This is it...the LAST DAY of my 21-day Kickstart to Vegan Challenge! For those of you who have been following the blog over the past 21 days you may have noticed that I had a difficult transition. However now that this lifestyle has become the norm for the past 3 weeks it has become something I am considering adopting on a more permanent basis. There are pros and cons when considering this diet and I've compiled a table of all that I've come across in the past 3 weeks. I think its important to fully evaluate these kinds of choices because I myself do not want to make any drastic decisions without weighing the cost. This approach makes goals a lot more realistic to accomplish. This comparison discerns between my previous and current diet which I consider to be relative to the average person.
In addition to the above pros and cons that I have discovered over this 21-day process, I will also include the fact that I have been getting quite a few compliments as of late on my eyes and skin. I remember doing a cleanse at the beginning of 2013 and the number one difference I noticed was people began complimenting my eyes all the time. It was always the same, "Your eyes are soooo clear!" or "The colours are so beautiful!". I experienced these same results during my challenge this year. In part I attribute this to the abundant amounts of water I now drink (which definitely has a clarity effect on eyes, and skin), but also eating well will have that affect on a person's whole body. Our body is one unified organism and so when we begin cleansing one aspect (ie nutrition) it seems to often manifest in different ways (ie physical, emotional, mental, etc).
What's the final conclusion?!?!!
I've decided to stick with a lot of the great recipes I've come across and incorporate them into my weekly meal plans. I'm going to continue to stay away from dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter...but perhaps will crack down and have an egg every once in a while. I'm going to continue going meatless in every way I can, however I was raised in a culture where 'you eat what you are served' and so I won't feel bad if I don't follow this religiously ;) Cheers!
Thanks for joining me on this adventure!!!!
I'll leave you with one of my favourite recipes that I have come across.
Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus
Uncooked Falafel Sliders can be made in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to cook. Tahini Sauce can be made in advance and kept refrigerated.
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, divided
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, quartered
5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
½ cup packed fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup garbanzo flour (or other flour of choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chickpeas, reserved from sliders
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1/3 cup packed fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup tahini
½ cup water
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
14 mini buns or dinner rolls sliced in half, toasted
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
To make the Falafel Sliders: Reserve ¼ cup chickpeas for the Avocado Hummus. Place remaining chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, coriander, salt, and flour in a food processor and pulse until combined, stopping frequently to scrape down sides. Using the palms of your hands, form mixture into 2-inch by ½-inch patties.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry patties in batches, letting cook about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Do not crowd the pan. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
To make the Avocado Hummus: Combine ¼ cup chickpeas, avocado, parsley, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne in food processor and puree. Adjust seasoning to taste.
To make the Tahini Sauce: Puree tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, and salt until smooth.
To serve: Layer the Falafel Sliders, Avocado Hummus, Tahini Sauce, and sliced tomato on the buns.
I am over half way through the challenge, and feeling great! Despite the fact that a new semester has me even busier I am feeling an increase in energy and focus throughout the day. In my research I have been coming across some very interesting facts about eating vegan and vegetarian. This challenge is really forcing me to turn to alternative dairy products. I have found a true love for almond milk, and tomorrow I'll be opening my first carton of rice milk. I have not yet found a delicious alternative for cheese, however I'm becoming much more creative with snacks. Smoothies have become an excellent source of nutrients for me, as I start off every day with one (recipe below). I would encourage anyone considering trying a vegan or vegetarian diet to just go for it. Set yourself up with the proper knowledge--and prepared pantry--that will ensure success. Ultimately I would encourage you to not be too hard on yourself if you slip up a time or two. Over these past 16 days I know I have, but I just forgive myself and continue choosing healthy options. We have to allow ourselves time to adapt to this lifestyle...AND not have too high standards that it is impossible to achieve the goal.
Ariel's Get-Out-Of-Bed Smoothie!
1 cup of frozen fruit (this is fruit that I prepare and freeze myself so that I know where it has come from and how it was grown, etc)
1 teaspoon of Hallelujah Acres Berry Barley Max
1 cup of Almond milk - plain
a pinch of organic sea salt (said to bring out fruity flavours)
a few more pinches of cinnamon
1 heaping teaspoon of my own ground mixture of hemp, chia, flax, and apricot seeds
Blend and Enjoy!
Below I've included some recent facts I've come across, comparing carnivore and human traits...
It seems that this "vegan thing" is finally starting to get easier. I've begun experimenting with my own recipes as oppose to following the diet plan step by step. This has allowed a lot more freedom in the sense of eating what I have available instead of running to the grocery store every few days. For those considering the 21 day challenge I would advise you to keep with the plan fairly strictly for the first week or so in order to get an idea of what kinds of foods you should be eating, portion sizes, nutrition, etc. However after this first week and a half I've found fun in experimenting with quinoa dishes, healthy popcorn tricks, and vegetable/fruit smoothies.
Here's a a few interesting facts I came across in a recent health magazine (by Hallelujah Acres):
Did you know?!?
For those who think that meat is better for your bones and muscles than vegetables, a recent study found the following results when comparing these foods in 100-calorie portions...
I am feeling great!
