The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Hurtful Comments

I’ve had my fair share of hurtful comments along the way, most of them while at my highest weight. Mostly while out at the weekends, where you are trying to make an effort to look nice and some drunk idiot shouts a name at you and brings you crashing down in seconds. If my self esteem was a little stronger these comments probably wouldn’t hurt so much, but I think the issue is deep inside I’m telling myself the same thing. Sad but true and I suspect many people probably feel the same way.

Well tonight I had a hurtful comment from someone I expected more of. I showed them the picture I shared on the site in my last post of my face to face comparison, and proudly told them I was going to post it in my first ever #facetofacefriday. I see people posting in these and #transformationtuesday on Instagram and always want to but have felt like a bit of a fraud until yesterday when I compared those pictures. So it’s great (!) to show them to someone close (the only actual real life person I have shown them to) and have them bring you skidding back into the low self esteem.

When shown the picture, first of all they squinted, took my phone off me. Comment 1 was “Your face looks unhealthily thin in the second picture, I never noticed“. Comment 2 was, “Oh and your skin looked better in the first one“. At this point I bluntly told them to get to f*ck and that they were being totally out of order, this was followed by a quick “But you look much better now!”. Yeah, I don’t believe it. Well, no, that’s not strictly true, I do think I look much better now, I was just completely shocked.

This person has never been hugely supportive of me losing weight, mentioning about not losing too much, what about the loose skin etc etc, focusing on the negatives instead of the massive positives. Never thinking of what I want, health an vitality, seriously, eff the loose skin, I want to live longer, and healthier. Not that they have been unsupportive either, more a casual, slightly disinterested observer. Not revelling in my successes, not kicking me when I’m down. Just completely average.

My instant reaction was to get angry, then sad. Queue 10 minutes of crying to myself listening to Radiohead. I’m not usually a crier but for some reason this really hurt me. This person then accused me looking for a reason to get offended and that I had taken the comment out of context. Asking for clarification of context, they said, I just meant in that picture, of course I look better now. Too little too late I’m afraid.

Honestly, I’m sorry for the rant, but when things like this happen, especially from close people I am so saddened. When you can’t be supported by those closest to you it’s a sad day. Even if they thought what they thought, would that not have been an appropriate time to keep it to themselves? I certainly would have. I would have considered what the other person would have felt. Am I being overdramatic? On edge? They did apologise eventually but now I feel they were forced into it and only did it because they could sense this was a big hurt for me.

This has taught me something I already knew, my self esteem is not in a good place. It never has been. If it was stronger I could have just shrugged this off, but this really upset me. Really, in an idea world, what other people think about me would have little to no effect, because I know and believe what I think about myself. I would like to find some way of working on this. My self esteem has never been good, but losing weight doesn’t appear to have helped it. I’m stuck in this weird place in my head where I’m still 70 pounds heavier, barely able to see the difference in my body. I’m not sure where to go from here with it but I’m always open to suggestions.

Feel free to hit me up on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Any tips for improving self esteem would be much appreciated.

Onederland | Vegan Weight Loss

You know you are on a long term weight loss journey when Onederland becomes a mythical place of wonder and joy. Okay, maybe a little too far but honestly, this weekend when I reached it, I was feeling pretty full of wonder and joy.

onederland

So what is Onederland? I believe the standard definition is when you reach into the 100 and something pounds as opposed to the 200 and something. I first heard of onederland way back in 2011 when I first started using my fitness pal. My start weight was 270 pounds, 199 seemed a long, probably unachievable way. Then I began to lose weight pretty steadily, I got to 213, less than a stone to go! Then I fell well and truly off the wagon, over a few years of yoyoing back up and down, in May 2015 I arrived back at my original 270 pounds. The losses of my parents over the previous two years had really affected me, left me at my most unhealthy, barely able to walk for 10 minutes without stopping to catch my breath, but something about watching my dad get sick and ultimately die made me see my own mortality, and the I understood the damage I was doing to myself.

Onederland was a painful reminder of how close I had previously been, and I think somewhere inside I thought I was destined to never reach it again. 2.5 years later and I stepped on the scales this weekend to see 199. I could have cried. 71 pounds lost, 5 stone, 100 and something. It was overwhelming. I still have a long way to go, 59 pounds until I reach my loose goal of 140 pounds, but this was a massive achievement and I really feel I can do this. After the damage of last weekend I have been pretty good all week and it’s great to see it pay off. I was out this weekend, had a few drinks and not the best food but not enough to put anything on so I’m not worrying about it.

I also dug out some old pictures this weekend of me at my heaviest and while I will hold onto the worst for when I get to my target I thought I would do a little face to face comparison. A lot of the time I can’t see that I’ve lost weight, but these pictures really highlight it to me. Picture on the left was 2011, picture on the right was Saturday.

Onederland Face Comparison

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Bad weekend…

Unfortuantely not all of my posts are positive and successful, sometimes reality bites and you just mess it up all by yourself. My mess up this week started on Saturday morning. I was out with my husband and daughter picking up something from my husbands work, while waiting in the car I went on Facebook and saw that the Love Vegan Festial was on in nearby Partick. I had went down as an interested in this a while back, but I was only 20 minutes away now so convinced my husband a quick trip there would be worth it.

