Friday, September 21, 2012

Someone’s In The Kitchen…… (posted by Evelyn)

  And thankfully it’s Steve and not me.  When he cooks, it’s usually a dish that is very labor intensive and takes hours to prepare.
  Steve is skinny.  Steve needs to eat A LOT in order to not lose weight.  Lately,  I have found myself cooking more and more higher calories foods to satisfy his appetite.  And that’s not helping me because I am only down 14 pounds this year.
Solution:  On Steve’s 3-4 days off each week he is going to advance cook his own meals and because he’s not as strictly vegan as I am he can shop for and cook with cheese and whatever else he wants.  Here he is preparing lasagna rolls stuffed with an eggplant ricotta cheese mixture that I’m going to stay away from.  At the same time I have plenty of veggies and fruit on hand so his dishes won’t tempt me.
And this was my lunch today – no cooking required.  It was also my supper last night and is so easy and tasty that I’m tempted to prepare it 7 days a week. 
There’s no name for this dish because I made it up.  Take baby romaine lettuce leaves (mine came from Costco) and fill them with black beans (rinsed), some chopped green onion, diced avocado, chopped bell pepper, and top with salsa.  I did make the salsa from scratch so that it wouldn’t have salt included. The nice thing about these smaller romaine lettuce leaves is that you can easily hold them with your hand and they don’t bend.  Also on the plate is a fruit salad made with honey dew melon, apples, oranges, kiwi, and dark seedless grapes. 
   The past several months I have had blog-block and hopefully can soon get back into the swing of posting again.  In my last post I wrote about the special blood tests I was having to determine if my high cholesterol was genetic.  I also ended up seeing a cardiologist and having several other tests including a stress echocardiogram.  For the most part, results were much better than expected given my family history. Perhaps at some point I will post the details - I learned so much and there is a lot to write about.
And once again our family history of heart disease strikes.  Last week my 63 year old brother Herb had emergency bypass surgery for three arteries that were up to 98% blocked.  For the past year, I had been trying to convince him to change his diet of donuts, bags of salty nuts, and fast food junk.  He improved his diet but evidently not enough.  He admitted to me that he had a cheeseburger the day he had the chest pains and went to the emergency room.  To his credit he had lost 22 pounds this summer but has more to go.  The thing is, Herb had no other risk factors other than his horrid diet and being overweight.  His cholesterol was fairly low, low blood pressure, had never smoked (or drank), and he was very active with almost daily lap swimming and bicycling.  So now we will see if he drastically changes his diet and what affect that will have on his health. 
And a little bit off topic but I have to say it:  Last year, when my 55 year old sister went to the emergency room for what symptoms we do not know, the doctor prescribed pain pills and sent her home. (My mother found the emergency room paperwork and pills in her purse).  Five days later, she was found unconscious in her house and died that evening.  An autopsy determined she had had a heart attack 5-10 days previous.   Most probably, my sister didn’t have the classic heart attack chest pains but by now I would think doctors would be aware of the other symptoms women have and test accordingly. It just shows what we know already, that women are not taken as seriously when they go to the emergency room and so we have to be much more aggressive and vocal in these health situations.  This is why I have pushed to have the tests done to at least learn what my health status is and to try and prevent the same outcomes as so many members of my family have experienced.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A 5-day Juice Fast! (posted by Tessa)

Tessa, her Dad, and Daughter completed a 5-day Juice Fast to cleanse and lose weight.  Results are posted!  Below that, you can read the daily Vegan Vagabonds Facebook juicing posts if you're curious in how it went.  (join our Facebook page if you'd like to be inspired daily!)  

Hope this encourages you to try your own Juice Feast!

5-Day Juicing Results: in winning order in this friendly competition:

Tessa's Dad (Gary): WINNER! (Age 71- Started 1/2012 at 211 lbs mostly-plant-based diet):
Monday 197 (juicing starting weight)
Tues 193
Weds 190.75
Thurs 190 (3.55% on 7 lbs)
Fri Forgot to weigh
Sat 188 (Hooray!)
Final results: 4.6% loss of 9 lbs!!! Wow!

