Monday, August 5, 2013

Recipe -- "Banana Nice Cream"

This recipe is stolen (exactly) from the Whole Foods website called "Banana Nice Cream". I actually had the chance to try it while at the raw "cooking" class (from this entry) I attended a couple of weeks ago. I knew that I had to try it. So, for Dad's birthday, I whipped out four frozen bananas, one cup of homemade almond milk and two tablespoons of peanut butter, blended it up in my Vitamix and dished it up to enjoy!

I cannot believe how simple (or delicious) this tasty treat is and I highly recommend it for anyone wishing to lighten up their dessert-- and, added bonus, this injects the normal American, sugary dessert with a high dose of nutrient density that is almost unheard of in a post dinner treat.

Eat well and be healthy, friends!

8/3-4/2013 -- Weekend wrap up, resting & my final exam -- Plus, some hints at awesome news

This weekend was a whole clusterf- well, you know the saying. Dad's birthday was on Saturday so we took him to go see The Wolverine (which he loved, by the way). Then we chillaxed at home. Mom and I had gone to the gym that morning and done about 40 minutes of cardio but I hardly feel like it's worth mentioning since all I did the rest of the day was eeeeeeeeat.

I did make us some "dessert" bars, which I also eat for breakfast and pre/post work out snacks since they're packed full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

They are basically KIND bars sans honey, sub agave. I am so happy they turned out well (and are dirt cheap)!

Additionally I made my very first lentil loaf and a batch of freezer burritos so when we're hungry and I don't want to cook there will be food ready and available.

Additionally I completed my HUN 2201 Fundamentals in Human Nutrition final exam (with a 95%) and finished my class at 98% total. I settled in on Sunday morning with a delicious breakfast sandwich, my notes, book and laptop to rock it out. I loved the class but I'm definitely glad for the 2-3 week break.

So then, the weekend was a wrap and I am rolling into Monday. Monday, on which an exciting and potentially life changing event may occur. I have an appointment of the very best kind at 6pm and I cannot wait until the hour rolls around. I'm being vague for a lot of reasons but I will keep you posted on this particular development, because trust me. If it pans out like I hope it will then it will be EPIC.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Recipe -- Wild rice no-meat loaf

I have been meaning to make a no-meat loaf ever since I went vegan on March 1st, 2012. Or, possibly even since I quit meat in November of 2011. Anyway, it's been a long time coming and I have had this recipe bookmarked for ages. Well, I finally got around to making it and boy, oh boy, am I glad I did!

It turned out better than I could have possibly imagined. I made a few revisions, which I'll notate below, but otherwise I took everything straight from Pure Ella. She is definitely right when she says to make sure the rice is cooked ahead of time as wild rice takes nearly an hour to get done. So unless you've got two hours to set aside and make this you had better stick with that advice.

Other than that it made six servings at 257 kcal per serving (and mine is completely oil free). It goes well with some steamed green beans, mashed cauliflower, sauteed spinach or any other side you can think of.

Wild rice no-meat loaf
Serves 6
Takes: ≈ 120 minutes (can make some parts ahead of time to reduce the time)
Adapted from Pure Ella

what you'll need

  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice, prepared to package instructions
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free bread crumbs
  • 2 springs of fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • 5 tbsp warm water, divided

what you'll do
  1. Chop the onion very fine, and in small non-stick skillet saute until golden– set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix the ground flax seeds and 3 tbsp warm water, mix and set aside.
  3. Chop all raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts into the smallest pieces you could.
  4. In a food processor, grind all the red kidney beans into a paste.
  5. In a large bowl combine the bean paste, sauteed onion, all the dried fruit, nuts, 2/3 of the wild rice (reserve 1/3 for top), and 1/2 of the flax seed mixture, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and pepper plus fresh oregano – mix well.
      If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of warm water, mix and add more until it sticks together and isn’t crumbly, but it’s not runny. Taste it and add more seasoning if needed. Tasting it is a very important step to make sure it doesn’t come out bland at the end.
  6. In another small bowl, add 1/3 of the wild rice remaining with 1/2 of the flax seed mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix well to incorporate. This is the wild rice topping.
  7. Assemble in the lined loaf pan by adding the rice topping first. Be sure to spread it out evenly. Then add in the other loaf mixture. Press down firmly so it forms well in the pan, smooth out the top.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Click on the photos below to see the entries they were originally featured in-- except the last one, since this is it's first appearance. :)

8/2/2013 -- Progress Friday, end week 3 -- Shoulders & Abs

Okay, for those of you just joining us I've decided to make Fridays my progress photo day. I am somewhat disappointed with myself in that I did not get a snapshot of the end of week 1, but I have one from my starting point, end week two and from this week (end week three). Going forward I would also like to start adding progress photos for my legs too (because they're getting a helluva work out too!).

