Buzzing Through Life

Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

On The Move!

Hey! Hey! I’ve been hard at work attempting to become a self-hosted site and the time has come. This blog is now moving to BananaBuzzbomb.com. Although I still have some work to do, it is now live and kicking. 

Please update your readers, favorites, subscriptions, or what have you. I hope you continue along on my journey!

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Will This Require A Name Change?

It’s been awhile since I’ve given any poo updates.  Yes, feces.  I haven’t posted an update because, well, there really hasn’t been one.  Following my colonoscopy that found no abnormalities I went 100% low fat raw vegan.  The first few days were grand.  Defecating just like I had been early on in my adventure into living a LFRV life.  However, within several days that quickly came to an end.  My stool wasn’t moving as regularly as it should, bad gas, and thin stools….again.

Source

I’ve been having some serious heart to heart talks with myself in regards to this for the past several months.  Alas, I believe it is time for this leg in my journey of life to end.  After 2 years it is with sadness that I will walk away from trying to live a 100% LFRV lifestyle.  I can hear the arguments on both sides of the coin…especially those that doubted the lifestyle to begin with.  All I can say is don’t knock it til you try it.  I’m an advocate for finding the lifestyle that fits you and your body.  What works for me won’t necessarily work for you.  And vice versa.  I truly believe this is a lifestyle that many people can/will thrive on….even myself.  It’s been proven to be successful for me, but something has recently changed.

I will admit that I was much more loyal to the lifestyle early on, however I repeatedly gave it a go (100%) most recently only to be met with issues.  Advocates for this diet recommend 3000+ calories a day and not limiting your calories.  In other words eat all of the raw fruits and veggies you want.  Of course there are more specific guidelines, which I’m not going to go into, but I will say I followed those guidelines.  Once again, it worked….in the beginning.  I thrived greatly.  But something has changed.  I’m retaining my feces for far too long, have wicked gas, and am gaining weight like I never have.  I’d be lying to say that weight isn’t a concern.  Chances are this may be water weight, but it’s still a concern.  After coming off of weighing myself day in and day out prior to following this lifestyle, I haven’t weighed myself regularly in a long time.  I did so today only to find that I’ve gained a significant amount of weight recently.  Nothing on the lines of obese, but significant and I take note of that.  I knew this just in my body structure and the way my clothing fits.  The most important thing though, I don’t feel like I’m thriving any longer. And as I head toward my biggest training and racing season to date (still small by some standards) it’s most important that I’m healthy and thriving. 

Although I’m going to step away from the LFRV lifestyle, so many ideas have been invaluable, and there are many things/ideas that I’m taking with me and will continue to do. For instance, the ideas of simplifying your life and eating whole foods.  There’s so much more I’m taking with me, but I’d be here for a while if I wrote them all down.  Heck, remember, it’s through this part of my life journey that I had the guts to quit my job and move on!

As my blog states, we are ever-changing.  This is just another leg in my lifelong journey.

Source

A few questions people will ask, I’m sure.  “What about living shampoo/product free? Will you continue to do so?” Yes, I’ve been shampoo/product free for 7+ months.  It will be interesting to see how my hair does being away from LFRV.  It is my hope to continue caring for my hygiene in the same way I have been. 

I’m sure many people will also ask, “Well, what about veganism? Are you staying vegan?”  Yes, that’s a non-negotiable issue.  I’m vegan for health issues, but more importantly, it’s a moral issue for me.  This will not change.  Also, I am not closing the door to the idea of living a low fat raw vegan lifestyle.  There may be a time when I revisit the idea.

“What about my nickname ‘Banana Buzzbomb’?  Will this change?”   ‘Buzzbomb’ is for sure staying. As for ‘Banana’? Dunno yet.  I have been told by many people that when they think/see a banana, they do think of me.  It’s kind of my trademark. And I can’t just be plain ol’ Buzzbomb since I’m looking to purchase my own domain and Buzzbomb.com is already taken. 

What are your thoughts on my nickname?  Should I drop “Banana”?  If so,  what word should replace it?

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

Quickie Holiday Recap

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable holiday season, no matter what/how you celebrate.  I have a few blog posts in the mix but figured I’d acknowledge the holiday weekend with a quickie post. 

Good times were had.  Gifts were exchanged.  I received some goodies to add to Sparky, my triathlon bike. 

I also received new running shoes and had to take the obligatory picture of me taking a whiff of the new shoe smell.

I’m lucky in that my family not only understands and accepts me being vegan, but also thinks of me when it comes to holiday food.  For instance, my MIL made a fantastic rice pilaf.

