Uncategorized, Wellness

Livin la Vida Vegan Day 6 (15 tips and an oil volcano)

September 22, 2017

Nothing moves me like people coming around people to offer genuine support. When there’s nothing in it for them, no motive other than kindness. That just gets me where it counts, right in the ticker. I’ll get to the vegan food stuff, but first, something to make you feel good. On Tuesday, I wrote about how this dietary adventure had me feeling sluggish. I thought nothing of it at the time I posted it, but, beginning that night, the universe responded in such a loving, supportive way. The feedback and advice was overwhelming!

I’m sharing all of this, because there are some great tips here for anyone looking to ease up on the meat or dairy …

  • Tuesday night, I got a message from a former coworker and friend (and vegetarian) suggesting I follow Ellen Fisher on YouTube. Her how-to and recipe videos, filmed at her home in Hawaii, are beautiful, as is she. Check!
  • Next, a text from a coordinator at work listing resources I should take advantage of, many of which I didn’t know existed or felt guilty tapping into. A vegetarian dietitian I should connect with and meatlessmonday.com. Check!
  • Then I woke up to three text messages from my nurse/running partner/BFF Jackie telling me I needed to remember why I made the decision to try this in the first place, hold onto that and carry a banana with me for a quick carb boost. Check!
  • Next, an email from a great gal I worked with on a charity event last year. Her daughter is a vegan and dietitian and she’d love to connect us. Yes, please. (Her incredibly helpful email is featured below.) Check!
  • And then this message:

She’d reached out to a friend to triage my sloth-like symptoms. Our convo transcribed:

Elizabeth: you need more protein
like she was so tired all the time

Me: Yeah, I just feel sluggish
Like, yesterday I got 53g protein, which wasn’t enough
I’m definitely learning a lot

[20 minute lapse]

Elizabeth: ok, I have more
the main thing she said was protein was key and it was hard for her at first to navigate the veggie based protein

Me: Right, b/c I don’t want a ton of soy/sodium

Elizabeth: Right!
she said she ate a lot of black beans and hummus

Me: I hate beans
I love hummus

Elizabeth: and I told her you don’t like beans

Me: lol, right, right …

Elizabeth: what if you made “hummus” out of other beans?
or pureed them to thicken soup?

Me: That’s what my friend Jackie said … puree the beans
I also think I’m going to get some spirulina
It has a ton of protein

Elizabeth: I have no desire to do this myself but I am enjoying your dairy free product recommendations
I want those quinoa patties

Then, later that afternoon, this email from the dietitian daughter I mentioned earlier. Mind you, I have never met this young lady before. She took the time to share her insights which, again, could be helpful to anyone looking to make alterations:

Hi Courtney,
I saw that you are worried about proteins & don’t like beans! Luckily there are many others ways to get protein. You could try lentils which are high in protein and fiber; there are many different colors. Green is most similar to rice when cooking. Red changes texture after cooked and becomes like Indian Dhal (which is really good).
Tempeh is just fermented soybeans. These can be marinated and grilled, baked or pan fried. You can find it at Kroger next to the tofu. It can be added to salads, tacos, or stuffed peppers.

Tofu is another good protein source that you can do a lot with. My favorite is tofu scramble. Nuts, Seeds and Legumes can also be a good source of protein.

Nutritional yeast gives dishes a cheesy flavor and is high in B-12.

For the prepackaged burgers and other items marked vegan, they are highly processed so you’ll want to look at the label to make sure it’s not too high in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and sugar.

I like to Pinterest ideas and try the out. Most dishes can be made vegan! If I have an ingredient like lentils I usually just look up “what to do with lentils” or “lentil recipes”. I also follow a lot of vegan bloggers who cook and make new recipes which helps me come up with ideas too! My go-to-meals are ethnic foods like Indian, Thai or Mexican.

If you ever have any questions feel free to reach out. I don’t mind at all! I hope that was helpful there’s a lot of information that I’ve collected over the years and this is only a little piece! Don’t worry if it’s a little tough now. When I first started I only ate salad and potatoes until I got that hang of it. Also- I love vegan friendly brands. I know the good ones pretty well. If you ever need a product review 😉

With healthy vibes,
The kindest stranger ever (I added this part)

It turns out that all I needed to do to have my faith in humanity restored in its entirety, and then some, was try going vegan for 14 days. If this is vegan, I’ve thought many times in the last couple of days, then count me in.

The good news is, everybody can relax a bit because yesterday I hit my protein goal, with a gram to spare. (I don’t think Hank fared quite as well. He was flying around the house looking at labels while I made dinner last night, doing the math. It didn’t sound good.) Actually, I was over on everything but carbs. The sugar is a result of too much dried and fresh fruit, and the sodium isn’t that bad, so I’m happy with those numbers. A few adjustments to make. Every day I learn something new about my food.

