My Vegan Experiment Day 9 – Cheating With New York Pizza

Hi there:

I have a confession to make.  It's even worse than you think although you've probably already guessed that my confession involves New York pizza. Let me go back to the beginning.

I started out Tuesday on a great note.  I took a walk around the neighborhood and discovered several vegan and vegetarian eateries including Eatsa, a really cool fully automated place where you order fresh vegan quinoa bowls on an Ipad and your meal arrives in an automated box identified by number.

I discovered a nail shop and got a manicure, then kept strolling around the neighborhood until I discovered gold.  It came in the form of a food hall called Urbanspace Vanderbilt.  Located on the corner of East 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, Urbanspace Vanderbilt houses more than 20 eateries, including Two Tablespoons, a vegetarian pop-up restaurant that serves delicious vegan food such as macro bowls, noodle bowls made with organic soba noodles, summer rolls, and its signature beet and black bean burger.  The hall also houses Liquiteria, a fantastic juice and smoothie spot with a menu of healthy libations so large and amazing, I didn't know where to start.

Since it was still breakfast time, I got oatmeal with hemp seeds, cinnamon and raisins, and a lemon and cucumber water from Two Tablespoons.  It was delicious and enough to hold me for hours.  I also picked up a “Mean Green” juice to take back with me from Liquiteria made with kale, spinach, mango, bananas, golden pineapple and fresh pineapple juice. Also delicious.

Tuesday was my day off  from the conference, so I got some work done in my room. Around 2:30 or so, I headed down to the Grand Central Terminal in search of lunch and a few things to stock in my tiny refrigerator from the Grand Terminal Market.  I found a soup spot called Hale & Hearty which had a vegan three bean chili I could eat for lunch 7 days a week and never get bored.  It was that good.

I picked up some staples from the Grand Terminal Market next, including fruit and spinach for smoothies, lentil, black bean, chickpea and quinoa salads for lunches, crudite and hummus. I finished up my shopping by stopping by a CVS to get bottled water, oatmeal and almond milk.

I wasn't hungry for dinner until after 8:00p.m., but then I did something naughty.  I confess that I'd planned to do this even before I'd arrived in New York: I cheated on my vegan diet by ordering two slices of New York pizza.  I can hear the collective groans, but hear me out.

Who in their right minds comes to New York and doesn't order pizza, bagels and Chinese food? There are New York transplants all over the world wishing they could come back here just to have those things one last time.  I am not alone.

I had to get the urge out of my system and check it off my list, so I ordered the pizza and enjoyed the heck out of it last night.  Unfortunately, after going gluten and dairy free for the past week, the pizza didn't like me half as much as I liked it.  I definitely felt the difference in how the food affected me and was bloated and gassy for a while.

Stay tuned tuned to find out whether I, like so many before me,  fell into a slippery slope of cheating, or if I got back on the wagon in Day 10 of my vegan adventures.



My Vegan Experiment Day 8 – Vegan Thai Food

Hi there:

I started out Monday in a rush.  It was the day I attended a special seminar at FBI Headquarters in New York held for those lucky attendees of Thrillerfest 2017 who were quick enough to sign up for the event before it sold out. The seminar started at 9:30 a.m., but we were instructed to arrive between 8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. to allow enough time to get through security.

I didn't have time to get breakfast before I left the hotel, but I found a Starbuck's across the street from the Federal Building and got some oatmeal and a cold almond vanilla chai tea latte.  I tossed the brown sugar and used a packet of stevia and the raisins that came with the oatmeal instead.

While FBI forensic specialists talked to us about firearms, fingerprints and DNA, I drank green tea and a liter of water, and snacked on the walnuts that came with the oatmeal.

The program ended at 2:00 p.m., by which time I was starving.  After taking a train back to the hotel, I stopped in Grand Central Station and picked up something for lunch. Since I can't remember what, it couldn't have been anything to write home about. I just remember that I'd kept it light and vegan.

Dinner, thankfully, was an entirely different story.  I ordered in vegan thai food from a nearby restaurant that was fantastic.  I had vegetable pad thai made with rice noodles and steamed vegetable dumplings. That's the meal depicted in the photo. I was a happy woman chowing down on that. I had no idea vegan thai food would be so good, but I shouldn't have been surprised.

I ended the night with a cup of hibiscus tea and slept the sleep of the angels. All in all, I would call Monday a success in terms of sticking with the program.

I can't say the same for Tuesday though.  Stay tuned for more vegan adventures.



My Vegan Experiment Day 7 – Traveling While Vegan

Hi there:

This was my first time traveling while vegan (at least for the next three weeks).

