Posted in Meal Plans & Ideas, Progress - Wins & Fails

32.5 Days Vegan & A Label Maker

Hello again! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. The last update I shared was that I was planning to go 21 days Vegan. I did ūüôā¬† . It went successfully for more than 21 days. I completed 32.5 days vegan! (Yes, the ‘.5’ counts! I’ll tell you why later on)

As far as the weight loss aspect of it goes, I did lose a few pounds on it. However, I found a few vegan restaurants and some amazing frozen vegan options. Unfortunately, not all of these items were really ‘healthy’ choices. That’s when the weight loss plateaued.

It was definitely a learning experience though! I enjoyed the way I felt for sure. I felt like I had more natural energy, and felt a reduced amount of water retention or sodium build up in my body. I felt my hands and feet shrink! It was kind of strange at first. I literally tripped myself walking many times because my flats (flats are slip-on simple shoes similar to ballet shoes that look good for work) were too lose!

I didn’t cook as often as I’d like because of what I will refer to as “The Big Move”. We packed up our apartment, put most of our items in storage, and are now staying with friends in order to save for a house. One of my goals (for those of you have read my prior blog about my goals), was to cook more often, and eat more vegan more often. That didn’t happen as often as I would have liked it to, because of the fact that most of my kitchen was (and still is) in boxes.

After the trial run, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Almost everything has oil! – I tried to also stay away from all added oils in the products and food I was buying. That was the most challenging part. Even cereal has oil!!!Yumo Salad
  • Salads taste AMAZING when you get used to eating them regularly. I was truly shocked as to how wonderful the flavors and textures were when I was starving and ready for lunch.
  • I missed eating animal products a lot more than eating the actual animal… I craved cheese, chocolate and ice cream most of the time. I saw other people eating chicken, beef or seafood during the trial run and it didn’t bother me. But watching someone eat macaroni and cheese…THAT was difficult. I was literally talking myself out of stealing their food¬† (out loud! Yes, like a crazy person).
  • Food manufacturers put animal products in almost everything!!! Here are the top 3¬† things I was the most surprised to find out had animal products:
    • BBQ Chips (they use chicken stock or chicken flavorings)
    • Seltzer/Soda waters flavored – “Natural Flavors” could be Beaver’s butt… I’m not lying… Check it out: Castoreum Food Use
    • Granola mixes.. Seems like a no-brainer to some people, but it surprised me. Honey = animal product. Almost all granola bars or granola mixes use honey.

Now, you’re probably wondering why did I add the .5 to the count of days? I decided at 21 days that I felt good and wanted to keep going. I figured I’d go until I absolutely couldn’t any more. Day 33 happened to be “The Big Move” Day. I had a quick vegan protein smoothie for breakfast, and ate a vegan burrito for lunch. Things seemed to be going alright at that point.. half a day done!¬† Then we ended up moving and working into the late evening, so we missed dinner time.

We went to a restaurant to eat at around 8 pm that night. In looking at the menu the only items they had that were vegan friendly were 1) a side salad, minus the cheese…2)steamed broccoli . Neither sounded good.¬† I had worked up quite an appetite moving boxes, and walking back and forth tons. I decided it was time for chicken! My dinner that night for my first non-vegan meal was southern chicken (breaded, fried chicken breasts), mashed potatoes with butter, broccoli cheese casserole.¬† It seemed super blasted¬† heavy! I ate less than half the chicken, about 3/4 the scoop of mashed potatoes and all of the broccoli cheese casserole. (That casserole was my favorite as it was loaded with cheese!)

The next morning I finally had the big breakfast burrito that I had been watching my family eat each morning we were moving. There’s this new Mexican Taco/Burrito shop near the new house. They serve ginormous burritos. Previously, I would ask for the veggie burrito and take off the sour cream, cheese and avocado. Which basically left rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and pico de gallo.¬† When I bit into the big breakfast burrito it seemed like heaven. Fluffy flour tortilla packed to the max with eggs, cheese and potatoes.

I’m sorry, Reader. I probably shouldn’t write a blog about food when I’m hungry. lol.¬† Ultimately, that’s why I count the half a day in my vegan trial counter. I was vegan for most of that day, until dinner.

