Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Atkins Diet Revisited - Veggie Style

Back in the day ( actually), I started down the low carb path.  I ate more than my share of meat, greens, butter, eggs, cheese, cream, and other fatty foods the plan called for abd lost quite a few pounds.  I got down to my lowest weight in years on that plan.  And then I started cheating and fell off plan altogether.  Way off.  Back came the breads, pasta, cereals, sweets, and other carby goodness that helped me put on the weight in the first place.  It wasn't that the plan was unreasonable, it was the way I followed it in the end. I got tired of coking and went after more convenient meals and snacks and bored myself into cheating. 

Since then I've followed other plans and it seems to always come down to my justification (in my mind) of off-plan goodies that sort of fit.  On Weight Watchers I'd justify high point meals by saying I'd make up the splurge with veggies and 1-2 point snacks later.  On low carb, I'd make sure I stayed under a carb count I had in mind and forget to consider fiber, sugar, or high fructose corn syrup. 

So a few weeks back I decided to mix it up.  Eating plans that is.  I'd experiment with various veggie-friendly plans and go from there.  Since the holidays are upon us, I decided to start with Atkins.  Yes, that Atkins Diet.  Back in the day, any hardcore Atkins follower would think a veggie version was impossible, but now that's not the case.  There are several veggie and vegan menus listed in New Atkins for a New You , and complete details on net carb counts and nutrition as well as tips for dining out.  I decided to modify the plan a bit and started with a 100 net carb menu of my own design.  I cut sugar, filled the fridge and freezer with dark, leafy greens, tofu, cauliflower, cheese, eggs, and salad veggies.  I've left the Amy's burgers for hubby and focused on the Boca burgers we already have.  I ground extra flax, pick up some nuts, and made sure I had enough soy protein powder and tvp on hand to make me happy.  And then it was on!

I've been eating really well at breakfast.  Omelettes with spinach, feta, cheddar, onions, peppers, chili, or whatever I felt like tossing in.  Scrambles - eggs or tofu - with cauliflower hash browns, veggie burgers, and greens.  Smoothies on the mornings I didn't feel like eating and Atkins bars when I wasn't in a cooking mood. 

Snackage rocked, too.  For the junk food cravings, soy chips, edamame with sea salt, nuts, and half an Atkins bar were the usual munchies.  One afternoon I made a pumpkin cheesecake snack with cream cheese, Splenda, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  Oh my goodness!  Celery stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese is another longtime favorite that just happened to be on-plan. 

Lunch and dinner were all over the place - soup, chili, giant salads, seitan, tofu, bunless veggie burgers, and tvp loaf entrees were complimented with sauteed greens and mashed cauliflower.   If the family went out for dinner, I ordered whatever I felt like. 

I've lost 9 pounds so far, and I cheated a little with French Toast for lunch one night and a pb sammy during a late night study session.  I wasn't going to stay on this plan for too long, but I think I'll keep it up at least until December 31 and see what happens.  It's awesome for people who like to cook and so much healthier than the regular version.  For me, anyway.  


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Experimentation for art's sake

It's more like work, but I'll call it art.

I write about veggie and vegan life in town and have been reviewing restaurants, cookbooks, and the like with gusto for the past few months.  Some reviews are published and others I've been holding back on until after a repeat visit. My weight loss efforts have stalled somewhat and I blame the good eating in part.  The other part is on my lack of control.  Mindless eating has been trying to run rampant lately and I'm not sure my heart (or body) can take it much longer. 

And this experiment I speak of?  Well, I plan to spend two weeks following various vegetarian and vegan weight loss plans.  Eat to Live, Eat for Health, The Engine 2 Diet, Atkins, and other books are available at the local library and in bookstores, so I'm going to test them and see which work for me and which don't.  The variables I'll use include actual loss, convenience, cost, meal satisfaction, and appeal to the family.  Besides, I already cook 90% of the meals, so the family is used to getting in more veggie food than not (even when they don't realize it). 

