With an Oink Oink here…Baby Steps to Plant Based Week 8

Okay, I admit it, I am running a little behind. My only excuse is it is just becoming warm here, I want to get my garden done, get my kids ready for summer, and sit on the deck with a cold beer. But here I am, with a spare silent second, with the little one and the dog sleeping inches away from me, and the men in our life out making money and playing ball. I thought we could talk about pigs. We all know that is where pork comes from, yes even your beloved bacon. Pigs are awesome, and cute, and smarter than your dog. Why in the heck then, do Americans consume such vast quantities of this amazing animal?

pig

 

From a report by NBC News “Pigs are wise … and clean

  • Paulo Whitaker  /  Reuters

    Here’s the dirt on pigs: They are perhaps the smartest, cleanest domestic animals known – more so than cats and dogs, according to some experts. But pigs don’t have sweat glands, so they roll around in the mud to stay cool. A sign of their cleverness came from experiments in the 1990s. Pigs were trained to move a cursor on a video screen with their snouts and used the cursor to distinguish between scribbles they knew and those they were seeing for the first time. They learned the task as quickly as chimpanzees.”

It is amazing to me that Americans go crazy to save a dog, but regularly eat an animal that is smarter than a dog. Weird Right.  Pigs are very social animals. They form close bonds, and in the wild a group of sows and all their piglets will stay together as a family unit. Pigs are very rarely aggressive, the exceptions being a sow protecting her young, or a boar if provoked. Pigs in meat ‘factory’ farms are packed together with unfamiliar pigs causing stress and chaos. According to The Humane Society “Wild boars have been observed to live 11-25 years in the wild;[175],[176] however, due to hunting, the average lifespan of wild boars and feral pigs is about 4 years.[177],[178]Pigs raised for meat in North America are usually slaughtered at about 6 months of age, when they are still juveniles.[179]”  Isn’t it a shame that we are so selfish to ruin family bonds, and long healthy lives just for the sake of our appetites?

mama pig

It is also quite a shame that pigs have to live cramped together with strangers, in tiny cages where they can’t even turn around. All in the name of bacon. The pigs in factory farms are shoved so closely to one another that they often bite each other’s tails and backsides out of stress and frustration. Pig flesh a.k.a. bacon, pork chops, loin, roasts, baby back ribs, ham, and sausage are all quite bad for your health. Pork is high in saturated fat and cholesterol which causes heart disease and promotes cancer. Save yourself, free the pigs.

factory farm pigs

Is it really worth it, to satisfy your taste buds? Is it really worth one of these precious lives to make your meal complete? There are a ton of substitutes if you feel you need them. My favorites are Tofurkey brand keilbasa and the Yves pepperoni. Tastes will change with time, and bacon will go out of style. Be conscious of your food choices. You can make a difference. Stop contributing to the death of millions of animals annually. Just for American consumption in 2008:

USDA slaughter stats 2008

Cattle: 35,507,500
Pigs: 116,558,900
Chickens: 9,075,261,000
Layer hens: 69,683,000
Broiler chickens: 9,005,578,000
Turkeys: 271,245,000″

ff pig

I know that this is hard to swallow, but sometimes that is what it takes to make people aware of the damage they have been doing to animals, and to their health. Flesh is not food. Fruit is food, vegetables are food, potatoes, rice, quinoa, nuts, seeds and beans are food. Living, breathing, feeling beings DO NOT have to die so that you can have a meal. Eat a salad, save a life.

 

 

I hope that you are enjoying and applying my Baby Steps to Plant Based series to your life. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, if I don’t know the answer, I will gladly point you in the right direction. If you have friends or family that you think would like this series please feel free to share.  You can also find me at

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Baby Steps to Plant Based Week Seven – Vegan Cuts Snack Box Rocks.

It is week seven in the baby-steps to plant based series. It is break week. Time to sit back, relax and reflect on how far you have come!  In addition to cutting fat and cholesterol by removing meat and cheese from your diet, in week one you added raw veggies to your diet and in week five you added a big serving of fresh fruit! Isn’t that great! You are eating healthier than ever, and maybe losing a bit of extra weight too! If weight loss is your ultimate goal you may want to start an exercise routine now, like walking, jogging or cycling around your neighborhood. It may be a good week to check out all the awesome new vegan (plant based) products are out there.

