Posts Tagged ‘fighting heart disease’

I started my journey towards a healthy heart at the end of last August.  What prompted this journey was a visit to my doctor who informed me that my cholesterol was way up there and I needed to get my butt on some medication.  If you want to know the whole story, read my about me page.

Heading down the road to veganland has not been an easy one.  The only thing I have stuck to 100% is that since last August, I have not eaten any land meat.  Nothing that walks the earth has entered my mouth.  If it has hooves or a beak, it is safe from me.  I miss things like a good hamburger and bacon; the two go together quite well.

In my home I do not cook with dairy or eggs 90% of the time.  I have found some great alternatives.  I am still having trouble finding a great tasting flavored “coffee mate” and “whip cream” replacement for my morning coffee which I enjoy about 3 times a week .  I still eat seafood.  I am not ready to stop that yet.

When I go out to eat I don’t usually stress too much.  I do not order meat, however, I know that many of the things I have ordered include eggs or dairy in the ingredients.  This is what I have a hard time with, then of course there’s chocolate but that’s another story.  While recently eating out with meat eaters, I got the eye roll while I was ordering because I was asking questions.  It’s not easy because there is not this huge support system and I don’t have any vegan friends.  My husband aka “grill king” has been extremely supportive and has actually cut way back on his meat intake.  He even went with me to a vegan restaurant recently (I’ll blog about that later).

I live in a small town and recently went to one of the restaurants where I learned that the only thing I could safely order was a salad and a baked sweet potato.  All of their vegetables and beans had meat parts floating in them for “seasoning” and “flavor”.  What is up with that?  Basically, a vegetarian cannot eat there.

Now for my health status….  I recently had my blood tested again while off my medication.  I was really nervous about having this done because I did not want to hear from any family members about how I’ve been doing all this non-meat eating stuff and it hasn’t worked and blah blah blah blah blah.  The truth is I would never hear the end of it if my cholesterol was not lower and everyone would expect me to go back my meat eating ways. Not happening!!!

And the results (drum roll please)……while my cholesterol is still not as low as it needs to be, it has DROPPED 40 POINTS!!!!!!!  Yes folks, that is 40 points just from giving up land meat.  What has this done for me….it has encouraged me to continue on my path and to find a way to completely rid my diet of dairy and eggs, cut back on the oils, say goodbye to fried foods and cut back on the “whites” while adding in more whole wheats/grains.  Once I get this mastered, I’ll have that blood work done again and see if I dropped further.  The only thing I am not yet giving up is my seafood but I may limit it to twice a week.  So, I am somewhere in the middle of my journey and my blood test results have made it a happy middle.  Having a happy middle validates everything I am doing and encourages me to keep moving forward.

For all my relatives out there that have this “hereditary cholesterol gene,” take note and stop eating all that meat!!!!  That goes for you Uncle George and you Aunt Peggy and you too sister dear.  There are others;  you know who you are.  Go have something healthy and meatless instead.  I love you all.  Enjoy!!!


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So the other evening the tribe decided they wanted hamburgers for dinner.  Uh Oh!  I love hamburgers or at least I use to.  I knew this would be tough. Grill King was absolutely thrilled to have that grill smoking.  It must be a man thing.  I personally believe his happiness stemmed from the fact that he was not only having meat, but that the kids would be joining him on his favorite ritual of stuffing a cholesterol laden animal part into his mouth.

I raided the fridge to see what I would have in place of hamburgers.  I found a portobello mushroom, an orange bell pepper and an onion.  I gave the top of the mushroom, a big slice of the pepper and the onion to Grill King and asked that he grilled them along with burgers (as long as they didn’t touch the burgers.)

Then I proceeded to make some hummus for the spread.  I used my basic hummus recipe which I must say is quite yummy.  The basic recipe is usually the same.  I just switch up the flavors depending on my mood.  This time in my hummus I added two big handfuls of fresh spinach and 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes instead of the roasted red peppers and portobellos mushrooms in my hummus recipe.  Now, about this hummus –  It was delicious, however, it was not pretty.  The spinach and sun dried tomatoes gave it a color that fell somewhere in between chicken poop and a dirty baby diaper.  Not a pretty sight.  So my advice is to not serve this at parties.  Save it for sandwiches and spreads where you and those close to you are the only ones who see it.  I took a picture of it but if I showed to you, you would go ewwww and might run for the bathroom.

When the vegetables are grilled to perfection, take the bun of your choice and lather it up with the hummus then pile on the onion, the mushroom and the pepper.  Don’t forget some lettuce.  Place the bun top on, press it all together and chow down.  I thought I would miss the hamburger but I did not.  My portobello mushroom burger was fantastic.  I did not miss out on any of the taste just the fat and cholesterol.  Gotta love that!

Served with the burgers was some roasted home fries that started as an experiment and ended up darn tasty.

3 medium potatoes, diced

Coat potatoes with 1 -2 Tbsp of olive oil or the oil of your choice, or even cooking spray

Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried chopped onion, and chili powder

Stir around so all potatoes are coated

Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  YUM!

