January 30, 2011

The Vegan Diet: Day 5

I swear this is the most boring interesting stream of thought I've ever blogged about - My vegan entries are mundane and poorly written, but intriguing to watch my struggle and personal issues surface as the journey continues.
Restorative Endocrinology + me (?).  My sister attended a wellness conference at Bethel Church in Redding this weekend.  I'm looking forward to taking with her about what she learned.  She is using dietary changes as one mode to address an illness she has.  She and her husband recently removed meat from their diet, and I'm sure it would be helpful to corroborate with a local, newly-vegetarian eater.

Best food item of the day:
Potato garlic onion curry.  Eric + Katy and James came over and we diced 5 POUNDS of potatoes.  I love leftovers.  We also diced... way too many onions.  Anyhow.  We boiled the potatoes and prepared half of them in a skillet.  One head of garlic and three onions later, we added in my curry powder and a can of coconut milk.  Yes, I'm proud that I own curry powder.  I see it as a sign of my kitchen prowess. 

:)  I've never purchased coconut milk, and James purchased an imported brand.  He mixed it with the curry powder,  and we had a thick, intensely currific sauce to pour onto the goodness.  Marke would be proud.  Because James purchased an extra can, and I'm going to do something with it.

The onion experiment:  I ended up with 5 quarts raw chopped onions after our preparation.  My friend Laura Love always tells me how amazingly nutritive and healing onions are.  And now I will eat them with a vengeance.

Dinner tonight:  Leftover Mexican from yesterday with loads of onions and extra garlic, and a wee chunk of ginger.

Off Diet -  One bite of James' concoction - exactly what I ate, but with chicken and ginger.  YUM.

The Vegan Diet: Day 4

I am surviving, and quite well.  Thank you, Marke, for your guidance and tips.  (Do I really want to drink spinach, bananas, and water?  Juice makes so much more sense to my brain...)

Unfortunately my pain level has been rather tremendous.  Yesterday I could not turn my head and chat with the person sitting next to me at dinner because it hurt my neck and spine too much.  As the matter between my vertebrae degenerates, the joints become sticky and a few vertebrae are almost completely stuck together.
I've also been absolutely... asleep.  I don't feel exhaustion, just sleepiness.  I am attending a three day conference and have allowed myself to sleep many times between and during sessions.  I know I'm overtired, but this is quite abnormal for me.  I don't know that I can yet attribute it to the food.

Best food item of the day:  Dinner at Mario & Teo's wedding.  Why is it that traditional Mexican beans and rice are always way better than those from the US? Mmmmmmm.  I brought a wad of fresh tortillas home.

Off Diet - I skipped the meat, but poured the meat juice on my rice.  I still have not decided if it was worth it.  There.  I just decided.  It was.  :)

I'm off to focus on God at a conference held at Salem House of Prayer -

January 28, 2011

The Vegan Diet: Day 3

I'm holding up...  But frustrated and overwhelmed.
Here's my honest daily report.

NOTE: I weighed myself this morning right after my first bowel movement.  125 lbs.  Three pounds heavier than the last few months.  Remember, my goal is to lose no weight.

There are a million "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" in the world of food consumption.  Just when I think eating veggies and avoiding other inflammatory foods, one of you mention that tomatoes and peppers are inflammatory.  AAAAK.  There goes my dinner plan.

And while I'm truly grateful for Harmony and Tabitha and others' direction on books to read, whose website to check out, and how to make fresh almond milk, I just want to eat a known body of food and call it good.  I'm overwhelmed.  I don't want to read a book - I only have 11 days left of this!  (Unless I extend it to one month). 

Perhaps I'm being ignorant by choosing to simply omit animal products and sugar, and eat all the rest.  Perhaps I ought to take the time to read the books and do a 30 minute web search.
And perhaps I'm just tired of conflicting opinions and am creating this simple grid because I'm sick of thinking about it all.  Sigh.
My cravings have almost disappeared.  It only took three days!  However, I am irritable, and know I'm behind on sleep.  I can't blame my diet for it yet.  (And I fess up to a HUGE want for a chocolate chip cookie this afternoon.  Thank God there were none at my house.)

