Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thrive (with a plant-based diet)

Planet Organic is our local organic food store. I was shopping there a couple weeks ago and they had samples available of Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, created by Brendan Brazier. One serving is supposed to be 2 tbsp, and all you need to do is add some water, shake, and drink. That little serving has 3g of dietary fibre, 11g protein, 4% of your daily calcium, 30% of your daily iron, 2500 mg of omega 3-6-9 and 1 billion probiotic cultures. Nice.

I have been adding it to my blender smoothies instead of mixing it with water. it takes some of the pressure off to come up with foods to eat that will give me all that this smoothie does.

Brendan Brazier is a heavy-duty marathon runner and developed his vega drinks over a period of about 15 years while trying to reach peak body performance as an athlete, while maintaining a plant-based diet.

I am currently reading his book, Thrive, which I first heard about in Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet. I am really intrigued by the fact that Brendan began eating a plant based diet at the age of 15. My main thoughts at age 15 involved boys, more boys, a few more boys, maybe some alcohol, and scattered with thoughts of music. I long to have been a deep and mature teen who knew where they were going and had their priorities straight. I cannot even imagine being in that frame of mind back then, and so I am always interested in stories of people who accomplish things at young ages.

I am only about a third of the way through Thrive, but I loved this analogy of coffee drinkers so much that I must share it here.

I view coffee drinking as a form of credit, similar to shopping with a credit card. You get energy now that you don't actually have, then you pay for it later. When the 'bill' comes it might keep you down for a few days (unless you drink more coffee to put off the inevitable - kind of like paying off one credit card with another). You'll most likely pay a high interest rate as well, needing more time to recover than if energy were not 'borrowed'.(Thrive, Brendan Brazier, page 29)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eyes of Nye- Genetically Modified Foods

I forgot to mention that my girls and I watched this DVD the other day. I thought Bill Nye did a good job of trying to be as non-biased as possible while still showing his obvious concern about the practice of gentically modified foods. The practice of private companies being able to patent and "own" food is much more alarming to me than the genetically modified foods themselves. I am a little scared of what boundaries could be pushed through the creation of genetically modified foods, but there definitely have been some benefits for mankind. However, we are still guinea pigs when it comes to genetically modified foods. What if we find out that one of these creations is bad for us or the survival of the earth and then it is too late to go back to what we had before?

I can't find the link for this DVD on amazon, but I borrowed it from the library, so maybe you can find it there too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Craving sweets?

Many of the articles and books I have been reading about vegetarian/veganism have talked about "detox" and craving the foods you are trying eliminate. I haven't experienced any of this, which has really been surprising for me as in the past I ate a lot of food just for the action of putting food in my mouth and had absolutely no willpower if anyone left sweets or similar things around the house. I have been a very good girl.

I replicated the table below(taken from the June 2009 issue of Natural Solutions Magazine), which has a healthy solution for each of the common craving foods. I know it has meat on it, but there is at least one vegan solution in every category.

Sorry about the weird space between this and the table- can't figure out why that happened. If anyone knows, please send me a note.

If You Crave:What you Really Need is:Eat the Healthy Source Instead:





Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, chicken

Fresh fruits

Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts

Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous veggies, kale, cabbage

Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach



Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruit

Salty foods


Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt

Soda and carbonated drinks


Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Goin' On a Blog Hunt...

...caught a good one. FatFree Vegan Kitchen has some great recipes and some great pictures for all those visual people out there like me. She only posts a couple times a month, but her posts look like they are probably worth the wait. My mouth is watering for more than a couple of the recipes I just looked at.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Who's a Veghead?

Here is a list from happycow of celebrities (past and present) that are vegetarian or vegan.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegetarian Times Magazine

I received a copy of the April edition of Vegetarian Times magazine from a friend.
There is an article is in this issue that I really appreciated called "Chop, Chop!Learn how to slice, dice, mince and chiffonade like a pro". I had never even heard the term chiffonade before, but now I know how to do it! I feel so "food smart".(grin)

On the last page, there is an interview with Daryl Hannah. She has a vlog you can find here. I watched a couple of the food related episodes last night. I really liked the one from week 3(vegan junkfood). It looks like a really funky place to eat.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daily Doses

After my doctor visit yesterday, I spent some time last night looking up daily food requirements and how to achieve them. Protein requirements are pretty hard to judge from one calculation, but the method I like best is to multiply 0.4 x your weight in lbs to get your recommended daily protein requirement.

I am 130 lbs, so I should need about 52g. Some other important daily requirements are 1000-1200 mg calcium, 15 mg iron, 2 mcg B12, 1.3mg riboflavin, 5-10 mcg vitamin D, and 12 mcg zinc. All of these numbers were taken from The Vegan Sourcebook and apply to women only. Men are slightly higher in all numbers (except iron is lower- 10mg). I figured out that as long as I make sure to eat a cup of nuts and seeds and a cup of beans every day, I will have my iron and protein mostly covered. Almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds and some walnuts thrown in to cover some omega 3, are pretty much the "super seeds" as far as I can gather from the amount and variety of "good stuff" that they carry (especially those sesame seeds with their amazing calcium content).

