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Sometimes Vegan Chronicles

Hello NOVEMBER! Time is flying and just when I thought I was done with vegan cleanses in 2020, I received an email from Jen Hansard with https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ about a one week weight loss mean plan, post cleanse. The timing is great because I’ve been unusually bloated the last few weeks. My goals for this cleanse are less bloat, better sleep, and clearer skin. This is also a distraction from the volatile, political climate we’re experiencing in the United States.

The meal plan includes green smoothies for breakfast and then snack, lunch, and dinner recipes for 7 days. I know, I know. Back in August, I said I was done with cleanses in 2020. You can read that post here…It’s over and he won…

A couple times (or a few depending) a year, I embark on an all Vegan challenge. If it weren’t for meat, I might be a Vegan, but I love meat and cheese. I enjoyed writing the post Sometimes a vegan because I get so inspired with food and knowing I’m doing something healthy for my body.

Meal Prep 11-1-2020
Coconut ginger carrot soup. LPC

Soup is my ALL TIME favorite comfort food. I love that the options are endless. I also enjoy trying new recipes. For as many years as I’ve had the recipe for the coconut ginger carrot soup, I made it for the first time today. When I tell you I could eat the whole pot!!! It surpassed my expectations because I’m not a huge fan of carrots. It’s delicious!

Almond Butter Crisps. LPC

This was also my first time making this almond butter crisp recipe. This is supposed to be a take on Rice Crispy Treats. Although mine came out crumbly, it was still yummy. I think the problem was that I substituted maple syrup for brown rice syrup. I was surprised I didn’t find brown rice syrup at Thrive Market https://thrivemarket.com/web/membership/welcome.

I received my 2nd purchase on 10/31/2020

Since I’m into healthy food and have heard about Thrive Market for a while, I decided to give it a try. There’s a membership fee for access to many healthy, non GMO, etc. food products that you purchase online. They often email coupons and free stuff. I received an extra 30% off my order below. Definitely worth it.

Thrive Market package 10/31/2020

Seven days for a cleanse is more manageable than 21 days, which is what I did at the end of July. You can read about that cleanse experience here: It starts tomorrow. I thought I’d have a fun, competitive time with my husband but he didn’t like most of the recipes. I was making too much food thinking he would try it. Oh well.

2020 still has a couple of months to go to see some positive changes. I would love to be less bloated, sleep better, and have clearer skin. Let’s see if this week helps me accomplish that. I’ll add a daily post so you can track my progress.

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Moving on

It’s hard to believe how quickly 2020 is moving…at least in my world. Every year in October since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2016, I write at least one post about my breast cancer journey. The days seem like a blur since teleworking for more than half a year now. Just like I don’t want COVID-19 to define my life, I don’t want breast cancer to define me either. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my progress.

As of today, I’m cancer free and have been for almost 5 years (January 2021). My initial treatment was a lumpectomy, followed by breast reconstruction surgery on both breasts, followed by 3 weeks of daily, intensive radiation treatment, and followed by oral medication, which I will continue to take for possibly another 5 years. I started the medication almost 5 years ago.

I continue to meet with my oncologist every 6 months in addition to visiting with my primary care physician and endocrinologist annually. I also get a 3D mammogram annually. My lab results (drawn every 6 months) on my blood continue to be within range with some markers being impeccable and some below range. My oncologist likes to say all of my numbers are “right in the middle”. My glucose even decreased by 10 points at my last visit. All in all, I’m healthy.

For me, breast cancer came into my life with a BANG, turned it upside down for only a period, but then turned it right side up again. I was very intentional about adhering to treatment so I could heal faster. I was intentional about self-care. Being physically fit prior helped my recovery tremendously. Though it was a difficult experience, particularly the 4 months post diagnosis, I’m amazed I got through it. I suppose that’s part of the reason why they call us ‘survivors’.

I thought I’d be one of those people who participated in all the breast cancer walks, marathons, etc., but I haven’t participated in any walks, marathons, etc. I’m not sure what that is about but it’s not a requirement for a complete experience. I think one factor is that I like to keep my world small. It’s more manageable that way. Also, I don’t want breast cancer to occupy so much space in my life. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how I can best support the breast cancer community.

