Day 7: The Tease of Temptation

Why, oh why, does the office bring so many temptations?!?!

Homemade brownies.  Giant cinnamon rolls with nuts sprinkled on top.  Cupcakes.  Coworkers emailing photos of big juicy hamburgers.  Sonic runs.  Hearing comments all day about “Oh, I could never give up meat…or cheese…or my grease…or this…or that…or (fill in the blank here)”.

But the cupcake being taunted in front of your face is just plain mean I tell ya. Seriously.  It is  plain evil.

So just when you think it is getting easier… and that the cravings are finally letting up…then life throws you a curve ball.  I was so tempted today.  It took all the self control I could muster.  After a while, you just have to tune those voices out, or seriously, it will make you crazy.

On the bright side of my day, I woke up at the butt crack of dawn this morning and did speed work at the track with a running buddy.  Felt so good.  Energy was just fine. Never mind the fact it was in the lower 30’s this morning and that no one else was crazy enough to join us.

Went to see my “Hood to Coast” movie tonight and came home with pure inspiration.  Yes, it makes me want to find 12 running friends to do a relay now.  How about in 2012, the Texas Independence relay!?

I was able to enjoy a little Italian restaurant tonight called Raia’s.  It tasted so good.  When they say your taste buds change on a diet like this, it is so true.  All of a sudden, you start to taste the subtleties of the marinara sauce instead of it being masked by the cheese.  I am finally glad that I am started to see some of the benefits of this diet…whew!  Because after all I went through today, I was starting to wonder if they even existed.

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, and cinnamon
  • Tall Toffee Nut Latte with soy milk

Lunch

  • Leftover Lentil Pasta from last night
  • Orange
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar
  • Pint of blackberries

Dinner

  • Spring salad mix, tomatoes, cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette
  • Linguine pasta with marinara and mushrooms
  • 2 pieces of Sourdough bread and olive oil
  • A glass of red wine

Day 6: Serious Motivation

Okay, today did not start out as I planned.  I wanted to go to my first Masters swim class but could not get out of bed.  So my whole day seemed off.  No workout for me.  I am going to go to bed early tonight, and try my 5am speed work session tomorrow instead.

Tomorrow night I am going to go see the new Hood-to- Coast movie.  I am expecting some serious motivation afterward, and I mean SERIOUS motivation.

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon
  • Pint of blackberries

Lunch:

  • Leftover vegan mac & cheese with kidney beans
  • Leftover apple, celery and chickpea salad
  • Peach

Snack:

  • Bowl of Almond Honey Bunches of Oats with lite soy milk
  • Handful of almonds

Dinner:

  • Lentil Pasta with carrots, celery, diced tomato, black olive, onion (courtesy of Charlie)
  • Pizza Crust (Yeah, I went to a Houston Racing Triathlon Club tonight and they had free pizza.)

Day 5: Vegan Feast!

Okay, my sister-in-law Erin, is an amazing cook.  This vegan feast was the BOMB!  I was in heaven.  I wish I could eat like this every day.  Too bad she can not open a vegan restaurant in Houston.  Is there any???  I know in California, they are everywhere.  But in Houston?   We are so in need of a healthy place to eat.  And I mean really healthy.  Sigh.

So those of you who do not know Erin, she is a science guru (among her many talents) and our dinner topics sometimes take a scientific turn.  So of course I had to bring up the beans and the flatulence issue as I was still curious.

I learned that beans break down into a sugar that the body can not digest.  So to help digest this sugar, we need the help of a bacteria or enzyme.  Now if you do not eat beans on a  regular basis this bacteria/enzyme is in low supply.  As a result, there will be an increase in the amount of gas byproduct during the breakdown process since the bulk of the work  will have to take place in the large intestine.  When you start eating beans on a more frequent basis, the bacteria grows again in numbers and efficiently helps the body digest the beans before it hits the large intestine with less gas byproduct.  So yippee!  There is hope with this diet.  Feel free to share this new found knowledge at your next mealtime conversation.

Today was finally a good day.  I slept in really late today and was completely lazy but I enjoyed every minute of it since I plan to hit it hard with the workouts this week.

