Wow- it's been one whole year since I've posted on the blog! I basically lost interest and moved on to other outlets. I had a friend recently encourage me to pick this back up, since we've been doing some VERY thoughtful eating. The past 6 months have been pretty interesting here on the home front - dietarally (is that even a word?) speaking.
I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
I love to sit quietly and enjoy each bite, aware of the presence of my community, aware of all the hard and loving work that has gone into my food. When I eat in this way, not only am I pysically nourished, I am also spiritually noursihed. ~
Thich Nhat Hanh
Six month ago we found out that Richard-the husband-had very high cholesterol. His mom and brother also do, so it wasn't a complete surprise that he would, too. Both his mom and brother experienced bad side effects from the medication, so the last thing we wanted was that! His Dr. gave him 6 months to work on changing his numbers or he would need to go on the meds. I spent a considerable amount of time on the internet searching out information about treating high cholesterol 'naturally' - you know - withOUT meds!
There is a lot of information and studies that show that eating a vegan diet will lower your cholesterol. I didn't jump on that bandwagon with the first report I read. I kept looking, and kept seeing more and more studies to support this! I mean, if you are considering a drastic change like that, you want to be pretty sure there is some valid reason to do it! While it is a drastic change, it wasn't too foreign to us. For the first 7 years or so of our marriage we were vegetarians, and even after becoming meat eaters we didn't eat a lot of meat. Chicken was our main meat, with ground beef coming in second, used mostly as a seasoning and additive in dishes. We were not big beef eaters as many are in this part of the country. We love our veggies and ate several meals a week meatless anyway, so we both felt it was something worth trying. Couldn't hurt!!
Of course, there were the skeptics who didn't think it would work, and even my Dr. at one point sort of 'raised his eyebrows' at me. I'm always surprised how quickly those in the medical field choose the 'drug route'. Wouldn't it be so much better if we were able to get the same results without putting all those chemicals in our bodies?
So, we began eating vegan in May of this year. Richard has, for the most part, been very strict and I have from time to time eaten an egg or cheese. I don't have the high cholesterol that he does, but certainly could lose some weight. We didn't start this diet with the intention of losing weight, although his Dr. did tell him he could lose 20 pounds - which I just laughed at when he told me - because he's always been tall and slim. He usually puts some pounds on over the winter, but loses them in the spring, but he was carrying more weight than he had ever before.
It was amazing, but as soon as we began to eat a vegan diet we both started to lose weight, even with no change in physical activity. When we first started Richard felt like he just couldn't eat enough, and the weight started to fall off, until he had lost 30 pounds! He would go to work on Monday and weigh himeself and come home and report that the past week he had lost another 4 pounds...give or take! It was making me feel frustrated, until, I had a check up and discovered that I had lost weight too! What a surprise, because I didn't feel hungry or deprived at all. We were enjoying this new way of eating.
Well, I won't bother you with all the boring details, but at the end of our 6 months, when we both had a recheck , my choesterol had dropped 20 points, even though it wasn't high in the first place, and his had dropped 100 points!! Really?? 100 points?? His Dr. said he's only seen those results from a vegan diet one other time! He was very impressed and told him he was healthy and didn't need to come back for a year "I can't make money on people like you!" was his exact words! My Dr. was interested to hear our results and said he would be talking to some of his patients about what we had done. He mentioned that his daugher is a vegan so he was well aware of eating that way. Both of our doctors spent a considerable amout of time asking us questions and taking notes about the way we were eating.
When I had my 3 month blood work done, my protein numbers were pretty low and my glucose levels had gone up a little so I've added nutritional yeast to our diet, and cut back some on carbs, adding instead, tofu at least once aweek. After a recheck 3 months later all things looked good.
So that is just a little background on why all of my food posts will be vegetarian or vegan. It really is a whole different way of planning, eating, and thinking about food! It's challenging to come up with creative ideas, and it makes it pretty difficult to eat out. We hardly ever eat out anymore, which isn't a bad thing, but on occasion it's nice if we can find a place that has good vegan offerings! We do eat fish (not vegan I know!) maybe two or three times a month. Mostly we eat salads, beans, rice, legumes, and veggies, veggies, veggies!
I'll be sharing vegetarian dishes that we have found that are delicious and fit into this new lifestyle. Yes, it is a lifestyle for us. Why would we go back to eating the way we did before? I'm continuing to lose weight. Total so far since starting I've lost just alittle over 45 pounds! I'm still losing, but I don't weight myself at home. It just keeps my focus on eating healthy not getting hung up on numbers. It's a treat now to go to the Dr. for a blood pressure check every three month to find that I've lost more weight, and my blood pressure is great. I have a lot more weight to lose, but I'm doing my darndest to not think about that. It's too easy to be discouraged when youlook at the big picture.
Do we feel better? That is the question we get asked all the time. Richard says he doesn't feel much different. I always say that I DO feel different. We never feel stuffed after a meal. It's a lighter way of eating and it just feels better. So I'll begin posting pictures, recipes, and stories about our new way of eating and you can give the recipes a try! I think you'll be surprised just how satisfying and delicious they are and you may even decide to add a few 'meatless' days to your week! I mean, really, can it hurt?
Just so you won't get bored with this blog, I'll also post other material besides foodie stuff! You know....interesting stories for instance, like today when I drove both TO and FROM work on a flat tire! Richard just shakes his head at me. I said "don't cars TELL you these days if they have a flat tire?" When I got in the car to go to work right away the steering wheel had a strange vibrating feel. I called R to tell him what was going on and after about 1/2 mile from the house it stopped. He told me I probably should check for a flat and then when it stopped he said maybe it was just mud on the wheel that came off. Well, I didn't realize he actually MEANT for me to check the tire...duh Teresa...yeah he DID! So on my way home, as soon as I started driving on the 65 mph 4 lane highway, it had a strange sort of 'swimmy' feeling to it. I had the 'thought' that maybe I actually DID have a flat, but then decided there was no way that could be true or it wouldn't steer. It did steer a little funny and I decided maybe the tire was just low and I drove conservatively the whole way home. After I got here I told Richard about it, he went out and looked and came back in and said "Yeah! you have a flat!" OMG...I could NOT believe it!! He wasn't all that thrilled that I hadn't checked it....and I was VERY happy that I made it home ok!! Crazy huh?
I'll have to start taking pictures of our food again so you can see what we are eating. I hope to hear from you!