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

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

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!

 

Earthlings

I could barely make it through the trailer of Earthlings. I feel like I need to watch the movie, but I am not sure if I can.

I may have started this journey from a more health driven stance, but every thing I read, see and hear about the treatment of animals makes me want to be a vegan not for my health, but for so many helpless animals. Day 9, and I can’t see myself ever going back.

 

Dude, everything you hear about food is LIES.

I’ve always been an animal product eater, for all 28 years of my life. I thought eating meat was easier, and until recently I was not a very good or comfortable cook. Throughout college I survived on a diet of ramen and mini pizzas I made by pouring pasta sauce on English muffins, pouring cheese on top of the pasta sauce and then microwaving for a minute. Basically, I sucked.

Throughout college I always dealt with digestion problems, and when I finished grad school, moved to Cleveland and started my first year of teaching, s*&^ got real. I was feeling constant and terrible stomach pressure and eventually my boyfriend convinced me it wasn’t normal and I went to a gastroenterologist. I went through a lot of tests, but the doctor told me I had a really bad case of lactose intolerance. That was stunning to me. “All of this is just from dairy?” I remember thinking. What a huge reaction for my body to have to something that is so mainstream in the American Diet. I was even more surprised when I found out that most people are at least somewhat lactose intolerant, which begs the question, why is dairy everywhere then?

For the next four years I oscillated between avoiding dairy and taking huge amounts of dairy pills. As silly and common as lactose intolerance sounds, it started me on a journey of learning about nutrition. I also finally taught myself to cook, an experience that was akin to karate kid where I suddenly realized that I could “just whip something up” in a way I never thought possible. That has ramped up in the last year and I have read and watched all kinds of information about nutrition, with more and more of it pointing me toward veganism. At first I tried to ignore it, but eventually (read in the last month or so), it became impossible to ignore. I have slowly been falling down the rabbit hole (or perhaps climbing out of it) as I discovered all kind of research that everything you are told about food is basically false.

  • You do not need protein from meat, and you can get plenty of protein from plants.
  • Milk does not make your bones strong (in fact some research says it actually does the opposite).
  • Plants are more than enough food to fill your plate, and keep you big and strong.
  • Animal protein is connected to cancer, and often cancer can be avoided by veganism.
  • Our meat/dairy industry is destroying the environment.
  • As much as I tried to avoid it, animals are being severely abused in order to put meat on plates. I watched some terrible s*^& about this, and cried. I wanted to turn it off, but I can’t turn a blind eye on the problems anymore.

So here we are.

I am not here for a single reason. I am here for many reasons, including but not limited to taking care of my body and avoiding disease, taking care of the environment, and not spending my money on hurting animals. This is not going to be the perfect journey, and I am not going to be the perfect vegan. I will make mistakes, and it will take me time to get where I want to be, but I will live by certain rules.

  1. Vegan, vegan, vegan. Limit processed foods and sugar. Focus on whole foods.
  2. When I mess up, dust myself off, get right back on the plan.
  3. Feel no need to justify myself to family, friends and others who may judge, or claim I am not a real vegan.
  4. Continue to read literature on veganism.
  5. Keep this blog for accountability.
  6. Start with food and then try to expand my veganism to other realms of my life.
  7. Be honest, even if it is hard.

I can’t say exactly what J’s reasoning is, but perhaps we can focus on that in the next post.

Here goes nothing!