Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Fat, so lets not sugar coat it!!

 A few of you out there may already know that I have taken on  my next challenge in life. 

 One that doesn't so much require me to change my diet, but to start deleting one very evil ingredient !!  The one thing that children can't get enough of, and sadly for many, that's too true, they get too much.
Without it, Krispy Kreme lovers would cry without it, men around the world  bbq'ing their ribs, would scream for justice ... the one ingredient that would put the Cup Cake Girls OUT of business.. ( which might not be such a bad idea )... yes...  you know who I speak off... he who shall be named on all package labels...  

SUGAR !!!! and not just that evil master we know as  "processed cane sugar", but also his cousins, brown sugar, maple syrup & honey, and his off springs , glucose AND fructose.

After the pursuit of many diets or "life style changes" , I have come to the conclusion that anyone really trying to change who they are, will have a very difficult time.  
 Many experts say you have to replace a bad habit with a good habit.  But is that really true? Why not just stop the bad habit and just carry on with the other things we do in our lives?

Before we get into that, lets start at the beginning of this journey I call my life.   Back when I was just a baby, I was addicted to bottles and diapers. Yes, I could not live without them, as so many other children around the world.
But sure enough, my mother weened me off both , and I went from being addicted to bottles to cups. I find trying to have a beverage with any meal almost impossible without one.

As I got older, out came my latest and greatest addiction. SUGAR! ...I'm sure given to me as a tasty treat to get me to do or not do something my parents disapproved of.  My mother once admitted to me that if she bit into a chocolate candy she didn't like, she would pass it to me.  Like the family pet under the table, waiting for candy scraps.
But my biggest obsession with sugar, came in a form , that even had parents thinking... wow, breakfast time is so fast and easy.  The all important meal of the day, supplied to us in an easy to open cardboard box with a not so easy to open inner bag to keep that sugary goodness fresh and tasty.  That meal that is "fortified"      (there's that word again), with so many vitamins and minerals... that hard stale ball of sugar and wheat we call "Cereal",

Of course cereal... you knew who I was talking about.  Yes, I was addicted to cereal.  And why not, when you had to feed your kids something for breakfast before school.   Cereal was so popular and still is today. Its like a green light to eating shit and all you had to do is get up in the morning.  I'm pretty sure that the only true vitamins and minerals we got came from the milk you had to pour on it to make it soft enough to be more edible.

There were and still are so many kinds and flavors. Grocery stores have entire isles dedicated to this delight. In our current local Wally Mart, they even have their isle split into " Kids " cereals and " Adult " cereals.  which basically means, " hey mothers, here are all the shit , all sugar crap for your kids" , and "here is the shit, with added sugar, disguised as healthy goodness because we added fruit and nuts for you adults". !!  Read the label people... a majority of all cereals have Fructose and Glucose, corn syrup or some other form of the sweetener.  I don't care how many damn berries, sticks or nuts you stick in it.   OH, but then there is the " organic " type,  that just stick to processed healthy sugars, like honey and a cane sugar juice or concentrated fruit juices.   Even cereals that don't taste like they have sugar in them , have sugar... like Cheerios and Rice Krispies,  which is the 2nd ingredient on the box.  There are some out there, mostly the whole wheat , like Shreddies that don't... which doesn't help anyone with a wheat allergy.
Anyways, I'm going off topic here... this is about ME , not cereal.  (its always about me)

I was just a kid and addicted.  To this day, Peanut Butter Capt Crunch is my favorite of all time.  There were so many to choose from.    Count Chocula wasn't good enough, they had to come out with Boo Berry and Frankin berry... any company that thought they were losing their market , upped the game by adding marsh mellows ...yep, I was hooked and addicted.  This addiction has lasted years.

By the time I was 16 yrs , I found a new addiction... Cigarettes.  It had nothing to do with them being yummy, but more about their cool factor.... they would remain a staple in my life for the next 28 years.  Along with the sugar addiction, and a few other addictions that basically went away once I became a responsible adult.

Lets forward the clock to 2005.   I had just turned 39 and came to the realization that in one more year, I was going to turn 40.  Having spent the last 10 yrs convincing myself that I had to lose weight, then I would quit smoking, so that the quitting wouldn't pack on the added weight , I finally had enough.  and on that faithful day , August 1st , 2005 , I smoked my last cigarette , told myself that buying more cigarettes was too much hassle , and never smoked again.  Except when choking on that 2nd hand smoke those times sitting outside the Starbucks trying to enjoy my caramel macchiato or eggnog latte, while the rest of the world puffed away..

That was almost 7 years ago to the day.  ( probably exactly 7 years by the time I get this damn blog posted).
In those 7 years, I gave up McDonald's ( that lasted 3 yrs ) , I did weight watchers , which was a waste of time and money.  I never did gain that added weight from the non-smoking... in fact , by 2007, I started my aqua aerobics and South Beach diet... and took off little over 60 lbs.  But sadly, as noted before, trying to " change" into something that you are not, doesn't always last, and the 60lbs found their way back in to my ass, where they have been camping out like squatters for the last 3 yrs and invited a few extra relatives to join in. 
Despite my efforts and knowing what is required of me to get the job done, my brain simply doesn't seem to follow through..  I'm sure there are many of you who can totally understand.
Then one day, after posting on Facebook about eating ice cream, someone commented that they love ice cream and was a sweets addict.  Wow !! someone like me was out there (I'm not alone).... but they also commented that they don't eat sweets, because then they would never stop !! BINGO !  The light went on in my head and all the spiders scattered back into the corners.
That was it , I'm addicted to sugar, like I was cigarettes... and how did I quit smoking ?? just like the day after thanksgiving "Cold Turkey" !
If I was going to break myself free of eating all the crap in my life making me fat, I'm going to have to give up that one ingredient found in most of it... SUGAR .  I don't have to Change who I am or my style or start bungee jumping ... that will come naturally in its own time.  I need to just Quit sugar !    Sugar completes me , NO MORE.

