Monthly Archives: September 2009

Back on track

I just wanted to take this moment to share something with you today. You might remember, back in July, I was experiencing a slight weight gain that startled me a bit. I was also tired, somewhat unmotivated and bored with my “routine.” The summer seems to be a time of temptation for me too, with holidays, cookouts and birthday parties galore.

Once I did some investigating (thank goodness for this blog), I found that I was eating too much and exercising too much for my body. I had lost a bit of control. I also had a sneaking suspicion that some of the sugary foods I was eating were not only NOT satisfying me, but that they could’ve been increasing my hunger.

I decided to start with reducing the sugar in my diet first (checking labels, cutting back on fruit and watching “bad” carbs like baked goods and processed snacks) and I was immediately impressed. My energy was better. Food tasted better. Workouts were more productive. It’s amazing how getting a chemical out of your body will do that 😉 I also realized how carb-dependent and heavy my diet was and I made adjustments to that as well. There is nothing wrong with carbs…I just had that “pyramid mentality” of thinking I needed at least 7 ounces a day and that’s just not the case.

Then, just 8 short weeks ago today, I got really serious. I started counting calories again, though not obsessively, and I realized that I had been eating more because I thought it was what I had to do, instead of listening to my body and paying attention to my habits. Once I started tracking, I could see what days resulted in what calorie intakes and it all started making sense again. I don’t set a range for myself, I just tally up what I have for the day. I know I’m going to have to eat more on days I work out, around my menstrual cycle, and due to some other biological factors. Somedays, especially if I’m not very active, I will eat less.

But having that sheet in front of me also showed that I sometimes eat out of stress, boredom, etc. and I believe I have remedied that now. I think I might almost be a recovering emotional eater! Tracking my meals also helps me plan for the week and be super efficient at grocery shopping. I’m spending less money now and using up lots of things that have been sitting around the house for too long.

I have a very healthy relationship with calorie tracking now. I don’t try to limit my numbers or beat myself up if they go above a certain range. I just live.

And I have noticed that since I’ve been doing that, reducing sugar, and controlling portions again, I eat much less. I don’t eat out of habit or by the clock anymore. I’m not eating a certain number of calories because so and so eats that much. I have stopped comparing myself to other people, other runners, other women my age and size. We are all so different!

I eat when I am hungry, with real foods that I want to eat (not that I think I have to) which satisfy me, with an occasional “treat” (but not every day). Sometimes I don’t need a snack after dinner. Sometimes I don’t need one mid-morning. Sometimes I have a light lunch or a heavy dinner. Sometimes I’m not hungry for breakfast first thing in the morning, so I wait until I am.  Nothing wrong with any of that.

On the exercise front, I have still been working out 5-6 days a week. But I’m not killing myself anymore. I still get a good mixture of cardio, weight training and yoga when I have the time. But I went from sweaty, long and intense workouts that made me want to pass out to shorter, more moderate level workouts that still make me sweat, but don’t zap my energy for the rest of the day. That don’t leave me too tired that I can’t do anything when I get home from work. That don’t make me extraordinarly hungry for the rest of the day and so on. I don’t rely on “calories burned” to determine the quality of my workout anymore. I don’t set time limits…even small bouts of exercise are effective.

Right now, the only thing that matters to me is that I am moving. That I am having fun. That I am honoring my body by giving it what it needs and not pushing it too hard. A little pushing is okay 😉 If I need to rest, like yesterday, then darn it, I will rest. There is nothing wrong with taking a day (or two) off now and then. And naps are such a good thing too!

I also weigh myself reguarly, one time per week, always on Monday mornings before I eat breakfast. I find it is a good way for me to start off the week. Whether it is up or down, it gives me the motivation to set some weekly goals, even if that is just to keep doing the same things. But this works FOR ME and I know not everyone can see it this way. In fact, I used to let a weigh in disrupt my entire week. Now, it is just a side note. I’ve even had slightly “up” weeks since I started this new “track” but I haven’t let it affect me negatively.

Well folks, it has all paid off. In the last 8 weeks, I have lost exactly 10 lbs. I am still not back down to my “happy weight” yet, but I am very happy with where I am at right now. I feel great and I feel the healthiest I have EVER been. I love my diet, my workouts, and the way my clothes fit. I love not being stressed out about food or exercise anymore. Everything seems to be back on track.

