Fresh Arugula
Check out my other blog! Some of my random ramblinz about life and my experiences along the way.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Vegan Banh Mi

1 carrot
rice vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 onion
1/2 block extra firm tofu in slices
4 tbsp soy sauce
dash chili powder
1 tbsp sugar
long slices of cucumber
1 small white baguette
salt to taste

Peel shavings of the carrot into a bowl and soak in rice vinegar and 1/3 cup sugar. Meanwhile, fry thin onion rings in oil til soft, then add slices of tofu. In a small box, mix 4 tbsp soy sauce, dash chili powder, 1 tbsp sugar and then pour over the tofu and fry, flipping over regularly, until the sauce has been soaked up.

Cut open the baguette, peel out the soft bread from one side, then liberally spread mayonnaise on the other side. Layer tofu slices with some of the onion, pickled carrot shavings, long slices of cucumber, a generous serving of cilantro leaves, and salt to taste.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Brown Pants and Wine Red Shoes

So life happened. Usually in the past, when life happened, weight also happened and I would gain 10 or 15 pounds. Except this time, things were different. This time my heart was content and once I'd learned how to manage all the various eating occasions in a healthy way, I began to see the pounds drop.

My mother told me the other day that we need to learn how to eat healthy because life will always throw us loops. She knows I'm a stress eater and that I reach for the carbs and the sugar and the chocolate when life gets rough. Here, those 3 cardinal sins are entirely too accessible which makes the struggle twice as hard. But I'm learning something. . .when my heart is full my stomach is full also.

Now I eat to satisfy hunger or to enjoy a social event with friends but the need to satisfy a deep ache in my heart has disappeared. Portion control is possible, self-control is possible, and food is something that provides nutrition rather than emotional satisfaction. I didn't know this was possible. I thought I would always struggle with my weight but one thing I am proud to say is that I never gave up struggling. I kept fighting because I still had hope that something could change.

I'm going to be completely transparent and say that while the majority of the time I eat for healthy reasons, there are still occasions when life just gets to be a bit too much and I'm not able to process it with a friend or family member right in that moment. Then I give myself permission to indulge but it's only for a meal or a day. Never for weeks on end like before.

And it's working. I'm losing weight! Everyone notices and encourages me, which is motivation to keep the trend going. My clothes are getting too big and my body is taking on a more natural shape rather than the box-car shape I had before. I feel better about myself and I'm excitedly looking forward to going home in a couple of months and trying on old clothes that I'd packed away not knowing if I'd ever fit into them again.

Nearly a year ago I wrote my last entry on this blog. I was disappointed because my weight had crept up once more to my all-time high that I'd battled several years ago. I made resolutions to live a healthier life but I knew that change was about to enter my life and I worried that trying to cope with a new job, new culture, new friends, and leaving home long-term for the first time would wreak havoc with those resolutions. I had hope but I didn't know if I'd have the capability to carry through.

Now here I am, about to enter 2017, and I am proud to say that I'm accomplishing my goal with God's help. It isn't easy. There are days I want to live on bread and cake and manaeesh and I could, if I wanted, and no one would fault me for it. There are days my body refuses to walk one more step but my mind insists I must reach for the 10,000 step mark. Each day, though, marches by whether or not I make healthy life decisions. So I'm pleased that God has given me the ability to stick to it and I'm excited to see how He continues to help me in the new year.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Raise a Toast

I looked at the Woman rack and realized. . .the smallest size is a 14. I can buy plus-sized clothing and fit it. It was a sad moment for me. Somehow, over the past months, my weight has struggled to stay stable and just recently I stepped on the scale to see that I was a pound away from my all-time high I'd seen several years ago. I resolved to do something about it. . .once I finished the jar of white and milk chocolate swirl spread and the orange jelly candies and the snap pea crisps.

Naturally, that day didn't come. Instead, I found myself peering into the fridge, searching earnestly for my next sugar, carb, or fat fix. I looked to food to console myself and even a number on a scale couldn't frighten me into change. I'd tried, and failed, so many times before that even the thought of eating a single healthy meal seemed too tiring to try.

