eating vegan

Medical update

Whoo hoo!   John saw our primary are physician today:  fasting BS was great.  Pulse was great!   Blood pressure was awesome!  And when he returns in January for a checkup, the doctor will rerun bloodwork to check cholesterol, PSA levels, and blood sugar so we will see how the impact of the diet….and hopefully begin removing a med or two.

We see the cardiologist the day before Thanksgiving….and..John has lost 10 pounds since his heart attack, aka, since becoming vegan.

Odd Questions

Someone asked us if we were “still vegan.”  This question just leaves me nonplussed. If a cardiologist refers you to cardio rehab to pursue a vegan diet, then the response is, “Heck yes, we’re vegan!” I mean, come on – what other choice is there for us?  If we continue to eat the way we had been eating, then John would invariably have another heart attack, and another, until eventually one would take him away.

We are now vegan – if others do not agree with this approach, then fine, but do not imply that this is a fad for us. This is our new lifestyle. I want many decades of time with him, and if this is what we have to do to be together, then there is no question.

Another odd question: “Are you angry vegans?”  I have to admit that I had no idea as to how to respond……and had to ask a vegan work colleague if she knew what that meant. She thought about it and finally came up with the idea that perhaps this person was referring to the ones who become vegan as part of animal rights – angry vegans – the ones who throw red paint on those wearing fur, who picket McDonalds….. Nope, not us. I don’t feel animals should be tortured or mistreated, but we are not animal rights activists.  Now, I might be willing to protest a lack of GMO labeling or the lack of farmers’ markets or the inclusion of soy in so many products…..

Our Continuing Education

Finally, after a month of waiting, our two Dean Ornish books arrived, and John is reading the chapters regarding causes of cardio vascular disease….it is not genetic, we do not inherit it from our parents, we develop it from our food choices.  Well, that certainly places the responsibility squarely in our hands: we are responsible for what we put in our mouths, and what we put in our mouths impacts our bodies.

Finding nothing to watch on the regular television channels…and even less to watch on the cable channels… we flipped back to Netflix and found the documentary Food Choices. Here is the trailer for this production:


This documentary promotes a plant-based diet, utilizing research and nutrition experts. Three topics really intrigued me.  One of the topics addressed was vegan athletes who reported the same results I have found – more energy, better workouts, greater speed and endurance. (I am now running 8-minute miles, down from 10-minute miles). The second topic of interest was the “fat vegan” (not my term – THEIR term). Most vegans are somewhat lean, but some are not. I had not really considered that before. These vegans eat a plant-based diet yet remain overweight and with some of the same health issues as those who eat meat. when these vegans drop foods such as avocado, nuts, nut milks/butters, and oils, they lose weight and their health improves.  the final item that caught my attention was vegetarianism. While I have known that a vegetarian eats  no meats, it never occurred to me that eating eggs, milk and butter really made them no different from those who consume beef, poultry, or fish. They still consume animal products…and those animal products still negatively impact their health.

The impact of food on our health just continues to amazes me….

I still spend quite a bit of time researching and looking for oil-free recipes..  I love to bake and really miss baking as I currently have only one really good moist bread (see previous blog post for recipe), but oil-free, egg-free, nut milk-free recipes are difficult to find…but I will keep looking…or figure out how to make some substitutions.

The Veggie Issue

I have finally resolved the issue of how to get enough veggies in our diet:   JUICING!   I don’t know how I forgot about this.  We used to juice and own both a Jack LaLanne Juicer and Nutribullet…and 4 different recipe books on juicing. We were watching  another documentary – this one entitled Hungry for Change – and were reminded about the power of juicing in an interview with Joe Cross.

The following trailer  is for Hungry for Change:

If you have never heard of Joe Cross, he is the force behind, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (trailer below) who took on a 60 day juice fast to address weight loss and a variety of weight-related medical problems:

Any way…we started juicing again, and I feel much more confident about us both getting the vegetable servings we need. We are still doing Shakeology with spinach added, but the juicing gives us carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes – all sorts of options!  We will definitely keep a close  eye on John’s blood sugar to make sure we do not overdo on the fruit, but I feel as though a weight has lifted!  We can have the servings we need without having to cram in food all day long!  Yay!

8 hours later

Since the weather is trying to turn cold, I wanted to have some slow cooker recipes where dinner could cook all day, and we could just add a side salad. There is just nothing better than loading up a slow cooker at the beginning of the day and knowing that dinner is basically taken care of. I found a wonderful recipe for Black Bean Pumpkin Chili and tweaked it to suit our needs.

There is one problem with this recipe:  the pumpkin and spices smell so good cooking that it tempts you to open the cover to inhale.  Do not be tempted!   Leave the house if need be because this meal smells fantastic as it cooks.  Add a side salad with a few blueberries, seeds, and oil-free dressing, and you have a complete and easy meal.

Being a vegan is becoming easier….

Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans plain diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
  3. Serve with assorted toppings.

Leftovers freeze easily. We end to have a stew or chili one night, then freeze the leftovers in individual servings.  This way when we have lots of vegan “fast food” ready at a moment’s notice.





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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