Day 8…Plant Based Living…Keeping on and succeeding

This morning marked day 8, and I began the day by making banana pancakes with a cup of blue berries.  Initially, I tried to talk myself out of making it because I had no baking powder…but rationality descended and I looked up “substitutes for baking powder” on google and found that cream of tartar and baking soda would do the trick.  I happened to have both.  So with ingredients in hand, I set out to make the banana pancakes.  I am so glad that I did too!  They were amazingly delicious and the berries added a wonderful touch.  I don’t like syrup much so it wasn’t missed, nor did the recipe call for any syrup.  It dawned on me that I could actually eat these on the run too, since they didn’t require any syrup to taste good.

Gluten Free Banana Pancaked and berries

Gluten Free Banana Pancaked and berries

The portion size was 4 pancakes and no one else was going to eat the batch that I made, so I decided to start an experiment.  I decided to start freezing everything that was more than the acceptable portion suggested.  I started with these pancakes.  My intention is to freeze them and when I want banana pancakes again, I can remove the appropriate portion and place in the toaster so that I can have these “on the run” or as a quick breakfast when I want to avoid cooking something different, after the 22 days, of course!  Below is the portion that I consumed this wonderful morning 8!

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Today, lunch was to be a mango, kale and avocado salad.  I was home alone today, as my husband works every other Saturday, and my house guests for the weekend were off visiting family and other friends for the day, so I was going to make and enjoy a beautiful and colorful lunch with my dog.  I decided to make a ritual of preparing the meal and I intended to eat it outside, in the sunshine, while enjoying every morsel.  Since I have never had this combination in a salad, I was more than looking forward to it.  I carefully prepared my lunch and decided that the best option available to me to make this new meal a success was to pick a beautiful piece of Fiestaware…I know, I am obsessed with these dishes, but they are wonderful.

Mango, Kale, Avocado Salad

Mango, Kale, Avocado Salad

The salad was tasty, tangy, and creamy, the textures were wonderful and the salad was refreshing.  I actually did enjoy this while sitting on my back porch stoop, watching my silly dog lying in the grass and enjoying the break from the long and brutal winter that we endured in New England.  The winter seemed to have lasted all year long, even though it didn’t really kick in until January, it just didn’t seem to want to let go this year and allow spring…so this was a beautiful moment between mom and dog!

In the 22 Day Nutrition book, there is a chapter regarding lifestyle changes and socializing.  I was very interested in that chapter on this day, as my husband and I had been invited, quite some time ago, to accompany my sister-in-law and her husband to a comedy show and to have dinner there.  This invitation came long before I decided that I would embark on this journey and make it a permanent part of my life.  I was hesitant about doing this so soon, yet I knew that I could not avoid living and being a social creature, so I reread the chapter and decided to set myself up for success rather than to predestine failure and wallow in it later.  I went to the comedy club’s website and I read their menu.  I decided that on evening number 8, I would enjoy my regularly scheduled dinner earlier in the day, at home.  This would afford me the opportunity to eat according to the menu plan of the 22 Day Nutrition Plan and then I would reserve my afternoon snack of fruit and, instead, I would order a salad from the comedy club menu.  I enjoyed a spinach salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, without dressing.  I could not identify the dressing, nor its ingredients, so I simply didn’t add it to my salad.  I think, in the future, I will also prepare a dressing and simply bring it with me.  The premise in the book is that if you preview a menu of any establishment, call ahead with any questions, and make yourself as informed as possible, you can succeed, socialize, remain a plant based eater, and everyone is satisfied.  Well, I am here to tell you that it actually worked.

Rewind to earlier in the day, I prepared eggplant rollatini using cashew cheese.  I was a bit concerned with the term “cashew cheese” but after reading the menu and the recipe, I got everything ready the night before and put on a positive face, setting out for success, and knowing that this meal would be excellent.  A college professor of mine once told me “Shirley, when you are uncertain, just fake it until you make it” and I heard him proclaim that loudly in my head…so, thank you, Professor Robert Levine of HCC, you continue to be a part of my life today!  I prepared the eggplant rollatini as directed, plated it, and guess what?  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  However, the true test was to be in the hands of my Italian husband, whose nose turned up at the very mention of some unknown foreign substance being called “cashew cheese” and his eye brows quite literally left his forehead when said foreign substance was claimed to be utilized in place of whole milk ricotta which is, apparently, made from the tears of Christ Himself and is touted as the holy and sacred cheese of Italians something in keeping with the holy and sacred cheese of mozzarella.

