Vegan Day #6- I Got My Yoga Sesh!

Hola amigas!

Is everyone excited aboutย  it being New Years Eve?? ๐Ÿ™‚

Jason and I had our first kiss on this exact day, four years ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long…feels like it was just yesterday ๐Ÿ™‚

How are you guys going to celebrate? Be safe out there!

This morning I started out with a 45 minute power vinyasa flow from yogadownloads.com ๐Ÿ˜€ It was heavenly! And I even tried a few poses that I’d never tried before! OH and guess what? I have perfected my side crows pose! Remember, that was one of my goals from the Lululemon party ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll show you guys a pic soon!

Breakfast was had after my yoga session:

Pb and J toast with banana on top (I challenged myself to do 3,1-minute plank holds while these were toasting ๐Ÿ™‚ ) along with a huge mug of green tea – still no coffee for me!

I tried not to keep myself busy today, you know..fill up my schedule to the point where I don’t even have a minute to sit down? I took my time getting ready this morning, puttering around the house. I even sat down on the couch for an hour of tv watching, but all of the things I needed to do where in the back of my mind – therefore, I couldn’t relax until I had them done!

Before leaving to run some errands, I ate the rest of the leftover Indian food, as well as the rest of the leftover mashed potatoes ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of leftovers! Just trying to do my part and eat some of them up!

Nom nom nom. It was yummy. I’m sad to see it go ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Hehe. I can always make more!

After lunch, I took Jason’s car for an oil change. I then proceeded to go to the mall to see if I could find any cute sweaters…no luck. Is it just me, or Forever21ย a bit overwhelming?? Their items are all over the place! Everytime I go in there I do a walk-thru and just look around at some of the items. Then I do a second walk-thru and pick out things that catch my eye.ย I love that store. The clothes are so cute and playful ๐Ÿ˜€

I was tired of being out in the crowd (I guess everyone is shopping for a New Years Eve outfit?? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) so I came back home. Not really sure if it’s the no-coffee thing or the cloudy sky outside, but I feel so sleepy!ย 

Trixie has been having a hard time with her illness. She wakes me up at all hours of the night hacking and coughing ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Poor pup.

I love her so. Jason and I plan on taking her back to the vet as soon as we have the money. The first two visits kind of tapped us dry. I feel bad that I can’t get her the medical attention she needs…like I’m a bad “parent” or something. Vet visits are so expensive though, and I don’t even have a job right now.

Anywho, I’ll keep you updated.

A pear and homemade granola bar was had while lounging on the couch.

"I spy with my little eye..."

So ripe and juicy! Yummy ๐Ÿ˜€

As of right now, I am sitting on the couch..nodding off every now and then…while waiting for Jas to come home from work in 20 minutes. I have no idea what we are doing to celebrate New Years. We’ve tossed around the idea of going out to eat, or just staying home and having a date night IN.

I figure if I am going to go vegan, it wouldn’t be fair to try it for a week without eating out at least once. So, either today or tomorrow I will be eating out as a vegan and blogging about that experience. If we don’t go out tonight, we will surely be having “Spicy Tempehย Stir-Fry” for dinner. Here is an old pic of it:

*Sometimes we replace the tempeh with beans, still delicious!*

Well guys, I hope you have a great New Years Eve ๐Ÿ˜€ Please be safe and responsible out there! You going to make any new years resolutions???

I’ll see you in 2011 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have fun!

Vegan Day #5-Give Me Yoga

Hey all! Hope your Thursday has been well ๐Ÿ™‚

Veganism came to me pretty easily today! My morning started with a Green Monster (1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 2 cups spinach, 1 Tbsp. pb) and a homemade granola bar on the side. (My first time trying them, and they are great! So chewy and banana-y, hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

After breakfast I ranย a few errands, including the dreaded recycling center. Jason and I live outside of city limits, so we have to take our own recycling down to the dump every two weeks or so. We have these hugs crates that we keep outside so we can keep the cans, plastic bottles and paper products separate. When we go down there, we have to carry the crates to each recycling collector. It’s so tiring. But at least we are doing our part for the environment ๐Ÿ™‚

My breakfast kept me full for about 4 hours, and when 12 p.m. came around I was ready for lunch!

