Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 30 - Congratulations!!!!

Here we are, my little chickens, at DAY 30 of our VEGAN IN 30 DAYS journey.  Can you flippin' believe it????

I decided to do a list of what I've learned this month, because really, I know you just can't hardly wait to know.

What Tina Learned in July

1.  The hardest part about being a vegan is going out to dinner.
2.  The most difficult food item to give up is cheese.
3.  Being a vegan is a lifestyle, not a diet choice, and should be approached as such.
4.  I lost 12 pounds with zero effort.
5.  I am really, really lazy, and if I maintain this, I'll probably eat like 3 foods and ignore everything else.
6.  Green smoothies are THE BOMB.
7.  Soy hot dogs are really not the bomb.
8.  Vegans poop A LOT.
9.  Vegetable stock is much more flavorful than beef or chicken stock.
10.  Most people don't know what a vegan is, and when you tell them, they always respond the same way - "Why would you want to do that?"
11.  My thing with LB pretty much fizzled, as it was certainly destined to do.
12.  I had an epiphany about what, exactly, I want in a relationship, my career, and my life in general.  And I kid you not, within HOURS, I met someone who met all those criteria in each of those areas.
13.  Sarah Taylor is an AWESOME person, and thanks to the exposure she gave me on a big-time vegetarian website, I had more blog hits in July than I had between January 1 and June 30.
14.  It's really difficult to sleep in July with no air conditioning.

Now for the question du jour - am I going to stick with it?  Answer - I truly don't know.  I can definitely do vegetarian.  I just don't know if I can realistically give up eggs and cheese.  It's not that I can't live without eating an egg, but geez, they are in EVERYTHING, it seems.  So I'm going to play it by ear and see how it goes.  

Tomorrow we start a new project...can you stand the suspense? 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 29 - Holding on for Dear Life.

Tomorrow is it.  Can you believe it???  Tomorrow is Day 30.  I'm still in shock.

You will be proud to know that it's now 8:45 pm, and I've been vegan all day with very little effort.  The biggest issue at the moment is the cookie jar filled with Chips Ahoy.   They are calling me with their siren song..."Ahoy!  Ahoy!"

Well, since I DIDN'T have a date today, I figured I might as well get time and a half to be in a foul mood and lonely.  So I took the iPod dock to work and blasted songs for 4 1/2 hours.  I got more work done in that time than I would have gotten done all day Monday and half the day Tuesday, so I'd say my boss made a worthwhile investment.

Tomorrow is it.  Tomorrow.

What do you think?  Should we stick with it?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 28 - Houston, We Have a Problem.


I went into my Kindle to copy today's assignment, and Mr. Kindle informed me that the book cannot be opened and I need to "re-download" it. 

This is not a good thing.  You can't "re-download" without "re-paying", and since we are wrapping this little shindig up, I don't want to do that.   So we are going to consider days 28, 29 and 30 as "hang on for dear life" days.  I bet Sarah would be okay with that.

Speaking of "hang on for dear life, " today I kinda let go. Yes, I did the unthinkable.  I ate a french dip.  With beef.  Real beef.  From a cow.  Allow me to explain.

So, I had this big weekend planned.  I was meeting someone in Spokane for a date; we've been talking it for the past several days, and I was really looking forward to it.  Really really really.  I mean REALLY.  Seriously, this guy is like a Meg Ryan movie-all the right words at all the right times.   We will call him "HF".  HF texts me today, and guess what - he has a work conflict, so we are a no-go for probably 2 more weeks. 

That put me in an immediate horrific I cry, or throw up, or both?...and it was right before lunch...and I was starving.  I grabbed The Boy at lunch time and out the door we went to the local cafe'.  I gave the menu a cursory, pissed-off glance....salad???  After my morning??? No.  No.  No.

I felt only the slightest twinge of guilt, and consoled myself with the knowledge that it was my very first slip up and we are almost done.  After lunch, I jumped back on the wagon and had vegan pasta for dinner.  So there.

Tomorrow is another day.  Don't judge me.  The cow was already dead.

I will spare you the details of the effect a french dip has on one's body, when one has been eating no animal products for a few weeks - use your imagination, and you'll probably be right.  What a GREAT day!

A brief moment to give a shout-out to Cee Lamb, for his completely hysterical e-mail last night, in which he put an entire Freudian twist on our little project.  My face actually hurt from laughing over it.  I'm going to re-read it tonight, because frankly, I'm still bummed about my weekend falling through.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 27 - Learn to say "No Thank You"

Okay, today's assignment is to learn to say "no thank you, I eat a vegan diet" when presented with non-vegan foods.  Sarah tells us that we need to practice this in our own home, so that the words will flow when the time is right and we won't come off as a self-righteous goober.

I usually cut-paste the appropriate quote from her book, but since it falls between 2 electronic "pages", it doesn't seem to be working correctly.  So you will either have to take my word for it, or take out your copy of Sarah's book, "Vegan in 30 Days", because I know by now you have all purchased it.

Sit in my house and talk to myself.  I do that pretty much 23 hours a day.  No sweat.

Scene:  The living room of the SBP.  Tina is relaxing in her recliner, casting a dreamy gaze about the room, reflecting over her day.  A cup of peppermint tea steams in her right hand.  There is a knock at the door.  In the way only a true siren can, she sashays over and opens it to find George Clooney.

Clooney (clutching his hands in front of him in a desperate attempt not to cry):  Tina, at last.

Tina:  George, darling.  So good of you to drop by.  Do come in.

Clooney enters the SBP and is immediately overcome with an ironic mixture of joy and dread.  However, being Clooney, he covers it with a smirk.

Clooney: Have you heard?  I've dumped my latest girlfriend.

Tina:  Why yes, George darling.  I think I saw that on Entertainment Tonight.  There was a little blurb after the 20-minute segment about my new book.  Really, it shouldn't have taken that long; but Mary Hart kept breaking down, poor thing, and sobbing with joy as she glanced through my novel.

Clooney, unable to contain himself any longer, falls to his knees.

Clooney:  For the love of god, Tina!  Please come away with me.  I want nothing more than to whisk you away to the great Baby Back Rib Cookoff in San Antonio, Texas.

A small, tragic smile clouds Tina's normally placid face.  She still manages to make it look ethereal.

Tina:  George, dearest.  I don't know how to tell you this.  Since we last spoke, I've adopted a vegan diet.  There's simply no way I can go with you to the Baby Back Rib Cookoff in San Antonio, Texas.  I want to set you free to the Universe, darling, in hopes that you will meet the carnivore of your dreams.  I, however, am not that girl.

Clooney's proud shoulders heave in his Armani suit and he grovels on the floor.

Clooney:  I'm too late yet again, aren't I.  (insert sob here.) Say it isn't so.  Give me some hope to which to cling...a fantasy that I may drop my soul into... that I won't grow to be a lonely, broken down old man without you!

Tina lifts Clooney from the floor and sets him back on his feet.  Straightening the Armani suit around his broad shoulders, she turns him to face the door.

Tina:  We are but dust in the wind, my darling.  Floating to and fro, cast about on the ocean of life with nary a boat, or even a floatation device to which to cling.  I have set my feet on the path of veganism, and I am yours no more.  Go in peace.  Perhaps we shall meet again, at the International Tofu Festival in Gary, Indiana.  Perhaps not.  But we will always have Paris, will we not?

Clooney, defeated, slowly walks to the door.  He turns for one last look at his angel.

Clooney:  Yes, Tina.  We will always have Paris. 

Dejected, Clooney goes out into the night.  Tina shuts the door, smiles her little smile as only a siren can, and heads to the kitchen to microwave her now-cold tea.


I think it will work.  I'm glad I took the time to do this, so when George stops by, I'll be prepared.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 26 - Have a Dinner Party

Today I almost blew it.  Seriously, totally blew it.  Remember how I said I was worried that I'd fall off the vegan truck and it would back over my spleen, and then I'd eat every animal product in sight?  Today was that day.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here or not - sometimes I forget what I put in my blog and what I put on Facebook instead - but I haven't been sleeping very well for the past few weeks.  Mostly it's because it's been so bleedin' hot.  And then...there's this guy.  Novels could be written about that sentence, no?  Anyhow, I go to bed, I start to doze off...and BING! My eyes pop open and I start thinking about stuff that I can't do anything about.  Then you get into this vicious little cycle where you go to bed, KNOWING that you aren't going to be able to sleep - so, in fact, you don't.    Sigh.

