I Tried It: Veganism

Today we’ll take a look at veganism. Vegan and vegetarian eating is usually more about environmental and animal welfare than weight loss, and true vegans abstain not only from animal foods, but all animals products including leather and suede. Animal free diets have seen big surgence in popularity lately, particularly on college campuses.
Kelly-Rose Hargrove is a 21-year-old college student who has dabbled in the vegan lifestyle.

Why did you decide to try veganism?

I was already a vegetarian and just got really tuned into the many ways animals are still oppressed, even if you stop eating meat. They are horribly treated throughout their wholes lives and major meat industries don’t care at all about the quality of milk, eggs, meat, etc.; they only care about profit. Research the documentary “earthlings” and you will see, in detail, the five ways animals are oppressed.

What was the most difficult part of being a vegan?

The most difficult part of being a vegan was accessibility. It can be hard to find things, even in grocery stores, that are 100% vegan. Especially when going out to eat, even some soup would have chicken broth in it, bread usually has diary. You would have to go to specialized stores to find vegan food that actually tastes good.

How long were you vegan? Why did you stop?

I was a vegan for 6 months. I stopped because I didn’t do enough research on how to remain healthy and started feeling very weak. It was also hard because I was in situations where I couldn’t cook for myself so I was stuck ordering a lot of starch heavy foods when out with friends.

Did you notice an bodily changes as the result of your vegan diet?

I lost weight from being a vegan, but like I said, I felt weak at lot of the time. You really should make sure to have vitamin B supplements for protein and stay away from starch heavy food if trying veganism.

Would you recommend veganism to others?

I would absolutely recommend veganism to others, however; I would advise them to research it and get recipes and food ideas before starting. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel guilted into doing it either, so do it for yourself, or if you decide, do it for the animals!

Have you ever tried a vegan or vegetarian diet?


I Tried It: Cabbage Soup

Today we’ll take a look at The Cabbage Soup Diet. While sounds self explanatory, its actually a lot more involved (than simply eating soup. This extreme diet lasts only seven days. Due to the drastically reduced calorie intake, it is not advised one attempt it any longer. Dieters are only allowed to eat certain, very specific combinations of foods on certain days, and of course plenty of cabbage soup.

Randal Coursey is a 21-year-old college student who tried the diet last spring.

What did you find to be the most difficult part of the diet?

I’ve attempted many diets and didn’t find the cabbage soup too hard. The most difficult day had to be the bananas and skim milk. Even though you can resort to the soup for a little variety, the bananas and milk just were not cutting it!

Did you see results? How long did they take to achieve?

I unfortunately did not have a working scale so I don’t know exactly how many pounds I lost, but I definitely saw some minor results within the week.

Did you exercise in addition to the diet?

I did the diet last year and can’t remember if I worked out for all 7 days of diet, but do believe I went to the gym a few of the days.

What happened when you went off of the diet?

When I went off the diet, I ate like I normally would (which is healthy for the most part) and I gained whatever weight I lost back.

How did you feel about the experience overall? Would you recommend the diet to others?

I wouldn’t oppose the diet, just because it’s only 7 days and worth a shot. It’s pretty low on calories, but you eat lots of fruits, veggies and lean protien, so I don’t feel like it’s that unhealthy for a short period of time.

Have you or anyone you know tried extreme calorie restriction for weight loss?

I Tried It: South Beach

Keeping with the theme of restrictive eating, I’m going to do a few posts about people’s first hand dieting experiences. To kick it off, I’ll take a look at The South Beach Diet, and ask a few questions to a former dieter.

First, a recap:

“Phase One lasts two weeks, and excludes most carbohydrates, including all fruit, most dairy products, and most sources of saturated fat. Phase Two lasts until the dieter has completed weight loss. Phase Three is maintenance. Carbohydrate is progressively added after the first phase. As dieters proceed through the phases, they add more carbohydrate, focusing on foods with a low glycemic index. All the while they are monitoring their weight and staying at a carb level where they are still losing. At Phase Three, individuals are eating at a carb level which allows them to maintain their weight, though they are encouraged to go back and forth between phases as needed.”

