Monthly Archives: January 2012


We are going through an incredible amount of produce right now (makes me happy!), so I need to head-off to the store at some point today to buy more bananas.  On Monday or Tuesday (can’t remember) I bought 3 huge bunches of bananas and we only have 2 individual bananas left!

It is hard to believe that we are already on day 4 of the cleanse.  I am noticing that my skin looks smoother and more moisturized.  I am also taking on more of the natural “tan” look that comes with eating this way (Thank you carrots and peppers!).  I always know that I am getting in enough beta carotene when someone asks me if I just got back from vacation.

If you are following along on the cleanse how have you been feeling???  I’d love to hear from you.


  • 6:30 am – Tall glass of water
  • 7:30 am – Fruit salad just like I had yesterday morning (banana, pear, apple, pomegranate seeds, cinnamon)
  • 8:00 am – Per my husband’s request I just cooked up an even bigger batch of Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry…that stuff is seriously good!  Didn’t eat any yet since I wasn’t hungry.
  • 9:00 am – Another banana
  • 10:45 am – Elliptical for 50 minutes
  • 12:00 pm – HUGE salad (pictured above) with romaine, iceberg, seaweed salad, roasted cauliflower, roasted broccoli, grape tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, and lite rice wine vinegar.  The salad was huge as I mentioned, so I was full after eating a little over half of it.
  • 1:45 pm – Finished the rest of the salad and snacked on a little watermelon.
  • 3:00 pm – Made a smoothie of frozen strawberries, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, apple, and some water for my husband, son, daughter and her friend…took a few sips equaling probably about 1/2 cup.
  • 3:20 pm – Snacked on some more watermelon.
  • 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm – Sipped on 24 ounces cold water with a scoop of NanoGreens
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner was a small baked potato (hubby was begging for one) topped with fresh bruschetta, roasted cauliflower on the side, and a small bowl of Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry
  • 7:00 pm – Chocolate banana pudding made in the Vitamix.  Made with a sweet potato, fresh banana, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and 3 frozen bananas.  I AM SO FULL RIGHT NOW!!!  I am quite sure this will be it for me for the night…can’t imagine eating any more!

Today I struggled a bit with cravings from 3pm until dinner.  When you do a cleanse like this you don’t experience the same kind of FULL that you experience when you eat a plant-based diet that is supplemented with grains, beans, and nuts.  But knowing that makes getting through it easier.

Enjoy the rest of your evening!

To read Jeff’s food log for Day 4 click HERE.



Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, Food Journal, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

VIDEO – How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

At the beginning of the year I spent some time thinking about where I want to take Veggie Grettie and setting some goals.  One of my goals was to make video available on the site…done!

The video from this past Sunday’s Doug Lisle presentation of How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind is now available on the Forks Over Knives YouTube channel.

To read my recap of the presentation click HERE.



Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Heart Health, Junk Food, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues


Last night after posting my food log I hit my first wall.  It was a mini wall, but a wall nonetheless.  About an hour after eating my bowl of berries I started craving THESE crunchy lightly salted crackers…I love those things.  But, after repeating the mantra, “This too shall pass” a few times in my head, it did pass and I didn’t give into the craving.

So, let’s get to my food log for day 3.


  • 7:oo am – Large glass of water
  • 8:30 am – Bowl of sliced Fuji apple, sliced pear, a sliced banana, and pomegranate seeds.  I then dusted the bowl of fruit with Saigon cinnamon (pictured above).
  • 9:30 am – 10:30am – Pilates reformer class
  • 10:30 am – a quart bag filled to the brim with baby carrots, sliced red and orange bell peppers, and celery
  • 12:45 pm – Big Disneyland-sized spear of pineapple
  • 1:00 pm – A serving of the stir-fry I made yesterday (click HERE for details)
  • 2:15 pm – Already hungry again, so making a chocolate mint smoothie (water, 1/2 sweet potato, 1/2 of a zucchini, handful of spinach, handful of fresh mint, cocoa powder, vanilla creme stevia, small frozen banana, ice…about half the size of the smoothie I made yesterday).
  • 4:45 pm – Snacked on some nori and had 24 ounces of cold water with one scoop of NanoGreens.
  • 6:15 pm – A bowl of veggie soup (click HERE for details) and two small ears of roasted corn sprinkled with Chile con Limon.
  • 8:30 pm – Planning on having a bowl of raspberries, blueberries, and sliced banana.  If I get hungry afterward I plan on having some herbal tea.