BBQ tofu sandwich with spinach, spicy mustard, cucumber and tomato. Along with a salad on the side.

And homemade veganย cookies for dessert! (2, to be exact ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Trixie and I took off for an afternoon walk through the woods and to the other side of the neighborhood. We came across a few deer hunters while going through the woods ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Boo hunting! Oh-and I’m glad I was wearing bright clothes! Why do they have to hunt by our house? Can’t they go somewhere else?! I don’t want any animals being harmed in my back yard ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Run, deer, run!

I walked Trixie back home and headed over to “the shop” (Jason’s work) to do a little paperwork for his grandpa.

I’m kind of peeved with myself.ย  This morning I had every intention of driving to Charlotte for a hot yoga session at Y2Yoga. Then my errands ran kind of late and I didn’t make it. So then I wanted to go running, but I don’t really have winter-friendly running clothes. The thought of running on a treadmill is ughhhhhhhh. Strength training was done yesterday, so I’m not planning on working my upper body until tomorrow. What does this leave me with?!

ย I need yoga. Hot, sweaty yoga. I’ve got it! I’ll go to the gym tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll hop on yogadownloads.com and buy a 40 minute power session. There, problem solved ๐Ÿ˜€

Sorry to put you through all that drama! Anyway, moving on:

Afternoon snack was homemade (aren’t you loving all of this “homemade” talk!!) hummus, baked wheat thins and celery.

Speaking of exercising, what are you guys listening to right now? What are your latest music downloads? I’m looking for some new tunes! GLEE is overtaking my IPOD ๐Ÿ˜€ Love that show.

Dinner was fun (and vegan!)! Jason requested taco salad and of course, I agreed. It’s made with romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, salsa,vegan pepperjackย cheeseย and avocado. Blue corn tortilla chips on the side ๐Ÿ˜€ nom nom nom.

*I screwed up — the “vegan” cheese I bought contains casein, which is an animal by-product ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  That sucks! But I can’t throw it out because that would be a huge waste, but rest assure that I will not buy it again. There are a few other stores that I think might sale actual vegan cheese, and I’m gonna check’em out this weekend and keep you guys updated!*

ย Meanwhile, I will sneak this stuff into Jason’s food as much as possible just to get rid of it faster! Haha. Just kidding maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dessert after dinner was……drumroll please……another cookie! Imagine that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Only 3 more days of my vegan trial left. What do you think the outcome will be? I’m already planning the recap in my head. So much to tell you guys about what’s changed and what hasn’t ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, I’d better get off of here! I promised Jason that I would play Black Ops with him. It’s a game where you kill zombies and throw grenades and what-not. Fun stuff, I tell ya. I leave you with a pic of me caught in total dork mode:

Me in all of my dorkdom. Nighty night, loves!

Vegan Day #4- A Recap

Hello! Happy morning to you ๐Ÿ™‚

While my vegan day #5 is happening, I shall blog about vegan day #4 ๐Ÿ˜€ It was tiring, but wonderfully delicious!

In the morning, after my workout, I came home to make a quick breakfast of Kashi cereal with almond milk, andย  a pear on the side.

**This kind of Kashi has less than 2% of honey in it. Let it be known that I do not plan to buy honey myself, but I’m not going to protest if there is a small amount in my cereal. I am still getting familiar with which brands are vegan and which are not** ๐Ÿ˜€

Guess what else! Today was the first day in forever that I did not wake up and have coffee with breakfast! ๐Ÿ™‚ I started out with green tea, and I figured if I wanted coffee later that I could always brew some up ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, I did want some later, but I took two sips of it and poured it back into the pot for Jason ๐Ÿ™‚ Not sure if this no-coffee thing is going to stick around, but as of right now, I am sipping hot tea ๐Ÿ™‚ I love these changes I’m making ๐Ÿ™‚

My first food project to tackle after breakfast was homemade hummus. For the past few months, I’ve been telling Jason that I would start making hummus instead of us buying it at the store. It’s so much easier and cheaper that way! Why buy something at the store that you can make at home (in bulk!)?

