Category Archives: books

Eating Animals

This past weeked the Louisville Vegetarian Club met to discuss a book we are reading: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Many refer to this book as a “case for vegetarianism” but I’ve also heard some criticize it saying that while it does give good information, it doesn’t go far enough in making that case.

Since I am still new to the whole animal abuse side of vegetarianism/veganism, I thought it was a good introduction into some harsh realities that I wasn’t aware of prior to reading the book.

I like how Foer’s inspiration for writing this book was that he was about to become a father, therefore responsible for what another human eats. That thought has crossed my mind quite a few times in recent months, as I do plan to have children someday.

We know more about food today — what it is and where it comes from — than our parents did when we were children. I’m also glad that I turned my life around and got healthy before I had children and I have enough knowledge now to get them started off on the right foot, nutritionally.

I haven’t finished this book yet, so this isn’t a review. I just wanted to share that while my intentions for going vegan were first motivated by health, I continue to read and educate myself on the other issues as well. I find that I am constantly amazed and shocked at what I am learning about the way animals are used and treated in this country.

And once I know things like this, it’s impossible to turn those images off. And there is no way I could ever go back to eating them.

As a group, we came up with the following questions/discussion topics (we=Americans):

  • Are our desires more important than those of the animals we are eating?
  • Are we being selfish?
  • Do we eat animals because we feel superior?
  • In closing: As long as we keep eating meat, we are advocating factory farming.

The superiority thing really interested me because I am a Christian and in church you always hear about how we as humans are to have “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

Opinions will vary, but when I hear the word “dominion” I think of power. Authority. Ownership. Some translations will say “reign over” or “be responsible for.” In this same chapter God also provided seeds, plants and fruit trees for food. Green plants for the animals too.

Personally, I believe God entrusted us to take care of the Earth and the animals that live here with us. Take care of them. I do NOT believe this means we are to abuse this responsibility.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Day 9, Pt. 2: Books and new tea

Friday’s breakfast was so good that I didn’t need a snack until almost 11! And thus continued the day I was a peanut butter monster 🙂





For lunch, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of broccoli. Not the most exciting lunch but it managed to fill me up that day even though I usually have trouble with PB&J being enough.



Just before 2, Farrah cancelled our workout so I knew I would be on my own to exercise! I decided to just push it back to the end of the day.

She also brought up an interesting point to me. She said she wanted to get back into a regular running program and do less strength training because she is feeling “puffy” and isn’t fitting into her jeans as well right now as she’d like to.

I told her I have the opposite problem! When I run more, I tend to plateau or gain weight because I eat more because my appetite is out of control. And I absolutely love strength training because it makes me feel stronger, fitter and it has done more for my body than hours upon hours of cardio ever has.

This just goes to show you: WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to do it, even if it means a few less workouts with a buddy 😉

Before leaving work, I snacked on a carrot and some more PB!



Then I hit the gym! It was a nasty rainy day, so I jumped on the treadmill and did a quasi-speed work run/walk. It went something like this:

  • 0:00-5:00 Walk/warm up (3.0-3.8 mph)
  • 5:00-10:00 Jog at 5.0 mph
  • 10:00-13:00 Run at 5.5 mph
  • 13:00-14:00 Sprint at 6.0 mph
  • 14:00-15:00 Recover at 5.0 mph
  • 15:00-18:00 Run at 5.7 mph
  • 18:00-19:00 Sprint at 6.5 mph
  • 19:00-20:00 Recover at 5.0 mph
  • 20:00-23:00 Run at 5.8 mph
  • 23:00-24:00 Sprint at 7.0 mph
  • 24:00-25:00 Recover, walking at 3.8
  • 25:00-28:00 Run at 5.9 mph
  • 28:00-29:00 Sprint at 7.5 mph
  • 29:00-31:00 Recover walk 3.8 mph
  • 31:00-35:00 Run at 6.0 mph, decreasing gradually to 5.5
  • 35:00-40:00 Cool down, walk at 3.5 decreasing gradually to 2.5

Total workout: 3.25 miles in 40:00

Phew, I was a hot sweaty mess afterwards and thankfully I stretched for a long time afterwards because I feel great today, no soreness!

At the gym, I also got the chance to post my FIRST Operation Beautiful note 🙂


I had so much fun that I quickly threw another one inside of the locker I used.