Eggplant Rollatini with Cashew Cheese

Eggplant Rollatini with Cashew Cheese

Again, we needed to be social creatures on this evening, my husband worked, so he came and picked me up and we were off to the comedy show (which was very entertaining) and he had made the decision to eat at the show rather than to come in and enjoy my amazing eggplant rollatini.  When we got to the show, I had also made the decision that along with the directives in the book, I was not indulging in alcohol, so I ordered a refillable glass of club soda and a twist of lime along with my salad.  My husband ordered the chicken BLT with a side salad and a few light beers of unknown labeling.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  I drove us home and when we arrived, I got myself ready for bed but I could hear my man, in the kitchen, making a noise that I have only heard him make a few select times…it is a sort of low level hum, followed by a slight smacking sound, and then he appeared, in the bedroom doorway, gesticulating like a mad Italian with something on his mind and the inability to find the right phrase.  Hands speaking in some unknown sign language, lips pursed, he finally outed with it “I gotta give it to ya, babe, that eggplant is pretty fuckin’ amazing.”  Well, I almost died.  He went on to say he only had a fork full, it was still cold, and tomorrow he would give it a warmed over try to make his final determination.  (See Day 9 for details on the final word handed down by the Vatican, you would think!)

Over all, this day was a great success. I feel that out of the 8 days, this day contained three well rounded and tasty meals, all of which I will incorporate into my daily choices.  Day 8 was a resounding success!!!

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This entry was posted on May 26, 2015. 6 Comments

Day 7…Plant Based Eating…A Challenge is Accepted!

Breakfast this morning started with ice cream!  Ok, not ice cream, per se, a smoothie, by definition; the consistency was quite thick, more akin to a soft  serve ice cream.  It was quite tasty and so thick that I couldn’t drink it.  I actually needed to use a spoon.  I noticed that I wake up earlier and more alert in the mornings since starting this 22 day challenge last week.  This has afforded me the time that I need to make my breakfasts and actually enjoy them before heading out to work.  So, on this day, I sat in my living room, scooping my peach/banana creation out or a cup with a spoon and enjoying it like it was an ice cream treat.  Then it occurred to me…textures…my fight with textures in the morning, my fight with having non-traditional breakfast items for breakfast…look!  NO RESISTANCE!  I enjoyed my smoothie and then headed out to work.

For lunch, I enjoyed a leftover black bean burger with a small side jicama spinach salad with smoky avocado dressing.  These leftovers were amazing.  If you haven’t read the Day 6 Blog, then you should, it gives great details about how wonderful this recipe really is and how much my husband and I actually enjoyed it.

My afternoon snack was a wonderful golden raisin and almond mix.  It doesn’t sound like a lot but it served its intended purpose, was quite satisfying and tasty.

By the time that I got home from work, I had looked at the dinner menu more than once. In all honesty was I approaching this meal with much trepidation and anxiety.  I think that for some reason, my saboteur was trying to pay a visit, and I hastened my way to the kitchen to start preparations.  Dinner was to be brown rice with a steamed green of choice.  I decided to have brown rice and spinach.   Suddenly, as I was cooking, something amazing happened…that intuitive cook that I used to be when I cooked whatever was in my heart and always ended up terrific, she showed up and took over!  The next thing that I knew I was adding the spinach to the rice, steaming it with various and sundry combinations of dry and fresh herbs and spices.  Suddenly, the Brussel sprouts appeared with a lovely balsamic glaze and the avocado flew off of the menu, sliced itself, and landed nicely on the plate.  I was amazed at the wonderful culinary feast before me.  It was tasty and while I could have presented it a little better I will confess this now…while EVERYTHING looks and tastes better on Fiestaware, I do not do dishes on Friday nights – never have, never will.  So, I resorted to my finest chinette!  Nevertheless, the meal was fantastic!