I am off to get my kiddos ready for bed.  I am feeling really good and have not been experiencing any big cravings today.


Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, Food Journal, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues


Below you will find my food log for Day 2 of the cleanse…


  • 7:30 am – Woke-up and read a little in bed (Reading a book to review for you).  Tuesdays my hubby wakes-up with the kids, so this is my time to sleep-in a bit more and do a little work.
  • 8:30 am – Ate a big bowl of watermelon
  • 9:00 am –  Made a stir fry* to keep in the fridge so my husband would have something to quickly grab for lunch

*  Used a bag of frozen asian vegetables, half a bag of frozen sliced shitake mushrooms, 1/2 an inion thinly sliced, 3 bags of Shirataki fettuccini noodles, some tamari, and some Sriracha sauce.  I am guestimating that this will probably be enough for 3 single meals. 

  • 9:45 am – grabbed a handful of grapes and then headed-off to do 40 minutes of cardio on the recumbent bike.
  • 11:25 – grabbed a banana to eat on the way to my hair appt. and also brought along a quart bag FULL of veggies (red and orange peppers, celery, baby carrots, tomatoes).
  • 11:45 am – ate half the bag of veggies
  • 12:30 pm – ate the other half
  • 1:00 pm – STARVING, but still at my appointment.
  • After my appointment I ran to the store to buy more bananas (going through them like crazy in this house) and some fresh basil…can’t wait to eat.
  • 2:00 pm – Bliss!  Eating a Chocolate Banana Freeze (too thick to be called a smoothie, more like soft-serve ice cream).  I made it with about 2/3 cup water, one of the sweet potatoes I prepared yesterday (without the skin…I ate that while making the smoothie), a zucchini, huge handful of spinach, some cocoa powder, a little vanilla creme stevia, 2 small frozen bananas, and a BIG handful of ice.  It made about 24 ounces.
  • 3:45 – 5:00 pm –  Sipped on 24 ounces cold water mixed with one scoop of NanoGreens.
  • 6:30 pm – Bowl of seaweed salad with butter lettuce and lite rice wine vinegar,  as well as bowl of the Shirataki noodle stir-fry I made in the morning.
  • 8:00 pm –  I plan on having a bowl of berries with cinnamon after I put the kids to bed.

Still feeling great!  I didn;t do a very good job of planning when I went to get my hair done and should have brought more food with me, but that Chocolate Banana Freeze did a great job of filling me up when I got home.

Have a great evening!

Click HERE to read Jeff’s food log for day 2


Filed under Uncategorized


Today was day one of the fruit and veggie cleanse my husband and I are doing together (click HERE for details).  Here is my journal entry for the day…

Today can be summed-up in one word…PREP!  Today I am getting everything prepped and ready for the week so all I have to do is go into the fridge and grab what I need (I also want to make this as easy as possible for my husband).


  • 7:00 am – 2/3 cup heirloom strawberries (I would have eaten more, but was busy getting the kids fed and ready for school)
  • 9:00 am – 1/2 cup grapes and a banana
  • 9:30-10:30 am – pilates (tough class…awesome!)
  • 11:00 am – 24 ounce carrot/apple juice (mostly carrot with a little apple)
  • 11:30 am – went shopping to stock-up for the week

  • 12:40 pm – While cooking-up a storm* I am eating a salad made with a bed of butter lettuce, 1/2 a cucumber, and a HUGE handful of seaweed salad from Costco (how awesome is it that my Costco carries this now!).  Dressed it up with some lite rice wine vinegar and extra crushed red chili.

*I have a GINORMOUS pot of veggie soup going on the stove**, I am steaming sweet potatoes (click HERE to see how I prepare them…scroll down under the ingredient list and you will see a note about how I cook them), and I have broccoli and cauliflower roasting in the oven (click HERE to see how I roast them) while at the same time prepping corn to be lightly steamed and then roasted.  Note – the veggies should be prepared without oil and then roasted).

**Made the soup with 2 cups each (carrot, celery, onion), a 24 oz. jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (fill it up again with water and add that to the soup as well),  32 ounces low-sodium veggie broth, 8 oz. bag Harvest Sensations kale, 10 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms, and dried basil (I went to the garden to get fresh and it is all gone).  I did not add any salt because I don’t plan on using any and it really doesn’t need it.

