Reaping the Benefits

So I don’t want to talk about food today. I want to talk about a mental and emotional change I’ve seen. I discussed it a little here, but I really seem to be on a roll lately.

I have been cleaning. A lot. That was something that suffered horribly the last almost ten years since I became mentally ill. In 2011, I hired a cleaning person to come in twice a month. It was just too much for me. I couldn’t keep them but a few months, though, as I had to get a new car and I needed the money. So then I just did the bare minimum to keep the house clean. I do laundry, and I keep up with dishes ok, but I hated bathrooms and vacuuming and picking up. Then my kid moved in with me in 2013, and he’s a teenager, so of course he hated doing housework. Skip forward to this year, around June, and I got so sick of the house (the kid’s bathroom was a health hazard) that I hired another person to come in and do a deep clean. They scrubbed the bathrooms and cleaned the ceilings/ceiling fans (so dusty). Stuff I never did. I kept them around for a month, but then of course, I needed the money for other things, and I cancelled them. But I also felt like I could actually keep up now that I had a head start. I even bought a new vacuum. Didn’t use it, lol, but bought it.

So now it’s the end of December, and I’ve been plant-based since a little before Halloween. It took two months of clean eating to even begin feeling the benefits. The first thing was the muscle spasms. Then I just seemed happier. Then I started cleaning! Then downloaded a few apps to my phone: Chronometer, Google Fit, Couch to 5k, Headspace (a meditation app), and Down Dog (a yoga app). I did the meditation last night before bed, and I did (half) of the yoga as soon as I woke up. Then I took a shower (which is another thing that was a hurdle to me), ate oatmeal and logged it into Chronometer. When I start the walking/running it will be after work.

So I know it seems like I started all that at once. I do that. But most of the time I overreach, I stop before I even start. But today I did everything I meant to. You know that voice in your head that says, “I’ll start tomorrow” or “why even start it won’t matter”. I still hear that, but I can ignore it more easily now. The benefit of following through on things is a sense of accomplishment that can be very reward in itself. I also have a greater sense of peace now, because I don’t have the nagging in my brain of letting something go for so long, and the guilt for not doing it.


Achievement Unlocked

Another thing I’ve felt change, besides the muscle spasms disappearing, is I’ve been in a much better mood. I am bipolar and chronically depressed, and on medication for both. The bipolar med does well with the mania, but the antidepressant seems to do nothing for the depression. Add that to being overweight and unhappy with my that and ugh, a job (lol), and I am lucky to get out of bed in the mornings.

But for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt so damn chipper. And I’m always wary of that, some because it might mean I’m having mania (I’m not), but also because I’m such a f*cking cynic, I’m always looking for the ulterior motive. Of my brain?! Is it pulling the long con on me? LOL Yeah. I guess I’m wary that all good things come to a end. All signs, though, seem to say that if I keep this up, things can only get better.

I’ve also been trying to work on my attitude. I watched a video for a motivation speaker and they said attitude is everything. And I know I have a shitty attitude. I’ve been cultivating my whole life, lol. But something has to change. I can’t point to anything I’m doing differently, except the things I’m doing as a result of feeling better, such as waking up earlier and cleaning the house more. But those things help me be happier. As for the diet aspect, I’m not beating myself up over eating crap and I don’t have that miserably full feeling I used to get when I gorged myself on fast food or pizza. Plus my clothes are just barely beginning to fit better (not digging into my belly as much), so I’m miserable at work for wearing jeans. That helps my attitude a LOT, let me tell you!

So I hope that an effect of being plant based is that your brain is happier. I wish people would focus on that instead of worrying about not getting enough protein (ugh). Kind of related: I also have a couple of coworkers with serious health problems, but I see them eat fast food and sodas every day for lunch. That makes me so sad. I am not preachy at work, but I do defend the lifestyle when confronted, and I do preach the benefits I’ve experienced and hope to have because of my diet. I really just want the results to speak for themselves, and when I actually do lose 100 pounds in a year, people I know get with the program.

I’m Only a Morning Person on the Weekends

I’m waiting for the text that tells me my Walmart grocery order is ready for pickup, and I have been berating myself for not posting in awhile, so here I am. I don’t have much to report, but I did want to talk about a major improvement to my body that I’m pretty sure has direct relation to my diet. Then I’ll talk about what I’ve been eating lately.

