Test Results

Recently I went to the doctor and had my blood drawn. The truth is that I have neglected getting check ups for as long as I can remember. After I moved for work, I never established a relationship with a family physician, so I was surviving with visits to urgent care when I got really sick.

I decided to get my act together and got an appointment with a family doctor this summer, and got my blood work done for the first time since 2012. I remember in 2012 when I got my work done some of my numbers were high, which I was shocked by, because at the time I was at my lowest weight I had been in a long time (and have been since), around 130 pounds.

Now I am vegan (more than a month and going strong), and at a higher weight than I have ever been at 158 and going strong, unfortunately. For that reason I wasn’t sure what to expect from my blood work. Being vegan I thought there was a chance it could be better (though I doubted significant change in a month), but given my weight, I was nervous.

I got my results back today and was pretty well shocked. See below:

Cholesterol (MG/DL)
Desired Total Cholesterol is less than 200
Date
Value
07/31/2017
123
HDL Cholesterol (MG/DL) 
Desired HDL for women is greater than 55; for men is greater than 45
Date
Value
07/31/2017
39
LDL Calculated (MG/DL)
Your desired LDL level is less than 130
Date
Value
07/31/2017
63
Triglyceride (MG/DL) 
Desired Triglycerides is less than 150
Date
Value
07/31/2017
104
I was under by at least 30 points in all of my tests. The only test where I didn’t do stellar was with good cholesterol because I was under. I did look this up, and it said that is mostly a concern when patients are high in other areas, but even still I will need to work more fats into my diet (I guess a half an avocado every day for breakfast isn’t doing it). Might need to stop my salads with more nuts and seeds, and add some almonds into my smoothie as well.
I found this test results really reassuring. I am 28, almost 29, so these tests matter more and more. I may not be losing weight quickly (ahem, at all), but there are still changes happening below the surface that I should be proud of.
I have also had a drop in my blood pressure, specifically the top number and an overall lower pulse by about 5-10 bpm.
Another point for veganism!
Advertisements

Lots of Vegan Eats

I have been a little absent lately because I have been trying to accomplish things around the house before the school year starts again. I made the choice (mistake?) to begin stripping the kitchen cabinets so I can sand and repaint. I keep underestimating the amount of time things are going to take, so now I am kind of like please, please, let me get this done before school begins.

Anyway, just because I have been slaving around the house doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up a vegan storm. Tomorrow is our one month anniversary of veganism, and I’m not quite sure exactly how to celebrate. I may just make a bomb ass vegan dessert… maybe a cake?

I feel this anniversary pretty deeply, because I feel like this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel so good about this choice, and happy that I am able to make a positive impact on animal welfare and the environment but changing what I put in my mouth. I tested J by posing the following hypothetical: “If we broke up would you still be vegan?”

He didn’t even think about it before he said, “of course”. I was pleasantly surprised by his commitment. I think we both feel the positive changes this is making in our life. Even if I still have only lost ONE pound. Most likely because I have given up animal products I have not given up sweets.

oopsshrugchris-evans

So, I can’t blame veganism for this weight stale-mate. In other news, let’s get into some of the delicious food I’ve eaten recently.

Breakfast this morning: Turmeric Oatmeal

Yes, this oatmeal does look like Big Bird, but it tasted delicious.

Super easy to make. Just oatmeal, two chopped dates, 1 teaspoon of turmeric and a chopped banana to top!

 

Dinner Last Night: Kale Caesar Salad

Made this baby topped with:

  • sautéed red peppers and mushrooms (in veggie broth)
  • Ezekiel Bread Croutons (simple to make, just toss croutons with salt, pepper, veggie broth, parsley and bake at 400 for about 5 min, check often so they don’t burn)
  • Tempeh in peanut sauce (via minimalist baker)
  • Homemade fake Caesar Dressing, which was:
    • 1/4 cup silken tofu
    • brown spicy mustard
    • lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • Honestly, I just kind of made this up, tasting and adjusting seasoning as necessary)

Tofu and Brocolli with Brown Rice

This awesome recipe came from minimalist baker as well, I believe. Super simple to make and delicious.

Have an awesome day 🙂

Day 20 🎉

I can’t believe that J and I have hit day 20 of being veg-heads already. I haven’t posted in a few days, but you know I’ve been cooking.

My Minimalist Baker Cookbook came and I’ve been nomming my way through that baby, with a few of my own random things mixed in. Below are the meals I remembered to take pictures of (I am just to hungry to think sometimes!)