And don't tell me to go to the doctor and get drugs.  I don't have time.  My doctor is 30 miles away, and is always at least an hour behind. So a simple trip to see her blows at least half a day.  Plus, I'm horrible at taking any kind of pill on a consistent basis.  Ask me how many Vitamin B-12 tablets I've actually taken since I bought them last weekend.  Also ask me how many kids I have.  There's a pattern here.

Anyhow, I tell you all this so that you will understand my fatigue level of late.  It's high.  And today I got HUNGRY.  Not just a little, "oh, I think I have a craving" hungry; I mean, "if you want to live, you will step away from that hot dog" hungry.  I ate the second half of my vegan restaurant meal from last night for lunch today, and that worked for a while...and then it wore off.

By 4:00 today, I had every intention of coming home and eating an entire can of Nalley's Chili, possibly without even removing the lid entirely from the can (or the can from the can opener, for that matter).  What saved me, you ask?  The Boy.  For dinner, The Boy wanted a pb&j.  Can you believe it?  I didn't have to cook anything, so I didn't go near the pantry and therefore didn't open the chili.  He ate his sandwich and went off to his buddy's house (buddy has a pool, you know) and I went to Subway and got a Veggie Delight sub.  Crisis averted by a 12-year old.  We live to be Vegan for another day.

Refocused and re energized, as for 2 days now, I've eaten more than pretzels - let us consult The Oracle. 

"Invite a non-vegan friend or couple to your house for dinner this week. Spend time today researching recipes and deciding what you will make. Either make a few vegan dishes for them to try, or make an entire vegan dinner... from start to finish!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 550-551). Kindle Edition.

Well, it's the week before payday, so unless they bring their own food, there won't be any dinner parties this week.  I do, however, have every intention of preparing a completely vegan meal next week for The Boy and I.  I have NO intention, however, of telling him what he is eating.  I shall let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 25 - Eat Out

Go out to dinner - well, twist my little ol' arm.

So, I have a confession to make.  I'm a sloth.  I've been eating, oh, 500 calories a day or so for the past few days, because I don't want to have to mess with making vegan food.  I basically drink Diet Coke and eat pretzels all day.  It's just easier.  Once you stop eating actual food, you adapt.

That being said, and oh so coincidentally, I'm starting to look like Keith Richards.  Therefore, I was happy to see that tonight, I would be able to eat food that I don't have to prepare...and actually EAT food.  My sincere hope is tomorrow I'll look maybe a little less like Keith and a little more like, uh, Mick.

Baby steps.

Our assignment:

"Go out to eat tonight, or make plans to eat out on the weekend. You can call ahead, if you'd like, or just show up at one of your favorite places and see what you can find or adapt on the menu."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 526-527). Kindle Edition.

So The Boy and I went to my favorite restaurant, and I don't mind telling you, it was tempting.  I stared at my favorite dish on the menu - the bleu cheese-stuffed steak - until the letters swam in front of my face.  But did I order it?  No. 

Instead, I went with the portobello burger (2 portobello mushroom caps grilled with garlic) and sweet potato fries.  I ate half and boxed the rest up.  I also had a few slices of bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, because my daughter bakes the bread at this restaurant and so I have to try it or suffer serious mommy guilt.

Tav had a bacon cheeseburger.  The bacon strips hanging out the sides about did me in.  But I DID.NOT.CAVE.

My dinner was wonderful.  So wonderful, I get to have the other half for lunch tomorrow.

So, how about you, dearest reader - have you ever gone on any type of diet or eating plan, and decided that it was just easier not to eat?  Tell us about it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 24 - Eliminate Dairy

Dear Dog, get me through this week.

Today was a planned "busy day."  I was ready.  Bring it.  Then - boom.  Someone in my department calls in sick.  Big whoop, you say?   Well, that's 33% of my department.

Then the one thing that all insurance people dread, even though it's completely inevitable, pretty much happened.  I'll give you a hint - it starts with a "c", ends with an "m", and it's not a shellfish.

Shoot me now.

The sucky part is, the sicky will be out again tomorrow, then has a planned vacation for the rest of the Tuesday through Friday will be EXACTLY LIKE TODAY.

Shoot me again, it appears you missed the first time.

The one light beckoning me at the end of this tunnel is, I might actually have PLANS this weekend.  Yes...PLANS, other than the usual "mow-the-lawn-clean-the-bathroom-go-to-Blockbuster-Video" plans. 

Tina smiles here.  Hold your fire.

On that note, we are in the home stretch....

"Eliminate all dairy items from your diet and your kitchen. Go to the store and buy a vegan version of a regular dairy product you might otherwise have bought. Alternately, try making the vegan version of a recipe that would normally have dairy in it."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 508-510). Kindle Edition.

Do you realize what this means, dearest reader?  It means that, as of today, we are VEGANS.  Go immediately to the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, "I'm a vegan, hear me ROAR!"  Then youtube it so we can call see.

Personally, I don't drink milk - the big challenge here will be butter.  I love me some buttah.  But I do have coconut oil, which if you haven't tried it, also rocks.  We will make this work.  Because we, my friends, are ROCK STARS.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 23 - B-12 and Flaxseed

It was 90 flippin' degrees today.  Do you think that Tina got her lawn mowed?  Think again.  I did wash my car and vacuum it the day was not a complete write-off. 

I also did a little shopping, because today...

"Go to your health food store and get some vitamin B12 sublingual tablets. Also get some fresh flaxseed (it will probably be in the refrigerated bulk section) or flaxseed oil. Start taking both today!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 497-498). Kindle Edition.

Well, A) the health food store is closed on Sunday, and B) we are approaching the end of the month, and Teener needs to take the economy route, we instead modified a little and went to Rite Aid instead.  Got my B-12, and some flaxseed oil, which Sarah tells me that I can put in my smoothie.  Mission accomplished.

And in case you are curious...right now, the thought of a hot dog with lots of mustard on it, or maybe a slaw dog, has me on the verge on insanity.  Made only stranger by the fact that I rarely eat hot dogs, maybe 4 times a year.  But today, it's all I can think about.  I want one right now.  Right this minute.  NOW.

My saving grace is that they are not in the house, so I can't just go make one; and I'm 1,000% positive that I'll run into someone I know if I go to the grocery store, and I'll get the "Hey - aren't you a VEEEE-GAN?" question while standing in the checkout line with Oscar Meyer and his best buddies.  Without a doubt.

Instead, think I'm going to go eat some green beans straight out of the can.  If it's 90 outside, it has to be 100 in here.  Gah.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 22 - Be Motivated!

Be forewarned, this is going to be one of those "Tina gets all touchy-feely about her personal life and waxes philosophical" posts; so if you are just here for the vegan stuff, you might want to bail now.

However, since I am a scientist, dedicated to my craft above all else, we will do what Sarah says first.  And we ALWAYS do what Sarah says.

"Hopefully, you're finding that this book is motivating you right now toward your goal of becoming a vegan. However, be prepared for the end of this program by researching a new motivational speaker, online vegan doctor or other source from the list above, so that you will have another place to turn to for motivation when this 30-day program is over. "
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 468-470). Kindle Edition.

Okay, another plug for Sarah's book.  In this section, she gives a huge list of motivational speakers, websites, books and other resources to turn to, should you feel yourself waning.  Awesome possum.  On the list...wait for it...


You all know that I love Tony Robbins.  He is destined to be my 3rd husband, he just doesn't know it yet.  He's the only person I know that has a bigger smile than me...can you just imagine our offspring?  Smiles visible from space.

So there you have it.  Thanks, Sarah Queen of the Vegans, for this list.  Looking forward to perusing it.

The Boy and I went north tonight to have dinner with my bff and her new man.  Okay, I have to say it, and she'd be mortified, if she actually read my blog - but they are pretty darn cute together.  They are quite obviously head over heels for each other.  And I want that.  I really, really want that.

