Transitioning to Plant Based Eating – Week Four as a Vegan


As stated in my first post, my official vegan journey starts today, February 7th, along with everyone else registered for the 21 Day Kickstart Challenge.

The two weeks I spent my first two weeks getting my mind right, and testing/creating recipes. I wanted to get you guys off to a great start with some recipes that I could vouch for. By testing them myself first I could fill the blog with content created from first-hand food experiences.

To catch up on what has happened thus far, you can read about my first week journey here. Week two is at this link. Last week was week three. This page is show and tell for week four, my second week of the official 21 Da7 Vegan Kickstart Challenge.

Friday, February 14, 2014

anti valentines day memeBoo, it’s Valentine’s Day. Being a straight hater, I made the meme over there for my Facebook page. LOL! Luckily I had no dinner or lunch date to throw me off my eating plan. And though I was invited to hang out in a group setting, my re-injured foot has me hobbling around again and feeling upset because I’m in pain. Again. And my foot is swollen. Again. I really think this is far more serious than I initially thought. To the doctor I go next week. :/

But let’s see, today I had oatmeal and raisins with almond milk for breakfast. A berry smoothie with fresh almond milk and 1/2 a frozen banana and some chia seeds for lunch. And for dinner I had salad with cucumber, carrots and tomatoes; a bowl of red beans and rice; and baked butternut squash and apples. Ate like a pig. Washed it down with a few glasses of wine.  Man those chia seeds are kinda caloric. I have to watch how many of those puppies I use in the future.

Reactivated my account on Nutrimirror so I could do better at logging my food intake. Something about seeing the protein, FAT, SODIUM and CALORIES up front in my face keeps me on track better. Cause I tell ya, after I saw how many calories I’d sucked down today, I was horrified. lol!!

One thing I recommend is that people read and study this vegan eating thing. There are tons of books and websites, and if you have health insurance, you can probably get assistance paying for a few visits with a Registered Dietician through your medical plan.

Going vegan is a big change, and you want to make sure that you’re eating the proper amounts of vital vitamins and minerals every day. That’s one thing I love about Nutrimirror — it shows you where you are so you know if you are low on calcium, iron, potassium, protein, etc.  It also shows you with a big ole red bar if you are too HIGH on anything — like fat, calories and sugar.

Naturade Pea Protein My stuff came from Amazon. I ordered some Naturade Pea Protein for my smoothies, and Chef Del’s Better Than Vegan: 101 Favorite Low-Fat, Plant-Based Recipes That Helped Me Lose Over 200 Pounds, which has been a real eye opener for how vegan eating can go wrong.

Haven’t finished reading it yet, but he goes into a lot of detail about how he, as a vegan, ate his way up to over 450 pounds.  Dude was out of control on the baked goods and high fat vegetarian dishes. By changing his diet to low (almost no) fat, no sugar and less salt, he dropped more than 200 pounds. The dishes in the cookbook look and sound amazing, and I will be trying some of them next week — may even make something this weekend. Not so sure about the cauliflower “cream” sauce he makes, but hey, I’ll try anything once.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Granola and almond milk for breakfast – 1/2 cup each. Now that I have to log my food, I’m watching my portion sizes a lot more carefully. I cannot recommend Nutrimirror enough. I used to use it with my clients when I was a personal trainer, as it was the best online resource I found for food and nutrition logging. It’s very easy to navigate, has educational information, community forums, and best of all it’s 100% FREE. You can create menus that you have often so you don’t have to re-enter the data over and over again, and you can create custom recipes so that you get an exact count of the nutritional value of the things you make at home. Great site.

Lunch was a sprouted grain bun with lots of spring lettuce, a whole small sliced tomato, green tea, and about 6 oz of lentil loaf as the “meat” on my sandwich. Finally got to use some of my home made mayo and it was delicious. Yum.

I forgot to share that I made some vegan “parmesan cheese” with raw almonds and nutritional yeast the other day. I wanted to use it for a pasta dish, but now that I’m reading Chef Del’s book, he advises against eating nuts because of the fat. I think I will use it anyway. HE was 200 lbs overweight and needed to cut back on all the fat he was eating. I am no way near 200 lbs so if I have 1 tsp of Omega 3 fats in my fake cheese sprinkles I think I’ll be okay.

Gonna try his recommended breakdown of about 10% protein, 15% fat and the rest complex carbs from fruits, vegetables and whole natural grains. The low protein is far less than what Americans are usually told we need to eat, so I’ll be interested to see how I feel after a week or so. But for people with kidney issues, 10% protein is what doctors suggest to reduce the strain on those vital organs, so this may be the way for African Americans to go. Have you noticed how many dialysis centers are in the black community? There’s like one on every block damn near.

