October 22, 2011

No Meat Athlete

Title inspired by this amazing blog.

When I started this blog, I liked fruit, carrots, and spinach. I strived to eat whole grains and lean protein often (including but not limited to: eggs, turkey, chicken and fish), as well as low-fat yogurt, milk, and cheese. I even took part in Carne Asada day when my husband got a hankering for a piece o' red meat. I felt fine, I wasn't struggling with acne, low energy levels or weak performance in my exercise. But then again, I wasn't exercising to any super intense levels and I didn't long to anyhow.

my take on chili: as many grilled veggies as possible, pinto beans, chili powder, serrano chilis, tomato, corn, avocado + lime.

Slowly, but surely, I was influenced by other bloggers to up the volume of my daily vegetable and fruit intake and decrease the amount of meat (mainly red) I ate. Words like "cholesterol" and "high in fat" took over my mind, I read books, I watched YouTube videos, I ate every bit of it.
When Green Monsters came into my life, I fell in love: spinach/kale, rolled oats, rice milk/water (nowadays I just use coconut water) frozen fruit (banana, strawberries), wheat germ, ground flaxseed, etc.

When my fiber intake took a very extreme (and delicious) jump upwards, I began to experience symptoms of IBS and even Celiacs Disease. I also was slowly eating less and less chicken, pork, eggs and cheese. I still had yogurt almost daily and at least one serving of animal meat a week. My tummy was a grump from all the fruit binges (or so I was told, "too much fiber!!"), but I couldn't stop eating the rainbow every day, it was just too dang good. Once again, my running wasn't really getting any better or worse, but I did experience injuries that left me inable to run for months at a time. But that could have just been because of over-training. For my insides, I eventually made an appointment with my doctor after reading about lactose intolerance and Celiacs.
When my first "veggie juice" went poorly (that's what happens when you use a food processor instead of a juicer 'cause you don't own a juicer) I made the veggie mush into delicious pancakes. Take: beets, celery, apple, carrots, a hint of ginger and process it. Then add some oats (to thicken it up) and vanilla. It was a miracle!! Served with green goo and walnuts with raisins, and topped with mashed banana and almonds.
October 2010, I was in the middle of runner's rehab from a knee injury I had been battling since August, so as I made friends with the elliptical, I also went off dairy for a month and kept a log of my symptoms. Guess what? Zero changes. At that time I was eating zero animal products besides my once-a-week-salmon-fillet, and I was loving the idea of making the switch to a 100% Vegan diet. The strangest part of this journey of my mysterious tummy troubles was this: I went to Mexico that January and ate yogurt, milk, red meat, chicken, Mexican cheeses and a handful of fruits/veggies a day. 10 days of these foods and zero stomach issues! Well, besides over-eating one day and a lack of needing "to go" which I hadn't experienced in over a year or so. I also began jogging with my papa-in-law at 8,000 feet elevation (felt like I couldn't breathe!) And ran almost daily for the entire visit without any knee pain!
1 frozen banana and 4 frozen strawberries, rice milk and vanilla.
Apparently, taking almost 4 full months away from running and focusing on strengthening the leg muscles with cross training and weights was a sure-fire way to fix runner's knee and get back to pain-free movement. But my stomach symptoms? I was confused, I documented all of it and went to my doctor. We had the choice of spending thousands of dollars to bring the case to scientific laboratories and have them do study after study (including gluten intolerance), or, we could blame it on "too much fiber". But that didn't give me peace, I wanted all the fiber I could get, and I didn't want to eat one less piece of homemade wheat bread just for my gut's sake. So? I continued my salmon-once-a-week way of eating, left all dairy and eggs and other meat out, and kept the veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, soy and whole grains close by.
homemade Seitan in a jar :)
Strange enough, as I write this I realize that almost all of the IBS symptoms are gone. A few months ago I left salmon and have been on a full vegan, zero processed food, way of consumin' ever since. I love it like crazy, I feel amazing, and I don't crave animal products at all. I am eating even more vegetables than I was before, and giant fruit smoothies each morning. I have not left gluten, I actually add gluten to my homemade bread which I eat a few times a week. I eat oats almost daily as well, which some folks with gluten issues can't consume without feeling it later. So the past was a silly mystery to me, but I am so thankful it is over!
vegan date brownies with walnuts
And my running (after fighting another injury back in April) has been doing wonderfully! I brought the cardio training down to only three days a week (2 track runs of 5 miles each and a long run @ the lake of 6+ miles on the weekend) and on my off days I do 30-40 minute High Intensity Interval Training sessions (strength training movements, sometimes with weights, at max intensity over and over and over) as well as an hour of yoga, if I set aside a day for it. I feel stronger than I ever have, I'm off my migraine medication that I was taking for 5+ years and I just can't get enough of this life!
veggie spring rolls with homemade almond butter sweet n' sour sauce inside
Here's the thing: I stopped eating all animal products because I feel better inside when fueled by all plants. Some people say they do it to "live longer" but we are not in control of that, God knows our expiration date and it doesn't change when we swap donuts for carrots. It's about quality of life - how you feel every morning when you wake, how you sleep, how you work, how you sweat. I might live 'till my 50's, 60's, 90's, only God knows, and I'm excited about that! I just want to be running marathons in my 80's, I don't want to be sitting in a wheel chair, taking 7 pills a day so my body can continue to function. Quality, not quantity.

