Sunday, February 27, 2011

I DID IT!! : )

So I did it, 7 whole day without eating any meat, cheese, milk, eggs, etc.  And I am extremely proud of myself!  Sadly I honestly don't feel any different.  Same energy level and I didn't lose an ounce of weight.  I took my blood pressure yesterday and it was still in the pre-hypertensive zone.  So I really don't know what to think, but the point is I was open minded, I tried it and I succeeded!

Michael insisted that I pick where we went to eat (I think he felt bad after I suffered though Outback yesterday), and I really couldn't pin point a craving.  We ended up at Red Lobster and it was phenomenal!  

Day 7: The True Test - A Trip to The Outback

Breakfast:  Bagel and Light Chocolate Soy Milk
Snack:  Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Lunch:  Amy's Kitchen Breakfast Burrito
Dinner:  Dry Salad and Egg-less Pasta with Artichokes, Sundried Tomatoes and Olive Oil

Saturday started off like any normal day, it was my last day of being a vegan and I was still not having any cravings yet.  I decided to do something different for breakfast and I wanted to try out my non dairy cream cheese, so I had a Thomas Bagel, which is PETA vegan approved.  I bought the thin ones thinking they would be great for sandwiches, but unfortunately it they were too small to fill me up.  So a couple hours later I made a peanut butter and banana sandwich, which I would normally put honey on, but apparently there is a big vegan debacle about whether a "true vegan" eats honey.  So I skipped it. 

My boyfriend came from Charleston later in the day and we had a late lunch.  We both had an Amy's Kitchen Burrito, mine was a breakfast one that had potatoes, tomatoes, and black beans.  Michael had and Indian one that he had been eyeing in my freezer ever since my first vegan shopping trip.  It was curry, spinach and tofu.  Both were pretty good.

Then the call came.  My same dear friend, Emily, who tempted me with the wine, invited us to go out to dinner with her and her husband, to yes....Outback Steakhouse.  It is important to know that Michael and both really enjoy going to Outback and it is one of our staple dinner spots.  Craving a steak and the Ahi Tuna appetizer?  We go to Outback.  So obviously my first response was no, and Em felt so bad when she remembered I was on the LAST day of my vegan week.  But I also told her I would talk to Michael and see if he wanted to go. 

Of course he wanted to go.  I immediately started obsessing over what the heck I was going to eat.  I mean seriously vegan's don't belong in a steakhouse!  But this was the point of this whole process, and I felt that I should be willing to accept this challenge.

Thanks again to, I was again able to find "something" I could eat.  I wasn't raised to be a picky eater and I hate having to be that pain in the butt that the waiter dreads.  So I ordered what the website suggested.  The pasta with the aritchoke and sundried tomato topping that goes on a fish dish that they have, without the sauce (which contains butter) and just have them put some olive oil on it.  I also got the blue cheese chop salad without the blue cheese and used the dip that comes with the ahi tuna as a "salad dressing."

Well, he got the salad right, but the pasta came out covered in the butter sauce (it looked quite yummy).  The poor guy did not have a clue what I was talking about.  My boyfriend pipes up and says that I needed it "vegan" and to tell the cook that, and though he acted like he understood, but he just didn't get it.  So while my friends all enjoyed their juicy medium rare steaks, I waited for my pasta to be re-prepared. 

After about 15mins, my friends were done already, my order came....and had Parmesan cheese on top!  I told him it was perfect, scraped the top layer off and ate the bottom.  It wasn't the worst thing I have ever had, the artichokes were really good, but let's face it, it was pasta with olive oil, and the worst part, it was $12.  My usual order, "The Outback Special," is $9.99, and the salad is at least included with that.  Moral of the story, if you are don't belong in a steakhouse, which I am sure you are already quite aware of.

The funny part of this ordeal is that my dear boyfriend thought if he said "he" wanted to go, that I would give in and get that damn steak (he even ordered the ahi tuna : ( ), but I didn't.  I pledged to do this for a week and I stuck to it even though the greatest challenge and for that I am very proud of myself! 

Oh and I forgot to mention I also had cocktail while I was there, too many steak knives around not to!   

Day 6: TGIF Wine and Pizza

Breakfast:  Steel Cut Oats with fruit and nuts
Lunch: Annie Chun's Kung Pao Noodle Bowl and Oreos
Dinner:  Amy's Vegan Pizza

Finally it's Friday, I am almost there.  I have my normal breakfast and for lunch something a little different.  I have had Annie Chun's Soups before, probably not vegan one's, and never a noodle bowl, but it's something quick and easy at work.  This one was actually pretty good.  I left the water in it and made it more of a soup.  This is a very specific diet friendly brand.  They have symbol on the bottom saying if they are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc. 

Shortly after I got home from work, one of my best friends called and asked if I would like to partake in a bottle of wine with her?  My original plan for this week was not to have soda or alcohol.  Most are "vegan" but I didn't think it went with the typical vegan lifestyle.  But who can say no to a friend?!  Plus I had already had a Diet Coke this week.  : ) 

And for dinner a frozen vegan pizza.  Although, it definitely tasted like "health food" it wasn't all that bad.  I would eat it again.  The crust was very thin and crumbly, but the sauce tasted like fresh tomato sauce.  We won't talk about the "cheese" but it was there.  I will probably try out one of the non vegan Amy's Kitchen pizza's at some point, they had some pretty tasty flavor combination.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 5: Tacos!

