Monday, December 12, 2011

We did it!! 90 days!!

I never thought I would type 90 days!! It seemed so far away. But we did it. It has been quite the journey! But one that I am so glad we have taken. I am even more impressed by Jason and his willingness to stick with this. When my Dr. suggested we do a vegan diet and see what happens, I was hoping Jason would jump on board with me. Little did I know, he would not only jump on board, but he would see such benefits himself.

I have to tell you what happened 2 weeks ago. I started to get sick. We were around all the kids for Thanksgiving, and they all had the sniffles and colds. I started to get it when we got home from Vegas. I refused to let it get in the way of my progress with my healthy lifestyle, ESPECIALLY my working out and training. I just would not have it. So, I went to the Dr. They recommended I go on antibiotics right away to make sure it didn't turn into something worse like it did last year. I was fine with that. Well anyway, they weighed me, and my weight was lower than I thought. So I asked her if she could tell me what my weight was last year when I was in. I weighed 25 more pounds last visit to the Dr. a year ago!!!! It was such a happy moment for me. I actually SAW the results on paper - in numbers. Not just how I feel. It made feeling sick all worth it to hear that news!! And the good thing is that in about 3 days I was all better. In the past it has taken me weeks to get over it. I KNOW it's because my body is healthier than it has been in a long time. So AWESOME!!!!

I will be setting some new goals for the new year. And I WILL be losing weight over the holidays. I have had some little treats here and there, but am trying very hard to stick with it. I think I am leaning towards having some fitness/exercise goals for the next few months. I will come up with something concrete so that I can track it on here. It has been fun to hear and read people's comments about trying new recipes themselves, getting healthier, and even people cutting out meat.

I hope the Christmas season is in full swing for everyone. It's the most WONDERFUL time of the year!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Days 60-82 - Excuse me while I post!

Thanksgiving at Angela's! We had so much fun - and did I mention the food? No, we were not Vegan on Thanksgiving day - let's just say that right out front. Ok, and maybe not the whole weekend, but we did some modifications here and there.

Here is my plate on Thanksgiving day. It was delectable - every bite! Ang made grandma's cauliflower and cheese (I only got a little bit), and the mashed potatoes I made is another story. Let's just say that I went out and bought Angela a new mixer the next day!!

Jason having his first bite of meat in a long while!! He enjoyed every bite :)

Me and mom

Jason and Ash - Ashlee giving her usual camera face.

Angela didn't really get a break - after cooking and slaving on her feet for hours, Luke wanted to be held the whole dinner. haha Thanks Ang! It was marvelous! I also need to add that Angela and I did a 1 and a half hour Zumba class Thanksgiving morning. People - I have never worked out on Thanksgiving day, or probably Thanksgiving week in my life. This was a first, and I loved every minute! We went to Angela's friend Megan's gym where she teaches, and it was an even bigger class than what I am used to with Lisa. Thanksgiving week, I worked out over 6 hours. Yippee!!

Me and my best girls after doing Zumba when Angela was in town. The only person missing is Ashlee.... Zumba has saved my life - I love it so much!!

Tyler and me at Jamie's wedding. PS. Some of these pictures have nothing to do with food, haha.

Me and my girl, Kayla, my sweet flower girl!!

Ash, Juan, and me right before the wedding is starting.

Tyler, if looks could kill!! haha

Ok, I have been trying to get Jason to eat avocados for years. So, 8 years later, he decides that he likes avocado!! WHAT??? I say your taste buds change when you start eating healthier. Here is Jason enjoying some quinoa and black beans with avocado. Yum!

Our friends the Brogan's enjoyed a vegan meal with us. Their little Tyler loves Jason.

Black beans, quinoa, corn, onions, cilantro, lime, and tomatoes. Roasted asparagus, and tomatoes with vegan cornbread. So delish!

Time Out for Women in St. George was AWESOME! This is Jenny Oaks Baker playing the violin - beautiful!

Thanks Dez for the great weekend! Without your help, we wouldn't have been able to do it! Thanks to Brenna too, our new friend that let us stay at her condo. So sweet!

Enjoying my sister, kid free, for a night and a half. We had such a great time together!

I was introduced to my first salted chocolate caramel. I had 1 bite. And it was to DIE FOR!!!

No, I did not eat this entire thing. Just looked pretty so I wanted to take a picture. haha

This was at our quarterly supper club, with Monica and Ellen. Monica made her famous pumpkin roll - YUUUMMMM!!!! I wanted more, but only had a little slice.

