Day 29 – Vegetarian Chili!

I made vegetarian chili last night based on this recipe on Allrecipes.com. It was delish and so easy to make! We have such a huge pot, it will be great throughout the week.

If a dish is called vegetarian, but there is no dairy in it, can it also be named vegan chili? Or does “vegan” only apply to something that typically has dairy but is made without? Hmmm….

Day 28!

Day 28 of the Engine 2 Diet 28-day Challenge. Let me state that we were about 85% successful in keeping to the vegan diet. We started the challenge giving ourselves the option to have whatever we wanted in social settings. At the beginning, we stuck with vegan options even though we had the opportunity to have non-vegan food. Towards the end though, we…or I, especially, exercised my option much more….thus the other 15%.  I will have to say that once you exercise that option and “slip,” it’s much harder to resist that option whenever the opportunity arises. Nonetheless, this was a great success for my husband and I.

We started the challenge because (1) we were inspired after watching Forks over Knives and Engine 2 Diet; (2) we were curious to see if we could do it; (3) we wanted to adopt some healthy eating habits; (4) we were sure there would be health benefits, including weight loss and cholesterol levels.

I am not much of a dieter. It’s only in the past 5.5 years of marriage that my weight has slowly but steadily gone up. Twenty pounds over 5+ years. Blissfully married, slower metabolism, lack of exercise, pure enjoyment of food. I once dropped about 10 pounds over the course of 10 months by cutting calories, just to gain it all back in 3 months during a time of transition–buying a house, moving, changing jobs. I have never dropped 5 pounds and a pant size in 4 weeks. I’m a quarter of the way to fitting back into my wedding gown (and the few articles of clothing I couldn’t part with when I gave all the good stuff to my sister).

My husband’s weight pretty much paralleled mine. He lost a bit last summer after he rekindled his love of cycling. But the winter weather left his bike untouched in the garage and the weight slowly crept back up. Well, with no exercise and on the vegan diet alone, he lost 9 pounds plus a belt notch! And though he took his blood test 2 weeks into the diet (and factor in his rigorous cycling last summer/fall), his cholesterol is 45 points lower than 2 years ago and even more compared to 4 years ago. Twenty-five of those points were LDL.

What we’ve learned:

  • A delicious variety of foods we knew existed and may have tried but never gravitated towards…. (almond milk, 70% chocolate, fresh fruits and veggies, homemade hummus)
  • Things we thought were healthy we needed to rethink! (Olive oil, branding of products, etc.)
  • Awareness of organic food, food industry practices, reasons to be vegan or vegetarian, etc.
  • Appreciation of preparing, cooking, and knowing exactly what we’re putting into our bodies
  • Processed food or fast food may taste good, but it can feel pretty gross once you’ve eaten it and thought about it.
  • I still appreciate fine or gourmet food, even if it isn’t vegan. But I’m more conscious of whether it’s fresh, organic, farm fed, free roaming, and portion control…
  • My eating habits have changed. When I go to a restaurant now, I order the last thing I ever would’ve ordered prior to trying the Engine 2 Diet, and the first thing I would’ve ordered back then is the last thing I’d order now. (not that I’m not tempted to sometimes). But I make better decisions…like salads, veggies and oatmeal.
  • We like to eat healthy. Healthy can be delicious. We craved meat and dairy less than we expected we would. We desire to keep this up.

We will continue into 3 months as that’s when I will be able to get my blood test for comparison. I think allowing ourselves the flexibility to have non-vegan food in social settings works for us. Let’s see how the next month goes. =)

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This is my first blog! The motivation for starting is to document the next few weeks of taking the Engine 2 diet 28-day challenge.

A little background:

Last weekend, my husband and I watched Forks over Knives and were inspired to try a healthier lifestyle. We also watched the Engine 2 program and were sold.

We certainly can use a few pounds off and lower our cholesterol. I had my blood test on Monday and my husband will have his in 2 weeks. Hopefully we can see a drop in cholesterol. We’d like to incorporate some exercise in our plan as well.

While the challenge is a whole plant based diet with no meat or dairy, we decided that we would stick to the diet at home and prepare meals for work. However, in social or family settings, we will have the option to have meat and dairy if it is a family style meal. I’m hoping we will have enough self-control and awareness to choose the healthiest options available. Our goal at this point is not to be vegan for life but to try a healthy lifestyle change. If at the end of this process we learn about healthy ingredients, unprocessed foods and recipes and can incorporate that into our daily lives, that would be a success to us.

2.5 hrs of shopping over 2 days and $250 later (that’s $1 a minute!), this is the result of our first week’s groceries.

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This is everything except the few staples I already had at home, a few items that I couldn’t find at Stop & Shop (will go to Whole Foods tomorrow) and the Katalina’s cupcakes at the lower right corner of the photo. These are DELICIOUS vegan cupcakes that we had Friday night to kick-start our new diet.

Saturday morning will be our first vegan breakfast – RIP’s big bowl. I put the dry ingredients together (2 servings, one for me and one for my husband) tonight so that I will only need to prepare the fruit in the morning.

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Thus far, this process has taken up a lot of time and quite a bit of money for groceries. However, we spend a lot eating out and ordering in so this is a good investment of time and money into our health. I will try to do most of my shopping at Stop & Shop for the gas points and then I will go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for ingredients I can’t find.