Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chain Reaction

Day 18: A day full of bad choices.  I had little resources or time to go to the market to obtain vegan choices before I started my day.  As I rushed out, I made a sandwich with what was left in the house:  white bread, lettuce, mayo (didn't use the soy version because I thought it was a waste on this meal), and a slice of cheese.  I ate it 3 hrs later.  Although it was in cool storage, it still was the wrong choice - a wave of nausea swept over me.  I immediately became ill.  I had not realized it but true transformation had begun.  My mind  had not caught up to my body.  I had to remember what I said at the beginning of this process; that this is more mental than physical.  Although the mind had told the body to eat and the body obeyed; the body, all on its own, rejected what was being forced upon it by the mind.  After "giving up" that sandwich, one bad choice lead to another.  I tried to counter my poor stomach with salt in the form of potato chips.  It worked physically but threw me off mentally.  As much as I had achieved in this short time, there was much left to accomplish.  Being my own worst enemy, I tried to "fix it" by making sure I stopped by the market on the way home to purchase better choices.

Keepin' It Real!

Faux Veggie Spinach Bites: Gotta watch out & Keep It Real!
After the debacle earlier in the day, I arrived at the market, sure to correct my mistakes.  Not! Unbeknownst to me,  I once again went down the wrong path.  After selecting obvious vegetables, I decided to check out the "vegetarian" section of the market.  It was not where I normally shopped so I was curious.  In a hurry, I selected what appeared to be a good choice - a breaded veggie spinach bite.  I checked to ensure that there were no artificial preservatives or additives; everything seemed okay so I purchased them.  When I got home, I checked the ingredients more thoroughly.  The item had processed dairy and some "egg product", (whatever that means), in it.  Ugh! I had done it again.  In learning to recognize the "faux foods",  you begin to realize that all that says veggie may not be.    I've got to keep it real with natural and organic selections; learn to "make" instead of not taking the time to prepare better choices and to understand that all chain reactions do not always end up the same way.  Sometimes, if you catch it,  you can reverse the direction in which the chain is going.

Finding Truth - "Begin with the end in mind"

That evening, I logged on to discover that a kind soul who had been following this blog had posted the following quote, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"-Robert H. Schuller.   

What an Om Mani Pad Me Hum moment!  (This mantra means "generosity, ethics, patience, diligence, renunciation, and wisdom".  It is often recited to exalt purification.)  

The quote could not come at a better time.  Think about it.  If you could do anything you set out to do with the knowledge that you would not fail, how successful would you be?  Would you be Superman? I was so moved and grateful that it had come just when I needed to re-direct the reaction of my chain.  I went back to Leadership Training 101, the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", by Dr. Stephen Covey.  (I had the pleasure of taking this course with the great Dr. Covey himself and found him to be a most gracious, and humble gentleman.0  The second of his famous seven habits is the one that has the most meaning for me: "Begin with the end in mind".   If you visualize a successful self at the end of your endeavor, you will begin to act, think, and move towards the end you so desire.  You have to find the truth in what you are doing and build upon it.  Despite the short setbacks, my thought processes, patterns, and overall way of doing things had changed.  On the eve of day 21, I have learned:
  • my behavior is modifying
  • one thing leads to another but I have the ability to change the direction and the reaction
  • I can find truth if I keep it real and visualize my success 
  • I can be Superman, I can be vegan.

Favorite dish of the day:  back on track cabbage
Exercise:  30 minutes
Yoga: 30 minutes

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What A Bargain!

Full all day!  The beans I've been eating really make the difference are a great staple.  Two small bags have lasted over one week.  I've made a few variety of meals with just white and garbanzo beans.  The cost for both bags was just $2.36!  Not only have I saved quite a bit but I feel as if I have earned energy and confidence. Thus far, I have no feelings of sacrifice.

