It’s Time To Play…

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*cue music*

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Hello, and welcome to Health or Consequences, where Mare from Searching For My After will play one of three games chosen by the audience: Step Off, Target Practice, or Hang Ten. Please remind the audience how each of these games are played Game Show Announcer Mare.

Game Show Announcer Mare: Think you can outstep Mare? Then challenge her to a Step Off! Whoever has the least amount of steps at the end of the week must do the predetermined consequence. Or set Mare’s step goal for the week in Target Practice – if she doesn’t reach it, then she will donate $10 to charity; if she does, you make a donation. And if she isn’t challenged, Mare will Hang Ten and play the original version of the game, where she aims to achieve 70,000 steps or more in a week, and if she doesn’t she must complete a consequence chosen by the audience.

Mare: Woohoo! Can’t wait!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: What will we be playing this week?

Game Show Announcer Mare: Hang Ten!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Are you ready to play Mare?

Mare: I was born ready!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Then let’s see what the Fitbit Wheel of Truth reveals.

*The Fitbit wheel of truth spins… beep-boo-beep-boo-beeee-boooooooooo*

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Another great week! And to think, just a few months ago you barely reached half the daily minimum.

Mare: I know! Who’da thunk it?

Game Show Announcer Mare: This just in – a Target Practice challenge has just been declared for next week. Mira G is taking aim and set your step goal for 79,797 steps. If you reach or surpass this target, Mira will donate $10 to the MS Society.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Now we’re talking! That’s 7,202 steps more than this week! Do you think you can do it?

Mare: It’s a stretch, but I’ll do my best. However, if I don’t make it, my $10 donation will go to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: That’s all the time we have, folks. Join us next week to see if Mare hit the target, or was a sitting duck. This is Cheeky Game Show Host Mare, reminding you to choose HEALTH, or else you’ll have to live with the CONSEQUENCES.

Game Show Announcer Mare: If you would like to challenge Mare in either Step Off or Target Practice, please leave a comment via the blog, Facebook, or in person.

*cue music*

 

 

 

 

How To Milk An Almond

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Give a woman an almond and you feed her for a day; teach her how to make almond milk and granola bars on her whole food, plant-based diet, and you feed her for a lifetime… or at least for Month 6 on her 12 in 12 journey.

I’m off to a great start on this month’s plan thanks to my whole food, plant-based coach, Michelle. She wanted to ensure I stocked my fridge and pantry with some ready-made treats, so we took to the kitchen to whip up a batch of almond milk, granola bars, and almond pulp granola clusters. These recipes are so easy to make that Michelle’s 3 year-old son, Taylor helped.

Yummers! Now we need something to wash them down with….

Nothing gets wasted on the whole food, plant-based diet…

BAM! Easy whole food, plant-based goodness!

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I wonder what our next cooking class will bring… perhaps, 101 ways to make kumquat? Or, rutabaga roughage refreshments? Maybe, kale-kabobs? If they’re half as good as what we made today, it will be one of my favourite (and healthiest) months on my yearlong journey 🙂

To view my Week 22 food journal click here.

 

About Face

It’s time to say ciao to the Mediterranean diet and hello to the new plan of the month. The Whole Food, Plant-Based diet is as au naturale as it gets – it makes me want to smack on strategically placed fig leaves and join a nudist colony. As a matter of fact, it’s very close to the diet God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, so if you believe in creation like me, this is the oldest diet known to man… sorry my Paleo and Cavemen friends!

This is a radical departure from all the plans I’ve been on so far on my 12 in 12 journey, but I’m no stranger to it. A few years ago, I went vegetarian after my daughter, a ‘weekday vegetarian’, turned me on to a series of documentaries exposing the ugly hidden truths of the food industry and industrialized farming. I binged on those docs like I do on chips and chocolate. For a week straight I was glued to the TV devouring them all: Food, Inc., Earthlings, Forks over Knives, Vegucated, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, May I Be Frank, and many more. By the time I came up for air I wanted to stop shaving my armpits, hug a tree, and free all confined animals.