One of my favorites, roasted veggies.

And even finished up with peanut butter and chocolate “Buckeye Bars”.

Yep, ALL vegan.  Obviously I didn’t eat 100% raw through the weekend, but I’m okay with that.  I appreciate the willingness of my MIL to take the time to research and make something special to make sure that I’m included. 

Enjoy this last week of 2011!

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

Party Potatoes

Something you won’t see very much on my blog is cooking or recipes.  I don’t like to cook, so it’s no surprise that I eat 95% (if not more) raw. Of course that’s not the only reason, but must admit that it does have something to do with it.  With all of that being said, I’m posting a recipe today!  Please note, I definitely lump this dish into the comfort food category and wouldn’t consider it healthy.

For years my mom has made a dish we’ve called Party Potatoes for darn near any family gathering.  Basically it’s a casserole-like dish of potatoes. D has loved them from the get go. I must admit I was never a fan, but then again I think that’s mostly because I just never tried them.  A few years I gave them a try and they were YUMMY!  Upon going vegetarian my mom tweaked the recipe to make it lacto-ovo compliant.  Since going vegan I just pass on the potatoes since they contain dairy products. 

Recently party potatoes sounded good and I wanted to do something nice for D by making him something yummy that he loved.  As you can guess, this doesn’t happen too often.  Remember, I’m a horrible cook.  Most people say, “Since you’re vegan what do you feed D?”  My answer: Nothing. D and I work opposite shifts.  He’s responsible for what he eats. I’m responsible for what I eat.  No, I may not sound like Heidi Homemaker.  Give me a break, I do what I can.  Although D has dabbled in vegetarian/vegan lifestyle he still eats meat.  If and when the time comes, when I make a dish for D, it’s got to be vegan and he’s cool with it.  Unfortunately, oftentimes my dishes don’t work out how I have planned.  I don’t blame this on them being vegan, but my lack of cooking ability. (Although I can make a kick butt chocolate cake….blog post for a later date). So, I gave veganized Party Potatoes a whirl.  I apologize for my lack of photos.  This is my first recipe/food post and of course it wasn’t until it was in the oven that I thought about taking photos.  Whoops! Here’s my result:

The verdict?  Winner!!  Very, very yummy and I got lots o’ “Mmmms” from both D and my MIL. 

Want to try them out?  Here’s the regular recipe with my veganized changes in parentheses.

Party Potatoes

1 bag frozen cubed hashbrowns (NOT O’Brien)

1 can cream of chicken or cream of celery condensed soup (Neither are vegan – I used this recipe minus the poultry flavoring or celery)

1.5 c. grated cheddar cheese (Daiya)

16 oz. sour cream (Tofutti sour cream 12 oz – I used 1 and ¼ containers)

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ c. minced onion – used 2 white onions – each approximately 1.5″ in size

1 stick of butter (Willow Run Soybean Margarine)

2 ¾ c. crushed Corn Flakes (more or less depending on taste)

Mix potatoes, condensed soup, cheese, salt, pepper, onion in bowl.  Once mixed, spread into casserole dish.  Top entire mixture with crushed Corn Flakes and drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Note: Upon research I found that as of 2011 Kelloggs Corn Flakes are no longer vegan as they are produced with lanolin-based Vitamin D3.  I chose to use an off-brand cereal and cannot say if it is truly vegan.  

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

You Can Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle Through The Holidays

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through the holiday season can present it’s challenges. As I go through the holiday season this is how I’m maintaining my lifestyle and keeping sanity. I’ve also thrown in a few tips to help you too!

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

Colonoscopy Follow-Up

I wanted to give you a quick update on my GI situation. Shortly after my blog post on the topic I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. For those who follow me on twitter, you were kept abreast of my colonoscopy preparations. Ha! Everyone warned me that the preparation would be the worst. Thankfully, and honestly, I can say it wasn’t that bad. I was able to use a preparation kit that I only had to drink two 16 oz cups. Much better than the the other option of the 1 gallon solution. My doctor’s office had a free sample of the solution I used and they graciously offered it to me. Otherwise, chances our my insurance wouldn’t have covered it and I would’ve had to use the gallon deal. Whew! I really wasn’t all that hungry either. I attribute that to my usual diet, which so often consists of smoothies. I’m used to drinking a lot of fluids too, so my body still felt “full” with all of the liquid I was drinking.

