Vegetarian Week 2K10 – The Tracker

December 12, 2010

So… I’ll be keeping track each day of what this whole week will be like – I’m sure it’s gonna be interesting for me to say the least.  Check back each day to get an update as to how my previous day was.


I wake up, and I’m already 6 hours into my first day attempting to adhere to a vegan diet. I feel FANTASTIC… OK, so I was sleeping that whole time, but that’s irrelevant.  I still feel great.  I make my Basic Balance Smoothie for breakfast and throw in some Protein Powder (which apparently will become my BFF this week) and ‘Voila!’ – breakfast is done.  This is gonna be SO easy.  I mean, why didn’t I try this sooner!  I had a half of grapefruit in the middle of the morning as well and made it to lunch NO problem.

Lunch?  Equally as easy.  That’s because I already live off of Subway Veggie Delight sandwiches… why change?  Marta and Enis already know me.  It’s kinda like when a commuter goes to the same place for their morning cup of coffee… they see you and just start making it.  I’m like the Jared of Herndon.  Now that I’m typing it I’m not exactly sure if that’s a good thing, but hey… it is what it is!  So, now I’m done with breakfast AND lunch and still crusin’ through this so-called “challenge” I’m supposed to be participating in.  Pfft… I’m gonna ROCK this.

Then came what will be forever known when remembering this week as ‘The Text’.

I was just finishing up my sandwich when the phone goes off.  It’s Leah texting me.  It’s UFC 124 tonight which means we have plans.  I don’t know many people in the area that are into MMA like I am so, when a fight is on, Leah and her friend Brian (who trains MMA fighters) watch the fights at a local Hooters and I am lucky enough to get to join them as much as possible.

Hooters.  Tonight.  On a vegan diet.  Hmmm…. maybe I should have started this on Sunday instead of today.  So I hit up the ol’ Google machine and look up the menu.  If you ever want to know what would be considered vegan on the menu at Hooters, I’m here to tell you:

Garden Salad… without cheese.  That’s it.

I’m now TERRIFIED.  How in the HELL am I gonna do this?!?!  I call Leah and try to find some kind of ‘out’ so I don’t have to go… I really don’t think at this point I have the willpower to do this.  Doesn’t work, so I decide to eat dinner BEFORE we go and have some brown rice pasta along with my Mom’s homemade pasta sauce.

We meet up later on, get to Hooters, sit down and order drinks.  I have a Jack Daniels, which is fact vegan-friendly as I learned from this FANTASTIC site.  I need to do SOMETHING to cut the anxiety I have built up.  How in the heck do real, full-time vegetarians do this?!?!  Now, she comes to take our food orders.  French Fries, Fried Chicken Cobb Salad, Cheesecake.  I order nothing.  As everyone is waiting for their food, a plate of 50 wings walks by us… and my head is pulled towards their scent like Anne Hathaway just breezed by me instead.  My stomach starts to growl.  I order more water.  The fights haven’t even started yet and I’m already trying to leave.  I destroy my Jack Daniels, but instead of ordering more I just loaded up on water.  The fights FINALLY start… and they were my saving grace, because once they started I had something to focus on other than all the delicious food (and the creepy French guy eyeing up the young men in the bar as they walked by him… Oui oui!)

I did it… but barely.  I made it out of there in 1 piece – and sticking to my Veggie Week plan – but not without a small consequence.  My anxiety really worked overtime while I was there, so by the time I put my head on the pillow I was wired and staring at the ceiling.

If I’m gonna function for the next 6 days I am REALLY gonna have to figure out a better way to handle situations like this.  Let’s see what Football Sunday Funday brings…


Sunday Funday… and I wake up at 9:15a.  For those of you that know me, I will give you a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor.  For those that don’t know me intimately, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret – I wake up early… EVERY DAY.  And I’m talking like 5a – 6a, including weekends.  If it’s after 6a and I get up I feel like I just wasted my entire day… and no, I’m not exaggerating.  Due to my anxiety from last night I didn’t crash until around 4a… next thing I knew?  9:15a!

So I finally get up after wasting the entire day (:^)…) and the day itself is completely uneventful in regards to Veggie Week.  Originally I worried that going out to watch the Giants/ Vikings game was going to be an issue for me, but then THIS happened so now I won’t have to worry about that until tomorrow night.  Phew!

