Vegan Mofo 2018

Hi, all!

Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie will participate in Vegan Mofo in September!  Vegan Mofo is all about the vegan food and you know how much I love food. This gives me an excuse to eat and share more nummy goodness.

VeganMoFo-2

For those who don’t know me, I’m an omni turned vegan married to an omni hubs and have two omni college kids (well, 24 and 20 years old).  The food I love is a mix of omni-friendly comfort food, raw goodness, decadent desserts, bowls, Southern goodness, and everything in between.  Sometimes boring, occasionally misses, but always colorful and full of love.  I love to cook and have no problem taking shortcuts when necessary.   I deal with chronic pain, so shortcuts and takeout are necessary at times.

I’ll be posting here, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so you won’t miss anything if you stalk – I mean follow – me like I follow some of you.

Keep an eye open for all the plant-based goodness all over the place! If there’s something in particular you’d like to see, give me a shout.

Until tomorrow!

 

The processed foods I love

July 2018?  Happy Holy Crap the Year is Half Over!

Yeah, it feels that way some days, eh?  The kids (well, adults) are getting ready for another semester of college, the dogs are practically mentilg in the summer hear, and life is life.

Since my last post, not much has changed.  My glucose is getting better but pain is not. Daily chances of thunderstorms mean daily muscle spasms and pain spikes.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I’m pushing through, though, and working on my nutrition when my body fights.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum makes a huge difference for me, but some things will always be a part of my eating plan.  Why?  I’m stubborn.

I know I’m not the only one that deals with various health issues and know for sure there are some who do not feel like cooking or eating.  Processed foods as an occasional treat or served with unprocessed goodness is working for me.  Here are some of my favorites and how I enjoy them.

sujaWhen I’m on the run and need a drink to hold me over, I grab water and occasionally pick up a green juice.  Suja makes my favorite blends and I have yet to be disappointed.

Costco occasionally carries Suja juice cleanses and Target seems to keep a good mix of them in stock.  The new Drinking Vinegars seem to be everywhere, but I have not tried one yet.  The Wellness Shots are on my radar and I’ll let you know what I think.

Not all commercial salad dressings are junk.  While I do enjoy the occasional Just Caesar, turneric dressing I’ve been reaching for hummus with vinegar the most at home, but when I want something else, Trader Joe’s in my jam. Er, go-to.  This cold-pressed Almond Butter Turmeric blend is creamy and smooth.  I like more of a zing on my salads, so I add a little vinegar over the top.  This is fantastic on top of greens or as a mayo substitute in bean and pasta salads.  It makes a yummy ‘peanut’ sauce with a little soy or aminos added.  The other cold-pressed options are Carrot Ginger Miso and Green Goddess (with avocado).  I have not tried the other two yet, but both are only list.  There is nothing like a big bowl of mixed greens with Green Goddess dressing.  Anyway, swing by TJ if you want to give them a try.

Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a non-dairy yogurt instead of making it.  If I get in a baking mood and need yogurt, I will swing into the store instead of waiting a day for foragerhomemade to do its thing.  Yes, I’m impatient.  If I want to eat some straight up, I may choose a flavored one, but do love the flexibility of unflavored yogurt.  One of my favorites is Forager.  I have picked it up at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Publix (at the best regular price).  While it is not as creamy as dairy, it is pretty creamy and the cashew base makes it more versatile thanks to the neutral flavor.  I’ve used it in baking, as sour cream, and as a topper for fresh or frozen fruit.  Give it a shot sometime if you’re not up to waiting for homemade.

I love making non-dairy milk.  Oat and cashew are the ones I reach for most, but when I want to bake for the family, nuts are out of the question and oat milk has a little too much flavor to most things.  I gave Ripple Unsweetened Original a try and will not go back.  This pea milk is as rich as non-dairy according to my omni family and the goodies baked with it come out perfectly.  It has no gluten, lactose, nuts, or sugar along with 8ripple grams of  protein, 32 mg DHA Omega 3’s, and 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, there’s no reason to use dairy.  Besides, the family does not complain about my vegan desserts.  If plain unsweetened isn’t your thing, Ripple also comes in vanilla, chocolate, and half and half.  I have tried the half and half in baking and coffee.  It’s really, really good.  Omni hubs enjoyed the half ad half in his iced coffee without blinking or commenting.  That says a lot.

