It’s Time to Vlog

I’m home sick from work. I woke up with a killer headache and choose to wait it out hiding under the sheets in the comfort of my bed. I’m still not feeling 100% but with lots of water and rest I am getting there.

While I’ve been relaxing I decided that I wanted to do another vlog. It has been months since the last one and it was so much fun I thought it would be great to do it again.

But I need your help.

What do you want to see? Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? I’m open to almost anything; weight loss, veganism, marriage, etc. Or would you like to see another cooking vlog? I’m leaving this one up to you. Leave me a comment, shoot me an email (thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com), Facebook message or tweet (@dacialee33) at me your responses. I’m hoping to vlog this weekend so please get your questions/requests in by Saturday 🙂

That’s all I’ve got for now. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

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May 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Blogging, Vlog. Leave a comment.

Updates and Explanations

I went back and edited yesterday’s post. That’s not something I typically do. Unless of course I spot a typo 😉

I am glad I did it though. Because of yesterday’s post I learned some new things and there was no way I wasn’t going update what I wrote to make the information more complete/accurate. The last thing I want to do is give you bad information.

With that being said I just want to address the obvious… I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietician or any other type of expert. Yesterday’s post was more about passing along weird factoids I have picked up over the past five months and nothing else.

I am not trying to convince you to become a vegan. I don’t think it’s for everyone. But it is for me.

I am not some super healthy person, either. There is just as much vegan junk food out there as there is non-vegan junk food.

Last night I ate a giant vegan chocolate chip cookie (5 WWPP) from Whole Foods. I probably shouldn’t allow myself as many indulgences as I do because a cookie is still a cookie. It’s still junk food, vegan or not.

I am just a person who is struggling everyday to make the best choices for my body and for my health.

Why? Because I am scared.

A year ago I was knocking on the door of the 300 pound mark. Although I hadn’t been diagnosed with obesity related ailments I was still physically sick. I had no energy. I struggled moving around or standing for long periods of time. It was only a matter of time before the diagnoses would have come.

In the past year I have come to realize that the only way I was going to extend my life and reduce my risk of heart attack/stroke/diabetes/high blood pressure etc was to get active and change my eating habits.

I do not want to rely on medicine to sustain my life. This is my opinion, my personal belief. It is not the future I want for myself.

I look at my father who at the age of 55 had a heart attack and subsequent quadruple bypass. The surgeon told him afterwards that he basically had a brand new heart (which he meant the arteries but you know what he meant) and would live another 40 years. Then three years later he was back in the hospital – another heart attack.

My dad was not overweight and he was pretty active. His diet may have been the contributing factor to his heart disease. Who knows; I’m no expert.

What I do know is that I don’t want a life where I have to carry around a list of medications in my wallet in case I am hospitalized and they need to make sure there won’t be any fatal drug interactions like my Dad does.

Will being a vegan keep me from having a heart attack? Maybe, maybe not. But what I do know is this- it has helped me so far. So does exercise. So does limiting processed foods. So do numerous other things.

And I do recognize that every person is different and that making any positive changes in your lifestyle can have a positive impact on health, not just choosing veganism.

For me, which is what this is all about right- my journey, it has helped rid me of some nasty digestive issues I struggled with all my life and for that I am very thankful.

Will it cure everything? Will I live to be 110? Only time will tell what will happen.

For now I will continue making the decisions I feel are best for me and my health. I will continue to learn and grow and change and I expect that from all of us. No matter what those decisions are 🙂

Thanks for reading!

March 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Diet, Vegan, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

What I’ve Learned; the Vegan Edition

Updated 03/01/2012

As you know, I adopted a vegan diet because it was what worked best for my body. Last fall, after practicing mindful eating for months, I found myself still struggling with digestive problems and regularity issues so I started to eliminate foods from my diet to try and figure out what was causing the problems. On a whim I decided to cut out all animal products and within days I felt like a completely new person. Thinking it might be coincidence I ate some dairy about a week later and immediately reverted back to my old problems. It was then I decided to eliminate animal products completely on a more permanent basis. That was almost five month ago.

Once I adopted a vegan diet I felt amazing; I had/have tons of energy from the moment I wake up and throughout the day, I am regular, I sleep soundly every night, my body recovers from workouts quickly- I have no more lingering joint pain or aches, I just feel fabulous. No love of cheese or steak could ever make me want to give up how my body feels now.