The actual colonoscopy went well too. Nothing all that exciting. However, everything was normal. Not that I wanted anything to be wrong, but I was hoping to have an answer. So, once again, what to do now? If I understand correctly, I am to go back to the specialist in two weeks. I’m figuring at that time we’ll be able to discuss a gameplan. In the meantime it is my goal to stay as low fat raw vegan as I can.

For the past 2 days my bowels have been more regular. Hmmm. Of course that makes me thrilled, but still doesn’t explain anything. Not that I’ve ever advocated colon cleanses or anything, but it does make me wondering…did I just needed to be cleared out??

As always, I’ll continue with updates as they come.

Side Note: I’m amazed at how high functioninh I was after the procedure. Especially given I was still heavily sedated. I VAGUELY remember waking up, eating toast and drinking juice, then getting dressed and being taken to the car. I don’t remember the car ride. When I got home I proceeded to make vegan mac and cheeze and made a VLOG (see my last post). I even uploaded the video. Yeeeeaaahhhh. Obviously that happened, because I have proof, but I was definitely in another world. Ha! Kind of scary….but funny!

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

Poop Problems

This post is dealing about feces and defecation.  Some may be grossed out about discussion of this topic.  Obviously, from a previous post, you can tell I’m not.  I believe one’s feces can tell a lot about their health and body.  I often post about my low fat raw vegan journey on here.  This is just another part of that journey.  If you don’t want to read anymore…stop here.

Since going raw defecating was real easy.  I’d go many times a day, it’d only take as long as urinating, and I’d be on my way.  Fast, easy, smooth, and clean. Unfortunately, those days are gone. What?!

Let’s go back a bit.  I’m on a supplement called potassium citrate for my kidney stones.  Unfortunately my body doesn’t make enough citrates to inhibit the formation of calcium oxalate stones.  I’d been on the tablet form of the supplement 3 times daily for approximately 2 years (this past spring), when I noticed I was defecating out entire non-dissolved pills.  In other words my body was not absorbing them.  I made a quick call to my urologist and he changed my prescription.  I was put on the crystal form of the supplement…same dose, 3 times daily, added to water. That’s when I started to have issues defecating.  I was becoming severely bloated.  Although I wasn’t constipated I wasn’t defecating enough for what I was putting in.  My feces was pencil thin. I had no idea what the issue was…kidney stone complications?  Endometriosis complications?

I made an appointment with my obgyn and found that more than likely it wasn’t endo related and he recommended probiotics.  I went directly to the health store and not only purchased probiotics but enzymes too.  I began to take them and things seemed to get a little better, but not perfect. I wasn’t happy, but thought it’d get better with time.

Next, it was time to check the pH level of the urine to see if the potassium citrate was doing its job.  We found that I needed to seriously back off of the supplement….down to once a day. (Hmmm, so maybe my body really wasn’t absorbing the pills, hence why I was taking them 3 times a day in order to normalize my citrates…). My hope was with backing down on the potassium citrate, I’d go back to normal.  Nope.

At that point in time I was not 100% raw and I began to eat even more cooked foods.  I was hoping that maybe cooked food would help move things along.  I was also beginning to question if my body all of the sudden had decided to object all of the fruits and veggies I was eating.

Most recently, I am back to almost 100% raw.  Again, I was hoping by going back raw that things would work themselves out.  No such luck.  Although the fruits and veggies should provide enough fiber I’ve even added a fiber supplement.  I’ve even removed all potassium citrate, other medications/supplements. Still no better.  I don’t weigh myself, but can’t help but realize how bloated my belly is.  Before I would eat and defecate within 20 minutes.  Now, I’m lucky if I go once a day.  I know this is normal for some. Not me.

So what do I do?  I spent this morning at the doctor’s office.  He agreed with me that a colonscopy is in order. I am now waiting to hear from the specialist in order to schedule the procedure. 

My fear?  They won’t understand my lifestyle and their sole “treatment” would be to change it to a standard American diet.  Not an option.  Although I’d be willing to go away from raw, I will always stay vegan. However, I think my experimentation shows cooked food didn’t help me.  I’m sure many will say, “See, you’re eating too many bananas!” Ah, but I truly don’t believe that to be the problem.  Why was I doing so well previously?

I can’t help but think that noticing I wasn’t absorbing the pills was a sign of something that I overlooked, and everything else is just a coincidence .

Of course I had to do my own research on what this could be….

Rectal polyps, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease are the most likely that are listed.  People that drink alcohol, eat processed meats, eat high fat foods, and don’t exercise are more likely to have polyps/cancer.  None of those apply to me. But then again, polyps run in my family. As for cancer, I’d like to think that at my age I wouldn’t have it, but you never know. And IBD, well that would just be a pain in the butt.

