Week 3 Weigh-In

I was supposed to post this Saturday morning, but apparently I wrote it and then forgot to actually post it. My bad. I’m lazy and tired, so instead of rewriting this, I’m just going to publish this and then publish the post that I actually meant to put up tonight.

Previous weight: 286.4
Current weight: 283.0

This week’s weight loss: 3.4
Total cleanse weight loss: 12.4
Total weight loss since Thanksgiving: 20.8

Like I mentioned in my last post, tomorrow is really supposed to be the last day of the cleanse (and then I’m supposed to spend a week slowly reintroducing foods and see what bothers me and what doesn’t), but my mother and I have decided to end a day early. I figure I’ve been doing this for 20 days now, and the last day doesn’t really matter so much.

Besides, today Atlanta is participating in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. Last year, I found out about this like a week after it happened, and I was so upset that I hadn’t been able to go. I’m excited to be going this year. I’m not sure if I’ll actually buy anything (I can be sort of cheap sometimes), but I at least want to be able to look around and have the option of buying something. If we don’t find anything there, we also have the address of the Mediterranean Grill that’s in that general area. I’m not 100 percent sure that the falafel there is vegan, but I read about the restaurant on a vegan blog, so I’m going to hope that it is.

After that we’re going to go shopping for the week. My mother and I have a whole week of vegan recipes planned. I’m sure no one else in my family will eat them, but at least they have that option. I’m really excited that my mother is still willing to do the vegan cooking now that the cleanse is over. I’m sure she’s going to go back to putting regular creamer in her coffee, but she did plan this week’s meals using like four different vegan cookbooks, and that’s what counts.

Update: The bake sale was sort of a let-down. There were only two tables of stuff, which wouldn’t have been horrible if we hadn’t drive like 40 minutes, gotten stuck in Atlanta traffic, and then been basically ignored by the people there. It wasn’t really busy when we got there. I really wanted to try the pizza roll, which was $4. I handed the woman a five, and then she gave me change while she was talking to someone else who worked there. We thanked her, and she didn’t say “you’re welcome” or “thanks for stopping by” or anything. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive, but I guess I was hoping that people at a vegan bake sale would be a bit more friendly. That said, I’m still looking forward to Atlanta Veg Fest in November. Hopefully that will be a bigger deal and will be a lot more fun.

Recipe Review: Cuban black bean soup from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

Recipe Name: Cuban Black Bean Soup FreshVeganSlowCooker_Cover
Source of Recipe: Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker
Recipe Creator: Robin Robertson

Ease of Finding Ingredients: 5/5
Cheapness of Ingredients: 4/5
Ease of Following Recipe: 5/5
Opinion of Results: 5/5

Overall Score: 19/20

I got this book for Christmas, and this is the first time I’ve gotten around to using it. My mother and I are on the last day of our cleanse (we’re stopping a day early to fully appreciate the Vegan Bake Sale in Atlanta tomorrow), and we’re both really sick of all those blended soups. We made this one last weekend because it sounded more appetizing than the other soups we’d been eating.

This is one of the best soups I’ve ever had. We ate most of it in one day, and we’re making it again tonight – we enjoyed it that much.

We did make a few changes:
• We hate cilantro and can’t have tomatoes on the cleanse, so we left off those two garnish items.
• We replaced the 4 cups of vegetable broth with 4 cups of water and one vegan bouillon cube.
• We didn’t have any liquid smoke, so we ignored that.
• We didn’t want to wait 6 hours for the crock pot version, so we just put it in a pot on the stove and let it simmer, uncovered, for an hour.

This soup was delicious, even with all of these changes. I can only imagine that it would be even better if you prepared it the way it was supposed to be. If I could have them, I would probably add tortilla chips and/or vegan sour cream, although it really is just fine how it is.

This soup also could not be easier to make. Chop up the vegetables. Rinse the beans. Add them all to the pot and let them cook. The only ingredients that were slightly expensive are the liquid smoke and avocados, neither of which is necessary if you can’t find them for a decent price.

Week 2 Weigh-in

Previous weight: 291
Current weight: 286.4

This week’s weight loss: 4.6

I’ve lost 8.6 pounds in the two weeks that I’ve been on this cleanse. That’s exciting enough in and of itself, but there’s even more important news: I hit my first goal! Goal 1 was 5% or 15.2 pounds, and I’ve lost a total of 17.4 pounds since November 22, 2012.

