Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. -Winston Churchill
Even though I posted an introductory entry yesterday, I have actually been following a mostly Vegan diet for the past 2 weeks. Blog entries for the past 2 weeks can be found here. Moving forward, I will be posting all enteries on both sites.
Working in the behavioral health field with individuals who are struggling with drug & alcohol dependence it comes naturally for me to refer to dairy (especially cheese) and meat as addictive substances. I experienced an unusual night of intense cravings for something sweet coupled with a donation of a large package of Reese's Peanut Buttercups (my favorite) to the staff. An hour or so after, the evening intern brought in a box of assorted munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. I couldn't help but notice staff members and clients munching on both of the delicious treats all night long. At about 11:45pm I couldn't resist any longer, I gave in and ate 3 chocolate munchkins. Then...I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home from work and ordered a cheesy bean burrito and a crunchy beef taco.
Now, their is no use in beating myself up over the relapse but I do believe it is important to reflect on the major differences I noticed right away, and then this morning. After consuming all of the non-vegan food I felt nauseous, bloated, and disgustingly full. I experienced a restless night of tossing and turning, and had to force myself to get up this morning because I did not want to sleep the whole day away. Now, my thinking is clouded and I am having difficulty starting the most important meal of the day....breakfast. Basically, the 5 minutes of chocolate munchkin consumption and the 10-15 minutes of Taco Bell consumption has not been worth the mental, emotional, and physical consequences that may last up to 24 hours. In a way I am happy I had this experience because it will definitely sit in the forefront of my mind the next time I am tempted to consume fast food. I am surprised by how quickly my body adjusted to eating mostly vegan food and how upset it became when it was given the addictive substances. Sure they tasted great but they did not feel great and still don't.
During the day yesterday I created a new vegan meal that will last me the next few days. It consisted of:
- 1 bag of rice noodles (found in the produce section of any grocery store)
- 2 chopped green squash
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 package of Edamame (boiled & salted soy beans found in the produce section of any grocery store)
I softened the noodles by warming them on the stove for 10 minutes. I boiled the green squash for only a few minutes because I wanted to retain some crunchiness. I added the Edamame, chopped garlic, and chopped onion to the squash and noodles. I further seasoned the whole combination with lemon juice, lime juice, a splash of sea salt, and some grounded pepper. It is absolutely delicious! The garlic and the onion add a nice punch to the taste and the Edamame which is packed with protein keeps me feeling full for hours.
Fun Facts about onions:
- Onions have a variety of medicinal effects. Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.
- Onions are a very rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides. These oligomers stimulate the growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. In addition, they can reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon. Cardiovascular Help Onions contain a number of sulfides similar to those found in garlic which may lower blood lipids and blood pressure. In India, communities that never consumed onions or garlic had blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels substantially higher, and blood clotting times shorter, than the communities that ate liberal amounts of garlic and onions. Onions are a rich source of flavonoids, substances known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease. Onions are also natural anticlotting agents since they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity and can suppress platelet-clumping. The anticlotting effect of onions closely correlates with their sulfur content. Cancer Prevention Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth. In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mortality rates from stomach cancer are about one-half the average level for the United States. Studies in Greece have shown a high consumption of onions, garlic and other allium herbs to be protective against stomach cancer.
Chinese with the highest intake of onions, garlic, and other Allium vegetables have a risk of stomach cancer 40 percent less than those with the lowest intake. Elderly Dutch men and women with the highest onion consumption (at least one-half onion/day) had one-half the level of stomach cancer compared with those consuming no onions at all.
- Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red onions have the richest concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, providing them with the greatest antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity of 10 onions tested. The mild-tasting Western White and Vidalia onions had the lowest antioxidant content and lowest anti-proliferative activity. The consumer trend to increasingly purchase the less pungent, milder onion varieties may not be the best, since the onions with a stronger flavor and higher astringency appear to have superior health-promoting properties. (http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/onions.php).
Today is a new day that I greet with renewed enthusiasm for the vegan diet. I am going to be kind to myself today, and appreciate the fact that I did not end up getting sick, and feel happy that I can treat my mind, body, and soul well today.
Check back for more posts!