It's hard to believe that its been 9 days since the start of my challenge. The first thing I've learned in attempting this...thus far...is that the transition period is the hardest part. Once I established a bit of a routine it became much easier. Secondly I've learned that there are animal products in EVERYTHING!!!! While that may be a slight exaggeration, I had not realized how much of a commitment it takes to really stick with a plant-based diet. And in saying that...I have a bit of a confession to make. The I recently broke down and had some chocolate (the really-good-but-really-bad kind of chocolate)! I used all the excuses in the book to justify my actions and in the end what did I learn you may ask?! Interestingly enough you may have noted I haven't really been seeing much of a change as far as health is concerned over the past week (see prior self-evaluations). However, immediately following my little chocolate escapade my body began reacting in an unusual way. Now keep in mind this is coming from a chocolate addict! Immediately following, I began to feel nausea, and discomfort in my stomach. As the day continued I began feeling drowsy, tired, and craving more sugar...as if it was the only solution to staying awake. I had not realized how much of a difference cutting out sugar had been. My intention was not necessarily to cut out all sugars and sweets, but to stick with vegan options. In doing so I've eliminated a lot of things that wouldn't normally be a big deal.
This brings to mind a quote by Henry Wheeler Shaw (humorist writer and lecturer) “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” Similarly I hadn't noticed any health changes until it was a simple indulgence that woke me up to the reality of what is taking place. Health is a process of daily choices forming a lifestyle. Everyday I choose the plant-based diet but the immediate affects are not always so apparent, and my eyes remained unopened until I got a stomach ache from a little chocolate. Not to fear though...I still have 12 days (or more) of healthy choices ahead of me!
(post chocolatey extravaganza)
Well it seems that the days are getting harder and harder as I'm having to become more creative in what I eat. Today I counted the remaining days and realized that I'll have two weeks left this Wednesday. I can't say that this left me overwhelmed with joy and excitement. In fact I'm going to be completely honest, this is a very hard transition! It is much more difficult than I had expected, but I have a feeling that it may be worth it. I guess we'll find out two weeks from Wednesday!
Today the diet has me eating...
Breakfast: A Fantastic Fruit Smoothie! (see recipe below)
Lunch: Curried Lentil Soup
Snack: Edamame, and Hummus
Supper: Today is a dine-out day!!!! A vegan option for the mexican-food-lovers is the bean burrito without the cheese or sour cream, and loaded with veggies.
Fantastic Fruit Smoothie
1 frozen or fresh banana (break into pieces)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened fruit juice of your choice
1/2 cup sliced fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit or berries
1/2 cup plain, vanilla or fruit-flavoured soy yogurt
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth...then serve!
Its Day 3 of my 21-day kickstart to veganism challenge! So far I've experienced extreme frustration as I've been visiting my parents place and finding that I cannot eat anything in their fridge. However this has caused me to become creative in finding things to eat. I am sure that once I am back at my own house life will become easier as I can then follow the grocery list provided by the 21-day Kickstart program and follow along with the diet...but when you're visiting family you have to get more creative!!!!!
Dilemma: Its another family movie night and you find yourself unable to eat ANYTHING available on hand.
Solution: Instead of caving in for that buttery cinema-style popcorn, try a-different-kind-of-cheezy popcorn. To make: pop 1/2 a cup of popcorn kernels (PLAIN), and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, for an almost-popcorn version of that movie night favourite!
Today the diet has me eating...
Breakfast: Cereal of my choice---I chose Vector and sprinkled ground chia, hemp, and Extremely Bitter Apricot Kernels over top of it, served with almond milk...delish!
Lunch: Leftover pesto pasta from last night's supper, with a side of organic sesame seed breadsticks.
Supper: Curried lentils!!!!!
I guess I should start off this blog by introducing myself. Then again, if you’ve stopped by the store in the past 3 months you’ve probably already met me. My name is Ariel and I am the newest employee here at Our Father’s Farm.
I am a student, employee, daughter, sister, friend, and wanna-be-vegetarian who simply cannot resist a juicy homemade burger fresh off the BBQ—no I am not a southerner, I was raised in Cambridge, ON. I’m 22 years old, and a healthy weight according to my doctor. My blood levels are fine, and apart from a minor deficiency in iron I am in great health.
My reason for wanting to try out the vegan diet is not that I want to fit into my 16-year old sister’s clothes (though she does have great style), but rather I want to feel healthy. By that I suppose I mean, I desire more energy, I want to kick my brothers’ butts in volleyball this summer, but most importantly I want to really put to test all these great testimonies I hear about plant-based diets. I am curious what kinds of improvements a plant-based diet will have on my already relatively healthy lifestyle, and who’s body better to experiment with than my own. I chose the 21-day challenge, because I know I can stick to anything for 21-days. If it really conflicts with my schedule than I will simply return to normal after the 3 weeks is up.
The question remains whether vegetables are really what its all about or if the whole 'gotta eat your broccoli' mentality is just a result of dictatorial mothers wanting to inflict pain and torment on their young impressionable children...
...Join me on my quest to find out!
Today the diet has me eating...
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for breakfast. Bruschetta, breadsticks, and cous cous salad for lunch. For a snack I get toast with almond butter (or something of the like). My supper tonight is a kale salad with beans and veg...which I will be substituting for a kale/avocado juice smoothie because of time restraints.
I'll also be including a Self-Evaluation section of the blog in order to track any/all progress.
This section will look at:
Now that we have established a basic starting point, let the challenge begin!
Farmers are certainly multi-taskers. We have a million things to do and not enough time in the day to do it all. But did you know that we are bloggers too?