Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Weight Watchin' Vegan


Today's lunch box comes to you courtesy of my mom, Susan, the Weight Watchin' Vegan!

Shmoo's grandma switched to a plant-based diet two years ago exclusively for health reasons. It has certainly paid off: "My cholesterol has gone down, my blood pressure has gone down, my weight has gone down, but most importantly my arthritis has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared." The osteoarthritis in her knees and joints used to make her cry out in pain just walking up the steps to her door, and she was taking medication on a daily basis. I showed her some information from Dr. McDougall on diet and arthritis, and she decided to give it a try. "Now," she says, "my arthritis is practically gone. I'm never bothered by it."

Susan is also a member of Weight Watchers, which she says is easy to incorporate into a vegan diet. "The thing I like about Weight Watchers is I can eat anything I want to. I just have to count my points. And it's easier being vegan on Weight Watchers; you can eat more [than meat-eating Weight Watchers], and if your diet is already plant-based you're more familiar with healthy foods like vegetables and you know how to make them taste great."

Today her lunch features a big serving of Aztec Salad from Fat-Free & Easy(3 points), made with black beans, corn, fresh tomatoes, sweet peppers, and red onion. On the side are some tortilla chips (2 points), salsa (free!), an apple (1 point), and a ridiculously high-in-fiber Banana Walnut Gnu Bar (2 points). "That's a lot of food for 8 points!" she tells me.

Oh yes, and let me introduce you bento fiends to the lunch box: Susan packs her lunch in a Lunch on the Go container she found cheap at Bed Bath & Beyond. It's spiffy: two small lidded containers and a flat ice pack fit just so inside a larger container. With the coupon she had it came to about $7.00 -- proof that "you don't have to spend a fortune to pack a stylish lunch." That's right, Mom's an excellent tightwad. I wish I had inherited that, but I got the cooking genes instead.

Thanks, Mom!

33 comments:

Lunch Boxer said...

I just bought the same lunchbox at BB&B (sans coupon, don't tell my mother!) and have been packing schmoo-inspired lunches all week. I don't know if I'm eating better, but at least I'm trying. I've been experimenting with recipes from your cookbook and so far the results have been delicious. Thank you for putting together such a thoughtful and inspiring blog!

Mia said...

Your mother is an inspiration. I like her lunch.

OshinkoTickle said...

My mom and my mother-in-law would definately stand to benefit greatly from going vegan but I know I don't have a prayer of getting them to give up meat and dairy. *sigh*

Alexis said...

I saw that lunchbox at BB&B and thought of you! But it's too small for most people I know.

Claudia said...

That's terrific -- I hope your mom starts her own blog, because I'm sure a lot of people would love to hear more about her experiences doing Weight Watchers as a vegan.

SweetGeorge said...

I just got that lunch box this weekend adn love it!

Autumn said...

awesome. i count points on weight watchers as well and am also vegan. helps with that rollercoaster ten pounds. go moms!

Ellen said...

I also am a Lifetime WW member. It is so much easier for me, I think, because most of my meals are FF or high in fiber. That's awesome that your mom is vegan too! I wish my mom would just consider vegetarian!

Kristin said...

The Fit & Fresh containers are excellent. I was lucky and found mine at the Goodwill in Cambridge, MA.

Roxy said...

Like some other people's above comments, I too wish my mom (and dad) would go vegan or vegetarian. There's still hope!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I was lucky and found mine at the Goodwill in Cambridge, MA.

Ooh, my mom would have loved that even more. She's a thrift shopping expert.

bazu said...

Wow- good food and thrift- what a perfect combination! You are so lucky to have a mom who is into cooking and eating well as much as you. My husband has just decided that he can't eat lunches in the cafeteria any more and we are about to become lunch packers. I'll look into this lunch on the go container- thanks for the tip!

.letting go said...

ooh! A weight watchers vegan, like me!

I laugh at my own status as a fat vegan... statistically I'm nearly impossible.

I love being a WW vegan though, the other ladies always lean in on my recipe suggestions. I know how to make vegetables sing.
I am... the kale-whisperer...!

NightOwl said...

OMG! I can't believe it! I thought I was the only fat vegan alive! This is so great, to know that I'm not alone. I have hypothyroidism and insulin resistance, both things that make you fat. So, I need to work extra-extra hard to lose weight. Thank you for this post Jennifer. You have no idea how much better it's made me feel.

Judy said...

Yay for Weight Watchers! I am following the program too, and it has struck me before how easy it would be to stay vegan or veg while on WW. And your mom is right, that is a lot of food for 8 points!

Samantha said...

Hi Jennifer,

Boy, between you and your mom I am ready for a cool lunchbox! My husband and I work at the same place, and we always pack a lunch. I'm not sure if he'll use a laptop lunchbox, so maybe I'll get one for me and your mom's lunchbox for him. :)

I made your magic loaf last night with lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, almonds and a few other veggies. Thank you for the great recipe creator. I can't wait to try another version. And that's what I have for lunch today... I am hungry just thinking about it.