Well, we all know the main reason for going to these events, food. Vegan junk food, everywhere. I was fasting, but duly bought a huge sgaia mheats roll, pizza, pies, doughnuts, cakes, pretty much everything unhealthy. I didn’t eat anything there though and brought it home as to not completely destroy my eating window. Around 2pm I had the sgaia roll, it was so salty and oily, the complete opposite to my recent diet. While it was delicious I think my body was in shock. I had to go for a lie down afterwards and drink about a litre of water. Later on that evening I had my dinner (not a hugely healthy one!), then half a doughnut and a fairly cake. The icing was so sweet I had to scrape it off, again, I think my taste buds have changed. My daughter scraped hers off too, she is pretty healthy nowadays so I think suffers from the same problem when it comes to sugar.

Next day I was so bloated, my weight was a way up, clearly because of the sodium as there was no way I could have put on even 1 single pound from that afternoon. I ended up out all day again, and had a reasonable day, fasting until 3 pm which was very late for me at the weekend but felt necessary after feeling so bloated the day before.

Dinner rolled around, and what happened? A chinese! Vegetable Curry with boiled rice and salt and chilli mini spring rolls. A huge portion, to be fair I barely ate anything else that day but after an already bloated day it is safe to say when I stepped on the scales on Monday I could have cried. I was up 7 pounds. Impossible to have gained that in fat, if one poun is 3500 calories I would have had to have eaten 24,500 extra calories, which I clearly didn’t. Sunday and Monday were not good days for my mental health either, I had a real dip, one of the first I have had in a long time, now it is Tuesday, looking back I believe that in part was due to what I was eating.

I took double water with me to work Monday and Today and I’m beginning to flush some of it out of my system. I was down a pound a half this morning and hopefully tomorow it’ll be more. I’m just so annoyed at myself for going so out of control for a weekend, I am so close to onederland, and I feel sometimes I start self sabotaging at this point.

Yesterday and Today have been good with food, I have done two 20 hour fasts back to back, and if the weather is nice I’m going to head out for a run tomorrow. I suppose the plus side to this is that I have stopped it before it went any further. I still fasted, so it could have been worse there too. And, the food made me feel downright ill, physically and mentally. Plus the flavours were overwhelming. If I am being honest it has put me off some of it, so maybe that’s a win overall!

Hopefully next week I’ll reach the elusive onderland. I’ve got a couple of social occasions coming up so I really want to stick with it during the week 100% so the weekends don’t impact me too hard.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Race for Life | 5k

I’m taking part in the Race for Life in Irvine in June later this year and while it is just a 5k and I have no doubts I can run the length of it the main thing that is worrying me is my speed, or lack thereof. I am running it with 4 lovely other ladies from work including the owner of the business, and it’s safe to say they are all significantly smaller (and fitter!) than me, although I believe I run the most out of everyone.

Part of my aim with focusing on losing weight is that it will help me speed up, I’m still so slow, between 7:30 – 8 minutes a km, taking around 40 minutes for a 5k. My aim is to cut this down to around 30 minutes for a 5k before June, although I have no idea whether that is realistic or not! It seems quite a big jump, and I’m not sure how to start making gains with my speed.

I’m giving myself until mid April (around two months to go) before I really start making an attempt to get my speed up, that gives me around another month to lose weight while running normally, then two months to focus on speed, I just don’t want to embarass myself! (Plus it would be nice if I could run a bit faster, especially if I’m considering a half marathon later in the year)

You can sponsor me here although that is totally not needed. I actually feel a bit cringey even posting the link, but it is for a good cause! Plus this may be good training for something a little longer later in the year.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Vegan Alfredo | Low Fat

I’m not usually a huge fan of creamy (or white coloured) foods but I love garlic and that savoury umami flavour so thought I would give vegan alfredo a try this weekend. I added quite a few green vegetables to it to bulk it out and add a little extra goodness, and keep it in line with my majority of plant based foods. This recipe is for my large single portion but you can scale it up as required.

Vegan Alfredo Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Large heaped tbsp wholewheat flour
  • Roughly 200ml Unsweetened Roasted Almond Milk
  • 1tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 80g Wholewheat spaghetti
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Extra vegetables – steamed brocolli, sauteed courgette, spinach

Method

  • Put on the pasta to cook.
  • Slice the garlic and and sautee in the olive oil until golden but not burned.
  • Add the flour and mix well so it clumps up.
  • Mix in the almond milk slowly, adding a little at a time. Keep adding until it makes a smooth mix.
  • Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder and seasonings. I kind of lost track how much garlic powder I added as I absolutely love garlic.
  • If the sauce is too lumpy it can be blended at this point, although I didn’t need to and I was happy to have the garlic in it. If it’s too thick add more milk.
  • At this point I got my green vegetables ready and I just mixed it all together.

Vegan Alfredo

Calorie wise this came in around 600 calories, it was worth every bite. I have seen other recipes with much more oil and fat but half a tbsp was about as far as I was willing to go.

Thanks for reading and you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

One Meal a Day

One Meal a Day | Vegan | OMAD

I’m a few months into my renewed fasting push and I’m finding that I can stretch my fasts longer and longer with little to no discomfort. This has lead to me recently trying out One Meal a Day.

