Sunday, August 25, 2013

Healthy Vegan Fall Challenge Part 1

It is time for another challenge and I am really going to try to step it up this time as I did not do too well last time. If you would like to join in leave a comment and I will get you an invite to the group over on Facebook.

So, these were my goals last time...

1. No animal products whatsoever. This means not eating something unless I KNOW it is not made with dairy and/or eggs (and other animal products, obviously). This is where I have been lacking in making the transition to becoming a full vegan (well, this and leather products).

2. 1 salad everyday, and fruit with every meal.

3. Limited oil, salt and sugar.

4. Exercise daily, increasing running distances or times.

5. Lose 10 pounds.

I did horribly with #1. This is something that I think is going to take a lot of time and practice and that is okay. I do really well with not eating any beef and usually no pork, chicken, and other poultry. However, when I was on my vacation I went to my cousin's house and she had lovingly prepared us a lunch of chicken salad, not knowing I was a vegetarian. I felt that in this instance it was better to go ahead and have some instead of offending her. I know that most people would not agree with me, but for me that was the right choice. I also do allow myself the occasional fish, usually when it is served as sushi, so I did have that as well, once. I also had a salmon salad the other day. I am working on giving fish up completely. Becoming a vegan is turning out to be a step by step process for me. I figure if I can master one thing at a time that is a victory. For now, it is not having had any beef. I also can't remember the last time I had eggs, though I have had food with eggs in them. I will talk about dairy in a bit.

I have not had a salad everyday or fruit with every meal, but I have found that I love juicing so I may be able to achieve that this time around!

I have done pretty good with limited oil and salt. Sugar, not so much!!

I have done a lot of exercise, but not daily. Have not increased my distances or decreased times. More on that in a bit.

I did not lose 10 pounds. I think I gained 10!

Okay, so for this challenge a lot is going to be the same.

1. No beef, chicken or other poultry. No eggs, except to try the falafel at a friend's new restaurant (he has not been able to find a recipe that does not use eggs that tastes good, but he does want to have a vegetarian offering on the menu.)

2. No dairy. I have been eating some dairy lately, as an experiment. A couple weeks ago I had an omelet at Ihop that used egg substitute. I also asked for no cheese on it, but did not realize it was in it. I went ahead and had some before realizing I could scrape it out. That evening I had some stomach issues. I began to wonder if I maybe had lactose intolerance (since my dad had it and I have had those stomach issues before). last Sunday I had dairy and was fine. Yesterday I had dairy and was also fine. I was hoping that if I had it it would make it easier to give up dairy!! Instead I have to remind myself that bay cows are being ripped away from their mothers to provide that dairy, most of it comes from factory farms, and it is a by-product of blood and really not that great for you.

3. No foods that use dairy products or eggs. Time to read labels!!

4. Limited oil, salt and sugar. I do not cook with oil normally, but may use it on salad as a dressing. Going to try not doing that. I also do not add salt to recipes normally or have it on a meal unless it really really needs it. As for sugar, I am trying to remember to bring dried fruit in my lunch bag for dessert so I am not tempted to get something out of the vending machine or go in search of chocolate (and believe me, I know who has it and where it is!!). Also, limit vegan sweets to evening only and not a lot!!

5. Fruit everyday!! Though I failed my juice fast it made me realize I love juicing!! So I am planning to have juice with breakfast and dinner.

6. Finish my large cup of water everyday.

7. Eat more salads. I plan to make a big one every Sunday and add to it as needed. If I do not take it for lunch, it becomes dinner.

8. Smoothie or granola or a fruit dish for breakfast :)

9. Regular exercise. It has been really hot and I have not felt like going to the gym. That is going to change. My gym routine will now consist of 1 mile each on bike, elliptical and treadmill. I am also trying to do one race a month to keep motivated. Mostly 5k's however I made a deal with a friend to do a 10k in March.

10. Lose 10 pounds. But I will be happy with 5!! I am currently at 169.

11. No soda with high fructose corn syrup. I have not had caffeine soda in a couple weeks so I am adding something else in!! This limits me to Sierra Mist at work and most restaurants and Izze at home.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Juice Fast Day 2 -- Epic Fail

Well, I guess it wasn't really epic since I did make it through 1 1/2 days!! But the hunger and haze and weakness finally got to me and I had to quit. Or I chose to quit. But I am proud I hug on as long as I did. I learned some more stuff as well...

