Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 31 - Vegan Girl Out in the World

I had a friend visit for a week, and had my first long term challenge of eating vegan in "real world" situations. And thanks to foodeater, and Carynne who left two of the greatest suggestions to help me in my journey, I had a wonderful experience!!

When I went to Disneyland, I brought a delicious vegan sandwich (the people at my table said the sandwich looked better than their Disney food...Ha!) and I bought some fresh fruit. For snacks I had fruit leather, edamame, and fresh fruit. Then! Dinner came and I remembered the comment you left, foodeater! I looked up the email on my PDA, and proceeded to march us over to the Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square AKA the bread bowl place. The vegan gumbo was so delicious, and I didn't feel
deprived at all! You completely saved me! I spent 14 hours at Disneyland, and felt completely satisfied and did not crave any of the non-vegan foods there!

This was a HUGE turning point for me. I feel like I am truly changing. Not only that, I didn't shove any junk into my face, and feel tired, sluggish and ill later. I felt like I was above all the junk in an elite group of conscious eaters...not at all in a pompous way, but in a freeing way.

Food has always controlled me....well, I let it control me. And now, I feel I am in complete control over my food. Who knew that deciding to become vegan would inadvertently start curing my food addiction!!!

Thank you also to Carynne for the pizza suggestion. I never thought about asking for cheeseless pizza and adding more veggies! I can't wait to try it. You have also expanded my horizons in this vegan journey!

Every day I see how easy it is to be vegan! I feel like I can conquer the world!....or at least a dinner out. :)

Thank you!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 24 - Dining with Omnivores

A dear friend of mine is here from out of town, and because of this, we have been eating out every night since Tuesday.

I met him at the emergency evacuation animal shelter in Louisiana which was set up hours after Katrina. I was the animal loving hippie who raced to Louisiana from California days after the hurricane, and he was the trucker from Michigan who was hired by FEMA to bring us water. We formed a fast friendship. He is a meat and potatoes man, but is very understanding of my vegetarianism and now veganism. Where we met pretty much explained my eating choices, so he got it from the first day.

So, during his visit we go out to eat, and he has his hamburgers and whatnot and I eat salad with vinaigrette.....and a potato.

I'm going crazy!!!! What do vegans eat in regular restaurants?!?!?!

I carry my roasted edamame in the car and eat them on the way to the restaurant in order to get my protein, but once I'm there everything is suspect, and I don't want to "accidentally" eat butter or some other animal product. Even at Soup Plantation I had the very nice soup chefs let me read the ingredients to the soups.

Is there a go-to dish for vegans? Anyone have any suggestions?

Tomorrow I'm taking him to a Thai Restaurant that has a vegan menu, so I know I will be able to eat something nutritious and filling. The next two days we'll be a Disneyland, and I've already decided I am packing my own breakfast, lunch and dinner and bring some fruit leather and roasted edamame. I'm not getting stuck in that junk food hell with no vegan munchies.

But what to do after that?

I just figured that I would excuse myself from the whole "omnivore dining culture" and only have to go to non-vegan restaurants every once in a while, but I never figured that I would be in a situation where I would be faced with a solid week of eating out at meaty restaurants.

I need help. I know there is some menu choice I am not being creative enough to see. I feel like such a noob.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 22 - Cheese, Notorious Cheese!

I had terrible cheese cravings last night. I think it's because I am under an amazing amount of stress and my food addiction is kicking into high gear. I started feeling deprived, like I was somehow going to go crazy if I didn't eventually get to indulge in dairy. I know it sounds so crazy, but this sickness my brain has, this addiction, is what I need to heal.

Last night I saw what was happening to me, and I knew the outcome if I let this go unchecked for a few days or weeks...which would be a secret bean and cheese burrito or some god awful junk food binge which would leave me feeling unbearably guilty and sufficiently punished.

Instead of just trying to overcome it, I talked to my husband. I told him of this addiction and how it is in overdrive. He immediately asked me if I had the makings of vegan mac and cheese, and I didn't...but this was really a wake up call.

I realized that I constantly am trying to sate myself with false dairy...which will never work. I instead told him that what I needed was a pilgrimage to Whole Foods. I decided that I will go get my favorite vegan fruits and soy yogurt, hummus, some vegan chicken salad, and maybe a slice of the great vegan pizza they make.

I need to reprogram my brain.

I remember how junk food tastes, but it is a thing of my past. Today, and just today, I was able to stop this self destructive path but reminding myself how delicious vegan food is....NOT animal product substitutes, but wholesome vegan food, and then telling myself that this is what I eat now, and the other is not an option anymore.

This might seem like a person lost in the useless minutia of life, but to me unraveling this food addiction is the key. It is what I must do, or else I will excuse myself into poor health, a fat body, and a diet full of cruelty.

But today, I am victorious!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day 17 - Colon Cleansing

I am so enamored with being a crunchy vegan....this journey has inspired me. And, being the brave pioneer I am, I decided this would be the perfect time to do a serious deep cleansing of my colon.

Thrilling, I know....but the thought of all those animal products parked in my processing tubes makes me feel like I am very toxic and unhealthy. Also, I have never followed a colon cleanse with strictly vegan food, so I am very excited to see what my energy levels will be like during and after.