I just want to say that if there is something you are struggling with in your life, including weight, don’t give up. Don’t succumb to the stress and the pressure. Search yourself, be intuitive and find a healthy balance for you and only you. Use others as inspirations but not guides. Listen to your body and only speak to yourself positively. If you think you might need professional help, don’t be afraid to seek it out. I think it takes more bravery to do that than anything. You are worth it.

Be kind to yourselves and each other. God bless 🙂

Riding the storm out

For some reason I feel like I have used that title before?

We are currently sitting through a line of thunderstorms, which we also had this morning. I’m hoping they pass through soon since I have to take Suzie out one more time!

Around 5:30 or so, I was hungry but not quite ready for dinner, so I snacked on some mixed nuts.

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Then I did some studying…I have my first Exercise Science exam tomorrow! But I’m not even worried. These first few chapters have basically been a review of things I learned in Anatomy & Physiology last semester.

I have also enjoyed resting today. No napping occurred but lots of sitting with my feet up has 🙂

When I was finally ready for dinner, I made some Chickpea Curry!

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I’d made this dish once before but this time the ingredients were slightly different. I used more curry paste and only added spinach since it was the only veggie I felt like putting in there.

Simple Chickpea CurryMakes 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
  • 1-2 tbsp of red curry paste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

Heat soymilk and curry paste in a medium sized pan over medium heat until bubbling (stirring occasionally) . Add chickpeas and let cook for a few minutes. Add garlic and salt. Add spinach last and allow to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Serve warm alone or with your favorite bread 🙂

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I ended up having two pieces of whole wheat toast!

Then just a few minutes ago, I had some peanut butter because I was feeling a bit hungry.

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Gosh I am so tired! But it is still storming. Once there is any kind of break in the weather, I’m running out with the dog, so I’d better get off here.

Ugh, Josh is yelling at the Giants game. Don’t you just love football season?

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend and have an even better tomorrow. It’s a new week, let’s set some new goals and make a plan to make them happen 🙂

R & R

Hello! I hope wherever you are that you are having a great day. It’s rather rainy and cloudy here, perfect day to stay in the house catching up on rest and relaxation!

I’m rather sore today so exercise of any kind is the furthest thing from my mind 😉

Last night for dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate our friend Beth’s birthday. I started off with a couple pieces of bread (no butter) because I was hungry by the time we got there!

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For my dinner, I ordered the Fresh Vegetable Salad with no cheese. It came with Asparagus, Green Beans, Tomato, Cucumber, Roasted Beets, Apple, Edamame, Radicchio, Romaine with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.

This was an “appetizer salad” but man it was huge!

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Here is a pic of me and some friends at dinner, including the birthday girl on the right 🙂 I look like I have something coming out of my head, no? Check out the huge salad bowl!

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I ate the whole thing 🙂 It was delicious and I wasn’t too full when we left either. Lots of friends ordered some amazing looking cheesecake, but I am just not a fan, even before I stopped eating dairy.

We had another birthday party to get to, but I managed to stop at Starbucks to pick up a tall soy pumpkin spice latte! This is only my second one so I think I am doing okay at moderation!

While hanging out with friends and watching the UFC (which was so disappointing-yet another guy I like lost) I snacked on some tortilla chips.

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I was proud of myself for passing up dessert at the restaurant and not eating any birthday cake either. But honestly, I did not want it and the pumpkin spice latte helped too I’m sure!

I also had some peppermint tea before bed. It’s my favorite!

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This morning, I woke up and made some hot cereal with peanut butter and sliced pears.

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Now that I’ve had a day or two to think about it…I do prefer almond butter! I never thought I’d say that in my life. But MaraNatha did it for me. I’ve heard Barney Butter is good too but I can’t afford it (the one place in town I can find it has it selling for $9 a jar)!

I drank some coffee with Almond Breeze and a second cup black. I got a bit hungry at the end of Sunday School and I forgot to bring a snack so I had a blueberry muffin to hold me over.

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I have no idea if it contained dairy but I’m almost sure it did. Oh well.

For lunch, Josh, Mom, Dad and I went to Zaytun’s Mediterranean Grill, which was so exciting to me as this is my favorite type of food. This was my third time visiting, as I have been once with my friend Aleta and another time with Mom.

