Friday, August 17, 2012

Hanging up my Hat


Dear Readers,

I've decided to make a little move, not very far, just to another address on Blogger.  This past year has brought a lot of change into my life and I no longer feel like a princess nor a pin-up, thought it was time for a fresh start. As Monday is my 48th birthday, it seemed like the perfect time to launch!

Please visit my new site, The Vegan Gypsy, for more cooking, traveling and general fun stuff!
Hope to see you there.


Rapunzel (aka Michele)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I thought I'd pop in and share with you my latest foodie adventure..juicing! Inspired by the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead I decided to try a modified juice diet, using this re-boot site as a guideline.  For ten days I ate and drank fruits, veggies and a bit of healthy fat . No coffee, no grains, nothing processed.  I did allow myself a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend but other than that, I followed the plan as outlined.

Here's what my shopping cart looked like during my first trip to the store. Please ignore Beren's package of turkey bacon, obviously the one thing that doesn't belong!

Produce Shopping

And the prep afterward..whew!

Ziploc bags are my friends!

And here are a few examples of the food consumed.

sweet and savory
Sweet & Savory Bowl

Chip, green juice
Beren gave the Green Juice his seal of approval

Arugula Spinach Salad

raw pumpkin soup
Raw Carrot Soup

fruit juice
Blackberry Kiwi Blend

Fresh Fruit Bowl

At the end of the 10 days, I'd lost 6 pounds.  Friends of mine who were re-booting lost more, an average of a pound a day, but they were much less flexible and only drank juices - no chewing. I couldn't see myself doing that and am honestly not sure about the health benefits of doing that long term.  For me, simply eliminating all the processed crap and white stuff was enough to reboot my system and give me a nice little weight loss boost. Though the preparation was time-intensive, peeling & chopping and juicing, it was worth it. I felt awesome! Cleaner, lighter, and loved filling my fridge and body with freshness.

So, where do I go from here? Well, since I found the way of eating relatively easy and the food delicious, I'm going to continue on in a modified fashion.  To me this means a diet consisting of mostly vegetables & fruits, a tad of fat in the form of olive oil & avocado, and occasional healthy grains such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.  One day per week I'm going to allow myself an indulgence, whether it be a veggie burger & fries or cheese-free veggie pizza.  I've cut way down on my wine consumption and I think that's been a big help not only in the weight loss area but also in curbing cravings. Let's face it, after a couple glasses of vino the bag of pretzels looks damned good, resistance is futile!

That's where I'm at, would love to hear from any of you who've tried a juice "fast" or a re-boot. If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend you do so; it was a real eye-opener and even Beren enjoyed it!


Saturday, June 30, 2012


Hello, darlings! Hope all is well with all of you.  All is well here, busy traveling back & forth across the state, spending time in three different homes while Beren works.

Diet-wise, nothing much has changed.  I'm eating vegan except for the occasional bit of cheese when nothing else is available on the menu, loosely counting POINTS+, focusing on lots of vegetables and whole grains. Eating out is a bit challenging but I've been lucky enough to fidnd some veg-friendly dishes, and accommodating chefs who have been happy to make something special for me.

Photo: Portobello sandwich, I love you
Grilled Portobello Sandwich
Photo: Btw, this was my lunch...spicy veggies and tofu. I know, much less impressive than Chip's. ;')
Spicy Veggies & Tofu
Veggie Roll
Photo: Delicious dinner tonight,.thx to @lindseybat for the vegan recommendation
Norito Bowl

The RV is parked in a beautiful location, allowing for lots of Loki walks which has been wonderful for both of us.

Photo: Camping

Photo: Red sky at night....

Photo: Nature Dog

We're in Ormond this weekend, meeting a bunch of Beren's college pals for a mutual 50th Birthday celebration.  I'm sure it'll be a wild time, pics to follow.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hormonal Madness

First of all, this is what I woke up to find on my nightstand this morning...

Can you say, PMS? *blush*

No, I didn't eat the whole carton of coconut milk "ice cream" in one sitting, and I didn't drink the beer along with it, but you get the point. This is Not Good.

And another thing. I picked up Everyday Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon, started browsing through the recipes this morning, and while they all look super-yummy, I was shocked to find really high calorie content in some of them.  The Mardi Gras Beans & rice, for example, has 608 calories per serving. Whoa! That's a lot, don't you think? I mean, it's low-fat and healthy but a calorie is still a calorie, right? In order to lose weight you've got to reduce those buggers one way or another!I don't think you can mindlessly graze all day long, even of the "good stuff,"  and still maintain (or achieve) your girlish figure. Since Ms. Nixon does provide a 1,200 calorie menu planning service, I'm thinking she must agree.