I really got a kick out of doing this and I can’t wait to post another one. I have to say, it’s kind of addicting! It made my day and I hope someone else’s too 🙂

Dinner was a weird throw it together meal. I was going to make oatmeal, but Josh graciously donated his potato that he hadn’t eaten yet so I went with it.


Baked potato with S+P, hot sauce and organic ketchup with a side of mixed veggies. I know it doesn’t look like much but that potato was huge and definitely filled me up.

Afterwards, Court and I went to Barnes and Noble where I got to check out Alicia Silverstone’s new book “The Kind Diet.” I did not purchase the book (yet) but I did take some notes.

Alicia eats a vegan diet (no meat, dairy, etc.) but she’s also very aware of other things like the dangers of white sugar, HFCS, being too dependent on caffeine, etc. Her approach is neat because it basically, gradually advises you to free yourself of anything in your diet that might be harmful to your body, mind or spirit.

You also have two options with the book: You can “flirt” with the Kind Diet or you can go full blown. She also discusses all the benefits of the diet including your health, the environment, animal welfare, etc.

There are some really great recipes in there too. I’m going to put it on my “Wish List” for sure 🙂

At B&N cafe, I got to try a new tea! This one was called African Autumn and I loved it. It was a little on the fruity side but not overwhelmingly so. It is also a red tea if you couldn’t tell.


When I got home, I was hungry again, so I had something I’m apparently not tired of yet even though I thought I was 😉


I have so much more to share with you guys but I’m going to have to call it a night and catch you guys up tomorrow.

Hope you had an amazing weekend!

Having some issues

I tried to post my meals a couple of times over the long weekend and for some reason, my computer and WordPress just weren’t communicating very well! So unfortunately, I am a little behind, but I hope you guys hang with me 🙂

Here’s Friday

Oats, 1% milk, banana, PB, walnuts

Oats, 1% milk, banana, PB, walnuts

McDonald's McCafe - Nonfat mocha

McDonald's McCafe - Nonfat mocha

A few words about the above beverage…I had a free coupon, so I decided a cold Friday that I actually drove myself to work was a great day to cash it in. It tasted okay, more like hot chocolate than mocha (coffee), but halfway through drinking it, I had the genius idea to check the nutritionals online! This SMALL NONFAT mocha contains 240 calories. I know mochas from Starbucks are higher than some other drinks but I was still shocked. I know it’s from sugar too. I drank about 2/3 of it (because I was cold) and then promptly dumped out the rest to avoid added calorie damage. I will not get this one again, but I see from their menu that many of the other choices are doable (they have some sugar free syrups too).

Sausage, lettuce, red pepper wrap with mustard

Sausage, lettuce, red pepper wrap with mustard

For lunch, I made this genius invention of a sausage wrap…I have a plethora of tortillas in my fridge but no lunchmeat or tuna, so I decided to cook the last smoked sausage (Garlic Mozzarella) and then chop it up and wrap it with some vegetables. It ended up being a little much, so I had to eat it more like a burrito than a wrap. Still good though!

Wrap with carrots & hummus, grapes

Wrap with carrots & hummus, grapes

Plain nonfat yogurt, Kashi Go Lean crunch, coffee w/ Equal & 1% milk

Plain nonfat yogurt, Kashi Go Lean crunch, coffee w/ Equal & 1% milk

After work (and the above awesome snack) I went and ran 3 miles, which I mentioned in my previous post 🙂 It was such a good feeling, one that I hope I can repeat this week!

For dinner, my husband and I decided we were in the mood for Mexican, so we went to Ernesto’s Mexican Restaurant which is quite close to us and the grocery store, our usual Friday night haunt (we are such an old couple, haha). I ordered the enchiladas (chicken) which came with rice and refried beans, perfecto! I also had a few chips with salsa (not pictured). I was proud of myself for not asking for sour cream…when you aren’t at home, the full-fat sour cream really can add unneeded calories and fat to your meal (even if it does taste really good).

2 chicken enchiladas, mexican rice, refried beans

2 chicken enchiladas, mexican rice, refried beans

Dinner really hit the spot! I was very happy with our choice, but I also think I was still “high” from my awesome run earlier! Dessert back at home was really simple, just a Jello pudding cup with some cool whip on top…I don’t usually buy or use cool whip, but I have it left over from a recipe I made a couple of weeks ago and I just refuse to waste anything; unfortunately cool whip has trans fat, blech! But a little bit shouldn’t kill me, right?

