The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Megan

Hi there, I’m Megan!   I am a 32 years old flexitarian (I don’t eat red meat or poultry, but I do eat fish) and I originally hail from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, there was no such thing as a Mothers, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. My mom did her very best to have a variety of food at the dinner table for all 6 kids, but the main dish was always meat. The only vegetarian that I knew was my little brother who one day asked my mom “Is that a REAL turkey you are cooking?” and once he got the answer, he swore off meat from then on.  I thought that he was crazy.  How could he not love chicken, pork chops, meat balls and cheese burgers?!

After college and living on my own, I adopted the typically single girl diet.  Grilled chicken, vegetables, air popped popcorn, protein bars and diet coke.  Although it was super boring, it kept me at the weight that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t due to my super willpower. No no.  I just didn’t have anything unhealthy in the house. If I had a bag of chips, I’d eat them in one day. Box of snowcaps?  Didn’t stand a chance.  I didn’t understand how people could buy a bag of chocolate candy and eat one a day.  That would be torture for me!

Through my 20’s my weight would fluctuate about 10-15 pounds. It was either all or nothing. If there was a wedding coming up, I would be super strict. Near the holidays – I gave myself a free pass.  I never learned how to eat in moderation.  I was just always active enough to stay in ok shape.  When my boyfriend and I decided to move to California 3 years ago, I thought that I would automatically adopt the healthy way of eating that I assumed all Californians had.  I would be near the beach and in a bathing suit more often and thought that would motivate me to eat super healthy.  Wrong!  No one warned me how great the Mexican food was here!  And the self serve yogurt bars?  Amazing!

One night I saw the book Skinny Bitch and thought it looked amusing.  I read the book and the chapters on the slaughterhouses were disgusting.  29 years of eating meat and after that book I never touched it again.  Yea!  Now I am a vegetarian! I will automatically lose weight! But instead of eating more vegetables, I seemed to eat more starchy foods than ever. I am always concerned with getting enough protein in my diet, and don’t want to constantly eat soy.   When I saw Dr Jenna’s website, I was looking for a way to get more protein in my diet from vegetables. When I saw her experiment, I thought it was be a great way to have a doctor to answer any questions and monitor how I was feeling without meat or dairy.   (I feel like dairy has started to bother me in the past few years, but damn those yogurt bars!)   This experiment was the last kick in the rear I needed to stave off dairy and I have a feeling that I’m going to feel amazing!

January 21st, 2011 – late

So FINALLY I got this blog straight!  ok, so I do need to head to bed but will be blogging away tomorrow, but for now I must share the absolute BEST place to get a huge variety of vegan food.  Not Whole Foods…. not Mother’s…. not even Trader Joe’s.  GO TO A VIETNAMESE GROCERY STORE!!  I have driven past thinking that it is your typical  a grocery store… same prices, same types of foods…. maybe a few differences. How could I be so wrong??  They have aisles of vegan food!!  Canned, fresh, frozen…. you name it!  AND – it is way more affordable!!!   So many veggies and fruit!   Matt and I went this evening and what would have cost $150 at Whole Foods costed us $54!!  So, that is my little pointer for tonight.  Thanks John and Jax for that inside tip!!!!

January 25th, 2011

Whew!  Hello again!  So let’s see….. after having a big football party this weekend, I realized a few things. 1. not eating cheese, milk, butter, etc makes me feel a lot less groggy! Of course I ate too much on Sunday, but I was very very careful to make dishes that us “vegans” could eat and that night, I didnt crash like I typically do. Hmmm….. There was a variety of food (not everything was vegan) but I didnt find it nearly as hard as I thought it would be to pass those foods up.  We did make home made pizza and had vegan and non vegan options. The vegan pizza that Matt made with pesto and vegan chicken was amazing!!!  The vegan mozzarella and pizza sauce was good…. but the cheese left a little something to be desired.  That being said, it was satisfying.  I would it much easier to eat vegan pizza instead of a typically diet where you cant have any pizza at all……   2.  I seem to be alot more thristy than I used to be.  NOt sure what that is all about….. and I typically drink alot of water – but i cant seem to get enough!  3. Planning ahead is the key.  If we hadnt had so many vegan options there, I could definitely see myself having a much harder time passing nonvegan food up.

So that is what I am learning so far with the experiment.  That planning ahead is the most important thing.  But so far, it isnt NEARLY as difficult that I expected 🙂

February 2nd, 2011 (GROUNDHOG DAY!)

For those of you who aren’t from the East Coast, today is a very important day!  It is Groundhog Day! He predicted that Spring will come early this year!  yea!!