In the fall of 2019, my husband and I attended a conference for cancer survivors and I really enjoyed the experience. I’ve kept up with the group that put on the conference, the Texas Oncology Foundation, since then. I’m a person that enjoys learning new things. That format was more in line with what I’d continue to participate in.

Since breast cancer entered my life, my outlook is generally positive as it was before. I’ve been feeling more exhausted in 2020 though. It’s no wonder why with everything going on with COVID-19, the political climate, and racial unrest. My sleep could be better. I could stand to lose about 15-20 pounds. I need to reduce my work stress. Of the three, the last is what I want to focus on the most because stress can negatively impact health in so many ways. I’ve been setting work boundaries. I’m constantly refining how I manage.

Once you have cancer, there’s a nagging fear that it will return despite treatment. In some cases, it does return as the same or a different cancer. I’ve mostly heard of cases being more aggressive upon cancer’s return. I’m at higher risk for other cancers since cancer appeared. Those thoughts are not at the forefront of my mind, but they show up when it’s time to get my annual mammogram, at other medical appointments, or at other random times.

I have scars from my surgeries. Although mostly faded, I can still see the circle on each side of my body by my ribs from where the tubes were placed after breast reconstruction surgery. I had to keep the tubes in for a week post surgery. Yup, long tubes were hanging from my body. My husband drained them several times a day for that whole week.

My left breast has a significant dent which you can’t tell too much from the picture of me in the cover photo. The dent is the result of the location of the tumor and my first surgeon removing the tumor along with extra tissue to be sure he got it all. The plastic surgeon completed the breast reconstruction surgery and I also received a breast reduction. I went from a double D cup to a C cup.

Breast cancer has changed my life but it doesn’t define me. No question it has made a huge impact on my life. I’ve learned and am still learning from it. I have moments where I’m laser focused on how finite life is. I have moments where I worry about my kids risk. I have moments where I worry about putting on weight because I don’t want to increase my risks. There are moments where I succumb to stress.

Overall, I think I’m doing a great job of moving on with my life post diagnosis. I have struggled at times like others with keeping things in perspective. I’m grateful for access to tools and resources to help me navigate life.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, get tested with a mammogram early. If you’re at least 40 years old, get tested with a mammogram. I was aware that my breast looked different so I made an appointment to see my doctor. There was no pain or lump. I had already been getting regular mammograms since the age of 35 due to family history. I was due for another.

Pay attention to your body. See a doctor regularly. Eat healthy. Exercise often. Reduce stress. Surround yourself with loved ones. Get a pet. Spend time with God.

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I’m not political but…

I’ve been seeing this line a lot lately on social media during this intense season of political divisiveness in America. Many people are tired of this current administration and the buffoonery that has taken over our federal government. I almost forgot to start the post with my disclaimer that I might OFFEND someone. Good thing this is my site and I can exercise my voice freely. It’s ok if we disagree. We don’t need to fight. Life will still go on.

That line (see title)… I’ve noticed it mostly from women so I want to address us in particular. What does it matter that you aren’t political? The mere statement implies you are about to express something political. I read a while ago that politics is really about relationships. I’ll unpack that in a different post. There does appear to be a negative connotation with being “political”.

My impression of what you’re trying to say is that you aren’t that versed in political affairs. You might not be that versed in each of the parties including understanding the history. You might not be that versed in the government process of creating laws, selecting a President and cabinet members, and knowing what they do in, or the terms of, their office. You might not be up to speed on foreign affairs and the United States’ relationship with all countries. You might know the nuances of climate change and what that means for our future. You might know all the policies the Presidential candidates supported and implemented and the details of their plans for the future.

Growing up, I was raised in a religion that told its members not to vote. That is potentially thousands upon thousands of people just in the United States who have or do not vote because a religion tells them not to. The “so called” reason that I can gather is because God is not of this world and as Christian’s we shouldn’t be either. Participating in the political process means you’re subscribing to this world. BULLOCKS!