Since I first started reading into and fasting this has always intruiged me. For anyone who follows me on Instagram, you’ll know I love a big meal, portion sizes are something I continually struggle with, if I don’t feel full I am way more tempted to keep going back to the kitchen, eating the kids leftovers, snacking, any way of getting more calories in.

After years now of losing weight though one thing is clear to me, my body is very sensitive to the amount of calories that I eat. Some people can eat big healthy meals, not count at all and still lose weight. I have to be strict though. I have tried wfpb without calorie counting and before you know it my issues with satiety and portion size are back and I’m using this as a reason to pile my plate (smaller than average mind) higher and feel okay about it. That is until I step on the scales and they don’t budge, for weeks or even months at a time. I believe my long plateaus are related to this, telling myself not to be so strict counting calories but then paying the price by actually overreating.

My fasting timeline has followed what I would imagine to be a fairly standard one. At first reaching 12 hours not eating was a struggle, for the first few days anyway. I previously would have breakfast very early, being of the belief I needed it before exercise, or right after. This would usually be around 6 am, so if I even reached 12 hours back then I was starving. Then I moved to 16 hours, pushing lunch time back a little later. Then 18, where I stopped eating later at night, around 7:30 pm, and had a late lunch. The last few weeks on work days I am pushing “lunch” (a large smoothie) to 4 pm, taking me to 20 – 21 hours. The last 3 days I’ve went to one meal a day, a 23 – 23.5 hour fast and a 30 minute to 1 hour eating window.

For the meal I’m eating roughly what I was eating previously, maybe a little bigger portions, 800 – 1000 calories, then some kind of small snack after taking me to around 1200. I’m actually thinking of having a smaller smoothie to break the fast, the starter per se, and that’s for a couple of reasons. I’ve found hitting my stomach with a big meal straight away can make me feel a bit blergh, and also smoothies are a great way of getting all my nutrients and vitamins in. Plus they taste good!

There are some major positives to this way of eating though. I still barely get hungry. I don’t need to think about food at all during the day. No time is spent preparing food (apart from for the kids). Less dishes and mess. Costs less. Major energy and focus. And I get to each one flipping huge meal without it affecting my weight loss.

The negatives? I think people are completely unsure as to why I’m doing this, and questioning as to whether it is okay. Even I question whether it is okay! But then I stop and logically think about what I am actually doing, on week days I am:

  • Eating 1200 calories per day (100 – 200 less than on 20 hour fast days)
  • Eating nutritious whole plant based foods
  • Freeing up time
  • Giving myself energy
  • Losing weight
  • Improving running

At weekends I’m having two meals, at least a 16 hour fast, but I am also exercising more so that’s okay for me.

This post may sound like I’m justifying my choices, which I suppose I am. I shouldn’t need to but clearly One Meal a Day is a fairly unusual diet choice with the majority of people, and even I am conditioned to think that on some level. However I am getting results, and I am happy with that choice, and until such time as it stops working, I will keep on at it (or not depending on the day!) Does anyone else follow one meal a day or any fasting plans? I would absolutely love for you to contact me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. A bit of support with OMAD would be great!

People’s reactions to Intermittent Fasting

Since starting IF, I’ve noticed that people tend to have a funny mix of reactions to Internmittent Fasting when I speak about it. I’ve decided to compile some of these as I hear them daily, and I assume other people into IF also hear them.

Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?

I hear that one frequently, I used to believe it too. Being an early riser, I would be up and having breakfast most days before the sun even rose. Now however I believe  and do the opposite. Eating and processing food, while totally necessary, can be a stress on the body, especially depending on what you are putting into it. Going for periods of non eating gives it a rest. People are especially horrified about breakfast when I mention that I sometimes go out and do a 5k before work, and still don’t eat till 4 pm.

I could never do that

I hear this about fasting and veganism equally. Really, it’s not hard. Fasting may not be for everyone but I honestly think most people probably wouldn’t even give it a try. A few years ago I was one of those people, could barely go a few hours without eating, I would get dizzy, light headed, rush for food. Then I began to read about the benefits of periods of non eating and now, I’m 20 hours without much, or any discomfort. Then when I do eat I have whole plant foods.

You have way more willpower than me

I suppose this ties in with the above “I could never do that”. Willpower, self control and discipline are like a muscle, they need to be worked on to improve. Start with the small things and work up to the big. Clearly, just by looking at me you can see that I did not start like this. But over time, building one healthy habit on top of another, I’ve got to this point where I am, with still a long way to go!

You’ve still not eaten?

People are surprised when I start eating at 4 pm. They can’t understand how I have made it so long! Quite honestly, especially when I am at work I barely think about food. I spend my day focussed on my job, clear headed, not stopping to eat. Of course I take small breaks but I feel I really work hard. I put a lot of that down to the clarity brought on by fasting.

Let me know if you hear any other weird comments, remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

January 2018 Progress Report February 2018 Weight Loss Report

February 2018 Weight Loss Report

I’m a couple of days late with my monthly update this month but I have been busy moving my website from one hosting package to another this weekend. I had noticed previously the site had been going down for an hour or two fairly regularly, and decided it was time to move so now we are in a new and hopefully more reliable place.