Annie and me at the trunk or treat. And yes, the white chili won again.

Meeting up for Dad for his birthday at YC's. I get all the vegetables I want, tofu, and I even added shrimp this time. So good!

At our supper club, Monica made sure that we had fish, so that I could eat too! She made Alaskan cod with roasted fennel and an orange relish on top! Man, just typing this, I want that dish again. Also, roasted asparagus on the side. Drinks - Ellen had beer, Monica had wine, and I had sparkling pomegranate juice from Trader Joes- amazing! Monica always makes sure I'm accomadated!

Fun table setting at Monica's....

2 of my best girls - Now if we could just get us all 4 together!!

Enjoying some good food at YC's for dad's birthday.

Jason and his favorite soccer team's get up - Arsenal. Looking good!!

This is my mom's famous chili - I think I posted the recipe earlier on the blog?? I will have to check. Anyway, instead of using meat, I added tofu. The firm tofu, drain, and crumble just like you would meat. I saute it with my onions in the beginning, then add the stuff. Very good. Makes a ton though, so you could freeze some.

When I started out on this challenge, and wrote my first blog post, I remember typing - Day 1, and feeling like I would never see the day when I would type 60....But we made it! I can't believe we are actually almost to day 90 - which is the amount of time Jason and I said we would stick with this Vegan challenge. I'm pretty proud of us.

Weight loss total so far -

Drea - 20 pounds
Jason - 23 pounds

Yay us! So where do I begin in this post? We survived Thanksgiving, and no they were not Vegan days during that weekend. But as I have worked my way through this, I am finding my way. I am ready to do the 90/10 rule which is basically what I have been doing this last week. 90 percent plant based diet, with 10 percent anything you want. What a great way to have a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

I have finally figured out how to upload pictures from my camera, so I will be posting more often. Jason said, and I quote, "You need to post in short bursts so that I can stand to read it". Ok, fine. haha

The goal for December - to make it through all of the holiday parties, get togethers, and festivities, eating as clean as possible, and lose weight!! I will be checking in....

Until next time... Enjoy this WONDERFUL time of year!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hello Tammy! Days 47 - 59

Ok, it's been way too long! Where is the time going?? I am having trouble uploading my pictures this morning, and I am in a time crunch to get to work, and then catch a flight tonight, so this will be quick. Here are a few updates:

Weight loss for us -

Jason - Almost 20 pounds! Get out of here!
Drea - 17 pounds - YAY!

Jason said "the words" the other night.... "I am a vegetarian." Oh em gee....haha this is crazy! He is feeling so good and doing great.

Since adding in a few eggs (mostly egg whites) and fish, I am feeling better. The dizziness is going away, and this tells me my body needs these things. My training is going AWESOME and I'm feeling so much stronger which is such a great thing for me. I am seeing a big difference in my clothes and Jason's pants are falling off. We both refuse to get any new pants until December! We may have to though. My scrubs are even starting to fall off me a bit by the end of the day, so we'll see how long we can go.

I have so many great pictures of food and I'm frustrated they won't upload! But I promise to get them on soon. I also will put my minestrone soup recipe that I got from my friend Adrienne on too. It's amazing and one of my favorite soups to date! I could eat soup everyday, seriously. Jason asked me this week - Do we only eat soup now? I'm like, c'mon we eat a lot more than that! I also made a creamy cauliflower soup, completely vegan and no dairy. It was delish - Annie and Jason loved it too. My other favorite for the week: My honey mustard glazed salmon which is to die for. I could have that every night. I'm having salmon about 2 times a week.

I will post pictures soon! If the system will let me! Maybe Sunday.

Happy rest of the week everyone!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Days 43-47, recipes, and SALMON!!

Since my Dr. wants me to add some fish and eggs, I made some wild salmon which I picked up at Sprouts. It was AWESOME!! Best piece of fish I've had in a long time. Of course because I haven't had fish in a long time, haha. But oh how I love seafood. I sauteed it in vegetable broth and sprinkled lots of dried dill on top - love dill. Pepper, and a little salt. I covered it and let it steam a bit. You have to keep adding vegetable broth because it steams off pretty fast. Then in another pan I sauteed a whole onion and half and red and yellow pepper and garlic. Salt and pepper and there were my sauteed vegetables. Then I wanted something green on the plate so I made some frozen peas - I love peas!! Such a yummy meal!