Best food item of the day: Rice pasta with Trader Joe's Sun Dried Tomato & Pesto Torta.  I ate buckets of it.

Off-Diet - There was some sort of milk in the Torta.  I had about a tablespoon of the milk product.  I'm pretty stinkin' proud of myself.  I thought I'd run out of food ideas by now.

January 27, 2011

The Vegan Diet: Day 2

Today is Day 2 of no animal products or sugar.  Read the back story here.

Lately I've also been devoid of energy.  Last night I slept 10 hours and woke up in less pain (thank God!), but still feel exhausted.
Over all:  Feeling decent.  It was a MUCH easier day than yesterday.  I have hope.

Best food item of the day:  I made my first ever green smoothie.   2 bananas, a huge wad of spinach, and V8 100% juice to mix it up.  I was shocked to find that it doesn't taste like spinach or grass or weeds at all.  I really enjoyed it.  

Cheat:  One tablespoon of fresh grated Parmesan cheese on my Great Harvest bread (with olive oil and salt.)  YUM.  I wanted a Sprite SO bad, until I read that it has 30x the grams of sugar that my chocolate does.  I'm proud that I have done so well!

Bowels seem to have balanced out.  I have no urgency in my need for a toilet, but  I'm surprised, considering I'm eating about 10x the fruit and veggies the average American eats.  We'll see how it all ends up :)

Feel free to leave any comments with any food suggestions or thoughts -

Check out those spinach chunks!

January 26, 2011

The Vegan Diet: Day 1

Today I began a rather sadistic journey:  Two weeks of eating everything but meat products and sugar, all in the name of wishing for a lifestyle of less body pain.  Read the back story here. 

I'll be honest.  Today was obnoxious.  I spent almost every moment of it fixated on eating sugar.  I wasn't even hungry.  I just wanted ice cream or chocolate covered fruit or or or... I felt rather crazed.  Like I was trying to quit cigarrettes.  Cigarettes.  It makes me  happy that I didn't know how to spell the word on the first try.

Best food of the day:  I quickly chopped 1/2 onion, 2 zucchinis, and 2 garlic cloves and tossed them in a pan.  I tossed them into a bowl of Trader Joe's Creamy Corn & Roasted Pepper soup.  YUMMY!!!  Adding anything to soup is always a quick way of seasoning and creating a seemingly fancy meal.  Try veggies, noodles, and/or rice.

Guiltless Cheat:  I needed dinner and was out of the house.  My raw almonds and dried cranberries were entirely uninteresting.  A friend purchased a carved turkey sandwich for me.  It was amazing. (I actually do feel a bit guilty.)

And I enjoyed my dark chocolate.

In other news, my bowels seem to have "awoken."  It is healthy to need to use the bathroom more often, and my stool has a more natural tone and consistency, but it's a bit bothersome to need to go to the bathroom on short notice.

Only two weeks.  ONLY two weeks.  That's what I must remind myself.

January 25, 2011

To my health: Vegan adventures.

Rose is going on a diet.

1.  Remove specific foods from my diet to determine if their absence lowers my average pain level.
2.  Lose no weight.
3.  Be 98% "good," and not feel guilty about the other 2% when it happens.
4.  Try it for two weeks.  If I'm tolerating it well, try it for a month.  
5.  Faithfully read ingredients on food packaging.

Back story:  Well, it truly technically is a back story.  I am diagnosed with fibromyalgia and spondlyosis, in addition to arthritis in specific joints and a growth on the back of my knee caps.  Fibromyalgia means I have chronic pain everywhere for no specific reason.  Spondlyosis is degenerative arthritis in the spaces between my vertebrae.  It's awful.

My list of attempted remedies for the pain is extremely long.  What works best?  Sleeping more than 9 hours.  Using lumbar support.  And not much else.  I need to exhaust all possibilities before I surrender to medical mj.  :)  Which will likely never happen.  Sigh.

I honestly don't know what a vegan's diet technically is.

My diet:
As many raw fruits and vegetables as possible.
No animal products.  (No meat, milk, eggs, etc.)
No sugary foods.  (YES, this includes milk chocolate!)