1. I LOVE fresh made juice!! Seriously, you would think I would never want to drink juice again, but that wasn't the case. I even made juice for friends!

2. The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer does not like kale (it sends most of it to the pulp bin) and will sometimes spit back blueberries, the occasional apple wedge, carrot slices and plum pieces. And grapes.

3. The Jack LaLanne Power Juicer likes to spit juice at your white t-shirt.

I think to more successful at the juice fast next time I should prepare better, rather than just jump in after eating kind of poorly. And not go anywhere or do anything active at all. I gave up after a trip to the pool. I didn't even swim laps, just played around a bit. But for most of the fast I didn't feel like doing anything and felt like I was in some kind of food deprived haze. It was not a pleasant feeling.

This week the focus will be on healthy eating. Lots of salads and ETL recipes. And JUICE!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Juice Fast Day One

I have been eating really poorly in the past couple weeks so I decided to clean myself out and jumpstart a healthier eating plan by doing a juice fast. I am following the 3 day plan by Joe Cross of Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. After nearly a day of this I thought I would share the experience with you along with some tips.

1. You will PEE like a racehorse or a pregnant woman or anything else that pees a lot. You will be PEEING constantly. I have PEED more than 10 times and by the end of the day it will probably top 20. No joke.

2. Your pee will start to be clear so that is good lol.

3. The Jack La Lanne Power Juicer (which I bought pre-owned from a church friend)is really easy to use and very easy to clean. However, it gets tedious cleaning it after every juicing so you can wait until the end of the day to clean everything and then at the end of fasting put it in the dishwasher. (Actually, you probably should clean it after every use, but I am too tired and lazy to continue that).

4. You will be too tired and weak to go to Walmart, but not to go to an estate sale and the library. But between the estate sale and library you will realize you really are too weak and tired to do that as well.

5. You will crave real food. Blueberry muffins (vegan, of course) with Earth Balance "butter", pizza (without cheese of course, unless it is Daiya Cheese, which I keep forgetting I have to add to those cheeseless Papa Murphy's pizzas I love), cake, French fries. Then you will dream about having a small can of low sodium V-8 juice.

6. Headaches suck when you can't take anything for them. No non-prescription medication on the juice fast.

7. After 1 glass of juice you will feel like you can do this for 5 days!! After 3 you are thinking of doing it for only 2. Or 1. Or 3 glasses.

8. You will want to send your husband to Freddy's for a veggie burger and fries STAT!!

9. You will decide that instead of feeling hungry, maybe you feel nauseous instead. Which may very well be.

10. Don't give up.

I will have an update for you tomorrow as well. If I have the strength to type. And am not in the bathroom peeing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Veggie Friendly Eating In California -- Taste Of India

On Sunday while Bonnie and I were at the LA Farmer's Market amongst all the ethnic food choices, I mentioned that I had never had Indian Food before. She said that before I left we would have Indian food!! Since I was leaving the next day it would have to be that night!!

So, after watching some TV we headed out for a late dinner at Taste of India. We ate at the Woodland Hills location.

For an appetizer I ordered Samosas which were potato and peas in a puff. For my entrée I had Bengan Bhartha, which was recommended to me by the waiter. I had it mildly spicy, but it wasn't really spicy at all! It is shredded zucchini with spices. So good. I also got a side of rice and na'an

(Bonnie's entrée is in the background)

The food was so good and it made me a fan of Indian food immediately.

What do you think of Indian food? What is your favorite vegetarian entrée?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Veggie Friendly Eating at My Family Picnic

The reason for my trip to California was to attend a family picnic/reunion. It was held at Craig Park in Fullerton. Despite the main food being served was beef and chicken, I was able to eat a completely vegan meal!!

I brought 2 vegan salads from Whole Foods and there were other meat,egg and dairy free salads available. I had a full plate!! Then my cousin Phillip (on the right) grilled up slices of a giant zucchini he brought (and grew!!) so I had a zucchini burger!!!

And here are some pictures of the food tables!!

Obviously, no one left hungry lol

Monday, July 29, 2013

Veggie Friendly Smoothies in California -- Jamba Juice!!!