IMG_20140527_171454

The friendly people at Vegan Cuts were kind enough to send me a box of snacks to review for you! There were lots of great snacks to try out in the box. Included were: Beanfields Rice and Bean chips in ranch flavor (delicious!), Simply Sesame spread, Saffron Road Simmer Sauce, Jyoti savory snacks, At the Table Together pizza dough mix, Meatless Select taco filling (can’t wait to try this!), Pearls Black Olives (yum!), Jiva hot chocolate mix (kid approved!), Fig Bar lemon flavor (our favorite!) and Kale Chips! We haven’t tried everything that came in the snack box, but what we did try we really liked, and the rest I am excited to try! It was a great mix of tasty snacks, and nice to be able to sample a product before you buy a giant bag of it. I have been looking for the Beanfields chips at the market- think healthier cool ranch dorito!  It is awesome companies like http://www.vegancuts.com that make it so easy for us to keep up our plant based diets all the time! I highly recommend Vegan Cuts and think that you would enjoy a snack box yourself!

I hope that you are enjoying your journey to becoming plant based!  Take your time, don’t discouraged if you have a slip up, and enjoy your fruits and veggies! Now, go make yourself a smoothie and go for a walk! If you haven’t followed on facebook, here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/annieeatsapplesforever

 

moldy cheese

Moo-ve Over Cheese – Baby Steps to Plant Based Week 6

Pizza, nachos, pasta parmasean, all awesome. All cheesy and delicious. All full of saturated fat, blood, pus and hormones. Full of all the things that make us fat and sick. Why then, is it so difficult to give up? Why do we crave something that kills us?

A typical cheese contains 70 percent fat, and is loaded with cholesterol and sodium. All of these things alone are bad for your health, particularly heart health, so you can imagine the negative  impact of all these things concentrated in one food. According to the NY Times cheese has become Americans’ largest source of saturated fat, it’s no wonder with a single slice of pizza containing 2/3 of the US daily allowance.

arteryarte

All dairy products including cheese, contain pus from the bacterial infections that the cows get from being hooked up to milk machines constantly. Cows are then fed antibiotics to fight the infections, which also end up in dairy products. If that isn’t enough to gross you out, many cheeses are also made with rennet which is an enzyme taken from calf stomach lining. Awesome, right? Cheese is also full of bacteria, some of which is fine. Some of the bacteria is not so fine, being the same bacteria that causes foot odor.

moldy cheese

Cowsmilk contains a small amount of morphine, a ‘feel good’ drug in the opiate family that is highly addictive. Cheese is a concentrated form of cowsmilk therefore contains a higher amount of opiate, making cheese an actual addictive food. Your cravings for cheese are very real, but like all addictions can be broken, and you will be a better, thinner person for it. A few year ago when I was transitioning from vegetarian to vegan I lost 5 pounds when I gave up cheese.

cowsmilk

Cheese is a totally unnecessary part of the human diet. Most of it is made from cowsmilk which is, of course, meant for baby cows. All of it is full of saturated fat which causes heart disease and stroke, and also ‘surprise’! makes you fat. Cheese also has milk proteins which promote cancer tumor growth. Cheese has addictive qualities that make it difficult to just have small amounts once in awhile. Cheese also has smelly bacteria and pus. Still want that slice of gooey, cheesy pizza? If you do, don’t worry there are plenty of cheese alternatives, including Daiya who makes a good shredded mozzarella and many great home made nut cheeses.

