2.21.2018

Veganomics: Easiest Pie Crust Ever

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As I have been researching vegan dessert recipes of late, I came across the easiest tasty and functional pie crust recipe EVER. It's essentially the "Larabar crust," if you are familiar with the whole food, three-ingredient, vegan snack bars. But it only has two ingredients, raw walnuts and dates, and it's butt easy to make.

Put one (for a small pie less than 9 inches in diameter) to two (for pies 9-12 inches in diameter) cups of raw walnuts in your food processor with the metal blender attachment. Pulse the food processor until the walnuts become coarse crumbs. Add one to three dates, depending on how moist they are, to the walnut crumbs and run the food processor until the dates are fully blended with the walnuts. The crust dough is ready when the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it between your fingers but is not too moist or "oily" from the dates. If it's too moist, just add more walnuts. There is a pretty wide margin of error on this, so don't worry about exact measurement of ingredients. "Eyeball" it with the pinch test.

Done.

Then just press the dough into your pie tray. Fill it with whatever filling. Works for non-vegan pies too. I suspect it would work for graham cracker crust too, just using graham crackers with dates instead of walnuts. Try it!

1.23.2018

A Fortnight of Fitness: Day 13 and 14

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Due to starting my Spring semester of grad school classes on Monday, I balked on logging a post on Day 13 of my two week challenge to follow a vegan diet. So this post combines Days 13 and 14, the final two days.

I can't say there was much change in measures over the last two days. But the measures were good. My weight bottomed out at 213 pounds and would not go below that, notwithstanding good dietary adherence and almost daily moderate exercise.

My Day 14 blood pressure was 109/70. I failed to capture it on Day 13, but it has been trending lower throughout the challenge. That is a fantastically good BP by clinical standards.

I have decided to continue on a vegan diet for at least another fortnight, since the results of the first fortnight were generally good, and it is clinically shown to be one of the best weight loss and health-promoting diets. For this second run, I will probably record just before and after measurements, not daily. Deborah and I went to the grocery store after our gym workout today and stocked up. At the wellness expo we attended over the weekend, we scored a handy-dandy veggie peeler that does both thin and julienne slicing. I made some great hash browned potatoes with it last night. It is good for harder root veggies, but I still prefer the spiralizer for making zucchini pasta, for example.

Anyway, we are stocked up on animal free foods. I scored some vegan cheese and some tofu-based noodles that I am going to experiment with. I have a goal to make some homemade veggie burgers.

KEYWORDS: lifestyle coach, best weight loss diet, vegan diet

1.22.2018

A Fortnight of Fitness: Day 12

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Deborah and I are in the home stretch of our fortnight of fitness, to follow a plant-based, whole food diet for two weeks and measure the health effects: objectively, weight and blood pressure; subjectively, mood and overall well-being.

I'll cut to the chase. My weight on the morning of Day 12 was 214 pounds. This was up a pound from Day 11, but it is important to note that my weight was 222 pounds when I began this fortnight-long challenge. My blood pressure on the evening of Day 12 was 118/70. My blood pressure has been variable during this challenge, but this is on the very low end of measured values. At its peak, my BP was around 130/80. I cannot say with certainty that the precision of the Walgreens brand home BP monitor that we are using allows me to call this change in BP statistically significant, but I am happy with the current numbers.

My mood has been generally good. I have some anxiety, but I believe this is due to starting my second challenging semester of graduate school tonight, and nothing to do with my lifestyle changes. Since returning from vacation a couple weeks ago, I have felt a little bit bored and unsatisfied with life, but this is because I have not had enough activities to focus my brain energy on and studying should remedy that. Additionally, January and February in Wisconsin are notoriously brutal months for getting outdoors, which enhances my mood. However, I will continue to track my mood and see. In February, I have February Album Writing Month to preoccupy my creativity through to March, when I hope my rock-n-roll band GUPPY EFFECT will start to play some shows again.