Stir Fry with Crispy Tofu

Can I just say that I am developing a real love for tofu. When you crisp it in the oven it just has such a good texture. I marinated it basically all day and because tofu is a sponge, it soaked up all the marinade and was ridiculously delicious.

 

This was my smoothie bowl to celebrate day 20. After continuing to read How Not To Die I have been trying to follow the daily dozen that Greger came up with (great iphone app if you are interested, or check out the daily dozen here), so I included both Chia Seeds and Flaxseed in this smoothie bowl to help me tick off some boxes in the daily dozen.

Ingrediants:

  • Three handfuls of greens.
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder

DONE!

Below was tonight’s dinner. Again from Minimalist Baker, I adapted her Thai Sweet Potato Recipe. Her recipe didn’t include the kidney beans, but I opened a can during my lunch and figured, what the hell, throw it in the mix.

I also added the purple cabbage as another nod to Dr. Greger and his daily dozen. I don’t really eat as many of the cruciferous veggies as I should (broccoli and cauliflower just aren’t my go to mix ins, even though I like them) and I had this purple cabbage so I figured why not.

I cooked it over medium heat with enough vegetable broth to coat the bottom of the pan and 2 tbsp red wine vinegar. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but it added a really nice tangy flavor to cut the sweetness of the tahini sauce. I would give this one like 9 thumbs up if I had them.

I also skipped the extra seasoning of the legumes and just cooked them with a little garlic powder in veggie broth. I figured why add extra flavor on them when I have the tahini sauce. Honestly, I didn’t miss the seasoning on them.


I have really been enjoying being vegan. I feel more happy about the food I am eating, and fulfilled that I am making a choice that isn’t harming animals or the environment. I know it has only been 20 days, but I don’t even crave animal products. It is strange, but I don’t feel any need or urge of any kind to go back.

I have always been an ice cream, cake, cookies person, but I have found myself craving less, or happy to make my own vegan creations. Also where I used to binge, and eat 5-6 cookies instead of 1-2, now I find myself more able to stop. Perhaps because my body is getting so much of what it needs that it doesn’t feel the need to crave things… or maybe my taste buds are changing. I don’t really know, but I know I am happy and feel good.

I am disappointed I haven’t lost any weight, because I definitely have some I could stand to lose, but I realized two days ago that I am simply eating too many calories– too much food. The past two days I started using fitness pal just to get an idea of how much I am eating and it has helped me make better choices.

Anyhoo, here is to 20 days! To many more vegan-iversaries in the future!

“How Not to Die” first 100 pages

I decided to take a short break from Eating Animals because I consider my veganism like a liberal arts college… I need a well-rounded education.

72qackr

So in order to round myself out, I started reading How Not To Die by Michael Greger, M.D., this week.

I have discovered over the past year or so that I am a huge geek when it comes to nutritional science. I love reading about food and it’s effects on the body, so you know I’ve been like a kid in a candy shop reading this book.

giphy2

I collected the most mind bending stuff I came across (although for the record I already knew a lot of other mind bending stuff included in the book, so depending on how long you’ve been looking into diet, this is probably far from an encompassing list).

Here they are!!!!!!

  • “If there’s anyone reading this over the age of 10, the question isn’t whether or not you want to eat healthier to prevent heart disease but whether or not you want to reverse the heart disease you very likely already have” (21).
    • Ugh. So at 28 that basically means my insides are allll messed up by meat.
  • “To become virtually heart attack proof, you need to get your LDL cholesterol at least under 70 MG/DL” (22-23).
    • I just recorded this because he made a distinction between what is average and what is healthy. Apparently a doctor may tell you your LDL is well within average, but in a country that is filled with heart disease that means next to nothing. 70 is a good level to strive for, for health.
  • “Thankfully, humanity dodged a bullet with mad cow disease. Nearly an entire generation in Britain was exposed to infected beef, but only a few hundred people died. We weren’t as lucky with swine flu, which the CDC estimates killed 12,000 Americans. Nearly 3/4 of all emerging and reemerging human diseases arise from the animal kingdom.” (78-79)
    • I honestly forget sometimes about the diseases we get from animals. He has a really interesting section about how many of the diseases we have faced came about when we domesticated different types of animals, and the hard truth is that the chances of another issue arising from animals is not a matter of likeliness but a matter of timing. CC lower quote about antibiotic resistance for more panic.
  • “With every breath you take, you inhale thousands of bacteria, and with every bite you eat, you can ingest millions more. Most of these tiny germs are completely harmless, but some can cause serious infectious diseases, occasionally making headlines with sinister – sounding names like SARS or Ebola. Although many of these exotic pathogens receive a lot of press coverage, more lives are lost to some of our most common infections. For example, such respiratory infections as influenza and pneumonia kill nearly 57,000 Americans each year.” (79)
    • 😨

