Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 21: Final Day

The last day of the vegan challenge.

I have mixed feeling about results right now.

Let me collect my thoughts and I will post a recap in a couple of days.

  • Banana
  • Oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries
  • Starbucks tall Toffee Nut Latte with soy milk

  • Spinach salad with corn, black beans, red pepper and cucumber with a sesame-ginger dressing
  • Dark chocolate chip Nugo Bar

  • Grilled portabella mushroom  burger with guacamole and lettuce
  • Baked multi grain chips with the remainder guacamole 
  • Quesadilla with soy cheese
  • Grape juice

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 20: Rainy Day Monday

It was a blah Monday. 

One of those cold, drizzly days where you wish you could cuddle up in bed with a book.

I did not work out today and I think I am gonna crash early tonight; hence the shortness of this blog.

I need to sit down and set up a training plan for the MS150 and the Big Sur marathon.  If not it is gonna sneak up and bite me in the butt. 

  • Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries and cinnamon
  • blackberries (about 2 pints)
  • Spinach salad with black beans, corn, red pepper, cucumber, and walnuts with a Ginger-Soy dressing
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo bar
  • Linguine with marinara and mushrooms
  • Dinner salad with tomato vinaigrette
  • Cup of grape juice

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 19: Final Countdown

We went out for Chinese food today and boy, did I blow up!?  Literally.

Too much oil and salt will do that to a person.

All the food felt slippery in my mouth...especially the fried won tons and veggie spring roll.  I felt so heavy for the rest of the day.  I never even felt hungry for dinner.

Now that we are on the final countdown, my mind drifts on new possible challenges beyond this vegan challenge. 

I could focus on different aspects of the vegan diet.  Like drink a green smoothie every day for 30 days. Or have two green meals a day. Or can I push this challenge longer? 

Do I even want to?  Hmmm... 
Ever wonder if a night person can reprogram into a morning person?  I have always wanted to change my body clock. Is this even possible or is this genetic trait?  Will I forever be working against the natural inclination of my body?  Like a fish forever swimming upstream?

I can see a major improvement in many areas, just by reprogramming the time I get up.  I love to sleep in but it affects so many aspects of my life.   I have to admit, this would be the hardest challenge of them all for me but if I could complete it, it would reap the most benefits.

I need to work on my swimming and I am still eyeballing that Masters swim class. I may do this for the month of February and combine the two challenges, since the Masters class is at 5am.

Discipline is a muscle.  The more you work it, the stronger it gets and if you don't use it, you lose it. 
  • A bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with lite soy milk
  • Vegetable Lo Mein with veggie spring roll
  • Ice Tea
  • Pineapple
  • Handful of almonds
  • Bowl of cereal (I wanted to finish the box so I could throw it away)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 18: A Calorie Eye Opener

I realize when I post my menus that my calories are on the low end.

For the record, I am not starving myself.

When I get hungry I eat.

I woke up at 6am and drank a shake on my way to our meeting spot at the church. I  ran a little over 6 miles, went to Starbucks, socialized, went for a swimming session at the YMCA, came home about 1pm and ate a bowl of cereal.  

I spent the rest of the day running around doing errands and picking up the house. I finally slowed down to eat dinner at 5:45pm.

I did not have sluggish energy today and I snacked on something every 2 hours or so. 

Some days are hungrier than others...and some days I am just too busy to think about food.  Anyway, I never thought about how this looked before until I started recording it for these blog posts.

What an eye opener!

To go from one end of the spectrum to another...go figure.

I should find a Web site to calculate the actual calorie count for me.

Up to this point, I have been estimating, but now I am really curious.

  • Protein shake
  • A quarter slice of orange
  • Grande toffee nut latte with soy milk
  • Bowl of Honey Bunch of Oats with soy lite milk
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo bar
  • 3 handful of almonds
  • Cup of mandarin oranges
  • A big bowl of leftover chili macaroni
  • Popcorn
  • A glass of dark chocolate almond milk

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 17: The Cost of Veganism

Today was much better with the cravings.  Although I wish I could say the same about my stress level today at work.

One comment that I hear quite frequently is how expensive eating vegan can be. 

Let me explain the alternatives...

When we do not eat vegan, we eat out way too much.  It is really easy to spend $600-$1,000 on month on eating out. Have you noticed that the average meal is $10 a person now?

If you eat out for lunch and dinner, that is $20 a day.

