Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A holiday challenge

I've been thinking about this and thinking about this, having been totally unsure if I wanted to move forward with it. I know that if I make it public, then I'll be committed to finishing it, which is probably why I haven't mentioned it. I just wanted to be 100% sure I want to do it.

I used to do monthly challenges for myself, and somewhere along the way, I got out of the habit of doing them. Right now, I haven't really been focused on anything. Last year, I was hardcore into getting down to my racing weight and then training for my 10K; this year, I'm loosely counting calories, trying to lose the summer weight, but not really putting much effort into it.

And to be honest, I like it this way. I look "normal" at this size, and I don't have to watch very closely what or how much I'm eating. I haven't gained anything this fall. Maybe I'll feel like working harder at it again in a few months, but right now, I am pretty content, even with the extra pounds.

Anyways, back to the challenge. I've always liked challenges that are from 2-6 weeks long. Any longer, and I tend to lose interest before it's over. When my friends were here over the weekend, Bonnie and I each agreed to give up a vice of ours for the rest of the year. She chose bread, and I chose alcohol. This challenge wasn't too difficult to agree to. I like alcohol, of course, but I will survive month without it ;)

The REAL challenge is something I'd been thinking about trying for a long time: eating vegan for a month!

As I mentioned, Bonnie is vegan; she shared a lot of her favorite foods and meal ideas with us, and they sounded really good. I have no interest in becoming vegan permanently, but to try it for a month will be kind of fun (and definitely challenging)!

The hardest part for me is not giving up meat, but giving up dairy! I love cream--ice cream and cream-based sauces. Also, even though I'm not a huge cheese person (I don't just sit down and each cheese by itself), I do like pizza, macaroni and cheese, and scrambled eggs with cheese, etc.

Instead of focusing on the things that vegans don't eat, I'm going to try to just think about all the foods that vegans do eat. When I was at Bonnie's house on Labor Day weekend, she made a mock-tuna salad that I was very skeptical would taste good. I do love to taste new things, though, so I was open minded and gave it a try. I was shocked at how good it was! Chick peas take the place of the tuna, and she used some kelp powder (I think that's what she said it was) that gives it a mild tuna taste. I would eat that whether I was vegan or not--it was that good!

I've had this vegan cookbook called Thug Kitchen in my pantry for a while, and I've never used it, so I'm going to dust it off and try some recipes. I've heard really great things about this cookbook.



Since I'm going to be trying lots of new things, it'll also give me something fun to blog about. I thought the idea of doing the challenge between Thanksgiving and the New Year sounded better than just for December; so, it'll be a little over a month, but the plan is to do it from November 25th-December 31st (36 days). I don't have any plans going on for the rest of the year (other than a couple of family things) so now is the perfect time to try this challenge.

I'm not really sure what I'm hoping to get out of doing this. I like doing challenges because it gives me a focus and something to work toward. Also, it tests my discipline; and it feels good to complete something difficult. In the end, I hope that I will enjoy vegetables more, and maybe branch out my meal rotation a bit. It'll be a fun experiment, if nothing else.

Well, I hope that everyone has a nice Thanksgiving! My mom is cooking dinner, so we are going to her house. My brothers are going to be there, too. Should be fun! :)

20 comments:

  1. For delicious vegan recipes, I really recommend Angela Liddon's "Oh She Glows" cookbooks... her "15 minute avocado pasta" is delicious and so easy! All of her recipes that I've tried have had a lot of flavor and you definitely don't feel like you're missing out on anything.

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    1. I've tried a couple of her recipes before, and I was definitely a fan of them! I LOVED her banana/cranberry/oat breakfast bars (can't remember what they are called). I will have to make those again :)

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  2. I second the Oh She Glows recommendation! Her two books are great (i adore all her soups) and her website is also full of recipes. If you google "oh she glows cumin lime quinoa salad), you'll find an amazing salad that's always a hit at potlucks.

    I'm not vegan either but I love vegan food and I'm thinking about doing a vegan January after the holidays. :)

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    1. That salad sounds delicious! I love anything with lime as a dominant flavor.

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  3. I love that book! I've made some of the recipes and they are great. They also have a party grub book full of appetizers too. Good Luck on the challenge!

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    1. Thanks for the input! I'm not even sure where to start--there are so many great looking recipes in the book!

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  4. Thug Kitchen is such a great cookbook! I am not a vegan and I use it a lot. Tons of good stuff!

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  5. Definitely try Oh she glows...book and website. Also, the minimalist baker's website...great vegan food!

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    1. I love that there are so many great websites these days for different ways of eating. It makes the challenge much easier!

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  6. I've been vegan for almost a year now and I'm so happy you are doing this challenge <3 This lifestyle is not restrictive at all. I'm eating waaay more now that I'm vegan (whilst maintaning my weight loss) because plant foods are so caloric dilute. You can do so many things with potatoes!!! Embrace the carbs! Best of luck xx

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    1. I adore carbs, and my body feels best when I eat a lot of them, so there will be no problem getting in my carbs ;) Bonnie loves potatoes, and she gave me all sorts of ideas to top them with!

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  7. Oh, this website is AMAZING for vegan recipes (there's also a youtube channel): http://www.thevegancorner.com/

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  8. I am so excited for you to embark on this challenge. Remember your food can be VERY simple, it doesn't have to be elaborate recipes. I know you are off peanut butter but PB&J is awesome on Dave's Killer Bread. I know you LOVE the avocado sandwiches and the chickpea 'tuna' salad. Loaded sweet potatoes with corn, black beans, salsa, avocado, red onion and Ms. Dash Chipotle are da bomb. Beans and rice, tacos OMG the taco ideas are endless and you can put just about anything on a potato. Fruit and oatmeal are my go to breakfast when it's cold outside. My taste buds have been on a joyride for the past few years due to me branching out and trying new cuisines. I am here for you. Maybe some of your readers will try the challenge with you? I am a resource for whatever questions you might have. XOXO

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    1. I bought a couple of sweet potatoes, so I'm going to try your favorite little concoction. I think I'm going to have fun with this challenge! I'll be texting you frequently ;)

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  9. Check out the minimalist baker blog-more great vegan recipes and lots of sweet treats that are vegan!

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  10. I love this cookbook, too. Can I recommend NOT starting with a veganized mac n cheese? Make things that are supposed to be dairy-free in the first place, and they'll taste new and fresh and not like a sad copy of something you already love.
    I'm not vegan, but am lactose-intolerant, so I gravitate towards vegan recipes. When I have bought expensive fake cheeses, I have been disappointed. Plus, they're really processed. Just my two cents.

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  11. That's going to be a challenging one, especially since the timing is in the Holiday season! But, I think you're going to be fine. There are lots of vegan recipes that are delicious, after all! And I think you can still enjoy some cream-based foods, just make them dairy-free, though!

    Anyway, I am glad to see another person who enjoys dairy (I LOVE ice cream!) but not so with cheese. My friends looks at me like I am crazy. Well, I can tolerate cheese on pizzas, lasagna, etc, but with pure, raw cheese (like a condiment in bread)? Not so much. I cannot say I am lactose-intolerant though since I love milk, creams, and shakes. But for some reason I have this love-hate relationship with cheese :/

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  12. Why are you not interested in eating a plant based diet for more than a month? Study after study have shown that it is the healthiest way to eat; helping to prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes!

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  13. I have a lot of vegan friends and they swear by Thug Kitchen! Good luck!

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