09 April 2011

For Health

As March rolled to a close, I began to realize that for the last few months, perhaps since the year-end holiday season, I haven't felt particularly well on the health front. Granted, I am a bit of a carb junkie--rice and bread are longtime addictions--who frequently features items of that variety on this blog. The predominant coverage of baked goods on this site doesn't quite accurately reflect my general attempts at being health-conscious. The food featured here usually represents the more interesting culinary ventures of a given week, because I figure they are more interesting than depictions of every bowl of whole-grain cereal or miso soup I ingest throughout that same time span.

Still, it's time to clean up my eating habits a bit. Having recently heard about this month's 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, which began Monday, I decided to participate. I'm new to the PCRM-hosted program and was attracted by the emphasis on meals prepared with whole food ingredients, minimal fat, and natural sugars. Admittedly, I haven't really attempted to follow the meal plans very closely since the first day; while I like the idea of easing into healthy, long-lasting changes (rather than a quick fix) and the individual meals suggested sound appetizing enough, the amount of repetition is not. That I hadn't shopped for the week's grocery items prior to the program start likely didn't help matters. In any case, it soon became clear to me that the foundation of my existing dietary routine was already very similar structurally. The problem was not one born of a lack of awareness, but rather, one of balance; I've been indulging too much in refined sugars and starches, a habit to which I've attached myself to the detriment of my overall well-being.

Basically, this is what's happening: for three weeks (or longer, depending on how I feel about the whole thing after 21 days), I'm following more or less my usual food routine, but excluding refined sugars, coffee, and alcohol. I'll be more mindful of choosing whole food options over their processed counterparts, as well as restricting my consumption of refined carbohydrates. The Kickstart program primarily serves as a reminder of the framework to which I'm trying to adhere, so I haven't abandoned participation completely. I even prepared some of the suggested dishes at the beginning of this week and will probably consult more recipes as the Kickstart continues. The first week has involved a good amount of the following food items:

Oatmeal: cooked cracked oats with fresh blueberries, Fuji apple chunks, mashed banana, cinnamon, and a splash of unsweetened almond milk.
Quickie Quesadilla: a half-serving version involving green chili hummus (I didn't have roasted red peppers), sprouted lentils, sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and dash of hot sauce.
Hoppin' John Salad: sprouted brown rice, blend of black eyed peas and more sprouted lentils, carrot, and no celery (I didn't have any and don't like it much anyway).
Homemade multi-grain cereal: protein-packed, gluten-free adaptation of these Homemade Nutty Bran Flakes, using molasses instead of sugar and eaten with fresh strawberries, apple chunks, and a splash of unsweetened almond milk.
Sprouted grain toast: spread with leftover Tempeh White Bean Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance and roasted Brussels sprouts.
Not pictured are the many fruits I've been eating. Local strawberries are plentiful and sweet, so my kitchen is perpetually stocked with them. I'm also eating my way through a huge load of homegrown lemons, tangelos, and grapefruits recently acquired from a family friend. So far, so good.

Any former or current Kickstart participants out there? Care to share your thoughts on the program? Please, do tell! I'd love to hear what you think about the approach. Thanks!

4 comments:

  1. Tiffany,
    I'm happy to hear you are eating so well, and I am so envious of those strawberries!
    Keep it up,
    Aimee

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  2. Brussels Sprouts on toast? What an idea!

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  3. Thanks for the encouraging words, Aimee. As for the strawberries...I'm certainly enjoying them, perhaps too much! haha

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  4. Haha I know, right? Attempts to use up leftovers sometimes leads to unexpected food combinations, but it worked out fine, so no worries. :)

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)