I literally went “cold turkey” and didn’t ingest any animal protein for a year. I was proud to be an informed, ethical, and environmentally responsible eater, and figured I’d lose tons of weight too and exude vitality as a result. Oh contraire! Did you know vegetarians can be unhealthy too? It’s not the fruit, veggies and legumes that did me in, it was everything else I consumed.

I only asked one question before I ate something… “Did it have a face?” If the answer was “no”, then down the hatch it would go. You know what doesn’t have a face? Snickers. Ruffle potato chips. Gummie bears, because no real bears were harmed in the process. Garlic bread. Peanut M&Ms, for the protein of course. Nutella. Veggie nacho platter smothered in globs of processed cheese. Do you see where I’m going here? Technically, I was a vegetarian, but in reality I became a Carbetarian.

In my defence, that’s not how I started. I went hard-core, ate very clean at first and dropped 8 lbs. in just a few weeks. I stopped shopping at the local grocery store, and drove a little further to Whole Foods or Planet Organic. I even bought essential gadgets for a face-free kitchen, like an expensive juicer, which now sits on my counter collecting dust, a fancy-schmancy pineapple peeler, and several types of graters. I was even gifted a Spirooli (a fruit and veggie spiralizer) and a Blendtec to support my efforts.

I even planted vegetables in my sad and barren backyard! Me… the Dr. Kevorkian of plants – my home is where plants come to die, and now I was tending to them. I admit, most of them didn’t survive, but it’s true what they say about kale – they’re a hardy bunch – I think they flourished to spite my ineptitude as a gardener. If they fight that hard to survive, they must be good for us!

Other than having the BEST bowel movements (yes, I went there), my health didn’t improve much after the first few months. It wasn’t the diet’s fault, it was entirely mine. Like any diet, it’s about the choices you make, and I made poor ones. The calories were going in, but the nutrients weren’t. I ate more than I did on other diets, because I digested the foods quickly.

Four months after going vegetarian, I was diagnosed with Premature Atrial Contractions (PACs). The cardiologist asked if I made any recent lifestyle changes. I told him I eliminated meat from my diet and he suggested I start eating it again. But I wouldn’t hear it – the documentaries were still fresh in my mind and my convictions were strong.

Six months later, my condition worsened, and my vitamin D and B12 were dangerously low. Once again the cardiologist recommended putting some animal protein back in my diet, something both my family doctor and naturopath also urged. I agonized over the thought of eating meat again, but my wonky ticker was freaking me out. With a heavy flip-floppy heart, I went out and bought a single chicken breast at the organic butcher – I paid what I would have for a whole chicken at the regular grocery store, but justified it was worth it if the poor creature had a better quality of life before it became my dinner. I must have stared at it for 20 minutes before taking a bite, and when I did, I gagged and cried though the entire meal.

I’ve been back on meat for 8 months now, and my vitamin levels are back to normal. My heartbeats got better for a brief time, but now are skipping worse than ever. It’s apparent that diet doesn’t have anything to do with my irregular heartbeats, so if I choose to go back to being vegetarian after 12 in 12 it won’t influence my ticker one way or another.

So why go down this road again, especially since I’ve been there, done that? This time I’ve got me an awesome coach who is going to ensure I plan balanced meals and avoid the sugar and carb traps I fell into before.

Michelle Riccio is not only my co-worker, she’s my beautiful and courageous friend with an inspirational story. She went on a whole food, plant-based diet after being diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer a little over a year ago and has been advocating its benefits on her blog, Tit Happens.

This month, we are joining forces and co-writing our blogs together – a crossover if you will, and will go by the blended name, Searching For My Tit.

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We will feature the many benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet, highlighting not only the weight loss component, but health and prevention as well.

Please join Michelle and I, as we enjoy our first whole food, plant-based meal together at Raw Aura to launch the plan.

To learn more about the do’s and don’ts of Whole Food Plant-Based diet, click here, and you will be directed to the 06. May 2015 tab.

The Result Are In

To find out how much I lost during Month 5, when I tested The Mediterranean Diet, click here, and you’ll be directed to the Measure Up section.