Going Vegetarian

It’s so funny that I am doing this because up until now, I never thought I could. Never imagined I could eat 3 meatless meals in a week let alone all in the same day and then wake up and do it again… and again… and again. How could I do all the insane things I would absolutely be required to do if I made this choice? The changes I would have to make were too extensive, too inconvenient, too much work. When you are bombarding your body with toxins and depriving it of nutrients with every bite of food or sip of liquid you take, it’s pretty easy to to feel overwhelmed with real change of any magnitude. Thus, I was causing my own horrible health, obesity and all the crap that comes in that package.

ME. I did it to myself. No one else is to blame.

Well…. not anymore.

It’s been three weeks since I started gradually moving over to a vegetarian/raw food/unprocessed lifestyle. You notice I didn’t say DIET. What I was doing, that was a DIET and I’ve decided, I’m just not going to eat DEATH anymore. I don’t want to DIE. Not by cancer. Not by diabetes. Not by heart attack. Not by stroke. All of those fatalities being the prime results of my previous DIET.

This is the truth. It isn’t a trick and it certainly isn’t complicated. If you eat DEATH, you will DIE. You will die horribly, painfully, and long before your time. If you eat LIFE then you will LIVE. You will live longer, live healthy, and pass away when you are supposed to. Not horribly painfully. Not from prolonged exposure to chemo treatments for cancer due to the acidic state of your body caused by a horrible diet or from 17 different pharmaceutical medications for all your other diet-caused, totally preventable illnesses.

If you eat dead things, you will steal both quality of living and quantity of years from yourself.

If you eat life, you will have peace of mind and body/soul. It really is that simple.

THE STATE OF THINGS BEFORE THE SWITCH:

I am 29 years old. I’m 5’4, and my “healthy” weight has been determined to be between 120 and 145 lbs. When I made the switch I weighed in at 204 which is the heaviest I have ever been. I was eating McDonald’s Egg McMuffin meal with a medium coffee with 7 cream and 7 sugar for breakfast 3-4 times a week and pretty much skipping breakfast the other days. On weekends I would make canned biscuits and gravy (actually made from scratch) for my husband and share in that meal. Every day I woke up I craved the McMuffin meal. No joke. It called to me. Seriously. Every time I ate one it was like a taste explosion of happy awesomeness and warm feelings all over. (Note: I have discovered in only a few weeks that healthy food doesn’t cause that sort of intensity of feelings when you eat it. It’s not what I think of as “emotionally charged” eating. It doesn’t have all the addictive chemicals of processed fast food.)

For lunch I was eating whatever fast, processed, hot meal I wanted at whatever chain restaurant I happened to be passing by that day. Most of the time it was Hardees chicken tenders and fries with sweet tea or some kind of burger or pizza or turkey and bacon sandwich. Those were he staples. I ate fries and drank some form of sugary drink 1-3 times a day. I would get half sweet half unsweet tea and think I was making the healthy drink choice over soda.Ā  While that may be true, that was the extent of my attempt to make my meal healthier. Half sweet tea.

For dinner I would normally make meat-centric meal accompanied by some sort of canned vegetable. Think a pie graph with 75% meat, 25% veggie/starch. That was my plate and I thought “This is the healthiest meal of my day. I am eating lots of protein, which doesn’t spike my blood sugar, and I am getting in a veggie!”

So let’s recap my day of eating:

Breakfast: White flour english muffin topped with margarine (chemical laden trans fats… yay!), a slice of processed aluminum-filled cheese “product” (Franken-Cheddar), a commercially produced whole egg, a processed ham slice, and a soggy fat-drenched uber-processed franken-potato hashbrown. Topped with a horribly addictive coffee and a ton of bleached processed sugar. Wow, my whole mouth actually just filled with saliva after typing that. Sometimes I would get a medium hot mocha instead of regular coffee. That adds about 100 calories on top of the other one.

700-800 CALORIES

Lunch: Hardees 3 piece Chicken Tender meal with fries, BBQ sauce, Ketchup and 2 X half sweet tea:

950 CALORIES

Dinner and Snacks: My dinner varied quite frequently but I will just go ahead and say that I probably ate another 1000 CALORIES worth of snacks, sugary drinks and food. That might even be a conservative estimate on some nights.

That’s roughly 2700 CALORIES! I’m not as irritated about the calorie amount as I am the fact that almost NONE of that was fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, or seeds. In a good day I might have had a salad or a piece of fruit somewhere in there but those days were very few and far between.

The only good thing I can say I really had going for me was that I am still fairly young and I’m not on any pharmaceutical medications.

