Thursday, April 9, 2015

Recap of the Vegan Venture

Tracey and Lisa’s Vegan Venture was officially over on April 1. And although neither one of us will be making a full time commitment to staying vegan, we both decided that we are going to incorporate more plant based menu options into our respective lifestyles. Simply put: we need cheeseburgers every once in a while. 

Overall, the experiment went very well. We planned our menus and did some grocery trips together. One of them might have happened after splitting a pitcher of margaritas. No judging, it made Krogering infinitely more entertaining. The Kroger’s we go to isn’t exactly in a thriving and busy metropolis but it did have most of what we needed. We might have had a hard time finding buckwheat flour after those margaritas but really, who has ever found buckwheat flour on the first try?

One of the things that surprised me was the weight loss. Between the two of us we lost 10lbs. And it wasn’t muscle mass, it was definitely those pesky fat cells. I am convinced that the weight loss was due to lack of dairy intake. We got the calcium we need from green veggies, rice milk, beans, and almond milk. I discovered chocolate almond milk and have since become addicted.

I will admit, that first non-vegan meal on the evening of April 1 tasted fab. I went to one of my favorite places downtown, Harrison’s. They make an incredible Black and Bleu salmon salad with a healthy plank of salmon, bleu cheese crumbles, craisins, and nuts. That salad with their homemade ranch dressing is the bomb-diggity. I was soooo happy….until I went for a run later that night. I had to cut it short due to a bathroom emergency. No, I did not poop myself but it was very close call.

One of my favorite dishes was a soup I made one afternoon. I diced some onion and garlic and sautéed it in a little bit of olive oil. Then I tossed in some water and vegetable broth, elbow macaroni, green split peas, chickpeas, a can of diced tomatoes, fresh broccoli and cauliflower and carrots and celery. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper and Italian seasons and damn, that was a good soup. I paired it with some greens and homemade dressing (brown mustard, honey, & olive oil) and it made a very filling lunch option for the week. Another fave was black bean burgers. I drained a can of black beans and mashed them with a fork. Then tossed in some oats and chili powder. Added some salt and pepper and formed the mixture into patties before throwing them in a skilled with a little bit of olive oil. Again, quick and easy (hey, who doesn’t like that…and get your mind out of the gutter) and oh so delicious!!!

Playing with my new blender/food processor was fun as too. (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.) Tracey turned me onto smoothies. Our favorite versions use spinach, a few fruit options, almond or rice milk, and chia seeds and BAM! Now I drink one after almost every run.

Tracey's Vegan Burgers from the Oh She Glows website.

Overall, we think this experiment was a success. It didn't affect our respective training plans in a negative way at all. Both of us had plenty of energy and Tracey was in the high mileage phase of her BM training, so diet is really important. (That's BM for Boston Marathon, not bowel movement, btw.) 

We still eat at least one or two plant based meals per day. Both of us are keeping our dairy intake to a minimum and it has helped immensely with the bloating issues that were bothering both of us prior to this venture. And as an added bonus, the gas that plagued both of us seemed to level off toward the end. At least that’s what we told ourselves.

Happy Eating!

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