Unexpected Outlaw Vegan Responses...
So, for coming up on three months now I have been back at my old vegan ways. Well, not exactly as I am actually eating lots of vegetables, which was not the case in my 20s. LOL.
I am finding some interesting things are going on with me and they are unexpected in terms of, well, I didn't expect them and wasn't trying to make them so. First, I have leaned out a bit. Meaning that some of what I used to deem everyday "bloat" has now disappeared. When I checked it I found that indeed I am four to five pounds leaner according to my once often used and now mostly stuck in the bottom of the sink cabinet bathroom scales. As far as activity levels, formal training has actually been cut back. I have been doing shorter workouts, lots of yoga and very little cardio since winter has me pretty much snowed in. It isn't loss of muscle either. In terms of muscle tone I look exactly the same.
More importantly, my cravings have lessened. I have been a long sufferer of sugar cravings. I would crave sweets during the day at work and often cave to the never-empty candy dish in the main office. I would crave them after a meal or before bed I would "need" a little sweet snack. These things weren't BIG - like I wasn't eating a whole bag of candy but I don't like the feeling of "OMG I NEED CHOCOLATE" ruling my brain. For the first time in years I actually have made the comment that something is "too sweet" in relation to a dessert. Further, I used to be a hot cocoa fanatic. It was how I would feed my cravings in the evenings. Worse, I would drink the sugar free kind to save on calories and then load it with artificial sweeteners. I was worried about giving this up so I bought some vegan hot cocoa but I've only had maybe two cups this winter. I used an artificial sweetener in something the other day, took one drink and poured it down the drain. It had this awful, bitter aftertaste that I never noticed when I was living life as a crazed sweet-oholic.
Not only sweets but other cravings in general have mostly stopped. The snacking craving, the thinking about food constantly (which will happen anytime you have spent years focusing on food, calories, blah, blah, blah), all but gone. I generally have been eating a mid morning snack (I am not a breakfast eater) then lunch and dinner. I'm hungry at mealtimes. I actually feel like it is OK to stop eating when the meal is over (something else that has been a struggle for my entire life). The key thing to me with all of this is that I didn't force any of it, actively pursue it, plan for it. It all seems to have just naturally happened by taking the focus OFF of some things that had been part of my life for decades. So I guess what I DID actively pursue was letting go.
See, when I went back onto this path I told myself that I would not see NOT eating things as a punishment. I did not want this to be like a "diet" or like self imposed "clean eating" because those things have always made me feel out of control due to over control and downright resentful of my own decisions. I was simply going to eat things I liked that didn't involve animal products. So, that included lots of vegetables, fruit, plain white rice and a little of the Tofurkey type stuff but really wanted to try and eat as much fresh food as possible. At the same time, I decided I would not deny myself snacks like tortilla chips and salsa because this wasn't about a diet...
I really wanted to get away from that mindset. As a matter of a fact I felt like I had to purge that mindset from my life and I took pretty extreme measures to do so. I started engaging in positive conversations with myself, I stuck those scales under the sink, I refused to talk about training and instead went to yoga or meditated, I ditched memberships and unsubscribed to email notices involving training, unsubscribed to training podcasts or anything else to do with "fitness", deleted all fitness and food tracking apps from my phone, turned the mirror in the bedroom around, (leaving Sam grumbling when he went to put on his tie), because for Hades-sake if your pants still fit they look fine why are you checking to see if your butt looks big? I stopped wearing make-up.... Yes, I stopped wearing make-up. I never have been a big make-up person anyway but even the small amount I did apply I just stopped. This has nothing to do with being vegan per say it was just another way for me to take the focus away from appearance and put it on other things.
I started cooking because I had to. I didn't want my going back to vegan to mean that Sam and I couldn't sit down and eat a meal together or that he had to cook two things and I didn't want to be a junk food vegan. I gave us both permission to screw up and not get my panties in a twitch. Just because I am in the restroom and Sam orders my salad and forgets to ask for no cheese doesn't mean I'm a bad vegan. It just means there is cheese in my salad. LOL.
So what I have experienced in my return to veganism has been a path of relinquishing constant control, (and worries about control and whether I would lose control), and struggle with my mind and body. Maybe that is the best unexpected benefit of all.
I am sprouting Alfalfa seeds for salads and sandwiches and I put them to soak tonight after work. I've had my sprouting jar for some time and just never seemed to get around to using it.
Since I am in need of interesting recipes and additions to my vegan menu I thought now was the time to dive in!
So, I will add to this post with some pictures of the little buggers as they start to sprout, the process, etc.
For right now they are soaking. I am thinking five hours should do it because they are tiny little seeds. Then I will need to rinse them at least twice a day, baby them and hope they grow. Then I get to eat them. LOL.
