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DOMS and Vegan Week

The green monster challenge is still going strong!

Today was the coldest day of the week so far. I woke up to 40 degree weather and the high today is only getting up to 53.

I did get a bit chilled after drinking the GM, so I had some hot tea afterwards. Problem solved 🙂

Nerd Alert

I have been studying Exercise Science this semester and I felt like a huge nerd when I got out of bed this morning and realized I had DOMS = delayed onset muscle soreness. This is what you feel usually 12-24 (but sometimes as late as 72) hours after a workout.

I did a killer weight/strength routine yesterday, so I expected it, but this time I was more prepared with how to handle it.

Assuming you didn’t injure yourself, one of the best ways to deal with this soreness is to keep moving. I sit in a chair in a cubicle at work all day and I’ve noticed that if I sit all day (after a hard workout the day before), I’m even more sore when I leave work than I had been before I got there!

So, in order to prevent that, I went for an easy 1 mile walk this morning (from my car to work since I drove today). Then at 10:00, I took a break and walked over to the bank to make a deposit. I also have an errand scheduled for 3:00’ish.

Another good thing to do is gentle stretches. Every hour or so (if I’m paying attention to the clock), I have sat up in my chair and stretched out my arms, shoulders and back. My favorite stretch is to reach your arms behind you, clasp your hands and gently pull back your shoulders and sit up as straight as possible.

I feel better already! And now I should be able to do an easy run later today.

Vegan Week

It’s been really fun to see all the bloggers (like Mish) who are trying eating vegan for a week. And tomorrow is the big day for the ones who are going Vegan-4-a-day. I wish you all much luck!

I first experimented with vegan eating back in September, when Lindsey announced on her blog that she would be eating vegan for a month. She has since continued the diet and so have I, officially since October 1st.

For me, going vegan, although it was a slow transition, was actually easier than I thought. I have said before that my primary motivation for giving up animal products were health-related. Meat has always made me constipated and wore me down, but I thought I needed it for protein. Too much dairy made me bloated and gassy, but I thought I needed the Vitamin D and calcium, so I just went along with it.

I also have extremely long cycles (we’re talking 40+ days, “normal” is 28) and thought perhaps being more aware of what I was putting into my body, where it came from, and what was done to it before it got to me could somehow play a part in getting things back on a semi-normal track. I haven’t been able to find much research on this, but I figured it can’t hurt.

I have always been irregular (and started having periods at 9 years of age) but it has become more noticeable now that I am more aware of my body and since I’m planning to have children one day down the road. I also have two other things going “against” me are that I lost a significant amount of weight and I’m a runner (when I was training for my first half, I would skip periods for 2-3 months at a time).

But most of us know by now that a lot of animals are injected with antibiotics and growth hormones and whenever we eat them, we might as well have been too. Having that in the back of my mind is one of the things that made giving up animal products even easier. I have enough problems with my own hormones, I don’t need their’s too!

My Transition to Veganism

I’ve never really loved meat, so that was the easiest thing to give up. It was easy to come up with alternatives to get protein like beans, nuts, tofu, etc.

I relied on dairy mainly for calcium and protein (and to soak up granola, ha ha) so once I learned all the various ways I could replace that with other foods, I was good to go. I do take a calcium supplement (that contains calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc) though, just to be safe. Every now and then I like to spread butter on a piece of toast but luckily I have found alternatives that I can use (like Smart Balance Light).

I only really used eggs for protein and even though I thought I would miss omelets, I really haven’t. They never filled me up as well as a hot bowl of oatmeal anyway 🙂 I go back and forth with honey because that is mostly an ethics issue, but since I like to keep things low in added sugars, I do avoid honey when I can.

The hardest thing for me has been reading labels and educating myself about the animal products that go into certain processed foods. However, this has just reaffirmed in my mind that in general, I need not eat so many processed foods. The weeks I stock my pantry with whole grains, beans, fruit, nuts, etc. and my fridge with fresh veggies, it’s so much easier because there aren’t even any labels to worry about!

