My Inappropriate Blog Title

Three weeks ago my blog title and WordPress handle, iwishiwerevegan, became a reality.

Having been a vegetarian for about seven months, I had slowly been pushing myself to incorporate more plant-based substitutions – little changes, like Silk’s Vanilla Almond Milk for cow’s milk, Earth Balance for butter – all of which have been easy.  Then one day, I decided to go the whole day on just  plants.  And why not another?  And why not…

Mirroring my transition to a vegetarian diet, months of piecemeal thoughts and reading up finally allowed me make an overnight switch to a vegan diet.

I’ve realized that I enjoy writing about my experiences, reading about the food journeys of other bloggers, and above all, researching more about agriculture, food, and health.  Sorry for the absence, but I know you’ll forgive me – please keep this conversation about food going, and I look forward to being a part of it.

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Hello Again

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My Firefox browser taunted me, promising that WordPress would appear, but never followed through.  Frustrated, I abandoned my blog for a while.  Which turned into months.  Almost 4 months.

But now I have things to say, so I opened Safari – not my first web browsing chioce – but this change turned “Loading…” into a beautiful array of pictures and seductive taglines of blogs WordPress wanted me to read.

I’m back.

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One for the Road

“You see, good health makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars.” – Food Matters (available on Netflix Instant Stream)

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No Sugar Challenge: Breakfast Issues and Tea

My no sugar challenge has been interesting so far.  I cut out all sugar beginning Monday, meaning no foods that have sugar, maltodextrin, HFCS, etc. in the ingredients.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, despite sleeping eight hours, I found myself tired all day, and even snappy on Tuesday, which is really strange for me.  It’s crazy to think that this could seriously be caused by taking out all sugar, but I can’t think of what else it could be (stress, perhaps?).

This week probably wasn’t the best week to eliminate all sugar considering how stressful it’s been.  On Monday morning, after waking up early to go for a rare morning run (I wanted to start this week off right!), I came back and tried my Regular flavor Quaker Instant Oatmeal, which basically contains oats, salt, and some caramel coloring.  And I was disgusted.  The oatmeal was the same warm texture as always, but it lacked all flavor.  I sadly ate the rest of it, and I slowly realized that this week was going to be a bit difficult.

Tuesday morning, I added cinnamon to my regular oatmeal, which gave it a bit of flavor, but I think I ended up using too much cinnamon – I had a hard time swallowing a few of the bites.  So the next day I caved – I used one packet of Regular flavored, and one packet of my delicious High Fiber Cinnamon Swirl.   The Cinnamon Swirl flavor may contain maltodextrin and sugar, but it also has 10g of fiber, while the Regular flavor only has 3 grams.  So in the future, I think I will compromise by mixing one of each packet, which is something I wouldn’t have tried before this experiment.

Herbal tea is the only thing keeping me strong.  Celestial Peppermint tea, Tazo Sweet Cinnamon tea, Sleepytime Chamomile, Black Tea, Green tea – all the tea!  I’ve been drinking a lot more of it just to keep a strong flavor in my mouth to distract me.  Why is not eating sugar so difficult??

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No Sugar – Oh Goodness.

Inspired by Wheat Grass & Sassafras’ post, I’ve decided to do a trial no-sugar period.  I gave myself plenty of advanced notice (I decided this two weeks ago), and I officially started Monday.  While my original intention for delaying my start date was so that I could eat whatever I wanted over spring break, as Wheat Grass & Sassafras pointed out, planning so far in advance has also given me time to prepare mentally – just being more aware of the sugar I’m eating.

Why am I doing this?

I’m happy with my weight and body, but I’m not happy with how unhealthy I sometimes still am.  Going vegetarian was a way to force me to eat more vegetables, and while I’ve been trying to limit my dessert intake to complement this healthier way of eating, I all too easily succumb to my sweet tooth.  I’ve tried taking pictures of my food to increase my awareness (only worked for a little bit), just telling myself “no” (the yelling of my cravings often drowned out the whisper of reason), and limiting the portion size of the dessert I ate.  None of these things have been truly successful, even in the short-term.

How does it work?

Any way I want it to, really.  My plan is to test out a no-sugar lifestyle for exactly two weeks, then ending with a cheat day when I can eat whatever the heck I want.  The plan is to use this day as a motivator for me not to eat sweets during the two weeks.  That final day I’ll also reflect on the sugar-fasting period – what did I like, what changed, how did I feel – and then decide from there what I learned, and how I can use that information to figure out what strategy would work best to keep me healthiest.

What are the rules of the game?

Sugar is in just about everything.  Sadly, it’s even in my favorite Quaker Instant Oatmeal that I love for breakfast.  And in my favorite Soy Gingerbread Chai Tea from our campus’ cafe.  Since I still often eat in our dining hall, “no sugar” will basically translate into no desserts while eating there.

Ultimately, this is a challenge to see if I can break my sugar addiction for two weeks.  It definitely will be interesting.

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Really, USDA?

I don’t understand.

According to The Daily, the United States Department of Agriculture will continue purchasing BPI Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings, also known as “pink slime,” for school lunches.  Consisting of connective tissues and other scrap parts of cows normally unavailable for human consumption, this ground “meat” is then treated with ammonia to eliminate salmonella and other bacteria.  The USDA does limit the amount of pink slime that a school meal can contain (15%), but considering that McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King have completely banned its use, I wonder why the government still deems it acceptable for students’ consumption.

I’m not normally one for writing to my government representatives, but in this case, I don’t know what else to do.  Having previously interned at a government agency, I know that the USDA really has no say over deciding what kind of meat to use – they simply enforce laws that Congress creates.  If you feel as compelled by this issue as I do right now, consider letting your representatives know that you do care.  Some poor intern will probably read my e-mail and respond to it with a pre-drafted response, but at least I can be another tally mark of people who have written in about the USDA’s purchasing of Lean Beef Trimmings.  If enough people care, then so will our representatives.  Hopefully.

Contact your reps:
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Watch Jamie Oliver explain the “pink slime” process:

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Support and Vegan Chocolate Mousse

A few days ago my suitemate (the one that has recently gone vegetarian) came in to my room to talk about housing plans for next year.  I currently live in dorms on-campus, but next year we are either moving to a house or apartment, meaning that I will finally have a full kitchen at my disposal.  As my suitemate and I were discussing this, she said that she wants to make the transition to an entirely plant-based diet while we live together.  It feels great having another person making the switch with me – I can’t wait until we are cooking and experimenting together and dealing with any off-hand judgmental comments my roommate throws at us (I love my roommate – she can just seem a bit closed-minded sometimes).

Also, I made vegan chocolate mousse cups!  I’m taking them to an Alpha Phi Omega get-together tonight (it’s the community service fraternity on campus), and since the mousse has already received positive reactions from a few friends, I’m excited to see what others think.

Delicious vegan chocolate mousse cups – sitting on my dorm room floor, which is where most of my cooking happens.

“Baking” Notes:
-I used the Thai brand coconut milk, as suggested in the original recipe.  My suitemate is making them with a different brand, so I’ll update once I know how it turns out.

-I used about 8 spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten the mousse.

-It’s literally the easiest recipe ever, and it tastes delicious.

See the recipe at Chocolate-Covered Katie

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