Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (5/16-5/22)

This past week there was a lot of discussion between Brett and me about whether it was maybe time for us to become vegetarians or vegans or whether there was another path we could or should take. The end result was that there are changes coming, but they will be gradual. We currently have a freezer full of meat, but we’ve decided to stop buying meat going forward and gradually stop eating it, segueing into a vegetarian diet. We like meat, we don’t eat a lot of it, but it will be healthier for us to learn to do without it. It will also be a more frugal way for us to eat.

Our plan is to finish this month with two vegetarian meals included in each week, then move to three days per week in June, until all the meat in the freezer is finished. We may have enough on hand to get all the way through June, and if so will go to four days/week of meatless meals in July, but I honestly don’t think we have that much in the freezer. A gradual change will give us time to revamp our pantry, do more research, find recipes, etc. I’ve put several vegetarian/vegan books on hold at the library, to see if we like them or at the least find some new recipes. If yes, we’ll buy the Kindle version so they can be used on my Kindle, or on Brett’s iPad or my laptop while we travel.

We’ve set a few ground rules to get ourselves started. Limited dairy will be OK going forward (I cannot live without cheese – I’ve tried – and we like ice cream in small amounts), but we won’t be buying any more cow’s milk. Same for eggs. Brett has firmly stated he does not want to become a full-time vegan, and as long as we live on Kaua’i he would still like to eat fish once in a while. I’m OK with those two things. However, goals for both of us are to move to a more plant-based diet. Our son has been a vegan for the past two years and has seen dramatic positive changes in his health, and we think moving in the same direction will be beneficial to us as well and also help maintain our current weights.

Anyway, stay tuned as our menus begin to change!

Here’s what we ate for dinner last week though. We had two meatless meals:

Sunday: CookDo chili shrimp; steamed rice; wilted cucumber salad

Monday: Mississippi pot roast; mashed potatoes; green beans

Tuesday: CookDo pork & pepper stir fry; steamed rice; fresh pineapple & strawberries

Wednesday: Leftover stuffed peppers; green bean & parmesan salad

Thursday: French dip sandwiches; roasted mixed vegetables

Friday: Cheese board

Saturday: Roasted vegetable mini pizza

Ice cream is our dessert of choice these days: two flavors, 1/3 cup of each. This week we’ve been enjoying mint chocolate chip and mocha almond fudge.

Besides having mini pizzas each week, I’ve also decided to add a cheese board to our menu each week. It will help us end up with three meatless meals next week as we get started, maybe four if we go meatless on the pizzas. Here’s what’s planned for dinners next week:

  • Tofu & sweet potato curry
  • Cheese board
  • Black bean bake
  • Pork & apple stir fry
  • Mini pizzas
  • Pasta with meat sauce
  • Chicken, bean, & rice burritos

Our walking was very inconsistent last week thanks to the very inconsistent weather. We got in a good two miles worth of walking on Sunday as we shopped through Costco and Walmart (pushing a cart around also helps with the calorie burn). We stayed home on Monday because of rain, and then Tuesday did a perimeter walk at the golf course. Wednesday we got in only two laps around the Pavilion before the rain started, but managed three loops on Thursday. Friday we went to the beach. We had planned to walk after we got home but the heat that day left us feeling completely drained so that didn’t happen. Saturday we were able to get in three laps again although it was sprinkling by the time we got back to the car. Fingers are crossed on both hands that we have better weather and a more consistent amount of walking this coming week.

Storm coming across the golf course on Saturday.

I’ve decided I’m not going to worry any more about whether I’m losing more weight or at a plateau or if this is the weight I’m supposed to be at or whatever. Enough!! I am happy with how I look, and I am going to work on building muscle, getting in even better shape, and eating better – that is all. Strength training will continue, walking will continue, and with the planned changes to our eating I plan to end the year in great shape!

16 thoughts on “Staying Healthy: Eating & Exercise (5/16-5/22)

  1. I think you are taking the right attitude to your weight. It can become onerous when we become obsessed about the number on the scale. Like you, we have greatly reduced our meat consumption. We doubt we will ever be fully vegan however knowing how environmentally unfriendly beef is plus the concern about hormones etc in meat these days we found it easy to cut consumption once we made the decision. We do eat a lot of chickpeas it seems but have to say we enjoy them. We could also never give up cheese or dairy, I have switched to oat milk in my latte but I have to have real milk for my cup on tea in the morning.

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    1. I try to stay away from the scale as much as possible and go by how and feel and how my clothes fit these days.

      I tried veganism for a year and was adding in cheese before the year was up – it’s too much of a pleasure for me. But, there are substitutes for other things that I am happy to make – we have already bought a case of oat milk and will change to that when the last of the cow’s milk is done (we drink our coffee black so no problems there). Yogurt I can give up as well. I am looking forward to the vegetarian cookbooks coming off of hold and finding some new recipes to try.

      P.S. I love chickpeas too!

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  2. You absolutely look amazing! You both look very different from your profile pic 🙂

    I decided when I did vegan March that I wasn’t going to count calories any more. I need an intuitive way to live for the rest of my life, and I absolutely hate having to log my food. I’ve gotten much better about having the majority of my plate be vegetables, with a bit of rice or quinoa, or beans. I’m probably still eating a little bit too much, but I think that will adjust with time. It’s so surprising the things I am figuring out just now in my life!