So, how has February been on the weight loss front? Pretty successful! I’m 7 pounds down over February, taking me to 16 pounds for the year and 66.5 pounds overall. I am officially the lightest I have been. I made a post about being the lightest I had been back in May last year at 213.5. I reached down to 204 last year, then I had my upwards blip but now I am weighing in at 203.5 pounds. I envy those with more linear weight loss!

I’m 4 pounds away from “Onederland”, the mythical place I have been dreaming of since signing up to MyFitnessPal back in 2011 and discovering it was a thing. I’m almost at 5 stone lost, but I still have a really long way to go, 63.5 pounds to be precise. But I think that the closer I get the more I really truly believe I’m going to do it. Last year I felt as if it was impossible, this year I think I’m going to do it. The combination of fasting, whole foods high carb low fat is really working for me, I’m excited to get there!

As for other things that I’ve done this month

  • Meditated every day
  • Exercised 9 times (Including getting back to swimming)
  • Got rid of 1041 items
  • Kept to my budget
  • Had only one takeaway that I didn’t enjoy
  • Did Spanish on Duolingo every day

For this upcoming month, on top of everything I’m already doing I have added in coding every day. My day job is IT based, I work for a smallish company therefore my role can be varied but is mostly development based. However I feel I really want to put some more time into improving my general skills in a couple of different areas I don’t use so much so every day this month I will be doing some work on this.

Also, I’m making an effort to reply to people on social media, especially my friends. I have this horrible habit of looking at messages while busy then forgetting to reply. My close friends know I’m not totally ignorant but apologising continually for it gets old eventually I guess.

My aims for March are to

  • Hit 5 stone lost
  • Reach Onederland
  • Keep up:
    • Meditating
    • Duolingo
    • Coding
    • Exercising
    • Budgeting
    • Eating Healthy
    • Get rid of a few more things

Thanks for reading and remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Tofu Scramble | Vegan Scrambled Eggs

When I first went vegan tofu was something I feared. I have no recollection of ever having tried it, and my main thoughts relating to it were about some sloppy tasteless soy concoction. However I had seen online tofu scramble that looked rather like scrambled egg, and as this was something I ate frequently I decided I would give it a bash. I dutifully googled how to prepare it and saw that it needed pressed. So off I went to tesco and bought my first packet of cauldron firm tofu, and pressed it for around 15 minutes before making my scramble. The resulting mess (tofu scramble)was water and flavourless, and I was left thinking “But I pressed it!”.

Around a year later I decided to give it a try again, this time with the cauldron smoked tofu chunks. I couldn’t believe it, these were delicious! They were pre-prepared and fairly expensive (£2.50 a box) but I did make a fairly regular habit of having them with my salad at lunch time, and sometimes with a stir fry. Now I had found a tofu I liked I went on to trying salt and chilli tofu from my favourite chinese restaurant. Again, it was delicious. I bravely decided to get back to trying to prepare it myself.

Round two with the cauldron block of tofu, I left it pressing for hours this time, wrapped in kitchen roll, a towel and with around 5 large books on top. This got all of the liquid out. I then fried it in slices, and low and behold it turned out delicious. Tofu scramble came back to mind once more. I googled a few recipes and found one that looked okay, modified it a little and here it is.

Tofu Scramble

Ingredients

  • 200g Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turermic
  • Water

Method

Most important here is to press the tofu sufficiently. I would suggest slicing it, wrapping it in kitchen roll, then a tea towel, then place 5 or 6 (as many as you can balance) heavy books on top for at least a few hours.

Mix the dry ingredients, add a little water to make a sauce.

In a frying pan, sautee the onion and pepper in water (I’m not using oil in this recipe but if you are you can use it here). Once these are soft push them to the side.

Once pressed, crumble the tofu with a fork. Add the tofu to the pan with some more water. Add the sauce over the tofu and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, adding more water if required.

At the end mix all of the ingredients and add the spinach.

I then have this with toast and beans, you could have it with potatoes, waffles, anything you would usually have scrambled egg with. I also love to add sriracha to it.

Tofu Scramble

That’s it, pretty straight forward, and when made (and pressed!) correctly it’s delicious! Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Cutting out oil

Cutting Out Oil | Vegan Weight Loss

As part of my more focused weight loss attempts, part of my process so far this year has involved cutting out oil as much as possible from my diet. I started the year reading the Starch Solution by Dr. John MacDougall, and although I still haven’t finished it I have generally understood the points he makes (and will more than likely do a longer blog post specifically on that, once I have finished reading it!).

One of his (controversial perhaps?) claims is that “The fat you eat is the fat you wear”. I only use the word controversial as at the moment I see people touting high fat diets everywhere.

What Dr MacDougall says in his book The Mcdougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss is that 93% of fat you eat goes into storage in your tissues, around your body and around your internal organs, waiting for use when your energy needs are not being met by carbohydrates. 93%! He says 4% is used for essential requirements, 3% for transfer to tissues and 93% to storage. One thing I can certainly attest to is that I have a hell of a lot of fat on (and likely viscerally in) my body. I purchased some new scales which give an average fat percentage, mine returned the horrifying number of 41%. That is after losing almost 5 stone already! Pre-vegan/weight loss days I think it is safe to say I ate a high fat diet most of the time, it’s certainly obvious from the outside.

