Yet Another Food Experiment

I don’t know what I just cooked! I tried to make chili, but I don’t think I used enough chili powder and I didn’t add any salt (but that’s not a complaint). So here it is:

1 medium yellow onion
2 very small sweet potatoes (idk i just threw them in but they’re great)
1 green bell pepper
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 can diced tomatoes
1 can Bush’s kidney beans in chili sauce
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 tiny can green chilies
1 lb bag of green lentils
1 tsp vegetable buillion

Maybe 6 cups of water? Enough to cover it in my 6qt Instant Pot

The spices were (and I’m guessing measurements here although I did use a measuring spoon):

3 tsp chili powder
2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cinnamon (some cultures put this in their savory stuff)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin

What I’d change next time:

Exchange 1 can of diced tomatoes for a can of tomato sauce
It needs salt. But I’m loathe to just start pouring it in. Plus, I need to get over salt. Salt bad.
Add one more teaspoon each of all the seasonings. The green chilies said “medium” but this stuff has no heat at all. Of course, you do you. I like a little heat, but a ~little~ iykwim.

I want to make some rice now.

 

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Rundown of Things I Do/Do Not Eat

What I don’t eat: No meat, seafood, or dairy/cheese/butter (I think I miss butter on popcorn the most!). No sugar, desserts, sweets, candy, or sweetened chocolate. No caffeine or alcohol (honestly I haven’t had either since 2008). No vegetable or olive oil. No mayonnaise/veganaise. No honey, or BBQ sauce (lol I used to use both of these for chicken nuggets). No soda (diet or otherwise), no fruit juice. No breakfast cereal. No restaurants (except Chipotle – see below), even if they have vegan options (like Taco Bell which I really haven’t explored yet but I’m just staying away). I miss breakfast at Perkins 😥

What I still eat that I probably shouldn’t, and all of this I try to go REALLY easy on: salted peanuts and pretzels (we get them free at work), tortilla chips, processed salsa, artificial sweetener (Splenda, but only in lemonade, so not a ton), processed vegan food (Gardein meatless chicken strips and pizza pockets), processed whole grain sandwich bread, processed peanut butter, vegan margarine, coconut oil, white pasta. Maple syrup (a lot of people say this is the only acceptable sweetener but I try not to use a lot). Salt (mostly in the Cajun seasoning blend and the veggie bouillion I use in soup). Hot sauce. Ketchup. Chipotle (sofritas, white rice, fajita veggies, mild salsa and guacamole). French bread.

What I eat a lot more of now: vegetables (in soup mostly) that I always have around: celery, carrots, onions, white potatoes, mushrooms, garlic. Frozen vegetables: corn, broccoli, green beans, peas. Sweet potatoes. Tomatoes in cans (like to make spaghetti sauce with). Nutritional yeast. Lemons and limes (in lemonade) and mandarin oranges. Bananas (for breakfast/snacks and smoothies), spinach, frozen fruit (in smoothies). Mangoes. Chickpeas (in hummus – which I make, and “tuna” salad – which I haven’t made since I gave up mayo and veganaise), lentils (in soup, chili, and sloppy joes). Unsweetened almond milk. Oatmeal. Tons of herbs and spices (like chipotle and garlic powders).

What I am supposed to eat but I really don’t like: avocados (yes I eat a little guac but only on Chipotle I really don’t love it), black beans (ugh), tofu (I really tried but it feels like egg and I hate egg), raw tomatoes (I force myself to eat them), chickpeas by themselves (they seriously taste awful until you make them into hummus, lol). I haven’t tried seitan only because it looks gross and I can’t imagine a boiled mass of wheat gluten is healthy. I can’t think of anything else that I hate so much I refuse to eat it.

What should I seriously cut out and what should I be adding to my diet?

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.

Yay, Weekend

It’s been a few days, I know. My diet has been pretty uneventful this week. A new thing I ate (twice) is a sofritas burrito bowl from Chipotle. I like it lot. I got with white rice, fajita veggies, guac and mild salsa. But eating that, along with the other things I’ve been eating (yam and potato fries, lot of peanuts and pretzels at work) means I’ve been ingesting a TON of sodium. And this is not recent. I’ve always had a salt heavy diet. I crave salty things more than sweet. And I love sweets. But like, I can eat a half a bag of tortilla chips no problem. And that’s not what I wanted from this diet change. I wanted less fat/oil, less sugar and less salt.

