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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Post Boot-Camp Ponderings

Yesterday was the last day of boot-camp, so I'd like to dedicate this post to describing some of the conclusions I have made about the vegan diet (and the combination of this way of eating and the daily exercise). Over and above anything I might say here, I really do recommend that you try a boot-camp for yourself; I have personally found the process extremely rewarding. And there's one starting really soon! Check out Jo's website for more details.


So, without further ado, here are my conclusions:


Vegan diet:
  • Vegan food is not bland
  • In fact...Vegan food is AMAZING. I have made more amazing meals in the last month than ever before, because I have not had the convenience of just smothering everything in cheese. I have discovered herbs, spices, and textures in vegetables and fruit that I did not know existed (see my post on banana ice-cream, for instance). Guacamole, for instance, makes a delicious and healthy substitute for cream / cottage cheese, and is a sensational addition to baked potatoes. Yum! (In fact, I've just had some avo on toast for breakfast. What a simple treat :) )
  • I have noticed a distinct increase in energy levels
    My skin has been noticeably happier (very clear, and it's almost had a glow to it!)
  • I have lost more than 1cm off both waist and hip measurements (perhaps that's not a significant figure; bear in mind I have hardly been counting calories!!)
  • And well, how shall I put this: on a vegan diet, digestive tract issues are a thing of the past.
  • I also have a deep respect for the considerate nature of being vegan: consideration for the planet, consideration for animals - it has genuinely made me feel like a nicer human being to find less harmful alternatives.
Exercise
  • A 15 minute power-walk is a fantastic way to start the day. Even if the air we walk through isn't necessarily 'fresh' air, it is just so wonderful to be outdoors, breathing, working up a sweat!
  • 15 minutes of yoga / tibetan rites / karate / strength training each day has paid dividends. I can feel that my core is significantly stronger, and my previously non-existant upper body strength is, well, getting there (one push-up at a time)
  • I am sure that the daily exercise has also contributed to my increased energy levels (everything in balance)

Conclusions:

  • Balance is key. A conscious exercise programme combined with a healthy diet have both contributed to my increased energy levels (lack of energy was one of my biggest complaints, before). 
  • I have also been sleeping much better - a lot less tossing and turning, no more sleep-talking (seriously!) - both of these for me were signs of restlessness during sleep, before. Again I think this deeper sleeping is due to both exercise and diet.
  • A boot-camp is seriously worth a try (follow this link for more info on the next one)!

So, what have I decided about my own life??

Well, I'm still sort of muddling through that question, one day at a time. I would like to keep incorporating vegan ideas in my diet, but not as strictly as before. For instance, I might order a pizza without the cheese (you wouldn't believe how delicious this is - really!! I actually had a pizza last night with cheese, and in all honesty, cheese on a pizza is neither here nor there...), but I'm not going to fuss if the restaurant uses a few eggs in their pizza base recipe. This might sound hypocritical (I sincerely do invite your comments on this) - I guess I'm just aiming for a practical, non-prohibitive diet in which I am free to make considerate and healthy choices, but am not constrained to doing so. You see, I think the moment I constrain myself, I will start to miss what I "can't" have. So my philosophy now is really that there is nothing I can't have, but I will hold on to the lessons I have learned in this month, about flavor, health and ethics. These lessons will definitely guide my choices in terms of what to eat, and how to live.

So folks, that's what I've learned. As always, I totally welcome your comments and questions. I think it's important to learn together, from one another :)

Have a wonderful Saturday!
xx




Thursday, 25 August 2011

The other side of the fence, where the grass IS greener...Greenside Cafe!

Wow, I just had one of those...you guessed it...life-changing experiences! I decided to treat myself, especially since I have made it through the vegan challenge without cheating (or even wanting to!) or slipping up. So, I took myself out to a vegan-friendly restaurant and try a real chef's take on vegan food (since I went vegan I've been cooking for myself, with impressive results, if I do say so myself). Well, from a list I found on the interweb, I chose to give The Greenside Cafe a try.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

What's wow about Wednesday?