What’s my plan moving forward? To eat animals and their products in moderation. I’d like to continue to eat vegan the majority of the time.¬†Though,¬† I see the benefits for both humans and animals alike, I’m not sure I’m passionate enough about saving animals, etc. to go full vegan for a lifetime. I have more respect now for those that are lifetime/lifestyle vegans!

I was very happy to have completed my 21 Day Vegan Challenge (and then some)!!! Something else that makes me extremely happy in a dorky, Monica from Friends, obsessive kind of way….. I got a label maker!! Finally! I’ve wanted one for years.

Here’s a picture of something I worked on with my label maker:

Faire Son Jardin

*day dreams about what else to label with her label maker*… Okay.. I’m back.¬† Thank you again for journeying with me! This time through the vegan challenge and the Big Move!

I’ll start cooking again once my pantry and pots & pans are unpacked!

 

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Posted in Meal Plans & Ideas, Progress - Wins & Fails

Vegan Challenge – Day 10!

I started my Vegan Challenge 10 days ago! Well, today is day 10. So far so good! I am actually surprised by how I feel now. I’m not craving meat. I look at the signs or pictures of it on TV or on billboards and think “that looks good”, but it doesn’t upset me or give me yearnings. I feel pretty darn good ūüôā .

The things that I do crave are items like creamy milk based pastas, and chocolate baked goods. Whenever I have a moment like that, I remind myself of the weight that I’ve lost so far. To give you a bit of perspective, on my weigh in’s recently:

  • Saturday, Jan. 28th¬† – 325 pounds – Starting (again) weight
  • Saturday Feb. 4th – 319.9 pounds (-5.1 lbs)
  • Saturday Feb. 11th – 312.7 (-7.2 lbs) – First Vegan Week
  • Tuesday¬† Feb. 14th – 311.5 (-1.2 lbs)

I am trying to keep to the cadence of weighing in every Saturday. However, I had my doctors appointment yesterday (finally!) and had to weigh in. The lady said “Okay, here comes the dreadful part that we all¬† hate… The scale!” and I told her with a big grin “Nah, this is the exciting part for me! Let’s see what good news it has!”

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Then I shared with her the fact that I was on day¬† 9 of a vegan challenge, and I have been successfully losing weight and feeling better.¬† Her reply is one that I hear often when people asking me what I’m eating or why I’m avoiding certain foods (today it was the donuts and piggies in a blanket (kolaches) )… “Oh, Good for you, but I could never do that!”

I did receive good news from the doctor. This whole time I’ve been worried about having high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, high triglycerides and diabetes. After the tests came back, I have decent blood pressure, not too high, good cholesterol levels, triglycerides are on point.
The only concerning thing was that my blood sugar was higher than it should be.¬† They recommended that I continue my new diet and avoid processed sugary foods, and eat the low-sugar fruits when I eat fruit. It was in the ‘pre-diabetes’ stage, but could avoid becoming diabetic with proper food nutrition. She did give the friendly warning that because a huge portion of my family has it (on my mom’s side, going back at least 2 generations) that I will need to be diligent in avoiding going down the same path.

This makes me wonder about ‘family genes’ with ‘tendencies’ for issues being based on actual genetics or if it’s really a lifestyle issue.¬† My mom’s family are ‘larger than life’ kind of people, who are my size or larger, some weigh close to 500 pounds. I’ve heard that obesity is a gene, but that it can be avoided through an active and healthy lifestyle. I wonder if my family changed their life long habits if they would no longer be diabetic.

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Quick Humor

The vegan lifestyle for me, so far, has comprised mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lots and lots of salads with plenty of water. I’ve tried to choose the low-sugar fruits that are super tasty, like berries and pears.¬† I tried one of the recipes for vegan Banana bread. It was.. Eh, okay. It didn’t taste great, but wasn’t terrible either. It was enough to satisfy my craving for baked goods while it was fresh and hot out of the oven. On day 2 though, it was dry and crumbly. My dog actually stole a piece and loved it.

The recipe I made in my prior blog for the Chickpeas with Roasted Veg. Curry/Chili sauce ended up being eaten almost every day last week. I didn’t realize I had cooked such a large batch! However, it was very satisfying.

