Changing my world, one step at a time

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day five

Death by chocolate...that's what today's post should actually be titled. Sigh. I was bested by my nemesis once again :(
The day started out really well. I warmed up some oatmeal from yesterday and added a chopped apples, walnuts, ground flax and the usual splash of soy milk. We headed out for the farmer's market in Carp around 9:00.
It was a beautiful day. Sunny, but not too hot and with just a few clouds in the sky. Maddie hadn't been to the market in years and I hadn't been since last summer so we were pretty excited.
We started with a run through of the market. Strolling along and checking out each stall, seeing what each one had and what the prices were. Lots and lots of vegetables were on offer but very few fruits which was a little disappointing.

The market itself.

Absolutely, beautiful rainbow swiss chard from one of my favorite produce sellers: Rainbow Heritage Garden. You can check them out at

Another offering: rainbow carrots! We didn't get any of those but we did get some rainbow beets :)

Anyway, we did fine while we were outside it was when we went indoors that we ran into a problem. Every second stall had baking...groan. I asked at almost every one "Do you do gluten free? Do you do vegan?" Of course the answer was always no but apparently there is lots of interest. Then we came to a booth which offered beautiful paris macaroons. They were stunning, the next time I go I'll get some photos because they actually were gorgeous. We asked if they were gluten free and they were! We asked if they had dairy and one kind didn't! Maddie and I looked at each other, so excited...we could eat one of these stunning confections. Small mouthfuls of sin. As the seller was packaging them up she commented "It's a good thing you're not allergic to eggs because if you were you couldn't have these." Shoot! What to do? They were already in the bag. They were already within reach. So we reached, banishing the guilt with thoughts that it had been too late, they had been in the bag and paid for therefore it was too late. They were sooooo good. Chocolate hazelnut Paris macaroons...Wow. So it was a triple whammy really: the eggs, the sugar and the chocolate. But really it was the chocolate that seduced us.

When I met my cousin Melanie for lunch later we ate at "The Green Door" a fabulous vegetarian restaurant on Main Street. It's honestly one of my favourite places. Melanie shared a lot of vegan/raw diet wisdom with me while we ate. I had a small plate made up of tofu and broccoli, eggplant ratatouille, potatoes and kale, dilled green and yellow beans and snap pea salad with mint. I know it sounds like a ton of food but there was really only a spoonful of each on the plate.
Dessert time came along (this was why we went with the small plates, an excellent weight control trick). I ate (Lord help me!) a slice of Chocolate-Raspberry Mousse Cheesecake...Now before anybody shoots me please know that it was vegan, gluten free, sugar free; however it was not CHOCOLATE free. It got me again...I fell from my cleanse high ground.

I tried to repent at dinner. I had salad with seasoned black beans, corn and red onions. Maybe it'll help me get back on track. The thing about a cleanse is that you are supposed to be strict. Otherwise you're kind of defeating the purpose of doing it at all.

Thank goodness tomorrow is another day!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Day four

Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
(sing along now)

What a day. I hate days where all I do is run from one place to another, back to the first, on to the third. Ad nauseum. I am totally wiped. But before I go to bed I have to blog and watch "Big Fish" with my son. I love that movie and can't believe he hasn't seen it. Don't know how that one got by me. If you haven't watched it yet, then do so, it's a fun one :)

This was my breakfast this morning: a bowl of whole oats with wild blueberries, 1/3 a banana, a few walnuts, a drop or two of agave nectar and a splash of soy milk. It was absolutely delicious.

Lunch was ridiculous. Because I was busy doing all of that to-ing and fro-ing, I didn't get any. I did have half of a cacao crunch bar in my purse from last weekend before this project began. I checked the ingredient list: sprouted buckwheat (wheat free), sprouted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sprouted quinoa, cacao powder, agave nectar, himalayan salt and love. There actually is a little heart after the end! Cute eh? So it was all vegan and organic so okay...but cacao does contain caffeine. I decided to just suck it up.

Before this project I would have just stopped at whatever restaurant was handy. Tim's, Subway, Wendy's. Now it feels like everything is a minefield and nothing is an option. I need to talk to my vegan/gluten free cousin Melanie, to get her input and some ideas on what is available out there.

