Sticking a toe in the water

Sticking a toe in the waterWe decided to start slowly as neither of us have ever really tried preparing anything vegan. I was vegetarian  almost 30 years ago, but that ended with the birth of twin daughters when I just could not keep from devouring everything in sight while breastfeeding.

I am familiar with meal planning and food prep from raising three children and from Beachbody, but that was using foods I was already used to cooking.  We  have been eating whole foods for years due to my list of allergies and had been eating free range chicken and grass-fed hormone-free beef. But vegan?  That was a stretch.  The only time we ate beans was in homemade chili.

All of this changed after coming home from the hospital, and we decided we would go at this one day at a time.

forks-over-knivesWhen I posted on Facebook that we were looking for information on becoming vegan,  it was suggested we view the movie Forks Over Knives to gain a better understanding of a vegan diet and to aid in the transition…

Oh my! What a learning experience! Everyone needs to watch this movie…if you want to avoid heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cancer . .  .

Let me explain this heart reversal vegan diet a little. … We can eat nothing that had a face or a mommy, no dairy products, no refined grains, no oil of any kind – including olive oil, and no nuts.

You may be thinking what we were: olive oil? Come on…we’ve been told that is great for us – and heart healthy! I will not go into the research here, but chapter 10 in Prevent and Reduce Heart Disease (Esselstyn, 2007) explains this quite well. Olive oil may not be as healthy as we think it is.

No nuts…..another question as walnuts and almonds in particular have been touted for their health properties.  While they contain Omega 3, only short-term studies have explored the relationship between nuts and cholesterol.  No long-term studies have shown nuts being able to arrest and reverse heart disease.  Overeating nuts is very easy to do, which could negatively impact cholesterol.  So for heart  patients –  no nuts.

For us,  due to my allergies and John’s, this also means no soy, i.e. tofu (soy) raises his blood pressure and gives me hives….and it is extremely refined and genetically modified.

Day 1 (October 20, 2016)

This day started pretty easily with oatmeal with fruit for breakfast.

Lunch was vegan chocolate Shakeology:  John  added a banana to his while I mixed mine with cold coffee and splash of maple flavoring. Easy peasy! While sipping my shake,  I made a sweet potato hummus for us to have with Ezekiel bread.  The hummus was interesting.  Neither of us like hummus, but I thought the sweet potato might provide a more interesting taste. The ingredients were simple: baked sweet potato (peeled), lemon juice, and spices (page 105 of Esselstyn & Esselstyn, The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, 2014). Ezekiel bread is interesting as well….all whole grain and no oils or fats.   I love to make bread, and I cannot fathom how to make bread without some sort of oil, but I guess I will learn 🙂

Supper was our first real foray into a fully vegan, hearty-friendly meal. I searched the internet and found a recipe for our first plat-based meal: Double Bean Chili. This dish took me only 15 minutes to mix and 30 minutes to cook…and we liked it! We really did! So much so that John had a second helping.  We found this to be very filling… AND we had enough for another day. I love leftovers!

We can do this!!!!!!!  I have been terrified about making such a change – how to meal plan, how to prepare foods, wondering how we would we eat enough to meet nutritional goals, would we even want to eat this food.

We added a tossed salad made with spring lettuce mix, green peppers, onions, sliced beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, and raisins,….topped with apples, blueberries, bean spouts, and toasted sesame seeds.


Double Bean Chili

  • double-bean chili1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can died tomatoes
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini (white) beans drained, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt)


  1. Saute onion and bell pepper in a little water in the bottom of your pan, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered and stirring  occasionally for 30 minutes.

    NOTE: This is one of our favorite “go to” recipes, and sometimes I substitute beans based on what I have on hand.  Works beautifully!











Author: mduggan10

I have lived in a Victorian-era house, spent several years living on a boat, and now live at the top of a mountain. Throughout his all, I have been a coffee snob, a whole foods snob, and an instructional designer.

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