Monthly Archives: May 2013
I did it! Umm…yes, finally almost finished the month of vegan food, but what I mean is that I developed a great vegan healthy chocolate coconut bar! Made them tonight and they were yummy. I will post the recipe for you tomorrow night as a thank-you for following my blog through this month. If I can do it and successfully navigate Mother’s day, my 50th birthday, the Cathedral Arts festival, an invitation by friends to go out for ice cream, a church potluck and a successful band concert celebration without eating any refined sugar, white flour, dairy or processed food during these “treat” occasions – you can too.
I would like to encourage anyone to go through a detox or elimination diet. Do it to the level you can manage. For some, it might be taking your lunch to work and not grabbing fast food on the way home. For others it might be doing a trial of no gluten and/or dairy, or leaving out all processed foods, or trying vegetarian or vegan for a month. There is a level of detoxification that will work for anyone. Be careful if you have any disease processes going on, are on prescription medication, or are underweight. Do not even attempt a detox if you are a child or teen, pregnant, or have an eating disorder.
It is often best to do a detox under medical supervision, I do lots of elimination/detox programs with my patients (and I promise you, it won’t be 100% raw foods all month!), and found this has been helpful in many chronic conditions. As I found this month, even minor problems can clear up, such as sleep issues, joint aches, bloating, concentration/memory problems. If you are interested in consulting with me, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , or book yourself in for an appointment at http://www.wendynd.com . It will be an investment in your health that pays “dividends” for the rest of your life!
Here’s what I ate today – kind of a healthy treat day with a lot of chocolate!!
Apple pancakes – brown rice flour, tapioca starch, coconut very small amount organic brown sugar, soaked flax seeds, rice milk
Blueberry sauce – blueberries, Agave
Bok choy and tofu stir fry from yesterday
Chocolate bean balls – cocoa, dates, black beans, vanilla, coconut – beans go very well with chocolate, gives it moisture and bulk
Oven potato slices with olive oil and herbamare
Refried black beans with olive oil, garlic, onion, green pepper
Chocolate coconut bars – recipe tomorrow!
I want to talk about costs today. The month is almost done, and I am above budget by about $300.00. About $200.00 of this is still intact, in the form of the raw nuts I bought and could not tolerate, so I am going to say I am really about $100.00 above budget. So – is eating raw/vegan really more expensive than the standard Canadian diet? I don’t think so.
Consider during the month I was buying both for my daughter and myself. So we still have in the freezer there is chicken, fish and hamburger patties. There are also 5 cans left of a six pack of salmon. I also bought some cereals and GF cake mixes that were being cleared out, they haven’t been opened yet. So basically, we still have a lot of food in the house. I bought a lot of organic and GF products before this diet and continued to do so through this past month. Yes, organic food can be expensive. This week I felt like eating a pineapple. I certainly wasn’t about to eat the $8.00 one at the organic store, and didn’t even want to spend $2.50 on the non-organic one at the grocery store. I buy pineapples when they are $1.99. Buying when produce is at it’s cheapest (seasonally) helps cut costs. I also always check the clearance racks. Sometimes the food is better off in the garbage, other times there are some good deals on produce or shelf goods. Another way I save is by using coupons sporadically.
I shudder at a lot of the food that I see in other people’s grocery carts. Yes, white bread, pop, chips, cookies and sugar cereals can be cheap, but the nutrient density is low or non-existent, so the value is low. What many people don’t realize when they eat these foods, is that not only are they not taking in many or any nutrients, but nutrients are being pulled from their body to digest the junk. So it is like a double nutritional blow. Anyway, here is what I had to eat today:
Kale, swiss chard, spinach, strawberry, flax smoothie
Bowl of rice cereal with rice milk
Mixed green salad with kidney beans and eggplant/onion mix from the other day
Bok choy sauteed with garlic and GF Tamari and tofu
Grapefruit with Agave (by the way, my daughter had her usual post-concert treat of ice-cream – usually I do too, but I was OK with the grapefruit)
I did another set of measurements today. Weight remains the same as last week, my BMI is still 19. Waist hip ratio is now 0.79. Altogether I have lost 6 pounds and 3 inches from my waist, hips are about the same. Pretty good day today. It was grey and rainy most of the day, so I think that affected my mood a little. Here is what I ate today.