Brown Rice  and Spinach with avocado slices and balsamic brussels sprouts

Brown Rice and Spinach with avocado slices and balsamic brussels sprouts

Then came the dessert…as I have stated previously, I’m not a dessert person, I prefer fruit to cakes and pies, I have no sweet tooth, but I find that this challenge calls for desserts and I have only tried one.  So, I decided to give it a good try.  I make chocomole, a chocolate pudding sort of recipe with vanilla, pure cacao powder, agave or maple syrup and an avocado.  I don’t like chocolate.  This was a LOT of chocolate; however, the avocado gave it a nice texture and I actually enjoyed a few spoons full.  Still not a dessert person.

I learned a few things about myself today…I can and I will have non-traditional breakfast items now for breakfast without hesitation.  I will make the best of this, no matter what because I am feeling great, sleeping soundly, and having a good time.  I will try desserts more often because its fun to challenge myself to live outside of my nurtured and convenient comfort zone.

This entry was posted on May 23, 2015. 2 Comments

Day 6…Plant Based Living…my successes!

Day 6 has been completed with great and wonderful success!  Not only were the flavors delightful on this day, the textures were beyond acceptable.  I believe that a turning point occurred somewhere around dinner time…

The day began with a weigh-in.  On day 1, I weighed in at 181.2, here on the morning of day 6, I weighed in at 176.2.  Pretty pleased with myself I decided that I would embrace this day and make everything about it sparkle – no matter what was placed before me in the road – and I adjusted my attitude accordingly.  As a quick aside – attitude since beginning the plant based living challenge has been mostly upbeat and positive – look at the law of attraction working, so everything else around me has fallen into synch!

For breakfast I enjoyed a wonderful old familiar morning ritual – rolled oats!  A week ago I was eating oatmeal with cranberries and raisins every morning.  It wasn’t boring, it was what I had grown accustomed to for the week day morning breakfasts to keep my cholesterol in check.  Well!  Let me tell you, on this morning I made Banana and Almond Butter oats!  Nothing could have been tastier.  At first I was worried that the equal parts of water and almond milk would never evaporate or become incorporated enough to turn the mush in the pot into any semblance of the consistency that I prefer in my oatmeal.  Boy!  Was I wrong?  Oh hell yeah!  This gave a new meaning to the adage “Patience is a virtue!”  The oatmeal was outstanding, filling, wonderfully familiar yet somehow more exotic than in the past.  I will definitely return to this satisfying, rib sticking, long lasting breakfast.  The breaky of champions!

Banana almond oats

Banana almond oats

Since breakfast was such a hit, I was honestly looking forward to lunch.  In fact, I had been looking forward to today’s lunch since the night before, when I prepared it, because I was introducing myself to a new food – jicama (pronounced Hick-Ah-Muh).  I was uncertain what it was, how to prepare it, what to do with it, how it would taste, what the texture would be like, and if I would like it.  So, the night before I prepared a Smoky Avocado dressing and a jicama salad.  The salad consisted of jicama, red cabbage, spinach leaves and romaine lettuce.  The dressing had avocado, lime, smoky paprika, cumin and a few other spices.  The dressing would rapidly become one of my favorites in the challenge recipes and one that I am certain to return to time and time again.

At lunch time, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually LOVE jicama!  I believe that jicama is proof that the Goddess loves me and that Mother Earth has yielded this beautiful piece of itself for me, and only me!  It is, to my palate, as if a white radish, an apple, and a pear were involved in some lovely coupling and the offspring of that beautiful wild night was named JICAMA…it’s crunchy like a radish, flashy like an apple, and subtle like a pear…if you have not tried jicama, please do not walk – RUN to your nearest produce stand or market and buy it!  Try it today!

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Jicama Salad with Smoky Avocado Dressing

My afternoon snacks have been a bit of a problem for me.  Much like desserts, it has never been my thing.  I understand the importance of ensuring 3 meals a day and a snack in the afternoon, so I have set an alarm on my phone to remind me that a snack is something that should not be overlooked.  Today’s snack was a cup of almond milk with the challenge plant based protein powder.  I will say that I am not a fan.  Not because it isn’t tasty, because the nuttiness of the almond milk and the vanilla flavoring of the protein powder mingle well; I just do not care for milky products in the afternoon.  Again, it harkens to childhood days of regimented eating of certain foods at certain times and I am breaking the cycle and learning to be more flexible in my choices.  I am willing and open to making these changes; most especially in light of the physical manifestations that these changes have taken in my body and mind – all for the better.