I’ve been pretty good on the sugar front. I am eating a lot of fruit (albeit in smoothies) and I haven’t had anything really sugary (like dessert or snacks) in a while. I don’t even crave sweets anymore. As for oil, the chips, of course. And I’ve been tossing my yam and potato fries in coconut oil before I bake them. I just don’t like that weird smooth texture they get when they’re baked dry. So yeah, I have to work on oil. But salt is still a major problem. Yesterday I didn’t bring lunch to work so I had two breaks where I ate a cup of pretzels each. Then I ate the sofritas Chipotle for a late lunch. For dinner I had a smoothie with mango, mixed berries, spinach, and almond milk.

So today I had oatmeal (no salt) with Earth Balance and almond milk. That was around 1pm, becasue I got up late, and then I just had two pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter around 4? The oatmeal really filled me up, which it exactly what it’s supppose to do. I was feeling munchy, and the peanut butter has enough sugar that it satisfied that craving for a while. Now I’m home for the night, and I’m trying this snack I got as a promo called Vea. It’s Thai coconut flavored crispy sweet potato bars. They’re pretty good for a “healthy” processed snack.

My good deed for the day was cleaning the main living area of my apartment, which is a living/dining/sun room. And my kid actually cleaned the kitchen without complaint. We are so bad at housekeeping. But we threw on some music and got moving, and everything looks so much better now.

Sunday Funday

Another thing I’m working on besides what I eat, is kind of cleaning up my life a little. Like, I started doing one thing a day. I call is my Good Deed, except it’s probably not “good” for anyone except me. Like, one morning before work I sorted my “floordrobe” (that clean clothes pile in the basket/on the chair/floor). Yesterday was actually getting out of the house for something other than groceries. Today I offered to help the Kid with his massive floordrobe (more like a closet full of clothes of indeterminate cleanliness). We bagged up give-away and throw-away clothes and did a couple of washes, and I we cleaned out his chest of drawers. He had TWO drawers full of mismatched socks! Then we went into my closet and I got rid of everything I keep hold on to but never wear. You know that feeling, “oh I’ll wear it someday/when I lose weight,” meanwhile it’s old and hopelessly out of style.

For breakfast I ate an English muffin (I honestly don’t know what’s in those) and peanut butter. Then for lunch I ate the dreaded mayo-having buffalo chick’n wrap. I snacked on the “cheese” I made last night (honestly we have to think of a name for it) and chips, and for dinner I’m making vegetable soup sans lentils. I just ate that all last week and I didn’t want it again. But soup is the easiest (for me) to make and transport. This soup was a cleaning out the fridge special and had potatoes (5 small) because they’re the best, two onions, three carrots and three stalks of celery, a ton of garlic (garlic = life), not as much Better Than Bouillon as last time, Tony Chachere’s, basil, Italian herb mix, garlic powder, onion powder, and chipotle powder (I love the kick it gives stuff without being too spicy). Pretty much the same stuff I put in all my soups. Then I added water to cover, gave it a stir, and set the Instant Pot for “Soup” which is equal to 30 minute

I want to pimp/promo something I’ve done twice now and I love and I want to share. Last year I had a grocery delivery service, which was awesome. I don’t hate grocery shopping, but who loves it, either? Plus, I am a complete impulse shopper and most of the time will blow my budget (and my diet) by buying whatever looks good (hello, donuts!). But being able to shop online keeps me focused and gives me more time to think about menus and avoid seeing and grabbing off the shelves. Alas, the service we used charged a monthly fee, and added a charge to all the food. So it was expensive. I am not going to name the company; they pretty much all work like that. But a couple weekends ago, I tried the Walmart Grocery pick up service. I know, there is a lot to deride Walmart over. But I can keep under budget while having a wider selection than Aldi (which is where I shopped most recently and mostly loved), and has a wide selection of international and organic stock. And they don’t charge a monthly fee and they don’t (as far as I know) upcharge the stock to provide this service. So anyway, the gist is you make the order and pick it up at the store, by parking in the designated parking spot and letting them know you’re there (the app/email tells you if you’re order is ready, and from my experience, it’s usually ready early). They bring it out to your car and load your trunk. And the first time we went they gave us a gift bag with a drink and body wash and coupons! So I’m going to give you my affiliate link, which will give you $10 off $50 on your first order. That is here. And really, I am super happy with the service. If they have to make a substitution, they don’t charge you the difference (they were out of store brand so I got name brand for the same price). The app and the site are really easy to use. This is groceries only for the most part, so you can’t like, buy a TV or clothes, lol. But anyway, give it a whirl. I hope you do and you like it.