So the thing I’ve noticed about my body is that I used to be plagued with muscle spasms in my rib and abdominal muscles. They were as painful as Charlie horses. I would get them at work, in bed, when I tried to get up from lying down, and for no reason at all. I read it was probably from inactivity but I also read that people with MS get them around their rib cages (the “MS hug”) so I was kind of freaking out. I even went to my doctor about them. But in the last few weeks, I haven’t had one. And obviously I’ve noticed, because they were such a constant part of my life and a source of major pain. So I’m definitely attributing their absence to my change in diet.

Last Sunday I made another soup in the Instant Pot. I wanted something very stew-like, but I’m having a hard time finding things to thicken it up that does not include flour. I added a ton more potatoes, becasue I know that the starch in them will help. The soup consisted of: white potatoes, carrots, celery, white mushrooms, grape (smaller than cherry) tomatoes, onion, and garlic. I used Better Than Bouillion vegetable base, Tony Charchare’s, chipotle powder, garlic powder, bay leaf, italian herb blend, and basil. Pretty much everything in my cupboard. I ate two bowls for dinner, then put the rest in three liter jars for lunches.

For the other two days of lunches, I have been really into Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, which is pretty much wing sauce. I sauteed some Gardein Meatless Chicken Strips and coated them in the hot sauce, and made up two divided containers of that, frozen mixed veggies, and some brown rice. I had made WAY too much brown rice in the Instant Pot on Monday, so I ate that a couple of times for dinner, too.

I’ve been bringing two bananas and three clementines to work every day for breakfast and snacks. Then I’ll eat a small cup of peanuts as well. The peanuts are really good at filling me up.

For dinner, I ate the meatless chicken strips with hot sauce twice, and berry/banana/spinach smoothies a couple of times, and a couple of times I had peanut butter toast. I also ate sweet potato fries last night.

I’m still struggling with my salt and oil intake. The soup had a lot of sodium, from the bouillion and the Tony’s, and the peanuts and the hot sauce have a lot, too. But I’ve cut down the amount of peanuts I eat at work, and I try not to overdo it on the hot sauce. As for oil, I’ve been using Earth Balance Olive Oil spread on my rice and bread, and I cook with Organic virgin coconut oil. Not a ton of either, mind you, but I’m having a hard time with feeling like I’m missing something if I don’t. So I have to work on that. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Setting Goals

My diet goals:

1. To cut out all animal products from my diet
2. To cut out all processed fats and oils from my diet
3. To greatly reduce the amount of sodium I consume
4. To eliminate processed sugars and sweeteners from my diet

How’s it going so far:

No animals? Check.

Fats and oils? Well I have used coconut oil in the last few things I’ve cooked. And I have a tub of (vegan) Earth Balance margarine. I’m more trying to use them up, because I can’t throw it away that would be wasteful.

Sodium? I stopped adding pure table salt to the food I’m cooking a long time ago. It is in the cajun seasoning I use often, and I do add it on top of food I’m about to eat. I’d like to reduce it to just (maybe) adding it on top of foods.

Sugar: Well I still eat processed ketchup and peanut butter. I’ve stopped using jarred spaghetti sauce. I don’t use table sugar in anything. I still use Stevia (because I’m trying to use up a box) and I eat things like chocolate chips (using them up) in the energy balls. I don’t drink processed juices, but I do make smoothies, which some would argue turns whole fruit and vegetables into sugar. I’ve thought about it, and I’d like to see some more research. A lot of people rely on smoothies to get their daily greens, myself included.

This is obviously a work in progress. I don’t have the time or money or spoons to just empty out my fridge and pantry, and start over. Plus (full disclosure), I live with and support an omnivore, so I will be purchasing and preparing animal products. When I was vegan back in 2011, besides the fact that my diet was mostly processed, I had no issues keeping the menus separate. I just would be a hypocrite if I got political about it at this point. But I am fully invested in this diet as a way of life, and a way to lose weight and improve heath measurements.