What I should say is two weeks on each of the plans and not two weeks period. My grammar at times I tell ya.

I figured I'd share here and let you know what I'm up to.  I'll still be testing various recipes and will have the family taste test if something I make is off plan.  I've adhered to strict plans before and not been tempted by the family dinner; I can do it again.  I haven't decided which to start with, but after hubby's fantastic pasta dinner maybe a lower carb plan might be the best way to go.

Peace for now. 

I love Savvy Brown!

 Seriously, peeps, this blog is a great read for anyone looking for affordable ways to go greener and even better for those with natural hair.  Before my locks I would have loved to have found this site.  And she turned me onto a bread recipe that costs less than $1 a loaf.  :sigh:

Anyway, she hosts several giveaways, and this week the goodie is a sample pack of laundry products from YoreGanics.   Have you heard of Soap Nuts? YoreGanics has them and for a decent price, too.  But that's not all.  The facial bars have been calling to me since I first laid eyes on them.  Swing by, take a look, and tell me that you're not tempted.

While you're at it, take a look at Savvy Brown, too.  Tell me if you like what you see and spread the word.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Blog Action Day 2010 and it's all about Water

It's fitting that my first blog in a while is an activist one.  I've been busy offline trying to get people motivated to vote and pay more attention to what happening around them.  Being aware of what's happening outside one's door is not a bad thing, nor is it socialist to want to help one's fellow man.  We should be afraid of the real problems out there and not the ones the fanatical talking heads are screaming about. 

But today is not about the upcoming midterm elections or talking heads.  It's about water.  We all need clean water to live, but not all of us have it.  Some of us waste water by letting the faucet run while we brush our teeth or neglecting to fix a leak while others are lucky to find just enough to hydrate themselves. 

I'm not going to preach at you.  I just want you to think about something we take for granted.  I did.  We had a leaking toilet when we moved in.  It sounded like water was always running, but the dye tank test showed no leak.  I ignored it, but knew something wasn't right.  When the water bill increased, I figured the extra loads of laundry, gardening, and dishwasher were to blame.  Until we broke the $70 mark after a few months.  I knew we had to do something quickly.  Not just because the wasted water bothered me, but hit to my wallet was a nasty one. 

I'd  purchased a new fill valve and faucet for the bath and let them sit for over a year while we concentrated on other projects.  Silly me.  It took a $72.37 water bill to send me into the bath to install that valve - two weeks after I read the bill!  It took all of 8 minutes and resulted in a $8 drop in two weeks.  That excited me and had me more excited about the next one.  I am happy to say the best $12 I've spent in the bath resulted in a $30 drop in the bill overall.  Yes, the money is great, but we cut the amount of water used in half!  After happy dancing, I decided we needed to do more.  Home Depot carries dual flush converters, so we spent $19 on the MJSI HYR270 HydroRight Drop-in Dual Flush Converter and spent 5 minutes installing it in a different bathroom.  I can't wait to see what the bill and water consumption will be next month! 

Yes, I rambled a bit, but I am excited.  Maybe making this more about money than consumption will inspire some of you.  Maybe you'll be like me, excited about the money at first, then bummed about the amount that was wasted.  Consumption down by half!  The water was just pouring in and out and could have been used elsewhere.  Sigh.  But instead of letting guilt overwhelm me, I'm going to do more!  The plans include snagging another dual flush converter for the main bath, getting a rain barrel (or making one),and  switching to low flow fixtures.

I've been playing with the H2O Conserve Water Calculator and am not sure how I feel about my results.  Our household average is 3, 915.93 gallons a day; 978.98 gallons each.  Yes, it's better than it would have been a couple of months ago (and lover than the average American usage of 1190.5 gallons), but I think I can do better.  After the other changes are in place, I'll play again.  Play with it and let me know how you did. 