I followed the recipe from my “Veganomicon” book to the T. The only problem was that the recipe didn’t use exact measurements for the seasonings ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So I had to keep adding stuff to the blender. All in all, I think mine turned out OK. Maybe a little too lemony? I think next time I will use a different hummus recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

We have two large containers of this in the fridge! This stuff is the perfect spread for a vegan snack!

Alrighty, with that outta the way it was time to move on to my next project: Vegan granola bars.

I am so used to having a granola bar to munch on when I’m hankering for a snack, but the grocery store didn’t have any that were vegan. No biggie, I can make my own! And save money in the process ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yesterday afternoon, I sat at our “bar” with the computer, my vegan cookbooks and a pen and paper. The internet was my best source, as my vegan cookbooks did have granola bar recipes in them, but none of the ingredients listed were ones that I had at home.

After some browsing, I ended up trying out Angela’s Healthy Banana Cranberry Oat Bars (substituting the cranberry with raisins, and the coconut oil with canola) ๐Ÿ˜€

These. smelled. delicious. My whole house filled with the warm smell or raisin and banana…yummmmmmmmmmm. Can’t wait to try these out!

All of these cooking experiments were making me sorta hungry for lunch. I wanted something quick and easy so that I could get back to the kitchen! Leftover Indian food to the rescue!

Alongside the Indian food? A Cherry Chocolate Bomb Shake. Weird combo, I know.

This was my first time making this and when I read the ingredients it sounded so yummy! But after taking my first sip, I was a little disappointed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The cocoa stayed at the top of the shake and it tasted really bitter. I ended up drinking half of it before I couldn’t drink anymore. I think I shall just stick to my Green Monsters for now ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was worth a try though!

That lunch kept me full until dinner. Perhaps it was all of the liquids sloshing around in my belly? Despite my fullness, I definitely took little bites here and there from my next food project ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ohhhh chocolatey goodness, I love you so. We are meant to be, you and I. Just think of all the fun we could have..with me eating you. Sorry. Sometimes chocolate causes me to lose my mind for a sec ๐Ÿ˜‰ That was turned into this:

Chocolate-chocolate walnut cookies, courtesy of my “Veganomicon” cookbook ๐Ÿ˜€

These are to die for. And do I even need to mention how my house smelled after these bad boys baked?! Jason came in the door from work and said (and I quote) “Oh my God, it smells amaaaazzinnng in here. What’d you cook today?” So I went around proudly, with apron on and oven mitt in hand, showing him the goodness I had created. All in a days work.

He ate three cookies while I wasn’t looking. My response? “Stop eating my vegan desserts! They are the only one’s I have right now! You have tons of chocolate in the cabinet, we need to eat that one of these days!” (It’s true. When I went vegan, I left behind two dark chocolate bars, plus all of the candy we got for Christmas! Seriously, there is a whole shelf full!)

His response? “But your vegan cookies are better than all that stuff. I can’t believe this cookie is dairy-free, it tastes awesome.” ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ He’s right, ya know. They do tastes awesome…so moist, fluffy and just out-of-this-world.

Though I was seriously contemplating spending the rest of my day sitting on the couch, eating cookies and watching lame TV, there was one more food I needed to conquer.

 

TOFU. Consider it a showdown.

The first time I made tofu it was utterly disgusting. Jell-O-like and bland. My gag reflexes were even kicking in. That was almost two years ago. Since then, tofu and I have been avoiding each other. It’s tastes great when I order it in a restaurant, why I can’t I make it that way at home?!

