I've been a Vegan for over 15 months and every day I learn something new.  I've lost 80 lbs. so far just by adapting my lifestyle to plant based. The question of my daily menu frequently comes up. Since I cook for myself, I'm the only one who puts any limits on what I eat. Most days, I'm eating "Plant Perfect"  leaving out all animal products, oils, processed sugar and even nuts. Dr. Esselstyn and Ann Esselstyn associated with the Cleveland Clinic have written extensively on the subject. Please click on the above links for information presented with clarity.

     We do go out to just about every restaurant that everyone else enjoys as well. Many restaurants have selections that are already plant based. Some are happy to let me order "off the menu" and others may have items that I can substitute. For example, at a local Italian restaurant, I can order chicken cacciatore, hold the chicken and substitute portabella mushrooms. I have also ordered a sliced chicken breast salad, hold the chicken and cheese, add a ripe avocado with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Just as delicious and really not a problem for the kitchen. They have the items in the kitchen and they're probably saving a few bucks. At those meals I'm "Plant Strong" as described by Rip Esselstyn in his book The Engine 2 Diet. There may be some olive oil involved, some nuts, avocado, etc. but its still all plant based with very, very little saturated fat. I can be just as social as I want, eat a plant based menu without requiring a "Vegan" venu.

     Food Log

If you are trying to lose weight, this is something I recommend you start to do too. There seems to have been a disconnect between my brain and my stomach most of my life. I would eat when bored, hungry, tired, social, lonely, happy, sad, to fall asleep, to stay awake until I couldn't eat any more. There was no accountability. When I started to keep a "Food Log" and could see in writing how much I was taking in, I was taking control and I was amazed! I could have fed a family. Remember to write down EVERYTHING. That means if you have a cup of coffee, write it down and include anything you added. If you make a sandwich include every slice of bread, condiment, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, etc. If you make a salad include each vegetable, spice, salt, pepper, dressing, fruit and garnish. If you have a drink, write it down whether its beer, wine, alcohol, water, soda, tea or juice. I found myself suddenly feeling full just by reading my log.

Here's my log for today:

7:15 a.m.  Smoothie - 10 oz. (blended strawberries, banana, sweetened vanilla almond milk, pure maple syrup and Chia seeds), one Bosc pear, one cup of black coffee.

9:30 a.m.  One cup of black coffee.

12:15 p.m. Steel Cut Oatmeal - 16 oz. (steel cut oats cooked the night before with sweetened vanilla almond milk, water, dried cherries, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg then topped with milled flax seed) and a glass of water.

2:30 p.m.  One cup of black coffee.

3:45 p.m.  One large Fuji apple.

4:00 p.m.  a glass of water.

6:30 p.m.  half an acorn squash (cooked with cinnamon, apple sauce and nutmeg topped with cooked farro, raisins, cinnamon and allspice) and a large salad (Romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, celery, red and yellow bell peppers and parsley) dressed with homemade raspberry ginger vinaigrette (Raspberries, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, raisins, sage, dried cilantro, tomato and red wine vinegar).

11:00 p.m. a glass of water.

     If I hadn't sat down to write this blog and kept myself from becoming bored, I would have had another piece of fruit, some unsalted raw sunflower seeds mixed with raisins or some air popped popcorn. There are always healthy options.

     There are lots of weight loss plans out there. This plant based approach works for me and can work for you too. It takes some reading and preparation to make a change like this. I did my reading and was all in as my New Year's Resolution for 2014. You may want to try a "Meatless Monday" or "The Vegan 21 Day Kickstart Meal Plan" as a place to start. You may want to take in the information a little at a time and follow a blog like mine or Dr. Joel Kahn and the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group blog based here in the greater Detroit area.  Once you get past the first 3 weeks or so, your tastes start to change. I started to look for nutritional value more and lost my taste for any kind of processed food with sugar and salt. I read all the labels. If I don't know what something is on the label I use my smartphone to look it up. If I still don't know what it is or its something not plant based or its processed I'm not going to eat it!

Here's a picture of my dinner:

                                                        Salad with Raspberry Ginger Vinaigrette 

                                                        Salad with Raspberry Ginger Vinaigrette 

                                        Acorn Squash with Applesauce, Cinnamon, Raisins and Farro

                                        Acorn Squash with Applesauce, Cinnamon, Raisins and Farro

 Its time for bed.  I'll be adding some recipes to the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group very soon. My blogs along with a large recipe section and lots of other contributors will be available there as well. Its free to join. Watch for the launch of the new website next month!

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