After months of putting off exercise, my thoughtful daughter sent me a present to help inspire – a MisFit. Its an swimmer’s fitbit-like activity tracker that I can use to see my daily exercise progress and more. I wear it like a badge of honor knowing someone cares about me. I swim laps and do water aerobics since walking it still to difficult. My MisFit displays applause (it is own way) when I reach my daily exercise goals. It has helped me in more ways than what it is meant for, I use it daily as a reminder its important to keep going, even when it is hard. If you don’t have a fit band I urge you to consider getting one. There are different needs for trackers – I love swimming so waterproof was a MUST, where my daughter does more running and what not, so she uses a Fitbit. So make sure you get one that has the features that meet your needs and only pay attention to what your focusing on – I don’t watch calories, just exercise since my new life change is no more calorie counting.
To explain that statement, I need to tell you what inspired my life changing moment. My daughter, now 25, had her friends come over to our lake house to boat, swim, and hang at the beach over fourth of July. She said, mom three of my friends are Vegan so they can’t eat meat. A bit perplexed I thought okay, well what do I feed them? They were planning to bring their own food, but then I thought about how awful for them they have to bring all their own food were ever they go. As the weekend went on I had a chance to talk to the two girls that recently turned Vegan. One has been strictly Vegan for three years and without even trying has lost 50 pounds – she is “maybe” a size two. Then the other told me she is Vegan with a small amount of white meats (chicken, pork) here and there and has lost 20 pounds in three months (she might be a size 4 now). I was intrigued to learn more about this Vegan way. The one that was most knowledgable explained for her it wasn’t about “animals/meat” and treatment of, it was strictly about eating healthy. She said she found that the plant based foods really gave her more energy and she never felt hungry – but continued to lose weight. After spending a weekend with the two girls telling me about their meals, and one even cooked Vegan carrot cake for her birthday and put vegan non-cream cheese frosting on it. It was so tasty, I wanted to learn more about this eating style. She told me about her first year of trying to eat only Vegan and trying so many really awful recipes that it was a struggle to continue (like my family eating Paleo recipes) but she stumbled onto this cookbook that changed her Vegan cooking – to yummy.
Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S Nixon, my daughter bought the book and started cooking many of the recipes for all three of us. For the first two weeks, she brought us a week of prepared meals so we would have no excuse not to give this lifestyle change a try. We didn’t want to disappoint her so we ate only what she had made. Wow! It was filling and very tasty! Some of the food she made was meant to be base to multiple meals, so with seasonings we added on some it wasn’t noticeable it wasn’t meat. She made some breakfast sausage and bean hamburgers, so after we had what the recipe meant them to be, we needed to change it up to our basic meals – tacos, burritos, curry dishes, we just took the meat and used it in most any recipe we loved that called for beef or chicken. It also took us a bit of time to really understand what “Vegan” meant – obviously there’s the no animal products at all overarching definition, but there are a variety of sub-divisions of vegans out there. We being meat eaters decided we would allow ourselves 3 meals out of 21 a week of real meat so we would give this new eating style a good try, but we have cut out all dairy and eggs as well.
After loosing 9 pounds the first two weeks, without every being hungry (except the first three days were hard because our stomaches were huge and needed filling) we went to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Sprouts for the Vegan foods. IT WORKS! We feel satisfied, we have had amazing meals my daughter has cooked for us – she now uses recipes from Vegan websites, three other Lindsay Nixon cook books, and has found a new cookbook for fancy meals by Andrew Well called True Foods. This isn’t a Vegan cookbook – just healthy food, but it has recipes that with some easy swaps make for Vegan. She found True Foods from her eating at the LA restaurant called True Food. We went there with her one night for dinner and tried things I would never consider, but we were all on an adventure so I took a small bite of each item ordered and it was AMAZING! I never tasted any food so good (well maybe See’s Candy) but never anything so healthy. It became our new treat her cooking from that cookbook. The Happy Herbivore is for the busy person with simple and fast recipes (meatloaf, chicken nuggets, tacos, etc) but the True Food is for the experienced palate of fine foods (never was me – I always said no way I am eating that).
Going on our 4th week of Modified Vegan (or Vegan Inspired with a dash of meat) and I am down 13 pounds and going strong and my hubby is down 15lbs! I am feeling better than ever, more stamina to exercise (swim mostly), I even got on my bike and peddled around my house for about 2 miles (it was difficult with the hills, but so gratifying) – I am living again. My 3Xs are getting lost in the distance, as I start to wear 2X clothes and I feel there is hope again. My first goal is to get to 245 by my husband’s birthday, August 30. It is a huge milestone for me, since I haven’t been that weight in over 25 years. It is time for my daughter to meet the real me – and frankly, I can’t wait to see her again either. This is working for us. We feel spoiled on all the options available to us, and I can’t wait to share some of the my favorite recipes that is keeping me excited to keep going. Another plus, my daughter has kicked her hypoglycemia (she used to get extremely sick every few hours if she didn’t eat) and has gained a ton of energy which she for the last 8 years has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome – what people say about the health and energy benefits is true and we are now believers!
I found one revelation during all these years of dieting – I LOVE FOOD, especially spicy food. I thought my problem was stress, depression, rejection, it contributed to my over eating but frankly, it turns out I like food. Vegan food helped me realize that and it’s such an amazing thing to finally find a food lifestyle that tastes great but is healthy for me. Who would had guess there was such a thing out there. Not me, I only thought the junk food tasted good. You know, all the stuff we can’t have! Turns out there is another food out there that is just as tasty (well, real close) and I am enjoying the exploration of being Vegan.