As I watched them together, exchanging glances and those little arm touches you just have to do in public when you can't keep your hands off the person sitting next to you, I straddled the pendulum of emotions.  I swung from being extraordinarily happy for my dearest friend, to feeling overwhelming jealousy at what she has, and I don't.  And haven't, probably ever.

But that's okay.  Because I had an interesting week.  An eye-opening week. I got almost no sleep (for me, anything less than 5 hours is "no sleep"). Over the course of the week, I spent hours every night (seriously) thinking about what I have to offer another person, what I want from a relationship, and what I'm willing to do to have it.  I somehow, thank God, finally managed to rip off and bury that albatross that's been strapped to my neck for a very long time, whispering in my ear that I'm not pretty enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not Christian enough to ever attract a quality man into my life.  I made some intense, life-altering decisions this week.  No going back.  Bye bye, birdie.   

This is not the time for me to rehash my two marriages, for two reasons - first, because they aren't terribly interesting, compared to what you see on TV; and second, because I don't have the slightest desire to live in the past - or allow it to control me.  What I will say is that I've come through fire (especially in the past 3 years) and stand here now, refined and reshaped into the person I am.  Worthy and worthwhile.

So, Mr. Right - wherever and whoever you are - I think I'm ready for you now.  If you show up before August 1st, please don't eat a corn dog in front of me; I'd hate to assault you and steal your food before we even have a chance to say hi.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Little Clue....

Okay, I'll throw you a bone.

Here's a little hint about what we are focusing on in August...

It starts with a "Z".

I'm dying to hear your guesses.

Day 21 - Meet a Vegan

A monumental day!  We are 75% Vegan!  Can I get a woot woot?

I decided to test my mettle today and go to a casual food place.  (Yes, it's "mettle", not "metal", and if you've been saying "metal" all these years, well you are wrong.)  The last time I ate fast food, I was still allowed to eat fish, so I had some more options...not so today.  I did NOT want a salad.  I was NOT in the mood for "cold and crunchy."  I was jonesing for "warm and greasy."

We were going to go to the Breadline, because you can substitute a portabella mushroom for the hamburger patty on any of their burgers, but I forgot that this weekend is the "All Class Reunion" in town.  The place was packed, packed, packed with a lot of really old people, and it was a no-go.  I put the control in Tav's hands at that point - and he chose Dairy Queen. 

Dairy Queen is a sad place for a Vegan.  Sad.  You got salad, you got onion rings, you got fries.  Badda bing, badda boom.  That's it.  The Boy had his usual, and I had fries and a Dr. Pepper.  Yes, that's what I said.  High fructose corn syrup and french fries for dinner. 

Don't judge me.  I didn't even eat all the fries, for the luvva Pete.  Geez.

I feel the weight of your condemnation, so I will move on.  Our assignment for today is a social event - so let's get to it:

"Meet at least one new vegan today, either online or in person. If you need more time to meet people in person, then use today to make a specific plan for when you're going to meet up with a vegan group."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 445-446). Kindle Edition.

Where I live, I stand a much better chance at meeting at least one new NRA member than meeting one new Vegan.  I know a few vegetarians, but not really well.  I don't know anyone who is Vegan besides my cousin Queenie, and she's a newbie like me.  In fact, I'm not sure I know anyone who clearly understands what a Vegan IS.  So I was forced to venture forth onto the World Wide Web.

Sarah was kind enough to provide a list of message board sites in her book, so I hit one up - .  I found a couple really interesting posts on how to stock a Vegan kitchen.  I decided to read it out loud, so it felt like a conversation.  (My son is so completely unfazed by this kind of behavior from his mother, he didn't even glance my way.)  Mission accomplished.

I'm thinking this weekend I need to sit down and do some SERIOUS meal planning, as I am in serious danger of earning the "World's Most Boring Vegan" award.  And then mow the lawn.  And then clean the bathroom.

AND get my tuckus in gear for next month's project...ah, the suspense....I hope it lasts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 20 - Eliminate Eggs

I'm worried about today.  Seriously. 

I can give up eating eggs, because as you recall, I tried to eat some poached (my former favorite) a few days ago and gagged big time.  They just don't taste good to me anymore.  But eggs IN STUFF - particularly baked goods - now that, dearest reader, will be a challenge.

But we are up for a challenge, are we not?  What are we - MEN, or MICE?  (The right answer is 'men', by the way, even if you are a chick.)

Speak, Sarah.  We are listening.

"Eliminate eggs from your diet and your kitchen. If you enjoy baking, try making some recipes that use a substitute for eggs. If you like to buy baked goods, find some local places that carry vegan baked goods, and try one of their products."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 431-433). Kindle Edition.

So I have my egg replacer, I'm ready to go.  Sarah also gives some great ideas for substitutes in her book, but since you've all bought your OWN COPY OF THIS GREAT BOOK by now, you know that.  Given the fact that I almost never bake anything in the summer, because the oven heats up the entire Sweet Bachelorette Pad, I'm not hitting the baked good panic button yet.

And you may also recall, I had a few precious moments with a vegan baked good, but it was snatched from my grasp and devoured by my 12-year old. 

At the end of the day, here's what I'm worried about: pudding.  I love pudding.  I make pudding - a lot.  I eat pudding - a lot.  I cannot, will not, imagine a dairy-free, egg-free pudding.  (Yes, darling, my pudding is from scratch.  No instant pudding in the SBP.)  To speak of it is blasphemy, to ponder it is sacrilegious.  However will I make it to the end of July, let alone the end of my life, without pudding?  How?

And I had a serious craving for a corn dog today; extra mustard, please.  Hey, I can fantasize, right?

I also had a serious craving for a fireman, but that's a post for another time.

What were we talking about again?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 19 - Treat Yourself

Ask me what I'm doing tonight.  Go ahead, ask.

Well, as soon as I finish this, I'm going to go brush my teeth, re-do my makeup, and head up to the winery to officially "meet" my bff's new man.  There will be a glass of white wine, live music, I will look fabulous and be home by 9.  That's how I roll.  Ah, the life of a swinging single.

But before I launch the party barge, let's see today's installment -

"Treat yourself to something that is vegan-related. Spend as little or as much as you'd like! You can find an amazing selection of vegan pride items at You can also google vegan clothing and shoes, and you can search for vegan books online too. Have fun!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 403-404). Kindle Edition.

Gah, mean I have to BUY MYSELF SOMETHING?  Golly gee.  The SACRIFICES I made for you, dearest reader.  I hope you appreciate it.  Are you feeling my pain?

I went on Amazon, entered "vegan gifts" and found this cute t-shirt:

And it is now winging its way to my local post office.  It says "Viva Las Vegan" instead of "Viva Las Vegas".  It's like a little joke.  Get it?

I've had a really, really long day.  The vino is calling.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 18 - Chop It Up

He ate my cookie.

I bought it last week.  It was one of those prepackaged single cookie jobs.  Lemon Poppyseed.  Set me back $2.09 - and it was Vegan.  Completely, totally, 100% Vegan.

I put it in the bread drawer for safekeeping.  My plan was to eat it on the "give up eggs and try Vegan baked goods" day, and tell you all about it.  I would glance at it on occasion over the past few days and wonder about it...its taste...its texture...its cool label.  Certainly any food item with such a cool label must taste amazing.

Silly me, but it really didn't occur to me that I should tell The Boy about The Cookie.  I mean, really.  Lemon Poppyseed?  Trendy label that says "100% Vegan"?  Short of keeping it in a tampon box, how could it have been any LESS appealing to a 12-year old?  So I didn't mention it.  And I went to work.

I came home today to the usual flotsam and jetsam in the living room.  DVD cases, cast-off papers strewn about.  Pictures drawn on hand-sized squares for some card game he made up, ala Pokemon (only cooler Mom, geez!).  And there, amongst it all - a crumpled bit of cellophane with a trendy label.  A trail of yellow crumbs from the futon to the DVD pile.  And that's all that was left.


He's not home, so I can't ask him how it tasted.  I bought it at Hank's in Twisp, and sorry folks, that's a 60-mile round trip.  No cookie for Tina.