So, without further adieu (and just as a reminder here are the first two photos), I give you:

End Week 2

aaaaaaaand end week 3:

It almost freaks me out that the muscle build is going this quickly, but it just goes to show that two or three weeks is not too short a time and results (in the grand scheme of things) are almost "immediate". I mean, I could have kept sleeping in until 7am each morning, waking up with just enough time to roll out of bed and get ready for work and rush through my morning or I could do this ^^^. I'm glad Jason and I have made this change and I am super sure we will keep it up!

Friday weights:

3 set/10 rep Seated dumbbell press @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Rear-delt cable flyes @ 4 lbs
3 set/10 rep Dumbbell front raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated Arnold press @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Dumbbell lateral raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated bent-over rear delt raise @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Crunches @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Roman chair leg raise @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Oblique crunches - on the floor @ body weight

Thursday, August 1, 2013

8/1/2013 -- The Eats

I don't play when it comes to food. Not for flavor and not for health. What you eat, when you eat it, how you cook it, etc. All of these things play such an important part in our day-to-day and long term health. It's one of those things that makes spending an extra $15-20/week on good ingredients, whole grains and fresh produce so worth it.

It also throws the door open on so many ingredients that Americans tend to forget about.

When you grew up did you eat brown rice? Quinoa? Couscous?
Did your parents/guardians cook with fresh basil? Dill? Mint? Fennel seeds?
How about fresh fruits like lychee? Dragonfruit? Durian?
And now that you're an adult, do you use flavors and spices like sesame oil? Tahini? Ginger? Tumeric?

The transition to vegansim and my drive to create a more healthful and diverse diet has introduced me to so many new foods. Additionally, when you elevate your vegetables to the "star" of a dish, rather than casting it to the side of your plate, you can introduce so many new and exciting flavors!

I find the colors that I get to put on the plate are also so much more exciting. Rather than a lump of tan potatoes, a slab of brown meat and maybe a small mostly green salad I now get to add so much more. For instance the roasted veggie skewer and quinoa salad below.

Green: bell peppers, spinach, basil
Red: grape tomoatoes
Brown: baby bell mushrooms
White: diced onions, quinoa
Yellow/orange: bell peppers

All in one dish! I used to eat garbage like this but not anymore. Cut the saturated fat. Cut the cholesterol. Cut the crap and eat like your body wants you to. That said...I went a little overboard on the fat today. It's that damned salad dressing! Oh well-- tomorrow is a new day. :)

(You're darn right I ate two whole plates!)

8/1/2013 -- It's August! -- Legs & Cardio

I kicked my own butt this morning, no joke. I got up earlier than normal, powered through my weight sets (skipping one of the exercises because I don't have the room/ability to do it at my gym) and then jumped on the elliptical machine for an additional twenty minutes. AND THEN I got home, cooked and packed us lunch (just wait until you see what it is), had a shower and came to work.

Fitbit says I hit 5,000 steps before I even sat down at my desk at 9:00am. That is how I want to start every day because I feel like a million bucks.

Looking forward to our last day of weights for the week tomorrow and carrying this momentum through to the weekend. Happy Thursday!

Thursday weights:

3 set/10 rep Leg extensions @ 40 lbs
3 set/10 rep Wide stance barbell squat @ 20 lbs + bar
3 set/10 rep Single-leg barbell deadlift @ 10 lbs
3 set/10 rep Lying leg curls @ 50 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated calf raise @ 25 lbs
3 set/10 rep Standing calf raises @ 50 lbs + bar
Skipped: Walking barbell lunch


20 minutes on the elliptical

Total burn: 277

And I was a hot, sweaty mess. :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7/31/2013 -- The end of July and some Chest & Triceps work

We weren't able to make it through all of the exercises on our list this morning. We ended up skipping the "Cable One Arm Triceps Extensions" which I'm okay with. My arms were about to fall off by the time we had finished the other eight 3 set/10 rep exercises.

