Thursday, January 30, 2014


I spent the holidays being a bad "herbie". I was surrounded by the temptation of sugary treats, and I succumbed. This is my confessional...but also, an attempt to remind myself of what happens when I am not eating optimally for my health.

For the past year, I have followed a plant-based, whole food diet. I would estimate that 90+% of the time I ate only plant-based (vegan) and minimally processed foods. I also avoided gluten. Here is what happened while I was adhering to this plan.
  • I had energy!
  • My IBS symptoms were gone or nearly unnoticeable
  • I craved food like salads and grains... really!
  • my skin looked clear and "glow-y"
  • I felt mentally alert and my mood was good
But during the holiday season, I did not follow my eating plan. I have forgiven myself for this, but I learned a few things during this time of indulgence, and I want to put them down so that I can try to remember this experience for the future.

This is how my holidays went.

DH, who really wants his family to feel loved and spoiled at the holidays, started ordering "treats". I mean, excessively. Keep in mind that we are a small family. We do not have droves of holiday visitors. I begged him not to, but honestly, some of his actions in this department are really passive aggressive. The problem is, once the stuff is here, someone usually eats it. He spent way too much money, and provided us with very unhealthy excess. So let's just say there were far too many things for any family of five to consume. Since it was the holidays (which extended FAR too long!), I let myself indulge. And indulge is the right word.

If I had stopped with a small taste of something, it might have been OK. But I learned that the "one taste" was very detrimental to me. It opened the floodgates of eating the C.R.A.P. (Calorie Rich and Processed) to vast excess. Truly, it was like giving an alcoholic a "tiny little glass of wine... it wouldn't hurt, right?" But it does hurt. It starts the cycle of cravings.

What I learned about cravings is that they are powerful. I realized that none, truly none of these foods tasted nearly as good as I thought I remembered, yet I found it nearly impossible to stop eating them. They were right in front of me, and I just kept going. Day in, day out. As I continued, the way I felt got worse and worse.

  • Instantly, I experienced abdominal bloating, cramps, and a rocket-fire return to IBS in full swing. (I won't be too graphic here, but it is not a pleasant thing) 
  • My energy was sapped. I felt (feel, as I haven't recovered yet) tired and lethargic
  • I felt driven to eat all day, even though I was aware that I was not hungry.
  • I had intermittent headaches, which is extremely unusual for me
  • My skin is blotchy
  • My clothes are uncomfortably tight-ish
  • My cravings are practically uncontrollable - and when eating "clean", I have none
While I am going to put this behind me, I need to realize that I cannot allow myself to be influenced by outside forces. I like how I feel when I eat right. I don't like being overweight (and certainly don't want to return to being obese).

I've set some new goals for 2014, and I will attain them. I plan to start with a 3 day (or 5 day- not sure yet which) cleanse, and then back to strictly plants. My body will thank me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vacation Fall-Out

Despite my good intentions, I fell into "the pleasure trap" while on vacation. I have eaten far worse in the past, but still ate many things while away that I don't feel good about, including some animal products.

What I learned is this.

  • I don't feel well physically when I am not eating plant-based
  • I don't feel well mentally, either
  • Gluten is not my friend, and I need to avoid it 
  • It is far too easy to fall back into old habits when eating typical American junk food (see Doug Lisle's The Pleasure Trap)
  • Salty, fatty foods are a trigger for me, and once I eat them, it is hard to get back on track
I am busy reminding myself why I chose to eat plants in the first place. I do it because eating animal products is not good for me, it isn't good for the planet, and it is most definitely not good for the animals. 

I am rededicating myself to my healthy eating. When I eat just plants, I feel energized. I am now more than half-way to my weight loss goal, having lost 46 pounds, and I would like to get the remaining weight off by the end of the year. 

So today, I'm heading back to my Happy Herbivore meal plans, am going to keep it simple. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 3

Still no pictures of my food, but today was kind-of a boring food day. That's OK!