Another recipe that is super delicious that has the flavor of a ‘cheat’ meal without any of the guilt are Falafel ‘sandwiches’! I found a recipe for vegan falafel that is pretty good: Minimalist Baker – Easy Vegan Falafel¬† This is a slight adaptation of Tori’s recipe: Tori’s kitchen – Falafels.¬†

Since the checkup with my doctor(s) went well, I’m not going to back for another month for a follow up visit. I’m hoping to have significant progress by then! Let’s see how it goes.

Thank you, reader, for journeying with me through week 2 of the Vegan Challenge!!!

Posted in Meal Plans & Ideas, Progress - Wins & Fails

Vegan Challenge

Originally, one of my Goals  was to try to eat vegan more regularly. However, after reading the book  Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease , I felt inspired and challenged to try to go all Vegan for a short amount of time. I decided to do this in order to feel the full results of veganism.

In addition to reading the book, I’ve watched videos on YouTube from other Vegans who share facts based on studies performed by doctors, debunk myths commonly associated with veganism and it’s effects, and watched some recipe videos! Here’s a link to Mic’s YouTube page that I found helpful: Mic The Vegan .

The challenge I’ve set forth (for myself and Beard-man), is to follow the Esselstyn version of Veganism for 21 days. This is not only pure veganism at it’s core, but also cutting out oils and fat dense foods (such as avocados). I think that is the hardest part of the challenge. My first question was “How do you sautee veggies without oil or spray?!” … The answer was “In water or veg. stock”. Interesting, huh?

Why only 21 days? Why not 30? or more? Because of my birthday. I know this sound ludicrous, but I want to be able to eat a normal cow-based cake on my birthday. I have also read that to create a habit, you have to do it for 21 days. I want my habit to become the authentic love for vegetables. So I’ll have incorporated good habits before Feb. 28th, and will hopefully enjoy a luscious chocolate cake slice (or 2) that day!

On Day 1 of the VC (Vegan Challenge), honestly, I was starving. I planned in advance, and food prepped. Then, I pulled a “Monday”, and walked straight out of the house without my lunch bag. I forgot all of my food at home!¬† Thankfully the cafeteria downstairs in my building has fresh fruits and vegetables, even if the hot meals aren’t vegan-no-oil friendly.

Food for Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Mixed Fruit – pineapple, strawberries, blue berries, black berries and a couple of chunks of watermelon
  • Lunch: Spinach salad with edamame, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber (the cafeteria didn’t have lemons or limes!! I was devastated)¬† All of the salad dressings have oil, so I munched on a naked salad. Which was literally and figuratively hard to swallow.
  • Afternoon snack: An orange, and more carrot sticks.
  • Dinner: The oatmeal I forgot for breakfast, and a few tablespoons of a roasted vegetable curry/chili sauced chickpea dish with brown rice that I cooked to take for lunch on day 2.

I got home and Beard-man had eaten chips, ice cream and drank sodas! I was also tempted to give in because of how hungry I was, and just go get a juicy double burger with cheese. But I reminded myself why I’m doing it, and sat down with my oatmeal to watch Rachael Ray cook awesome sauce.

Day 2 went much better – I didn’t forget my food, and was able to stay on track. I still felt hungry throughout the day, but I know it was because I didn’t eat as often as I needed to.

Food for Day 2:

  • Breakfast: An Asian Pear
  • Lunch: Chickpeas in a Roasted Veg. Curry/Chili sauce with brown rice (small portion). With a spring mix salad with tomatoes, carrots drenched in lemon juice (no dressing)
  • Afternoon Snack: another Asian Pear, with about 5 strawberries
  • Dinner: Same as lunch’s main course (Chickpeas/brown rice)
  • Dessert: organic, no oil added teaspoonful of peanut butter

Technically, I shouldn’t have had the peanut butter, since it has it’s own natural oils and I’m trying to also avoid oil. However, that one teaspoon of PB saved me from going to the store for brownies or ice cream.

I know it sounds redundant to eat the Chickpea dish a couple of days in a row, but I really love the flavors! I’ll share a rough recipe draft of how I made it. One of these days I’ll start taking pictures while I cook! ūüôā¬† It’s a lot of prep, but the actual cooking was quite easy.