I ordered a vegetarian platter that came with hummus, Baba Ghanouj and falafel. Doesn’t get much better than this!

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I ate all the hummus (with 4 pita slices) and 2.5 of the falafel balls (I made Mom try some). Josh got this really huge meaty gyro, which he said was okay. I was proud of him for trying it though. He’s just not as into it as me 😉

When we got home, I ran a couple of quick errands and then had a piece of organic dark chocolate for a snack.

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I’m doing my best to stay off my feet today but I think it’s time to switch the laundry around so I’d better at least do that, ha ha. Hope you have a great afternoon, be back later with dinner!

Take a load off

Whew, my dogs are barking! In case you have never heard that expression, it means my feet really hurt, ha ha. My great-grandma used to say it all the time. Sitting down to right this blog post is the first chance I’ve had to take a load off!

I got up early this morning and made myself a delicious breakfast of waffles with peanut butter and a faux sausage patty.

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This is the last of the Eggo waffles and Morningstar Farms stuff. I won’t be getting them again since I know they contain dairy ingredients (among other weird ones I can’t pronounce).

I also made myself a big cup of coffee with soymilk but only ended up drinking half of it…who am I?

Then I met up with my aunts at the Zoo for a nice 4 mile walk. I was glad to start my day off this way since most of the evening is going to be spent sitting down at a birthday dinner and the UFC pay per view later on 😉

When I got home, I sorted through some coupons and make a grocery list before hitting the stores. I picked a good time to go too – our big in-state rivalry football game was this afternoon and I try not to get all caught up in the hype. I try to avoid conflict and be peaceful, haha.

I got hungry while at home, so I went ahead and ate lunch since we all know grocery shopping in that condition is not the way to go 🙂

I had Muir Glen organic savory lentil soup and it was delicious! It did not photograph very well though.

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This soup had a lot of sodium! But I’m not sensitive and I try to keep products like this to a minimum. As you can see I also had a whole wheat pita pocket on the side.

I spent almost 2 hours grocery shopping! I had lots of coupons and I went to two different places to get the best deals. I only went over my $50 budget by 12 cents, but I think next week I’ll be way under because I got so much today!

When I got everything put away, I was hungry so I had some mixed nuts.

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I swear, when I’m really needing a snack, nothing satisfies me like nuts. I don’t know if it is the protein, fat or the combo but they are perfect and I love them.

Can you tell I need a nap now? I’m about to get right on that.

We are having dinner at The Cheesecake Factory tonight for my friend Beth’s birthday! It’s only the second time I have been there and the first time since going vegetarian 🙂

Hope you all have a great Saturday.

The man loves wings

Happy weekend everybody! I’m so glad it is finally here. I have a lot of fun stuff going on that I can’t wait to get it going.

Anyway, this morning, I got to have something awesome…oats in a jar! Well, really it is 5 grain cereal in a jar, ha.

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Yum yum yum.

A few hours later at work, I took a short walk and ate some mixed nuts.

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I have found that it is totally motivating to get out for a quick walk when you have errands to run. This morning, I made a trip to the mailbox to get some bills out…goodbye paycheck 😉

Before lunch, I met up with Farrah for a nice workout. I ran a mile on the treadmill to warm up and it was brutal, so much harder than running a mile outside. So weird.

Anyway, after the run we did some weights and strength training. Let me see if I can remember it all (everything was 2×12, except abs which was more):

  • Cable crossovers
  • Bench presses
  • Seated row machine
  • Dead lifts
  • Pushups
  • Squats w/ dumbbell
  • Lunges w/ dumbbell
  • Abs, abs and more abs (rocking horse, regular crunches, side crunches, partial sit up with dumbbell, and standing side-to-side dips with dumbbells)

It was an awesome workout and I am sure that my legs will be sore tomorrow!

For lunch, I got to try something new…a Boca Vegan burger on an EZEKIEL ENGLISH MUFFIN 🙂

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Topped with some tomato and spicy mustard. This muffin was delicious…so dense and chewy. I think I’m in love. Good thing I have five more in the freezer.

I also had some veggies and hummus on the side.