I don’t have a scale, but I plan on taking baseline physical body measurements soon and I’ll post them for posterity. I also need to schedule a visit to the doctor for cholesterol and blood pressure and glucose levels (and the scale!) I also need to take some pictures.

Happy Birthday, Amurika! (Day 4)

Oh man getting this just under the wire!

So last night I stayed up way too late and slept in until past noon. Way to go, me. The kid has a friend who was in a singing contest at the town’s next to us (the one the high school is in) Fourth of July celebration. We were supposed to go at 6pm, but at 5, the thunder was rolling and things looked grim. I didn’t really care because I didn’t even think I wanted to go.

(Oh crap, I got distracted by a message online and now it’s past midnight and I’ve failed. But I’m going to post this anyway.)

So anywho, I decided to go, even though I don’t like socializing and I especially don’t want to be around a bunch of AMURICANS (woo hoo) but off I went. And I had a good time! I talked to my kid’s BFF’s mom and listened to some truly awful music but I also saw some beautiful fireworks and that was awesome. Now it’s 12:17am on a workday and I’m messing around online and it’s really time to go to bed. Night, all!

I Love Weekends! (even If I’ve been home for two weeks)

Offical day two of being plant based, and oh gosh well, I have wanted all kinds of food I’m not supposed to be eating. We went to Aldi and hooked up, both the kid and I. Their processed stuff was way more expensive than what I found. They bought meat and like, hazelnut spread and I bought dates and flax seed. LOL, That sounds so awful. I didn’t mean that! But I am jealous of the sloppy joe he gets. I’m going to search for a vegan alternative.

I have been reading about the power of attraction. A YouTuber I follow talked about how she got everything she wanted (she’s pretty successful) and attributes it to positive thinking and envisioning what she wanted in life. You’re supposed to write a letter (to whoever) and talk about how your life would be going if you had your ideal life. Then read it to yourself every morning and evening and reflect on it and you’ll start to unconsciously do things that get you toward that. I know – I’m like, THE most cynical person on the planet. How could it work? I don’t know, a lot of successful people believe in it. And honestly: is sitting around thinking, “I have depression so I have to think depressing thoughts,” actually working for you? It’s not for me. There is absolutely ZERO percent harm in thinking positively. Even if you think it’s bullshit and laugh at yourself while you’re doing it, after a while, it might become a habit. I firmly believe it takes 21 days of repetition to create a new habit. And I quit drinking, smoking and drinking caffeine cold turkey so I know it can be done. (Oh god not all at the same time but close!)

I am selling a lot of my old DVDs here and I sold five today! I still have over 50 to sell so if you see something interesting get it now! I’m a huge geek so most of my collection leans that way.

No hockey game tonight (boo) but I plan to package all my DVDs and watch the rest of Vegucated on Netflix.

An Introduction:

Hi out there! My name is Sara. I’ll be 42 in April, I live in Florida, I am a single mother to a teenager going off to college, I am between jobs, and I am just starting to live a plant-based lifestyle in order to lose weight and feel better. Wow, that’s a lot going on! Yes, it is. But I’m excited!

Some things I’m looking forward to in the future are: becoming self-sufficient so I don’t have to go back to corporate America, feeling and looking better on this new plant-based journey, seeing my kid graduate high school and move on to the next stage in their lives, and (hopefully) not only moving out of my current residence, but moving to a different state!

What else? Well, I love hockey! I am new to the sport; I’ve been watching since the World Cup in October. My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins because every one of the team excels at the game. I also think the team’s charity work is amazing and their social media game is on point. They’re just an all-around classy organization. I have two friends I watch the game with. One lives near me and one lives in Europe! We hang out on Twitter and celebrate and commiserate with each other; it’s a lot of fun!

I don’t watch (or even own) a TV but I spend a lot of time online, so I am pretty well informed of what’s going on. I love movies, the geekier the better. I’m a Marvel fan. My favorite movies are Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blazing Saddles, Guys and Dolls, and The Sound of Music. My favorite music ranges from rap to pop to folk. Honestly!

I hope you enjoy my rambles, but really this is just a place to put all my thoughts so I can get them out of my brain. I always feel better after I’ve written my thoughts down. It’s the best way to vent, in my opinion. Bye for now!