Transitioning to Vegan – One Woman Logs Her Experience

As stated in my first post, my official vegan journey starts on February 7th along with everyone else. However, since I’ve been limping around for over a month, not exercising much, coughing, and taking pain killers and decongestant cough syrup, it seemed like a good idea to get the jump on the official program by doing a little pre-program vegan eating and system cleansing. Tylenol and all that other stuff were floating around in my body and I want to get them out before I begin the official program. I’ll be chronicling my experience on a week by week basis. This is week one.

Black rice extravaganza vegan recipeDay 1 – Wednesday, January 22

I’m hyped and ready to go. Done all the research, know what I’m in for, and ready to get control of my food and health. Let’s get this show on the road! Got up and made out a shopping list, and drove on over to Sprouts. Bought some interesting items I’ve never purchased before, along with the usual stuff. On my list were brown rice, cans of black and garbanzo beans, vegetable bouillon cubes, fresh fruit, Heirloom tomatoes, organic frozen corn, cilantro, red and yellow bell pepper, green onions, sprouted grain tortillas, and nutritional yeast.

I’ll be planning my recipes for the rest of the week, but for tonight I’m making Black Bean and Brown Rice Extravangaza. It was pretty good but needed more umph. Then I thought it’s probably just that my tastebuds are still responding to the “meaty” taste and not used to the clean, unadulterated taste of fresh vegetables. Anyway, that and some hummus and 1 sprouted grain tortilla was all I ate today. I wasn’t really hungry and all the fiber in the rice and beans is very filling.

Day 2 – Thursday, January 23White Bean and Red Kale Soup vegan recipe

I was supposed to make oatmeal for breakfast, but instead ended up not eating anything. I’ll have that tomorrow. Feeling pretty pleased with myself and thinking “this is a snap!” Slept really well last night for the first time in weeks, wow.  Got up and ran errands, then stopped BACK at Sprouts to get white beans, canned diced tomatoes, red kale, steel cut oatmeal, fresh basil, cabbage, miso paste, gluten free pasta, and a couple of other things.

Sliding into a wierd habit where I don’t eat until late in the afternoon. I’m not hungry. Today I didn’t eat anything until about 4:00 pm when I finished making White Beans and Red Kale Soup. I modified the recipe slightly – used fresh oregano, fresh thyme, and a bay leaf. I used seasoned salt for half the regular salt, lots of black pepper, and threw in some leftover black beans from yesterday, along with a few Baby Bella mushrooms I had in the fridge before they went bad.

It was pretty good! I’m thinking it will be better tomorrow after the flavors marinate. Even though I slept well last night, I was very tired and went to bed at 7:30 pm like an old lady. lol!!!

Day 3 – Friday, January 24

Okay, shit just got real! I woke up at 3:00 am DYING. Serious bubble guts. What the heck is going on? I was feeling so good and now I feel like shit on a stick.  Detoxing… that has to be what’s going on. I feel like hell. Headache of life hit me a few hours after I woke up and made me head for my bed and a nap. Omg!! I finally had breakfast today (no lunch though) – oatmeal, topped with dried blueberries and ground pumpkin seeds (ground with my mortar and pestle). My joints are achy and stomach is still not happy hours later. Hmm, but think about it… None of whatever is in meat, no caffeine, no sugar, no grease, no dairy, and lots of cleansing fruits and vegetables for past three days. I will be happy when this part is over. Dinner tonight: Broccoli Walnut Pesto with Pasta. Wanted to have apple and Bosc pear slices before bed as a snack, but I was still full.

Day 4 – Saturday, January 25

sweet-potato-friesThe worst of the detox seems to be over, but last night I had the three weirdest dreams. In the first one, I accidentally cut off the middle finger of my right hand. In the second one I was let into the basement of a big house where a lot of illegals lived in bunkbed dorm style rooms. I was supposed to be food for them because they were starving and had turned to cannibalism. In the third one I was drugged and I guess abducted to make porn movies. I woke up from that with my heart racing. I refused to go back to sleep afterwards because after that trifecta of messed up dreams, I was done with sleeping. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

Breakfast was a green smoothie with kale, apple, cucumber, avocado, coconut milk and coconut water. Also threw in some chia seeds.  Had the rest of it (another big glass) about 2 hours later. That held me until dinner. Had some sweet potato fries and another bowl of the white bean and kale soup, this time over some leftover brown rice. Washed that down with a few glasses of wine since we were having our weekly family dinner. Hey, wine is vegan! Though I didn’t feel sick anymore, I was still dragging ass and tired, so I went to bed at 10:00 pm.