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ChickPeas with Roasted Veg. – Curry/Chili Sauce

Pantry Items:

  • 2 cans of Organic Chickpeas
  • Veg. stock (vegan friendly) as needed (I used about 1 & 1/2 cups)
  • Jar of roasted red peppers in water (I only used 2 of the slices of peppers)

The spices are approximate, as I tend to just pour it in my palm, eyeball it, and then toss it in the dish:

  • Cumin powder – ~1 tablespoon
  • Curry powder – ~2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Chipotle Chili powder – ~1 tablespoon
  • Smoked Paprika – ~2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper (dash or two)

Vegetables:

  • 1/2 a sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 of each of the following bell peppers: Red, Green, Orange & Yellow¬† (I saved the other halves for future dishes)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno¬† chopped
  • 4 small cloves of garlic – minced
  • 3 small carrots diced into tiny cubes
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • Cilantro (about 1/4 a bunch, or approx. 3 tablespoons if it were chopped)

I started by sauteing the onions… and burned them. In the vegan cook book it said to be careful to watch it and add water or veg. stock as needed to keep them from burning (since I’m not using oils). However, I didn’t listen. I had walked away to do something else and when I came back, it had a slight scorched effect on the bottom of the onions. Thanks to my non-stick pan it wasn’t as bad as it probably could have been. I’ve roasted veggies before over a flame or in the broiler and had the same outcome. So I just went with it! What’s a little burnt onion?!

If you don’t like that added ‘smoky’ flavor, try not to burn yours. lol¬† I added some veg. stock, stirred them up and then added in the carrots and celery. I let these cook for¬† a bit in the veg. stock until the carrots were softer. I added in the rest of the ingredients (except the chickpeas) and let it bubble away for about 10-15 minutes.

I was waiting for the veggies to be cooked, but if you like yours a bit raw, you can reduce the cooking time.¬† There are two options for you at this point… If you like your sauce to be chunky with vegetables, then only puree half of the mix and leave the other half in the pot.¬† If you are wanting a smooth sauce, then put it all in the blender (or food processor, or use your immersion blender) and mix until it’s smooth.¬† I blended all of my mix and put it back in the pot.

Then add in the drained cans of chickpeas. I let them simmer for a bit, just to absorb the flavors.  On the side I cooked brown rice according to the instructions on the package. Then tasted it, and it was still raw. This is my first time cooking brown rice, so I added in boiling water and let it cook more until it tasted done!

When I served it, I sprinkled some of the multi-color bell pepper mixture I had left over on the top of the food and garnished it with a sprig of cilantro.¬† However, I forgot to take a picture!!¬† As with most recipes I make, I did not add salt. The vegetable stock had salt in it, and the chickpeas would have had salt from the canning process. Also, celery has natural sodium in it. All of this combined, and the dish shouldn’t need any salt added.

If you make it, please let me know how you liked it ūüôā¬† It has a nice spice to it, without making you cry.

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Today is Day 3, and I feel much more in control of my food and my hunger than in the last 2 days. I want to complete this challenge to prove to myself that I’m capable of completing a goal I’ve set before me. There will be challenges during this time though… as I have no clue what to order at a restaurant!!

Wish me luck reader! Are any of you Vegan? What’s your favorite vegetarian/vegan dish?

*Adding in a picture after the original post* Sorry for the messy presentation, I had stirred it right before adding lime juice and the fresh bell peppers.

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Posted in Meal Plans & Ideas, Progress - Wins & Fails

Oh, You’re Cookin’ Frankie!

*Sings the title* For some reason, sometimes when I’m actually cooking in the kitchen, I think of that scene from Home Alone when Uncle Frank¬† (Kevin’s jerk uncle) is singing in the¬†shower, and after Kevin leaves, Frank sings “Oh, you’re cooking, Frankie!!”

I didn’t find a clip of just that portion of the scene, but if you click on “shower” in that paragraph it’ll show you the whole scene. It makes me smile because the guy sings as bad as I do, yet he’s not ashamed to belt out the tune anyways! Inspiring!

One of my yearly goals, as seen in Put it in Writing! , was to cook more often, preferably 3 times a week, or 3 meals a week. Last week I tried a new recipe from scratch. Black Beans! I’ve always enjoyed them, and have purchased the organic brands¬† in cans for years now. I decided to try to make them as healthy as possible on my own. This fits into 2 of my goals, 1.) cooking at home and 2.) it’s vegan!