The hardest food to find when I first dropped meat was a substitute that really hit the spot for me.  While I enjoyed the occasional veggie burger, I did not find one that tasted better than a fast-food burger.  And I wasn’t really a fan of fast-food burgers ever.  Morningstar Farms was my go-to until I dropped eggs and dairy, and back then their vegan burger was meh.  Boca was another favorite, but it stopped going into my shopping cart when I started experimenting with homemade bean-based burgers.  When I’m with the extended family and a random burger meal is in the works, I have to find something quick so I don’t sit there starving or eating just a bun with lettuce and tomato.  While that works sometimes, it isn’t always my idea of a meal.  Enter the Beyond Burger.

beyond burger

This beast has 20 grams of protein and gives the old-school burger feel that mome meat eaters will enjoy.  This is not a daily thing, but makes a nice option for the “can you eat burgers” discussion that tends to pop up at cookout time.

I don’t use these foods as a regular thing.  As I mentioned earlier, a primarily unprocessed eating plan works best for me.  Every once in a while, these foods help save the day.  Give some a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Until next time, peace.

 

 

 

Want to know more about my Diabetes Management program?

If you are a woman with Type 2 Diabetes, want to follow a plant-based approach, and need help, consider Enlighten Health & Wellness.  I do not regret working with the Zamans one bit and would do it again.  This is not a sponsored post. 

ehw-logo

The end of 2017 was hard, y’all.  My blood pressure was not changing, I developed Type 2 Diabetes, and was not getting inflammation or weight under control.  While I was not gaining weight, I was not losing, either (just the same 5 pound every month).  I knew I needed help, but there is no local plant-based Diabetes education class offered in Charleston (I’m working on this, so stay tuned).  I went to Facebook and found a plant-based Diabetics group and visited daily.  I discovered that I was not alone in the struggle and found some comfort in that.  I also found the woman who changed my life.  I responded to her post about a coaching program and was excited when selected to participate.  I’ve been working with her for a few months and have seen my A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight come down.  I’ve also come off of Metformin and had my blood pressure medication dosage reduced.

Thinking and writing about this course makes me teary.  Bear with me.

Marie Howe Zaman is the coach who helped inspire and encourage me.  She gave me tough love when needed and made me work.  She is the coach and co-founder of Enlighten Health and Wellness and the Enlighten for Diabetics program.  I believe it is the main reason I finally saw a difference.  The program is for women with Type 2 Diabetes and is worth the time, effort, and work.  The focus is not just on food, and that is key.  Diabetes education, fitness, food, accountability, and support make this program invaluable.

It started with a call and goal setting.  Once my specific and attainable goals were set, the work began.  There were articles, videos, and quizzes.  Yes, I had to work, but the work is what made the difference for me.  I learned more about myself, my motivations, and reasons why I easily fall off track.  These lessons gave me focus and a way to combat my demons.

While the lessons helped me get my mind right, the food and activity portions of the program also played a role in my success.  While I had a fitness tracker, it was not compatible with the app that gave Marie insight into my food, activity, and sleep.  I found a Fitbit Flex at Marshalls for a steal and it worked just fine without connecting multiple apps or any hassles.  The only time I needed to take additional steps was when my Fitbit was charging and I used my other tracker.  Tracking was easy and the app provided a direct line to Marie whenever I needed an ear or had questions.

I’m still torn between a Fitbit and Garmin as my reward for hitting my 2018 goals at the end of the year.  Which do you prefer?  Sleep and heart rate tracking are a must-have feature.

Access to a cooking course and meal planner are included with the course.  I thought my cooking game was on point, but I still learned a few things.  And I have not purchased any commercial vegan mayo or salad dressing since starting the cooking course.  While I had several recipes for substitutes at hand, I was not ready to let go.    If you know me, you know this is huge.  I love my condiments, but they don’t always love me.  I’ve known that for a while and have finally made the switch.  It does not take much time to whip up the cashew (and white bean) sour cream that I use as mayo and a yogurt substitute and I truly love the taste.

