Thursday, January 03, 2013

Back to the Grind

Bring it on, 2013! I am ready for YOU!

For some reason, I feel like odd years are good years for me. Maybe it's because I was born in an odd year? I'm not sure. But I'm just gonna go right ahead and go with it. Why not? Maybe just thinking that it's going to be an awesome year will make it so!

I'm not very good about making resolutions for myself, but on my walk at lunch today, I thought of a few that might be nice to try this year:

1. Drink more water. Then, drink 1 more glass.
I am TERRIBLE about drinking water, even though I don't drink much else. It's not that I am drinking sodas or juice all day long, I just don't drink very much liquid. I haven't decided how to implement this yet. I already make sure and have water or tea with me at all times, but that doesn't seem to do much. I may need to set some sort of alarm or appointment reminder in Outlook to tell myself to finish a glass of water every 2 hours or something.

2. Reduce the amount of dairy in my diet.
I have been quite successful in removing meat from my diet, but this is going to be a bit harder. I've read that people are actually addicted to cheese, so it's hard to remove from a diet. I can attest to that; it's by far my favorite part of a meal! Especially if there's pasta involved. So, maybe I should reduce the amount of pasta in my diet, thus reducing the cheese by proxy. I've already almost completely switched to dairy free milk, but since Ryan hasn't, I haven't removed it from my cooking yet. I don't think he would actually mind if I did, it's been more out of convenience than anything else, really. I generally am using soy/almond milk in my oatmeal or coffee, so I tend to keep Unsweetened Vanilla varieties around and not the plain stuff. And if I only need a cup or two of milk, it's hard for me to open a new carton and then have it sit in the fridge until I need it again. I suppose I can switch to plain and add my own vanilla, something to consider.
3. Walk 10,000+ steps per day most days.
I got a fancy pedometer/calorie counter watch for the holidays from my boyfriend. Since I've only just been back to work yesterday after having 11 days off, I got to really see how sedentary I really am during the week. It's a lot of sitting that I do here at this desk. I was in a pretty good habit of walking every day before eating my lunch for about 20 minutes... until I had hives for 7 weeks. The hives would show up on the bottom of my feet, making it super difficult to walk or exercise. So I just stopped. Even when there wasn't a hive, I pretty much cut everything but pilates and zumba out of the equation. Now I feel like I'm back to square one, but I've come to terms with that. Yesterday, by the time I reached the gym after work, I had barely clocked in 3,000 steps. Luckily, after walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes, 10 minutes of strength training, and an hour long Zumba class, I made it to 10,000 steps. Barely. What a reality check! So, to be more accountable, I'm going to add back in my lunchtime walk and also make sure I hit the gym or go for another walk-something, anything-to reach my goal. I've also returned to my calorie counting and daily weigh ins on the scale, but that's more for my accountability than as a resolution.
I think I like my resolutions, they basically scream, "Get Healthier!" which is all I can ask for. Do I want to lose 20 lbs? Sure. Am I going to? Who knows. I feel better about myself at my current weight than I did when I was this weight before... because I know I am stronger and eating cleaner and healthier than ever (only true if you don't count the last month of holiday binging).
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Remembering To Post

Sometimes I post my blog as my website on other people's blogs. And it's then that I remember's.been... since I stopped in to say, "hello!"

So I'm stopping in. To say, "hello!"


