Friday, April 30, 2010

Becoming Vegetarian

Aloha! About a week ago I received an a comment that I would like to elaborate on......

"Maybe I missed a post on this topic awhile back but I wondered if you wouldn't mind talking about how you cut meat out of your diet (something I'm wrestling with) and weight loss... I have about 10ish pounds to get back to my comfy weight and wondered what thoughts you might have? How do you stay away from the junk food? (Or maybe you just don't get tempted by it?) How do you stay full on fruits and veggies? I try but I just get hungry for protein! :) "

I get asked this question fairly frequently so I'd like to take a minute to address it.....

I became a true vegetarian at the age of 16 ( I think...I'm now 34 ). I was on Spring Break at my father's beach house in L.A. with my friend, Rachael ( I remember this date because the L.A. Riots started the day we left...weird).


I was reading a magazine article one afternoon while laying out in the sun about the fish and meat industry in America. All I can really remember about the article are all the pictures of dead animals along with the statistics of food borne illnesses associated with these dead animals...... Already a severe hypocondriac and emetophobic I showed Rachael the article and after reading it, we decided to try and be vegetarians for the rest of the week......

At the time I wasn't the biggest meat eater to began with. I had already cut out red meat and pork two years prior after a rather heavy Portuguese Sausage filled trip to Maui at the age of 14.  However, I was still a big fish a chicken eater. After our "bet" I seem to recall eating a lot of "fat free" pastas and frozen yogurt over the next few days. Once we were back home in the Bay Area I kept going....I seem to recall that Rachael did not. In fact, she probably doesn't even remember this ( but I bet she remembers the sunburn she got that week! )

Carnivore withdrawals: I seem to remember really missing chicken for awhile but that's about it. I can still taste it actually. Chicken tastes good. However, after almost 20 years you couldn't pay me to eat that dirty bird ever again. Against popular belief I didn't become a vegetarian for weight loss reasons. In fact, I actually did nothing but gain weight over the next few years.....I was a teenager though. Isn't that the norm? Did I have emotional issues with my weight back then?? Yes, Yes I did. In fact, I actually had a major eating disorder that lasted until my early 20s.

I was curvy.....people use to refer to me as "voluptuous" A word that I used despised. To me, "voluptuous" was a more PC word for "fat".  I felt fat too, looking at old pictures from high school  I don't recognize myself......At my high school reunion 6 years ago an old friend thought I was some body's guest instead of their old classmate.....strange.

Circa 1993-I'm on the left ( obviously )

Sorry...I have much better pics but I don't have a scanner. This is one of the only ones I could find from High school. I had to swipe it from Facebook......Anyway, this was before the "Freshman 15".

I'm not sure what caused the 35 pound gain from the age of 15 to 23? Everyone in my family was/is very lean. My younger sister ( by 18 mos ) was as skinny as they came....She was a size zero, flat chested,  a"Blue Bubble Gum" ice cream eating bird. I hated her sometimes.....I was angry a lot as a teenager and I think the frustration and struggle I had with my size was the cause of this. I was jealous of my tiny friends and I was hurt that I couldn't wear a tank top or v-neck t-shirt without getting some lewd ( or jealous? ) comment. It's sad because I would have given anything to have avoided such attention. For awhile, I actually resorted to diet pills, starvation, exercise bulimia and on certain occasions ( like a dance or cheerleading competition ).....duct tape.  At age 19 I almost had a breast reduction.....I look back now and I'm thankful I did not.

I was a vegetarian all through this time. However, when I look back I don't remember eating any vegetables. I seem to recall living on fat free frozen yogurt with pounds of rainbow colored sprinkles mixed in. I ate a lot of rice cakes with aspartame laden jellies and then I'd eat boat loads of white rice and soy sauce. I would NEVER have eaten a fat ridden avocado, peanut butter or a coconut back then. Olive oil and butter literally scared the crap out of me. Fat made people fat right?? In college I seriously had a fridge filled with fat free Ranch Dressing, Snackwell Cookies and fat free cream cheese for my big fat white flour bagels.....Looking back now all this stuff makes me feel nauseous.

