Tag Archives: diet

Going Vegan… For A Little While

So, I’ve decided to try being a vegan for a couple of weeks.

One thing that’s kind of awesome and remarkable is that I’m announcing this on World Vegan Day.

I had absolutely no idea that this was the case when I planned my start date. I actually started this way of eating yesterday (On Halloween, no less! This meant no candy! I think that’s a good thing.), but whatever, I’m announcing it today. I’m happy to say that it totally agrees with me so far. I mean, yea, it’s only been a day and a half now, but my body seems happy and therefore, so am I.

Why just two weeks? Well, I was originally considering doing a 30 Day Vegan Challenge, but then I decided not to lock myself in for Thanksgiving, especially since I’ll be hosting a potluck and it just seems to me that being vegan would be really difficult ina situation like that — especially for a newbie like myself. Also, I just want to see how my body reacts to this lifestyle and I think two weeks is about enough time to see how I’m feeling. So, I guess what I’m saying is… we’ll just see what happens.

Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about what brought me to this decision.

1) I wanted a change.

2) I’ve been gaining weight from surgery, inactivity and poorer eating habits than usual, so I needed a change.

3) I practically already eat like a vegetarian anyway. A switch to being a vegetarian wouldn’t have been that much of a change for me. I already barely ever eat meat.

4) I respond really well to structure.

5) I read this post on Janetha’s blog and realized that, since I pretty much subsist (protein-wise) on eggs, cheese and yogurt, taking these elements out of my diet might be something to which my body would respond positively.

6) I don’t like fad diets. In the change I so sorely needed, I wanted to be on a diet that really focused on fruits and vegetables, not on foods I don’t particularly like to eat (like meat). At the same time, I wanted it to be something that would be different for me. This is a good compromise.

So far (one day in), I’m finding it fairly easy. The only thing I’ve really struggled with at all is breakfast, since that’s a time I nearly always depend on yogurt.

I’ve had fairly high energy and feel really… clean. As of day two, I’m a big fan. I don’t know if this is something I’ll be able to stick with because I love love love eggs, cheese and dairy, but maybe this will just be a good way to help me cut down on those staples.

We’ll see. But I’m happy doing this right now.

For all of my vegan friends out there: any tips?

 

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Food Diary, Day One

I think I’m kind of happy to be doing this, which surprises me. It keeps me on track!

Breakfast

Yogurt bowl! Yay!

  • Vanilla 0% Chobani
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Nut Granola
  • Ground Blueberry Flaxseed

Grande Americano with two inches of steamed soy milk, two Splendas and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Lunch

Salad. Yummy Salad.

  • Bed of Romaine
  • Baby Bell Peppers
  • Yellow Grape Tomatoes
  • Feta
  • Lentils
  • Cucumber
  • Three Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette

And for lunch dessert, grapes!

Snack

Unpictured handful of trail mix. Eaten about 30 minutes before my workout.

Dinner

Really good. Really easy. It says it’s 2.5 70-calorie servings but I easily ate the entire thing as a meal. I’m kind of completely okay with it. I cooked it in coconut oil and added soy sauce.

Consumed immediately after working out.

Dessert

About a cup of frozen pineapple and mango.

I forgot to take a picture (I’m out of the habit!), so I just took a picture of the bags. That works too, right? Totally.

I also had another small handful of pecans when I got a bit hungry later.

Workout

60 minutes kickboxing. It was amazing.

Alright, that was day one! How’d I do?

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Guest Post: On “The Chubbening”

Hey guys! Here’s the second installment of my series of requested guest posts. This post comes from one of my favorite friends from college and I just know you are going to love it and him!

Hi, my name’s Ryan. Kaitlin and I went to college together. We had a lot of classes together and I love her to pieces. When Kaitlin put out the call for guest bloggers I offered to write her a little something about my own experiences with weight loss and healthy living.

(FYI if you ever meet Kaitlin in real life be sure to mention how much you love Beauty and the Beast, she’ll dig it.)

