Food, Health

WELL. Here we are at DAY THIRTY. The end of my vegan thing, and another 2 wks to go on the sugar program. I almost updated on Day 20, but honestly it was so boring. Here’s what I had:

Day 20: No Brunch to Be Had

30 Day Vegan: Eating at home has been totally fine as I’ve gotten my ass into the kitchen and have made a few staples to get me through the week. I’ve been living on the following: portobello mushroom fajitas, oatmeal, salads, falafels and lentils. I know, it’s not very exciting, but not having to think too much has been a nice change of pace. The only real disappointment is the fact that  finding vegan brunch in San Francisco is a pain. Even at classy joints like NOPA, there was nothing to be  had which would pass for vegan. So I cobbled together a few side dishes and called it a day.

I Quit Sugar: Getting there. Taking my coffee black. Eating a whole lot of avocado to keep the cravings at bay. Had a blueberry the other day and it tasted like a lightning bolt in my mouth. Whoa!

Side effects: Skin’s still looking pretty clear. Still dreaming about food. Not missing meat at all, just cheese.

Day 30: Last Vegan Day. My Tastebuds are Changing

30 Day Vegan: Well, that was a fun experiment. Is it disappointing to say that going vegan was not that interesting? I got into a rhythm and then there wasn’t much to it besides cruising through it on autopilot with my favorite veggie dishes. Restaurants were the only real temptation. Tomorrow I’m celebrating the end with a real brunch (EGGS) and maybe a nice meal.

I Quit Sugar: Still trying on this one, and doing just ok. It is really really hard avoiding fruit. I have about two more weeks on the IQS plan.

Side effects: Hormonal acne is back.>:l Even vegetables taste sweet to me. Lost a few pounds from going vegan, but nothing all that startling.

Final Thoughts on the Vegan Thing

The experiment was another reminder that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Vegan cheese in all of its forms (cashew cheese, Daiya) were crap (even after I ordered San Francisco’s “best” vegan pizza from Patxi’s), and tofu isn’t much of a replacement for eggs. I missed those terribly. Everything else I didn’t think about much. I made it through fine without dreaming of fried chicken, for example. Based on my cravings, I think that I can cut back generally on my overall meat consumption. It’s good to know that you can do without.

Food, Health

30 Day Vegan/ I Quit Sugar Update: Day 11. Cravings.

Well, it’s day 11 already! Time to do an update on this whole “I’m gonna go vegan and cut back on my sugar” resolution. Here we go:

Vegan update:

I’ve been staying on track at home and out at restaurants for the most part. I keep slipping up with condiments (aioli you fiend!). Missing bacon and eggs terribly.Starting to lean a little too heavily on the fake meats.

Sugar update:

I got it wrong in my last update- apparently Week #2 of the I Quit Sugar diet is continuing to cut back on Fructose + adding in more fats. So I don’t have to go cold turkey until Week #3. Cutting back on sugar has been going okay since I have been eating blandly at home, but going out is becoming really hard.

Morale update:


Couldn’t track down where the original of this came from…

Oh friends, I am in a bad way.

My roommates are  currently minimally employed, and we’ve created a loving household routine as far as the workdays go. It’s not lonely around the house. Everyone’ s applying to jobs, or working on their website, or pursuing a personal passion. It’s exciting. And everyone is cooking everyday. This is a struggle.

I wake up and shuffle off to the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee and grab some vegan yogurt, and it smells wondrous- bacon, eggs and homemade bread and butter. Oy. Killing me. Then throughout the day, they just keep cooking. One roommate roasts a whole chicken. Another does steak and a sweet potato mash. So all I can do is look and salivate. I’ve gotta say, I haven’t felt this kind of pit of my stomach hunger and mouthwatering aching for food in ages.

I’ve been busy with work stuff, so I’m not cooking as much as I’d like to. Since I’m feeling these crazy cravings I think that I’m going to try to  focus on all the good stuff that I CAN eat by pulling together some new hearty recipes. Here are a few recipes that look promising:

Red Lentil Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk

Chickpea Tagine with Cinnamon, Cumin and Carrots

Lemon asparagus risotto

Other thoughts

On the plus side, my skin is looking pretty awesome. There are less blemishes overall and the tone is evening. I can’t tell the difference in my energy levels, but I will say- my alcohol tolerance is shot! It makes sense, I just didn’t anticipate it.

