The day before my cleanse diet began I went shopping, armed with a list of “acceptable” ingredients from the Quantum Wellness Guide book. I shopped primarily at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. This was a trying experience and I had to seriously talk myself down from a panic attack in the middle of Trader Joe’s. Everything has gluten and sugar in it, even if it’s “vegan.” Oh. My. God. Seriously? All I could think was “what the hell am I doing?”
I could not find any real gluten-free bread under $5.99 a loaf so I didn’t buy any. Instead, I bought $20 worth of various gluten-free flours to bake my own. In some weird way that made sense to me. Did you know that most fake meat products are not gluten-free? They are loaded with wheat gluten which is what gives them their “meaty” texture. Soy sauce has gluten in it too. In all, it was frustrating, but fruitful and I came home loaded with enough food to make quite a few meals throughout the next 21 days.
I did a taste test of some of the vegan items: Vegannaise- really not bad. I was surprised because I’m picky and I buy only best foods mayonnaise. I will be able to eat this no problem. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can put on a sandwich with it, not to mention the bread “issue.” Unsweetened Soy milk– not bad, not my first choice. Almond Milk– tastes faintly of almonds, but not unpleasant. Not unsweetened either; has a little sugar in it. Tofutti “Better Than Sour Cream”- Ick. I’m not sure I could put that on a baked potato. Tofutti “Better Than Cream Cheese”- No better than the fake sour cream. I have to find a way to use these as ingredients in something else as they were fairly expensive. Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread– Not bad. About the same as those other margarine type spreads but without all the hydrogenated junk I think. Wildwood Soy Yogurt, plain & unsweetened w/ probiotics and fiber-The texture is like yogurt, but eaten alone, ick. It has an odd yeasty back taste. With a little bit of TJ’s berry preserves (no sugar added) it’s palatable but I probably would not buy it again. Morningstar Vegan “burgers”-These were not the “garden burgers” I was expecting but rather a faux beef patty. Oddly, not bad and pretty tasty. Soy-Sation Shredded Three Cheese Blend– Not bad, melts ok for a quesadilla Italian Sausage-Less Sausage Vegan (Trader Joe’s brand)-Ok in a pasta, but on its own the texture is a little pasty. Soy Protein Powder (whole foods 365 brand)- I prefer whey protein powder, but it’s not vegan. This is a good substitute and does not have a lot of added sugar.
Day 1- Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and Earth Balance Spread. Hibiscus Tea. Lunch: Brown rice tortilla wrap with hummus, guacamole, cucumber and lettuce. Not bad, but the tortilla is super chewy. Snacks: trail mix (almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries), baby carrots, corn nuts (from whole foods), rice crisp crackers and a tangerine. Dinner:Black Bean Soup with Avocado and Tomato Salsa, Corn tortilla quesadilla made with soy cheese.
Observation: I’m hungry all the time and obsessing about what I will eat next. The caffeine withdrawal headaches start.
I’m logging everything I eat on a website www.sparkpeople.com . This is a good way to see the caloric value of what I’m eating and to make sure the breakdown of carbs, fat and protein is healthy.
I made a vegan gluten-free bread and it has the texture of stale cake and a funny taste (probably) from the garbanzo bean flour. I end up throwing most of it away.
Day 2- Breakfast- Oatmeal and an apple. Lunch-This was tough. I work in restaurants and they are not particularly “vegan-friendly” but I found a good salad for lunch with borlotti beans, white rice, tomatoes, grilled eggplant and a lemon vinaigrette. Snacks– tangerine, rice crackers from Trader Joes and baby carrots, trail mix. Dinner- Baby Lettuce salad with tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, artichoke hearts and a pesto vinaigrette. Vegan burgers with vegan mayo and catsup (no bun).
Observations: Today’s headache is worse. I’m cranky, but not as constantly hungry as yesterday.
Day 3: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/raisins and agave syrup (low on the glycemic index which is why it’s ok) Lunch:leftover back beans w/avocado and fruit salad (apples, banana, blueberries and tangerine). Snacks: rice crackers, carrots and snap peas, hummus, trail mix. Dinner: Two tofu tacos from the Kogi BBQ taco truck. Who knew I’d love tofu tacos? These would be easy to make at home too; soft corn tortillas, tofu cooked with soy sauce, cabbage, salsa verde.
Observations: Feeling ok. Now if I could only get this mutha-f$#%n headache to go away I’d be fabulous! Oh yeah, and I’m already tired of eating beans and feeling like I’m not getting enough protein.
Day 4: Breakfast: An apple and oatmeal with fresh blueberries. Lunch: Another one where I try to find something vegan on a restaurant menu. I end up with a spinach salad with peanuts, carrots and snow peas and a spicy dressing. Snacks: Corn nuts, soy crisp crackers and a tangerine Dinner: “Baked Ziti” Trader Joe’s brown rice penne, marinara sauce, eggplant, soy mozzarella cheese and vegan italian sausage. Pretty good. My husband even took the leftovers for lunch the next day and he’s not doing this with me. Dessert: Soy yogurt with no sugar added jam.
Observations: Not having the two sourdough bread rolls I usually have here with my lunch was really hard.
Things are moving faster in the digestive tract if you know what I mean.
I baked another gluten-free loaf, this time from the same authors as my favorite regular bread (usually a staple in my refrigerator). The recipe can be found here. I substituted powdered egg replacer for the whole eggs and agave syrup for the sugar in the recipe. The result was much better than the last one. Great crust.
Day 5: Breakfast: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, banana and blueberries Lunch: (In restaurant) Baby lettuce salad, grilled eggplant and (a little decadence) house-made thick cut french fries. Snacks: Apple, trail mix, rice crisp crackers, snap peas, baby carrots, and trail mix. Dinner: Peanut butter and jam on gluten-free bread. Corn tortilla quesadilla with soy cheese.
Observations: Feeling much better today. The headaches are gone. Not really missing meat, but not having eggs is a pain. I am missing the morning ritual of coffee with sugar and coffeemate (horrible stuff but tastes sooo good).
I am proud of myself for turning down my favorite donut today.
Day 6: Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh blueberries, a splash of almond milk and 1 tsp. agave syrup Late Morning Snack: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, and blueberries Lunch:Vietnamese Bun (rice noodles) with Tofu Snack: Eggless (tofu) egg salad from Trader Joe’s and rice crackers. Dinner:French Green Lentil and Spinach Soup with Cilantro Yogurt
Observations: It’s getting easier. There are a lot of items I bought in last weekend’s shopping frenzy which I haven’t even used yet. I did have to go buy more vegetables and fruit today.
Also, I’ve never been so obsessed with food in my life. I go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. What can I eat? What can’t I eat? This, I think, is not so healthy.
Day 7: Breakfast: Shake with soy protein powder, unsweetened soy milk, blueberries and 1 tsp agave syrup. Lunch: Leftover Vietnamese Bun (rice noodles) with Tofu Snack: Guacamole with organic corn chips. Dinner: Thai Tofu curry with brown rice. Very similar to my recipe for Red Curry Noodles.
Observations: I feel really good today; not as focused on food all the time, not as hungry. I noticed my tongue looks better too (healthy pink, no coating).
End of week 1 Observation: I proud to say I have made it though the week adhering to the diet “rules” and did not cheat. Weight loss: 2.5 lbs