I’m a Christian and believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God. I believe in God and the Holy Spirit. I also believe it’s my civic duty to exercise my right to vote on matters that are important to me personally and ultimately express my beliefs and values. As someone trained in social work, I support equitable healthcare, education, job opportunities, human rights, etc. for those who experience injustices, people with disabilities, people who are financially poor, people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, and sexual orientation/gender identification. Excuse me if I have forgotten some groups.

So I say to those who feel the need to preface with “I’m not political but”, it doesn’t matter. You have issues that are important to you. You see things you don’t like. You know your values and beliefs. Voice your issues through voting. Also, educate yourself through reputable sources. We have access to so much information through the internet. It’s not too late.

I used to think my vote didn’t matter but it does. I’ve been voting in local and federal elections for over 20 years now and I haven’t looked back. It doesn’t always go in the direction I voted, but I have confidence knowing I did my part and gave it a shot.

I don’t know every single thing in the political arena either but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t speak my concerns or that I have to announce “I’m not political but”. I bet many people who didn’t vote in the last Presidential election probably wished they had. Hopefully, they learned from that and will vote in this one.

If you’re in the United States, GO VOTE. Your vote matters.

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Soulful Sunday

My weekend started off rocky because I was coming down with something like a sinus infection on Friday. By the end of the work day, my right inner ear was sore, the right side of my face was burning, my throat was raw, and I was exhausted. I signed off my computer, threw on my PJs, and waited for my husband, Bryan, to return with my chicken tortilla soup from one of our favorite, local Tex-Mex restaurants. Although I could barely swallow by the time I ate, the soup HIT THE SPOT.

In addition to the pain I had, I was also irritated beyond my limits. It was like a cloud came over me mid day. Saturday, I felt better after sleeping in for hours, although I was still achy. It occurred to me that I was bursting at the seams with work stress. Could the stress have manifested into a physical reaction? Possibly. What I do know is that it’s Sunday and I feel much better. My inner ear doesn’t hurt anymore, but I’m not 100%.

I’ve been craving cooler weather and hoping that the delicious soul food I made on Sunday would cool the temps down. What I just typed probably doesn’t make much sense(how can food cool down temps???) but essentially, I want cooler weather. Growing up in Chicago, fall was my favorite season. I loved the falling leaves, crisp air, and indescribable feeling. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve been craving soul food while trying to recover from “something”. I’m very good at self-soothing myself with cooking. I decided it’s been way too long since I made fresh collard greens. Then, I thought about some delicious red beans and rice, mashed sweet potatoes, and corn bread. And guess WHAT??? Meat wasn’t even the star of the show, just a supporting member.

Big ole pot of nutritious collard greens simmering in chicken stock and other goodies -no meat. LPC
My roasted, mashed sweet potatoes. LPC
Corn Bread muffins. Jiffy mix is what I used but I know how to make them from scratch too. LPC
Collard greens, red beans and rice, and mashed sweet potatoes. LPC

This meal took a good amount of prep. I soaked the greens and beans overnight. I layed out the butter for the chocolate chip cookies (not pictured) and eggs for the corn bread mix and cookies. I started cooking early Sunday morning. I made 2 different pots of red beans: one with smoked ham hock and one without (my daughter doesn’t eat pork because she loved mini pigs). The meal could very easily be vegetarian with a few tweaks and vegan with even a few more tweaks. After our morning walk, we came back to the house smelling like Thanksgiving. This meal was so satisfying.

My light lesson from this weekend is really a reminder and not a lesson. I NEED MY DOWN TIME WITH MY FAMILY. When I’m feeling sick, no matter the reason, a SLOW down is within reach. I don’t need to panic. I just need to nuture myself and take in the nurturing love of my family.

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To all the badass women leaders

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in October 2020, but here we are. I love reading my previous posts because it’s like I’m going back into time seeing what my life was like. Life was good in December 2019 and it ain’t so bad today. I still haven’t finished reading that book by the way, but I’m almost done. I hope you enjoy reading about the women in my life who’ve influenced me and who I consider “BADASS”.

enlightenedsocialworker

Oh dear! This is the last Christmas Eve of the decade! Listen, 2019 has tried to WHOOP my behind and I mean TRIED, but I have a second wind. I’m percolating with ideas and enthusiasm. I’ve been laying low and recharging my battery, particularly my spiritual battery. For anyone in a similar situation as me, we can end 2019 with a BANG, or at least with the acknowledgment that we did the best we could and we’re still standing to tell our story.