Sealed with a KISS

Once again, I am feeling full and I am surprised.  I felt I had to force down the remainder of my breakfast of fruit and salad .  I guess my mother's adage "you better eat everything off of your plate" was in my head.  But why continue to eat when not hungry?  I decided to put the food away for another time and KISS it.  KISS, or better Keep It Short and Simple.  Later in the day, I went into town to have lunch with two dear friends.  We met at a franchise restaurant, so I felt I would fare better than I did at the diner (see "Choices", Week 2).  Not!  The dreaded salad bar was there along with a loaded down 1400 calorie guacamole (same for the cheese-based spinach appetizer at 1200 cal).  Remembering the experience from breakfast, I decided to KISS the situation.  I ordered three veggie "sides" :

  • mashed cauliflower  (much yummier than the potato version)
  • grilled asparagus
  • grilled whole green beans
The entire meal was 490 calories and my bill totaled $8.70.  What a bargain!  The point was to "keep it short and simple":  to enjoy the company of my friends, to concentrate positively and to eliminate the urge of stressing over what I "could not have".  When faced with what seems to be a complicated situation, it is important to remember to stop, regroup, and give yourself a KISS

Favorite dish of the day:  Mashed cauliflower w/garlic (yummy)
Yoga: 30 minutes

Be Prepared

Today, was a day full of white potatoes.  Not by choice but because there were no other alternatives but meat.  The day started with a breakfast meeting full of the traditional American breakfast staples, bacon, sausage, eggs, pastries, white breads, and potatoes.  As the food was professionally catered, the presentation was beautiful.  Everyone around me had plates spilling over with things I would not eat.  "Aren't you having breakfast?" or "Did you have something to eat?" were the questions I received most frequently during the initial 15 minutes. 

Fortunately, I has prepared myself by eating prior to attending the 6am meeting.  I had natural peanut butter on whole grain toast.  It was simple but filling and was just the thing I needed to provide the ability to avoid temptation.  I was happy when the meeting actually began and everyone started to focus on the content instead of my empty plate.  It felt a little weird just sitting there while everyone else chomped down.

Unbalanced...too many white potatoes!
Later that day, there were white potatoes left over from the meeting.  I felt okay having a few with the corn and green beans I had brought from home.  I finished it off with a serving of grapes.  The problem came that evening.  I attended a BBQ.  Now that I am beginning to look at things differently, I was astonished at how much meat people actually consume.

While I was able to handle the morning meeting situation, I was ill-equipped for the dinner party.  There were ribs, chicken, fried fish, hot dogs, steaks, and burgers - all things you expect to find at the traditional barbecue; but nothing for me.  What surprised me was the limited amount of side dishes.  No one seemed to notice because everyone was devouring all of that meat.  I didn't want the hostess to feel bad as she started apologizing to me so I put a little of the the only choices available on my plate: corn on the cob, baked beans, and potato chips.  There were no green or fruit choices. I ended up eating  more potatoes:  the salad (with the traditional mayo) , the chips (processed of course), and the corn.  I did not eat the baked beans after I realized they had bacon in them. It was nothing against the hosts as they were very nice and tried to be as  accommodating as they could.  I felt bad because I hated that they felt they had to apologize and more so, that I had created an uncomfortable situation.  

The difference between my success of the morning and my failure that evening was how well I had prepared for the situation.   If I had not succumbed to the temptation of those potatoes at lunch, perhaps I would have felt better about eating the potato salad at dinner.   If I had prepared myself mentally about what may be available at the barbecue in the same manner I had at breakfast, I would be able to handle the situation without calling so much attention to myself.  A little more depressing was the fact that I felt I had to defend myself after a few guests made remarks like, "Vegan?  I like meat myself, I don't know how you can do that"  or the same old "you know you need protein, how are you going to get it if you don't eat meat?".  I don't know what was more astonishing, the fact that the last question came from someone I had just met five minutes earlier, or the sense of negative judgment.

To be prepared also means to be ready mentally.  I am in new territory.  I have to prepare myself to be ready for questions, comments, feedback, and meat-laced menus whether I want them or not.  

Favorite dish of the day:  NULL
Yoga:  NULL - negative energy & too many potatoes 

Validation and Inspiration

Days 15 & 16 Just like the old saying goes, "As one door closes, another one opens",  I had a wonderful two days after a disastrous Day 14.  My husband, who usually makes great traditional dinners (meat, starch, veggie), made a veggie inspired meal just for me.  Since I started this two weeks ago, I have been making my own plant-based meals while he prepared meat-based dinners for everyone else.  I didn't expect him to make changes just because I did.  But, on Day 15, when I came home, he had stir-fried cabbage, baked yams, and threw in a whole grain fruit bar for desert - just for me!  To top it off, I found, advice, tips, recipes and support from two vegan experts, Dr. Sunyatta Amen, and The Vegan Muse(formerly the Vegetarian Muse).   With this acknowledgment came just what I needed to forge forward:  Validation.