Well, guess what? I did!!!! I finally made great tofu at home ๐Ÿ™‚ Hooray! I have now accomplished my life’s dream (not really) and can rest in peace. Haha, just kidding ๐Ÿ˜‰

But seriously. I used a BBQ Tofu recipe from my wonderful new cookbook, and viola! You have a great vegan meal ๐Ÿ™‚

Before cooking the tofu, I pressed it with 3 huge books for an hour and 15 minutes. Then, I cut it into 8th’s width-wise. Tossed it in some vegetable oil and soy sauce and baked it for 15 minutes on each side. (Made the house smell yummy, though confusing, because chocolate was still in the air!) At last, I added the BBQ sauce (vegan) to the top of it and cooked it for another 15 minutes.

It turned out great! Great consistency, great texture and a little crisp, just the way I like it ๐Ÿ™‚ Along with mashed sweet potatoes and a hugggeeee salad on the side!

Yummm. So proud of myself for finally conquering tofu ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a cookie had after this meal, and then it was couch-time!

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Lots to do today! Jason and I were going to go to a hot yoga class tonight but I think he changed his mind. My brain is begging for me to take it outside, so I may go run somewhere (if I can find some workout clothes to bundle up in!)…Hope you guys have a great Thursday! I’ll see ya later for a recap of Vegan Day #5 ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegan Day #4-Cooking Exhaustion

Hey friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope your Wednesday has been well! Mine has been very…busy. I’ve been in the kitchen cooking all day long. Experimenting with this and that, and all things vegan ๐Ÿ˜€

But guess what? I’m too exhausted to post about it tonight! For some insane reason, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. unable to fall back asleep. So instead of fighting it, I threw some mismatched clothes on and headed to the gym for some light strength training to start my day. Here is what I did:

  • 3 sets of 10 overhead military presses with 20 lb weights
  • 3 x 10 tricep extensions with 35 lbs
  • 3x 10 bicep curls with 35 lbs
  • 3 x 10 lat pulldowns with 45 lbs
  • 100 crunches
  • 50 oblique crunches (left/right side)
  • 3 x 10 row machine using 45 lbs
  • 3 x15 dead lifts with 20 lb weights

I would have liked to do more cardio, but I wanted to get back home so that I could see Jason before he left for work. I may ride the bike for 30 minutes after dinner or something! We’ll see. I’m pretty sure that if I get a minute to sit on the couch, I may never get back up ๐Ÿ˜‰

So I am going to leave you with some pictures of my adventures in the kitchen today, and I will be back tomorrow morning with the full recap! (See if you can guess what I made ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

๐Ÿ˜€ Details to come! Jason and I have “Easy A” to watch tonight! Can’t wait to see it, it look s hilarious (love Emma Stone, by the way). Nighty night loves! See you bright and early (please Lord, not at 6:30 a.m.!) in the morning!

Vegan Day #2, And the Leggings that Could

Guess what?

Yep! My second day as a vegan has been a success ๐Ÿ˜€ Today I learned an important lesson, and it is this: If you want something done right, you may as well do it yourself.

More on that later! Let’s get started with a less-than-mediocre breakfast:

(Attempted) Baked Apple Oatmeal. This. was. blahhhhhhhhh. It was so blah that I do not want to put the recipe on here. Just know that it was vegan. Next time, I need to add a little more flavor to the oatmeal itself and not focus so much on the topping <–because that’s the only part that was yummy tasting! Half of this was eaten and the rest was thrown in the trash. What a waste! Oh well, you live and you learn.

Surprisingly, my half-oatmeal breakfast kept me full for a good while. As promised, I was the first one at the library this morning! And looky-looky at what I got ๐Ÿ˜€

Can’t wait to crack these open! Oh and look what came in the mail toooodaayyy:

My very own copy of “Veganomicon”! There has been a lot of praise for this cookbook out in the bloggie world, and I’m so happy I have it as a resource. The pics in it look amazing. And delicious. And simple. <–Hello, I’m all about those three things ๐Ÿ™‚

Sadly, I have yet to dive into any of these wonderful-sounding books. My day was totally busy! After heading to the library, I rushed back home for an early lunch of pb&j with an orange on the side.