My lovely boss gave me an early Christmas gift and I’ve already begun diving into this book. I know I’m a badass and I don’t doubt myself like I used to. In fact, the older I get, and the more experience I gain, the less I doubt myself. However, sometimes the obstacles of life can make you doubt your path, BUT I’m here to tell you to…

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What 23 years of marriage looks like

Last weekend, my husband, Bryan, and I celebrated our 23 year wedding anniversary with a bang! Rather than do what we’ve normally done, which is go out to dinner, we actually stayed at a very nice, hotel in town for the weekend. It was an amazing experience. My greatest pleasure was watching Bryan ENJOY himself that weekend.

Bryan in the DREAMY restroom at the Fairmont Hotel, Austin, TX, 9/19/2020. LPC

This was a first and we both agreed that we will prioritize getting away every year from now on, even if it’s a local getaway. In fact, we’ve been thinking of an excuse for another getaway. His birthday is coming up in December. 😁

I can’t speak for all marriages, but it’s really easy to become complacent and take each other for granted. In one of our pastor’s sermons, he talked about how it’s the “little foxes” that build up, sneak up on you, and can harm your relationship. Complacency and familiarity are little foxes.

You’ve got to MAKE time to celebrate the milestones at least, but it will only enhance your relationship to acknowledge the seemingly small every day things. Life is filled with the every day things.

Since COVID-19, I’ve seen hints of people on social media complaining about being confined with their spouses and have seen (not read) articles on how to manage being in close quarters with your partner. Although 2020 has been a tragic year for many, and we still have a few months to go, it’s been a blessing for Bryan and I to spend so much time together. It’s been a blessing for our whole family.

This is not to say there aren’t frustrating times. We still bicker about insignificant stuff, but we’ve gotten better at stopping ourselves from going down a unwanted road because we’re focused on the big picture. Bryan recently adopted a strategy of saying how much he loves me when I’m annoying him. It’s effective in that it STOPS ME in my tracks.

Twenty three years is the life of a whole adult person. Bryan and I have experienced so much in that time. The best thing is that it doesn’t feel like 23 years. Our love for each other has grown exponentially. We have always enjoyed each other’s company. We respect each other tremendously. We support each other.

In 23 years, we’ve: *Moved and set up a life in Texas *Advanced our education *Increased our faith in God *Grown spiritually *Joined two different churches (at different times) *Built two houses (new house is in process) *Lived in 3 different residences *Had two beautiful children *Been hired at several organizations *Had several surgeries each *Have been diagnosed with chronic, life changing illnesses *Have been each other’s caregiver *Supported each other through the loss of close family relationships *Traveled locally to various Texas cities & visited our hometown of Chicago many times

These are just the main milestones I can think of at this time. I’ll probably add more throughout the week.

Though you didn’t ask, the best advise I will provide on marriage is to choose your partner wisely from the beginning. I realize there’s not much you can do about that if you missed this mark and are in the marriage. However, if you’re not married yet, this one is for you. Then, commit to the relationship beyond any other commitment you could ever make. That commitment will see you through a multitude of circumstances. Don’t take your partner for granted and celebrate your relationship regularly.

Complimentary champagne at the Fulton 9/20/2020. LPC
Fairmont Hotel corner suite on the 14th floor. LPC

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Labor day love

I ended my 3 day weekend laboring 😁 over this delicious beef brisket which turned out perfectly seasoned and moist. In case you don’t know, smoked brisket is a Texas delicacy. Since we don’t have a smoker or grill, all weekend I had planned to use the Ninja Foodie my husband bought me a couple of months ago. I watched some YouTube videos on making a brisket in the Ninja Foodie and I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept thinking the brisket would come out better in the oven.

Easy Brisket cooked by me. LPC

I’ve never been more right in my life! A couple of recipes I Googled recommend 6 hours at 300 degrees in the oven. I didn’t have that kind of time considering it was 1:00 pm when I finally decided to bake it. I turned the stove to 320 degrees and baked for just under 4 hours. I don’t think it would have this fabulous crisp crust had I used the Foodie unless perhaps I used the crisper at the end.