Chia seed porridge made from soaked chia and raisins, blueberries, Agave and vanilla extract
Field greens and pomegranate smoothie
Field green salad with kidney beans
Bhavnagari (see yesterday)
Brown rice pasta
Tomato sauce with garlic and Italian seasoning
Chia seed porridge as breakfast
I had a good day today. I had steady, sustained energy all day and got a lot accomplished. I think, if I can maintain a diet close to this, that I will be able to get more done in a day. I am very excited about this. I have learned many things through this month and taken my diet to a new level. If I was to summarize the key points from this month they would be:
1. Listen to your body. Even food that should be very healthy, such as the raw food and nuts, I found did not agree with me in large quantities.
2. Limit the time you are willing to put up with “detox” symptoms. I had chronic diarrhea for the first two weeks. This means that I was absorbing very little of any of my fat soluble vitamins, and I was losing more weight than I wanted to. If I had continued like that, I may have developed signs of vitamin A or D deficiency, or a bowel pathology such as irritable bowel syndrome. Listen to your own body rather than expert opinions. A little detox is a good thing. A prolonged rash or digestive disturbance may signify other problems.
3. Avoid as much as possible anything in a package. Even healthy packaged food should only be eaten as an occasional treat. Real, from scratch food preparation will always be more healthy than factory made food.
4. Include tons of vegetables in your diet. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous, vegetables offer tons of benefit. What surprised me on this diet was that vegetables are a source of protein, and if you eat enough of them you can get sufficient quantities. I am not so worried now about every meal being “balanced”, with a non-vegetable source of protein. Vegetables protect against cancer and aging, and even change your DNA (for the better). Green smoothies help tremendously with vegetable intake.
5. Eat seeds. I am planning on including more raw seeds in my diet. They are humble and not as tasty as roasted, salted seeds, but they are ever so good for you. Your vitamins can come from your vegetables and fruit, but your minerals come from seeds. Chia, hemp , flax , sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all superstars of the nutrition world. Best of all, for those with nut sensitivities, or those eating in a nut restricted office or school, seeds will more than substitute for nuts. They are also usually a lot cheaper as well. Soak them and they become even better for you.
6. Stop when full. When I am eating a very exciting or tasty meal, I only eat as much as I need to satisfy my hunger. I am thinking this is likely how we are supposed to eat most of the time. Consider cultures that are not affluent. People eat the same few foods every day, varying the taste of the food only for feasts and special occasions. It’s kind of like eating when you have a cold and can’t smell or taste the food. You just eat what you need. I plan to eat most of my meals in a very basic form from now on, and not strive so hard for delicious flavor. I think too, I will then appreciate the times when I pull out all the stops to prepare gourmet fare.
7. Regular detoxing. I have been doing some sort of detox once a year for the past three years. I am considering more frequent, shorter detox diets to keep my system clear. Maybe one or two days a month would be good. I really like the lightness and relief from symptoms that a detox brings.
Here’s what I ate today:
Blueberries with soaked sunflower seeds and cinammon
The Indian food from yesterday and a slice of GF bread
Vega protein bar (chocolate!)
