Tosca Reno


Monday, May 21, 2012

Junk Food Vegetarian

Gina Racioppo, today's Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook guest blogger, shares her story of recovering from junk food vegetarianism. It's a problem that plagues many new/uneducated vegetarians. We discuss it in the cookbook, but please take a moment to read how Gina gave up the junk. 
Gina gave up junk for peppers and more!
I became a vegetarian when I was 13 or 14.  I don't really know what motivated my choice.  It might have been curiosity or teenage rebellion; I'm not sure.  There were a few things that I missed (hello, chicken nuggets!), but overall, the transition was an easy one. This was the early 1990s.  I lived in a suburban area, and I was the only vegetarian I knew.  And I had no idea what I was doing.

When I left home to attend university, I was away from my mom's well-stocked crisper drawer and fruit bowl.  I became a junk-food vegetarian who subsisted on bagels, french fries, cup o' noodles... all of which are meatless, and technically, vegetarian. By the time I graduated, I weighed 200 pounds.

With the weight gain came the reappearance of chronic stomach problems that had plagued me when I was a teenager, leaving me in constant pain. I eventually managed to lose some of the weight through extreme calorie cutting, but still relied heavily on processed foods. I was taking prescription medication for my stomach, but still felt lousy.

About four years ago, a friend and I decided to train for a fitness competition.  I became an avid reader of Oxygen magazine, and it was here that I first learned of Tosca Reno's Eat-Clean Diet. 23 years later, I finally get it! I am no longer competing, but I have continued to follow Tosca's principles of Eating Clean to maintain a nutritionally-sound vegetarian diet  centred around fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, tofu, and unrefined grains.

My clean vegetarian diet is a very important part of my lifestyle.  Eating this way gives me energy to fuel my workouts, allows me to maintain my 65-pound weight loss, and best of all, helps to keep my stomach problems to a minimum.

I enjoy the challenge of cooking interesting, clean vegetarian meals for my (non-vegetarian) husband, and sharing delicious, health-giving foods with friends and family.


  1. I never thought I would be a vegetarian but since I received Tosca latest cook book I am so impressed. I have always loved veggies and these receipes are so wonderful, wholesome and taste fantastic I have not missed meat at all. I have been cooking from this book for about three weeks and I have lost 2 kilos. I have been trying to shed my last 5 kilos for 4 years and it just would not come off. I have always eaten clean and trained hard but this last 5 kilos were sticking like glue. This change is just what my body needed. It is a challenge to find the ingrediants here in the UK but that makes it all the more fun. So, not only am I losing the weight I wanted to lose I am having fun too. Thank you Tosca, again! When is the next cookbook out!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this and think you make great points! I am new to all this but so often I think ' hey I can have that it's Vegan'--but I also need to be a healthy Vegan, so thank you! I have lost over 90 pounds Eating Clean, so changing to this lifestyle does not mean ' a free for all'! :)

    Congrats to you--great read!



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