What I'm [Actually] Eating
It took me awhile to hop onboard the social media train. I was definitely not into Facebook in the beginning, and Instagram really took awhile for me to buy into. The main reason?
I couldn’t get my head around all the pictures of food.
Why? Why did we all seem to need to know the intimate details of what our acquaintances (and a solid handful of people we don’t even know in real life) are eating each day?
But eventually I joined the bandwagon and I’ll even cop to being a “photograph your food” culprit a handful to times. If you can’t beat them and all that.
It seems the joke is on me, though, because the number one thing I am asked about these days is what I eat.
Not so long ago I shared with you what I’m not eating. That post piqued a lot of interest in what a gluten-soy-sugar-free vegan diet looks like on the average day.
So while I was wandering Whole Foods yesterday, I figured I’d give you a peek.
No – I did not photograph my shopping basket for you.
Lets not get all out of control.
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“But what will you eat??”
This was the response I received at least 90% of the time when I told someone that two friends and I had decided to have a vegan Thanksgiving.
I’ll tell you what we ate. Split pea soup and sweet potatoes. Stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. The worlds largest salad with butternut squash and pomegranate seeds. Cranberries. Apple crisp and brownies with walnuts and vanilla cashew milk ice cream.
The four of us (we found one soul who was willing to join in the vegan feast at the last minute) had so much food amongst us that when we were done we were able to take heaping plates out to eight people on Richmond’s streets – even after keeping a little bit for ourselves to feast on the next day.
So what do vegans eat?
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I’m going to throw in the reminder here that I am not 100% compliant with every single piece of this diet. I am maintaining a vegan diet 98% of the time. As I learn more, I’m getting toward 100%.
The gluten-soy-sugar free piece is less critical, but I still try to maintain it. I am strict about these at home. When I am traveling or at a work function, these are the places I make exceptions if I need to in order to eat. I’m learning what travels well or what I can pick up at most local markets and how I can be better prepared so that I can stay within these guidelines when I’m away from home, but it’s a learning process.
I am still about 20 pounds down from where I was before this whole thing started, and while the goal isn’t necessarily to get back to my original weight, the goal is definitely not to lose more. So my team continues to remind me that I need to eat – even if I can’t eat something that strictly complies with my ideal diet.
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I love to cook. Its my jam. But its difficult to cook for one most of the time, so I typically rely on some pretty simple staples during the week. Between Thanksgiving and Big Sky I haven’t been home to cook on the weekends (when I’ll usually make up something to eat for lunches during the week) so these quick things have been in my mix for the last few weeks.
Breakfast is typically gluten-free overnight oats with almond milk, nut butter, and berries. If I’m not going into the office first thing because of appointments, I will stop by the coffee shop and grab a vegan muffin to eat in the car with some nut butter. I never could find an acceptable half-and-half alternative so I am off coffee. Black tea is my drink of choice for mornings.
Lunches are either a big salad with hummus, avocado, and beans thrown in or brown rice with roasted veggies and usually some beans.
Dinner is often either a huge baked sweet potato with a little sea salt or avocado toast glammed up with tomatoes, sprouts, and/or hummus. I have discovered that Chipotle (of all places) makes it super easy to be vegan and gluten-and-soy free, so when I find I am in a real rush or need to eat out, I try to head there.
I’ve always been a snacker, so aside from the obvious raw fruits and veggies, I’ve found a number of other good options. Air popped popcorn with just a bit of sea salt is a win (Hope likes that one too!). Coconut or almond milk yogurt with berries and/or vegan and gluten free granola is another good one. And my old standby – Larabars.
I also discovered a pretty good vegan, gluten-free, soy-free protein bar that I keep on hand for before early morning spin or yoga classes. I can’t do either on a completely empty stomach, so these guys solve that problem.
I’ve had a number of discussions with people about what a luxury this diet is. Eating organic and vegan alone has raised my grocery bill significantly, and I know the amount I spend on food in a given week is what some American families spend in a month. I am grateful that God has provided for me to be able to implement this diet, but it has certainly made me think about how difficult it is to sustain a healthy lifestyle for most people in our country.
But that’s another post for another day.
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I have been asked a lot if I miss meat and dairy. Honestly? I don’t. The thought of both turns my stomach a good bit these days. I’m not sure if that just from it having been removed from my diet for quite awhile now or because of the change in frequency that I’ve experienced (I am much, much more connected to animals that I have felt in the past). On the occasions when I know I am not being vegan-compliant it weighs on my heart and I am reminded that I am on the right road.
So there you have it – a peek at what I’m eating.
But don’t hold your breath for food photos on Instagram.
At least not yet.