I follow calorie counting and fasting approach to weight loss and fats really are the loser when it comes to calories, especially when it comes to oil. One single tablespoon of olive oil has on average 120 calories, with very little nutrients. Olive oil (and all liquid oils) are the highly processed output of whole vegetables, with the goodness of fibre removed. I know it does have some vitamins in there, and certainly isn’t all bad, but for me, trying to lose weight, with the huge amount of calories I would rather just go straight to the source, olives themselves, and get the rest of the nutrition along with it. For those trying to gain weight added oil may be an option, although surely eating more of other more nutritious foods would be a preferred choice?

Oil seems a total waste of calories and nutrients, and sure, some people think it makes food taste better, but there are more things to what you eat than purely how it tastes. You could make the same argument for eating meat, it tastes good…again, there are more important issues out there than taste. Food is meant to nourish us through our life, making food such a big focus in my life is part of the reason I ended up so fat in the first place. Anyway, after months now of cutting back on oil, I don’t even think it does make food taste better. It just tastes oily, makes me need a drink to clear my mouth.

All of this seems straightforward, and makes sense to me. So why would I consider this controversial? As mentioned above, high fat diets have been all the rage recently on the internet, and seem to frequently pop up into my life in discussions. There are multiple versions of high fat, there are the high fat low carbers, the atkins, and the ketosis club. The general reasoning behind them (as summarised by a completely non-professional me is) eat less carbs, then your body uses fat to burn from. At this point I think it is best that I cover what happens when you eat the food you eat.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to nutrition, nor do I claim to be, however I have read into nutrition from many sources over the years, and listened (and relistened) to podcasts which feature some of the leading lights in the nutrition field. My understanding as far as food goes is this. There are three main macronutrient groups, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These are broken into many micronutrients but these three groups act differently within the body when consumed. Carbohydrates are turned to glucose, this is your ongoing source of immediate energy within the body. Protein is digested and turned into Amino Acids which are used for many purposes within the body, Fat (as previously mentioned) mostly turns into fat either in your adipose (under skin) or visceral (organ) tissues. High carb low fat advocates that most of your calories come from carbohydrates, as this is what you mostly use for energy. Keep the fat out of your diet, and therefore off your body. My fasting ties in here, all of your carbohydrate stores inside your cells and liver are usually used up within 12-14 hours of eating, therefore for energy use after this time your body is forced into resorting to using fat stores. I fast for betwen 16 – 20 hours most days, giving me a window of 2 – 8 hours where I burn fat by default.

High fat low carb suggests to train your body to consume fat/protein for energy, along a similar logic to fasting. Your body will burn the fat in/and on your body by default as you starve yourself long term of carbohydrates.

My thoughts….why have the fat there in the first place? Why not do what your body expects, eat carbohydrates, burn accordingly, and fill your diet with fibre and vitamins/nutrients in plant foods? Eating low carb/high fat really makes you lose out on the huge benefits of eating fibre, the cleaning out of your insides, the fullness, the increased vitamin abosrption.  The high fat diets don’t really consider longevity either. You can lose weight through any eating regimen if you stick to it enough, and I do not dispute that those who eat high fat/low carb can lose weight. But what is this doing to them internally? There are many studies (here, here and longevity related information on nutritionfacts.org here) out there which show that plant based vegans tend to live longer, with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other big killers.

When it comes to the practicalities of cutting out oil, this mainly is realised in cooking. Instead of oils I use water/or stock for vegetables, I aim to eat unprocessed whole foods which I can control the oil content of. There are of course some fats in my diet, but these are natural plant based sources. Nearly every day I have a serving of grould flaxseeds in a smoothie to ensure I am getting omega 3’s and 6’s, and I occasionally have nuts and seeds but I really mostly try to avoid these unless it’s a small amount.

So, to bring this all together, why am I cutting out oil?

  • Unecessary calories
  • Limited nutrients
  • No sense of fullness after eating
  • Tastes bad
  • Longevity
  • And probably most importantly, for me, the fat I eat ends up being the fat I wear, and I’m fed up wearing it so visibly.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

16:8 and 18:6 – Intermittent Fasting 2.0 | Vegan Fasting

Way back in May last year I posted about how I had recently started intermittent fasting, following 12/12 or 10/14. I’ve decided to do a little update as anyone following me on Instagram will know that I now am doing that and more.

For the last few months (and nearly every day of January this year) I have been following 18:6, where I fast for 18 hours a day and have an eating window of 6 hours per day. This generally starts around 1:30 pm and finished around 7:30 pm, with no eating again until 1:30 pm the next day. I have even been following this at weekends (which I never thought I would say!). This level of fasting often worries and confuses people, with comments along the line of “Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?”, “Aren’t you always hungry/tired/angry?”, and of course the inevitable “I could never do that”.

Well the answer is no, no and, well there isn’t really an answer to the third comment. Surprisingly, I find since taking my fasting up a notch that my hunger has actually pretty much disappeared, other than right when I’m approaching my time to eat. I have read (and really it makes sense) that hunger isn’t a real feeling, especially over such short periods of time. That hunger really just boils down to what your body expects, when you extend the period between eating your body learns pretty quickly to not expect to eat, therefore the hunger disappears. This is something I wouldn’t have really believed until I tried it myself. Tiredness again does the opposite of what you would expect, not only am I not tired, I’m bursting with energy.