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I totally had some tea (peppermint, my fave) and a piece of dark chocolate after this but forgot to photo it again, ha ha.

For my real afternoon snack, after another walk to the bank this time, I had something I hadn’t had since a little salmonella outbreak a while back.

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Oh how I love thee. Unfortunately, thee has a lot of sugar, so this is a special treat. It felt so good to be reunited though 😉

For dinner, Josh and I decided on Buffalo Wings and Rings because Josh was in the mood for wings (shocker) and they at least have two vegetarian selections as opposed to one or zero at most wing places. It took FOREVER for us to come up with this, I hope in the future it is not as challenging to accommodate both of us.

We have been there two times before, both when I was still eating meat. So this would be my first time trying out their veggie choices.

I decided on the Veggie Greek salad pita. I didn’t even think to ask but apparently it comes with feta cheese, of which I picked most off.

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The homemade Saratoga chips were pretty good. But I don’t think I will get this pita again. It had way too many olives and wasn’t really all that filling.

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I read on the menu their veggie burger is not just a patty so perhaps I will give that a try if I find myself here again.

Even though it was a bit of a letdown for me, Josh really enjoyed his wings. I believe he got atomic ragin’ cajun?

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When we got back home, we started watching the movie “Adventureland” which was honestly sort of depressing at times. I thought it would be funnier, oh well. I had a snack about half way through.

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Toast with almond butter and semisweet chips. Just what I needed 🙂

I’m off to make some tea and then hit the hay. Be back soon!

What to call myself?

I recently read Caitlin’s post on labels and it got me thinking…what am I?

As most of you know by now, I have been doing research and experimenting with veganism for a few weeks now, thanks to Lindsey’s inspiration and fueled by my own off-and-on interest in the “diet” side of the lifestyle. I decided to take on this challenge for health reasons and for all the great things I’ve heard about the positive “side effects” of the diet, though I do care about animals and our environment. That is just not my #1 motivation. To me, it’s an added bonus, something that is additionally benefitting from me choosing this lifestyle for myself.

Just about every day, I Google “Is (fill in the blank) vegan?” and I’m surprised at the amount of information out there on the subject. Just about everything I have come across has been easy to figure out so far. But I found one thing in particular hard to get around…honey.

I have known for a long time that “true” vegans do not eat honey but I wondered if that applied to me? I don’t use it, as I am generally a low sugar eater. I don’t keep honey in a jar in my house. But I’m finding it difficult at times to avoid products that already have it in there. Since my primary motivation is health, will a little honey here or there really hurt me?

Then I thought to myself…why not just leave that part out? I’ll do everything else. Can I still be considered a “vegan?” Do I even care about having a label?

But, I went ahead and Googled “Can you be a vegan and eat honey?” I clicked on the first link that came up.

[Source – http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm]

Vegan Nomenclature : If you are thinking to yourself, “But I’m a vegan for health reasons” or “I’m a vegan for environmental reasons,” read on. Unlike the word vegetarian, the word vegan specifically implies moral concern for animals, and this concern extends to all areas of life, not just diet. If you do not believe in animal equality, please consider referring to yourself as someone who doesn’t eat animal products, as one who follows a plant-based diet, or as one who follows a vegan diet. Or, continue to educate yourself about veganism, and perhaps you will choose to practice veganism. Additionally, anyone who eats honey, yet refers to herself as a vegan, makes life difficult for other vegans–it’s like having someone who eats fish and calls herself a vegetarian. When a vegetarian comes along, it is much harder for her to explain that fish is not acceptable for vegetarians.”

While I know this particular source is just one person’s opinion, I am sure that it is shared by many throughout the vegan community. Honey is apparently a quite controversial topic. I also found this really interesting article on Slate.com called “The Great Vegan Honey Debate” written By Daniel Engber. 

Here are some good tidbits from that article:

“There is no more contentious question in the world of veganism than the one posed by honey.”

“You either eat honey or you don’t; to debate the question in public only makes the vegan movement seem silly and dogmatic.”