One thing I really miss about living in California is the abundance of Jamba Juice's. We have NONE in Kansas (however, it looks like an independent smoothie shop is going in on one of our main streets!! And there is Juice Stop in Topeka). I always make a it a point to go to Jamba Juice when I am in California, usually more than once.

Now, I knew they had all fruit offerings (no dairy), but I was delighted to find they also made some fruit and veggie smoothies!! I went to the one in Woodland Hills on Ventura Blvd on Saturday morning where the coolest employees work. This guy not only let me take a picture, but posed lol

I think I had the Tropical Harvest which had mangos, peaches, yellow vegetable juice (sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash), passion mango juice, and ice. It was awesome.

The next day while back in Pasadena with Bonnie and her sister, Juddy, I went to JJ in Old Town while they went to Baskin Robbins. This time I got a Pomegranate Paradise which had Pomegranate Juice Blend, Strawberries, Mangos, and Peaches.

I also decided to be brave and try something I have always wanted to try......a wheatgrass shot!!

With an orange chaser. It was okay, but definitely needed that chaser!!

I hope our new smoothie place here in JC has wheatgrass shots, all fruit and fruit and veggie smoothies!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vegan Eating In California -- Real Food Daily

Friday was all about the Vegan restaurants. Los Angeles and Southern California in general is FILLED with them. I wish I had just an 8th of the choices that they have out there. It is awesome.

Anyway, my friend, Bonnie, agreed to have vegan food with me on Friday night of my trip. I wanted to go to Real Food Daily in Pasadena. Carrie had blogged about it some time ago and showed the awesome looking chocolate cake her husband had there and ever since I have wanted to go lol. Plus, I like going to Old Town Pasadena and RFD is not far from there.

There are three different locations for Real Food Daily. Bonnie had been to the one on West Hollywood. She said this one was nicer. There is also one in Santa Monica.

So what did we have? Well, I had a cola

And for dinner I had Not-Chos and Bonnie had a Quesadilla

The Not-Chos were good, but they went a little heavy on the black beans. I could not finish it. Bonnie enjoyed her Quesadilla, which I had a bite of and I agree it was good. It had Seitan in it and I liked how they prepared it.

They did not have the chocolate cake that day, but they had Oreo Cake, which Bonnie got. I had a Chocolate Parfait

I would definitely go back here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vegan Eating in California -- Golden Mean Vegan Cafe

On the Friday of my trip I planned a trip to the beach in Santa Monica and wanted to go to a vegan restaurant for lunch. I really wanted to get something to go so I could take it to the beach. I did a search on Happy Cow and found Golden Mean Vegan Café on Wilshire. perfect.

As I got closer I started to wonder how far away I would have to park as it is very close to the beach and there is no parking lot. I was delighted to find a parking spot merely steps away that I did not even have to parallel park to get in!! It was metered, but you can use your debit card in the meters there, so no scrounging for change! I was way to excited about that lol.

Here is the café

And their delicious bakery case

I had a lemon bar. For lunch I ordered the 3 item Tappas Platter and I chose Cornmeal Crust Pizza, Olives with Cashew Cheese and Hummus of the Day.

I forgot to take a picture. D'oh! It was good, though. Not the best vegan food I have ever had (that would be Café Gratitude), but good.

If you are in Santa Monica I recommend checking this place out.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Veggie Friendly Eating in California -- Light and Healthy all You Can Eat Sushi and Whole Foods

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures to go with this post.

My best friend, Bonnie, lives in the San Fernando Valley, north of LA. In the 3 times I have visited her here I have seen more of the valley than when I lived in California for 27 years! And I love it!! People make fun of the valley, but I love it. I love that there are sushi restaurants and Whole Foods EVERWHERE. And Jamba Juice. But on my first night there bonnie and I went to our favorite sushi restaurant, Light and Healthy All You Can Eat Sushi. And after we went to Whole Foods :)

We started out with miso soup. I only had one cup, but Bonnie had 2. She has had up to 4 before! They have the best miso soup. We also shared a bowl of edamame.

I had several vegan friendly sushis. I had tempura vegetables, an avocado and a cucumber handroll. They were excellent. I LOVE that sushi place.