I like to eat and I gain weight very easily.

These two traits have made my life rather difficult. If it was just one or the other I think I could’ve really cruised. If I’m honest with myself I admit that the latter is really most likely caused by the former: if you list “eating an entire sleeve of Oreos” as a hobby on Facebook you can only avoid loosening the belt for so long.

I first gained weight when I was in middle school. At the time I was doing theater and was really into Star Wars, so getting glasses and gaining weight just seemed inevitable. Albertsons, the grocery store in South Florida, had a $4.99 8-piece fried chicken deal that was, without hyperbole, my favorite thing on Earth.

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Nothing, not my family, not my friends, not the fact that Rachel Goldberg and Allison Alt had started to grow boobs could compare with the feeling I got when I’d ask my Mom if we could stop off before home and return to the TV room triumphant. What exactly I’d triumphed over was unclear (healthy eating? common sense? living to a ripe old age?).

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Was I eating because I was unhappy? Maybe, but I was 13; everyone is unhappy, not everyone consumes half a birthday cake just because they’re bored. I had a pretty normal childhood, we moved around a lot but other than that my parents loved each other, I had friends, I just really liked eating. Perhaps I was trying to fill something up in myself, perhaps I just never understood the consequences but whatever the reason I got big.

That changed in high school when I went out for the track team. What began as a desire to kill some time between 3pm  – 5pm and bulk up the activities resume became one of my favorite things about high school. I wasn’t a spectacular runner (the term “passable” is probably a good way to think about it) but I made a lot of good friends and running helped me shave off most of the excess weight I’d been carrying around and sped up my metabolism so that I could eat a lot and wouldn’t really feel the consequences. I slimmed down which was great for me because I was really into punk rock and the tight t-shirt look was in.

Artist’s rendering of what I looked like while running

Unfortunately the transition from high school to college taught me one extremely important lesson: a bad habit always catches up with you. When I was running competitively I ate like a runner: lots of carbohydrates, large quantities of food before and after races but since I was usually running it off my fascination with junk food, intact since my fat kid days, never really affected me.

That changed in college. I stopped running, also stopped doing any exercise of any kind but still ate like a marathoner. It didn’t help that I gained a reputation as something of a party animal/eating machine. Numerous students at Connecticut College at the beginning of the 21st century will remember me as the guy who ate 50 Chicken Mcnuggets in one sitting or the guy who ate 12 lobsters at our school’s lobster night (I had a lot of vegetarian friends). Before long I’d started gaining weight again but, to my detriment I had no idea how much I’d gained.

Generally my fighting weight is around 185lbs – 195lbs (I’m 6’ 2”). I knew I’d gained weight but since I didn’t have a scale I had no idea how much I weighed. However I was on Spring Break in Louisville, Kentucky visiting a friend and we went to the Kentucky Derby museum. While there I saw a scale at an exhibit on jockeys. The exhibit explained that jockeys generally weigh between 120lbs – 140lbs and invited us to weigh ourselves to see if we could make it as a jockey (The exhibit seemed geared at children but whatever, I was in a new city). I stood on the scale. To my horror it informed me I was a cetacean 240 lbs. I had thought I was a jockey carrying his saddle, in reality I was a jockey who had eaten another jockey.

Pictured: Myself Junior year of college, standing hungrily with my friend Tim (I’m on the right..you know, in case you can’t tell)

This was too much. I’d be used to being described as “big” or “stocky” since I’m just built that way, but this was different. This was fat. I was a fat guy. The line had been drawn in the sand: on one side, cake and ice cream; on the other, feeling good about myself, not needing to nap after lunch and being attractive to women who meet my impossibly high standards. It was a hard choice (especially when I figured out you can put cookies ON cake) but I eventually decided I was too young and just too damn handsome to be out of shape (both were later confirmed by several female relatives and people who agreed to go to the dance with me “just as friends”).