Jello sugar free dark chocolate pudding, chocolate cool whip

Jello sugar free dark chocolate pudding, chocolate cool whip

At the grocery store, I bought some more tea since I finally ran out of the other kinds I have had at home for so long (thank goodness). I chose a variety pack because Lord knows, I get bored easily and hate eating or drinking the same things multiple times in a week or so. It’s just a problem I have!

Here is the box I bought, it’s Lipton’s Herbal variety pack

Six flavors of Lipton Herbal tea

Six flavors of Lipton Herbal tea

After we watched a movie (“Get Smart” it was just ok), it was 10:30 and I knew I should get to bed even though I’m accustomed to staying up later on the weekends. I’d had a long day and I knew if I didn’t get my rest or at least relaxation that the next day would seem even longer! So I made myself a cup of chamomile tea hoping that it would relax me and help me drift off into slumberland…

Lipton Herbal "Quietly Chamomile"

Lipton Herbal "Quietly Chamomile"

It did just that! I was in bed reading a book and before I knew it, I was nodding off and reading the same paragraph over and over. I was somehow able to finish the chapter, then I put the book away and went into a long and peaceful sleep 🙂

By the way, I am currently reading Morgan Spurlock’s “Don’t Eat This Book” which is really great, but I’m pretty sure I never want to eat fast food again. Not necessarily a bad thing I suppose?

The ugly truth about the American diet

The ugly truth about the American diet

Hope everyone else enjoyed their Friday night, sorry you are hearing about mine on Tuesday!

Mindless eating

After stumbling upon (aka Google Reader recommended) a blog by a girl who calls herself “Bitch Cakes” (lol), I discovered the “Mindless Eating Challenge” which is a website based on the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink. This book has been on my “to read” list for quite a while, now that it’s out on paperback I hope to pick it up real soon!

Anyway, back to the challenge part. From this site, you can enter your email address and take a short quiz to find out what your “mindless eating” challenges are and practical measures you can take to change these behaviors. For me, it was “snack grazing” and the three solutions I chose (they give you several options and you pick 3) were:

  1. Stop eating 3 hours before going to bed
  2. Eating meals and snacks ONLY in the kitchen or dining room
  3. Drinking a glass of water with every meal or snack

It asks you how many days out of the next 30 you think you can achieve this goal and how many calories per day you think it will save you. Since right now, my biggest problem seems to be going for the peanut butter jar at night, I estimated that these measures would save me 200 calories per day (equivalent of 2 tbsp peanut butter). That’s nearly 20 pounds a year!

I am so glad I discovered this website, it has really given me a new focus, which is how I am able to do my best, when I am focused and working on a goal. So I’m excited!

Moving along…

Yesterday’s mid-morning snack is no surprise, mixed nuts again! I’m trying to use everything up before we go to the grocery this weekend, it makes me feel good.

Before leaving for the gym, I found myself hungry again (getting up early with the dog makes snack time come earlier!) and so I went ahead and ate a tangerine that I brought.

I met one of my running companions at the gym for a treadmill workout! We started out walking for 5 minutes to warm up, then we ran for 5, walked for 3, ran for 3, then walked for a while increasing our incline by 1.0 each minute until we got up to 10.0, then came back down 1.0 at a time. Then we did a couple of sprints and cooled down. It was sort of random, but we ended up staying on for 45 minutes and I burned well over 300 calories! 🙂

When I got back for lunch, I was very hungry! I had another regular meal (sorry so boring today) of veggie burger with 2% cheese and ketchup, romaine salad with pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, parmesan cheese and balsamic spray.

About an hour after lunch, I was feeling less than satisfied, so I had a cup of fat free hot cocoa (thank goodness I brought some extra stuff with me today!)

That seemed to do the trick, plus lots of water. I did the math and I think I drank my weight (in ounces) in water yesterday! Seriously, I must’ve needed it.

Later on in the afternoon, I had a sugar free apple cider…

And a carb master yogurt in vanilla, very tasty!

When I left work, I felt a little hungry (or so I thought), so I decided to head to the bookstore to grab a snack. I perused the “bars” and they were all so high in calories and I didn’t want to spoil my dinner. I decided on a package of Pistachios, which I had never had before!

I chose this because nuts sounded good (even though I already eat a lot of them — I justify it by needing to raise my HDL, lol) and the entire package was only 150 calories. It turned out to be a good choice…with pistachios, you have to break open the shell, which takes time and makes your brain think too.