Now many of you are ready to jump in and start telling me about all the wonderful diet foods out there or foods for diabetics that have substitute sugars in them...  don't bother.  I'm giving up fake sugar as well.!

Eating foods with NutraSweet or saccharine (or faux sugar), is like quitting smoking by chewing nicotine gum or fake smokeless cigarettes... you are not really quitting the addiction.. you are just faking it out.  Which in most cases leads to going right back to the bad habit you are trying to quit.

A good friend once told me after she quit smoking, that no matter how much she craves to have a cigarette, she will never smoke one, because she reminds herself , that if she has jus one, she would go back and if she went back , she would have to go through the torture of quitting  all over again. 
 I have always remembered that through these last 7 years... and I will take that advice with me going forward in this venture.
I have the added advantage that I already quit drinking diet (and non-diet) pop, however, I was substituting juice instead.  I also stopped putting sugar in my coffee for many years now.
I will not be giving up fruit by any means.  This will be my one salvation,... now Watermelon & Blueberries Complete me !!and keep me regular.  Those little blue scrubbing bubbles.

I'm on day 7 now and I'm able to look a donuts in the eye and tell it to pack its bags and get out of town.
I haven't gotten hung up at this point about worrying if the multi grain bread I'm eating has sugar in it ... as long as it has fiber. Hmmm... 12 grain donuts? no?   I still allow myself greasy treats in moderation , I guess down the road , that will be my next challenge.

I had an Aunt, that I'm guessing was also addicted to sugar, she had an entire draw in her kitchen dedicated to nothing but candy bars. (at least that's how I remember it). Guess who's house was our favorite to visit.   She passed away when I was 17 yrs old from congestive heart failure.  I can't recall how old she was when she passed, but I do know it was too soon and too young. 
So many people out there have diabetes due to all the sugar we put in our food.  If the companies out there  are going to supply it , its only natural that we are going to eat it.  
I'm convinces McDonalds food, especially those scrumptious cheese burgers, have hidden sugar. They are addicting like crack cocaine.  Which is why they are back on my "no no" list.

All I can do is fight for my own life and resist these temptations and addictions.  
So, keep your eyes peeled as I blog about my new journey beyond my comfort zone !!!

.... and maybe the odd other topic .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

let the saga continue ....

IIII aaaammmm  baaaaccckkkk.................

Many my vegan blog followers have been pestering me to continue my blogging.  Unfortunately my blogging lasted about as long as my vegan journey , which was about as long as a Kardashian marriage.
Not very long at all.  .... I guess since I didn't have any inspiration on the journey of being a vegan any more , I didn't have anything else to say on the subject.

However, for anyone who knows me, knows I have lots to say about other stuff.... so I guess when the inspiration hits , I'll blog about it and keep all my blogging fans happy... and give them something to read with their morning coffee. 

Its not like there isn't enough crap going on in this world that I don't have something to talk about or stupid people in my neighborhood streets .Not everyone will agree with what I have to say... but if you don't like it, start your own blog... so Nah !

So, lights, camera ACTION... or should that be ,  Laptop ! Mouse !  ACTION !!!! ...............

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Making Your Cake and Eating it too....

I wanted to bring forward for many people, vegan or non-vegan and even crazy people of the planet, that you can have your cake and eat it too... and you don't even need to make it from scratch.
( I bet your are drooling already)

I present to you:  Vegan cake in a box! and the best part is, you can purchase this product at any of your favorite groceries stores.  (I'm sure all the vegans of the world are rolling their eyes)
How's that Julia you ask. Well let me tell you!!  Just 2 words : Duncan Hines!! thats right, you heard me. Duncan Hines , North America's gateway to easy desserts.

I have confirmed and double checked that every ingredient in their cake mixes is Dairy and Animal product fee.  (and if any you smarty pants find me wrong, keep it to yourself and let the rest of us dream)
After much research, I have pretty much discovered that everything in it is basically Chemicals.
Lets stand up and thank the scientist for their tireless efforts to bring us these tasty treats in a box with no expiry date.
Now by no means is this product or altered version recipe of this product  "low fat vegan" in any way or even healthy in any form. So don't be suing me when your ass swells 3 times the size after you have it 3 meals a day for 5 months out of the year.
I'm not even truly sure its even safe to eat, but anyone who needs to whip up a quick dessert without  the guilt of eating baby unborn chickens, stay tune, because this is the POST for you!!

Lets first discuss the ingredients presented to us by the fine makers of Duncan Hines.  Now, I should point out that I did not go through EVERY flavor of cake mix they make, but just the Devils Food.  So don't try to come back and challenge me... because I might have to come back and smack you!!

* but first a disclaimer - this blog does not reflect the feelings or opinions of Google, the Pope, president Obama, Her Majesty the Queen or anyone else that I know or don't know, nor does it intend to slam DH corporation, as they have never hidden this information from their customers and in fact you can find all this information on their website, which is a lot more I can say for other products *

Now back to the blog:

the first on the list of course is "sugar", but did anyone really think it would be anything different.
2nd, "enriched bleached wheat flour" - good thing they enriched it after they bleached it.  For anyone who doesn't know what it means to enrich something, its when they Put back in the nutrition, like iron and B vitamins that they took out in the first place.  You might see this a lot on cereals and bread, same as "fortified" that make you think its all wonderful for your kids to eat.
Next is "Vegetable oil" , which is made up of things like propylene glycol mono & diester of fats and diglycrides - mmmm a tasty mouthful )
But just when you thought it was down hill from here... we have "cocoa powder".. Yeah, we like this one. chocolatey goodness for sure, but the fun doesn't last .
Than there is "Dextrose" because all that sugar in the beginning wasn't enough.
Next is "Sodium bicarbonate & sodium aluminum phosphate"... with some "modified starch".  I don't even want to know what is modified about it.
Then we have "poly glycerol and esters of fatty acid".... mother who?
Oh, dont forget the SALT.  Followed by the "cellulose gum, xanthen gum, maltodextrin" which i'm pretty sure is the part that helps it to stick to your ass and finally "Artificial Flavors" of course... to cover up the horrid flavor of all those previous ingredients.