Now, let us say you have a household of two.

You both ate out for lunch, and now you eat out for dinner.

$40 a day.  This is only an average, of course.

7 days a week.  $210 a week.

This does not include breakfasts or the grocery shopping you did at the beginning of the week (with good intentions but that you end up throwing half the food away because you ate out anyway).

$210 a week for a month...is $840. For fatty, unhealthy food...well, maybe only 90% of it. Ouch.

So on top of shrinking the size of your wallet, you slowly expand the waistline. 

But can you really help it when the food you eat when you eat out, tastes so good!?  It is either cooked in butter, smothered in cheese or doused in cream sauce (or all of the above).  You don't realize it until you try to find something on the menu that is not cooked with cheese, oil or has grease.  You will quickly see that there is really not much left to choose from.

Hmmm...a bed of lettuce anyone?  Yawn. 

It is amazing to see what the actual calorie count is of our favorite foods in restaurants according to the book Eat This, Not That.   A single basket of chips and salsa in a typical Mexican restaurant averages around 500 calories.  That is before we even eat our meal!

It is way more fun to live in denial.

That is, until your health catches up to you.  And you have to buy bigger clothes.  And then you need to buy cholesterol or high blood pressure medication for the rest of your waking life.  Or maybe you will have to monitor your blood sugar. Or unfortunately have a heart attack and spend a night or two in a hospital to clear up blockages in your heart.  Blood tests.  Doctor visits. Lost time at work.


So although my grocery bill may be higher, the quality of my food is better.  I pay more now, to pay less later.

Now I actually eat my groceries instead of throwing them away.   I am forced to be creative and cook my own meals.  I see exactly what I am putting in my food.  Until the masses pay more attention to the quality of food they put in their mouth, the multi-billion dollar food industry will continue to focus on creating cheap food products.  This is how they make their money and the pharmaceutical companies, too.

So, as you can see, there is a method to my madness.  My body is a machine and I want it to run as well as possible.  Putting high quality food in it will keep me running longer.  I don't want to neglect it now and pay for major repairs later.  I am saving in ways that will reap rewards later.

For the record, I still like eating out and I do.  But now I am just more selective of where I go and how often.  And when I am disciplined enough to watch what I eat and spend, then it makes splurging on dessert that much sweeter.

  • Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries and cinnamon

  • Leftover tofu, mushroom and Udon pasta from last night
  • Orange

  • Vegan Chili Pasta (spiral pasta, with tomato sauce, kidney beans and Sloppy Joe powdered mix)
  • I slice toast with strawberry jelly
  • Almonds

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 16: They're Baaaaack!

The cravings are back.  Ugh.  This time, it was for cottage cheese.  I know, could it be any weirder?

My stress level climbed so high today that I questioned why I was doing this again.  Maybe all the feedback on how crazy I am to do this all  is true. I am so close to the end so I do not quite understand where all this weakness is coming from. Must keep going...only 5 more days.

There is quite a bit of change at work. I have a feeling that this added stress is the major monkey wrench in this challenge. I am coming up on another crossroad in my life and that is causing the bulk of my stress. There is the safe choice...and then there is "the leap out of a plane and hope the parachute works" choice. 

One of my favorite movies is called "Fools Rush In".   There is a scene where a homeless man tells Matthew Perry that he looks lost.  All he has to do is follow the signs.  The signs are everywhere.  I see the signs.  Everyday.  But still, I am frozen like a deer in headlights.  I need to make career move that will change my life as I know it. Or maybe not?  I will keep you posted.  Promise.

  • Oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

  • Flat bread with hummus
  • Cucumber dipped in hummus
  • Red Pepper
  • Toast with grape jelly 
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Handful of almonds
  • Dark chocolate Nugo Bar
  • Tofu, satay sauce, mushrooms and Sodu noodles (Japanese noodles)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 15: Happy-Go-Lucky Buddy

 Buddy: Feb 14, 1998-January 19, 2011
Mom's little Buddy passed on today.  Our faithful friend will be missed.  One of the happiest dogs you could ever meet.    He loved walks on the greenbelts and he was a nose on a leash.  He taught our dog and bird how to howl.  Buddy loved getting his back scratched. He was definitely an entertaining dog who brought us many smiles and tons of laughter.  We will always keep his happy-go-lucky spirit in our hearts.

