I became a vegan

I haven’t posted in quite some time. Plenty of events have been worthy of a jot-down and yet somehow I’ve been reluctant to do so. One of the more significant events occurred nearly 6 months ago, and as I approach the 6 month mark next weekend, it is high time I document it.

On February 10 I had an annual physical and blood draw. The nurse called later that day with my results, telling me, “we think you may have diabetes and need to you to come in and take a blood test to rule it out.”

On February 13 I had the diabetes glucose tolerance test. I was made to drink an extremely sugary drink in 5 minutes. I wasn’t even 2 minutes into drinking the drink when I became light-headed and near black-out. I was rushed to a gurney with an icepack placed on my neck and a fan to cool me down. I was miserable. The sugary drink was more sugar than I would consume in a week let alone five minutes. Once I was stable I then had to wait around for two more on-the-hour blood draws. By the time the whole thing was over I was spent. I couldn’t function, trying to go back to work was useless. All I wanted to do was sleep. That was way too much sugar.

I thought I ate rather well – a diet of whole foods, grass-fed beef or bison, fish, fresh chicken eggs, and anti-biotic-free chicken along with fruits and vegetables. I also was going to the gym, doing cardio and weight training regularly. I thought I was working towards being in better shape. In fact I was I had already lost nearly 15 pounds prior, weighing 210 (or so) at this doctor’s appointment. Clearly it wasn’t enough.

February 14 the nurse called with the results. I was lucky. I didn’t have diabetes. My body processed that sugary drink properly. I was okay.

I decided then and there that I would never ever go through that test again. I did not ever want to have to endure that test again. I heeded the doctor’s comment “there is no such thing as too much cardio” and bumped my daily cardio from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. I changed my approach to food. I became a vegan.

Becoming a vegan is the best thing I have done for myself aside from quitting smoking in 2009. The effect on my body has been astounding. By eating a vegan diet, increasing my cardio, practicing yoga (another post on that will soon follow) has enabled me to get down below my original goal weight of 190. I’m now weighing between 181 and 184. My energy level is up. My body feels completely different. I am happy. My reason for becoming vegan was selfish. My reason for staying vegan, while continuing to benefit for me, is far beyond just me. It is a compassion for the planet, animals, and humanity.

Holiday Treats

Cranberries 

The Sugared Cranberries Recipe from Whole Foods Market is back in play. These tart-sweet treats are a standard holiday treat any more (especially since making my “Favorite Recipe of 2012” last year). It wouldn’t be the holidays without them. An added bonus is the simple sugar byproduct, a lovely cinnamon and clove syrup perfect for tea or an adult beverage needing a touch of sweetness and hint of holiday.

These sugar coated cranberries boldly balance tart with sweet. We all recognize/fear the canned cranberry jelly mold placed on the table for Thanksgiving dinner or the cranberry juice bottle pushed to the back of the fridge and what we know about cranberries would prevent the possibility of eating the whole fruit. Until now.

Need to bring a sweet to a gathering this holiday season? Package these up in seasonal packaging and you have an instant, made at home (with minimal effort) offering.

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Pumpkin Purée

I try, often in vain, during the holidays to maintain perspective on the food I put on the table and in my mouth, searching for recipes that please the pallet and won’t weigh me down. This Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread Recipe from Fine Cooking Cook Fresh Fall 2013 magazine was a superb treat.

It is true, by nature I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I eat one slice each year and I’m covered for 365 days. But pumpkin bread is a different animal. This olive oil recipe introduced a healthier fat into holiday baking. I added a little ginger to the recipe for added spice (next time i’ll add just a touch more). The recipe includes the optional ingredient of unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – of course I added them – they roast nicely as the bread bakes, adding textural variety and a nutty, roasted flavor. 

To serve, slice and eat. Feeling decadent, add a pat of really good butter (uh, oh I said “butter”). Enjoy.

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Oh Martha

And for brunch this Croque-Monsieur recipe takes the cheese. Super easy super yummy even for the non-ham-lovers out there. Here’s this morning’s offering.

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Hooray for brunch food this New Year’s Day.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living November 2012.