 

I hope that you are enjoying my Baby Steps to Plant Based series! If you are please spread the word, sharing is caring!, and like me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/annieeatsapplesforever

Fruit – Eat it, Drink it, Juice it. Week 5 – Baby Steps to Plant Based

Congratulations! You are no longer a cow eater! That is great news for the cows and your health. Cows don’t like to be eaten, and your body doesn’t like to process all that fat, cholesterol and animal protein. You are probably feeling better about yourself and you probably have more energy and less cravings for fatty food. All of that is awesome, you should feel proud. Step five in the Baby Steps to Plant Based is a fun and easy week. We are going to add a big fruit meal. It can be smoothified, juiced or just eaten whole and perfect. Up to you.

cantaloupe

Think about this for a moment. You are naked in the wilderness. Without weapons, without fire, what do you eat? It would be awfully hard to catch a wild boar and kill it with your bare hands. Even if you managed to do so, would you enjoy ripping through the thick, rough skin with your fingernails and teeth to get to the bloody flesh? Would you enjoy chewing on the raw flesh of your fresh kill without fire to cook it? I know that I wouldn’t find that enjoyable, I probably am not capable of it, even if it did sound like fun to me!  Our hands are made for picking fresh fruit from the trees. Our tongues are made to enjoy the sweet, juicy taste of  ripe fruit. Our teeth are made to bite through the ‘skin’ of the fruit and chew the sweet ‘flesh’. Our stomachs are designed to digest the sugars, vitamins, and micro-nutrients in fruit. Your intestines are long; made this way to slowly digest the fiber parts of the fruit. Fruit, the perfect food for humans.

pick

Yes, fruit has sugar. Guess what? Human bodies use sugar for fuel. I believe truly that one could be healthy and strong eating only fruit forever. That being said, all I am asking of you this week is to eat fruit in some form for breakfast. I tend to change it up, sometimes I make a big juice with lots of greens and fruit for breakfast. Some days I am in the mood for a nice cold smoothie made with bananas and berries. Other days I will simply cut a melon in half and eat that for my morning meal. I usually have a cup of coffee*, with just a little soy milk, first thing, then I go for a run and when I come home I have my fruit meal. I like to eat (or drink) fruit after a workout because I know my body can easily digest and absorb whatever nutrients it needs to recover.

smoothie

 

Banana Berry Smoothie -

1 banana peeled

1 cup frozen organic blueberries

1 cup frozen organic strawberries

1-2 cups filtered water or organic coconut water

throw everything in blender.

blend. add water until desired consistency

pour it in a glass and slurp it with a straw.

 

pineapple

 

My Favorite Juice

2 organic cucumbers (hey, it’s a fruit!)

1/2-1 organic pineapple peeled and cored

5 big hand fulls of organic spinach

2 inches peeled ginger root

juice all ingredients. drink up buttercup.

 

Getting your fruit is so easy. Every cell in your body will jump for joy when you start eating what nature intended us to eat. Now, I am not saying I expect every to become a fruitarian, but please, just have one fruit meal a day.( For more information on a fruitarian diet check out Dr. Douglas N Graham’s book The 80/10/10 Diet.)   Eat fruit for breakfast, as much as you want, until you feel full, and then don’t eat anything else for a few hours. Let your body absorb and digest it’s happy :) meal. You will feel so light and free. You will have so much more energy. You will be so happy and healthy!  I hope that you are all enjoying my Baby Steps to Plant Based series, I am enjoying sharing it with you. Please join me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/annieeatsapplesforever

 

*my daily coffee is something I debate about giving up. I may try to wean myself from it in the near future, or I may just roll with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef, it Does Nobody Good. Baby Steps to Plant Based Week 4

In week one we added a daily big green salad to our diet, in week two we gave up the sausage, in week three we stepped away from the burger. Week four is here, and I think it is time to bid adieu to beef. Now this may seem like a ridiculously difficult undertaking, but trust me, you can do it. It is better for your health, the environment, and the cows. MOOOOOO. When I first became vegetarian/vegan, it was purely for compassion’s sake. I was too young and stupid to care about my health or the environment. It turns out that my compassion is also best for my health, and for the planets health. Win.

So put down your knives (have you seen Forks over Knives, by the way? If you haven’t be sure to check it out, you can watch it on amazon prime or netflix) you won’t be needing them anymore. A 2012 Harvard University study found that eating a mere 3 oz. serving of red meat per day is associated with a 13% higher risk of death. This is likely due to the high saturated fat content and cholesterol found in beef. Saturated fat and cholesterol are a major factor in developing heart disease. The American Heart Association states that vegetarians have a substantially lower risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease that those that consume the standard American diet (SAD).

When beef is cooked at high temperatures, such as when grilling or pan-frying, two cancer causing substances are formed. Heterocyclic Amines or HCA’s as well as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAH’s. These substances have been shown to increase the risk of both prostate cancer and colon cancer. Dr. Dean Ornish has also directly linked red meat consumption to diabetes and obesity. Children are starting to develop adult onset diabetes in this country of ours. Diabetes and cancer, sounds like a no-win situation to me. Throw a veggie burger on the grill and know that you are treating your body well.

grill

Eating meat is not only destructive to your body, but to the environment.  The World Watch Institute reports that at least 51% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Greenhouse-gas emissions contribute to climate change by trapping solar energy and warming the earth’s surface. Producing half a pound of beef for someones dinner releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a car 10 miles. Producing beef for a single average American for one year emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven 1,800 miles (not to mention that we could feed the world population with the grains that we use for cattle feed).  Do mother earth a favor, and give up beef. You don’t need it to live a happy and healthy life, but the life of the cows and perhaps your future grandchildren depend on your giving it up.

 

 

c0w

 

As I have tried to show here, eating beef is not good for you. I know that you have been conditioned since birth to believe that with out a diet high in animal protein, you will surely die a slow and painful death, but I am living proof, as are all vegans, that meat is an unnecessary part of the human diet.  We have plenty of protein sources, from leafy greens to lentils and beans to fulfill our protein requirements and then some.   Beef productions is also detrimental to the environment, and of course the cows.  The only thing that beef production is good for is the pocket of the beef industry bosses. BOOOO.

 

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I Am About to Become the Hamburglar

If I had to guess, I would say that you feel a bazillion times better now that you have given up the sickening sausage and added a nice big green salad to your diet.  We are on the right track and you should be proud of the steps you are taking to become your healthiest self. This week we will talk about giving up the ground beef, no matter what form it may come in. We are going to kick the hamburger habit that good old ‘merica is famous for. Do we really want to be known as the fattest and sickest country in the world. I know I don’t want to be a part of that! The U.S. fast food industry serves more than 50 million Americans daily. The Average fast food meal contains 1,500 calories. Two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight. One third of American children are overweight. It is time we put down the burgers and pick up the broccoli.

broc

In a single 3 ounce serving of 90%lean ground beef there are 182 calories, 85 of which are fat calories.There are also 89 mg of cholesterol and 3.7 grams of saturated fat. Eating foods high in saturated fat raises the cholesterol levels in your blood promoting both heart disease and stroke. Eating foods with both saturated fat and cholesterol raises the blood cholesterol even further. The 2012 December Atherosclerosis Report states that red meat may increase risk of diabetes. The PLOS medicine journal reported in December 2007 that red meat may cause an increased risk of colon, lung, liver and esophageal cancers.

mcdonalds-Hamburger

If cancer and heart disease isn’t enough of a reason for you to give up burgers and meatloaf, how do you feel about antibiotics and hormones added to your meal? Beef is big business in North America, and in feed lots it is common practice to fatten the cows using hormones and to use chemicals to prevent disease. These chemicals and hormones are stored as toxins in the animals fat, and remains in your ‘beef’ even after it is cooked. Our bodies have enough stress without having to digest and eliminate (or store) hormones and antibiotics from our food supply.

Got Slime? Yep, the infamous pink slime. It is made from tiny pieces of meat left over on the trimmed fat from the cow. The fat is melted and spun off of the meat. The meat is then treated with an ammonia spray to deodorize and ‘clean’ the meat. It is ground up and added to ground beef as a filler. YUM. The good news is that schools now actually can choose to order meat with out pink slime. But, do they?

pink slime

We have disease causing fat and cholesterol, we have antibiotics and hormones, and we have left over bits of flesh treated with ammonia. If those are not enough reasons for you to give up hamburger think of the poor cows. They live in horrible conditions, have their children ripped away from them at birth, and are violently killed many years before they would naturally die, just so you can have a quick meal. MOO. Please, do your self a favor and give up the beef. Also, do me a favor and follow my blog by liking the facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/annieeatsapplesforever

Lets Talk Sausage – Baby Steps to Plant Based – Week Two

Sausage. Once upon a time, when my son was still a toddler,  I would feed him breakfast sausage thinking that I was doing something good. I thought, ‘he is a growing boy, protein is good for building muscles and fat is good for the developing brain.’ Oh, if I knew then…I hope that everyone is enjoying the daily salad that we added to your diet in week one, I know I am!  Week Two is all about giving up the sausage (don’t be naughty!) Sausage and all processed meat products are unhealthy. They are full of fat, chemicals and toxic additives. They may taste great to you now, but after you have gone a while without them, you will wonder what you ever saw in them.

cm_salads

In preparation for writing this I googled the ingredient list for sausage (I couldn’t find a specific list of animal body parts used in processed meats, but I think it is safe to assume it is not the highest quality meat).  I followed the sausage links (pun intended) and what I found is that most store bought sausages contain most, if not all of the following: amesphous, corn syrup solids, curing salts, powdered dextrose, encapsulated citric acid, fat replacer, fermento, gelatin, glucono-delta-lactone, monosodium glutimate (MSG), non-fat dairy milk, sodium nitrites,  potassium sorbate, salt, sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate, soy protein concentrate, sucrose, trehalose, water and soy protein isolate. Remember, that on food labels, ingredients such as these can sometimes hide under innocent sounding names like ‘flavoring’, ‘spices’ and ‘salts’.  If you are anything like me, you have no idea what most of this is or does. Needless to say, I went back to google to figure out what some of these ingredients are, and what they do to the human body.

amesphos- is a phosphate blend used to maintain fresh taste, increase tenderness and juiciness, reduce loss of meat fluids and promote color development. Phosphates can be deadly to people with kidney disease and can cause damage to people with normal kidney function.

corn syrup solids- are a powdered form of high fructose corn syrup, which is a highly processed sweetener. Consumption of refined sugars of all kinds can lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

trehalose- a crystalline disaccharide that is found in various organisms (fungi and insects) that is about half as sweet as sucrose and sometimes used as a sweetener in commercially prepared foods (origin- international scientific vocabulary- trehala, a sweet substance constituting the pupal covering of the beetle. yum! sounds like witch’s brew, not food… beetle juice, cow eyeballs and pig hooves…so mote it be.

beetle

monosodium glutimate- is classified as an excitotoxin.  US govt. research determined that consumption of MSG can have the following side effects: burning sensation in the back of neck, forearms and chest; numbness in the back of neck, radiating to arms and back; tingling, warmth and weakness in the face, temples, upper back, neck and arms; facial pressure or tightness; chest pain; headache; nausea; rapid heartbeat; difficulty breathing; drowsiness; weakness. Sounds like a good time, right?

sodium nitrite-that is used to enhance color and prevent bacteria growth in packaged meat products are a cancer promoting additive. a substance that form a variety of nitrosamine compounds that once ingested into the human bloodstream cause damage to internal organs including the pancreas and liver. The USDA tried to ban this product in the 1970′s but was vetoed by the food manufactures, claiming there was no other preservative that would work for packaged meats. Side of cancer with your breakfast anyone?

sausages

 

I would also like to mention that sausage is full of fat, and as the fat is where we (both humans and animals) store toxins, along with the fat you will be eating all the toxins that the animal has consumed. This includes the growth hormones they are injected with, the antibiotics that factory farm animals are routinely fed as well as all the pesticides that are on and in the corn and grains used to feed the animals that will be made into sausage and other processed meats.  As you can see, eating sausage, hot dogs, and other processed meat products contain many potentially hazardous ingredients that we are all better off avoiding. There are so many great vegan alternatives out there these days. My favorites are Field Roast Italian Sausage and Tofurkey brand Linguica. Both are delicious, the Field Roast have more spice to them though. We sautee ours in a pan with peppers and onions and eat them on whole wheat rolls with mustard and a side of garlic roasted potatoes. Even our carnivorous friends enjoy them! So please, do your health a favor, and give up processed meats. You don’t need sausage to have a good time.

Stay tuned for week three! I hope that you are enjoying the Baby Steps to Plant-Based series, and if you are please take a moment to ‘like ‘ http://www.facebook.com/annieeatsapplesforever and to share this, or any post with your plant-curious friends! Please feel free to leave your questions and/or comments on this or the facebook page, thanks for reading. Peace, Plants and Positivity to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Steps to a Plant-Based Diet Week One.

If you are a hard core carnivore, or if you just want to add some plants to your diet, this should be your starting point. Baby step numero uno – eat a salad. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the choice is yours, but your goal should be to eat one large, green, raw salad daily.  Make a large salad using your favorite greens as a base. I like baby spinach and romaine lettuce. I also add whatever raw vegetables/fruits I happen to have.  Some of my favorites are tomato, onion and avocado. I tend to not use dressing when I use avocado in my salad- just a little sea salt and pepper, if I don’t have any avocado on hand I use a olive oil and balsamic dressing, but use whatever you like for now.

I buy triple washed organic baby spinach. It is convenient, delicious and readily available. There are many reasons that you should choose spinach for your daily salad. Spinach is high in flavanoids- a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. Spinach has been shown to have protection against prostate, stomach and skin cancer. The vitamin K in spinach is great for both brain function and a healthy nervous system. Spinach also contains vitamin C and E, as well as beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, which are all anti-oxidants that can prevent osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Spinach as well as most dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron.

spinach

Adding just one cup of organic romaine lettuce to your daily salad provides your body with 82% of the RDV of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin K, 19% of vitamin C and 16% of folic acid. All of those vitamins for only 10, yes ten, calories! Vitamin C is needed to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which reduces risk of stroke. The high fiber content of romaine lettuce makes you feel full longer, preventing over-eating. Grab a head, wash it with cold water, chop it up and you are ready to go.

Onions may make you cry, but they really are good for you! They are high in vitamin C, and B6 as well as chromium, calcium, folic acid, D1 and K. Quercetin, a potent antioxidant flavanoid that is shown to lower cholesterol, thin blood and fight asthma is present in onion. You don’t need to eat a ton of onion to experience all the benefits. Just one medium onion (cooked or raw) daily is enough for your to reap all the rewards. Get ready to cry people!

Tomato is a fruit, it’s true, but they are a great addition to your daily salad. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that can flush free radicals out of your body and help prevent cancer cell formation. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their rich red color, and tomatoes contain more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. A one cup serving of chopped tomato also provides 25 grams of vitamin C, which is an important part of the immune system. It is simple, eat a tomato, stay healthy.

tomaot

I love avocados. I will just spoon some onto my salad, or make a guacamole and put a blob of that on in place of dressing. Avocados are the highest fruit source of vitamin E, which is great for overall heart health. Avocados are also helpful in aiding the absorption of certain nutrients. One study shows people eating a salad containing avocados absorbed 5x the lycopene and beta-carotene than those who ate salad without avocado. Eat up buttercup.

avo

As you can see, adding a large raw salad to your daily routine is a great way to add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients to your diet. The vegetables and fruits listed above are just a small sample of what you can do with your daily salad. Have fun, get creative and make your salad a daily experience!

Annie’s Famous Guacamole

1 ripe avocado mushed up
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh or dried cilantro
1 tsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
.5 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

stir and serve.

Baby Steps to Plant Based – For the Hardcore Carnivore

i have talked a lot about juicing and what i eat on a daily basis; all vegan, with an emphasis on whole organic food. truthfully though, it took a long time to get here, even after i ditched meat and dairy.  i thought that i would go back to the beginning and do a simple step by step to plant based.  (you could do each step one at a time, week to week, month to month, or whatever is comfortable for you-but for simplicity sake i will use a weekly format) i will then go back through the list and dedicate a post to covering each step more in depth. sound good? ok, lets start.

Fruits-and-Veggies-575

week 1. go green! and red! and orange! every day, for either breakfast, lunch or dinner make yourself a big salad. use organic baby spinach and romaine lettuce as your base, and top with whatever raw vegetables you like. think red pepper, tomato, cucumber, onion, carrots, celery etc. use whatever dressing you like, just make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup in it…that stuff is the devil.

week 2. lose the sausage. really. it’s like 60 % fat, and that is the best thing about it. this should be the first thing to go. once you realize how gross it is you can proceed to step two. (this includes hot dogs, kielbasa and anything else you can think of that is sausage-y)

week 3. no more ground beef. you can do it. no, a veggie burger will never compare to a big greasy cheese burger, you will however lose the cravings for this toxic food and your body and cows across the country will thank you for it. there are a million vegetarian substitutions that you can use in your favorite recipes to wean your self off of the “good” stuff.

week 4. any and all other forms of beef need to disappear from your diet. steak, liver, tripe; and all other forms of beef should be eliminated this week.  yes, you can get all the protein and iron you need from dark green vegetables that you added to your diet in step one!

week 5. add a smoothie or a juice to your daily routine. if you have a blender already, make a smoothie using frozen berries, a banana and a few leaves of kale. if you really want to go wild, add a tablespoon of chia or flax! just put all your ingredients in your blender and add a cup or so of water (enough to allow everything to blend), and voila. smoothified.

 

week 6. this was the most difficult thing for me to give up. i have since found out, that it isn’t just my lack of will power that made it so difficult, but eating this fatty and delicious substance causes an opiate like reaction in the brain. yep, it’s true. cheese really is addictive.the good news is, it only takes a few weeks for the cravings to vanish. every time you have a craving for this devilish dairy product, just picture yourself sucking on a cows teat, and drinking down all the blood and puss that comes out along with the milk. yum.

week 7. in step 1, you added veggies, in step 5 you added fruits! isn’t that great! you are already eating way healthier than you were before! congratulations! you also gave up many of the most difficult (and most toxic) “food” there is to remove from your diet! take this week and be proud of yourself! go for a long walk to celebrate!

week 8. so, did you go for a walk? you might want to add some exercise to your routine if you haven’t already. you are gonna have so much more energy once you are fully plant based, you are going to need and outlet to burn it all off! i love running, so find something you love and go for it! start slow and easy, and before you know it you will be reaching goals and milestones! this is the week to lose the pork. yes, i know, bacon is hot right now. it is everywhere. it is like people forgot that saturated fat clogs arteries and causes all sorts of health problems. no more pork for you!

week 9. admit it, you feel better, don’t you? instead of a coffee and some sort of sweet, doughy treat in the afternoon, eat an apple. and a handful (approx 20) almonds or cashews or walnuts. preferably the raw, unsalted variety of nut. if you don’t like apples (seriously??? is not liking apples even a thing?) or nuts, eat some carrots with hummus instead. or have some celery sticks with peanut butter. you get the idea: some raw produce with protein and some fat should now be your go to snack. no vending machine junk.

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week 10. speaking of vending machines…no more soda-pop. yes, i realize corn syrup originally comes from corn, which is a plant. no, you still can’t have it. not even diet. diet is worse. that shit will kill you. if you are a coke/sprite/diet pepsi addict. this is going to be difficult. sugar combined with caffeine is feel good combo that will be hard to let go of. but i have faith in you, and you should too. your liver will be so happy that once you kick the habit! you may feel sluggish and/or murderish for a few days, but it will pass, i promise.

week 11. yay! you are doing great. way back in week 7 you gave up cheese. way to go! now it is time to give up the rest of the dairy family. this includes milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, butter, sour cream, and any and everything else that is made from animal milk. this means that the dreaded label reading must begin. mostly you can just skip to the bottom of the label, because dairy is an allergen it will say in bold if there is dairy in the ingredients. now, i know this seems really hard, but there are so many substitutions! there are plenty of almond, coconut, soy and hemp ‘milk’ alternatives.  earth balance buttery spread is my go to ‘butter’, so delicious makes an army of dairy free  products including coconut milk ice cream!, tofutti brand makes wonderful sour cream and cream cheese, and there are countless nut-cheese recipes on the internet! it will take a little trial and error, and some serious getting used to, but think about all the baby cows that you are saving. no dairy=no veal. have a heart people!

week 12. it is exploratory time. let’s think about our options for dinner. we can have veggie stir-fry over rice, we can have bean burritos with guacamole, we can have baked sweet potatoes with piles of steamed vegetable, we can have pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant, we can have veggie burgers with oven roasted potatoes, we can have lentil soup and a crusty french bread, we can have tofu pot pie…there are a million different options. you just have to be open to trying new recipes, and new foods. this is the week to start getting creative. at least 5 of  your dinners this week should be fully vegan. get a vegan cook book, eat amy’s organic frozen vegan dinners, order vegan thai food, or eat pasta and tomato sauce every night.  just do it, so you know that you can.