I'm getting stronger (though I'm not losing any weight). I am starting to see definition in my arms that hasn't been there since I was a senior in high school (which was nine years ago, now!). I am getting used to the 5:30 mornings and am loving the energy I've got going through the day. This is definitely a lifestyle I'm glad I've adopted.

Wednesday weights:

3 set/10 rep Wide Push Ups @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Include Dumbbell Press @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Flat Bench Flyes @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Decline Flyes @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Bench Dips @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extension @ 25 lbs (bar)
3 set/10 rep Dumbbell Triceps Kickback @ 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Overhead Two Handed Triceps Extension @ 10 lbs

7/30/2013 -- The Eats

I did a great job staying on my calories and keeping things pretty balanced. I know it says I went over on my fats, but oh well. I felt good.

The wild rice no-meat loaf below was taken from Pure Ella and I only made a few minor changes. I used pecans instead of walnuts, golden raisins instead of purple, dried oregano instead of fresh and did not saute my onions in oil (making it a completely oil free dish). 267 kcal and six servings? Sounds like a plan to me!

Click to see larger version

7/31/2013 -- The Eats

See below.

P.S. Remember to email me if you need any of the recipes I share!

Add 99kcal for the Corona Light with dinner, lol. :D

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recipe -- No Garbage Lasagna

I don't like garbage in food. Let me clarify, I try to avoid a lot of overly processed, refined grains and sugars as best as I am able. I find that eliminating them entirely is quite difficult, but with each new recipe I put in front of me I do my best to eliminate at least one item that is refined or processed. Additionally, I've noticed that a lot of recipes use waaaay too much oil. So that's another item I tend to lessen when possible too.

The dinner I made last night I've dubbed my "No Garbage Lasagna". I cut out all cheese, got rid of the noodles, reduced the oil and added way more veggies. Ringing in at 284 calories per (hearty) serving, boasting a deep flavor and being as simple as it is I'm definitely going to be making this one again!

No Garbage (Vegan) "Lasagna"

Serves 4-6
Takes: ≈ 90 minutes (can make some parts ahead of time to reduce the time)
Adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

what you'll need:
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4" slices (about 10 pieces)
  • 2 can diced tomatoes (either zesty jalapeno or Italian spiced)
  • 6 cups raw spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 slices firm bread (I suggest Ezekiel flaxseed or sourdough)
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4c bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/8" slices (about 10 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste throughout
what you'll do:
  1. Spray eggplant with olive oil spray, salt, pepper and roast at 400° for 20-25 minutes, flip halfway through. Leave oven on when eggplant is done.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small put heat 1 tbsp oil and add half the garlic until fragrant. Add spices and "toast" for about 30 seconds. Pour in tomatoes, stir thoroughly, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes**.
  3. In a large saute pan heat to med-high and spray each piece of bread with cooking spray, then toast in the pan.
  4. Using the same pan heat 1 tbsp oil, add the remaining garlic and stir until fragant (being sure not to burn). Add spinach slowly until all is wilted. Set aside.
  5. In a high speed blender, blend half the tomato sauce until smooth, then add back to remaining sauce, stirring thoroughly.
  6. To assemble, in the bottle of a 9" x 9" glass baking dish, layer as follows: 1/2c tomato sauce, 2 pieces of bread, 1/2c sauce, eggplant slices and garlic spinach, 1/4c sauce, 2 slices of bread, the remaining sauce, tomato slices and bread crumbs on top. See below.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400°.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. 
  9. Before serving pour balsamic vinegar over top and spread the fresh basil evenly. 
  10. Eat immediately, store in an air tight container in the fridge or freeze in portioned containers for future use.

**: The longer your sauce cooks down the thicker it will be. 6-12 hours is actually recommended, but we don't all have that kind of time. You can, of course, make the sauce a day (or several days) in advance.

7/30/2013 -- Back & Biceps

Today went a lot better than yesterday for sure. The work out below took about 45 minutes, including the time I need to move equipment around and set up. It was relatively quick, but let me tell you: my biceps were on fire by the time I was done. I mean, holy hell! I can definitely feel the changes (and just wait until you see this week's bicep progress photo on Friday) and am looking forward to moving into Phase 2 of the program the week after next, in which we start adding cardio in regularly.

