Thursday, July 19, 2012

Things that don't hurt now that we're vegan.

Annie asked me about my "owwie parts" last night.

Remind me, which are my owwie parts?

You know, your lower back, your right knee, your hips. How you can't get around in the morning.

Right! I remember now.

  • lower back - an intermittent problem, but always skulking and slightly there. No flare up in several weeks. I had forgotten about it.
  • right knee - this is an old Wii injury. Beware the hula hoop! Now I feel it when I walk a lot. A stick helps, but the point here is that I'm walking now. So, I notice it more, but it doesn't build to an acute situation. Now it's more obtuse.
  • hips - what hips? The pain used to keep me awake. 
  • morning stiffness* - I've been trying to rephrase this for fifteen minutes. The takeaway is, I have no problem moving around in the morning now; lower back stiffness seems to be gone.

Annie and I have lost a total of 55 pounds. More or less. Give or take. 

Before the juice reboot we were already vegan, which felt better physically than our old ovo-lacto diet. The juicing made such a quick difference, though, that we wanted to incorporate some part of that into our everyday life. Where we are right now:
  • We still have an alcoholic drink, whatever (vegan) kind we want. Not every day, though. 
    1. Annie: heart-healthy red wine
    2. Roxi: Jim Beam, neat
  • I had a craving for eggs (!) and so we found some free-range eggs laying around and ate them. They were under the free-range hens. Okay, not vegan. Also a slippery-slope food for Annie. So, for a fierce craving - okay, but not a go-to food. We won't be stocking them.
  • We're staying away from processed foods, even ones we used to enjoy. Facon and fauxsage, faux example. We've tried them since, and were disappointed, so we don't need those to live.
  • We still juice once a day. When we skip it, we eat and eat and don't find what we're looking for.
  • Bread is back on the table. We've been buying sprouted bread, which they apparently make from 24 karat wheat. The price alone is enough to keep us moderate.
  • We eat nuts, but "raw" and unsalted. The oil and salt turn nuts into my slippery-slope food. Peanut butter is not the greatest food, either, but it's SUCH A GREAT FOOD that I eat it. On my jewelry-grade toast. Remind me to watch for signs of returning inflammation. Nevermind, I'll write it down.
  • We're still off coffee. We have green and white tea sometimes, and herbal stuff that tastes like leaves. And my favorite, Bengal Spice.
If you eat a different way, that's cool. I'm not writing the Bible. We all want to feel good in our bodies, and whatever makes that happen is the right way. Except for the way you eat, of course, but we can fix that.

Annie enjoying the Flagstaff sunshine, in the shade.

Flagstaff's weather is a story of contrasts. At 7,000 feet in elevation, Flagstaff residents enjoy over 300 days of sunshine per year and low humidity. Yet historically Flagstaff receives the second most snow of any city in the continental United States and can be surprisingly cold in the winter. Even during the coldest periods when snow is falling by the foot (or even by the meter!), warming sunshine is never more than a couple days away. Weeks can pass in spring and autumn without so much as a single cloud interrupting the sun's rays, whereas in July and August the summer monsoon season brings intense thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. When most people around the world think of Arizona they conjure up images of blazing desert heat without realizing that Arizona is among the most mountainous states in the US. At 7,000 feet elevation, sitting in the heart of the cool pines of the Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff is far from a desert environment. Even in the peak of summer, daily high temperatures rarely exceed 85 degree Fahrenheit, making Flagstaff a retreat for desert residents fleeing their scorching Phoenix summers. - American Conservation Experience
Which is all pretty educational, but it means Flagstaff is sunny year-round. In the summer, you can shed your down, and in the winter you'll freeze your pin feathers off. But, you'll feel cheerful about it.

*What your doctor may not tell you: erectile dysfunction may warn of bigger things to come.
 More about that, without double entendres. 

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Russ Krecklow said...

Glad to hear and see that you're feeling so well in Flagstaff. Thanks for sharing the good news.

Jim and Sandie said...

Don't think I could handle your diet. But sure am glad it works for you guys. I would love to try out Flagstaff in the summer but Jim likes fishing in Montana.

Sherry said...

