Monday

“Monday”, ’cause calling it “Day One” seems to be a bit foolish after having a “Day One” last year and derailing. 🙂

I have not been exact on my eating plan but I am trying and allowing myself some room to grow into it. Technically, I try to eat every 4 hours so that I keep myself fueled properly.  Reducing these toxins out and lowering my carb intake can cause some havoc with how you feel, and eating at the right times helps with that so much.  I didn’t eat breakfast early enough so I skipped it.  I didn’t want to be over-eating at my business lunch.  As I get my stomach to be comfortable again with less in it, I have to try not to over-eat even when I skip a meal.  Aside from the timing, I was able to stay on plan. We went to P. F. Chang’s and I got the Gluten-Free Budda’s Feast (I had them add tofu) and did not eat the brown rice, I saved it for dinner. It was delicious, so it made it easier.

It wasn’t so bad eating the same thing for lunch and dinner, I actually welcomed it because there’s less room for error.  I did, however, feel like crap by 7 PM last night and I know a big reason why was not eating enough.  My head was throbbing and I was a total crabby grouch.  I went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day.  I’ll eat at the right times.

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Easter

Happy Easter!  He is risen!

Today I tried to get prepared for a very busy week.

I went to sunrise service at church this morning and it was amazing.  I took myself out for breakfast as a treat, and I ordered eggs and hashbrowns and skipped the toast.  This was  a big step for me as my bread obsession has been so great, but I survived.  I admit, I had coffee and sugar, though, but only 1/2 a cup.

After breakfast I came back to the house to work on homework.  School is almost complete, I have one more class and then my final.  I spent most of the day on it and did some reflecting.

I ate the pasta for lunch (vegan but not gluten free) but stopped myself at a reasonable end.  That would be the end of the gluten.  I prepared mentally for the week and looked up my dining options for my business meeting on Monday.  P/F/Chang’s is a good choice for the way I want to eat, so I was relieved that I could be completely on plan there.

I worked out meal plans for the week and resigned myself to make it through the detox symptoms that I will face.  Hopefully they won’t be as bad as last April.

I tried to get outside today and enjoy fresh air.  It was nice to do so, I was out for about 40 minutes.  Felt good after being on the computer all day.

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Refocusing

Well to say that I am refocusing is redundant on some posts here over the past few months.  We have had a lot going on in our lives and it has been hard for me to focus on my health and eating.  Sadly, I have slipped back into some really bad habits and have been eating a lot of gluten, sugar, dairy, and even caffeine.

Last night I took a red velvet cake to a friends.  They invited me for dinner and I brought dessert.  It was amazing, but what I realized after wards was the chaos it created in my system.  I know not to eat that way, we had a great veggie chili for dinner.  But, after that slice of cake I could not stop wanting more.  I got home and couldn’t stop thinking about  it.  I dreamed about it last night and have thought a few times today about getting something sweet.

I refrained… luckily I had nothing in the house so I was able to conquer… but the mental obsession bothered me.  I decided to get hard core and get the refined crap out of my system again. I’m going to try to start Monday.  I already planned to eat pasta tomorrow for Easter, and it’s in the pantry.  I’d have to shop for an alternative, so I will finish that and move forward.

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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, and is a celebration of Jesus’ return to Jerusalem. It’s a special day of remembrance for me for another reason as well.

Jesus arrived on the east side of Jerusalem, toward the Mount of Olives, on a donkey, a symbol of humility, peace, and royalty. People threw their cloaks on the road, an act of royal homage.  The crowds yelled, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” which means, “Save now, O Lord.” They waved palm branches, used in celebrations of victory.

From ancient times, palms were used to symbolize victory.  In ancient Greece, during the Olympics, the winners were given palm fronds to hold and raise in celebration.

Many Olympic medals depict those palms today…In 2005, my grandfather was called to heaven on Palm Sunday, after a long battle with MS.  For 25 years he struggled with the effects of the disease, over half of that virtually unable to walk.  During the last years, he was unable to move anything voluntarily from the neck down, and was cared for by my Grandmother.  When it became impossible for her to continue to do so on her own, he spent his last years in structured care with her visiting him daily, or as often as her own health would allow.

