Saturday, May 15, 2010

Week 2 of Whole Foods Challenge..done

This week proved a little more challenging than the first, I'm not sure why. I'm not feeling as creative as I did the first work and kind of lacked motivation. I'm sorry to say, I'm getting sick of beans.... I try to have them with lunch and dinner for protein, but man do I miss tofu. I think when June comes around, I might try to make my own seitan...but for now, I'm stuck with beans. Wah.

I'm learning a lot from this experience, like how I will definitely include smoothies as my breakfast staple from now on, how I don't HAVE to cook in oil (though I miss it for some things), and that I don't have to just bring a veggie burger to work for a quick lunch. A sweet potato cooks in the same amount of time and is so much healthier. Just pile some seasoned beans on top and you're good to go.

I also feel less bloated than I used to feel and was able to work out longer at the gym (45 minutes on the elliptical, a first for me! And I wasn't dropping dead), but this week I hit a plateau with weight loss. I think my ovaries (ahem), are making me retain water...and I may have indulged in the almond butter a BIT TOO MUCH. It's so good for when you're starving and have no time to make something...but there's just so much fat in a spoonful. Sigh. My family said I lost weight in my face... I wish the rest of my body would follow. I thought I'd be dropping the pounds like crazy, but I guess not. Kind of discouraging, but at least I know I'm healthy.

That's it for now, I guess. Time to look for recipes for dinner.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Recap for Whole Foods Challenge first week

I started the challenge last Saturday and have worked every single day since (and the whole damn week before), so I'm not sure if my new diet is affecting how I sleep, or the fact that I'm exhausted from work. Hopefully it's the diet, because I'm sleeping more deeply than I really ever have before.

This week has been the Week of Smoothies for me. MAN ARE THEY GOOD (with the exception of one failure. Stupid bits of unblended spinach..)! I've found that just freezing cut up banana works wonderfully and now I'm freezing every banana I buy! Woot!!

I've experimented with a few recipes, and really like the following:

Cherry Chocolate Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 banana
a handful of frozen cherries
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 handfuls of baby spinach

Cashew Chocolate Banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp cashew butter
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Neapolitan See

Green Monster (mostly adapted from the Oh She Glows blog)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 tbsp ground flax

I could not BELIEVE how delicious the Green Monster smoothie was. I was really hesitant to not add my usual cocoa powder or at least some strawberries, but voila - - it was fantastic. I really think I'm going to continue with smoothies for breakfast after the challenge is over. It's a great way to get veggies and fruits in and it's much more portable ( aka drinking it on the way to work) than a bowl of cereal. I'll save the cereal for the mornings when I have to open the library at 7:30am, because I'm sure my landlady doesn't appreciate hearing my blender at 7am.

The last 2 days of the challenge have been pretty good - - I've been happy with my meals. On Wednesday I made my own Thai-style sauce and it was great. I blended:

2 roasted red peppers
1/2 cup (I think. I don't think it was a full cup) of coconut milk
Lots of dashes of garam masala and curry powder
1 tbsp cashew butter

I put the sauce over pan friend eggplant and onions, then put it all on a bed of quinoa. You definitely do not have to fry veggies in oil!! I was so concerned about this (how I LOVE my EVOO), but water worked just fine. It needed something else, though. I think more veggies and also some fresh garlic in the sauce. And maybe a little kick - - cayenne? chili pepper? curry paste? I will experiment...I bought 3 JARS yesterday of roasted red peppers in water. And still have leftover coconut milk that I don't want to go to waste.

My meal of the week, though, was the salad I made for dinner yesterday and lunch today. It consisted of:

Hearts of romaine
1/2 avocado
fresh salsa
spiced black beans + corn warmed up (added chili, onion, garlic, cayenne, paprika and a few dashes of liquid smoke)

It was so damn good I almost died. So I had it again today for lunch <3

I had my smoothie at about 9am today, and by 11 my stomach was starting to knot up in hunger. What can I add? Perhaps some oats or something?

I'm truly realizing how, even though I was vegetarian, I was eating a LOT of crappy food. This turn to veganism plus the challenge is showing me that I can eat wholesome foods and not be missing out on anything (though I do miss tofu. And bread products). I used to bring processed veggie burgers in for lunch all the time. All I have to do is make sure that I make enough for dinner the night before, then use leftovers.

This challenge is also forcing me to plan things better, to get my food ready the night before so I'm not scrambling in the morning for something (like I did on Saturday). I will be weighing myself every Saturday to keep track of my weight loss since beginning the challenge (so far it's at 2 lbs, which brings me down 10 since my surgery in February).