I'm not Vegan anymore (boy was that rough!), but I am now back from Burning Man and meat-free. I wanted to be part of the meal groups at Burning Man in our camp, so I decided that in an effort to actually eat better than 3 servings of top ramen a day, I'd eat meat at dinner. But now? No more meat. Seafood, yes. Dairy, yes. But no chicken, beef, or pork. And that has really not been very hard, at all. I feel great, really. I've switched over from soy milk to almond milk, which I like better. I don't want to eat too much soy and the soy milk wasn't really necessary, so easy to let go of. Now my overnight oats are made with honey (the agave nectar was freaking me out, actually - too close to high fructose corn syrup and too many mixed reviews on the healthfulness of the product, even if I was only ingesting 1 tsp per day) and almond milk (and oats and chia seeds and fruit). I like all the veggies we're eating. I like that my boy eats all these veggies with me! He hasn't added meat to our dinner in a realllly long time! Not to say he doesn't miss it, but he's embraced my eating style. It helps to have fish and shrimp and scallops back in the mix, but he has OFFERED to make me vegetarian meals on a few occasions! He's made me this healthy baked eggplant parmesan (from Eating Well) twice (nomnom) and has requested the following recipe a few times, which I finally made him again last night (Real Simple's Chickpea-spinach curry with cucumber yogurt sauce, 277 Cal per serving? yes, please!). If it's indian food, he's all in for the win, no meat necessary.  Yay!  Now the question is what we're going to do now that our local Farmer's Market is over?!?  Safeway veggies just aren't the same and we're hardly ever close enough to home on the weekend to hit up one of our neighboring city's Farmer's Markets.  *sigh* We'll just have to try harder! That said, at least I get my tuesday evenings back for gym-time. It's too easy to slack off when I don't go on Tuesdays!  Back today, you better believe it!

On a side note, my friend has started a sci-fi/fantasy book club. First up for October is Neuromancer, by William Gibson. It was on NPR's Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books and sounds pretty good. I'll post a review when I'm done!  Any recommendations for future books?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vegan Challenge - Day Eight

  • Weight: N/A
  • Meals:
    • Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk, 1 tsp agave nectar, and 1 Tbsp chia seeds; 235 Cal)
    • Lunch: Seaweed Salad and 2 Thai style spring rolls (~250 Cal)
    • Dinner: Vegan Alfredo with Asparagus (see recipe below; ~475 Cal, depending on how much sauce you use, we ended up only using about 2/3 of the sauce)
  • Snacks:
    • Cherries (4 oz, yields, 65 Cal)
    • Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp, 95 Cal)
    • Vegan Oatmeal Cookie Dough with walnuts and craisins (165 Cal, assuming 20 cookies make the whole batch)
  • Drinks:
    • Coffee with Stevia and few Tbsp of unsweetened vanilla soy (~10 Cal)
    • 16 oz Tazo Zen Green Tea (0 Cal)
    • 1 can of Diet Dr. Pepper (0 Cal)
    • 24 oz water + Peach Mango Mio (0 Cal)
  • Multivitamin: Yes (bought more, finally)
  • Exercise(s):
    • Pilates (50 min)
    • Zumba (60 min)
  • Thoughts:
    • The weekend was harder than I anticipated, although I was able to keep to a vegetarian diet.  I just couldn't justify paying $25 for the buffet to only eat a salad... but I was at least still good about not eating any chicken, pork, or beef!  I also was good about only eating one meal with dairy, not all three meals.  Thank goodness I already prefer my Mexican food without meat!  I can easily go without cheese and/or sour cream on my burrito, especially when there's guacamole in there!  Anyhow, that's just a side note since I didn't post all weekend.  The Vegan Alfredo was good.  I didn't care for the smoked paprika in there, I would just do regular next time (it had an overwhelming hot dog flavor which I attribute to the smoked paprika but may have been the nutritional yeast, not sure yet).  For lunch, I had saved a nice can of Progresso Vegetarian Vegetable soup at work in case of an emergency, but on second inspection of the ingredients, the noodles had eggs in them!  So I ran to the store and got a few things from the sushi-deli.  The seaweed salad was yummy and so were the rolls.  I would have liked avocado in them, though!  They had lettuce, cellophane noodles, and tofu wrapped inside rice paper and were served with a peanut dipping sauce.  Pretty delish, for a last minute decision!  I'll be making my next lunch salad series after the farmer's market tomorrow.  I bought myself a can of (acceptable) soup for tomorrow.  When we got back from Reno, we wanted cookies, so made a batch of Vegan Oatmeal Cookies.  They were good baked, but better raw.  And since there's no eggs in the mix, we decided to just plop a cookie sized lump of batter on a tiny plate for dessert! Yum!
 Vegan Alfredo with Asparagus
Makes 2 Servings (560 Cal per serving)