Most of us eat too much food period, and we certainly too much protein in the form of meat, poultry and cheese. I’ll keep you posted over the next two weeks of the challenge.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

OH MMMM GEEE. I was so disgusted last night. I made a recipe out of my Chef Del’s book Better Than Vegan, and it was so hideously nasty I had to throw the rest of it away.  Broccoli and penne pasta in a sauce made from cauliflower. It looked like it might taste okay, but once I put it in my mouth I was horrified. So that won’t be going on the blog. lol

I bought ingredients though to make a fettucine with broccoli which I plan to do tonight. This recipe uses Tofutti sour cream and Tofutti cream cheese and a package of silken tofu. Hmm. Lots of soy. Well, it can’t possibly taste any worst than what I had last night.

My foot is still killing me. Got an email back from the doctor and I’ll be going in tomorrow at 10 am to get it checked. I’m tired of limping around.

Other than that it was a pretty quiet day.  Drafted up some advice columns and flipped through some online manuals. Ran errands. Nothing exceptional. But logging my food on Nutrimirror is definitely helping to keep me focused on not overeating calorie-wise.

I have yet to try a vegan dessert – maybe at the end of the month. I would like to drop a few pounds first.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Had a green smoothie for breakfast before heading off to the Dr. Into the blender went 1/3 of a cucumber, 1 cup almond milk, 4 frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, and two hands full of Super Greens that I bought in a package at Sprouts.

I had to get xrays and blood work and pick up a prescription, so I was gone for a lot longer than I thought I would be. Luckily I planned ahead (remember, PLAN FOR SUCCESS!) and took along a package of vegetarian brown rice sushi that I bought yesterday. I was able to snack on that in my car while I waited for my prescription to get done. Perfect.

When I got back to the house I had a bowl of the Lentil Mushroom Pasta soup that I still have plenty of, and put on a pot with my vegetable trimmings to make more vegetable stock. The soup recipe will be up on the blog in a week or so.

This batch of vegetable broth is sort of green because I had a lot of green leek tops and celery to put in there. Also threw in half a tomato before it went bad, and a red bell pepper that was on the verge, along with 1 red potato, one wilting carrot, some onion, a clove of garlic, black peppercorns, and sea salt. Should taste pretty good!

Anyway, walking around with this boot on my foot is exhausting because it weighs about 7 lbs. But it does help my foot pain because there is no pressure on the toe area and that makes me very happy. Since its only 4:00 I’m going to watch a movie and relax with my foot up for awhile. I’ll get back with pics of the pasta I’m making for dinner.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Well, I didn’t take any pics of the pasta because my phone was dead as a doornail. But this was actually pretty tasty. I used a new type of pasta called Andean Dream quinoa fusilli pasta that is corn and gluten free. This stuff was really good. Had a great firmness and texture, and it cooked up very well, held the sauce nicely and tasted really good. Costly as all hell but probably worth it for those who don’t plan to eat a lot of pasta.

Got up really late. The pain pills the doctor gave me for my foot had me feeling groggy and tired until noon when it finally wore off. I had the wierdest dreams too. I had my bag and coat stolen and my ID, ATM card, car keys and everything was gone. I spent the rest of the dream trying to recover them… going through all kinds of changes with wierd people jerking me around. I suppose the dream means something but I was and am too tired to think about it.

Meals today – had some more leftover soup for brunch, then had vegetarian pizza for dinner that I made from scratch! Yup, crust and everything. It turned out really good. Used a Martha Steward recipe for whole wheat pizza crust, then kinda did my own thing with the toppings. Here’s a couple of shots of what it looked like:

2014-02-18 20.28.11 vegan pizza

Really good. I’ll be making this again with some other toppings.

You know what is so interesting? The thought of eating meat now makes me gag. Seriously. The only thing I MIGHT be able to choke down in the future is an egg or two.

#1 Because the chicken is still alive after the egg is laid. And,
#2 because I know someone who has four or five laying hens and a rooster in her yard running around wild and free, and we get fresh 100% organic free range eggs from her.

Other than that, I am really past the desire to eat any meat or animal products. I just feel sick even thinking about it.

The deal is, even though I set up this blog so that people could find out information on veganism if they chose to, I would not EVER try to force this choice on anyone else. I do not plan to become a vegan preacher jamming this down anyone’s throat or anything like that. This is a personal choice, which has to be an individual one… something that each of us arrives at on our own. Just sharing my thoughts I guess. Anyway, let me clean up this kitchen then get my gimpy butt to bed.

Closing down on the end of week four and the beginning of week five. Who would have thought it would be this simple?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oatmeal with half an apple chunked up and 1 tablespoon of raisins topped with 1/4 cup almond milk for breakfast.

Lunch = chickpea salad over lettuce greens with green tea.

