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Vegan Probiotics

From Samantha:

Day 3, Cycle 1

Every two weeks I clean a 12,000 square foot home, including 9 bathrooms.  Today was my regular cleaning day so I was away from home all day. I hit the snooze button a couple of times this morning which put me behind schedule and I was rushed to make myself breakfast and pack a lunch. Breakfast ended up being 4 scrambled egg whites and a banana.

For lunch I just took the salad leftover from last night’s dinner and spooned about ¼ cup of hummus on top. I also took a cup of low sodium black beans, an apple, and a Good Belly shot.  It was a pretty big lunch but I tend to need a little more food on the days I clean. If I don’t take plenty for lunch I am usually starving by the time I leave work and am much more likely to eat something I shouldn’t.

I am on my feet and moving the entire day when I clean so I definitely got well over 17 mins of exercise. More like 7 hours.

After work I ate some freeze dried beets for a snack on the go while I was running my boys all over God’s green earth.  I also drank one of those little 8 oz. cans of diet Dr Pepper. I don’t normally drink soda but I needed a little pick me up today.

I didn’t get back home until about 8:00 this evening, so I was hungry and didn’t want to spend a lot of time on food prep. I ended up broiling zucchini and squash again (same as last night) and I boiled a bunch of cabbage (about 3 cups). I didn’t start with a salad but since my entire meal was vegetables I figured it wasn’t too big of deal just this once.

I drank a ton today as I usually do on the days I clean. I ended up drinking 128 oz. of water, 2 12 oz. cups of coffee, and 8 oz. of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Day 4, Cycle 1

I generally only eat egg whites about twice a month when my boyfriend and I go out to breakfast and vegan friendly menu items are limited. Having another egg white omelet this morning was not something I was too excited about. I considered just steaming some broccoli instead, but broccoli for breakfast was even less appealing than egg whites. I also ate about 2 cups of arugula and spinach. I do this almost every morning just to start my day off with something green in addition to whatever breakfast food I eat. I hesitate to admit this publicly, but I often just open the refrigerator and grab a handful of spinach and eat it. I do the same thing with cilantro and parsley. No dressing. No bowl. No utensils. I know, it’s a little barbaric. But sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to be bothered with food preparation.

I spent a good part of the day running errands and took an apple and a Good Belly shot along in my bag to have as a snack. I also had a big cup of coffee. By the time I got back home it was after 2:00 so I didn’t eat lunch until almost 3:00. Funny thing is, I really wasn’t even hungry but I went ahead and had a salad and rinsed about ½ a cup of low sodium black beans and added them on top.

I didn’t have time to go to the gym today (or at least I chose not to make time) and it was too cold to go for a walk so I opted for a 30 minute yoga workout. Actually, my 3 year old joined me, so I probably only got about 20 minutes of actual yoga in.

I found another vegan pro-biotic at the grocery store today and wanted to try it, so I made a smoothie around 5:00. It’s a cultured coconut milk with pre-biotics and pro-biotics and I bought the plain kind to avoid added sugar. My plan was to just drink it plain but I paused when I saw how thick it is. The consistency is similar to cream. I went ahead and tasted it and it was a no go. It wasn’t terrible but it also wasn’t something you just want to go pour a glass of either. I poured it into the blender (about ½ cup) and added a couple cups of raw spinach, a frozen banana, and a bit of vanilla and cinnamon. It came out a little too thick (more like ice cream) so I ended up adding a bit of water. It was amazing!

After the smoothie I wasn’t very hungry but I did go ahead and get in a spinach, swiss chard, and romaine salad with tomatoes, onion, and cucumbers around 8:00. Eight salads in 4 days can get a little old so I put about a Tbsp., of balsamic vinaigrette to add some flavor.

I only had 64 ozs. of water today. It meets the requirements but it a little less than what I usually drink. Overall, I felt like I did a pretty good job today. I think I will step back on the scale tomorrow, although I don’t feel like I’ve lost any more weight.

Day 5, Cycle 1

I just can’t do it. I can’t eat egg whites for breakfast again. I almost made my go to breakfast of oatmeal, ground flax, and chia seeds this morning. Then I thought about having to admit I cheated. Funny how just recording your food intake and sharing it with someone else provides accountability. I really wanted that oatmeal though. Then I remembered the cultured coconut milk I used to make the delicious green probiotic smoothie last night. I doubled the recipe (spinach, frozen bananas, cultured coconut milk, vanilla, and cinnamon) and my three year old and I each had a big, delicious green smoothie for breakfast. I was so glad to finally have something besides an egg white omelet! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a while before I want to eat egg whites again.

For lunch today, I decided to experiment and make a homemade green chili. I peeled and pureed 3 Roma tomatoes and a couple of cups of spinach together in the food processor then transferred it to a medium sized pot and added a bunch of chopped onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt. When I opened the pantry I realized I didn’t have any red kidney beans, so I just used a can of white ones. Here’s the deal on beans. I eat a lot of them since I don’t really eat meat. I know it’s better to buy and cook dry beans but I am too lazy to spend all the time soaking, draining, rinsing, cooking for hours, etc. Instead, I buy canned beans. They are so easy. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for using this less healthy version, but I do at least buy the low sodium ones and usually opt for organic; and I always dump them into a pasta strainer and rinse them before I use them. For me, the convenience is well worth a little less nutritional value.

