How I Went Vegan…Part-Time

I often feel as though food seems to go through trends just as quickly as fashion these days. However, to be vegan or even vegetarian, seem to withstand the various trendy diets or hip new workout regimens (Zumba or P90X, anyone?). It’s crazy to me that event the food/science industry can’t make up their mind from year to year. They change the daily recommended values of certain food groups like the fluid ounces one should drink of milk a day, for example. One day meat is okay then the next it’s recommended to cut down due to high cholesterol or other health factors. So, why is it that no one can definitively say what is a basic recommendation of food for a healthy lifestyle? Why do food choices have to be riddled with so many questionable factors such as quality of ingredients, treatment, or production?

After years of yo-yoing with my weight and eventually having a baby, I became determined to find a lifestyle that was both enjoyable (aka easily maintained) and left me feeling good inside and out. I loved Weight Watchers, but found that I became neurotic about the point counting. It would work while I was on the program, then gain some of that weight back when I wasn’t counting the points and logging my food everyday. Although I lost initial weight while on their program, I would plateau and quickly become frustrated. I also felt as though I shouldn’t have to pay a company to help me lose weight. I needed something that removed these blinders of fad diets or promises of weight loss and get back to basics.

Insert Netflix.

First, ‘veducation’.

Our Netflix documentary feed is filled with nutritional or food related movies and one cannot simply help but begin to understand why. Why do these documentaries keep popping up? Movies such as Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead I and II, Food, Inc., Cowspiracy, and most recently Food Choices. Each movie sheds the unfortunate light on how misguided we all are as American consumers of food and even food knowledge. What I have gathered is that we are stuck in a systematic cycle that equates to a dollar amount. From the medical field (because if we’re not sick doctors don’t get paid) to politics with institutions that should be regulating food quality, like the Food & Drug Administration.

Nutritional labels can no longer be trusted completely because of the fact that the FDA is behind it and they don’t exactly reflect the quality, or ingredients, in that particular product. Does bread really need 50 different ingredients that I can’t pronounce? What about those genetically modified or hormone-filled commercial farms? Or the fact that commercial farms are threatening to put local small scale farmers out of business. It’s sickening to know that we, as a society, have taken a very basic need, such as our food, and have turned it into something ugly that doesn’t only affect us in the present day, but will continue to affect future generations and our planet in the big picture.

How I Went Vegan...Part-Time | theprimarilyinspired.com |

If you haven’t seen them already, I highly recommend these food documentaries currently streaming on Netflix to, at the very least, expose you to some of the current studies and information available. Simply being aware is just the beginning, but it’ll give you great starting off places to those looking to make healthier food choices in 2017. If you’re not the documentary type, there are thousands of studies available online or books that present the same kind of material.

Second, introspection.

After wrapping my head around the information that was presented in all of these documentaries, along with my own understanding of nutrition, I set out to find which change in our diet would be the most beneficial. I knew I was still carrying baby weight, that I constantly felt bloated, and overall just slow. I knew that to relieve a lot of what I was experiencing had to do with my diet and level of activity on any given day. So, what were we eating that made me feel this way? It was more to do with what I wasn’t eating.

In retrospect, it’s kind of funny (in a sad way) to look back and realize that Greyson is eating more veggies than my husband and I; that we somehow put his nutrition at the forefront of our minds moreso than our own. After this becoming clear I knew that we needed to make a change and it needed to start with lowering our meat and animal products and up our intake of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, and everything in between.

Making our own baby food!

We took a peek at what we were eating on a semi-regular basis and it consisted of: chicken, some beef and fish, fried or baked recipes, dairy, and the use of olive oils. Rarely would we have vegetable sides and if we did we either sautéed them or baked them. We were pretty good about going vegetarian every so often, but in the end where we thought we were making healthy food choices we knew it was a touch in the opposite direction. I mean, Eggplant Parmesan is absolutely delicious but the gooey Mozzarella I feel just sucks the nutritional value right off the eggplant, haha!

Third, change.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t skeptical or even a touch nervous about making such a bold choice to let go of meat and meat products…at least part-time. We both were raised in families that had meat as a part of our daily diet; along with deli sandwiches, spaghetti with meat sauce, or steak and potatoes. As adults, it’s easy to realize how we’ve continued this mentality without much thought. However now that Greyson is in our lives, it’s important for us to begin thinking about how we’re raising him as he relates to food and food choices. In the end, we should be adopting more of the diet we’re feeding him, which includes more fresh veggies and lighter overall recipes.