Breakfast was one of my go-to's - a cherry smoothie. Of course I mean one made at home, not from a shop. I use almond milk, frozen cherries, and a banana. If I'm feeling the need for more "cherry", I throw in a tablespoon of tart cherry juice. Since I have a 25-ish minute commute to work, I find that smoothies can be a good option for me. The cherry is a personal favorite, but I also love a chocolate peanut butter (a la Happy Herbivore), and will also do a green smoothie with spinach or kale sometimes. My other favorite breakfast is oatmeal and fruit. Lately, due to a microwave malfunction and an early shift, smoothies are more often my breakfast of choice.

Lunch was again hummus and carrots, along with some mandarin orange sections and raspberries.
Interestingly, I was not hungry when I got home from work- this is very unusual, but great!

We ate incredibly simply tonight. Spring greens and boiled potatoes. I put a little homemade Oriental dressing (a few drops of sesame oil was the only oil used). I'm learning that every dinner doesn't have to be a big deal.

I'm feeling good.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 2

I was running late this morning. (Not unusual) My plan was for a smoothie (I am using some almond milk- processed, yes, but I am OK with that). I needed to hit the road, so grabbed a banana. I like that taking the whole food challenge is making me rethink what I'm doing.

So, I had a banana in the car. I took more hummus and carrots for lunch- what can I say? I am a creature of habit, and I love hummus. My favorite it made with both cannellini and garbanzo beans, and I add hot pepper flakes, and hot sauce. Delicious.

When I left work, I was really feeling hungry. Since late afternoon is the time I have the most trouble with avoiding temptation, I decided to have a snack on the way home. I had a Lara Bar in my purse. Processed. But made with actual food, so I allowed it. I made the choice to eat that, rather than fight temptation as soon as I walked in the door. It worked.

Tonight's dinner was a recipe from Get Meal Plans. The meal plans are so cool- the week's menu is planned out, and includes a shopping list for everything required for the week. I made Tomato Cobbler with Rosemary Biscuits. It was very good.

I'm enjoying the challenge. I have used some canned beans, and the almond milk and Lara Bar, but feel I am making better choices.

I hope to start taking some pictures of some of the meals we have over the rest of the challenge.

Go plants!

Day One

Made it through the day!
I had a smoothie for breakfast- frozen cherries, banana, and almond milk.
Lunch was hummus(my homemade), carrots, and cantaloupe.
I was "starving" after work, so had a little baked tofu, then some chickpeas. They held me over- helping me (narrowly) avoid my nemesis- Cheetos. There were unfortunately some of those in our pantry left from the weekend. DH purchased them - I've begged him not to!
Supper was "black bean and brown rice extravaganza" from Engine 2- a family favorite. Yonanas for dessert. Yum!
While I used some processed foods- they were all actual food- and I feel pretty good about day one.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 1, 2013

28 Day Whole Food Challenge

I have been working toward being 100 percent plant-based for about 6 months, and am pretty darn close. I've been inspired by a number of people, and a number of reasons. My health was my first motivator. Last year, I was diagnosed to be pre-diabetic, and I remained on anti-hypertensives which I had been on for years. I was getting ready to have my second hip replacement (different hip!), and was tired of being obese and feeling like poo.

The more I read, the more eating plants sounded like the answer. Then I watched Forks over Knives, attended the amazing Farms 2 Forks weekend, and I was ready. I've got all the Happy Herbivore cookbooks. 

Now I am excited to start the challenge. The object is to really be mindful of what we eat, and to eliminate all processed foods for 28 days. I will begin the challenge on June 3 (what a cool day to do it, TheFirstChild was born 22 years ago that day!), and will do my best to blog about it. 

It will be a challenge, though we eat many less processed foods than we used to. I will allow some digression, but not much. (In other words, I will not ban frozen fruits or veggies if necessary, but I am going to try not to eat crackers for the month... oh, Mary's Gone Crackers... I will miss you in June!)

Fortunately, it is spring, and our CSA farm share should be starting up soon. That will help. 

Wish me luck, and stay tuned! :)