Charlie was with my mom today during this difficult time. He helped bury him in the backyard.   I am so amazed at with all he went through...and how he still did not cave on the vegan challenge.

I mean, comfort food (with meat and cheese) is the ultimate escape during times like these.  I am so impressed with his strength  and his willpower.  Only 6 more days to go...

  • Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas and cinnamon
  • Coffee with non-dairy creamer
  • Italianos linguine with mushrooms & marinara
  • Salad with a tomato vinaigrette
  • A natural fruit roll up
  • 3 small slices of pizza with marinara, mushrooms & green peppers (no cheese)
  • Dark chocolate almond milk

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 14: 61 Years Ago Today

This post is for all the active dad's (or mom's) out there. 

Do not take for granted how influential your exercising has on your children.

When I was little, I remember my dad crossing the finish line of the Boulder marathon.  I did not understand the distance of 26.2 miles but I did understand the thrill of crossing the finish line.  I wanted to taste it.

I have a fond memory of sitting on my dad's feet and counting each sit-up after every run until he reached 100.  We did this after every run.  It was a very important job for a 5 year old. This was duty.

My dad religiously ran at the high school track every other day.  My brother and I used to go with him since the high school track sand pit was our own private sandbox. Sometimes we drove.  Sometimes we walked.  And some days we brought our golden retriever mutt, Pepper, who loved to run by his side. When I squint my eyes, I can see their silhouettes against the sky of a setting sun from that sandbox.

When I was ready to learn to ride a bike, I proudly rode by his side on that track, until I forgot how to turn and I went off the track and rolling down the hill. I learned how triumph sometimes comes with pain.

I can still hear the clickety-clack of the old gravity style treadmill and I can still remember the smell of the sweat lingering behind for hours in the basement where the only gym equipment was a weight bench and a single set of barbells.  This is how I learned it shouldn't take a lot of bells and whistles to work up a good sweat.

When I got older and began to run on the high school track team, I was so proud of the day I could finally run his pace in my first 5K.  I don't think I stopped smiling that day.

All of who I am today, is based on many of these life experiences.  Without knowing it, I was surrounded by the importance of taking care of your body, moving your body and learning how to set your mind to something to accomplish a goal.

My dad has been gone now for almost 13 years, but those memories are with me every time I run.

And I know his spirit still runs with me.

Just so you know, your kids are watching.  And you are making an impression they will never forget.

My dad would be 61 years old if he was still alive today.  Happy birthday, Dad.  Thank you.

  • Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas and cinnamon
  • Hummus and crackers
  • Chiplotle vegetarian salad bowl (rice, beans, lettuce and guacamole)
  • Blackberries
  • Ice tea
  • 1 rice cake
Dinner (Kingwood Tri Club had a meeting that I attended at Los Cucos)
  • 2 Margaritas on the rocks with salt
  • Chips/Salsa (yeah, I know, not my healthiest dinner to date but I was hungry!)
  • Bowl of Honey Bunches Oat with Almonds with soy lite milk

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 13: Lucky 13

I am hobbling around like an old woman today.  I have just been educated on the existence of a whole new set of muscles that are used while running zig-zags, dodging and leaping over puddles.  And let me tell ya, tonight, they are making sure their voices are heard!  Hence, I did not go to the first day of YMCA boot camp but lucky for me, it was canceled for the week.  Boo-yah!

Today I was daydreaming about my first meal after the 21 day vegan challenge is over, and I find it odd, that all I want is a cup of hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.

I was finally able to attend an Kingwood Art Society meeting tonight and I saw an amazing demonstration with oil paints.  I am so glad I went.  I needed my art fix.  It has been way too long since my last one. Always makes me want to run home and paint.  And I was lucky enough to win the door prize tonight--which happens to be new sketchbook. 

Is that sign from the universe or what?  Sigh.

Breakfast (my appetite was back this morning--and with a vengeance!)
  • Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, and cinnamon
  • Coffee with non-dairy creamer
  • Blackberries
  • Hummus on whole wheat rice cake
  • Leftover linguine with marinara, mushrooms and red peppers
  • Flat bread
  • Coconut water
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Bar
  • Green smoothie
  • Handful of almonds
Dinner (Charlie cooked dinner tonight and cleaned the kitchen.  Did I already mention how lucky I am?)
  • Veggie burger with hummus, tomato, spinach, and vegan-naise
  • Oven roasted potatoes with ketchup
  • Bowl of Pomegranates

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 12: Survival of the Elements


I had about 3 hours sleep last night. Alarm went off at 4:10am but my butt did not get up until 4:20am.  I am out the door by 4:40am.  The drive was brutal, since I could barely see out the window with all the rain.