  • “Another option for athletes who want to sustain their immune function is nutritional yeast. A 2013 study reported that you may more effectively  maintain your levels of white blood cells after exercise by consuming a special type of fiber found in bakers, brewers, and nutritional yeast. Brewer’s is bitter, but nutritional yeast have a pleasant, cheese – like flavor. It is particularly good on popcorn.” (89)
    • I included this specifically because J asked me the other day if nutritional yeast is a good, an empty or a bad food for you. I had no answer, but Dr. Greger did, and it is to keep on keeping on with the nutritional yeast.
  • “The director–general’s prescription to avoid this catastrophe included a global call to “restrict the use of antibiotics in food production to therapeutic purposes.” In other words, only use antibiotics in agriculture to treat sick animals. But that isn’t happening. In the United States, meat producers feed millions of pounds of antibiotics each year to farm animals just to promote growth or prevent disease in the often cramped, stressful, and unhygienic conditions of industrial animal agriculture. Yes, physicians over prescribe antibiotics as well, but the FDA estimates that 80% of the antimicrobial drugs sold in the United States every year now go to the meat industry.” (98)
    • I have some doomsday prepper blood flowing in my veins, so this quote pushed me toward the edge. To me overuse of antibiotics is similar to our environmental issues. They are literally staring us in the face, with evidence mounted even higher than our trash piles and people are still like “Eh, it will work itself out.” NO IT WON’T, CRAZY! We need legislation, and movement in the right directions and awareness like, yesterday. How is it that EIGHTY percent of antibiotics are going to the meat industry, people are talking about super bugs and basically the end of a world where antibiotics can cure you, and nothing is being done.
  • “So what’s jamming up the door locks on your muscle cells, preventing insulin for letting glucose enter? Fat -– more specifically, intramylocellular lipid, the fat in side your muscle cells.” (103)
    • I have heard this, but he put it very nicely that it is FAT not carbs that lead to type 2 diabetes. Basically fat stands in the way of insulin being able to do its job.
  • “The largest study ever to compare the obesity rates of those eating plant-based diet was published in North America. Mediators topped the charts with an average BMI of 28.8 – close to being obese. Flexitarian’s (people who ate meat more on a weekly basis rather than daily) did better at a BMI of 27.3,  but we’re still overweight. With a BMI of 26.3, Pasco – vegetarians print the Sea people who avoid all me except fish parentheses he did better still. Even US vegetarians tend to be marginally overweight coming in at 25.7. The only dietary group found to be at ideal weight where the vegans, his BMI averaged 23.6.” (105)
    • Now, he was drawing from a study published in 2009 for this one, so I don’t know if anything has changed, but this is really interesting. I am currently at a BMI of 28 which is close to the 30 of OBESITY, and well within the range of overweight, which begins at 26. I don’t know for sure what veganism will do for me as I have only lost 1 pound cumulative so far (although J has lost 11, the asshole), but I think that is reason enough to keep this going.

As a ending note, I have become very interested in poop since going vegan for reasons you most likely understand if you are vegan, but he had a really interesting section of his book about stool weight (.5 lb and up a day is healthy) and I also found this interesting video on his website Nutritionfacts.org. Basically just a quick video to get you hip on your poo.

Anyway, that’s all for this episode of Jane’s weird thoughts.

Have a GREAT weekend!

P.S. J and I are going to go explore some new vegan eats this weekend. Will report back if I remember to take pictures before I feed the monster.

http3a2f2fmashable-com2fwp-content2fgallery2f25-gifs-that-express-your-need-for-cookies2fwinston

Choco-Kale Smoothie Bowl

After the gym this morning (buh-bye 450 calories!), I decided to make another smoothie bowl because the last one was delicious. The result was this green beauty:

IMG_1686

I felt like I deserved it after completing the running workout at OrangeTheory, which was a run row combination that was both terrible and wonderful at the same time (Terrible because OW, and wonderful because endorphins). While on the weight floor the coach actually put a cone on my back while we were doing planks and told us if I dropped it we would start over. Not to brag, but like I basically saved the world today with my minute long plank. In other words, I DESERVED a little yum-yum in my life.

If you also deserve a little yum-yum in your life (I think that is getting vaguely creepy, and I will stop saying it now), then you can check out the recipe below.

Choco-Kale Smoothie Bowl Recipe

  • 3 handfuls spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup cashewgurt (or other non-dairy yogurt, preferably unsweetened)
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup almond milk unsweetened. (I’d start with 1/2 cup and up it if necessary to create desired thickness)

For lunch I made some purple potato, brown rice noodles and ate leftover coconut curry from last night. I thought it made for a colorful and delicious lunch.

