I’m back!

I haven’t given up. Just took a break from the daily blogging. I’m getting back on the plan after having a small celebration from not eating meat. I had some Roots Pizza followed by Chick-fil-A. I enjoyed some Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.  And now I’m fighting off a horrible cold, not sleeping so well from this hacking cough. I gotta get back on track.

I started last night by preparing some overnight oatmeal so I could have a good breakfast this morning. Lunch is still up in the air, my plans to shop this past weekend fell apart due to the cold so I don’t have a lot of stuff for lunch in the house.  I see a stop at the grocery store in my future.

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Day 28 – Over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!

lasagna

Lasagna dinner at Whole Foods

The final day has arrived. After 28 days of plants I’m at 230.7 lbs. I’ve decided to stick with eating this way, with the exception of when I eat out with friends. If I get take out or go out for lunch on my own I’m going to stick with the vegetarian options. I like that this “diet” doesn’t make you count anything, not points, calories, carbs or fat grams. It’s just reading ingredient labels, if you can’t pronounce it or if your great-grandma wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it. That’s so easy.

A friend loaned me the book Overcoming Overeating and as I read the first couple of chapters I realized that overeating wasn’t my problem. As I said at the Whole Foods event last night, I’m a “crap-atarian” there’s no food in my food. My problem is when I eat, I eat crap. This challenge has helped me to break that habit. I want to keep eating real food, good food.

Although, since I’ve been flirting with the same 4 or 5 pounds the past two weeks I think the next challenge is to start moving more. I’ve gotten a couple of those discount coupons, one for yoga classes and the other for zumba or something. I just need to review the class schedules and locations to fit them into my schedule. So, my next challenge is exercise. I’m sure that with this eating plan along with exercise I’ll be able to lose these pounds I’ve been flirting with and more.

I challenge all of you to try this. You can do anything for 28 days. Give it a try, don’t be afraid. It’s way easier than you think. You may even ENJOY it!

If you want a consultation with a Whole Foods Healthy Eating Specialist, they will give you a tour of the store, help you find the best foods to eat right or help you with any special diet concerns, and it’s free! In Chicago the South Loop store and the Lincoln Park store have specialists, check the website calendar for the Health Starts Here Tour information. Unfortunately, at this time there are no healthy eating specialists in the suburbs. But they do have some of the Health Starts Here information in the stores, just look for the signs. I did a search of some of the suburban store calendars and I see the Naperville store is hosting this 28 Day Challenge starting on June 15th. The Schaumburg and Willowbrook stores offer tours if you call or email to schedule one. All of the stores have an array of cooking classes and other activities on their calendars. Check the calendar for the store near you if you want to learn more.

If you’re interested in trying to do this kind of challenge, coming up on the weekend of June 17-19 at the South Loop location is the Eating for Empowerment Weekend. They’ll give you all the tools, recipes, cooking demos, and more so that you can learn how to change the way you eat. DO IT!

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Day 27 – End of the line

One day left as of yesterday. This evening is the final check-in at Whole Foods. We’ll get dinner and I’m not sure what else will happen. Yesterday was a bit more of a struggle to stay on plan. I kept thinking, “It’s over, what difference does it make if I pick up a doughnut or get a diet coke now?” Luckily, at home I have nothing “off plan” that I can eat.

Throughout the past 27 days I’ve come to realize that food I used to hate is actually really good. I’ve learned that food I thought I ‘d miss, I didn’t miss at all. Honestly, I had no cravings at all for any meat. My cravings were for Diet Coke, sugary sweets, and coffee. I’ve spent the past couple of days planning what I’m going to eat as soon as this is all over and I think what I want is a big breakfast with eggs and toast. Followed by a giant icy cup of Diet Coke. I may stop for ice cream or maybe a gelato from Black Dog which is down the block. There’s also been discussion about getting pizza at the new place that opened in my neighborhood, Roots Pizza.

What do you think would be the first thing you’d want to eat after 28 days of eating only plants? Where do you think I should go first?

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Recipe – Vegetarian Lentil Soup

lentil soup

vegetarian lentil soup

After making the vegetable broth I thought it might be a good idea to do something with the lentils I bought. So I looked up soup recipes and found one at about.com that had a list of ingredients I had on hand, well, everything but the bay leaf. After making the vegetable broth ice cubes I started on the soup. It’s very simple to make and it makes a decent sized amount that you can either feed to your whole family or save in the fridge or freezer to eat later. I only modified the recipe slightly.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup
1 onion, diced
3 carrots sliced
3 stalks of celery sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dry lentils
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of Herbs De Provence

Saute onions, carrots and celery in a pot, add vegetable broth and other ingredients, stir well, cover and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy! You might want to add a little bit of salt unless you’re using store bought vegetable broth. I’ve been in the habit of never adding salt because everything you buy is so loaded with it that once I tasted this, I realized it did need some salt to help perk up the flavor a bit.

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Day 26 – homemade vegetable broth

Beginning the broth

Picture 1 of 5

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at home doing prep-work for the week. I started by making my own vegetable broth. I took guidance from Vegan Yum Yum she has excellent recipes and her photos are beautiful. She’s also got a cookbook I have added it to my Amazon wish list.

I have been saving scraps from everything I’ve made the past few weeks in a large zipper bag in my freezer with the intent to make more vegetable broth. I also cleared out some of the items from my fridge that looked a bit… less than optimal for this. I started out exactly as Vegan Yum Yum says, by sauteeing my onions, carrots and celery in the big stock pot. I did not add any oil. I just roughly chopped everything and threw it in the pan. I pulled out the left over pre-washed and chopped greens, the bok choy and then broke up the stuff from the freezer and tossed it all in the pot. When the onions started looking like they stuck I sprayed a little Liquid Aminos into the pan. This is stuff we’ve been shown repeatedly in the classes at Whole Foods. It’s a soy based product that is full of amino acids. It’s got a slightly soy saucy kinda taste to it, but not as salty. I got the small spray bottle so I just put a little bit in there. Once everything was in and mixed up pretty well, I added enough water to fill the pot, stirred it up a bit and then put on the lid. I think I let it simmer for about 2 hours total. I didn’t really watch the clock. I looked more at how the stock looked. I stirred each time I removed the lid.

Once it was finished I strained it into a pitcher to make it easier to pour into the ice cube trays. I kept 4 cups of broth to make soup with lentils, and the rest was about 3 ice cube trays. I’d have more if I had a bigger stock pot. I didn’t quite use up all the vegetable bits so I’ve got more to make another pot on another day.  I’ll share the vegetable and lentil soup recipe later on today!

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