 My new inspiration:  Spicy Marinated Rice by The Vegan Muse
Validation is empowering.  It allows you to Speak it, Feel it, Be it!  This support gave me the reinforcement I needed.  I had 12 servings of fruit and veggies today and eagerly look to re-energize tomorrow.  

Looking back over these past few days, I realized that I got more than what I bargained for by choosing this green lifestyle.  I've learned:

  • that I can save money by selecting vegan choices
  • to keep it short and simple (everyone likes a kiss every now and then?)
  • to be prepared (change doesn't have to be hard)
  • that acknowledgment and validation puts the wind in my sails!
Overall, I've learned that the sum total of this "new way" is actually a bargain, that considering the little I to put in versus what I gain, is a return of investment; the key to a healthier life.  When all is said and done, it is, indeed... PRICELESS.

Favorite dish of the day:  the one made from love - the validating dish of cabbage and sweet potatoes
Yoga:  30 minutes 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Finding Balance

Prune Juice.  Not the commercial stuff, but the real thing, 100%, thick with pulp.  My new best friend.  Don't laugh. After you remove all of the funny connotations and jokes, prunes are actually a good source of antioxidants and iron.  Since they are high in fiber, prunes provide a natural cleanse and serve as the mechanism for stability.  When you are stable, you are grounded. When grounded, you will able to find balance.  With balance comes peace. With peace comes success.

Establishing A Base

Base: My Veggie Tuna, variation 1
Day 10...I spoke with a dear, dear friend today who'd read the beginnings of this blog and had expressed her happiness for me but admitted that, she too, had concerned reservation "for the wealth of my health".  Realizing that she spoke out of love, and out of my mutual love for her, I listened attentively to what she had to say.  Feeling confident, I allayed her fears and felt grateful for her candid feedback as a true friend.  I thought about what her acceptance meant to me: building a strong base. 

In our corporate lives, my friend was my colleague and business partner.  Our different personalities meshed and provided a ying and yang compliment to each other.  It created the balance we needed to build a strong base and to establish a great foundation.  It made  us quite successful and we soon became accomplished, award-winning, industry-recognized, change management executives.  We were sought after to speak, write, present, and foster the re-engineering of processes.  I realized that this transition was no different.  It is a new opportunity for change - a light bulb moment!  Talking with my friend had sparked and helped me to remember that I had started this process without a base, therefore setting myself up for a weak foundation and poor structure.  Reflecting over these past ten days, I pondered as to what element was strong enough to be the base that would be able to help me through potential tough days ahead.  The answer was simple.  I had to find the one dish that, without hesitation, would be the meal that would keep me grounded.   

The next question came to mind, "What is the one thing I could eat repeatedly". At midpoint of this initial month, repetition is just what I needed to solidify my objective.  How else does it become a habit?  To build a strong brick by brick structure, you need to first, by rote, lay foundation cinder block by cinder block.  A stable foundation needs a good base.   Almost immediately, the answer came to me.  It was my favorite concoction.  This dish would be the one that I could eat every day or better yet, be the one that I could use to build the foundation of my new lifestyle.   It feels good. Now that brings me back to the beginning.  A strong base is level.  A level base provides the grounding needed to find balance.  I have found my balance.  I have established my base - the veggie tuna, which reminds me of my friend, Hester:

Base: My Veggie Tuna, variation 2

  • Simple, yet made up of several, powerful components
  • Strong, providing substance, yet soft and pleasurable to the palate
  • The ying to balance the yang
  • Just the right staple to be the catalyst and base for successful change.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Discovery - Week 2

Worked to create and publish this blog.  Objective accomplished.  I shared and invited small groups of friends to share this experience with me.  Now it's out there.  I am launched. 