As for my vegan experience, I find that I am eating the same things over and over and over again 😦  I got 3 vegan cookbooks out at the library and started with making wrap with rice paper and spicy peanut sauce.  This was delish!  I also make vegan chocolate chip cookies (John, Matt and I like them, Jax does not) and portabella muchroom sandwiches.  But after that? I havent touched the cookbooks!  I run in and out and grab a quick fruit and cereal breakfast and snack the rest of the day.  I just seem to be too tired to cook.  Not due to lack of energy because of the diet, but just because of my schedule.  I am going to work on cooking dofferent dishes next week.

This weekend should be fun getting creative with the Super Bowl party!!   We decided to make Primanti Sandwiches ( a Pittsburgh favorite) but will have to substitute fake meat. That is the only part of the sandwich which wont be authentic, so it should be pretty darn good!  

I do find that I am not eating as many baked goods out and about due to the vegan diet.  Everyone brings a baked good to a function!  No wonder we Americans are overweight!  🙂  I haven’t noticed that I have lost any weight, but I do find that I am super thirsty.  More than normal…. so I do spend more time in the ladies room 🙂

Well, thats it for now!  Good luck everyone!!

February 14th 2011 (Valentine’s Day)

Amazingly, it is actually quite easy to be vegan while eating out!  Now, I do live in Huntington Beach where you kind go to various vegan restaurants and find vegan food in the grocery store – but it is not NEARY as tough as I thought it would be!  I’ve made vegan lasagna with spices and tofu instead of ricotta cheese, and I have a new found love for the Veggie Chips in the bulk section of Whole Foods.  ( I actually cant get them often cause I have no control and eat them all…..)  What I have noticed that after eating a bog meal – minus the dairy – that I am not groggy at all!  You know how you typically get the “crash” after a meal that was too big?  It just doesnt happen now.  Which AMAZES ME because I always thought it was the carb overload that was the issue.  I also love that I am experimenting with more spices than ever before.  I am more mindful of ingredients which also makes me look at the calorie intake too.  This morning, I made vegan waffles and used the fake egg mix.  With a little vanilla flavoring and sugar free syrup, they were pretty good!!! 

So, thats it for now!  This is the first year I wan’t be eating dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day 😦  But carob chips will do!!

February 19th 2011

Ok, ok, ok… I will try my best to blog  more.  So Jax and I went to get our blood taken yesterday morning. I think I am one of the only people that gained weight eating vegan.  That being said, I am an emotional eater and am very stressed, so I am eating overtime!!  Even if its vegan, it still has calories!  So I have to promise to get my rear on the treadmill!!  So let see….. right now I am at John and Jax and they made AWESOME “meat” and bean burritos!  I had one and it was super delish and filling!!!  For dessert, we are going to have S’mores!  Graham crackers, vegan chocolate and marshmellows…. OMG!!!! 

This morning for breakfast, Matt made us pancakes with egg substitute and vegan choc chips. Yum! For lunchI had chips and salsa  with a bean burrito.  Yes, I LOVE mexican food.  I realize that not having the cheese really doesnt bother me.  Not at all.  I have to say that it is less the vegan food and more that I have to be more mindful when I am eating. That is why I havent lost any weight.  I just shove food in my mouth when I am anxious – and so thats what ive been doing.

I am a bit disappointed that things are so stressful right now.  I initially got 3 great vegan cook books from the library and was so excited to try a bunch of dishes. Then, things got crazy and I had to return the books and I had only made 2 dishes. I made a wrap with rice paper and spicy peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was AMAZING but I need some practice on the wraps 🙂  I also made a tofu dish which was pretty tasty…. But I have just been grabbing and going since then.  I will grab a handful of this and that or whatever is quick. Id have to say, the tough thing about being vegan is the time it takes to cook fresh food.  That being said, I want to eat fresh instead of processed anyway, so I am going to have to figure out a way to make time.   Im looking forward to things calming down so that I can enjoy some of the vegan cooking!  Have a great night!

February 23rd, 2011

So lets see….oh!  This morning I had Oats!  I havent had them in ages and actually bought them a while back to make vegan choc chip cookies.  I read in a magazine that some actor ate oats with a little peanut butter and jelly which  thought was i good idea.  I only had jelly and this was a prett good breakfast! Also –  I dont think i ever bolgged that I absolutely LOVE vanilla flavored coconut milk creamer.   It is wonderful in coffee! 

For lunch I had vegan lasagna left overs. I thought that lasagna was great accept for all of the spices that it called for.  Maybe because the spices werent fresh but instead were in a shaker.  But either way, a little extra pasta sauce helped 🙂  I am also really glad Clementines are in season!  I eat about 5 a day! 