Boring- I know. But this was before groceries and greens invaded my house.

Unlike yesterdays hurried lunch, I actually sat down and took my time eating this. It wasn’t fully satisfying but it did the trick of tieing me over.

Later on I met my friend, Ashley, at the mall for a little light shopping. What do you think of my new owl necklace? Isn’t it the cutest?!!!!! <–*she shrieks into her boyfriends ear* And it was over 50% off the original price! <–*again with the shrieking* Nice…

What wasn’t so nice? Cramming my butt into tighter-than-tight leggings at Forever21. Leggings and I really want to have a relationship, but I’m afraid it’s just not going to happen. (Nevermind the fact that Jason says I look like Peggy Bundy when I put them on…) I tried, I really did try. My thoughts on my sense of style have always been that I had none. Style? Style is being able to wear leggings, and look totally cute. Or being able to wear skinny jeans with boots on the outside…or having a scarf tied around your purse. But those things aren’t really my personality, and if I bought those items, it would only be me trying to be like someone else.

 

Who better to be like than myself? ๐Ÿ˜€ I love me! So even though my “style” isn’t up-and-coming, it’s still my very own ๐Ÿ™‚ So what if I like striped sweaters and deep grays and blues? It’s my signature look, baby!

While getting my legs out of the vacuum-packed leggings, my tummy started to growl. “Oh no, Stacey! You didn’t bring a snack! What the heck are you going to eat out of the food court that is vegan?!”

Um, fries? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And so it was. We strolled up to Chik-Fil-A and I got a small fry (after talking with the cashier to make sure what I was getting was vegan!) and a unsweet tea.

Not the healthiest snack, but I will be a much better snack planner for the rest of the week! Trust me (I’m a redhead).

Our mall adventure ended andย  my friend and I headed our separate ways. Look out, grocery store! I’m coming for ya!

*This was one of the most stressful grocery shopping trips I’ve ever had*

My local grocer (not mentioning any names!) was really slacking this time. The produce selection wasn’t that great this time around. They were almost out of everything! I did manage to find “dairy-free” cheese slices ๐Ÿ˜€ But no tempeh ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I settled for tofu instead. (I will master the art of cooking tofu, I will.) I picked what I could out of the produce section, and headed over to the cereal aisle to try to find a vegan granola bar.

So. not. happening. I must have looked at every granola bar in the store! It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I will need to make my own snacks at home. This is totally fine with me! Actually, I would rather make my snacks at home..that way, I know what is going into them ๐Ÿ™‚

Same for desserts. The only vegan desserts I found were ice cream sandwiches that cost $5 for 6 of them! No thank you!

Can you guess what I will spend my day doing tomorrow??

Baking! Desserts and snacks! Yippee ๐Ÿ˜€

With a full load of groceries (most of them veggies), I drove home to get started on dinner. The fries were wearing off (surprise, surprise) and this girl was getting hungry again!

I whipped up a homemade meatloaf for Jason before starting on my own dinner adventure. Why, yes. I am a nice girlfriend ๐Ÿ™‚ What guy doesn’t want 2 pounds of ground meat to himself?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meatloaf Recipe: (for those of you that want to cook your way into your man’s heart) ๐Ÿ˜€

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. lean ground meat
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 celery stalks, washed and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tsp. dry Italian seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Heat butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery, cook until lightly browned.

In a large bowl add: raw meat, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, eggs and garlic powder, celery and onion. Stir until mixed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place aluminum foil in bottom of a broiler pan, place rack on top. Lightly grease broiler rack with non-stick cooking spray. Shape meat into a loaf (not too thick in the middle) and put on top of broiler rack. Cook in oven for 45 minutes. For topping: mix together tomato sauce, 1Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp. ketchup and the tomato paste. Pour over meatloaf evenly, and enjoy!