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Soymilk
  • 1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance Margarine
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika (smoked is awesome)
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, rough chopped or pressed
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 10 Leaves Fresh Basil, torn
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus, cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 oz Whole Wheat Pasta (Spaghetti or Fettuccine)
  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, add the first 12 ingredients (up to the Basil) to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Sauté the onion in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Add asparagus and sauté for another 7 minutes. Throw the garlic in for the last 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Drain the pasta and return it to the hot empty panalong with the asparagus mixture.  Pour the sauce over, place on medium heat, and stir until heated through. Serve with lots of fresh cracked black pepper and the torn basil.

    Vegan Challenge - Day Four

    • Weight: 148.0 lbs (-4.4 lbs total, probably still equalizing)
    • Meals:
      • Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal with blueberries (1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk, 1 tsp agave nectar, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, and 2.5 oz fresh blueberries; 275 Cal)
      • Instagram Brekkie
      • Lunch: Sushi Roll Edamame Salad (using 1/4 cup dry quinoa instead of brown rice again today, 400 Cal)
      No, there isn't any cookie butter in this salad... it just never has time to make it back to the cupboard
    Crusty potato topping

    Vegan Shepherd's Pie

    So good!  And now I have leftovers in the freezer!

    • Snacks:
      • Cherries (4.5 oz, yields, 75 Cal)
      • Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp, 95 Cal)
      • Mango Sorbet (1/2 cup; 120 Cal)
    • Drinks:
      • Coffee with Stevia and few Tbsp of unsweetened vanilla soy (~10 Cal)
      • 16 oz Tazo Zen Green Tea (0 Cal)
      • 24 oz water + fruit punch Mio (0 Cal)
      • 16 oz water (0 Cal)
    • Multivitamin: Yes (need to buy more! Last one today)
    • Exercise(s):
      • Walk around the block at lunch (25 min)
    • Thoughts:
      • Closer to 1200 Cal today, I'm surprised! I actually thought the Shepherd's Pie would account for more calories than it did - hooray!  The best part is that it was still super filling, for being the smallest caloric meal today.  I sort of like that it's a smaller meal, especially since I did not go to the gym today!  Exclamation points all over! It's an exclamation party!

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Vegan Challenge - Day Three

    • Weight: 148.6 lbs (-3.8 lbs total, probably still equalizing from weekend eating)
    • Meals:
      • Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk, 1 tsp agave nectar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp chia seeds; 240 Cal-now, that's more like it!)
      • Lunch: Sushi Roll Edamame Salad (using 1/4 cup dry quinoa instead of brown rice today, 402 Cal)
      • Dinner: E2 Veggie Burger on Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin with Sweet Potato Fries (500 Cal)
    • Snacks:
      • Blueberries (2.5 oz, 40 Cal)
      • Cherries (4 oz, yields, 65 Cal)
      • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (95 Cal)
      • 1/2 cup Mango Sorbet (120 Cal)
    • Drinks:
      • Coffee with Stevia and few Tbsp of unsweetened vanilla soy (~10 Cal)
      • 16 oz Tazo Passion Tea (0 Cal)
      • 24 oz water + mango-peach Mio (0 Cal)
      • 16 oz water (0 Cal)
    • Multivitamin: Yes
    • Exercise(s):
      • Walk around the block at lunch (25 min)
      • Zumba (50 min)
      • Zumba cool-down (abs+stretching, 10 min)
    • Thoughts:
      • I feel great.  I'm liking the scale numbers, but I'm sure it was just some extra water weight I put on by not paying attention to my diet for a few weeks... ah, summer.  The oats this morning were just the right amount!  I might omit the cinnamon tomorrow and top it off with blueberries instead, more like my yogurt habit but with oats!  Made it to Zumba today, took it easy on my ankle, still pretty purple. Since that wasn't over until 7, dinner was late - too late for my liking. Next Wednesday will have to be planned better. Sweet potato fries were surprisingly delicious!  Especially for having nothing on them!  The veggie burger turned out HUGE, way bigger than that tiny sandwich thin I put it on. Smeared some avocado and some horseradish mustard on the toasted bun and was very satisfied.  Now I have 4 in the freezer ready to eat, so that's nice.  Maybe I'll have that next Wednesday, afterall.  I still need to work on getting my calorie count down to 1200 on this eating plan. As long as I'm going to the gym, I don't so much mind the 1500 Cal/day.  It's hard, with all the carbs... so it's less fat, for sure, but it's more carbs too.  So far, no weird cravings.  I'm expecting those to hit this weekend when I suddenly want CHEESE!  Gotta stay positive!  Until then...

