No More Meat – African American Vegans



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. Week three and week four are also available. This page marks my fifth week of the vegan challenge.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Today marks the first day of the final week of the 21 day vegan kickstart challenge. Reflecting on the changes I’ve made, I can honestly say that it has been very easy to move past meat, eggs, fish and dairy products. I don’t miss them at all. Yet.  The more I read about the disease process and how much human suffering could be alleviated by proper education on nutrition, the health benefits of eating certain foods and the harm done by others, the more I am convinced that what we eat is the key.

Last night I laid in bed watching Forks Over Knives the Extended Interviews and learned a few more tips about food applicable to African Americans.

  • Dietary fat is a huge contributor to erectile dysfunction in males. When blood vessels are inflamed and clogged in the penis, that is a warning that you need to change your diet immediately. Taking Cialis and Viagra merely addresses the symptom, they don’t fix the underlying problem which is clogged blood vessels and vascular inflammation all over the male’s body.
  • Hypertension falls significantly and quite quickly when one follows a plant based diet. Though precisely how this works is unknown, the best theory is that plant foods reduce the viscosity (stickiness and thickness) of the blood, making it easier for the heart to pump it through the veins and arteries. Since African Americans are hardest hit by hypertension and associated heart disease and strokes, this is an important issue.
  • Dr. John McDougall says that Type II diabetes and hypertension are completely preventable diseases.  Pills and angioplasty are killing people. He said the money to be made is one of the key problems with delivering information that would prevent these problems and cure the disease. All scientists and doctors know that Type II diabetes is caused by eating too many rich foods, too many calories, getting fat, eating too much fat. Same with artery disease. If you don’t do those things, you won’t get diabetes. Same with artery disease – shoveling fat and cholesterol into your mouth with your fork and spoon is the cause.
  • Dietary fat in meats and dairy products is linked to female breast cancer in the U.S. In nations where dairy products are not eaten with any regularity and meat is used more as a flavor enhancer than a main course, the rates of breast cancer are minimal.
  • The average American diet has 32 teaspoons of sugar in it every day. Sugar is in pretty much everything we eat – its difficult to get away from it if you buy any packaged or prepared foods. Four grams of sugar is the equivalent to 1 teaspoon. A Panera pumpkin muffin (what many would consider to be a healthy food), contains 47 gms of sugar. A Dunkin Donuts oatmeal raisin cookie has 51 gms of sugar. A Sonic Route 44 Cherry Slushie has a whopping 170 gms of sugar. A can of soda contains 33 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 8 teaspoons of sugar. When you consider that most soda drinkers polish off 2-4 cans per day, it means they are sucking down 130 gms of sugar per day in soda alone. Soda is not a beverage, it is instead a sugar delivery system.
  • Changing the diet to plant-based reduced scale weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels to the point where many people were able to get off their medication and showed no signs of diabetes at all.

My lunch today was one of the black bean burgers from the other day and some red seedless grapes. For dinner I ate a huge helping of quinoa pasta topped with the last of the vegan Alfredo sauce I made the other day, mixed in with some blanched broccoli, onto which I sprinkled some of the cashew “Parmesan”.  Yummy. I took pictures and will post them soon as I figure out how to get them off my real camera (not the cell camera).

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Got up late. No breakfast. Made some chickpea salad and had that in a sandwich with some strawberries. Then I had a slice of the vegan cheesecake about 5:00 for my snack. lolol!! Glad that thing is gone. It’s dangerously tasty, so much so that even the non-vegans liked it. Two thumbs up.

Feeling lazy and don’t really want to make anything for dinner. Sigh. Nothing to eat already made but more black bean burger patties. Don’t really want that. Maybe I’ll make a lentil loaf and make them in these big cupcake pans as individual loaves. That sounds like a great idea.  Have that with a baked yam and some swiss chard maybe…

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ohh, I made blueberry pancakes today. The recipe makes enough that I should be able to have them for a few days. Yay!! These things are great. Yummy. Syrup is fabulous, but 1/2 a sliced banana works wonderfully too. Think I’ll have that tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tried my hand at an Indian dish made with chickpeas called Chana Masala. I went a little crazy with the pepper – adding a good 1/2 teaspoon cayenne and TWO Serrano peppers. WHOO WEEEE, FLAMES! Had that with some brown rice. Then for dinner made some more vegan fettucine alfredo with broccoli. Yummy.  I think the wine took me over the top though. Bad, very bad. Spanking my OWN hand.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Can’t believe this is the last day of the February 21-Day Kickstart challenge! I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life and hope you have enjoyed some as well.