When I got home I had a glass of vegetable juice and a few organic corn chips. For dinner I made brown rice and a vegetable and tofu stir fry. It was pretty yummy. The vegetables I used were asparagus, red, yellow and orange peppers, garlic, carrots and mushrooms.

So that's it for me for today. Not sure if Madison will have anything to say since she is at a friend's house and I haven't really seen her all day. I'm going to watch "Big Fish" now.

Until tomorrow!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day Three

A bit of a tough day. Not foodwise, that was fine. More about the goodness found in foodland later :)

I was in a lot of pain today. I'm having vicious peripheral neuropathy and muscle and joint pain. Makes it hard to type sometimes...Anyway some days are just rough. I'm now being referred to a neurologist, for an MRI among other things. This has happened before back in 2006, although it wasn't as bad as it is now. I am in pain, frustrated and depressed.

So today Freston wrote about visualization and meditation in Chapter three. I used to meditate religiously. I also did "Vision boards". Funny but it seemed like my life operated a whole lot better then. It's also funny that I set up an altar in my room on the weekend as my meditation space. This is the third morning that I've meditated and it does help. I tmakes me feel more centered and at peace.

This is a photo of my altar. Altars are highly individual and distinct. Someone would look at this and wonder about half the items on here but that's okay, they have meaning for me. I'm only meditating for five minutes in the morning right now but I'll try to slowly up it to 15-20 minutes. That's the goal anyway.

Today I started off my day with 2 oz. of aloe vera juice in water with a good squeeze of lemon. I figure it can't hurt :)

After my aloe vera drink I had 2 gluten free vegan waffles (Maddie is right they ARE far superior to Eggo's!!) with a smear of Earth Balance margarine, a drop of Agave Nectar and a nice mix of fresh raspberries and blueberries. It was an awesome breakfast.

I wasn't that hungry at lunch time. Probably due to pain issues. So I just had a brown rice cake with almond butter, a large glass of vegetable juice and some cherries.

In the afternoon I made my green drink, I described it yesterday but here it is! It!!

By the time I got back from the doctor's and pharmacist and grocery store I wasn't in the mood for cutting up a ton of veggies for a tofu stir fry. So I popped a GF vegan pizza in the oven. Maddie was not very impressed but I liked it. Although it didn't taste much like pizza :)

Now I am off to bed. I know it's only 7:10 pm but the pain is driving me to take my medication and climb into bed. So I'm going to listen...

Good night all!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Maddie's Perspective: Day Two

I have to make confession:

I cheated.

You know how everyone has those little things, that they seriously can't stand doing, or not doing? Well, I'm seriously OCD, and I have alot of those things. One of them? Eating burgers without cheese. It sounds weird, but I can't do it. I start feeling nauseous, and it's like eating soup that's only broth. You aren't eating soup are you? It's not complete! Not only that, but I really really really hate the taste of ketchup, but I have to put a little bit on my burgers or else it the mustard is all unbalanced...Anyway, I really hate ketchup so I use cheese to cover up the taste.

Unfortunately, soy-rice-vegan-unmeltable-grobely-whateverthechunkitis "cheese" is disgusting.

Not only that, but my veggie burger was on a bun. Which is still vegan, but not gluten free so that's kind of breaking the cleanse. Though, my mom put the veggie burger on the bun without asking me, so I really had no say...

Well, the bottom line is; I could NOT stand eating the burger without cheese. So I caved. But it's only day two, so it doesn't really matter anyway. It's not like it's half way through or anything.

Other than that, the day went well. I had a smoothie mom made for breakfast (which she secretly destroyed by adding spinach...sheesh mom, you could've warned me!), bean soup, gluten-free and sugar-free crackers, and hummus for lunch, and then the unfortunate cheese incident happened at dinner.

And I warn all you vegans...that cheese is DISGUSTING. Maybe we should've gone with the other one...

Oh well, tomorrow's a new day!