LPC’s easy brisket

This is only my second time making a brisket. The first time was about 15 years ago in my crockpot. Since it was on sale at my favorite grocery store recently, I thought “why not”? I seasoned it with a dry rub of a variety of my favorite spices and let it marinade for 24 hours. There was a nice layer of fat on top that I didn’t remove. My son, Caleb, specifically asked me to keep the fat on. I baked it with the fat side up so the fat could melt into the meat as it slow roasted. I let it roast covered for 3 hours, then continued to bake without the aluminum foil for the last hour.

Vegetarian baked beans. LPC

I didn’t decide on my sides until the last minute. As I was looking in my pantry, I saw there were 2 cans of Great Northern beans. Then, I remembered I had a great recipe I used previously. Potato salad or macaroni and cheese? I finally decided on BROCCOLI macaroni and cheese which was a first for me. I also made a beautiful mixed salad (not pictured).

I enjoyed the walk with my husband, Bryan, earlier. We’ve been taking advantage of the slightly cooler weather (90 degrees). I love walking outdoors because it’s relaxing and rejuvenating. It put me in the frame of mind to have a great day at work tomorrow.

Bryan and Lucrece

I hope you did something relaxing for yourself today. Depending on where you are in the world, you may still have time before the day ends.

Happy Labor Day!

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Financial Goals 2020 UPDATE

On February 17, 2020, I wrote a blog post sharing my financial goals for 2020 with an image from my 2020 Vision Board. Guess what? Despite the madness of 2020, it is possible to accomplish goals and align yourself in the appropriate path to secure a better future. My life is moving right along despite the pandemic, political turmoil, and racial unrest. I still don’t have enough time in my day to work, take care of my family, and do a little self-care because there’s so much I want to accomplish. I’ve been shielding myself from media to focus on the things that matter to me the most (i.e., read the previous sentence again on what matters most to me).

I do realize there are many people struggling and have lost their jobs. I’m not typing this post with the intent of being insensitive to them. I can only speak to what I’m experiencing in my life. However, I’ve experienced my share of turmoil with financial and physical setbacks that has caused cascading effects on emotional, mental, and spiritual well being. I think every person will experience life’s tumultuous ride at some point. You can overcome it, especially with faith, support, patience, education, and action.

In full transparency, since WordPress updated it’s site features a while ago, I haven’t quite figured out how to link previous posts into my current posts. Until I figure that out, please feel free to read my post from February 17, 2020 because it will give you insight into my financial goals and why I chose them. In this post, I will provide an update on my progress with the intention that it inspires you to keep reaching (or plan) for your 2020 goals.

DEBT. Since April 2020, my husband, Bryan, and I have been aggressively tackling debt and paid off thousands of dollars. I just realized I need to tally up the figures. We each had our own debt, and as a married couple, had some combined debt. The amount we’ve paid is probably well over $15,000 (update: roughly $20,000), but I’ll get into that in another post.

In case you’re wondering how we accumulated debt (also read the 2/17/2020 post) and how we paid it, here’s an explanation. Bryan has not worked in gainful employment for over 3 years. He has had decent paying jobs over his lifetime, especially while living in Texas. He acquired a medical disability that threw that out the window and impacted our lives forever (i.e., turmoil I mentioned).

My income is the only income, albeit a decent income, that has supported our family since 2017…except for the 2 months he worked at UPS in the fall of 2018 so we could have a good Christmas (and we had a GREAT Christmas!). In case you don’t know, I have a real GEM in this man. He was approved for full disability status in March 2020.

As part of his disability determination, he received back pay for most, but not all of the time he didn’t work. Our plan all along has been to pay down debt and save money so we could buy another house. PERIOD. I type “another house” because we’ve owned before and downsized due to life circumstances (some of that turmoil I mentioned earlier). Read my posts from 2016 through 2018 for insight.

