February 15, 2011

I Stepped On the Scale Today…

And I’m not going to tell you what it said. Suffice it to say that I’m almost back to the size from three years before that initially made me become a vegan. Being a vegetarian made me slack off on a lot of things in the past year – to the point where I pretty much felt comfortable eating a lot of processed foods and sweets, etc. After all, I wasn’t eating meat, so if I wanted to have one, two, or three chocolates…why not?

Well, the scale today told me what happens after eating an unhealthy vegetarian diet for over a year. It’s one thing to be a healthy vegetarian, but to be one and eat a lot of dairy, processed items, white bread…no wonder I feel horrible lately.

So this past week I did do a little better and stayed a vegan until this past weekend. Then I ate cheese and was flexible on my eating. The scale today told me that there was a reason I wasn’t feeling very good and it reminded me that I should pretty much stay vegan for a while before I can feel okay about being flexible between eating and not eating dairy. At this point, today. I’m just depressed.

So, for lunch I made this smoothie – blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate and pineapple, with one scoop of vegan protein, and one cup of soy milk. Pretty good, but I wish I hadn’t put the pomegranates in. Those don’t really blend very well and so I ended up having to crunch my way through a smoothie, so that clearly doesn’t make sense. I’ll avoid putting that in next time I make this type of smoothie.

And oh man – still feeling bad about myself. I think tonight it’s going to be a strictly fresh and vegan dish for dinner tonight.

I definitely need to incorporate the fresh juices again that I used to make in the mornings. I used to make a mixture of carrots and apples and all kinds of other veggies and fruits (by the way, carrots are super sweet so juicing carrots is a lot tastier than it might sound). Once I get back to that regular eating habit, I may feel a bit better about stuff.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

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February 6, 2011

Mr. Vegan? Meet Mr. Carnivore. Now, Play Nice.

First of all, I can’t believe I’m defending Oprah. Again.

Last week, Oprah challenged her staffers to go vegan for one week. Consequently, no matter how many times she declared that it was a choice and that no one was forced to do anything that they didn’t want to do, a flurry of bloggers who are pro-omnivore or carnivore got up in arms about how ridiculous Oprah is, meat isn’t horrible, vegans are lame, yada yada. Vegans responded with snarky comments of their own left and right.

It’s really all just silly – neither side of the argument on eating or not eating animals should be making sweeping generalizations about any one group. It really does nothing but reinforce negative stereotypes for both sides. Isn’t it possible to have open dialogue to discuss the best way for animals to be slaughtered for food, etc.? After all, we all know that not everyone in the world is going to instantly become a vegan or vegetarian, and vice versa. But it’s simply a choice and everyone should be educated on how food gets from the field to the table. What’s the harm with that? Sheesh, even Lisa Ling witnessed the cow being killed in the slaughterhouse and she says she’s still eating meat. So, witnessing what happens to an animal isn’t going to immediately convert everyone to write Vegan Manuals and start going door-to-door preaching the new way of eating.

I remember telling close family and friends that I was a vegan a few years ago and their response was almost as though I had gone completely insane, or that I was going to start throwing red paint on them immediately. Then, the inevitable family holiday dinners came about and the buzz now was “Oh, no…! Now that she’s vegan (gasp), what do we make for her…?” *whisper whisper* I am fairly certain that they expected me to lay on the ground outside with wild animals and start munching on a tree trunk, wrapped in my non-leather and vigorously approved PETA outfit. Would I start chanting to the wind, too? After all, I was a vegan……. *whisper whisper*

Look. If you are a meat eater and you don’t want to change, then don’t. As much as I’d love to educate you to my perspective, it’s really your right to choose. But I ask one thing, Mr./Mrs. Carnivore – if you have access to and can support your local farmers through a CSA program or something similar to it, then please do that. Supporting the local farmer is much more important than making sure you pick up that last-minute fast food meal because a cool toy has just come out (Ooh! A DVD! Sweet – let’s go sit in the line and get my manufactured and processed lumpa something nowwwwww).