In addition to access to a coach, whole food plant-based cooking course, meal planner, tracking app, and courses, there were bi-weekly one-one-one meetings with Marie and bi-weekly group meetings with a small group.  I loved seeing how my fellow students were doing and especially appreciated the Q&A sessions with Dr. Tarique Zaman, MD, MPH.  Dr. Zaman is Marie’s husband and another driving force behind the program.  His input adds even more value to the program and helped make lessons stick.

As it is a 12-week program, I’m a little sad to see it end, but it isn’t over.  I have no plans to stop working the program and will keep in touch with the Zamans as I continue to see progress.  As I told Marie, she should prepare to be Facebook stalked, lol.  Not in a scary way.  I’m a member of her Beat T2D Naturally Women’s Support Group and have no plans to leave.  Apply for membership if you want to learn a little more about her approach.

Before you say anything, yes, occasional setbacks are still progress.  It helps me see when I fall off course and paints a clear picture of the need for a change somewhere. 

To learn more, visit Enlighten Health & Wellness on Facebook or schedule a free Discovery Call.

I am so happy that I reached out to Marie in December 2017.  I feel fantastic and she is a huge part of why.  Thank you so much, Marie!

What happens when I stop tracking

Morning, y’all.

v cuts mug

I love this mug from the Vegan Cuts Coffee Box! 

It’s Saturday.  I usually sleep in until around 9-10 am as a weekend treat (and because I usually stay up until 2 am or so on Friday night/Saturday morning).  Not today.  Why?  In part because I went to bed just after midnight and because it’s a high pain morning.  The pain level this week had me thrown.  Yes, there’s a spike twice a month, but this spike has been 3 weeks long.  I decided to jump on the scale to see what’s what and found the culprit.  I’ve gained – part of it is due to typical hormonal changes and the other part is due to tracking.  Well, the lack of.

Why did I stop tracking?  I did not completely stop, but I did slack off.  I stopped paying attention to portions.  Yes, I still need to keep portions of some things in check, even when following a primarily whole foods plant-based plan.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.  More nuts and seeds (I’m looking at you peanut butter, cashews, and pecans) and letting too much bread and oil get in hurt when I overindulge.  The extra treat days don’t help, either.  I slipped back into an old pattern and am paying the price.

Why did I slip?  I get a little lazy and bored.  I feel like I can let go of the routine a little more than not and have not worried as much since my blood pressure and glucose readings have still been great (90-110 range fasting and 120-135 after meals) which keeps me on track for coming off of more meds.  I still have more energy and generally less pain than after the weird muscle spasms a few weeks back.

I know what I need to do and how to do it.  This gain was not a surprise and I should have paid more attention.  This it not beating myself up.  This is just a statement I need to see in print (well, on the screen) and a reminder that exercise alone does not work for me.

So, what’s next?  Getting back in gear and following my plan the way it works:

  1. water
  2. produce
  3. protein
  4. whole grains with portions of trigger foods in check
  5. treats twice a week at most

See, that’s not so bad.  It’s not boring when I put some thought into it.  The heat has sent my cooking mojo into hibernation, so i need to find ways to mix it up a bit.  Produce is banging this time of year, so between farmers markets and the produce department, I can be inspired.

Right now, I’m enjoying my morning smoothie (a blended salad as Dr. Fuhrman calls it), coffee, and water.  While my coach is not fond of me drinking my calories as a regular thing, she is happy with the way I make the program work.

I’ll share more about my fantastic Diabetes coach soon.  Until then, have a fantabulous day!

Peace!

 

 

Bloodwork update, May 2018

Xena 3-2018

Say hi to Xena

Howdy, y’all.  What?  I said I’d get back to the regularly scheduled posts.  This one is a quick update on how 2018 is working so far.  My goals for the year are to get off more medication and continue to get stronger.

As of February I am off of Metformin with an A1C at 6.1 thanks to plant-powered menus  and am working on getting off meds.  At the tail end of May, I had a 3 month follow up to see how things stand.  They stand on point!

Bad cholesterol is down 20 points.  In three months.  Believe me, the happy dancing started in my head and my smile almost hurt.

Weight was down 5 pounds.  Not a huge drop, but it was still lower than my February appointment (and after lunch, fully dressed) and it’s worth celebrating.  The happy dancing continued.