And probably my favorite line from the entire piece:

“That may be the most important lesson to come out of this debate: You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

The Bottom Line

  • I totally respect why ethically-motivated vegans avoid honey. I tend to do it myself as a person who avoids sugar and sugary products, though it’s a different type of motivation.
  • I will strive to avoid honey in the same way I have been, but I won’t go out of my way. Obviously, foods like “honey roasted peanuts” “yogurt with honey” or “oats & honey granola bars” will be easy to spot and I will do my best to not purchase those products. Also, this is a point where it comes in handy not to eat many processed foods to begin with!
  • I do not care about labels personally; I don’t fit neatly into boxes, figuratively speaking. But when someone asks me how I eat or why I am not eating something, I want to have an answer for them that is both accurate and respectful.
  • As of today, I am a vegetarian. If I choose to adopt the vegan way of living and make it permanent, I will refer to my diet as vegan, but not myself. I will however, allow myself to be called “labeled” a vegetarian. That is a name I am comfortable with since I don’t plan to eat meat or seafood again for the foreseeable future.

So, there you have it. I am a vegetarian that eats a semi-vegan diet. I avoid eating meat, seafood, eggs, butter, and dairy products. I am working on reading labels and finding those animal-derived ingredients that get snuck into some seemingly vegan foods, including all the hard to spell ingredients like calcium carbonate. Okay, so that wasn’t too hard to spell.

*I also want to make it clear that I am doing this for myself because I want to. And you should eat whichever way it is that works for you or that you are passionate about.*

I also reserve the right to change and evolve over time, as should you. When I first started this blog and throughout the months that have followed, my diet has gone through various changes. I’m sure this won’t be the end of it as I continue on this journey of healthy and balanced living.

I’ve been interested in vegetarianism and veganism since I was a teenager, experimenting with it from time to time, including on a few occasions over the past two years, but I’ve been going about it the wrong way due to my lack of knowledge and understanding. But now that I am informed and I am motivated, I am finally ready. Ready to experience everything that eating an animal free diet has for me. Ready to experience new foods and try out some new recipes. Thanks for allowing me to share that with you.

Have a great weekend!

Prioritizing

Happy Thursday y’all! Thank God it’s almost Friday, right? Thank you for all the great comments on my last post about the Bittman article! I appreciate it.

For breakfast this morning, I had two Eggo waffles, a Morningstar Farms patty and some canned pears that I drained and rinsed (can you tell I’m trying to use stuff up)?

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I debated over whether to put something on the waffles but in the end I just ate them plain and enjoyed it that way 😉

Mid-morning, I snacked on some mixed nuts and took a 15 minute walk, yay!

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For lunch, I reluctantly had the leftover Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake that I made for girls night this week. It was actually kind of better today or perhaps I was just really hungry 😉

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Yes, I threw some Brussels on there! I love them and they are high in Vitamin C! That is especially cool with cold and flu season upon us.

After lunch, I had some fruity tea and a piece of dark chocolate. Sorry recycled pic here, the other one disappeared!

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For my afternoon snack, I decided to give soy yogurt another try. I’ve been doing some research and it is hard to find non-dairy yogurts that are also low in sugar! I’ve found one brand that I want to look for next time I’m at Whole Foods but for now, this one had to do.

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This little container has 18 grams of sugar. This made me realize I need a priority? What is going to take precedence? Sugar or the fact that this is non-dairy?

I’ve long said I would not choose “junk” in favor of avoiding meat or dairy products. There are a lot of restaurants where the only vegetarian or vegan options would be French fries. I’m sort of in a pickle here. Ooh pickles…I digress.

But for now, the soy yogurt was good and I won’t eat it everyday so perhaps it can remain a part of my diet? I also don’t want to overdo soy products. This does have some good points though.

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To “bulk” it up a bit, I added two tablespoons of Ezekiel golden flax cereal. I did just a little bit first to try it.

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But it was totally yummy so I threw the rest on there and went to town. The yogurt was so creamy and just a bit sweet, not terribly overwhelming like some of the fruit flavors. I’d get it again.

After work, I got to take an hour long yoga class. It was pretty simple, for beginners, but I enjoyed it immensely. I left there feeling relaxed and peaceful which is my favorite thing about yoga.

Our teacher was also really funny! She was an older woman and she made the funniest little jokes during our practice. She said her instructor once told her that if you don’t breathe during your asanas, your brain will freeze, ha ha!

The class was great and when I got home I was STARVING! So I hurried up and made dinner. On the menu tonight…TOFU!