If you are familiar with financial expert, Dave Ramsey, then you’ll know his stance on debt. He abhors debt! We’ve learned a lot from him, but I’m going to make a pivot from his baby steps. The only substantial debt I have is student loans and I’m not going to wait until I pay those completely off before I buy a house. PERIOD. I totally agree with eliminating the consumer debt and the like. Most of our debt was medical. We were both diagnosed with chronic medical conditions in 2016. We had internal revenue service debt, very little credit card debt and no car loan, personal loan, or mortgage debt.

Lately, I’ve been following YouTubers who show there are other ways of conceptualizing and managing debt and overall personal finance. I’ve been so inspired. All in all, we’ve been crushing debt!

INCOME. I work hard. I have a demanding job. I work in public mental health. I manage a team of smart, driven people committed to serving the most vulnerable populations. I earned a raise in June 2020, which increased my salary. In August, I was promoted. I’m transitioning from manager to director. This was not in my vision board, but fruits of hard labor eventually pay off. All of this is for the benefit of our goal to buy a house and to provide a better life for our family. PERIOD. Now that Bryan receives a monthly disability check, we are in even better shape.

HOUSE. We’re in the process of purchasing a home, which will be built by the spring of 2021. We are so EXCITED!!! How fitting is my cover image which is from my 2020 Vision Board??? Is this a good time to buy, let alone build a house? It is for me & mine. PERIOD. As I tend to do when embarking on new endeavors, I’ve been consumed with learning everything I can about the home buying process and real estate market. I’ve been YouTubing myself into a coma. Bryan even asked me if I planned on pursuing another career with all this knowledge. NOPE. My goal is to be informed so I can make the best decisions.

Sure, there are predictions about a housing market crash here and there. There are so many opinions. You know what? The best time to buy a house is when YOU ARE READY. PERIOD. Will we have a down payment? YES. Will we have savings? YES. Are we able to afford a house? YES. Can we do all this and take care of our kids? YES.

If God is willing, this is our retirement home, our FINAL home. Do I think my life will change once I get the house??? To a degree, YES. Some people may not understand the big deal, so to them, I say bare with me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live where I want in the surroundings that will afford me the most comfort and peace of mind. PERIOD.

What progress are you making on your financial goals? Feel free to share any tips you may have.

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It’s over and he won…

Just kidding, I won too! Our Fresh Start 21 Day, green smoothie vegan cleanse ended on Saturday, 8/15/2020. Technically, it was 20 days since we ended the day before my daughter’s birthday. I’ve blogged about my smoothie cleanses from https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ before. You can peruse my site for all things having to do with green smoothies and vegan cleanses.

My husband, Bryan, definitely won in weight loss to the tune of almost 10 pounds. I lost about 3. In July, Bryan challenged me to a cleanse but we didn’t go as far as to wager how much weight we each would loose. And generally, he tends to lose more weight than me during cleanses probably because he is a male and has a different body composition. I won in the sense of the lessons I learned about myself. Of the many times I’ve done this cleanse, this was the most challenging for me. Let me tell you why.

The first thing is that because I’ve done this cleanse many times and have incorporated several of the cleanse recipes into my routine meal rotation, I thought I would have the upper hand since Bryan has NEVER had a vegan meal. I was wrong. Bryan’s strategy was to gradually eat less and less in attempts to avoid eating the foods he didn’t like. Picture a 7 or 8 year old’s face when encountering foods they don’t like. That’s how Bryan looked to me. That didn’t help my morale much because I was struggling with motivation at the onset. I initially wasn’t in the mindset to participate in a cleanse, but I thought I would just fake it until I got in the mood.

The amount of food prep for 3 weekends in a row, particularly in the first week, was exhausting. I made double batches of food thinking I was cooking for two. That didn’t do me any good because Bryan was only drinking the green smoothies and eating the dinners. I reminded him several times that this was not a starvation diet. All of the foods, including the snacks, were designed to provide nutrition and fuel. He insisted on doing it his way.

Asparagus, quinoa “salad” with dijon vinegrette. LPC

I was indeed excited about fueling my body with all the nutritious foods, but in the second week, I had a clear epiphany. Veganism wasn’t sustainable for me. I was disappointed because I had actually planned on going an extra week or two. I realized that I don’t want to do without meat. I craved eggs the second week and by the third week, I was craving meat. Also, all the prep was more work than I was willing to do long term.

