Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plant Based: Days 1-6

Rather than post every day and bore you to tears, I've decided to update every 5 days or so, or whenever the blog bug bites.  So, here is a synopsis of my experiences during my first 5 days of eating a strict plant-based, whole food diet (otherwise known as vegan--I'm getting a bit more comfortable with that word).

DAY #1

I started a new job today, nannying for an awesome 5 year old, which requires that I wake up at 7:30am.  I am NOT a morning person.  I haven't had to wake up regularly before 9am for like, I don't know, 5 years.  I am a night owl, its in my blood.  I go to sleep late and I wake up late, and I am so sluggish and useless when I wake up.  I've always wanted to change this, but have failed every time.  Today was no exception--I woke up early enough, but I (and my body) didn't like it.

I took my measurements today--16 points of measurement totaled 341.75 inches.

Breakfast: a banana and some dried apple and peach
Snack: A handful or two of mixed nuts/berries
Lunch: Large juice--5 carrots, 2 celery, half a green pepper, 4 small apples, one pear
Dinner: Stir Fry with Rice--celery, red peppers, green pepper, zucchini, onion, garlic sauteed in soy sauce and put over rice.

DAY #2
Waking up was miserable, as expected---SO EARLY!!
I went grocery shopping. $175 worth of excitement, inquiry, clueless staring, and the inevitable wincing pain when you see the price tag.  GAH! BUT--not all of that was food to support my new habits; I also had to buy a new sharp slicing knife (because the only thing my knives slice well is my soul, and even then its more like bludgeoning), a veggie scrubber, and I accidentally bought a few things at way-to-high prices.  Also, I probably bought enough to feed a family of 5 for over a week, even though I am only feeding myself and my husband (when he chooses to participate in my "craziness").  I have no idea how much produce to buy when that's all I'm going to eat, but the good side is that if things start to look like they are going bad, I'll just juice them and call it good (or green, as the case may be).

Things I bought that I have never purchased before: star fruit, ginger root, veggie stock, butternut squash, flax seed, soy milk, granola, and beets.

Breakfast:  Large smoothie--peaches, banana, orange juice, carrot juice, frozen strawberries
Snack: granola mix, raw mushrooms, dried fruit/nut mix
Late lunch/early dinner: "Mean Green" Juice--I got this juice recipe from Join the  They have a lot of juice recipes and a lot of awesome resources, etc.  This is the website that supports the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead", which was hugely influential to my decision to start down this path.  I adjusted the "Mean Green" recipe a bit, subtracting some celery (because I don't like it very much) and adding 2 more apples (because I like it very much).  However, next time I will go much lighter on the GINGER.  Holy crap.  Ginger is some wicked strong stuff, and honestly, I had a hard time choking down this juice.  I had to save the second half of it until Day 3, and added it to my morning smoothie with a lot more stuff in it to dull the sting. 

I wasn't hungry enough to eat again, which is different from my usual habits of grazing in the kitchen sometime between 9pm and 11pm.  

DAY #3
 It was easier to wake up today, thank goodness, aided by the fact that I went to sleep before 11pm, which is very rare indeed.

My body feels like I need to exercise--my body, not necessarily the rest of me.  I don't feel like I have a tremendous amount of energy, but I do feel like I need to move.   Maybe there is energy stored in my cells that is itching to be freed or maybe the exercise will help move "the sludge" better--I'm sure both of these are true, and my body is undeniably telling me I need to start shakin' what my momma gave me.

I LOVE my heart rate monitor!  I love watching the number of calories tick away, and being able to see what my heart is doing.  The message is clear--I am stinkin', pathetically out-of-shape.  I jogged for like 2 minutes and my heart rate was in the 160's!  HA!  Its okay, if I stick to it I know the numbers will get better really fast.

Breakfast:  10 oz leftover Mean Green added to the juice of one grapefruit, 3 apples, and blended with strawberries, blackberries, and a banana= 38 oz delicious smoothie.
Lunch: Flat Bread Wrap with hummus, spring mix, tomato, cucumber mushrooms, spinach, topped with lemon juice, salt and pepper. (Delicious!)
Dinner: Tofu Steak with Steamed Potato-- sauteed mushrooms and extra firm tofu in soy sauce, steamed red potato with rosemary, side salad with spring mix, tomato, avacado, kiwi, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cucumber with lemon juice on top.  First time eating tofu I made myself, and it was what I expected--tastes like whatever you season it with, and has the texture of strange cottage cheese.  Tofu seems like filler. Whateves.  The potatoes were awesome! 

DAY #4
I'm down 2 pounds today (from Day 1) and feel less bloated and sluggish.  Today was the first day I felt really peppy.  I felt lighter, with a spring in my step.  I'm pretty sure it was because of the jog/walk that Kyle and I took around the pond near our house--even though my legs, back, and core feel SO weak from my sedentary lifestyle, it felt great to get my blood pumping, and I definitely felt the endorphins.  The whole rest of the day I felt more ALIVE than I have in a while.

Workout: 30 min jog/walk, 10 min stretch

Breakfast: Smoothie--3/4 grapefruit, carrots, apples, banana, strawberries, blackberries, cherry tomato, kale, spinach
Snack: granola, cranberries, small apple
Dinner: Potato Tacos--I was a bit stumped for dinner, so I went to the internet and found this awesome Potato Taco recipe.  I changed a few things from the recipe (omit peppers, added olives) but this was probably my favorite (and Kyle's favorite) meal yet.  It was really delicious and really filling!

