Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A very interesting article a friend posted

Thought some of you (wow, there ARE people reading my blog!) might enjoy this article. Goes right in line with what I've been talking about - and more!

The Blog | Kathy Freston: On Cancer and a Vegetarian Diet | The Huffington Post

Monday, April 16, 2007

I was just wondering if anyone was out there checking my blog!

Let me know.... (Fully anonymous...)

Randomly stumbled across something a little scary

So, I've been reading "The Food Revolution" and it's been quite interesting how important it seems to be to be buying organic.

And I'm on a photography message board, www.dgrin.com, that is having a contest and the two words this week - "artificial" and "organic".

So I Googled "organic" to get some ideas for taking photos and saw a picture of veggies that said "At what cost?" Hmmm.... Odd title

I headed here: http://www.worldproutassembly.org/archives/2006/06/the_rotten_side.html and found a very interesting article!

Summarizing it, it essentially says that much of the organic food we are buying right now isn't really organic and may even be coming from other countries where "organic" isn't standardized or enforced. This is happening because of the HUGE demand right now for organic food.

What does this do? It lowers the standards for organic and, because of big business getting into the organic industry, they are forcing the smaller places to work even harder to keep up.

For example, did you know that Silk (as in soy milk) is owned by Dean Foods? They are "the $10 billion dairy conglomerate notorious for bottom line business practices such as injecting their cows with bovine growth hormone and paying the lowest prices possible to dairy farmers"! (See above link.)

I found this site backing it up.

Did you know that Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen are owned by General Mills? Not small companies, as I expected.

Now, if we are getting the same or better quality with sustainable practices from these large companies, while I'm bummed the small farms are going to have a hard time of it, this is bound to happen. But if these mega-corporations are providing less-than-organic products, this is just wrong!

Now to figure out the way to deal with this from a personal level. I know one way is to buy local organic foods. Tough for me during the winter, but they are talking about putting in a Saturday Farmers Market in town. How awesome would that be?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Prove me wrong: Milk

I've been reading a LOT of things that are really interesting lately and doing a lot of research that backs it up. One of the things that has been the most interesting to me is that dairy products are actually NOT good for you! There are some things IN dairy products that are good, but overall, they are really BAD for you!

Talk about shocking.... I mean, I've always worried that I was going to have osteoporosis because of my low consumption of dairy products. I was completely convinced that I was practically unAmerican!

But after reading all this stuff, I'm totally shocked.

So.... I'm going to go through what I've learned, put together a few things I've wanted to put together and show that milk ISN'T good for you.... and if you're not convinced, I would love for you to go out and prove me wrong! Don't be mean, though! LOL! Just post links to credible sources that show that I've got things wrong and we'll go from there....

Here goes:

Drinking milk does not insure that you'll have strong bones
To process animal protein, our bodies require calcium to do this. If there isn't enough calcium in our diets to process the amount of animal protein we're taking in, it will pull it from our body. This is not true with plant proteins - the do not pull calcium from our bodies.
From the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Library of Medicine (NLM)

As a matter of fact, the higher your animal protein intake, the more likely you are to have bone loss! (This study was done on elderly women. AJCN - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

The National Dairy Council actually funded this study that proved that drinking additional milk was actually not helpful! Whoops!

More milk means more weight!
A study done about a year and a half ago on adolescent children found that milk was directly correlated to gaining weight - even though these were drinking 1% milk. The Washington Post sums it up and here is the actual study.

But what about calcium?
1 cup milk = 300mg calcium, of which 32% or 96mg is bioavailable (absorbable by the body)
Other foods that have the same amount of calcium (bioavailable): 1.5 cups broccoli, 1/2 cup firm tofu, 1/3 cup sesame seeds. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has the same amount of calcium as a quart of milk! And lots of fiber and no fat and a ton of other nutrients. (Except for the quinoa, all information taken from The Food Revolution on page 101.)

Human milk vs cow milk
This section is just me thinking - precious sections were taken from other sources....

I am currently reading The Food Revolution and one thing that struck me was that we are the only animal on Earth that consumes milk from other animals. Another thing that was mentioned was the fact that cows milk is made to grow a 50lb calf into a 300+ pound cow in a year. (My numbers may be off, but they're close.) And that got me to thinking.

Why would we go from drinking a milk (human breastmilk) that grows a child from about 7lbs to 20lbs in a year to drinking cow's milk which is designed for cows and putting a LOT of weight on in a small amount of time? Just odd that this even happened. And that we push people to drink a pretty hefty amount in hopes of losing weight and staving off osteoporosis, which cow's milk doesn't do!

I finally found this link (although I'm not sure who it is!) and you can see that in some things, the nutrition in both is quite different in many aspects.

Milk causes cancer?
Actually not so much causes cancer, but allows cancer to grow. This article on the BBC talks about the link between milk and ovarian cancer. Scary. (Note the small inset box on that article - suggesting a diet high in fruits and veggies. )

This article talks about the rise in IGF-1 levels when drinking cancer - this is directly related to higher rates of breast cancer.

I've looked for information talking about how Dr Campbell, author of "The China Study", fed rats casein (milk protein) at levels very similar to the American diet and how, after being injected with a carcinogen, they developed tumors. And when their animal protein levels were dropped to 5%, the tumor growth slowed or stopped. But I haven't found much yet.... And everything I have found to refute him is shown to have a specific agenda.

Anyway, you can read an excerpt from the book that talks about this here: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/research-dr-campbells-china-study.html. If I find any studies that prove this, I'll add them to this post.