I read a few times that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I did not develop a habit to eat more vegan foods. This cleanse tends to have the opposite affect on me. For example, I’m now tired of cauliflower and fresh salads. Who gets tired of salads??? One year, I was so tired of nuts, I didn’t eat them for many months after the cleanse. However, it is my daily habit to drink one green smoothie. I love them so much and the recipes are endless.

Mixed greens salad with avocado, cucumber, grapes, sliced almonds, and dijon vinegrette. LPC
Citrus beet green smoothie. LPC

On a positive note, this cleanse was just long enough to cut my cravings for processed foods (chips, salty snacks, etc.) We’re going into our second week post cleanse and I can honestly say I don’t have a desire for those foods. WIN!!! Bryan is now trying out a Keto diet, but I declined although I’m adopting some of the principles such as reducing carbohydrates.

I’m glad I did the cleanse although I was getting weary towards the end. Overall, I’d like to adopt eating habits that are sustainable. I don’t like feeling like I’m depriving myself or am on a diet. I don’t want to have a love/hate relationship with food anymore. What I’m focused on now is monitoring the amount of calories (in the short term) I consume, ensuring I eat whole, minimally processed foods, and incorporating more weight training into my 6 day a week exercise regimen.

What fitness and exercise goals are you working on?

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It’s been 14 days

I wish I could say this whole cleanse up to this point has been a breeze, but I can’t. Exactly two weeks ago on July 26, I let the world know I was embarking on a 21 day Vegan cleanse through https://simplegreensmoothies.com/. I’ve done this cleanse once or twice a year for the last few years. I’ve written many blog posts about my experiences, which is different every time. What makes this one fun is that my husband, Bryan, decided to join me for a friendly challenge. This is his first time on the cleanse.

Week 1 was actually a breeze and it felt really great to be preparing and consuming these nutritious foods. Since I’m not new to the cleanse, I’ve gotten really familiar with the recipes and know which ones I like and don’t like. Of course, I stuck to the ones that I like, hoping Bryan would like them too. He’s a very finicky eater.

Week 2 is where we both leave much to be desired in how poised and committed we’ve been to the recipes. The most important thing about Week 2 is that it is the actual cleanse week. Not only are we consuming all vegan foods, but grains, lentils, and beans are omitted. Life certainly is less colorful without these foods. I also remembered that I did NOT like most of Week 2’s recipes.

Bryan has denied this, but I think his strategy was to simply not eat in order to avoid eating the food. There was no question we were mostly hungry this week. Have you ever been so hungry, yet didn’t want to eat the food before you? You usually hear that if you’re hungry enough, you’d eat anything. I was hungry most of Week 2, but didn’t want to eat. We did cheat a couple of times with onion rings. Onions rings are vegan. What can I say (palm bump on forehead)?

I’m hoping for greener (pun intended!) pastures in this last week. Grains, lentils, and beans are back. At least they’ve been back since day 13 because I couldn’t take another day without them. If this were an actual race, I’d be the one clawing and clinching to the finish line. I’m a little surprised by how I’m experiencing this cleanse. And to think, I was actually planning on going an extra week. No way!

All in all, it’s been a fun experience with Bryan. We’re both a little lighter too. We’re celebrating the last day of the cleanse by BREAKING the cleanse for our daughter’s birthday. She gave us the side eye a couple times as she watched us cheat. I type this in jest, but what example are we showing her? I know. Execution might not be perfect, but finish. Pick back up where you left off. Do your best, and even if you don’t, keep it moving.

I will lay this cleanse to rest for the remainder of 2020 once we complete this round. Here are some pictures of the beautiful food I made with my own hands. As an experienced cook, I tailored the recipes to my preferences and even combined some.

Citrus beet green smoothie
Swiss chard white bean skillet
Black bean zucchini tacos
roasted veggies served with basil pesto and brown rice (not pictured)
Baked hash cakes over a bed of mixed greens
Prep for lemon chia pudding; vanilla extract not pictured; chia seeds soaking in coconut milk
Herbalicious hummus with veggies
Filling for black bean zucchini tacos
Pineapple carrot green smoothie