This brings us to dinner…this was the most special meal of the meals that I have prepared and eaten thus far.  I have not mentioned before, I am married to a carnivore – an Italian carnivore.  He takes his meat very seriously and he is somewhat supportive and has stated that he will try everything but that I should plan meals to include an animal protein for him and he will utilize what I am eating as an entre as his side dishes.  This is completely fine with me as it eliminates the need for me to prepare and cook two entirely separate meals which I simply am not going to do.  Each thing that I have prepared thus far has been met with his nose upturned and the most heinous and atrocious expressions of disdain on his otherwise handsome face.

Tonight’s entre was Black Bean and Corn Burgers served with guacamole and leftover Jicama Salad.  As I was preparing the “burgers” I went into one of those “Wayne’s World” dream sequences recalling the last attempt that I made at black bean burgers or, as I like to call them “Black Bean Dog Food Nast.”   My prior attempt was a disgusting, mushy, ill-flavored blob that landed in the garbage can while I rushed around to make something palatable in its stead.  I was recalling the prior directions which stated to “pulse” in the food processor the black beans and spices until they rolled together.  They never “rolled together.”  In reality, they mushed and got gooier and gooier with each pulse.  I was fearful.  In fact, I may have had a moment or two of downright anxiety.  I took a deep breath, gathered my ingredients around me, and began.  The instructions were very much the same, but the ingredients were oh so much more tasty.  I pulsed.  I looked.  I pulsed again.  I looked.  My heart sank.  The same consistency was present!  Oh no!  Quickly, I made some semblance of patties placed them on the foil lined pan and placed them in the convection oven.  I made a quick guacamole topping and placed the jicama salad on the plates, hoping beyond hope that my colorful Fiestaware plates and the festive salad would hide the blob that was sure to emerge from the convection oven.  And then — The Goddess Loves me – a beam from the sky shone down on me, every light bulb in the world lit up over my head, and I saw it – I saw it as it were lit up on Broadway – the temperature control on the convection over then read “BROIL!!!”  So…I looked left and then right and then left again and I turned that knob and waited. I waited.  I looked in.  I opened the door, I flipped the burgers, I closed the door.  I waited.  I looked in.  I opened the door, I flipped the burgers, I closed the door.  I waited.  I looked in.  I took a deep breath, did a quick inventory of my good deeds, looked heavenward and prayed…I removed the burgers, plated them and gingerly headed downstairs for dinner.

My husband raised his gorgeous face, looked down at the plate and said “What’s that?”  My heart sunk.  I explained the menu.  Smiled and said that the salad was the best I had ever had and he did it…he ignored me, took a bite of the burger…lifted one eye brow (never a good sign) and looked up at me and said “THIS IS FUCKIN’ BANGIN’”  I almost fainted.  He went on to say that if he had his own restaurant this burger would definitely be on his menu.  He loved the guacamole and he loved the salad.  He was not a fan of the dressing, but I didn’t even hear that part of his meal critique.  I was on cloud nine the rest of the night!

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Black Bean Burger with Jicama Salad and Smoky Avocado Dressing

Black Bean Burger with Jicama Salad and Smoky Avocado Dressing

This day has been a success and one that I plan to repeat again in the future.  I realize that I need to work on my “pulse” action and the black bean burger consistency and I am happy to do that.  I loved day 6.  Looking forward to day 7 because I will have lunch leftovers.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2015. 2 Comments

Day 5 of Plant Based Living…REALLY enjoying the menus and flavors

Today marks the close of day 5, which was a very interesting day.  I started the morning realizing that the pain in my elbow has been gone for another night.  It never woke me up, as it has over the last several months.  OH MY!  I then realized that the only time that I woke up during the night was to close the living room window because a thunder storm had rolled in and the clapping of thunder and the beating of rain again the roof woke me; but only long enough for me to stagger to the living room and shut the window – I returned to my slumber and slept like a corpse.  Could this be the food and the change in my diet???  I’m thinking – – – YES.