No cookie for Tina.

For consolation in my time of need, I turn to Sarah.

"Get online or go to your local cooking store, and buy a veggie chopper. As soon as you get one, cut an onion into 4 equal pieces, and then dice the pieces with your new chopper. See just how fast (and generally tear free) this chore has become!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 396-397). Kindle Edition.

I've been good so far, right?  Willing? Compliant?  But on this one, I must say - "No, thank you."  I used to have one of these, got it at a Pampered Chef party.  I used it maybe 3 or 4 times....or should I say, "jammed it" 3 or 4 times.  Turns out, if you don't cut your onion into small enough pieces, it jams up those super little rotating blades and then you are stuck trying to pry impaled onion off the bottom of your food chopper.  While I am generally known for my patience and calm demeanor, such as the planet hasn't seen since Job sat around with his pottery shard, I just can't make myself take the time to cut up something into small pieces with a knife, and then get out another utensil that I'll have to wash, in order to make the pieces even smaller. 

I think we should pause here, as anyone who knows me personally just shot whatever beverage they were consuming through their nose at my "Job" comparison.  (I'm a huge fan of instant gratification and have zero patience.)  I'll give you a minute to wipe things down.

Anyhow, I sold said food chopper at a yard sale for approximately 1/30th of what I paid for it.  Therefore, I respectfully decline the invitation to buy a food chopper, and instead will be donning a mourning veil for my lost cookie.

Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 17 - Spend Some Time in the Kitchen

So, my son came home today after a week with his father.  My free-wheeling bachelorette days are officially done.  THANK DOG.  I was going stir crazy, and actually carrying on entire conversations with my iPod.  Seriously.

iPod:  (Playing song)
Tina:  Where did that song come from?
iPod:  (Playing song)
Tina:  Well, it must be one of Tav's.  I don't recall buying that song.
iPod:  (Playing song)
Tina:  I guess I could delete it.
iPod:  (Playing song)
Tina:  But then when I sync again, it will just go right back on.
iPod:  (Playing new song)
Tina:  Where did that song come from?

Pretty much my life. 

I went to the dentist this afternoon and got a teeny filling, so my mouth is numb enough that I have an excuse not to go back to work, but not so numb that I look like a stroke victim.  I was thinking, since my son is back, and since I'm starving, maybe we could go out to dinner and try VEGAN ORDERING.  I thought it was a heck of an idea.

But then I come home - I check Sarah's book - and learn that today is...

"Spend 20 minutes in your kitchen today, cutting fruit and vegetables for convenient snacking, or perhaps making a soup from scratch. Notice how great everything tastes when it's fresh and homemade!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 389-390). Kindle Edition.

Please note that it doesn't say "spend 20 minutes in your kitchen making dinner."  YES!  I will let you know how my restaurant experience goes.  Please note that by "restaurant" I mean probably fast food, because it's Monday and no good restaurants are open on Monday.

Back to the project at hand.  Are  you one of those people who always as cut-up fruit and veggies in their fridge?  I try to be, I guess.  Frankly, most of the stuff I buy is already chopped up (lazy girl, remember).  But I do have a couple mangoes and nectarines to dissect tonight.  I'm on it.

And just a moment now to thank those of you who know me personally, and have taken the time to e-mail or text me to ask about my love life.  Your concern brings a tear to my eye.  (Okay, that's a stretch).  I have nothing fascinating to report, and if I did, I'd have to clean it up and change the names anyway, because most of my family reads this.  Unfortunately, at the moment, there's no need.  Sigh.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 16 - Eliminate Fish and Seafood

We SO got this one.

"Starting today, you will eliminate all fish and seafood from your diet. You will also remove any fish and seafood products from your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards, and donate them or give them to a neighbor or family member. Don't forget about those cans of tuna lurking in the back of your cupboard! "
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 357-359). Kindle Edition.

DONE!  I ate my last 2 offending items - a can of tuna and a can of New England Clam Chowder - last week.  I don't like fish sticks.  I don't have any fresh fish.  No shrimp, no clams, nothing.  No problemo.

But then, I remembered one little teensy, tiny detail - ANCHOVIES.  Sigh.  They lurk in your refrigerator door, did you know that?  Goodbye, worcestershire sauce.  Parting is such sweet, sweet sorrow.  Since I really only used you on my burgers, I guess it won't be such a disaster.

Guess what I found in my fridge just now - some cheese.  An entire, unopened package of provolone.  It's like coming back from rehab and finding a gram of coke in an old purse.  I've been staring at it for quite a while now.  For some reason, my body has become paralyzed from the waist down...I can't walk over to the garbage can and throw it away.

I'm jonesing for cheese.  I knew this was going to happen.


I Sense a Disturbance in the Force.

I'm looking on the horizon, and I do believe those are stormclouds I see.

I've been ruminating over this Vegan project of ours quite a bit over the past 16 days.  (That's actually a rather convoluted pun, if you take the time to think about it.)  Anyhow, the topic of my rumination has been, basically - at the end of 30 days, when I am completely Vegan, will I stick with it?   Or will it just fall by the wayside?

I recall a conversation I had with Cousin Queenie on July 2nd, when I told her that on August 1st, I was celebrating the end of my Vegan journey with a steak.  At the time, I meant it. We do, after all, have other projects to work on, right?  As the days began to move on along, and I started giving up certain animal products, I discovered that this wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated, and perhaps I could become a vegetarian - still eating eggs and dairy.  Now I'm even thinking I could live without those as well.

HOWEVER...and you knew there would be a 'however', didn't you....

I am an inherently lazy person.  So, rather than preparing a variety of "Vegan meals", I've become the Smoothie Queen of Okanogan County.

Hungry in the morning?  Throw a handful of spinach, half a nectarine, half a banana, and a little juice in the blender.  Lunchtime?  A little more of the same.  Dinner?  What the heck, it's too hot to cook, are there any nectarines left?

You may recall a few days back, I did enjoy a tuna sandwich...but realistically, that's the last time I think I ate "real food" that I actually liked.  Since then, I've noticed that food just doesn't taste the same, even good healthy stuff.  I've noticed that I seem to be hyper-sensitive to salty food, for example.  Yuck.  And, I don't know how else to say it - nothing SOUNDS good.  I have tons of recipes - a cookbook today, in fact - but nothing.sounds.good.  Just gimme my smoothie and send me on my way.

Oh, and don't forget that I wolfed down some Mickey D's the other day...but seriously, an actual meal here and there doesn't constitute a pattern of meal eating, now does it.  And on what planet would Mickey D's be considered "real food" anyway?

While I'm enjoying the super-easy weight loss - who wouldn't - I'm concerned that one day soon, I'm going to go ballistic and eat everything in sight..animal, vegetable or mineral....because I've fallen off the smoothie wagon and it has metaphorically backed over my spleen.   

So, let me hear from you - any experience with a "boring diet"?  Did you end up binging?  How long did you keep it up?

PS - I also sense storm clouds in my love life, but I firmly believe you should never blog about your personal life when you are either a) drunk, or b) tired, so that's a post for another day.

PPS - I'm not drunk, by the way.  It's 1:35 a.m. and I can't sleep.  You always assume the worst about me, now don't you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 15 - Try a New Recipe

Today, my students, was field trip day.  No permission slips necessary. 

I rounded up my daughter and off we went to Chelan to Bear Foods, the most awesome health food store on the planet.  Here's a photo of me discovering the "free sample" basket, and specifically a "vegan lotion":

I also got a set of 4 drinking glasses, fashioned from recycled wine bottles, that I've been eyeballing for a year or so.  Of course, our assignment was to get a food product that we hadn't tried before - I got a box of "egg replacer."  It's a powder in a box.  It doesn't look like eggs, it looks like powdered sugar.  hmmmm.....

We then shuffled off to the Culinary Apple, which is the best kitchen store on the planet.  There I got some smoothie straws...we are on a roll, kiddos.

Crossing the street to Riverwalk Books, the coolest indie bookstore on the planet, for a vegan cookbook and a magnet that says "Yay! Divorce!"  You may recall seeing a photo of this magnet a few months back, featured right here in this little old blog.