I listened to my one of my favourite podcast this week (Rich Roll) and listened to Ray Cronise who I know is a big advocate of eating less meals discuss in parts intermittent fasting, I am actually going to do a full post about this podcast as quite honestly it was fairly in-depth and I think I’d like to sit and listen to it while taking notes but it’s a good place to hear about some of the science behind IF.

Today I stretched to a 20.5 hour fast and I’m thinking about going 24 hours maybe one day a week. This may seem a little extreme but it just feels good! I’m losing weight, full of energy, not hungry, able to have a large evening meal guilt free, it’s a win win as far as I can see, so I’ll keep experimenting for the moment!

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January 2018 Progress Report February 2018 Weight Loss Report

January 2018 Progress Report | Weight Loss

I’ve decided to do a monthly progress report on how my year and main focuses are going. So far the year is going well, I have actually managed to maintain focus all the way through January. I have

  • Lost 9 pounds
  • Meditated every day
  • Exercised 12 times
  • Got rid of 620 items
  • Kept to my budget
  • Not had any takeaways (even though my family did)
  • Booked our first family holiday
  • Ran 5k once

Also, I have pretty much fasted every day, also been within my calories every day. Yeah, a successful month for me. I’m hoping to continue it into the rest of the year. Initially I thought I would have a takeaway at the end of the month but now I’m there I actually find I don’t really want one. I did have a pasta salad one night, which I really used to love, but I found it very oily and didn’t enjoy it. Not sure if my taste buds are changing but it didn’t taste like it used to, that’s for sure.

Now we have also booked a holiday after years of being students I am even more focused on losing weight. I really would like to go and get some new clothes right before going so the aim is to lose about another 2 and a half stone before the holiday if possible. Exercise wise I am looking to run around twice a week, focusing on speed rather than distance, and the rest of my exercise is aimed at aiding weight loss.

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support and updates from me!

Vegan gram flour mini quiches

Quiche is something I used to take a notion for, I would stuff my face on it, feel sick and not eat it again for months. This recipe made 8 muffin tin size quiches, which are handy for lunch boxes for kids (and adults!). While not exactly egg like in texture, they are nice tasting, I always find the garlic powder makes them taste eggy. Another addition could be black salt which I believe has an egg taste, although I can never find it! If anyone knows anywhere easy to find it in the UK let me know in the comments.

Vegan gram flour mini quiches

Ingredients

  • 150g Gram Flour
  • 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • Lightly sauteed vegetables (I used onions and peppers, along with some chopped tomatoes)
  • Garlic
  • Vegan Cheese (I used Bute Island Cheese’s soft chive cheese)
  • Vegan margarine for the tins

Method

Mix the gram flour with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper, water and any other herbs you want to add. Whisk until smooth.

Use the margarine to grease the edges of the muffin tin. Add a little of the quiche mix to the tin. Layer with a little cheese, then vegetables, then more quiche mix to cover.

Cook for around 25 minutes in a 180 degrees celsius oven. I can’t remember the calories on these but I would estimate less than 100 each.

Vegan gram flour mini quiches

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No Oil, No Added Sugar, Wholewheat Banana Bread

I found myself search No Oil, No Added Sugar, Wholewheat Banana Bread this week. We are almost a month into 2018 and I have been very good with my eating, fasting nearly every day, sticking within my calories, reaching my fruit and veg requirements. However sometimes you just crave something sweet, so I went looking for some ideas for banana bread that wouldn’t destroy the hard work I have put in so far, but still give my taste buds the hit as if I was eating a treat.

No Oil, No Added Sugar, Wholewheat Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 2.5 cups mashed banana (3 large and pretty ripe)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flax seed powder + 6 tbsp water
  • Couple of Walnuts

Method

Mix the flax seed powder with water, stir and leave aside for 5 minutes. Mash the banana. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients. Add the banana and flax seed mixture and mix well.

Place in a greased loaf tin, bake for around 30 – 40 minutes in a 190 degrees celsius fan oven (check it though regularly!). Let it cool before slicing.

No Oil, No added sugar, wholewheat banana bread

Next time I think I’m going to try soaking the dates to make them softer. This is around 150 calories a slice which is pretty good for a fairly large slice! Plus it’s guilt free, no oil, no added sugar, wholewheat and vegan!

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Smoothies | Breakfast

I’ve recently taken to having smoothies to break my fast. Smoothies are something that previously I was never a fan of, I didn’t like drinking my calories, the smoothies in the shop seemed to be full of sugar, I just had an all round bad impression of them.

My opinion began to change when I listened to Michael Greger and Jami Dulaney’s respective podcasts (found here and here and also on any major podcast player you have). I really respect these two doctors (one a nutrition doctor and the other a cardiologist) and find pretty much most things they say sensible, well researched and I do try to follow their advice in my diet.

Now, some people are against smoothies, but both of them recommend them, in the occasion where you have having whole fruits and vegetables and not juiced, as when juiced the fibre is lost. They both agree they are a delicious and easy way to easily increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, so recently I’ve been giving them a whirl, especially the green variety.