Though weakened by disease, my grandfather was one of the strongest men I will ever know.  His resolve, character, and faith came from a place deep within him that resonated out to everyone who knew him.  His foundation was unshakable, and his love, unconditional.

I was not with him for his last few days.  I was able to talk to him briefly over the phone, and learned of his passing from my father the same way, early Sunday morning.  I turned immediately to my Godmother, who never fails to give me a faithful and hopeful perspective regardless of the circumstance, and with a joyful voice she reminded me it was Palm Sunday.

The heavens were rejoicing.  The victory was being celebrated, and upon my Grandfather’s arrival to heaven, he was being greeted by a glorious celebration, singing, and the palms of Palm Sunday.

This amazing man, an inspiration to so many, who suffered quietly and without complaint for years, was finally home.  Healthy, happily, home.

So it is with that memory that I celebrate each year.  When they waive the palms in church on this Sunday morning, I celebrate Christ’s life here on earth, and the demonstration of Christ’s love that I learned from, and was blessed with, in my Grandfather.

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Corn Poblano Chowder

I used to LOVE the Corn-Poblano Chowder from Whole Foods (recipe below).  What am I saying, I still do… but it is loaded with fat and calories, and is also not vegan or gluten-free… not exactly fitting the lifestyle I would like to have, not to mention it makes me sick an hour or so after I eat it. For months now I have wanted to attempt to recreate the chowder and have it come remotely close.
Here is the original recipe:

Whole Foods Roasted Corn Poblano Chowder
Serves 6 to 8

3 medium poblano peppers
Olive oil for roasting peppers
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
2 large cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups whole milk (or half & half)
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, washed and diced unpeeled (or Yukon Gold)
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (in jar), chopped
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

* Lightly coat poblano peppers with olive oil and place on pan for roasting. Place pan under oven broiler until peppers are charred (about 5 minutes); turn over and char other side.
* Remove peppers from oven and place in paper bag; roll top of bag to trap steam. Allow peppers to sit for 10 minutes.
* Remove steamed peppers. Set aside to cool. Peel, remove stem and seeds, and chop.
* In a large, heavy soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, garlic and onions and cook till translucent, about 5 minutes.
* Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter till melted. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, careful not to let the flour scorch.
* Turn up heat to medium-high and slowly add the vegetable stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add milk.
* Bring mixture to a rolling simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
* Add the potatoes, poblanos, corn and red peppers.
* Adjust heat to a slow simmer and cook uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
* Season with salt and cayenne pepper; serve.
– Whole Foods Market

Nutritional information per serving: 362 cal., 12 g fat (7 g sat), 29 mg chol., 57 g carb., 11 g pro., 6 g fiber, 595 mg sodium

Today I made the first attempt, and no… the recipe will not be posted here, yet.  It needs work.

Corn Poblano Chowder Attempt 1

First, I roasted the poblanos last month when I was going to make my attempt, and due to lack of time I froze them after roasting and chopping.  This bumped up the heat a bit so my chowder is a bit on the “call the fire-department” side, in a sweet-heat kind of way.

Second, it’s too sweet.  This seems odd after saying how much heat is packed in it.  I am the first to love sweet-heat, but this is too sweet and I know why…  I used leeks in the base mire poix because I wanted to try to not use potato and wanted to see what the leeks would do to the flavor.  I think they added a bit to the sweetness, while the potato would have dulled down both the heat and the sweetness.  Trouble is, I want to try to hang on to the leeks… I like the flavor they added to the broth.

Third, it’s too runny.  for my first attempt I eliminated the butter-flour mixture, and the whole milk, and used a container of So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt instead of the roux and So Delicious Coconut Creamer, thinned with vegetable broth, instead of the milk.  It’s going to need the roux.  I think arrowroot flour and Earth Balance will be the base for my next attempt… and I will use coconut milk instead of the creamer.  This may help with the sweetness, also.

Overall, it is good.  I am freezing half of it to eat a few weeks from now, but will eat this half the next few days/nights for lunch and dinner with a slice of gluten-free whole grain (not vegan) bread from Udi’s… to help with the heat.

Over-all not a bad first attempt, but I am glad I am alone to eat it.  And (bonus) it is much healthier than the Whole Foods counterpart, even if it’s not as creamy-dreamy.

