Friday, April 20, 2012

I gave up dairy and meat, not art and taste.

April 20th, 2012

In case I haven't been clear, let me say loud and clear that eating without consuming meat, dairy, or oil DOES NOT mean sacrificing taste. If it did, I don't think I could do it, but IT DOESN'T. See the plate of food pictured here? Let me tell you about it, layer by gorgeous layer starting from the bottom;

1. chips made from baking organic corn tortillas, interspersed with slices of avocado.
2. a big spoonful of mixed legumes - adzuki, lentils, and mung beans.
3. a slow cooker mix of quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables.
4. garnish of diced purple cabbage, tomatoes, jalapenos.
5. dusting of nutrional yeast.

It was more than lunch, it was a food induced euphoria of taste sensations. I know that some of the ingredients I mentioned sounded unfamiliar, and there are some philistines reading this thinking it would be good IF there was a bacon weave draped over the whole thing, and I imagine some of you are thinking 'YUCK.' If I had been served this the first day I changed my diet, I would have enjoyed it. Now after a month and a half of not eating animal products, my taste buds are clean and tidy so that I can eat this and LOVE it. From a standpoint of taste alone, this way of eating is worth the switch. Oh, then throw in the fact that you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes to a teeny level, I believe the choice is clear.

Have I mentioned I've lost 21 pounds so far? No, I don't spend endless hours at the gym. I walk my dog, and sometimes make it to the gym.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some Observations

April 13th, 2012

Here are some things I've learned over the course of the last 30 days or so of eating plants;
  1. 30 minutes of exercise requires only 15 minutes of commitment; if you walk for 15 minutes headed away from your house, you'll walk another 15 minutes to get home whether you're committed or not.
  2. Life long carnivores such as myself can be turned off by meat after not having it for a few weeks - both hot dogs, and taco meat, just don't smell quite right to me anymore and strangely enough I don't miss the orange grease slick on my plate.
  3. You can get organic vegetable broth as a free bonus if you buy organic vegetables - just save all the cutting board scraps in the fridge for a week, then put them in a big pot of water, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for several hours. Done.
  4. Oil and butter are absolutely unnecessary for cooking veggies in a pan. Tonight, the wife used veggie broth and some garlic to cook mushrooms and red peppers for our paninis and they were fantastic.
  5. I have it on good authority from a certain pregnant woman that after skipping the ice cream for a month, a little goes a LONG way when you do indulge in a little. Imagine just not wanting more.
  6. A thought for, er, how to put this..okay, let's try this - keeping in mind the basic principle of 'you are what you eat' think about the....shoot...'flexibility' of, say, a big slice of pizza vs a carrot stick. in the performance department, what fuels your body absolutely has an impact.
  7. It does not cause physical pain to skip meat and dairy for a month. Really. TRY IT.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can you handle this much hotness?

Oh yeah, how do you like me now? 

> Total Cholesterol - 155 (down from 242)
> LDL Cholesterol - 77 (down from 146)

Got those blood test results this morning - my day has absolutely started off on the right foot!!! Okay, that's all I have time for right now.

 - Live long and eat a plant

Monday, April 9, 2012


April 9th, 2012

Ever heard anyone say something like; “I’m ethical and honest when I do my taxes, but once in awhile I cheat and overstate my charitable giving so that I can get more of what I deserve on my refund.” “I’m very committed to staying faithful to my spouse, but periodically I sleep with someone else just so I don’t feel deprived.” No? You have not often heard anyone come right out and say that? Hmm. Well, I’ll bet you have heard someone say something along the lines of, “I’m on a diet that really seems to be working for me, but on the weekends I cheat and have pizza so that I can stay satisfied.” Or maybe, “Oh I eat really healthy, but when I go out to lunch with my coworkers I cheat and eat wings or meatball subs to feel like part of the group.”

Hey guess what? I don’t think anyone can live that way forever – cheating, AND being ethical, faithful, and/or healthy. With money and marriage, you’re honest and faithful or you’re not – there’s no middle ground, no living on exceptions. Particularly marriage – if you think you can go into with the idea in my mind that you’ll cheat now and then, should you even wed in the first place? Duh – no. Now, I’m never going to give financial advise (other than ‘hey dimwit, don’t whip out your credit card and get stuff you can’t afford’), and I’m not big on giving marriage advice (though I often want to say, ‘hey dirt bag, keep it in your pants when you’re out and about or your wife deserves to meet you at the door with a cleaver.’) BUT this is my little corner of the internet where I feel like I can spout off at will about food.