And if you don’t eat meat, then okay, goodie there, too. Either way, support your local farmers, become educated on where your food comes from, and try to be nice. And I’m not just talking about being nice to animals, I’m talking about being nice to each other.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

February 5, 2011

Holy “Cow”…I Was a Vegan All Day.

Yum and yay. I am uber, uber pleased with myself for maintaining veganism all day today. I actually skipped coffee today and opted for a smoothie with some vegan protein powder dumped in. The smoothie was a blended happiness of pineapples, blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, and Silk soy milk. I will say that I probably could have blended it a bit more in order to ensure that the protein powder was more mixed into it all, but other than that, I was pretty dang happy.

Lunch was my favorite with Thai Vegetable Cake (like a patty of some sort, freshly made not by me because I was lazy, but by local Native Sun, which is similar to Whole Foods), and combined it with spinach and red peppers into a wholesome vegan tortilla wrap. Suffice it to say that I procrastinated on writing a review of Louise Penny’s book, Bury Your Dead for my other blog (Coffee and a Book Chick) so that I could savor each tasty bite.

And for dinner…this is where, although vegan, ehhh. Wasn’t exactly healthy. I wanted something quick and fast – so I opted for Smart Dogs and Tofutti cheese slices. My side dish, though, was a pile of fresh kale and red and green peppers, which was all raw vegan awesomeness, so hopefully that balanced out the processed part of my meal.

Side note on vegan cheese: Most of them suck immensely, but I’ve found that Tofutti is my most favorite brand *ever.* From cheese to ice cream, I think it’s one of the most fantastic companies out there since it knows that some of us still remember the taste of cheese and ice cream, but just can’t eat any dairy.

All in all, I’m excited to go to bed tonight and close out Saturday, February 5th, 2011 as a vegan day.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

February 3, 2011

Oprah Can Motivate Everyone. Even to Be a Vegan?

 

Oprah and The Veganist, Kathy Freston

The other day, *the* Oprah powerhouse challenged her staffers to go vegan for one week. Almost 400 signed up.

Fairly enlightening stuff in the show, I will admit. For Oprah’s viewers, who more than likely live their lives on a hodgepodge of fresh cooked food one day, and McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets for the kids the next, it was probably shocking and eye-opening. The rest was pretty glossed over and included a lot of “cut-to” scenes with producers talking about their addiction to fast food, and the giggle-inducing discussion on how frequent bowel movements were becoming. There was only one exception to the glossy hoo-hah fluff segments, and that was when Lisa Ling had an opportunity to tour Cargill’s slaughterhouse, and followed the life of the cow from field bulk up on a corn-fed diet (not a natural diet for a cow, by the way), to the point in the slaughterhouse when the animal is killed (not shown).

I haaaate to admit this , but mad cow props to Cargill for allowing people to see the inside of their facility and the slaughterhouse industry on the Oprah show, though. I get so frustrated when people just don’t admit how things are. I say, allow transparency into these operations and let people make their own decision, no matter which way it might be. So BIG kudos to Cargill on that – not many companies would allow this (probably because they’re not as clean or they’re not following the Temple Grandin system as Cargill does). Of course, I still don’t like the industry that they’re in, but I have a lot more respect that they were open about this.

No offense, but it was just the “right” amount of graphic insight into the industry of how consumer food makes it to your grocery store. Perfect for the Oprah audience. Touchy feely and emotionally brutal seems to be common fare on the show when it comes to relationships and the like, but knowing where your food comes from? That’s where it gets dicey.

Anywoots, it’s clear that there needs to be change in the meat industry, whether beef or chicken, and even precious fish. Open dialogue to secure that humane practices are being followed is key. I know not everyone can become a vegetarian, or vegan, so let’s make it more respectful and safer for the animals that fill up our plate and keep us going, right?

