Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

It's the last day of 2014 and I've made a great effort at squeezing in the last of the dairy and meat that is in the house. I even managed to grab a few extra baked goods when I was at the grocery store... just for old times sake really, am I right?

This morning I went and got my blood drawn. It's always a little disconcerting for me when they draw my blood. I figure that I can do without what they've so carefully taken, but I also wonder what sort of shock and processes it sets off in my body. Surely it's not normal for that amount to so suddenly leave your body, and yet, it goes, and we don't seem to be any worse off. I know it's not that much, but it sure seems a lot. Particularly given how quickly it comes out. (Have you fainted yet?) Anyway, this time I was thinking about how I'll feel in about 3 months time when my blood is drawn again. Will it look any different? (No, I don't seriously think it will look different, but it would be a good story, wouldn't it?!)

I'm sure my blood is chocker-block full of cholesterol this morning. Last night, OE (the "Original Egan", aka my husband) and I went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner.

It's not our normal place to go out to eat but we got a gift card for Christmas and I figured we'd better make use of it now before it expires. (We just spent the last nearly 4 years living in Australia so the giftcard was a thoughtful nod to our second home!) OE has also decided that he's going to adopt a vegan diet for the next 3 months (and some people would say pigs are flying somewhere). He's adopting it for his tastes... the regular "flat whites" (think cappuccino but with a higher coffee to milk ratio) are going to remain dairy milk versions. I've moved from decaf skim lattes to almond milk hot chocolates. Surely my sugar content is going up, but our favorite coffee shop in Charlotte doesn't do decaf or skim, so I was in fact having regular 2% lattes. I tell myself that my move has potentially increased my sugar content but decreased both my caffeine and dairy. Chocolate has caffeine but we won't talk about that. Deal?

Today is also OE's birthday, so for his celebratory dinner, I've made my 'famous' cheesecake and my sister is making a Belgian beef stew. It's all animal, all the time tonight. Go out with a bang, right? I picked up another good cook book at the library today, The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. I'm very excited about trying some of the recipes in there very soon!

So... with that... I'll say "see ya later" to 2014 and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends and family! Here's to an exciting adventure ahead in 2015!


Monday, December 29, 2014

What I'm going to eat

I've been looking through lots of vegan cookbooks. Lots of tasty recipes! I've decided that I'm not going to eat all the fake foods that some vegans may eat... like tofurkey, "meat crumbles", dairy-free cheese and things like "veganaise". All these things don't seem like real food to me. I don't think processed food is good for you anyway, let alone something that is processed enough to look like meat when it clearly isn't. It makes me think of chicken nuggets that are shaped into circus animals or something. Not appetizing and I imagine so many hands and machines on those things that it is about as far away from the real thing as going to Vegas and saying you've been to Paris because you visited the Eiffel Tower there. Just. not. the. same.

So... these vegan cookbooks are pretty good. I've included a few in my resources section, as well as some of the books that have inspired me to adopt the vegan diet. My plan is to eat real food, mostly plants, only whole grains and very limited processed food. I don't think I'll spend hours making my own nut butters, although I may try it a few times. And I'm probably not going to be juicing because I think that although it may get you some vitamins and minerals, it leaves out the fiber which I think is pretty important too.

It's only about 2 more days now... eeks. I'm actually nervous. How weird is that? I've scheduled a blood test today. Why? Because I want to see if eating a vegan diet does anything to my numbers. I'm assuming it will... I just wonder how much. I'm going to be exercising a bit more as well, so it's not like I can completely say that adopting a vegan diet will be the cause of any change in the numbers, but I just want to see what effect these changes have. If I don't lose much weight, I wanna know that things are changing on the inside, because if they aren't changing on the inside then what am I doing it for?! So we'll see. My plan is to have the blood work done now and then again at the end of my 90-ish day 'experiment'. We'll see how it goes. I need to figure out what I'm going to do for my exercise... maybe just starting off walking a bit. I was doing P90X3 for awhile and then just kind-of lost my mojo on that after I got sick at Thanksgiving. I definitely should have picked it back up but I haven't yet. Hmmm... more thought required on that one.

In the meantime, I'm still busily eating all the meat and dairy in the house. I don't want these things to go to waste, but it seems counterintuitive to why I'm actually adopting the diet in the first place! I guess a few more days after 40 years of eating animal products probably won't make much difference. Well... it probably does, I'm just telling myself the lie to make myself feel better. (Isn't it obvious?!)  Anyway, it will be a good change and I'm looking forward to the adventure!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

T minus 4 days and counting....