Pictured: The Enemy

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I began the long, slow journey towards being in shape. It’s hard, especially if you’re really out of shape. Where once I could breeze through a six mile run, now I wheezed and coughed and croaked my through three.  I endured the humiliation of asking the dude who ran the fitness center where the 10lbs. dumb bells were. I did yoga and when the woman asked me to put my legs behind my head I passed out. I ate salad.

In time the weight began to go away. It was gradual. I didn’t wake up one day and was suddenly thin. There were relapses (the occasional late night Wendy’s run, housing a box of Oreos whilst watching Gremlins etc.) but in time the weight faded. 240 lbs. because 200 lbs. I graduated college and started training for a 5k. 200 lbs. became 190 lbs. I started doing a lifting routing I’d read in a magazine, 190 lbs. became 180 lbs. I felt lean, lost the X in my XL shirts, could answer the front door without a water break, life was good.

Pictured: Me achieving my fitness goal of loosening the sword in the stone for some lucky child to remove right after me…whatever that thing’s rigged anyways

It’s not easy, there are days when my commitment to not consuming entire racks of ribs for old times’ sake is truly tested, but I must say that by and large, I wouldn’t change the way I feel for the way I felt for all of the Snyder’s Pretzels in the Shaw’s snack food aisle.

I still struggle with my weight. It’s hard, because I love to eat, and don’t particularly like to exercise. Still, from my journeys from big to, well, less big I’ve learned some important lessons:

  1. Just do it – I can’t stress this enough. It’s very easy to decide to get healthy and then set a date in the future. Making lifestyle changes is hard and must be made gradually. Just throw on the gym shorts and go outside. If you get really tired on a run, walk a bit and then work on making sure you don’t stop. Nobody begins anything as an expert, you need to build up to it. The sooner you start though, the sooner you’ll be great.
  2. Identify the things that make you want to eat – People have triggers about food. For me it’s TV. Watching TV, especially in marathon form makes me want to eat. Think about the times you snack and figure out a way to combat it. For me it’s just sheer boredom, or a desire to do something with my hands. As a result I try to have my computer nearby, or have my phone so I can keep myself busy without going to was on my emergency stash of Cape Cod chips.
  3. Be social – For me the best motivation is that I work out with friends. I also like to engage in a little friendly competition. My friend Jon and I are in a race to see who can bench 300lbs. first. Neither of us are sure how this got started but we’re both totally committed to it.
  4. Remember you are hot, you’re just getting hotter – Seriously, look at you!

Is he great, or what?

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South Beach Diet Phase One Revelations

So, South Beach Diet, Phase One. How did it go?

Well, in short: really, really well. In fact, incredibly.

Why? Well — and be prepared to laugh a little bit — it brought me right back to the original reason I started this blog. Those two weeks made me realize that I really do have some legitimate sensitivities to refined sugar and/ or flour.

Maybe I’m not allergic, maybe I’m not intolerant, maybe I’m not Celiac, and maybe I don’t have anything that can be officially diagnosed. Maybe, in terms of what doctors can tell me, there’s nothing wrong with me. After all, if there’s one thing I learned as we experimented with potential diagnosis after potential diagnosis, it’s that my body acts fairly inconsistently. Cake would sometimes make me feel ill but a beer would often make me feel better (I’m actually telling the truth there, convenient as it may sound).

But, here’s the thing — in those two weeks without flour and sugar, the following things happened:

  • I had more energy
  • I slept better
  • I lost 10 – yes, ten! – pounds (and more since)
  • My skin cleared

But the two really important things:

1. I stopped getting sick all the time.

I know I haven’t written in months and months about being sick on a regular basis from food, but I definitely still was. There just wasn’t any point in writing about it anymore since nothing was changing (I mean, yawn, right?). But I’ll tell you this — in a lot of ways, it controlled my life.

To me, there can be no clearer message from the last two weeks than the absence of feeling sick every day in conjunction with my two weeks without sugar or flour. Diagnosable or not, refined sugar and/or flour simply don’t seem to agree with me.