As for me: I almost went the dull route again! I was hungry and the leftovers from last night (yeah, Indian food!) were staring me in the face. But for the sake of the blog, I decided to whip up something quick. This is what I came up with:

Smashed potatoes with broccoli, tomato and “cheese” on top! I know what you are thinking: “You have all of those awesome vegan cookbooks by your side, and this is what you came up with?!” Never fear, my friends! Tomorrow night’s dinner is likely to blow your comfy socks right off of your feet! *Scouts honor* Oh and all of the baking I’m going to be doing! Tomorrow will definitely not be dull, I promise ๐Ÿ˜€

In other vegan news: I’ve been feeling a little weak these past couple of days. I think it may be that I’m not getting enough Calcium. My daily vitamin only provides 10% of my Recommended Daily Allowance! So I am also on the hunt for a calcium supplement ๐Ÿ™‚ Other than that, I’m loving this change!

The books I checked out from the library are just begging to be opened and read! Can’t ignore them! See ya tomorrow for Vegan Day #3 ๐Ÿ™‚

PS. Thank you for all the support you guys have been giving me! Love you!

Vegan Day #1

I made it! ๐Ÿ™‚

There have been a lot of emotional ups and downs today, but I made it and I think at the end of the day, I have a better understanding of myself and why I am making this change ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ll tell you about all of thatย later in the post! First-let’s get to breakfast!

A vegan breakfast was pretty easy for me to come up with. I scanned my cinnamon raisin toast ingredient list for egg or dairy product only to find that there is none of that in there, so viola! A breakfast was born. (You shouldย alsoย know that I take a multi-vitamin with breakfast everyday.)

Topped with natural chunky pb and raspberry jam, with two clementines on the side ๐Ÿ˜€ย Cupย O Joe fo’ sho’.ย I missed my morning banana ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I usually have a banana every day with breakfast, but we seriously running low on groceries (a trip is in store for tomorrow!).

The rest of the morning was spent walking Trixie and straightening up the house.ย My tummy started to growl after all of that moving, soย Iย had a mid-morning snack of bran cereal with almond milk. (I heart almond milk).

After my snacky-snack, ย I tried to go to the library but it was closed for the holiday until tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Boo! Oh well, you better believe I will be the first one there in the morning when they open ๐Ÿ˜€

Instead of driving all the way back home, I called a friend to see if she wanted some company (plus, I wanted to see her cute newborn baby! He’s so precious andย I just looooveeee him)

While chit-chatting in the kitchen, I realized that I was getting pretty hungry. I dug in my purse for some emergency blue corn tortilla chips (along with a unsweet tea from Dunkin’ Donuts’. Seriously Dunkin’ Donuts, why aren’t we working together yet?)

My friend-o offered up some salsa after the pic was taken ๐Ÿ™‚

**The rest of the afternoon was poor planning on my part** Like always, I stayed at my friend’s house a lot longer than I anticipated (do you always lose track of time when you are having fun too?!) so when 2:30 rolled around without lunch anywhere in between, my tummy was pretty mad at me! Hunger hit me like a truck! After arriving back home around 3, shaky and feeling weak, I quickly looked for a vegan lunch to throw together while snacking on grapes to bring my blood sugar back up.

Veggie dogs! Of course!! Those have to be vegan. I threw a pot of water on the stove and set it to high so that the water would boil. While waiting, I grabbed the veggie dogs out of the freezer just to “make sure” that they were vegan. Guess what? They’re not!ย Surprise. Surprise.