Either way, we're off to a good start and today is already rockin'!

Tuesday Weights:

3 set/10 rep Hammer Strength Lat Pull @ 27 lbs
3 set/10 rep Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown @ 40 lbs
3 set/10 rep Seated Narrow Grip Cable Rows @ 5 lbs
3 set/10 rep T-Bar Row @ bar + 25 lbs
3 set/10 rep Back Extensions @ body weight
3 set/10 rep Barbell Curl @ bar + 20 lbs
3 set/10 rep Incline Dumbbell Curl @ 5 lbs
3 set/10 rep Alternate Hammer Curl @ 10 lbs

Review: The Biggest Loser

I know a lot of people that don't like this show. I know a lot of people that write it off for a lot of different reasons. And to a point I understand that. I mean, it is dramatic and it may even seem cruel to some that a handful of these competitors are sent home so early in their Biggest Loser weight loss journey, but let me tell you something: these men and women are given an amazing chance.

When I look back on my weight loss I did it alone, and that's a big deal. When you have to tell your friends you cannot go out and drink or have dinner at a restaurant you alienate yourself quickly. When they don't understand the struggle you're going through and when they start to distance themselves because they don't know the strong, confident and empowered person you're becoming-- it's hard. If I had had the chance to make that journey with people in the same boat? It might have been something different.

This was me on my twenty-first birthday. No one in my family recognized me. I had gone for a 145 pound Varsity athlete to this in less than three years. It hadn't even crept up on me over a decade. I got my BMI to 43.5 in less than 36 months.

I lost what people on The Biggest Loser Ranch lose. I did it alone, without my friends, feeling like I was separated from everyone else in society. 116 pounds is no small amount. Seriously. 47.2% of my body weight was shed in the eighteen months I spent counting every calorie, agonizing over food choices, reading every blog, book and magazine article I could get my hands on that would help me shed the pounds.

What did I not have?

  • A house that kept me away from the temptations of "real life"
  • Fellow men and women who were suffering as I was
  • A doctor and medical team to evaluate and critique my losses
  • World class trainers to bust my ass in the gym
  • World class trainers to teach me about proper portions, the theory of calories in vs. calories out, the importance of adopting and living the plant-based, whole foods diet
  • The support of an entire nation rooting for you to succeed

While I can see the "downsides" of the possibility of elimination, the frustration of being separated from your family and the stress of game play while each contestant guns for the prize of $250,000, I honestly believe that the positive advantages of their situation far outweigh the few disadvantages. 

Just look at the staggering results:

It seems pretty cut and dry to me and I know that even with the American television drama, even with the people that I know are getting their time cut short or whatever it is, no matter what I will continue watching this show. It brings me to tears hearing the contestants and their families and I think we, as a national audience, help inspire and motivate these people to get healthy and help lead the charge to a better, healthier, and more fit population.

Monday, July 29, 2013

7/29/2013 -- The Eats

Jason bought me a Vitamix for my birthday back in June. I've taken it on vacation, I've used it to make soupsauces and of course smoothies like the one below. We use this thing almost every single day and I absolutely love it. It's also taken some of stress off my shoulders. I am no longer responsible for making every single meal. As a matter of fact Jason tends to come home after our work outs, open the fridge and start throwing things in the blender to make breakfast for us. This morning he made us a spinach, frozen banana, fresh coconut water, fresh pineapple, fresh coconut jelly and carrot smoothie. It tasted fantastic and was definitely a nutrient dense way to start the day.

For lunch I made us some tacos. For him I did a chipotle seitan but for me? I've been on a buffalo kick, so I made some homemade baked buffalo tofu, whipped up some homemade pico de gallo, pickled some cabbage, red onions and cilantro, then topped it with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream and Taco Bus salsa verde. They were amazing

Other than that, here is the rest of my day (and I'll make sure to update this entry with a photo of the "Rustic bread, spinach and eggplant lasagna" I'm making for dinner). It was a delicious day and I feel like a million bucks!

7/29/2013 -- Legs

I was writing the title of this entry and it says simply, "Legs". As if it were a simple morning. Not. I had absolutely zero desire to get out of bed. Jason's alarm went off at 5:15. Mine went off at 5:45. I still couldn't seem to find the energy to make it happen. Well, almost couldn't, because somehow, from the pit of my being I drew on some elusive energy reserve and made it happen.