The biggest news was the A1C.  It was still at 6.1 and a sign to the doc that I do not need Metformin and am on my way to prediabetic levels. You hear that. Prediabetic!  Once my A1C is under 5, I’ll be in remission.  I almost cried.  Seriously.

Doc also cut one of my blood pressure meds in half and said I may come off of them too as I continue to lost weight and get my numbers down.  She said to keep doing what I’m doing and recommended I add in exercise a few days a week.  I go back for more bloodwork in August.  I plan to see better results.

What am I doing?  Tracking my meals and water on My Fitness Pal has been huge.  I see how I’m doing and where I need to tweak things.  I eat more greens, oats almost daily, limit processed foods and sweeteners, and planned cheat meals.  My coach may not approve of the cheat meals, but I know myself.  If I do not have the flexibility of the occasional treat, I will end up on a free-for-all of all the forbidden foods.  Not that anything is really forbidden, just limited.

I’m looking at you, coconut, nuts, seeds, Nada Moo, and Go Max Go Bars. I love you all.

I’m walking more.  I take the psychos out every morning and get in a mile.  If I am up to it, I take another lap or two around the neighborhood. I keep a moderate pace and add faster intervals.  Xena has a pretty quick pace naturally, so when I’m ready to jog, she’ll be by my side.  Victor is getting older and likes to take his time.  He’s the perfect warm up or cool down partner.

My yoga/Pilates PT routine should be a priority, but it has slipped aside in favor of daily flexibility.  Just 10 minutes a day is the plan for now, but I see a 3-Week Yoga Retreat in my future.  I need more flexibility to help ease the daily pain and with recovery.  I am not 21 anymore and I feel it on a daily basis.

So, that’s the update. If you have any questions for me, just ask.  You know I’ll answer.  I know this is not an easy path, especially if there are chronic issues and emotional eating in the way.  I’m learning to work around my limits and finding my best path.  I hope you can find yours.

Until next time, peace!

16422838_10154381378520679_8437767875822278167_o

Victor thinks he should help me with my practice.

 

Review: Herbal Medicine for Beginners

Howdy, y’all.  It’s been a minute, eh?

Well, I am back with a book review.  I have made my love of herbal remedies known and have spent a good chunk of change on teas, tinctures, and vinegars from local shops and one in Hilton Head.  While I like the convenience of ready-made options, I am curious about making my own.  Katja Swift and Ryn Midura’s book for beginners makes me feel more comfortable about taking the plunge.  

Over the years I’ve played with adding herbs to my food and making skin care products that include pain-relieving benefits.  I have made bath oils and body washes to help boost my energy and clear my sinuses.  I am in love with the spicy goodness of the Herbal Fire Tonic from The Herb Room in Hilton Head, SC.  I worry about not getting the recipes right, mold, and the cost of messing up a batch if I make more medicinal remedies.  Swift and Midura’s Herbal Medicine for Beginners addresses these concerns and makes me feel like I can do this.  I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and have already made the Warming Compress (page 141).  It’s on my wonky ankle now.

This book covers the bases in a way that is easy to understand.  There are recipes and general processes for making herbal medicines, profiles of medicinal herbs, a list of required and optional tools, and full descriptions of the types of remedies available.  Even if you don’t decide to make your own remedies, this book may help make you more comfortable about reaching for these options when you need them.  Each recipe includes a list of “Herbal Allies” that help with the healing process.  I easily see the Sinusitis and Sore Throat remedies coming into rotation thanks to these allergies.

Will I break out this book every time I need something?  Probably not.  Wil I make a few things to have on hand during certain times of year?  yes.  Will I use the information I’ve learned to help me with my future purchases?  Most definitely.

Are you a fan of herbal medicines?  Thinking about it?  Swift and Midura have answers for you.  Check out what other readers think about this book.  Herbal Medicine for Beginners is available now and if you’d rather have a physical copy, pre-orders are available.

On that note, I have more reading to do.  Or dinner to make.  Whichever appeals more.  Until next time.

 

 

 

 

2018 is almost here!

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted here.  Time literally got away from me.  Wasn’t it just August?  Anyway, the end if one year always results in me looking back and ahead.  Join me in my look back.

