Welcome to Nature Maven's Healthy Eating Healthy Planet Blog

Welcome! If you're a vegan, you'll find support and suggestions you may be able to use here. If you're a vegetarian as I was when I started this blog in June 2008, reading my archived posts may be of interest to you. If you haven't gotten here already, I hope you'll consider trying the vegan way of life, too.

As I try new recipes, learn to eat in restaurants, entertain non-veg friends and make the changes necessary to bring my life into greater harmony with the planet, I share what I learn. And little joys and other thoughts get thrown into the mix here, too.

In March 2009 after starting to read The Engine 2 Diet by vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, I became fully vegan, to the best of my knowledge and ability, and I post entries here as I live and learn in this lifestyle. It's definitely a process of experience and discovery.

Please check out the Vegan News Headlines supplied by Google News Reader down on the right, and see my Blogroll for just a few of the choice blogs and websites I've found useful.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Experience with the Eat to Live 6-Week Plan

A little over six weeks ago I began trying to follow the Eat to Live (ETL) plan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I saying "trying" because I didn't adhere to the restrictions entirely, and yet I still managed pretty well.
I learned quite a bit over the past 6 weeks.

1) Breakfast: I love green smoothies (and pink ones, and orange and red ones, too) and I have fully established the habit and preference of having them 5 or more times a week. On the days that I have a bagel breakfast, I try to have a smoothie for lunch. That works! I've learned to add protein powder to improve nutrition and medjool dates or date bits to add sweetness. When I'm out of spinach or kale, I use cole slaw mix or salad greens. They all give me delicious healthy fiber and nutrition. I found great new products called PB2 and PB2-Chocolate flavor that are powdered peanut butter less 85% of the fat, only 45 calories for 2 TBS and adding protein and fiber to smoothies and soups. Carrot juice is a must to have in the fridge, and cup of that in a smoothie is delicious!

2) Lunch: Guess what? Salads don't need dressing! I get a huge salad for lunch and never add dressing anynore. If I can, I add some avocado, or a little bean salad to get a smidge of oil to coat the greens ever so lightly. I have learned to enjoy these salads, and I have stopped buying vegan chicken burritos at Whole Foods, as yummy as they are. I have stopped buying and scarfing down a container of vegan chicken made from soy protein. It's too much concentrated food.

3) Dinner: I switched my usual Monday Mexican salad protein from Gardein 7-Grain Crispy Tenders (which are great, but for now, I'm trying to get away from faux meats) to black beans. I sometimes take a couple of tablespoons of guacamole and thin it with lime juice or vinegar and use it as dressing. I make stir fries with veggies and beans, but I must admit I don't enjoy them that much. Dinner is my meal that still needs the most transformation. I am eating Amy's vegan entrĂ©es quite often on work nights. We eat dinner out more than we eat in, truth be told. It's been this way for decades for us. We'd go to meetings and eat out afterwards with friends or just the two of us. On weekends we try to get together with friends we don't see during the week. So we meet in restaurants. Last night we went to Chili's and I got the Caribbean Salad with black beans instead of chicken or shrimp, and corn on the cob without butter. Delish!

4) Restaurant eating: I've learned that I can get vegan food in most places, with a little effort. The chains such as Red Robin, Friendlys, Chilis, and Moe's all have beans, Bocas or tofu options. LongHorn will put 3 sides on a platter if you ask, and sometimes they have margarine in the kitchen and will give me some to put on my potato (white or sweet). A favorite place has become the Japanese teahouse near our country place where the owner makes me an udon hot pot with vegetable tempura on top. Amazing!

A Challenge: We have brunch out every week or so, and that remains a problem because to my knowledge all pancakes and waffles have egg. I've learned to bring in some Earth Balance in a wax paper bag in my purse, but I can't take the egg out. I get a side of home fries with that. Yeah, too many carbs and too much fat, but tasty. I believe I must make waffles and pancakes at home more often. My husband wouldn't object!

5) Snacking: I have largely eliminated unplanned snacks. If I have a vegan protein bar, I log it into the tracker. I usually have fruit or vegan sorbet or ice cream about an hour after dinner, and that is planned and logged in. I try not to even taste a nut or a chip on the fly. It's no good, and leads only to craving more. I like EatSmart veggie crisps that give you 2 cups of crispy treats for 140 calories (look like styrofoam in green, yellow and orange from spinach, potato and carrot) but I make myself measure them and count them and only have for special occasions like baseball or football games. Same with organic popcorn. Nuts? ETL recommends no more than a handful of nuts per day, and since they are high in calories, I don't choose them daily.

6) Weight: I did lose about 5 pounds, as of today. I feel good about this, even though I know others have lost so much more in the first 6 weeks of Eat to Live. Identify, Don't Compare, right? I know why I have not because I still eat vegan foods that are sweet and starchy, and I'd need to lower my calorie limit to take more off. This is as much as I was willing to actually do, but I have seen a growing change in the right direction. Progress not Perfection, One Day at a Time!

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