Now that I have all that unfortunate back history filled in for you, let me tell you about…

THE SWITCH:

So, what happened that made me decide to start making dramatic changes? I got on Pinterest and started surfing the Fitness section and there was this very basic recipe for a green drink. When I made it I was surprised at 1.) How good it tasted considering the fact that it had weird non-cow’s milk and pureed spinach in it and 2.) How many variations I could make on the recipe without detracting too much from the taste. I started with the basic recipe and then as the first two weeks passed I added several things to up the nutrition factor of the smoothie. I basically tried a few different versions of it until it tasted almost like a frozen blended coffee drink. Now, I drink it every day for breakfast. Most days my mix makes about 36 ounces. I drink 24 ounces of it in the morning and then the other 12 ounces in the mid-afternoon around 3 PM.

Ā 

The basic ingredients:

1-2 cups of coconut or almond milk (depending on preference and desired consistency)

1 large handful of spinach (about 1-2 cups, and NO, your drink will not taste like spinach)

1/2-1 frozen banana (depending on how sweet you like it)

1 scoop (about 2 Tbsp) of Milled Flax Seeds

1 scoop (about 2 Tbsp) of Vanilla Protein powder (Whey is shown but I have since tried a few other types of protein powder. Word to the wise: Gemma Pea protein does NOT go well with chocolate coffee flavor or a thicker consistency drink and is more ideally suited toward a fruit flavored smoothie with a green tea base rather than milk. Learned that one the hard way… bleh.)

To this basic recipe I have added the following:

1/4 cup of frozen blueberries

1 scoop of powdered greens (mine is alfalfa, barley and wheat grass)

1 Tsp of Spirulina powder

1 Tsp of Kelp powder

1 Tbsp of Chia seeds

1-2 Tbsp of Raw Cacao or Baker’s Cocoa (depending on taste preference)

1 packet (about a Tbsp) of instant Ganoderma coffee (or another instant that you like if you want the coffee flavor. I may be ending this as soon as I run out of these mushroom based coffee packets because most coffee makes you very acidic which is not in keeping with the purpose of this drink which is to make you more alkaline.)

1 Tbsp of Organic Coconut Oil (good fat, very filling, and I like chocolate and coconut together.)

1Tbsp of Agave Nectar (or other natural sweetener if it isn’t sweet enough. I rarely use this last one anymore because I don’t need the added sweetness as much since I have eliminated almost all processed food from my diet.)

Ice (optional)

Note: I found the majority of the powdered ingredients at my local health food store. You can also find them online but I like to sample something before I buy a whole pound of it to make sure I won’t just end up wasting it. My current protein powder and green powder I bought online at truenutrition.com. It’s inexpensive (compared to health food or grocery store prices) and very high quality.

OH, and here’s a time saving tip I have found VERY helpful: I make ziplock baggies of all the dry ingredients in my smoothie so I can just open the baggie and toss it in. It takes my smoothie making time down to about 2-3 minutes! I call them my Power Powder packs… he he he. I don’t make frozen packs or liquid packs, but I suppose you could if you really wanted to shave off the time. I reuse the baggies each week so as not to waste them. Yes, I’m proud, OK?!? I have never been so efficient in my life! Bwa ah ahhhh!! Oh, and here’s a picture of the finished product… I call it SWAMP THING! šŸ™‚ Then, when people say “EWWWW!!! What on earth are you drinking!?!” I can say “Swamp Thing, that’s what, now mind ya bidness!!” LOL. OK, I don’t actually say that… but I have fantasized about that particular situation and role-played the conversation in my head several times. I feel prepared for when that day comes… and shuddup if you wanna make fun of me for roleplaying an awkward conversation in my head, you know you do it too!

The blender in the pictures is fairly old and has since been replaced. You will need a decent blender BUT I honestly do NOT believe you have to buy some insanely expensive blender to make this. I think there are some under $50 that will do just fine (such as my new one) and I KNOW there are some very good ones under $100 that will do wonderfully.

I read a few green smoothie books and looked at some online and one of the authors seems convinced that I just HAD to have a Vitamix ($400-$500) or a Blendtec, one of each if I could afford it. I’m not bloody rich, man, there’s just no way! Coincidentally, a very nice woman I know bought a Vitamix and gave her used Ninja Blender to me as an upgrade to my 10 year old Oster (which was doing just fine for now but kinda struggling with all the frozen ingredients on some mornings). I got a free blender that works way better than my old one did. Here’s the link where you can buy the one I was given on Amazon for less than $50. And may I just reiterate: IT WORKS VERY WELL!