I could launch into the stats on water and food production, but I'll save that for another day.  Water conservation is not just about money, but the planet. I am very lucky to be in a place where I have access to clean water and sanitation and need to show my appreciation by not wasting it.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My PCRM Vegan Kickstart

Yep, I'm doing it again,  Last January I went in full force and rocked that 21 days.  Then I has eggs.  Then cheesecake.  I went back to my heavier foods ways and gained the weight back that I'd lost this year.  I figured the kickstart along with the beginning of the school year would help get me back in gear.

I'll post my meals and snacks here just because.  I keep a food journal anyway, but posting it here will help keep me honest. 

Day 1
B) Cereal & soymilk; big bowl of mandarin oranges and pineapple; coffee, water; supplements

L) PBJ on whole wheat, cucumbers and carrots; water and lemonade

D) Cookout, y'all - Tofurkey Italian Sausage, Vegan Boca Burger, slaw, veggie kabobs (zucchini, squash, and onion), baked beans (maybe a 1/8 cup), and corn on the cob; lemonade and water

Day 2
B) Sea Biscuit Cafe on Isle of Palms, SC - small fruit plate, home fries, rye toast with orange marmalade; coffee and water (took supplements before I left the house)

L) Nirlep on Savannah Highway - Indian buffet (I asked the server which items were dairy free and she was a doll); Kingfisher beer and water

D) Big old salad with either Italian or red pepper vinaigrette (I'm going to toss some of the leftover grilled veggies in there, too); decaf and water

I might throw a pie in the oven.  I loves hearing that Marie Callender fruit pies are vegan!  Hubby can have key lime; make mine cheery or razzleberry!

I will be cooking goodies from some of my favs and will play with recipes of my own.  I've missed being in the kitchen, inspired, excited, just going for it.  Join me? 

See you tomorrow.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fluctuating weight, freaky nightmares, pain, & cookbooks

Interesting title, eh? Well, I awakened in a panic, panting, and thrilled to realize it was just a dream.  I won't bore you with details, but I had a crazy, super-powered vertical leap and had to save the family from zombie robots. Now to better topics.

I lost another pound this week, and it seems my rate of loss has slowed.  I have an idea on one of the reasons; stress.  Stress occasionally makes me eat mindlessly, but this time it hasn't.  It made me reach for comfort food in general.  Hey, I see not overindulging as a huge plus.  I know why I reached for those foods, I just need to make sure that they are the healthier versions of my favorite go-to dishes. Between playing with recipes online (thanks Happy Herbivore and Tess Challis), I have been tweaking goodies from cookbooks past and present.

Oh, the cookbooks!  I made a trip to the main Charleston County library and went a little crazy in the cooking session. I checked out some oldies but goodies.  Linda Mccartney's Home Cooking,The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian, and two from Dr. Neal Barnard, Foods That Fight Pain: Revolutionary New Strategies for Maximum Pain Relief and Turn Off the Fat Genes: The Revolutionary Guide to Losing Weight.  I'd originally stopped by for Eat For Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 book set), but it was already checked out. I should have requested it.  Anyway, I've already blown through Linda's and have to pick up a few more ingredients for Real Food Daily before I can go nuts there.  

Oh, if you want to check out recipes before I post here, check out my Examiner column or Facebook Examiner page.  I have quite a few articles, recipes, and photos to post there. 

The reason I'm working through Banard's books?  The insane amount of pain I have to work through a couple times a month.  If I can successfully manage the pain without the drugs that make me loopy, I can eventually heal.  Hopefully naturally.  Right now the pain has spread to my neck, and that terrifies me.  When I don't hurt, I want to cook, move, and do all the things I need to do in order to improve my health.  But when I'm in the middle of a major flare up, just leave me in the dark corner, please. 

Wow, I just realized that it's 1 am.  This Wahm is sleepy once more, so I think I'm going to call it a night.  Nite, all.

Thank you fallen soldiers and their families for your sacrifice.  I don;t think my appreciation for you all is deep enough at times, but it is deep.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I maintained this week

While a loss would have been nice, I'm happy.  I usually have a monthly hormonal gain, but not this month!  Sweet!