7:30 a.m.
Nothing much to report here, except I added an extra scoop of hemp seeds (5.3g protein/tablespoon) to my smoothie this morning. I ordered some spirulina, and I’ll start playing around with that in my smoothie when it arrives. I don’t know why, but I fear the algae might night have the pleasing chocolatey flavor of my current go-to protein powder, so there will be some trial and error on that front.

11 a.m.
The snackies strike. I added some shelled pistachios (6g protein/1/4 cup) to my typical trail mix and it’s like butter, baby.

You know how I like to get down on that vegan salad. I sprinkled about a tablespoon of hemp seeds on that bad boy, too. I’m just throwing that stuff around like Uncle Bart’s ashes over here! I’m so into that Primal Kitchen Greek dressing, too. Thank goodness for delicious tubs of hummus and the comfort of routine to get me through this 12 p.m. conference call.

3:45 p.m.
A treat for my tummy. This is delicious, not like the super vinegar-y kombuchas of my past attempts. I had half a bottle today, and I’ll enjoy the second half tomorrow. Again, found these gems at Costco.

When I picked the girls up today they informed me there is a pumpkin decorating contest at school. But there’s a catch … there’s always a catch. Entries are due tomorrow, before the Fall Festival. I swung into the grocery store, told the 19-year-old who couldn’t understand my problems that I needed two of her finest pumpkins, and gathered the booty, knowing it meant a night of hell ahead. JoJo is doing Captain Underpants, and Spike is undecided at this point.

4:45 p.m.
I have a work event this evening, which happens from time to time when social media is your business. I need to be back to the office by 6 p.m. and I promised I’d get dinner around if Hank picked up the chicks at the Kay’s. I chose Warm Cabbage Salad with Crispy Tofu from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen for tonight’s dining experiment. It came together beautifully, and quickly. The longest part was waiting for the water to run off the tofu, a task to which the book allotted 20 minutes.

After I prepared the slaw salad and dressing, I sliced the soybean hunk into four separate strips and transferred them over to the cornmeal-cornstarch breading mixture. The oil was already heating on the stovetop. This looks like it needs … something, I thought. In a last-minute attempt to add flavor, I poured some rice wine vinegar on the tofu pieces. Then I dropped the first one in.

Let me ask you, dear friend, have you ever dropped vinegar into a boiling-hot pan of oil? Neither had I! Step into science class with me for a sec … First, the substance burped a bit. Nothing too noteworthy. Then an aggressive pop; enough that I turned my head. Then two more impressive bubbles. Then more popping … and splattering … and crackling … and before I could hatch a plan, there was a scorching volcano erupting in my kitchen.

As no-win situations go, this one was pretty brutal. If I tried to get close, I would get stung by a splat of oil. But if I didn’t turn the burner off, the lava would just continue raining down on my tile until the pan was empty. I threw a dishtowel over my arm and came at the dragon like a tentative knight. With every lunge, I managed to turn the dial on the burner back just a tad, of course, that meant the blue flames underneath got higher before I was able to extinguish them entirely.

When the raging eruption subsided, I surveyed the damage.

Everything on the east side of the kitchen was coated in the slime of my mistake. I looked at the clock; 10 minutes until I had to pull out of the driveway. I frantically started mopping up the worst of it with old burp clothes. Then shrugged. He knew what he was getting when he married me. I assembled a bowl of the slaw, threw a handful of mango in a container and darted away from the scene of the crime.

I text Hank: “Dinner’s all ready. Be careful on the floor. I don’t want to talk about it.”

I shoved a few bites of the tofu salad into my mouth as I whirled through the roundabouts on my way to work. Well, shit … at least it tastes good, I thought. I left the bowl in my front seat while I handled my work business and then slammed some more on my way to Earth Fare after, taking the final bites around 9 p.m., after I mopped up the last of my oil spill. This was a fave, i think. It was easy to make, had just enough crunch and salt, and felt like something I’d eat even if I wasn’t trying the vegan thing on for size. Score: B

Man, some days you kick ass and some days kick yours. This one felt like the latter.

Publishing note:
We’re going to push pause on the daily posts so the crew can go camping for the weekend. I’ll be back Sunday night with an update on how we took this vegan show on the road. So far, we’re looking at a lot of cereal and quinoa burgers to get through, but I’m trying to get creative. I’ve been to Earth Fare like 500 times in 4 days. I think they think I’m addicted to things made from nuts. Anyway … catch you guys on the flip side and thanks again for the love this week.

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