Monday, September 27, 2010

21 Day Vegan Kickstart, Done!

21st Birthday Badge

I can't beleive it, but the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart is done! I actually did it! In honour of reaching my goal, I'm going to share 21 things that I learned over the last 22 days.

1. "Going" vegan was not as hard as I expected.
2. I don't miss meat.
3. I'm learning how to cook more things like quinoa.
4. You can get a salad at Wendy's without chicken and save $2.00 on your meal (note to self, remember to ask for it without cheese too).
5. It's possible to find vegan chocolate.
6. I don't hate dark chocolate as much as I thought I did.
7. Reading labels is my newest habit. Good thing I love to read!
8. I like to cook from scratch. I forgot how much!
9. It's not as much of a hassle to follow a vegan diet as I thought it might be.
10. A lot of junk food is vegan, but that doesn't mean it's a healthy food option!
11. I don't crave sugar like I used to.
12. I'm surprised by how much I like following a vegan diet.
13. The thought of eating an animal now makes me sad.
14. I'm learning more about nutrition in general.
15. I still need to find a store which sells some of the more specialized food products.
16. The bulk food store is my new favourite store.
17. I still don't like green onions or white onions, or well, onions.
18. It's easier to say "no" to foods that people try to foist off on you when you know you can't/don't eat it any more.
19. I feel good about eating this way.
20. I feel like I'm finally making headway on being healthier.
21. I'm going to stick with this way of eating. I found the Kickstart was a great way to move into a vegan eating style. It was helpful to have the recipes and motivational messages every day. I may not have read them all, but I know where to find the information if I need it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

21 Day Vegan Kickstart, Week 2

India - Haridwar - 010 - vegetables for sale in Bara Bazaar

So, I'm over the half way mark in the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart and I'm still following a vegan diet. I've had a couple challenges, but it's getting easier to do.

I have not been following the menu plan this week. I've been loading up on veggies and adding pasta or rice and beans as well as adding lots of fruit. What I need to find is a quick go-to meal for those nights when I really just don't feel like cooking and would normally go out and buy a pizza.

I keep finding myself wanting to add cheese to things, but I have caught myself in time so far. It becomes tempting when the food is something the kids aren't going to eat and normally I would just finish it off for them. Now I'm having to consciously make an effort to leave it.

Benefits? You bet! My pants are starting to fit better. Last week when I put on my jeans, they were very tight and I had more overhang than was comfortable. It's been great to see the overhang (aka "muffin top") shrink over the last couple of weeks. My skin feels better too. I don't know that it looks better yet, but it feels less oily and blemished to me. I've also noticed that I am not craving caffeine, cola or chocolate. This is huge for me because caffeine (usually in the form of diet cola) was what fuelled a lot of my days before. I'm not having my typical mid-afternoon slump where I can barely keep my eyes open and I'm sleeping at night. I'm falling asleep easier and even though I may get up in the middle of the night, I go right back to sleep! I'm still tired, but no where near what it was like before. I'm even having less headaches! Before I would have to have a bottle of acetaminophen in my purse at all times. Now I've had maybe 4 tablets over the last two weeks. So, I'm feeling pretty good, thanks for asking!

I made some Chocolate Raspberry Mousse tonight from the Day 6 menu. It was incredibly easy to make. It's chilling now and I am looking forward to trying it soon! Yummy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vegan 21 Day Kickstart Update (days 2-4)

Tower of Fruit in Belgrano

Please don't think that because I haven't posted that I'm no longer doing the Kicstart. I am, but life has been hectic with the girls going to school (Angel started kindergarten today!) and my work shift changing from nights to days. I'm very happy with the shift change and I did ask for it, but I am so tired now that after the girls are asleep, I'm pretty much down for the count. I even fell asleep on the couch after work one day while hubby was making supper!

Vegan eating is feeling pretty good. It certainly cleans out the pipes so to speak and yes, I will spare you the details on that! I'm still figuring out how to add in the four food groups (grains, fruits, vegetables and beans), but it has been pretty good so far. I haven't been following the recipes given in the Kickstart too much lately because I've been eating leftovers and reworking them.

My oldest daughter is curious about the whole vegan thing, so I've been answering her questions about what vegans do and don't eat. I am unsure of honey though. I've seen some vegan sites list it as vegan and others not.