Speaking of sweet, I haven't been craving them. I know, I must not be feeling well, lol, and I'm not.  Allergies are working my last nerve and doing a number on my taste buds.  But I'll survive because I have to.

This one is short and sweet, folks.  I have quite a bit of work to do - articles to write, a book to review, and housework to top it off.  A WAHM's work is never done! 


Thursday, May 6, 2010

TV, weigh in, and injury report

Yes, another fracking injury report.  I know how many steps I have, but every once in a while I'll miss one.  Yesterday afternoon I missed one and felt something crack.  Nothing's broken, but it's swollen and oh man does it hurt!  On the bright side, I get to sit with my foot up a lot and hobble oh so sexily around the house.  Fun.

The thing that annoys me most about it is the timing.  I exercised five of seven days last week and lost a pound.  If I can't exercise anymore this week, will I gain?  I hope not.  I can still get in some Pilates and Yoga, but cardio is out. Unless throwing the ball for the dogs counts.

Anyone watching Psych Week?  I am.  I was a psychology major briefly and continue to be fascinated with the human mind.  So far this week I've been heartbroken and disturbed.

Born Schizophrenic tells the story of a beautiful little girl and her family.  She was diagnosed at age five.  Five!  I hurt for the parents and little brother who love and fear her.  I hurt for January.  She can't control what's happening to her and I cried through most of the hour.  I'm getting teary just thinking about it.I can't write about this anymore.  Sorry.  You should watch for yourself.  I dare you not to  be touched.

I was disturbed by Enraged.  Two people, a man and woman, discussed their anger issues while their families discussed their feelings about their loved ones.  The man flat out pissed me off.  He was completely disrespectful to his wife and sons.  He definitely had issues and anger was just one of them.  The woman's story hit close to home.  She was angry, but I agreed with some of the things she was angry about.  Do mom's get angry about our kids' trashed bedrooms?  Yes.  The repeated questions?  Yes. She did go overboard, but I honestly did not see her as having anger issues.  I saw her as stressed out and  in need of a break.

Getting healthier is not just about physical health.  Becoming mentally strong is just as if not more important.  You have to deal with stress, fear, anger, excitement, and sadness in a positive way.  I'm not saying live in a world of cotton candy and rainbows, but in one grounded in reality. Learn to pick your battles.  For me, as long as the kids don't have trash on their bedroom floors, and no food or wet towels in their rooms, I'm good.  I do expect them (and hubby) to clean up after themselves.  I'm here full time, but not the housekeeper.

Excuse the semi-ramble.  Pain meds fog is making this a little difficult.

For now, I'm out.  See you again soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What I've been up and down to

Hiya peeps!  At least it hasn't been an actual month since my last post.

Let's see, I'm still an Examiner, am repeatedly sending in I-9's to my new employer, giving hubby the stink eye paored with a congratulatory one due to his weight loss success, and am down another pound.

Yes, just one more.  I'm walking, but not getting enough sweat time in.  I know I need to, but the fear of hurting myself seems to be taking control of my body. I love how it feels during and after a good workout, but my knee aches so much lately. 

Yes, I know.  I'm using it an as excuse to slack off.  I can always concentrate on strengthening my upper body on the more painful days, but what I know and what I can force myself to do are something different. It's in my body, yes, but more in my mind.  As I've shared before, I tend to go all out and am shocked and depressed when I re-injure myself.  It's a pattern that I'm sick of repeating. 

Wish me luck.  I am going to put in a minimum of 10 minutes a day into sweat-inducing work.  Be it kickboxing on Spark People, 10 Minute Trainer, or some variation of workouts that I've memorized.  If I don't move more, I will not lose more.  And it won't matter how much stronger I become if I have these layers of fat covering the muscle.

In the kitchen, I'll be playing with recipes from several books and websites, including Eat to Live, Weight Watchers, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, Happy Herbivore, and my fav vegetarian low carb book. .