Ugh. My face was all red, my hair was flying away, my eyes were sagging with sleepiness. Yet somehow I powered through.

Monday Weights

Standing calf raises @ 50 lbs
Seated calf raises @ 25 lbs
Leg extension @ 40 lbs
Leg press @ 50 lbs
Wide stance barbell squat @ 50 lbs
Lying leg curls @ 40 lbs


10 minutes on elliptical @ avg. 7.5 mph

Unlike most days I was feeling tired afterward. I don't feel energized and I kind of wish I had just stayed in bed. It could be because I'm on my lady time, I dunno, but this was probably the least enjoyable or motivating. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and hoping that it will be a little better, so we'll see. Tomorrow is another day and I'm good with that.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7/28/2013 -- The Eats and also The Blerch

I was a lazy jerk yesterday. No joke. Fitbit says I took less than 1,200 steps today yesterday. I ate a "reasonable" amount, meaning I didn't go over my calorie count on My Fitness Pal but at the same time when I'm that lazy I feel like eating anything is in bad taste. I kind of don't want to think about it so I'm going to sign off with a photo of my (epic) breakfast, my calorie counts and just call it a day.

(For those of you that don't understand the title of the entry, read this amazingly, fantastical comic by The Oatmeal.)

7/27/2013 -- Semi resting, yoga & other things

I took my first yoga class this weekend-- and I feel in love with it.

Jason came with you (thanks, babe) and we both felt like a million dollars after. I had never imagined that yoga would be such a work out, honestly, but both he and I turned to each other as soon as we were done and mouthed quietly, "Oh my god I'm sweating!!" Our instructor was a tiny thing, but clearly she lives the life. She was patient and kind, accepting and welcoming and I know that I found a new practice that I will follow through with for the rest of my life.

We are considering taking a few other classes throughout the week, but have certainly settled on Saturday mornings (and I am seriously considering going for the $75/mo unlimited so I can go two or three times a week since it's right around the corner from my house).

We both felt so alive when we finished and walked out just dripping enthusiasm. We knew immediately that that is how we want to start our weekends. I am already looking forward to next week, aaaaaand have pulled out my budget to see if I can get the unlimited fit in there somewhere.

Other than that, we went for a walk at Al Lopez Park and ate split a Publix veggie sub on wheat. It was a great way to continue our active day. Then we got a little naughty:

So, Whole Foods Tampa had an ice cream social with some fantastic vegan options. From the top left down we had: So Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream and a ginger cookie, So Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream and a homemade crock pot peach cobbler, Raw Banana Nice Cream and raw, dehydrated granola (both of which we learned to make at the raw cooking class I mentioned a couple entries ago and a small root beer float. 

Not surprisingly the raw banana "ice cream" with the raw granola was by far my favorite. Jason had some different options (since he's still lacto-ovo veggie) and told me his favorite was a small chocolate cake/brownie with a raspberry ice cream. Either way it was a fun little get together and we really enjoyed attending.

With all of that said, I have some other news bottled up and I'm hesitating to mention too much about it here because (I'm a little superstitious and) I don't want to jinx it. Look forward to hearing more about it (whether it goes the way I want or not) but please keep your fingers crossed for me. I really, really want this to pan out and it would take my life in the exact direction I've been struggling for for the last few years. This could be my life's break through!

With all of that out of the way, here is my food log from yesterday (and as always if you have the recipes just shoot me an email):

Friday, July 26, 2013

7/26/2013 -- The Eats

I cook. Every day. Every single day. Maybe not every meal we make and perhaps not something that takes a lot of time or energy, but I am in my kitchen, making something every single day. And I love that. It's part of my life that makes me happy.

This morning when we got home from the gym I made us cauliflower mash (64 kcal), spicy black eyed peas (166 kcal) and roasted cremini mushrooms (55 kcal). We had a delicious, fresh cooked lunch and I did it all in twenty minutes after I went to the gym.

There was a time in my life where I would have sworn there was no way it could all be done, but somehow I manage to make it work these days and I am healthy and happier for it.

^^^ A delicious lunch!