Back across the street to the Black Dog, the most awesome little cool thing store on the planet, where I got a black and white photo of Johnny Cash.  Seriously.

We then stopped at a place whose name I can't recall, for the worst plate of Yakisoba that I believe I've ever had.  I just gagged a little even typing that.

At this point, I basically ran out of money and we had to come home.  A good time was had by all.

As you may recall, going to the health food store was our assignment from a few days ago - let's get to today's assignment:

"Make one new vegan recipe today. Make a commitment to try at least one new recipe a week for the next 52 weeks. "
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 356-357). Kindle Edition.  I'm tired, and I don't feel like going to the store.  So instead, we will substitute:

"Sit on the futon and read your new cookbook.  Use your imagination and mentally prepare the most challenging recipe.  It will, of course, turn out perfectly.  Imagine that you are nibbling your perfectly executed entree' while your swarthy pool boy, Antonio, does the dishes and gazes at you with his large, brown doe eyes."

Works for me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 14 - Locate Recipes

Today was a banner day. I got my first fan letter.  A very nice man named Mike took the time to email me and let me know how much he enjoys my little blog, and even asked my advice on something.

I'm an effin' ROCK STAR.  Or at least I was for, oh, 20 seconds.  Here's how it went down.

So, I was at work, slaving away for The Man, and made a brief little pop into my yahoo mail account.  Don't worry, my boss doesn't read this.  Anyhow, what to my wondering eyes appears, but this sweet little email from My New Best Friend Mike.  The corners of my mouth curled up, up, up as I read through it.  At the end, I regally announced to everyone and no one in particular, from a desk that suddenly seemed to feel a little more like a royal throne...

"Hey, I just got blog fan mail  from a guy."

At this point, my friend Betty pipes up with, "What could YOU have said that a MAN would find interesting?"

I've never come so close to telling someone to f*** off in an office setting in my young life.  (As I did 4 years in the Navy, that's saying A LOT.)  Had there not been a lobbyful of customers within earshot, I would have.  Instead, all I could do was sputter, producing an array of guttural noises that meant nothing on their own, but in the context of the situation, were understood by everyone within earshot.

Betty was sitting at Susie's desk.  I thought Susie was going to pee her pants.  Her entire body shook for a good 30 seconds.  Betty now claims she was misunderstood ... bad Betty.  Bad, bad Betty. 

So that was my day.  I'm at home, dateless, with nothing to say that any man would find of interest.

I will turn instead to Sarah, who is always there for me, as she is saved on my hard drive.

"Go to your local library or bookstore and look through the vegan cookbook section. Borrow or buy a book that looks good to you. Also go online and research vegan recipes."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 349-350). Kindle Edition.

Oh, this is so easy.  So, so easy.  In my mailbox today was a copy of "The Kind Life," written by that girl from the Aerosmith video.  Nailed it.  For those of you without a library card, meet your new best friend, Mr. Google.

Hey, tomorrow is field trip day!  Are you guys stoked? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 13 - Take a Tour

I wonder if Vegans are a depressed sort of people.

I absolutely, positively kid you not.  Straight up.  Serious as a heart attack.  I was completely bummed out earlier - mostly because it's Thursday, and I don't have a single date this weekend - and I went to McDonald's.  Before you gasp too loudly now, please be advised that I went with a fish sandwich, which is still on the allowable list.  Anyhow, I wolfed it down, and almost immediately felt better.  And no, the drive-up guy didn't ask me out.  I still have no date.  NO DATE.  But, my entire mood changed and now I'm okay.

I think I'm going to have to watch "Supersize Me" again and see what Morgan Spurlock has to say about this.

Anyhow, let's consult the book for our daily dose of wisdom:

"Call your local health food store and sign up for a store tour. After your tour, buy one new product that you have never tried before."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Location 329). Kindle Edition.

Aye aye, Cap'n.  On Saturday, I'm off to Chelan to go to Bear Foods, my favorite health food store.  If I'm lucky, I'll snag some photos for you.  I do, after all, have all day to tour their store - as I have NO DATE on Saturday night.

I would like to hear from you, dearest reader, about the whole "depression cured by fast food" issue.  What do you think?  Have you ever noticed anything like this in your own life?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 12 - No More Cheese

It's a sad day.  I eat A LOT of cheese ( just so long as it isn't melted, that's just gross and greasy).  I love feta.  I eat it on everything.  EVERYTHING. 

Alas- today - no more feta.  No more cheddar.  No more gouda. 

Help me, Sarah.

"Starting today, you will eliminate all cheese from your diet and your kitchen. Cheese is just one of many dairy products, but it seems to be one of the bigger challenges for people to give up. According to Neal Barnard, MD, in his book, Breaking the Food Seduction, this is because cheese may be addictive. Dairy products contain casein, which break apart in digestion to release naturally occurring opiates called casomorphins. Astonishingly, casomorphins mimic the reaction of morphine on our brain! These opiates in dairy products may be responsible for the calming effect of nursing in infants, and perhaps for the addictive qualities in cheese!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 303-307). Kindle Edition.

Dear Dog.  I'm a dope fiend and I never knew it.  My life has been like flippin' Reefer Madness and nobody ever told me.  The junkie is always the last to know.

I had a smoothie for dinner, which totally rocked..and I made a point of eating every last crumb of feta in the house last night, as to not be tempted today.  I should have  no complaints, right?  Well, I do.  You know I do. 

My complaint is poo.  All this fruit/veggie/healthy crap is making me, well, crap.  It's all poo, all day.  I e-mailed Sarah, Queen of the Vegans and asked her if this was normal, or if I need to go to Vegan General Hospital - she assured me that it is quite normal.  So instead being moved by movement, I have decided to focus on the weight loss instead.  In 12 days, I'm down 5 pounds...just in case you are curious. 

I have a feeling I know where it all went.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 11 - Fruit and Veg Cleanse

How was your day, Tina?  Well, thank you for asking.  My day was an epic fail.  Here's how my day SHOULD have been:

"Today you will do the second of your two fruit & veg cleanses. Notice that each cleanse occurs before you are eliminating a significant animal product from your diet-first meat, and now cheese. The cleanse should help you to adapt a little better to the elimination, especially psychologically, and should also help reduce your cravings for these foods."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 297-298). Kindle Edition.

And here's how it actually went down:

"After spending your evening crying and feeling sorry for yourself, because you are lonely and your kid is about to leave you for a week, you will wake up and eat yet another handful of Bottle Caps from that flippin' huge Blockbuster box.  You will then eat a tuna sandwich for lunch, because you just bought bread and tuna is great on really fresh bread; plus, you know that your tuna days are numbered.  You will redeem yourself by eating a huge plateful of colorful sauteed veggies and mushrooms for dinner, but this doesn't change the fact that you are still ALONE."

Sigh.  Sorry, Sarah.  I've failed at yet another cleanse day.  The truly ironic part is, I've really only been eating fruit and veggies anyhow.   It appears that the only time I fall off the wagon is when I KNOW I can't eat anything else, and when I'm in a pissy mood.

Ah, but dearest reader - note that, whilst I did slip an eensy bit, I did NOT violate any of the other rules!!!  Note that I did NOT run down to the mini mart and buy enough Smoke-a-ronis and chicken and swiss sandwiches to pave my driveway!   This is PROGRESS, people.  Progress.

As far as the rest goes, well, what can I say.  Neither LB nor any other man has, to date, discovered how wonderful I am, as evidenced by my complete lack of dates planned for this week.  Usually I'm okay with that, but sometimes it gets to me. 

Today, it's getting to me.

What's getting to you?  I'd love to hear from you. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 10 - Read 'Diet for a New America'


So I have this shoulder/back thing that flares up every so often.  I went to the chiropractor a few years ago, who informed me that I "had a rib out", smacked me in the shoulder blade a few times, and then sent me on my way.  It worked for about, oh, 2 hours or so, and then it pretty much went back to hurting.  After a few days, it quit.  When it happened again, I figured that the co-pay wasn't worth 2 hours of comfort, so I just ignored it and - guess what - after a few days, it went away.  And so goes life.