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

Thank You, Jesus!!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  
Hebrews 12:1-2

October 15, 2011

White Bean Hummus

To great lengths we go for a simple couch. We risk it all, we trust in string, it all seems, and looks, a bit sketchy. What can we do, but give the trip home to God? Leave it in His hands, His will be done. That, and, the simple task of driving home safely with a piece of furniture atop your truck's roof that weighs over 100kg. We got this. We got this.

I made a crazy delicious bean dip the other day. As it pureed in the food processor I swear it resembled silk, the creamiest texture you could image. Fluffy like egg whites, beaten 'till they look soft enough to sleep on. It all came about because I overcooked some cannellini beans. I couldn't slurp 'em in a soup, couldn't cook 'em in a stew, so I pureed the white beans with some herbs.

Recipe 100% inspired by Dreena Burton's in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.

White Bean Hummus
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, cooked
  • 1 tbsp lemon (I used lime) juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini (omitted, no me gusta!)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced (I used dry)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp water, to thin out if desired
  • 2-3 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (I used dry)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (I used dry)
Throw everything into a food processor except water and herbs, puree until smooth and fluffy in appearance. Then thin out with water, if you wish (I did) and add herbs (stir to combine). By the way, she did mention not using dried herbs, but I did, and it was still wonderful. I can only imagine how marvelous the flavor would be with fresh herbs. So, listen to Dreena and invest in fresh greens!

PS: putting together a couch before showing or eating dinner (and it's now 6:00pm) is not an easy task. Eat, consider showering, and then tackle the new piece of furniture. Trust me.

 Success is so dang comfortable!

Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of men! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!  
Psalm 107:21-22

October 8, 2011


Question of the day: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

I've been reading a lot about raw vegan diets, fruitarians and the like. It all fascinates me, but I am truly happy with how I eat now and don't see a need to change it. Fruitarians like Michael Arnstein are definitely inspiring, though. It seems as though all I want to do is sit down to a breakfast of 5 mangos at times, but living in the North West isn't the best way to find fresh, seasonal mangos. So I'm content with my strawberry, blueberry, banana smoothies each morning.

Although, after watching a few videos of raw, vegan recipes, I did get an itch for sprouting grains and legumes the other week. I was excited about maybe finding a good way to eat amaranth, which we have had bags of for months and have yet to find any great recipes for. That protein-powerhouse grain and garbanzos were the first guys I sprouted. I followed the instructions on The Spout People website, and it worked perfectly! 

Soak overnight (1 part grain/bean 3 parts water) rinse very well, drain, place in jar, cover with cheese clothe, lie jar on its side for a day, repeat the rinse/drain for a few days until little 1/4 inch tails appear!

Unfortunately, the sprouted garbanzos by themselves tasted awful, but I could imagine some seasonings could easily fix that and they'd taste amazing. However, I decided to look up some sprouted garbanzo recipes that were a little different than the basic guys. And what did I end up with? Garbanzo pancakes

1) throw sprouted garbanzos in food processor
2) add water, oil, dash of salt
3) proceed to make thick pancakes
4) top with fruit, enjoy thoroughly.

DELISH! Really, honestly, truly delicious. The amaranth scared me, though, because I seemed to have over sprouted it and it ended up looking pretty threatening. I tossed it. I felt bad. I will try, try again like we all ought to. 

In the end, I think I will give sprouting a second chance. I hope to try with pinto beans, lentils, and maybe barley! I'm excited and I love trying all these new things. Here's to a future of sprouted breads, cereals, salads, and more garbanzo pancakes. Now go sprout yo' self, it's fun and fills your heart with temporary joy. For full, satisfying joy? Look to Jesus, He's the only supply of that kind o' joy.

Happy October!

Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.  
Psalm 97:11-12