Friday, October 29, 2010

My new adventure: veganism

So, I had a thought this morning.  There are a lot of resources on the web for vegans and for new vegans, but it might be interesting to chronicle my trials as a new vegan from the beginning.  I started a 3o day vegan diet last Tuesday.  It's now Friday so it's been 10 days.  I'll try to remember (pregnancy brain still leftover from 6 months ago, haha) the process I've gone through over the last week and tell you all about it.  Hopefully "you" will be more than just "me".
I'll start off by telling you why veganism.  I've been interested in pursuing a vegan or vegetarian diet for some time.  One of my coworkers converted to vegetarianism about a year ago and to be honest, I thought he was being eccentric.  During my pregnancy, I decided to try vegetarianism and it lasted less than a week.  We got a letter from my husband's doctor telling us he was allergic to shrimp, peanuts, walnuts, wheat, corn, soy, and sesame seeds.  That completely overwhelmed me and I gave up.  At that time, my main reason for trying the diet was for ethical reasons. 
Recently, my husband has been experiencing some pretty severe belly pains and after multiple diagnostic tests, we have yet to discover what it is, but have ruled out kidney stones, appendicitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.  So, as I was watching The Biggest Loser a few weeks ago, not thinking he was even paying attention, we saw the contestants go to Bob the trainer's house and learned that he is vegan.  Now I didn't even think hubby was watching let alone did I think he would care, but it got him asking questions that night...and more the next morning.  By the weekend, we had reached out to a friend who follows a vegan diet and had purchased the book that got him started, Skinny Bitch.  He also let us borrow The China Study, which, sorry,  I have yet to read.  However, I finished Skinny Bitch in one night and was instantly convinced that I didn't want to eat animal products anymore.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested.  Not only because of the ethical reasons, which there are many, but because of all the chemicals that these animals have in their systems when they are eaten by us!  In addition, my sweet, precious little 6 month old daughter was sitting there as I read, and I thought, "She is pure.  She has only had organic baby food, breastmilk and formula.  Why would I introduce all these chemicals into her diet."  The choice had been made.  This was last Monday, October 18, the day after my 28th birthday. 

Tuesday October 19.
I had Quaker oatmeal for breakfast with some craisins and a smashed banana mixed in.  Yummy!  I also had no coffee ( as skinny bitch would tell you not to) and a raging headache by mid-morning.
My memory is foggy about lunch.  Probably because of the headache.
I headed to Trader Joes a few towns over and bought some fresh organic veggies, two brands of veggie patties, some soy, rice and almond milk, brown rice, quinoua, turbinado sugar, truvia, and some organic green tea.  These are all ingredients recommended by Skinny Bitch.  I was pretty disappointed in their selection of vegan egg and dairy substitutes because it was nonexistent!  I had the building blocks, though. 
For dinner that night, we had veggie burgers with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard on white buns (we had a lot leftover from my birthday BBQ) and oven roasted fingerling potatoes.  It was really yummy!

Wednesday October 20.
I just had coffee in the morning because baby bear had her pediatrician appt at 8:45.  I asked Doc about veganism and how to implement it for a baby.  She said "you can't go wrong with veganism"  Score!  I totally thought she was gonna give me a bunch of crap about babies needing dairy.  She said to give her some soy or almond milk when she's 1 year, but keep her on the formula now.  Of course, I wasn't planning on taking her off of formula, but was asking for the future months.  She is 6 months old today!
I had a leftover veggie patty by itself with potatoes and ketchup.
I made the yummiest veggie sushi with brown rice!! I made two rolls of avocado and cucumber, one roll of avocado, cucumber and green onion, and one steamed asparagus and portabella.
I had gone to a local grocery store and picked up some asian ingredients and some more veggies as well as some veggie shreds (mozzarella cheese substitute).

Thursday October 21.
I had my sister-in-law come shopping in my pantry today.  I gave her a bunch of frozen meat from my freezer, a bunch of cheese and any other pantry items that weren't on the diet.  Feels good to get rid of it!
I had a smoothie with spinach, soy milk, blueberries and a banana for breakfast, so good!
Had some black bean soup from Trader Joes topped with avocado for lunch.
I believe I made vegetables and lentils for dinner tonight.  First time I'd ever made it!  It was pretty good!  The recipe was from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Friday October 22.
Had the same smoothie for breakfast.  I'm back on coffee again.  I decided one thing at a time right now, and with a six month old in the house, it's a little hard to go cold turkey!
I went to a friends house to visit and was starving by the time I left.  I stopped at taco bell and grabbed 2 cheesy, bean and rice burritos without cheese and some taco chips.  It was yummy but too much.  Next time I'll order one burrito.  I should also note that I was a soda FIEND before this endeavor and I have completely cut it out.  It was difficult going through the drive thru without ordering it.  I had some iced tea instead.
I cannot remember what we ate for dinner that night!