Speaking of low carb, have you heard of the vegan version of Atkins?  Scary, isn't it? But it may not be necessarily a bad thing.  Back in my omni days, I followed Atkins and George Stella's low carb recipes and got down to 203.  I also had a lower amount of energy than I have some days now and my skin looked off.  I'm not saying that low carb is a bad thing, but balance was not my strong suit.  And I didn't want to cook for myself when I could just grab a shake or bar.  I loved the loss, but don't want to go back to that.

Balance and sweat.

 Until next time, peace.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I can't believe I haven't updated since January!

Oh man, I'm a slacker. Not really a slacker, just busier than usual. Why? Well, this veggie girl is now Charleston's Vegetarian Examiner, is working on another gig (wish me luck), has been working on the house, and am cooking dinner almost daily. And not always reheating the majority of it.

Ah, cooking is bliss for me. I love everything up until cleaning, lol. Planning, the list, shopping. It's all a joy believe it or not. Why am I cooking? Well, this family needs to eat healthier overall and we need to stop going out so much. If I can make the same dinner we'd order out (and I'm up for it, we have time, and the ingredients are on hand), why go out? We had Japanese the other night. Granted, our current fav place would cost around $35 total, but I spent about 45 minutes in the kitchen & rocked the same meal from scratch for free. Tonight we fired up the grill. We dropped a whopping $23 at the store, but bought everything, including the charcoal, and a few goodies for next week's lunches. Ya'll, this wahm is tired of dropping between $300-500 a month on meals out. Yes, that's not a misprint. We could have done many things with that money instead of making business owners happy. But, I need to go forward, not beat myself up.

I've pulled out more books, consulted my favorite blogs, and tested recipes on the family. So far desserts have been the biggest hit with everyone, and hubby has been quite happy with curries and soups.

Can you believe I'm being paid to write about food? Me either, lol. I've been doing it for years for free. Don't tell the Examiner, because then I may be out of luck. I decided to apply and got it! Let that be a lesson - step out of that comfort zone every once in a while. As the Vegetarian Examiner I get to write about veggie life in Charleston - dining, shopping, and events - and share recipes and tips for making life easier. I've published four articles so far, and I'm just getting started.

Don't worry. I won't abandon this blog. My quest for better health is ongoing, so I'll never run out of topics. I may post more often, actually.

Speaking of health, hubby has been inspired and has been losing weight. He's down about 1 1/2 pants sizes and looks a few years younger. He's even more of a hottie! Not because he's smaller, but because he's proud of himself and becoming healthier because he chooses to.

Me, I'm holding. I've been adding more strength training to my schedule and it shows. My face is smaller, clothes are looser, and I have more energy. Soon the scale will show my progress.

On another note, Friday would have been my dad's 70th birthday. I'll be 41 on 3/20, a year older than he would have been they year he died. It's surreal. I hope to be here for at least 30 more years. At least. I want to experience the life he's missed. Love and miss you, dad.

Until later, friends. Peace.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Janurary recap - 9 pounds, no coffee, and still vegan

That's right, this wahm lost 9 pounds this month. It may not seem like much compared to some, but this is about me and how I'm doing. The last time I lost this much in a month, I was working out seven days a week, twice a day most days. This time around I changed my eating, cut out a lot of added fat, and walked or did a little Yoga or Pilates. Slow and steady seems better for me in my old age. :-)

Speaking of old, hubby and daughter each celebrated birthdays this past week, and the birthday cake did not tempt me. Weird, eh? I am the first to snag a piece after the birthday boy or girl. Well, I used to be. Lately my cravings have included berries, oranges, kiwi, and green smoothies. Odd, eh? I used to think so, but not anymore.