So I've decided to go vegan. Well, I should probably say "I've decided to adopt a vegan diet," because apparently "going vegan" means all sorts of things like being a granola-loving, tree-hugging, patchouli-incense-burning hippie... which I am not. If you knew me, you'd say I am most clearly not. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's fine for some, but it's just not me. Saying I'm adopting a vegan diet suggests that although I am no longer going to eat meat, dairy, eggs or any animal products for that matter, it also suggests that I limit that sentiment to my food intake more than anything else.

So why am I going to adopt a vegan diet? And am I going to make this adoption a permanent fixture in my life? Well, to answer the second question, I don't know. I'm going to give it 90 days and see what happens. (Clearly I am not going this route because I'm doing it to be humane to animals... because shouldn't we be humane to animals all the time?) No, I'm doing it for health, which answers the first question. But still... why for health? For one thing, I'm now at my all-time high weight. And I've been saying that for the past year... I just keep getting new "all time high" weights. I figured it was time to do something about it. I've also been reading up a lot on what is the most healthy diet, and I've heard about mediterranean, South Beach, no-carb, low-carb, Atkins, low-fat, gluten-free, no-sugar stuff and I was trying to make sense of it all. It seems like (and I say seems because you can probably prove anything if you really wanted to), that most of the diets lately have suggested giving up animal products. They also say all the standard stuff about eating a variety of colors in your vegetables, giving up refined sugars, transfats and all the junk which we know is clearly bad for us. What seems to be coming through pretty consistently is that animal products aren't really helping us much. Ok, you get some protein and some B12, but you can get those from eating a well-rounded vegan diet. It's typical, right? If you eat really well, you probably don't need to take supplements, you don't need to worry about your weight, and exercise just magically happens because you're so damn full of energy all the time. (Isn't that what they say?) The thing I think "they" miss out on is that some people, like me, are also emotional eaters. I guess overeating on a bowl of carrots just isn't the same thing as a whole bag of chips and salsa. Anyway, I digress.

The point is that I figured it may help me lose weight. It will certainly help me to pay more attention to what I'm eating, and it will hopefully make me feel better in the process. In the past year, people I know closely have had major health events. My Mom has Type 2 diabetes and had a stroke in 2003, and my grandmother died of colon cancer in 2007. Both of my parents have had basal cell carcinomas removed from their bodies and I've had several "abnormal" moles. I was also diagnosed with "PVC's" (premature ventricular contractions) in 2011, which means my heart beats irregularly sometimes. They are apparently completely harmless and nobody can find a cause, but there must be some reason why my heart just all of a sudden starts malfunctioning. I mean, WTF?? It's very unsettling. At any rate, there's just too much illness going around lately that I think maybe it's time I finally adopted a lifestyle which suggested that I wanted to hang around for awhile. And not just hang around, but LIVE.

You know how people say that "once I gave up dairy, my skin totally cleared up" or something to that effect? Every time somebody gave up either dairy, gluten, sugar or alcohol, something in their lives just magically healed itself. Well, I'm kinda hoping I'll get some of that action by default. Who knows what will happen if I go vegan.... I mean, adopt a vegan...well, you know what I mean. Maybe I'll suddenly realize that my skin was blotchy and now it's magically cleared. Maybe those heart palpitations I get sometimes will go away. Maybe I'll lose the fat on my arms which seems to have been there since middle school, and was there even at my skinniest weight in college. Who knows? But it's worth finding out. So I'm going to try it out for 90 days (till Easter, so technically 95 days) and see what happens. So why am I saying "T minus 4 days and counting?" Because there's no way I can just pop up one morning and make this happen. I've got to clear out the fridge, man. Get rid of the cheese (dear God help me), and all the other temptations that I'm going to move out of my life till Easter. One vegan website I read said to view it as "crowding out the animal products" rather than "giving them up". I think I like that viewpoint best. I'm going to eat so many whole, plant-based foods that I just won't have room for all that animal stuff. There's just no room. Sorry, cheese, no room. 4 days till 2015 when this lovely transformation begins.

I should also mention that my twin sister is going to do this with me. So we'll see how it goes. Oh, and I'm not giving up alcohol, by the way. Not that I drink much of it anyway, but a girl has to have fun every now and again. I guess it means no Baileys... but that's ok. Wine and Asti will suit me just fine when I need a little drink.

So here's to 4 more days of purging all that stuff out of the way! Hmmm... maybe I should start with the Baileys.