Now, I am not new to the gentle yet pungent art of colon cleansing. As I teenager, I went to the Optimum Health Institute near San Diego, CA, several times, where we would eat raw vegan foods and do daily cholemas or colonics with shots of wheat grass. Yes, I was the only 16 year old I knew with my very own cholema board and rope strainer. I was very popular.

Over the last 10 years or so I have done several Dr. Schulze colon cleanses, but I just refuse to do colonics/cholemas anymore. I was always taught that you can never do any serious colon cleansing without the water in the booty treatments, so I always felt like I was doing a half-assed job. In an attempt to put my whole ass on the line....wacka wacka... I have tried Dr. Schulze's colon cleanse with the master cleanse, colon cleanse with raw foods....etc., etc. I have gotten decent results...definitely some old fecal matter, but nothing to fish out of la toilette and post on myspace.

This time, however, I have found a 90 day cleanse with all natural ingredients, AND! easy as pie to follow. Just 2-4 capsules in the morning depending on where you are in the cleanse....followed by a fiber shake which has the slight aftertaste of stevia and banana, and a cup of tea at night.

The testimonials are amazing!!

*WARNING* Graphic poop content...not for those with weak stomachs. 1 of this 90 day adventure. I hope to be offended and pleased at the results.

Mazel Tov!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Day 15 - Just Keep Swimming...

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....oh how I love to swim, swim, swim." ~ Dori

And I agree! Holy goggles, Batman! I love to swim.

I used to swim competitively as a child, and never knew how much I missed the water, and lap after lap after lap....

Making a commitment to go vegan has taken me out of the world, so to speak. I don't belong to the throngs of omnivores eating out and going through drive-thru's after clubs, ordering pizza, etc. I have completely disconnected from this social thing of eating.

That being said, I am becoming more creative on all fronts. I have a stair master in my house, and for exercise I would walk the dogs, do the stair master, lift weights, It has been that way for at least 8 years.

A couple of days ago I decided to go to the pool. It was so incredibly cathartic. I felt like a child...or at least felt the joy of a child (because let me tell you, swimming is not like riding a bike..I felt less like I was swimming and more like I was gasping for air and trying not to drown). But, I really felt like I had found something I had lost. Something untainted and pure. I can just keep going...lap after lap....I feel so free. I have been desperate for a healthy escape like this!

I don't know what caused this amazing revelation, or what the true catalyst was, but I know more things are coming to me because I am actively searching for answers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Day 14 - Egg Albumen

Two weeks of vegan goodness just flew on by. I did have a slight snafu, and what would be the point of this blog if I did not come clean.

When I was shopping at Whole Foods last week, I got to the "meatless meat" section, and grabbed what I usually staples. But! I saw Yves lemon chicken veggie skewers and I thought ooohhhh I want to try those, so I bought them.

Flash forward a few days, and I am eating one skewer for lunch. It was almost too "meaty" for my tastes..but it was what it was supposed to be. After lunch, I log all of my food into a tracker (because I am also interested in portion control so I can drop some tonnage), and I am entering the data and read the ingredients.....egg heart sank.

What the hell is wrong with me?!? I usually read everything. I felt so defeated, almost as if I should start my challenge over again. I anticipated cravings and secret cheese binges, but never something as stupid and as avoidable as this.

I feel so down about this. I think it's because I am starting to see being vegan as an easy permanent choice. Now I know it's only been two weeks this time, but something in me feels different. I feel as strong of a conviction about being vegan as I did when I became a vegetarian. So, the accidental egg albumen felt like serious blow.

I need to get over it and concentrate on my bright future of compassionate eating, but I feel guilty and defeated.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Day 9 - Cutting Out the Crap

As I sit down in front of the computer with my bowl of organic fruit, soy yogurt, sprouted flax seed and hempseed, I realize two very important things. One, don't eat a bowl of blackberries, pineapple, and strawberries right after you brush your teeth. And two, being vegan means that you completely change your idea of snack food.

Now, in trying to be less of a fatty, I am eating lower carb...meaning no processed flours or sugars, and I try to get all of my carbs from Ezekiel bread products and veggies/fruits. This leaves me with very few snack options....or so I thought.

The two times I tried strict veganism before, I was looking for alternatives to my dairy-filled yummies...This was wrong! I now realize that to be a successful vegan, you have to remember what you used to love about natural foods as a child. I realize now that I must become friends again with fruits and raw nuts and incorporate things like home-made smoothies, protein shakes, and banana ice cream right out of my Champion juicer(frozen bananas right through the juicer = banana ice cream), like my mom used to make me. I need a rev-fruit-lution!

But, in order to start this fruit-sade, I need to completely change my mindset. I used to exist solely on bean and cheese burritos....well not solely, but I was starting to grow a brown shell and required frequent baths...but I digress. When I became vegan the first two times, I would attempt to get a bean and salsa! not that good. This is why I failed! ~~ AHA you hear the chorus of angels? ~~ Okay, focus! I now carry an airtight container of roasted soybeans in my car, and when I stop for a snack I go instantly for something natural.

I really feel like I am going to be able to make this a permanent change. When I was a vegetarian, I felt that it was a compassionate food choice. Being a vegan feels like a lifestyle choice. I now see and feel the difference.

I know I'm a little late on the bus, and I may be the kid in the back wearing the helmet, but we are all going to the same destination, so thank you for your patience for the slow ones.