Saturday, February 28, 2015

I like to move it, move it

I hit a slump this week. On Monday, I was totally bummed. I just woke up in a funk. Do you ever feel that way? It's like you probably shouldn't be sad, but you are, for whatever reason. I just felt down and like I wasn't sure what I was doing with my life. Wasn't that supposed to happen 5 months ago when I turned 40?! Talk about Monday blues!

I feel thankful, though. As I felt really lonely in my head, I reached out to a friend and just touched on the feelings I was having. Her advice? Start MOVING. And I'm so very thankful for it! 

Now, I know this kinda stuff. It's not new to me. I know that exercise will not only do wonders for your body, but it will help lift your mood. It's proven. Somehow I wasn't making the connection, or perhaps more truthfully, I didn't WANT to make the connection. I'd gotten myself into a funk and part of me was wallowing in it. Getting up the next morning and putting on a dance DVD was hard in some respects, but I started slowly. It's a dance DVD. Like.... geriatric, nursing home, low-impact dance DVD. Ok, it's definitely not marketed that way (see youtube video here), but it was certainly low-key compared to the P90X3 that I was doing before! Anyway, the point is, it got me moving, got a little sweat on and made me feel like I actually DID something productive for my health.

All this vegan stuff is great, but it doesn't seem to shift the weight effortlessly. Did I expect it to? No, not really, but I certainly hoped (prayed) it would! So, now I'm moving. Slowly, probably too slowly for some, but definitely DOing something. And that's a good thing.

So... to my friend... who knows who she is.... THANK YOU!! I needed that.


Sunday, February 22, 2015


I can't say for absolute 100% certain that I've eaten some animal products, but if you asked me to put money on it, I'd probably bet against myself.

This week I had several networking events and meetings that weren't vegan friendly. The first was at a steakhouse - which, although I ordered the vegetable plate - I'm pretty certain one of those vegetables was doused in butter or cream or something. I didn't ask. Don't ask, don't tell, right? And then on another night, I was at an event where none (and I mean NONE) of the options were vegan-friendly. There was a caesar salad where the parmesan was already sprinkled on, a broccoli-cheese casserole with breadcrumbs on top, a breaded mozzarella chicken breast, and mashed potatoes (which looked yellow-y, so I'm assuming there was butter or cream involved). For dessert, they had cheesecakes or buckeyes (for those of you not from Ohio, they are basically peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate.) So... I was a bit disappointed with the choices and I'm relatively certain that I didn't get all those bits of cheese off of the salad. FAIL.

Both of those events this past week were particularly tempting to me. To some people, "Broccoli-cheese casserole" may seem like a good title for a B-grade horror movie, but to me, it's TAS-TY. I love the stuff. It was particularly hard for me to say no - so....well, I didn't. I took a little piece of broccoli and I made sure that there was no visible cheese-flecks on it, but I can tell you that if I had to pass a cheese-blood test, I'd fail! At least I'm admitting to it - you won't find it necessary for me to show up on Oprah on a "Sorry, I lied" program. (ahem, Lance)

Anyway- the whole point is to say that I've cheated a little this week. In my defense, it wasn't PURPOSEFUL cheating, it just kinda happened. All of a sudden I feel like the guilty cheating spouse who says "I'm so sorry, but if it makes you feel any better, it didn't MEAN anything to me!!"

The good news is that I've lost close to 5 or 6 pounds since the beginning of this whole thing. (Wait - that's not to say that the cheating was still ok!!)
Anyway - we're now in week 7 1/2, so it's not great weight loss, but considering that I've done virtually no exercise for the past 7.5 weeks...well, I'll take it.

p.s. I forgot to post a photo of the Valentine's Brunch that OE treated me to! It's at a place called Fern Flavors from the Garden. It was pretty tasty! No cheating there... oh wait, I think it's possible that they didn't put the vegan version of their hollandaise sauce on there, but given I asked for the tofu instead of the egg, I was hoping they knew what I meant!)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I feel weird today. Not because of anything I ate, but because of the things that I know.

I mentioned in previous posts about how it feels like more and more people I know have been getting sick. Today, I found out about another lady who went to college with me who has been battling cancer for the past 14 years and has just moved into hospice care. FOURTEEN YEARS. She graduated two years before me, and although I recognize who she is from pictures, we weren't friends back in school. But this new information still hits home because she is very close to my age, ran in the same circles and experienced some of the same things I experienced in a significant part of my life. Even more so because it adds another name to the list of people in my head that are sick with cancer.

The other thing is, she has a blog, and she's been talking about her experience with her illness since it went into Stage IV in 2010. I can't read it. My sister was reading a somewhat similar blog the other day and I asked her "why are you reading that stuff? It's not exactly a pick-me-up." And although that may sound harsh to some, it's the way I feel. There are so many negative messages out there and depressing things in the world that sometimes I just want to block it all out. Why add to it? I know, the blogs that I have read around these things are usually focussed around positive things... simple pleasures, time with family, giving thanks. But it makes me feel so conflicted- conflicted because I feel so very very bad for them, and at the same time, I am thankful that I am not experiencing the kind of reality that they are facing. But all of that is beside the point.... the point is that she is blogging about her experience in dying. And when I think about what that must be like for her, her family, friends, and even people she doesn't know... it makes me wonder about the value in blogging about changing your diet for 90 days. I mean... seriously?