Hoo RAY! Weight loss and feeling better. Sounds like what we all need whether we wish to admit it or not.

s'plain "juice once a day". Your lunch for instance is liquid? Details please. What's in this liquid lunch?? Spinach/Kale/chard/banana/passion fruit???

Also, I'm seriously thinking of this juice fast to help my flagging energy. So I'll need details of that as well or at a minimum the link to the blog post where you already told me but I forgot. Perhaps by private post or you could fly on over and tell me face to beak.

Will get the info, such as it is, on Hoffs from Earl this week-end and send it straight away.

Grace said...

I'm glad you've discussed the way your diet has evolved here. I'm trying to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods myself. I'm wondering if you'd disclose what great goodies you put in your one blended drink per day. Flagstaff is great, eh! Grace (in Tucson)

Donna K said...

As long as you can have eggs and peanut butter I guess it wouldn't be too bad!! Good on you two for making the positive changes that are making a difference in your lives. You know what's really "cool" - you do what you do but you don't judge others that may do differently that's way cool!!

Evelyn said...

Do you think your aches and pains were alleviated because you lost weight or because of how you are now eating? Very impressive results and kudos to you both!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Evelyn, it's hard to say for sure. I'm sure everything's linked, but because the pain subsided so quickly during the reboot, I tend to credit diet more. Adding veggies? Subtracting processed stuff? I don't know. Thanks!

Thanks, Donna! :D Peanut butter made life worth living.

Grace and Sherry, I think anything vegetably is great. No rules, but we use kale, carrots, celery, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges, apples, strawberries, grapes. About 75% veggie to 25% fruit. We go overboard on everything, always, but whatever greenery you have on hand when you want to juice is a winner.

Here are some ideas. Go to the bottom of the page where there are links to suggested fruits and veggies to juice

Sandie, I'm very lucky that Annie is a fabulous cook and could make pine bark delicious. We don't eat out much, and that would be difficult for some people. And, Montana sounds beautiful. We won't make it this year, but some future year.

Thanks, Russ. Hoping things keep getting easier for you guys out there.

Kimbopolo said...

Annie's looking quite content. Flagstaff must be good for her. (I think it's a really cool town, BTW - considered moving there but I'm afraid of a real winter).

What effect do you think stress (lessened since the ducks took flight, I'm assuming) has had on your improved physical well-being?

Merikay said...

A few things have snuck back onto our table as well. It is hard when one person wants them and can have them with no seeming bad results. I make bread at least once a week. I have posted my recipe on my blog, and it is very healthy and very good. Once you have invested in all the ingredients is is far less expensive than purchased bread. I make it in the bread machine, and take the paddle out before baking so it doesn't have a hole in it.

You could find your own sprouted recipe and start baking. It really makes the coach smell yummy. I baked it in the evenings when we were on our recent trip because I want to be there for several steps and not be tied down during the day.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Same here, Kim. That whole second-most snow thing makes me tremble, and I come from NY State.

Annie's migraine incidence plummeted after we got into the swing of the road. My life and job before leaving were pretty stress-free, overall, so I didn't notice it as much. In fact, until I got comfortable on the road, my stress probably went up. Also, being in sunshine makes EVERYTHING better. So, I guess it's a mix, with being on the road coming out the winner.

The Good Luck Duck said...

You're right, Merikay. Annie's cholesterol and blood pressure both border on "low" naturally. Mine hit the "high" range eating the same diet, and getting the same amount of exercise. Unfair.

I'll go back and look for your bread recipe. Annie has a good and tasty recipe, too, but we got away from it because we eat so much of it when she bakes. I don't understand how this bread (Ezekiel) calls itself "flourless." Wouldn't they have to mill the sprouted wheat into flour, too? I'll have to research.

Campers4Life said...

Quackalations on the 55# lost. Awesome, I'v e lost 26 in the last year, cutting out lots (not all) processed foods. Veggies are either fresh or frozen. Only use xtra virgin olive oil or a smidgen of butter (no more margarine, yuck)..cut way back on bread. Lots of whole grains and blah blah blah... but really your deal is working for you, and that is just great. I know I could not go vegan, just so southern ya know. Anyway, wanted to share this link with you, and your readers, might find it enjoyable...