In addition to feeling great I love the food I am eating. I have tried tons of new recipes as well as a plethora of new food items. My meals are always satisfying, satiating, and they never leave me feeling like crap afterwards. I put good fuel into my body and in return I get high energy and great health. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.

But I wanted to know why. Why did my body react this way to the changes? Yes, I was 100% satisfied with the decision I made but I wanted to know more, to learn more about veganism and make sure I was making the best decision for my health in the long term. So I read articles, blogs, watched documentaries, heard speakers and of course consulted my doctor about the change I had made. Along this road I have learned some very interesting things and I thought today I would share some of them with you. None of these I knew before adopting a vegan diet and I am not quite sure how much of this would be considered common knowledge (although it should be, in my opinion) so I thought I would share.

– We are the only animal that drinks another animal’s breast milk. Isn’t that weird? I never really thought about it until I heard it on ‘Forks over Knives’

– Cholesterol is found only in foods containing animal fat. Our body produces cholesterol on its own; just the same way cholesterol is produced in other animals. I found this odd because when I was told that my cholesterol was high (4 years ago) my doctor didn’t tell me to stop eating animal products. That seems like a really great way to lower your cholesterol. *Update* It was kindly brought to my attention yesterday that the amount of dietary cholesterol we eat makes very little difference on our actually cholesterol levels. The thing that does affect these levels is the amount of fat we eat in our diet. So the next point too, although valid, may not matter.

– All meat contains almostthe same amount of cholesterol. In a 3.5 oz serving there is; 90mg C in pork, 85mg C in beef, 85mg C in chicken, 82mg C in turkey, 82mg C in lamb, and 73mg C in trout. So eating chicken instead of beef (although it may have less fat) will not reduce your cholesterol intake. *Plant foods have 0mg of cholesterol 🙂

– Most common question I get asked is on this subject; how do vegans get their protein? Protein is found in plants, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc in addition to meat and dairy. Basically if you are eating any whole food it will contain protein.

– Do you know what the medical term for protein deficiency is? I didn’t. I never even knew there was such a thing. It’s called kwashiorkor (I had to Google it just for this post because I couldn’t remember the name) and is mainly found in developing countries. It is a very rare disease in the U.S. I don’t think anyone should be worried about vegans being diagnosed with it any time soon. I think I heard that there were zero recorded cases of it in adults in the U.S. last year. The rule of thumb goes- if you are eating enough calories, you are getting enough protein.

– Too much protein, however, is a bad thing. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, which our body can store excess of long term, excess protein converted to amino acids is then converted to ammonia to urea. Overconsumption of protein can lead to an increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. The excess consumption of protein is why osteoporosis, which is chronic loss of bone mass, most often occurs in nations with the highest consumption of dairy.

Do you know how much protein you should be consuming daily? For me, it’s 64g a day. You can calculate it yourself using this formula (current weight/2.2)*0.8 or you can go to Interactive DRI which will calculate all of your recommended daily nutrient intakes for you. Yesterday, I ended up consuming 69g of protein which is slightly higher than recommended but goes to show how easy it is for me to get my daily protein requirement on a vegan diet.

– Where does calcium come from? Did you say dairy? Yeah, if you asked me five months ago I would have said dairy/milk too. You aren’t wrong if you said dairy but dairy is not the only way to get calcium. Calcium is a mineral. It comes from soil. Which means that plants, grains, legumes have calcium, too. You can still get the calcium your bones need while following a vegan diet.

This post isn’t meant to try to convince you to adopt a plant-strong diet or preach to you. I am merely using this blog as a way to pass on some of the things I have learned that I found interesting. I hope you take it as such.

Any neat or weird food /nutrition facts you’ve learned recently that you would like to share?

Thanks for reading!

February 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Diet, Vegan. 5 comments.

Where Am I?

Hello to all the thirty-three and counting readers! I am not here today. I am over at my friend Shrinking Carrie’s blog. Carrie recently started a twenty-one day vegan challenge and is really loving it! She kindly reached out to me to ask if I would share my vegan story with her readers and here it is: Proof is in the Pudding…Vegan Pudding (Guest Post)

Please check it out and be sure to leave Carrie some love and encouragement for her on her journey!