  • 1:30 pm – 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2:oo pm – 1 cup grapes
  • 3:00 pm – snacked on some roasted cauliflower and broccoli while putting it away
  • 3:30 pm – snacked on some watermelon while prepping it for snacks
  • 4:40 pm – Asian Pear Crisps (by Brothers All Natural)
  • 6:00 pm – bowl of vegetable soup, ear of corn, roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • 8:45 pm – bowl of blueberries, raspberries, and a sliced banana

So how do I feel?  AWESOME!  Today was one of those non-stop days and I really do feel great (even after only sleeping 5 hours last night).  I know it sounds cliché, but I feel very clean inside right now and not hungry at all…I definitely did not go hungry today.


I ran into my friend Jeff (The Plant Eater) at the Doug Lisle event on Sunday and after mentioning the cleanse to him, he decided to do it along with us.  Click HERE to read about Jeff’s first day of the cleanse.


Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Education, Food Journal, Gluten Free, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


The event with Dr. Doug Lisle today was truly eye-opening.  I first heard Dr. Lisle speak when I was going through the process of getting my certification through Cornell and he was one of the Guest Professors.  His lecture on the Pleasure Trap was absolutely engaging and one of the most interesting and insightful lectures I had heard to date.  He presented that lecture again today and it was every bit as interesting the second time around.

Seeing as it is after midnight here as I type this (thus excuse any typos), I will give you the quick recap because I want you to have the information…it is that important.  Having this background information is KEY to understanding WHY our nation is experiencing unprecedented weight / health problems.  First and most importantly you need to understand this one piece of information:



Why is it that once you know what to do it is so hard to do?  Let’s get into some evolutionary psychology.

We run on instinct and all being’s instincts are to eat, survive, and reproduce (I think Dr. Lisle chose the right profession…he was not destined to be an artist, but I love the self-deprecating humor within which he shares his art!).

While each animal has their own nature, we all have the same Motivational Triad.  We are all hard-wired to unconsciously make decisions using this triad.  By nature we seek out pleasure, try to avoid pain, and attempt to do both by expending as little energy as possible (i.e. fish swim in schools to draft off one another and conserve energy).

The PLEASURE TRAP occurs when you take someone and put them into an environment they were not designed to handle.  FOOD is now the #1 pleasure trap.

The slide above lists the most popular foods at present time.  What do all of them have in common?  Sugar, fat, and salt…foods that we were DESIGNED to seek out.  These processed foods have a much higher caloric density than whole unrefined foods.  These calorically dense foods are much more attractive to us biologically because they support the Motivational Triad by giving us pleasure, quickly eliminating the natural anxiety that accompanies hunger, and by being so calorically dense they give us the biggest bang for our buck which supports our biological need to conserve energy.

Obviously we all know that junk food is not good for us, but another detrimental effect of eating junk food is that we quickly become addicted to it.  When we eat this food it definitely does trigger a pleasure response in our brain, however that pleasure response deafens with time and the same exact junk food does not taste as good to us as it originally did which makes us want/need a little bit more (i.e. During the holidays did you walk into a home with a fresh Xmas tree and notice how wonderful it smelled [stage II] and then notice that within 15 minutes you barely smelled it anymore [stage III]???  Your senses were dulled).

When it comes time to try and eliminate junk food aka the Evil Triad of fat, sugar, and salt from your diet, you are going to go through a painful withdrawal (stage IV)…whole unrefined foods are not going to taste very good to you initially since your senses were dulled.

Fortunately if you understand this process you can expect it and push through to stage V where your body has adjusted to the healthier food and truly likes it.

One of Dr. Lisle’s quotes was so powerful, “(When it comes to food) If you do the wrong thing it feels right and when you do the right thing (after having been doing the wrong thing) it feels wrong.”

Dr. Lisle did have a few suggestions to help you power through from stage IV to stage V:

  • Fast
  • Juice
  • Go to jail

When he jokingly refers to jail, he is referring to going to a center such as True North or Dr. McDougall’s Health and Medical Center in Santa Rosa.  These are medically supervised health centers that can really shock your systems into health in the most efficient ways.

All of the above three methods take your fat, salt, and sugar receptors offline and essentially resets them.


According to Dr. Lisle, there are only three species on the planet with weight problems:

1.  Dogs

2.  Cats

3.  Humans

It is troubling that all three of those species are primarily found within our homes and are fed by us.

Conversely, even in NATURE when food is abundant, animals still do not get fat.

Dr. Lisle made a point of debunking the slide above stating that weight problems are NOT because of psychological issues, but did emphasize that weight problems can CAUSE psychological issues.

