Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four Days Plant Strong

I already eat a low fat diet with a decent amount of veggies.  I was half veggie when I met my husband.  But Nick could never go for meat free anything and over the years we have incorporated meat into just about every meal except weekday breakfasts.  That said, the guy is way more open to food then when I met him.  He didn't used to like tomato sauce, pasta, chili, squash, etc.  He's come a long way.

I'm was surprised at how open he's been to this new lifestyle upon seeing the data.  I was turned onto this by a friend named Jill in ABQ who has been doing the lifestyle too after she attended a seminar by a cardiologist at Whole Foods.  Jill is in crazy good shape already but her husband has issues with heart disease in his family too.

To give this lifestyle a real shot at curing my high blood pressure, I decided to go feet first (though I'm not enforcing it with the kids or Nick except at the dinner table).  The book suggested a more subtle approach, but I'm not that kinda gal.  I went cold tofurky onto the plant based diet on Wednesday.  It was really rough the first day because I didn't know what in the world I could eat.  I mean, low fat only, low salt, no eggs, no dairy, no meat, no fish?  What can you eat?

Well, you can eat a lot of things.  You just need some planning.  With every meal you must first begin with a grain and/or beans.  Then you build with a heaping pile of veggies from there.  An example meal might be 2 small corn tortillas (grain), fat-free-no-salt pinto beans mashed, and then add a heaping pile of sauteed onions and peppers. This is a great combo because it's very, very filling and actually quite tasty.  That has been one of my favorite meals so far because it's super quick for a weekday lunch.

Not all my attempts at vegan meals have been great, however.  My first attempt at vegan, low-sodium chili came out kinda awful.  I have made plenty of Veggie Chili in the past and never even told me husband what he was eating to great success.  But without much salt, chili is boring... at least until your taste-buds wake back up and become sensitive again.  I read that it takes 3 to 4 weeks.  I'll have to check back with you on that one!  Needless to say, it didn't go over well.  I hoped the next meal would be a little more lively.

Thankfully, the next dinner was!  I made a cheese-less pizza with the whole wheat pizza dough I always make.  I just thawed the pizza dough I made a while back out of the freezer, made it without the cheese and meat and it was delicious.  I only use whole wheat flour for my dough so it fit the Engine 2 bill.  I sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top the pizza and it was awesome.  Yes, nutritional yeast is AWESOME in my book!  It sounds weird, but don't knock it until you've tried it!  I have always served pizza with a huge heaping side of steamed broccoli because I tried to avoid eating too much pizza and broccoli fills me up. No difference there!

I ordered two cookbooks from the Happy Herbivore from Amazon in hopes of getting some help in creating some other dinners that fit the Engine 2 lifestyle.  (I hate the word diet.)  The way my chili turned out was just SO pitiful, I wanted to avoid a repeat.  I was beyond delighted to receive the book just two days after ordering them because I had went with standard 5-8 day complimentary shipping.  It was a nice surprise to get them so soon and they really helped take the pressure off when it came to making dinner for the family.  The Happy Herbivore books are great because they fill in where the Engine 2 book is lacking, i.e. in the recipe department!

The first dinner I made with Happy Herbivore were these mushroom burgers (see photo below).  I made them exactly as she suggested.  They were difficult to flip, but otherwise they were easy to make.  They tasted pretty good for being low salt.  I had another for lunch today and they were even better the second day!  I'm loving leftovers with this lifestyle change because who wants to cook at every single meal?  Even I, who loves to cook, needs a break from the kitchen and the dishes!

Mushroom Burger (topped with a bunch of veggies) by Happy Herbivore

The Cost Breakdown

Mushroom Burgers
8 oz. Mushrooms- $2
1 can beans $1
100% whole wheat buns, pack of 8 $1.50
some seasonings and sauces (somewhat negligible considering amounts) but let's go with $1
=$5.50 for 7 burgers or  $.78 ea.
(a box of 4 frozen vegan burger are $5 for 4 and that's not including the buns!)

To round out the meal:
Sweet Potatoes made into oven 'fries', seasonings, pam $2
Broccoli or other seasonal veg $2

=$9.50/4 =$2.40 per serving (keep in mind we had a TON extra for lunches)

This may or may not be something I do for the rest of my life.  For now, I'm seeing where this takes me and the family.  I think it's more likely something I can do 80/20 or 90/10 in the future as realistically  I may need a cheat day here or there.  And I think that's OK.  Who knows, I may like the way I'm feeling (maybe my blood pressure will lower) and I'll keep at it? I'd love that!

If you are interested in learning more, here is a link the books I've been using on Amazon:



Blogger Katie and Josh said...

Change is hard! We just try to eat healthy by watching the calorie, carb to protein ratio and fat content. I know that is only half-assing it but it is doing the job. I'll be praying that this helps your blood pressure. Jill in ABQ - I have a good guess at who that is!

January 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM  

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