We did end up at Whole Foods for the raw food class that I mentioned before but before we did that we got a couple of delicious Gardein patty sandwich with ooey, gooey daiya cheese. It was heavenly!

7/26/2013 -- Shoulder & Abs

Friday weights:

  • 3 set/12 rep Seated Dumbbell Press @ 20 lbs
  • 3 set/12 rep Standing Dumbbell Straight-Arm Front Delt Raise To A "T" @ 15 lbs
  • 3 set/12 rep Lateral Raise, Dumbbell, Side @ 5 lbs
  • 3 set/12 rep Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise @ 10 lbs
  • 3 set/12 rep Exercise Ball Crunch @ body weight
  • 3 set/12 rep Air Bike @ body weight

16:11 minutes @ 4.5 mph

Total burn: 202 calories

I had a hard time this morning. I had a hard time getting out of bed. I had a hard time lifting my weights. I had a hard time eating breakfast (which I poured all down my front when I went to put my backpack in the car). I started today off with a lot of "hard times", but then I looked in the mirror, flexed my (flabby) arm and lo and behold:

I HAVE LITTLE BABY MUSCLES GROWING! After only two weeks (if you remember back to my post earlier this week and the photo I took you will as amazed at this discovery as I am)! I also got on the scale and even with my lady time coming I'm keeping my weight under control (and under 130 lbs). Even with everything going wrong I felt really right.

We are taking the day off from the gym tomorrow and instead doing our very first yoga class (at Jai Dee Yoga). I've heard so many wonderful things about the practice and if anyone in the world needs some time to cool down and let go of some stress then I'm definitely on that list. I've been given a lot of tips and tricks to make it as enjoyable and whatnot as possible, but when it all comes down to it I'm just excited to try it.

Also on the weekend's plans is a raw "cooking" class at Whole Foods. I've been looking forward to going to one of these for ages. I love making raw foods but I don't know much about it other than throwing salad ingredients in a bowl (and honestly, I usually cook at least some of the toppings). This should be quite the learning experience and a weekend full of firsts. Huzzah!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

7/25/2013 -- The Eats!

Food is my obsession. I was telling a friend yesterday that exact thing, actually. I said (via chat):
I eat constantly. All day. And when I'm not eating I think about what I get to eat next and how long until that time. All day long.
I have to plan my meals, my snacks and then I have to make time to eat. If not I get irritable and intolerable. Because I'm vegan, because I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables (a lot of which are fairly easily broken down in my digestive system, and because I eat average to small sized meals I have to eat more often.

My eating habits have changed since we started working out, though. I'm eating larger breakfasts, and even slightly larger lunches and dinners and slightly smaller snacks. I find I need the bigger meals to carry me through the day now. Possibly because we are getting up earlier or just because my body is craving more with the weight lifting I'm not sure, but I'm feeling good.

When I took the screenshot below I had forgotten to add my vitamins, but I did take my multi, iron and B-Complex. I am also going to be adding a calcium pill. Iron+calcium for women in my age range and people that are working out (strength training especially) is very important so I want to make sure I'm not going to suffer any deficiencies.

I'm also not cooking tonight. I make breakfast lunch and dinner for Jason and I about 20-25 times a week. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making us fresh food-- and I love that, but sometimes I need a break. We are going to have some Chipotle burrito bowls this evening and I feel good about that. It's well deserved and other than the sodium it's not that bad. :)


(V) = A recipe I entered manually that is vegan
(R) = A recipe I entered that is entirely raw

(Click image to see a larger, more readable version.)

My morning breakfast sandwich with a Nature's Own english muffinYves Canadian bacon, some homemade baked black soybean tofu and Chicago Vegan Foods Teese creamy cheddar sauce

I also wanted to mention I used to buy Thomas english muffins until I realized their entire line has nonfat milk and/or whey. So just a reminder to read your labels and don't assume that one brand or any product is "safe".

Also, I love making big enough portions of our dinners to throw in a container and have lunch ready to go. So leftovers for me this afternoon for lunch!

7/25/2013 -- Legs & Calves

Thursday weights:

3 set/12 rep Leg Press @ 50 lbs
3 set/12 rep Leg Extension @ 40 lbs
3 set/12 rep Wide Stance Barbell Squat @ 50 lbs
3 set/12 rep Standing Calf Raises @ 50 lbs
3 set/12 rep sitting Calf Raises @ 25 lbs
3 set/12 rep Seated Leg Curl @ 70 lbs

Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it: The squats kicked my ass. It floors me because I used to be able to squat over 150 pounds. I used to be able to load up the leg press like it was nothing. Now I'm hardly able to push around fifty pounds on any of them. I guess that's kind of what I get for taking a decade long hiatus, but man. It sucks.