And just my luck, my gas light comes on.  I exit in Sugarland (518). Now since I am not familiar with the area, when I try to pull into a gas station I do not see a small median with all the rain.  I chunk over the median and jolt my back.  Now I am awake.

Back in Drivers Ed...way back when...my Drivers Ed teacher told us that no matter what, they can never remove all the water when they make gasoline.  Well, according to the laws of science, water and gas do no mix.  When gasoline sits for awhile, the water separates and goes to the top, and the gas sinks to the bottom.  So the teacher proceeds to tell us, if we ever see a gas truck filling up the gas at a gas station, do not fill up with gas to decrease the amount of water that goes in the tank of our car.  Because as the truck fills up the tanks, the water and gas are all stirred up again.  So after I chunk the curb, I realize that this station has a truck refilling the gasoline...and now I must go somewhere else.

I see a Starbucks, and think this will be the answer to any future incidents because certainly I must be tired.  But of course, on Sundays it is not open until 6am. The clock says 5:38am. Ugh.

Next stop: Shell Station.  Credit card machine is not working right.  Strike 2.

Finally, I find an HEB station that works and I am back in business.  As I am getting gas, it is really coming down.  Now I am cold, wet and still sleepy.  I am staring at the light in the shopping center parking lot where you can see the rain coming down in sheets.  As I pump the gas, I am thinking to myself.  "What the heck am I doing?  Driving out to the middle of "who knows where", at 5 something in the morning, to run on dirt trails, in this chilly windy weather in the pouring rain.  Ugh.  If it wasn't for my friend that I was meeting out there, I would have turned around at that very moment to head home, because in my mind, this was not considered "fun" to me.  Maybe I will just go and cheer him on...while I stay warm and toasty in my dry car.  What an excellent idea.  That is the new plan.

As I drive, I pray for lightening so that we all get to go home.  I swear, I can hear God laughing at me.

I pull into the park and wait in line to pay.  I text my friend to tell him I am here.  He texts back "It's raining here.  This is gonna be so fun!!".

Ummm okay, scratch the new plan.  No way I am looking like a wuss. My pride is now at stake.

Damn you, rain!

People are in shorts, tee shirts and tank tops.  These trail runners are not skeer'd and they mean business.  I am trying so hard to act tough and fit in.  Instead of my 3 jacket plan...I pare it down to just one.  Yes, I am in the minority.  Most peeps are just wearing trash bags.

First 8 miles...wow...so breathtaking beautiful.  And what do you know, the rain is not so bad and I am really having fun.  I start to get a little bounce in my step and even take off my jacket.  Running in the rain is cake until I hit mile 9.

The rain doesn't stop and the trails are filling up with water and this is making thick mud.  It is treacherous and it slows you down.  Jacket goes back on but now both my shirt and jacket are soaked on the inside and out which really defeats the purpose of keeping me dry and warm.  My legs feel like lead and I am struggling.  I try to distract myself and look for alligators but when I do, I land in a pond of icy cold water.  Needless to say, that was the end of my wildlife search.

Longest last 4 miles of my life.  And this is usually my strongest stretch of the half marathon.

It is over and I survive.  I lose my timing chip in the process and I am soaked head to toe.  The race organizers ran out of food.  Major bummer.  So I enjoy my little bottle of water while I catch up with my friend.  Despite the mess I am in, I am happy and glad I did it.  It will definitely be a race I will never forget. Now I am grateful for the experience.  I think I grew 2 inches while standing there chatting.

I am officially not a wuss.

Afterward, I had a lovely lunch with a different friend at the Hobbit Cafe.  That black bean burger was so delish.

I had a wonderful nap listening to the rain snuggled in blankies.  A warm ending to a day with a cold start. 

  • Banana
  • Soy protein drink 
  • 2 Hammer Gels (apple-cinnamon)
  • (After race) Tall toffee nut latte with soy milk from Starbucks
  • Black bean burger with guacamole
  • Side of rice and beans
  • Ice Tea
  • Handful of blackberries (not feeling very hungry this evening...just very thirsty)
  • Coconut water

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 11: Butterflies

Ugh.  I have a half marathon tomorrow and it is supposed to rain cats and dogs.  I would be okay with that but it will also be in the high 40's.  That is chilly.  And it will be on trails...and trails have puddles and when you step in puddles you get cold, squishy feet.  I have been so excited about this run since I have signed up but I have never had to run in the rain.