I was sitting at the airport bored out of my mind when I started this post. My flight was delayed by a couple of hours.

In my rush to finish packing and get to the airport, I didn't have time for breakfast.  I thought it would be hard on a gluten free vegan at the airport and that I'd probably have to wait until I got to NYC before I could find something “legal” to eat. I'm happy to report that I was wrong.

I grabbed some steel cut oatmeal at a “Food Network” restaurant  at the airport. It came presweetened and I should have tossed the nasty tasting dried fruit on top but otherwise it was fine. I also grabbed a vegan Nugo Organic Double Dark Chocolate Protein Bar. It's soy based and boasts 10 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, it also has 15 grams of sugar making it more like a candy bar. I didn't know that Food Network had restaurants. I'm probably just late to the party.

Needless to say, the replacement plane (the original aircraft had maintenance issues) didn't arrive at 12:30pm. It was after 4:00pm when we landed at LaGuardia and then we sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes before deplaning.

They had limited options for lunch on the flight. I should have opted for the kale salad and water. If I ever find myself traveling while vegan again, I'll do that. Instead, I ended up buying a vegan and gluten free snack box with hummus, Mary's Gone Crackers, a gluten free pastry and a chocolate snack bar. I also scarfed down a bag of chips.

Having only had oatmeal and essentially sugary junk food all day, I was starving by the time I got to my room. That process was prolonged by the fact that the front desk first sent me to a room that was already occupied by someone else.  When I opened the door and saw someone else's open suitcase inside, I calmly backed out and headed to the front desk. They upgraded me to a larger room with a King-sized bed without charge.

After unpacking, I headed down to the Grand Central Terminal in search of a vegan dinner. I ran across a vendor selling Indian food and ordered vegetable rice, chickpea curry and a spicy cabbage mix. It was so good.

I later whipped out the electric kettle I'd brought with me, made myself a mug of hibiscus tea, and settled down with Echoes in Death* by Nora Roberts.

All in all, traveling while vegan wasn't a completely traumatic experience for me even though I was new to it. Now that I have some experience, I'll make better food choices going forward.

Today (this post is late) was my trip to FBI Headquarters. I'll let you know how that went in my next post.



*This is an Amazon affiliate link.  If you click on it and buy something, I will get a small commission.  You should know that I only recommend products I enjoy myself.

My Vegan Experiment Day 6 – The Ninja Pro Blender

Hi there:

I have a confession to make.  I'm in love.  It's real this time, I swear (my friends are all rolling their eyes).  With whom, you ask? Well, it's not exactly a who.  It's more like a what.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I'm talking about being in love with the Ninja Pro* Blender I bought last night on the way home from work.

Do you remember how, a few posts ago, I declared that I didn't like putting hemp seeds in my smoothie because I didn't like crunching my smoothies?  Well, I don't have that problem anymore.  The Ninja Pro* made mincemeat (more like liquid) out of those hemp seeds and the spinach stems and anything else I put into that bad boy today.

I made the most delicious, smooth and creamy smoothie for breakfast this morning made with a frozen banana, spinach, almond milk, hemp seeds, almond butter and vanilla vegan protein powder (I went a little crazy there with the protein sources) with my Ninja Pro. The nifty gadget even makes juice! This afternoon, I made myself the most fantastic juice out of strawberries, grapes, celery and cucumber. You know the Ninja Pro will make the trip with me to NYC, along with my electric kettle, bagged portions of CSY trail mix, almond butter, oatmeal, hemp seeds, protein powder and other survival gear.

For lunch I had a salad made of arugula, cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, green peas, and mixed veggies, topped with the second mushroom burger I'd purchased from Whole Foods.  For dinner, I'm having more of the lemony lentil soup.  Yum.  I'll have to make another pot of that when I get back.

I ran around like a madwoman making preparations for the trip to NYC which included cleaning my kitchen and finding creative ways to store what produce I have left so that it doesn't go bad while I'm away (I can freeze grapes, right?).

The CSY program is not just about diet, although my obsession with vegan food probably led you to believe that.  Kris Carr also wants us to meditate at least three times a week and to move our buns for at least 20 minutes a day 3-5 times a week.  I meditated today and did a 20 minute Qijong workout.  I have to say that, despite the packing and the cleaning and the clothes washing,  I feel energized and relaxed at the same time.  My body just feels good.

I got on the scale today and it said I weighed 3.0 lbs less than the last time I got on it. That can't be right.  I can't be down 8 lbs in a little over a week.  I'm going to get on another scale and weigh myself just to be sure.



*These are Amazon affiliate links.  If you click on it and buy something, I will earn a small commission.  You should know that I only recommend products that I use myself.

