What I learned on my week without meat

At first it was hard.  I have to say that my husband and son really enjoyed my vegetarian dishes but for sides not for main meals.  So there I was – being really good eating my healthy food while they added sausage, chicken and steak to their dinners.  By day three though I was flying high on energy and was really noticing a difference in how I felt.  It was such a noticeable change that it wasn’t hard to say no to the meat after that.  I felt renewed! Energized and with purpose for my eating.  It was great.

Then came the weekend and I had another epiphany.  What did I learn?  Sugar is a DRUG!  I had been eating very clean for the week.  The weeks before were not bad either but not as clean as this week.  Saturday night we had a joint birthday get together for me and my husband Kam.  Well there was an incredible spread of healthy food; hummus, cut veggies, fruit, nuts etc.  I did make some snickerdoodles but I was able to get by with just one.  Then the cupcakes came out for our birthday song.  I ate one… then another.  I could feel the sugar rushing through me.  I usually am in bed by 10 at the latest.  I was up till 2 then I crashed.  The next day I could feel it – I was dying for more!  I have never done drugs before in my life but by the evening time – when I was at the movies I actually got up mid movie to get some candy from the concession.  On the way home I was feeling really sick.  I thought about it and know it was the candy – the sugar.  When you clear your system of that kind of food and then have it out of the blue it packs quite the whollop.  Thinking back over my old ways of eating I figure I had been walking around in some kind of constant sugar haze – unaware of my state.  What a learning experience for me to realize how sugar really affects your body!  I have definitely decided to make a change.  NO MORE!  I don’t need it!  I don’t like the way I felt when I ate it and I don’t want to get into the habit of having it regularly again.

I highly recommend everyone try a week of clean eating.  If it’s too hard to do all at once because you eat a lot of bad food choose one thing a week.  Make one change!  For example, cut out soda or candy, fast food or like in my case meat.  Try it for a week and see how you feel.  It becomes much easier to discover foods that make you feel great and give you energy.  You will learn something and probably lose a little weight to boot.  I did!

I was able to get in all of my planned workouts + 2 mile walks on all days except Saturday.  We were all cleaning like crazy to get ready for the party.  I’m sure that counts a little.

I was able to stick to my diet the whole week, (minus 2 ham rolls from the party where I forgot I was on a special diet this week).  Things I ate off my weeks plan that I will be making regularly:

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime (154 Calories, 1 g fat, 7.8 g protein, 30.9 g carbs, 9.8 g fiber) – 4 servings

  • 1 (15 Ounce) can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn thawed
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tsp dried basil
  • ½ Tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1.  Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl.  Served chilled or at room temperature

Fire Roasted Tomato Black Bean Chili (177 calories, 1.6 g fat, 9.6 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 12.7g fiber) – 6 servings

  • ½ yellow onion sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans with liquid
  • 2 Tsp ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle powder
  • 2 Tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tsp salt
  1.  In a large saucepan on high heat, sauté the onion in ¼ cup water until it starts to turn brown.
  2. Add ¼ cup water and stir.  Add garlic and cook for three minutes.  Add the tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, beans and their liquid, cumin, chili powders, oregano and salt.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Quinoa with Navy beans and Almonds (286 calories, 4 g fat, 13.1 g protein, 50.9 g carbs, 11.6 g fiber) – 4 servings

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can white nave beans, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  1.   Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the rinsed quinoa, bring to a boil again, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 5 min until the mushrooms are browned.  Add the lemon juice, beans, and cooked quinoa.  Season with salt and black pepper and mix well.  Garnish with the almonds and parsley and serve.

Saffron Risotto with peas and asparagus8 ½ cups vegetable broth (375 calories, .9 g fat, 8.5 g protein, 78.6 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber) – 6 servings

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ pound asparagus trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  1.   In a large skillet or saucepan, heat ½ cup broth over medium heat.  Add the rice and sauté for 5 minutes; keep stirring the rice as you sauté to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate pot, heat the 8 cups of broth.  Crumple in the saffron threads and stir to dissolve.  Not all the threads will dissolve and this is ok.  Add the wine to the rice and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid.
  3. Add a ladleful of broth to the rice and stir again until the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in the asparagus, peas, and basil.  Keep adding broth a ladleful at a time to the rice until all the broth is gone and the rice is creamy.  This entire process takes about 20 – 25 min.

All recipe’s shown here are from The get Healthy, go Vegan cookbook by Neal Barnard, MD and Robyn Webb.

This week’s commitments:

  • Monday               Fire 45 Class + Stretch 10 Class (Already done)
  • Tuesday               HIIT 20 Class + Stretch 10 Class (Already done)
  • Wednesday         Rest day
  • Thursday             HIIT 15 Class + Sculpt 30 class
  • Friday                    Fire 55 EZ Class
  • Saturday              Core 20 Class + Stretch 40 Class
  • Sunday                  Fire 45 Class + Stretch 10 Class

What are you working out to?  Any good recipes to share! 



  1. Congrats for going veggie for an entire week! I’ve been vegetarian for so long now (18 years+) that I don’t necessarily notice a surge in energy, but I always have alot! I do occasionally get sucked into sugar though and you are right about not only the crash, but the addiction. I actually get a sugar hangover the days after I splurge!


  2. Thanks. I am keeping at it for the most part. Along with my fitness program TurboFire I am noticing a big change in my body too. My next step is to really not want the Coke Zero. If I can start switching that out for green tea or water I will be doing great!


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