The second hardest thing has been eating out at restaurants. I know what places have vegan options for me (or at least vegetarian options that can be made vegan). But when I’m at the mercy of other people, or it is my husband’s week to choose a place, that is when it becomes challenging. The worst are places like Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings that have zero vegan options. But I just go with the flow and feel good knowing that at least I tried my best with what I’d been given.

The last hardest thing about going vegan is explaining your diet choices to people and dealing with their reactions.

I have been blessed to have a very supportive husband, who pretty much announces to everyone that his wife is vegan, and my family and closest friends who have been dealing with plenty of my dietary experiments and changes over the past (almost) three years, are always accepting of me as long as what I’m doing is good for my health.

I still occasionally get snide remarks, weird looks, and the like from others, but now I think I understand where that is coming from, and how personal a person’s diet is, and therefore I no longer let those bother me. I chose to be vegan. I feel amazing and I’m happy about it, whether everyone else is or not 🙂

Day 4 – Lazy Sunday

Not only I am sleepy today but my legs are sore from all the walking I did yesterday, so I’ve decided today needs to be at least somewhat lazy for me.

I’ve still got laundry going in the other room but I’m sitting here with my feet up and thinking of taking a nap once this post goes up 🙂

For breakfast this morning, I made pumpkin oats.

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I don’t know what it was but this bowl just didn’t blow me away. I think it might be the pumpkin, honestly. Perhaps I got an old can or it just tastes better when it’s in season?

Or maybe I need to cook them with some non-dairy milk instead of just water? Hmm…

This bowl contained 1/3 cup oats (cooked with water), 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp chocolate chips, 1 tsp pancake syrup and 1 tbsp peanut butter.

I also tried another Starbucks VIA product today that I got as a sample while I was there yesterday doing the taste test.

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This Italian Roast was okay but I definitely prefer the Columbian, so I am glad those are the ones I purchased yesterday with my coupon. These are something I probably won’t make a habit out of since a pack of 3 normally costs $2.99 but I’ll definitely use my coupons first!

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Spiked with some Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla.

For lunch after church, my parents, Josh and I went to McAlister’s Deli, which I hadn’t been too in a long time.

I ended up getting the Pick Two combo of half a Greek salad (with no feta) and a cup of the vegetarian chili. It was delicious.

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I’ve been doing some thinking and research about soy. I’ve heard a lot of things on both sides, that soy is beneficial, helps prevent cancer, good for bones, etc. But I’ve also heard that soy is dangerous, can not really cause cancer but aid in it, and also screw with your hormonal cycles.

As a woman who has struggled with irregularity of my cycles for as long as I can remember, anything that messes with that jumps on my radar. We’re talking late periods, no periods (for months at a time), heavy, light, painful and not so much. Two are hardly ever the same which makes finding the cause pretty impossible. Since there is not a clear, definitive answer that I know of about soy and it’s relation to this, I don’t know that I will do anything other than be aware.

I don’t need to become so reliant on soy since I have decided to go vegetarian and now vegan. I think I do okay with my non-dairy milks (other than Almond Breeze which does contain soy) but it is in so many other products I use that I think I need to start paying more attention.

What do you guys think? Are you a fan of soy or do you avoid it? Why?

Thanks as always for your feedback and I hope you have a great Sunday!

Last day of the old mentality

Hey guys! Hope you saw my previous post on my possible vegan adventure. I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I at least want to try making a few substitutions and trying some new recipes if nothing else. No matter what though, I want it to be an adventure and learning experience 🙂

Breakfast this morning found me once again using up some stuff lurking in the freezer (to make room for more yummy foods):

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On the left is a Morningstar Farms “sausage” patty and on the right is a Holey Donut in raspberry fudge 🙂

Holey Donuts sent me a few samples to review for the blog a while back and I have covered most of them now. Once the box is empty (one more to go) I will do a wrap up of the entire experience, including Josh’s opinions as well!

Close up!

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Believe it or not this breakfast held me better than I expected. But when it was time for a snack, my hunger was pretty intense so I went for the bigger of my two snacks: greek yogurt with peanut butter!