Jazy: (Age 17- Height 5'11", plant-eater since 8/2011)

Monday 144.4 (starting weight)
Tues 143.8
Weds 141.6
Thurs 141.0
Fri 141.0
Sat 139.8 (Terrific!)
Final results: 3.2% loss of 4.6 lbs 
<Jazy's Plant-Eater ideal weight is below is 142 lbs>

Tessa:  (Age 44- Ht 5'6" started at 140 lbs in 8/2011)
Monday 119.4 (starting weight)
Tues 118.0 
Weds 117.2
Thurs 116.2
Fri 116.0 
Sat 116.0 (Yahooey!)
Final results: 2.8% loss at 3.4 lbs 
<Tessa's Plant-Eater ideal weight is below is 117 lbs>

We all feel like winners for losing some stubborn weight and for finishing what we'd started.  All of us were pleased with our weight losses.  None of us felt overly zinging or enthusiastic on the juice feast (and sometimes we were almost whiny).  But we did it anyway and we're delighted we did.

Dad is going to continue juicing on a modified schedule.  I am going to decide it one meal at a time.  Jazy is finished juicing for awhile since she's reached her goal. (She went skipping out victoriously to search for a Homecoming Dance dress.) We are definitely careful not to eat much today on our shrunken stomachs because we don't want to feel sick from a quick change.

In case anyone else was wondering:  After eating plant-based for so long (which keeps the digestive system moving) after just 3 days of juicing, we no longer had fiber inside us to poop.  My green smoothie this morning (in the blender) started things back up again.  That's all I'm saying about that.

A big shout out to plant-eating friend, Charlie T. for juicing in solidarity with us.  Thanks!  It is amazing how helpful it is to have support when you're juicing!

Here is Dr. McDougall's chart for worldwide Plant-Eaters Ideal Weights:

HeightWt. Should Be Below* lbs.
4ft 11in91
5ft   1in97
5ft   2in100
5ft   3in104
5ft   4in108
5ft   5in112
5ft   6in117
5ft   7in122
5ft   8in127
5ft   9in132
5ft  10in137
5ft  11in142

*Fully Dressed
HeightWt. Should Be Below* lbs.
5ft   2in110
5ft   3in115
5ft   4in120
5ft   5in125
5ft   6in130
5ft   7in135
5ft   8in140
5ft   9in145
5ft  10in150
5ft  11in155
6ft    1in165
6ft    2in170
6ft    3in175
6ft    4in180
6ft    5in185
*Fully Dressed


Day 1:  Monday

Heads up! A Juice Feast is on! Anyone who wants to join my daughter, Jazy, and I (Tessa) juicing this week is welcome to jump in. We are planning to juice through Friday. 

I've never done it, but so far I have not felt hungry, which is a great thing! I'm drinking a quart mason jar full of mainly veggie, some fruit, juice for each meal and a pint as snack if needed. 

You can do whatever schedule works for you, even if it is just one day to see how you feel. I know my Dad is in too. He started this morning. Join us for some juicing fun!


Day 2:  Tuesday

Good morning, my plant-strong friends!

First up: I was asked "Why are

 you doing a juice fast" and here's my response:

I'm fasting (or juice feasting) for a variety of reasons:

I'm curious how it feels (example: hungry? exhilarating? detoxing? zinging? and do you poop during a juice fast?)

I have friends who do juice fasts and I've never done one myself- slack! Rather than keep asking them how it feels, I'm doing it myself.

I want to break food addictions: I think it's amazing how wrapped up in food we get. My primal instinct is to truly worry that I'm going to starve to death if I have to change my diet and I think that is really pitiful, yet telling. But I can power through that feeling.

So I (surprisingly easily) survived yesterdays fast without going hungry. Stocking all those veggies and fruits for juicing is a lot of work, as is juicing (30 minutes from start to finish on lunch and then snack for Jazy and me, but the time still seemed long to me), but it is worth it and I will get faster.

My weight is down from yesterday's 119.4 to 118 today, which is the lowest it has ever been as an adult, even lower than my 119 high school weight. At 5'6" Dr. McDougall says that based on worldwide plant-eaters, my ideal weight will be below 117. I believe it! I still have wads of fat on my backside. TMI!

I wonder if my weight will bounce back up at the end when I start eating food. Most people find the weight does not return if they continue our exceptionally healthy eating. Will see.

Dad is juice fasting with us, which is great support. He is quite an encouragement as this is his 2nd fast and he lost 12 pounds on his first juice fast!  Am finding juicing an easy way to get what we want quickly- that old fat to slide off so we can be our healthiest.

I feel great! The juice is surprisingly filling and I don't crave other food. I feel energetic and light. There's no zinging feeling yet, but I do feel good and I slept fine through the night. I'm always afraid of waking up hungry and having to eat at 3am, so I normally eat granola and almond milk before bed. I did drink some juice as a snack before bed and that did the trick. I slept great!

Jazy wants to buy a Homecoming Dance dress after the fast. It's a healthy, highly nutritions, very fast weight loss for her to return to her pre-summer travels weight. Her school friends were talking about a celebrity's unhealthy fast on water, cayenne powder, and honey (ugh!) and she had to talk with them again about good nutrition.