Page said...

Yeah for you both!

Are you soaking the raw nuts before consuming them? Soaking helps remove the "stuff" that makes them harder to digest. I use a lot of raw cashews and always soak them. I make a really tasty cashew ricotta.

I did a 3 day juice fast earlier in the month. My skin "glowed" for a few days afterwards. Beat any age cream on the market!

Michael Ultra said...

The climate in Flag has a lot to do with the sky island theory. There are many in Arizona.We knew?

Gaelyn said...

I'd consider wintering in Flagstaff, if it weren't for all that snow. Glad you're enjoying its summer.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Page, I'm assuming the raw nuts aren't really raw. Are they? "We" do soak the cashews, but not the almonds that we eat out of hand. Them, too?

RECIPE, please!?? Annie made a cashew cream sauce that turned dinner into comfort food, so I'm sold on that crazy little nut.

C4L, that's awesome! I know, my stepmom was the best Southern cook I've ever encountered, and it was all meat, all the time. Vegetables, too, of course, but cooked in bacon grease. She just passed away at 90, so what can you say?

The recipe looks great! I think we have what we need to try a small batch.

The Good Luck Duck said...

That's fascinating, Michael, and I'd never heard of this theory before. Another form of geographic isolation. I wonder if there are still unique species in Flagstaff?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Ditto, Gaelyn. It's very easy to be here while the weather's good. Too bad that all changes.

Teri said...

Good job on the juicing and weight loss. I sold my juicer before I moved into my RV. Maybe I have to rearrange a few cabinets and get a new one. What do you use for salad dressing, I don't use it a lot, but I still buy it bottled.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Teri, we haven't had much salad since we started juicing. A couple of times out, when I opted for teriyaki (the only veganish option they had). We have some oil-free raspberry vinaigrette here at home. Now that you mention it, I've seen a recipe for oil-free/sugar-free vinaigrette with only raspberries and vinegar.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

How can that bread cost so much if it's made from 24 carrots? Carrots are vegan, even the free range kind, right?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Those 24 carrots must be free-range, organic, veganic, hand-grown, Turkish baby carrots. Tenderized by passing them through a weasel.

The Odd Essay said...

I'm always fascinated when you write about the foods you eat. Doubt if we'll ever go vegetarian let alone vegan... but we do incorporate some of the foods and ways they're prepared into our meals. I figure that any modifications are better than none....

Anonymous said...

Greetings...I gave up peanut butter and switched to almond butter instead because of the better omega ratio in the almond butter. Question...have you explored the theory of giving up veggies in the night shade family for less joint pain? I haven't been able to for any length of time to see if it makes a difference. I have had several people in the know tell me so but a summer without new potatoes or sun ripened tomatoes just does not seem like a real summer.

The Good Luck Duck said...

That's a good point, and I hadn't even thought of it. My late ex- always felt better when we eliminated tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers (IIRC), but he always decided he wanted those foods more than he suffered with his ankylosing spondilitis. We'll have to think more about that.

Almond butter does have a lot better ratio, but it's still so bad! I despair for my omega-3s. Have you ever tried walnut butter like Campers4Life suggested? I'm going to give it a try.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Ha, Sharon, that makes one of you who is fascinated. I'll take it! Yeah, "they" say small changes are the way to go. Yay veggies!

Harriet said...

What a great job you two are doing, 55lbs theat is awesome. I love hearing success stories it inspiries me!
Take a break from that pricey bread try these crackers their mighty tasty esp with PB;O

Stuff inside:
2 2-3 cup pulp from juice
1/2 cup flax meal (or chia seeds)
1 cup water
additions: spices or nutritional yeast
add your pulp, water and flax into a bowl or mix in a food processor. Add in your favorite spices (e.g.; cumin, coriander, five spices, garam masala, unsalted seeds of your choice, use your imagination) or additions. once blended, spread onto a dehydrator teflex sheet or cookie sheet if doing in oven dehydrator or bake in oven till desired texture and crispness is achieved.
Hint: You can freeze plup but defrost thoroughly and squeeze some of the liquid out, like it was when originally make.
Bake oven 350 for about 30-45 minutes
Dehydrator time – 115 about 6 hours, or if want real crispy crackers dehydrate overnight.