Many people believe that we all got so heavy by eating large volumes of food, but Dr. Lisle basically broke it down to the fact that we are eating food that is too calorically dense (i.e. we could all easily eat four pieces of bread, but we could NOT as easily eat 4 cups of brown rice).

He believes that the leading cause of weight gain is oil.  Apples are 300 calories a pound.  Oil is 4000 calories a pound.  They did a study and gave women 500 calorie plates of pasta and vegetables.  There were two groups of women and both received the same plates of pasta and vegetables, however one of the groups had 300 calories of oil added to their plate for a total of 800 calories.  BOTH groups of women reported the same amount of fullness after the meals!  It was as if the oil went unnoticed!!!

Another interesting statistic is that between the ages of 20 and 40 women gain about 1 pound per year.  NOT by massively overeating, but by systematically eating a LITTLE too much (see example above).

It has been some time since the developed world has eaten food in its natural habitat.  We have been eating food that has been chewed by steel jaws (grain processed into flour) before it even gets into our mouths, processed oils instead of olives, and sugar instead of fruit.

The most powerful quote of the entire presentation in my opinion was this:

“If you are overweight you are eating foods that are too concentrated.  Simple as that.”

Eat an appropriately calorie dense diet of whole unprocessed food and your body will take you where you need to be…you do not need to try and consciously eat less.

In fact, trying to deprive yourself of the proper volume of food will lead you to problems in that your biology will kick in and push you to seek those calorically dense (fat, sugar, salt) foods that we need to avoid.  YOU MUST NOT GO HUNGRY or you will set yourself up for failure.

By eating less calorically dense food you are literally able to fill-up your stomach which will signal your brain that you are full and that your nutrient needs have been met.

There are strategies you can follow to assist yourself even further.  Dr. Lisle suggests you eat in the following order:

You don’t need to be perfect to overcome your weight problems.  Dr. Lisle coached a woman who was approx 350 pounds and the ONLY change she made was to have oatmeal for breakfast.  In one year she lost 70 pounds!!!

While our biology means that we will always have to look over our shoulders a little bit, knowing WHY and understanding WHY helps us conquer those issues in today’s modern world of excess.

I wished you were all able to be there today to hear Dr. Lisle speak live…he is much more dynamic and engaging than my recap can ever be.  Did any of you catch the Livestream of the lectures?  What did you think?

Gretchen , Julieanna Hever, Chef AJ (Joking as usual!), The Event Planner, Dr. Doug Lisle 

~I will post some of the Q and A from the event at a later date.  Valuable stuff!!!


Filed under Education, Events, Research, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues


I am willing to bet that nearly all of us overindulged over the past few months.  While I managed to make it through the holidays without gorging on sweets (like I did last year READ POST), I did eat food that was a bit more rich than usual and just plain ate MORE than usual.

I am convinced that one of the reasons I was able to have more self-control this year was because I completed a cleanse during the first two weeks of December before the holidays hit high gear.

A few months back my friend Sirica and I went to the Healthy Lifestyle Expo together and when she arrived she told me about a cleanse she did while her husband was out of town.  It was so pure in that she just ate fruits and vegetables.  I was drawn to the simplicity of this cleanse aka “reset and repair” as I like to refer to them.

So often I hear of cleanses that involve tons of supplements and very little food (trust me, I have done those too) and while I do think there is a time and a place for those types of cleanses (under a doctor’s care and for a specific reason), they make me really cranky and hungry.

So I took what I learned about the cleanse from Sirica and ran with it.  I set-out to do the cleanse for 7-14 days (not sure how long I wanted to do it) and ended-up completing 12 days.  Here were my parameters:

  • Consume ONLY fruits and vegetables (aim for at least 50% raw…I think I was closer to 70% raw).
  • Have the bulk of your intake be from water-based fruits and veggies, but be sure to include sweet potatoes and squash.
  • Drink water, tea, fresh vegetable juice, or fruit and veggie powder drinks (I drank NanoGreens once a day).
While I think it probably goes without saying based upon the outline above, I thought I would add some further clarification:
  • NO oil
  • NO grains
  • NO legumes
  • NO nuts
  • NO animal products
  • NO sugar
  • NO artificial sweeteners
  • NO processed foods

Like I said, I completed 12 days of this cleanse and came out of it 7 pounds lighter (all of which stayed off during the holidays) and most importantly I felt great and never once was I hungry!  I really, really, really (did I emphasize that enough), don’t like to be hungry, so this was perfect for me.