Breakfast:  Same Oatmeal Combo and a Monster
Lunch:  Leftover Black Bean Soup with Soft Tortillas and Oreos
Dinner: Tacos and a Salad

Tonight's dinner was much more tasty than expected.  Let's see, I used fake meat, fake cheese and fake sour cream....sounds terrible huh?  Hence my surprise.  I bought a taco kit, which I couldn't tell you the last time I bought one of these.  I usually like to do my own thing, but this was PETA approved so it made it easy.

It was a super easy meal to make.  I was a little unsure about cooking the "meat," and didnt' realized that I needed to put olive oil in the pan first, but once I got that figured out it was smooth sailing.  I preferred the crunchy shell over the soft, but both of them were pretty good and I would highly recommend for someone just trying to switch over.  And combined with everything else, the vegan cheese and sour cream tasted like normal cheese and sour cream.  I would usually make black beans and Mexican rice with tacos, but since I had black bean soup for lunch, I switched that for a salad.

I must say that I am extremely surprised at how easy this vegan eating style been adapted into my everyday life.  Although I did a lot of pre-planning, I already had a lot of items in my kitchen that I could eat this week.  Katie, my partner in crime, has admitted this she is over it and is the dreaded "hungry," which is honestly where I thought I would be at this point.  I am by no means saying that I plan to carry this on long term, but I think I could incorporate a few of the new things I have tried into my regular diet.

Not All Vegan Cookies Created Evil

The other day I posted about eating an absolutely terrible vegan cookie.  Well, I had purchased two different kinds and even though my first experience was so horried I gave the Pumpkin Spice a try and to my surprise it wasn't too shabby.  The texture was a little off, but it had a nice flavor and I wouldn't be afraid to try a different kind of this brand.  Also to my surprise the company is located in Wheeling, WV.  : )  Thank you World's Best Cookie, for creating a cookie vegans can enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 4: No Soup, A1 and a Diet Coke

Breakfast: Steel Cut Oatmeal with my usual fruit and nuts and a Monster
Lunch:  Amy's Frozen Mean Vegetable Korma, Hummus with Rice Chips and a Pumpkin Spice Cookie
Dinner:  Black Bean Veggie Burger with a "Veggie Slice," Tomato and Avocado, Spaghetti Squash, Breaded Mushrooms and a Salad

Since I have had soup everyday this week I decided to not have any today.  Breakfast was my usual, lunch I just grabbed something quick and easy to take to work and by dinner I was so overwhelmed with choices I almost had one of everything. 

I have yet, knock on wood, to have a craving and have been pretty happy with my choices so far.  I did have my first Diet Coke today, which although is considered ok, I was trying to avoid.  It was solely for alertness purposes and didn't do a good job with that.

I also made a very exciting discovery.  A1 is VEGAN!  I just assumed there was some sort of beef base in there, so with my black bean burger I enjoyed it's yummy goodness! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 3: Eating Out & Flourless Bread

After looking back on yesterday's food intake, I realized I really didn't have too many veggies, which was kind of the point.  Yes there was celery, carrots, corn and tomatoes in the black bean soup, and whatever is in the "veggie shreds," but I would have had more veggie in a regular non-vegan meal.  So today I decided to do better. 

Breakfast:  Steel Cut Oats with Walnuts, Golden Raisins, Dried Cranberries, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar and a Monster Energy Drink
Lunch:  Max & Erma's Apple Pecan Salad (minus the cheese) with Balsamic Dressing and a side of French Fries with Heinz Ketchup
Starbucks: Mocha Latte Made w/soy milk no whip
Dinner:  Canned Progresso Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled "Veggie Slice" Cheese Sandwich on Flourless Bread
Snack: Spinach cooked with nondairy butter and lemon juice (might sound vegan, but this is a usual snack for me, I love spinach)

The real test today was eating at Max & Erma's for a work lunch meeting.  Katie went too and our boss told up beforehand where we were eating, so we were able to do some research.  I was really shocked at how little nutritional information Max & Erma's offers.  I thought that sort of information was required, but apparently I was wrong.  Thankfully there is a site which I was able to find some info from 2008.  So from there I made my choice and there really wasn't much to choose from.  The sad part of this is that I ordered a side of french fries, which I normally would not get, but without much on the salad I wanted to make sure I didn't leave hungry.

I know I have had soup every day for dinner so far, but there is a very logical explanation for that, I love soup!  I could eat it every single day for both lunch and dinner and not get sick of it.  So with today's cold and rainy weather I decided on a vegan version of grilled cheese and tomato soup.

When I initially set out to find vegan food, I did notice that at both Kroger and Drug Emporium, people seemed to be loading up on this bread in the freezer section.  There were several to choose from so I picked a loaf of 7 grain and this is what I used this for my "grilled cheese."  I apparently didn't pay much attention to the package, because apparently I didn't need to keep the bread in the freezer, but it was ok since I was grilling it anyhow.  Pretty good bread, who knew!  (I added "cheese" to the top of the soup simply for plating appeal)