One documentary in particular that I really enjoyed and learned the most from was Food Choices. In this film Michal Siewierski investigates the true benefits of veganism by asking the most common questions about health and how it relates to only eating a plant-based diet. He enlists the help of various doctors, nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, and real people who have positive health benefits from changing their diets to plant-based. He asks the very questions I’ve had myself and I was astounded to find the answers. This documentary was the catalyst for making a real change for me of which I am already seeing the benefits.

Noticing the benefits.

Over the last month since going plant-based I have noticed a significant difference in how full I feel, how lighter and less bloaty I am, and the amount of energy I have, which helps me keep up with Greyson. I’ve continued to run at least three times a week and with the combination I’ve actually been able to lose about a pound a week, although weight loss isn’t the real goal.

As much as I have really enjoyed this change in diet, I do have the exceptions during the weekend. I enjoy my wine or cocktails and I refuse to give up real cheese. Life is about enjoying every moment we have and my husband and I enjoy it through the love language of food and drink. I don’t feel guilty about these little pleasures of ours, but overall I am extremely happy with making the switch knowing that 90% of our diet is now health conscious and sustainable for both us as a family and the planet.

FAVORITES THUS FAR:

I really enjoy a cookbook that tells it to you straight; as if someone is in your kitchen really kicking your butt and explaining things like a normal person. The recipes look pretty great and already the Fire Roasted Salsa I made yesterday only lasted (barely) 24 hours. We have a couple things on the menu this week from Thug Kitchen like their street tacos, which we’re very excited about. If you haven’t taken a peek at this cookbook I highly recommend you do!

I received this cookbook from Blogging For Books a couple years ago and since I’m serious about going vegan throughout the week I decided to dust it off. We made the Kimchi Dumplings with a Fiery Miso Sauce and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. Who knew you could make a dough wrapper with no milk or eggs! Again, we’re excited to really dive into these cookbooks, as well as the numerous recipes online. If you’re interested, please feel free to follow my Plant-Based Meals board on Pinterest!

 

 photo Signature.001.jpeg

Foodie Finds | Aug 31

Hi and happy Wednesday! It’s another installment of my new weekly food post in which I share my favorite food blogs and recipes that inspire my weekly menu! This week I’m leaning more in a healthy direction and sharing some of my favorite meals for when my husband and I are looking to detox from the fun we indulged in the weekend before – such as the yummy catered BBQ we had for Greyson’s dedication after-party! #noregrets

Onto the links…

Iowa Girl Eats – I love Kristin’s food blog because it’s health centered and all of her recipes have gluten-free ingredients! I just love her fish taco recipe with the sweet corn and avocado slaw and that white sauce! Even after we finished eating the tacos I ate the slaw as a side to many other dishes! Another great way to eat this recipe is as a tostada! My husband came up with the idea of frying the corn tortillas and placing the taco filling on top and OMG delicious!

Inspired Taste – This food blog is run by a husband-wife team who bring from scratch meals straight to your kitchen! I love a good meatloaf and this recipe for using turkey, which is a lean protein (i.e. doesn’t have as much fatty goodness), and incorporating mushrooms of all things to keep the meat moist is so neat! It’s a great recipe that offers a healthier alternative to traditional meatloaf which uses beef.

Annie’s Eats – Another great healthy food blog is right here at Annie’s Eats. Her recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins were to die for and a great protein and energy boost for the morning. And if you’re looking for baby food inspiration her homemade recipes look easy to make, which is perfect for any new mom!

What’s inspiring your kitchen this week? Share your favorite recipes or food blogs below! I love discovering and being inspired by new recipes!

Receive inbox notifications of new posts!


 

 photo Signature.001.jpeg

Foodie Finds | Aug 24

Strozzapreti with Oxtail Ragu and Horseradish Crumbs | Cottage Pie | Spaghetti Carbonara

Happy hump-day everyone and welcome to the second week of my new Foodie Finds series where I share with you my favorite food blogs that inspire my kitchen each week and the recipes you can find there! I just love food and over the years I’ve had a lot of fun honing my skills in the kitchen right along next to my husband (it’s kind of our thing). So, get comfy and I hope you find some inspiration from these great fellow foodies!

