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.