Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Haul

I'm in this for the long haul. I'm sure I've said this before. I knew the day my first 6 week challenge ended that it would never end. I had tried many different weight loss methods (like most women I know) and while some were more successful than others, eventually any weight I managed to lose crept back up and into my butt. Literally. I watched it make its way there. And while it was creeping up, there seemed to be no way to stop it. It's crazy.

This past week I saw two friends that I hadn't seen in a while (at least over 6 months). The last time I saw both of them I noticed that they had lost a good amount of weight. And they both worked really hard at it. And they looked great! But this time it was them noticing the weight loss in me and then both of them remarking on how the weight was creeping back had gained 10 pounds and one gained 8 pounds. And I asked why. Well, the desserts were so delicious, one said. The other remarked that she wanted to eat more like her family was eating. And she figured that if she just exercised more then she could.

One of my first mantras with Eat to Live was: It's not how much you eat, it's what you eat. I repeated that to myself over and over and told it to anyone who would listen. Some got it. Some didn't. I got it. If your choices are plant strong, if you stick with fruits, veggies and beans, it doesn't matter HOW much you eat. EAT TIL YOU DROP if you want to. Those foods are high in nutrients and relatively low in calories.

That's the thing with eating a plant strong diet. You're in it for the long haul. You can pretty much eat til your heart's content. And for most plant strong eaters, you can see yourself doing it forever. Sure there are times when you will indulge but for some reason it becomes more the exception than the rule. Go out to a special celebration and you'll have the creme brulee. Go to a potluck and maybe you'll try those ribs. But for some reason you just don't go overboard. At least that's what I'm seeing with myself and those around me who did the challenge. It's not a diet. It's truly the lifestyle change you should have done a long time ago but at least you can do it now. I've figured it out and I hope I stick with it. I know what I need to do and I firmly believe it's the right thing for me and my body and my health. I feel better than I've felt in a long time. And those around me are feeling the same way. My family's in it (and it took less than a year!) and I look forward to many happy and healthy years ahead.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin For Your Thanksgiving Table

Darci Baker and her husband, Kalei, started the 6 week challenge on September 1. Here's the really important part: they have, between the two of them, SEVEN CHILDREN. And they, like any good and caring parents, are forcing their kids to join them. Haha! Of course this only means at home because during the day they all go to school and eat school lunch which we all know is full of meat and oil and salt and sugar.

At our potluck, Darci brought the most wonderful stuffed pumpkin! It was one of the hits of the evening and oh so beautiful.

This pumpkin was stuffed with stuffing! All nutritarian. And it had it's pumpkin lid on it! Very very nice. The presentation was quite becoming. This is a definite MUST on your Thanksgiving table this year. Encourage your guests to scrape the inside of the pumpkin when they grab their stuffing! It is the perfect accompaniment!

Baking a Pumpkin

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.    Cut the top off of your pumpkin.
3.     Fill pan with about 1/2 inch water.
4.     Bake pumpkin 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
5.     While squash is baking, make the stuffing.  (see stuffing recipe)
6.     Remove pumpkin from oven and stuff with stuffing
7.     Return the stuffed pumpkin to the oven for another 25 minutes to heat through.

Stuffing from Scratch
2 1/2 cups veggie broth
3 onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10-15 medium-sized mushrooms, chopped
6 cups diced whole-grain bread
3 tablespoons of no-salt seasoning
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of water chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup egg substitute
pepper to taste
1.    In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup of the veggie broth. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes until onions have softened.
2.    In a bowl, combine the cooked onions, with the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
3.     Place mixture inside the cavity of the squash.

Change it up if you dare and add other ingredients to your stuffing, perhaps some dried cranberries or cherries, leave out the egg substitute, try some rye bread.

What is going to be on your Thanksgiving table this nutritarian season?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

6 Week Challenge Starter Guide

Are you ready to start the 6 week challenge as outlined in the book Eat to Live? You have to read the book. That's where you will get your FORTITUDE! It's how you will get the WHY answered. Why should you lose weight (besides wanting to look better) and more. Here's your starter guide. Good luck. We ALL want you to succeed. I'm hoping my past and present challengers add to the list!!!

1. Make an appointment with your doctor for some pre assessment data. When you call, tell the nurse you want some lab work done: full cholesterol, A1C and blood glucose, and Vitamin D check at the very least. And you want an appointment to discuss the results. At that point you can tell your doctor about your 6 week plan. Whatever you do, don't let them talk you out of it.