Afterwards we went to Whole Foods and I got some stuff like hemp granola, and a vegan cookie and the most delicious vegan cupcake. And soy yogurt.

Do you have a Whole Foods near you? What do you like to get there?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Veggie Friendly Eating on Amtrak

For my trip out to California I decided to take a train since I had never been on one (well, Amtrak) before. I was not sure what the food options would be. After doing some research online I discovered that you could preorder vegan meals!! So I did.

Unfortunately, they did not make it onto the train :(

Never fear, there are a few vegan/vegetarian options available on board!

For breakfast the first morning (I slept through it the 2nd) I first had a Larabar and soymilk I brought along.

However, that did not fill me up enough so I headed for the dining car. This is the view out the window

I chose to have the oatmeal for breakfast. I made sure it was not made with milk and it wasn't. It came with maple sugar and raisins on the side which I added. It also came with fruit -- oranges and strawberries -- so I added the strawberries in, too. I also chose a whole wheat biscuit which I had with strawberry jam. I did not eat the yogurt that also came with it. I forgot to take a picture before I started, but here is the finished result lol

It was at lunch thet I discovered the vegan meals had not made it, but secretly I was glad because they had a veggie burger on the menu!!!! I ordered it without cheese, of course and it also came with chips and a pickle. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture.

For dinner I had pasta, sans the feta cheese.

On the return trip I brought my own dinner for 2 nights. I slept through breakfast again so I had another veggie burger for lunch and for an afternoon snack I had hummus and pretzel chips from the snack bar. It was then that I discovered they have vegan burgers in the snack bar, too!!

So, if you find yourself travelling on Amtrak, rest assured you will have plenty of vegan and healthy options :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vegan Eating in California: An Overview

I will have several posts coming up about my vegan eating adventures on my California trip coming up soon. I will tell you about eating on the train, the restaurants I went to, my family picnic and my vegan comfort food happy place :) I have pictures of some of this, but for others I unfortunately forgot :(

How is your summer going?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Healthy Vegan Summer Challenge Part 2

Monday starts the 2nd part of our challenge on Facebook. It has come at a great time for me as it is after the holiday and the beginning of my vacation. Definitely some extra challenges in there, but I am going to meet them!

My overall goals are the following:

1. No animal products whatsoever. This means not eating something unless I KNOW it is not made with dairy and/or eggs (and other animal products, obviously). This is where I have been lacking in making the transition to becoming a full vegan (well, this and leather products).

2. 1 salad everyday, and fruit with every meal.

3. Limited oil, salt and sugar.

4. Exercise daily, increasing running distances or times.

5. Lose 10 pounds.

Now, I do have a weeklong vacation in the midst of this and some exceptions will be made. These are my vacation guidelines...

1. One splurge meal a day.

2. One salad a day and veggies and/or fruit with every meal

3. Find a way to exercise daily, even if it is just a walk. Especially on the train.

I am going to try very hard to follow the Eat To Live guidelines. I am also trying to wean myself off of anxiety/depression medication (with the help of my doctor). I was doing pretty good, cutting back to half my dosage and then this month I was supposed to go to every other day, but because I slipped in the healthy part of eating I have had some trouble with this and have been feeling very low and tired. I am going to continue with the half dosage this month while I get back on the healthy eating track and then try the every other day next month, eventually getting off of it completely. They key is to stick to a healthy whole foods diet and regular exercise.

Is anyone else doing the challenge?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Being a Mormon Helped Me Become a Vegetarian

In September 2003 I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had always been curious about the church and when I moved to Florida and got an apartment it turned out my neighbor was a member. At my request he introduced me to some other members and I was offered a Book of Mormon and missionary discussions, both of which I accepted. The more I learned the more I knew the church and gospel were true and I made the decision to be baptized.

There were a few things I had to give up. In our Doctrine and Covenants (revelations given to the prophet, Joseph Smith, part of our standard works of scripture) we have the Word of Wisdom, which sets forth guidelines on what we should eat and what we cannot partake of in order to live righteously and be spiritually clean.

This is what I had to give up and my thoughts...

1. Alcohol -- I already was no longer drinking alcoholic beverages due to the anxiety medication I was on so this was fairly easy for me. I admit that sometimes I miss having a glass of wine, especially with an Italian meal, but I do not miss having impaired judgment and hangovers.

