Happiness in Vegan Cooking and Weight Loss

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My Journey to eat no animals or animal products began many years ago and has vacillated between Vegetarianism and Vegan-ism ever since. Maintaining a vegan approach has resulted in gaps and mostly due to not finding the time to cook. That and eating out. Much processed food/restaurant food is made with milk, egg, or animal products of some kind. Then my laziness has taken over as I have eaten them anyway. With my new found personal time I am now skipping down the vegan lane again and find that I can now cook and eat the foods I want to!

I am 5’2” tall and not at the body weight I want to achieve! However, I am working toward a healthy weight and healthy living practices. Walking 1.5 miles per day (4-5 times per week) around the neighborhood is one. Another is babysitting for my new granddaughter. Carrying her around is like weightlifting and its also a happy and joyful experience! Double the rewards!

I do count calories and restrict the amount of fat and overall calories I eat—most of the time, but again, laziness… One approach I have used is generally to cut out fats. I “fry” (really braise) when I need to. PAM original spray is my friend! I also delved into my eating habits a bit more and decided to bump up the amount of raw and green veges I eat. That coupled with eating 6 times per day, keeping the number of calories in meal to between 200-250 calories has allowed me to lose 14 pounds in the last 5 months. YAY! My goal is 1200-1400 calories per day. When I don’t keep the count down to 200 per meal, I eat fewer meals per day. Many days I don’t meet the target which is why I haven’t lost more sooner. But—I love to eat and so am willing to lose more slowly instead of “suffer”. Someday when I grow up…!

How to keep those calories down and achieve a vegan approach?–that is really the question for me. Basic cooking is one way I have used to help with the calorie count. My cooking approach is to keep it simple. Using spices is another—no calories with enhanced flavor. Last night I had a brown rice, onion, black bean combo with peas mixed in, salt and pepper to taste, and some cut up raw veges. Filling and delicious. First ‘fried’ the onion (¼ of a large onion) chopped up in a few tablespoons of water. When it was cooked I added the other ingredients. The peas ((45 cals per ½ cup) were frozen, the rice (160 cals per ½ cup) prepared earlier in day, the black beans (110 cals per ½ cup) rinsed well. And—very tasty! My challenge here is that I ate too much—315 calories not counting the raw veges. So I didn’t eat the 6th meal which I usually do around 8pm.

Using brown rice as the foundation, I can add anything I want to—other types of beans or veges. Or just the rice itself is good. And–cooking brown rice is just the easiest thing. I put 2 cups of water in a quart size saucepan. Add a cup of uncooked rice. Heat to boiling and lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Done and into the frig for later use. I can do many other things while its cooking!

Another frequent approach I take is to add ½ cup of plain beans to a green salad and minimize the salad dressing.

So far, I have lost 35% of my weight goal of 40 lbs and reenergized my commitment to vegan living. In the end, its a healthy start! I would love to hear from any of you that have hot tips for easy vegan style living and cooking.

Hope your day is filled with Happiness! –Judy

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