Dang it! Keep in mind that we are almost grocery-less and other than a veggie dog, I hadn’t really thought of a back up plan for a vegan lunch. Oh, and the simple fact that I’m very close to eating the furniture at this point. I need FOOD and I need it NOW. The water was already boiling, so I threw some spaghetti in there and heated up some leftover broccoli in the microwave. In less than ten minutes, another vegan meal was born ๐Ÿ™‚

There was some thinking that went into the pasta sauce. I almost grabbed one with parmesan cheese, but quickly noticed my mistake and chose a simple tomato/basil sauce instead ๐Ÿ˜‰ Problem solved. I pretty much inhaled this plate. And like usual, my sweet tooth kicked in right after!

Our cabinets are full of sweets! We received a ton of candy and chocolate this Christmas, but none that is vegan…except Junior Mints.

*Jason later pointed out that these contain gelatin, which is made from animal parts that have been melted down to create a gel-like consistency* Oops. A minor mistake, I’m not going to beat myself up about it ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m still new to this vegan thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once Jason came home from work, we decided to hit up the gymย together. Feeling as if lunch would probably be burned off, I reached for a last-minute snack before heading out of the door. Grapes and a handful of walnuts. (I promise more variety after the grocery shopping trip!)

At the gym:

  • 100 crunches using exercise ball
  • 40 side planks (each side)
  • 3 sets of 15 incline push-ups
  • 3 mile run (in under 30 minutes!!) <–Had terrible indigestion during this run. Blegh.

Besides the my tummy hurting during the run (I blame the fast eating at lunch time!), it ’twas a pretty good gym trip ๐Ÿ™‚ Once home, I threw some lentils into a huge pot for our Indian-inspired dinner! Fragrant red lentils with rice (and naan for Jason ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).ย  Recipe link: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000000222715ย  — simply take out the butter to make it vegan, but even if you aren’t vegan this is a great, filling vegetarian recipe!

My plate (accompanied with veggies):

Side note: Your house will smell amazing after cooking this! All of the spices used are so warm and enticing!

Dessert: There was none. Unless you count a cup of sleepy-time tea – flavored with candy cane – as dessert ๐Ÿ˜‰

So how was my first day as a vegan?

————————————————————————————

This morning I didn’t really know why I wanted to become a vegan. I knew that it would, in some way, be more humane to animals. I also knew that, in some way, it would be better for the environment. I just didn’t know why or how. I’ve done research since then and though this is going to beย a learning process for me (until I get the hang of it), I do not feel regret for choosing to live this way. After reading numerous articles on the effects that factory farming has on animals and our planet, I have never been more sure of my decision.

I know that some people may see this as strange, extreme or ridiculously restrictive, but it isn’t to me. For me, it will be a lifestyle. Do I think veganism is for everyone? Absolutely not.

Do I think the world would be a better place if we consumed less meat than we do now? Yes, I do. But I will never, ever push my beliefs onย another person. I think that if someone is interested in making a lifestyle change like this, the best thing they can do is research, research, RESEARCH. Make an educated decision.

This kind of reminds me of the talk I had with Jason while we were eating dinner. Though he supports me, he admits that he doesn’t really understand why I’m going vegan. That it seems like “torture” not to eat cheese. Or that it seems like a “pain” to have to check every ingredient in our everyday foods just to see if they contain animal products. But after sitting down with him on the couch and showing him some of the articles I read that explain veganism and why people go vegan, he understood a little better.

I don’t ask that you adopt my lifestyle. I ask that you have an open-mind and try not to judge me for the decisions I make. The fact that I am probably the only vegan in a 30 mile radius is kind of hard, especially in the city I live in. I know people won’t understand it and that I may have to do a lot of explaining and defending, but that is alright with me.

All in all, I’m happy that I’ve started this journey. It feels freeing, andย  I feel like more wholesome person. And I can’t wait to share the rest of the week with you! Thanks for being so supportive guys! I need all of the support I can get right now!

If you’ve ever made a major lifestyle change, please share! How did it affect you and those around you?

Vegan For a Week (?)

That’s right folks.

I am going to try to go vegan again. Remember my last attempt? My “vegan day” didn’t last very long, but that is because I went into with the wrong mindset.