Take care!

Samantha

lacatella said...

thanks for the diet and arthritis article. i read that chef matthew mckenney said his arthritis seemed to disappear after switching to a raw mostly vegan diet. maybe getting rid of dairy is the main thing. i have eliminated milk but cheese is the hard thing. one son loves it. only soy versions that were palatable for my family turned out to contain milk protein.(soy moon-now out of business and lisanetti mozzarella)
we will try your nacho cheese dip recipe as soon as i fix the blender!

abrimmer said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into everything. You certainly are an inspiration!

My husband bought 2 Lunch on the Go boxes (1 to use and 1 for the dishwasher). He decided it was time for him to eat healthier too instead of always eating prepackaged mac & cheese and twinkies!! By the way I can't wait to try your twinkie recipe!!! I found the pan set! he will be ecstatic!

Anyway, to Alexis who thought the Lunch on the Go box was too small for most people...my husband is a big guy, 215 lbs. and he said the box was a great investment. He said it holds enough food to keep him satisfied all day long.

Take care and I can't wait to read more!!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Jennifer - just wanted to say that my own mother went through the same transformation - or at least a very similar one! She became vegetarian this past summer, and lost a ton of weight (of course, she was exercising, too!), and lowered her cholesterol greatly. I am so proud of her!

Liz said...

I wish my mother would follow your mom's lead. I love the fact that your mother packs a lunchbox! I have that same Fit & Fresh container and I like it for food that comes in larger portions, that don't fit well in the Laptop (like salads). I do find that the gel pack melts quickly and won't really keep food cold for too long, so I usually stick it in the fridge when I take it to work. The same company makes a salad container, a veggie & dip container and a soup & salad container. I also have the soup & salad but it doesn't really keep the hot food hot and the cold section warms up, because there's only a pathetically small ice ring to fit in it. And my ice ring leaked the first time I used it.

Susan said...

Ditto on the arthritis- I gave up dairy with my daughter last May and never even realized that the aching in my knees and feet was arthritis until it went away. I'm only 39 and would groan and whince when my feet hit the floor in the morning. I credit the dairy and even got my mother to give it up. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that your website was one of the ones that has changed many things in my life and I found you by accident. I was looking for a dairy free cupcake recipe and left a (almost) vegan!!!

Scott Hughes said...

I'm not in weight watchers, but I plan on using healthy recipes such as the one above.

Thanks,
Scott Hughes
Vegan Discussion Forums

Susan said...

I have that container, too, and I love it! I love that I can take multiple things, like applesauce with cinnamon, or soy yogurt with berries. I think it holds a lot of food, but I do bring a piece of fruit or something on the side a lot. I am trying to lose weight, too, so anything that helps me bring healthy, low-fat food is good!

Ellen said...

Jennifer, does your mom find the Gnu bars at a store or does she order them online? Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage don't carry them (my local health food stores). Just curious. Thanks!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Jennifer, does your mom find the Gnu bars at a store or does she order them online?

Unfortunately we have to mail order them for now. But you can do a search for stores in your area that might carry them by putting in your zip code in the search box at the bottom of this page:

http://www.gnufoods.com/about.cfm

If no one has them, you can also download and print a product request form from their website and give it to your local store managers. We're turning one in to our local Fred Meyer grocery store.

DDawnC said...

A Weight Watching vegan- how cool! I'm a WW myself, and it's so true that people who have a plant-based diet have an easier time working both of the current food plans (Flex and Core). Bravo, Grandma Schmoo!

the thirtieth year said...

does your mom have a vegan weight watchin blog yet? :)

jaz said...

I absolutely love your Vegan Lunch box ideas. I have been a vegetarian for 4 months now and I love to healthy, clean, guilt free lifestyle. Unfortunately my school does not always serve the healthiest meals. So to subsidizes my school's unhealthy menu I pack my own lunch. And now that I read your tips I am sure to have a very healthy meal each day. Thanks again.

mj said...

Question about the Gnu bar?

I came up with a different point amount for the Gnu bar?!? Maybe I'm calculating wrong. But I got .4 points...using

130 calories
3 fat grams
12g fiber

Jennifershmoo said...

I don't know much about Weight Watchers, but we got the point info from the Gnu company. Here is a quote from their press release:

"each Gnu Bar has only 130 calories and is 2 Weight Watchers® POINTS®"

http://www.pr.com/press-release/4631

red said...

thank you



sohbet
muhabbet
mirc
sevgi

Treehugger_31 said...

Lol. You guys aren't the only fat vegans out there! Sometimes I get embarrassed when I tell people I'm vegan b/c it's always followed by the "look". My mom and sister both dropped a ton of weight when they went vegan (my mom went from 220 to 120 within 2 years). I lost 5 pounds..still holding steady at 175! I'm joining WW this month though so we will see if that helps! Thanks..it's good to know I'm not the only one. :)

Jennifer said...

HeHe... I have this F+F lunch box, am obsessed with GNU bars and my name is Jennifer too! (I'm not vegan however- good choices other wise.)