Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week 8: Vegging Out.

Pish challenged us to eat vegan for a day this week. So I cut out my two eggs on Monday. Done.
The day looked like this: 

Breakfast: Steel-cut oats, no salt. Water, coffee with cocoa powder and sweetener.
Lunch: Whole-wheat Bagel, almond butter, water, green tea. 
Dinner: Vegetable soup I made. Red lentils, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, celery, onions, bell-peppers. Veg broth and canned tomato soup. Turned out more like a veg stew, but very nice and very filling.
No added salt from my hand. The canned soup was a cheat, and added both salt and sugar, but that was an indulgence that saved me time and put a little "fuck this" into the mix when I needed it. It was all OK. The soup was a highlight of my day. The wife even liked it. Sorry, I didn't Instagram any of it for you.  
You're welcome.

I had a lot going on, so I did not celebrate with one of the great new recipes Pish offered, which I took note of for later, nor did I really experiment and change much of what I do anyway. But I certainly will.

Regarding Meat

Smells almost as good as it looks.

I get very little meat in my week. I don't see it as necessary, and my system is used to a lot of fibre and very little fat. Almost no animal fat. It gets very upset if I eat a burger, or god forbid, more than a single piece of pizza. These foods haunt me for days. I did have some meat this week, and some fish, and some cheese, and a couple of eggs about every other day. Some of it was too much together, and I blew a night's sleep over it, which I can never afford.

I look forward to the day when cows and chickens and pigs don't exist. I wrote a whole very long post detailing the why, and how it's not all about cuddles vs. cruelty, although that is important too.

I then deleted it.

I'm sparing everybody, although it's on my mind. I don't fit exactly into anyone's politics, and I thank people for not assuming anything about mine. Nevertheless I made a bit of an ass of myself about a part of this issue and misled people.

That's not a turkey. Not even close.

In the last few years I have finally gotten the point one of my vegan friends tried to make to me two decades ago when I offered him vegan "chicken" soup. Similarly, fake meat made out of tofu misses point. The entire need must die in its own time, under whatever pressure people can apply without hating those other people who are just doing what their families have always done.

It's got to be frustrating for political vegans, with people being incredibly stupid and cruel. Some people. Change like this starts with one or more generations, and is only ready after a lifetime, and really only for the kids, who take it for granted, sometimes so much that they vote to rescind those changes out of total ignorance of history or human nature.

It is a fact that pioneers get very little recognition, and even less time to enjoy their success, if any.

[Imagine an antique photo of someone who was on the right track, but died years before their movement got anywhere. Pick whoever seems right to you, because I am not dumb enough to think anyone will do.]
Eventually we, or our kids will all be vegan. We will live well and longer, and worry less about indulging ourselves with food. Farmland will be much more sustainable. Will a vital part of our traditions and cultures be lost? Only the meaty part.

[This is where I was going to put a picture of a whole, roast, suckling pig, dressed for the holidays. There is no picture that is not twice as gross as the point I'm trying to make. You're welcome. Instead, the go-to meme:]
2022 is just around the corner.

As for the challenge (in no particular order):

I look back and find that I didn't actually plan any goals beyond losing 16lbs in 8 weeks. It wasn't sparked by the challenge, the challenge just helped. I have lost 9lbs. That's a shit-ton for the time-frame.

I won that one. Plus the vegan day. And the happiness, although it was late.
Winning happiness is pretty good.

I later added a vague intention to post more, not including these updates:
Let's see, in 8 weeks I posted ... (one, two, three, four ... ) ONE post entirely not about the challenge.

Not a win, although my updates to the challenge were not as short as this, so maybe they count after all. 

AND, let us not forget that I didn't run after the first week. It got cold. I got busy in the mornings, stressed, depressed, chronic pain, ocular migraines, and all sorts of other excuses come to mind.

Who are you to judge me? Stop it!

Not feeling the joy of being out.

Not a win, there. Not yet. Need a kick from somewhere.

I have to try to fix that now. If the rain deters me then it will be 8 months before I try again.


I want to thank the indefatigable Pish-Posh for her amazing drive to lead us all to better self-care. It mattered a lot to me to be doing this for the first time with so many great bloggers, and I would not have accomplished more than about 10% without her, and without Ken, Carrie, Peach, Kianwi, Jules, Michelle, and last but not least, Brett.


Went back to the doctor to have my blood pressure checked, confident in my clean bill of health. There's nothing like a reprieve from the kind of trouble a systemic problem like that entails.

Five measurements later and my Systolic only a few points down, still "bad", just under "terrible" for my age.
My Diastolic is virtually unchanged.

Tonight I go back to visit my mother, and check her machine again. It wouldn't surprise me if she went through all the boxes, batteries in hand, looking for one that always gave her happy news, and bought that one.

I really should have gotten a third opinion, so I'm buying a machine for myself.
You can look forward to me tweeting my numbers every hour, on the hour.
That's totally why Twitter was invented. According to some.