Thanks for reading!

January 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Vegan, Weight Loss. Leave a comment.

You Know Me- I’m Always Planning

With another holiday weekend in front of me, I decided I needed to spend some time today and plan out the meals for the weekend. Last week, with my parents in town, we ate out almost every single day and Paul and I are kind of burnt out on restaurant food so planning to eat every meal at home was a must. We also wanted to plan super yummy vegan meals for when our friend KJ and her little daughter are over for New Year’s Eve, her husband will be working 😦 , and for our friends coming over for New Years day to watch the Cowboys vs. Giants game. We needed to make sure we planned out some awesome food so tha no one would complain about eating vegan 🙂

Oh and I should tell you now, because I don’t think I have mentioned it on here yet, that starting January 1 Paul is adopting a vegan diet as well. I did not ask him to or even try to persuade him towards going vegan- he came to that decision all on his own. I am pretty sure it was a combo of the science and research behind the film “Forks Over Knives” and the fact that Rip Esselstyn, who is the son of one of the main doctors in the film and appears in the movie, is a former pro triathlete, currently working as a fireman and eats a plant-based diet. I think seeing an athletic man speaking about the positive effects of adopting a plant-based diet without having to sacrifice health or fitness helped show him it’s more versatile than he thought.

Since Paul is going vegan I asked him if he wanted any special foods or meals before January 1, sort of like his last meal, and he said no. I think he is ready for the change, which is a good thing, and hopefully it is a smooth transition for him. I know for me life will be so much easier now that we can eat the same meals all the time. We usually eat the same things on the weekends but during the week it is each man for himself in our household. Now we can meal plan, shop, cook and eat together which is awesome. He even helped me pick out some recipes for the weekend. Believe it or not he took two vegan cookbooks with him to work today so he can start coming up with lunches and dinners he would like during the week- I was pretty shocked. Then he said to me that he wanted to make me miso soup and veggie lo mein (I love lo mein) this weekend so it is on the menu for Monday. It’s great he is so excited for this.

Meals for the New Year

Friday dinner: Veggie Burgers with Kale-Cabbage-Leek Grill Mix

Saturday lunch: Back on Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad with side salad

Dinner: Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce, Spicy Rainbow Rice and Bean Salad, Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

Sunday breakfast: Vegan French Toast (Everyday Happy Herbivore)

Lunch/Dinner: Caribbean Peas & Rice

Party Foods: we’re going Greek-vegan; falafel, eggplant dip, tabouleh, hummus, grilled veggies, pita and a mix of fresh vegetables for dips

Desserts: Frosty No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Chews

Monday breakfast: Overnight Oats

Lunch: Miso Soup with Veggie Lo Mein

Dinner: Back on Track Wheat Berry Salad (I love leftovers! They make life so much easier)

*Recipes not linked are from our cookbooks at home

On top of eating some fantastic vegan food this weekend I also have some great activities planned to help me ring in the New Year. Friday night Paul and I are going to a San Antonio Rampage hockey game which is always fun. Saturday morning after my Weight Watchers meeting we are going to go hike the Enchanted Rock. Please check out the awesome video below about the Enchanted Rock Park, it’s pretty amazing. As I said earlier we will be having KJ and her daughter MJ over for dinner and hanging out with them until MJ’s bed time which will probably also be mine and Paul’s bed time since we need to get a nap in- we are doing a midnight 5K. Since both of us are normally in bed around 9p we thought napping would be our best strategy to make it to midnight and through the race. Sunday will be a very relaxing day as we celebrate with more friends. I am meeting MS for lunch and then we are going to Synergy for their annual New Year’s Day celebration – the Burning Bowl Ceremony with Jodi Roberts and Stephanie Phillips. Then afterwards I will be watching some football (hopefully seeing the Giants destroy the Cowboys) with friends. On Monday we invited our former dog walker over to come spend some time with us and the doggies since we haven’t seen her since we moved. It should be a lot of fun. Then I plan on ending the weekend with a couple of boxing classes at Club KO and hopefully Paul will be joining me for that, too.

TPWD: Enchanted Rock

What do you have going on this weekend? I would love to hear about your plans and how you will be ringing in the New Year so feel free to comment below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

December 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Life, Recipes, Weight Loss. 5 comments.