I MUST make the effort to MOVE MORE. I must go on walks and do cardio at the gym! Must must must.

Now, what to make for dinner tonight...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

First day of Whole Foods Challenge - - done!!

Yesterday began my month long journey into not eating anything processed. I started the day in a rush, because I had gone out the night before and wasn't at ALL prepared for the next morning. I will now try to fix everything the night before.

I had made a box of quinoa the night before, and in the morning, threw some in a bowl to heat up, then added fresh strawberry and cinnamon. I dashed to work, prepared to shove that in my face in our Staff Room. I also packed a romaine lettuce salad, with shredded carrots and chick peas covered in my homemade tahini dressing (tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water). Plus an apple and banana. The quinoa did NOT go over very well as a breakfast dish, it was too dry and I felt like I was choking it down. Ick. That's when I decided I needed a new blender to make smoothies for breakfast (I have my parents old one from ca. 1970, complete with earth tone colors and loud-ass blending action).

I searched online, but didn't want to spend a buttload of money, so was going to go to Target, which is on the other side of the island from me. The bf was out already (I was working), and he picked me up this:

Blend in the same cup you drink in??? HECK YES. And it's it's fun ;)

I ended up shoving my banana in my face BEFORE lunch because my stomach felt like it was eating itself, then had lunch at 1. I went to our local farmer's market (the Green Market in St. George, Staten Island), and was so disappointed to find NO VEGETABLES. Now, they close at 2, so I guess maybe the vendors left already - - but come on. There was only a fruit stand, plant stand and a baker. Woe is me. I trudged back to the library and ate devoured my salad. Then had a break at 3:30, where I ate my apple, and by 5pm I was RAVENOUS. I definitely didn't pack enough to keep me satisfied during the day and the fact that I couldn't run across the street to one of the stores and get something yummy was making me grumpy. Grrr. >:-{

I did some grocery shopping after work (sweet potatoes, another bag of Romaine, roasted red peppers in water, sun dried tomatoes, eggplant and almond milk). Came home and made dinner:

2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 can no salt added black beans
tbsp minced garlic
few shakes of cayenne, onion and chili powder

I formed them into balls and dredged through a flax seed meal + nutritional yeast combo, then baked at 350 for about 25 minutes. I took the extra and formed 2 patties, which I put in the toaster oven for awhile (that's my lunch today).

Served it with quinoa, salad with tahini dressing (I added cayenne and WOO did it give it a kick), and fresh mango salsa (not homemade, but fresh from the store). It was delicious and so satisfying. But next time, I'm putting the damn potatoes in the microwave. They took SO LONG on the stove. I didn't even WANT dessert afterwards, and am looking forward to making this in a month, but dipping the balls (hehe), in vegan sour cream. Yummo.

This morning I tried out the blender -- it's great! It blends and detects when it's done and stops (pretty snazzy, if you ask me, considering my OLD blender). I made a Choco-Cherry Bomb smoothie:

2 cups of spinach
1 tbsp flax
1 tbsp cocoa powder
half banana
handful frozen cherries
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

I took it in my to go mug and drove to work, chugging away. It was delicious :D

Success feels good! And I know I shouldn't weigh myself EVERY day (I'm excited to lose weight on this challenge), but I'm down a pound from yesterday morning. Sweet.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Whole Foods Challenge

Today is the day before I start the 30 day Whole Foods Challenge with the Happy Herbivore crew. I'm both excited and extremely nervous. I've never done anything like this. I embraced vegetarianism with all my heart and haven't looked back. I want to be able to complete the challenge but I'm so anxious about finding myself in a bind and just cooking with olive oil.

(photo courtesy of Happy Herbivore)

Just to explain (not that anyone is even really reading this yet), I'm participating in a challenge via where I will eat only WHOLE, UNPROCESSED foods for the entire month of May. As a vegetarian (newly turned vegan), I think I'm going to find it quite difficult to not eat veggie burgers and tofu - - but I think this will be a true test of my discipline and I'm eager to see how my body will react to it.
  • Will my cholesterol go down?
  • Will I have lots of energy?
  • Will I sleep better?
  • Will I lose weight?
  • Will my body just FEEL better, move better, with how well I'm treating it? I sure hope so.

I think I'm going to plan out this week's lunch and dinner recipes right now, just so I have some kind of plan.

I also need to plan going to the gym, starting doing yoga again, and MAYBE buying a bike to ride around.

Until tomorrow :)