I’m definitely excited, especially since this hasn’t been that difficult. I mean, yes, I pout whenever I see bread or something sugary, but that’s not really that big of a deal. It helps that I know this cleanse is only temporary. I’ll be able to eat gluten and sugar again in a week.

I will admit, I sort of hoped that my food desires cravings would go away while I was on this cleanse. That hasn’t been the case. I still can’t wait until I can make cookies and can have a flour tortilla, not a gluten-free one that’s hard and doesn’t roll up that easily. I went out and bought super expensive gluten-free pasta because I didn’t want to wait another week and a half to have pasta.

But I definitely have changed in one respect, and I think this is the more important way. I’ve learned to control my portions better. I’ve learned that a smoothie really can keep me full for several hours. I’ve learned that I should wait a little bit, even if I think I’m hungry. If I’m actually hungry, my stomach will start to growl. If I’m not actually hungry, the “need” for food will go away once I find something else to think about.

It’s like I’ve been so afraid of being hungry that I eat before hunger actually sets in. And then once I do eat, I have a hard time stopping until I’m really full. Part of that is definitely that I eat too fast. I’ve always known that. When I’m around friends, I eat slowly because I don’t want to look like that fat girl who’s always eating, but on my own I generally eat pretty quickly. Then I get a second helping before the first one has had a time to settle. Obviously I know that I should slow down, but for some reason I haven’t done that before now.

But now, with this cleanse, my meals are more regulated. You’re not supposed to eat for 12 hours between dinner (or your last meal) and breakfast, which means that I have to fit 3 meals into 12 hours’ time. Lately I’ve been eating breakfast around 11, lunch around 2, a snack on my way to class at 4, and then dinner when I get home from class at 8:30. I try to spread out my meals, and that’s helped me learn not to eat so much in one sitting.

It’s also helping me learn that I need side dishes. Fruit can be super filling, and it makes a great after lunch snack or lunch side dish. Before, I would have half a box of pasta for lunch before I was finally full. Now I can have a single bowl of pasta and some cut up cantaloupe or pineapple or an apple, and then I don’t need food for hours. This may not sound all that revolutionary or anything, and it’s not, but this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually been able to eat the way I know you’re supposed to, and it’s exciting.

That’s why I’m so glad that I’m doing this cleanse. I’m not going to continue to eat this food and only this food for the rest of my life, but I can use it as a template for the rest of my life. I might be eating a flour tortilla instead of a brown rice tortilla, but I still only need one of them for lunch.

Also, it’s going to be much easier to stay vegan now that I’ve been a vegan for 3 weeks. Plus, after 3 weeks of not being able to eat oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, caffeine, sugar, gluten, or soy, the vegan diet looks a lot less restrictive than it used to. 🙂

Cleanse Days 8-12

I’ve been doing this cleanse for nearly 2 weeks now. I thought I would be going crazy by now, but I’m actually still enjoying myself. I’m still having my smoothie for breakfast. Lunch varies, but dinner tends to be a big salad. I haven’t had soup for a week. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat any more puréed soup. The thought made me ill. Besides, I usually get full enough just from the salad.

I’ve also started making roasted chickpeas. I kept reading about them on different blogs, and then one day my mother was looking for a snack, and she made some. They’re my new addiction. Half a can of chickpeas has 11 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 14 whatever units you use to measure iron. They’re also delicious. I’ve been roasting mine and then tossing them in olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and a little bit of cayenne pepper.

I also tried gluten-free pasta yesterday. I was really missing pasta and figured that I could try brown rice pasta and still be following the rules of the cleanse. I also thought that now would be a good time to see if I could control myself with pasta, as pasta has always been my downfall. Yesterday was the first time since the cleanse that I actually hit my calorie limit for the day, according to MyFitnessPal. Today I had pasta again, but I forced myself to stop after one bowl, and I really didn’t need more than that. A little after that, I cut up some fresh pineapple as a snack.