By the time I got halfway through the package, I decided I was “done” and didn’t need any more, so I saved the rest for later. What could’ve been easily a 220 calorie snack (bar) turned into a 75 calorie one of heart healthy nuts! 🙂

Dinner at home was great as usual! My husband made some pork chops, but he cut the fat off of mine, so they ended up like two roasted pork medallions (with mustard) 🙂 I had some carrots and barley (with a sprinkle of Chinese hot garlic sauce) and half of my husband’s pickle that he offered to me! Before eating, I took the dog out for a short walk.

After dinner, I went to my “to-do list” that I had made at work and it’s a good thing I did. I managed to get so much accomplished including some cleaning, dishes/laundry, a short upper body workout (pushups, dips, reverse planks) and reading a few chapters of Matthew. Plus I got to bed before 10:00! Lists really seem to work for me.

Around 7:30, I had this sugar free pudding cup with light whipped topping. My cut off time for eating last night was 8:00 (self imposed) which is actually 2 hours before bedtime, but it’s a start, right? Some nights I do go to bed at 11, so I thought 8:00 would be a nice solid time for week days.

Either me or my mind decided I was still hungry, so I went and got 1 tbsp of Mighty Maple from the pantry and put the jar back. I finished this at 8:01 (in the kitchen, per the rules!)and it took a little distracting and mental self-coaching, but I did not go back for more! I actually made a cup of mint green tea (herbal, decaf) and went upstairs to read.

I did it! 🙂

I calculated today’s calories to be 1560, I usually try to stick around 1500 these days, so it was perfect. Any more PB (or other nighttime snack) and I would’ve gone over.

Help! In need of change…

Every six weeks or so, I am ready to change things up. Whether it’s trying something new in my diet, changing up my exercise routine, or redecorating, I get bored after a few weeks and have to find something new to get me excited about my healthy lifestyle again.

Back in June while my husband was out of town, I became an ‘accidental’ vegetarian and kept it up until our trip to Nicaragua when I decided it wasn’t worth it to not eat the meat there as it was in many of our dishes. Since I’ve returned home, I’ve gone back to not eating it and already feel better again. 🙂

But now, I’m finding myself completely unmotivated to exercise. I was reading an article about Jackie Warner (from Bravo’s Workout) in FitnessRx magazine and she said (and I’m paraphrasing) if you are too tired to go to the gym or don’t feel like it in general, than you should stay home because your workout will not be a good quality one even if you do manage to get through your routine. So now I have had that in the back of my mind this week. And I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
I know I am bored with the current routine, if you can even call it that. Basically, I’ve been trying to do some cardio everyday – running, walking, elliptical or bike – for eat least thirty minutes. Then 2-3 days a week I like to get in some serious weight training. I’ve tried a few new routines based off the massive amounts of exercises I know how to do but now just the thought of going to the gym makes me yawn. I want to get serious again. When I was training for the mini-marathon this winter, I was focused with a clear goal in mind. I guess I need to find one again, something to look forward to, a deadline to meet.

I’m also thinking it’s a timing thing. I usually work out on my lunch hour when before it was after work. I think I would rather spend the work day normally, eating lunch away from my desk and enjoying the sights and sounds quietly away from the computer. But when will I work out? I doubt I will want to after work because these days by 3:00 (right now, haha) I am ready for a nap and by the time I leave work I am usually hungry and just want to go home.

I carpool with my mom and can’t really afford to miss out on how much money I am saving myself by not driving to work, so getting here early to work out just won’t work right now. So I guess what I need to do is try getting up early and seeing what I can do at home before work. But that too poses a challenge. I usually go to bed around 10-11 every night but this would have me get up at 5 or 5:30 a.m. Hmm…the good news is that in a few weeks, my husband goes back to work and he will have to get up at 5:00 so maybe I can motivate myself to start getting up with him?

Now that I have the time figured out, what am I going to do? Since the summer days are so hot, maybe I could get out for a walk or run in the mornings before the real heat sets in. Or maybe I could invest in some good workout DVDs, a balance ball and some heavier weights (the 5 lb’ers are nothing to me now).

I’ve also been reading Jillian Michael’s book “Making the Cut” which is written specifically for those who don’t have a lot of weight left to lose and want to tone up while losing the last few pounds. It’s like it was written for me! But the program requires serious commitment as it has 30 days outlined for you — I’m thinking I could start this in August with a goal of finishing by Labor Day?

We’ll see. All I know is that right now I am in need of a serious change. I am burnt out! 🙂