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Days Twenty-One through Twenty-Four

Another Vegan in 30 Days update!

Day 21:  Meet other vegans

Taylor explains that it’s nice to have vegans in your life to call on for help, suggestions, motivation, and recipes.  My sisters are that for me.  Alli and I commiserate about the sad way that many omnivores just don’t want to know anything about what they put in their bodies and how it got to their plate.  She helps keep me accountable and motivated.  Sammi has lost a ton of weight (over 60 pounds now!) doing a juice fast.  She has inspired me so much that I will soon go on a juice fast myself.  In terms of meeting other vegans, I have recently been searching out other vegan blogs and found a few people, like myself, who just began their journeys.  It helps to see that other people take it one baby step at a time and that no one is perfect from the moment they decide to become vegan.

Day 22:  Stay Motivated!

Taylor feels the same way that I do about staying motivated; the best way is to continue to learn about it.  I originally became vegan because of health and environmental reasons as well as care for animals, but I hadn’t seen any of the films about factory farms.  I heard about the documentary titled Earthlings, and was lucky enough to find it on you tube.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  It may be hard to watch, but imagine the torture for the animals that live it.

Day 23:  Begin taking vitamin B12 and ground flaxseed

According to the book, “vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that is not readily found in the westernized vegan diet.”  While some may say that this is indication of human need for animal meat in the diet, this conclusion is incorrect.  Meat products do have B12, but that B12 originates from soil, not meat.  The animals that we eat get B12 from the soil bits attached to the grass that they are fed, etc.  I picked up B12 supplements at Sprouts yesterday.

As for ground flaxseed, this is recommended because it is a good source for omega-3 fatty acids.  People tend to believe that a good source for omega-3’s is fish, but they don’t realize that most of the fish available to us comes from polluted fish farms.  You’re getting a nasty side of mercury and insecticides with your omega-3’s!  I have taken to adding ground flaxseed to my smoothies.  I don’t even notice it’s there, so it’s a good way to get it in to my diet.

Day 24:  Eliminate all dairy

Much like with eggs, I have eliminated all consumption of dairy products except for occasional trouble with its use as an ingredient.  When I’m not sure if it may be an ingredient, I choose something else to eat.  It’s that simple.

Vegan at Jamba Juice

Classes are in session again and because my office is very close to my school, I often go straight to one of the lounges and study before class.  This means that I either have to pack a cold lunch or pick something up on the way.  Last semester I was choosing fast food way too often and now that I am on a plant-based diet, most fast food isn’t an option (thankfully, for my arteries).  Tonight I decided to stop at Jamba Juice for a smoothie.  I checked out their menu in advance and found that my usual favorite had dairy in it, so I started to go through each one to see what I could order.  Then I noticed that under “Menu & Nutrition” on their website, they have an option to sort by special diet.  I clicked on “Vegan” and was given a list of every smoothie that they make that is vegan.

Jamba Juice vegan menu | A Vegan in Progress

Jamba Juice vegan menu

It’s so refreshing to see a corporation provide that information in such a welcoming way.  So many restaurant websites make it a damn scavenger hunt to find their allergens list and that’s if they provide it at all!  Jamba Juice makes it easy for you to find the 20 completely vegan items on their menu.  Substitutions can always be made to the other items, but it’s so much simpler to know that you can order something as-is and it will be fine.  I get tired of asking for substitutions everywhere I go and worrying that they will make a mistake!

In case you were wondering, I ordered the Peach Perfection All Fruit smoothie which includes Peach Juice Blend, Mangos, Peaches, Apple Strawberry Juice Blend, Strawberries.  Yum!

Day Seven, Part B & Day 3, Round 2

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So, I finally attempted a green smoothie, for Day 7 of Vegan in 30 Days. I used half a bag of peaches, half a bag of strawberries, half a bag of mixed berries, one fresh apple, about a cup and a half of sparkling pink lemonade (I didn’t have any juice on hand to use as a liquid), four stalks of celery, and a handful of mixed greens. I didn’t need any ice because the fruit was frozen to begin with. I probably should have used about a third of each bag of fruit because this yielded over 40 oz. of smoothie.

Green Smoothie | A Vegan in Progress

I was right about my blender, it couldn’t handle it. It would only blend what was directly next to the blades; it didn’t really mix around all of the contents. I had to stop the blender, shake the top part, trying to get it to mix up, and shove stuff down toward the blades using a spoon over and over again. I ended up taking half of the frozen fruit out, blending the first half, then adding the rest, then adding the veggies. After half an hour, I had a purplish, reddish, brownish smoothie.

Green Smoothie | A Vegan in Progress

It wasn’t bad, although, I think I may have been a little ambitious with the amount of celery I added. I know I could get used to it, but I noticed the flavor of the celery over the flavor of the fruit. The smoothie was a pretty filling meal. Before next time, I think I will have to invest in a new blender. The base was hot to the touch by the time I was done. In the future, to keep costs down, I may prepare the fruit myself and freeze it in smaller chunks.

For the rest of the day, I repeated Day 3, the fruit and veggie cleanse. I also ate a big tub of cut strawberries, a bag of cherries, and a small bag of carrots. It was easier to do the second time around and I may repeat it regularly.

My next step is Day 8, eliminating poultry. Soon, I plan to make some slow cooker seitan (meat substitute) from my new cookbook The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour. I will to make some slow cooker recipes using the seitan and report back!

Day Seven, Part A

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Day 7 of the Vegan in 30 Days book says to start each day with a green smoothie.  I have to admit that that sounds extremely unappetizing to me right off the bat.  From what I have heard, though, fruit smoothies still taste fruity, even when greens are added.

In her book, Sarah Taylor explains that you can get more nutrition in a 32 oz. smoothie than most Americans get all day and 32 oz. only adds up to about 300 calories.  However, she points out that most blenders can’t handle ice and frozen items, which can cause the motor to burn out.  This is the reason that I keep putting off Day 7.  Our blender, originally purchased to make mudslides and rarely used because it’s not very strong, only cost $14 and probably isn’t up to the task.

I plan to head to Sprouts (our favorite place for produce) tonight, so I will get some cut and frozen fruit and give this a try.  The worst that can happen is our blender breaks and it forces me to buy a grown up blender!  So, this one is “to be continued”.

Another note:  I’m headed to Sprouts to stock up on produce so I can repeat Day 3, the fruit & veggie cleanse, for a couple of days.  Since our trip, I have fallen back into easy eating and have spent less time planning and preparing healthy foods.  I’m hoping this will be a good kick-start before I attempt Day 8: eliminating poultry.  That will be a toughie for me because that is all the meat that I currently eat!