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Vegan Challenge - Day Two

    • Weight: 149.6 lbs (-2.8 lbs, yesterday's weight was likely due to crazy weekend eating?)
    • Meals:
      • Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (using mixed berry soy yogurt and unsweetened vanilla soy milk - not the same recipe as yesterday's, 530 Cal-hmmm, might need to change that for tomorrow, that's too many calories for one meal)
      • Lunch: Sushi Roll Edamame Salad (including the edamame this time, 375 Cal)
      • Dinner: Thai Basil Tofu Stir-fry (no oyster sauce) with Red Rice from the Farmer's Market (wild guess based on online search ~400 Cal, hopefully that's an overestimate)
    • Snacks:
      • Coconut Milk Cookies & Cream Ice Cream (140 Cal)
      • Popsicle (45 Cal)
    • Drinks:
      • Coffee with Stevia and few Tbsp of unsweetened vanilla soy (~10 Cal)
      • 24 oz water + black cherry Mio (0 Cal) 
      • Diet Dr. Pepper (0 Cal)
      • 16 oz water (0 Cal)
    • Multivitamin: Yes
    • Exercise(s):
      • Walk around the block at lunch (25 min)
      • Walk to/from Old Navy Project in SF (20 min)
    • Thoughts:
      •  Too much food today.  That breakfast might be better used before or after a weekend workout, but I'm still learning.  I really had my Greek Yogurt breakfast down pat!  Now that I've made it a few times, I can pretty much make my own conconction now, with a more appropriate amount of Calories.  We had an ice cream party at work.  I sat there with my salad while everyone made sundaes that looked nice and cool and refreshing.  Luckily, there were fruit popsicles - a healthier (and lactose free) alternative, so it was ok, really.  Probably saved myself 100 Cal, minimum!  Didn't make it to the gym, my ankle is still a little too purple for my liking.  Zumba is tomorrow, not going to miss that!  Farmer's Market today will also help load me up on some fruit to have as snacks... since we polished off that coconut milk ice cream (and I don't intend to replace it).  Had to go to SF for an Old Navy survey I did where I had to buy some t-shirts and wear and wash them a few times and then blog about any quality issues I found.  Today was the last part of the project, where we came and actually wore the shirts and talked about them with an outside company.  Kinda interesting.  I like Old Navy, so it was a fun project.  PLUS, they gave me $200 for finishing the project (plus an Old Navy gift card, not sure how much is on there).  Reno, here I come!  Anyhow, Ryan went to the Market, since I was in SF.  He brought me home the oyster-sauceless and bell-pepperless Thai food (which was still quite yummy, they doubled up on the green beans YAY!) for my dinner, which I scarfed immediately down over an episode of Game of Thrones (season one, from Netflix-no spoliers please!).  I'm feeling pretty good, overall, but I do feel like I am overloaded with carbs... but I guess that's all you can eat when you're vegan, eh?  I just need to keep track of my portions and it should be fine.  My upcoming Reno trip will be the true test!  I'm thinking veggie sushi and pho and corn on the cob galore!  I will make it work :)