So now that we are all educated of the chocolatey goodness of this delicious dessert... lets get started on making Vegan style.

Its not really rocket science, though one would think they need a degree in science to understand what I just read off, however I assure you that you will not need it to make the cake.

Now, once you have your cake mix box in front of you .. follow the clear and easy instructions on the back.

they will advise you to add 1/2 Veggie oil ( like it needs more ). Go ahead, add it in.....I dare ya.
then they have you add 2 eggs .. STOP !! put those eggs down.  instead , I used 1/2 cup of apple sauce..  Yes, simple apple sauce... make your own if you wish.  Stay away from sweetened brands if you can... because I assure you, there is sugar already in the cake mix... really , there is .  (getting hand smack out)
Then it has you add 1 1/4 cup water ... I cut back on the water because the apple sauce is already runny.  I I would start with just 1 cup... might seem too thick, but trust me, it wont cook on the inside before the outside starts to burn... SO DON'T DO IT !!
mix and back as per package instructions. 

And there you have it !!  easy peasy sleezy !!   It will come out so moist and tender, you won't even need any ice cream or whipped cream on top.  even better while its still warm.

And the best part is, you don't have to even cover it up, that baby will stay so moist for the next week.
If you can make it last that long. 
Thanks Mr (or is that Mrs) Hines.


PS - I felt I should also point out, that the makers of this cake mix were sure to put in bold letters, as a warning to anyone making or consuming this product that is has " Wheat Product " in it.
Thank God they point out this obvious, yet very dangerous ingredient before I made it.
I was so focus in on the goodness of the Maltodextrin that I almost missed the Wheat Flour product.

Once again the world is a safer place.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

yeee haaaa.... ride em' cowgirl

so I bet many of you are wondering what happened with all the blogging... well, I am not sure.  I had many idea's , but I guess life got in the way and oh yeah... I kind of fell off the vegan wagon. Ouch, only a few bumps and bruises, no panic, I'll be ok.
Maybe in my own shameful way, the brain went and hid in the proverbial sand until I forced it out with a new laptop and a crowbar... woot woot.  OH and I promised a co-worker who is laid up in bed that I would keep blogging so she would have something to read now and then.  I guess the guilt is too much to let her down. So here I am.
Meat or no meat... lets keep chuggin' away shall we.

Now back to falling off the wagon. I didn't completely fall off the wagon, every now and then I do consider a vegan alternative to the meal I'm about to prepare, but some how get swayed back to the Porkside of the force... damn those pho restaurants, damn them to hell.
I suppose the call of the cattle is too much to resist, and the call of the doughnut, the pho, the pizza, chicken wings etc.  (maybe I should change my number)

oy vey !!

However, I have not given everything up.  I have stayed true to my almond milk in my coffee, I have stayed away from butter and most dairy products, with the exception of some cheeses. Damn that cheese again.  "get your paws off me you damn dirty provolone!!"
I'm sticking with my whole grains in my morning cereal and breads. But sadly, the consequences are showing on the scale once again.
hmmmm... wonder how all my other dieting counter parts are doing since New years??

So, its time to change the tactics of this whole situation.
Come on now, I can already hear you all grumbling, "there she goes, back to eating meat, couldn't keep it up, giving up...blah blah blah, now the blog will be boring"  Do not fret my friends, for I will share with you my next crazy idea.....

last weekend, I went and had a Live Blood analysis done, as opposed to a dead blood analysis, as the results of a dead blood analysis would be pointless ... as I would be dead.  Though, I would lose a lot of unwanted weight, and fat , and flesh .. oh, but then I would be feeding the bugs and that wouldn't be very vegan of me... so , lets stick to the LIVE BLOOD shall we.

So, I get this analysis done.  Its not really a test, they don't test anything and I don't remember any multiple choice questions, however, I did have to answer a simple questionnaire regarding my current health.

I won't bore you all with the full details of this analysis, however, the purpose of it all, is so that you can see what kind of "condition" or "state" your blood is in.  And then learn to eat better to reverse the effects.  Some have heard about the " eat for your blood type " diet.  This was similar, with the added bonus of knowing that your blood is crying out for help.  You can see it on the monitor which is hooked up to a microscope... the cells are pretty much group in clusters, shaking their little fists at your, giving you the finger and crap and warning you, if you don't shape up, they will ship out.

The good news is, I am still alive and I have AB type blood.  Figures I would get the odd blood type.  There are less then 5% of the worlds population...
oh sure, I couldn't have been in the 5% worlds riches people.. NOOOO .

But what this all means, is that I now can see the list of foods that I'm suppose to eat for my blood type.  And the scary fact is.. its practically VEGAN !!!!   and not only are they vegan foods, but Low fat vegan foods !!  " GET OUT ! Right?"
The goods that are considered vegan, but on the fatty side, like avocados, black olives etc are OFF my list.  Other foods that are generally ok for me, are still a high glycemic type food and I should stay away from.
The only Non vegan foods I can partake in, are turkey, egg whites, anything made from goats milk and mozza cheese... (yeah pizza).
I've decided starting March 1st , just for shits and giggles, to try and eat within my blood type.  This still gives me a bit of dairy freedom, however, since I'm not allowed caffeine or coffee, no need to worry about the almond milk any more... booo !
I will keep blogging until then and on ward !!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cheater, Cheater Pulled Pork Eater......

Well, I did it again, I allowed myself a cheat day, however, if you think back on it, it was actually more like a cheat week last week.
I guess because I dont have this burning urge to save the planet and all of gods creatures, because like most people, its easier to be in denial for the good of the pulled pork and bacon and grilled chicken.  So many of us like to believe that there is a special land where cows are dancing and singing and all to happy to fill those buckets up with milk and hand them to the farmer, who takes such good care of them and tucks them in every night to bed.... yeah... NOT,  but we believe in this anyways, every time we scoop into some ice cream, saute those mushrooms in butter and eat that multi-topping cheese covered pizza.  Forget Jersey Shore !! Hello Jersey Cows... ( in Snooki's case theres not much difference. - oops did I just think that out loud?? ) Anyways, I'm sure you get my point.