So, what the hell does this mean? I don't freaking know. Do I count calories? POINTS? Or just give up and wallow in some more fatty "health food."

Seriously discouraged here, am blaming the hormones.



Friday, June 1, 2012

Hello Out There!

The Phone Call

I've been gone so long, I hope you haven't forgotten me!

Since going "vegan" in March, I've been doing tons & tons of research, reading everything I can get my hands on regarding a plant-based diet, watching documentaries, experimenting with recipes, etc. etc. It's been all consuming, honestly, but I've enjoyed every minute of it.

I still have a lot to learn, but so far what I've realized is this: You can be a fat, unhealthy vegan. You can fill your body with processed non-meat garbage the same as your omnivore friends.  There is an abundance of vegan junk food out there, and while consuming it may be ethically good for the animals and the planet overall, it's not necessarily good for you.

Being a lapsed vegetarian, I thought I knew what I was doing and hopped on the vegan bandwagon with both feet.  I gathered up faux sour cream, mozzarella "cheese," vegan burgers and sausage like it was going out of style. I was ever so proud of myself for making this change in my diet/lifestyle, and I felt really good both physically and emotionally.  However, my new eating plan did nothing to make the scale move.  So I went back to logging my food into Weight Watchers, counting food POINTS and earning extra by walking.  Still no loss, and I was beginning to feel deprived and frustrated.  Though WW is an awesome program and I recommend it whole heartedly, I do not think it's a good option for vegans.  Yes, they do promote vegetable consumption and that's awesome, but they also have that dairy requirement and very few of their recipes (and none of their own foods) are veg-friendly.  I have some other issues but for now I'm going to leave it at that, at least until I show some success with another eating plan.

So, after countless hours in front of the tv watching documentaries, browsing websites and downloading books onto my Kindle, I have come to the conclusion that for a plant-based weight loss program, Dr. John McDougall has the right program for me.  His plan consists of unlimited veggies, whole foods, good starches, and a generous amount of fruit.  What he doesn't allow is fat, oil, animal products of any kind, and processed food is seriously discouraged.  This sounds strict, I know, but I'm going to give it a go and see what happens. Honestly, I started the "diet" yesterday and have already lost half a pound. 

Now, you all know me. There are a couple of things I really enjoy that I'm not willing to give up: coffee and my beloved chardonnay. I'm hoping I can still achieve success with these small "cheats." We shall see.

Thanks for bearing with me as I muddle through this stuff, would love to hear input from you all, especially if you're, or ever have been,  a McDougaller.

Have a Beautiful Day,



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In and other Updates

Today marks the one month anniversary of my pledge to go Vegan...and I continuing my commitment for a lifetime.  Not only do I feel good about my decision from an ethical standpoint, I just feel amazing overall! My energy has increased, my skin looks better, and I've lost 1.4 pounds this week.  I'm discovering new foods & flavors (tempeh is delicious!) and learning to be more creative in the kitchen as well as when dining out.

This week I've made do with some less-than-perfect menu options...

This booth at the Native American Earth Festival did not tempt me in the least! Ewww!!

A baked potato & tossed salad were my only options at the diner in Osteen, FL
and have enjoyed a few tasty restaurant meals..

Veggie Stir fry at Dancing Avocado Kitchen, Daytona Beach

Cali-Burger at Surfside, Daytona, FL
And spent a lot of time in my own kitchen, which is definitely the "safest", easiest route.
Penne alla Vodka w/Garlic Bread

Amy's Tofu Scramble
I've also taken a few lovely walks on the beach..

Ormond Beach, FL

and have been resting and relaxing as well, because we ladies do need our beauty rest!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hot Dish: Curried Scrambled Tofu

I mentioned earlier how much I'm enjoying Amy's Tofu Scramble, but now that we're up "north" sans Whole Foods, I'm having a more difficult time finding it.  Also, at $4.50 - $5.00 per package, I probably should find some less expensive breakfast alternatives. 

Once again, Isa Chandra Moskowitz to the rescue! This morning I whipped up her Curried Scrambled Tofu (held the arugula since I didn't have any), served alongside toast and a cup of hot java..ahh...what a wonderful way to start the day!

Curried Tofu Scramble with Wilted Arugula

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium-size red onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces)
2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
a few pinches freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby arugula

Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion in the oil for about 4 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so.  Crumble the tofu into bite-sized pieces and add to the pan.  Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu has browned on some of the sides.  Use a little nonstick cooking spray if needed.  

Add the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper and a few splashes of water if it's too dry.  Mix in the arugula.  Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the arugula is wilted. 