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Vegan Challenge - Day One

    • Weight: 152.4 lbs (yikes! when did that happen?!?)
    • Meals:
      • Breakfast: Overnight Oatmeal (agave nectar in place of honey, 345 Cal)
        Before putting it in the fridge

        The next day; all milk soaked up
      • Lunch: Sushi Roll Edamame Salad (edamame omitted for today only, forgot to buy it! 325 Cal)
        Salad Dressing,  Green Onion-Miso Vinaigrette ingredients

        Blend well and voila! Yummy dressing!

      • Dinner: E2 Rice & Beans (bell peppers omitted, 485 Cal)
    • Snacks:
      • Coconut Milk Cookies & Cream Ice Cream (140 Cal)
    • Water:
      • 32 oz tea (Green + Mint, unsweetened/plain)
      • 16 oz water
    • Multivitamin: Yes
    • Exercise(s):
      • Walk at lunch (25 min)
    • Thoughts:
      • I can't believe how filling the meals were, I was definitely not left wanting more!  In fact, the rice & beans were almost too hard to finish-even Ryan thought so (although he did add a gruyere cheese and garlic chicken sausage to his bowl).  The oatmeal was better than I thought it would be, I ate it cold and didn't need to add extra milk or anything.  Tonight, I think I will make it with some of the fruit-flavored soy yogurt I picked up instead of the soy milk.  I didn't make it to pilates tonight, I forgot to account for the fact that I was out of gas and had to stop on the way.  It's probably better, I think my ankle was sprained when I twisted it the other day in those crazy shoes.  Hopefully I can make it to the gym in the morning to make up for it.  The swelling has gone down a bit from yesterday and I made sure to wear an ankle brace for most of the day (until it eventually cut my circulation off too much to bear).  The prep time for the meals took longer than I expected, so I'm glad I made the full batch and now have lunch for the next three days.  The oatmeal is quick and painless, so that's easy.  Tomorrow is Farmer's Market day, so new fruits and veggies are on their way!  We'll likely eat there, I need to make sure to ask if what I want is vegan.  I liked the Thai Basil Tofu Stir-fry I had last week, but I am not sure whether it had fish sauce in it.  If not, I'll probably order that again. They also had some really tasty Thai Spring Rolls, if not.  I feel pretty good - full, but not weighted down.  It is going to be hard to not overdo it on the carbs, even though brown rice & beans are possibly the healthiest of carbs I could choose - better than bread, for example.  Got to make sure I keep the protein up, the chia seeds can help with that a little bit.  Beans are the next best thing.  Off to finish watching the Falling Skies premiere, so glad it came back!

    What going vegan looked like after my (~$60) trip to Whole Foods

    Notes on Things (and Things of Note)

    • The new Metric album?  Rocking my world, just like their last album. Can't quite seem to listen to anything else, no matter how hard I try!
    • South Lake Tahoe in the summertime is kinda magical. Especially when you get to stay in a big, beautiful house on a small lake with a hot tub! I'm usually there in the winter, so it was a nice (and hot) change of pace.
    • I seriously can't believe how booked up my summer has become - and summer isn't even starting until Wed!  Phew! I'm certainly not complaining, but a little down time might be nice.  From Tahoe to Reno to Montana, oh my! Camping and gambling and volunteering and birthday-ing, when will I have time to Prepare for the Playa?
    • Speaking of Burning Man, Ryan and I went to Joann's on our way back from Tahoe to pick up some project-like things.  Needless to say, I have a few yards of toule and an elastic band just waiting for that non-existent down time I mentioned above.  Tutu, anyone?
    • My 30-day Vegan Challenge started today, it was sorta inspired by the E2 Diet I read about last week via Whole Foods.  I'm curious what changes will come from this - I'm hoping for clearer skin, a happier belly and digestive tract, a little bit of weight loss, a lot more energy, and a decrease in my insomnia-related ailments.  After 30 days, I'm not sure what will happen.  I have to make it to day 30 first, people!  I'm hoping to move to a pescatarian diet, if nothing else.  But honestly, we'll have to see.  A follow up blog on how my Day 1 went to come later.  Got a favorite vegan food or recipe? I'd love to hear about it!
    • Remember how I said I was in Tahoe this weekend? It was for a wedding and I wore these little devils:
    • As cute as they are, wearing them to an outdoorsy wedding got me a golfball sized ankle.  *Sigh*

