Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week Two, and I'm Still Very Much Alive!

Well, there it is!!  GREEN STUFF.  It is one of the additions I have made in my quest for a whole-grain, plant-based lifestyle...and surprisingly, it is TASTY.  At least to me, it is.

I was so pleased when my mother told me that this was one of the best things I could do for my body...and that she was proud of me for changing my lard-eating, carb-absorbing ways.  Keep in mind, my mother lives in California - the land of the healthy.  I am languishing in the fried-food heaven of the South, where food must be covered in either batter or cheese to be considered edible.  And let's not mention my former addiction to batter dipped and fried cheese.  In fact, let's not tell my mom....ok?

My father passed away last August from chronic heart problems, and even though I am adopted, logic dictates that if I continue eating like I have been...I will follow in his footsteps.  I can't.  I won't.  I refuse.  I just have to convince my body that it doesn't NEED fat.  It doesn't NEED McDonald's french fries. It doesn't NEED bacon.  It doesn't NEED those cute little candy hearts that they only put out around Valentine's Day.   And over time, I hope to convince my heart that the love of those things will be deadly - because I can't tell you how much I LOVE those kinds of foods.

Week one of "The Change" went well.  I had no cravings for beef, cow's milk or soda.  None.  I didn't cheat once.  Since the beginning of the year, the only meat I have had is one boneless chicken breast, one tilapia filet, and a few small chunks of chicken in a quesadilla.  I haven't eliminated all the animal products from my diet, but I AM working toward that goal.  Yes, I'm getting plenty of protein.  No, I'm not tired.  I feel better than I have in a long time...honestly!  And I am more regular than ever (and yes, I just admitted that on the internet).

So, how do I make this green stuff?  Well, it's easy!  I usually prepare the bulk of the smoothie the night before in my blender:
1 cup baby spinach leaves (I make sure to rinse them and pack them down in my measuring cup to get a full cup)
1 cup kale (Which I had NO clue was something you ATE.  I thought this was just the decorative stuff you put UNDER the meat and cheese on the party tray!)
1 pear (I cut mine into bite-sized pieces before adding)
1 1/2 cups orange juice (Make sure you do NOT get sugar-added juice! Just PURE JUICE!)
1 frozen banana (Bananas need to be peeled BEFORE you freeze them, FYI.)

Now, I put everything in the blender EXCEPT the banana the night before.  In the morning, I cut up the banana, pop it in, and blend on the "smoothie" setting for a few minutes, or until the kale pieces are pretty tiny.  I like how the orange juice tends to saturate the greens overnight, making their taste almost non-existent.

I had a rude awakening when I realized that I am now drinking more fruits and veggies every day than I had been eating over a two-week period.  I'm not ever sure that this smoothie would qualify as half my daily requirements.  We hear that "fruits and veggies" business all the time...but have you ever tracked how many you eat?  You might be surprised how LITTLE you eat.  And if you take away all the "processed" fruits and veggies, with added salt and sugar...you might be even more shocked.

On to a healthier life...and to document the next part of the experiment...tofu.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A New Year - I Want a New ME!

It's the start of a new year, and I am going to try blogging again!  AND...I am really making an effort to start a "new me."  Previous efforts to get fit (lose weight) and get healthy (eat right) involved me jumping in 100%, with both feet, and usually ended up with me backsliding and then failing altogether.

However, I'm scared now.  I recently watched two movies - "Food, Inc." and "Forks Over Knives."  And this time, I'm going to start changing what I put into my body.  For real.

This is NOT going to be easy.  I love cheese.  And cheeseburgers.  And ice cream.  And cheese.  And cheesecake.  And cheeseburgers.  And fries.  This is no one-sided love - these things love my thighs, my butt, and my gut.  Unfortunately, they have made their way into my heart that is decidedly unhealthy.  Wait...did I mention that I love cheeseburgers?  Sigh.

I purchased "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn.  It's a primer for change, and I am still reading and learning and scaring myself.  Day One involved going to my local grocery store, and being dismayed at what I COULDN'T find.  But there was success - I discovered I like the taste of vanilla almond milk.  Eliminating cow's milk will be an easy change.

Day Two?  I made my own hummus!  I am not a fan of plain hummus, but it's healthier than cheese dip or ranch dressing.  I want to wean myself off these things, and store-bought hummus contains olive oil or other fat....so I did an experiment with hummus, adapting a recipe from the book.  

(That is not my actual hummus pictured.  Mine had no garnish, and was in a Tupperware bowl!)

Here is what I used:
1 can chickpeas - rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons of lemon juice
3 Tablespoons of water
5 sun dried tomatoes
1 jalapeno, seeded and drained

I tossed it all in the food processor, until it made a creamy paste.  It was fabulous!!! It also tasted a lot better than store-bought hummus.

Baby steps.  I think I will do better that way.  Week one - I will eliminate all soda, cow's milk and beef, and do my best to avoid foods that are not whole grain or plant-based.  "DO MY BEST" being the key phrase.  I have to change my mindset, retrain my taste buds, and realize this is a LIFESTYLE change...not a diet.

And breaking up with cheese?   Oh, the agony.  You have no idea.  Wish me luck.