To expand a bit – no, I do not think that it’s realistic for me or anyone else to go for the rest of their lives without eating all the foods they really love. So….do I mean I do condone cheating after all? No! Instead, I would advocate for a change of mindset. That requires two things that I can think of right off the top of my head (hopefully you’re not disappointed to learn that I didn’t really think this out before I started typing); 1) Learn to enjoy healthy food. If you keep eating it, you’ll get used to it and not in the way you can get used to losing an arm either, you can get used to a different set of flavors and truly appreciate God’s creativity in nuance in the plants you’ll eat. It'll BE the food you really love. Once it’s your norm, food loaded with crap just won’t be as big a temptation; 2) if you are skipping, for example, cheese, and you really really love it, don’t just mindlessly fall into temptation, cheat, and eat it! PLAN to eat it in a controlled situation. If you have your weight and cholesterol and such in check and you want to have a some cheese pizza on your birthday every year then I think that’s just super. If you have a fixed time when you know you will have it, you can more easily skip it in the meantime. Of course, chances are, by the time you get to your birthday you may have found something that you like just as much or more and have that instead. Personally, I think my choice might be a Panini with grilled veggies and hummus with a side of avocado piled high with pico de gallo. Decadent! Hummus and avocado in the same meal! Oh the humanity….

Okay, I better get to bed since I have a hugely exciting day tomorrow – my Tuesday weigh in AND a cholesterol check! Woo-HOO!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Carbs, the Scale, and Coffee

April 4th, 2012

Hey! It's been awhile! I had to put off posting for awhile because diet and exercise are apparently only part of life - for me there's also the wife and four kids, A JOB that my boss appreciates me paying some attention to, a baby on the way that's going to need some medical attention/surgery, a used car purchase, television...probably some other stuff too that I can't think of right now.

Previously I mentioned that I would continue eating bushels of carbs and see if I lost weight, since the popular opinion seems to be that carbs are the enemy of weight loss. I'm happy to report that though I've been going through the carbs like Willie Nelson goes through dime bags and hair bands, I'm down 15 pounds  (week 1: 4 lbs, week 2: 3 lbs, week 3: 5 lbs, week 4: 3 lbs) from when I started this little venture. Have I been working out like a maniac like they do on Biggest Loser? In a word, oh heck no (okay that was three words). I've averaged three gym visits per week, and some other incidental activity like helping at my kid's baseball practice, a walk or two, assisting in the management of a four year old, failing to get a good parking spot, etc. So in my case, weight loss has been more kitchen work than gym work. I really am trying to get to the gym more, but if I don't, then I'm glad that I'm achieving my weight loss goals while maintaining an activity level that can also accommodate the rest of life. On April 10th I'll have my blood drained again to see if my cholesterol levels have dropped along with my poundage.

I'm not keeping track of my meals anymore on the excel sheet. Why? Well, by now it's like documenting my breathing - it's my new normal. I'm paying attention to what I eat every day so that I don't overdue the fats and such, just not keeping the daily journal. I'm QUITE sure you don't miss it. I will say though, that my daily food intake is just real life scenarios, no diet deprivation or insane amounts of celery or anything. I get treats and everything! The other day my lovely bride brought home half of vegan orange/chocolate scone and it was fantastic! My taste buds have changed enough that the scone was as good as donuts used to be, for real!

Coffee, and the abundant availability thereof, has long been a big part of life here in Weir, TX. It's been especially abundant in one of the micro-systems here, namely me. Initially I figured my diet could change aplenty, but my coffee consumption would be gloriously unabated. Then one day at the gym I had a revelation so startling it must have been Jesus tapping my shoulder - I was working out hard, but NOT SWEATING. So...kinda figuring I've been chronically dehydrated since I first picked up a cup at age 14. Now if you know me, don't be alarmed at this, but...I'm down to2 to 3 cups of leaded a day, and some unleaded after dinner.

In lieu of a recipe, I'll share some about what and how I've been eating instead of meat and dairy; really, you can take a lot of your favorite meals and make some simple changes to make them plant based instead of animal based.

  • Pasta - make it a wheat pasta, go with an organic red sauce, skip the sausage or chicken, and add lots of grilled veggies or veggies sauteed in lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar.
  • Salad with Ranch or other crap salad dressings - hummus or avocado, plus vinegar or hot sauce if you like a zip.
  • All manner of sandwiches - find more veggies to love, like pickles, olives, chives, red and yellow peppers, jalapenos, greens, avocado, and hummus. Turn it into a panini and it's even better!
  • Burgers - top them with some or all of the veggies listed above, then slide the burger out and toss it to Fido. Or, make it a black bean patty - taste fantastic without making orange grease run down your arm.
  • Tacos and burritos - really just skip the meat and cheese. If you have enough of the other stuff and good salsa, you'll find that you can adapt quite quickly.
Okay, that's all for now - thanks for reading!

Oh wait, one more thing - to those of you that have said, "oh but Marck we'll miss your BBQ!" I have two things to say; 1) at some point I'll BBQ again for company and special occasions, and 2) what would you miss more, my BBQ or ME. Less BBQ means me around longer!