This is Dr. Fuhrman's Anti-cancer Soup from his book Eat to Live. This was quite a project that my mom and I tackled last Friday. This picture shows that I added some canned black beans to the finished product. My mom and I loved it.... Jason not so much. It has a lot of onions in it, and he's not a huge onion fan. The broth is carrot juice, celery juice, and raw cashews that have been blended with the broth. YUMMMMM!!!! It makes a ton!! I would modify the recipe next time so I don't have to use 2 pots....ah! Here's the recipe right from the book:

1/2 cup dried split peas
1/2 cup dried beans (use any variety)
4 cups water
4 med onions chopped
6-8 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces (we used 8, next time less!)
3 leek stalks, coarsely chopped
2 bunches kale, collard greens, or other greens, tough stems and center ribs removed and leaves chopped
5 pounds carrots, juiced (5-6 cups juice)
2 bunches celery, juiced (2 cups juice)
2 TBSP Dr. Fuhrman's Vegizest or Mrs. Dash (We used Bragg's seasoning - get at Sprouts)
1 cup raw cashews
8 ounces fresh mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, and/or oyster), chopped

Place split peas, beans, and water in a very large pot over low heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the onions, zucchini, leeks, and kale to the pot. Add the carrot juice, celery juice, and Vegizest. Simmer until the onions, zucchini, and leeks are soft, about 40 minutes. Remove 2 cups of the soup liquid, being careful to leave the beans and at least half of the kale in the pot. Using a high-powered blander or food processor, blend the soup liquid with the cashews. Return the creamy mixture to the pot. Add the mushrooms and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft.
**NOTE: Freshly juiced organic carrots and celery will maximize the flavor of this soup.

4 whole onions that go in the soup! My contacts saved me while chopping. If you don't wear contacts, you can wear goggles, or I heard you can bite on a piece of bread while chopping and the fumes won't be as bad. :)

Many thanks to my dear friend Tammy who let me borrow her juicer!! She is so gracious with ALL of her knowledge on all of this stuff and sharing things with me. She has let me borrow many books, and is the one that got me into green smoothies. Thanks Tammy! Juicing was SOO easy! I had never used one before. She got hers on and said it was about $70. It is the Breville brand. I want one now! My mom did a FABULOUS job of juicing the carrots and celery for me! Thanks mom :)

5 cups of freshly juiced carrots. Next time I would have done 6 - I love the broth that it makes. And so good for you!! Some other things I will do next time - I might just do canned beans - the ones we used were still a bit hard when everything was done. And there were so many vegetables in it, you could hardly tell there were split peas or beans in there. Definitely less zucchini next time, MORE mushrooms, and more broth. I did have to add some vegetable broth after we all ate because we were losing liquid. We ate from this ALL week and I now have to freeze the rest!

This is the homemade spaghetti sauce we made - thanks to Jason's friend Nicole from work.
Here's the recipe:

Vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic
Garlic powder - 3/4 tsp
black pepper - 3/4 tsp
oregano - 3/4 tsp
Basil - I sprinkle it on, I love basil!
crushed red pepper - 1-2 shakes, that's it!! Otherwise, too spicy :)
Any veggies you want - onions, peppers, squash, zucchini, olives...
One can of whole tomatoes
One can diced or crushed tomatoes ( we like tomatoes, so I did 2 cans diced)

Cut up vegetables into bite size pieces. Sautee garlic for a minute in veg. broth. Then add vegetables and sautee til soft. Add more broth as needed if things get dry. It will cook off. Once vegetables are done, add tomatoes. Squeeze whole tomatoes over pot with your hand - be careful, they squirt! Stir in dry seasoning to taste. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat and cook for 15-20 min.

Cook 1 package of whole wheat spaghetti to al dente. Drain water, and add sauce on top. Delish!!

You can also do spaghetti squash instead of noodles. We did this the first time, and I didn't cook the squash long enough so it was a bit crunchy. haha

We used onions, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, and mushrooms.

Finished product
This is Dr. Oz's recipe for Quinoa with Vegetables and Herbs. Very good! I made it as a meal, but it is more of a side dish, or a light lunch.

1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP olive oil ( I used about a tsp)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med zucchini, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme or oregano ( I used thyme, the kitchen smelled awesome!)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP chopped fresh chives

1. Rinse quinoa in a strainer. In a saucepan, bring quinoa, 2 cups water, and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until quinoa absorbs the water, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over med-low heat. Add onion; cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to med-high and add garlic, zucchini, carrots, thyme or oregano and red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender and golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, vegetables, and fresh chives, and serve.