My Vegan Experiment Day 3 – The Quinoa Chronicles

Hi there:

I just realized tonight that I didn't blog last night about day 3 of my vegan experiment which I refer to as the quinoa chronicles. I guess that's because I was so tired when I got home.  I was also a bit frazzled because I ended up having my weekly coaching session with my coach in my car.  I left work late and I didn't dare miss another session so I ended up dialing her digits while driving home from work.

The reason I call yesterday the quinoa chronicles is because I've now categorically decided that I don't really like quinoa – at least not in a salad.  I don't like the texture. It's always a bit dry and crunchy and tasteless to me.  Maybe I just haven't had it prepared correctly. I do like it when I make fried quinoa and kale cakes out of the frozen quinoa and kale packets I buy from Costco. In the past, I've used an egg to bind the cake.  I'll have to find another way now.  But I digress.

The day started out with a smoothie.  Instead of using hemp seeds, I substituted some Legion Thrive Vegan Protein Milk Chocolate Flavor* instead and some PB2 Powder since I was not in the mood to crunch my smoothie.  I had to use a fresh (as opposed to frozen) banana since my freezer door apparently was not closed all the way and the bananas had defrosted. I did, however, find some still frozen raspberries which I threw into the blender along with a packed cup of spinach.  The smoothie turned out quite tasty despite the fact that the protein powder and the PB2* clumped instead of being distributed evenly.  It was still good when I had the second half yesterday afternoon.

For lunch, I had the salad I'd ordered from a vegan restaurant the night before.  It was hardcore with kale, parsley, sunflower seeds, blueberries, quinoa, tomatoes, quartered beets and an oily vinaigrette.  I won't be ordering that again.  I didn't love the quinoa, the large beet chunks, or the oily dressing.  I did enjoy the rest of the veggies and the mushroom burger I'd thrown on top which I'd purchased from Whole Foods.  Unfortunately, they used regular breadcrumbs to bind the burger so it wasn't gluten-free.

For dinner, I had the leftover cashew cream gluten-free pasta and I was a happy child. I was also full and climbed into bed earlier than usual.  Instead of sleeping though, I listened to a Periscope presentation on marketing for coaches.

All in all, it was a good day and I kept it vegan, if not gluten-free. I cheated only a little bit by having four squares of Chocolove Strong Dark Chocolate* for dessert. Since it's 70% dark chocolate and chock full of antioxidants, it's practically a health food anyway.



*These are Amazon affiliate links.  If you click on them and buy something, I will get a small commission.  You should know that I only recommend products and services that I myself use.

My Vegan Experiment Day 2 – Avocado Toast

Hi there:

Today was day 2 of my vegan experiment on the Crazy Sexy You program.  The day was supposed to start off with lemon water, green tea, green juice and avocado toast. It was also supposed to end with me hanging out with my best friend and others at her home on South Beach; however, life rarely works out according to plan.

I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and incredible nausea.  I managed to prepare lemon water, but couldn't keep it or anything else down for much of the day. Needless to say, I did not head to South Beach this evening, nor did I enjoy more of the creamy cashew pasta from last night.

On a hunch, I checked my blood pressure this morning and discovered that it was quite high.  I took my medication, but couldn't keep it down either. Luckily, I started to feel better this afternoon and, by 3:00p.m., I was able to keep some Yogi lemon ginger tea* down.

Afraid to have the pasta, I made a pot of lentil soup that is also a part of the Crazy Sexy You recipes.  It came out really well.  More importantly, it stayed down.

Feeling a bit sorry for myself I ordered in for dinner, but kept it vegan.  Specifically, I had hummus, guacamole and chips.  I also ordered a salad that was heavy on the beets, but decided to brave that for lunch or dinner tomorrow instead.

Although the day was not ideal, I'm glad that I didn't go completely off the reservation in terms of food.  It's also probably a hidden blessing that I stayed in tonight for I surely would have been tempted to imbibe cocktails and non-vegan fare (my bestie makes a mean cocktail and is a great cook).

Anyway, I'm not a big avocado lover (I think I ate too many of them as a child), so I wasn't really looking forward to the avocado toast.  The guacamole was very tasty though.

Let's hope that I don't wake up feeling like I did this morning.  If I do, I'm heading straight to the doctor before work.  Let's see what tomorrow has to bring in this crazy adventure.



*This is an affiliate link for the Yogi lemon ginger tea at Thrive Market.  If you click on it and shop at Thrive Market, I will earn a commission if you decide to stay with them after the 30 day free trial and you'll get 25% off your first order. You should know that I only recommend products, services and sites that I use myself.

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.