Sep 15, 2011
Ash

Week 1 Of 28 Day Vegan Challenge

I made it through the first week and I have to say that its been easier than I thought to kick out meat, dairy, refined sugar, soda, alcohol, and oils. I’ve found that I’m sticking to a few different meals that I enjoy because they are easy to make (and cleanup). I don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal. The staples of my diet have been the whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and sandwich with vegan mayo/mustard I mentioned in my Day 2 of Vegan Diet post from last week.  This week I experimented with garbanzo beans and concocted some tasty dishes.   Earlier in the week I made my own hummus that was free of any oils.  I used canned garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tamari sauce, garlic, and vegetable broth.  I’ll post the recipe in a couple of days.  I also mixed some ingredients together and made my own healthy garbanzo bean salad.  The ingredients for this delicious salad (see image at top of post) are garbanzo beans, avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped mint leaf, lime juice, and shallots.  I’ve been snacking on organic vegan light rye cracker made by Ryvita, organic peaches, organic apples, and baby carrots.  I’ve also got a bag of walnuts that I dip into whenever I feel a small hunger pang.

So what are the physical results so far? While I feel lighter and a bit more energetic, I’m a bit disappointed about the weight loss, or lack thereof.  I started this challenge at 208lbs and in the last week I’ve been fluctuating between 208lbs and 206lbs depending on the time day.  I know its early so I’m not discouraged, but truth be told at the onset of this challenge I thought the weight would be dropping faster than it is.

Many of my friends who have thought about a vegan or vegetarian diet tell me their biggest obstacle is the availability of plant based options at local restaurants.  If you live in a major city like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or even Oklahoma City (large raw vegan community there) then you’ve probably got access to a wide variety of delicious options.  Last week I ordered raw vegan food from an awesome restaurant here in San Francisco called Cafe Gratitude.  If you’re interested in finding out about restaurant options in your area, stay tuned for my upcoming post about some of the best vegan restaurants in major cities around the world.

If you have any questions about my diet or anything else, please leave a comment and I will respond to you. If you have any ideas for recipes or would like to make a guest post on my blog, click on the contact me link at the top and send me a message. Enjoy!

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Sep 12, 2011
Ash

Top 10 Celebrity Vegans

Alicia Silverstone Sexy

No longer is a plant based diet just for hippies or the do-gooders of the world.  People from all walks of life have taken notice of the health benefits from going vegan.  Over the past few years, Veganism has also infiltrated Hollywood ranks and you’ll be shocked to see which celebrities have said goodbye to meat and dairy forever!  I’ve put together a list of the top 10 vegans in Hollywood.  Let me know if you think any other vegan celebrities should have made the list . Now on to the list:

10. Mike Tyson – Seeing Tyson on this list will probably surprise just about everyone.  After what he did to Evander Holyfield’s ear during that infamous boxing match, I think all of us assumed he was strictly a meat eater.  Fortunately, Mike has grown a bit wiser with age and has opted for a vegan lifestyle.

9. Anthony Kiedis – When I think of this frontman of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I think back to the time I met him backstage at Lollapallooza.  He was living the rockstar life complete with 2 girls in his arms, drugs in one hand, and alcohol in the other.  With that in mind, its also hard to imagine Mr. Kiedis now being on a top 10 celebrity vegan list but low and behold here he is.  Age has a way of putting you in check with reality.  In Anthony’s case its the vegan lifestyle reality.

8. Andre 3000 - Half of the duo OutKast, Andre 3000 is 99.9% vegan aside from the occasional desire to eat honey.  Andre is so committed that when he was asked what his last meal on Earth would be, he confidently replied “Broccoli”!

7. Prince - My wife and I were both surprised to see Prince on this list because there is something primal about him that stirs images of a lion hunting a deer in the forest.

6. Ellen DeGeneres - Ellen DeGeneres along with her partner Portia de Rossi became vegan just before their wedding in 2009.  Ellen made the decision to become a vegan after watching the documentary Earthlings and witnessing the inhumane treatment of animals which were slaughtered for food consumption.  In an interview with Katie Couric, Ellen says that she believes the negative energy from the fear and suffering animals feel just before they are slaughtered is transferred to the person eating the meat.

5. Woody Harrelson - Woody is a passionate vegan who also dabbles in raw food. The 50 year old Cheers alumni hasn’t eaten meat in 50 years.  I think the vegan lifestyle has really done wonders for him, because if you look at this Woody Harrelson YouTube video where he talks about raw food veganism he looks like he is 30 years old.

4. Joaquin Phoenix - Joaquin has been a dedicated vegan since experiencing an epiphany at the young age of three.  He was on a fishing trip and at one point he witnessed a fish being caught.  This is what he said about that moment: ”As one fish was caught, he was writhing, then he was thrown against the side of the boat…The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death.” Joaquin is the narrator behind the 2005 documentary, Earthlings. Earthlings is arguably one of the most powerful and persuasive documentaries made on the suffering of animals used for food, entertainment, fashion, and medical research.

3. Tobey Maguire - Tobey has been a vegetarian since 1992 and became a vegan in 2009.  Tobey was voted the World’s Sexiest Vegetarian by PETA in 2002.  Many people label themselves vegans because they don’t consume food products made from animals, however Tobey takes veganism a big step further.  Tobey has eliminated leather and other animal products from his clothes, his car, and his house (that is some serious dedication that really impresses this blogger!) Tobey is even spreading the word and converting people.  Its rumored that while making the movie, Brothers, Tobey converted fellow co-star Natalie Portman from vegetarian to bonafide vegan.  Great work Spidey!