Sarah Nelson is a 23-year-old college student who gave the South Beach Diet a try with her mother a few years ago.

What did you find to be the most difficult part of the diet?

Getting through phase 1 is difficult. You don’t eat any carbs or sugars, including fruit! I had headaches here and there, and my energy was down, but it was my body readjusting, and by the third week, you don’t crave those things anymore and you function normally.

Did you see results? How long did it take you to achieve them?

I definitely saw results, maybe after the first month, my clothes weren’t as tight and my spirit and energy levels were up. I felt really good about myself, which, I think, is the most important part of a diet.

Did you exercise in addition to the diet?

I did exercise while I was on the diet. My mom joined Curves, and I thought I’d come along and try it out. I even got one of my good friends to come with me. It was fun. I’d also take my dog walking more regularly and taking mini-day hikes in an aboretum.
What happened when you went off the diet?

College happened, and I had to figure out meals on my own since my mom wasn’t buying groceries for me anymore. I did gain back weight, but I kept exercising and I never went back to the tight-clothes feeling. I just feel bleg most of the time because I’m not eating as well as I did.

How did you feel about your experience overall? Would you recommend the diet to others?

I was happy with it. It can be pretty expensive and inconvenient. But hopefully, when I’m no longer in school I can make a better routine for myself. I would recommend it to others, and I’m pretty sure I have in the past. I should really get back on it. If anything it teaches you how to make better choices in what you eat and how you can sustain that healthy eating throughout your life.

What do you guys think about low carb diets? Have you ever tried the South Beach Diet or one similar?

Food Combining?

I’m a really big fan of balanced meals, you know, a fruit, a veggie, some protien, and carbs. Apparently I might have it all wrong. Have you ever heard of food combining?

Growing up my mom would mention it from time to time. “Oh no I can’t have that, I’m combining.” She swears by it.

I’m a pretty darn healthy eater, but summer is rapidly approaching and I’m getting a little nervous about it. So at my mother’s recommendation, I’m going to give this combining business a try, but first I need to figure out what the heck it actually means.

The basic idea is that by eating certain combinations of foods, and certain foods entirely on their own, your body will digest them optimally, keeping your the ph in your body properly alligned and therefore promoting weight loss. Sounds good. It also sounds complicated. Here is the basic gist.

The Nine Basic Rules of Proper Food Combining:

1. Eat acids and starches at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch digestion and the result is fermentation and indigestion. 

2. Eat protein foods and carbohydrate foods at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.

3. Eat but one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion. Undigested protein putrefies in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Eat fats and proteins at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.

6. Eat sugars (fruits) and proteins at separate meals.

7. Eat sugars (fruits) and starchy foods at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods that require digestion in the stomach. 

8. Eat melons alone. They combine with almost no other food.

9. Desert the desserts. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols and vinegars and acetic acids.

It seems a little extreme as a lifestyle (I’m not really sure I could live the rest of my life without peanut butter and banana sandwiches) but it I think I could handle it for a week. I’m not above doing some weird stuff to lose a few pounds, as long as it’s healthy, so if I have to eat cottage cheese and canteloupes separately for a little while, why the heck not?

Have you ever heard of/tried food combining? How did it go for you?

Bike to Work Day


He's got the right idea.

The 13th annual Bike To Work Day will be observed on May Friday May, 21st. The event, sponsored by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, is national but has 13 stations in the Baltimore area.

Participants who pre-register will recieve a shirt, snack pack, and the chance to enter rallies at the sites. Of course you can still participate without registering, but swag is always a nice incentive.

The goal of the event is raising awareness for all the benefits of biking, both health and environmental, particularly the way car exhaust sullies the air quality in the warmer months.