  1. Consider this your kick: *THWACK!!!*  Get on that running. You can do it. Big congrats on your 9 pounds, whoa!!! 

  2. Why do you assume that one day we will all be vegan? Biologically we are designed to eat a wide and varied diet, which includes meat. And dairy, eggs, etc. I get that people are concerned about cruelty to animals, and the health of our food supply. But I don't see us as a species ever being totally vegan. Not when you have those who feel that an almost entirely protein based diet is healthier than an all veggie/carb diet. I think we all have to find the path that works for us. I eat meat, which 99% comes from the CSA I belong to. That means that while yes, I am eating another animal, it has been well cared for, in a healthy and sustainable manner. I cannot eat tofu. My body rejects it like poison. It is poison to me. So being vegan is really not an option if I want protein in my diet. 

    I think it is important for us to be conscientious, choosing to treat this earth and its inhabitants with respect, and to find the path that works for each of us. 

  3. I wasn't really telling people what to do, I hope. I don't know if it is an ideal future for us, but it's the cheapest all around, and cheaper for health care compared to where we are now. The economy usually wins.

  4. Being someone who has absolutely no tolerance for the cold, I can totally understand why the weather would keep you from running. I try not to leave my house for anything once October hits. It's miserable.

    Congrats on the progress you did make during the challenge. I did a weight loss goal for Pish's last challenge. I didn't make it, but kept going afterward until I did hit the goal. Hang in there.

  5. Whoa. 9 pounds in 8 weeks? That's awesome! I've sadly been packing on a few pounds. I'm not huge on meat and love my veggies. It's more challenging to maintain when it's really busy. I have a horrible habit of eating too late in the evening. Yuck and not good. The 8 week challenge was a great idea. Pish Posh must have willpower made of steel.

  6. Nine freakin pounds! That is amazingballs. You are one of the sweetest awesomest people I have met online so I hope you continue to improve your health. You need a health kick? Ken and Kiani are doing a virtual 5k soon.  ;)
    Keep salt out of your diet and keep plugging away at your new healthy ways, you can do it.
    Good job at the challenge. You kicked ass.

  7.  Thanks so much. I'm glad to have met you, too.

  8.  Late night eating made a huge difference. I cut that out, and also bought some smaller, microwavable bowls just for my own portions. Every meal has to fit into that two-cup measure.

    I'm cheating a little for dessert once in a while, with plums and almonds, and even a small handful of goldfish, but it doesn't seem to be hurting.

    Halloween consisted of keeping my mouth full the whole evening with sugarless gum.

    Pish Posh is pretty amazing that way.

  9. Great advice. I think I will keep trying to get the running going.
    Better late than never.

    I cannot believe you managed a great post almost every day.
    Congrats back at you.

  10. Thanks so much for this thoughtful response. I wish I could respond more myself. But my kitty is dying and I just wanted to make sure I thanked everyone for their posts. Thank you for the vegan day and all your nice things. I am sorry about your results - a third opinion is always wise, and I think you did a heck of a job. 

  11.  I am so sorry about that. Thank you.

  12. Pansies and SunflowersNovember 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Nine pounds is great, and real changes in blood pressure take more time. I have had the blood pressure scare myself, and have my own machine. My numbers are consistently better at home. White coat syndrome, I suppose. I recommend getting your own machine and checking regularly at home. It can make you worry a lot less! I look forward to reading your non-challenge posts, too.

  13. Nine pounds is fantastic!  I'm so glad I got to meet you through this challenge!  Awesome on the vegan day and on your veg diet.  I've gotten inspired by this challenge to put forth more effort to eliminate meat and I think you're dead on with your points about where diet is going. 

    Great job in the challenge!

  14. It has to be rather difficult to get mixed results on each different blood pressure test. I hope that you can find a balance there somewhere and then work toward your goal without having to worry about if the machine is wonky or not.

    And 9 pounds is quite an achievement, very well done. .It's funny, now that it's turning colder, I'm looking forward to getting to the track a little more. Of course, it is inside so I guess that doesn't really count.

    I hope that you're able to keep working toward your goals.

  15. You did well!  9lbs!  And great job on your vegan day.  I hope the blood pressure issues get better.  I'll be looking foward to those riveting tweets :) 

    It's been great fun and I'm glad to have 'met' you through all of this.  Good luck on the other 7 pounds! 

  16. Whatever gets me to the track, inside or out, would be great. I was enjoying the outside route I had worked out, but I'll have to push myself out in all this rain. Cold seems to hurt quite a bit more now, but I think I'll be OK is I can just get past the door early enough.

  17.  Thanks. You did great, too, and I enjoyed your posts.

  18.  Thanks. Me, too. You look after that foot, and good luck on NaBloPoMo! You're off to a good start.

  19.  What? There's a national thing where people give blowjobs to post modernists?  Where do I sign up (as a post modernist)?