Time to shake a tail feather, you deserve it.

Tessa said...

Hi Ducks! Great job on your lifestyle change! Awesome. Yes, to Page's point, you do want to soak raw nuts to release the enzyme-inhibitor. Different nuts need different times, which is a quick google to get the chart. You can tell they are raw only if they say "raw" on the ingredients in the bulk food area or on the container. Remember that peanut butter nuts are roasted. Anyhoo, hope that helps and we would be Oh So Honored if you'd like to do a guest post on Vegan Vagabonds website. In fact, you'd be our very first guest blogger, which would provide appropriate queenly status fit for a 24K bread-lover. Love your blog. Nary an essay goes by without a laugh out loud. Thanks for the day-brightening.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Harriet, that sounds okay! Where, oh where will we find pulp? Thanks for that idea.

Tessa, I'd love to! It would also be my first guest post, so that's perfect. Tell me how that works - when you want it, what you want me to talk about (?), should I email it to you? That stuff. And thank YOU for saying so.

sierrasue said...

Southern food for vegans? Try Bryant Terry "vegan soul kitchen" . Alltho there are some fake meat recipes in there. I made his version of grits and galodds (not sure I am spelling it right). The grits had cashew butter which you make at home incorporated in as the cheesey part. Pretty good stuff.

What juicer do you use??? Just curious. I have one but dont use it enough.

Tessa said...

Hooray Ducks! I'll email you directly. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh Flagstaff, just love it! Also, love your post on being vegan. My husband and I are transitioning into this lifestyle (mostly there) and wanted to know if you recommend any websites or cookbooks you use in order to try some new recipes. I am always on the lookout in order to keep things interesting. I'm afraid if we get bored with our meals it will be too easy to slip back into old ways. Thanks!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Paint. That's great that you're both on the same page with food - it makes a big difference. Annie says she does a Google search for the recipe type, if she already knows what she wants, or she just types in "easy vegan recipes" and browses. I know what you mean about boredom. It seems important to have a quick, easy recipe that you both like ready to go at all times, and a comfort food. Because when your mind says "Kraft Macaroni 'n' Cheese, it's good to have the ingredients for vegan pasta Alfredo.

Yay Tessa!

Sue, that's intriguing! Annie just made cashew butter for a recipe, and I was impressed. Does he do no-oil fried okra? :D My favorite.

stillhowlyn said...

I think this must be the bloggers week for owwie issues! Congrats on your lifestyle changes and all that weight loss. I think sharing our various stories sure helps others of us cope!

The Good Luck Duck said...

I think you're right. Here's to coping.

Contessa said... wonderful for you both. Anything is possible once you get out of the rat race and on the road to mental freedom as well as on the road literally. Major congratulations.

Carolyn said...

Jeez... I've been reading your blog from Facebook and have TODAY been catching up with blogs! hard to find where to quack! you've changed formats a bit...

Well, doesn't Annie look grand! sorry you've got stuff that hurts. I have this muscle in m'back that really pisses me off.

You're too young to have such stuff! I swear by all that is swearable that after this lavender festival -- so far I've turned down apple and peach dumplings and fried in my face doughnuts... that I'm going to go straight back to eating as we're supposed to....

no sugar - I really really really hate that the above described foods are not good for me. I really mean that. If chicken fried steak with real cream gravy and real mashed potatoes and real condensed milk lemon icebox pie EVER ever EVER weighs in as health food?

I mean... if there is a heaven? sigh

Congratulations y'all... ;)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Hi Carolyn! I really haven't changed a thing - have you switched devices?

Yes, I think we're too young for that, too. It's why it's feeling good to feel more "age appropriate" (as long as that doesn't refer to behavior).

I guess we can't blame our bodies for our cravings, altogether. It wants the easiest possible way to get those macronutrients. Chicken fried steak? Looks like protein and fat to me! Apple dumpling? Well, I've been wanting some carbohydrates - don't mind if I do! So wrong.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Contessa! Yeah, being "free and loose" has its advantages!