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It was during this snack that I started having the Vegan Revelation.

Before I ate that though, I went for a 15 minute walk. A couple of hours afterwards, I went to the gym and did a nice strength and weight training routine with my bud Farrah. My arms were tired at the end of our session so I know I did some good work 🙂

For lunch (that snack held me for 3 hours!) I created a tuna salad but spiced it up a bit. I’ve seen paprika used on tuna at restaurants I’ve been to before (like McAlister’s Deli) so I thought I’d give it a try from home.

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This was such a good idea! I also used Smart Balance mayo mixed in with the tuna. The salad contained romaine lettuce, cucumbers and a tiny bit of raspberry vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious!

I went for another 15 minute walk on my break and I think this is an amazing thing to do on nice fall days. I’m so looking forward to the new season. I usually prefer summer but something about the fall is making me so happy. Pumpkin stuff, light sweaters, Halloween…the list goes on.

For a snack, I had some cheese (the last one) and fruity tea.

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When I left work, I thought I was needing another snack but as it turns out I was thirsty. I drink water all day long but for some reason after so much of that, I really need something with some flavor to really quench the thirst and taste buds. Today I opted for this again…

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Worked like a charm. I love this flavor. I’m still not 100% sold on Pure Via. What do you guys think? Is there such a thing as an all natural 0 calorie sweetener?

While I was waiting for my ride, I stumbled upon this article in my Health magazine called Stuff That Messes With Your Hormones.

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Hormones are a sensitive issue for me since I have struggled with abnormal and irregular menstrual cycles my entire womanhood. It got even worse when I lost all my weight and trained for a mini-marathon. Luckily the past several months, my cycles seemed to have regulated for the most part but they are still not the 28-day norm.

Anyway, for that reason alone, it always catches my eye when I see information about what can affect hormones in our bodies. This article brought a few things to my attention that I hope to address soon.

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1. Buy a new filter – We used to use a pitcher with a filter for our water when we first got married but we sort of got lazy and out of the habit. Also, our cities tap water is supposedly the best in the country. But according to this article, that may not be enough.

2. Check cleaners, soaps, lotions and cosmetics – I recently purchased a new cleaner for the kitchen that is more environmentally friendly. I also was inspired by Angela and other bloggers who have taken to safer cosmetics and skin care products. I’m going to start checking the products I already have, use what I can and then gradually replace them with safer alternatives.

3. Toss the plastic – I was aware that BPA was in lots of water bottles and I threw out the ones I had and replaced them with a stainless steel container. But I still own a ton of plastic for food storage and I often reheat things in those containers. I knew it wasn’t a great idea but I didn’t realize putting these plastic containers in the microwave AND dishwasher could cause this harmful ingredient to leach out. I don’t know how easy it will be, but I hope to find alternatives to these containers or at least remember to hand wash them and not use them to reheat things.

4. Meat goes bye-bye – This was not a surprise to me. We all know that unless we get meat from a source that we know does not use hormones on their animals, chances are we are ingesting more than we care to when we eat that hamburger or piece of chicken. Rather that spend a lot of time or money finding safer meat, I would prefer to just avoid it altogether. See my post on veganism.

Anyway, back to eats!

For dinner, I threw together a combination of barley, pinto beans, and mixed veggies topped with Sriracha.

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It tasted even better than it looks! I used 1/2 cup of barley, 1/2 cup of beans and 1 cup of veggies.

Here’s the barley. I get this for really cheap at Kroger and it lasts forever!

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For dessert, I finished off the last few Dove dark chocolates. As I’ve done research (including lots of “Is (fill in the food) vegan?” searches on Google) I’ve found that I’m going to have to step up my quality of chocolate if I want it to fit into this experiment.

Did you know…even though chocolate itself comes from a cocoa tree, the more processed a chocolate product is, the more added ingredients it contains including milk and milk fats (among other artificial ingredients). Here’s a good guide to vegan chocolate.

Still a good message though…

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“Keep believing in yourself and your special dreams.”

I’m off to go brainstorm my special dreams now. Hope you do the same.

Good night!