2. Coffee and Tea -- these are not allowed because of the tanic acid and other addictive properties. I LOVED coffee so this was quite a challenge, but I did it. I also like iced tea. Herbal tea is allowed because it does not have the stimulants found in black and other teas, so that helped. Recently I have discovered Dandy Blend which is a wonderful natural substitute for coffee (before that I found Cafix and Roma, which are also great natural coffee substitutes)

Fast forward almost 10 years and I decided to give up meat, poultry, fish, then dairy and eggs. I knew this was going to be hard. I wondered if I could do it. Then I remembered that I had to give up some stuff that I loved in order to become a member of the LDS church and I knew I could do it. It would not be the first time I made a major lifestyle change and having done it before helped me to do it again.

I also found inspiration in the scriptures, particularly in the Word of Wisdom. you see, it does not only tell you the things you cannot have, it also sets forth guidelines of what is good for you. Here are some verses and my interpretation of them

Verse 12 -13 state..
"12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine."

I took from this that meat should only be eaten in extreme circumstances. It also could be preserved for winter so when fruits and grains and produce were not readily available the meat was. Today we have access to fruits and veggies all year long as well as certain supplements (like B-12 and Vitamin D) so we do not need meat at all.

Verse 14
"14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;"

and verse 16
"16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—"

We are encouraged to eat grains and fruits and vegetables -- anything that grows and is from the earth.

Then comes the promise if we follow these guidelines

verses 18-21
"18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.'"

Healthy and strong bodies and clear minds :)

This really gave me comfort and peace knowing I had made the right decision for myself. I also had prayed about as I do with any major decisions.

It is never easy to make lifestyle changes, but having the inspiration from the scriptures and knowledge that I have done it before and can continue to make the changes needed to live a healthy and thoughtful life is a blessing.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Little Veggie Recipe #1 -- Cheezy Pasta Casserole Bake

Welcome to the first recipe I am posting here on Little Veggie!! It is loosely based on Eat To The Beet's Heart Shaped Comfort Casserole. I will be making that very soon as well I think!

1st thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Then gather your ingredients

Quinoa Rotelle, Daiya Cheese, Mushrooms, 1/2 onion, no salt added tomato basil sauce. I also wanted to add some zucchini, but it was getting moldy. Same with my broccoli. I need to make sure I am using my produce right away!!

Prepare the Quinoa Rotelle according to the package. While the water was boiling I washed my mushrooms

and chopped my onion

Then I boiled the pasta

Combine all the ingredients, including some of the Daiya Cheese

Then sprinkle the top with Daiya Cheese

BTW, for those of you who may not be familiar with Daiya Cheese, it is dairy free. It is amazing!! I used the mozzarella kind for this, but they also have cheddar (they may have others, but those are the only 2 my Hyvee grocery store carries and I am just grateful for that!)

Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes (20 if you want the cheese melted just a bit more)

I was so excited I started dishing it up before remembering to take a picture!

I thought it was very good. I had seconds. Hubby said it was good and finished his bowl, but did not want seconds. He is not a vegetarian, but tries what I make.

I would give this recipe 3 veggies since he did like it and finished it lol.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Healthy Vegan Summer Challenge Review

6 weeks ago I began participating in a healthy vegan eating challenge hosted by the fabulous Carrie, of Carrie On Vegan. It ended yesterday and I wanted to review how I did. here were my goals...

1. Follow the Eat To Live plan for the 6 weeks.

2. Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, including one hike or "trail" walk.

3. Lose at least 10 pounds to get to 165 pounds.

4. Document what I am eating in my new food diary and on the ETL website and document my exercise on the ETL website.

5. No salt, dairy or eggs.

I followed the ETL plan fully for about a week. Soon after we went on vacation and I got all messed up. I did use the plan as a guideline for eating for the remaining weeks, though.

I am happy to say not only did I establish an exercise routine and stick with it, I exceeded some of my expectations!! While I did not get in a trail walk or hike every week, I did run more and even ran 3 straight miles last Saturday!! I also signed up for my first 5k. My original goal was to run at least half of it and finish it in an hour, but now my goal is to run the whole thing. Under an hour lol.

I did not get to 165 pounds, but I am at 167!! I am hoping to get to 165 by the end of this week.