UPDATE - these were amazing! And lasted much, much longer than the store bought variety. Super easy and if you love sprouts I would definitely just grow them yourself.
I was going to post some pictures of the process but when I decided to grow them I looked up Devin Hunter's DIY video and he explains it so much better with loads of instruction and a really nice daily illustration of how they are grown and harvested so I am posting the link here:
Two successful recipes for the Outlaw Vegan! The first one, roasted chickpeas, was given to me by a workmate and is so super simple, meets my five ingredient rule and everything!
Take a can or two of chickpeas, drain liquid and put in a bowl with enough room to stir in:
a Tablespoon of olive oil and whatever spices you want to put on them. I put hot pepper flakes, curry and garlic. You can totally change up the flavor to whatever you want. Look on line and you'll find a ton of different variations and flavor combos to try. I mixed all my spices in the olive oil first and then drizzled it over the chickpeas, stirred everything together really well and...
Placed on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take them out, swirl them around and try your best to turn most of them. Put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes and they are done!
I served these over rice. IT.WAS.AWESOME.
Next up, I had some mushrooms that needed consumed with love because I hate wasting stuff. I have committed to doing some cooking because Sam is really, really busy with his hobby job and because since I have chosen to return to a vegan lifestyle I feel like it is fair that I contribute.
So, the mushrooms.... I found this wonderful recipe for a mushroom and black bean "chilli" - see link below:
VEGAN CHILLI WITH MUSHROOMS AND BLACKBEANS
This stuff turned out SO good that my regret was I didn't think to make cornbread with it! LOL. A great meal for a cold winter weekend.
My next task is to find something to do with carrots because Sam and I went to the store separately this week and BOTH bought carrots. LOL. Communication is key people.... ;)
Or at least what you are good at!
I've been told I make one helluva salad. LOL. Believe me with my cooking skills I take that as a compliment. The secret is in the layering. You layer everything as you go and then the eater doesn't have to worry about anything but the dressing. When I make salads for others I will simply layer in their salad bowl and let them apply as little or as much dressing as they want.
Here is my favorite salad technique when I am mixing up one for just myself, including an ultra low calorie dressing that I came up with long ago. I call this "shake-a-salad" and it makes for a great lunch or dinner full of good for you stuff!
First, pick your ingredients. I like dark greens mixed with some romaine. I chop onions, peppers, tomatoes and sometimes add carrots and cucumber slices too. If I'm feeling like I need a little more substance I will throw in some garbanzo beans or even some peas. I layer all this stuff in a container as I am cutting it - like a storage container that has a lid so that I can shake it later.
For the dressing I will use a little bit red wine vinegar and a dash of oil, mixing it with seasoning in a small container (again, one with a lid). For the seasoning you can use whatever you like but I usually just use an Italian spice sprinkle. Then I put spicy mustard in the container. I use lots of it because I like a hot dressing and because it makes the mixture a little more thick so it sticks to the greens better. I add a pack of Stevia to the mix and then put the lid on container and shake really hard.
So, having made my dressing I then drizzle it over my salad, put the lid on that container and shake shake shake a salad until everything is fully mixed.
And there you go! Perfectly mixed, perfectly dressed, low cal and full of yummy greens for the tummy :)
The periodic fun filled visit to my local co-op did not disappoint this weekend. I originally went there in order to obtain some Lady’s Mantle because it is going to be the herb for the next season in the Cosmophilia’s Herbal Experiential Group. But, alas, no Lady’s Mantle was to be found. So, I will have to obtain the dried herb on-line.
However, while I was there I decided to go ahead and cruise the
herbal shelf for my next “let’s just pick something out and take it home”game of herbal learning. And Lungwort said – pick me pick me! So, I did.
Later, I found out that Lungwort is such a pretty little plant! Also that you can eat the leaves in salads or dry them for use in teas, or use to make a poultice for various external healings. So, the tea can be used for respiratory problems, coughs, asthma, flu, colds, hoarseness. The poultice is used for open wounds, ulcers, sores, etc.
I found it interesting with the tea that Lungwort is sometimes used in conjunction with Coltsfoot, which was my last herbal pick from the co-op. And also this odd little theme from this season in that the herbs I have been working with including Coltsfoot, Slippery Elm, Shepherd’s Purse and now Lungwort are all known for their soothing properties and related to the throat, coughs, colds, etc…
And guess who was not sick even ONCE this winter? This girl here that is who!
So, magically, I learned that Lungwort was once used in combination with other ingredients to make a mixture that could be given to a woman in order to determine whether she was a witch. Lungwort is also supposed to be able to shift any stagnant situation into gear, possibly calm mental irritation and one source said it is particularly useful when dealing with someone in hysterics. LOL. I need to feed this to some of the
people I work with apparently.