John & Jax
John and I are both from originally from Maryland and we met in Florida about four years ago and we have been married for 3 and a half years. After four months of being married John’s work transferred us out to California. We really like it out here but moving from our families has been hard. We noticed right away that when you are not around all the people you know and love things change quickly. We were very used to running around and always busy with family and friends and that came to a complete stop once we arrived to California and it was just John and I. We are happy to say that we have made some wonderful friends and our activities of running around have gotten back to normal pretty quickly, but I really started to see a change in my activity level for the past two years has diminished and with that and many other symptoms I believe I am in the wonderful world of peri-menopause and maybe John is sharing some sympathetic symptoms with me(poor guy). We knew that something had to change.
Our friend Megan just told us about this study and we thought it would be a great change that would be beneficial to the both of us. Neither one of us has really had any experience with plant-based eating but for the little we have read about it we thought it would be a great challenge for us and we are curious as to how it will affect us. John is the carnivore and I am the milk-a-holic.
We have decided to participate in the study for several reasons and for the most part they are completely self-serving reasons. I believe that the plant-based eating will help to combat some of the signs and symptoms of peri-menopause ie. weight gain, lack of energy, slow metabolism and many more. For John it is the weight gain and lack of energy as well. We are curious as to how this will affect John as he has a very physical job that requires a lot energy and strength. We truly would like to lead a healthier lifestyle and are looking forward to this challenge. We are both a little nervous about such a drastic change, but as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. We are ready!
Jan 15, 2011
John and Jax first day
Well after the initial shock of actually starting, Jax and I got ourselves together and went shopping for our new menu’s. We found that the vegetables are much cheaper at the Asian Market. Mother’s Market has a wonderful restaurant.
Jax had Ma’s Stir-Fry which is a medley of Fresh Asian vegetables lightly stir-fried with sesame oil, tamari, fresh ginger, garlic, and topped with almond slices. Served over a bed of Organic udon noodles. Jax said it was delicious.
I had the Tahini Fusion Wrap it is Bean sprouts, tomatoes, organic mixed greens, grilled tempeh, brown rice, avocado and tahini dressing in a whole wheat chapati. This i must say i will be making at the house it was so good.
This was our lunch as we did not have anything that we could eat safely in the house. For dinner Jax made Lentil and Barley Soup really good and filling.
Jan 16, 2011
Today was a really good day woke up and I (John) had a wonderful breakfast of Barbara’s Shredded Minis Cereal with Blue Diamond Vanilla Almond Breeze. Jax had an Vegan Cinnamon Roll, Great start to the day.
For lunch we made Provencal Bok Choy the Recipe can be found on Epicurious. This was delicious.
For a mid afternoon snack Jax made the Hummis out of the binder however we found that when it calles for using the leftover juice from the Garbonzo beans DO NOT do this or it will remain gritty use Olive oil instead it will be a lot smoother.
For Dinner we made Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with a Gia Artichoke Pasta Sauce. The Vegan graded Topping was a lot better than we expected. Used the Almond Breeze to make the drop biscuits and they were awesome.
Neither one of us have had any complaints of feeling bloated as we use to on our SAD (Standard American Diet). This come to a great relief to both of us as we are feeling full not gorged after each meal so far. However we are eating more frequently but in much smaller amounts.
While doing some of our normal household stuff we put on the Food network to see if we could convert some of the Recipes over to a Plant Based idea and while setting there watching the chef’s make their Meat base dishes it got to be too much for us and had to change the channel. We have to say it is still to early to set and watch the foods that we loved so much be prepared and unable to have because we want to be true to this Study and ourselves.
Jan 17, 2011
Well we are just about done with day 3 of the study and so far so good. We have used another recipe from the binder and it was good as well but I must say that I can understand the preconceived notion that a Plant Based Diet is very bland and a little tasteless. Most of the recipes we have seen have a very little amount of spices used. And that kind of goes to what we have heard from Plant Based/Vegan eaters and I quote ” I eat to live not live to eat”, now that is not necessarily a bad thing but for John and I, we don’t live to eat, but we sure do love to eat good food. So it really seems to us that we just need to tweak the recipes a bit in terms of using more and different kinds of spices. And as a bit of a bonus we have both lost 3 pounds.
Jan 19, 2011
Ok so reality has set in for me (Jax). Since I woke up this morning I have had stomach distress.. all day with bloat and gas and I kinda am asking myself what the heck? I will be completely honest through out this whole study and in my honesty I will write exactly how I feel and what is going on with my body. So with that said I will move forward and say that I AM MISSING SOMETHING!!!!! MY BODY IS MISSING SOMETHING!!! I am not sure what or where to turn to so my body’s response is give me more of everything trying to find and satisfy the craving for the things it is used to having and no longer can. Yes I am struggling with this right now and if someone tells me ‘fight the good fight” they might get eaten. My brain for the most part knows that this will pass however the body is not going with that for now so yes I will have another piece of that Vegan apple pie and another glass of wine…. yum!!