It looks like I should also make sure that I continue to have my daily cereal with my milk substitute of choice - for me this is Ryza brown rice milk - as that milk just has all sorts of good stuff in it that I might not get much of elsewhere. It also looks like eating Bran Flakes or Raisin Bran as my cereal will give me good doses of B12, vitamin D, zinc and iron, but I have yet to actually look at the nutrition labels for these cereals and confirm this.

One problem that I might have is getting all the calcium I need. My Ryza milk will give me about 300mg per cup, which is very good. I usually have a pretty big bowl of cereal in the morning so it is possible that I might be getting 2 cups of milk, but I need to remember to measure so that I know for sure because the difference between 300 and 600 mg is too big to just let go. My one cup of beans per day should add 70-100 mg to my total. If almonds and sesame seeds are part of my cup of nuts/seeds, I should get about 150mg from that. This still leaves me with a short fall. Blackstrap molasses has 187 mg per tablespoon (and also is a good source of iron). I am going to see about adding this wherever possible to my daily foods (some ideas, but don't know if they will all work/are all appropriate: smoothies, desserts, stirfrys?, beans). Raisins and oranges have a small amount of calcium (56 mg for an orange, 2/3 cup raisins have 53 mg), so we will try adding those in as regular snacks.
I'm off to eat some nuts and an orange.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Doctor's Orders

I went to the doctor today for my very first physical. I come from a small town and I don't think anyone really did that sort of thing, but my hubby is a city boy and he has been very concerned that I have one done. My doctor said that my last bloodwork ( a couple years ago) showed fairly low iron levels. I have only been eating mostly vegan for a month, so it will be very interesting just to see how my levels are different from back then to now. I am also getting bloodwork done again in about 3 months so that I can get the diabetes and cholesterol tests as well (which you need to fast for 12 hours for), so it will also be interesting to see which things change between now and three months from now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not What I Thought

...describes this blog. Less than a month ago I created this blog because I was becoming so excited about learning about food that I thought I might have enough to share to start a new blog based just on food. I was right about that part. What I didn't know was that I would be eating mostly vegan and committed to sticking to that just a few weeks later. So, it looks like this will be a vegetarian blog pretty much from the beginning.

I have not had meat in over a month now. Yay me! I have also mostly been free of dairy and eggs and have cut my processed sugar down by miles (and my processed foods in general). I am just starting out on this journey. Many people I have talked to say that it is ok to ease into it, and that you shouldn't expect yourself to change all eating habits overnight. For any other newbies out there, I thought I would share all the "mishaps" I have had in the last month.

Two days into my "eating experiment", my mom came to visit. At this point, I was not in very deep and so it was easy just to eat all my moms "usuals" and my old "faves". I didn't even keep track in my head of all the things I ate that weekend as it wasn't extremely important to me at that point. I have no idea if I was a fairly good girl or if I went totally wrong.

Within a week of my mom being here, my hubby went to the trouble of picking out something really nice and cooking dinner. I had a piece of fish that night. I didn't want to let him down. He is having a lot of trouble with my new way of eating and I am trying to make it affect him as little as possible.

I LOVE ice cream. Milk and other dairy products were surprising easy to give up for me, but ice cream has always been my thing. In the past month, I have had two McFlurries (one was that weekend my mom was here), I ate a Dairy Queen ice cream sandwich, and I had two licks of my daughter's coconut ice cream from the Marble Slab Creamery. The problem seems to mostly be with ice cream stops outside the home. As long as we are home, I can mostly resist by grabbing one of my fruit popsicles out of our freezer. I really need to try some dairy free ice cream, but it is so darn expensive. I also recently saw a vegan ice cream book, and I am definitely going to be looking into that.

Tonight. Tonight was a big problem, but it actually didn't turn out as bad as I thought. I ate dinner tonight at my in-laws for the first time since I started eating differently. I brought along a Chickpea Salad and a Carrot and Daikon Salad and some Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread cookies (my mil has celiac disease). I was really worried about comments that would come up if they didn't see any meat on my plate. I have never eaten much meat, so I have actually regularly been subject to sarcastic, "What, are you vegatarian now or something?" comments. Now that I actually am a vegetarian, it was not unrealistic to think that this might happen again, but I was dreading having to change my reply to them.

Of course, I couldn't ask anyone what was in the side dishes without pointing out my new dietary issues, so I just tried to judge as well as I could. I likely will never ask what is in things when I go there, as I want to not have my choices affect them even more than I want this for my husband. I took a small amount of mashed potatoes, even though I am sure they make them with milk and butter. I took a pasta salad that looked pretty safe, but first bite told me there was a little bit of cheese hiding in there (and I left the rest). I accepted a small tart that must have had some dairy in it. However, even though I was almost scared enough to take a little bit of steak (and then think about trying to slip it to one of the dogs, or hiding it under my corn cob) I managed to keep the meat totally off my plate. If anyone noticed, they didn't comment on it.