I noticed that I need to pay more attention to getting things out of the fridge. This morning I got my cereal and berries already and without thinking about it, grabbed the regular milk and poured it on. By the time I had realized it, it was already done. Then I used margarine on my vegan bread (which my wonderful hubby made in the breadmachine for me!). After I had spread the margarine, I noticed that in my Soy margarine, one of the ingredients listed is milk solids. Add margarine to the shopping list!

So it's going OK right now. I'm enjoying trying new foods and even cooking more. I just hope that I start to feel that increase of energy that I've read about, because I sure could use it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

21 Day Vegan Kickstart Day 1

Colorful veggies for sale in Daley Plaza

Some things I've learned today:

1.  Label foods you purchase at the bulk food store, because no matter how long you soak quinoa it will not absorb water like couscous does. 

2.  Recipe prep will take some time and use a lot of dishes, but you'll get lots of leftovers!  The recipes I used today from the 21 Day Kickstart were very tasty and generous portions.  Even if all four of us had eaten the food I made, I would have had leftovers. 

3. Shopping for vegan cooking supplies will require some research and probably involve more than one store.  I went to a bulk food store for most of the dry goods, a higher scale fresh food store for most of the veggies and a couple other ingredients and the discount grocery store for red cabbage and kale (which surprisingly wasn't at the fresh food store).  I asked friends for some tips on where to find the ingredients as I really had no idea.  I'm making stuff I've never heard of or seen before!

Today's Meals

Breakfast:  Easy
                 All Bran Cereal, sliced strawberries and organic vanilla soy milk.

Lunch:  Not hard, but lots of steps involved!
            Couscous Confetti Salad This one was so colourful!
            Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Dinner:  Pretty easy.
           Kwik Kale
          and left over Couscous Confetti Salad (because I didn't pre-soak the black eyed peas for the other recipe I was going to make).

Snack:  I munched on some dried apricots and some roasted edamame.
Later I made some vegan cookies.  Peanut butter, banana, oatmeal vegan cookies.  They uh, taste, banana and peanut butter, I guess.  Hubby said they weren't sweet enough (probably because I used a sugarless recipe, but we won't tell him that!).  I made them for my youngest who has been asking for peanut butter cookies.  I don't think she's going to like them at all, but we shall see!

Overall, the first day was pretty good.  My kitchen is now cleaner because I need room to cook everything and I have limited coutner space as it is.  My husband and I spent some time together cooking and trying to figure out what substitutions we could make for things I did't have on hand.  It's just a good thing it was a statuatory holiday today, so I didn't have to go to work.  I'm not sure how tomorrow's meals will go, but I know I'm having leftovers for lunch, so that part will be easy. 

I'm going to plan out tomorrow's meals before I go to bed so that I can do any advance prep tonight and not have to worry about what will be for dinner as soon as I walk in the door.  Lay out my clothes and set my alarm again, and I'm good to go.  Big Kid starts school tomorrow, so it will be a busy morning here.

The celebrity vegan today was Alicia Silverstone. I'm still waiting on her book to be available at the library!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It All Starts With the First Step: 21 Day Vegan Kickstart

Journey - First Step

Tomorrow, I am taking the first step in my journey to healthier eating. I'm starting the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. I found information on it from Christina Pirello's site and it looked like a good way to get a start on a vegan diet.

For some reason, I don't feel afraid about making these huge changes in my eating habits. Considering I eat a lot of cheese and dairy products, especially chocolate? I expected to feel terrified. But guess what? There are a lot of vegan alternatives to the foods that I love and trying to find them and make them is kind of a challenge that I'm looking forward to.

I expect the hardest part to be planning meals in advance so that I don't have to worry about figuring out what I'm going to eat at the last minute. Well, that and finding vegan foods in my city. My regular grocery store does not stock a lot of what I am going to need, so I'm going to have to make some trips to some other stores to get me started. Hopefully since I live in a very multicultural area, I'll be able to find foods without having to trek across town 6 times or head to the big bad City to find them.

What I like about the program is that they give you recipes and shopping lists right from the start. They have inspirational videos every day as well as a celebrity leader for the day who gives you tips and even phone calls (?) to help you on your way. And hey, it's only 21 days. Surely I can handle that? I've heard that people who start on a vegan diet planning on doing it temporarily often stick with it because of how much better they feel! I'm hoping that is the case with me. I will surely let you know. In the meantime, I'm off to the bulk food store and then the grocery store with my shopping list in hand. Here goes nothing!