I have been off and on with my recording what I eat in my diary and on the ETL website, but have been pretty consistent with recording exercise.

I have had salt. I have cut back dramatically, though. I only added salt to something ONCE. The rest was already in products I was eating. I have had a couple things with cheese in it and eggs. I am finding it hard to completely cut those out, but I am working on it. The hardest is stuff made with dairy and eggs. Eventually I will cut it all out. Remember, this is a journey! I also had fish once. Baby steps!! I resisted a hot dog temptation -- TWICE!!! But come 4th of July I am going to have some Tofu Pups!!!!!!.

There should be another challenge soon. Before it begins I will post my goals.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Veggie Friendly Eating in Wichita -- Lotus Leaf

On Saturday I was in Wichita, Kansas and wanted to find a vegan restaurant to try.

Well, guess what? There are none! There is a vegetarian restaurant (which seems to be because they use honey in drinks and desserts), but it is not open on Saturdays (what???). It is really hard to find, too. If I find myself in town on another day I will try it.

Thanks to Happy Cow, I was able to locate a vegan friendly restaurant

Lotus Leaf Café and Creperie. Now, while they do serve dishes with meat, they also have vegan offerings which are noted on the menu with a V. I chose a Mr. Fresh crepe which was stuffed with delicious veggies and drizzled with cashew sauce and topped with cranberries. For my side I chose Quinoa Taboulleh.

I also had a "spa water" which was water with lemon, mint and cucumber. Very refreshing. The waiter was very nice and helpful as well (he clarified that Whole Foods Association is not the same as the Whole Foods chain).

Lotus Leaf is also in a very nice neighborhood not far from the riverfront and museum district. I would like to go back and explore the area and try something else from the menu as well :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vegan Treats in KC - Mudpie Bakery

Last month when I was in Kansas City I went to a vegan bakery and coffeehouse called Mudpie

I just love that name and the building was awesome. An old converted house. It was in the Brookside neighborhood which is in the southwest part of the city.

I bought a lemon bar, a nut bar with chocolate and coconut and an "eggy" sandwich (tofu that tasted and had the texture of hard boiled eggs!!). All were amazing. The sandwich really did taste like egg salad and the chocolate bar was so so good. The lemon bar was the best tasting lemon bar I have ever had.

I want to go back sometime when I have a couple hours and sit in the place and read. It looked so cozy. Next time I will take pictures inside!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Vegan Eating in KC -- Cafe Gratitude

A couple weekends ago I checked out the Café Gratitude in Kansas City. I know these are in other big cities and am excited there is one in KC.

It is in the Crossroads Arts District which is East of the city and a little bit South.

I went on a Friday afternoon about 1 pm and it was still busy so I had a little bit of a wait for a table (there was a space at the counter available, but I did not want to sit there..

Since I had never been before I asked the waitress for suggestions and she told me some of her favorites. I decided in the I Am Present (Seasonal bruschetta- toasted baguette with cashew
mozzarella topped with tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette & fresh basil) and I Am Peace (Live onion bagel with cashew crème cheese, nori “lox,” tomato, onion, capers & sprouts), both of which were excellent. I also had an I Am Superb (apple juice, lemon and ginger) to drink, but it was very strong. I think I managed to drink only half. They give you a carafe of water when you sit down, too.

On our way back from Branson last week I went back and took my husband. This time I had the I Am Creative(pizza like) on buckwheat crackers (they were out of the live onion sunflower crust), 3 live crackers with "mozzarella" cheese and an I Am Refreshed(House made lemonade on ice with fresh lemon juice & agave topped with sparkling water). TJ had the I Am Comforted (Roasted garlic potatoes served with spicy nacho cheese). We liked our choices :) For dessert TJ chose an all raw raspberry cake and I had a chocolate with raw ingredients (can't remember what kind it was!!).

I highly recommend Cafe Gratitude if you are in KC or another city where they have one.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vegan Eating in KC: FUD

On our way to our fabulous Branson vacation, my husband and I stayed over in Kansas City on Friday night. he agreed to try out a vegan restaurant with me while we were there. The restaurant we went to was FUD.

I cannot remember the area or neighborhood this place was in, but it was cute, lol.