Then, in my early 20s something changed in me....... I started to give into the fact that I was not going to be a size 2 or even a 6. I was really starting to be okay with this idea too..... So, in celebration of this I started to eat the things that I was always so scared of......guacamole, REAL cheese, nuts, green leafy salads with healthy oil based dressings, chocolate, wine, etc. Then, slowly, over the span of several months my weight started to melt away???

With this new revelation I continued to eat and I was eating really delicious things! I was "full", "satisfied", and I no longer felt like I was "missing out".  Being vegetarian had a whole new meaning to me many new colorful dishes to make!

I started enjoying dishes like Feta and Pumpkin Risotto, Goat Cheese Pizzas and Coconut Vegetable Curries. This type of food always seemed so "off limits" before and now I was actually enjoying eating out or experimenting in the kitchen. I would eat when I was hungry and stop when I was satisfied. I no longer craved something "sweet" after a meal. I no longer snacked out of boredom. After about 2 years my weight stabilized to my current size.

 I'm not embarrassed about my heaviest weight but I'm not uncomfortable giving out my current stats either...My highest weight ever was 142 lbs. Today I am 106 lbs. Some days I'm a bit less other days I'm a bit more.....I love the food I eat everyday and if I want a piece of chocolate cake or the cheese platter I will order it. I never think about my weight anymore or worry that I might gain it back. If I did, my man would be more than thrilled...... I've been my current size for almost 10 years now and even though I'm a bit on the thin side I think I'm at the weight I was always meant to be..... Like I mentioned before, my whole family is fairly lean. One of the perks of getting older is you start the care a whole lot less about the size of your jeans and the number on the scale. ( Although I now envy figures like Miss Kim Kardashian's and Scarlett Johansson's) Too bad I didn't think this way back in 1993........ I would have saved myself from a lot of pain and suffering.

As for "Junk" food. I just don't like it. I never crave things like potato chips, processed foods or candy bars.... In all honesty when I see this packaged stuff in the stores it sort of grosses me out. If I'm going to be "bad" I'd rather have a decadent Coconut Milk based vegan "Ice Cream" over "Frito Pies" or football stadium nachos any day......

Over the last two years, my diet has evolved even more. This has happened in the name of health. Not diet or weight maintence. I eat the way I do now because I want to feel my best....not to look my best. Carlos and I invested in a Vita Mixer in 2008. Thanks to this machine a smoothie addiction has replaced my coffee addiction. Now with my Breville Juicer ( Thanks Mom! ) Green Juice has become a very important staple for me as well. I've made a point to cut a lot soy out of my diet as well as dairy. I've also made a commitment to eat more local and organic foods while trying different types of grains, squashes, super foods, leafy greens, alternative sweeteners, exotic fruits and Gourmet Raw Cuisine. You might notice that certain times of the year I prefer a High Raw diet ( like in the late spring, summer and fall ) However, sometimes I crave heavier vegan and vegetarian fare like Vegan Fried Rice or Pasta with Red Sauce. But whatever I choose to eat I want it to be delicious, colorful and whole because I spent wayyyyy to many years eating things that were tasteless, white and processed.

I'd be happy to answer any more questions on this topic. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you will notice that I post my daily food intake pretty regularly. I'm also pretty honest....I don't sneak other foods in and not post it except for (lets say) a "sample" while grocery shopping or a taste from Carlos's plate. If I did eat something "indulgent" then I would want to tell you because it probably tasted pretty damn good:-)

Thanks for reading.....Much Aloha!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I added a bunch of Mint to my Green Juice this morning and it was awesome!
2 large Fuji Apples
1/2 Local Lemon
1 Lb Organic Kale

Remember that new Yoga DVD I did yesterday? Well, I do......and so do my triceps. Dang I am soooo sore today! Now I can see why Nadia looks the way she does on the cover.....Maybe I should stick with it?
Lunch was another boring self made sandwitch from the cafeteria.
Wheat Bread
Red Onions
 I don't know why I keep putting cheddar slices on it? They actually taste a bit like plastic.....Time to switch it up me thinks!