2. You need a shopping list. Click here for my shopping list.

3. Clean out your pantry. If you read the book (and you NEED to read the book), you know what you need to get rid of but here's some help:

  • dump the processed foods (all of it--all the cake mixes and frostings, all the cereals (because they probably all have sugar in them and refined grains)
  • dump the refined flour and sugar
  • dump the juices and sodas (unless you have the pomegranate juice from Costco...100% which you can use in smoothies)
  • dump the crackers and cookies (unless they are made form 100% whole grain and unless you are a champion label reader you can't really tell because labels are tricky)
  • read the labels and if there is flour, sugar, salt, oil DUMP IT
  • read the labels and if there are words you can't pronounce DUMP IT
  • get rid of your crystal light and slim fast, get rid of your log cabin syrup and lite and dark corn syrup
  • dump all those pudding and jello boxes
  • You're not going to want to go back to eating the "old way". Trust me. I haven't met anyone who has done the full 6 week challenge that wants to go back. Their lives are changed. Ask them!
4. Clean out your refrigerator. See the lean out your pantry (#3) and follow similar guidelines. Plus:
  • if it's oil or butter or crisco or lard, DUMP IT
  • if it's jam or jelly or liliko'i butter, dump it
  • if it's a meat product give it to your dogs (haha)
  • if it's got mold growing DUMP IT (that's just good practice and the Mom in me couldn't resist putting that)
I know. You feel bad. You paid money for it. Maybe you want to just give it away. That's possible. Go contribute to someone else's poor health. Or go feed the mongoose, native bird killers that they are. Just get rid of it and see it as savings on medical costs.

Don't go shopping in Walmart. I went there and they do not sell one lick of healthy food. Did you ever notice that? I swear they do not. Try it.

If you are in Hilo and you're a teacher, go to Island Naturals and get your teacher's discount card. Just take them your school ID card or a pay stub. 10% off. Check with your local health food store and see if they have similar discounts. You never know. Or if you are on the cusp of senior citizen status, just lie about it :-)

Eat out places?
I like to stick to Thai food because they always have great vegetarian choices and brown rice. Sometimes Italian places have good options. I like to use Yelp on my iPhone and I just type in vegan and see what they come up with. In Hilo going to Bueno Burrito is a good bet. It's kind of like a Subway but burrito style. We have several challengers that go there regularly so now all I have to say is that I want a challenger burrito. I'm waiting to see it on the menu. Of course, you don't want to be a downer in a group of people going out. If it's a restaurant they are really good at making accommodations. A Mexican restaurant will always have beans and lettuce and tomatoes and salsa. And all of that combined makes for a delicious salad. Just make sure you say you want a HUGE salad of all of that. You gotta do what you gotta do. Stick as close to the challenge as you can when you go out but know that it's not the best option. Eating at home is your best option.

Check out youtube videos. My favorites are Chef AJ and Julieanna Hever. They are TOTALLY nutritarian. But there are other good youtubes. You won't know until you try.

That reminds me, a great cookbook is Unprocessed by Chef AJ. And Appetite for Reduction.

Learn food substitutions. Some examples: flax seed and water = egg in baking. Applesauce = oil in baking. nutritional yeast = a great cheezy taste. Dates, food processed with equal parts water = date syrup = a great sugar replacer. You can saute just using water. YES! I do it all the time. Just make sure you add a little water and then when it evaporates you add more. Totally doable. Or use vegetarian broth. Eventually you'll be able to take a favorite recipe and make it taste nutritarian delicious. Your taste buds are going to change, you know that, right? You're going to prefer the nutritarian food because the regular food is too salty or sweet or oily.

Here are some great blogs for recipes:
Happy Herbivore
JL Goes Vegan
Mrs. Sexy’s blog
Oh She Glows
Post Punk Kitchen 

Or do a google search for vegan low fat recipes or vegan no oil recipes.

If you're a guy you'll love Jonny O's blog or the Engine 2 Diet blog.

Do you have a question about the best cereal or frozen fruit or what to buy at Jamba Juice? ASK HERE! Leave a comment. If I don't answer right away (and I will) I am sure someone else will.

This post is way too long and yet I feel like I could go on. But won't. You are not alone. It is totally doable. And you are on your way!! Plan to succeed!
E ola! LIVE!

Cookie Dough Balls

Leslie Lang first started the challenge back in June. When you look at her she doesn't look like she needs to be on the challenge. She is a petite slim little firecracker of a woman, full of energy and happy smiles. During her first 6 week challenge (she is living a plant strong diet now) she stopped drinking that ONE cup of coffee and started sleeping better, she lost 8 pounds (incredible when you realize how slim she was to begin with) and she got at least 8 more people to live plant strong!

Leslie came to the potluck with a couple of dishes: a hail to the no-kale salad and cookie dough balls. Needless to say, the cookie dough balls were a big hit, especially with the kids at the potluck. Before I knew it, they were all gone and I had neglected to take a picture! That, in itself, is testimony to how good they were. But there's more. Before everyone left for the evening, at least 3 people went directly to Leslie for the recipe but it was already in my hands and I wasn't about to relinquish it without getting it on the blog. So here it is. Go to it. And don't forget to save a few for me. After all, well, nothing but still. Save some for me.