2. My knee started hurting less.

I’m not even kidding.

Did you know that refined sugar and flour are inflammatory foods? Well, I didn’t. When I started noticing how much less pain I was in, I brought it up to my mom and she filled me in on this little tidbit. So, I did some research, and… she was right! (Aren’t moms always right? It’s so annoying.)

Here are a few links for you, if you’re interested in learning more:

Inflammation and Diet: Inflammatory and Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague

List of Anti-Inflammatory Food

Isn’t that interesting? Anyway, my knee is hardly healed, but it’s been remarkably better for the past few weeks and I have no interest in consuming anything that will undo that improvement.

So, for the rest of the summer, I’m conducting an experiment. I am (for the most part) cutting refined sugar and white/ wheat flour.

Fortunately, other things often related to Celiac disease — like soy sauce and bulgur, for instance — haven’t bothered me. So, for now, I’m just experimenting with flour. And I’m fortunate not to have to be crazy about it. Small amounts don’t seem to bug me much. So, while I’m carefully reading menus and labels, I’m also not forced to quiz waiters or read every single ingredient in everything I eat.

Meanwhile, I’m gradually adding other things that were cut on the South Beach Diet back in one at a time to see how my body reacts. Something of an elimination diet, if you will. I’ve already added all fruit and any vegetables that were excluded on the SBD back into my diet (in phase one, corn, carrots, potatoes and beets were off limits).

In the next few weeks, I’m thinking I’ll try the following (in no particular order):

  • honey (how appropriate)
  • pure maple syrup
  • agave (I’ll try it. The jury’s still out.)
  • brown rice syrup (I just bought some. I’ve never tried it! I’m interested.)
  • Sucanat (Ditto to brown rice syrup on both counts.)
  • almond flour
  • oats/ oat flour
  • garbanzo flour
  • coconut flour
  • other whole grains (quinoa, millet, brown rice, etc.)

Anyway, I just bought a few of books to help me through this process.

1) The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

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2) Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes From My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson

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Ironically, both of the above are by fellow bloggers. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is by the blogger behind Elana’s Pantry and Super Natural Every Day is by the blogger behind 101 Cookbooks.

Well, maybe not so ironically. I wanted cookbooks full of simple recipes that called for the whole foods that I believe in (so, for instance, I didn’t bother with books that called for artificial sweeteners). I follow both of their blogs, so obviously I believe in the stuff they make, eat and write about!

In fact, Super Natural Every Day is not a gluten- or sugar-free cookbook — it just has lots of great recipes that fit the bill.

And finally…

3) Get The Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman

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This book is helpful simply in terms of learning more about sugar. The tips are kind of common sense, but the first few chapters, which explain why sugar isn’t good for us, are interesting.

Anyway, I think this is going to be fun, healthy, and exciting. I’m mostly excited about eating whole foods and whole foods only. I am so not planning on doing the whole gluten-free thing, in which I try to bake using lots of flour combinations. I’d rather just live naturally flour and sugar-free by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, soy, lean meat (you know, when I randomly do that), and dairy.

I’m reading into a lot of food lifestyles to follow, too. The South Beach Diet was a good starting point and I’m now intrigued by the Primal Blueprint (except I’ll never cut dairy), which I know Monica really likes.

Kind of funny how this blog came full circle, no?

Lots of Rehab to catch up on…

Rehab Day 22, Part 2 (Thursday)

45 minutes strength training (core, arms, back and some legs)

Rehab Day 23 (Friday)

Swimming: 30 laps in 30 minutes

Rehab Day 24 (Saturday)

All that walking at Disneyland!

Rehab Day 25 (Sunday)

Rest Day — it was needed, for sure, after the previous day’s activities.

Rehab Day 26 (Monday)

Swimming: 35 laps in 35 minutes

Rehab Day 27 (Tuesday)

45 minutes elliptical

What do you guys think? Any other cookbooks/ eating lifestyles you think I should look into?