IMG_1688

The recipe for the curry ramen came from Minimalist Baker, which is quickly becoming my favorite go to when I want a new recipe. I will admit that I didn’t precisely follow her version and instead used it as a kind of clean-out-my-fridge, free-for-all. In other words, my version also included celery, huge amounts of kale, a leek, and a half a cup of cannellini beans that I had, just you know, lying around). I am happy to report that the curry-miso combo was enough to make even my mish-mash taste delicious.

Which is why during a weak moment I may have ordered the Minimalist Baker cookbook.

1owpwdb

And yes, I looked exactly like the above picture when pressing the “submit order” button. Hot, I know.

Ending thoughts: I swear I am eating more delicious food now that I am vegan than I did before. I only hope I can keep this up when school is back in session. I believe I can-I believe I can.

Have a TUURRRIFIC Thursday!

Podcast Quick Mention

542905_132375506886804_635873093_n

I just wanted to express how much I love the Big Fat Vegan Radio podcast. It has been giving me LIFE as I do some home projects. If you aren’t familiar you can listen over the stitcher app, which I also highly recommend.

I love that they talk about current events in the vegan world, and things I’d never considered or known about previously. Plus, they are hilarious. Anyway, just a quick thought for your Wednesday!

 

🙂

“Eating Animals” First Thoughts

6604712-_uy475_ss475_

I am about 75 pages into Eating Animals by Jonathan Saffran Foer today, and I thought it might be nice to visit some of my favorite quotes so far. I am impressed by his ability to challenge paradigms about food and animals, and he is making me think about food and how we define what we eat versus what we don’t.

  • “We need to explain that the parsley on the plate is for decoration, that pasta is not a “breakfast food,” why we can eat wings but not eyes, cows but not dogs. Stories establish narratives, and stories establish rules” (12).

    • I had never directly thought of it like this, but it is true, much like social behaviors are taught so are food behaviors. I came from a meat eating family and thus… I ate meat. I learned what was good and what was bad, and the upside of this is that if we can teach children to eat animal products, we can also teach them not to eat them.
  • “In America, millions of dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters every year become the food for our food” (27).

    • WHOA. I didn’t know this. How did I not know this? This completely challenges the idea that dogs and cats are not to be eaten because they are of a different level than cows/pigs (which is asinine, I know), but this proves further that, that is just something we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better.
  • “No reader of this book would tolerate someone swinging a pickax at a dog’s face. Nothing could be more obvious or less in need of explanation. Is such concern morally out of place when applied to fish, or are we silly to have such unquestioning concern about dogs? Is the suffering of a drawn out death something that is cruel to inflict on any animal that can experience it, or just some animals” (31).

    • I think this speaks for itself. When is it appropriate to dispense a drawn out or merciless death on an animal without concern?
  • “There is something about eating animals that tends to polarize: never eat them or never sincerely question eating them; become an activist or disdain activists. These opposing positions– and the closely related unwillingness to take a position– converge suggesting that eating animals matters. If and how we eat animals cuts to something deep” (32)

    • THIS. I think for a long time I pretended like what was happening to animals was not actually happening because I was cowardly and afraid of what people might say. Just like so many other things in this world, standing up for what you believe in takes guts, especially because people will look at you and judge you without understanding the full topic that is the basis of their judgement.
  •  “Ultimately the controversy around PETA may have less to do with the organization than those of us who stand in judgement of it– that is, with the unpleasant realization that “those PETA people”have stood up for the values we have been to cowardly or forgetful to defend ourselves” (72).

    • Cowardly, forgetful.
  • “Two friends are ordering lunch. One says, ‘I’m in the mood for a burger,’ and orders it. The other says, ‘I’m in the mood for a burger,’ but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else. Who is the sentimentalist?” (74).

    • I love this, because people are so quick to say, “you’re too sensitive” or the whole “bleeding heart vegan” idea, but the truth is that vegans are often informed about farming practices that others are not and make the more difficult choice to abstain in a culture where animal products are incredibly prevalent.

That is what I’ve collected so far. Interested to hear any of your thoughts. I feel like I am on a journey of sorts right now. Everywhere I look I see articles about animal treatment and the environment as it relates to veganism, and I am glad. I am glad to be spending my time learning about something, and not turning my back anymore.