OK, so that takes care of breakfast, but what about Lunch? Did I just say “Ok, super awesome green smoothie for breakfast? Check. And now I will just eat the same old crap for lunch.”? No! I go to a local super market (Dillons, if you must know) and they have a spectacular salad bar. I simply load up on veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds and then I go eat it with my husband and our work friends wherever they are eating. So far they haven’t kicked me out of Hardees, Imo’s Pizza, Taco Bell, Burger King or Korea House for bringing in my own salad but I wouldn’t suggest it if you’re not with someone who actually did buy their food there. That’s just rude. Here is a pic of my typical salad from the supermarket salad bar and also a veggie sandwich I had at one of our fancier lunch places one day. It was shockingly just as good (to me) without the meat. Their fresh cut basil fries are amazing.

If you don’t have a conveniently located supermarket or salad bar you can go to then buy one of the new insulated lunch bags and simply make yourself something wonderful at home and take it with you. I may eventually start doing this myself as I plan to gradually go all or mostly organic with my food. I have to start small and slow though or I will get burnt out and give up… because that is what I have done when I got overwhelmed in the past… but NOT THIS TIME. Like I said, this isn’t just another stupid temporary diet, this is a lifestyle change.

That leaves dinner time… I still make a lot of different things for dinner and I still eat chicken or fish twice a week on some dinners. I’ve only been doing this for 3 weeks and here are a few things I have found effective when handling the “What’s For Dinner?” dilemma:

I make a pot of very hearty vegetarian soup on the weekend which I then store in a large container and eat over the course of the week. If you’re gonna store leftovers, make sure to use BPA-FREE containers. Google BPA and the health hazards caused by it.

Stock up on fresh veggies, dried beans (most cans use BPA in the lining… UGH), raw nuts and seeds, quinoa, long grain rice (NOT instant as it has a very high glycemic index and is not as good for you) and buy yourself some loaves of gourmet bread, preferably low sugar whole grain if you can get it, that you can bake in the oven. If you can make your own bread, then do that. I just haven’t gotten that far yet in my dedication to this project. The fresh baked bread goes really well with the soup and makes me wonder why I ever cared about eating meat. The soup in the picture below is one I got from the Whole Foods store app on my phone, here’s a link to the recipe, it’s called Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup.

So far I have been in the switch for 3 weeks and have lost 8 lbs, I’m currently at 196 lbs and going strong. I really don’t crave anything sugary, salty or fatty like I used to. I actually had McDonalds breakfast again last Friday and I am excited to say that it was really GROSS! Bland, mushy, not as good as I remembered.

My clothes are fitting much better and my complexion and eye appearance have improved immensely. I also have so much energy it’s ridiculous! For example: for YEARS I have had trouble keeping my house clean and my laundry done. For the last three weeks my kitchen has been wonderfully clean (because I use it more and I have more energy to make it look the way I want it to!) and I actually saw the bottom of our laundry hampers for the first time in about 5 years. I even got done with the laundry and washed the laundry bags themselves! I completely refolded all the clothes in my drawers in a new way so I can see all of them, the organization is literally like a high for me now, it’s almost a sickness I think.

I have also rearranged my living room, cleaned out my kitchen cabinets AND refrigerator, rearranged our big living room (game room), consolidated my book and dvd collection AND starting working on my “junk” room and consolidated and donated about 10 boxes of old junk from the garage! That’s a lot, and all in the last 3 weeks. It’s not a coincidence, it’s the diet or “Live-it” as my friend Leo has started calling it, and I feel fantastic. I feel ALIVE. I will write an update in another couple weeks or a month and let you know how it’s going! šŸ™‚

I’m hoping to continue at a loss of about 2 lbs per week and maybe be back at 170 by my 30th birthday on July 3rd! I don’t celebrate birthdays but this one is kind of a milestone for me. If I can get back to a decent weight and be healthy (maybe for the first time in my life, if I’m being honest) then maybe I won’t risk wasting the rest of my life in such poor health as I did the entire decade of my twenties. I really can do this. šŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Going Vegetarian

  1. mlhouse says:

    You CAN do this! šŸ™‚ And your body and mind with thank you. Good luck and best wishes. šŸ™‚

  2. Scarlet Rose Creations says:

    Of course you can do this! And it sounds like you are off to a terrific start!
    I appreciate you posting this, as I’ve been making eating lifestyle changes myself and it’s interesting to see what other people are doing. Veeeerrrrry gradually over the course of last year, I made some eating changes and lost a total of 20 lbs. I feel better overall and I’m enjoying eating more. Now I’m trying to do more menu planning and incorporate even more fruits and vegetables into my diet and cut down on the gluten.
    Keep up the great work! You can do it!

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