I will post the next month's "mishaps" around the middle of July and we can see if I have improved. Most likely, just me promising to post my mishaps will greatly improve my chances of a cleaner slate.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

VegNews Magazine

The other day I finally had the opportunity to visit a local shop here called Earth's General Store. I was there for a quick browse to see the selection of items that they carried. I ended up walking out with the most recent issue of VegNews from their selection of magazines. The magazine has the subtitle of "VegetarianNEWSFOODPLANETTRAVELBUZZ". There were a few vegetarian magazines to choose from and I ended up picking this one because it had the most vegan references on the cover. I was delightfully surprised to begin to read and find that the focus of the magazine is actually more on vegan eating (and living) than vegetarianism. While devouring the magazine, I made an entire page of notes with websites to visit, books to read, little thoughts, and some products I may look into. I am sure you will see posts on a lot of these things as I work through my notes in the coming week or so.

It looks as though VegNews offers regular organized vegan/vegetarian group trips. Although the current trip is sold out, it looks fascinating. It is a 12-day trip to the state of Rajasthan, India and includes, among other things, a visit to an all-vegetarian village, daily yoga classes, and a vegan cooking class.

My two favorite parts of this issue were an article discussing race, class and equality in veganism in America and an article with a selection of some of the best recipes from VegWeb, a vegetarian website with more than 15,000 recipes submitted by users.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Inc.

I just finished watching this DVD. It was pretty powerful. I am a visual person, which is probably why an hour after finishing this DVD, I still feel nauseous. Funnily enough, I don't believe that the disturbing images that pop up throughout the documentary are what made me feel so sick. I think that the thought that big companies can get so powerful that they can control government, laws, and people is what really make me sick. The thought that "Mr.Average-Joe" can be doing what he does to make a living, possibly doing what his father did and his father before him, and that some big corporation can come along and squash him, put him out of business, ruin his life, destroy him, and there is basically nothing he can do about it. He can fight until his money runs out and then roll over, or he can choose to roll over sooner and escape with something to rebuild his life with. The absolute helplessness portrayed by some of these farmers (the ones that were actually brave enough to talk on camera) was so heartwrenching.

The main message of this documentary was that each one of us has the power to change these kinds of things. With every dollar we spend on food and every bite we put in our mouths, we are voting for the kind of food we want to see. I have been making some big changes in my life, but this video has inspired me to take a weekly trip to the farmer's market and learn about foods in season and try to put as much of my "vote" as I can in these types of foods.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Now I'm cooking!

In the last few days I have made quite a number of recipes. One day I made this amazing Coconut Peanut Sauce/Dressing. I loved that it was so versatile. You could put it cold on a salad, or you could use it warm on noodles or rice or meat or likely a number of things I haven't thought of. I had some Capellini noodles with the sauce on it and then a salad with some on as a dressing for lunch. I will post this particular recipe at the bottom of this post.

The next day, I made hummus and a fresh fruit salsa in the morning. In the evening I made quinoa with wild mushrooms and mixed squashes. I was absolutely pleased as punch with myself. I have never been as interested in cooking as I am right now. All of recipes I am making are vegan, and the one thing I have been surprised with is that so far I have yet to hit on a recipe that is time consuming or hard. I haven't been looking for recipes with these qualities, it just happens. I don't know if most vegan recipes are just like this or I have been lucking out.

In my meat-eating days, there were so many times when I felt the need to choose a new recipe from a magazine or book to make for my family. There were many times when I couldn't locate a certain ingredient, or it took hours to prepare the meal, or when I finished it wasn't what I expected it to be.

The other thing I was thinking is that because most regular cookbooks use every ingredient under the sun and the vegan cookbooks often have similar ingredients in their recipes (or at least a narrower range) that it might feel easier to cook vegan. You don't have to buy that spice that you have never heard of before and then have the almost full bottle sit in your cupboard forever more if you decide not to make that recipe again. Some of the vegan ingredients might not be familiar to someone who does not usually cook this way, but once you get to know them they seem to pop up everywhere from recipe to recipe. I might be naive about this and not have experienced enough yet to know better, but so far this has been a bonus in my world.

Coconut-Peanut Sauce or Salad Dressing (from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas)

One 8 oz jar Thai peanut satay sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk
juice of one lime
1/2 teaspoon red or green Thai chile paste
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup, agave nectar or maple syrup

1.Combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until completely combined. Use at room temperature as a dressing.
2. If you would like to use this as a warm sauce, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, whisk together, and heat gently until warm.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Kind Diet

My favorite part of this book was a section where Alicia talks about the ways you can get your nutrients from a vegan diet. I am still not sure that this is the way I will be going, but it was a real eye-opener for me to read that you can get every single nutrient that your body needs from a plant-based diet (including calcium, omega 3s, and iron).

Today I found a wikipedia entry on vegetarianism that has a lot of the same information.