Jan 22, 2011
Well John and I are feeling a bit better! I (Jax) have started using the Align and notice a difference. We went out to dinner last night to The Loving Hut in Huntington Beach and it was really good ( cannot believe that this place is a chain) and it would seem to me that every time we go out I end up getting a dish with noodles and would much rather have the brown rice that John gets ( you always want what the other person has).
After dinner we went to a grocery store called Sprouts and it was really nice. The prices were very reasonable. We both thought it might be a wise idea to start taking vitamins just in case we are not getting all the proper vits. that our bodies need right now due to our new learning curve. A couple of nights ago my girlfriend Cassie turned me on to this stuff called “golden curry” and it was so good! You just add a couple little blocks to your veggies and you have instant curry. I cannot wait to get to the store to get some more. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight.
We would love to hear from those that are following this study, ie. recipes, helpful tips and such.
Jan 26, 2011
We would like to thank everyone for the tips and suggestions. John and I are doing well. I (Jax) am still having some stomach issues but it seems to be getting a little better. We got the Braggs liquid amino acids and we do like it. We went to Whole Foods this weekend and had their Vegan pizza and it was so good!! And cheap! My only complaint would be that the pesto that was on it was a bit greasy. I really believe that they could cut half the oil used and it would still be great. I can see what everyone is saying about Vegan eating can also be bad for your weight. We are trying not to eat poorly and it can be done. We have both lost at least 6-10 pounds
Jan 28, 2011
Well let me tell you about Vegan shredded cheese…. yuck! If a lot is used it is just gross! If used sparingly it is not bad. I have to say that john and I are really spending more time thinking about our meals than we ever did. It feels sort of overwhelming at times. It is truly easier to eat the SAD diet at this point. It is always easy to just get a salad but sometimes you just don’t want that. I imagine it will get easier as time goes by. We both are really missing burgers and cheese from time to time, but we also know that if we ate anything like that we would both get sick and that is so not what we want after having gone thru that when we first changed over.
Feb 5, 2011
Hello all. This is John, we have both been sick and it is a hard battle to not revert back to eating some of Grandma’s old fashion Chicken Noodle soup. Or to have some of the old comfort food but it is all going well, we have not strayed. Besides the urges of being sick all is going really good, I felt better and a little more energy until the hammer fell on the Flu bug. I am still losing weight according to scale between 12 and 15 lbs for me.(Yeah) Looking forward to getting together with all of you for the Potluck dinner to hear your trials and tribulations in person. take care and keep charging forward.
This is Jax- Everything John just wrote is very true. I wish I could say that I have lost as much weight as John but still 8-10 pounds is good. What I am really missing is eggs. Mainly because there is so much we cannot have or make due to the products that have eggs in it or require eggs to be made. So I will be researching how to replace in certain recipes. One of the best products we have found is by Lightlife called Smart Ground, we use that to make tacos, spagetti and chili. It is a great substitute for ground beef and we had some friends try it and they couldn’t taste the difference. The best part is ZERO fat!!! Good fiber and protein. Like Megan we are finding ourselves eating alot of the same things. I believe it is mostly because of me though, with some of the Vegan substitutes I either really like it or I really hate it and that makes me leary to try some different things. I hope everyone is doing well and cannot wait to see everyone next weekend!
Ok- so for dinner tonight I wanted egg salad- and found one, on About.com look for Tofu “Egg” Salad- it was awesome!! We both loved it and we got our “egg” fix. We will most assuredly be making that again!!
Feb 6, 2011
Right now I am writing this and giggling!!! Yesterday when John and I were discussing how great the “egg” salad was, I made the comment “we get the joys of eating “egg” salad without the after effects” ie. bad noxious gas. I guess we really tricked our minds and bodies pretty good. I imagine you all get my meaning without having to say much more on that. John is starting to feel much better and I am well now as well so we’re in a better frame of mind and ready to keep on moving forward and try new things.
Feb 8, 2011
So Jenna said to us at some point we may have an “accident” and eat something we should not and when she said it I had this picture in my head of falling face first on to a cheeseburger and just cracked myself up. But I see what she means as this morning rushing to get ready I grabbed what I thought was triscuits and I have about 6 of them and not long after not feeing so good and I just didn’t put it together till I ate more later in the day and ended up feeling bad again. Well it turns out they had ranch dressing on them. I just didn’t realise and I didn’t think that little amount would do that to me. Live and learn as they say, although I really wished I had just fallen on a cheeseburger.
Feb 11, 2011
Well we are almost to the one month mark and John and I are doing pretty good. We are very excited to get our lab work done and see how it turns out. We are really hoping that our bad cholesterol has gone down. I can honestly say that at this point there are alot of changes that we will make if we don’t choose to stay completely plant-based in our diet. Now I am not saying that we wont stay plant-based but we will reserve our decision till after the study is over.
There are alot of things we like and alot that we don’t. I (Jax) am finding that the more processed the soy the worse my body reacts to it. I have started limiting my consumption of tofu and the like. The TVP (textured vegetable protein) is our greatest find. It has no fat and when mixed as say spaghetti, taco and sloppy joes it is so delicious! We have given it to our friends and they truly cannot tell the difference and really enjoyed it. The Boca burgers also are wonderful and seems more like what we are used to and gives use a sense of “normalcy” in our eating habits.