Leftover sauce from the Indian food with chickpeas added over brown basmati rice
Sauteed eggplant and onion
Green salad of field greens and red pepper
Bhavnagari (chickpea snack)
I forgot to mention yesterday that I finally found a healthy chocolate/coconut bar. It was by Vega and tasted good. Today was busy with preparing to teach Sunday School and getting food ready for the potluck to follow the service. I took pity on the congregation and did not take the rest of the curried vegetables that I made the other day, but instead made lentil soup and deviled eggs. Then tonight we were treated to Indian food! Indian food is great if you are following a vegan/vegetarian diet, there are always dishes to choose from. It was a nice break from the monotony of what I had been cooking! Here is what I ate today:
Apple, blueberries with hemp seeds
Church potluck – my lentil soup, a raw vegetable salad and watermelon
2 slices GF bread with coconut oil
Chana Masala (chickpeas in curry sauce0
Baigan Bhartha (roasted eggplants ooed with onions, tomatoes and spices)
I can eat eggs, fish and meat in one week – good! This has been a rather long vegan month! I have not been feeling creative lately, and I think my protein levels are down. I felt pretty good today, we walked the length of the Cathedral Arts Festival then walked to the Cornwall Center. We avoided the mini donuts, frozen lemonade and especially the fudge on the way. Eating lunch at home just before we left certainly helped. We did stop at Starbucks before hoping on the bus on the way back, I asked for a small strawberry smoothie and drank half. I had hoped it was just berries, but it tasted too sweet, so I decided not to finish it. No ill effects, though.
I have another interesting symptom resolution to report. I have environmental allergies some of which were identified when I was a teen – cats, pollen, grasses, dust and some which I have since identified – mostly other fur bearing animals, some perfumes and some chemicals. I told my daughter last year that she needed to be the sole cleaner of the guinea pig cage since I would have a sneezing fit and my nose would run after doing it. The only time I clean their cage now is on Friday nights or when she is away at camp. I realized last night that the last two Fridays my allergies have not bothered me when I have cleaned their cage. (I don’t think I will mention this to my daughter though!) Nor have I reacted to spring weed pollen. This is wonderful. Amazing how food intolerances and gut dysfunction can have such an effect on respiratory allergies.
Yesterday’s breakfast mix with warmed blueberries and a dash of Agave
Leftover rather yucky curried lentil mix and quinoa with daiya cheese. Still didn’t finish this. Debating about getting rid of the rest by taking it to the church potluck tomorrow.
Spinach, avocado, chickpea, chive salad
I felt fine today. A little tired and not much appetite, but otherwise fine. And – I did well this evening. Many times on a Friday evening I want to get myself a treat, a week has gone by, my daughter is at her dad’s and I just felt like something special. Tonight I felt like a chocolate coconut bar. I started thinking about it while shopping in Walmart, then as I walked from Walmart to Bulk Barn I started thinking about it even more. Mainly, however, I thought about the other ingredients in the candy bar. The sugar, the dairy, the chemicals. I wondered if I could make something even remotely tasting like a chocolate coconut bar. Maybe if I used coconut, Agave, ground cacao nibs and coconut oil. I looked at all the bars in Bulk Barn, none of them combined chocolate and coconut in a healthy way. So I finally bought a bag of healthy sweet potato chips instead. Funny thing is that once I ate a number of those, I stopped craving the chocolate bar. I may yet try to make one, just not right now. And to be very honest, if I wasn’t reporting what I am eating, I might had the unhealthy version of the chocolate bar, or two of them.