I know, I sound like a princess.  I will just have to suck it up, cupcake.

Lazy, relaxing day.  Not too much to report.  Just trying to psyche myself up for the race.

We are saving lots of money on this vegan challenge from not eating out as much.  And I can almost say that the cooking part is not so bad...and that I am starting to get used to it, maybe even (gasp)...enjoy it?

  • Cereal with lite soy milk
  • Hummus sandwich with half an avocado, spinach, and red pepper on multi-grain toast
  • Banana, half an avocado, and lime juice salad (I know it sounds weird but I think it tastes good. One of the running athletes I follow, Tim VanOrden, eats this before races. He inspires me.)
  • Dark chocolate Nugo Protein bar
  • 2 handfuls of almonds
  • Linguine with mushrooms, marinara and red pepper

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 10: Almost Halfway There!

I am introspective tonight.  You know when you go for a hike, and you are not quite to the top of the mountain but when you turn around to look back on the trail you start to feel excited on just how far you have come?  And then you start to wonder...just how far you want to go down that rabbit hole?

My cravings are finally not dominating my every waking thought.  People had birthday cake at the lunch table today and I wasn't drooling or feeling sorry for myself (even when they all sounded like they were having orgasms while eating it).  I am starting to look forward to my delicious healthy meals.

You start to feel like a kid, wearing your parents clothes again.  And it fascinates you on how clothes that fit you just perfectly a month ago, now have a baggy bottom.  You wonder where that part of you went and if you are still dreaming.  I have only lost 3 pounds since I started this challenge but my weight has finally settled back to where I was at in my college days.

So now that I am past the roughest part of the journey, I am reflecting on how I can make the next half that much better.  I can definitely start incorporating some more greens..more salads and more green smoothies. I also need to get more sleep.  I am going to start following a 10 pm curfew with the internet on work nights...I keep missing my morning workouts when I am up past midnight the night before.  And I really want to start going to a Masters swimming class at 5am.  But the biggest challenge for me is...getting out of bed.

Next week is Boot Camp week at the YMCA.  Every day at 5:30am with a different trainer.  My friend came up with a brilliant plan to motivate me to get out of bed.  We both pay 10 dollars.  Whoever goes the most days takes the pot.  If there is a tie, we get our money back.  I believe that will work for me.

I also have a half marathon on Sunday at Brazos Bend Park. A trail run and the first one ever at that state park.  I am really looking forward to this. It will be so nice to get a break from concrete.  Wait till you see the video on the Web site...you may just wish you were out there with me.

  • Oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon
  • Coffee with non-dairy creamer

  • Leftover butternut squash mixed with brown rice and chickpeas
  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein Bar
  • Whole wheat rice cake with hummus
  • A bowl of Almond Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with soy milk
  • Handful of almonds

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 9: Hmmm...DONUTS

 Today's haunt was: DONUTS.

They invaded the conference room this morning.

Can I just say, how does anyone ever stay fit working in an office!?!?  How in the world are you supposed to fight away these sugar & grease monsters day after day after day?!?  It is a conspiracy, I tell ya,  a conspiracy. Sigh.

So I am noticing that my only cravings now are the ones that are by habit.  Those times of the week when you get your favorite foods.  Today was the ever famous Sushi Hanna Volcano Roll.  Cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, crab meat and white sticky rice wrapped in a seaweed roll drowned in a spicy mayonnaise sauce.  YUM! I like to get this after a hard spin class.  Today was a heavy duty spin class...and I wanted that roll.  Or did I?  Maybe this was just habit by association.  Of course, I resisted.

The other challenge...pizza on a weekend night.  I think it is the cheese I miss...but is it?  Maybe it is just a food associated with the weekend.  And the weekend is associated with happiness...

Hmmm...all this vegan food is making me very philosophical. 

Oatmeal & Blueberries

Black bean soup with sliced avocado

I mixed the bland sloppy joe leftovers with the vegan mac and cheese leftovers...and it was not so bad.
Butternut squash oven roasted with Thyme and olive oil

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 8: Feeling the Pressure

I am making the switch to blogger.  I like the how that it is owned by Google.  Plus it seems easier to add fun things, such as a Facebook badge, and Dailymile.com postings.  Please bear with me as it will be under construction for a few days.