I did some research to review other recipes to find the most common ingredients and flavor combinations. I then worked my own magic! Here’s the recipe:

Mel’s Black Beans:

  • 1 pound bag of black beans – rinsed and picked through for rocks/debris
  • 1 Large yellow (sweet) Onion – chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper – chopped
  • 1 Large Jalapeno pepper – chopped (seeded & ribs removed)
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves (mine were dried, but fresh is best)
  • 4 cups of Vegetable Stock (you can also use Chicken or Beef stock)
  • 3 cups of water

I added all of the ingredients into my crock-pot, and turned it on high for 9 hours. At that point they were perfectly cooked. I did not do a soak of the beans before hand, and my crock-pot is ‘like new’ and heats up amazingly fast.¬† So, taking those 2 things in consideration, if you make the recipe, you may have to adjust cooking times. In the recipes that I read online, if you soak the beans first, you can cut the cooking time down to about 1 or 2 hours (depending upon your crock-pot or pot cooking methods).

I made the beans Vegan, however if you were looking to add extra flavor and heartiness without worrying about veganism or the low-fat benefits, you can add bacon!¬† You can either use traditional bacon, chunky lardons, Canadian bacon, prosciutto, or even turkey bacon! My sister always throws in a couple of slices of bacon in her beans, as well as a few more spicy peppers than I used. They turn out wonderful too ūüôā

To serve with the beans, I cooked white rice with lime and cilantro. For toppings to make the dish even more appetizing, I added fresh chopped bell peppers (red & green), cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, no-milk sour cream, and a squeeze of lime. For Beard-man’s plate, I added skillet-cooked turkey summer sausage.

Here’s the picture of his plate:

Beans1.jpg

You may notice in the recipe, that I did not add any salt. I tend to omit as much salt as possible when I cook. However, there is salt in the Vegetable (or Chicken or Beef) stock as well. Since there is such a large quantity used for cooking the beans, they will absorb the liquid, including the salt, into the beans.

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Nusret Gokce – ‘sensual salting’

If you’re a¬†salt lover, you can always add in salt into the mix before cooking, or add in a pinch afterwards.

 

Salting or seasoning is a whole new experience now, thanks to Nusret G√∂kce, a Turkish chef and restaurant owner. Look up his videos, if you haven’t seen¬† him in action yet ūüôā . It’s a good giggle, in my opinion.

I also made a ‘no sugar added’ recipe this weekend. I went to the belated Christmas celebration at my parents house (yes, it’s super super belated, but it works for our odd-ball family!), and as usual, I’m in charge of bringing dessert!¬† I normally do extravagant, super sugary, over the top desserts like pineapple cake with pineapple buttercream frosting; or double chocolate cheesecake with oreo crust and chocolate dipped strawberries, etc. (You get the idea, right?) Over the top… awesomeness.

This year I wanted to make something a little healthier, and diabetic friendly. Both of my parents are diabetic, and I didn’t want our belated holiday to encourage further issues. I made Mini-Strawberry Honey Pies. I saw them in an episode with Giada Laurentiis . They turned out wonderfully! You can check out the recipe here on Food Network’s site: Baby Strawberry & Honey Pies .

baby-strawberry-pies
Picture credit – Food Network

It’s a super simple recipe, with lemon juice, orange zest, strawberries, honey, pie crust and arrowroot. I did not know what arrowroot was until that episode. It was a bit challenging to find at my local grocery store. They only had 1 seasoning jar of it, organic and it was almost $6!

I made this recipe twice this weekend, once with my coworker friends, and then again with my family. I topped the little ‘pies’ with cool whip and fresh chopped strawberries. They were tart and yummy!

If you try either recipe, please let me know how it turns out!¬†¬† This week’s lesson for me: sing like Uncle Frank, salt like Nusret, and bake like Giada!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Meal Plans & Ideas, Thoughts Along the Way

Put it in Writing!

My friends, and a fellow lovely blogger, have reminded me to write down my goals. They will be more real, and therefore more achievable. This will also help me to be accountable to you guys! So, I will share my goals short term and long term…

1.) Eat more Vegan. I am currently reading Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. . I’ve watched many of the Vegan inspired documentaries on Netflix and am wanting to incorporate more veggies in my life.¬† I realize you don’t have to go full force Vegan just to eat more veggies. However, I’m inspired by the life altering outcome of the vegan lifestyle. I also like to think that I’d be ‘saving’ a few animals if I stopped eating them as often. I’m not going to go on a ‘save the animals’ rant, but I respect those that do. Eating more vegan meals will encourage me to cook healthier options and feel better about myself and the animals. My goal is to eat vegan meals or have vegan days at least once or twice a week, every week.