Have to figure out how to feel full without eating starches and carbs.  Today, I fell back on that old trick that most commercial restaurants use, "when in doubt, throw some cheese on it!".  Not at all happy with my poor food selections today: Yogurt, pasta, cheese and leftover veggie burger.  No, I didn't eat any meat but, I didn't eat enough servings of fruits and veggies either.  So, it's a wash.

By opening up a little more, however, discovered that there is another potential vegan mentor and found a wonderful resource (through a favorite social networking site), The VegetarianMuse, that has great ideas and inspirational recipes.  Will be ready for tomorrow.
Exercise: 30 minutes
Yoga: 20 minutes

Devil in the Details
Woke up this morning and looked in the pantry feeling , ugh, realizing that a trip to the market was necessary.  Determined not to repeat yesterday's mistake (as there was plenty of non-vegan choices in the refrigerator), I made a quick assessment of my options:

The results of dealing with the devil at 6:30 in the morning.

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 tomato
Boring.  Hmmm. Time to change my paradigm.  I took each of these items, sliced them julienne style, and sautéed them in a skillet with a little olive oil.  After seasoning them to taste with garlic powder, chili powder, sea salt and black pepper,  I placed the veggies over a bed of rice.  What an outcome!  It was delicious and filling.  I wonder if the true reason it tasted great was because I felt a sense of accomplishment.  

Most of us do not do what we need to do because we dread the devil in the details.  Who feels like cutting little slivers of leftover veggies and cooking them at 6:30 in the morning when it it easier to get the meat and cheese that was already prepared?  When you handle and face what you need to face and handle, you become empowered.   Suddenly you discover that taking the time to address the details aren't so devilish after all.  You win in the end.

Favorite dish of the day:  need I say?  Ok.  Veggie medley 3, see above with a smile.
Exercise: 30 minutes
Yoga: 40 minutes

Day 8  Yesterday, I went to brunch at my favorite diner with a friend.  I was surprised at the lack of vegetarian choices available for consumption.  As I leafed through the familiar 10-page menu and gazed at its colorful images (designed to whet and entice), I must have scanned well over one hundred items only to discover just one vegetarian entrée on the entire menu:  a veggie wrap.  Well, two if you count the picked over salad bar.  My brunch partner quickly made her selection - a ham and cheese club.  I had no choice - I ordered the veggie wrap.   

Fortunately, the meal was tasty but I could not help but feel a little let down.  I had frequented this diner on several occasions and was always pleased with the large "variety" of food options and the many meals offered.  Wow! I quickly realized that each of the items on the menu, were all meat-based.  Funny how your perception changes as you change your perspective.  It is all how you look at it.  The diner had not altered anything; their menu was the same as it always had been.  But somehow, the appeal was gone and suddenly, the obtainable presentations seemed much less.  The diner had not changed - I had.  I had made the conscious decision to redesign my eating thus changing the choices available.  I accepted this revelation without much comment and enjoyed what I felt was the only choice:  the vegan one. 

Favorite dish of the day:  cabbage & apples with a serving of beets and baked sweet potatoes on the side
Yoga: 40 minutes

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Change Begins Today - Week 1

Day 1

This month marks the one year anniversary of seriously practicing Yoga on a daily basis.  I decided to "go the next step" to begin to write, record, and actually execute personal goals and objectives in accordance with a yogi -based lifestyle.  As with anything, it normally takes 21 days to modify the behavior.  Today is the first step towards a vegan diet.  As I am surrounded by carnivores and omnivores, having been one myself for quite some time, this challenge I think is more mental than physical.  Meat has always "weirded" me out so I think the physical will be easy to overcome.  It is the governing mental aspect which will present the opportunity to conform the physical.  


    • REDUCTION to Elimination of meat 
    • DAILY practice of Yoga
    • WEEKLY writing/recording/documenting 

I had a great first day.  I began by reading the chapter about "Launching" a course and setting off in a new direction in the book, Choose On Purpose , written by a dear friend, Susan Berg, Ph.D. I also re-read her Aug 23rd blog entry  which talks about how each of us, no matter how much we think we may be open to change, sometimes find we exhibit a little resistance; that we must realize our resistance in order to obtain the courage overcome our fears.  It will lead us to "Discovery".   Although the book focuses on helping "twentysomethings" find their career path, there are so many tools that can be applied to anything in life, thus, this "fortysomething",  Yoga Girl goes Vegan.

