Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Vegan Venture, Part Deux

We are a little over the halfway point of Tracey and Lisa’s Vegan Venture and we think it’s going pretty well. I’ve been experimenting with different soups (big surprise) and Tracey made a vegan enchilada for dinner guests that no one complained about. We’ve been discussing different recipe options and making sure we are getting enough protein.  Both of us have lost a few pounds and we think this is due to the lack of dairy. It is safe to say that TJack and I were addicted to cheese. I didn’t know how much of an effect the lack of cheese/dairy would have on my body, but I like the results.  I feel like I need to say that neither one of us set out trying to lose weight and we are definitely getting enough to eat. This experiment truly drives home the point that people can eat healthy and nutritious foods and not starve themselves while still losing weight. Duh. No magic pill is going to do that, just saying.  

One thing that really hasn’t gone away is the horrific gas. Again, I’m still blaming it on the dog when she’s in the vicinity. She doesn’t seem to mind. I’ve been very appreciative of the warmer weather of late because it means if I let one rip in the car I don’t freeze like the proverbial popsicle when I open the windows for some fresh air. That is some sweet relief, let me tell you.

I do get some weird looks when I take some of my concoctions into work. The soup I made this week (Potato and split pea from the Oh She Glows website) looks like vomit but actually tastes very good. I’m having a really fun time making my own salad dressings too.  This weekend I’m going to try making a vegan spinach lasagna dish. Another thing I’m super excited about is the change in the Girl Scouts Thin Mint recipe. They are now vegan and get this, JUST AS DELICIOUS AS THEY WERE BEFORE. Thank you, Girl Scouts.

Overall, this has been a good experiment so far. One more item to put in the oh hell yes column is that I’m a cheap date – my tolerance of alcohol has dipped somewhat. Not that I’m complaining, as it means less money spent on wine. And that means more money I can spend on those new running shoes I’ve been eyeing – holla!

And so the vegan venture continues…

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here We Go...Tracey and Lisa's Vegan Venture!

I like food. I like it a lot. I try to eat healthy most of the time. Okay, fine…I probably go to Taco Bell more than I should. But sometimes a run to the Border is necessary. Anyway, it’s a proven fact that eating healthy foods has a direct positive impact on our bodies, just as eating crap has a negative impact. (Anyone that has had to use the facilities after a dose of Taco Bell can attest to that.) And as a runner and a busy mom on the go, I tend to pay attention to what I eat. So during a recent discussion, my friend Tracey (aka TJack) and I decided to go vegan for the month of March. And no, we were not drunk when we made this decision. 

This picture is circa summer of 2014. And yes, those might be Cosmos in styrofoam cups.  

The vegan lifestyle is actually very simple: no animals or animal byproducts. No red meat, no poultry, no seafood, no yogurt, sour cream, milk…if it isn’t plant based, it doesn’t get eaten. People who are unsure of this often ask how dietary vegan gets certain nutrients that are needed for survival. I’ll say this one time: YES vegans can get the protein, calcium, potassium, all the necessary vitamins and everything else that the human body needs. It requires a bit of planning and research along with some meal prep, but it can be done. And no, we will not be living on salads all day long.

The thought of giving up the occasional slab of red meat or hunk of salmon doesn’t faze me much. It’s the dairy free part of veganism that gave me pause initially. I reeeaallly like cheese. But I decided to put my big girl panties on (there’s a visual for you) so… TTFN, dairy. At least for now.

I feel I must also say that we are still going to shave our legs, neither one of us wears patchouli, and we aren’t doing this to save the animals. We’re both in training – Tjack is doing the Boston Marathon next month (have I mentioned she’s a badass?) and the Mohican Trail marathon later this year. I’m training for another 50k and the Ironman 70.3. We really wanted to see what kind of impact this way of eating has on our bodies and our training plans.

There are many noted benefits to this type of lifestyle change. Reduced cholesterol is one of them. And since both sides of my family have cholesterol issues (and my doctor told me mine was on the high end a few years ago), I feel it’s worth a try. Plus I really want to cut down on “bad” fats and processed foods. So I’m focusing on eating whole foods. Many of my purchases on my recent trip to the grocery came from the produce aisles. I’m learning to modify some of my favorite items. Replacing the skim milk I drink with almond milk, buying Ezekial bread, and using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth in my soups. All small steps that I hope will contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle. And who knows…maybe 6 pack abs. (Dream big or go home, right?)

So far we are 5 days in to Tracey and Lisa’s Vegan Venture and it’s been good.  Both of us are adjusting to it with minimal issues. Questions about what we eat are welcome, I’ll even share stories about the weird noises my intestines make and the gas(!) that I’ve so far blamed on the dog.

And in case you’re wondering, neither one of us is giving up wine. It is plant based, after all.