I've decided to take on a healthier lifestyle and I'm a week into my 30 day kick-start. It was surprisingly easy to stick with mostly fruits and vegetables, whilst cutting out meat. My food habits are changing and each day, it's easier to say no to fast food when offered. The hardest part is simply not knowing how to prepare or cook full meals with only fruits and vegetables. I grew up on an all-American diet. I can make mac and cheese, microwave dinners, and I know each fast food place in town. I had no idea what meals I could make with whole foods and I'm still learning.
The Vegetarian Chronicles; Part 2: 1st Week Review
I'm 1 week into my 30 day health challenge. Here is a review of what I've done (which unexpectedly resulted in losing 8 lbs in 7 days) and my first experience with tofu.
Vegetables? What is this sorcery?
I had no idea where to start when it came to preparing meals. My idea of a plant based meal is simply a salad. I don't want to live off of salads forever so I was pleased to learn that there are thousands of other options when I turned to the magical keyboard and searched "vegetarian recipes." However, that was almost as intimidating as learning a foreign language, but it was a start.
Grocery shopping was and still is a little tricky. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I don't know what a lot of fruits look like. Mangoes? Grape fruit? I just never got into fruit so I didn't need to see them or know anything about them. Now it's just sad.
I'm more of a vegetable person. I love broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, zucchini, etc. I'll eat almost any veggie.
I love fruits that trick you into thinking they're vegetables. Tomatoes- oh tomatoes, my love. I have 1 large tomato for lunch each day it fills me up as much as any burger and fries did. My other love is avocado. Just mash 'em up in a bowl, a dash of salt, and a scrumptious dinner is served.
I only have a handful of fruits and veggies, I don't cook, and I don't know much about healthy foods, but I'm not going to let that stop me.
"Self, lets make tofu!"
Easy Tofu Recipe
Since I'm going vegetarian for 30 days, I wanted to really experience a vegetarian meal. A lot of meat eaters like fruit but most don't pick tofu over steak.
I looked up multiple ways to use tofu and most of the time, the recipes required a lot of access ingredients. This still causes me stress. I'm not a cooker; I'm a microwaver. I've never even owned flour.
Luckily I came across a simple tofu recipe. I apologize I don't have the link, nor remember it word for word but it's simple:
- cut up your favorite veggies and saute them with olive oil.
- Cut tofu into cubes and toss them in with the veggies.
- Add it to a bowl of cooked rice and you've got yourself a vegetarian meal.
Day 1 of 30, I decided, was the night to try tofu. Why? Call it enthusiasm. My sense of adventure and taste for new things..or call it boredom and a trip to the store. I visited with family after work, went to the farmers market- (flips hair over shoulder) because that's kinda' my thing now, and then went to the grocery store (you can't buy fake meat at a farmers market apparently) and was home by 8. Around 9:30 I decided there was no better time than the present to make tofu.
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10 o'clock Tofu
Working with tofu for the first time was very intimidating. I know at least 5 ways to make a hot dog and zero ways to use tofu.I struggled for a good 5 minutes trying to tear the plastic from the container. At one point I started thinking this was the universes way of telling me that I'm just not cool enough for tofu. I finally used a knife and got it open, spilling water onto my counter. I didn't know tofu was submerged in water. I didn't even know what tofu really was until this project.
It turns out, tofu is made from soybeans. I can only describe it as cold, wet scrambled eggs compressed together in a block shape. Mind you, I used firm tofu. I imagine soft tofu to be nothing but water. It doesn't have a flavor, which is good because you can add your own flavors to it.
I first chopped up broccoli, cauliflower, and mushrooms and sauteed them using butter as oil. Butter isn't great for you but I was making rice and I wanted buttery rice. I added garlic, onion, and garlic powder for more flavor while the rice cooked beside it.
I had the TV on for background noise and the wonderfully charming "Julie and Julia" was playing. It felt like fate to me; this was my Julie/Julia project, only it was more like Kaitlyn vs. Tofu. I was determined. This cold, damp, sad looking tofu block wasn't going to deter me. "Go big or go home." I was already home so it was more like, "go big or go to bed."
I "pressed" the wet tofu to try to drain the water out of it and I think I did it too hard because it sort of just fell apart. I didn't exactly cut into cubes. I tried to but they fell apart so they were more like little chunks- they truly looked like scrambled eggs. I did as best I could with my depressing tofu and stirred it into the pan with the rest of the veggies while mentally dancing to "A Bushel and a Peck," from the beautiful movie in the background.
While trying to comprehend just how to cook tofu, or how to even press it, I managed to ignore the pot of rice on the stove. It nearly boiled over- twice, almost giving me a heart attack and rendering this entire project pointless, seeing as the point is to get healthier.
On top of this, my cats won't seem to leave each other alone and keep stealing my attention. I was asked to take in this new baby kitty from my step-mom so yay, a new kitten! His name is Kol. (Klaus and Kol, kudos if you know where I got the names)
When I finally got done with all the cooking and was able to keep the boys from chasing each other, I sat down to a delicious meal of buttery rice with sauteed veggie/tofu mixed throughout. I must say, it was scrumptious even for my cooking.
Lucky for me, "Julie and Julia" was coming on again so I was able to enjoy Meryl Streep as Julia Child from start to finish with a bowl of tofu at 10 o'clock at night.
New Foods, New Weight
My 1st week was from Friday, September 26th-October 3rd. In this time, I mostly ate fruits and vegetables: Big juicy tomatoes for lunch, fried or steamed veggies for dinner, and apples, avocados, and bananas for snacks. I cut out meat and almost all dairy, except a little butter.
I did no exercise whatsoever but just for kicks, I decided to weigh myself on Friday. According to my scale, I went from 205lbs to 197lbs. That's an 8 pound loss in 7 days. My weight fluctuates but not that dramatically in so little time. I was sure the scale was wrong. I moved it twice and re-weighed myself with the thought that the floor probably wasn't even and that was causing this mistake. The next two times it said 195lbs- a 10 pound loss in 7 days! Too much, it just cannot be right so I'm sticking with the first number- 8 pounds. That's barely believable as it is but I just can't grasp the thought that I actually lost 10 pounds in 1 week JUST by changing what I ate.
Unfortunately, I fall victim to pumpkin roll each Autumn and if I lose 8-10lbs by incorporating some apples and avocados, surely I'll gain 8-10lbs from delicious pumpkin roll. We'll have to wait until next Friday to see!