So this evening I made a recipe that was Chickpea and Lentil salad.  It had sauteed onions, garlic, (I added mushrooms) lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It also called for pomogranite molasses but I didnt have then on hand 🙂  It was good.  Id give it a 7 out of 10.  It was filling but not the tasiest meal I ever had…..  But im not picky either…..

Things are still stressful so I am getting creative with less expensive vegan foods and ingredients.  That is still my toughest challenge – is making something healthy from scratch.  I am going to have to really try to make a big dish on the weekend and eat left over all week. 

Talk to you all soon!

March 7th, 2011

Happy Monday!  Wow, ok I will try to catch up here….. so as im sure you all notice, it is very difficult for me to keep up on blogging.  I thought that I would have no trouble with this but am not in front of a computer all that often.  Im not on Facebook very often and don’t have a job where I am at a desk…. so my apologies.  What you are seeing with my blogging transfers over to my eating.  What i mean is, taking the time to cook meals and taking the time to blog.  I realize that in general, my eating habits are hurried and going “vegan” didnt change that.  I have to sit at a table more often and savor my food – not just grab something and be on the go.  I have to slow down to make a meal or take the time to be more mindful of it.  This is something that I have struggled with my whole life.  It is truly a lifestyle change and although i make babysteps, i havent truly 100% committed. What i mean is, i am a great starter at things… and then as time goes on, it doesnt stick.  I dont mean that I havent been vegan. What i mean is that I make meals less and less.  I would be just fine drinking a juice shake and vegan bar from Mothers everyday for lunch and something similar for dinner.   That is why making a large dish on Sunday is so crucial.  But on Sunday, I am exhausted from doing things on the weekend that I couldn’t get done during the week.  So, I am still working on that.  How do I eat vegan and healthy when I am on the go?  Or, how do I eat vegan and healthy without it being so expensive?

That being said, some little changes make a huge difference.  Using “no egg” has been great!  Using vegan mayo is good too!  I made a broccoli casserole with vegan mayo, fake egg and vegan cheese!  It was pretty darm good!  I cant say that I am loving the vegan cheese… but everything else I was always switch 🙂 I also made  Southwest soup with corn, black beans, vegetable broth, onion, seasoning and vegan fajita seasoning.  We ate it with taco chips!  Yum!

So i guess what i am saying is that not only is vegan a lifestyle but you REALLY have to make room for it. Its like anything…. exercise (dont do much of that), journaling (dont do much of that), meditation (not much of that either…) so it is going to take time.  I am hoping as life calms down a bit, a job gets more stable and I can get into a routine – it should get easier.  But for now, Mothers is still going to get my business for the juice smoothie and vegan bar 🙂

10 Responses to “Megan”

  1. Anastasia "The Veganbetic" Brown said

    Hi, Megan! Best of luck to you—you totally ARE gonna feel amazing! I’m excited for you that you’re part of the study. Enjoy your new way of eating! 😀

    • megsabraham said

      Thanks so much!! I truly appreciate the encouragement!!

  2. […] a very important 60-day plant-based diet study, in which participants (Stephanie, Nikki, Vanessa, Megan, John and Jax and Amber) will be changing their diets from either a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) […]

  3. […] Megan […]

  4. Jenn said

    How goes it Megan???

  5. nikkiportnoff said

    Megan, I can totally relate when it comes to just shoving things in your mouth. I am a stress eater and when I get anxious or stressed I eat so I didn’t lose any weight on this going vegan either. It makes me feel better that there is someone else in the same boat. I am hoping that I will have lost weight by March. It is so hard to keep on top of the cooking especially when I have a whole family to think about. Someone advised me to make some meals on the weekend to freeze for the week and this makes sense. Maybe this would work for you too?

  6. Christie said

    If it’s any help – I recently learned that you can cook beans and then freeze them in small baggies to take out for different dishes during the week! I have only lost 5 pounds still also; although I was hoping for a little more when I got on the scale yesterday. I am good during the day, but then tend to sabotage myself later at night. I eat vegan still, but a handful of walnuts at 10:30 is still not a good idea!! I vow to stop this destructive behavior (again) this week and move that scale by Fri.!!

    • nikkiportnoff said

      I tend to sabotage myself, I do not know if it is because I am afraid to lose the weight even though I hate being overweight or there are some serious emotional issues tied to being overweight. Probably a little bit of both and I personally don’t think that any “diet” or way of life is going to help me until I get a grasp on the emotional issues. I eat vegan too but as soon as I get home I tend to overeat something creamy, usually peanut butter. 😦

  7. […] Megan […]

  8. […] Megan […]

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