Hormone free in England?
I've read a lot lately that Europe is way ahead of the US. As a matter of fact, they refuse to even import meat from us because of all the hormones and antibiotics! But I stumbled across this short article about only purchasing hormone free milk: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6147472

Ellie is drawing letters!

Ellie has been writing her letters on her L-Max (a small electronic gadget that has different cartridges to do different things - like letters, numbers, etc) for quite a long time. At least 2 months, if I'm not mistaken!
But getting her to write letters on anything else is like pulling teeth! Or was... Recently, she started writing them on other things - like the sidewalk with chalk! (You can see her making and upside-down "A" here.)
She's also started counting to 20 - without missing any numbers! And she also is understanding the whole each number corresponds to a certain number of objects. I found her counting each rock as she threw it into the river several days ago! I was VERY proud of her!
She's also into making up words.... Like the "colorish" house. Colorish meaning colorful! LOL! It's so cute that I just don't want to correct her!
I also love how she's over the top with things. "Mom, I just LOVE my new watch!" Talking about a watch I got her several months ago! Silly goose.
She just keeps getting more and more affectionate, too. I love how she'll tell me she loves me or wants to hold my hand or snuggle with me. She wasn't interested in those things until relatively recently.
I am a very lucky mom to have such wonderful girls!

Sammie is potty training herself!

I don't know whether to be excited or freaked! LOL! I know that she's really young (23 months) to be potty training, but she's been insisting. On Saturday (it's Thursday now), she decided no more diapers.

Okay, we'll try it....

She's had 1 poop accident and 3 or 4 pee accidents - that's all! I'm floored by how well she's done! We'll see, though. I'm totally fine if this doesn't work, but I'm not going to fight it anymore. (She's been trying to do this for several months, but I wasn't sure she could "get" it - you know, the feeling of having to use the bathroom.)

Oh, the photos are faces she makes while sitting on the potty! She's hilarious.

As for other things, she's started to know her colors and some of her letters, she can count to 10 - mostly - and is learning a LOT of songs! This is such a neat age - seeing her vocabulary grow almost hourly.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Major intestinal issues...

Okay, for those of you that are averse to TMI (too much information) type posts, you may want to just skip this one....

As someone who has always been prone to minor intestinal issues, I've been pleasantly surprised by how... um... regular... and well... great things have been in that area! I used to get constipated on a fairly regular basis, but when I'd have too much dairy, things would race through my system in record time - often very painfully. (I have minor lactose intolerance.)

I've actually only had one or two bites of red meat in the last 5 or 6 weeks, very little cheese, a tiny bit of fish and that's about it.

Today I had several bites of Sammie's gyro - with lamb, cheese and tzaziki sauce on it.... It was good, but not great.

But OMG! My innards have been rebelling for about 4 hours. Several quick trips to the restroom that are barely in time. Stomach cramps. Really bad heart burn. You name it. I felt like hell! Truly. (Hopefully the last trip finished everything off.)

So, you're thinking, why in the world am I talking about all this? Mainly because I wonder how something (meat, dairy) that is supposed to be SO good for me can make me feel SOOOOO horrible! I have had NOTHING in the last several weeks that has come from plants that has made me feel even remotely bad! (Okay, so I've had some gas.... But that's IT! Truly.)

For a moment I was a little sad - this means I really probably can't eat meat for real anymore, same with dairy, as my body isn't used to it anymore. I have the feeling I could wean myself back onto them - if I really wanted to. But why? I seriously doubt cutting out plant foods and then adding them in would do this to me. Actually, if I cut them out and added them back in, I'm sure my body would LOVE me for it! LOL! (Well, after it got over the loathing because of cutting them out.)

So.... lesson learned. I'm truly vegan! It feels GOOOOOD! :)

My cholesterol update!

Well, I have been REALLY great about being vegan at home and have noticed a few odd things - I have NO desire for meat! I had Fra Diavalo (spicy Italian dish) with scallops the other day - and gave the scallops to my SIL! This is truly unheard of for me.. Weird! I've eating a little bit of cheese going out, but that's it. (As a side note, I'm not grossed out by meat/fish, but it just doesn't taste good to me anymore.)

I haven't weighed myself in a while, but I suspect I'm still around 173 - that's 8lbs in about 6.5-7 weeks. VERY slow, but it's staying off. I still feel great, too.

But the BIG news.... I got my blood tested before my surgery on monday.

Old cholesterol: 194
New cholesterol: 168!!!
I dropped almost 30 points!

But the other exciting thing is my ratios are awesome!

HDL (good) was 76 and is now 66 (should be above 50)
LDL (bad) was 100 and is now 77 (should be below 130)

And the ratio of good to bad should be less than 2.5:1 and mine was 1.32 and is now 1.166!!!! WOW!!! (Obviously was good before, but is GREAT now.)

This was actually my goal - to get my cholesterol down. I would love to have it below 150, but not sure what to do to get it any lower. And I feel really great about the numbers so I'm not going to stress it.... I have the feeling it may go down even more.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A note on terminology

As I read more about vegetarianism and veganism, I've come to realize that the terminology that is generally used is not exactly correct.....

Vegetarian - someone who only eats plants, no meat, no dairy
Lacto vegetarian - Someone who eats plants and dairy
Ovo vegetarian - someone who eats plants and eggs
Lacto-ovo vegetarian - someone who eats plants, eggs and dairy (what most people call a "vegetarian"
Vegan - someone who avoids anything coming from animals like food, leather, bone, etc. Very strict vegans won't even eat honey! Most vegans, though, just avoid eating anything from animals.