My smoothies are around 350 – 400 calories a go, not a small amount, but they allow me to break my 18 hour fast with a nutrient dense tasty drink. What do I use in my smoothies?

  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Frozen Berries (strawberries/blueberries/raspberries/blackberries)
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Vegan Yoghurt
  • Almond/Rice Milk
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds

Not all at once of course, this week I have been having 2 bananas, 1 apple, 2 large handfuls of spinach, yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds and ice. I use my nutri-ninja and pulse for a minute or two getting it really nice and smooth. I don’t use any artificial sweeteners as it is sweet enough already.

Vegan Smoothies - Green Smoothie

For the moment at least I am going to keep having these on a daily basis, I feel they are helping my weight loss (7 pounds off in 3 weeks, 56.5 overall), taste good, are great for me, it’s win win win! What combinations do you use in your smoothie? Are there any good flavours I’m missing out on?

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Vegan Pea Soup

I’ve been feeling the soup vibe recently which is unusual for me as I’m generally not a soup-y person, not sure if it is the rubbish weather or just the time of year but yeah, soup has been getting made every weekend. Last weekend I thought I would try a new type for me. I like peas, but can’t remember every trying them as a soup. This recipe serves 3 good sized or 4 smaller sized portions. I’ve not tried freezing it but I would guess it should be fine.

Vegan Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1tsp Vegan Margarine
  • 800ml Vegetable Stock
  • 250g Frozen Peas
  • 100ml Rice/Soya/Nut milk
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chives and Tarragon

Method

Chop the onion and sautee in a little water.

Add flour and stir for a minute or two until really well mixed. Take off heat and add 2 ladles of stock. Whisk until smooth.

Add remaining stock and return to heat. Add peas and simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix milk with cornflour and pour slowly into soup, reheat until almost boiling.

Liquidise with a hand blender/in a blender. Add seasoning.

That’s it! Quick and easy (and tasty!) soup. I forgot to take a picture of just the soup but took one with a sheese and tomato bagel too.

Vegan Pea Soup

If you can’t tell from the recipe I am trying to avoid oil, it really is empty calories, I’ve never used a huge amount but in all honesty I feel with my real push to lose weight it is just empty nothing calories. I was down 5 pounds this week (whoop!) so I am really trying to keep my focus. This oil free recipe is around 100 calories a serving so barely anything. It’s not the most filling but it is delicious!

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What I think about tesco as a vegan

What I think about Tesco as a vegan?

A bit of a weird title but “What I think about tesco as a vegan?” was the question asked by my omnivore husband this week. This comes off the back of the range of vegan ready meals launched this week, Wicked Kitchen . I’ve already tried a few  and have even been to two separate tesco’s to get them and my opinion on the taste of them is that they are delicious. They are plant based, don’t use fake meats/cheese and while I have absolutely nothing against these (and eat them from time to time), these meals are really tasty and don’t need the fake stuff. They are also pretty healthy for ready meals, £4 a pop is pretty steep but for an occasional treat (and in place of a takeaway!) it’s great to have options.

A conversation with my husband about these lead the above question, what I thought about tesco. I felt a bit annoyed at this question initially but dug deeper to try to understand what he really was asking. I asked, in what way? He said morally, they are one of the worst companies out there ethically, and sell mostly non vegan food, so what do you think about them. Here are my thoughts:

  1. I feel like people judge vegans way more strictly on their ethics than they do non-vegans. Do I go around asking non-vegans about what they think about tesco? It’s like being vegan is taken as a target on your back, and you are expected to have much higher ethics in every single area of your life. Now I know, vegans probably do consider ethics in some areas more, certainly when it comes to using animals. But being vegan does no equate to being more ethical in every area of life. They are unrelated in my opinion. Veganism is defined by the vegan society as“… a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Nothing to do with other ethical areas. Do I think vegans consider ethics more in other areas too? I don’t know, some certainly do, some don’t. Do I feel comfortable with the ethics of Tesco? Not particularly. Why do I shop there? Because of number 2…
  2. I have a lack of choice. Realistically, the way the world is built, and where I live in it, the main options for quick easy shopping are large supermarkets. I feel when it comes to the ethics of these (Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Lidl, Aldi etc) they are all probably pretty similar. My life is busy, I work a full time job, have a family, try to look after myself somewhat, have pets etc, and have limited time to shop/look for other options. Therefore I shop at places like Tesco. If there were other options in my area I would definitely look into them. I do look to see if there are local shops/delivery options but really where I live in the West Coast of Scotland (Inverclyde), there isn’t many choices. If there are some out there which you know please let me know too!
  3. Non-vegan food. Obviously Tesco et. al sell mostly non-vegan food. As a vegan I don’t like this. But, surely the more vegan food they sell the less space and demand they have for non-vegan food, the less non-vegan food they order, the less animals are killed, the less animals are bred and on and on. Tesco recently shut some meat and fish counters due to lack of demand and the new ready meals have been selling out all over the country. Just eat has seen a ridiculous rise of 987% for vegetarian food and the RSPCA says there has been a 37% rise in demand for meat alternatives. This can surely only lead to less animal death. All of those statistics are for the UK only, I’m aware in other areas of the world meat consumption is increasing, but for the UK this is great news, and I am confident this will spread. I believe people are slowly waking up to the fact that meat is bad for the planet, bad for people and I think concern for animal rights is beginning to grow.