For breakfast this morning, I had a vanilla plant based protein drink with blueberries, spinach, hemp seed and almond milk.  It was tasty.  The consistency is actually like that of a soft serve ice cream and its cold and palatable  First thing in the morning it wasn’t my cup of tea, but that’s my whole texture hang up.  I have also been strange about eating non-breakfast items at breakfast time; ironically, the truth is not the same for breakfast items for dinner.  So, I need to just get over myself.

For lunch, I had the left over summer veggie quinoa pasta from dinner last night (See Blog Day 4 for photos) and snack was the snack I forgot yesterday, which was almonds and golden raisins.  Today, I noticed that I was tired fairly early in the day, but not the same fatigue that I felt a month ago that comes on fairly strongly in the middle of the day, around 3:00 every afternoon.  This was just a pleasant sort of “gee, I wish I had a hammock and could lie under a tree and nap for an hour or two” feeling.  I was not lethargic or fatigued, just tired.  I am trying to be more aware of my surroundings and feelings about hunger and meals.  It seems that more often than not, I am not hungry, but rather I am thirsty.  So, I have made the change to ask myself first what I can identify about the feeling.  If I come up with the answer of “I’m not sure” then I have a drink of water.  A tall drink of water.  If that doesn’t satisfy me, I am not sure what my “plan B” will be because, so far, when I have resorted to this tactic, I have come aware from the glass satisfied and simply wait for the next meal.  Guess I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I was excited to get home tonight because curry was on the dinner menu.  Strange that I never realized how easy curry is to make but I also never thought about a vegan curry before; I think that I will be thinking about vegan curry more as the days go by.  Tonight, I made Butternut Squash Curry.  It was fantastic!  The coconut milk melded well with the curry paste and, if I am being honest, I was more than a little frightened when I reached for the curry paste and saw “HOT.”  I was pleasantly surprised by the taste, it had just the right amount of spice – not too hot, not too mild – and the flavors melded together perfectly.  I was also a little taken by the notion that green beans would be added toward the end; but again, I was pleasantly surprised and now wish I had actually added more of them.

Butternut Squash Curry

Butternut Squash Curry

Butternut Squash Curry over brown rice

Butternut Squash Curry over brown rice

Dessert was once again avoided. I’m just not a dessert person.  Once in a while will be fine with me.

All in all, I feel that today was a great success.  I enjoyed a myriad of flavors that I would not have otherwise tried because I never think about exotic cooking.  My prior experience has been Austrian, Italian, and Puerto Rican and once of twice I dabbled in chicken tikka masala…from a mix!  NO mixes here, this is all good down home cooking!  Looking forward to lunch tomorrow…jicama salad…what is jicama any way?!? Stay tuned for the end of day 6 to find out…

Day 4…Plant Based Living…discovering flexibility

I completed day 4 of my plant based living journey yesterday.  I don’t think that this has been  a very difficult row to hoe thus far and I am sure that with any way of living that there will be obstacles to pop up.  This weekend, for instance, I am going out for dinner with family at a comedy club.  Ordinarily, I would not feel challenged and would be ordering one beer after the next, a fried appetizer, likely chicken wings, and a salty and meat filled entre.  Well, this is no ordinary day, this will be my 7th day of plant based living and, in keeping with the new journey, I have viewed the menu for the comedy club and have already chosen my menu.  I will order the crudités, sans the ranch dip, and a large salad of greens with vinegar and oil and I will have fresh fruit, if it is offered there (couldn’t find it on the menu) for dessert.  For drinks, I don’t want to feel left out, so I will order sparkling water with a lemon or lime wedge in a fancy glass.  Problems and stress diverted in advance.  This is what day 4 has brought to me, a sense of flexibility and discovering new ways to keep myself in check, without neglecting my social calendar and events that I have been so graciously invited to attend.

For breakfast on this day, I enjoyed a nice fruit salad and a 22-Day Nutrition bar (walnut fudge brownie).  The fruit salad had fresh pineapple, fresh kiwi, and fresh cantaloupe – all ripened to perfection and tasted like summer feels to a kid running through a sprinkler.  I enjoyed it a great deal.  I ordered the walnut fudge brownie, but to be honest, I do not like chocolate all that much and would not order these again.  They are dense, chock full of chocolate flavor and walnuts.  The texture – again with the texture – is a bit off putting to me.  It is quite dense and FULL of flavor.  I liked it enough to commit to consuming the entire box until they are gone, but would also say that they are not my cup of tea.  AH!  Perhaps I should have enjoyed it with a nice cup of hot tea that I could have dipped it in ???  Something to think about with the future morsels I eat from this box.  If I were rating these on a scale of 1 – 10, I would give them a 4.  Definitely not anything to write home about.  The fruit salad was good.