In the strictest sense, I consider myself an almost vegetarian, not a vegan as I still wear leather, and will consider eating things from animals from time to time. I don't know that I'll ever been 100% strict as that's VERY hard in a small town like this - going out would be next to impossible.

But when I refer to myself, I'll still say I'm vegan as most people see vegan as someone who doesn't eat anything from animals.

Day 36: Going vegan

Wow! I can't believe it's been this long. Amazing! If you had told this steak-aholic that she'd be eating only plants right now, I think she would have slapped you! LOL!

It's actually been pretty easy at home. I haven't even been close to being tempted by meat. Now that I look at anything from animals in a different light, it makes things that much easier. When I go out, it's harder, though. I look at chicken fingers and think, "YUMMMM! One won't kill me, right?" But I'm usually satisfied with just one bite.

I've been experimenting with food a lot, too. And I'm really sick of cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking. LOL! I know it'll get easier, but it's kind of a pain. Ah, well, it's worth it.

I've also been reading a lot about soy lately and following up on some things that I'd been meaning to find out. Interesting things out there! I'll add more links as I read them.

One of these days I need to go back and re-read all my posts to make sure I'm not reposting things. LOL! But one of my goals is to send The China Study book out to at least 20 people. I think I've sent it to 7 or 8 people and 3 have gone (or plan to) go vegan, 1 is still reading, but is currently mostly vegan and the others are interested in what the book is saying! It's fun to see that I'm not a complete freak! LOL!

I weighed in yesterday at 173. I was pretty pleased by that as I had thought I'd gained. I'm amazed that I've dropped 7+lbs without really trying. It's amazing and to me, that says that what I'm doing is right if my body is "righting" itself weight-wise.

Oh! And I get my blood tested this weekend. We'll see if my cholesterol has dropped. I sure hope so!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My new project: A self portrait a day

I was running around on DGrin when I ran across a post from a woman who was doing a portrait a day project. I headed over to check it out and was very impressed... She had some great shots and it really got me thinking... Could I do something like that? Hmmm....

So I set out to do it! It's been very interesting and enlightening... Very! Taking photos of yourself is hard. Not only from the standpoint of feeling okay with how you look (or trying, anyway!), but also because coming up with a new idea every day is HARD. Truly....

But it's also fun! I'm really enjoying it because normally I take photos off the cuff, for the most part. I may direct, but I don't really stage photos much. I don't enjoy that. But I end up having to stage myself most of the time - and take many photos over and over to get what I like, quite often. It's definitely stretching me in ways I never expected!

Oh! Wait! You want to know WHERE to see these? You can go here: Andi's Self Portraits


Some interesting links I thought I'd share

This has a lot of numbers and facts about meat eaters vs vegetarians. While I'm sure this isn't the whole story, it still has some interesting numbers!
How To Win An Argument With a Meat-Eater

This article talks about the percetage of vegetarians and the percentage of them that are vegan.
How many vegetarians/vegans are there?

A vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer (From the BBC)
A vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer

Diet, Exercise and Reduced Stress Slow Prostate Cancer, Study Finds


This has a vegetarian spin, but sums up what I've read pretty well:
Milk, Calcium and Bone Density

You may want to skim (no pun intended! LOL!) this one, but it does have some interesting and seemingly unbiased information on milk consumption in children:
Milk: Can a "good" food be so bad?

The last paragraph has a lot of info

"Diets that are high in protein cause more calcium to be lost through the urine. Protein from animal products is much more likely to cause calcium loss than protein from plant foods. This may be one reason that vegetarians tend to have stronger bones than meat-eaters."

Calcium in Plant Based Diets

Quinoa has a tremendous amount of calcium!
"A cup of quinoa has more protein than a quarter-pound hamburger and more calcium than a quart of milk. Yowza. It's also loaded with iron, magnesium, and a bevy of other minerals and B vitamins. No wonder the Incas named it "the mother grain." "
Wonder foods

A lot has been said about soy lately.... I haven't read these links yet, but I'm going to read through and I'll update later on my thoughts, if necessary....

There are a LOT of links and comments on here:
Vegan Lunch Box

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do you ever have days when you realize....

that the way you've been acting lately has been a bit... self centered? Or at least, not positive and happy? Even though you thought at first it was?

I kind of realized that I'm letting things affect me too much and using them as excuses to be a little down and whiney. And I should be taking charge and being happier and doing things that I am interested in. Only problem - I'm not always sure I know what those are.

I've done a lot lately that's for me - going vegan, portrait a day, trying to get organized - but I'm not enjoying the results like I should. Maybe looking around and still seeing a mess around the house, almost 20 extra pounds on my body and not enough GREAT photos lately is bugging me. But how can I feel good about that stuff when I still don't feel great about me? And there isn't really a good reason NOT to feel good! (Well, there is that whole missing your hubby with your whole being since he's been gone so long thing..... LOL!)

So! I vow to only be POSITIVE tomorrow. Figure out something FUN to do. Spend a LOT of time with my daughters and my mother doing things we all enjoy! And being HAPPY.

And we'll take it from there....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Going Vegan: Day 22

It's been 3 weeks... Feels like a LOT longer, though. Weird.

Anyway, this whole thing has been pretty easy - even when going out. When going out, I am just vegetarian, but request no cheese or meat on my foods. So far so good!