Smoothie Bowl: Chocolate Almond Butter

IMG_1665.JPG

Today I made my first smoothie bowl and man was it YUM. I used a recipe in Runner’s World as a basis, but it was not vegan, so I had to go slightly rogue. It was super easy to make and I had all the ingredients on hand already, which is the best kind of recipe.

Normally after working out ( I do OrangeTheory) I like to use protein powder. I have found I am less sore the next day, and it helps me to get enough nutrition which I struggle with at breakfast and lunch.

Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1 scoop protein powder
    • (I use NitroFusion Chocolate Protein Powder, which is vegan)
    • ((I didn’t add any cacao because my protein powder is chocolate, but if yours isn’t I would add about one tbsp of cocoa/cacao in)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Toppings: Knock yourself out! I used a hemp granola, blueberries and raspberries

Directions:

  1. Blend all of the ingredients (minus toppings). Scoop that ish into a bowl and top away. (Easy right)

 

Eating Out AKA Steamed Vegetables

My parents were in town this weekend, which meant an interesting struggle between their meat eating ways and our new vegan ones.

I made chickpea (faux tuna) salad for lunch, and realized only when we sat down at the table that they hadn’t understood that “tuna” in quotation marks meant no actual tuna—oops. Faux or no, the chickpea salad was delicious and will definitely be in the lunch rotation, especially on the weekends. We ate in on Ezekiel Bread and HOT DAMN that stuff is tasty.

giphy1

We decided to go out to dinner and I picked PF Changs because they have a vegetarian menu and I read online that the lettuce wraps (my favorite PF Changs item) are vegan if made with tofu. So I go to the restaurant and order them and then because I am still nervous about this vegan thing said, “That is vegan, right?”

Five minutes later the waitress comes back and says “the sugar isn’t vegan, and the cook said neither is the tofu.”

I am a new vegan, but this gave me all the WTFs. Either the cook was messing with me, was uninformed, or I know way less than I thought, because aren’t sugar and tofu both vegan?

Anyway, she said I could order the Buddha’s Feast which was “definitely vegan”. Yeah… because it was actually just a plate of steamed vegetables with no sauce. J was smart enough not to ask, so he ended up with a delicious coconut milk tofu stir fry that I kept side eyeing as I speared my vegetables. Although the truth is I wan’t that unhappy because the Buddha’s Feast wasn’t so bad when I poured a little soy sauce on top and mixed in my brown rice. (Am I the only one that cook eat brown rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner plain?)

We rounded out the evening by going to Earth Fare (praise), so I could get a vegan cupcake. I would like to cut down on my addiction to sugar, but for now, that is the best I can do.

I failed at meal prepping today because I was tired and we went to see The Big Sick and worked outside, but tomorrow I will prep and get everything ready to go for the rest of the week. I will post the chickpea tuna salad recipe in case anyone is interested and my first thoughts on Eating Animals.

Hope everyone has a survivable Monday!

Jane

P.S. J has now lost 10 pounds, and we are 12 days vegan. Excited to hit that clean 20.

DAY TEN

Today is my vegan day ten-iversary.

w6aaa

Honestly, I am amazed at how seamless the process has been so far (**she said as she knocked on wood and hoped she didn’t curse herself).

Both J and I have managed to abstain, although he did admit a weak moment two nights ago when he started heading toward McDonalds and then managed to avoid it and go home instead. He said the craving started because of a commercial and it got me thinking about advertising. I don’t have cable, but I will say between hulu advertising and online advertising, I get why going vegan can be so hard.

Our bodies are addicted to this food and then we see it over and over again, presented in a fashion meant to make it look delicious, healthy and cool. Personally, I am having a hard time even finding meat appetizing after watching some of the stuff I have about animal cruelty, but even I had a moment of craving when I caught a Taco Bell ad.

I don’t think I could ever go back to meat or dairy after really understanding how that product got to the store, and I am going to be reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which (if what I’ve read is true) should be the last nail in the coffin that was my meat eating days.

6604712-_uy475_ss475_

I think J is feeling dedicated more for health reasons. He has lost five pounds, and said he is feeling all around better. I notice that too. My tummy is happier than it has been in a looooooong time, and my acne has actually cleared up, which is a completely unexpected plus that I can only guess must be related. Plus I just feel WAY less bloated.

I did splurge and eat some Oreo’s last night, which are apparently accidentally vegan, but they gave me a headache immediately. Not sure if it was the high amounts of sugar or what, but I will not be eating those again, especially because they do break my rule about processed foods and trying to do this whole vegan thing through whole foods.

Anyway, here is to our day ten vegan anniversary!!! I’ll be spinning into this Friday like Kevin Bacon (the only Bacon I am into).

kbs

Have a wonderful day!