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Veggie Frittata

Heyyy youuu guys!

I made frittata!

But, in case you can’t tell, I burned my frittata. Badly.

Don’t worry about it.

Other than that, though, it was pretty good.

In my endeavor to successfully and actually (AKA no modifications) follow the South Beach Diet (which, yes, I started yesterday), I made frittata for breakfasts throughout the week. Because lord knows I don’t have time to make omelets in the morning.

Anyway, this frittata is pretty good, keeps well in tupperware, heats up evenly in the microwave, and is totally transportable. I’d know. I brought it to work this morning.

Most importantly, it’s helping me stick to my diet and it’s a good option for breakfast, even for a girl that is addicted to fond of yogurt bowls.

Veggie Frittata

makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan & romano
  • 1/2 tbs EVOO
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • handful mini tomatoes, halved
Directions
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe frying pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cheese, salt & pepper.

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet. Add onions and saute, allowing them to brown slightly. Add broccoli and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes — just enough to soften.

Toss the sauteed veggies into the cast-iron skillet (or oven-safe frying pan). Allow to cool for a few minutes. Pour in egg mixture and stir. Top with tomato halves.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes, then set oven to broil and let cook for three minutes.

… And then actually take it out after three minutes, rather than about ten, like I did.

The inside, at least, wasn’t burned to a crisp.

 


Now, go make some healthy frittata! But don’t burn it. 🙂

Updates…

Rehab Day 5

Swimming: 30 laps in 30 minutes

Rehab Day 6

Biking at level 1 for 40 minutes

Not so sure about the biking. My knee hurt directly afterward (so I iced) and my sciatica has been bugging me more today than it has recently. I think exercising while sitting may not be in the cards for me.

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SBD

No, not Silent But Deadly.

Gross, guys. This is half a food blog.

Okay.

So.

I’ve been thinking since my little photo incident. I’m not particularly happy about it, but I think I’m going to start the South Beach Diet on Monday.

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I’ve toyed with the diet before, but I usually change it to suit me — as in, I have not been able to stick to (or truly believe in) a “healthy” diet that cuts out fruit and some vegetables.

However, I am willing to admit that I am at a bit of an impasse, and so I understand that something needs to change. I think the shock to my metabolism will be a good thing, considering how much my body likes to hold on to fat as if it’s (literally) starving.

The South Beach Diet, for those of you unfamiliar with it, essentially eliminates carbs. The first two weeks of it look like this, per the South Bean Diet website:

Phase 1, the shortest Phase, lasts for just two weeks and is designed to eliminate cravings for sugar and refined starches – and to jump-start your weight loss. The purpose of Phase 1 is to stabilize blood sugar (which minimizes cravings), making it ideal for people who are prediabetic or diabetic, as well as for those who need to lose a lot of weight.

The focus of this two-week period is on eating plenty of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich (and guaranteed delicious!) foods that satisfy your appetite. Your meals include lean protein, such as fish and other seafood; skinless white-meat poultry, and lean cuts of beef (vegetarians can enjoy meat substitutes, tofu, and beans); high-fiber veggies; reduced-fat cheeses; eggs; low-fat dairy; and healthy, unsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts and seeds, and extra-virgin olive and canola oils.

I can mostly get behind that. It’s sure as hell better than the Atkins Diet. And I’ve had success on it before, which is helpful in this whole decision-making process.

If I were working out at the level at which I usually work out, I don’t think I would be comfortable doing this diet at all. I think that, when you’re really active, you need carbohydrates as fuel. Right now, however, I am exercising an exceedingly low level and can totally get away with a diet low in carbs.

So, yea, I’m doing it. Starting Phase 1 on Monday.

Thoughts? Comments? Complaints? Got something to say that has absolutely nothing with the South Beach Diet?

Oh, and…

Rehab Day 2

Physical Therapy. The glute exercises kicked my ass.

Oh, how I will miss fruit.

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