(NOTE – if you haven’t seen video of the Metrodome collapsing yet… it’s worth the click – check it out!)

I did the same things for breakfast and lunch that I did yesterday.  Now, just so everyone knows – I am a complete creature of habit.  When I’m NOT doing this I generally have the same things for breakfast and lunch, so the only difference between Veggie Week and every other week is the items I’m eating, not the fact that I’m eating the same things.  For dinner I just sauteed some veggies.  After dinner I got out of the house for a little bit and was eventually surrounded by the largest bacon cheeseburger known to man – prepared this way for someone who’s getting their wisdom teeth taken out Monday and will be unable to partake in such delicacies for a few days – but actually handled the temptation quite well… partially due to sheer willpower, but mostly due to the speed in which it disappeared off the plate.  🙂

Off to Monday… and my first attempt at a new recipe for dinner – before I go out for the game!  I will share with you what that is when (and if) it happens!


First work day in Veggie Week 2K10 and it went alright… but I need to start eating some different things!  Even by my bland standards I am starting to be bored.  I decided that, instead of trying to make dinner due to work constraints (and the early start to the Giants game which I was going out for) I was going to find someone to make it for me…


Well, if you didn’t already know this – it’s HARD to find vegetarian take-out.  You really – REALLY – need to search high and low to find something that adequately works.  I, once again, settled.  I ordered steamed veggies from the chinese place, and at this point I my first bit of regret is creeping in about doing this whole thing in the first place.

My frustration is, without a doubt, coming from the fact that I know it’s over in a week.  Sounds crazy, but for me there’s “a light at the end of the tunnel” – and it shouldn’t be viewed like that at all.  I’ve said it before about this whole process – it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet.  And I definitely didn’t go into this week with that mentality… it was more of ‘let’s get through 7 days, have some fun and learn some things!’  But, with no sense of permanence it’s without a doubt become more of a struggle than I anticipated.

I went out for – and made it through – the Giants game after dinner with flying colors… while the process itself is getting harder, being around foods I normally crave is getting easier.  I definitely credit the Protein Powder for that, because if I had those cravings I don’t think I’d be so strong-willed.  I’m hittin’ the half-way point tomorrow, and it feels like when I run my 5K’s… that first mile I feel great, I always feel awesome in that last mile but that middle mile or so is just THE WORST.  Here’s hoping that that the half-way point in THIS race is easier!


So as of noon today I was exactly 1/2 way through this challenge and I really just need to figure out ways to kinda spice up what I am eating.  I re-posted this blog right at noon (the exact half-way point) and received some fantastic advice.  Jimmy (aka ‘Boy Crazy’… no joke – he was one of the featured cards in the early 2000’s Boy Crazy girls trading card game) was one of the servers at my, dare I say legendary, Carlos O’Kellys karaoke shows back in the day and also, for the last 6 years, a vegetarian.  This guy also does ultra-marathons and endurance events, so he is the epitome of healthy living.  He sent me a message mentioning “fake” beef and chicken and how he loves the stuff and makes all the normal stuff you can with real beef and chicken and just uses that… like burritos!

 Uhhh… I’m sorry, did you say FAKE BEEF AND CHICKEN?!?!

Not gonna lie – I did my due diligence in researching food options for this week (I had no idea bean curd and tofu were the same!), but this was the first time I had heard about “fake” meat of any kind.  There is no doubt this will be what’s for dinner on Thursday.  And who knows… maybe this week would have been a little easier if I had only known that this existed?!?!  I also found out that Guinness is apparently not that terrible for you (Thanks Court!) so guess who’s gonna be tryin’ the old ‘edible beer’ sometime before Saturday?  This guy!

As for the actual day itself… I made it through.  Not good or bad, just kinda happened.  Only slight issue were the amazing wings at my friends new karaoke show that I went out to support.  They smelled AMAZING, and will probably make it out there sometime for dinner next week – when I’m back on the bird :).  For now?  4 days down, 3 to go.