I tell you all this pretty boring, useless crap because it's baaa---aaack.  And much, much worse.  I actually had to leave work today after a couple hours, because I basically couldn't use my left arm much, and it hurt like a bugger.  And Tina 

In my hours here at home, I've learned that if I lay flat on my back and do not move at all, I have no pain.  Interesting, but not terribly entertaining.  So I'm at home, not eating meat and partially paralyzed.  You wouldn't believe how long it's taking me to actually type this. 

Fortunately, Day 10 doesn't involve any slicing, dicing, moving or shopping.

"Buy a copy of Diet for a New America, and read at least one chapter a day until you finish it. If financially feasible, buy a new or used copy rather than borrowing it from the library-you'll most certainly want to mark your copy up and keep it for further reference."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 294-296). Kindle Edition.

I ordered this book from the library about a week ago.  I should receive it any time.  I read like a banshee, so I'll make up the lost time, no sweat.

Okay, yes.  I know this is the dullest blog post ever.  But I am in pain, my left arm is pretty much just flopping around on my laptop like an overly ambitious goldfish who made a run for it, and I've taken several ibuprofen.  Cut me some slack. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 9- Add a Salad

Today is the day of the B.A.S. - yes, that's right... The Big-Ass Salad.

Sarah words it a little more genteel-ish.

"From now on, eat one large salad every day. Start by getting yourself a large bowl that you love, if you don't already have one. Then, make a new salad every day for the next 7 days. Discover salads as if for the first time, and make them different each day. In the future, you'll have a lot of ideas for making salads from this one week of experimenting!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 284-286). Kindle Edition.

In my BAS, I used Spring Mix greens, a Fuji apple, a carrot, and some "Honey Toast Delites" almond slivers and sunflower seeds.  Well, guess what, my friend - "Honey Toast Delites" have no honey in them.  Just nuts, seeds, oil and sugar.  Go figure.  Anyhow, I topped it off with some blue cheese dressing.

Don't judge me.  I have to give up cheese soon enough, and I'll let it go then.  I'm really not a huge salad dressing fan anyway, so I don't use a lot....unless, of course, we are talking about sweet potato fries, in which case I slather them in blue cheese like there ain't no tomorrow.

I can't say I "loved" my bowl, but steps.  We are rockin' this vegan thing. 

On an unrelated note - "Tropic Thunder" is on FX right now, and I'm laughing like an idiot while I'm typing this post.  If you haven't seen it, go right now to Blockbuster and rent it.  Then go to last year's blog and read my review.

Thus endeth my shameless plug for last year's blog.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 8 -Bye Bye, Birdie

If you are in the grand old USA, today is Saturday.  If you are part of my Malaysian contingency (seriously, I'm huge in Malaysia), I don't know what day it is.  Play along.

Last night was Girl's Night Out with 3 of my homies; that was fun.  Wine, cheese, a stage performance (by actors, not us).  A good time was had by all; I was home by 9:30.  But that was last night, and this is today.    My son is off with his dad for the weekend. My house is clean, my laundry is done. I'm getting together with LB tonight. I have no extra cash to blow in town, so I'm basically here. At home. Alone. For several more hours.  Sigh. 

Confession time - while I am flabby and inherently lazy, paradoxically I also am a 6-month old Labrador puppy in a human body.  I require constant stimulation and attention.  I have to have a plan, an event, a goal.  I want to marry Tony Robbins.  You know those "relaxing vacations" people take, where they just go someplace, get up when they want, and lounge by a pool for hours at a time...until they decide to perhaps to something else, like eat or browse the streets and shuffle through quaint little shops?  That sounds like hell on earth to me...unless you have specifically scheduled a starting and stopping time for "pool" and "quaint shops" in your spiral-bound vacation planner, which you bought at Office Depot and filled in at least 6 weeks before you left, and laminated in case you dropped it in the pool by accident. 

My point being, my day might sound like Nirvana to you, but I'm going nuckin' futs.  On that note, let's give up chicken.

A daily dose of Sarah:  "Eliminate all poultry from your diet and your kitchen. (That food bank might be glad to see you again!) Try experimenting with your favorite chicken recipes by substituting fish, portabella mushrooms, baked potatoes or other food. Turn to your new collection of vegan recipes to find chicken alternatives."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 271-272). Kindle Edition.

So I went through the fridge and cupboards and found a package of frozen ground turkey, a can of chicken noodle soup, and about 4 slices of turkey breast lunch meat.  I quite wisely chose not to buy too much meat when I went grocery shopping last week (sharp as a tack, that one) so we are cool.

I've mentioned before that chicken pretty much grosses me out now, to the point that I've already reduced my chicken consumption by a good 75%.  Knowing that poultry absorbs water, and knowing that it spends a good deal of time in a 'cooling vat' with a zillion other slaughtered chickens, bobbing around in pus, blood, feces...soakin' it all up, baby.  Soakin' it all up.  Makes you want to run right out to KFC, doesn't it.  I get grossed out by buffets, for dog's sake.  This is too much.

I do need to take a moment to talk to my Malaysian contingency.  My cousin recently paid a visit to your land, he said it's lovely.  Anyhow, he told me that there are Kenny Roger's Roasters all over the place there.  You need to know, my Malaysian friends, that Americans don't go to Kenny Roger's Roasters.  In fact, last I heard, they had all shut down, and so to go to a restaurant bearing the name of this particular American country music legend, you have to go to Asia.  I thought you should know so that you could rename them if you want to. 

Just don't order the chicken.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 7 - Drink a Green Smoothie

First of all - a warm welcome to our friends visiting from , referred to our little corner of the world by Queen of the Vegans, Sarah Taylor.  To our guests - not to worry, we don't make you fill out visitor cards or anything.  Feel free to stick around.  Now that people who aren't actually related to me are stopping by, I'll have to up my game.

You may recall that yesterday I wrote that I was dreading, dreading, dreading today.  Today is....wait for it....SMOOTHIE DAY.  I'm not a smoothie fan.  It's a texture thing.  I think that beverages should either be the consistency of water, milk or a milkshake.  I don't do "froth."  "Froth" is not a natural beverage condition.  You get it in your mouth and then what...are you supposed to chew?  This is why people who drink smoothies always have a rather disconcerted look on their face.  Seriously.  Watch somebody drink a smoothie.  I can't make this stuff up.   And if froth isn't bad enough - there's the ice crystal issue.  Again - what do I do?  It's not a liquid - it's not a solid - I'm befuddled.  And GREEN.  Shudder.

I'm pensive and unwilling - but above all, I'm a scientist, and want nothing more than to expose myself to these exact types of situations for your edification and entertainment.  PLUS, Sarah says so.  So here we go.

I got home from work tonight and spend, oh, 15 minutes or so trying to remember where I had stashed my blender.  I have a TINY kitchen, and every inch of cabinet space is utilized to its maximum potential.  Stuff that rarely gets used, like "blenders," "turkey roasters", and "pots and pans" are stashed away in the dark recesses, to make room for the more important stuff, like "Pop Tarts" and "wine glasses."  The entire time, I'm positive talking myself into this..."Hey!  I get to make a green smoothie!  It's going to be my dinner!   It's going to taste really, really good!  Golly!"  It reminded me when my kids were little, and would inevitably fall and crack their heads on some piece of furniture, and there would be that moment when their little wide eyes would search you out, and you could see them processing the moment..."Should I bawl?"  So what does Mom do?  "Oh, HA HA!  UH OH!  OOPSIE DAISY!" all the while smiling and laughing some some sort of maniacal carnie in a slasher flick, so your kid doesn't start screaming his head off.  Same theory.

Sarah says to use spinach, because of its "mild" flavor.  I'm all about mild.  So into my blender goes the following:
-a big handful of spinach (it started out bigger, but I had to pick out all the slimy leaves, so it shrunk a little)
-a fresh nectarine
-a ripe banana
-orange juice
-a couple ice cubes

And this is what it looked like:

Boy!  I get to drink a green smoothie!  Golly!

You aren't going to believe this...
It's freakin' awesome.