Portobello Mushroom Burger with Roasted Home Fries

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First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Yes, I caved but no it wasn’t with meat!!!  I just had my very first meatless Thanksgiving.  Not an easy task.  My mouth was watering over the turkey and the ham.  I mean, I haven’t had land meat in three months – no hooves, beaks, varmints, etc.  I thought I was over it and then today I wanted a bite of turkey really bad.  I somehow managed to hold strong and I did it without causing harm to another person.  I sat there watching my family including Grill King chow down on meat.  Absolutely no compassion!  Not eating turkey and ham on Thanksgiving was a huge feat when one is looking at a plate of meat like the one below.

Ham and Turkey aka Hooves and Beaks

This year Thanksgiving was at my house.  Everyone brought something.  I was in charge of Sweet Potato Casserole, Corn Casserole, Pineapple Au Gratin, and a couple of snacks/appetizers.  Since I am still eating some dairy, I didn’t get stressed about anything.  There was no meat or eggs in anything I fixed.

I completely Veganified my Sweet Potato Casserole which is always good but is usually filled with butter, eggs and milk.  It turned out absolutely fantastic.  One of those experiments that went exactly right!  So good in fact that I must share:

First, keep in mind that I was cooking for a crowd, so you can easily divide this recipe in half.


6 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup agave

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp ground flax

Mix all together and place in baking dish.



1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted earth balance or non dairy “butter” of your choice

Mix all the topping ingredients together until big lumps are out of flour and sugar.  Sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Delicious!


Sweet Potato Casserole - Completely Vegan

Now for the I Caved part.  My Aunt Sallie makes the best homemade chocolate cream pies I have ever had.  I have been eating these pies for as long as I can remember.  They are usually only around at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Since I had recently stopped eating eggs, which I really miss by the way, I asked if eggs were in her chocolate cream pie.  She said yes but that she was absolutely sure that all the egg went into the the other half of the pie and not my piece.  So since my Aunt Sallie is a very intelligent person (she not only is a college grad with a business degree but also a CPA), I took her word for it and had some chocolate cream pie.  I am almost positive that all the egg was in the other half of the pie. I didn’t taste any in mine.

I will mention something very nice that my mother did.  For the first time ever, she fixed her green beans without meat.  This of course was done for yours truly.  So, not only was the sweet potato casserole all vegan, so was the green beans.  Hey, two dishes are better than none.  Maybe next year, I’ll get them to veganify a couple of more dishes.  It could happen.






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So in searching my cookbooks I found a recipe for chickpea cutlets. Thank you Veganomicon and authors Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero!  My thought was:  perfect, this will be our “meat ” for the evening.  Grill King laughed at the thought of something called chickpea cutlets taking the place of chicken, ribs, or steak.  I had to agree, anything with the word cutlets sounds like a meat dish.  But I was determined to have a complete vegan meal no matter what.  Therefore, I hid the butter! After I mixed together the ingredients for the chickpea cutlets, threw together a salad and cooked some quinoa (I have a really big bag of this stuff – COSTCO), Grill King did the honors of cooking the cutlets.  I placed this meal on the table and called everyone in.  My daughters reaction to seeing the cutlets – “I thought we were having a vegan meal, this is fish, you can’t have fish.”  Ah Hah!  Maybe chickpea cutlets can replace meat.  Although to be honest with all of you, I have not yet given up fish or seafood  (this will be a really hard road for me and I’m not sure I’m willing to travel it at this point.)  Does an oyster have a mama or a face?  Tiptoeing remember?  However land meat/things with hooves or beaks are in the past.  They’re out-a-here!  for me anyway.  So we ate our “vegan meat”and even my pickiest eater ate the chickpea cutlets.  Both kids liked the meal and Grill King stated that I am welcome to make these cutlets anytime.  See, miracles do happen and everyone in my family had a completely meatless meal that they enjoyed and that was also veganified (a word?…probably not).   Sounds good though.

My Chickpea Cutlets - Recipe Courtesy of Veganomicon

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Super Yummy Oatmeal with Sliced Almonds and Blueberries

I remember having oatmeal when I was young.  My mom would fix it for my sister and I on cold mornings (yes, sometimes even South Florida has cold mornings).  It would fill us up before school and being warm, it tasted great on those chilly mornings.  I’ve had oatmeal several times over the years and its always been delicious, of course I always added both butter and milk.  NOT THIS TIME!  I made some Super Yummy Oatmeal (that’s what I’m calling it) vegan style!  My recipe:

Boil the oats with 1/2 water and 1/2 almond milk

when it’s ready, add – a tsp vanilla,  1 – 2  tbsp brown sugar (depending on your taste)

stir, then top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, sliced almonds and blueberries or the topping of your choice.

Oatmeal is soooo good for you.  Eating it is like having your own little warrior fighting against both cancer and heart disease.  It helps lower your bad cholesterol and is filled with great things your body needs like fiber, protein, iron, and vitamins E and B, just to name a few.  There are many who do not like oatmeal but there are so many  things you can add to oatmeal  to yummify it.  My version includes almond milk, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, sliced almonds and blueberries.  Yummy!

From this one little recipe, I learned that I can make something just as yummy or maybe even yummier without things like butter and milk.  One step at a time….tiptoeing remember?

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