I eat very little processed foods and they have been really good! I bought "The Everyday Vegan" and it's awesome! I've only had one boring recipe out of there so far... Highly recommended!

Things that are good:

  • Still feeling great.
  • Seem to be sleeping better whenI get to sleep, too! That's something that surprising.
  • My skin is looking GREAT! Seriously. Chris has mentioned that I have taken 4-5 years off my face! YAY!
  • I'm eating whatever I want (vegan-wise) and I'm losing weight! It is very slow, but it's coming off. (5lbs in 3 weeks.) I also know that the slower it comes off, the better as it's more likely to stay off.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Going Vegan: Day something. ;)

Well, it's been around 3 weeks and I've eaten very little meat and dairy. I doubt I'll ever go 100% vegan, but man.... it feels good so far!

How? Besides what I've said before, I noticed when I do eat meat (calimari, in this case) I didn't feel good. I just felt heavy and yucky. It was good, but not awesome. Actually, much of the food I've cooked recently has been better. Whoa. Did I just say that?

Skiing the other day I did extremely well for someone who hasn't gone out in more than 3 weeks. I cross country skied about twice as far as I would normally and wasn't all that tired.

I've lost about 5lbs and it's staying off. But the weird thing is, I'm eating a LOT of food. I've been concentrating much more on a whole foods plant diet lately and it seems to be filling me up more, is much more satisfying (from a taste/texture standpoint) and is actually pretty easy to do!

On another note, I've also purchased a few cookbooks so we'll see how they are! I'll tell you about them after I've cooked more.

I've been thinking a LOT about how to present all the things I've read and learned to those who eat meat. It's SO hard. I was there a month ago and I *know* how I sound. I sounds like a born again Christian trying desperately to explain my new views. I sound like a crazy hippie vegan freak extolling the perils of meat and dairy. I sound like a weirdo!

But the scary thing is, I think if people would just listen, read what I've suggested and think about it - they would understand. It's not something intangible with no proof - like religious beliefs. It's something that's been studied and tested and shown to be true.

Anyway, overall I'm doing well. The more I read, the more interested and excited I get about all this. And the more amazed I am that the general public has NO clue how bad their diet is. Just last night I saw a TV station in Denver saying how the Atkins diet is best for women. They kept off more weight. But they do NOT look at the long term implications. Everyone is SO stuck on weight that they forget about health. Just like I did forever.....

I feel very lucky to have figured this out. Now if I can get my husband and my parents to listen. Please wish me luck!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sammie is walking up the stairs....

without holding on! She's so funny. Such a little tiny kiddo that I wasn't sure that she'd ever be able to do that! Ellie did that at about 15-16 months (long legs!) and Sammie is 22 months now. Very cute watching her concentrate on going up!
(Not exactly walking up the stairs, but still cute, eh?)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More random thoughts...

Sick of my thinking yet? LOL!

Seriously, this is all so new to me that I keep rethinking things and rethinking things..... So you (the one or two of you that ever find this!) get to deal with that thinking.... :)

Anyway, my new thought after eating a fake burger with fake mayo (Vegenaise (sp) - awesome!) last night was that the way to do vegan is NOT to try to fake your old way of eating, but rather eat new things in new ways.

In other words, fake meat isn't the way to go. The way to go is to find new ways to cook. Completely new ways.

Of course, that's what The China Study says.... Eating a "whole foods" diet. But I think that's smart not only from a health standpoint, but also having a more interesting, fulfilling diet standpoint as well!

Take last night, for example. I tried to mimic an old standby: two hamburger patties with may, ketchup and chopped onions with a veggie. (Very low carb!) Last nights version: vegan hamburger patties, vegan mayo, onions, mushrooms and ketchup with broccoli. While it was good, it wasn't great.

Take tonight: risotto with crimini mushrooms, onions and broccoli with garlic and other spices. YUM! I was MUCH more satisfied with that! Or two nights ago: tofu with portabellos (can you tell I LOVE mushrooms?!?), onions, zucchini over a wild rice mix. Another YUM. And once again, far more satisfying. And, of course, they were probably better for me overall....

So if you're thinking of going vegan - or you ARE vegan - definitely try a LOT of different dishes. It will probably be easier for you!!

Last few notes of the evening: I still haven't lost much - 3lbs in 3 weeks or so. But you know what? My hubby noticed that I looked younger (I'm almost 41) and I feel GREAT. Seriously, even when I"m tired, I'm not *tired* like I was. My overall demeanor is much better. And that's why I wanted to do this.

Being vegan isn't nearly as hard as I expected.... *big smile* Huge, huge surprise - and a wonderful one, too!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sammie the climber

Sam has become quite the climber! She loves climbing on me and Chris especially. Cracks me up! This is her climbing Mt Daddy!

She was satisfied climbing on daddy for at least 10-15 minutes....

Ellie's first dentist appt

I finally brought Ellie to her first dentist appointment.

After getting my teeth cleaned, Ellie hopped up and was SO incredible. Of course, I think a huge part of it was the woman who did it. Linda Brothers was awesome! So patient and good with Ellie - amazing!
Turns out that Linda is a photographer in Gunnison! We chatted at length about it. She's been doing photography for 40 years - including being a trail riding photographer for cattle drives! How amazing, eh?
I'm pretty picky about photos and the ones I saw were pretty awesome. And she is a really great lady... It was fun!
On a side note, I still had glue on the back of two of my teeth from braces - 24 years ago! How odd is that?

Good/Bad vegan foods

I'll update this as I can...

Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese - YUM!!! Surprisingly awesome!
Vegenaise - how do they do that? YUM! again!

Vegetable cheese - need to find the real name, but this isn't even vegan, I don't think!

Vegan Resa (sp) cheese. Bleh. Not good at all!

Please feel free to comment with your favorites!

The wedding!

Overall, after going through the photos, I'm good with them. I'm sure I'll get happier as time goes on.....

But after the wedding (the morning after), I was worried - seriously worried. I thought ALL the photos would suck. Of course, I always do this! LOL!

After downloading them and backing them up, I imported them into Lightroom and while I had some serious technical issues with flash (I suck at it), most of the photos turned out well. Or salvageable. I have a few key photos I'm sort of stuck about - should I post them or not kind of stuck....

I also made some pretty serious mistakes with this wedding right in the beginning. I'm not really ready to write them down yet since they are a little too fresh. But hopefully they will like the photos enough to forgive me for the few dumb things I did! LOL!

I think the biggest question that came out of this is: Do I even want to do weddings? While the wedding was a LOT of fun, I didn't have a great time. I was stressed most of the time and worried I was missing all the good shots. At the end of the evening, I felt like I hadn't done a great job. The next day I worried about everything. And on Monday, I had something very stressful happen. (Once again, not ready to talk about it.) And even now, after having edited about 1/4 of the photos, I'm still stressed that they won't like them.

I don't mind pressure, but I hate stress. Pressure being the pressure to do well, be as good as I can, excel, etc. I see pressure as a positive thing. Stress, on the other hand, is negative. It makes me feel bad, makes me worry, makes me freak. LOL! And that's how I'm feeling after this wedding.

There is a possibility of up to 5 weddings for me this year.... Two of these are already committed. The other two are up in the air... Luckily, the two booked are more traditional (as in, guests seated/standing and a normal aisle with a decent view to the couple exchanging vows) so that makes me feel less stressed.

Portrait shoots are different. If they don't work out, it's not the end of the world. You can reshoot them (generally) and they generally aren't once in a lifetime things.


A few vegan notes....

So, I've been thinking about all of this from a dietary standpoint and I've made a few minor decisions.... I've mentioned these before, but I'm going to reiterate them again mainly because I have a few more.

At home, I'll be 99.9% vegan. The things I will not worry about in my diet are beef and chicken broth. Why? Because it's the protein that's bad for you and they have none. (Well, the kind I buy, anyway.) I like using low sodium broth and I haven't been happy with the veggie broths I've used. If I find one I like (there are not very many choices here), I may change that up, but for now, that's the case.

When going out, I'll be vegetarian. But I'll avoid dairy as much as possible. After last weekend, I realize that I dont' feel great after having it in my diet so I'll try to avoid it. And I'll avoid eggs. If there are trace amounts, no biggie, but if something has a cheese sauce or has eggs as a main ingredient, I'll be avoiding them.

Veganism and Chris

I've been wanting Chris to read this book (The China Study) for a while now... I just finished it so I hadn't been able to hand it off. After talking last night, I realize that he's not completely against it (as I thought), but rather he's waiting to see how I do in a month. Now whether that's a month from when I started going vegan or if it's a month from last night, I'm not sure....

I did mention to him that I thought he must be scared... Because look at me - a confirmed meat eater going vegan just from one book AND after doing a bunch of research! LOL! He grinned at me and said, "Yeah, that's why I don't want to read it for a month!"

So, I'm thinking that in the long run that this book will help him understand where I'm coming from and I wouldn't be surprised if he did end up going mostly vegan. That would make me happy..... I think I would keep him around for a LOT longer and that's a GREAT thing!

(As a side note, Chris' dad and grandfather both died in their mid-40's of heart attacks.)

Going Vegan: The Wedding Weekend

Sorry about the delay in posting, but after a major scare (photography-wise) on Monday (everything turned out find), I've been going a bit nutty since then.... More about that shoot in another post!

Well, I had rather low expectations for myself for the weekend. You see, since I've never been vegan or even vegetarian, I had NO clue what to expect. So I decided to make it easy on myself and stay vegetarian only and if I *needed* meat, it would only be fish. I would do everything I could to stay "good", but I wouldn't stress or worry too much. I had way too many other things happening for me to freak!

So on Friday, I had a low point... A yummy, yummy low point. I had a filet-o-fish from McDonalds. Oh, well.... I didn't feel great after it, which was a surprise - and not.

Then on Saturday they didn't really have anything vegan for breakfast that would fill me up enough for the entire day. (The place we stayed had a continental breakfast.) They had a lot of fruit and some cereal, but I am not a milk fan anyway so cereal wasn't interesting to me. So I got some waffles. They smothered 'em in butter, something I've always LOVED. But not this time. I ate about 1/3 of it and was done!

At lunch, I went to Wendy's - it was about 2pm and I was STARVED - and got a side salad and a baked potato with butter and sour cream. Didn't eat much of the greens, but ate everything else...

And at the wedding, I had the ziti, some salad and bread. No meat.

The next day, I at an English muffin with some jelly, 1/3 of an omelette (ONLY! I was EGG girl to the max before. Weird.) and waited until getting home to eat lunch.

Overall, how do I feel I did? I give myself a B. Especially since I decided to go vegetarian and I wasn't even interested in doing that... I really wanted to stay good after Friday night. I felt like I ate eggs/dairy in stuff just so I was getting enough food for a crazy weekend....

How did I feel? Surprisingly, not as good as I had! Now that I've been back to vegan for a few days, I feel a lot better. I felt a little foggier than usual while away for the weekend. And I feel less foggy again.

It's funny.... After reading The China Study, I've been looking at meat and dairy in SUCH a different way that this truly isn't as hard as I expected. Some people may make fun of me for bing a hippie vegan, but I actually look at them as poison. Something that's incredibly bad for you. Something that should be removed from the diet completely. And all the advertising sort of freaks me out a little. I keep waiting for Campbell (the author) to come out as a fraud. Or for my feelings to change (well, it's only been 2.5 weeks), but feeling better and feeling more alert are sort of pushing me to believe this is all true.... Well, along with all the evidence in the book and all the things I found online! LOL!

Next goal: Buy some vegan cookbooks! LOL!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Going Vegan: Day 13

Well, it's actually been MUCH easier than I ever expected! And, after switching a few things up, it's kept me much fuller with fewer calories. I've been tracking everything using the free software on www.fitday.com and I'm a bit surprised to see that I'm getting MORE protein than I need! I need to make sure, though, that I'm getting a few nutrients I'm missing. But who knows how long I've been deficient in those or others! LOL!

As for how much easier it's been that I've expected, I had a bit of a revelation today. When Sammie was 3-4 months, we found out she was allergic to soy, milk and eggs... so I cut all those out of my diet. That was pretty hard for about 2-3 weeks just adjusting everything for my new diet.

Well, I think doing that before has made THIS easier now since I've had to adjust my diet pretty radically in the past. Interesting!

So, how am I feeling? I'm feeling great! All those things I've posted about are about the same. I'm not really losing weight, which i think is odd since I've cut my calories down by about 300-500 a day. Well, rather, I've lost about 4lbs so far, but nothing in the last 4-5 days. But then again, that's not the main point - and who knows, maybe my body is doing some major readjusting and it'll come off somewhat later!

I'm going to be photographing a wedding this weekend in Keystone so I'm not sure I'll be posting much. I'll try to tomorrow and hopefully on Monday. I'm also not going to stress foods this weekend. Especially trace things. I'll try to stay vegetarian (lacto-ovo) and go from there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just some ramblings on going vegan

Today, as I was riding around town doing a few things (got a new cool wallet! Yay! And a jewelry holder! Yay!), I started wondering... Why is it that I've gone SO far from one extreme to the other? I mean, two weeks ago I was eating HUGE steaks taking in at least double the protein (and who knows how much fat) that I need. And now I'm considering going vegan? Was I BRAINWASHED? Did someone (aliens? Hippie vegan freaks?) steal me one night and change out my brain?

And as I thought about it I realized that there were several factors: eating poorly, feeling bad, weird heart racing feelings, and reading for REAL just how bad all of what I'd been doing was for me. I think I'd been thinking in the back of my mind that I'd just been horrible with my food. Too much fat, too much meat, not enough variety.... And I'm lucky I haven't gotten sicker or gained a TON of weight.

So where does this lead? Where do I think it's going? I have no clue! After all this thinking I've decided that I'm going to go vegan for at least a month. And on April 1st (heh) I'll reevaluate and see where I am. I'll see how I feel. And I'll think about all I've learned and figure out then what the next step is.

One thing I've heard is that there are few vegans or vegetarians in CB. Why? Because the cold temperatures and the amazing amount of exercise that people get makes it hard to keep weight on if you don't eat meat.

So where will I end up? Vegan? Carnivore? I honestly suspect it will be more on the vegan side with smaller amounts of meat from time to time. We'll see. I may be wrong. I'm just going to keep my mind open. I don't want to come to any conclusions when I don't have all the information I need.

Does anyone have any ideas of where they think I'll end up? LOL! I'd love to see the comments on that one!

Going Vegan: Day 11

Well, I'm going SO slow through the book, but I've been doing a lot of research, as I've mentioned.... I think the next step is to REALLY look at how animal protein is "bad". I just see that too many people that I tell about this seem to think I'm cracked in the head. I just want to make sure I'm NOT and they just don't understand.

People just seem so freaked out by the whole protein issue. As if you can't get enough from plants. But that doesn't make sense - heck, the Chinese have lived on plant based diet forever! You can't tell me that it's not possible... or that it's that hard. Unless, of course, we don't have access to the same foods and the proteins we are looking at aren't varied enough to give us what we need.

I've noticed that this is more just puking out all my thoughts instead of how I feel, but I think I need to keep track of all that. So my next step: looking at my intake to make sure I'm getting the right nutritional balance.

Going Vegan: Day 10

I've been doing a LOT of research lately trying to figure out if this book is for real or not. So far, I haven't really found a lot of evidence that it's not - except from sources that can be discredited....

One thing I did find, though, is that B12 is a vitamin that many vegans don't get enough of. You can read more here: http://www.vegansociety.com/html/food/nutrition/b12/As for me, I was pretty bad about food on Saturday and my weight jumped to 178 over night. YIKES! Doh.... (Is creme brulee' vegan? ) But I was very good all day yesterday and today so far.

A few side effects that have surprised (and delighted) me:
more consistant BM's (yuck!). I thought I'd start getting constipated (I'm prone to this), but I think the fiber is helping
Smaller belly. Even though I haven't really lost much weight, when I buckled my belt I was surprised to see it was on the 3rd hole, not the second - I didn't realize until I went to the bathroom! That's just where it felt good!
More awake. In spite of not sleeping well lately, I'm a lot more alert that I would expect.
Overall lighter feeling. Being on so much protein, I always felt "heavy". Now I feel "light". A very hard thing to describe, but that's the best way I can think of.

