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Guest post: Kim’s meatless year

Hello friends! While I am still gathering my thoughts and photos on what to post next for myself, please welcome my friend Kim! Kim is a foodie and blogger who has recently decided to go meat free for an entire year and document her journey in a new blog: Meatless 365

I know many of you who read my blog are vegetarian or vegan, but I just ask that you keep an open mind and respect another opinion that may be differing from yours. I know you will 🙂 Thanks!

Hi!  My name is Kim Davidson.  Sarah and I have been friends for about 2 years now and she has been such an encouragement to me.  I am a writer, cook, and photographer in Raleigh, NC. In addition to Meatless 365, I also post recipes, writings, and photos at my regular website, Kd316 and you can also follow my Tweets @kd316.

Sarah sent me a few questions to answer in this post, so here it goes!

1. What made you decide to go meatless?

Honestly, I woke up one day and said, “what would make people go meatless for a year?” and posed that question on social media forums.  Got a bunch of answers, but mostly: “for real? You gotta be kidding me!”  So, that really challenged me.  I said, “I can do this!”  And after that initial moment of pure will power, I knew it would be a challenge for me, a chance to spice up my kitchen, and get me excited about cooking and eating again.  Sometimes, you just get bored – even someone like me, who loves being in the kitchen!

2. What are you hoping to gain from going meatless for a year?

A new love for my kitchen and things that grow in the ground.  A new love for my kitchen: sometimes, even though I love meat, I get bored with the same things.  So, I want to try new healthy things and healthy foods in different ways.  And, things that grow in the ground: I don’t want to survive on processed foods for a year either (granola bars, etc).  I want to get natural foods in my body to help me feel and move better!  I know there are so many vitamins and minerals and other good “things” in foods that grow in the ground, so cool how God made things that would help us live better lives!  I also want to strengthen my food photography skills.  I would love to write for food magazines and use my photos to bring out the brilliant colors in vegetables and food.  There is beauty in food.  As Emerson said; “Beauty is God’s handwriting.”

3. Do you think at the end of 365 days, you will continue to abstain from meat?

I have already considered that; and I probably won’t.  But, I will eat meat a lot less than I do now (or did), but I don’t feel any food is BAD for you, but just eaten in moderation.  I will hopefully have found wonderful recipes to keep eating and trying new recipes in the years to come.  I like bbq, steak, and bacon too much to cut it out entirely for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to be kicked out of my family (my family loves meat!)

4. Has anyone asked you “but where will you get your protein?” yet?

One of the first questions I got.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Like there isn’t any protein other than meat.  I told this person, “why yes, I am!”  I love raw nuts, greens, legumes, cheese, dairy, nut butters, seafood, eggs.  So many ways to get healthy sources of real protein without going to meat or “fake meat”.

5. What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this experiment?

I love to cook for other people.  I think I will have to be creative when doing that and maybe even cook meat meals for them, which isn’t a problem.  Also, eating with my family.  My brother grills a good steak and we love bbq.  But, for this year, I’ll have to be prepared and have salmon when they have steak.  All those healthy fats and vitamins! 🙂

Any last words?

Happy food journey – whatever you eat.

Thanks, Kim! I look forward to following you on your journey and can’t wait to see what all you experience throughout. I hope you will do a follow-up for us at the end of the year!

Is anyone else out there going meat free this year? Want to write about it?

Reinventing

Well, hello there!

(Image Source)

I just thought I would take this opportunity to talk about some changes I have decided to make on this here blog.

As my long-time readers know, I have always gone back and forth on the “daily eats” postings. It’s a very love-hate relationship. Sometimes I love to do it and sometimes it’s a downright chore. Forced. Artificial. I want to be writing posts more for quality not quantity. I want to give you my best!

I blog because I love to write and I’m a foodie at heart, not because I need to keep up with the Joneses or get a certain number of page hits to make money. That’s just not me. This is my hobby, my creative outlet, not my job. But it still means a great deal to me and I am so thankful for the priceless support that I receive because of this blog.