week 13. with a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck there, here a cluck, there a cluck, everywhere a cluck-cluck…which came first, the chicken or the egg? i have no flipping idea, so we are going to give up both at the same time. this should be a piece of cake after all that you have accomplished. chicken, duck, pheasant and whatever other bird you can think of is no longer part of your diet. neither are their eggs. again with the label reading, but eggs are an allergen too, so it should be fairly simple. there are eggs in mayo, most packaged treats and store bought desert items, and restaurant pancakes and waffles. i make a really good whole wheat, banana, flax pancake that is so good, you won’t give a hoot about those crappy frozen waffles.

week 14. getting there! so close you can taste it. your taste buds are probably becoming more accustomed to your new heart healthy diet, and your waist line is probably thanking you too! just a few more steps left. i want you to go to your local health food store. we have common crow in gloucester, ma. but most communities have one, or if that fails, go to whole foods. acquaint yourself with all the awesome new-to-you food that they offer, and while you are there, pick up a vegan vitamin b-12 supplement. i take one tablet every few months at most, because i use soy-milk on a fairly regular basis and the brand i use is supplemented with b-12. you can take one every day, or every other day if you like. whatever you feel comfortable with. it is the only vitamin that is only available in animal products.

week 15. how you feeling? you should be feeling accomplished, energetic and proud. you are making great strides toward health!  if you are getting some exercise and not stuffing yourself full of oreos (accidentally vegan cookies) you should be losing some fat, gaining some muscle and feeling good about yourself. if you are working out on a regular basis, you may have to adjust your food intake. fruits and vegetable are nutrition heavy, calorie light food. you will get far more nutrients, but far fewer calories. you want to make sure your body has all the calories it needs to get you through your day. add some avacado to your salad or veggie sandwich. have a scoop or brown rice with your stir fry, have a banana with your oatmeal, or have a hand full of pumpkin seeds when you are driving home from work. if you are feeling hungry, eat something. this is about being healthy and being compassionate, not about starving, dieting or feeling deprived. fruit will begin to taste like candy to you, and salads will become as satisfying as a steak dinner. be patient, with yourself, and with the process.

week 16. hey, do you have an 8. nope, go fish. yep, go fish, because you just 8 (ate) your last piece of fish. yep, fish, lobster, clams every sea creature you have ever swallowed is now in the past! seafood and game (deer, rabbit etc.) are last to go. as well as randomly non vegan things like gelatin (jello, some gummy candy) and guiness…  but you did it! this is the last week of things to give up! the rest is about all the new fruits and vegetables you can incorporate into your life.

 

good job! you will start to feel a million times better. you will have more energy, more focused concentration, more restful sleep, clearer skin, your will lose fat, your hair will be shinier and you will be generally more healthy. i hope that you come back and read and keep up with the more in depth week to week guide i will be writing. please feel free to ask me questions or leave your comments. if i don’t know an answer to a specific question you may have, i should be able to direct you to someone more knowledgeable or recommend some reading material or website. please feel free to re-post or share this to your hearts content with credit to annie eats apples.

so it begins.

Running season! It’s here. Well, here enough anyway. I have been twice this week, after a long, cold winter and it feels good! It is like I am starting from scratch, as my legs are sore, and my speed is not speedy! I expected as much after almost 3 months off anyhow. My diet has been pretty good. I have had a few not so great meals, but mostly whole food for me. Juices, salads, potatoes, steamed veggies, beans and nuts. I have had a couple bites here and there of not so great food, but definitely an improvement since my juice fast. cropped-fruits-and-veggies-575.jpgAn improvement in both over all diet, and in my sugar cravings. I do still want cookies and candy, but it has been much easier to talk myself out of it! I am doing a cake tasting (vegan of course) with my mom, sister and daughter Dehlia on Wednesday, which I am looking forward to ;) I am a work in progress… I am working on an epic plant based post, but I just wanted  to check in.