Day 5 – Sunday, January 26, 2014

Woke up at 5:00 am with my stomach growling. First thing I did was drink some Kombucha, to help settle my stomach. Then I sat there thinking about what I was going to eat today. Hmm, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m gonna eat.

One thing I noticed about this dietary change is I have to really THINK about what I’m going to eat and make sure I have it available in the house. By planning meals and being conscious of what I should and shouldn’t be eating, it’s forcing me to take a more pro-active role in my nutrition. Can’t just fall back on a boiled egg or two, or a quick ham sandwich. :/

Pepitas or raw pumpkin seedsBreakfast today was Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal, that I topped with raw ground pumpkin seeds. I love pepitas as they’re called. My grandmother used to give them to us because she said they cleared out worms. The thought always grossed me out, but turns out she was correct! Some time ago I went looking on the web for information on the nutritional value of pumpkin seeds and found this little ditty

 Pumpkin seeds are known for their nutritional content along with their ability to get rid of intestinal parasites. Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only a great snack, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends consuming pumpkin seeds, along with plenty of fluids to help both protect against and get rid of any parasites you may have. The seed doesn’t kill the worms but paralyzes them, which in turn prevents them from holding on to the wall of the intestine as they commonly do during a bowel movement.

The CDC reports that one-third or more of the world’s population is infected with parasites. Egads!

How would you know that you are infected? The symptoms of parasitic infestation are very general and may not be that different from other conditions. The intestinal symptoms are frequent bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, allergies and poor immunity. hummus in pita pocket Some people experience rectal itching as well. If you have any of those problems, try eating some pumpkin seeds for a few days and see how you feel. You can also try herbs which help clear the body of parasites. Cloves, wormwood, and black walnut are all excellent choices. Cloves kill the parasite eggs in the intestinal tract, and both black walnut hull and wormwood get rid of about 100 types of these nasty critters.

Anyway, for lunch I had some hummus I made in an Ezekiel sprouted grain pita pocket, stuffed with romaine lettuce, Heirloom tomato, red onion, cucumber, and what was left of the broccoli walnut pesto I made the other day. Wow, what a flavor sensation that was! Yummers.

Took a nap this afternoon. Not feeling SICK, but definitely still dragging from the detoxification. Probably need to drink more water. Got up and made my award-winning cabbage and carrot dish that was not bad with the replacement of chicken broth with vegetable broth. Ate the rest of the pesto pasta from the other day and now I’m back to working on the site and writing. Can’t believe I made it through five days. This is almost a miracle.

Day 6 – Monday, January 27, 2014

Had a snack about 2:00 am – 2 toasted pitas and some hummus. Then I slept for 7 hours straight, a miracle for me. More strange dreams but not as bad as the other day. No breakfast, lunch was leftover brown rice with some of the cabbage and carrots. For dinner I made a Lentil Vegetable Soup that I got off The Barefoot Contessa website. Vegetable Lentil Soup cooking along

Left off the Parmesan cheese, and used Not Chicken broth by Imagine Foods vs. chicken broth. My version was much paler in color than hers, but the taste was really good. Having soup ready to eat makes mealtime super easy, not much to think about. I have plenty of leftovers so I can eat some of this every day for a week! That’s one problem with these recipes, they all make a shitload of food, way more than 1 person needs.

Energy level is pretty good. No more headaches. Actually lost a pound on the scale. Blood pressure has dropped to 110/81. I’m telling you, eating fruits and vegetables is the way to go if you have any issues with hypertension. I’m still stressing, but at least I’m eating better. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor first. Most likely you’ll get the okay to follow the guidelines of The DASH Diet, which means you should be good to go with taking charge of your health.

Thinking about making oatmeal breakfast bars – something I can pull out of the freezer and warm up to room temperature overnight or something. Almost done with my first week; this has truly been a ride!