2.) Cook at least 3 times (or meals) a week. Perhaps this one should have been first? lol… As a part of my overall goal to become a healthier person, I know cooking will help to control what is in the food I eat and in what quantities. Have you ever gone to a restaurant to eat something healthy, then look up the nutritional facts later, only to find that you should have just gotten the cheeseburger instead? Yeah, I’ve been there.¬† Options are limited for truly healthy ‘fast’ food, at least where I live it is. Nearest places are almost all fried, fatty, carb-loaded places. Cooking at home will help me to eat better and to learn more recipes!

3.) House Goal – Save $15,000 in 6-8 months. Yes that sounds like a big goal… I think with discipline¬† we can achieve it! I may have mentioned in the past that I want to buy a home. I want to have a spacious house to fill with future kids, the mother in law and the brother in law (my bro-in-law is only 16, fyi). I have a lovely relationship with my Mother in law and feel blessed to say so. We, Beard-man and I, want to have a house big enough to fit everyone comfortably. It doesn’t have to be huge, but having a down payment should help tremendously. We want to buy our home by the end of this year. We’re really hoping to have one by October or November, specifically.

4.) Weight Loss – 50 Pounds. This is my short term goal. I figure if I choose a smaller amount of weight, it will¬† be less scary! You may¬† know from previous blogs, that my long term goal is to lose 170-ish pounds. At the end of 2016 I went completely ham, and stopped eating healthy, being active or even trying to lose weight. I went back up to 325 pounds (previously I had dropped down to about 300). My journey begins again anew. So far so good, I’ve lost 5.1 pounds and am at 319.9 . So my goal is to get to 275 pounds by March 31st. An even smaller short term goal, is to get to 300 again by Feb. 28th. It’s my birthday, so I think it’s a good milestone.

5.) Self Improvement Professionally – I have the privilege to have access to learning sites through my job. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll watch the videos or learn them. I’ve had access since August of 2016, and am only about 1/10th of the way through the Project Management portions, and 1/4 of the way through the ITIL videos.¬† My goal is to finish the basic PM courses and the ITIL first course to take the test. I plan to study at least 1 to 2 hours a week, probably during my lunch breaks at work.

6.) Decrease the Clutter – We all can relate to this one, I’m sure! When Beard-man and I moved into this apartment 4¬† years ago, it was almost empty. Now, it’s brimming to the rim with STUFF. Some of it, I don’t even know why we have it! We’ve already started in January, to go through items, one room at a time and de-clutter, pack and donate. Step 1 is done – the bedroom closet!

They may not seem like much, but these are my basic goals that I plan to achieve this year. They range from huge to *shrugs* minimal, but to me they are important. These are the main ones for me to focus on, without driving myself crazy from trying to over-achieve!¬† I’ll share updates on my goals as I go this year.

Posted in Mel's SoapBox

“Plus Size” vs. “Normal” Clothing Rant

Whatever it shall be called, it’s not flattering: “Big Boned”, “Curvy”, “Big Girl”. Have you ever compared the prices of clothes for Plus Size or Petite vs. ‘normal’ clothes? I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. I may have mentioned before that my sister and I have the opposite issue. I tend to gain weight while maintaining the same lifestyle, she struggles to keep or gain¬† hers. She’s always been very thin our whole lives.

While I shop the “Plus Size” departments and stores, she has struggled to find adult clothes in sizes that are made by the manufacturers for the sizes of pre-teen girls. Both extremes¬† have prices that are unbelievable!

I was chatting with one of my ‘average’ sized friends this weekend. (I clarify her size, to help you guys get context of the conversation.) I mentioned that I had gone shopping (prior to the trip to Fargo for training), and said that I spent a few¬† hundred dollars on a few new outfits. She reacted happily “Oh! You must have gotten quite a few new outfits then!” I shook my head no, “Not really. I got a few blazers and a couple of pants.”