I was actually full and until lunch time.  This plan does not give you a longing for food in between meals; there is definitely enough food prepared and consumed to keep my appetite healthy and satisfied.  The book is a solid and great reminder that when you have hunger pangs, drinking a glass of water often keeps your real hunger in check.  I find that I am often not really hungry, but thirsty.  Could is be that all of this time I have been putting food in my mouth as opposed to actually satisfying a need for water?  Maybe.  In any event, it has been working to keep me committed to the three meals per day and the one snack.  I have not always had the desserts because, as I have stated in prior blogs, dessert was never something that has been in my reality with any regularity.  Desserts were always special occasions and now the plan calls for daily desserts, something that I may have to get more in tune with.

For lunch, I had a Golden Kale salad which I prepared the night before.  I used fresh curly kale, golden raisins, walnuts, and apple slices.  The dressing consisted of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and agave and was rubbed and massaged into the kale, adding the raisins and walnuts after the thorough introduction of liquids to kale, with the apple slices topping off the entire salad.  It was a wonderfully filling meal, tasty, and I will add this to my permanent list of LOVED items from this 22 day adventure.  I will give a word of caution to those of you who might be following along and thinking you would like to try some of these things…make sure that if you have not been following a plant based diet for your entire life that when you consume this particular salad that you keep in mind that your body may sound like the brass section of the orchestra tuning up before the symphony within an hour or two.  You will not want to stray very far from restroom facilities and you may wish to be confined to your own space unless, of course, that is, you are of the school of thought “Where ever you may be, let the wind blow free” in which event, tune her up and let her rip!  All kidding and evacuations aside, this was a wonderful salad and one I will make again and again.

GOLDEN KALE SALAD

GOLDEN KALE SALAD

Dinner was another winner!  This time I actually got my husband to eat what I was eating and he enjoyed it.  His suggestion is to remove the beans the next time we make it.  I had to explain to him the necessity of the beans is for me to have adequate protein since I am living on completely plant based foods.  Next time, I will make the beans on the side and enjoy them myself.  In any event, dinner was a Quick White Bean and Summer Vegetable Pasta made with Quinoa pasta.  The texture – yes, I am a texture whore, I know! – was not unpleasant.  I chose a tri-colored quinoa pasta, the texture was a bit rough, but it was tasty and had the same consistency of whole wheat pasta.  I did not mind it in the least, nor did my husband, which is saying a lot since he is of Italian decent and no one makes pasta like his grandmother!  The vegetables consisted of eggplant, zucchini, red onion, Portobello mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and cannellini beans.  I had an opened container of garbanzo beans from a meal the day before, so I used those instead of cannellini beans.  Also, the recipe called for an organic marinara sauce, I don’t use premade sauces so I made a quick ragu using tomatoes, garlic, and a pinch of tomato paste.  I also added fresh sliced tomatoes to the recipe rather than using canned stewed tomatoes.  The entire veggie skillet was sautéed in vegetable stock as I try to limit my intake of oils, and I seasoned everything with dry basil, oregano, and thyme.  Once the vegetables were fork tender and the pasta was done cooking, I married the two together in a find ceremony of healthy goodness.  I tried to entice my husband to use the hemp parmesan, but he took one sniff of the container and declined…lol, you can’t blame me for trying!

QUINOA PASTA & SUMMER VEGGIES

QUINOA PASTA & SUMMER VEGGIES

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I somehow missed my afternoon snack, which should have been almonds and golden raisins.  I’m not sure exactly how that happened, except for the fact that I was not hungry or thirsty so I had no physical cue to have a snack.  So, this is an area that I need to work on.  Apparently there must be a reason to have three meals a day and a snack in the afternoon.  Maybe it is to keep the body motivated to eat a lighter evening meal, I’m not certain, but I also do not want to interrupt a plan that seems to be working.