Any thoughts on how to keep the carbs down (no potato) and help balance the sweet of the corn and coconut milk?

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The ups and downs of being Vegan and Gluten Free

November, December, and January brought with it lots of wine, sugar, gluten and dairy. February, no matter how I tried, brought more of the same. Eating out is easier without these dietary restrictions. Regardless of how the make me feel, I seem to slide back into old habits.
On Friday I decided to get serious about eliminating toxins again and have done pretty well. I brought my juicer with me this trip which helps.

This morning I realized the most successful I was with my health and this vegan lifestyle was last April when I blogged throughout my cleanse so here I am again for more if the same.

Saturday:
BF-Juice: spinach, celery, parsley, papaya, aloe, apple and pear.
L- brown rice wraps: greens, onion, bell pepper, hummus, veganaise
S – brown rice crisps
D-Salad greens, peppers, onions, walnuts, grapeseed oil and lime dressing

Sunday:
BF-Egg whites (2) and whole eggs (2) (I had them and did not want to waste them), two slices of toast Udi’s GF bread, mustard
L- shredded potatoes, onion soup, cashews
S- Udi’s GF bread, earth balance
D- brown rice salad wraps with hummus

Monday:
BF- juice: spinach, parsley, celery, apple, pear, papaya
L- Dr. McDougall’s veggie soup (2 servings)
S- Udi’s GF bread and earth balance
D- vegan enchiladas and romaine salad with olives and walnuts

Tomorrow I go for more fresh produce. I want to juice a little more and have more salads to mix with the soups I have.

I’ll also be making a vegan corn and poblano chowder (with coconut yogurt) and black bean burritos.

Hubby comes in for the weekend on Thursday night so I want to have some foods made to stay ahead of the curve.
So far it feels great to be back on track!

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Cannellini al Gratin

I received a subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine as a gift.  Within the first month I have made three excellent dishes from it’s pages.  I have had to make some changes to the recipes to use them (remove gluten and dairy) but so far have been successful in the outcomes.

I am making one of the dishes again this weekend for company on Saturday night:  Cannellini al Gratin (Vegan, Gluten-Free).  This recipe is converted from January/February 2011.

  • 1 1/2 lb dried cannellini beans
  • 6 sprigs plus 1 1/2 Tbsp Thyme
  • 3 sprigs pluss 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, unpeeled, plus 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 medium fresh fennel bulb, stalks and fronds reserved, bulb quartered and diced.
  • 12 cloves garlic (6 cloves peeled and halved, 6 cloves minced)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup ground cashew nuts
  • 3 T Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups Glutino gluten-free bread crumbs

Soak the dried beans in cold water over night.  Drain.

Stir together walnuts, cashew nuts, and nutritional yeast together and set aside.

Put beans in a 6 qt dutch oven and add enough water to cover by 2″.  Tie together thyme and parsley sprigs and add to pot.  Pierce onion half with cloves and add to pot with 6 halved garlic cloves.  Partially cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover and reduce heat to a medium low simmer.  Cook 40 minutes or until beans are just tender.  Drain beans reserving cooking liquid,  Discard herb bundles, onion and fennel.  Wipe out dutch oven for next step.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Heat 2 Tbsp oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add carrots and diced fennel and season with salt.  Cover and cook 10 minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently.  Add diced onion, and cook, covered, 6-8 minutes or until onion is soft and bottom of pan is browning, stir occasionally.  Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute or until fragrant.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar using spatula to scrape up brown bits.

Add beans, chopped thyme, parsley, 1/2 cup of the nut mixture and 2 cups of the cooking liquid.  (Liquid should come up to about 1 1/2 inches below the top of the beans, add more if necessary).  Stir well to combine.

Combine breadcrumbs, remaining parsley, and remaining 1/4 cup of nut mixture in a small bowl.   Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil into breadcrumbs and toss to moisten mixture.

Spread crumb mixture over bean mixture.  Bake uncovereg 10-45 minutes or until top is browned and juiced have bubbled down below surface, leaving a brown ring around the edge of crust.  Cool 20-25 minutes to let beans finish absorbing juice.  Serve warm.

Let me now how you like it when you try it!

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