Because of the land of denial, I allowed myself for a whole week to come up with excuses to allow myself to indulge in non-vegan fare.  Everything from not upsetting the boss at office lunches, because the vegan restaurant was closed, as well as, " this dish has less fat in it then the vegan dish".  And once I allowed myself to cheat in the afternoon, well, I might as well cheat in the evening too... so I did!!  Pulled Pork for lunch and the a small pizza for dinner.  And not just any pizza, the New York Club at Rosodos (In Port Moody, look them up in the book ), which has every kind of meat you can think of ,
plus 3 different cheeses... Go Big or Go HOME!...

Guess what all those excuses got me... 3 added pounds back on. Yep, you heard it here first folks.  All that extra fat and processed food, 3 pounds came back. Now, I'm sure in the grand scheme of things, its mostly water weight from all the added salt that was probably consumed at the same, I'm not pulling the steak knives out just yet and slitting my wrists. I'll save that for the next Jersey Shore episode.
The realization of the 3 lbs sent me back on the straight and narrow for about 4 days.  Then it was Friday again.. and what is Friday you say?? Friday is Pho day... and my denial land of the world of pork came flooding in and a few other excuses too...and I had my pho... my vermicelli noodles w/ spring rolls.  And God said, "a table for 3", And it was good. And we rejoiced.  [julia: 2-4-12] .
And then the next day, which is today, I went off to a party that was a pot luck.  And like all good foodies, I made my famous beef and pork laden chili...and it was good and again we rejoiced and then took a handful of ant-acids.

The one thing I have not done, is given up the hope and optimisum that I will continue to try and turn my eating habits around, and seek still the goodness of the vegan way of life.
A month later, and I still haven't taken the jump off the cliff into the world beyond my comfort zone.  Unless you count that one dish I made that was so bad, we all threw it out. (not up) Even the dogs couldn't be bothered to try and dig it out of the trash.
I have learned, that when any person tries to change a way of life, in order to obtain something they think they don't have now, that without a "change in thought and belief system" , old habits die hard, and usually end up kicking and screaming until you start to make excuses once again to jump right back into the comfort zone.  Maybe that's why its called comfort food. 

Tomorrow is a new day, and there are more cows and pigs and chicken to save... and I will continue to fight the good fight for all animal kind... at least until the next pho Friday!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lets Talk Dirty Shall We..

Can we talk dirty? Come on I know you want to.

You know what I'm talking about...everyone is doing it.  Some do it more often then others. Others try not to do it at all, but then the urge is too strong.  Some do it at 37,000 feet, some people have to get help doing it.  Some people actually make porn movies doing it...
In some cultures they do it in different positions, but the experience is always the same.

You know what I'm talking about....going to the bathroom of course.  What did you think I was talking about? (perverts!)

We ask ourselves the age old question, "Does a bear shit in the woods?". Why do we ask this? Has no one ever seen a bear shit in the woods?  I don't really recommend that you sneak up on any bears, especially why they are shitting. Of course, this would be a good time to escape a bear, if you have already been captured.
I think I know why we ask this question... because based on the bears diet of sticks and berries and some fish, I doubt anyone would know what bear poop even looks like.  We'll, just ask a VEGAN!

You knew we had to get to the subject sooner or later..... 

Years back when I did my high protein-low carb diet with lots of veggies and salads, one of the foundamental supplenments I learned that one should take was some stool softener.  All that fiber really gets a girl into a "bind".  Maybe its all the cheese, maybe all the lettuce. or all that yummy dry chicken breast.  However, if you didn't drink the water, bathroom time was trouble and left you wishing you had eaten a McDonalds cheese burger to keep things moving.

Now, I knew going into the vegan way of life, that I might have to deal with some situations that left everyone in the room looking at the dog, however, I was also expecting to have to pull those ducolax pills out once more. How wrong I was!! 
Not only is the situation a loose matter these days, but sometimes its an urgent one as well.  Sneezing is not always my friend.
There is a reason I have always referred to Blueberries as "Scrubbing Bubbles".

Maybe I should consider a cleanse?? but dont fool yourself folks, all those sticks, seeds and berries do clean out the pipes, whether you want them to or not.  

I haven't yet sat down and compared any bathroom habits with another vegan, and I'm sure if I found one over the age of 50, they would be more then happen to provide me with many a tale...but for now, seeing that this post is already in the crapper... I think I'll leave the subject along for everyone to discover themselves.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Angry Birds, Pigs & Cows....

Its been another fun filled weekend of eating out and again, feeling deprived by the lack of choices there are for vegan in a normal restaurant.  Shame! Shame!

Its final !!! just no eating out!! Or time to hunt down one of these Vegan friendly restaurants.
I WILL admit it, so I can sleep at night... Saturday night I fell to pier pressure when faced with NOTHING on the PHO 99 menu that could be consider vegan or even vegitarian.  And, like all lovers of food, I caved and had my favorite dish... the spring rolls with vermicelli and salad.  Unfortunately because they are "pre-made" and made with pork, I didn't make the 21 days without meat.  (really, I'm crying inside). 
I was doing so well, especially when we were dragged for Fish and Chips with my father-in-law.  I wasn't able to keep the low fat part down, but did good with the vegan, as I stuck with the deep fried mushrooms and pickles w/ chips.
I have to say, after eating the spring rolls, the after affects where totally NOT worth the taste bud satisfaction.
I had stomach cramps and its a toss up whether or not the bad perfume at Save On gave me a headache or if I was getting one from the meat.  I was drinking gallons of water all night long, something I wasn't doing at all since becoming vegan AND I woke up with my face all puffy. !! Totally not worth it!! Now, if I had eaten a pulled pork sandwich, mmmaaayyyybbbeee it would have been worth it.

