Progress report! Let’s talk FOOD.

Posted on January 22, 2013

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NERD!

NERD!

Halfway home from fatty town! First of all, I have been an on again off again vegan or vegetarian for well over twenty years.  I was doing great on my plant strong way until I got a little bit sidetracked with a big move and lots of changes in my life, so I decided to dive-in and go ahead and gain some weight so that I could clean up my diet and blog about it while I shed the extra L. B.s. (Check out where I pathetically lose my way and decide with conviction to climb back to the top of the vegan pyramid here: a.k.a. the birth of a blog.)

But since the day after my 40th birthday, as previously announced, I have gone full-blown, hardcore, plant-based whole food vegan.  No more bites of the kid’s uneaten macaroni and cheese. No more hiding behind the “but it’s organic at least” excuses. For real. If it doesn’t grow directly out of the ground (or off a piece of bark or in some hydro-suspension farming set-up, let’s not get too literal here, you know what I mean) I am not eating it.  And man has it been going great.

By the end of my gluttonous last days, I honestly couldn’t wait to stop eating cheese and extra oil laden crap.  I wasn’t even going all that nose-first into the bad stuff toward the end.  I did not have any last meaty meal or go get that lobster I was sure I would need to say goodbye to before I cut the meat and dairy cord for good. (And really, how often does anyone ever eat lobster? I didn’t even miss it. Not to mention after learning about fishing practices impact on the environment in a portion of my Plant Based Nutrition classes through Cornell, seafood is definitely a no-go for me) I didn’t miss any of the meat I was going to stop eating, either.  A few times, I even ordered chicken instead of veggie items, and when I started eating it, really wish I hadn’t. Now that The Year of Being Green is officially here,  I am dunzo.  Completely and utterly done, and haven’t missed one single thing one little bit.

I have completely immersed myself into a new world of cooking via Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World. (I know you underline book titles, but that is also a link.) I have always considered myself an accomplished home chef and get pretty excited about complicated recipes and learning new tricks in the kitchen.  This book is like a book of magic.  I have lived all over the world and never has my palate been so expanded. She’s a real chef-y chef, and although her techniques and steps may seem as if they would be daunting, she holds your hand and helps you laugh your way through it.  She really takes the stuffiness out of chefery, giving you the power to own your cooking room like you are gonna make it your kitch. Yeah.

I have bought new appliances, and my cupboard is stocked with new spices and things I’ve never heard of.  I went on a quest to find canned, brined jackfruit.  I felt like I was on a detective mission, and the kids helped.  We scoured the shelves at Whole Foods, checked out the local grocery, since it’s pretty stocked with ethnic supplies, and finally found what we needed at my second favorite store, Li Ming’s Global Market.  They had two beautiful, real life jackfruits in the extensive and exotic produce department.  That was fun to show the kids, they are as big as large watermelons, a beautiful shade of lime green, and spiked all over like the horns of a horny toad. Google it.

We perused many of the huge and long aisles searching through a series of canned and jarred goods, most of which are not labeled in English. After nearly giving up, as we headed down the tea aisle to stock up on some FooJoy hundred-bags-for-6.99 Genmaicha, there was yet another disjointed clump of canned weirdness. Star fruit(also in the produce aisle), watermelon, mango, some weird stuff I never heard of (but want so dearly to know) and VIOLA! Jackfruit! About ten kinds of jackfruit preparations and brands.  It held some serious grocery shelf real estate. I went to grab my can of choice at the same time as the only other person shopping that huge aisle went to grab the exact same thing with her toddlers in tow.  I felt like I had just tapped in to pure gold.  We gave each other knowing nods of wisdom (mine was fake) as we grabbed 2 cans a piece and headed our separate ways.

I cannot wait to make these jackfruit carnitas that are a legendary food of vegans everywhere.  They are food internet celebrities. (google that, too).  Of course, I have to make three other recipes before bringing it all together  to assemble the final recipe , even the corn tortillas.  Those I’ll pawn off on the hubs, since I got him (me?) a tortilla maker for his birthday a few weeks ago.  He has always wanted one, so it was an honest gift.

I’ve  also added these new items to my already pretty well stocked kitchen…

Carbon Steel Wok,    Garlic Press,    Box Grater (that big metal tent thingy),   Vital Wheat gluten (I could have written this whole post about how much fun I’ve had making different varieties of seitan),   Whole star Anise,    Ground coriander,    Daikon radish,    White peppercorns,   Chinese Five spice,   Sunflower and Pea Sprouts,   a mortar and pestle,  Hominy,   Masa Harina, Chickpea Flour… the list truly goes on and on.

So most importantly, how has this change affected my training and body shape?

I can’t wait to tell you.  I lost a bulk of weight the first two weeks, most likely water and bloat, but it is officially gone for good.  I keep forgetting to make coffee and have been opting for tea instead, because that’s what I want.  I have been sleeping like a rock, my average run pace has considerably increased, and I am ridiculously low-stressed.  This morning, I woke up to run 6 1/2 miles of speedwork, and I juiced 6 carrots, an apple, a bunch of cilantro, sprouts, and ginger and drank it down in a pint glass and headed out, just as if that was a normal thing to do.  I didn’t plan that out to be my breakfast, but that is what I, and my body, wanted to fuel my morning run.  Oh, and people have been telling me voluntarily that I have great skin.  Thanks, people! 🙂

I am really looking forward to the next weigh in, as weigh ins #1 and #2 were a bit of a disappointment. (Note: all underlined items on this blog are links, it’s tricky with such a basic template.)  I am seeing obvious results in the mirror and on the scale, and I hope that the up-close-with-a-flash pictures will show some progress.

Please check out my link to “Learn More about Stuff” at the top of the page. All the way up there next to “about,” in tiny letters above the big title.  I’ve included some links to some great resources if you want to learn more about the diet  lifestyle.

How are all my fellow runner nerds doing out there? Anyone learning anything new and exciting? Does anyone know where I can get a cute Vegan/100% Plant Powered tshirt? I just spent all day looking on Google until my iPhone died.

Happy Running out there! Stay warm!

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