OK, this may be TMI, but prior to the cleanse I was not as “regular” with my bowel movements as I would have liked to be.  During the cleanse that all changed.  I feel like it RESET my digestive system and everything is as it should be now.

I want to allow my body to heal from the excess I experienced last month, so I will be doing this cleanse again starting tomorrow and my husband offered to do the cleanse with me too…yay!

Would it be helpful for you / would you be interested in me posting my food log next week as I go through the cleanse?  


Filed under Cleansing, Education, Gut Health, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues


The Food Network is airing a special called The Big Waste this Sunday (1/8) night and I am really psyched to check it out.  We have a HUGE problem in this country when it comes to wasted food.  The premise of the show is that two all-star teams comprised of famed chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli compete with only 48 hours on the clock, to create full-scale menus of the caliber people have come to expect from them, but the catch is that they can only use food that is destined for the landfill!

According to the Food Network:

“The chefs’ hunt takes them from grocery aisles to produce farms, and orchard lines to garbage piles, as they attempt to source enough ingredients to feed a gathering crowd.  Bobby and Michael square off against Anne and Alex, as they challenge their views of food waste and how and why it is created.”

While I am guessing the meals will include animal products, I really like the concept of the show and how it will highlight the waste problem in today’s world.

Tune in:

  • Jan 08, 2012  10:00 PM ET/PT
  • Jan 09, 2012  1:00 AM ET/PT
  • Jan 14, 2012  4:00 PM ET/PT

Please check it out and comment on either Facebook or in the comments section of this post…I would really enjoy having a dialogue with you about it.


Filed under Education, Events

COOKING WITH SIRICA – Barbecued Portobello Sandwiches

Another great recipe post from Sirica…

Even before my husband and I went vegan we avoided certain animal products, pork being at the top of that list.   So one of the dishes that I truly have missed is a pulled pork sandwich with lots of creamy coleslaw and pickles. A couple of months ago I was craving BBQ so I started working on this recipe and after a few attempts, it is perfectly delish and vegan!

2 portobello mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
½ white or yellow onion thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ – ¾ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Amy’s BBQ sauce, some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a little maple syrup)
2-3 sandwich buns Earth Balance butter spread

***Note: Since writing up this recipe, I have experimented with this dish and have added a handful of diced baby bela mushrooms (or crimini) to the mushroom onion mixture. Made a huge difference, much more meaty texture!

3 cups green cabbage shredded
1 cup red cabbage shredded
½ cup carrot shredded
1 Tbs. red onion diced
1 Tbs. red bell pepper diced (optional)
½ cup veganaise
½ tsp. of Dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. vinaigrette dressing (I like Girard’s light champagne dressing)
½ tsp. agave nectar or sweetener of choice (maple syrup would work also)
Salt & pepper to taste

Depending on your preference you can either remove the gills from the mushrooms or leave them. Stem and thinly slice mushrooms.

Thinly slice onion.

Sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil on medium for 10 minutes till tender. Pour out any excess moisture/water from pan before adding BBQ sauce.

Add sauce and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until thick. Be careful to add the sauce slowly, you can always add more later.

While mushroom onion mixture is simmering, prepare coleslaw. Combine Vegenaise, mustard, lemon juice, vinaigrette and sweetener of choice, adjust according to your liking. Toss dressing with cabbage, carrot, onion and bell pepper.

Toast buns under broiler for a minute or two then top with Earth Balance butter spread.

Assemble sandwich on plate with a good serving of mushroom mixture on bun topped with coleslaw. Serve with more coleslaw on the side with a few pickle slices.


For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Cooking With Sirica, Guest Blog, Kid Friendly, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian

DOUG LISLE EVENT – How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

One of the superstars of healthy living, Doug Lisle PdD, is coming to Los Angeles on January 8, 2012, and you can hear him!

The topic of this talk is “How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind.”  This is a presentation you absolutely want to hear, if you can attend (I will be there and would love to meet you).

Dr. Lisle is the psychologist for the McDougall Wellness Program as well as True North Health.  He is the co-author of the bestseller, The Pleasure Trap, and a highly entertaining speaker.

The event takes place from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday, January 8, at the South Bay Adventist Church in Redondo Beach, CA.  Food at the event is catered by Chef AJ.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit: or call 818-986-1325



Filed under Education, Events, General Vegan, Metabolic Syndrome, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues