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 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: 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....