Even so, we were out the door by 5:55am and I got through all six of the exercises on today's work out so at the very least I know I'm on the right path. Even if I'm sore all over and just want to go back to bed.

I'm not entirely sure where that big bruise on my thigh came from, but I am pretty clumsy. I didn't even notice it until I was taking this photo, haha. Klutzy Nicole is in the house!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

7/24/2013 -- The Eats

I didn't include my food intake in my previous post but I think that's a really important part of what makes a "healthy day" in my book. Just because I worked out doesn't mean I did well overall. And I know I mentioned only doing my food counts on my off days, but going forward I plan to share every day.

The following are screenshots from My Fitness Pal with my intakes and the calorie counts.


(V) = A recipe I entered manually that is vegan
(R) = A recipe I entered that is entirely raw

Note: If you see any recipe or meal that sounds like something you'd want to try please feel free to email me. Give me a day or two to get back with you and I will make sure to send it with measurements and the full nutritional panel (per serving) as well as how many servings it makes, the amount of time it takes and how to store it for short and long term use.

I am also going to take a photo of dinner tonight and I'll make sure to share that with you (it should be an awesome meal!) around 8pm. Make sure to check back and have a look. ;)

Update: Dinner!

7/24/2013 -- Back & Biceps

I worked out alone today, which, to be honest, was kind of nice. There was only one or two other people in the gym, I wasn't terribly worried about moving between machines. I got to go at my own pace, listen to my music and focus on each and every lift. I went through seven exercises and raised the weights, doing at least a little more on each than last week.

Wednesday weights:

3 set/12 rep Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown @ 40 lbs
3 set/12 rep Dumbbell Row, One-Arm, Bent-Over @ 15 lbs
3 set/12 rep Seated Cable Row @ 4 lbs
3 set/12 rep Underhand Cable Pulldowns @ 40 lbs
3 set/12 rep Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl @ 15 lbs
3 set/12 rep One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl @ 15 lbs
3 set/12 rep Standing Biceps Cable Curl @ 4 lbs


Walk @ 3.5 mph for 10 minutes
Jog @ 5.2 mph for 2 minutes

I was having a good conversation with a friend of mine yesterday who mentioned the "Fat Acceptance" movement. Another friend brought out the phenomenon of fat people wanting to stay fat because it's scary to lose that weight. It brought me back to the days I remember losing weight and thinking about what it meant for me in the long run.

I was scared. I wanted people to just accept me as I was. I didn't want to face the days, weeks, months and potentially even years that would be required of me to lose the weight. And then what about the maintenance "phase" that everyone talked about? I had come to rely on my fat, funny personality to win me friends-- what would happen if that wasn't me anymore? Would my friends still like me? Or would I be abandoned? Left alone?

I was taking huge amounts of pain killers to be able to move around at all. I was eating too much as a comfort eating. My doctor told me I was a "compulsive over eater" with "binge" tendencies. My psychologist told me the same thing, but mixed it with "borderline personality disorder". Everyone fed me pills and told me to just be me and that's all anyone could expect.

I wish someone had told me not to accept that shit. I wish someone has said, "God dammit, Nicole. You're enormous. You're sick, physically and emotionally. You're not okay the way you are and you're going to die if you keep this up." I wish my doctors had not fed me pharmaceuticals to shut me up and get me out the door while pocketing a couple of extra dollars.

It's been four years since I finished losing over 100 pounds. It's been four years since I took my last pain pill to be able to get up and walk. It's been four years and there are still some residual mental issues accompanying my weight and self image, but each day is a new chance to be a little better, be more fit and do a little more of what's right for me. 

I encourage each man and woman to evaluate their lives on a daily basis. You can always do something today that's a little better than what you did yesterday. I challenge myself each morning to be a slightly better person, a slightly healthier person and slightly more compassionate person that I was the day before. Those "slightly"s add up more quickly than you'd imagine. And trust me, you'll be happier and more in love with that person you're becoming than you ever imagined.