I haven’t been hungry much since I’ve started this diet. It usually isn’t an issue of hunger anyway. It’s the mental struggle I have to overcome. I suddenly think I must be starving or I start craving things I never even eat to begin with whenever I go on a diet. I was able to push past most of that after the first 3 days on the 17 day diet though and have been fine since. That is, until this afternoon. Around 4:00 I realized I was hungry. Really hungry. I wasn’t at home so I downed a 16 oz water to hold me over until I made it back to the house to get something to eat.  I ended up having an orange and a large arugula and spinach salad with an entire cucumber cut up in it. After that I ate about a cup of steamed broccoli, a cup of cooked brussel sprouts, and ½ cup of cooked spinach. I didn’t really give my body time to catch up to my hunger signals so I really kind of over-ate and felt pretty full after all that food.

Dinner was pretty early so I ended up making another small pro-biotic smoothie tonight. Even though I had already had my two fruits for the day, I included another frozen banana in it.  By the way, I ignore the, “Eat all your fruits by the afternoon” rule.  The bottom line is that your total calories expended have to exceed the calories you eat in a day if you want to lose weight. Period. Whether you eat vegan, live on fast food, do high protein and low carbs, low-fat, low sugar… whatever diet or lifestyle you choose, this is still going to be the bottom line when it comes to weight loss. So, I don’t worry about eating my fruit in the evening if I want my fruit in the evening. I am also starting to think I may need 3 servings of fruit a day. At least I certainly WANT 3 fruits per day.

I’m really starting to like this diet and I am seeing where I can fit more of my normal eating habits into the 17 day diet. It just occurred to me today that I could still be juicing while on this diet. Hello? Unlimited vegetables. Why not juice them from time to time? I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me until day 6 of the diet. Freshly juiced vegetables are what my body is used to and I feel great when I am juicing on a regular basis. I don’t see any reason why I can’t I have my salad and a glass of green juice for lunch. If the idea of any diet is to create a new lifestyle, I think I’m starting to make that connection.

Besides the extra piece of fruit, I would consider today another success. Oh… and I was down another .8lbs this morning for a total loss of 4.4 lbs after 5 days on the diet!

From Kai:

Samantha, this is spectacular.  I can’t help but feel like a serious underachiever now.  First of all, I know I haven’t lost a whole pound.  I am not sure if I have lost anything yet since I initially was weighing myself at night and then switched to morning because I liked that number better and apparently the morning is the best time to get your true weight.  Plus, I don’t keep track of parts of a pound so my weight has remained in the rounded up to the same whole number for a couple of days.  Second of all, look at your menu.  Part of why I wanted us to list the food choices, is so that we keep each other in check but mostly so that I can steal some of yours.  You complete me….ok…inspire…

I have been following the diet rather strictly and been successful until Saturday.  On Saturday, I woke up around 8:30 and after weighing myself, went immediately to prepare breakfast so that I could make sure to get it in before having to leave to meet a friend for a playdate with our boys at a local science center.  I had the bright idea of having a big breakfast so that I would not need to eat while I was out and I wouldn’t starve.

1 over medium egg
6 oz. Sheep’s milk yogurt with mixed nuts, blueberries and strawberries
Turkey Kielbasa (about a 4 inch piece)
Hot water with Lemon (my wake up drink)

Breakfast was delicious but in true form, almost immediately after eating it I didn’t feel so well.  First I felt a bit warm…flu-like…sweats…then….as I expected was about to happen, my stomach began its normal cramping.  So, instead of getting ready to leave, I had to wait out excruciating stomach pain before chancing leaving the house. I ended up 45 minutes late to meet my friend with no snack of lunch packed.  Of course, this threw off the rest of my day.

When my day starts with my stomach problems, food and I do not do well for the rest of the day.  I worry about putting anything into my mouth and the effect that it will have on my system.  The last thing that I need is to have to spen Usually, I end up pushing it until I am starving.  Then, I eat the wrong things.  Saturday, I was at least able to avoid eating the wrong things but, the cravings were ridiculous.

My lunch was a salad from Whole Foods with some of their chicken mushroom from the hot food bar. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up drinking even half of the required 8 glasses of water and no green tea, I ate fruit after 2:00 p.m, and more yogurt right before bed….all of the wrong things.  I failed my Diet Coach questions for that day.

I am on my seventh day.  I am tired of salad, which says a lot because I love salad.  I am bored with the cycle 1 food options and interpret it a bit differently from you, which may be why I am over this whole thing.  (of course, the fact that I haven’t lost weight doesn’t help).  Maybe juicing the vegetables would not be bad but, we are not supposed to have any juice.  I, also, have just started juicing vegetables and can’t do the vegetable juice without some kind of fruit but, I need the fruit for my yogurt so, I am screwed.

This is why I don’t diet.  Except that now it is necessary.  I picked this diet because I had gotten to the point where junk food was becoming my norm and my body felt it.  My energy was low, my body hurt and my stomach problems were flaring up on a more frequent basis.  Eating right is not an option for me but it is sometimes a massive burden.  I want to be able to enjoy food again and, DAMNIT, I want something sweet.

You are right that having to keep track of food intake and telling it to someone helps with accountability.  For me, it also helps me to better pay attention to what specific things are bothering my stomach.

I am on to day 7…just a few days ahead of you but, the reality is that you are so far ahead of me.  So, I need to catch up.