But what I do know is that animal products and sugar are typically inflammatories.  I'll skip them.  I may go out and find some free-range, grass fed bird meat at some point, but for now I'll avoid meat, except that I will likely buy some wild salmon (guilt-free).  I'd rather take all these animal products away and see what my body does than only try a few at a time.  If I still feel the same level of pain, I'll drop the diet, and know that I finally actually tried it.

- Leave a variety of healthy foods around the house.  Great Harvest bread, loads of fresh veggies and fruits, juices, rice pasta (yum!), and anything else you can suggest.
- I will keep dark chocolate very handy.  I eat about 1/4 of a bar of 86% cacao a day, and this serving only has 1 gram of sugar.  WOW.  A slice of normal bread has 4 grams!
- Muddle through it blindly and hope you have some quick food ideas.
- Pray.  This will probably suck.

Any super fast ideas to mix up raw or cooked fruits and veggies?
Specifically, what are your easy seasonings?  I discovered curry powder and now use it all the time.  Thoughts?

January 22, 2011

Home alone. A decidedly (damned) delightful short poem.

Delighted to have the house to myself for just one night.

Decided to cheat:  I turned on the oven, much to the demise of a meat-lovers frozen pizza.
Decided to redeem myself:  I added spinach, bell pepper, and onion to top the frozen grease.

Decided to be distracted by tv while placing the pizza in the oven.
Decidedly melted the skin off my right wrist.

Delighted to find my burn gel still in the bathroom cupboard.  Sometimes minimalism is overrated.

(the pizza was awesome)

January 20, 2011

RoseBark Reviews: Products, Services, and Places

Greetings, faithful readers!

I regularly write letters to companies when I have a very positive or negative experience.  I spent most of my employed career working in the customer service industry.  I firmly believe that one of the most helpful tools for a company to improve is to receive feedback.

With this in mind, I write diplomatic or, at times, very emotional letters to companies.  And they reply.  Sometimes I receive contact in 24 hours, but often they contact me after a week or three.  Or never.  In the last months, I always state that I write a blog with a large readership, and I will post the results of our communication on the blog.  That being said, they have endorsed everything I make public.

My purpose in posting the dialogs is principally this:  I believe good should be rewarded with good, and poor quality should be acknowledged as such.  I believe the public ought to have access to reviews for products, services, and places.  I had a particularly strong experience, and I want others to know about it.

I also take the time to post some of my reviews on public sites.  Stuart's Auto has my glowing review on both Google and Yahoo, amongst others.  I leave feedback on Ebay, general product review pages, and anywhere I believe it pertinent for the public to locate the valuable information. Most often, however, I simply write a letter and mail or email it off, never mentioning it again.  That, my friend, is what I intend to change.

I'll be archiving the reviews to one date within my blog (Like January 1, 2008).  Details to be posted.

Any thoughts?  Do you think this is appropriate?  Am I wasting my time by bothering to write them in the first place?

Miss Rose


Product 1:  Shick ST2 Slim Twin Razor, Sensitive for Men.

January 5, 2011

I love you, Dave Ramsey!!! (Debt, food, and loans)

I just finished balancing my 2010 December and Q4 budget.

I worked more than double my scheduled hours in November, and the cash went directly to my university.  I'm proud of myself.

LESS THAN $400 to go on this loan!  It'll be paid off in APRIL!  I love you, Dave Ramsey!
Details on this loan

In 2010 I spent 296.25 on dining experiences including alcohol - all the food I ate which was not prepared at home. Average monthly spending: $24.70. Again, I'm proud of myself.

Dinner tonight: Wild salmon with fresh veggies, and rice noodles with pesto and sun dried tomato sauce. 

All the money I "saved" on meals (READ: Didn't spend) went directly to the Uni.
It takes determination, determination, and more determination.  I create boundaries for spending, bring snacks and prepared meals wherever I travel, and decide when it's ok to fudge and splurge.

When a friend said he is impressed with how precise I am in food budgeting:

Thanks to Marke McC for his Excel budget spreadsheet.  I'm happy to share it with you.  I update my budget every Tuesday (Banks clear weekend payments on Mondays.)  I save my receipts, and note when I pay cash.  I compare these with Debit and Credit spending.  I carry NO balance on my credit card - I just spend wads of money every month on it, but pay the balance BEFORE I ever spend the money.  REI rewards, here I come!