Brunch:

  • Flax Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, & cinnamon
  • Toast with hummus
  • Toast with almond butter

Snack:

  • Cup of pomegranates
  • Apple juice

Dinner (photos and titles courtesy of Erin with recipes to come):

  • Two kinds of crostini: a dill nut cheese spread with roma tomato and canelli bean spread with pickled red onions
  • Marinated tofu on a bed of sauteed Swiss chard from my garden and farro salad
  • Armoniche with veggies and a white wine lemon sauce
  • Vegan chocolate almond cupcakes (These were so mouthwatering good!!)

If I ever win the lottery, I would hire Erin to be our personal vegan chef or help her open her own restaurant.  What a delicious treat!  I am a revived woman in this challenge again.

Day 4: Emotions Rear Ugly Head

Short entry today.  More of the same phooey withdrawal symptoms so I do not want to talk too much negative dribble tonight.

Mostly I discovered today how I use food to deal with stress.  When you don’t have the numbing effects of comfort food, you are left to deal with the emotions. Yeah.  Fun stuff.

Ran 8.1 miles this morning.  I did not feel any significantly different than usual on the run.  I had fatigue toward the last half mile of run. Still having a hard time getting up in the morning.  Blah. Blah. And blah.

Breakfast:

  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar
  • Chocolate Bliss Protein drink
  • Tall toffee nut iced coffee with soy milk

Lunch

  • Chickpea Salad (apple, celery, chickpeas, lemon juice and salt)
  • Whole wheat toast with hummus
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar
  • Apple juice

Snack

  • Whole wheat toast with apple butter
  • Banana
  • Peach

Dinner

  • Vegan Mac & Cheese & beans (Soy milk, whole wheat pasta, red beans, vegan butter and Nutritional yeast)
    • This was okay considering it was missing the fat and sodium.  I will make it with mushrooms next time to add that extra something-something.
  • A bowl of pomegranates

Still waiting for that boundless energy to appear.  Any day now.  Any day.

Day 3: The Bear Comes Out

Today was a struggle.  It started out as a normal day.  I am on vacation so I slept in until I had to take the dog to the groomer.  I started out on a mission to eat more…but I had this appetite that would not be satiated.  Which has been my fear–too little calories will make you want to binge when you finally give your body more food.  Luckily, the food I binged on was high density nutritious food and I ate until I was full this time.  So at least I had that going for me.

Oh, but the cravings…the cravings kicked my butt today.

Breakfast:

  • Herbalife Shake vanilla with cinnamon, banana and soy milk
  • A bowl of flax oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries
  • Pink grapefruit sprinkled with a pinch of sugar
  • Glass of apple juice

Lunch

  • A bowl chickpea salad (can of chickpeas, chives, rice, lemon juice, cucumber, salt, pepper & EVOO)
  • Nugo Dark Chocolate Protein Bar
  • Handful of Almonds

Dinner

  • Veggie burger on whole wheat toast, tomato, lettuce, hummus and avocado.
  • Baked pita chips (handful)
  • Avocado and tomato salad with salt and lemon juice

Between lunch and dinner, Charlie and I went to Barnes and Noble.  The cravings were so bad, and that when we saw a Starbucks. I thought “If I could just have an ice coffee with soy milk, it would at least get my mind of my other cravings”. Well, I decided to pass on it and save it for after tomorrow’s run. I had became so sleepy, that I laid down for a nap and woke up an hour and half later. I had missed spinning class.  And I turned into a BEAR.  It was not a pretty picture.

What have I learned so far?

  • We are forced to be creative and try new recipes.  I am not a fan of chives.  But without grease and salt to flavor things, you start looking for other ways to jazz up food.  I ate a salad with onions…and it wasn’t so bad.
  • You really have to read the ingredients…all of them.  Today I noticed that the Herbalife protein shake I had been drinking has milk ingredients.  Doh!  I wont be drinking that anymore until after the challenge.
  • Chocolate cupcake commercials on TV are pure evil.  I drooled all over the couch.
  • I am also surprised that I am so tired.  I thought this diet would give me boundless energy.  Still waiting for that to kick in.  Maybe it has to get worse before it gets better.  Only time will tell.