The texture thing is bugging me, but since I didn't put much ice in it, I don't have to deal with crystals, just froth.  I'm thinking if I had a straw, I'd be happier.    I'm also thinking that putting OJ in it was probably a little over the top calorie-wise, but have you ever seen a fat vegan?  They must burn it off or make up for it elsewhere.

Now, my little chickens, time to recap our first week.  To date, we've:
1.  Decided why we want to be vegan
2.  Learned what 'vegan' means
3.  Done a fruit and veg cleanse (ahem)
4.  Eliminated red meat
5.  Researched substitutes
6.  Filled up a fruit basket
7.  Drank a green smoothie

I think we are doing well.  Let's hit the town!  Seriously, I'm sitting in my living room on a Friday, alone on my futon with chunks of blended spinach in my teeth.  I really need to get out. 

See you tomorrow, when we get up close and personal with Foghorn Leghorn.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 6 - Fill the Bowl

Let's start with our daily dose of Sarah:

"If you don't already have one, buy a gorgeous fruit bowl that you just love seeing on your dining table or in your kitchen: (You can find some great bargains at thrift stores!) Then fill it with your favorite fruits-and keep it filled!"
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 237-239). Kindle Edition.

Check.  I actually have a really cool wire basket that I picked up somewhere a while back, which I keep out on the kitchen counter and filled with apples and bananas at any given time.  Well, it's been over 90 for the past few days, and the bananas look like they are ready for pudding - but you get the idea. 

Sarah's point, and she always has one, is that you are much more likely to EAT fresh fruits if they are out in front of you, readily available.   Anyhow, I'm ahead of the curve today, and am therefore freakin' invincible.  I even ATE fruit out of the fruit basket today.  Go Tina go.

You may recall, dearest reader, that yesterday I double-dog dared you to name your favorite non-vegan food, and I'd rustle up a substitute for you.  We have "fried chicken" and "garlic chicken alfredo pizza."  Sarah the Wise points out in her book that everyone who goes vegan has to give up something they love eventually....and I'm thinking fried chicken might be a toughie to sub out.  

I used to love fried chicken, and chicken in general.  "Used to" being the operative phrase.     Now I eat it rarely, and never in a recognizeable form, because it completely grosses me out to do so.  Why, you ask?  I'll tell you why.  I read "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer and learned exactly what happens when a chicken is processed.  The section is pages long, so I'm not going to quote it for you.   Let me just say - it's worse than you think.  Seriously - we truly have no idea what we are eating.  Do yourself a favor and read this book, even if you aren't interested in giving up meat. 

For my cousin Queenie - the Garlic Alfredo Chicken pizza craver - here's a pizza recipe.  Call me crazy, but it actually looks edible.

Before you think I'm getting all self-righteous on you, I freely admit that all I've done so far is give up red meat, and so I'm not suffering terribly or doing much "substituting" yet.  But it seems to me that, rather than trying to find something that "tastes like" an animal product, it might be easier - and more flavorful - to just embrace the array of flavors you find in the plant world.  Vine-ripened tomatoes are sick - sauteed mushrooms are amazing - avocados are flat-out foodgasmic.  Throw them together on a vegan crust and BAM! Party time.

So she says, on Day 6. 

Tune in tomorrow, same Bat time, same Bat channel, for a day that I'm dreading, dreading, dreading.  All for you - my dearest reader.  All for you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 5 - Find Substitutes

Indulge me for a moment.  Fill in the blank in this sentence:

"Tina, you are an awesome siren goddess.  However, I just can't do this with you, because there's no way I could ever give up ______________ (insert the name of the appropriate food item here)."

First of all, thank you for your sincere, unsolicited compliment.  It is a little hint as to our topic for our next project, by the way.  In 9th grade English, they called that "foreshadowing."  In blogland, we call that "a little hint."

But I digress.  I challenge you to fill in this blank with that ungiveupable food, post your response here - and I, Tina the Awesome Siren Goddess, will recommend a substitute for it, such as would make the palette of the most discerning food critic bleat like a little lamb, crying out, "More, Mama - More!!".  Serious as a heart attack.   I've been surfing the web, reading Sarah's book with it's great charts, and perusing the local health food and regular food grocers.  I have to tell you, I think I pretty much found a "fake" substitute for every conceivable food. 

So, in my house, we gave up milk a few years ago; my son prefers vanilla soymilk with his cereal.  Brandwise, I buy whatever is on sale and he hasn't complained yet.  I have noticed that he prefers the refrigerator section brands, not the box stuff that you buy off the shelf and refrigerate after opening.  I love to cook with butter, but I also love to cook with coconut oil.  My only problem is, the most affordable source for coconut oil - Bear Foods in Chelan - rarely has the "bulk" coconut oil in stock, so you have to get the prepackaged stuff, and it's pretty expensive.

My mission now is to find a bread substitute...we don't eat a lot of bread, really, but it would be nice to have a brand in mind so I can just grab it when I want to buy bread.   I'm guessing tortillas are vegan, and we eat a lot more wraps than sandwiches.

I swear, at the end of the day - it's that "hidden" milk and those "hidden" eggs in pre-made foods that are going to be my downfall.  If there are any vegans in the house, can I get a woot woot?

Back to THE BOOK.  Here is what Sarah had to say for today:

"Go to the local health food store or the health food aisle in your local supermarket. Look for soy-based meat, cheese, and dairy substitutes. If someone is shopping in the same aisles, you may want to ask if they have any experience with the products, and what brands they recommend. Buy at least one new substitute product that you have not tried before. "
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 220-222). Kindle Edition.

So, I'm all about outing myself on the internet for your pleasure, so I have to confess that I didn't go shopping today.  I did go last week (Safeway, not the health food store, again with tattling on myself) and purchased: "Lightlife Smart Cutlets Spicy Sweet & Sour Veggie Protein Cutlets in Sauce" as my new product.  It looks like a really, really flat chicken breast and it's got some sauce on it.  I'm thinking over rice, add some sauteed mushrooms and we are set. 

As far as asking someone who's shopping there, did I mention this is ranch country?

Point of clarification, so you don't think I'm weaseling my way out of the health food store part - I do frequent the health food store in Chelan, probably 5 times a year or so, even though it's 60 miles one way and gas is like $85 a gallon.  I do this because it makes me feel trendy and green, and because I figure there's going to be some single men there.  My assumptions are inevitably wrong, as no one has ever accused me of being "trendy," "green," or "dateable."  But I still have a good time because it's Chelan, and they also have an indie bookstore and a kitchen store that sells fudge.

Fudge.  Oh crap.  Substitute ideas, Sarah?

All that being said - I look forward to sleuthing out your substitutes.  Bring it, baby.   Even fudge.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 4 - Eliminate Red Meat

Speak, Sarah the Oracle.  We are listening.

"You've committed to going vegan, and today is the day that you will take the first major step toward becoming vegan. Starting today, you will eliminate all red meat from your diet and your kitchen. As you know, vegans don't eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy products or eggs, and you will be eliminating one of these items every four days until the end of the 30-day program."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 172-174). Kindle Edition.

Sarah goes on to tell us to empty our cupboards and fridge of all red meat (this includes all flesh meat that isn't fish or fowl, by the way) and give it to the local food bank.

Easy Cheesy.  Winner Winner Tofurky Dinner. 

I don't buy much red meat - or pork, which as we all know, is the 'other white meat' - so no big challenge for Teener here.  I ended up with a half a package of roast beef lunch meat; a can of chili; a can of Chunky soup; and a couple cans of ravioli.    And since, at any given time, I'm about $200 away from being a food bank CLIENT, I'm not actually giving this stuff away.  I will instead feed it to my child. 

It's okay, he's not a blogger.

So, another day in the can.  We are doing well, don't you think?  Tomorrow we are "finding substitutes."

Until then, sleep well and dream of happy cows and pigs living very long, unslaughtered lives.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 3 - The Fruit and Veg Cleanse

"Today you will start your journey with a 24-hour fruit and vegetable cleanse. Ideally, you will eat only organic raw fruits and veggies in their whole, natural form. If you must, you can make a hot dish, as long as all the ingredients are fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid anything canned, jarred or frozen, as salt or sugary syrups are often added."

Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 159-161). Kindle Edition.

