So I’ve been vegan off and on for the last year, and stay sharing pics of my favorite dishes on IG. The DMs and emails have been so serious, that I thought I’d share here!
Y’all: How long have you been vegan?
Me: I called myself a flexatarian up until May 2018, but have been fully vegan ever since– my longest stint yet! I’d go back to fish on occasion, and one time fell all the way off the wagon into a plate of Dominican chicharron and ox tail. Bomb. And after a cup of fish nibblers from White Castles back in late April, I decided I was all the way done, and haven’t craved meat, fish, dairy, or eggs since! I’m also mostly gluten free due to the gastrointestinal distress.
Do you miss meat?
As someone who could eat fried oysters, shrimp and clam strips for breakfast, and go ham in the Honey Baked Ham store on any given non-holiday day, I would say that it has been a long and arduous journey to actually ‘loving’ veggies. I’m not a salad person… so I’m not ‘that’ kind of vegan. Between mushrooms (grilled, smoked, or sautéed), jackfruit, and the magnificent meat substitutes they’ve rolled out, I’m good. Beyond Meat has a brat now… and it not only snaps like a brat (they got that skin/casing down!), it tastes like one. And I wept.
Fat-ass hamburger arteries. I’ve had slightly elevated cholesterol since I was 18, ’cause bacon. At my last yearly physical, despite my healthy appearance and weight (I’m the weight I was pre-Gia), my cholesterol was still hitting border line high… mostly because of the Dominican restaurant in walking distance. That, plus I’m a heavy researcher. I knew what I was supposed to be doing. *Just like you know what you’re supposed to be doing!* I threw out all the cakes, cookies, and pies, and other processed unnecessaries way back in ’08. I had seen the documentaries, but would still go back to the terrible-awful. I think I hit a turning point after my experiments with juice fasts– I would feel so energized and clear, that I knew that if I cut out the heavy animal products, I could enjoy this clarity, while also eating actual food.
Also, mucus. I had mystery, non-allergy related, post nasal drip for years, and always knew it was dairy, but couldn’t give it up. Since going vegan, the green monster has vacated. Unless I eat too much wheat, and then he sets up camp again.
What do you eat?
EVERYTHING! Except animal products, to include honey. Honey was the last and hardest thing to give up. I’d still probably take some in my tea if the agave or sugar ran dry. Despite my vegan or plant-based label, I still enjoy ice cream, spaghetti, tacos, burgers, brats, enchiladas, quesadillas, fried ‘fish’, fried ‘chicken’, and other greasy deliciousness. But most of my diet is comprised of rice, quinoa, stir fries (heavy on the shrooms), fruits, and nuts (and buckets of french fries and hashbrowns, I tell no lies). I drink a lot of water (with a splash of cranberry juice), quite a bit of tea (Black with almond milk and a little sugar or agave), and a dose of Amazing Greens, daily.
Fun fact– I gave up my near nightly glass of Pinot Noir back in January. I still had 10 pounds of baby weight that wouldn’t budge. I was eating clean… not working out (but I never really do), but damn sure eating clean, except for when I wasn’t haha. I googled ‘alcohol and weight loss’ and realized that it isn’t just the calories that’s the problem, it’s the way your body processes alcohol. Your body sees it as a toxin, and immediately gets to work trying to get it out of your system, which pushes everything else, like fat burning, down the priority list. I kept googling ‘I can loose weight AND still drink’, but I knew what had to be done. It wasn’t even 3 weeks later and all the weight was gone without any other tweaks to my diet or lifestyle. I also feel much clearer every morning, and have a natural high. I still drink when we go out– I can’t eat al fresco and NOT drink, lol. I tried, and it’s not fun. Life’s too shawt!
At any rate, bottom line, if you’re stuck at a weight plateau, giving up the wine might help! You can commence libations after you reach your ideal poundage.
What about your family?
My parents have been vegan since May (thanks to yours truly, and the Netflix documentary ‘What the Health’ a friend made them watch). Dad is down 25 pounds with a normalizing blood pressure (this is all diet, he can’t workout due to an injury), and mom has dropped 2 pant sizes! And anybody that’s been following me knows we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to eat! So it’s been so cool watching them flawlessly and (almost) effortlessly make the transition, despite decades of bad habits! I say almost, because there’s actually quite a bit effort if you want to be successful… you have to get in the kitchen and cook! If not, you’ll find yourself eating for convenience again. Dad became a chef years ago, so he just swapped the steak for portobellos and he’s in there! Gene (hubby) is a flexatarian but vegan most days (fried chicken on others), and the kids are slowly transitioning. Max is like 90%, but Gia doesn’t want to do anything I’m doing apparently, she’s only 8, but acts 15! I’ll keep you posted on this front!
What are some of your favorite store bought items?
Beyond Burger (gluten and soy free, plus non-gmo… best fake burger out there)
Beyond Bratwurst (gluten and soy free, plus non-gmo… best fake brat out there)
Double Cream Chive Vegan Cheese Wheel (this right here… with some fig or a date + a gluten free cracker… thank me later. This cheese tastes and spreads like a good goat cheese.)
Frozen Jasmine Rice (I’m lazy, and this is the solution. 1 minute in the microwave = delicious and fluffy rice)
Daiya Cheese Shreds (melts beautifully on pizza and in quesadillas! If cheese is a 10, it’s like a 7.5)
Pure Blends Coconut-Oil Plant Based Butter (spreads, looks, and tastes like butter)
Chickenless Orange Chicken
Chickenless Chicken Strips
MorningStar Buffalo Wings (I do my best to avoid soy, but these suckers, here? At least they’re non gmo… I pair w/ dill pickle and onion, and dip them in Daiya brand vegan Ranch, and then I die and go to heaven.)
AlmondDream Ice Cream (tastes just like the real thing, unlike some other brands)
Teriyaki Bok Choy Sautee Kit (hands down the best pre-made stir fry kit. When I can find it, I buy it by the barrel)
Ripple Pea Protein Milk (I mix a little of this and a little Califia Farms Almond Milk together for Max and he loves it! High in protein and calories, and none of the BS)
Aldi’s Chickenless Patties
Aldi’s Chocolate Ice Cream
As I think of more, I’ll add it!