Day 2: Beans, Beans Good for the Heart…Ahem

Okay, here goes day 2…I had to increase the protein and what better way to do it than add…BEANS! If only I can get used to the famous unfortunate side effect of beans. Sigh.  I tried rinsing them thoroughly before eating to no avail. There has to be some kind of trick out there besides taking Beano?  I will have to Google it tonight.  I will share any new findings tomorrow.

By the way, sweets are not out of the picture…I am allowed to eat dark chocolate since it does not have milk.  But dark chocolate covered with any kind of cake made with milk and eggs is off the menu.  I still have the most evil sweet tooth that knows how to take over the world, so I am definitely trying to limit sweets during this challenge.  They tend to make me weak.

Breakfast:

  • Honey Bunches of Oats with a cup of lite soy milk
  • Handful of red grapes

Lunch:

  • 1 cup of Chocolate Bliss (Raw Food Protein Shake)
  • 1 Nugo Dark Chocolate Protein Bar

Dinner:

  • A big bowl of black beans, brown rice, corn, sauteed mushrooms and onions (EVOO)
  • A pint of blackberries

The beans were so filling and I had a generous helping.  I did not intentionally skip lunch, I just happened to run a 4- miler in the middle of the day and I do not like to eat too much before and after a workout.  So to make up for it, I ate an early dinner.  My run went well but midway I could feel my sugar level dropping.  That feeling went away before I finished.  My analysis: my sweet tooth has previously ruled my world, and by shutting it out almost completely, my body is naturally adjusting to the change  so I should expect some withdrawal symptoms here and there.

When I write down my menu for you all to see, it kinda freaks me out on how little I am eating.  If my body thinks I am starving, it is going to hold on to every fat calorie I have like it is end of food as we know it.  My goal for tomorrow will be to increase the snacks.

In case you are wondering, Charlie has not turned into the Tasmanian Devil.  Whew.  Yet.  I am still alive and kicking.  He is eating more calories than me though.  Smart man.

Day 1: My 21 Day Vegan Adventure

So after reading book after book on eliminating meat and dairy, I am finally giving it a shot.  For the next 21 days, I am giving up all animal products.  I am using this site as my launch pad: http://pcrm.org/kickstartHome/.  I am so lucky that Charlie is joining me.  It will be so easier not to smell the food I am missing.  He is my added motivation to complete this challenge…although I did have to put a bet on the line. For the next 21 days, I plan to blog about this adventure and post my menus.

Here was my food list:

Breakfast:

  • Herbalife Vanilla Shake with banana and cinnamon
  • Half cup of coffee with non-dairy creamer

Lunch:

  • Carrot and Ginger Soup with brown rice
  • Pint of blackberries

Dinner:

  • Whole wheat spagehetti with marinara sauce
  • Handful of red grapes
  • Mandarin oranges (mini snack can)

How did I feel today?  Well, I think I need to increase my calorie count.  The plan is to eliminate fat and cholesterol found in animal foods not to starve myself.  I am craving sweets more than anything.  I miss cheese and chocolate.  At the office today, I turned down my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a hunk of chocolate.  Ugh. Tomorrow I will try some new recipes to have ready in the fridge to eat at a moments notice when these cravings strike.

Why am I doing this?  One of my goals is to complete a half Ironman (70.3).  The Half Ironman triathlon involves  swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and then running a half marathon (13.1 miles).

The two things I need to work on most to accomplish this goal are to improve my nutrition habits and my swimming skills.

Being vegan will help me cut back on excess fat and drop the extra pounds.  Since I dropped 25lbs in 2010, I have noticed a huge difference in my running speed.  I also have less aches and pains with less weight on my bones.  Nutrition has a huge impact on energy.  Just by cutting back on dairy and meat last year (not eliminating them completely) has given me huge results.  I am curious to see what happens after 3 weeks of cutting it out completely.  I want to see the best results, and from the many sources I have read, they all seem to point in the same direction.   I tend to balk at the mainstream and search for road less traveled.  So this path feels right to me.  Let us see where it takes me.