  20. So you're unwilling to contribute? Shame!

  21. Just got my machine home. It is my new Master.
    I will live (or not live, I guess) by the Numbers.

  22. Losing nine pounds is fantastic - good for you!!

    I'm a little bummed you deleted your post. I would be interested to hear your views. I don't eat meat, and haven't for over 20 years, though I do eat free range eggs regularly. I'm not preachy to people about it though. I think most folks are aware it's the healthy choice, and as you said, eventually it will be the norm.

  23. Since you asked:

    I've eaten fairly strictly since 2006, when my gall-bladder died and my blood sugar was found to be high. Nothing white, no sugar, smaller portions (the toughest part) and more fibre and veg. Meat only occasionally. I don't miss it much, and when there are more vegan options in more restaurants I will eat out more.

    My views are that we created this retrograde livestock from very different animals and then wasted a ton of farmland feeding them to create a very odd luxury economy. Protein is cheaply available and healthy fats from a veg diet.

    Every time populations threaten to overwhelm food supply a major advance in agricultural production has occurred to cover the deficit. The potential issues of just water use have been researched by the Pentagon as a likely cause of wars.

    Vegan farming uses much less water because you cut out the most wasteful step, that narrow peak of the pyramid where you spend years feeding what you have grown, plus more water, heat and light, to animals.

    Vegan-only farming is much cheaper, more healthy, more responsible, more sustainable, and more traditional, if you go back far enough. I don't have a lot of sympathy for cows, chickens, etc. as natural species, because they aren't that. They should not "run free", they should vanish.

    My take on cruelty is that it is terrible to see, but also a crime that changes the individuals that either choose, or much more frequently are required, to enact it. If we assume that there will be crimes/wars, and that people will pay anything to eat meat, then there are at least two reasons we have to accept cruelty as necessary, and as one normal extreme of our society.

    I don't agree that there is a need to breed and house and feed and then kill animals to process food that is so costly, hazardous, and wasteful. But I don't blame people for doing their jobs, and I don't think they enjoy that part of it at all.

    Soylent Green is in queue now, and I see from the beginning that it starts with a dystopian view of exactly this, enforced vegetarianism. Can't believe I never watched it, although we all know the twist.

    I would miss my eggs, but I'm not going to cry about it or protest. I've given up a lot and I can make do with whatever's left. There's plenty of flavour and variety in vegan recipes.

  24.  I'm on board with most of that. When I decided to go veg a couple of decades ago it was an animal rights thing, but over time, it morphed into more of a 'what in the Sam hell are they feeding/injecting these animals with?' thing.

  25. I've been a veg since I was 16. I agree that fake meat misses the point of not wanting to eat a once living anything. Got a BP dig machine too. It was obsession for a while to take BP every hour. I got over it! Good job on your diet. Watch that sodium, eliminate cheese. I starve my husband, they call me the food nazi, i wrote a post about it.

  26.  Cheese has been gone for a while, there's some sugar creeping back in, alcohol is a faint memory, and I'm trying to get a decent walk in every other day. My life has a lot of stress in it, and it feels unbearable sometimes. I really don't know what my living situation will be month to month.

    The exercise seems to help the most, but I'm learning that my BP responds to my stress more than anything else. That's something that I have to fix now, that will change my personality. Subdue myself or die horribly, so yes, no problem.

    It's actually "Do it or take drugs" which has always struck me as irresponsible, wasteful and self-indulgent. Not to mention the side-effects.

    The most interesting thing is that no matter what happens I have to stop a lifetime's habit of kicking myself. There's a post in that alone.

  27. karen somethingorotherDecember 28, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Very thought-provoking, and I really enjoy your writing.  You know, I am a total health nut lately, so much so that I have made my sister tired with talking about all the shit that is in our food.  I even try to encourage facebook people to AVOID GLUCOSE FRUCTOSE and get as pissed off about it as I am.  Thus far, no dice.  I will say though, that unfortunately, or fortunately or whatever, I can NOT embrace vegan-ism.  To me, that is completely joyless cooking. I mean, if you can't put some f*cking butter in a ginger pudding, then you just don't get it.  

  28. I have fallen so far off the wagon in this last week, and it has eased some of the tension at home. Crap food is laid out everywhere, and we're not officially done until New Year's Day. I will have a lot to undo, but I look forward to getting down to it.

    The big deal lately has been not stressing about any of this, nor about anything else. I'm not sure where that leaves me. But of course, there's a post in that too, and it's about damned time I wrote here again.

    Thanks for your comment. I wish I felt comfortable pushing people into realizing the conflict in their approach to food, but it's a line I can't cross. I'm Canadian, and Old School about it; I'll tell you how I feel if asked, but it's just one opinion, no matter how right it is.

    Veganism is one choice, and I personally find the meat easier to give up than chocolate or wine. Working on the salt, though. That's a scary one now.

    Good luck.