An Update on Our Vegan Diet
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
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?