Unfortunately biking isn’t always an option for a lot of people, especially in work clothes, but wouldn’t the world be great if we did?

I rode a bike to the grocery store the other day and it was so great. I put my my food in a back pack and everything, it was awesome. I think sometimes grown people forget that biking and walking are options sometimes.

I hadn’t heard of this event before, but I’m really excited about it. My job is no where near biking distance to my house, so I obviously won’t be participating, but I hope that everyone who can does. Come on, you can get a free shirt out of it. Click here for all the info. Here is another cool site  about bike commuting also.

Do you guys ever ride bikes? Do you do it for fun, exercise, or practicality?

A Hidden Treasure

Lets be honest, Harford Road isn’t the most charming spot in Charm City. Particularly as you head into the city, it seems like the last place you’d be likely to find a neighborhood restaurant oozing with ambience, that also happens to be a paradise for foodies/responsible omnivores.

Well think again, and do yourself a favor by heading over to The Hamilton Tavern.

Unassuming yet incredible

Located at 5517 Harford Rd., the tavern features a small, but mighty menu. Each dish is prepared using the highest quality local and seasonal ingredients, making the menu fun and ever changing. Nightly Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30 and 10-close, offer a selection of local beers as well.

Each night of the week features a different special like fried chicken or steak, but I don’t see how anything could be better than Monday. Burger night.

The Crosstown Burger, is by no means your average cheeseburger. Made with organic beef from Roseda farm, the gourmet sandwich is leagues away from a Double Down. Did I mention you can add bacon or a fried egg for a dollar each? Its two dollars well spent. Or that as part of the burger special you get hand cut fries and your choice of draft beer?And don’t even think about passing up dessert (also local and ever changing.)

If you’re looking for some indulgent comfort food, that also happens to be whole, real food served up in the most cozy of environments, The Hamilton Tavern is the first place to head.

Have you ever been there? What’s your favorite place to eat in Baltimore?

Pardon My Rant

Have you heard about the KFC Double Down? I’m sure you have, as its been quite the center of controversy, and the subject of a lot of internet articles. If you haven’t been enlightened to this meat-tastic creation, feast your eyes: 

A sandwich without bread. God Bless America.

A lot of people have been ripping into KFC,(Michael Pollan mentioned it in his lecture) condeming them for releasing this outragous concoction. I was a little bit outraged too at first, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I actually respect the Double Down. That’s right, I respect it because it’s not trying to be something it isn’t. It knows just how outrageous it is, and its not making appologies for it. Its not trying to disguise itself as healthy. Why should it? Its fast food afterall. 

So I read this article last night about how the controversial Double D may actually have a better nutritional profile than some fast food salads. Imagine that. I started to think about all the people thinking they’re doing their body a big favor by ordering a cobb salad and a Diet Coke, and I got heated. 

Belittling much, Sonic?

Here’s the bottom line people, fast food is terrible for you. Some is worse than others, but its all bad. Food shouldn’t be fast, or a dollar, or eaten in a car. If you’re trying to keep your health/weight/morals in line, just avoid it entirely. 

Whether its a Double Down, or a grilled chicken salad, its going to be full of sodium, artifical ingredients, factory farmed meat, and not to mentioned its probably being served up by a surly teenager. Anyway you look at it, its just no good.  

Some fast food places have made strides to target the health conscious through campaigns suggesting choosing their offerings is a smart decision. How considerate. Please don’t allow yourself to believe that these companies actually care about your health when we all know they only care about one thing. 

While I subscribe to the notion of “everything in moderation” I also tend to believe that if you’re going to get knee deep, you might as well jump in. If fast food is your thing, go all out (every once in a while) but don’t kid yourself by thinking anything offered by a fast food place is actually nourishing food worthy of being put in your body on a regular basis (or at all.) 

Like I said before, there is a such thing as lesser evil when it comes to fast food, but its all evil.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on her…