I also skipped the dessert on this night, which was raw macaroons.  I just do not like the texture of coconut, most especially raw coconut, so I did not bother making these.  I know that I need to try to get along with textures, so I will make an effort.  For right now, however, I am content to stick to skipping the dessert.  I wasn’t hungry in any event.

I am fairly impressed with the milestones that I have crossed, with the success that I have had, and with the overall non-complexity of this plan.  Here is to me and letting go of preconceived negativity about how I will successfully complete these 22 days of plant based living!  Cheers!

 

This entry was posted on May 20, 2015. 2 Comments

Day 3 – Plant Based Living – A reflection of numbers and a projection of success…

I embarked on day 3 with a significant weight loss and an equally significant lowering of my blood pressure for a mere 2 days under my ample belt.  The 22 Nutrition Challenge requires that I step on the scale every morning, log in my weight and, since I have a propensity to lean toward high blood pressure, I also take my blood pressure every morning and log that into my calendar.

When I began on day 1, my scale tipped out at a whopping 181.2; I say “whopping” because I stand at 5’4″, which is hardly tall enough to support that weight.  My blood pressure was a dangerously high 199/99. I do not take medication for high blood pressure because two years ago I dropped 50 pounds, 30 of which I regained, and I was able to lower my blood pressure and keep it lowered at an acceptable level – until the weight crept back up, that is.  This time, I am making a permanent change; one that is sustainable and practical, one that I am enjoying and incorporating into my life.

On day 2, my scale read 179.7.  I was pleasantly surprised and tossed it aside as water weight loss (((I should have stopped then and addressed my saboteur and retrained my thought into something more akin to “great job, keep it up, Shirl!”  Hindsight is 20/20, at least I recognize the negative self-talk and I am changing it!)))  I took my blood pressure and it was 189/90.  A small victory is better than no victory at all, yet again I allowed my saboteur in to stomp on my achievements.  I must remember to celebrate every tick downward, every tenth of an ounce lost, and every good feeling that returns.  Awareness and perspective are mighty strong bedfellows!

On day 3, my scale told me that I was now a beautiful 177.8 and my blood pressure monitor stated that my blood pressure was 119/84!!!  I believe that at that particular moment, the skies opened up, a cloud of cherubs floated by and the distinct sound of “HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!” burst forth.  I heard my saboteur chitch, sucking in her teeth, and rolling her eyes as she stomped away like a petulant child when I stood proudly and said “Holy shit!  This is actually working!”  It is a good feeling to pat myself on the back and celebrate even the smallest of achievements.  I rather like this feeling and look forward to it continuing.  I would like to serve an eviction notice on my saboteur for being a poor house guest.

So, day 3…on day 3 I awoke to enjoy a fairly good Quinoa Porridge with berries.  Again, texture is something that I have to grow into and quinoa in the morning, while not appealing to my tongue’s mind, was actually fairly ok.  I do not believe that I am cooking it correctly, which could be the crux of the dilemma, but you know what they say…practice makes perfect!

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It was quite tasty, I enjoyed the berries, and I definitely need to work on finding out how this quinoa is actually SUPPOSED to look when it is properly prepared.

For lunch, I had a HUGE salad, nothing really to write home about, it was tasty, quite large, had a ton of things in it like red peppers, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, red onion, lettuce, spinach, chard and a lovely light dressing.

Snack was more hemp hummus, which I could honestly eat every day.  I went a bit off recipe for this batch and added three cloves of garlic because well…you can never have too much garlic, that’s why!  I added red peppers, cucumber slices, carrots and celery sticks to the snack and it was filling and kept me quite satiated through the afternoon.

For dinner, I had a small sweet potato with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and a medley of steamed vegetables which were amazing.  I chose fresh Swiss chard, Portobello mushrooms, red onions, red peppers and garlic.  I was not in the mood to wash any more dishes, so I chose the finest chinette paper plates I could find!

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I know that I am gushing over the meal, but wait until you see what is for dessert!

