Friday, March 18, 2011

30 Day Vegan - Week 2 Check In

I'm doing the 30 Day Vegan workshop, and each week there is a weekly check-in. Thought I'd do this as a way to keep track of my progress during the workshop.

Energy and Vitality

I seem to have a bit more energy this week than last week. Having Daylight Savings Time on Sunday has been great.  Instead of waking up between 3:30-4:00 a.m., now I'm waking up between 4:30-5:00 a.m. which is much better.  I'm trying to get to bed by 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. at the latest.  Although I may wake up a couple times during the night, it seems like I feel more well rested.

Chewing and Digestion

Not noticing anything different with chewing or digestion.


The only thing I was craving last week was hot chocolate.  I ended up getting some powdered milk, powdered chocolate, and powdered sugar to create a homemade mix.  So now I have my morning and (sometimes) nightly cups of cocoa which helps curb this craving.  Although this isn't a vegan beverage, it does have health benefits which are important considering I was diagnosed with macular degeneration last week.

Here's what I found about about hot chocolate: "Research completed in 2003 at Cornell University showed that hot chocolate contains more antioxidants per cup than red wine or tea and offers an even tastier way to get those high levels of antioxidants into your diet.

"Research has proven that antioxidants can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. In order to obtain the same amount of antioxidants that you will find in a cup of hot chocolate, you would have to drink two to three cups of green tea, or two glasses of wine. Drinking hot chocolate is a healthier choice for you than eating a similar amount of chocolate because of its lower amount of saturated fats.

"Those worried about high calories, fat or sugar content can rest assured, as it was proven that the antioxidants remained the same in drinks made with low or no-fat milk and sugar substitutes. The 'hot' part is important, as the heating of the beverage actually increases the level of antioxidants available."

Hair and Skin

After I washed my hair and let it air dry today, I noticed it was quite wavy.  I don't believe it has anything to do with eating healthier, but it was nice to see some natural curls in it. 

My skin continues to be clear.  I've been doing the pinch test on my hand for dehydration during the past week since I've been trying to drink more water each day.  It still takes a few seconds for the skin to return to its normal position after being held/pinched for three seconds.  I think I may need to drink more water...perhaps I'm still a bit dehydrated and not realize it.

Body Shape

Not noticing a difference.

Posture and Breathing

Need to work more on my posture.  My back isn't as strong as it could be.  Am coughing less this week than last week, and have not had to use my nebulizer (for asthma) which has been nice. 

Mood and Emotions

On Wednesday, I had a rather discouraging and sad day after spending it with my parents helping them.  My dad has Alzheimer's Disease and had a particularly difficult morning.  Spent four hours cleaning their home, cleaning the floors, and doing laundry.  It's hard to see my father's health continue to decline, and my mom still have trouble with pneumonia. 

The weather has been getting warmer and the snow melting a lot.  It's been wonderful seeing grass again and not having to walk on ice and snow.  This definitely was a mood lifter for the week.

The other thing that sustained and inspired me one day - and continues to lift my spirits - was seeing an eagle perched on the oak tree that is right next to the driveway.  The eagle sat in the tree for four hours.  It was amazing seeing an eagle that close for such an extended period of time.

Eagle in the oak tree by the driveway.

Relating to Others

Talked with other homeschooling moms a couple times this week - at the library as well as at the homeschool co-op that we use to belong to for several years.  It was nice to talk with others face-to-face, and catch up on what was happening in their lives. 

Most Nourishing Food

I had a quesadilla with fresh salsa and chips for dinner one night.  I had been eating cold dinners (e.g., green/tossed salads, pasta salad), so this was a welcome change. 

Special Person I Appreciate and Why

Last week, I chose my dad as the special person I appeciate.  This week, it's my mom.  She provided a comforting and safe home growing up; delicious homemade meals; and created special family traditions that I've continued with my daughters. 

She has supported my father through his journey with Alzheimer's Disease; and has tried keep the more challenging difficulties private.  However, now she has reached a point where the challenges exceed what she can handle, and she is having to learn to accept help as life continues to change around her. 

Mom Dad Sophia Olivia at Gooseberry Falls
My Mom and Dad with Sophia and Olivia
at Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota, in September 2010.

I am also very grateful because she has offered to help me pay for a major kitchen appliance that needs replacing in appreciation for all the help I've given to her and my dad.   

Biggest Challenge

As with last week, a lack of time to get everything done that I would like to do. This past week, Olivia had an appointment with an occupational therapist to assess her fine motor skills and sensory challenges; Sophia had her annual homeschooling testing; we visited/helped clean my parents home; and we continued taking care of the neighbor's dog three times each day. 

Each of these things took a major portion out of the morning/day, leaving less time for homeschooling, preparing 21 meals from scratch (no instant food!), taking care of the animals (domestic and horses), and household cleaning.

Greatest Accomplishment

Getting caught up with filing and getting all receipts/paperwork together for taxes as part of the Project Simplify challenge was a huge mood-lifter! It was definitely a way to take care of and focus on myself. More about the project and what I did is HERE.

Most Fun I Had

The girls and I filled the bird feeders and made squirrel buffets.  Within 5-10 minutes, the birds had found all the feeders and were flying all over the front- and backyards.  The squirrels found the feeders and would run and pick something from them and then run back to the woods or under a tree to eat the item they chose.  Watching the birds and squirrels gives me a lot of enjoyment. 

I Got Clear That I Really Want To

Start bicycling again as soon as it is a bit warmer. 

Other Thoughts

I've enjoyed trying a variety of vegan and vegetarian recipes this week - either provided by the 30 Day Vegan Workshop or ones that I've collected through the years and have wanted to try.  For the most part, they've been delicious. 

Other times, no one has liked them.  That's frustrating because then I'm looking at wasting food which I don't like to do.  Luckily, there were only three recipes - out of the many I tried this past week - that didn't turn out.  Still, I would rather try new things and experiment in the kitchen.  It's always nice to find new recipes that everyone loves and can't wait to have me make again!

Next Week I Plan To

During the upcoming week, I am going to continue trying new recipes.  There were quite a few provided this week as part of the 30 Day Vegan Workshop that look very good. 

I'm also working on a couple of simplifying projects:  Project Simplify. Also plan to do the 30 Days to Simplify Your Life that is HERE.

I still need to get my taxes to my accountant; get recommended vitamins for macular degeneration; and start growing some vegetable and herb seeds indoors.

For homeschooling, I want to put together a weekly schedule of what I want each of the girls to accomplish.  In this way, they can mark off what they finish, and can start working to complete some subjects for the school year. 

I have many more goals for the week that I write in my calendar.  When I've completed the task, then I highlight it.  Many years ago, when I worked at Aveda, that was one of the recommended ideas for goal setting/achievement: highlight what you've accomplished.  In that way, when you look at your list it is colorful and shows all the things you've done. It's more motivating (for some reason) than simply crossing off an item from a to-do list.


Fairy Tale Mama said...

I enjoyed reading your post. Very inspirational. I'm still taking vegetarian baby steps after reading Eating Animals. I did good today and didn't eat the bacon that I made the rest of the family. Bacon has to be my ultimate weakness :-)

Karen L R said...

Thanks for popping by to leave a comment. I lost my Dad to complications due to Alzheimer's. It is a difficult and long journey. My thoughts are with you and your family.