My father was diagnosed with a lifestyle-related disease this year. He, like us, knows all the reasons why we should exercise and eat healthy. Compared to his siblings, he lives a fairly healthy life and doesn't carry the characteristic 50+ pounds. He is doing well. Except he isn't. The disease will now control his life until and unless he decides to make some significant changes in how he eats. Will he think it's worth it? I hope so, for his sake.

Why is it so easy to absorb knowledge yet so difficult to put it into practice? I can read diet books, lifestyle change articles, and healthy cookbooks all day long but when I reach for something to fill my mouth, I retreat from apples, celery, and carrots. I crave what isn't good for me even as I know that it is killing me.

It is interesting to consider: you can choose what controls your life. It can be unhealthy food, it can be the disease that results from the unhealthy food, or it can be a desire to feed your body and brain with nutritious food that will enhance your life. I often make things too complicated. I want to have a formula of exactly what foods to eat and when so I know I'm living by the rule book and am guaranteed results. I think that ends up letting the food control my life, though.

In this new year, instead of writing in my journal that I plan to lose 30 pounds like I have written for the past 5 years, I want to make a different resolution. I want to resolve to feed my body and brain with foods that will give me life, joy, and peace. Eating unhealthy foods is stressful! I want to know that what I'm eating is providing nutrition instead of introducing disease. I want to enjoy the foods I eat rather than feel sad because I know they aren't healthy. I want to be content that I am honoring God in my choices of what I eat and what I drink.

I don't want to get diabetes, have a heart attack, or have cancer. One health gauge tells me that I have a 29% chance of developing those diseases and more if I don't do something about my health. I want to wear pretty dresses and feel confident and beautiful. I want to swim again. I want to be able to take pictures from any angle and look happy.

Here's to tomorrow and all its possibilities. Here's to health.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 4

Headache is gone, thank goodness! I'm eating a lot of almonds & mandarins. Probably should cut down on the almonds :) as they are high calorie. But it's better to eat almonds than chocolate chip cookies! If I eat beans for breakfast and lunch, it keeps me full longer. I'm finding my cravings are minimal and my feeling of satiety comes quicker and lasts longer. When I was binging on sugars and processed carbs, I would have an intense feeling of hunger before eating and would wolf down my food so my stomach wouldn't hurt. Now I'm learning to eat for the sake of eating a meal, not out of desperation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 3

Today I woke up with a headache. I did a bit of research online and found out sugar withdrawals can give a person a headache. Hopefully it will be gone tomorrow. Still a bit cranky and tired too. I'm happy to say I made it through day 3 without reaching for sugar. It's mandarin season so I make sure to eat at least two a day and that keeps my hollow sugary tooth satisfied!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pressing On

Day 2 of no sugar. It hasn't been too difficult. I keep reminding myself that I can eat anything I want as long as it doesn't have sugar in it. Which can be rather restrictive if you're used to eating processed foods.

For breakfast I had wholewheat couscous with chickpeas and marinated artichoke hearts and then two mandarins. Lunch was leftover curry and rice, with some almonds for dessert. Supper was a can of lentil soup, two slices of bread thinly spread with vegenaise and with cucumber, and a small bowl of grapes. I had some more almonds and a mandarin for a mid-afternoon snack since lunch wasn't very filling.

It's just 10 days, right? I have a headache, it started mid-afternoon. I wonder if it's related to the no-sugar intake. Still somewhat irritable.

But I'm proud of myself because I had a whole bowl of peppermint patties on my desk all day and didn't eat a single one.

Sure hope this thing works with the weight loss. Off to bed so I can get up and walk for 30 minutes. I know, weight loss requires a minimum of 60-90 minutes of exercise a day. But I walk 30 minutes in the morning, and then 7 minutes to and from work 4 times a day which adds up to another 28 minutes. Tomorrow I'm going to try to figure out how to use a vivofit and see if that helps me up the miles during the day.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

1 of 10

Day 1 of 10 days of no sugar. I'm about 9 hours into it, since I slept in this morning, but I can say without a doubt that it is pretty miserable. I was doing fine, until I started cooking this evening and suddenly the rest of the family decided that was their cue to start preparing their supper so we were doing a dance in the small kitchen. Suddenly I felt myself getting angry inside. I kept silent as usually when I'm in a "mood" it is easier if we all stay away from each other. My mom tried to make small talk and my answers were short and curt. I just wanted to finish the cooking and retreat to my safe room. With a plate of cookies. Or a warm baguette with real cheese. Ah the cravings.