My favorite fruit this week - Honeycrisp Apple! I bought 3 at Fry's - They are the size of a LARGE grapefruit. So crispy, sweet, and juicy! I eat half at a time, they are so big.

We went out for a friend's birthday dinner party and had a WONDERFUL time! We went to Spinato's, an Italian place. Kind of a Vegan's nightmare because you can't eat cheese! Well, we improvised :) This is what I got - Gluten free crust, marinara, no chesse, and spinach and tomatoes. It was a delicious treat. I ate almost the whole thing except for one tiny square :) Jason got spaghetti with marinara, no cheese, and he did get an order of garlic bread. I decided to not have any. Everytime I'm at the gym doing squats, I think, this is too hard to go eat a bunch of junk and ruin it, hahah.

Mom and I grabbed YC's after a movie last weekend. For the first time I did curry flavors. I loved it and will do this again next time. I also did the rice noodles instead of the wheat noodles. A nice switch up. Loved it. Also I learned if you say you want it to go when you order, they will box it up for you and not charge you for the to go box! Worth it!

Here's another one of Jason's yummy Thursday night meals (the night he cooks). Veggie/black bean burger (Gardenburger brand this time), his yummy red potatoes chopped, and broccoli. I decided to go with no bun since I had potatoes too.

And I just had to put a picture up of my sweet angel. He's such a sweet little baby!!! haha He was sleeping and I kept interrupting him by trying to get a picture. I love this cat!

So there you go, another week almost down. I am making the famous white chili for the church chili cook off tomorrow. And I have had many people ask - NO I AM NOT MAKING IT VEGAN! I will be making it just like I always do, don't worry! haha It will be hard not to eat it though. So I'm going to try a new recipe from Dr. Fuhrman - Creamy Austrian Cauliflower soup. I will let you know how it goes.

Oh, and here's the count now for pounds.

Jason - minus 16 pounds
Drea - minus 14 pounds

Life is GOOD!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Days 35-42 and down 12.5 pounds and happy to report....

This will be a very short post, but I wanted to atleast get something down for now, and then tomorrow I will plan on doing a more in depth post with more pictures and recipes!

I'm happy to report that after 6 weeks I am down 12.5 pounds, and Jason 14 pounds. Mom - I believe her last count was 7, but I'm not sure. :) Either way, I can't believe we made it 6 weeks. I did have some labs drawn on Friday and Saturday, and the Dr. wants me to go ahead and incorporate some eggs and fish throughout the week. I am especially interested to see if this will help with my lightheadedness that I have been getting. I am working out hard each week now, with Zumba and training with Sassi. Jason is not interested in incorporating any fish or eggs yet. He has had no signs of dizziness or lightheadedness so he is feeling wonderful. I can tell a difference in his energy levels too. He will have labs drawn in December to see where he is at.

The other thing I am happy to report about is my cholesterol: it went from 158 to 133. They tell you at the Dr. that anything below 200 is normal, but with everything I have been reading and studying, that is not entirely true. Evidence shows that you want your total cholesterol levels below 150 atleast, to protect yourself from heart disease. So go get your cholesterol checked and see where you are at! If anyone reading this wants to comment and report their cholesterol, that would be fun.... tee hee!

Gotta go get ready for work now. I will post more tomorrow. Pics and recipes....

PS. Happy Birthday to my dear friend Hailey!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Days 28-35 and -10.5 pounds!

I made the "Easy 3 bean chili" from the Eat to Live book. It has tofu, 3 kinds of beans (duh), zuchinni, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, onions, spices and garlic. It was really good. The key is chopping up the vegetables very fine and you really don't even know they are there. It's just a hearty chili that is healthy. Jason loved it. So did Will. haha I had to post this picture of Will sitting at the table. He will often do this when we sit down for dinner - it's like he has to be a part of it to. Annie put her bowl in front of him to make it look like he was eating too. haha!
This is the cornbread I made with the chili - because you can't have chili without cornbread! It was really tasty - made without eggs or dairy. It was very biscuit like - almost like bisquick biscuits. I put a little honey on mine. Everybody love it! It was a nice treat!