    Oh, and Pinterest is my source of menu inspiration and is completely mobil!

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    1. We have lost a lot of weight. A couple of months ago I tried on my cold weather travel clothes thinking that some of it would look awful now (like tents) but it actually looks better now that I’m slimmer than I was back then. My biggest goal now is to keep it off – I’ve learned new habits and want to keep them.

      Good idea about using Pinterest! I have a whole vegan board and should go back and look that over again as well as check out more vegetarian recipes. Definitely portable!

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  3. I live by myself now, so it’s pretty easy to eat according to my own preferences. Over the last 2 years, I have found that I rarely eat meat or poultry. I don’t miss it! I do eat eggs and cheese. It’s a simpler way of living and eating. I’m healthy, and you’re right; there is little concern for weight gain. The other change that was easy for me to make was to avoid processed food. I really glad I was able to make these changes. Thanks for sharing your story. It will be interesting to follow you on your journey. Though I don’t comment often, I love your blog!

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    1. How you eat sounds like what we are moving to as well. Brett and I are on the same page as far as diet, so our changes are made together. We gave up processed foods a long time ago – it was difficult to buy the ingredients for s’mores the other day but can’t make them without the graham crackers, chocolate, or marshmallows so we gave it LOL (and they were good – one is definitely enough though).

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  4. You two are an inspiration.
    We are eating down our freezer for our move. I think we will be moving out of the meat market, eating simpler in Idaho. I cannot do bread any more and I think dairy is an issue …so that is slowly disappearing. We do love our eggs though and will continue eating them. My husband’s doctor is on board with our changes. Now…giving up chocolate is next. I know I am allergic…but I love it. Finding a caffeine to substitute is huge for me.My body seems stuck at huge…so a change in exercise and diet is in my future. I need a REAL medical person to work with. Cannot wait to be TriCare standard. I cannot go into older age at this size…period. LOL

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    1. Bread has lost its appeal for me, and dairy is an issue for Brett so we keep those things to a minimum, or at least try to. Eggs were mostly used for baking or other recipes and there are enough substitutes that we can give them up (I’m making more waffles later this week and will be using applesauce instead of eggs, for example).

      There is so much more good, scientific information out there now about weight loss (and weight gain) now than in the past, and there is definitely no “one size fits all” plan that works for everyone. You find what works for you, and that can take time and a lot of trial and error. Smaller portions and lots of exercise is what did the trick for me, even though I sure didn’t like it much at first. Giving up meat is part of the gradual process as well – we just got to a place where we’re tired of it, and more interested in eating less of it as well. It’s going to take a while to get rid of all we have in our freezer though.

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  5. Good luck with the changing in eating style. I think I could be vegetarian fairly easily but my husband is a full-fledged carnivore whose body does best on a low-carb diet that focuses on lean meats and lots of veggies. I’ve just finished entering all of my recipes into an app called Paprika. It’s not cheap but lets me have all of my recipes together and accessible from my computer or my tablet. I copied in the one or two recipes I used from each cookbook and now most of them are in the donate bin :-). I’m hoping having easy access to my stash of tried-and-true recipes will encourage me to make more than the four things I seem to keep cooking over and over and over again…
    Erica

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    1. Gradual vegetarianism seems to be the way to go for us this time. Thank you so much for letting me know about the Paprika app – it seems to be something I can use along with having the cookbooks we use on Kindle, especially for this books where we only use two or three recipes. I don’t have many to donate these days though – all of my cookbooks were in the box the movers lost this last time :-(.

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  6. I do not tolerate meat well, except for fish. I also do not tolerate fried foods well. I will not give up ice cream nor cheese. So I eat meat maybe once a week and it is usually fish. I eat chicken maybe twice a month and ground beef, or pork, or bacon maybe once every other month.

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    1. I haven’t been able to tolerate friend foods for as long as I can remember. I eat tempura in Japan, but know that I am going to pay for it later. Same for French fries, but I usually can skip them. Good for you with the fish – it’s a healthy food to eat. We like pork and chicken, beef less so. I adore bacon but can give it up. I think making the switch gradually to vegetarianism will make it stick (fingers crossed).

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  7. Sounds like you have a great plan for going to a more plant-based diet. Thought I’d share a meal we just had the other day. Might be a bit too warm for soup/stew where you are, but something to save for a colder time perhaps. https://www.budgetbytes.com/african-peanut-stew-vegan/ I left out the collard greens because my spouse doesn’t like cooked greens. They remind him of the slimy canned spinach he was forced to eat in elementary school. That kind of stuff sticks with people.

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    1. First, I LOVE African peanut soup. I had many students from Africa back when I was teaching, and a version of it often showed up at events (weddings, parties, etc.). Thank you for this link! Tell your husband that I also endured slimy canned spinach when I was young. YUK! And to make it even worse, my mom served it with vinegar! Love fresh spinach now though.

      We’re so motivated to do this! I spent part of the day today looking for vegetarian/vegan recipes, and for the first time in ages made my shopping list and did not add any meat. We’ll get there.

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  8. Converted to WFPB (whole foods/plant based) last September after having a heart attack. Have done well with new recipes/foods and find it very satisfying! All about texture and flavors!!

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