So there it is, my opinion on tesco as a vegan. Bit of a weird one I know but worth a post I thought!

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Okja Review | Movie Review

Okja Review

I watch quite a lot of films, and I usually try to watch the vegan type so I have decided to do a little write up of the films/books that I watch/read in case people are looking for information on these, I will try to keep these spoiler free. Also, I don’t consider myself a particularly professional reviewer, however I do watch a lot of films so feel I at least have a fairly informed opinion.

Myself, my husband and daughter watched Okja on netflix at the weekend. When it first came out a few months ago it was something I wanted to see. Although not essentially a vegan film, the premise is that of a special kind of animal that has been bred for food. However, when the time comes the main protagonist (South Korean Seo-Hyun Ahn) wants to save the animal from slaughter.

My daughter is 9 and I assumed Okja was child friendly, however it actually has a 15 age rating, and there are a couple of graphic, uncomfortable scenes in it. I am fairly open minded when it comes to age ratings, and my daughter didn’t understand the main graphic scene, so I would personally say that for tweens it is acceptable. It really depends on the child. The sad reality is that the scenes which cause distress are completely based on the reality of what happens in the animal agriculture industry on a probably minute by minute basis. That we feel this is too graphic to show our children, yet the majority of people feed their children the products of it (and feed themselves it) without even the briefest consideration, multiple times daily is surely an indictment on the way the world is.

By the end of the film I struggled not to cry, honestly the lump in my throat was huge. I found the film moving, and really was behind the main characters. It was an unrealistic film, yet completely realistic also. Definitely not a “vegan” film as such with a couple of references to non-vegan things, although the film makes never said as such, but I think it would make people think. Worth a watch for sure.

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Curried Barley and Mushrooms | Slow cooker

I’m trying to save some time cooking this year and would love to start using my slow cooker, so one of the first recipes I thought I would try was curried barley and mushrooms. This is out of one of my old non-vegan slow cooker cookbooks, although it has quite a lot of vegan options, and more that can certainly be veganised. This ended up more like a biryani but was very tasty, the barley was light and fluffy but very flavourful.

Curried Barley and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 Bunch of Spring Onions
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Mild Curry Paste
  • 1 1/2 cups of Vegetable Stock
  • 1 cup of Pearl Barley
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cup of Coconut Milk (I made mine from 2 tsp of dehydrated coconut mix)
  • 400g Mushrooms
  • 1 tin of Garden Peas

Method

  1. Chop spring onions, sweat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add turmeric and mix well. Add curry paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Rinse pearl barley and add to the pot, put back on a very mild heat for a minute or so, until well coated.
  4. Add stock, coconut milk and a bay leaf and bring to the boil.
  5. Put in slow cooker, cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4. This took less time that I thought it would so I kept it on warm for a while until we were ready to eat.
  6. When ready to server sautee mushrooms and drain a tin of peas then mix these both in with the grains. Serve with rice and vegetables

Curried barley and mushrooms

Definitely recommended if you like Indian flavour foods, it was something a little different as well with the barley. Very healthy and filling. I had leftovers the next day as well which was just as nice re-heated.

I also think I will start including a rough amount for calories, considering I am calorie counting! This served 4 people at around 273 calories a portion. Any rice/vegetables are extra. I had it with brown rice and veg which took the meal up to around 500 calories. Not too bad for such a big meal!

Also just wanted to say that so far I have had no takeaways this year! I know it’s only the 8th of January but my husband has had 2 lots of takeaway food so far so I’m feeling good about it! I’ve been fasting most days, having smoothies most days and it’s going well.

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January 2018 Progress Report February 2018 Weight Loss Report

A blip in a long long journey

I’m now a few days into the New Year and on have officially weighed myself and as I knew I had a bit of a blip, I am up a stone exactly, taking my weight to 218 pounds. I’m still 52 down but there is no doubt I am disappointed with myself and the gain.

Since I did the 10k, and even in the run up to it I knew I was eating too much. I was focusing on completing the race, knowing I needed to fuel my body, and to be honest I think I just needed a break. Losing weight is a long ongoing process, it takes up a lot of my thoughts, I need it to, that is the only way I can ensure that I keep going in the right direction. I need to be logging everything I eat, considering every single mouthful. If I don’t I go the other way. So for three months there I didn’t go completely haywire, I still fasted a fair bit, kept an eye on what I was eating but I knew I was eating too much. That, combined with Christmas and New Year has led to the stone gain.

Looking at this from the other direction though I can be positive about this gain too. Three whole months, not quite following plan, barely exercising, then Christmas and New Year and I only gained a stone! Previously, when I’ve had an off spell all of the weight has come back and more. So gaining a stone, what is that over the course of a lifetime journey?

This week so far I have been excellent with my eating, 18 hour fasts, smoothies and a salad for my first two meals totally around 500 calories, then a large evening meal. I’m averaging 10 – 13 portions of fruit and vegetables every day, feeling full, and way less bloated. I just need to wait and see how the weight loss goes now!

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