Cookie Dough Balls
1/2 cup unsalted cashews
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (other flours may work)
1.5 tbsp date sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp pure maple syrup (or a bit more if dough is too dry)
1/4 cup carob chips (or cacao nibs)

In a food processor, add the cashews and oats and process until it forms a fine crumble. Add the salt, sugar, and flour and process for a few seconds more. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and process until combined. It will be sticky, but this is normal. Add in your chips and stire by hand or process. Form into balls. Store in freezer. Pick one out every 15 minutes and eat it until there are no more left.

Here is the original recipe (I think) that comes from Oh She Glows.

There is a great LITE version on Peas and Thank You.

Here is a peanut butter chocolate crunch cookie dough ball recipe from Oh She Glows. And yet another one from Oh She Glows. I'd love it if someone would make these and just do the substitution thing with paste or syrup in lieu of the maple syrup and cane sugar perhaps.

What is your favorite go to dessert?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Challenger Potluck Celebration

When we (my Zumbalina friend, Kanani and I) planned our end of 6 week challenge celebration potluck at her beautiful home in Hilo, we had NO IDEA whatsoever how incredible it would be. There was MORE food than any of us could eat (which meant we had lots of leftovers and I am still enjoying them), smart ones took mini portions of everything. Others have to learn how to portion control in order to try everything (that's me). There was such great variety that everyone just could not believe their eyes!

Lessons learned:

  • Lots of great recipes can be found online and all you have to know is how to substitute (i.e., applesauce instead of oil for baking desserts)
  • different ethnic groups provide a welcome spice to life!
  • You just have to TRY new dishes and go with your intuition on how to put it all together!
  • Eating with friends is always fun
  • Everyone has a story to share. I wish I could share them all with you here
  • Eating as a nutritarian is healthy and a viable way of living!
Here are a couple of great stories from our challengers:

One person suffered painfully from coffee withdrawals even though she only drank 1-2 cups of coffee a day. She likened it to her chemo treatments 8 years ago. Someone thought that because all of those chemicals may still be in her body after all these years, she had an extreme reaction to the coffee detox. I, for one, am so happy to have this challenger eat a plant strong diet since I know that this will help prevent a recurrence of cancer invaders to her body!! 

One attendee works in a doctor's office and knows the importance of living a plant strong life. But with patients (diabetes in particular), it's hard for them to even fathom how they can spend their lifetime without meat or dairy or sugar and oil. Coming to a potluck like ours can show them how WONDERFUL the food can be. It's a huge paradigm shift but totally 'ono!

Challengers got some great tips from our Laos and Thai attendees. We, in Hilo, love Asian cuisine!

Being on the challenge opens your eyes to a new way of living. In addition to changing your eating habits, you notice the increase in energy, the changes in your body, the beauty of farmer's markets, the necessity of reading labels, and the eating habits of obese people vs. skinny people. It's eye opening to say the least.

Over the course of the next couple of months I'll be posting recipes of our delectables. But for now I'll leave you with photos of our Saturday afternoon party.
vegetarian red curry 
Obviously a HUGE hit

Women preppring their dishes

I ended up calling this chocolate muffin drops (I forgot the oats)

Soontaree and her two friends, Lakanah and Ubon

Papaya Salad

A Southwestern Salad

Red Quinoa Salad

One of four food areas

Another food area against the wall

Summer Rolls

Michelle is a challenger extraordinaire!

Dessert table

mis soup with extras!

More delicious summer rolls

Round 1

Stuff pumpkin (mushroom gravy on the side)

Watercress soba salad w/ bittermelon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Engine 2 Diet and Rip Esselstyn

Ever since I've been on my  nutritarian lifestyle, I have been devouring (excuse the pun) all kinds of books, including health related, diet related and cookbooks. One that really attracted me was the Engine 2 Diet, mostly because I am married to a firefighter. And I know that men typically do not like to go on diets (GREAT IDEA!) like women do. But this one apparently appeals more to men (of the firefighter type at least) as well as to women.
Feeling like a star myself with my sunglasses

So, of course, in true stalker fashion, I follow a number of the authors of the books I read, including Rip Esselstyn, former triathlete and firefighter. He is now employed by Whole Foods and I saw a post by Engine 2 Diet that said he would be at Whole Foods Kahala this past Saturday. Well, luck was on my side as I was going to be in Honolulu the whole weekend. Rest assured, I promise I would NOT have flown to HNL just to see him. I would have thought about it but not done it. Promise.

Rip's dad is famous! He is Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Perhaps you recall seeing him in Forks Over Knives. Certainly if you're well read about the importance of eating a plant strong diet for your heart, you have heard his name come up. I'm sure Rip must have been nurtured from a young age on the importance of being plant strong.

