What to do after a bad weekend

After this weekend, I should be ashamed to post on this website.  I ate way too much, and when I say way too much I mean non-vegan.  I find that it’s almost impossible to eat too much of plant-based, whole foods.  My body responds to those foods with satisfaction and satiation in a way that I never experienced on an omnivorous diet.  Now I also realize that the gross, fat, sluggish, gassy feeling that I felt for most of my life and associated with being overweight or hormonal could have actually been because of my food.

Every now and then, I need to be reminded of why I was drawn to the vegan lifestyle in the first place.  The prospect of not eating cheese and of having to wash and chop vegetables again leaves me yearning for a regular old pizza or some sour cream and cheese-smothered Mexican.  When that happens, I’ll wander.  Invariably, I’ll come back.  This weekend was one of those times.

I started with pizza, moved on to McDonald’s fries and coffee and chocolate chip cookies and rounded out the weekend with chicken quesadillas and cupcakes.  Sunday night I went to bed not proud of myself.  At 2 am, my body decided to share with me just how badly I had abused it.  It wasn’t pretty.  The next morning I declared to my children that we were going to be more diligent.  I had let things slide, and I was ready to pull things back together.  They must have shared my yuckiness because they agreed and seemed excited once more.

So, how do you recover from an epic fail?  Where do you start when your fridge is full of meaty, processed food?

  1.  Stop and think.  What does eating vegan and being fit look like to you?  I literally have to close my eyes and get a mental picture of myself in my kitchen.  I fill in details like what I’m doing, what I’m wearing, who is with me, and how I feel to make the image as clear and instructive as possible.  Today that image had me fixing vegan Mexican so that my family could sit down and eat a hot meal on a weeknight.  Right now, it’s too cold for salads and fruit (only citrus is in season), but I could whip up vegan tacos, burritos, or spicy vegetable soup.
  2. Organize your kitchen.  You probably have a few ingredients you’ve forgotten you have.  For instance, I have a can of lentil soup in the pantry that will make a great, quick lunch. I also have plenty of dried beans that I’ve gotten so used to seeing that I quit thinking of them as food and see them more as decoration for the inside of my cabinet.  I’ve got frozen fruit in the freezer I could probably use for something and a few root vegetables that I had lost my enthusiasm for.
  3. Go back to your old favorites.  Spaghetti with whole wheat noodles, tomato sauce and veggie protein is a family favorite.  I can never go wrong with that.  Baked potatoes with sautéed peppers and onions are the same way.  If I’ve lost my zeal for experimentation I fall back on my old stand-bys.
  4. Get shopping.  Don’t expect yourself to have all the answers.  Go to a good healthy store like Earth Fare or Whole Foods and pick up some short cuts.  Lately, the absence of cheese has really got me down.  Also, I want to make cookies but all my family recipes call for eggs.  I’m going to the market this week and buying a vegan cheese substitute for sprinkling on those healthy Mexican dishes and an egg substitute to use in baking.  (I don’t even know if that exists, but I’ll try.)
  5. Anytime you start to waver, remember that first mental image.  Add to it if you need to.  I’m going to change mine to include some Christmas baking and some German wine.  I’m also going to add music and my husband, eventually.  In another couple of weeks, I’ll swap out the old favorites for a new recipe that I’ve put together myself.  And, if all goes well, I’ll have to drop 5 pounds off the image so that it reflects all the good choices I’ve made.
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