Never a dull moment, but I guess it’s all part of my journey…hence why I’m documenting it here.  My body has never gone by the rules previously, what makes now any different?

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)

Inventory Management

Living  a low fat raw vegan lifestyle you think would be easy.  In actuality, it’s not that difficult.  However, there is one major challenge….inventory management.  What’s this you say?  Making sure you have enough ripe fruit at the right time.  Not too much, not too little. It’s definitely a fine art.  Let me explain a bit…

When eating LFRV your fruit should be RIPE.  For instance, bananas should be banana bread ripeness.  Same goes for other fruits.  You want the sugars to be at their simplest form for your body.  As fruit ripens complex sugars become simple sugars.  Make sense? The thing is, chances are you won’t find perfectly ripened, ready to eat  fruit at the store unless you can get your hands on the clearance fruit they’re ready to toss.  It takes time to ripen after you’ve bought it.

At the same time, you need A LOT of fruit to eat. As I’ve stated in previous posts I can eat 30+ bananas a day.  If you don’t have enough ripe fruit it’s easy to fall off of the LFRV bandwagon.  It won’t be the end of the world, but trust me, your body won’t appreciate it after having been raw. I always try to keep dates available just in case.

Each fruit is different how it ripens.  For instance, citrus fruits do not ripen off of the vine and grapes are usually ready to eat when purchased, so managing other fruits inventory may be a little easier.  Once again, I tend to deal with fruits that need to ripen though.  It’s easiest to show how I manage my fruit inventory by showing my bananas.  Basically, this is my set up…..

Told ya I eat a lot of bananas

Thankfully, I work a very small side job at a grocery store, which allows me to grab fruit multiple times a week while I’m there.  This also helps me score the real ripe fruit they have on clearance oftentimes.  Yes!  So I try to grab a bag o’ bananas/fruit, if not more, everytime I go to the store.  This allows me to have a different range of ripeness in my fruit.

In addition to the bananas in the picture I also have cookie sheets in our freezer loaded with bananas.  I prefer some frozen bananas in my smoothies or for treats and add bananas to the freezer as needed.  In addition, if bananas become too ripe, I “save” them by peeling and putting them in the freezer for later use.

The different seasons in Ohio present another challenge when it comes to ripening too.  As you can probably tell from the picture, I store my bananas in a little cellar/pantry area located just as you go down to our basement. This keeps them out of the way.  Although it’s never real hot or cold in this area, there is a temperature change depending on the season, which affects the bananas and how fast they ripen.  In the summer I purchase my bananas as green as I can (not the real green ones that never ripen though) and still fight fruit flies throughout the season.  When it comes to winter I try to buy the ripest I can find at the store.  I also keep them store in bags, as you can tell by the picture, to expedite the ripening process.

I’m not perfect at managing my fruit inventory, but after 2 years of transitioning to LFRV I am getting better.

I Don’t Get Sick

I don’t get sick. Other than my random endometriosis and kidney stones issues, which I’ve learned to deal with, I stay quite healthy. Unfortunately, for the past 2 weeks I wasn’t “right”. It’s the hardest thing to explain to people. I didn’t necessarily feel sick, but I didn’t feel 100%. I’d been thoroughly exhausted to the point of not being able to move. The only thing I can compare it to was when I had mono back in high school. I knew I needed/wanted to do something but didn’t physically have the energy to get it done. In the meantime I had nausea, had a little appetite, and when I did eat I could only eat small amounts. My “sickness” then started producing flu-like aches, then a cough. All the while, I still didn’t feel sick, just off.

Although I woke up feeling a tad better yesterday morning, I finally broke down and made a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t think antibiotics were needed, but I did feel that my issue needed to be addressed. Was this mono? What this an issue having to do with my B12 deficiency? Am I just crazy? The bottom line, with such little energy I was unable to exercise. That’s a deal breaker on many levels!

After quickly being poked, prodded, and asked a multitude of questions I received my tentative diagnosis: my B12 and iron deficiency compromised my immune system, allowing some sort of virus to take hold, and now I’m on the mend. It’s quite ironic that I found out last week that I am B12 deficient. The good thing, I guess, is that I found out I was deficient after I started have signs/symptoms…meaning I’m not psychosomatic. Thankfully I’ve been supplementing B12 for just under a week. My doctor also talked to me about supplementing with iron so I added in an additional supplement.