Sunday night we did Applebees... with all their tempty tasty cheesey, greasy treats, they had nothing on the menu that was particulary vegan or vegitarian, (with the exception of the 3 cheese penne) , however, Applebees was at least very accomodating to requested changes.   Since my low fat diet was out the window this weekend... I ended up with having their Philly burger, only, I subbed the pattie with a veggie patty, had all dairy and cheese product removed, leaving me with the saute veggies on a patty and bun.  A touch of their dejion mustard, some added tomatos for moisture, and I had a darn good burger. And if anyone who also ready my facebook status is reading this, yes, I scrapped the Shrimp Teriyaki   pasta for the burger.  Thats the down fall for the waitress taking too long to get to the table and taking our order. !
This item totally full filled my burger craving. 

I have come to the conclusion, that if you are going to be a vegan, for both the health of your body, the safety of small fuzzy animals and not so small and fuzzy animals everywhere, you can pretty much eat anywhere, with the exception of Pho 99... with a bit of menu twisting.
However, trying to maintain this type of diet for the mere health and diet reasons, just stay the hell out of the restaurants all together. My lazy cook habits are following me into this new way of life.  Time to get back to soup and mush.... which are quite tasty. 

But over all, I am down 7lbs in 20 days. Slow and steady.  I've decided that I am going to continue with type of eating, if only because I feel better and I am starting to see what the effects of eating meat has on the human body. Once I have all the data on that, I will be blogging, so that I can share the good news with all you meat eaters .  Yes, I'm evil ... I dont think I was this bad when I became a Non-smoker. 

If you would like to try a yummy breakfast idea, we had these this morning for our breakfast. Even Matt thinks they are yummy, and so super easy.  The best part is, because there is no dairy, this would actually be a great recipe for you campers. Less food to make sure stays cold,

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes : 

In small bowl combine: 

1/2 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder  ( NOT soda)
1/4 tsp baking soda   ( NOT powder)
1/4 tsp salt

In larger bowl combine :

1 ripe banana ( mashed to hell)
2 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS vinegar
1 c soy / rice / almond milk
1 c blueberries  ( fresh or frozen )

Once you have mixed wet items ( excluding the blue berries ) in large bowl, mix im dry ingredents until all lumps are gone and you have a pourable better.  You might have to add a touch of fake milk to thin.  THEN add the blue berries  ( or any berry you want really ) . 
cook on your griddle same as you would any other pancake , top with more berries and / or maple syrup.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

dial 410-VEGAN ....

I thought I would post yet another nummy vegan dinner idea for anyone to give a try.  Actually, its not unlike something most of use eat all the time.  In fact, I looked up to see how much of this product do Americans eat in one day.
The answer:   If you laid pizza down on the ground, Americans eat more than 9 acres of pizza each day!
- and I'm convinced that this answer is WAY too low.  9 acres is not that much... maybe in One city.
And don't you high and mighty, better then the Americans,  Northern snow biting, Mountie lovers, think you are any different, except the answer would be :  4 Hectare !!

Thats alotta pizza pie !! ( in my best Dean Martin Italian voice ).
And what is worse, is there are numerous pizza chain restaurants that are ready to bring the fatty greasy, cheesy goodness to your door in 15 minutes... this is so guilt doesn't have time to creep in and ask you "what the hell are you doing?" .
I had my first pizza craving today, so unlike most people, instead of calling up my favorite pizza man, Papa Leos, I hit the grocery store and made my own!! 

Now, I could have gone the easy route and purchased some form of already pre-made, processed pizza crust, or pita bread or wrap thing of some sort... but I decided I was going to make my own pizza crust, Vegan style.
Despite the weird sort of gray color, it actually came out very tasty.
The nice thing about anything being a weird gray color is it helps to make you think twice about eating it, which in turn cuts down on your calorie consumption.   I think where I went wrong, is the recipe calls for raw buckwheat flour, where I just used the buckwheat flour that I had. It still works

Keeping to the Vegan way of life,  I of course topped my pizza with fresh veggies.  The boys of course went with dead unidentifiable animal meat product in a stick form,  they call pepperoni , topped with even more animal produced, calcium depleting , heart clogging cheese. (but I'm not bitter)

Some suggestions are , fresh spinach or basil , green, yellow, orange or red pepper, onions, garlic, mushrooms, brocolli.   - to make sure these are cooked through, you can roast them in the broiler once your pizza crust is done or cook ahead of time.   If you must, you can saute, but this just adds added fats and grease that you dont need.
A taster version of adding fat if you must, is to marinade the peppers in some balsamic vinaigrette the night before, the grill them on the bbq or broiler... mmmm... thanks to my friend Barbara , this is very tasty tip.

Here is the recipe:   This is also gluten & yeast free as well.

Buckwheat Pizza Crust :   Preheat Oven to 375 F

In a large mixing bowl, mix together these following dry ingredents :

2 1/4c  Raw Buckwheat flour
1/2 c    tapioca flour   - kind of seems like corn starch, look in the baking soda/pwd , sugar isle
1/2 tsp sea salt  ( get over it, I just used table salt for pete sake ! )
1/2 tsp baking SODA .. not powder :)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

In a separate bowl mix the following wet ingredient :  ( i just used a 2 cup measure cup for easy pouring )

1c warm water   - you can find this in your local sink
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil    - since i was low fat, I cut this down, since you have to use it to grease the pan
1 TBS  honey or agave nectar  - I went with honey since it was already in my cupboards
1 TBS  Apple cider vinegar

Pour the wet into the dry and whisk together well, until you see long dough strings formed. The dough will be thinner like cake batter. If it is too thick to whisk, add a tad more water.

Oil a pizza stone generously with olive oil ... ( I have my stone pampered chef bar pan... because yes, I'm pampered , so I cant comment on the use of a regular cookie sheet. ..but let me know will ya.)
You might want to oil your hands a bit as well, but scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet and spread it evenly to each corner.  (I'm sure spray PAM would work as well too.)

Once you have shaped out your dough, stick in the oven for 20 minutes or until top of crust is golden brown.

Then, you should know what to do... slap on that SAUCE of your choice, even organic bbq sauce, throw on your favorite veggies... I went with mushrooms, green and yellow peppers, lightly sauted onion w/ garlic and fresh spinach .

Topped with shredded soy cheese ... ( I use the daiya cheese from Save On foods , thanks to my good friend Chris )

Wa La !!!  when the moon hits your eye, like a big Vegan pie, thats amore!!

-Thats mine on the far left.
-Give any one brownie points if you can guess which one is Matts  :)

this is a pre-cooked photo... silly me was so hungry and this was so delicious, that I ate it before I thought to take an up dated photo... duh!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

T.M.F.I .....

It appears that many of you have been patiently waiting and anxious to know how this new vegan way of life is effecting my weight over the almost 2 weeks... well, let me tell you.  (you asked for it if you continue on)

I started the challenge on January 2nd , after 5 days (Jan 6th) I was down 2 lbs...woot woot you say.  I was all aglow with my progress, despite the bitter under tone of "others" I know on various new years diets who have lost maybe a few more then me.  But HEY ! thats ok, its allllll water weight. 
I have resigned myself to NOT get on the scale more then once per week.  I did not want the results of the scale to effect what I ate or how much I ate.

So today I jumped on the all important machine.... and of course, I was UP 1.5 lbs... (frickity frack).
However, not shortly after my devastating blow, there was a knock at my mother nature door.  And for many of you who know me very well, realize that this unexpect visit, comes few and far between.  (and for those who dont know me well... you do now, whether or not you want to...but I did warn you a paragraph ago).

Yes, there she was, Aunt Flo... who I had not seen in quite sometime, was standing in my door way with ALL her luggage.  And well ladies... we allll know what happens when Aunt Flo shows up... husbands get kicked to the dog house, co-workers hide under their desks, and of course, alll the luggage adds up on the scale. 
So, I am not sweating buckets just yet. In fact, having only put 1.5 lbs back on, instead of 4 or 5, tells me that chances are , before she showed up ... I was down more weight.

But here is the important part... I FEEL SOOO MUCH BETTER !!!  I dont feel bloated, with or without help. Meal time doesn't turn into a Post Turkey Dinner Thanksgiving session with the pants 1/2 zipped and our hands tucked in under the waist band like we are Napolian, relaxing after a long day in the battle field.
Though after eating some meals, I feel quite full, I don't feel sick or feel the need to lay down and take nap. And the feeling of being full, is usually gone within 1/2 hour after eating.
I'm lighter in my steps, I'm finding going down stairs a bit more balanced, going up, well that sucks no matter what. ...hhhehehe. 
My clothes feel not so restricting, and despite trying not to do any added exercise for the first month, I'm finding it very difficult to sit still in the evening. 
So, unfortunately for now, we will all have to wait one more week to see the true efforts of all my work.  And lets hope that Flo is on the next Red Eye out of here.. (pun intended) .
Until then.... keep Vegan'ing !!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Out of my Kitchen Comfort Zone...part I

so today was my first official day eating out as a vegan, without going to a vegetarian  or vegan diet specific restaurant, and I have to admit, it was quite the ordeal.  You can only ask for them to do so much before they are ready to throw you out!! 

"Low Fat" Vegan  - FAIL!  short of just ordering a plain garden salad with NO dressing, maybe some salt and pepper, there was nothing on the menu. If I want salad, I'll go graze in some field somewhere, at least it would be free.

"Vegan"  - Questionable at best.  - Though there were a few items on the menu that did not indicate they had any meat, egg or dairy products in them, what went in during the prep process is unknown. This is where you are forced to ask questions to the point where the waitress doesn't have a damn clue and thinks you should just F' ing make it yourself.  However, there were a few promising items like Hummus w/ pita , fried zuccini sticks, greek salad minus the feta cheese, rice and potato.  You can see where the lack of Low Fat comes in.
I was disappointed in that I was hoping to fall back on the good old North American staple of spaghetti with plain tomato sauce , however, the fine diner I was eating at actually puts Parmesan Cheese  in their sauce.
I know... who wouldn't. At least it saves them from allowing piggies from wasting 1/2 the Parmesan shaker on top of their own dish. 

"Vegetarian" - Depending on whether or not you are a "Lacto Ovo Vegetarian" or just a "Lacto Vegetarian" makes all the difference.  Its definately easier if you are Lacto Ovo and dont have to worryy about if there is egg product in your meal, but if you are a Lacto Vegetarian, and only eat dairy, then you really have to question what ingredents are in the products they are cooking with.   But with any Lacto Ovo , skies the limit , as its easy to have your favorite dish removed of meat product ... but I'm amazed at how much CHEESE is used in the industry ... everyting has cheese on it.  The Veggie burgers, pastas, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, your baked potato, your veggies. 

I'm starting to wonder if it isn't Cheese that makes the world go Fat!
I think Asian cooking is one of the culinary cultures that doesn't use a whole lot of cheese product. Look how skinny they are.  hhhmmmm... and all Asian diet challenge next.??.. it has possibilities

If there are restaurants out there listening!!!  Get some Vegan Dishes will ya ! you are excluding a huge population that could be dinning at your tables instead of grazing the field across the street !!

Stay tune for part II..... as the weekend continues.

PS - incase you couldn't figure it out , Lacto Ovos eat NO animal flesh, but will eat Eggs and Dairy products... and Lacto's ( no ovo)  have figured out that eggs are just baby chickens and consider them "unborn flesh" , so they only will eat Dairy products.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dear Costco... I love you !!!

ok, well I guess I better get bloggin... thats what I started this thing for.  Its been 10 days now as a Vegan... oh, sorry , Low Fat Vegan. Though realistically, I'm probably more closer to Vegan then the low fat part. But I'm trying.  I'm definately finding that to go "vegan" is not as much as a challange as going low fat.  Actually, the low fat part is starting to piss me off.  I think I'm getting cranky because I'm feeling deprived as if I was on a strict diet.