This past Sunday I started a two week challenge featured in Tess Challis' Radiant Health Inner Wealth. I cut out meat, but went overboard on cheese and eggs in the past. Now vegan, I found myself slipping into a bread and frozen vegan food-heavy state. I'm lucky enough to be recipe testing for Tess (so yummy!)and decided to continue making vegan path healthier by undertaking the challenge. No coffee, hydrogenated anything, or artificial sweeteners. Lemon water or fresh vegetable juice in the am before breakfast, fruit,veggies, whole grains, and beans. So far, better than good. I feel awesome, have surpassed hubby & son's expectations of giving up my morning (and afternoon and evening) cup, and lost a pound after holding at 8 pounds for two weeks. And I'm getting between 8 and 10 servings of veggies and fruit every day. RHIW is a great read, no matter how you eat. And the recipes are killer!

For some reason we decided we'd like to be covered in dog slobber and never have our laps to ourselves. We met a sweet Boxer boy at the Charleston Animal Society yesterday and brought him home a couple of hours ago. The trio of dogs have worn themselves out, one to my left, one to my right, and the other laying across all of the dog beds. More exercise for me! I have no problem taking another lap or two around the block.

And now I'm off to grab a snack while they're mellow. Pictures will be posted soon. Until later, peace, all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another pound gone, vegan pizza, and just wow

I have to make a confession. I'm in love. Go Max Go's Twilight has captured my heart. It was so rich and yummy that I will happily save consumption for a special occasion. Hubby doesn't mind. He encouraged it.

OK, with that out of the way,I have to again marvel at how easy the transition has been. Yes, I still need to snag vegan vitamins and supplements and have yet to find THE pair of cross training shoes that work for me (and don't cost a fortune), but cooking vegan and omni has not been difficult. I wonder why I let fear take over instead of taking the plunge. There are two WAHM household birthdays coming (and four family birthdays) at the end of the month, so I think the real challenge is ahead.

We have had pizza twice since I started down this road, one a cheeseless wonder from Pizza Hut, the other was soy cheese, tofu, and veggie bliss on a wheat crust at Your Pie. I should have checked ahead of time, but I believe the cheese was completely animal-free. Hopefully I'll get the answer later and can share. If it wasn't, then pooh for not checking first. If so, then sweetness! Either way, we will likely return because of the quick service and flexible menu that made the whole crew happy.

If you want a chance to win Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, swing by Vegan Family Style and comment away. I've been following Debra on Twitter for a few months now and am inspired by her progress as she's becoming healthier. Vegan and raw foods do make a difference.

Speaking of healthier, I'm down another pound so far this week, but my official weigh in isn't until Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Hubster's down another five and I'm trying not to be jealous. But I would much rather lose 1-2 pounds a week while eating vegan fare than five pounds while eating a SAD. I feel a lot better.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

8 days vegan and weight lost!

That's right, this wahm went vegan on January 1, 2010 as part of the PCRM 21-Day Kickstart. How am I doing? Great, actually, and I have only been tempted twice. Chocolate is a weakness, but Mexican cornbread is heavenly. I just whipped up a batch of cornbread from Vegan Comfort Food and am on my way to Earth Fare to snag some of the Go Max Go candy bars that people are raving about.

It's been hard to cook meat for the family, though, but that's how it was pre-vegan. I have instituted a something green with every meal rule and they are following. DD was always easy about that because she takes her lunch and loves veggies. DS is another story. Smoothies, salads smothered in dressing, and the lettuce, tomato, onion burger topping are his preferred produce pics. One step at a time.

Hubby has lost about 15 pounds since mid November and I'm down 6 since January 1. I am not complaining at all!

I've been cooking from Happy Herbivore, Veganomicon, The New Farm Cookbook, Radiant Health Inner Wealth (blogging and testing recipes from Tess' upcoming book, and throwing things together from my head. I'm a happy girl, the family is happy cause 'I haven't changed their meals.' Right. Shh.

By the way, I am not being paid for any of the things I mentioned. I thought I'd share. Maybe someday I'll be paid for my posts, but until then...

Here's to 2 more weeks of yummy vegan fare!