Snack = green smoothie made with other 1/2 apple, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 3 kale leaves and 1 tsp chia seeds.

Dinner = some sort of leftover I’m sure.

Update on things I notice: Lost 2 lbs. Not sure when that happened. Just think if I could move around and exercise the way I’m used to, I’d probably have dropped 5 lbs by now. Easily. Not super hungry except in the morning. That works for me. Less chance of overeating or going off plan due to out of control hunger cravings. Eating as a vegan provides so much fiber that the feeling of satiety is fabulous. Energy level is more stable. Nutrition is better. Variety of food consumed is off the chart.

I read this interesting post today: 11 Facts About American Eating Habits which set out these facts gleaned from the CDC, New York Times, Food Insight, Grist, CBS, Food Business News and several other sources.

  1. In a recent study, 52 percent of Americans (that were polled) believed doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy.
  2. Only 3 in 10 Americans believe that all sources of calories play an equal role in weight gain.
  3. 75 percent of Americans say they choose products that are lower in total fat at least sometimes.
  4. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that in 2011 the average American consumed nearly one ton of food. That’s 1,996 pounds of food a year.
  5. The 2011 study also revealed some other interesting numbers. Americans ate:
    • 632 lbs. of dairy products – 31.4 lbs. of that is cheese.
    • 415.4 lbs. of vegetables. The most popular choices are corn and potatoes. 29 pounds of those veggies are french fries.
    • 273 lbs. of fruit. Mostly apples and oranges.
    • 183.6 lbs. of meat and poultry. 60.4 lbs. is chicken. 62.4 lbs. is beef. 16.1 lbs. is fish/shellfish.
    • 141.6 lbs. of sweeteners. And 53 gallons of soda.
  6. 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car.
  7. At least 1 in 4 people eat some type of fast food every day.
  8. Americans consume 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food.
  9. Healthiness of the food we eat decreases by 1.7 percent for every hour that passes in the day.
  10. Over 10 billion donuts are consumed in the US every year.
  11. Americans spend 10 percent of their disposable income on fast food every year.

Scary, ain’t it?

What’s worst is that I ordered some books on Amazon that got here yesterday. So last night I’m lying in bed reading the one called By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat, and I have to say. I haven’t been that grossed out since I read Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle back in 7th grade. The Jungle describes the horrors — the unsanitary conditions, the unchecked condition of the facilities, and the inhumane treatment of poverty stricken immigrants working in the meat packing industry in early 1900s Chicago.

Gonna try to finish it this weekend. But damn! A sistah can only take so much angst at a time.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Took a job test today. Had to park about 3 blocks away and walk with this boot on my foot – not fun. At least at the end of this my legs will be hecka strong. SMH.

vegan cheesecake with strawberriesAnyway, got up and had 2 tablespoons of walnuts over steel cooked oats. Once I got done with the test I ate an apple on the bus, then stopped at the store to get the things I needed to make this vegan cheesecake.

Ate the rest of my chickpea salad with a pita while I cooked dinner. Started by making and eating some dessert.

This thing was good!

I mean, its not as cheesy tasting or heavy as some cheesecakes I’ve had, but I’m sure working with the recipe and making it more caloric wouldn’t be a problem to get that same feel and texture. But I’m not going to. Added some sliced lightly sugared strawberry slices to it and wow. I haven’t had dessert in over a month so having a treat was very nice. Overall, I give the vegan cheesecake 8.75 points which is very high.

While the cheesecake was baking, I was mixing up my black bean and brown rice burgers. Should call these “Gumbo Burgers” because just like when people make gumbo, I took some of this and some of that in the refrigerator left from other recipes and threw them into the bowl!

Like the chipotle peppers in mole sauce I had left from something I made – into the bowl. Some leftover cooked brown rice – into the bowl. An odd jalapeno – into the bowl. A lil bit of Daiya cheddar cheese left – into the bowl. I was flinging and throwing things so hard I don’t even remember what I put in there! But I do remember pulsing it into a puree, then adding almost 2 cups of quick cooking oatmeal and letting it sit there about 30 minutes to absorb the liquid and get more pasty for easier handling.

I oiled my hands with olive oil and put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and baked the burger patties at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. Maybe longer… I was playing around on Facebook and lost track of time. But here are some photos of the process and the finished product.

black bean burgers

After mixing everything in the food processor it was kinda loose

Added the oats and let it sit about 30 minutes - nice and thick

Added the oats and let it sit about 30 minutes – nice and thick

Shaped and ready to bake

Shaped and ready to bake


Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

All the cooking I did, the travel to take the test, the trip back, all done in this herky jerky walk with this boot on my foot, man I’m tired. It’s only 10:30 and I’m ready to pass out.

Well, another week as a vegan down. We start our final week tomorrow people. I hope you’re ready!