2017 was my PlantFusion New Year that saw me rock my second 5K, increase flexibility training, and come out as a person with Type 2 Diabetes.  I added new knives to my kitchen collection and embraced both the Instant Pot and Air Fryer as necessities.  I also spent a few months back in physical therapy after a car accident (and hubby was right there with me).  Now that the year is about over, I do not regret any of it.  Off-plan meals, iffy days, and other things that made up my days were part of what made me.  Embracing the good, bad, and ugly experiences of life helps keep me honest.  That’s my short and sweet review of 2017.  Come on, 2018!

What about you?  It’s not too late to end 2017 on a high note and not too soon to make plans for 2018.  I’m always around on Facebook and Instagram, so if you want to cheer each other on, give me a shout.   I always have your back!

Until next time, peace!

Reappearing

It’s been a while, eh?  You may be wondering where I’ve been.  If not, I’ll tell you anyway.
It started with a car accident on July 31.  Hubs and I were minding our own business when another driver hit us hard enough to bend the car’s frame.   We did not think we were hurt at first, but we were both wrong.  We both felt the result of the impact a few days later and are both currently in recovery (meaning physical therapy, massage therapy, and meds).

What else am I up to these days?  Working as much as I can.  Because two kids in college are almost as expensive as they were when they were younger.  Scratch that.  They’re more expensive now because the needs grew up with them.

Something had to give, so my blogs took a back seat while I worked out the kinks.  My fellow spoonies, you know how it is.  I’m still around (just check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds), but not as chatty as I have been.

So, let me know what you;d like to see.  The holidays are coming up, so expect sample menus and other yummy goodness.  Until next time, peace!

Catching up

train shirtMorning, y’all.  Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is slowly coming out of hiding. Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.

Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself.  Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.  Although I have realized that my normal means that I will hurt and feel tired more often than not, I started feeling sorry for myself and pictured my future with more pain and less mobility.  This sent me down a darker path and binge eating.

What brought me out of it was a combination of things.  Well, I’m still in it, but fighting to pull out of it.  Physically, I’m getting better (thank you anti-inflammatory foods and support sleeves), but the brain still needs work.  Hubs and I joined a gym and are still tweaking our schedule.  I’m learning to recognize and listen to my body. I know when I need to switch to a different body part while training, when to start getting my heart rate down, and to start more slowly so that I can get stronger without hurting myself.  After a little over an hour yesterday (treadmill and a full-body lifting session), I don’t feel that bad.  The BCAAs do make a difference.

I would love to skip supplements and get off all meds, but that is not in the cards for me now and may not be later.  And I’m okay with that.  I refuse to let anyone shame me for doing what I need to do.

Some days are better than others, but that’s how things are with everyone.   I may move more slowly than I used to, but my inner athlete is coming back.  And she is badass.

Until next time, peace.

Human Barometer and yoga

I think that my new nickname should be Human Barometer. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling or moving when the changes in barometric pressure are dramatic.

It always starts in my ankles. They feel a little tight, but not tight enough for a support or anything. I’ve I’d been training, I usually chalk it up to that. Then my knees get sore. That makes me check the weather a little more closely. If I see rain in the forecast, I know what is on the way and get out the turmeric and Aleve.

Once my hip and spine stiffen and go from an ache to throbbing pain, it’s on. So much on. Right now I’m typing this in a recliner with my back, neck, and head firmly against the back of the chair, legs raised in a partial recline. It’s the only comfortable position at the moment. My ribs, elbows, wrists, and shoulders are feeling it now, too. Tropical Storm Cindy is not heading my way (be safe, y’all), but I feel it anyway. Rain is coming ad we’ve had some here in Charleston since Sunday night’s thunderstorm.

Weather-related pain flare aside, I will get in some yoga today. It is International Yoga Day after all. I recognize my current limits and have a mix of workouts in my arsenal. I also know that I will always have a dog on my yoga mat if I step away.  16422838_10154381378520679_8437767875822278167_oFlexibility training helps make these bad days easier and make good days better.

Between yoga and walking, I am getting stronger physically. It just doesn’t feel like it on days like this. I’m trying not to fall into the pit that seems to open up whenever a flare is extended. Spoonies, you get me, right?

Happy Wednesday, Happy Solstice, and Happy International Yoga Day! May it be amazing!