Frankly, I’m disgusted by the meat industry. I can’t stand the idea of what happens to the animals during the processing, and the short segment with Lisa Ling helped remind me today that I don’t really want any part of supporting that industry.

So…I stayed vegan a bit longer today. Lunch was spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, and Tofurkey brand Kielbasa “sausage,” cooked in olive oil and dumped unceremoniously on a plate of whole wheat couscous. I’m no chef, and I have no idea if it’s nutritionally adequate, but I know I’ve got my veggies and protein (from the Tofurkey), so I’m pretty damn happy.

 

Maybe Oprah did motivate me a bit today. Oy.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

February 3, 2011

Why I Started This…

...at my very worst...

To hold myself accountable. A few years ago, I was 30 pounds overweight and could really feel it. While others looked at me and told me I looked “fine,” the problem was that they couldn’t see where I gained weight. As a woman, I hoped and dreamed that I could gain it in my hips, thighs, etc., but sadly, I gained it all in my stomach. Consequently, I felt like I had a beer gut.

I didn’t realize how bad I truly felt. Sure, I got upset when I tried my clothes on and saw that it just didn’t look good on me. I was emotionally sad and disappointed with myself, but I didn’t gather how much better I could feel. I’ve grown up eating meat and dairy and I definitely was one of the many who thought those who were vegetarians or (gasp!) vegan were just a bunch of freaks. Oh, so you don’t eat meat because it once had feelings? Get over it, it’s part of the food chain, and we’re at the top of it, loser.

Oh, yeah. I was an unapologetic carnivore.

Until one day, while planning for a flight to meet with a client, I realized that my size 8 suit didn’t quite fit. It was more than snug. Sure, I could wear it, but man on man, I had to find just the right professional blouse that wasn’t fitted. Camouflage! If I could have wiped camo paint on my face and worn a large military field jacket, you’re daggone right I would have done it. But, I guess that’s just not appropriate to wear to a client meeting…

So I went to the store and tried on every business suit I could, even ones I didn’t like, but nothing fit in that size 8. I could have upped it to a size 10, but that double digit suit scared me.

Now. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a size 10. But, for my body height and frame, a size 10 and 30 extra pounds on me was not healthy. It did not feel good. There was no way I could embrace that “beer” gut and be happy. I was exhausted all the time, I had a hard time sleeping, waking up, and just living life.

I went to my meeting with my regular size 8 suit. On my way home, I landed in Atlanta for my connecting flight, the last one back home, and had five minutes to get to my gate. Dragging my rolling carryon behind me, my briefcase banging into my side, I felt every extra inch on me and struggled to get there. I got to the gate and the door was already closed – I had missed my flight home and was stuck in Atlanta for the night. Red-faced and struggling to breathe, I sat down at the gate and cried.

The next day, I started to take all those vegan books seriously. I didn’t want to start out as a vegetarian – I wanted to go hard-core. And I did. Within a week, I had lost a few pounds, but the most important thing? I was sleeping so well – and waking up at the crack of dawn. I felt incredible and motivated to learn as much as I could. Within six months, I had lost 30 pounds and was loving life!

Then, I went on my honeymoon to Italy. Ahh, Italy. The connoisseur of all things lovely and divine, the Italian food was so tempting and I had to have cheese. I did forego my vegan lifestyle and became a vegetarian. I loved it!

But now, a year and a half later, I’ve put some of my weight back on and I can feel it. Feeling difficulty to breathe easier, to walk my dog and not feel exhausted has crept back into my life and I don’t like it.

This blog is simply my own personal attempts to stay as close to the vegan lifestyle as I can. I realize that I love some dairy products and it’s tough for me to be as strict as I was before.

Or, is it? I don’t know – I’ve done it once before, so why can’t I do it again?

...where I want to be again...

So feel free to follow along with me – I will try to be consistent (although not daily!), and I will be honest. You can also catch me on my other blog in which I review all things book-related, but primarily books I’ve read. It’s here at Coffee and a Book Chick.

Happy Eating,

The Wanna Be Vegan

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