I learned a new word the other day. Orthorexia. At first I thought it was a hoax but the National Eating Disorder Association defines it as a "fixation on healthy eating" saying that those who suffer from this "become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups.”  An iron-clad will is needed to maintain this rigid eating style.  Every day is a chance to eat right, be “good,” rise above others in dietary prowess, and self-punish if temptation wins (usually through stricter eating, fasts and exercise).  Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food intake." (Taken from There's a list of 8 questions you can self-diagnose with and I found myself checking Yes to 7 of them. It made me sad.

I wish I could enjoy eating without worrying about what I eat. When I lived in South Korea for a summer, I ate what I pleased. Green tea ice lollies, pastries with unidentifiable contents, kimbap and bibimbap (sushi and a veggie/rice/fried egg bowl), white bread with mayonnaise, mini spinach (and the occasional accidental ham) quiches, vegetable stir fry, and lots of brown rice with kimchee (pickled cabbage, hopefully without the shrimp paste). I came home weighing the lowest I had in years even though I was enjoying carbs, refined foods, and sugar.

Then I spent the next 10. . .yes, you heard right, 10. . .years struggling to maintain the weight even as I stepped onto a roller coaster of emotions and fat. I went up nearly 40 pounds, I went down 22, and I teetered everywhere in between. I exercised, restricted refined foods, went on no-sugar diets, counted calories, ate 2 servings of vegetables at every meal, slept 8 hours a night, ate beans, and meticulously charted my weight. The weight that went up and down, up and down, up and down.

I thought I was doing everything right and was frustrated with myself because the results were not forthcoming as quickly as I had planned. I needed to lose 20 pounds for my best friend's wedding, for my master's graduation, for my 35th birthday. As each milestone came closer, I panicked, restricted, and then binged. I didn't know how to plod like the tortoise so instead I found myself sprinting like the hare only to run out of energy about 20 miles down the 100-mile track. I was doing a lot but it wasn't enough. And it wasn't sticking.

You see, if I'm perfectly honest with myself and with you, I wasn't sticking to the plan. Yes, I was careful with my regular meals, but there was a 4th meal at night, after everyone was in bed and the lights were out. That meal consisted of cookies, candy, chips, and ice cream. Or if we had a special treat, I would eat one at lunchtime and then three or four at the 4th meal. I became adept at disguising how much food I was eating and when. I ate healthy, yes, but I also ate unhealthy.

I do want to take a moment to focus on the positive in the midst of confession time. I have eliminated my thyroid medication and I attribute it primarily to a vegan diet. I don't buy Twix or Reese's chocolate at the checkout stand and we no longer stock potato chips and Hansen's sodas on our treat shelf. Right now, the only sugary things in the house are some ice cream and chocolate chips in the freezer and when they're gone, they're gone. The grocery list is jammed full of veggies, wholewheat carbs, and rye crackers.

So why another diet? Two reasons. I watched That Sugar Film recently and read an article about children with metabolic syndrome who were put on a 10-day sugar fast. Both of those are incentive to give it a try. The second reason is that I just cleaned out my cupboard. I have a tendency to put off unpleasant things (am guessing I'm not the only one!) and I've been putting off cleaning out my cupboard for several weeks. When I finally sat down and worked on it, it took me about an hour. I'd wasted many more hours avoiding tackling the task when it could have been done and I could have been enjoying using that closet.

Similarly, I need to tackle the unpleasant task of losing weight. I want to do it in a healthy way so when people ask me how I did it, I won't smile smugly and say "Isagenix" or "Shakeology" or any of those other high-priced programs out there. I want to be able to tell them that it is possible on a limited budget, in a small kitchen, with a busy life, to eat healthy. If I work on it now, instead of spending the next 10 years avoiding the unpleasant task, maybe one day I'll wake up and smile because my body is finally where I want it to be. I sure hope so.

For tonight, I need to figure out how to satisfy the emotional urge to eat. Maybe some tea or a rye cracker will do.