Going Vegan on its own, has its challanges and makes you stop and rethink what you are putting in your mouth. The advantage of being able to go vegan and able to lose weight, is that there was no calorie counting, no portion control, no points to look up in a book and then sit in a meeting with 20 other fat people talking about how you can eat more crap with less points if you stick to certain brands...etc.  You simple had to just "NOT" eat from certain food categories.  Easy peasy!
However, to go Low Fat Vegan is annoying, because now, instead of reading labels to make sure there is NO animal product in the ingredients , I'm finding myself calculating mathematical formulas I haven't done since 8th grade math, to see if the "fat" % is over 20% of the overall calorie count per portion serving , getting disappointed and throwing it back on the shelf.  Thats the sure sign of a "DIETER!!". 
So I'm finding myself asking... why the hell am I DOING THIS??!! I see the advantages of not eating meat, but I might as well just go "low fat" in the first place.  but again, thats just the cranky dieter in me getting annoyed.
My weight is definiately down, I'm doing my darn-dist  to stay low fat, but I admit, the sushi yam rolls from the other night were DAMN yummy after 2 days of soup and oatmeal!  You can wrap cat crap in seaweed and rice, dip it in some wasabi and soy sauce and have a feast.
I'm definitely feeling lighter in my steps ( not loafers , sorry girls ) ... and the thought of eating meat is actually starting to gross me out.  I have not missed it (too much, yah, right ... ).

*YES I CHEATED - I can't lie, I ate a piece of maple candy that had liquid egg whites!!! 

Now that I got that off my chest... If you are Not considering the low fat part of this "way of life" , Costco is the place to go!!  Vegan heaven in bulk... yes believe it girls!

Frozen berrys for those smoothies, your buckwheat pancakes, oatmeal and more.
They have these froze Ancient whole grain hot cereal cups in the freezer section, so now I can zap my breakfast at work.
They have a great selcetion of fresh salsas and I'm amazed at all the organic brands of foods they carry, like Kashi cereals .
I did buy a package of vegetable gyozas, that came in right at the 20% that were yummy with our thai coconut and veggie soup. I'm sure they are questionable , however, they were better then the veggie spring rolls I could have purchased.
They have this fabulous bag of Baked BBQ pop chips... but eat them is small doses :)
I also got an 8 pack of Vegan lentil and Vegan Veggie lentil soups for $9 .. thats just over a $1 /can for my lunches. (yes, more soup)
they even have all the Yves soy substitute products in bulk... yum yum yum !!
Just remember... those sample ladies are meat and fat pushing vampires... stay away!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who you calling a crockpot ?

ok, its been one week since my journey began, and as promised , this is a quick up date on some of the various delights I have enjoyed during this time.

Rice Milk - FAIL... but it came in handy for the very yummy buckwheat blueberry pancakes.
Almond Milk - WIN in my coffee. At least better then rice milk, however, if I wasn't concerned with the low fat portion of this challenge, I would most likely just switch to CoffeeMate and be done with it.
I also found when using this for my cereal, just a sprinkle of brown sugar helped to remove the cardboard after taste of both the cereal and the almond milk.
Facon Bacon -  FAIL !! as a side dish. The fact that I burned it didn't help, however, the dogs could not get enough of it.   To be fair , I did make a second attempt at using it ( unburnt ) on a BLT w/ avocado and found that hidden amongst the veggies, it added a smoky salt taste and give it some zing!
Quinoa -  WIN !  Instead of using rice for my veggie stir fry , I switched to the quinoa, which my family actually enjoyed better.  They found it less sticky and clumpy and didn't over power the flavor. 

We have also tried a few delicious recipes.  Besides the veggie stir fry, which most people can make, just eliminating the meat... we had for breakfast Buckwheat Blue Berry Pancakes - WIN .. amazingly enough, there was no hint of the fact that there is no milk or egg in these. Binding was used with ripe bananas and non-dairy milk... (rice milk) .
My revised Taco Soup was also a hit with the family, despite the tofu ground beef substitute.  And whats nice with this, is you can be free to add your own beans or veggies... its very Chili like !!  I'm sure there is a low fat vegan corn bread recipe to accompany it out there some where... but for now.. here you go :


Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This is the original recipe... however, see notes at bottom, as I changed this up to add body and of course, made it Vegan.

Ingredients :
  • 1 pound Ground Beef (sub w/-mex ground tufo)
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • Red & Yellow peppers, chopped ( I added this item)
  • 1 (16 ounces) can Chili Beans, with liquid (I've used lentils)
  • 1 (15 ounces) can Kidney Beans with liquid
  • 1 (16 ounces) can Black Beans with liquid
  • 1 (15 ounces) can Whole Kernel Corn, with liquid (or frozen)
  • 1 (8 ounces) can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 (14.5 ounces each) cans Peeled and Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounces) can diced Green Chile Peppers
  • 1 (1.25 ounces) package Taco Seasoning Mix
  1. In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat.
  2. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker.
  4. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.
Vegan - Use ground tofu substitute. If you can get the Yves mexican seasoned , that will work. You do NOT have to brown the tofu like you do the ground beef.
If using beef, I find cooking the onions with the the meat during the browning step, adds to the flavor.
- Now to make this more hardy, I had added the Red and Yellow peppers.. this is not original to the recipe. You could also use a green pepper if that's your taste.
the recipe calls for green chilli peppers. do not make the mistake of adding jalapeno's ... the flavor threw the whole thing off... i used crushed green peppers... or once I used canned chipotle, and skipped the green chilis.
Also, I have also used 2 cans of tomato's, and I actually use the whole tomato's and squish them with my hands... but the nice thing with this recipe is that its very flexible.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Out of the Fire and Into the Pot ......

....and so it begins, the dawn of time and man discovers fire.. with it , he learns to cook his food over an open fire, he grunts and life is good.  Until he invents the stove, so that his meals can be made comfortabley in the cave, only some how, the art of cooking is lost on man and his wife has to take over.....

One of the first things I have discovered with my new life style is that 70 grain brillo buns with hummus can get really boring, really fast.  Vegan chili is not going to keep anyone happy for long except the "Beano" corporation.  So I now have the new challenge of learning to cook all over again.