We can do it! We can reach our healthy goals!


Day 3 (Wednesday)

I feel good today! Yesterday was "Irritable Day" (detox perhaps?) but today I feel more awake, energetic, springy even! 

Tessa's weight today: 117.2!  Down from 119.4 at juicing start

Jazy has lost 3 lbs from our juice fast!

After going months at a time without losing a single pound, I'm thrilled to finally lose some loooooong term fat storage. Is it worth the trouble and inconvenience of a nutritious juice fast? YES IT IS!!!

I hope all of you making progress in your plant-based diet will share details on here too. It might feel like bragging, but others find success stories encouraging. You don't need to be anywhere near your ideal weight, and it doesn't need to be dramatic. Any progress at all will be celebrated with you! Oh yes! Please share to encourage others.


Day 4 (Thursday)

Breaking food addictions is a juice fast benefit! My stomach seemed to adjust yesterday to smaller amounts of intake, rumbling around. 

Likely my "never go hungry" slogan meant I ate TOO much food previously, which is why my weight loss has been slow. Supposedly our stomachs are supposed to growl 4 times every day.

Tessa's Weight t

oday: 116.2! (Yahoo! Finally below 117 goal for plant-eaters-see McDougall's chart from my Tuesday, 9/11 post)

Weight Recap: 8/6/11 (last year) =140 lbs.

Morning weigh-in's:
Mon= 119.4 (about to start juice fast)
Tues= 118.0
Wed= 117.2
Thu= 116.2 (that's 3.2 lbs lost during juice fast, 24 lbs since started vegan)

The shorter time between juicing and drinking it, the healthier the juice. I just juiced today's breakfast and lunch. However, my kids juice the night before so they can have breakfast ready. As long as the jar is filled and the lid on, oxidization and enzyme depletion should be minimal.

Since I started plant-strong 8/6/11, I exercise 300 calories + 3 miles worth of walking (any speed, any incline-whatever I feel like) on the treadmill 4-5 days a week and I've done about 12 classes of once a week yoga. I am not an exerciser, but it has become easier.


Friday (Day 5):  Today we admittedly plodded through.  A great lift occurred when a friend came over to juice lunch with me since I couldn't really go out to eat.  That was really supportive and she'd never had a veggie/fruit juice like that.  She said it was "Delicious!"  I encouraged her (as I attempted to do with Dad) to add more veggies to her chosen pile of sweet fruits.  Veggies to juice include celery, all leafy greens, cabbages, beets (and beet leaves which also juice red!), carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and different kinds of squash.  

Jazy and I were very happy to take a picture of our final juice dinner!  

Having others in the house eat real food (that I helped prepare), while we sat at the table with juice was an attitude challenge, but we did it!  And we are glad that we did!

Would anyone else like to report on how your juicing or plant-strong diet is going? We LOVE to hear it!! :) 

To your EXCEPTIONAL health! 


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Can decades of dietary abuse be reversed in just 4 months? (by Lynne)

This weekend marks my 4-month "Veganniversary" so I got a health check yesterday to compare my numbers. Here are the results:
  • 25 lbs weight loss
  • No longer "Pre-diabetic" (Glucose dropped a whopping 26 points to now only 84!)
  • BMI no longer obese (down 4 points)
  • Blood Pressure now normal
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol now normal 
This was all accomplished thru food changes alone! (NO exercise, NO prescription drugs or supplements). So, what has this 120-day experiment taught me?
  • Food is the most powerful "drug" we can put into our bodies...period! 
  • Food can help or harm me-- I am 100% responsible for that decision!
  • I don't have to exercise, starve, or feel deprived to lose weight
  • Type II Diabetes is avoidable & completely preventable

In the past 120 days, I've followed the "Eat to Live" guidelines pretty closely and have a good mix of veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains daily.  I've eliminated (or highly restricted) all meats, fish, dairy, sodium, oils, and processed/refined foods from my diet to maintain control over excess calories and cravings, but if there's a special day when I want something from that list, I have it.  I simply no longer make a habit of it.  

This feeling of now having complete control over my hunger and cravings is perhaps the biggest gift of this new way of living.  When I used to eat out of boxes and fast-food drive-thru lanes, I was continually hungry and felt completely helpless to control my weight or worsening health metrics.

My next focus is to add some fun and moderate exercise into my daily routine (to keep the weight loss going at a good pace, and to improve my final 2 metrics-- HDL and Trigs).

That... and finding clothes that fit :-)