I know I've already said some of these, but wanted to say that I'm restating them because they are even stronger feeling. If that makes sense. LOL!

Stats: 176.5, but one belt hole smaller on my waist
Food: small bite of burger last night

Just a few random links

I may add to this later:

Prostate cancer and Skim milk
Make yourself heart attack proof
Perils of dairy
Article from Cornell

Going Vegan: Day 9

Now that I've read the book (T Colin Campbell's The China Study), I'm floored at the implications that veganism can actually save lives! It's unreal the types of things that can be cured by changing the diet. Here are some links that talk about all the health benefits:

Overall, I'm floored at all this. The more I look, the more I find that is backed up by many reputable sources.

The hard thing? Trying to get my husband to really read and buy into at least some of this. The more I read, the more I worry about what I had been eating and what he still eats. It's just bad, bad stuff.... And the book does an EXCELLENT job of really explaining the full implications.

I have more to say, but I really want to read!

Oh, a bit about what I've been doing: I've been pretty poor about changing over. But my goal is to go 100% vegan at home by the first of March, I'll go vegetarian going out. I may eat some fish from time to time and I'll try to go vegan going out, but it's harder and I think more stressful doing that.

I will also get my cholesterol tested again in a month or so or after I've been vegan for about 30 days.... Currently, I believe it's 199. After reading, I'm a bit freaked by that. It's extremely high! (Did you know that 35% of heart attacks happen to people with cholesterol between 150 and 200? YIKES!)

Going Vegan: Day 6

Day 5 was good, but not great. I was exhausted because of the girls not sleeping well the night before. I also ate several chicken fingers. Yum! LOL! But otherwise, I was pretty good. Oh, a little parmesan on my dinner....

Day 5 stats: 174.5
Food: chicken fingers, parmesan cheese

Day 6 has been great. I'm MUCH better today than I have been in DAYS! I feel good, but still a bit tired. But I'm sure the next two days will be mediocre at best for food. I'm just not going to stress it since i'm doing to Denver with Ellie.

Day 6 stats: 176 (no worries! yes, I'm a chronic weigher inner! LOL!)
food: all vegan so far

Going Vegan: Day 4

A few things I need to add... Mainly that I think the loss of weight is mainly due to fewer calories more than anything else. My standard breakfast, for example, used to be: 3 scrambled eggs, sausage (about 1.5-2 servings worth), veggies in the scramble and sometimes cream cheese. I'd afraid to calculate that! LOL!

I have also NOT worked out in several days. Other than the alley loop, it's probably been 2 weeks! (Still feeling crappy, dizzy and out of it today.) So we'll see how my body reacts to that, too.

Last night for dinner we went to Ginger Cafe. I got some spring rolls and Chris got Lamb Korma and crab rangoons. I had a rangoon, both spring rolls (veggie) and a little bit of the korma. It was good, but odd - it was heavy tasting, which I generally like, and I didn't really enjoy! Weird.

Today for lunch I had some calamari. No other meat, very little dairy (maybe butter in some of the foods, that's it) besides the calamari.

I've sort of decided that I'm not going to be totally anal. I'll probably be good about veganism at home, but I'll probably just try to be vegetarian out to eat. I need to find out what this book says about seafood/fish, though. I'm interested.Oh, I've also felt pretty light headed all day. Weird.

Weight: 175 (so I guess it is for real!)
Feeling: tired, lighter, nothing specific to the veganism.
Meat/dairy: calamari, trace dairy in foods

Going Vegan: Day 3

I haven't done anything really drastic, but I've been consciously thinking about the foods I eat. After reading about just how bad meat and dairy can be for you (no clue about fish/sea food), I'm actually (surprisingly!) a bit turned off by meat and dairy. I'm sure a BIG part of it is that I'm just not feeling well. I came down with the flu about 9 days ago and can't shake it.

Since I've done this, I've lost a few lbs. I figured I'd lost weight several days ago because of not eating as much and was bummed stepping on the scale and seeing 180. Then, two days later after cutting way back, I was 175! I was REALLY shocked. Today I was 176.5 after eating breakfast.

I'm also feeling "lighter". Not as in weight, but a more general feeling that I'm not weighed down. It's weird and hard to describe. And even though I'm tired, my energy level has been about the same the whole day. I haven't crashed at all, which has shocked me.

As for WHY I'm doing this, it's more to feel BETTER than to lose weight. (Although that wouldn't suck!) I've been feeling not so great for a few months and I'm ready to feel better. I've tried other things that aren't working so I'm trying this. We'll see.

Stats: 180/176.5/155-160 (starting weight/current/goal)
Feelings: "lighter", more consistent energy level

Going Vegan: Day 1

Please note: The previous entry was made AFTER this one. By about 10 days. This is actually the first entry in my journey so just take that into consideration! :)

A few things to note:
Starting date: 2/9/07
Starting weight: 180+ (may have been 181)
Was quite sick for the week before starting. Starting to eat less meat has helped a bit, I believe.
Getting the book The China Study from some guys at SmugMug in a few days. Haven't read it, just cutting down on meat.

