An Update on Our Vegan Diet

Vegetable Stir Fry

 

Back in April, we decided to go to an all plant based diet after we watched the documentary, Forks Over Knives.

Some people, including me, thought a vegan diet might be too extreme, and I know a lot of people didn’t think we could stay on it.

Actually, it’s been a lot easier than I imagined.

There are many things such as butter spread, coffee creamer, ice cream and other things that can be purchased that aren’t dairy or even soy based.

I think I do better than Dale, but he has done really well. He likes meat and will still get a chicken fried steak or tenderloin if we go out. I’ve had a couple of bites of pork, but that’s it.

I do indulge in sushi about once a month, and if there isn’t a good vegetarian option the few instances I go out, I will eat fish.

Other than that, I’ve given up all meat and dairy other than my beloved Ranch dressing.

Hey, we all can’t be perfect!

Dale has lost a total of 50 pounds since last year, and I’ve lost a total of 22 pounds. Some of that was before the new vegan lifestyle, but it’s all good.

When I look at our wiener dog and realize I’ve lost an equivalent of her body, I feel pretty good. I also have more energy, my feet are no longer in excruciating pain from Plantar Fasciitis, and I’ve been walking 1 mile per day again.

I’m not off of my blood pressure medicine, but I’ve had it tested, and it continues to be normal, which is a good sign. I hope to be able to get off of the medication by the end of the year.

I’ve also learned some lessons in going meat and dairy-less. If you’re considering doing the same, these lessons might help you:

  • Some people experience a “cleanse” when going to an all plant based diet, depending on the gunk that has built up in their systems. Dale did not, but I did, and it was a painful and expensive process. I didn’t know what was happening so I ended up in the emergency room after experiencing severe abdominal pain for a couple of days. My advice is to read up and prepare yourself for this experience should it happen. If you end up with a bowel impaction when everything is trying to release, it’s painful and pretty disgusting.
  • It’s really difficult to stay on a vegan diet when traveling, particularly. This is especially true in smaller cities where the chefs, even at nicer hotels, don’t have much experience with creating vegan dishes. I spent a week in a southern city and ate a lot of salads. Pasta with tomato sauce and bean soup was about as creative as it got.
  • A variety of spices are my new BFFs in the kitchen.
  • We don’t have to like everything. Dale doesn’t like quinoa and we both hate kale and tofu.

I’ve had lots of fun trying new and sometimes exotic vegetables I’ve never tried cooking with before, such as a variety of mushrooms, mango and fresh pineapple (I know, I had never bought a fresh pineapple until two months ago).

Here are a couple of our favorite easy recipes that you can use even on Meatless Mondays.

Green Beans and New Potatoes on the Grill

Two packages of organic green beans

6-10 medium red new potatoes, cut in quarters

1 large onion, diced

2 tbsp. New Balance butter spread or butter

1 tbsp. of crushed red pepper

1 tbsp. of fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp. of Cavender’s Greek spice (this is a local spice here in Arkansas. You can substitute any seasoning you prefer)

Snap and clean the green beans, quarter the potatoes and dice the onions. Toss together with the spices and butter spread in a large foil pan or piece of heavy duty foil. Coat well. Cover or wrap and place on a grill at least 400 degrees for about 1 ½ hours.

Serve with hot homemade biscuits or this is a great dish by itself.

Veggie Stir Fry

2 cups of jasmine rice

½ cup of organic soy or tamari sauce

1 bunch of organic broccoli florets

1 package of organic mushrooms (your choice) sliced

1 onion diced

1 red bell pepper, cut into slices

1 garlic clove, minced

1 can of water chestnuts, drained

2 tbsp. of McCormick’s Asian seasoning

2 tbsp. fresh ground black pepper

Sliced almonds

3-4 scallions, sliced

Prepare the jasmine rice 4 hours prior to cooking, placing in the fridge to get it sticky. I’m told this helps it stir fry better. Allow water chestnuts to sit in strainer while chopping up/washing the veggies. Place a small amount of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet and heat. Add onion and garlic. As they cook, slowly add other veggies to the pot, as well as half of the Asian spice, and cook until tender (you can add other veggies such as peas and celery as well).

When the veggies are cooked, remove from the pot and put in sticky rice. Pour in soy or tamari sauce and separate the rice as it cooks. Add the pepper to the rice mixture and heat thoroughly. Add the veggies to the rice, as well as the water chestnuts and remainder of the Asian spice. Mix well, but don’t tear up your vegetables.

Serve on a plate and top with a few almonds and scallions to add crunch to the dish.

Do you have a favorite vegetarian dish?

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11 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    Yo have done well. I switched to plant based a year ago but haven’t lost a pound!!! I also have experienced a bowel cleanse. ( nice to know what the heck that was!). I’ve given up cheese. Eggs, however, are difficult to let go.

    • Kerri says:

      Hmm. Wendy, that is odd. Are you drinking lots of water? I don’t know what your diet is like. We are truly eating LOTS of veggies, not a lot of soy (especially since we hate tofu) and trying to keep the carbs down. I’ve read if you eat a lot of cards when going to all plant based, it’s easy to not lose the weight. I read that people who go plant based should be losing an average of a pound a week.

  2. Mary says:

    Congratulations on your weight loss and steps toward healthier eating AND walking. Way to go. I admire your efforts and successes.

  3. You guys are doing so great! I am teetering on the edge of giving up sugar after giving up gluten and most dairy. It’s so hard to make these changes, but when you do and see the results it is amazing. You are really an inspiration.

    • Kerri says:

      I don’t eat much sugar anymore. Every once in while, I will eat a dark chocolate cherry I get from the health food store. We did have a dessert the other night after celebrating our anniversary. Still, i would like to give it up. You’ve made a lot of changes, too, Brette, congratulations!

  4. Sheryl M says:

    Great post! Keep up the veggie recipes. I’m always looking for new recipe ideas for eating plant based.
    Living in the south, I can sympathize with you about getting creative with ordering restaurant meals. The smaller the town, the harder it is, although most towns will support a meat and 3 restaurant, and there’s generally lots of good veggies offered.

    • Kerri says:

      Let us know when you try the recipes, Sheryl. This was a medium sized southern city, I would say and it was still a hard road when ordering. We do have a farm to market place in a small town near us with TWO vegetarian options! 🙂

  5. Pamela says:

    Good for you. I call myself a flexitarian. I shoot for a plant-based vegetarian diet but like eggs and cheese too much to go vegan every day.

    My town has a lot of vegetarians and vegans so even the local steakhouse has a few options. And the local ice cream stand makes a vegan ice cream with coconut milk. Chocolate is the best.

    After vegan chocolate ice cream, crispy roasted kale is my favorite. Most people who don’t care for kale like it (including my vegetable hating husband). Maybe you should give it a try. It’s a great substitute for potato chips.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s a good word for it, Pamela, I like flexitarian. I actually tell people we eat “mostly” a plant based diet, because we do. But like you, my husband likes eggs and cheese and even meat on occasion. I still have to have a sushi fix every once in awhile. When I told someone we were vegans, they started going on about not wearing leather tennis shoes and such. While I’m not wearing tennis shoes right now because of my feet problems, I really hadn’t thought about giving up leather shoes. So that’s the problem with labels, everyone’s own definition, I guess. 🙂 Thanks for the tip on the kale chips, I saw someone post on FB the other day swearing by kale chips. Maybe I will give those a try. Right now, we buy these dried beans, they have just a little salt and a little crunch to satisfy that craving.

  1. July 21, 2013

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