PS- I tried making this Vegan Red Lentil + Butternut Squash Soup without the fenugreek. It was out of control delicious. Recommended!

photo (32)




Food, Health

30 Day Vegan + the I Quit Sugar Program: An Introduction

Cheese… dairy… I’m gonna miss you guys


A Jump Start…

So I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolution post that I wanted to give my 2013 a kick in the pants by going vegan for 30 days and cutting out refined sugars using the 8 wk long I Quit Sugar program. I’m not trying to make some gigantic lifestyle change. I’m just really curious about the effect that this diet tweak will have on my energy levels and skin. If I can avoid my usual afternoon crash and burn I’ll be really happy. Also, diabetes and liver disease runs in my family, so cutting back on sugar is important in that regard. After these 8 weeks are said and done, I hope to just overall cut back on my meat consumption.

My history: Like most things, you don’t just go vegan in a vacuum. Back in college I was vegetarian for quite a few years, and then tried the vegan thing. Veganism was hard to sustain as a lifestyle for me, so I switched back to vegetarianism. Then when I came home from school and moved in with my mom, she gave me hell so I started eating meat again. Who turns away a home-cooked meal from their mom? Not me.

When I moved out to San Francisco, there was so much exciting food to eat that I couldn’t think of being vegetarian- I had to eat it all! Of course I wanted to make the choice to eat sustainable meat/farm raised/organic/blahblahblah… except I never did. I just used the fact that meat could be eaten in a conscious way as an excuse to never truly look at my diet head-on and take steps that meshed with my morals. I was always saving it for someday. These days I eat everything, but moving forward I do want to cut back on my animal consumption for environmental, health and moral reasons.

Anyways, enough about me. On to the obvious questions:

What is Veganism?

So for those who aren’t acquainted with veganism, here’s a quickie primer:

  • No meat, poultry or fish
  • No dairy
  • No eggs
  • No animal byproducts: honey, whey, gelatin, fish oil, casein, rennet, lanolin, bee pollen, collagen, fish paste, etc.
  • No wearing animals: leather, wool, fur, down, horse hair, etc.
  • No animal products in your toiletries: sea sponges, collagen, squalene, tallow, beeswax, etc.

Of course, animal byproducts are everywhere. My favorite knitting needles are made out of casein, which is a protein found in milk. My face cream has shark oil in it. It’s tricky. So, for the purposes of my resolution, I’m trying to eat vegan for 30 days.

What is I Quit Sugar?


According to the American Heart Association, women should get no more than 24 grams of sugar a day (about 6 teaspoons). The average American woman eats about 18 teaspoons per day. In the infographic below, another cited stat is about 12 teaspoons a day. Either way, it’s a friggin lot.

I Quit Sugar is a nifty little e-book that helps you cut back on sugar over the course of 8 weeks. The author is Australian blogger/journalist Sarah Wilson, and she asks you to approach the whole thing as an “experiment” and not a life sentence. I can get behind that. From what I’ve read of it the book so far it’s light and entertaining, but could have a bit more substance and recipes.


Love this illuminating illustration from a popular New York Times article called Is Sugar Toxic?


I started my resolution last Saturday, so I’m on day 6. This first week I’m working on transitioning smoothly by eating vegan where I can, finishing up the rest of my non-vegan groceries (cheese, eggs, yogurt) and being more conscious of the sugar that I do eat.

Being vegan has been so far easy peasy as long as I’m in the house. On Sunday I made a giant tofu lasagna and one of my favorite dishes of 2012- spinach and chickpeas. I had mad leftovers so I was pretty set. Yesterday I royally screwed up by eating ahi tuna rolls at happy hour with my friend Brittani, but so be it. It’s about reducing my intake, not perfection.

Honestly cutting back on my sugar has been much harder than going vegan. It’s like learning a new language. Everything has sugar. Pasta sauce, bread, canned beans, frozen Indian food, crackers. It’s wild. Do yourself a favor and check the sugar content of what you eat next. You might be surprised.

I’ll continue to post updates on this vegan/sugar experiment, but to be honest, I’m a bit nervous about it all. I hope I can keep it up.