DAY #5
Workout: Elliptical/bike  45 min, 521 calories, 28g fat

Late breakfast (11am)--worst juice I've ever made.  Seriously, it was so horrible.  I think I added all the wrong things together to get the perfect storm of gagtastic nastiness.  Here goes: one beet, 1/2 pomegranate, 2 celery, 4 apples, handful of grapes, 2 pears.  It should have been good; the beet juice was shockingly sweet, and soooooo red.  Pear, apple, grape? Delicious!  Celery, awful, I'm getting to hate celery more and more, which is sad, but I know I need to include it, so I keep trying.  The pomegranate seemed like a great idea, they're delicious right?  Yes, they are, but their juice is awful.  The whole concoction was sweet/pleasant going over my tongue, but as soon as I took a breath there was an overwhelming bitterness like Satan at a bunny-themed garden party.  It was like the blood of a thousand murdered kittens.  Horrible.

Lunch: I had to make up for the juice fail, so I tried a variation on this recipe from Engine 2 dot com called Rip's Big Bowl.  I didn't have a few of the ingredients, so my bowl consisted of walnuts, ground flax seed, oats, one banana, one kiwi, cranberries, and one of my favorite new discoveries, Pure Almond Vanilla Soy Milk.  This is going to be my new go-to fiber-filled breakfast.  It was amazing!  

DAY #6
Today is Sunday.  In my effort to keep a lifetime goal of honoring Sunday as the Sabbath Day, dedicated to worship and rest, I did not workout today.

Kyle and I shared "Rip's Big Bowl" for breakfast on our way out the door to church.
Lunch:  my first time ever making Butternut Squash Soup!  I am a huge fan of soup, so hopefully this will be my first of many soup experiments.  I changed the recipe a bit--added a bit more broth and water at the end, because it turned out really thick.  I added cumin and flavored it with salt/pepper to taste.  I also only pureed about 1/4 of it and added it back to the chunky, stew-like soup.  Kyle and I both agreed that it tasted better as more of a stew than a pureed, brothy soup.  Toasted pita on the side.

Dinner:  The Butternut Squash "stew" was so filling, I wasn't really hungry the rest of the night.  I drank water and felt satisfied....but then, as it always does, my sweet tooth started itching...So I searched for vegan desert recipes.  Most of them had some kind of oil or some kind of oil substitute that I don't have.  But this Chocolate Banana Almond Ice Cream recipe looked do-able, even though I don't have an ice cream maker.  I made it in the blender, then put the whole blender in the freezer for over an hour, blended it back up and had a delicious "milk-shake".  It was sooooooo good!

Final thoughts on week #1:
As I sit here sipping my soy milk, I am completely satisfied.  How unexpected!  Here is a list of things I that make me feel satisfied right now:
  • the delicious food I've eaten all week
  • more energy/feeling of vitality
  • easier sleeping/waking
  • all the new things I'm learning and experimenting with
  • renewed sense of discipline and determintation
  • renewed CONFIDENCE in my ability to make wise food choices
  • knowing that this 30 day goal is one I will accomplish; no matter how "good" something looks or smells or seems, I am COMMITTED to this goal
  • the support I've gotten from my family, friends, and others
  • knowing that I am positively impacting my health
  • having an open mind to things I've never done or tried or even imagined I would consider
  • the knowledge I have of the principles of faith, personal agency, and obedience that steer me toward the best things of this world
  • my ability to change and to always improve myself
  • an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the ABUNDANCE in my life
 Bring on next week! 


  1. Love hearing about this. You are one kick-butt mama. I would also love to hear about the effects on Kyle, since it sounds like he is only participating some of the time- does a partial diet change also help, or does one need to make a drastic change to feel the difference? I am so impressed with your work, and I love your commentary. Keep it coming!

  2. Good for you. So positive! Keep it up!

  3. I'm loving hearing about hour vegan ventures. I've been cooking a lot of squash lately, and it is fab!

  4. Hey Mel! So why do you need to include the celery if you don't like it? I know celery is good for you but surely you can find the same vitamins in other things since you're eating like 20 fruits and vegetables a day, right?

    Also I totally love soy milk (especially since I'm lactose-intolerant), and I laughed when you said you overdid it on the ginger. I've done that when cooking before too. Who knew that ginger was so powerful right? However, partially because it's so powerful, it's the perfect cure for a stomachache. They sell candied ginger for just that purpose. I always have some around the house :-)

    I wanted to let you know that I recently joined an Amish food club. They ship things here every 2 weeks. I joined them because I can get raw milk there, which I can drink. I also got a whole bunch of organic veggies for very cheap. They also do raw ice cream, organic meats, raw honey, delicious maple syrup, etc. Let me know if you want to look at the menu sometime. Maybe we can order together :-)

    And if you need new ideas try adding some almond butter to your smoothie (I hope that fits your diet). I just bought some and it makes for really yummy, really protein-filled smoothies. And if you ever want to borrow my ice-cream maker let me know.

    1. That Amish food club sounds awesome! We should definitely coordinate some orders. And Heck to the YES on the Ice Cream maker. I'll even share with you and Austin!

  5. Paul says that he is glad he didn't have any coffee in his mouth when he read yur comment about the ginger, "holy crap", he would've spewed coffee all over his monitor and electrocuted himself. when I tried my version of this diet, some years back, I had withdrawals from sugar. A thousand dead cats, huh? Gotta love those beets. Gingers the best.