Day 1 Vegan Experiment – Pink Cashew Cream Pasta

Hi there:

Day 1 of my Vegan Experiment came to an end with salmon pink cashew cream pasta which looked a bit radioactive, but tasted delicious.  Let me start from the beginning.

I was late to work and a little frazzled with all the food preparation that is part of Chris Karr's Crazy Sexy You Program, but I was not hungry.  That could be because I binged last night on Chinese food as if it were my last night on Earth and I would never get to eat steamed pork dumplings, pork fried rice, shrimp and broccoli, or egg rolls ever again. In life.  Or maybe it's because the program allows us to eat a good amount of food on a daily basis, including a hearty and very satisfying meal of cashew cream pasta for dinner.

I started out the day with lemon water and green tea followed by a smoothie made of a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, almond milk, spinach and hemp seeds.  The recipe made two servings, so I had one for breakfast and the other as an afternoon snack. I cheated a little and added a teaspoon of honey and a little vanilla extract to sweeten the brew.  It tasted good, but I didn't like the crunchiness of the hemp seeds. I like a creamy smoothie, not to chew on them.

I had 1/3 cup of trail mix as a midmorning snack. That held me until lunchtime when I enjoyed a hearty portion of potato, bean and kale stew I had packed into a thermos.

Being a big girl with a hearty appetite, I didn't trust that the afternoon smoothie would keep me from peeling off the road into the next McDonald's drive through on the way home, so I packed carrots and hummus to munch on instead.  I ate the carrots around 3:00 p.m., then drank the smoothie at 4:00 p.m.  That was a bit much. The overload of fiber made me feel way too full and sent my tummy into a tizzy. I won't be doing that again.

I was so full that I didn't start cooking dinner until after 7:00p.m.  Luckily, I know my way around a kitchen, but, like most lawyers and engineers I know, I don't follow directions very well.  I messed up the cashew cream pasta recipe by forgetting to add the cashews I'd been soaking since 3:30p.m. to the blender when I made the sauce. The rice pasta penne still tasted delicious with just the blended tomatoes, nutritional yeast, seasonings, and almond milk.  I was about halfway through chowing down when I remembered the cashews.  I jumped up, ran into the kitchen, took the second half of the can of diced tomatoes and blended that with the soaked cashews in my Nutri Ninja Pro * The result? A thick salmon pink tomato cashew cream that clung to the sides of the blender cup like a lover.

I scraped it off the sides, slid it into the pasta pot, mixed it in good, and gave it a taste. That pasta was so good I let out a moan like I used to when my ex . . . but I digress. Let's just say it was really good and I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I never thought I would say that about a vegan dinner.

I'm so satisfied I didn't even make the chocolate sauce to go with my strawberries for dessert.  Well, that and the fact that I had already scarfed down 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate when I got home.

We're allowed to have 1.0 ounce of a dark chocolate bar on Sunday.  I saw the bar in the refrigerator and got a little happy with it.  I couldn't help myself.  It was a Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar. I just meant to have a little taste but kept going back for more.  Needless to say, I won't be buying that again in the next three weeks.  It's not even “legal” on the Crazy Sexy You program since it's only 55% dark chocolate (it needs to be 70% dark).

So now it's bedtime and I managed to get through Day 1 without gnawing off my arm, cheating too much, or snapping at anyone.  Let's hope the remaining days go this well.



My 21 Day Vegan Experiment: Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You Program

Hi there:

Since you haven't heard from me in a while, I decided to jumpstart my return with a bang.  I decided to do something that will sound crazy – especially to anyone who knows how much I love a smothered porkchop, fried chicken, cheese and shrimp prepared any way there is . . . but I digress.  I made the decision to try Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy You program and go not only vegan, but also dairy free, coffee free, and gluten free for the next 21 days.  Yeah, you read that right: meat free, dairy free, coffee free and gluten free for the next 21 days.

No, I haven't lost my mind or joined a cult, nor did aliens abduct and impersonate me. I made the decision to join Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy You program because I am the heaviest I've ever been and I would love to get off blood pressure medication for good.

The program, which involves a fully planned vegan 21 day meal plan (complete with snacks and desserts), an exercise program (3-5 days per week), and a daily meditation regimen, is designed to promote not only weight loss, but an overall health reboot. There's even a private Facebook group where members of the program get daily tips and support from Kris Carr and her team,  a weekly group coaching call with Kris Carr, and weekly office hours with her chef and the nutritionists, who also pop into the Facebook group all week to answer questions.

Even though they don't call the program a cleanse, apparently some people who are detoxing from junk food, caffeine and other goodies may experience both the positive results and the temporary symptoms typically brought on by a cleanse.

Kris Carr and her team do a great job of helping the members prepare for the program by offering shopping guides, cooking guides, food storage and prep tips, and restaurant and business trip survival guides.  The survival guides were very helpful as I will be away for a week attending a writers conference during the program and won't be able to prepare meals in accordance with the program.  I've already scoped out all the vegan restaurants and juice/smoothie spots near my hotel.  I also figured out that I could order vegetarian Chinese food.

Before perusing the guides, I knew very little about how to eat vegan and meet my nutritional needs. Being a comfort food mama, I was very happy to discover that some of my favorite items were “legal” on the program like lentil soup, almond milk, dark chocolate, green tea, vegetarian chili, brown rice, stir fry veggies, gluten free noodles  and smoothies to name a few.  In fact, the recipe book contained a number of soups and stews we can have.

I'm not going to lie though, going without any meat at all, even fish and hard boiled eggs , will be a challenge over the next 21 days.  Not having any coffee will also be a challenge.  Some of my coworkers plan to give me a wide berth over the next three weeks because they figure that I'll be positively evil until I adjust.  That's pretty hilarious considering how much I love to laugh and how friendly I normally am.

I'm going to keep you posted on this journey by blogging every night for the next 21 days.  My plan is to drop a few pounds, jump start my health and develop healthy eating, exercise and meditation habits.  Let's see how it goes.