Thank God it's Friday...
What's wow about Wednesday? Well, you know that feeling you get on a Friday - sometimes it's when you wake up and sometimes it only really starts to sink in mid-morning or come time to leave work? It's a feeling of relief, a feeling of possibility. People I work with (I include myself in this, too) are more balanced human beings on Friday. They might have to deal with a nasty phonecall or have a really stressful class / meeting, or any of those things which tend to get us down. But on Fridays, they will say "Well, at least it's Friday!" and that thought will genuinely make things ok. Now wouldn't it be amazing to have that feeling on the other days of the week as well? It's quite an impressive coping mechanism - allowing the problems of the world to roll off your back just because it's Friday. Why should Tuesday be any different?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Meat-Free-Monday inspirations: Life-changing banana 'chocolate ice-cream'

Perusing the internet for vegan recipes, I found this wonderful website of fab recipes and interesting discussions about veganism. I was particularly drawn to the post "The raw ice cream that changed my life" - intriguing! Angela mentioned that she found the recipe on this site (another great one for recipes!). Wherever this recipe was born, it has changed many lives, including mine! Delicious ice-cream texture made from nothing but fruit - amazing!!

Very easy steps to follow (but you'll need a food processor):

Meat-Free Monday inspirations: Dahl curry

Last night I served dinner to a hungry family at our weekly family get-together. Usually mom cooks, but I volunteered to cook yesterday, and give everyone a taste of veganism. Naturally, I wanted to put my best foot forward, to try to dispel the myth that vegan food is bland. Well! I made a number of dishes, which I will publish in separate posts for your meat-free inspiration (ok, I did have all day to prepare the food, and some help from my very obliging sister and mom). I will include roughly how long each dish took me to prepare.

Dhal curry recipe:

I found this recipe on a useful site, but I have twice adapted it to fit the contents of my fridge, with great results!

Bit of fun for a Monday morning

All this exercise has been getting the better of me! But which is better: Yoga or Pilates?? Check out the link below for a silly cartoon about that... Lol!

http://mahoneyjoe.com/stories/yoga_or_pilates/


Let me hear your philosophical ramblings now y'all...


xx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

WOW-Wednesday

A very un-wow start...

I was woken this morning by my insistent alarm clock. I was tired, I had a blocked nose (a 'blokdd doze') and it felt like my head was full of concrete. Plus, it was SOOOOooooOOo cold! I was utterly resentful of the fact that I would need to get out of bed to go to my boot-camp class. To walk to my boot-camp class. What stupid idiot, I thought, made the commitment to walking to boot-camp every day?? Well, yes, it was me. So I felt resentful, moody and sick, but I forced myself out of bed because after all I had to. Three more sessions this week, I thought, and then only a week to go! I was vaguely aware of and surprised at myself counting down the days to the end of boot-camp, because I have enjoyed and benefited from it immeasurably thus far. But everything was a victim of my bad mood, including wonderful boot-camp.

As I grumpily yanked off my pyjamas, I realised with a sinking feeling: It's Wednesday. WOW-Wednesday. Oh great, I moaned, now I have to be happy as well?!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Gently does it

I've spent some time this weekend doing some serious soul-searching. About why it is that I'm on this journey, and what it all means to me as a person. 


The guilt of existence

We seem to be bombarded with messages about all of the bad things which the actions of humankind are responsible for: (global warming through excessive carbon emissions, animal maltreatment, overpopulation, famine, etc), and I have to admit that I have a tendency to internalise things. I realised over the weekend that I have been harbouring tremendous guilt on behalf of all humankind, and tremendous resentment towards humankind, for creating all of these problems. 



So what do I do? Out of guilt I cease all forms of anything which might compound these problems. I flagellate myself for bathing instead of showering; I cringe when I switch on a light. I'm deeply apologetic to mother nature for living in a tarred, built up city which has displaced so many of her creatures. And while it's not a bad thing to be aware of our personal impact on the environment, I reached a point this weekend where I realised that this guilt will be the end of me. And in thinking through my existence guilt, I found some pearls of wisdom:

Friday, 12 August 2011

Take Me To Your Leader...

I've had this deep suspicion for a long time that the human race has pretty much lost the plot.

We evolved into a race with more power than many other species, in terms of our sophisticated language, and our sophisticated tools (see machine gun. See atom bomb). And it always seemed to me a little unfair that we should exert this super-natural power (I mean 'super' as in 'above': powers above what might be considered natural) over the other life-forms with which we share the planet.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Getting started

Welcome to WoW!!

I'm welcoming myself as much as I'm welcoming anyone else who might wander onto this page...

Ok, so what exactly am I doing here? I created this blog primarily to document a process I'm going through at the moment, a kind of all-systems-go detox which will take me to the end of August. I'm trying out all sorts of things which I suspect some people may be able to relate to, and that's why I thought starting a blog would be a good way of working through this process mentally.