FOODIE FINDS LINKS

Bon Appetit Magazine – I love this magazine subscription because not only are there great recipe ideas, but some pretty great articles and featured restaurants. One of my favorite recipes from BA that we have tried more than once is this recipe for Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwiches and Strozzapreti with Oxtail Ragu and Horseradish Crumbs (photo above). The oxtail just falls off the bone and the savory broth will have you looking for french bread to soak it up with.

Gimme Some Oven – Ali is the food blog goddess over at Gimme Some Oven and you can pretty much find anything of hers all over Pinterest. You could seriously blindly click somewhere on her blog and find a new and delicious recipe to try. Some of my personal favorites include Baked Eggplant Parmesan, White Chicken Enchilada Casserole, and I just stumbled upon this Crab and Avocado Enchilada recipe that has me watering at the mouth.

Little Broken – Katya has a great food blog and if you’re looking for a delicious (and easy to prepare) weeknight fish recipe this Artichoke and Spinach Roasted Salmon is filling and the cream cheese with the artichokes and fresh spinach makes the topping so creamy and delicious. Salmon is an easy fish to cook and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it. Oh, and these Coconut Peach Muffins look absolutely divine and if you’re looking for a recap of her most popular recipes of 2015 check out her list here.

Dinner, Then Dessert – Sabrina is a private cook and fellow foodie who is behind the screen at Dinner, Then Dessert. Her Halal Cart Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice is perfect for scratching that middle eastern cuisine itch – especially since we don’t have a restaurant near us. It was surprisingly easy to do and I love a good sauce and the Greek yogurt based sauce is so yummy I could put it on anything. And before you leave her page you should check out her awesome index for copycat recipes. I’m most looking forward to try her Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak.

Have you tried any recipes from these food blogs? Which are your favorite?

Sign up to receive post notifications straight to your inbox!


 

 photo Signature.001.jpeg

Foodie Finds | A Weekly Food Post

Stop by every Wednesday to see the foodie finds I have for each week! Be inspired for dinner and have joy in what you prepare for your family!food·ie
noun – a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.

I consider myself to be a pretty good home cook. Not so Master Chef worthy yet, but I find cooking to be a fun way to express myself and I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try every week for my family. I wasn’t always a good cook – I would rather opt for takeout or grab dinner at a local chain restaurant simply for it’s convenience. It wasn’t until I met my husband, the true foodie, who introduced me to high quality foods, tasting menus, and the appreciation for complex flavors. He introduced me to the appreciation for food preparation and the concept that not everything should be cooked on high heat or quickly. Often times how well a dish comes out is it’s time and temperature – a mantra he lives and cooks by. Over the years I’ve had fun in the kitchen and we both have enjoyed crafting up new meals to share with each other and look forward to sharing these passions with our son!

Since I’m not shy about sharing a few of my favorite new recipe finds or even a snap of my home attempts on Instagram, I figured why not start a weekly blogroll post dedicated to my favorite food blog finds. From savory dinners to sweet deserts and cocktails in-between, stop by every Wednesday for my Foodie Finds and find your own inner home cook!

FOODIE FIND LINKS

Broma Bakery – Sarah has THE cutest food blog and her deserts are pretty much to-die for. These cupcakes modeled after one of my favorite iced coffee drinks makes me want to eat them right off the screen. And speaking of iced coffee…this recipe for cold brew looks absolutely creamy and delicious. Oh, and if you needed another reason to buy Nutella at the store this week, this fudge is that reason.

Cooking Classy – Jaclyn and her food blog has done it again and her Baked Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce was a huge hit for our family last week. We actually loved it so much I decided to put it on the menu again this week! I’ve wanted to add more fresh fish to our diet since we tend to be very meat and vegetable heavy – and this recipe is perfect. That dill sauce can seriously be put on anything it’s so good!

Tastes Better From Scratch – I can’t agree more with a food blog name like that! I found this blog when I was searching for a homemade recipe for the popular Mexican drink Horchata. I first had it when a girlfriend of mine ordered it once and I had a sip and was hooked from then on. Since I’ve had it at all of my favorite Mexican restaurants I just had to try and make it myself at home and this recipe turned out refreshing and easy to make!

Smitten Kitchen – I adore this food blog for its vegetarian dishes like this one we made last night. It has an extensive recipe index and I love that they provide photos for step-by-step directions! I’ve tried a few of SK recipes and every time they came out tasting delicious and only using the simplest of ingredients.

Have you tried any recipes from these food blogs? Which are your favorite?


 

 photo Signature.001.jpeg