I’ve been busy doing other things and neglected to log my food intake over the past few days I see. I have a record of it in detail over on Nutrimirror, so I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just start from yesterday when I had a visit with a Registered Dietitian. That was an education

Since childhood I’ve struggled with blood sugar issues. I was hypoglycemic in my youth which necessitated me eating multiple snacks during the day. At this point though my doctor noticed a bit of an increase in blood sugar, so she sent me to an RD to get my eating habits examined in detail.

First let’s talk about the plastic food. That was so funny! They were realistic rubbery versions of food serving sizes so you could get a visual of what a serving of fruit was, what a serving of raisins were, a slice of bread, a bowl of cereal, some chickpeas, and a couple of other things that I forgot. She used measurements like thumb is 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon is tip of thumb, open fist is serving of fruit or grains, etc. That part was entertaining.

Two interesting facts reported:

#1 The demographic with the highest rate of diabetes in this area are Asians – Indian Asians as a matter of fact. She reports that it is apparently a genotype and that Indians are prone to getting diabetes. She admitted that much of it may be dietary, as the native cuisine is extremely high in fat and carbohydrates. (I was thinking – well, no more roti for me!)

#2 The dark patches people get on their lower legs, and the dark rings they get around the neck are earmarks of insulin resistance. The affliction is called acanthosis nigricans She said the patches of darkened skin can also appear on the elbows, knees, knuckles and armpits as well. Isn’t that weird? I never knew that.

Then she got down to the nitty gritty on me. I was told to make sure that I, for the rest of my life, continue to eat 5-6 times per day. Dumping all my food intake of proteins, carbs and fats into my body at one time in 2-3 meals was not going to cut it.

The RD gave me three basic rules

#1 Eat every 3-4 hours
#2 Eat no more than 1400 calories per day
#3 Eat no more than 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, which will be spaced throughout the day in 5-6 mini-meals.

She broke it down – 1 serving of starch is 15 gms of carbohydrates, and 1 serving of protein is 7-8 gms of protein. My daily meal plan now looks like this:

  • Breakfast: 2 servings of starch, 1 serving of protein
  • Snack: 1 serving of starch, 1 serving of protein
  • Lunch:  2 servings of starch, 3 servings of protein
  • Snack: 1 serving of starch, 1 serving of protein
  • Dinner: 2 servings of starch, 3 servings of protein

I was a bit nervous about what I should eat when I got home, so for hours I didn’t eat anything. Then I got up and made some Senegalese Squash and Peanut soup. Delicious! I threw in some kale just to boost the nutritional component, and the taste was still great.

Deb's Ratoutille with brown riceFor dinner I made a ratatouille from Martha Stewart’s recipe. Now that was interesting. I cut the oil she used in HALF and it was just fine. Who needs to ingest 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Lady, what iz you doin?

I have never eaten ratoutille before, though I did see the Disney movie with my daughter. Turns out the dish is French and contains fresh eggplant, fresh zucchini, red and yellow bell peppers, onion, garlic and fresh or canned tomatoes. A few fresh herbs, salt and pepper and that was it. Very simple but pretty tasty. I could feel the vitamins jumping off the fork into my bloodstream.

I ate mine with my allowable serving of starch and had 1/3 cup of brown rice with it. Many people eat it over pasta or just by itself.

Today I made myself eat breakfast. I got up and made some steel cut oatmeal. With my 1/2 cup I had 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup of almond milk. Had some English Breakfast tea too. Not bad. The applesauce definitely improved the taste.

Now its 1:00 (3 hours later) and time for my snack. My stomach just growled so I gotta figure out what to eat. Lunch will be about 2:30 I guess. Per doctor’s orders, any sandwiches from here on out have to be OPEN FACE with just one slice of bread. She suggested finding the lowest glycemic bread with the highest protein I could find by looking at labels.

Just to make sure that whatever is going on with me does not advance to diabetes over the coming years, I am going whole hog into researching everything I can find on the issue and how to fix it. I’ve ordered Dr. Barnard’s book “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes” from Amazon, and plan to read it from cover to cover as soon as it arrives. This is serious. This is war! I’m in a battle for my health and there will be no surrender.

I hope this journey has been as inspirational and informational for you as it has for me. It’s a fabulous feeling to know that you’re making positive changes for yourself and advocating for your own health and longevity.