As is customary this time of year, it’s Holiday Party time!  Complete with carving station, fried deliciousness… and a veggie tray.  I am honestly amazed at the lack of effort people put into offering vegetarian ‘alternatives’ when there are functions such as this.  Vegetarian isn’t Chinese for “one that eats like rabbit” – there really are a lot of fantastic options that can be put out that are not only vegetarian friendly but everyone would actually enjoy (avocado rolls, anyone?).  Granted, if I wasn’t doing this little challenge, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the vast buffet of treats that were offered.  🙂

At this point in the challenge the comfort level is starting to kick in and, although I am absolutely CRAVING Red Rock Canyon Grill Rotisserie Chicken, I am doing extremely well watching what I eat during the day when I am either home or out and about… no temptation to sneak anything in whatsoever.  And even at the party I didn’t feel any pull to have to eat – even the veggies actually – and made it through once again with no issues.

I can see the finish line!  🙂


Most Boring.  Day.  Ever.  Literally did absolutely nothing worth noting.  I was extremely bust with work today and ate terribly – but stayed on track.  I barely had no breakfast… veggie delight for lunch… salad for dinner.  That’s it.  I just forgot about eating… completely distracted.  Oh well… every day can’t be perfect and full of protein!  Tomorrow is Day 7 – weigh-in day and another party to attend.  Weigh in will be interesting – curious to see how much I lost by doing this.  We’ll find out tomorrow!


Weigh-in this morning… 2 lbs on the dot.  Not gonna lie; going into this I expected a nice spike to my weight loss – 4-6 lbs possibly to really jump-start the ol’ system again.  I mean, I was eating salads!  But I learned over the course of the week that simply wasn’t going to be the case and that I probably was going to end up losing what I have been averaging over the course of the last month and a half, which is 1.5 – 2 lbs.  Mission accomplished.  And I could have EASILY have gained weight this week had I not corrected a few things early on (I will be posting a summary blog on Monday with details on what I learned this week) but overall I am happy to continue to lose weight at a moderate pace and not in an unhealthy way… you know, like last time.

Ironically – TODAY was the day that was the hardest for me, and it was because of what it symbolizes.  My weigh-in day has always also been my ‘reward day’ – if I go and have a positive weigh-in, I eat what I want (within reason) for the remainder of the day while still monitoring my points.  This wasn’t going to happen now because no matter how much I enjoy those Boca Burgers, I really wouldn’t mind grabbing myself a Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s right about now.  Instead, I head RIGHT over to Subway and get the usual (by the way, my Subway shares a parking lot with a Popeye’s and a McDonald’s… I mean SERIOUSLY?!?!) and head to my office 🙂 as quickly as possible.  This afternoon is another holiday party… Go-Karting and Cheesecake Factory!

Let me tell you one quick thing about the Go-Karting.  We did this as a team at work about 2 years ago, and I weighed at the time close to 350 lbs.  These cars are very low to the ground and, as you can imagine, the amount of weight in the car directly relates to the speed that the car generates.  Two years ago, my friend had to help me in and out of the car because it’s so low.  I’m serious – in order for me to do this I had to have that happen in front of my co-workers.  Also, I was SLOW… real slow.  When we would hit the straight-aways, my car would go “………vvvvvvrrrrrrrroooooooommmmmmmMMMMM” while everyone else’s sounded like “VVVVVVVVVRRRRRROOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!” – in other words – they tended to pick up speed a little better when someone 150 lbs was driving instead of when someone 350 lbs was.

This time?  Different story.  I nimbly popped in and out of my sleek ride – OK OK… that’s a SLIGHT exaggeration.  I was able to easily get in and out of the car on my own without any issue whatsoever and, more impressively to me, was also able to post the 4th fastest lap time of the day!  This was, in part, due to the decreased weight disadvantage I now have – but mostly due to my slick yellow firesuit and the deft driving ability I possess.  Cheesecake Factory afterwards was nice and, although they actually had many different options that I could have indulged in, I just wasn’t hungry!

Fast forward to right now.  12:30a on Saturday… Day 8.  I’m going to bed after successfully completing my Vegetarian Week Challenge – completely vegan.  I am happy that I did this, and have really learned a lot about what being a vegetarian/ vegan really means.  This blog is LONG enough… As I stated earlier, I am going to write a blog summing up what I learned, some thank you’s, etc. in the next few days.  For now – and against my best friend’s advice which, 10 minutes ago when I told him Veggie Week was over, was ‘now go eat a steak’ – I need some sleep.  I have a feeling I know what I’m gonna be dreaming about too…

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