After work I did Nadia's DVD again. I figured since it was about 700 degrees in my living room this afternoon a little yoga would be perfect.....

You might have noticed that I haven't been to the gym much lately. I do this sometimes.....I have a "Mini" Mainland trip coming up next week ( yes....I have to fly ( see post ) but when I return I'm planning a new workout routine for summer....more on that later.
To be contin.....

BIG Salad
Local Baby Organic Spinach
Local Tomatoes
Hearts of Palm
Kalamata Olives
Shredded Cucumber
Annie's Goddess Dressing
Raw Vegan Herb Crackers


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Makawao, Paia and Lahaina Town.....

Sorry I cut it so short yesterday but to be frank the rest of my day was pretty uneventful....Carlos went off to work and I spent the evening reading. For dinner I had a bowl of Basmati Rice with some soy sauce. Pretty exciting "Saturday" night for me as usual....

Today I decided to head up to Makawao and Paia for a bit of window shopping and lunch.
"Pink by Nature"
One of my favorite shops on Maui.....

Mahina in Paia always has such cute affordable stuff  :-)

Sweet doggie waiting for his owner outside of Maui Girl.

For lunch I decided on Cafe Mambo....It's been a long time since I have indulged myself at this yummy Paia cafe.
Looks good but I just had a water.....

I had an order of their "Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Fajitas". Always great!
I topped my Fajitas with black beans, feta, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and some salad.

Too bad the boy wasn't able to join me today because he really missed out.

When I got home I tried out a new yoga DVD....
It was about an hour long.....pretty easy and relaxing :-)
I want to be better about getting more yoga time in....I wish I LOVED it like sooooo many people I know but honestly I just don't. However, it's good for me and if anyone needs to learn how to chill out a bit more it's me. I know it might not seem that way in my posts but it's true. I'm a major worry wart about everything.....

For dinner I stopped by Lahaina Coolers for some take out....Carlos was working so I brought him some fish tacos. I'm cool like that sometimes....
I had a glass of New Zealand Sauvi while I waited :-)
mmmmm.....Coolers has the best bread!
I ordered the Greek Salad. Loved the dressing!

Then I had to make a stop at Longs Drugs.....
Oh crap!
Look whats made it's way into Hawaiian waters?? What the hell?
This is one of the three items that are banned from our house....
(Blue Cheese Dressing, Nutella and TIM TAMS!)

However.....Tim Tams were only found in the Southern Hemi ( or so I thought......)

Anyway.....Stuff to do tonight.....see y'all later.

2 Days Off :-)

Today is my day off and once again I could NOT sleep in? In fact, I woke up at freaking 5:30 and could not go back to sleep. Crazy!
So, I gave up and made another "Vegan Chocolate Banana Milkshake"
 ( Yes, I'm obsessed! )
Almond Milk
Frozen Local Bananas
Vanilla Extract
Raw Cocao Powder
Lacuma Powder
 The south swell didn't show up this morning ( Boo! Thanks a lot for blocking us Tahiti ....) So instead of surfing we did a bunch of gardening and bill paying....I will take some pics of the garden ASAP because we currently have RED TOMATOES and Thai Dragons!!
Around 11:30 we finally decided to get away from the house and went for a hike in the mountains behind Kapalua......
After our hike we headed to The Sea House Restaurant on Napili Beach for some lunch. Everyday the Sea House serves awesome "small plates" between 2-5:30pm for only $5. Score!

