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Owner, "MAP Wellness" - a culinary nutrition and wellness company. Writer. Passionate cook, raw food chef, reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and LIVE WELL educator. ​do yoga. enjoy good food. run. plant food. cook. savour wine. read books. buy good food. love. grow your energy. find peace. enjoy food. have passion. skip. eat food. do yoga. listen to jazz. have presence. be present. bike. read. see. hear. be. live. love.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2 weeks vegan, 7 days sober...

Just an update here, as I realize it's been a while since I have posted!  I am feeling great!  I have to say, that doubling up my two massive dietary changes has proven quite successful thus far.  I woke up today feeling overall happier, more well rested than in weeks, and just simply more full of vibrant energy!  My 7am Sunday run was invigorating, and I felt stronger and more confident on my feet than ever!
(that's lentil walnut loaf there, not beef!)
As far as my new vegan diet is concerned, it has actually been a super simple switch for the most part.  I have spent countless pleasurable hours scouring the shelves and dairy cases at various markets and health food shops in the quest to find suitable, whole, and delicious substitutes for my ex-fave animal food items.  As previously mentioned, my now severed relationship with cheese leaves massive shoes to fill as far as my taste buds go.  I have found a few rice-based brick cheeses that melt surprisingly well when delivered via a grilled cheese sammy, but even with the texture all there, the taste leaves much to be desired.  I have turned to using an abundance of nutritional yeast in recipes, and as topper for cooked veggies to achieve that cheesy-creamy taste, but as predicted, the ultimate alternative I have found success with is simply making my own homemade "nut-cheese".  The silky, savory spreads derived from aggressive food processing of any type of nut, combined with herbs, spices, and flavourings of choice reign as champion in my books.  I am a sucker for cashew ricotta with chives, and am loving my pistachio lemon mash-up.  I think this weekend I will attempt to create a version that is sweeter, to be used in place of cream cheese.   Something I can top with smashed fruit on (gluten free) toast, or spread on my yummy oatmeal waffles.
My vegan top shelf!

Have I missed meat?  Hells no.  Actually, I have had no craving at all for animal flesh, I suppose reason being that I haven't had any of that since early October anyhow.  However, I have really ramped up my workouts as of late so my need for protein has grown tremendously.  I am exploring all kinds of new ways to include even more nuts, seeds, legumes, and other plant-based muscle building super-foods in my repertoire.   I am two weeks into my Booty Camp workout sessions, and I am also now back with Bikram Yoga Toronto, where I am lucky to have landed a role in their "energy exchange" program; I volunteer there for two hours, once a week, and in exchange I get unlimited free hot yoga!!  Delightful indeed!  Add to this the fact that I am lacing up my running shoes regularly again to get rallied to train for a 10K, and the need for pure and proper nourishment multiplies ten-fold.  I have to be very aware of properly fueling my body, and also of keeping fully hydrated (something I have been mediocre with at best in past).

And that brings me to my next update!  As of today, I will be seven days wine free.  Pretty neat-o!  I haven't really found myself missing my evening glass(es) either!  I will admit however, that early on in the week I was feeling quite sluggish, head-achy, and irritable.  Could this have been a bout with withdrawal symptoms?  I shudder at the thought, but I am guessing that my body is in fact going through a serious detox right now, so I suppose I should expect to feel a few ill effects.  What disappointed me though, was my slumber, or lack thereof.  I came into this challenge fully expecting to sleep a whole lot better than I am.  I always hear that sipping wine at night disrupts your sleep cycle, and so with my terrible track record when it comes to catching my forty winks, I figured I was a shoe-in for some solid shut-eye once I cut off the vino.  No such luck.  It wasn't until Thursday night, when I was so burnt out from my work and exercise regime and needed to be in bed by 7:30pm, that I actually had a fully sound and peaceful nights rest.  Fingers crossed this improves as the days go by.  Perhaps something that may assist in this, is my new practice of drinking about two full pots of herbal tea everyday.  Sipping a soothing blend of chamomile, lemon and honey both quiets my mind and comforts my soul, and is yet another nourishing way to further hydrate my body.  Not to mention, having something on the coffee table to "slurp" away on really fills the gap left by my old wine glass habit. 

So, at this point, I have learned a few great lessons about life sans-booze, and my motivation is certainly spurred on by the following: 

FACT: flavoured herbal teas can be quite a delicious pairing with organic dark chocolate. Who needs Merlot - steeped chai chocolate anyone?
FACT: getting up  at 3:45am is much nicer when you have no booze in your system
FACT: evening productivity improves exponentially when you aren't under any influence.  I have read, studied, written, and knit more over this past seven days than I ever imagined I could post-dinner!  Talk about expanding my evening hours! 
FACT: I can love my job that much more everyday when my energy levels are top-notch
FACT: it's fun being the sober girl out on the town, and I am learning a ton about myself in the process...
FACT: "Friday night dinner and a movie" is a heck of a lot more affordable when there is no wine on the restaurant bill!
FACT: I have noticed that my skin is clearer and is even starting to glow! (a combo of both my vegan eating + tee-totaling I suppose)
And, FACT: drinking is expensive.  It's a safe bet that I have saved close to $40-$50 not stocking my wine stash. Ouch. 


My world, it is a a-changing.  And I kind of feel like a whole new person these days.   It's pretty cool.  I am that much more pumped about all the great plans I have for this year, and I know I can, and will, accomplish all that I place in my cross-hairs from this day forward.  I am also meeting and connecting with a brand new slew of like-minded people, and am happy to be able to build on my already strong support network as I continue to wiggle outside of my comfort zone.  And I will stay the course.  Whether it's a series of baby steps or a few massive long jumps that lay ahead, I am committed to this, and I'm in it for the long haul!   

Onward we go!

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