So today was a high stress day at work.  And I was feeling the need for comfort food, and lucky for me, there are comfort food options in the vegan world.  I ate more olive oil than usual.  Why do we crave fatty food when under stress?  I noticed I was not as hungry as usual by eating the fats.

I am not very proud of my diet today...the takeout spaghetti had too much olive oil. Funny how fatty food feels like a sack of bricks in the tummy when you don't eat oils as often.  I am enjoying this feeling of being in tune with the body, if only I can stop shutting it out by eating comfort foods when I am stressed.

  • Flax seed oatmeal with bananas, blueberries and cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate Nugo bar
  • Coffee with non-dairy creamer
  • Spaghetti with marinara and mushrooms
  • Orange
  • Sloppy Joes with Boca Crumbles & mushrooms(I need more work on my sauce before I share it. It was bland.)
  • Handful of baked pita chips
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Popcorn with vegan butter and lightly salted
  • Cup of pomegranates

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 7: The Tease of Temptation

Why, oh why, does the office bring so many temptations?!?!

Homemade brownies.  Giant cinnamon rolls with nuts sprinkled on top.  Cupcakes.  Coworkers emailing photos of big juicy hamburgers.  Sonic runs.  Hearing comments all day about "Oh, I could never give up meat...or cheese...or my grease...or this...or that...or (fill in the blank here)".

But the cupcake being taunted in front of your face is just plain mean I tell ya. Seriously.  It is  plain evil.

So just when you think it is getting easier... and that the cravings are finally letting up...then life throws you a curve ball.  I was so tempted today.  It took all the self control I could muster.  After a while, you just have to tune those voices out, or seriously, it will make you crazy.

On the bright side of my day, I woke up at the butt crack of dawn this morning and did speed work at the track with a running buddy.  Felt so good.  Energy was just fine. Never mind the fact it was in the lower 30's this morning and that no one else was crazy enough to join us.

Went to see my "Hood to Coast" movie tonight and came home with pure inspiration.  Yes, it makes me want to find 12 running friends to do a relay now.  How about in 2012, the Texas Independence relay!?

I was able to enjoy a little Italian restaurant tonight called Raia's.  It tasted so good.  When they say your taste buds change on a diet like this, it is so true.  All of a sudden, you start to taste the subtleties of the marinara sauce instead of it being masked by the cheese.  I am finally glad that I am started to see some of the benefits of this diet...whew!  Because after all I went through today, I was starting to wonder if they even existed.


  • Oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, and cinnamon

  • Tall Toffee Nut Latte with soy milk


  • Leftover Lentil Pasta from last night

  • Orange

  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar

  • Pint of blackberries


  • Spring salad mix, tomatoes, cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette

  • Linguine pasta with marinara and mushrooms

  • 2 pieces of Sourdough bread and olive oil

  • A glass of red wine

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 6: Serious Motivation

Okay, today did not start out as I planned.  I wanted to go to my first Masters swim class but could not get out of bed.  So my whole day seemed off.  No workout for me.  I am going to go to bed early tonight, and try my 5am speed work session tomorrow instead.

Tomorrow night I am going to go see the new Hood-to- Coast movie.  I am expecting some serious motivation afterward, and I mean SERIOUS motivation.


  • Oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon

  • Pint of blackberries


  • Leftover vegan mac & cheese with kidney beans

  • Leftover apple, celery and chickpea salad

  • Peach


  • Bowl of Almond Honey Bunches of Oats with lite soy milk

  • Handful of almonds


  • Lentil Pasta with carrots, celery, diced tomato, black olive, onion (courtesy of Charlie)

  • Pizza Crust (Yeah, I went to a Houston Racing Triathlon Club tonight and they had free pizza.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 5: Vegan Feast!

Okay, my sister-in-law Erin, is an amazing cook.  This vegan feast was the BOMB!  I was in heaven.  I wish I could eat like this every day.  Too bad she can not open a vegan restaurant in Houston.  Is there any???  I know in California, they are everywhere.  But in Houston?   We are so in need of a healthy place to eat.  And I mean really healthy.  Sigh.

So those of you who do not know Erin, she is a science guru (among her many talents) and our dinner topics sometimes take a scientific turn.  So of course I had to bring up the beans and the flatulence issue as I was still curious.