-Maddie :)

Day Two

Well, today was a little tougher. I had a headache all day, presumably because of a serious lack of caffeine. But, I didn't cave. Proud of myself for that :)
When I got around to reading the day two chapter of Freston's cleanse book I was in for a bit of a shock.
She gives some good advice: substitute 10 to 30 minutes of exercise for your morning coffee, drink more water and get lots of rest. Then she gives a list:
what to avoid
- coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas (or sodas with guaran), green tea
- energy drinks
- dark chocolate
- coffee-flavoured desserts
- over the counter medications containing caffeine

- herbal tea
- decaf coffee

Did you read that??? Decaf coffee!!! After two mornings of teeccino when I get up the thought of even decaf coffee is unbearable. I should have read all of the chapters of the darn book ahead of time :)

This has been my morning breakfast drink. Teeccino made in the French press, with a teeny tiny touch of stevia and some soy creamer in the cup. I had to get the creamer. I'm used to drinking my coffee with half and half and the Teeccino was so strong and dark I couldn't drink it. I think tomorrow I'll mix the Teeccino and decaf coffee half and half. I do like the Teeccino flavour but a touch of coffee would be nice...just for the taste.

After my morning brew I made a smoothie with a frozen banana, some frozen mixed berries, almond milk, ground flax seeds and a big handful of spinach. I was worried that it would be all green but it wasn't. All I could see were some tiny green flecks and I honestly couldn't taste a thing. I drank half and left the other half for Madison when she got up. She drank it without knowing about the spinach...she was nicely surprised when she found out. HA!

These crackers are so very, very good! Wheat free, gluten free, sugar free and organic. They taste like savoury sesame snaps. I enjoyed some of these with hummus and a bean and vegetable soup for lunch.

In the afternoon I made a green drink out of organic apple juice, water and some "Perfect Greens" powder. I was a little hungry in the afternoon so I had some cherries after the green drink and that did the trick. If it didn't I would have had a brown rice cake with almond butter or something.

This is the salad that I invented and made up for dinner. It's a roasted vegetable salad served over mixed greens and it was yummy!!

I roasted cubed sweet potatoes and halved red new potatoes tossed with olive oil at 400 degrees . When they were almost done I added a bunch of cut up asparagus. While they were still warm I mixed in (gently so the potatoes wouldn't break up) my dressing. This was made with garlic, grainy Dijon mustard, 1/2 a juiced lemon, balsamic vinegar,celtic sea salt, thyme and parsley. Don't ask me about the measurements because I didn't use any. Just add, mix and taste until it's right :) Before serving put mixed green in a bowl. I used romaine, spinach, parsley and a tiny bit of fresh basil. Dump the potatoes and asparagus on top, making sure to include any dressing left in the bowl. I topped it off with red pepper, cut in a tiny dice.

Madison, her friend Holly and I had this salad with veggie burgers. The rest of the crew had real burgers. I had vegenaise, mustard and fresh tomato slices on mine. We tried the soy cheese I had bought. Good grief that stuff was awful!! The texture was strange, the flavour was yucky and the after taste made me feel sick. Needless to say it didn't make it onto my burger, which was Yves brand and tasted just fine :)

Well that's it for tonight.

More tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Perspective

My first post. I would've written earlier, but mom pretty much covered it all... :)

Today went really well. I missed out on cookies at a friend's house though, which was unfortunate, but I did get to have a popsicle because it was one of those all fruit bars and I checked the ingredients.

For breakfast I had gluten free, vegan waffles and I must say, that they are FAR superior to Eggo waffles. You don't get that eggy taste (obviously) and they're sweeter, which I like. I had 2 with apple butter and raspberries on top. Yum!

For lunch, I was at my friend's house, but fortunately she's vegetarian and their family is a big fan of Rainbow Foods, so there was no problem there. I had these things that are like rice cakes only they're thinner and made of corn (and quite frankly, better) dipped in homemade hummus my friend's mom made. We also munched on cucumbers and red peppers, but that's nothing new. Later on the others had ice cream, but I satisfied myself with a frozen fruit bar, strawberry flavoured.

A lot of my friends are shocked about me being vegan...even when I tell them it's just for 21 days. I get a lot of reactions like "I could never do that!" and "wow, that sounds so hard!". Except for from my vegetarian friend, she's all for it...and even wants to go vegan permanently!

