Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pleasantly Plump is cutting the fat, changing the carbs

I had blood work done for the first time since becoming vegan. I got mostly positive results back including a 40-POINT DROP in my overall cholesterol levels!!! The only real negative was an elevated triglyceride level . . . so, I was asked by my doctor to go on a lower fat diet, exercise more and from the advice of my father, who is a RN, to cut sugars down in my diet.
I am a plump girl and have been for a while. Like a lot of women, I would like to be thinner, but for the most part I had settled into my curvy physique. I love fatty foods like avocados and French fries, have an enormous sweet tooth and love too many comfort foods. Even before I knew my triglycerides were high, I decided this would be the year I got healthier by eating better and exercising more. I started a health journal and was doing a great job at going to yoga, the gym and taking long walks with Sweetpea. Then, I broke my arm about a week and a half ago and the exercise stopped. Shortly after I found out my blood work results and decided to get back on track . . . at least with my diet (the gym will have to wait until my arm is a little better). So, I have been changing what and how I eat by cutting out a lot of white foods such as white breads (so long biscuits), white rice and white pasta and despite my dislike for brown rice, I started eating it. I have been trying different pastas made from quinoa and corn, haven't been adding extra sugars to my recipes, eating more fruits and veggies, switched to light soymilk and started eating breakfast everyday, which was actually kind of hard. I also started tracking my food consumption on Nutrition Data to make sure my carbs and fat levels are in check (I am totally hooked on this website, by the way).
I will always be pleasantly plump, but the fatty, sweet and comforting foods will be scaled down a lot. I'm sure I will occasionally make a naughty treat or two for special occasions (I do have to use my new cookbook, My Sweet Vegan), but hopefully, from here on out, I hope to stay on track with healthier choices.
Healthy meal #1- Fresh sage brown rice with seared lite tofu and roasted asparagus. The tofu and rice are topped with a fresh thyme and shallot sauce made from veggie stock and a splash of soy creamer. This big plate of food was only 295 calories, 4 grams of fat, and had 13 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Not bad!
Healthy meal #2- Quinoa pasta with tomato sauce and nutritional yeast, roasted cauliflower with dried Herbes de Provence and a salad with kidney beans and fat-free Italian dressing. This plate of food was only 312 calories, 3 grams of fat and had 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Awesome!


Theresa said...

It sounds like a great project! I read a book review of 'The 80-10-10 Diet' which is a book about raw, which isn't really my thing, but the author said that many raw foodists and vegans consume more fat than omnivores! It really made me think about how much oil, nuts, seeds, etc I add to things. But rather than just cutting out fat, I think it's great that you're maximising the nutrition of your calories with whole grains.

Hopefully you get to like brown rice soon :)

Maxcactus said...

I'm rooting for you PPV.

Vegan_Noodle said...

First off, congrats on the 40 point drop! That's awesome! My hubby usually has high triglycerides as well... most likely due to his love of wine:-)

Your healthy meals look delicious! And thanks for the nutritional info tracking website, I'm gonna check that out!

bazu said...

Awesome post! I think for the most part, our minds and bodies are self-correcting if we listen to them. I know when I eat too many sugars, my body absolutely screams for fresh fruit and vegetables. On the other hand, I crave indulgent things every once in a while.
You're setting a great example for all of us- I hope your arm feels better, and can't wait to hear about your progress!

pleasantly plump vegan said...

aw, thanks everyone!

Emma said...

both plates look scrumptious!

Anonymous said...

I'm here if you need any support. I completely cut out white foods and fats last year. I've never felt better. My energy levels are much more stable (I used to get insanely cranky when my blood sugar went down) and I've stopped getting dizzy spells. I don't even miss white bread, pasta, or whatever. It feels like a feast whenever I eat white pasta or rice, but I don't crave it, I don't even crave things like chocolate much anymore (I'm crazy, I must be!)

I wish you the best of luck!! I noticed you posted the calorie and nutritional counts. I am a calorie counter myself, mostly to ensure I get enough to eat, but mostly because I think it's a great way to know what we're eating. But like you show, it's important to know what those calories come from (especially sugars).

VeggieGirl said...

Best of luck with your journey to even better health - I'm rooting for you!! :0)

Jennifer said...

Wow, seriously congrats on the drop in cholesterol, that is fantastic!

Don't stop eating avocados, they are so good for you, and super yummy!

It takes a lot of effort to change your habits, before I went veg I was a bit plump myself, and my idea of a vegetable was a french fry or 'jalapeno popper'. It takes a bit for your tastes to change and get used to whole grain foods.

Brown basmati or jasmine rice might be a good way to go, the basmati is nuttier and has a better texture (in my opinon) than plain brown rice. I also prefer short grain to long grain brown rice, as the texture is chewier.

Have you tried kamut yet? It is my favorite so far. What did you think of the quinoa pasta?

It sounds like you are really trying to prepare yourself for eating healthier!

I'm looking forward to seeing the yummy, healthy meals you come up with and congratulating you in all your progress!


Calimaryn said...

Good luck and pass the asparagus! ;)

Seriously though, if you make these changes as part of your new lifestyle then you will soon adapt and become even more fabulous than you already are.

Melody Polakow said...

Your making great changes! Those meals look so delicious... that asparagus looks perfect.

I think you'll begin to lose your taste for the "whites".. I know that I pretty much have. The whole wheat pastas out there are excellent (my store brand is what I usually get)..

How awesome that your cholesterol has dropped 40 points!

Veggie Cookster said...

I'm in the same boat... trying to get healthier this year and slim down a bit... the baked goods I've been making haven't been helping. O_o Thanks for the inspiration though, cuz I need to get back on track... your meals look so yummy... want to come cook for me? hehehehe Thanks for sharing your healthy ideas! :)

Rural Vegan said...

I am absolutely amazed at the low calorie content of those two beautiful meals. Congrats on the improved cholesterol score, mine fell enough to take me off cholesterol meds! Good luck to you on your healthier eating pledge, you have all of our support behind you!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh, look at all that asparagus! Looks like a great meal; and a ton of food for so few calories!

And congrats on the 40-point drop!

jenna said...

Congrats on the major drop! That's really great! Your meals still look delectable---no matter how healthy they are! Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your healthier way of life...you can totally do it!


Elisabeth said...

Congratulations, and you can do it! I'm a bit on the plump side as well, and am only recently gone vegan -- I have a major sweet tooth too and LOVE to bake vegan goodies, so I understand your struggle.
I'm sure you know about it already but I HIGHLY recommend Eat to Live -- not as a DIET, but as a resource for re-framing your mindset about food. once you truly recognize how little nutrition is in all those white foods you suddenly don't even want them any more! Kind of like how once you really think about animal products, you just don't even want them at all.

Brown rice will grow on you, I promise! Quinoa took me a little while to get used to but I kept eating it because it is SO nutritious, and now I LOVE it.

Cakespy said...

Wow, way to eat healthier but still not scrimp on flavor! You're an inspiration! And I just checked out that website, what an awesome resource! You rule.

agnes gooch said...

Congratulations on the new changes for a new healthier you. I love grains of all kinds but, like you, am not a big fan of brown rice. Have you tried Bhutanese red rice? Lotus foods distributes it and I buy it in bulk at a local co-op. How about a wild rice blend? Also available in bulk even at our Safeway grocery store. Or other grains like bulgar? Don't force down the brown rice. I'm a proponent of getting rid of the white rice and the white sugar but there are lots of grains out there. And I have those same green cup and saucer sets form IKEA and I love them! Good luck!