Exercise: 30 minutes
Yoga Practice:  40 minutes

Day 2    Satisfaction

So satisfied with yesterday.  It was a holiday filled with burgers, BBQ's, and hot dogs.  I had none and resisted the temptation to get lamb chops for the grill.  I had eight servings of veggies yesterday and five today.  I had a little tuna mixed in with wheat pasta today.  Didn't feel guilty about it until now but I should take baby steps and remember that the goal is reduction into elimination.  It is only day 2 for goodness sake.  I do tend to be my own worst enemy.

Favorite dish of the day: Sautéed veggie medley - mushrooms, onions, red peppers, string beans, and broccoli.  
Yoga Practice:  40 minutes

Day 3  "Coming Out" 

A surprisingly good day.  I am usually a "I'll try it out first and see how it works before I tell you" kind of person. Sometimes that's great, but other times, it's not...especially when you share a home with your significant other and your children.  I've always had little personal projects and they most likely view this as another one.  I decided, however, to "Come clean and come out" before hand and let them know about letting go of the meat.  I first told my husband, and then my sons.  My husband, ever supportive as always, is going along with the NO MEAT as long as I can assure him I am getting an equal amount of protein to replace what I am "taking away".  My kids, who are actually adults, are okay with it.  But I sense they are going to see if I'll stick with it because my "fads" usually last 3 to 6 months.  I feel good about telling them.   Had the leftover wheat pasta with tuna today.  No guilt this time but it didn't seem as appealing as it used to.  Six servings of fruits and veggies today!  

Favorite dish of the day: Veggie medley 2- red onions, tomatoes, garlic, chick peas, white beans, spinach.  

Yoga Practice:  30 minutes


So, so, so proud of myself to this morning! Completed a Chakra "cleansing" Yoga sequence and then felt inspired to make a wonderful sandwich on whole wheat toast, topped with tomatoes fresh from the garden.  I call it  "Veggie Tuna".  Here's what I did:
    • ground 1/2 cup of cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans)
    • added crushed red, hot pepper flakes
    • added sea salt & black pepper to taste
    • 1 teaspoon reduced salt/fat mayo-style salad dressing
Yummy, yummy, yummy!  Feeling ready for the day.  This seems to be getting easier instead of harder.  I finished the meal off with a side of cooked spinach.  I felt energized and FULL all day.  No hunger or desire to snack.   

I guess the tuna in my wheat pasta did bother me.  

Favorite dish of the day: with a smile, see above
Exercise: 30 minutes
Yoga Practice:  50 minutes

Day 5   Getting Support

Woke up a little sluggish but feeling satisfied.  I think opening the chakras yesterday wore me out.  But, when I logged on, the first thing I read was a post by one of my yogi heroes, Kathryn Budig , which was so appropriate and as if she were speaking directly to me:  "Open yourself to grace and trust that all is in the right place."  Right on sister.  Thank you Kathryn!!!  I stopped focusing on feeling tired and allowed my body to accept what is, as is and to slow down.  As with anything, I am sure there will continue to be time to adjust and to re-align the mind, body, mind, and spirit along the same path.  Made a veggie burger today.  I used a little too much corn meal but I know now, where to make adjustment.  The recipes are just "popping" head as I experiment with different things.  I feel grateful and blessed. It is a gift that has come.  Om Shanti! Namaste.

My husband prepared fish for dinner.  I ate it and it tasted good.  Interesting revelation.  Mentally, I did not prepare it; therefore, physically, I was able eat it without thought.  Hmmm.  Is this the next thing to accomplish? As in Choose on Purpose suggests, during your "launch" phase, you need a mentor to guide you along the way.   I reached out to a friend who has been vegan for over 20 years.  She provided great support and reminded me that it's only the beginning!!! Thus I recall once more that "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  I've already taken 5!
Favorite dish of the day: Veggie burger (made with ground chick peas, mushrooms, onions, garlic, red & green pepper, corn meal)  
Exercise: 30 minutes
Yoga Practice:  30 minutes