We got there about 7pm which was good because the place was small and still almost full. We sat in the window very close to another, older couple, and TJ asked them what they recommended. The guy said dessert!! LOL. He said everything on the menu was good, though.

Ater those people left another, younger couple, sat by us and I think they were on their first date :) They admired our food choices and we admired theirs lol.

I had an Electrolyte to drink which was fresh juice, sparkling water and agave syrup.

For dinner I had the grilled cheese, which was cheese sauce and very tasty (and of course it is not dairy cheese!!)

TJ chose nachos with shredded jackfruit in the style of shredded chicken

Jackfruit is a specialty of this restaurant. According to the waitress it is a very big ungly fruit that tastes like banana and coconut. However, they get it canned and it has no taste, but will take on the taste of what it is cooked with (like tofu does). It has the texture of shredded chicken or shredded beef!!! It was awesome!!

For dessert we had the cashew ice cream sundae which had carmel and chocolate sauces, goji berries, blueberries, pecans and cacao nibs
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Delicious!!! Oh, we had it on a vegan chocolate brownie as well!!

This was the first vegan restaurant my hubby had ever been to and he liked the food :)

I recommend going here if you are in KC, but you will need cash as that is all they accept for payment.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coming Soon...

I know I have been getting this blog a little slow in going, but I am back from a 5 day vacation and only working 1/2 days for the next month so there will be posts about vegan restaurants in KC and veggie finds in Branson, MO as well as pimping out the blog itself! Also hoping to have some recipe posts soon. Hang in there with me!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How I Became a Vegetarian

This may be a little long. And some of the stuff I talk about may be disturbing and gross.

Last year I was diagnosed with high cholesteral and was over 200 pounds and looking to make some changes. My college friend, Carrie, of Carrie on Vegan recommended I read Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. I read it and made some changes. I gave up red meat for 2 months and limited my chicken and fish. I lost 25 pounds. After a trip to California in the summer I fell back into old habits and gained 15 pounds back.

One of my New Year's Resolutions for this year was to eat healthier (and exercise). I started and was losing about 5 pounds a month (my goal). I was still eating meat, though. The Carrie decided to host a healthy vegan eating challenege group on Facebook. She opened it to anyone who wanted to make some healthy changes. I joined because I wanted to add more vegetarian meals to my diet and limit the chicken and fish. And cut out red meat for the durantion of the 8 week challenge.

I did all this, but then so much more!

Most of the members were vegans and started some good information about the veagn lifestyle and some documentaries they had watched which helped them make the switch. In the back of my mind was the idea that I did not want animals to suffer to be my food. One of the films they talked about a lot was Earthlings. Although I knew this would be a very traumatizing film to watch, something kept telling me I HAD to watch it. Someone told me it was on Youtube. I watched parts 1 and 2 and that convinced me to not eat meat anymore. Most of our meat comes from animals raised on factory farms. They are kept inside very small stalls and not allowed outside to roam or anything. They are overcrowded and just look miserable. The killing is not humane either. It is not a quick kill. They slit their throats while suspended upside down and left to bleed out. This is not an isolated incident, this is the industry norm. Here in Kansas you see cattle grazing in fields and chickens running free, but this is the exception. Not sure if they kill them quickly with the air compressor to the head, but even that seems incrediby harsh. So I gave up meat, pork and poultry, right then and there.

That left fish, dairy and eggs. I asked for reasons not to eat fish and the big thing for me is the fact that many have mercury in them and come from polluted waters. YUCK. No, thank you. I was only eating eggs from my friend's chickens who roam free and getting dairy from a local dairy.

Then I watched a documentary called Milk Facts. Again, most dairy cows are kept in big barns in small stalls and grain fed, not free to graze for grass or anything. Also, they are not milked by hand, they are hooked up to machines. This was the case at my local dairy (the machines, not the no grazing). Also, milk is a byproduct of cow's blood and it is intended for baby cows to drink, NOT humans. It is also not all that healthy for humans. People argue that it has calcium. Where do you think the calcium comes from? It comes from the greens that the cows eat. Plants!!!! Grass and spinach and other good stuff. The cow is just the middle man (or middle cow!!). So that is how I gave up dairy.