We started chatting about how much clothes cost for plus sized women. I was telling her that it’s ridiculous how much the clothes cost compared to ‘average’ sized clothes. She asked¬† a valid question, “Well, don’t they need to use more fabric? And therefore need to charge more to make up for it?” I shook my head again. I’ll tell you guys what I told her. They may use twice or thrice the fabric, but they’ll charge 4+ times the amount. Simply because it’s a ‘niche’ market. A pair of pants shouldn’t cost 60 plus dollars for a pair of very simple, thin fabric, blue jeans! I’ve found jeans in my slimmer days at $15 and $20 a pair. The ‘on sale’ price for the plus sized pants are still double the ‘average’ sized pair of jeans.

Have you ever googled “Plus Size”? If you do, make sure your safe filter is on lol.¬† I was curious as to whether or not there was a definition for it. It seems like there is!

Plus Size Def.JPG

In reading the definition, my first thought is “What’s the normal range?” I looked that up too. It seems the Average American size woman is a 16 to 18. (I think the UK size equivalent of a US 16 is UK 20).¬† If that’s true, then most of the “Plus Size” store selections should start at US 16 and then consider “Plus Size” anything larger than 16. The majority of department stores have the range of sizes up to 14, where the specialty stores start at 12 and go up. There is no way that a 12 is plus size!!!

One of the things I’m looking forward to with this journey, is being able to shop at regular department stores in the “Women’s” section instead of in the “Plus Size” section. This has me thinking already of what do to with my current wardrobe. I want to donate it to someone who needs it, and don’t want the ‘donation’ stores to be the ones to make the profits.

What have y’all done with clothes in good condition that you’ve either outgrown or shrunk out of?

I’ve saved some of my favorite outfits from when I was “average” sized. I think I have at least one pair of pants in every size going down to a 14 (which was my favorite size for my self). However, once I start shrinking out of these clothes at this size (24/26) I want to get rid of them ASAP to avoid needing them again. I may have some of them altered, to make my buck stretch a bit further!

I am looking forward to being in the ‘normal range’ of clothes again.¬† That’s probably one of the #1 things on my “To Achieve” wish list! But for now, I’ll settle for baby steps.

One day at a time in this journey!

 

Posted in Progress - Wins & Fails, Thoughts Along the Way

Strange Occurrences

2 blogs in one day! I am feeling quite chatty I suppose! So, a new issue has popped up that is going to force me to go to the doctor. Some of you may know, I think I have mentioned once¬† or twice, that I have been avoiding going to the doctor to put off the bad news they’ll tell me about what ‘shape’ I’m actually in. This is silly, I know, please don’t judge! I do want their advice, it’s just going to be a harsh reality that I’m mentally preparing myself for.

Recently, I’ve begun to break out with ‘hives’. I don’t know which is proper, to say break out ‘in’ hives or ‘with’ hives? *shrugs*

It seems to be random. I’ve changed up my eating patterns to try to figure out if it’s food related. It doesn’t seem to be. Then I thought perhaps its my fabric softener. (I’ve known that I’m allergic to Downy brand of softener). So I stopped using the Gain softener I love. I put my clothes through a wash of baking soda (or as I’ve heard Brits on TV say “Bicarb” hehe. I love hearing alternate words or catch phrases for every day items)…sorry… baking soda.. with the rinse of vinegar. This seemed to work in stripping the remnants of soap or softener. However I’m still randomly breaking out with/in hives.

This is now the end of the second week, officially starting the third week that this is happening. So this week I tried going ‘uber’ healthy with the foods to see if it helps. I started juicing my fruits and veggies again to drink these regularly. It may have helped through Tuesday evening. Then on Wednesday it started happening again. It’s so weird!

So even though the hives are itchy and uncomfortable, I have felt better over all for eating (I should say “drinking”, rather) more fruits and vegetables ūüôā . I had completely intended on sharing the pictures of the process for a blog post dedicated to juicing… but found midway that the clutter of tons of fruits and veggies on my counter top was not very picturesque to say the least!!

On another note, here is the mix of items I’ve been drinking:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Apples (green – granny smith, red, fuji, and newly found in my supermarket – Ambrosia!)
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Beet root (raw)
  • Celery
  • small amounts of – frozen mixed berries, pineapple and mango

I’ll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow to share with the recipe soon. Cheers, reader! If you’re brave enough to try juicing too, I’d love to hear your recipes and how you feel when drinking them!