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Workouts and Food Challenges

    Hello friends!  I have a few things to share with you, I know it's been awhile and I apologize! 

    I have decided to give a plant-based diet a go for 1 month.  I am hoping to keep it strictly vegan (it is only a month, afterall), but may opt for a pescatarian diet if need be (where I will incorporate dairy, eggs, and fish).  I've been pinning all sorts of yummy looking recipes and can't wait to give it a go, starting on Monday!  I'll be weening myself off of the Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit for breakfast by trying an oatmeal dish I keep seeing on a new blog I've subscribed to, Peanut Butter Fingers.  The author has really been motivating me to amp up my strength training and try some new, simple recipes.  She rotates between a few breakfasts, and one of them is called Overnight Oats.  Instead of cooking them overnight in a slow cooker (as you may have already imagined it would be), she prepares old fashioned oats with a few other ingredients and lets it sit overnight in the fridge, eating it cold the next morning.  Sounds a bit different, but it's been WARM up here in NorCal and cold oatmeal actually sounds kind of good!  Most of the time, she adds a flavored greek yogurt to her overnight oats.  I've decided to try her Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats for my first go at it.  It's already vegan, since it uses soy or almond milk as the liquid base.  Besides, it sounds delish!  Hopefully I'll have all sorts of veggie-dishes to share with you over the next month!  I think the experience will inspire me to blog more, too.

    Another thing I've started adding to my routine is Jamie Eason's LiveFit workouts.  I'm not really following her program, but am adding her strength training workouts to my normal cardio routine.  I like having something to follow instead of doing the same moves over and over again.  It helps to have it broken up by muscle groups, too. Yesterday, before my Zumba class, I tried out her Day 1 routine (I realized after I changed the cable flyes to bent over flyes that I was actually working my back instead of chest by doing so-oops! I couldn't move the bench to do the real exercise, maybe next time I'll ask for help!):

    Wide Pushup (standard or on knees): 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: x10
    Set #2: x9
    Set #3: x0

    Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: 10 lbs per dumbbell x12
    Set #2: 10 lbs per dumbbell x12
    Set #3: 10 lbs per dumbbell x12

    Flat Bench Cable (Bent Over) Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: 5 lbs per dumbbell x12
    Set #2: 5 lbs per dumbbell x12
    Set #3: 5 lbs per dumbbell x12

    Narrow Pushup (standard or on knees): 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: x10
    Set #2: x10
    Set #3: x0

    Overhead Triceps Dumbbell Extension: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: 15 lbs x12
    Set #2: 15 lbs x12
    Set #3: 15 lbs x12

    Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Set #1: 30 lbs x12
    Set #2: 30 lbs x12
    Set #3: 30 lbs x12

    I can't wait to see how today's workout goes!  I should be able to do each of the exercises without modification at my gym, but I may only do 2 sets of each so it doesn't take as long.  1 min between sets makes for a long workout! I think she says it should take roughly an hour to complete, depending on gym traffic.  Doing only 2 sets of each of today's seven exercises should bring that down to 45 min or so, which is much more do-able if I plan on also including cardio before-hand.  Spin starts at 5, so I have to be on the road by 4:15 in order to make it in time!  If I don't make it in time, I'll likely do 10 min on the stair-master followed by 30 min on the elliptical.  Having a plan - and a new one, at that - makes me much ore excited and motivated to make it to the gym!  What motivates you to work out?  Do you have a routine? I'd love to hear about it!