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Today I decided we needed to get out. Well, it’s not like I decided spur of the moment. I’ve had this plan for a couple of weeks. But today we went to the Central Florida Veg Fest. We walked around, ate some food, and got some sun. I walked over two miles today, which is unheard of from me! Before the festival, the Kid had an appointment at Floyd 99’s barbershop. Except we went to the wrong one! There’s one south of downtown, and one just north of downtown. They said people get them confused all the time, and honored his appointment, so yay.

So at the festival, I ate a buffalo chicken (chik’n, of course) meatball sub w/ vegan bleu cheese on a gluten free roll. And sorry, but the name of the people who made it for me is lost, but I’ll post a pic of the sub below! We also had fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade. We didn’t buy anything, but we saw a TON of dogs! The Kid was all about that (he’s 18, but he still loves puppies, lol). Anyway, after the festival, we went to Target to pick up house stuff, and the pharmacy was offering free flu shots (and a $5 gift certificate if you did) so we got ours.

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Tonight I tried something new and it turned out AMAZING (pics below). Vegan cheese sauce made out of potatoes, carrots and nutritional yeast. I used this recipe, and I tweaked it a little, because like I said in an earlier post, I can’t follow directions to save my life. I probably made more than the recipe called for, because I used three medium potatoes and two carrots. I also cut out the oil and used more water (the water I used to steam the veggies in). It turned out to be about a liter of sauce. But, please, be smarter than me and use the recipe! We started dipping chips in it, but you know what we used most of it for? Macaroni and cheese! We mixed it up with some pasta and wow was it good. We still have about two cups left, so I’ll probably use it as dip again tomorrow.

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So that was my day. Now I’m home, and listening to Superfruit, and drinking lemonade, and might turn on a hockey game.

Mea Culpa, Guys. It’s a Journey.

Sorry no post yesterday. I ate the exact same thing as Wednesday and I didn’t see the point. Today wasn’t much different, at least for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, and as a snack during the day, I had the rest of the energy balls (I think I originally made 22-ish on Sunday, and the Kid and I ate them throughout the week). Then for lunch I had what I thought was the last of the lentil veggie soup, but when I got home I saw that I had half a jar left. I don’t know if I can eat it again!

Ok, so yesterday I had the best idea for a meal! I was watching someone eat a grilled wrap and I immediately wanted a veggie version of one. Avocado, shredded lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, and some type of vegan chipotle sauce (cashew?) Then I thought, “you know what sounds really good? A vegan style grilled burrito with yellow rice, beans, guacamole, and vegan sour cream (again, cashews? I’m wondering how to make it myself to try to stay away from processed food). Don’t both of those sound amazing?! I’m going to think about them and I’ll get back to you. If you know of any recipes that would fit either of these, let me know.

So I do not subscribe to the idea of a cheat day when dieting. I think going back to crappy food once a week puts stress on your body. I also don’t consider the plant-based lifestyle a diet. The other day I read an article (I’m pretty sure it was sponsored) about Gardein “chicken” tenders tossed in buffalo sauce. That sounded am-az-ing, so I bought a bag today. But what I did (and why I mentioned cheating), is I made them into a wrap, and I used mayo. Like, the real stuff. Which was bad, but so, so good, lol. Anyway, if you’re down with vegenaise, try this, but if you don’t want it, don’t. I shouldn’t have. But I did. Anyway, I baked four Gardein tenders, then got a couple six inch flour tortillas and put mayo and baby spinach on them, then two tenders, then sprinkled Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce on it. Hot damn it was yummy. I also, due to laziness, cooked some tater tots (it’s been a long week). So yes, I fell off the wagon. But now I can add that to my repertoire, but I will definitely be leaving the mayo off. Maybe the cashew cream I just mentioned?