2. Natalie Portman - As you might have read above, Natalie became a vegan through Tobey Maguire’s influence. Natalie was a vegetarian for many years, but decided to forgo the dairy as well because of her love for animals.

1. Alicia Silverstone - Of all the celebrities on this list, no one else puts as much energy into promoting going vegan as Alicia Silverstone.  Alicia turned vegan in 2001 after watching a documentary about  how animals were raised for food consumption. She looked at her dog and realized that if she wasn’t eating her dog why would she eat other animals that also had feelings and didn’t want to die. Alicia says that 2 weeks after going vegan she noticed remarkable positive changes in her body such as improved skin, stronger nails, increased energy, and was happier overall.  Alicia has an active blog discussing veganism called The Kind Life and has also written a book about her vegan journey called, The Kind Diet.

 

 

Sep 7, 2011
Ash

Mint Leaf and Tomato Sandwich

vegan sandwich

This is one of my favorite lunch recipes because its delicious, super healthy, and can be prepared quickly! I would argue that its one of the best vegan sandwich recipes out there.

Servings: 1

Continue reading »

Sep 7, 2011
Ash

Day 2 Of My Vegan Diet

 

Today was day 2 of the 28 day vegan diet and its been easier than I thought to cut out meat, dairy, and oils from my diet.  For breakfast I had Cascadian Farms Organic Raisin Bran cereal with Organic Oat Milk.  This is the first time I’ve ever tried Oat Milk as a milk alternative (in the past I’ve had soy milk) and the flavor is amazing.  Oat milk is so good that I’ve fooled my taste buds into thinking its regular milk!

For lunch I had whole wheat organic penne pasta with a Whole Foods 365 Red Pepper Tomato pasta sauce.  Eating pasta seems counterintuitive for losing weight but there is a big difference in whole wheat pasta and regular white pastas.  After eating a whole bowl of pasta I still had a light feeling versus the weighing down feeling of white pastas.

For dinner I made a sandwich using Alvarado St. Bakery’s Sprouted Sourdough bread, veggie mayonnaise (without sugar), organic mustard, sliced organic cherry tomatoes, organic mint leaves, capers, and cucumbers.  It was delicious!  I ended up making another one because it was so good!

In between meals I snacked on Ryvita Dark Rye crackers (no oils here), organic yellow nectarines, and organic baby carrots. Prior to the start of this 28 day challenge, my drink of choice was a diet coke. Since soda pop is not allowed on this diet, I’ve switched to drinking raw Synergy Kombucha with chia seeds (tons of antioxidants and 8 times the omega 3′s of Salmon).  Its an amazing drink that gets you feeling energized with each sip.

Sep 6, 2011
Ash

How High Is My Cholesterol?

starting weight - carnivore

A big part of this vegan journey is to see a measurable difference in my health after the 28 days.  The way I will determine success will be based on a reduction in my overall cholesterol, amount of weight loss, and number of waist sizes I go down.  In order to effectively measure these three things, I will list my starting numbers here.  I will be providing regular updates on any weight loss and waist size reductions through posts on this blog. After the completion of the 28 days, I will go to my doctor and get a cholesterol test done and post here.

Starting Weight: 208.6 Lbs

Starting Waist Size: 35

Starting Cholesterol: 242

Sep 5, 2011
Ash

Why Am I Going Vegan?

Going Vegan

After eating the omnivore’s diet my entire life, one would wonder “what caused you to go down the path of a vegan?”  Well, its a combination of things really.  I would guess it started about 6 months ago when I went to my doctor for a routine physical.  My medical score card stated that my cholesterol was starting to creep up into the “your getting old so watch what you eat” category.  Undeterred I continued to eat my mix of favorite food and drink including cheeseburgers, pizza, pork quesadillas, sour patch kids, and diet coke.   Fortunately these weren’t the only things I was eating otherwise I would probably already have one foot in the grave.  I also mixed in salads, egg whites, lean chicken, grapefruit juice, and water. Nonetheless, in the back of my head I knew I needed to change my overall dietary habits at some point, not just for reducing my cholesterol but also to reduce my increasing body weight.  In an effort to reduce my body weight, I would start diets which included eating chicken breast daily while eliminating almost any kind of carb or sugar from my diet.  Anyone who has done a diet like this knows just how difficult it is to eliminate carbs all together while at the same time robbing your body of essential nutrients.

A couple weeks ago I saw a special report on CNN called The Last Heart Attack which really got me thinking about my health and the things I am doing (or not doing) to maintain it.  Coronary heart disease is something I never really thought too much about, but it runs in my family so I  run an increased risk of getting it and/or having a heart attack.  The CNN report interviews cutting edge medical doctors who say with modern technology heart attacks are now almost completely preventable in the US.  Through the use of calcium heart scan machines, doctors can now see early levels of plaque build up in your arteries decades before it turns into what will be heart disease.  Later in the TV report, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Dr. Rip Esselystyn who boldly says that the way to avoid heart attacks is completely through diet.  He says the excessive consumption of meats (beef, chicken, fish) and dairy are responsible for coronary heart disease as well as increased cholesterol levels in Americans.   Dr. Esselstyn suggests that a plant based diet will lower your cholesterol and almost eliminate the risk of artery blockage.

After exploring what items I could eat on a plant based diet, I decided it was not a difficult goal and one that was completely reachable.  Rather than saying that I was going to be vegan forever, I decided to make it a 28 day challenge so I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After the 28 days are up, I will re-evaluate how the diet is working for me and if my cholesterol and weight have significantly decreased.  I will document my journey on this website.