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I got a small package of Silken Extra Firm tofu (Mori-Nu), drizzled some canola oil on it, sprinkled on some seasonings and baked it in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes (a bit longer since it’s Silken).

On the side I had some mixed veggies, a pita pocket (plain) and some ketchup for dipping the tofu. It was so delicious!

I’m enjoying a nice cup of peppermint tea and a piece of dark chocolate. This kind that I have, it is vegan and it only contains 5 grams of sugar per 3 pieces! Thank goodness I don’t have to make a choice there 😉

The cool thing is that this is MY diet so I can decide. I hope you do the same for yourself. Good night!

The philosophy of Mark Bittman

I just read this really great article on Runner’s World – Simply Good by Mark Bittman

Bittman is the author of two books you’ve most likely heard of: “How to Cook Everything” and “Food Matters”. In this article, he details his struggle with excessive eating which came as a result of excessive running and the never-ending hunger that comes along with that. This caught my attention immediately as this is something I have struggled with in the past.

He also talks about how after gaining weight, being diagnosed with sleep apnea and other potentially serious health issues, he decided it was time to change his diet. He was eating too many animal products (especially meat) and processed foods and not enough of the good stuff (fruits and vegetables).

“…like many runners, I felt that I ran enough to compensate for overeating, and that running would make me immune to the middle-aged paunch and all the lifestyle syndromes, diseases, and problems that come with it. Wrong…”

Eventually, Bitman chose to reduce his consumption of animal products and processed foods, epecially after reading some alarming statistics about the health of Americans, global warming, overfishing, and other social issues that meat and processed foods-eating contributes to.

“When I turned my attention to vegetables, I realized they made a better core to my diet than animal products: They’re simple, flavorful, affordable, easily varied and cooked, and unquestionably healthy…”

This really resonated with me because that is EXACTLY why I am working on developing this vegan diet for myself. Vegetables (and some fruits) make so much sense to me. Meat doesn’t and I don’t really like it. I also don’t like the way dairy makes me feel or the potential hormones that come along with it, unless you buy organic. Processed foods are not only unhealthy, they are expensive.

I’m also interested in seeing how this new way of eating affects my running. I haven’t ran more than 3 miles since April but eventually I would like to get to where 5 was comfortable and perhaps even build up to another half marathon someday. I used to think that was impossible but I just have to remind myself that I did it once, I can do it again. I also eat a whole lot better now than I did then (when I relied on too many processed carbs, sugar, etc.), so who knows?

I’m certainly inspired by Mr. Bittman and his determination to eat healthy and keep running:

“Yes, I’m more determined than I’ve been in a long time, but that determination comes from having taken control of my diet and, as a result, the basic shape of my body. Unquestionably, eating sanely has rejuvenated my running, made me more youthful, and helped me feel, well, simply good.”

“To me, running and cooking are both uncomplicated and essential pleasures that can be enjoyed with minimum equipment and time.”

Amen.

Another recipe fail?

Another Wednesday girl’s night potluck has come and gone. This week I had the main dish and while it wasn’t terrible, I was a bit disappointed. But let’s back up!

Yesterday’s breakfast was 5 grain cereal with almond butter and some dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, and cranberries) that I received in a packet a while back at a cancer info booth.

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Mid-morning, I took a walk and then snacked on some mixed nuts (2 tbsp).

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For lunch, I had a veggie burger in a pita pocket with avocado, tomato and spicy mustard, plus some carrots and hummus on the side.

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I had a hard time stuffing everything into the pita pocket! I think I overdid it a bit 😉

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After lunch, I had class and then a meeting, so when I got back I was more than ready for some tea and chocolate (it’s becoming a ritual I think).

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I had brought some soy yogurt and cereal as my afternoon snack but I sat there and kept asking myself if I was hungry. Nope. Usually I would eat it anyway, but I decided to save it for the next day instead.

I love it when that happens! No, not skipping a snack. Just being intuitive and feeling good about my choices.

After work, I met Farrah for a run. We did a bit more than 3 miles, most of it running but there were a few walks in there. I’m trying to build back up to running 5Ks, the first of which will be next month!

When I got home, I was finally hungry so I snacked on some more mixed nuts (another 2 tbsp).