I found this egg replacer at Sprouts. I read about it in a magazine. My sister -in-law asked me weeks ago how I would make things that required eggs....what do you use for a binder in recipes? Well Jenn, here's the answer! I guess many people don't buy it at Sprouts because I had 4 people looking for it, and eventually the manager was called, and he found it. They are so great at that store to help you find whatever you are looking for! You mix 1 1/2 tsp of the powder with 2 tbsp of water and that equals 1 egg.

Here's the cornbread mix that I used. I LOVE this brand - Bob's Red Mill. This is the brand of quinoa I buy as well. Costco has it in big bags for the quinoa. I would definitely make the cornbread again.
This recipe is courtesy of Dr. Oz that I found in Oprah's magazine - Lentils with Chia Seeds. I LOVED THIS! Keep in mind, and this is a helpful hint - YOU DO NOT NEED TO BREAK THE BANK TO BUY DIFFERENT BOTTLES OF SPICES! Sprouts has a spice section that you can scoop into a baggie and just pay for the amount you need. It's so great! Here is the recipe:

2 Tbsp. olive oil (I used just a drizzle then added some vegetable broth)
1 large white onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp turmeric ( I love the color of this spice! Bright yellow)
1/2 fresh jalapeno, peeled, seeded, and minced
31/2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 14 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp chia seeds
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro (I wanted more! You can put more in your bowl when you serve)
Cooked brown rice, for serving (I used quinoa, yum!!)

1. Heat oil (and veg. broth) over medium heat. Add onion and saute until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, and garlic; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in 4 cups water, ginger, turmeric, jalapeno, vegetable stock, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt, chia seeds, and cilantro; serve immediately with brown rice (or quinoa ) on the side of using.

If you don't know what chia seeds are, just think chia pet! haha Yes they are the same seeds, however - the benefits are AWESOME! They are full of protein, omega-3's, and they absorb 10 times their weight in water! Very cleansing to the intestines too because they absorb toxins. I use these amazing seeds in my green smoothies also. You don't even know they are there. You can find them at any health store, or online.

These are the kale chips I made. No they are not potato chips! But a good alternative for something crunchy and salty, with hardly any calories. Plus you get in your greens. If you don't know what kale is, or haven't tried it, it's very good in smoothies and cooked.

Here's the recipe for the Kale chips:

1 bunch of Kale
Pam spray or olive oil

Remove stems and large ribs from the center of the leaves. Tear off leaves into about 1 inch pieces. These will cook down a lot. Spread out on a baking sheet to cover. Give a light spray with Pam just so the salt will stick. LIGHTLY salt and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min. I went more toward the 15 min. mark to make them really crispy. Thanks for the recipe Steph, Yum!

Here's what Kale looks like fresh. The leaves almost look like ruffles. Kale is full of protein and tons of vitamins and minerals that we need.

This is a picture of the "Fabulous Bean Burritos" from Dr. Esselstyn's book. We did a casserole type of thing with salsa and chopped tomotoes on top. It has onions, garlic, pinto beans, and the Ezekiel tortillas (they are sprouted and no flour is used). Jason loves these! I think because it is a "casserole" type of thing (TOT) and he loves any casserole type things.

I'm down 10.5 pounds! Not bad in 1 month, 4 weeks. And it's a healthy loss - not too fast. This week I will begin my 3rd week of working the my trainer Sassi at the gym. She is awesome and I am really enjoying it. I have been more sore in the past couple weeks than ever before, but I know it's what I need! I figured I am eating so well, might as well kick it up some notches and hit the gym more. This is helping me break through my plateau for sure.

There is only one thing I am trying to get to the bottom of. I sometimes feel a bit dizzy - still. This is going on 5 weeks and I know it's not normal, since Jason has had no such symptoms. I was talking with my wonderful, beautiful friend Nikki who is a nutrition major right now and is so knowledgeable about this subject. She wants me to get a nutrition profile blood test done to see if I'm deficient in anything. She says that we all have a phenotype. She made an interesting comment - "You might not have the phenotype to be a STRICT vegan. Your body may require more protein, even a small amount from animal sources." It hit me like a ton of bricks. She suggested maybe adding some white fish a couple times a week and maybe even a small piece of red meat (3 or 4 oz. ) which is not a lot, once a week. I am going to digest this advice. I have made a commitment to follow this for 3 months. Would I be breaking my commitment to add in some fish a few times a week, even if it is trying to make me feel 100%? Nikki said this is all trial and error. What do you guys think? I would love to hear some opinions, so comment if you so wish to. I feel like I need some advice/help.

Until my next post....