I bring you Corned Beef and Cabbage Cupcakes. Yep, these sure were worth taking a life for.....sheesh!

Anyways, Happy St. Pat's Day to all those celebrating and - even amidst the corned cow platters - stay vegan, friends!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Such a chunky little vegan...

For those of you who know me only through Cackleberry, let me confess something: I am a chunky little vegan.

With the emphasis on the first of those adjectives!!!

I take full responsibility for this situation and know that umpteen years of eating omnivorously - and greedily - are bound to have taken a toll that 18 months of veganism cannot wipe away. However, as realistic as I am, I cannot fail to be disappointed in my almost non-existant weight loss. So, last weekend I bought Dr Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live, a book recommended on the latest podcast of Vegetarian Food for Thought. And read it. Well, part of it anyhow (the weekend was kinda packed with stuff to do....) and I have decided to follow his 6-week eating plan and see what happens.

I guess I'm posting about this because I would love to know if anyone out there has also followed this plan and with what results. I was nervous initially because I have already changed my eating habits radically and I knew My Beloved's patience is not 'unlimited'. However, when we discovered that Dr Fuhrman's plan is not too different from the way we eat now, he brightened considerably. The main difference I see in the good doctor's approach is the unlimited quantities of nutrient-dense foods, especially in the form of fruits and most vegetables. And the things I will be limiting or omitting altogether are refined carbs such as pasta, white bread, white rice and white flour. Oh, and alcohol too. :(

Anyways, given that pasta is not generally considered indispensible to one's diet, I am hopeful that I may see some positive results. And I cannot say that I am to be underfed: today is Day One of Week One and it is lunchtime. I have already enjoyed the following:

Breakfast: strawberries, blood orange and a ruby grapefruit

Lunch: whole wheat pita stuffed with My beloved's own black bean dip, salad greens and sprouts, with a huge salad alongside (spring greens, cucumber, yellow peppers, green peppers, red peppers, red onion, kalamata olives and fresh peas) and an apple.

Dinner tonight is salad (as above) with an entree of steamed swiss chard and zucchini, cooked in a tomato, mushroom and onion sauce. I think blueberries are to follow.

I am very impressed at Dr Furhman's common sense attitude and, although he's not vegan, he really emphasises whole plant-based foods and copious amounts thereof. And unlike any other diet I've ever been on, the food looks good on the plate and I especially love the fact that each part has only one 'listed ingredient' - itself. A grapefruit is a grapefruit, a red pepper a red pepper. Gone are the days of purchasing 'food-like substances' with a list of additives longer than my arm; gone are the 'meal replacements' that never actually replaced so much as a snack in my view.

However, gone too are the cookies, biscuits, cakes, scones, breads, tofutti ice cream etc etc. But it can be only for the best and I am excited. For the first time in ages, I am truly excited to see what this new system will bring.

Let me know if you have a story to share....I'd love some encouragement!

Stay Vegan, Friends!