Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the week so far

Ok the more I get into this the more I am really enjoying the whole experience. I am feeling awake, focused and energetic. I am not having overpowering food cravings. I can concentrate. This is what I have been looking for! It is tougher to plan meals and make sure that I am getting all the nutrients I need but it is more than possible.
The switches I have made:
Dairy-Soy milk, not bad at all. I think it tastes creamier than what I was drinking which was fat free milk. It is no more expensive and mixes well in recipes too without curdling. I have yet to try soy yogurt but plan on it in the next week. I usually have a yogurt after lunch but my lunches have been so satisfying I haven't needed desert. Weird.
Meat- I like tofu so that isn't a big deal to throw into curries. I made a great curry with natural peanut butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, soy milk, veggies and a few other ingredients, I will post some recipes in a later post. I have made lentil vegetable stew and some chilis with various bean combinations. Tastes a lot better than they sound and with brown rice they are all delicious, filling, fiber filled lunches.
Breakfast- As normal, oatmeal made with water with raisins and flax meal mixed in.
Bread- Ezikial (sp) sprouted grain bread
Snacks/deserts- Carrots, steamed kale and collard greans with a dash of soy sauce, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, vegan brownies and choc chip cookies, home made vegan chocolate pudding. The pudding is particularly dense and so filling. I need to experiment with stevia instead of using sugar though; sugar is never good. Protein powder- switched to Gensoy. Definitely isn't as tasty as whey but it is better than some of the regular protein powders I have tried. Also gets me 100% of my vitamin E.

Vitamin B6 is a vitamin that just isn't in vegan suitable foods so that absolutely has to be supplemented altough in a healthy person b6 stores can last 3-5 years. My mutivitamin gives me that so I think I am fine.

Other stuff:
I am also becoming more self-aware. It is hard to explain it unless you can feel it but I just feel more acutely aware of people and I guess I have a heightened sense of clarity.
I haven't had the best week emotionally. This would usually result in me self medicating with food, albeit healthy but too much of it! I can honestly say I have not had any of these kinds of cravings.
I am in control and it feels really good.

I am only 7 days in though........let's see how the weekend goes, I have a 20 mile run planned on Saturday and I always get so hungry after long runs for a couple of days because of the enormous amounts of calories I expend. If I can make it through that then I will stick with this vegan thing for sure through my marathon which is in 2.5 weeks. Wow that is coming up fast!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Beginning - why would I want to do this?!

When I get an idea in my head I tend to just go with it. Not so much with the planning and the thinking parts, I like to dive right in and see what something is all about. I like experiences and I like to experiment.

Food has always been an interest/obsession of mine and the more I learn about it the more intriguing it becomes. Everyone knows (I hope) that fruits and vegetables are good for you and that french fries and pizza are not. This knowledge of what is and isn't nutritious is enough for the majority of people who are busy living their lives and no doubt making what they see as the best decisions and choices that their circumstances allow at any given moment. One of the nice things about living in the free world is that we get to eat what we want whenever we want, but at what cost to our health?

My aim for this mini project is to basically 'flirt' with veganism for 30 days. The reason I use the word 'flirt' is because I am diving into the project with limited information. Yes, I could do my research and spend a couple of weeks planning how this is going to go but I already explained the part about that's not how I do things.
So anyway, my goals:
  • To learn as much about the vegan way of life as I can in 30 days
  • To eat like a vegan
  • Not spend more than I would on 'normal' food
  • Not supplement my diet with pills other than my daily multivitamin
  • To cook more meals and learn some nutritious and tasty recipes
  • To hopefully gain some of the wonderful health benefits vegans attribute to their lifestyle (energy, vitality, great skin and hair, effortless weight management, inner peace etc.)
So what do I know about being a vegan? Not much at the moment. I have talked to a few vegans and I am reading some (3) books on the topic and I regularly visit I know that veganism is not just about food it is a way of life. It is a respect of everything on the earth and about living in balance and harmony. No, I am not about to start hugging any trees right now; I am focusing on the food part and if my reading influences me to take on the challenges of the other elements then so be it but for now it's the food.

We really have no idea what we are eating anymore. Genetically modified produce, additives, colorings, preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides all concern me. But I can control and limit my exposure to them.
A particular situation that alarms me is the premature onset of puberty in young girls. I'm talking about the ones who are 12 but look 20. Now that is worrying in itself but look a little further. If the body is developing faster, doesn't it stand to reason that it will also decay faster? I thought that type 2 diabetes (formally 'adult-onset' but now just type 2 due to the alarming number of children diagnosed) and childhood obesity, shortening the life expectancy of fat and unhealthy children was bad enough but how about the ones who are eating their grilled chicken and their veggies but will sadly live a shorter life because of the crap in their food?
The food industry (corn) is more about money and profits than the health of the average American. Monsanto, upon realizing that the weedkiller 'Round-up' that was being used by their farmers on the corn crops was killing the corn as well as the weeds. So did they stop using the Round-up? Nah, they developed a new seed of corn that was resistant to the weed killing chemicals and insisted that their farmers use the new seed. So much for nature and eating off the land.

The more I learn about how our hormones react to chemicals and how we are readily pouring this poison into our bodies the more concerned I become. What we eat in our hectic, convenience-orientated society is very easy to dismiss but I don't believe your health (or the extra taxes I have to pay to support societies unhealthy habits when it gets sick) should be. I am by no means a saint in the eating department and I doubt I ever will be so please don't take any of this as me being on my high horse telling people how they should live their lives. It is simply me exploring a different way of living. And eating.