I’ve been good about eating a variety of colors every day. I get red and yellow with my morning smoothies, green with my dinner salad, and tan with the chickpeas. The only color I’m not really eating is blue/purple. I don’t really like blueberries I’ve found, and I can’t have potatoes on this cleanse, so I can’t eat purple potatoes. I haven’t seen many purple vegetables at the market, but I’ll try to keep my eyes open for them.

Week 1 Weigh-in

Previous weight: 295.4
Current weight: 291.0

This week’s weight loss: 4.4 pounds

I’m definitely excited to see the results of week 1 of my cleanse. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have lost anything, and that would be sad. That number definitely made the past two days worth it.

See, yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday, and the day before that was his brother’s birthday, so we’ve been at his parents’ house for the last two days. I packed up enough food for those days so I could continue my cleanse there. His mother was very concerned about what I was eating (she has been since I stopped eating meat), but I stuck with the plan. They had a double-layer cookie cake with frosting that smelled delicious, and it was very hard to turn that down two days in a row, but I knew that the cleanse was more important. Three weeks without sugar. I can do that. After that, I’m allowed to have sugar again, but it has to be balanced with everything else that I eat. It should be a treat, not something I eat all day long.

Speaking of sweets, though – I did learn yesterday about the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. I remember hearing about it last April (when I started the vegan journey), but it was too late for me to actually go to it. Fortunately, I found it in time this year. The one in Atlanta is being held on Saturday, April 20 – the last day of my cleanse. I’m hoping I can talk my mother into going with me so we can buy some vegan treats to have after the cleanse is over (although not in one sitting, of course).

Overall, I’m happy with the way my first week has gone. I do think I’m going to try adding the protein powder back in to my shakes. I know vegans are sick of people asking where they get their protein from, but I actually do think I’m not getting enough protein. I’ve been getting 25-38 grams of protein each day. I haven’t been eating as many calories as I’m “supposed” to, so the fact that my protein numbers aren’t where they should be isn’t all that surprising. I know I hated the protein powder the last time I tried it, but I also hated the blueberries that were in it. I’m hoping that was the real reason I hated the shakes. I guess I’ll find out today.

Cleanse Days 4 and 5

Food Recap
I’m glad I decided to add strawberries and bananas to my meals. My smoothie Wednesday morning was delicious. A cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a cup of strawberries, and a small banana. I was doubtful that it would keep me satisfied until lunch, but it actually did. I had the smoothie around 11 this morning, when I was hungry for the first time, and then I had lunch around 2:30.

For lunch on day 4, I had another lentil and brown rice burger on a brown rice tortilla with lettuce and that red pepper sauce. For dinner I had another big salad and a mug of green vegetable soup, which consists of broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans all blended up.

Yesterday was my first day of the cleanse when I actually had to be out of my house for a large portion of the day. I’m currently working on getting my Masters in Teaching, and this semester I go spend one day a week in a classroom. This interfered with my 12 hours with no food, but there wasn’t really much I could do about that, as we don’t eat or drink in the classroom after homeroom starts at 9 am, which was the earliest I was supposed to eat. I ended up having my smoothie at 7:30 before I left for the school, and then I had a black bean and quinoa salad with pineapple salsa. Aside from the fresh parsley, which tastes just like cilantro (which I absolutely despise more than almost any other flavor), it was pretty good.

Thursday evenings, my boyfriend and I get together with a friend of ours and write/watch cat videos/hang out. I decided to change up my eating schedule a bit more for this, so I had a big salad when I got home from the middle school (around 5) and then had another smoothie on the way. Then I had an apple on the way home (around 9).

Reflection
I always hear people talking about sticking to 1200 calories a day, and I always thought those people must be crazy and starving all the time. Now I’m looking back over my calorie intake for the past few days (I started tracking calories on Monday), and I’m shocked. My calorie intake has ranged from 950 to 1400. The first two days that I tracked were higher (1400 and 1300), but the past two days were lower (950 and 1010). I’m a little bit worried that I’m eating too few calories — MyFitnessPal keeps yelling at me that I’m going into starvation mode — but I don’t feel like I’m being unhealthy. I do feel hungry a lot of the time, but you’re supposed to feel hungry before you eat. I usually just eat when I feel like eating, which I think is part of how I got to 300 pounds.