I learned that beans break down into a sugar that the body can not digest.  So to help digest this sugar, we need the help of a bacteria or enzyme.  Now if you do not eat beans on a  regular basis this bacteria/enzyme is in low supply.  As a result, there will be an increase in the amount of gas byproduct during the breakdown process since the bulk of the work  will have to take place in the large intestine.  When you start eating beans on a more frequent basis, the bacteria grows again in numbers and efficiently helps the body digest the beans before it hits the large intestine with less gas byproduct.  So yippee!  There is hope with this diet.  Feel free to share this new found knowledge at your next mealtime conversation.

Today was finally a good day.  I slept in really late today and was completely lazy but I enjoyed every minute of it since I plan to hit it hard with the workouts this week.

  • Flax Oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, & cinnamon
  • Toast with hummus
  • Toast with almond butter

  • Cup of pomegranates
  • Apple juice

Dinner (photos and titles courtesy of Erin with recipes to come):
  • Two kinds of crostini: a dill nut cheese spread with roma tomato and canelli bean spread with pickled red onions
  • Marinated tofu on a bed of sauteed Swiss chard from my garden and farro salad
  • Armoniche with veggies and a white wine lemon sauce
  • Vegan chocolate almond cupcakes (These were so mouthwatering good!!)

If I ever win the lottery, I would hire Erin to be our personal vegan chef or help her open her own restaurant.  What a delicious treat!  I am a revived woman in this challenge again.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 4: Emotions Rear Ugly Head

Short entry today.  More of the same phooey withdrawal symptoms so I do not want to talk too much negative dribble tonight.

Mostly I discovered today how I use food to deal with stress.  When you don't have the numbing effects of comfort food, you are left to deal with the emotions. Yeah.  Fun stuff.

Ran 8.1 miles this morning.  I did not feel any significantly different than usual on the run.  I had fatigue toward the last half mile of run. Still having a hard time getting up in the morning.  Blah. Blah. And blah.


  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar

  • Chocolate Bliss Protein drink

  • Tall toffee nut iced coffee with soy milk


  • Chickpea Salad (apple, celery, chickpeas, lemon juice and salt)

  • Whole wheat toast with hummus

  • Dark Chocolate Nugo Protein bar

  • Apple juice


  • Whole wheat toast with apple butter

  • Banana

  • Peach


  • Vegan Mac & Cheese & beans (Soy milk, whole wheat pasta, red beans, vegan butter and Nutritional yeast)

    • This was okay considering it was missing the fat and sodium.  I will make it with mushrooms next time to add that extra something-something.

  • A bowl of pomegranates

Still waiting for that boundless energy to appear.  Any day now.  Any day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 3: The Bear Comes Out

Today was a struggle.  It started out as a normal day.  I am on vacation so I slept in until I had to take the dog to the groomer.  I started out on a mission to eat more...but I had this appetite that would not be satiated.  Which has been my fear--too little calories will make you want to binge when you finally give your body more food.  Luckily, the food I binged on was high density nutritious food and I ate until I was full this time.  So at least I had that going for me.

Oh, but the cravings...the cravings kicked my butt today.


  • Herbalife Shake vanilla with cinnamon, banana and soy milk

  • A bowl of flax oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries

  • Pink grapefruit sprinkled with a pinch of sugar

  • Glass of apple juice


  • A bowl chickpea salad (can of chickpeas, chives, rice, lemon juice, cucumber, salt, pepper & EVOO)

  • Nugo Dark Chocolate Protein Bar

  • Handful of Almonds


  • Veggie burger on whole wheat toast, tomato, lettuce, hummus and avocado.

  • Baked pita chips (handful)

  • Avocado and tomato salad with salt and lemon juice

Between lunch and dinner, Charlie and I went to Barnes and Noble.  The cravings were so bad, and that when we saw a Starbucks. I thought "If I could just have an ice coffee with soy milk, it would at least get my mind of my other cravings". Well, I decided to pass on it and save it for after tomorrow's run. I had became so sleepy, that I laid down for a nap and woke up an hour and half later. I had missed spinning class.  And I turned into a BEAR.  It was not a pretty picture.

What have I learned so far?

  • We are forced to be creative and try new recipes.  I am not a fan of chives.  But without grease and salt to flavor things, you start looking for other ways to jazz up food.  I ate a salad with onions...and it wasn't so bad.