We are surrounded by junk food, it is just too easy to obtain, and it is too easy for me to rationalize eating it especially if I am stressed. I want to break that habit. The problem is that while a chocolate bar once every few weeks is not a big deal, once I have eaten one, then shortly after I want another, then another. It seems to take so much willpower to be surrounded by abundance and yet ignore it. When I lived in the country it was easier. The nearest small store was a 20 minute drive one way. The nearest big store was an hour away. Now I can walk to a large drugstore in 2 minutes. A grocery store in 3. Another grocery store and drug store are a 15 minute walk away. Two ice cream stores are close by too. While the proximity of these stores is a blessing for buying my weekly groceries, they are a curse when I am craving junk food! And I am not the kind of person who can buy a chocolate bar and eat 2 squares of it each day and feel satisfied. It must be either the whole chocolate bar at once or no chocolate bar. Anyway, here’s what I ate today:
Apple, coconut, date, spinach processed together into a “cereal”
Lentil veg soup from yesterday and the day before
Tomato with Daiya “cheese”
Brown rice spaghetti
Pasta sauce with tomato and sweet peppers added
Sweet potato chips
My post for yesterday is late. I felt really awful last night, bad headache and vomiting. Went to bed early. Up to then, yesterday was a pretty good day. Energy was moderately good, no nasal symptoms. I stayed away from all grains. About 8:30 pm I started with a mild headache. It felt like eyestrain, and as I had done a lot of reading yesterday, thought that I knew where it was coming from. It wasn’t relieved by closing my eyes, and the intensity built throughout the evening. Finally I crawled into bed, then emptied my stomach a couple of times, the headache disappeared and I could sleep. My daughter figured it out. She had eaten the same food I did yesterday, with one exception. I had a large bowl of kale chips after lunch, she ate only one. Now, these Kale chips are dehydrated, which means that a large bowl is like eating 1/2 a large bunch of fresh kale. Her theory made sense, since something dehydrated will expand to it’s normal size in water, or in this case my stomach. Lesson learned! here’s what I ate yesterday:
Chia pudding with mango
Stew from yesterday
Curry – cauliflower, yellow squash, garlic, pumpkin seeds
Well, my digestion is certainly fine again, but my energy is not as high as when I was totally raw. Do I have to choose between raw food and chronic diarrhea or cooked food and low energy?? I am eating well, I am avoiding known triggers, but again today there was some nasal congestion, I was snappy with my daughter, felt a little bloated and needed a nap after supper. I just don’t get it. I feel like I am returning to my semi-somnolent state again, and I don’t want to feel that way. I can exist feeling like that, but not live well. Maybe I will need to take hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes with each cooked meal after this month. Maybe my body just can’t digest even vegan cooked food well. I don’t know. Any wise words out there? Here’s what I ate today:
Fruit salad of mango, orange and apple
Rest of smoothie that I said I had as a snack last night, but didn’t
Large lettuce and spinach salad, yellow sweet pepper
Slice of vegan pizza
Slice of vegan chocolate cake
Lentil vegetable stew – beet greens, sweet potato, caramelized onion, Merlot infused sea salt, green lentils
Slice of gluten free bread with coconut oil
Slice of vegan chocolate cake
Balsamic vinegar nutritional yeast kale chips
OK, writing this out, I think I get it. Maybe too much grain, even gluten-free with the pizza crust, the bread and the cake. I bet that’s it. Tomorrow I will try a grain free day and report how that went.
My 50th birthday today! Celebrated with a delicious dinner my daughter made of pizza and chocolate cake – all vegan and very healthy! I was reflecting on the last few decades of my life today, and thinking about how I would like to spend the next. I am encouraged by the gains in energy I have made over the last few weeks, and would like to continue seeing those gains. I think the key areas for me are to stay off of sweet foods and large amounts of grain and to avoid those foods I have identified as sensitivities. Next month I am going to focus on maintaining a great diet and add in more consistent exercise, maybe I should blog about that too, since it keeps me on tract! I weighed and measured myself today, I have now lost a total of 6 lbs since May 1st, my BMI is 19, and my waist hip ratio has gone up to 0.80. Not sure why the waist hip ratio goes up a bit each week when I am losing weight, but a nutritionist friend suggested that it might have been a food intolerance reaction, (the corn chips I ate yesterday). My breathing is amazing now, I think I am sleeping much more soundly because my nose is so much clearer. This means I am more rested during the day. Here’s what I ate today – the pizza crust was Udi’s, the “cheese” was Daiya and the chocolate cake recipe (which contained a large beet), was from the “Whole Life Nutrition” cookbook.
Smoothie of spinach, apple, hemp and raw cacao
Purchased vegetable nori rolls
Pizza – GF crust, pea protien cheese, tomatos, parsley, peppers, garlic powder, tomato, tomato sauce
Chocolate cake – brown rice flour, tapioca flour, beet, agave, cocoa, vanilla, etc. (sorry can’t give you the recipe – it was really good though!)
Smoothie leftover from breakfast