I’m just going to keep going with this cleanse and try not to worry about it unless I start getting lightheaded or dizzy or something. For now, I feel good. I was really craving pizza and junk food last night (as that was what our friend was eating, so the whole place smelled like pizza), but now that I’m away from that smell I feel better. I’m still looking forward to making vegan pizza when this cleanse is over and I can eat wheat and tomatoes again, but I’m not feeling miserable. The first time I had a strawberry-banana smoothie, I added vanilla to it in an attempt to make it taste sweeter without adding sugar (which I can’t have except for what is naturally found in fruits). Now it’s been a few days, and I really like how they taste on their own. I don’t feel like they need anything at all.

I’ve just started day 6 of the cleanse, and I’m still happy to be on it. That has to be a good sign, right? 🙂

Cleanse Days 2+3

Day 2 of the cleanse was much better than Day 1. I still didn’t like the smoothie that I had in the morning . Even with the new vanilla powder, the drink was disgusting. I tried it again today, hoping I would like it better the second day, but I didn’t. I guess protein powders are not for me. Maybe next time I’m at Whole Foods I’ll get a sample of a few different ones, but I’m not anticipating finding one that I like.

For lunch the past two days, we’ve been eating the lentil and brown rice burgers featured on page 48 of the Clean Program Meal Plan. Those are really good. My mother also made some red pepper sauce to put on top of them. I put mine in a brown rice tortilla. I’m so glad we tried this recipe, as I was starting to fear that I had just signed up for the worst 3 weeks of my life.

I have learned that I can’t just stick with just three meals a day. Right now, my schedule looks like this:

Breakfast: 9-10 am
Lunch: 1-3 pm
Dinner: 8-9 pm

I need snacks. The first day, I ate most of the pineapple that we had in the fridge. Yesterday, I ended up stopping by the gas station on the way to school and buying two apples to eat before and after class. Today, I had an apple right before we left to go shopping, and then I had a banana while we were out. I also just had half a cup of a bean salad, which will keep me satisfied until dinner.

At first I felt bad about adding more food, but I’ve since decided not to let it get to me. For one thing, the program says you’re allowed to eat snacks – it just has to follow the guidelines of what you’re allowed to eat, which mine mostly do (more on that in a minute). For another thing, two of my snacks were pieces of fruit. An apple and a banana. You can’t tell me that those are bad for you. Which brings me to another thing I felt I should mention–

I’ve decided to eat two of the foods that you’re not supposed to eat on the cleanse.

Strawberries and bananas. Strawberries were supposed to be cut because a lot of people are allergic (and this cleanse is all about eliminating foods people commonly have problems digesting), but I know I’m not affected by strawberries, so I’m not going to let that bother me. Bananas might be high in sugar and starch, but they also keep me from starving, and they’ll make my smoothies taste better. I’m hoping strawberry-banana smoothies in the morning will keep me from going crazy in the mornings. And I’m still only having sugar found in fruits (and sometimes dates), so I’m still eating way better that I used to, so I’m not going to worry about it.

Besides – we got all these strawberries for less than $2.50! Come on, how could you resist?

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I was also reading something today about how we should try to eat fruits from all different colors of the rainbow. It started as a discussion on a forum, and that led to my looking up the book Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I started thinking about the different colors of food that I eat, and I realized that I’m actually eating all the colors now that I’m following this cleanse.

Breakfast: Yellow and Blue/Purple (pineapple and blueberries)
Snack: Yellow and Green/tan (banana and apple -not sure if you count the color of the skin or the inside)
Lunch: Brown, Green, and Red (lentil burger, brown rice tortilla, lettuce, and pepper sauce)
Dinner: Green, White, Orange (Veggie soup, lettuce, spinach, jicama, carrots, dressing)

I’m excited about eating all those different colors. I’m also excited about the fact that by the end of today, I’ll have eaten 8 servings of fruits and vegetables. I used to go a week and barely get that many. I just need to make sure that I keep this up after the cleanse is over. I need to grab an apple for a snack instead of a bag of chips. I need to remember that I don’t need 5 servings of bread to keep me full. I don’t need to eat pasta with every meal. Having a big salad once a day is refreshing, not boring. Eating this way might take a bit longer, as you can’t just stick the food in the microwave for a few minutes, but it’s definitely better. 🙂