As it was 20 years ago, when my marriage was new, I was young, Tyler ate from a bottle and out of a jar, my only bewilderment at dinner time was, "do I make the Hamburger Helper or the Tuna Helper?" and even that depended on what the cost was of ground beef that week.

Like so many people here in North America, I turned to already pre-packaged, processed foods.
Rice-a-roni (the San Fransisco treat),  instant potatoes, mac & cheese, canned strews etc.  It was cheap and it was EASY.  (like a Surrey Girl on a Saturday night )
But has I grew up and became wiser and older, I slowly learned to take individual ingredients and turn them into meals.  Meat loaf, shepherds pie, frozen veggies etc.... and then as I got even older, wiser and fatter,  I came to realize, WAIT !! I need to take fresh healthy ingredents and turn them into healthy choices meals ... fresh soups, lean fish with veggies, grilled chicken with brown rice, and so on... it has taken me 2 decades to discover this and not just that, but actually learn to COOK these items. 
However, here I am, back to the very beginning... not having a clue how to cook dishes that dont require meat or dairy products... because , thats all I know.  What the heck is tempeh, quinoa, couscous.. who the hell comes up with these name??? If I can't pronounce them, how the hell am I going to cook them??
But the sad realization is,  unless I want to live on 70 grain brillo buns, hummus, raw veggies and canned beans, I don't have much choice, but to learn to cook all over again.

Or go out to eat.  But Wait !! eat out?? Preposterous!! That is so hard to do and find stuff you can eat.
Well my friend, welcome to Vancouver!! North America's answer to the dodge drafting hippies in a "some what" warm climate.  Where salmon saving, tree hugging, granola eating , yoga masters live amoung the common locals, protesting their healthy ways amongst the masses.  In other words, there is no shortage of vegitarian/vegan restaurants in the lower mainland.!!   but for cost and time sake...I think I better learn to cook.

So I find myself once again, turning back to the Pre-packaged Vegan products. And amazingly enough, there are tons out there.   
Taking my first serious visit to Planet Organic, I have walked into an amazement of sights and smells.  I'm first greeted by their deli section... which is full of vegan choices.. or gluten free, or just simply organic.  This is easy I'm thinking... but realistically , its 2 towns over and I can't run over there every time I want to eat. Despite this notion, I grab a small container of vegan potato salad and had it for lunch.AND its very yummy. However, I have been since advised by the "low fat vegan fairy" , that this item is most likely not Low Fat Vegan !! and therefore not worthy of the low fat vegan way of life.  Granted this is true, however, its lower in fat than the greasy cheese burger and fries I use to I'm not feeling to guilty just yet. But I AM thinking its a dish I must learn myself and make it low fat !!

Moving right along through the isles, this store is filled with multiple offerings of bulk grains and seasoning..I was so very over whelmed to the point that I didn't know what to buy except pre-packageed items, as I did in the days of my youth.  A few of the items purchased was a package of ...wait for it... here it comes... yes, the facon bacon!!! and not just any facon bacon, but maple flavored, facon bacon !! score. I think? I have not yet journeyed into this foreign food, so how it turns out, you will have to tune in next week.  Or gaggingly next month, as this stuff is good until April 2017.
I also picked up my plastic bag of "Nutritional Yeast". Though, I dont know how nutritional it actually is, but its the vegan version of powdered cheese... yes folks, I said the magic cheeeeessseee word.  All the delectable delights of a cheese sauce that tastes like I first ran it through a dirty sock..but none the less... cheese sauce. Or I may mix with my favorite air blown popcorn for extra yummy snack. *mmmmmm*
Next we grabbed our most required jar of apple butter to help tame the "dry like a desert" texture of my morning toast, as well as a carton of almond milk for my morning coffee. Mostly after the experimental failure of the rice milk.  I'm not sure how they milk a grain of rice, but from the taste and lack of texture, I'm not convinced they found the utters.

  But remember my friends, this is just the beginning of my travels. As I slowly look into more and more recipes, I know where to find my source for strange and exotic ingredients. And as I really learn my products, I will discover that they are 1/2 the price at Super Store.
I am at least grateful that I do have the "cooking" skills required to make this new journey into the strange and healthy, but a learning experience it will be.... just thank freaking god there are no exams at the end of the course.!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And so it begins....

As I had noted already in my intro, this is a blog about my journey into the unknown of veganism .. which for many North Americans is this crazy cult that they want nothing to do with... not even the Vegetarians are sure they are ready to make that one final leap into the world of ANIMAL AND ANIMAL PRODUCT FREE ZONE.

The daunting thought of eating nothing but plants seems some how lame, boring and very dietish... but I was given the challenge of which I have accepted.

"LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF OUR COMFORT ZONE" .... now the challenge begins and I wonder if I can make this type of diet, my new "zone".

During the last week of December, while indulging on some of my favorite dishes and beverages, like lasagna and eggnog lattes, I had advised my husband and my son of my decided transition into this new and exciting way of being. I announced, "I'm going vegan in the new year... you can eat what I make or you can walk to McDonald's" .. my son has now resigned himself a "vegan by default and protest".

Now, I do have to admit, I had a helping hand with a 21 day kick start website which allowed me to follow along and gave me daily menu items and suggestions to follow. After reviewing many of the days items and various menu options, I headed in my own direction, but staying within the guidelines of a low fat vegan diet. Falling back on this great resource for inspiration.

I have also added to my challenge besides diet. Since it was suggested , that by simply eating within these rules and eliminating any meat or animal product, plus refraining from processed grains and sugars, that, besides a healthier me, I should reap the benefits of weight loss. So for the next 30 days, I will not add any additional exercise to my regular routine, to see what the full effects are of the way of life.

I am now 3 days into my challenge and in the days to come , I hope to be able to post my findings and my feelings and have you come alone with me on this journey, has we discover , new foods, new recipes, maybe some new friends and if it works... a New Me !! and the journey begins..............................