I may still do the “what I ate today” posts from time to time but it won’t be the norm. In fact, I have enjoyed blogging so much more this past week or so, doing posts about recent restaurant visits, new product finds, favorite topics, and a few other things I am currently enjoying in life. Writing about these things feels more real to me and therefore that is what I must do.

I still plan to post daily and on occasion more than once a day if there’s a lot of excitement going on. I have a lot to share with you guys over the next few days so come back later. And thank you very much for your readership.

~Sarah

No backing down

I’ve had some time to think since my last post and after a few lovely comments from readers. I love you guys!

But, in regards to my vegan diet, now is NOT the time to back down. It seems I’m always looking for new goals or challenges to take on and now that it has been three months since I started eating vegan, I think that feel of things is gone. Which is why I thought maybe making some concessions was the way to go.

The problem with this way of thinking, for me, is that one concession usually leads to another and before I know it, I would be eating a lot of things I normally wouldn’t and probably not even enjoying it very much. When I was eating vegan the best way I know how, I wasn’t eating too much, I was feeling satisfied and really enjoying my food and mood. While that hasn’t completely slipped away, I can feel that turn coming if I don’t get off this road.

So…I’m going to stay the course!

I’ve already learned so much from other bloggers like Lindsey, Vegan Yogini, Vegan Crunk, Cooking for a Vegan Lover, Mama Pea and Happy Herbivore, plus tons of other vegans on Twitter. I need to keep being inspired. I also got a really awesome cookbook for Christmas from my friend Courtney called My Sweet Vegan that I can’t wait to start making some desserts out of. She knows me well 😉

I think just venting on here that I was struggling to keep up motivation helped a lot. While I’m still looking for a direction for my blog to go in, I think just having a place to organize my thoughts is such a blessing. But you all are always here for me, offering suggestions, tips and support. Thank you so much for that.

Here’s to staying vegan in 2010! 🙂

Exercise, food and weight gain

As I was checking my email this morning, I came across one from Runner’s World (I’m on their mailing list) and clicked the link to a response from “Ask the Sports Dietician” on the Time Magazine article entitled “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” which were both interesting reads. So I thought I would give you my take on it.

Basically, the author of the Time article states that while exercise is important and many Americans do it, it can also stimulate hunger which then leads us to eat more, which basically undoes the exercise we just put in to lose weight. He says “…like many other people, I get hungry after I exercise, so I often eat more on the days I work out than on the days I don’t. Could exercise actually be keeping me from losing weight?”

I feel like I’ve been in this same boat myself. Especially when I was a more serious runner, I would eat and eat and eat because the last thing I wanted was to “bonk” during a race or suffer from dehydration, carb depletion or any of the other horror stories I’d heard from experienced runners. Even after I backed off of my training, I somehow adopted the mentality that I had to work out everyday and burn a certain amount of calories per day in order to keep my weight under control because I knew how many calories I had to eat each day.

Turns out…as I have been exercising less the past couple of weeks, I have been less hungry and my weight is back under control. This also comes as a result of eating less sugar which has made me feel better overall. I’ve also come to appreciate the value of rest. At a time when I was putting in hour plus workouts at the gym and running/walking multiple times in one day, I was actually gaining weight! And I was tired and sore a lot of the time. And my meals never seemed to satisfy me which is why I would spend a lot of nights in the kitchen raiding through the pantry. So I think there might be at least some merit to this author’s discussion. But I think the blogger from Runner’s World is right to offer some solutions to exercise-induced hunger and find a balance between your activity and your eating habits.

I’d have to say it should be more like “Why Exercise ALONE Won’t Make You Thin.” There, that’s better.

As the author mentions, there is also the “reward” part of this, when we have a really great workout and decide that we “deserve” a special treat for being so “good.” I have seen this quite a bit in my experience. It’s something I’ve even been guilty of from time to time, especially as a runner (hello huge Panera bagels after races).

My family and I used to walk at the mall on Saturday mornings but as soon as we were done, we stopped at Starbuck’s (inside the mall) and while I ordered a coffee of some sort, another family member would get a pastry or other baked good from the case, which totally undoes the walk we just took. If walking for 45 minutes burns 300 calories and then you eat a Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake at 290 calories (and 34 grams of sugar!), you’ve pretty much used it up. The walk was still good for your cardiovascular health, your muscles and bones but your treat took away it’s opportunity to contribute to any possible weight loss.