For the main dish at girls night, I prepared a Lentil Rice and Veggie Bake using this recipe from allrecipes.com as my guide with a few substitutions.

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Cooking up all the veggies in the skillet…it looks good!

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I had to make these lentils because I couldn’t find “red” ones? Does anyone know the difference?

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I also used barley instead of rice because I already had some in the pantry.

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Here’s what it looked like coming out of the oven 🙂

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I don’t know what it was but something I just didn’t care for. I think maybe it was too bland because it was better with some salt on it.

We had the casserole (x2) with some veggies and bread dipped in olive oil. Yum!

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But I think dessert was my favorite! Court found these Diana’s Bananas banana babies, which the box described as “real bananas covered with non-dairy dark chocolate…perfect!

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I may have to find some of these for myself. How awesome they were!

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Even though I wasn’t thrilled with my dish, you live and learn. I hope one of these days I can make a really great tasting vegan dish. I’m hoping it was just the substitutions I made or something. Oh well!

Hope you all had a good Wednesday night too. Thank you for your comments on my decision not to watch The Biggest Loser…I deleted it from my DVR and I canceled the series recording. That felt great! Ha ha.

Have an awesome Thursday!

Why I love whole grains

Happy Tuesday!

Before I wrote that, I almost thought it might be Monday again, huh. Wonder what I was thinking?!

Anyway, I started today off a bit differently with something other than hot cereal. Josh had some of this bread left over so I thought I’d help him use some of it up before it went bad.

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I bought this for him because it was majorly on sale, usually I’m very strict about having 100% whole wheat or whole grain bread in our house.

I made some toast and topped it with almond butter and a small banana that I sliced up.

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First off, the taste of the bread sort of clashed with the almond butter. But I finished it and felt pretty satisfied…until 9:00 when my hunger came striking out of nowhere.

This is why I prefer (and love) whole grains. Fiber keeps you fuller longer! But it was worth a shot…I will not make a repeat. Thankfully that bread is gone now. I wonder if it affects Josh the same way?

For the snack I so desperately needed, I had some cucumbers and Sabra original hummus, so good!

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Before lunch, I headed to the gym to work out with Farrah. We ran for 1 mile outside and then did a circuit of upper body, back and abs exercises. Because we’ve been keeping the workouts shorter, I’ve been using heavier weights and I’m really noticing a difference. 🙂

For lunch, I devoured my leftover burrito from Santa Fe yesterday and a small romaine salad with creamy Italian (and vegan) dressing.

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This kept me full for most of the afternoon until I was waiting for my ride after work. I didn’t bring a snack with me but knew I needed one, so I picked this up on the way.

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The ingredients list was decent, it contains 11 grams of sugar but that is still less than most bars other than Kashi. Plus, I read about it on this list of snack foods that are vegan.

It was really good! And it was a really good thing I ate it because I got home late and didn’t have time for dinner before I had to leave to meet my friend Candy for our walk.

We did about 3 miles which included lots of hills, which was awesome. I still wasn’t starving when I got home (that bar rocked) but I went ahead and ate some dinner, keeping it light.

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I made a Boca vegan burger topped with avocado and tomato, plus organic ketchup for dipping, and some Asian style veggies on the side.

I sat down, relaxed and watched some TV before I decided I was still a bit hungry (it caught up with me). So I made this totally awesome snack of a pita pocket topped with almond butter and a few semisweet (and vegan) chocolate chips.

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When I was done, I got to work on my main dish recipe that I’m serving at girl’s night tomorrow! I will tell you all about it then 🙂

On a different note, I am SO NOT watching The Biggest Loser this season. It’s been tempting since I was home while it was on and my DVR is still set up to record it. But after the last two seasons I don’t think it is good for my health for me to continue. I get so wrapped up in the contestants, which I think have been particularly evil the past two seasons, and I get mad at them!

I also get tired of all the fakeness and trying to pretend like they aren’t basically doing a commercial in the middle of the show even though we see plenty of them over the course of two hours. I also really like Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper but feel that they have become “characters” rather than the real (and awesome) people they are.

I don’t know. Part of me wants to know what’s going on. Perhaps if I could find a disconnect…be able to watch the show without caring? Hmm…

Do you (or did you) watch a show that just downright pisses you off? How do you deal with it?