Raw Brownie Bites.  What the…????  Now, I am not one to eat chocolate.  I do not care for the taste.  American chocolate is somehow, to my taste, sour.  It lacks any sort of real chocolate in it so I avoid it at all cost.  So, on this night, I decided to give it the ole college try.  I broke out the cacao nibs, the powdered cacao, walnuts, and the pitted prunes.  Yes!  Yes, folks, you read that right…pitted prunes.  All of it was tossed into the Cuisinart – which is getting one hell of a work out these days – and I pulsed it until it resembled a fine consistency that may stick together when rolled.  SUCCESS!  These are so tasty and wonderful. I am glad I read the portion is only two!  I am proud to say that I actually stuck to the portion and did not tempt myself into eating them all.  When I saw that the recipe yielded 25-35, I cut it in half and I am glad that I did.  I even brought some to work to share with my coworkers, we shall see if they are as impressed as I was with them.

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All in all, I would say that day 3 was a wonderful day and that I project much success moving forward.  Keeping enthusiasm up, the saboteur at bay, and the wonder of surprise intact.

This entry was posted on May 19, 2015. 4 Comments

Day 2..Plant Based Living…a success

Day two of my lifestyle change journey is over and was relatively easy to get through.  The menus seems to be pleasant enough, relatively easy to prepare for and the ingredients, while unfamiliar to me, are relatively accessible.  I am finding this new way of preparing meals rather fun and entertaining.  I feel like I must look like a complete lunatic, talking to myself, running hither and yon for appliances, ingredients, and paper towels to clean up my myriad of spills and messes.

Breakfast on day two consisted of a plant based protein shake with a frozen banana, almond milk, almond butter, and some chard.  It was tasty once I added the vanilla and the consistency was much like a thick milk shake.  I would totally consider making a protein shake part of my routine once I figure out what that is.  Its good to get some vegetables in first thing in the morning any way and this seems as good a way as any to accomplish that task.

For lunch I had hummus and cut veggies, including red peppers, cucumber, carrots, and celery.  The hummus was really good, only next time I will be adding a bit more garlic.  Hummus recipe included hemp seeds, which I thought added an interesting flavor to the hummus and one that was not unpleasant in the least!  I also had the leftover slaw salad from day one.

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Since I had to work all day, I felt like this was a very satisfying meal and was looking forward to my snack in the afternoon.  I’m not one for bars and shakes, but honestly the bar that 22 day nutrition puts out is amazingly good.  Its a fruit bar and I could distinctly make out the apricot and oat flavors.  It was quite pleasant and the texture was also enjoyable.

Dinner, I thought, was going to be more of a challenge, but then I noticed that my self saboteur had shown up in a formal gown, teeth bared, and ready to begin the negative self-talk that I have nurtured for far too many years.  The menu set forth zucchini pasta with tomatoes, sweet potatoes and hemp parmesan.  “What in the fuck is hemp Parmesan?”  I could hear the nasty inner voice sneering and gnashing her teeth.  So, I did what I have never done before…I read the recipe and said “YUM!  This sounds amazing” and I set out to prepare my meal.

For the first time ever, I used my zucchini pasta maker, which worked like a charm, cutting long ribbons of “linguine” like pasta; I cut the vegetables, I melded seasonings, and them I made the hemp Parmesan.  MY GAWD WAS IT GOOD!!!  Easy, quick to prepare, tasty, colorful, and down right good!

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I will make this dish over and over again!  And then, as if dinner weren’t enough of a pleasant surprise, I also discovered that each night I would be enjoying a dessert.  I have never been a dessert eater.  My family didn’t have desserts while I was growing up.  My mother is an incredible baker, so there was always something sweet, but I cannot remember one time in my childhood that we enjoyed it after dinner.  It was usually just there and I have never been one for desserts as a result.  Until now.  On  this night, I would enjoy “Banana soft serve” like I have never enjoyed a banana before.

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In my haste to find a camera to photograph this little bit of heaven in a bowl, it melted a bit, but it was still tasty.  Frozen bananas, vanilla, cacao nibs and a blender.  Nothing could have convinced me to stick to this plan and better than this vanilla soft serve.  It has the consistency of ice cream, without the mucus issues.  I loved it and will also be repeating this recipe in the future.

All in all, day two was a success.  I am learning to pay attention to my prior relationship with food and to come to terms with the fact that comfort doesn’t come from a plate.  Negative self-talk is also being called onto the carpet.  I look forward to some truths about day 3.

This entry was posted on May 19, 2015. 6 Comments