I’m happy to say that since the weather warmed up, we haven’t been walking at the mall much and when we have, everyone has pretty much been sticking to water or iced tea to rehydrate instead of useless calories from baked goods. However, as the Fall and Winter weather are ahead of us and we again have to retreat inside, will everyone be able to maintain this will power? I hope so.

Anyway, I hope you will read the above articles and make these determinations for yourself. It is important that we all find what works best for our own individual and unique bodies and maintain a balance so that both exercise and food are helping us reach our goals instead of becoming a hindrance.

Happy Thursday!

Cleaning out MySpace

Good morning bloggies!

I decided today to cancel my MySpace account since I now have the blog, Twitter, and Facebook to keep me occupied and lately I’ve been plagued with nothing by spam and friend requests from people I don’t know, so I figured, why bother?

While I was “cleaning it out” (aka copying all my pics and other stuff I want to save) I remembered the “blog” feature on there and I found a few things I wanted to save from that too. There were two in particular that stood out to me and I felt were worth repeating here on the blog, over a year and a half later!

Here ya go 🙂

1-18-08 Happy Annivesary to Myself

On this day, January 18th, of 2007, I officially (in writing and everything) took control of my lifestyle and started living healthier. I can’t believe it has been a year already. So much has changed that now, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, etc. I’m having a hard time remembering how I was before; I guess that is a good sign!

For anyone who wants to start living a healthier life (don’t diet, don’t get surgery, please!) you can do it and you can do it all on your own. You don’t need diets, doctors, surgeons, whatever. You just need yourself and the people or things in your life that give you strength. I’m always happy to offer advice and support, I’ve been where you are!

Well, I had planned to write a longer, more intelligent blog on this topic but I think I waited too late in the day when my creative juices (fueled by caffeine) have dulled. But alas, it was worth mentioning.

Happy 1st anniversary self, here’s to many more 🙂

Sarah

1-29-08 (My discovery of the various forms of oatmeal!)

In my quest to eat things less processed and more whole/natural, I decided to buy a can of oats instead of my usual flavored instant oatmeal packets. So with that and needing to use up the rest of my skim milk this week, I have had oatmeal for the last few days and I am having way too much fun experimenting with different fruit and flavor combinations. Here is what I’ve had so far:

Saturday – 1/2 cup of oats, 1 cup of skim milk (cooked in microwave) and 1 tsp honey, 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (290 calories)

Sunday – same oats & milk, plus 1 medium chopped red apple, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (335 calories)

Monday – same oats & milk, plus 1 tsp honey and 1 medium sliced banana – My 2nd favorite so far! (355 calories)

Tuesday (today) – same oats & milk, plus 1 box (about 1/4 cup) raisins and 1 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips! YUM! (430 calories)

All of these made a huge bowl of oatmeal which is very filling and nutritious. I think tomorrow or the next day, I will try some combination with peanut butter. And there’s a recipe for oatmeal in my Biggest Loser cookbook that has orange juice in it, so I may try that too. But so far the chocolate one has been the best 🙂

p.s. 1-30-08: Tried oatmeal with banana and 1 tbsp peanut butter, pretty good tasting and very filling, but still not nearly the awesomeness that is the chocolate and raisins! YUM.

p.p.s. 2-5-08: I tried the oatmeal with banana and peanut butter again, only with 3/4 cup milk instead of a whole cup. It was much better (chunkier) and I could taste the peanut butter more this time around! 🙂 I’m thinking of calling it my Elvis Oatmeal, for those of you who are familiar with The King’s favorite sandwich!

p.p.p.s. 2-7-08: Yet another update! I added a teaspoon of honey to the apple & cinnamon oatmeal and that made it much better.”

Haha, I loved reading about the first time I tried banana PB oatmeal — it obviously stuck more than I thought it would!

Have a great day friends 🙂 Thanks for indulging me on this little stroll down memory lane.

p.s. Don’t forget to enter my Musselman’s Applesauce giveaway — contest ends at 11:59 tonight!!