Carlos and I each ordered the "Mushroom Raviolis"....So good.
My order of "Caprese Crostinis"
Carlos's "Kapalua Roll" with Coconut Curry Sauce.... 

The Sea House is always a great place for a late, lazy day lunch.......

"Days Off".....To be continued.....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Last Call....

Another perfect Maui day and I had to work....However, I was able to finish early again and enjoy the beautiful sunny weather!
For breakfast I made the same "Chocolate Banana Milkshake" that I made yesterday :-)

I also inhaled a "Raw Organic Food Bar"

And then by 11:30 I was off so I headed to Napili Bay to soak up some sun.

Everyone's watching 2 huge Green Sea Turtles hanging out near the rocks....

Then afterwards I stopped at the Honokowai Farmer's Market's Hot Bar for some Lunch.
                                    Carrot Coconut Curry Vegan Soup with Brown Rice.
Then later in the evening, Carlos and I met up with friends for some 1/2 off Sushi at the Bamboo Bar and Grill in Lahaina for some Dinner.
                                                                 Veggie Tofu Summer Rolls

Veggie Sushi Rolls...

We were devestated to find out that our favorite "cheap eats"/dive bar will no longer be serving food after this night....."Bamboos" is not "closing" however they will be moving their sushi bar and breakfast/lunch/dinner menu to another location. The bar will remain open and some "bar food" will be served but that's it.....I don't know, but I just don't think it will be the same :-(
I also had two unpictured glasses of some really cheap red wine ( because ) this might be the last time we come here....So sad :-(


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Short Day at the Office

This is what it looked like when I got to work today.....
Looks like our chilly/windy/rainy/"Mainland like" weather has passed....
All I could think about all morning was how much I couldn't wait to get out of my heels and on to that sand!

Fresh Juice
Organic Cucumber
local Hana Oranges
local organic Ginger
Organic Carrots
Organic Fuji Apple

After an early day at the office I headed home and made myself a salad for lunch.
Organic Kabocha Squash
Hana Farms Organic Lettuce
Local Tomatoes
Kalamata Olives
Annie's Goddess Dressing
I also broke up one of these yummy "Raw Vegan" crackers for croutons....These are great and I loved the addition of cold sweet squash with my salad.

I then headed to one of my favorite "secret spots" on island to relax and read my book ( "The Happy Isles of Oceania" by Paul Thoreaux ) 
Not bad huh?

After a couple of lazy hours in the sun.... Carlos and I had a mad hankering for some chocolate so we decided to whip up a healthy creamy shake.
Chocolate Banana Milkshake - vegan ( 2 )
2 cups Organic Vanilla Almond Milk
3 frozen large Local Bananas
3 heaping Tbs Organic Raw Cacao Powder ( Nativas Natural Brand )
4 packets of Stevia
1 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
1 heaping Tb Organic Lacuma Powder ( Nativas Natural Brand )
1 tsp Maca Powder
Place all in highspeed blender until smooth.
FYI-This is to die for......

Seemed like a perfect night to make "Smitten Kitchen's" famous Tomato and Onion Sauce and Pasta.
Always amazing.....

Sorry for not posting yesterday but after work Carlos and I made a Costco/Whole Foods/Surf Shop run to the other side of the island and we didn't get home until after 10 pm.....

Anyway.....I just want to mention again how happy we are that Whole Foods Market is finally here on Maui!!!
We ended up eating at the salad bar again last night.
So yummy!!
Love Love Love!!

Mixed Organic Greens
Hummus ( Love WF's Hummus! )
Red Quinoa
Cute Tomatoes
Red Grapes
Vegan Lemon Herb Dressing
I also had about 1/3 of this decadent ( and very $$$ ) "Righteously Raw" Vegan Chocolate and Carmel Bar. Very Yum.
The all organic ingredients include: Cocao Butter, Cocao Powder, Bahri Dates, Lucuma, Agave Nectar, Vanilla and Himalayan Pink Salt.


See y'all  soon!