Saturday October 23.
Had coffee for breakfast.  Out of bananas so I didn't make a smoothie.
I had a bean burrito with brown rice and veggie shreds.  It was soo good!  I can get used to this!
We went out to dinner with coworkers tonight.  I had prepared myself by looking at the menu online.  Well guess what?  The menu was completely different.  I had planned to have a vegetable pasta which was no longer on the menu.  So here is what I had: an olive oil sampler appetizer with foccacia and olive tapenade.  Delicious!  A pear and greens salad without cheese.  I decided to order the risotto.  I asked if I could order it without cheese and they said no and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, so I just ordered it.  It was just ok.  We had a chocolate and fruit plate that had melted chocolate and bite sized pieces of fruit for dipping.  It was the closest thing to vegan they had on the dessert menu.  Within a half hour of getting home, my stomach was hurting.  I have to think it was because of the risotto.

Sunday October 24.
Made steel cut oats for the first time with craisins mixed in.  Topped with soy (or almond for hubby) milk and a little brown sugar.  It was really good!
We went to church and then had a very full day afterwards.  We stopped at Subway for lunch and got veggie sandwiches with no cheese plus avocado.  So good!
Went to a memorial service for hubby's great uncle.  I did eat a few cocktail shrimp and a cookie along with the guacamole and chips.  But I avoided soda and drank water, so I felt ok.
We went straight to a birthday party at a pizza parlor.  We arrived early and ordered our own food to avoid causing a fuss and looking picky.  We got salad bar salads and a small veggie pizza with no cheese.  I have to admit, this was HARD.  I love pizza and all the cheesy goodness that goes along with it!  But I managed not to cave and we left before the cake was served.  Baby bear is an easy excuse to cut out early but she was getting a bit fussy after having been carted around all day long.

Monday October 25.
Probably just had coffee for breakfast.
Bean burrito for lunch.  Still yummy.
Made salmon and artichokes for dinner.  Dipped the artichokes in veganaise.  Hubby said he liked it better than regular mayo! 

Tuesday October 26.
Coffee.  This is horrible but it's also easy with a baby.
I needed to use up the leftover portabellas from the sushi so I made a portabella burger by baking the mushrooms with a little garlic infused canola, salt and pepper until they were tender and putting them on a hamburger bun with veganaise and salad greens.  It was SOOOOO good!
Went to dinner with my uncle.  Elephant Bar.  I had looked at the menu online, but after Saturday, I knew I couldn't count on it being the same.  But it pretty much was.  We shared sweet potato fries for the app.  They were delish.  I combined two appetizers for my meal and had a citrus salad without the cheese and the bruschetta appetizer without cheese.  This was truly delicious and I will probably have this same combo again when we go next time, although it was a lot of food!  Hubby had a tofu stir fry with brown rice and really enjoyed it as well!

Wednesday October 27.
Coffee.  No comment.
Grapes for a snack. 
Mushroom sammy again.  Still using those mushrooms and besides, it's delicious!
Hubby wanted a haircut so we went out and did that, then got dinner to go at Applebee's.  Man we eat out a lot!!  Anyway, I ordered, you guessed it, a portobello and chicken sandwich without the chicken.  It was supposed to have marinara sauce on it but it didn't and it was gross.  I only ate half.  Hubby ordered tilapia, which had a bunch of cheese on it when we got it but he ate it anyway because he was so hungry.  In fact, he ate the rest of my nasty sandwich too.
I made my own sandwich when we got home and it was way better.  Go figure!

Thursday October 28.
Do I even need to say it?
Watched a friend's 18 month old with my 6 month old and still managed to eat a mushroom sandwich for lunch and start some crock-pot chili!  Used this recipe and it was freaking delicious!  This was by far, the best chili I've ever made and possibly eaten!  I scooped mine up with tortilla chips and had topped it with veggie shreds. 

OK so I'm officially caught up!  Some things I've noticed in the last 10 days:
I feel amazing.  No tummy troubles.  This is gross but, the most normal bms of my life.  I've lost a few pounds, which doesn't hurt because I still have a few to go before I'm down to prepregnancy weight, and I could stand to lose several more from there!
I always thought it was a crock of crap when my vegetarian friend said you taste so much more flavor when you don't eat meat.  But seriously, this is true!  I can't tell you how much better a mushroom sandwich tastes than a piece of junk hamburger from McDonald's.
I even posted to facebook "why would I eat crappy junk food when green grapes taste so good?"  It's true!  The variety of delicious flavors in nature is so diverse and when you smother your food in animal fat, it's hard to taste it!  I'm so sold right now!  I don't feel deprived, I feel like I'm eating gourmet food.  I'll admit, it's hard to find what you can eat at restaurants, but we'll get the hang of it!

Until next time...

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