A bit more about the book and why I'm doing this:
As you read in the previous entry, I had some weird heart things happen, I'd been feeling crummy and more. I was subscribed to a thread about some bug reporting for a new release of Smugmug when I noticed someone mentioning that one of the guys had gone vegan. I scratched my head and headed over there. Another guy, Chris MacAskill (president of Smugmug) was kind enough to explain a bit more about it and offered to send the book to me. Reluctantly, after Andy prompted me, I took him up on it.

I started doing a bit of research and found some interesting things - claiming to help with a whole host of health issues - and I wondered if the book was written by a snake oil salesman. But a lot of it seemed smart so I went with it and started going vegan. (It just all struck me a the right time.... Oh, jeez. I'm sounding like a hippie. "It was karma." LOL!)

Confessions of a former carnivore...

Yup, you read that right - I really have gone vegan.

(NOTE: This entry was taken from a message board I am on. If it reads a little off, that's why. I just wanted for people to see WHY I even considered it! You'll see that I'm going to copy all my blog entries over here - that's why the date is off for the first several. I'm goingto keep track of this here instead so I can allow others to read it if they'd like.)

Anyway, I had been feeling quite yucky for a long time - several months. I'd felt "draggy", my libido was gone, I felt sort of not quite with it. My typical diet was 3 eggs with sausage and veggies for breakfast, something with meat for lunch and steak or hamburgers or pork for dinner. Rarely did I ever eat a meal without meat. I also ate a lot of veggies, but very few carbs - even good ones. Okay, French fries were pretty common. LOL!

Then a few weeks ago I started taking Fematril to help with my libido. That helped a little, but certainly not a lot. And then one night my heart felt funny. Like it was beating too fast or too hard or something. Something bad. I was so tired, though, I didn't really think much about it at the time. (Although looking back, it's pretty terrifying!) So I cut out the Fematril immediately, thinking that was it.

But I started thinking more about it. Wait. What's my diet? High fat foods. Loads of cholesterol. Hmmm.... not so great for the heart, eh? (And that's not new or a surprising revelation from a dietary standpoint.) So I started thinking about changing my diet. I figured low fat foods, more veggies. And then I ran across a reference to someone on a message board I frequent (photography one) that had gone vegan. I laughed out loud! I mean, if Andy went vegan that means that the world must have shifted! Last I saw he was sending his favorite ribs to all his friends. Hmmmm.... And a co-worker of his mentioned The China Study and how it changed their lives. Whatever. Vegan freaks.

But I was a little intrigued and read more and found that it had a lot of smart things to say - and things that felt right for how I was feeling. Things that helped others. So I cut WAY back on meat and dairy (I don't get much dairy anyway) and I started feeling better. Then I got the book after Chris was kind enough to send it to me. Some of the things they say are downright scary. Terrifying. And I found sources to back them up from all kinds of reputable places - American Cancer Society, Cornell University and more.

So.... I've cut out anything that comes from an animal. I'm still a bit surprised that I've done this. I NEVER considered going vegetarian, let alone vegan! Seriously, never ever. But that book has truly... um.... "changed my life". I eat only "whole" plant foods. Not overly processed things, only things that are closer to the plant they came from. So no white bread, white rice, chips, fries (although I'm sure I'll have those things, they aren't part of my regular diet.)So, how do I feel in the 10 days since I've gone partially vegan and 2 days of fully? (Well, except for one bite of burger.) Here is what I've noticed....

  • Libido - This has definitely returned after being gone for quite a while! I'll leave it at that...
  • I've lost about 5lbs - Yesterday I put on a belt and when I went to the bathroom, I was one notch in from where I had been before! I didn't even realize it until later! Although I would love to lose weight, I haven't really had that in mind. It's more about FEELING better and eating better. But 20lbs wouldn't suck! LOL!
  • I feel lighter - I noticed this almost immediately and it's not weight related. I'm a bit surprised by this, but then again... meat does make me feel weighted down a bit.
  • I feel full! I'm eating a lot! I am probably actually eating a few fewer calories just because of all the fat I was eating, but I'm sure I'm eating more than they recommend for losing weight. I'm finding a LOT of really yummy, yummy foods and I'm not really missing meat like I expected. At all. I eat when I'm hungry - and sometimes when I'm not. And I still have been losing weight. Weird.
  • I feel more alert - which is odd since I should be more tired. My energy level is more consistant, too.

Anyway, this whole change in outlook is 90% because of this book. (10% came before because I wanted to feel better.)

I'll be posting my journey as I figure out what the "right" way for me to eat is....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Updating on my life!

Let's see, here's a quick list of all the things that have gone on in the last many, many months:

  • Launched www.tippiepics.com and have had a bit of success with it! I've actually done quite a few photoshoots and have gotten some good feedback about it. And I've enjoyed it a TON, which is most important! LOL!
  • Launched www.butteboard.com. This is a message board created for local Crested Butteans for locals. Nothing going on with it yet, but we just launched it 2 days ago.
  • We lost gas and heat for 2 days (which prompted the release of www.butteboard.com) and still have no heat in the livingroom - although it's plenty warm.
  • Love CB!
  • Moved to CB! LOL!
  • Girls are GREAT! Sammie is talking like CRAZY, Ellie is learning to write and doing more numbers. I need to update on them more often.....
  • Chris quit his old job and started his own company and is doing GREAT! Consulting back to a company he used to work for... And we're both liking the flexibility a lot!
  • I telemark skied for the first time a few weeks ago - and got some skis for Christmas! Pretty cool.

There is a ton more, but I have to fix dinner!