Taste for spices and add another teaspoon of curry powder if needed; it will depend on the strength of your curry powder.  Add the lemon juice and serve!

Per serving (1/4 Recipe): Calories 100; Total fat 5.5g; Total Carb 7g; Fiber 2g;
Protein 9g. Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3

 After breakfast Loki and I dragged Beren along for a neighborhood walk, now we're going to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. 

Hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Restaurant Round-Up: The Good, the Bad and the Dowright Ugly

As you know, Beren and I do quite a bit of traveling and socializing in our day to day life.  His current job requires him to be in various parts of the state and if we're not in our own home(s), we dine out.  Since making the pledge to go Vegan, eating out has been a challenge, to say the least.  Veg options are limited, and they are often carb and fat-laden when available. I've been giving myself some leeway, allowing cheese if I can't find anything dairy-free, but I'm not thrilled about it.  With the current trend toward a plant-based diet, I would think that more eating establishments would get on the ball!

Below are a few examples of good experiences I've had, such as the vegetarian and mostly-vegan food truck, Veggie Xpress.

Kali in front of the fabulous Veggie Xpress!

Cubanita Wrap

And the "naked" pizza Capone's Flickerlite was more than happy to prepare for me.

Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza, sans cheese

and then there's our beloved Ocean Deck where Beren and I often visit for cocktails and gorgeous beach view.  In the past I've been able to order a mahi salad or shrimp but now that I'm not eating seafood, I'm pretty much screwed at this place.  Unless I want a plain salad or fried, greasy appetizers, I'm going hungry.  I indulged in a few bites of nachos and then Beren was gracious enough to share his chicken salad with me, taking all of the poultry for himself.

Nachos, chili on the side

The Hard Rock Cafe has a veggie burger on the menu, but I wasn't willing to spend $13.00 for it at that time. They did, however, gift Beren with a free ice cream sundae on his birthday.

At Captain Hiram's in Sebastian, FL, there was not one single vegan-friendly appetizer or entree! I inquired about other options not listed on the menu, would have been happy with a baked potato, but nope. I was left to fill up on bread and salad.  Not fun, or healthy.

So, what's a veg to do when dining out? First, plan ahead.  Most restaurant's menus are online, allowing you to peruse and plan to your heart's content. If not, call them! I'd heard that a local pizza joint was vegan-friendly, using soy cheese, but before I drove over I called ahead. Guess what? They're no longer doing so. That saved me a trip and some dollars.  I also found a website and app that will alert me to veg-friendly restaurants and stores in the area, Happy Cow has become my new best friend!

I've also been doing a lot of cooking (stay tuned for a post on that) and think that a picnic basket and cooler may be a permanent fixture in our car.  I don't want to be caught unprepared, forced to eat fried garbage for the "experience" of dining out.

I'd love some input from seasoned vegans out there!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reading Up


After watching Forks Over Knives the other night, I am even more sold on this plant-based diet.  If you haven't watched this film yet, I highly recommend that you do so. I thought I was fairly well educated on nutrition and health but I learned so much more about more, especially in regards to heart disease!

Yesterday I hit our local library to gather more research, grabbed the McDougall book and cookbook as well as Vegan Planet.  All are chock-full of recipes which I'll be sharing soon!

Last night Beren and I went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Since I planned ahead and browsed the menu beforehand, I knew that they had some vegetarian options...

I decided on the veggie fajitas and am so glad I did as they were delicious! I ignored the refried beans and rice that accompanied the meal, found that half of this order was more than enough for me.

I realize I haven't given a weigh-in lately and honestly, there's not much to tell. I've been hovering between 175 and 176 for a while now, hoping that with these new dietary changes I'll see the scale moving again.

Off to read some more...

P.S. as my dear friend Blue Orchid reminded me, there are a zillion calories in margaritas..sigh..which I why I rarely imbibe... now & then, though, an indulgence is called for.

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meatless Monday on the Beach

What a marvelous Monday!

I started my day with a nice long walk on the beach...earned 2 WW Activity PointsPlus!

Had a lovely lunch at home, Amy's Tamale Pie is the best!!

photo snatched from

Curled up with a book on the patio...

Then Beren and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of our favorite local joints.  This restaurant didn't have many veggie options but they do offer a Philly Steak Sandwich, made with Seitan! If I wasn't avoiding dairy and didn't mind the calories, I would've given it a try but was quite happy with my Mediterranean Salad.  Note the goat cheese on the side, didn't even tempt me since that is the one fomage I do not like!

Off to get some beauty rest..hope you all had a beauty-full day!