Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How It All Vegan

The other night, my husband and our son and I had dinner at my parents' house.  They still have trouble understanding my choices in my diet, and my dad especially likes to tease me about the 'vegan police' busting me for eating a little accidental meat here and there. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been a vegetarian for a long time (I think almost 10 years now) and you think the idea wouldn't be so novel anymore. However, he did rather proudly find this app on his new iPhone which read aloud the different ways to pronounce 'vegan', there are FOUR, and we had a wonderful time listening to them and laughing. 

I am not totally vegan, but I have come a long way. Three months ago I thought I could never give up cheese. Chile con queso was it's own food group in my diet.  However, when my husband suggested we do a 30 day vegan challenge, I accepted. He had read about numerous marathon runners and other athletes who ate a plant based diet and that they were leaner, meaner, had quicker recovery and had great vitals. 

I used the book "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn for the foundation of understanding how your body operates on a vegan diet, the benefits, and facts/myths about plant based diets.  I used "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freeman and Kim Barnoun for meal planning. I had read Skinny Bitch years ago, but I hadn't been ready to take the next step.  It's pretty in your face, and when I reread it, I felt it came across pretty harsh.  However, I remembered how it lays out at least four weeks of meals in the back of the book and as I was not a huge fan of the meals in the Engine 2 book, I needed some other ideas. You can get it pretty cheap on  I would like to share some of the best of the best. I have made a few duds in my time but I have refined and honed my 10 years of vegetarian cooking know-how and cut out animal products. Here are my top Vegan meals. I will post a recipe or two at a time.

Ground 'Beef' Tacos and Black Beans
Ground 'Beef' and Pinto Bean Burritos and Mexican Rice
Taco Salad
Veggie Nachos
Portabella Fajitas and Chips/Guacamole
Black Bean Patties with corn on the cob and sweet potato fries
Lasagna with sauteed asparagus
Homemade Raw Pesto with Penne and Italian 'Sausage' with baked acorn squash
Pesto Pizza with salad
Pasta Primavera with salad
Spaghetti and 'Meat' Balls with salad
Chili with cornbread
Chili Dogs with vegetarian baked beans
Riblets with mashed potatoes
Cauliflower Steak with couscous
Veggie Burger with Tater Tots
Chinese Chicken Salad
Peanut Noodles with Broccoli Slaw Salad
Lettuce Wraps and Hot & Sour Soup
Peanut Tofu with Brown Rice and Broccoli

Scott ended up losing about 20 lbs in 3 and a half weeks. I lost about 4 lbs.  I have continued the vegan diet for the most part, eating no added cheese, consuming no dairy milk, yogurt, etc. However, a few of the meat substitues I use have some egg in them.  With continued exercise, I have finally reached my goal weight of 130 lbs. I have found when you don't consume animal fats in any way shape or form, you can actually eat a whole lot of food.

Sample meals for a day:
Breakfast: Cereal with almond milk
Snack: Instant Oatmeal
Lunch: Fake Chicken Patty sandwich topped with avocado, pop chips, a fruit
Snack: Hummus/Carrot Sticks
Dinner: Cheeseless Pesto Pizza wtih artichoke hearts
Dessert (only a few days a week): Country Choice Lemon Ginger cookies, which are to DIE FOR

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