So....I'm conflicted. I guess everyone has a voice, and everyone can use their voice to help others in some way, or to help themselves cope with what they are experiencing, however great or small. I guess the point of my post today is just to stop and be thankful. Take a breath and be thankful for health, for friends, for family, for time. There are more important things in life than what I ate for breakfast... but I'm going to continue on this path because it's a positive path that I believe leads to better health, which is something I think everyone can use a little bit more of.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

California Dreamin'

OE and I just returned from a holiday to California, and if I ever had worries about eating vegan in San Francisco... well, I just shouldn't have! I was worried that eating out would be a total pain, and that it would steal all the fun out of our holiday. I do love to go to new restaurants and try new foods or eat foods that I normally wouldn't get to eat at home. How can you do that when you're eating vegan?! The fact is that, particularly in San Francisco, saying "I'm vegan" in a restaurant is absolutely no big deal, and it seemed as if the waiters were more than happy to help me navigate the menu to find some options that would work for me!

This is a pic of us crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a load of that California blue sky!!

California is probably one of the birthplaces of the whole vegan movement (if you can call it that). There are plenty of options that offer vegetarian (and some vegan), so we tried a restaurant in Santa Cruz which was solely vegetarian / vegan since 1981. They definitely have whole thing down pat. It was DEE-lish! It was called Dharma's Restaurant. And I LOVED it. They also served some mighty big portions! I figured I'd be a piggy and eat all of it- just look at all those veggies in my veggie burrito!

It really was a tasty meal and inspired me to recreate some of the same options at home. I also followed it with a nice big slice of their vegan chocolate cake, but I can't show you that here. I gobbled it up too quick!

While we were in San Francisco, we stopped at a place for lunch called The Plant Cafe Organic in Mill Valley, where I had a fabulous Huervos Rancheros without the egg, sour cream or cheese. They sub in a basil-tofu scramble, and I seriously didn't miss the dairy for one second. It was fantastic! When places prepare options like that which really taste good, it makes me happy to be eating the way I am right now because I don't feel like I'm missing out and I'm doing my body good. And I'm not hungry afterwards!

One of the things I probably do a bit too much of is eating dessert and sweet things. Being vegan means I'm less able to choose whatever I want when we walk past a little cupcake shop or a patisserie. So I was absolutely delighted to find out that San Francisco has a donut shop that makes SOLELY vegan donuts. I know, right?! (Cue the angel choirs singing). Can you believe it?! Pepples donuts makes tasty donuts in quite a few different flavours - and they tasted pretty close to the real thing. I can definitely say that you would have had a hard time telling the Vanilla Glaze from a typical Dunkin or Krispy Kreme cake donut!

 Now... one of the things that makes me love OE, is that he doesn't complain when I say that I want to walk through a grocery store while we're on holiday. I know, I know... it's probably not the first thing that a normal person would do while on vacation, but I actually like going grocery shopping. (Food nerd alert.) And while driving around, I spotted a store called Mollie Stone's and wondered what it was. We don't have those in Charlotte, and it turns out that it is a grocery store! Our friends said that it was more upscale, so of course, I wanted to see it! Maybe it's because I miss the Marks & Spencer of the UK. I don't know. Either way, we went inside, and they really do a nice job of presenting their veg. (Again, ... food nerd.)

I imagine these photos are pretty lousy - I'm not intending to make a real foodie photo blog here but you get the idea.

And lastly - while in Santa Cruz, OE wanted to visit the amusement park where they filmed the movie The Lost Boys. Now... let me just say that when I saw that movie on a VCR tape in our refurnished basement circa 1987... it wrecked me. I still, to this day, hate vampires. I could only fall asleep if I had a sheet covering my neck after watching that movie. (Nevermind the fact that they'd bite through the sheet and apparently you have to invite them inside in the first place... ew... even talking about it now makes me get freaked out. BLEGH.) Annnnnyway... the point is that we went to see it and it was a pretty cool amusement park. The other thing I noticed was that there's no way you'd go to an amusement park hungry if you're a vegan.

Only in the USA, right?

So overall, it was a fantastic trip! I found it difficult in a smaller town (Carmel Valley) to find things that were vegan options. Most of the restaurants had maybe 1 or 2 vegetarian options, but that usually means it has cheese on it. Sometimes you can't get them to leave off the cheese either - like in an alfredo! Anyway, I did my best. I had a few salads and I hoped that the options I chose were vegan when I asked for no dairy. They might not have been purely vegan, but on holiday, I figured a 98% vegan diet was pretty good enough.