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Posts Tagged ‘journey towards a healthy heart’

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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My family Christmas Party is this weekend.  When I say family I mean Aunts, Uncles, Cousins (first, second and third) and everyone that is married to, connected to and spawned from.  It is a huge family event that we have every year.  I always look forward to it because some of these people I do not see all year.  I have a close family and instead of dreading family events, we have always looked forward to them.  My cousins and I grew up like brothers and sisters.

Santa makes an appearance every year and brings a gift to all the young ones.  Us not so young ones end up playing some sort of money game which usually turns out hilarious with some guest of a distant cousin walking off with the jackpot while the rest of us try to decide who is that?  and should we beat them up outside and take the money back?  You think I’m kidding?

The food is always really good.  Everyone brings a dish.  Usually it’s a finger type food.  We also have turkey or ham and some side dishes.  There is always tons of food which brings me to the whole reason for this blog.  I had an interesting phone call today.  It was from my Aunt Eleanor.  The party is at her house and she calls to see what I am bringing.  Now I’m wondering… is she calling everyone else to see what they are bringing or just the one who is currently tiptoeing towards veganism.  You gotta wonder here because most of my family is a little freaked with the whole vegan thing.  I’m starting to think that they picture me digging up roots in the yard, chowing on them, and then hugging a tree while I sing Kum ba yah.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that (remember the Seinfeld  episode).  

First my Aunt Eleanor asks me what I’m doing, then she brings up the kids and the Christmas Party.  Next thing out of her mouth is what do I plan on bringing?  Then the real reason for her call escapes her lips, “I don’t want you bringing any vegan food.”  As if Vegan food is different from say….normal food.  Honestly, I’m thinking about going outside, pulling some bark off of one of the trees and throwing it in a beautiful christmas bowl just to see what happens!

Actually, I had no idea what I was bringing because here’s the deal:   Saturday morning Grill King and I have to be at a swim meet with my kids on the West Coast of Florida too early to fix anything.  When that swim meet is over, Grill King and I have to race home, get ready and be on the East Coast of Florida for the Christmas Party that same evening.  It is going to be an exhausting day.  My thought was that instead of bringing something that I had to fix, I would just pick something up.

My Aunt asked what I brought last year.  It was brie, crackers and red pepper jelly which by the way is super yummy and since I have not yet given up dairy (though I have cut it back big time), it was doable again.  It’s super easy and I happen to have everything I need to do it.  I may not eat it myself but at least the others will enjoy it.  This satisfied my Aunt who hung up thinking she had just saved the Christmas party from some bark and leaf salad.

Now I am somewhat ticked because if I had time I would make a fabulous vegan dish and not tell anyone.  Then after they devoured it and asked for the recipe, I would tell them IT’S VEGAN!!!!  But what’s a girl to do with no time.  I do have tomorrow but unless something easy pops into my head, I guess I will bring the brie.

Next year though, my plan is to arrive bearing many delicious vegan dishes.  Somehow, I’ve got to change the vegan phobics in my family and help them to realize that just because it’s vegan does not mean that it tastes bland or yucky.  So basically the same group of people who have encouraged me  in my journey towards a healthy heart are fine with it as long as it doesn’t interrupt their eating ritual of bacon, butter and biscuits.  Hmmmm…..I wonder what their cholesterol is?

Below is a picture of my mom and Aunts.  My mom is in the middle, my Aunt Eleanor is on the left and my Aunt Sallie is on the right.  Three beautiful ladies whom I have the privilege of being related to.  Now, if only I can serve them some yummy vegan food that would make their mouth water and make them ask for seconds.  It could happen!  Just give me time.  I’m new at this.

Aunt Eleanor, Mom (Rachel), and Aunt Sallie

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