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.

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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 For breakfast, and as a snack during the day, I had the rest of the energy balls (I think I originally made 22-ish on Sunday, and the Kid and I ate them throughout the week).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?

 

 

Open to New Possibilities

I still haven’t decided on dinner. It’s probably going to be a smoothie, with spinach, banana, frozen berries, a little frozen mango, and almond milk. (LOL I guess I’ve decided.) I’ve had potatoes the last couple of days, so I want something different.

Today was an interesting food day. I didn’t have any oats prepared, so I brought four energy balls and a jar of soup. I ate three of the energy balls for breakfast. Then for lunch I had the soup, but I realized I forgot the huge bowl I usually bring to heat it up. I used a paper bowl from the work kitchen instead, so I ended up only having a small amount and saving the rest. The after lunch I had the last energy ball. Except I wasn’t feeling great. Like, I said before, I think the soup has too much sodium, and it’s not sitting well. I add water, because it’s very thick, but that doesn’t help much. So it wasn’t the best meal.

But what I want to talk about is the Salad I had (capital S intentional). My co-worker (she calls me “neighbor” because we sit next to each other), was eating a salad and I could see chickpeas, so I asked her about it. She was also cutting up an avocado to put in it. The one thing (ok, two things) I haven’t been able to incorporate in my plant based diet is avocados and raw tomatoes. I think avocados are tasteless and tomatoes are just gross (yeah I’m one of those people.) This salad had both. But she said she dressed the salad with vinegar and I should try it, so I did. And it was AMAZING! But first let me give you the complete rundown of what was in it, because I will be making it very soon:

The salad was mixed spring greens, chickpeas, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, capers and black olives, dressed with vinegar, no oil. Sounds amazing, right? It was! It’s like it was made especially for my diet! And it was delicious. I have quinoa in the pantry, waiting to be used somehow, and I love black olives, and I’ve experimented with capers (my mom used to love them). So I am going to make this salad in a jar for next week. After I ate it, it was like it made up for the salty soup. I felt amazing! I’m sad I have to wait until I go the store this weekend to get all the stuff.

The thing is with this diet, is I am not very creative when it comes to food. I don’t make up a lot of stuff. I have a large repertoire of omni food, but I learned it all at different points in my life. And I get discouraged, because like I said, I am not a big fan of tomatoes, or avocado, and those seem to be everywhere in plant-based recipes. I’m still in the “cheeseburger” mindset where nothing sounds appetizing except grease and meat. But I’m working on changing my cravings and taste buds. And this salad just opened up my mind! So yay for new experiences!

 

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.

Getting A Little Off Track

I forgot to mention that at work yesterday, I also brought four energy balls. I thought I’d OD’d on chocolate with the overnight oats, but the balls weren’t so rich I couldn’t eat them.

Today I stayed home, so my meals weren’t as planned out. I had a glass of lemonade (from a fresh lemon) with Stevia, and then I made white and sweet potatoes again. That was it for the day until this evening when I made white rice in the Instant Pot and ate that with Earth Balance spread. I’m so square that one of my favorite meals is white rice with butter. So I ate a big bowl of that. Then I had three energy balls. That was just a couple minutes ago, so maybe I’ll eat again?

I am trying desparately to get off processed oils. As you can see I’ve used coconut oil and margerine. I’m not really into just throwing away good food, so I’m trying to use it up and just not buy it again. I need to buy some silicone mats for the oven so I can leave the oil off the potatoes when making fries. I like the salty flavor and richness of butter, though. I haven’t found anything to replace it yet except more salt. Like in oatmeal, which I eat with [margerine] and [almond milk] (butter and milk are easier to spell, but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea). If you had or have this same problem, please let me know in a comment. Maybe you can suggest something or we can figure it out together.

I’m drinking a big glass of water right now. I really slacked; it’s all I’ve had since the lemonade. When I finish it, I’ll decide if I’m still hungry, full, or too tired to eat.

What I Ate Today:

Breakfast was a cup of overnight oats (oatmeal, almond milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, maple syrup). It was very rich and I could not finish it. Tomorrow I’m going to make it with fruit.

Lunch was a liter jar (in my previous post I said quart, but nope, it’s a liter) of the lentil soup I made yesterday. It has absorbed all the liquid so I added about a half a cup of water. I could not finish that, either. I’m spotting a trend.

Dinner was two small russet potatoes and two small sweet potatoes cut into fry shapes and tossed in coconut oil and baked. I ate those with highly processed ketchup. Please forgive.

And for dessert/snacky snack I am drinking a smoothie with frozen mixed berries, a banana (not even that ripe) and a ton of spinach. I felt I needed some greenery in my diet today.

Ok last food post, I promise!

LOL If you’re looking for a concise recipe food blog you’re looking in the wrong place. I rarely follow recipes. I read them a couple of times, then wing it. The pea soup I followed, only because I happen to have most of the ingredients on hand. So when I tell you about something I cook, take everything as a suggestion, rather than a rule.

The last thing (hopefully) I will make today (oh no – that’s already I lie, I want to make some overnight oats, and sh*t, I’ll probably post about that) is energy balls. The kind with dates. A cool thing I’ve been able to find at Aldi is Medjool dates. I’ve been adding them to smoothies. I kind of got off that, so I had a whole container sitting in the pantry. Now that I’m off sugar, I’ve been trying to curb my sweet tooth, not to a lot of success. Friday night I bought coconut milk icecream (pb and chocolate). It was so rich and decadent! I used to eat that a lot when I was a ‘junk food vegan’ back in 2011. But that’s not what I want to be now. Anyway, onto the “energy balls”:

All of this goes in a food processor:

8-10 dates, pitted
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flax (feel free to omit or use some other seed, like chia)
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla extract
(I forgot cinnamon but you can add that too)
1 tbsp oil (I used cococut oil – feel free to omit – I used it as a binder and for moistness)
(I also didn’t have any chopped nuts, so throw those in if you want)

Take for a spin in the processor. Shape into 1 inch balls. Put on a baking tray and stick into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Stores up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

One day I’ll start taking photos of all this, but today is not that day.