We’re Going Vegan

Happy Friday!  I’ve mentioned that Lance and I decided to go vegan for January, so I wanted to elaborate on why we decided to do this, share my initial grocery haul, show you what I’ve been eating, and share my thoughts on the first full week!

Generally, I keep my diet and workout routine pretty regimented.  During the Holidays, I overindulge.  I always do it.  I don’t even try NOT to do it.  It’s my favorite time of the year and to me, food and the Holidays just go hand in hand.  Being in retail, I don’t really get a break from Thanksgiving to the New Year (we even have to do a physical inventory of the store on NEW YEAR’S DAY, ugh), so if I can eat what I want and have wine, it gives me a little mini-vacation every night.  So I just allow myself to let it all go, and I honestly have no regrets about that!  But because of this, I always majorly tighten it up in January.  You name the diet, Lance and I have likely tried it.  We have done Paleo.  The Zone.  The 4-Hour Body.  The Renaissance Diet.  We like testing out new diets and seeing how we like them + how our bodies react to them.

A couple of things got my brain on trying out vegan.  My uncle was recently diagnosed with advanced heart disease.  They put in a stint, but medically that was all they could do.  In order to reverse the heart disease, they recommended he go on a vegan diet with NO fat.  He’s been sticking to it and all his numbers have improved dramatically!  I also started ordering Daily Harvest soups for quick, easy lunches during the Holidays.  They are delicious and all vegan.  I was surprised that they filled me up and were totally satisfying.  And the last big reason is that Lance has high blood pressure.  He’s had it for a while and the doctor is really pushing him to get on a daily medication, which neither of us want.  Nothing he has done has helped his blood pressure.  So I proposed vegan and shockingly, he agreed!  Honestly, it’s kind of fun to have a challenge and try something new, especially when you have someone doing it with you.  And I need the detox after my over-indulgent Holidays.

Making another salad!  Shop my look:

Olympia Theodora Pajama set // Ugg Slippers

(Side note: I am obsessed with these PJs!  I gave them to my mom and she loves them, too!  Wearing an XS.)

I’m sure you know, but vegan means no animal products of any kind, so no meat, fish, eggs, cheese, or whey.  I was a vegetarian for 6 years, and I honestly don’t LOVE meat.  Give me carbs and veggies and CHEESE and I’ll be happy.  I loved being vegetarian and felt great, and then I slowly reintroduced meat back into my diet.  I was working out more and lifting weights and felt like my body needed the protein.  I was strict about my protein; I made sure to source it locally and humanely and pretty much didn’t eat any meat out at restaurants (although I do eat Chick-fil-a from time to time because CHICK-FIL-A, ya know?).  Lance, on the other hand, probably hasn’t gone a day in his life without meat, so this is a much bigger deal for him!

Here is what I bought on my first trip to the grocery store as a vegan:

Bananas
Mandarins
Zucchini
Broccoli
Lemons
Limes
Cilantro
Cruciferous Crunch
(green mix of kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, green and red cabbage)
Tuscan kale
Butter lettuce + radicchio mix
Avocados
Celery
Potatoes
Snow peas
Mushrooms
Cucumbers
Plantain chips
Red lentil pasta
Brown rice pasta
Quinoa
Nutritional Yeast
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Sourdough
Ezekiel sesame bread
Green split peas (dry)
Red lentils (dry)
Black beans (canned)
Marinara sauce
Cauliflower tabbouleh
Eggplant garlic spread
Vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto
Balela (chickpea, black bean, and tomato salad)
Spicy hummus
Green Goddess dressing
Carrot Ginger Miso dressing
Almond Butter Tumeric dressing
Baked tofu (teriyaki)
Tempeh

Frozen foods:

Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers
Vegetable Panang Curry with Jasmine Rice
Vegetable Biryani with Vegetable Dumplings
Superfood Pilaf
Zucchini spirals
Edamame
Riced cauliflower
White corn

Delicious vegan dressings from Trader Joe’s

So what are we hoping to get out of going vegan?  Lance and I are both very interested to see how our bodies react to the diet.  We’re excited to test out something new so we can draw our own conclusions.  I would like to lose the 7 (!!) pounds I put on in December.  Lance and I are both super stuffy all the time, so we would love for that to go away.  And we want Lance’s blood pressure to go down.

We are almost a week in and here are my thoughts so far.  I’m not hungry at all; I have stayed totally satisfied.  The food has been delicious and not a ton of work.  I immediately started sleeping better.  My digestion has been a little off, but any time I change my diet, it always gets me out of whack.  I have already lost almost 6 pounds in the first week, although I’m sure a lot of that was just water weight.  I’m still super stuffy, so that has not improved.  I do like that I never feel overly full when I eat.  I have gotten a dull headache in the evening a couple times, but I was drinking a lot of wine and eating a lot of sugar, so I’m sure it’s because I’m detoxing from that.

Lance’s thoughts: he feels fine.  He says he has no real negative or positive affects so far.  He has gotten a little hungry in the afternoon, but nothing crazy.  He travels for work and has had no issue finding food to eat.  He’s also giving up bourbon in January, and he does miss that!

So what have I been eating?  I am starting my day off with warm lemon water.  For breakfast I have had the same thing every day: Ezekiel toast with almond butter, banana, flax seeds, and chia seeds, plus black coffee.  One morning I forgot to eat and had a Kind bar.  I’ve eaten the same salad for lunch most days, which is pictured above.

Power Salad
Butter lettuce + radicchio mix
Cucumber
Snow peas
Cruciferous Crunch (sautéed)
Nutritional yeast
Hemp seeds
Baked teriyaki tofu
Green Goddess dressing

It is SO good and healthy!

Mezze Platter
Cauliflower Tabbouleh
Eggplant Garlic Spread
Balela
Spicy Hummus
Tempeh
Lettuce with green goddess dressing, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds
Serve with corn chips or crackers

This was also super yummy and very easy since it’s mostly pre-made from Trader Joe’s.

This weekend was FREEZING, so I wanted chili.  I made a red lentil chili.

Red Lentil Chili

1 sweet onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 jalapeño peppers
1 T of olive oil
4 T tomato paste
2 T chili powder
2 t cumin
2 t oregano
1 t paprika
2 bay leaves
1 large can diced tomato
1 small can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I use Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon)
1 cup dried red lentils
1 T maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: lime juice, green onions, fresh cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a pot.  Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the peppers and sauté another 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and spices and heat for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, and vegetable stock.  Turn heat down and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Add maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.  To serve top with a squeeze of lime, chopped green onions, and cilantro.

I served it to Lance and our friend Doug, and the first thing I said was, ‘This is not meat chili.’  Ha ha!  It was definitely different than traditional chili, but really good and filling!  Lance put his over rice and I ate some tortilla chips with mine.

I also bought Larabar Bites for something sweet and they are really good.  I also just came across THIS SITE that lists everything that is vegan at Trader Joe’s!

I’m excited to see how the next 24 days go (but who’s counting LOL)!  If you have any vegan knowledge or recipes, please share!  Thanks for reading!

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