  • You really have to read the ingredients...all of them.  Today I noticed that the Herbalife protein shake I had been drinking has milk ingredients.  Doh!  I wont be drinking that anymore until after the challenge.

  • Chocolate cupcake commercials on TV are pure evil.  I drooled all over the couch.

  • I am also surprised that I am so tired.  I thought this diet would give me boundless energy.  Still waiting for that to kick in.  Maybe it has to get worse before it gets better.  Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 2: Beans, Beans Good for the Heart...Ahem

Okay, here goes day 2...I had to increase the protein and what better way to do it than add...BEANS! If only I can get used to the famous unfortunate side effect of beans. Sigh.  I tried rinsing them thoroughly before eating to no avail. There has to be some kind of trick out there besides taking Beano?  I will have to Google it tonight.  I will share any new findings tomorrow.

By the way, sweets are not out of the picture...I am allowed to eat dark chocolate since it does not have milk.  But dark chocolate covered with any kind of cake made with milk and eggs is off the menu.  I still have the most evil sweet tooth that knows how to take over the world, so I am definitely trying to limit sweets during this challenge.  They tend to make me weak.


  • Honey Bunches of Oats with a cup of lite soy milk

  • Handful of red grapes


  • 1 cup of Chocolate Bliss (Raw Food Protein Shake)

  • 1 Nugo Dark Chocolate Protein Bar


  • A big bowl of black beans, brown rice, corn, sauteed mushrooms and onions (EVOO)

  • A pint of blackberries

The beans were so filling and I had a generous helping.  I did not intentionally skip lunch, I just happened to run a 4- miler in the middle of the day and I do not like to eat too much before and after a workout.  So to make up for it, I ate an early dinner.  My run went well but midway I could feel my sugar level dropping.  That feeling went away before I finished.  My analysis: my sweet tooth has previously ruled my world, and by shutting it out almost completely, my body is naturally adjusting to the change  so I should expect some withdrawal symptoms here and there.

When I write down my menu for you all to see, it kinda freaks me out on how little I am eating.  If my body thinks I am starving, it is going to hold on to every fat calorie I have like it is end of food as we know it.  My goal for tomorrow will be to increase the snacks.

In case you are wondering, Charlie has not turned into the Tasmanian Devil.  Whew.  Yet.  I am still alive and kicking.  He is eating more calories than me though.  Smart man.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 1: My 21 Day Vegan Adventure

So after reading book after book on eliminating meat and dairy, I am finally giving it a shot.  For the next 21 days, I am giving up all animal products.  I am using this site as my launch pad: http://pcrm.org/kickstartHome/.  I am so lucky that Charlie is joining me.  It will be so easier not to smell the food I am missing.  He is my added motivation to complete this challenge...although I did have to put a bet on the line. For the next 21 days, I plan to blog about this adventure and post my menus.

Here was my food list:


  • Herbalife Vanilla Shake with banana and cinnamon

  • Half cup of coffee with non-dairy creamer


  • Carrot and Ginger Soup with brown rice

  • Pint of blackberries


  • Whole wheat spagehetti with marinara sauce

  • Handful of red grapes

  • Mandarin oranges (mini snack can)

How did I feel today?  Well, I think I need to increase my calorie count.  The plan is to eliminate fat and cholesterol found in animal foods not to starve myself.  I am craving sweets more than anything.  I miss cheese and chocolate.  At the office today, I turned down my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a hunk of chocolate.  Ugh. Tomorrow I will try some new recipes to have ready in the fridge to eat at a moments notice when these cravings strike.

Why am I doing this?  One of my goals is to complete a half Ironman (70.3).  The Half Ironman triathlon involves  swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles and then running a half marathon (13.1 miles).

The two things I need to work on most to accomplish this goal are to improve my nutrition habits and my swimming skills.

Being vegan will help me cut back on excess fat and drop the extra pounds.  Since I dropped 25lbs in 2010, I have noticed a huge difference in my running speed.  I also have less aches and pains with less weight on my bones.  Nutrition has a huge impact on energy.  Just by cutting back on dairy and meat last year (not eliminating them completely) has given me huge results.  I am curious to see what happens after 3 weeks of cutting it out completely.  I want to see the best results, and from the many sources I have read, they all seem to point in the same direction.   I tend to balk at the mainstream and search for road less traveled.  So this path feels right to me.  Let us see where it takes me.