The Engine 2 Diet book has some great and simple recipes in the back. Order one on Amazon and let me know what your favorite recipe is. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

End of the 6 Week Challenge

What a busy week. But full of joy and excitement and good jujus!

Our 6 weeks challenge to EAT TO LIVE, which started on September 1, ended on Oct. 12th. Thirteen  of the challengers showed up at our health room to get their post assessment data done (out of 14. One is sick).
Here are the highlights (may include some outside of the 14):

  1. Top woman weight loser at our campus lost 18 pounds (though she says if she could strip down to nothing it would be 20. I believe.).
  2. Everyone lost at least 1 inch around their waist. A couple people lost +6 inches.
  3. Everyoneʻs body fat percentage went down.
  4. Everyone lost weight except one (and he gained one pound) but HE lost 4 inches. Lots. I guess muscle does weigh more.
  5. Almost everyoneʻs blood glucose reading improved (and everyone was under 100 except one.).
  6. One person who was pre diabetic is NOT now.
  7. Everyoneʻs blood pressure improved.One went from 180/110 to 136/98. WOWWOWWOW!
  8. Same person went from prediabetic to NOT.
  9. One person's BMI went from 37.24 to 35.44.
  10. One person's body fat percentage went from 29.8% to 20.0%.
  11. Top male loser lost THIRTY POUNDS! omg. Can he get a wootwoot?
  12. I could go on, but I really  need to compile the data officially and get some graphs done to share.
  13. Total inches lost from 13 challengers: 41.5 inches. WAIST 
Needless to say, many of the challengers said they will continue. That makes my heart sing a happy tune. Something Stevie Wonder-ish. I love it. And others have talked me into a November 1 challenge (people on our campus who have watched these challengers transform before their eyes).

You know when you are around someone who is changing his/her LIFE, and you ponder your own life circumstances, it helps to see what that person is doing. And when you see that he/she is EATING lots everyday and he/she is HAPPY (not all grouchy and feeling hungry and tired and hungry even more) and he/she is glowing and full of energy, it's not a tough choice. And people are talking here. People want to know how everyone is doing it. And when you see that it's not just one or two but it's many, then it's like shouting out to the world. Or campus in this case.
Now if that doesn't make you jump on the dang bandwagon I don't know what will. I've ordered 8 more Eat to Live books for the newbies coming on board. And we've got tons of support for them.

We've planned a potluck celebration for participants in Hilo. And invited interested others.

I can't wait.

On September 1, the 14 challengers came into the office for pre assessment tests. This included taking a string and measuring their waist (piko/bellybutton level). When they came in on Oct. 12th, they took their string around their waists again and cut off the excess. That's what you see below. I took all the string bits. They are all in my office here. A HUGE gift to me that I will cherish. Everytime I look on my table I will think of the challengers and how they changed their lives.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lessons in Dehydration

And I'm not talking lack of water during the day. I'm talking FOOD.

Long story short, Kris Bordessa of Attainable Sustainable, a great blog about living a more sustainable life, offered to let me borrow her Excalibur dehydrator. Excalibur is to dehydrators (from what I can tell) what Vitamix is to blenders. And I know Vitamix so I figured this would be a great opportunity to test it out and see if it would be a worthy investment. Like the Vitamix, the Excalibur comes with a hefty price tag.

Add onto this the fact that my new favorite food place is Licious Dishes, gourmet vegan raw food. Of the most delicious variety. Pricey. Delicious. I discovered Licious Dishes at the KCC Farmers Market and have since been to their cute little kitchen at Dole Cannery a couple of times. You know...the fam is eating pizza or hot dogs at Costco and you, as a nutritarian, have absolutely NO option for eating. That's me. So off I run across the parking lot to Dole Cannery, to Licious Dishes, to purchase a most delectable raw burger (she uses an incredible onion flatbread as the bun and I can't even remember what was in the burger but it was amazing) or pesto or lasagna or my favorite, macho nachos.

So now I am in pursuit of delicious dehydrated delectables but I'm starting simple. Today was my first stab at it: bananas, some pineapples, and kale chips.
SIMPLE! EASY! This won't be the end of it. Bananas tasted much like I expected. The pineapple was like chewing on candy (SO SO SWEET) and the kale chips taste even better dehydrated and you don't have to worry about burning them (bad habit of mine).

$2.00 worth of apple bananas from Hilo Farmers Market

I figured out that using a serrated knife worked much better than a straight blade

Perfect size of pineapple for drying

Everything was done in about 5 hours, at 135 degrees. Not exactly considered "raw" (I think it has to be 115 degrees or less) but I'll try that next time.


S L O W   F O O D    F R I D A Y Wow. Has it been that long? Don't think I fell off the face of the earth due to my increased weig...