Another member of the group suggested I watch yet another documentary called 101 Reasons To Be a Vegan. I highly recommend this one as the guy presenting uses humor. It reinforced why I gave up meat and dairy and gave me the reason I needed to give up eggs. Do you know what they are????? A chicken's menstrual cycle. Unfertilized eggs. Get it??? Chicken periods. YUCK. (and btw, honey is bee vomit).

At the end of the challenge I did have some cheese again, but it made my stomach hurt so that is gone for good for me now. I also had the rest of the eggs in my refrigerator, but they did not taste good to me anymore.

So now I am a committed vegetarian :)

So, why not a vegan? Well, eating wise, I am a vegan since I do not ingest any animal products, but vegan is also a lifestyle and a vegan does not also wear animal products, like leather (or use it). Being a biker's wife I do have leather boots and a jacket. I also have a couple of very expensive purses I still like to use and a pair of Jimmy Choos. I will not buy leather products anymore, but I also will not give up what I already have. I know you can argue against this, but this is just my choice for now.

So that is how I became a vegetarian.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Healthy Vegan Summer Challenge 2013

The fabulous Carrie, of Carrie On Vegan is hosting another healthy eating challenge on Facebook starting tomorrow, May 6. If you would like to join please see this post for information.

I participated in the Spring challenge and it changed my life, literally. I joined with the intention of just eating healthier and incorporating more vegetarian meals in my diet and I ended up making the committment to become a full on vegetarian!! I swear I will have that story for you soon! For this challenge I have set myself some new goals. They are..

1. Follow the Eat To Live plan for the 6 weeks.

2. Exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, including one hike or "trail" walk.

3. Lose at least 10 pounds to get to 165 pounds.

4. Document what I am eating in my new food diary and on the ETL website and document my exercise on the ETL website.

5. No salt, dairy or eggs.

Last year I read Eat To Live on the recommendation of Carrie who knew I was trying to lose weight and lower my cholesterol. I loosely followed it for awhile. In preparation for this challenege I reread the book and highlighted important stuff I can refer back to easily. The only time I will relax on the challenge is during our Branson Vacation, but will be sticking to it as closely as possible. I bought a couple books to help me

I started my exercise goals on May 1st. That evening I decided to walk down to our mailbox (it is not at my house, it is in a bank of them at the entrance of our neighborhood) and back. I got outsode and decided to run a bit and was feeling pretty good, even went up a hill and decided I would keep running. Then I tripped and fell!! I skinned both of my knees pretty bad, but made myself keep going to the mailboxes, though just walking, no more running. I did it then walked back home. Discovered I had a small tear in my pants and that upset me more than anything!! I skipped Thursday, but on Friday went to the gym and used the treadmill for 1 hour. I almost stopped at 30 minutes to switch to the stationary bike, but kept with it and this is what I ended up with A personal best!!!

I have been working on losing weight since the first of the year. I was at 190 pounds. I have since lost 15 pounds so I am at 175 (actually 174 as of this morning lol). My goal is 5 pounds a month so I am behind one month, which is okay. My goal for this challenge is 10 so I can get to where I originally wanted to be at the end of May. Hopefully I will lose the next 5 for June as well. I am also going to document my eating and exercising daily. I bought a food journal and am also going to try posting on the ETL website everyday. Same for exercise. I am hoping this will help to keep me on track.

Finally, I am cutting out all salt, dairy and eggs. This means also foods made with these ingredients. I am going to be vigilant about reading labels and if I am offered something and I do not know what is in it I am going to politely decline. I did give up eggs and dairy previously, but have been lax on that the past 2 weeks. But now I am getting serious. Especially since I have committed to the vegetarian lifestyle.

Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Welcome To My New Blog!!!

Welcome to Little Veggie on the Prairie!!! I started this blog to talk about my journey as a Vegetarian. In the coming weeks I will be adding pictures and gadgets and other stuff to liven up the blog.

So, what kinds of stuff will I be talking about here??? Well, I'll tell you! First of all, I will tell you how and why I decided to become a vegetarian and the steps I am taking to become a full on vegan. I will also use this place to post recipes and where they come from, eating out as a vegetarian, book reviews, thoughts on being a vegetarian and anything else related to the vegetarian lifestyle!

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments!!! However, I do not allow anonymous comments due to spam. It is that or word verification and I like that even less!!

Looking forward to sharing my journey with you!!