Honestly though, I didn't have any trouble or whatever...I don't drink a lot of coffee (sometimes I'll make myself iced coffee though, if it's really hot) or anything caffeinated in general, so that's not a problem. I'm going to miss chocolate and cheese, but I'll deal. Actually, I'm really scared of trying vegan cheese... Sugar is kind of difficult...I've got a sweet tooth, but 21 days isn't a lot time, and gluten isn't hard either because we've got alternative stuff, and even though some gluten free stuff is nasty, I know for a fact some of it is good because those gluten free vegan waffles were delicious!

I'm looking forward to trying out new things over the next 21 days...


Day One

So we have survived our first day on the Vegan Cleanse! It actually wasn't too bad. I did develop a headache at around 2:30 or so. Brought on by lack of caffeine I'm sure. But it's not horrific or anything so all is well. I haven't been starving either so that's good :)

Other than dinner, Madison ate meals different than mine but I'll let her tell you about her experiences herself.

For breakfast I had a big handful of cherries, some GF toast with almond butter and 1/2 a banana sliced on top.

For lunch I made a salad with romaine, cucumber, red and yellow pepper and tomato topped with a 1/3 cup of "3 lentil and cranberry salad" mix that I picked up at the health food store. It was good but extremely filling!
Before dinner, I was feeling a bit peckish so I had 1/2 a Lara bar.

Dinner was so very yummy!! None of us had ever had quinoa before so the meal was a bit of a surprise, we didn't know what to expect. The recipe came from "Quantum Wellness" by Kathy Freston and was called "Summery Quinoa". I marinated the portabello mushrooms, then Steve barbecued them. I cooked the quinoa in vegetable broth. When it was done I mixed in steamed asparagus, peppers and red onion. So tasty...

I know it was just the first day but I think I'm going to be able to handle this!
See you tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Get ready, get set...

So the big, bad, basic rules for the 21 day vegan cleanse are as follows:

Refrain from:
1. caffeine
2. alcohol
3. gluten
4. animal products
5. sugar

Easy peasy right?

Alcohol: no problem, I hardly ever drink anyway.

Animal products: a little tougher but not too difficult. We eat vegetarian quite regularly. I will sort of miss steak and eggs though, together or served seperately, it doesn't matter! The harder part will be the dairy. We are going to be trying soy, rice and almond "dairy" options.

Sugar: this is where it starts to get hard. I'm a baker. I just love to make cakes, cookies and pies. And put sugar in my coffee...oh wait, no coffee for me! I'm going to be using agave nectar and stevia exclusively.

Caffeine: NO DIET COKE. NO COFFEE. No stimulants. Until I detox, it's going to make for some very sleepy afternoons and grumpy mornings! I've picked up a package of Teeccino, an herbal coffee alternative, in Java flavour. I'll let you know how it is.

Gluten: gluten-free (GF) is tricky. Some products and recipes taste great. And others not so much. It's probably going to take some disasters before I get this one figured out. I am going to pick up the "Healthy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day" book since I know there are a lot of GF (and hopefully some sugar free) recipes in it. The original book is my go-to bread bible. Which I will get to eat again in 22 days :)

I'm hoping that I will feel so good that I end up staying with many of these changes after the cleanse is done. We'll see...

As for cookbooks, information and menu ideas I'm using:

"Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health" by the Moosewood Collective
"Ripe from Around Here" by Jae Steele
"Perfect Vegetarian"
"Babycakes" by Erin McKenna (just got this one and haven't tried any recipes yet)
"The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone
"Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
"Go Green, get Lean" by Kate Geagan
"The Gorgeously Green Diet" by Sophi Uliano
"Food Matters" by Mark Bittman
"Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" by Kris Carr
"Quantum Wellness" and "Quantum Wellness Cleanse" by Kathy Freston

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please leave a comment. We'd love to have your input.

We're ready to go!!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

In The Beginning...

It all started with the idea of doing a vegan cleanse, in order to get healthier. I had the book "The Quantum Wellness Cleanse" by Kathy Freston, which has a 21 day vegan cleanse in it. My daughter Madison decided that she wanted to come along for the ride. As we talked about the whole idea of a 21 day long eating adventure, ideas started to flow about other projects we could undertake. Projects which could change or improve our lives in some way. Or projects that could be done for fun and to achieve goals. Each project will last 21 days with atleast one week (or maybe more) in between each project. We've come up with a list...but we're not sharing it :)

The first project is the vegan cleanse, which will begin on Tuesday, July 27.

More tomorrow!