I must admit, I’ve always been hesitant to be a supplement taker or pill popper. I just not a fan of putting thing into myself that may not be necessary, hence why I’ve never supplemented prior. As I stated in my last post, I knew that supplementing would be highly likely due to my diet and activity level at some point. With that being said, I now have a baseline to work off of, and it’s obvious that it is time to do some supplementing.

So what’s my gameplan? B12 recommendations (depending on what you read and what type of B12 you take) are 25-100 mcg once daily or 1000 mcg 2-3 times per week. Since I’m already deficient and consider myself a raw vegan (meaning I have little intake of “fortified” foods) I’ll start by taking 2000 mcg sublingual methylcobalamin B12 once daily for 2 weeks, then back down to 1000mcg once daily. I’ll also be taking 25 mg ferrous fumarate (iron) once daily. Next, I’m going to take a few more days of rest to allow my body to recuperate from this virus (which is the hardest thing for me to do!). Lastly, after 3 months I will have my blood work rechecked to see how well I’m absorbing/supplementing. As with many things everyone’s body reacts/absorbs differently so I will check my values and adjust accordingly.

Now, if I could just be blessed with a bit more patience before getting back to pounding the pavement. -_-

Blood Work Results – Fall 2011

Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones and then later in the year had a laparascopy to diagnose endometriosis.  Needless to say 2009 was a rough year.  I have stayed on top of my disorders, especially through diet, and for the most part have been able to keep my symptoms at bay.  The unfortunate issue is the disorders rear their ugly heads randomly and it’s often hard to discern what disorder is causing the pain.  I can guarantee I will discuss these disorders in the future, however, in the meantime, check out my previous blog to read on about my process of diagnosis and treatment of both disorders.

Due to my history I have bloodwork and urine collection performed every 6-12 months.  This past collection I also had bloodwork performed to see if I was having any issues in regards to my vegan diet.  I had my testing performed in late August and received the results within the past several weeks.

Urine results: In the past it was shown I do not produce enough citrates, which are known to inhibit calcium oxalate stone formation.  Due to that, I am currently on potassium citrate supplement to raise my citrates.  With that being said, my citrates looked great.  The bad?  My oxalates are now high, which is a first.  Given my diet is plant/fruit based, this is no big surprise.  If I wanted to reduce my oxalates I would reduce my plant intake and up my animal-based food intake.  Another option is to watch the types of foods that have higher/lower oxalates.  I will be choosing the latter. Thankfully, my doctor fully understands and supports my views on animal-cruelty/diet.  He believes that given my fluid intake/output is high (I target drinking 3 liters of water a day) and my uric acid, citric acid, and calcium are within normal limits, I should be able to keep everything in check.  Basically, there’s nothing the oxalates can bind to, to call for further stone formation.  In addition, the citrates should inhibit formation. It is known that I have more stones located in my kidneys.  These are only visible on CAT scan…not radiographs.  This may sound like a good thing, but this was the case with my first stone, which presented a big problem.  My fingers are crossed that my proactive approach will prevent further stone formation and if/when the known stones dislodge, they will pass easily.

Bloodwork results: For the most part everything checked out fine. However, my iron and B12 levels were low.  I did not have any outward signs of B12 deficiency, but I have already started supplementing for B12 with sublingual tablets.  My plan is to take 2,000 mcg once daily for 2 weeks and then back off as directed.  I’m still in the process of researching iron supplementation. 

I’m sure most everyone will say, “You’re deficient because you’re vegan.” Ah, not so fast.  Surprisingly, B12 deficiency isn’t a vegan/vegetarian specific problem.  For humans the problem isn’t that people don’t eat B12, it’s that we oftentimes do not absorb it. So, if a random person is tested, there’s a good chance they may be deficient. 

Since I was never tested for B12 prior to becoming veg 3+ years ago I don’t know if I was deficient.  Something that is known: if I wasn’t deficient prior to my lifestyle change, I only had so many reserves before it came time for me to supplement. So I knew supplementation would be coming.  Yes, in hindsight I think it would have been better to supplement from the get go, but as with so many things hindsight is 20/20. Living the vegan lifestyle has been a huge learning experience so it’s no surprise that I’ll have “mistakes” along the way.

I absolutely love when my doctors discuss my lifestyle.  The look on their faces is priceless.  They are so impressed.  “Wait, you don’t eat fast food?” “You only eat fruits and veggies?” “You run everyday?” “You’ve signed up you a Half-Ironman??” And when they say, “Would you like to sit in my lobby and tell every one of my patients that walks in, ‘This is how it’s done’?” I take that as the highest compliment.  I may not have been blessed with the best body or health, but I try my best to maintain the healthiest lifestyle I can attain.

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