You may can tell that we are still struggling with this change and it really hasn’t become a habit as of yet. But it has truly opened up our world to all of the possibilities.
Feb 17, 2011
I (John) got my midway Blood results back and they were really good. Waiting to get Jax’s back to see the wonderful progress she has made. I was relieved to see the results that came back and they were alot better than could have been expected.
Well the experience of the last month has had its ups and down, we have had the experience of our bodies readjusting to the new eating habits. At first we were tired all the time and had the cravings of the food we use to eat. The changes in the food we are eating is a hit and miss thing with trying different things, some of the things we have tried were just that, things that we were trying that did not make it on the list of food we will try again. For the most part we are staying away from the processed foods and make 9 out of 10 things from scratch. This seems to be working out for the best. At this point we are over most of the intense cravings, but we still have the want to go out and get some of the little goodies that we liked so well. We are taking it a day at a time but we are staying tried and true to what we know is going to be a better life through the way we eat.
Feb 19, 2011
John and I made this wonderful meal together last night:
This was so simple to make and was absolutely delish!!
Yesterday Megan and I went and had our 30day labs and weight check done and I (Jax) am happy to say that I have lost 9 pounds with clothes on!! Then we went to Hermosa Beach and had lunch at “The Spot” on 2nd street and we shared a Blue plate special which was mashed potatoes, veggie patty and golden mushroom gravy with steamed veggies and it was really good.
The past 30 days for me and John has been filled with its ups and downs. Mostly ups and we have made some wonderful meals and met some awesome people with this study. If the lab results are so good at this half way mark I cannot wait to see what it will be at the end of the study. We both feel very good. There are so many changes that I know will stay with us and for that I am glad.
The above meal was Stir Fry Veggies seasoned with Hoison sauce.
Feb 20, 2011
Opps sorry for the big picture, that is the Vegan chili I made today!!! Look at the meaty bits… It’s not, it’s Smart Ground.. Love it, Love it , Love it!! Need I say anymore? Okay so you all get that I love that stuff, well let me tell you John and I just made another awesome discovery!!!! RICE CHEESE!!! It is actually called rice shreds and it is made by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. it is lactose and gluten free, and cholesterol free. It tastes so much better!!!
Well now sadness has returned…in reading this package again I see we were misinformed by the lady at Whole Foods helping us and it is not vegan as it has casein in it and from what I have been told it is an animal product and from what I understand from a few frantic texts to Jenna the two things in milk and cheese cause the greatest numbers of breast and prostate cancers: casein and bovine growth factor. In fact the evidence is irrefutable. There is a directly proportional relationship between the amount of milk and cheese consumed and cancer incidence. Damn!!! You know…you just can’t win!! How is it we can clone animals but we cannot make dairy free cheese that tastes like the real thing? Ahhh bitterness it raising it’s ugly head.. Totally my fault for not reading the package better and being more vigilant. Live and learn.. either way John and I are doing great and the chili was awesome.
Feb 26, 2011
So my (Jax) labs came back and I must say I really thought that they would be better and I know I should not compare myself with John’s numbers but I did. Oh these men… don’t have to work had at all and the weight and such justs falls off by thinking about it. So I am very happy that my LDL is in the normal range now and I know that is a very good thing. We have gotten more settled into the routine of eating much better and it doesnt seem like such a chore any longer. We are having lots of friends come over Sunday night for a Oscar Party where everyone brings appetizers.
John and I will be making stuffed celery bites, stuffed with “cream cheese’ and chopped green olives ( my favorite snack) and herb roasted potatoe bites. Not sure what dip to make for the roasted potatoes. Any suggestions?
March 2, 2011
This past week has been a tough one on John and I as we are making plans to relocate to Tennesse in a couple of months due to lay-offs. I was handling it pretty well and then more bad news came and I had a complete meltdown and ate a cheeseburger on Monday. All I can say is I wanted something “normal”. Maybe it was rebellion. John did not have any and after that I went right back to plant based. It didn’t cause as much distress to my stomach as I thought it would.
The rest of this week has been good for us as far as eating goes. John is at a stand still with his weight loss and I have lost another pound (thank goodness). John looks awesome and I just have to keep pushing through. We are finding it much easier to plan meals now and we are really trying to stay away from the over processed soy products. I don’t believe we will have any trouble in keeping with this lifestyle change as it has made us very aware of what we are putting into our mouths and we are really trying to make better and healthier choices.
March 6, 2011
So this weekend John and I went to my fathers for the weekend and we introduced my father and his girlfriend Sandy to how we have been eating for the past months. We made Sheppards pie with salad and apple pie for dessert. They really enjoyed it and could not tell the difference between the real thing and what we made. We answered alot of questions and they got to see all the simple changes we made that could really benefit everyone.
We would love to say that we have found it easier than eating our SAD diet but that woudl be a lie. It is work, but it is with it’s rewards. Just look at our results so far. We still have cravings and sometimes we just don’t want to do it. We also love how much better we feel and that is truly important.