Hello, my name is Tina, and I'm a sugar addict.  Hi, Tina.

So, I'm not what you would call a "go-getter" first thing in the morning.  I wake up gradually.  Consciousness sneaks up on me with little cat feet; it doesn't drop on me like Queen Latifah.  I don't eat breakfast.  In fact, eating first thing in the morning makes me vomit.  Really.  I have to be up at least an hour before I eat anything.  However, within 90 minutes of awakening, I MUST have a latte', or my caffeine withdrawals will start, and I'll get a migraine. 

Keeping all this in mind, my morning started with me actually getting out of bed (as all mornings do), taking a shower, going on facebook to harvest my Cityville crops, and then grabbing 3 leftover Bottle Caps from last night's Blockbuster snack pack.  I ate them before I even realized what day it was.  So, within 15 minutes of getting out of bed, I'd already violated the Fruit and Veg Cleanse with Willy Wonka candy.  Oops.

So, around 10:30, I decided I was awake enough to take in some nourishment, so I ate a Fuji apple.  Please tell me you've eaten Fuji's.  If not, go to Safeway immediately and buy one.  They are my very favorite apple.  Anyhow, there you have it, the cleanse has begun.

I skipped my latte' (RED FLAG, PEOPLE!) because I had to go to the Homeland to take my grandma her birthday present.  Once there, well, it's the 4th, and the park was full of vendors...but I held strong.  I did NOT get a pulled pork sandwich, enchilada, torta, or anything else resembling meat.  I did get a raspberry lemonade, and patted myself on the back for having not one, but TWO fruits.


I also bought some caramel corn, which is weird because I don't really even like it...I ate maybe a 1/2 cup.  Okay, so I DO know why I bought it.  I didn't want to have enough cash left over for the pulled pork.

I stopped by mom and dad's, and wouldn't you know it, there's saltwater taffy in the bowl on the coffee table.  I love me some taffy, so I ate 3 pieces.

Okay, I'm back home now, and it's about 2:00.  Let's recap my nourishment for the day:

3 Bottle Caps
1 Apple
16 oz of raspberry lemonade
3 pieces of saltwater taffy
1/2 cup of caramel corn

Do you see a trend?  Do you also see that, at this point, I'M STARVING?

This is not Sarah's fault.  This is MY FAULT.  I should have planned this better, and should have had more fresh fruits/veggies sliced, diced and ready to go.  So, I went to my favorite fall-back food.  Poached eggs.

I consoled myself in the knowledge that the eggs were already purchased, and to throw them away uneaten wouldn't accomplish anything, so I poached 3 of those suckers, made 2 slices of toast with strawberry jam, and inhaled them with a Diet Coke.

At this point, my brain has figured out that 1-my blood sugar is completely effed for the day, and 2-I haven't had NEARLY enough caffeine.  It retaliates by seizing up every vein in my head and giving me a raging headache.  I medicate (Excedrin, baby, it's a wonder drug) and now I think I'll survive.

In actual time, it's now 5:00 on Monday night.  I'm about to go make a pizza for my son and his friend, and then a BAS (this stands for Big-Assed Salad, an acronym we will use frequently over the next several days) for me.  I have plenty of fixings for it, and not 1, but 2 salad dressings that qualify as vegan.  So, 3 chicken ovum aside, I think I'll make it without another slipup...I think.

I would say that the biggest surprise to me about today would be how little I actually consume REAL FOOD.  This is not a weird food consumption day, really - this is a normal day for me.  All that's really missing is my latte'.  I consume WAY too much sugar, ya think?  Anyhow - Sarah, if you are reading this, thanks for helping to point that out to me.  You are rapidly becoming my guru.

Tomorrow we give up red meat.  I'm ready.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 2 - What's a Vegan?

Welcome, little chickens, to Day 2.

Our project for today - according to our Vegan guide, Sarah Taylor:

"Get online and research the vegan diet. Devote at least 30 minutes to learning about how different people define it, and what products are on the market that are vegan and not vegan."
Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 157-158). Kindle Edition.  (HAVE YOU PEOPLE BOUGHT THIS BOOK YET?  DO IT TODAY!)

You know what I found?  That people who are completely against eating animal products, most of which cite "cruelty to animals" as their reason, have no problem whatsoever verbally castrating each other over the topic of honey.  Yes, that's right.  The stuff bees make.

I've read everything from..."Bees are enslaved, artificially inseminated and then robbed of the fruits of their labor" to "A bee is an insect, not an animal, and therefore honey does not violate the rules of veganism" to "Honey is a product of nature, the bees are doing what they would do naturally, so they aren't being exploited."  My personal favorite was from a woman who stated on a message board that "Vegans will burst into flames" if they eat honey.  Okay, she did say that she was kidding, but I loved it.

All entertainment aside, here's the most complete and concise definition for Vegan lifestyle I found, thanks to our friends at
  • Animals Are Not Ours to Eat

  • Animals Are Not Ours to Wear

  • Animals Are Not Ours to Experiment On

  • Animals Are Not Ours to Use for Entertainment

  • Animals Are Not Ours to Abuse in Any Way

  • The most gratifying part of this definition to me is, since humans are just a type of animal, all members of PETA are automatically pro-life for humans and will, at all costs, do whatever it takes to preserve the lives of the unborn, the elderly, and the infirmed.  (She says facetiously with a grin on her face)  And yes, I'm a member of PETA, so I get to bust their chops a little.  Being a Hypocrisy Watchdog on your behalf is part of my job. 

    Anyhow, if you are at all interested in this topic, go to their website.  They have tons of info on vegetarianism/veganism, recipes, etc.  Contrary to what you've heard on Fox News, PETA is not completely comprised of rabid, flag-burning fire-bombers who don't shave their armpits.  They have a fabulous website.

    Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we do a fruit and veggie cleanse.  Yes, that's right, fruit and veggies only from sunup to sundown.  Guess I should go buy some, huh.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Day 1 - Why Vegan?

    It's July 1st.  In addition to being my 23rd wedding anniversary, had marriage #1 shown some sticking power, it's the big day we start our little Vegan project.

    Remember, this is a 30-step process (thank DOG we don't go cold turkey).   For day 1 - here's what Sarah says in her book (which, by the way, you should all buy).

    "Your objective today is to examine why it is that you want to be a vegan in 30 days. Is your reason compelling enough so that you will stick with it for 30 days? What about your whole life, if that's your ultimate goal?"
    Sarah Taylor. Vegan in 30 Days: Get Healthy. Save the World. (Kindle Locations 113-115). Kindle Edition.

    I began brainstorming...and here's some bullet points I came up with:

    -to provide entertainment to my readers, who seem to relish any opportunity I have to experience discomfort
    -because meat processing is disgusting, and if we really knew what we were eating, we'd all be Vegan
    -because farm animals don't have much of a life
    -I'm worried about heart disease
    -it's trendy and makes me seem uber-intelligent
    -my ass is the size of Delaware
    -animal products, in general, are expensive (especially beef)
    -I'd like to eat more whole foods
    -because it's not going to hurt anything
    -I suspect that I'm pre-diabetic and I want to see if this will help

    After weighing these points, here's what I come up with:

    "I'm going Vegan in 30 days because I think our nation's meat processing system is corrupt, our methods of raising farm animals are generally vulgar and cruel, I want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and because my ass is the size of Delaware."

    Speaking of which, I did weigh myself this morning, and will weigh myself again in 30 days to see if we have any change.  Wild horses tied to my toes could not drag that number out of me.  The good news is, it matches my driver's license; this, in and of itself, is an accomplishment.

    For you brave, brave souls who are embarking on this adventure with me - the internet is stuffed with recipes.  AFTER YOU BUY SARAH'S BOOK, WHICH HAS RECIPES IN THE BACK AND ONLY COSTS LIKE $10 ON AMAZON, AND YOU CAN DOWNLOAD IT ONTO YOUR COMPUTER - try these websites:

    We are off to my grandma's 90th birthday party tomorrow.  Thank Dog I haven't actually had to give up burgers yet.  I will, however, try my darndest to "cut back".  We shall see.  Oh, spare me the look - like YOU wouldn't be scarfing down BBQ.