I was scrolling the aisles at Books-A-Million yesterday (mainly the cookbook/health aisle) when I came upon the vegan section. I grabbed a few huge cookbooks and sat down in the middle of the aisle. With the books on my lap, I proceeded to skim through them one by one and I was pretty excited about what I saw ๐Ÿ˜€

Food that looked as tasty as EVER, with no animal products! “Can you be vegan and really enjoy food? Is it possible?”, I thought to myself.

My heart started skipping with excitement! This time, I knew veganism would be feasible, I just can’t take it lightly or be too careless with the things I eat.

Would it be a challenge? Only giving up cheese!

As you know, I already despise buying eggs. I buy them out of habit and most of the time I don’t enjoy eating them. For a while, I didn’t mind buying “Cage-Free” eggs until I found out how the company I was buying from defined “Cage-Free”. Basically the hens were free to roam, indoors on a marble floor with some exposure to light. Um, that’s not outdoors. Yes, it is Cage-Free but not what I thought it was. This infuriated me. And of course, the company can get away with it because after all, the hens are “Cage-Free”. Rawr.

I protested eggs for the next few weeks after finding that out, but eventually went back to buying them (reluctantly).

I was looking at Healthy Ashely’s blog, trying to figure out what made her want to go from vegetarian to vegan, and how she went about it. The one thing I remember reading is the word: freedom.

Freedom. How freeing would it be to go into a grocery store and not feel the pressure to buy animal products? That would cut out half of the store! Knowing that you can still have delicious food without any animal products is exciting to me! It makes me feel adventurous and daring ๐Ÿ™‚ You guys know that I love a challenge!

Why am I going vegan?

I am going vegan because I feel like it’s my way of doing right in the world. Not only to animals, but to our environment as well. Besides, I’m partially already there! I do not drink cow’s milk and I loathe buying eggs, so why not just cut them out? Cheese may be a little hard because it’s in everything I cook, but there are some vegan cheeses out there that I can’t wait to try! Oh, and I’ve already ordered a go-to vegan cookbook:

Am I scared? No, just excited ๐Ÿ˜€

Am I worried? A little bit. I’m mainly worried about whether or not I’ll be able to tell if a product is vegan or not. Research will be in order! And I’m sure this will be a trial-and-error sort of thing until I get the hang of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I want this. I feel like it’s what’s best for my body and the environment around me ๐Ÿ˜€

Later this morning, I am hitting up my local library to check out a few books that will get me started on my vegan journey! My body is practically giddy with excitement about the good I will be doing for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and guess what? I am going to blog my seven vegan days for you this week! Each day I will hop on here and do a blog post of things I ate, how I felt and just the process in general.

So, I guess I’ll see you ladies and gents later ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a wonderful (snowy?) day! I’ll leave you with a pic of my snow puppy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stress? What Stress?

I am a no-sleeping, panic attack-having, dark chocolate crazed, fitness fanatic that occasionally loses her mind. (Most of you already know this!)

It should come as no shock to you that my stress levels have been soaring lately. But, that’s because I allow them to.

This afternoon I sat down on our couch. With my nutrition books opened up and my study guide outline beside me, I was ready to take in some knowledge (or, review said knowledge I should say ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I turned on some instant Netflix just to have some noise in the background. My pick? “Stress: Portrait of a Killer”

Ohhhhhh the irony. I’m studying for a NATIONAL EXAM while watching a documentary on the effects of stress on the brain and body! Typical me.

Allow me to recap a day in the life of Stacey: My brain won’t shut up. There. That’s your recap. Just like I have to constantly be doing something- I have to constantly worry or think about things. And I hate it, but I’ve gotten so used to it. My brain has made it so that I can hardly sit still without fidgeting. Or I can’t think of one single thing without thinking of 1,000 other things that are somehow stupidly linked to the first thing I was thinking about.

Last week I went to get a much-needed haircut at my usual salon. After washing my hair, my stylist started to comb through so that it could be cut. She did one comb through, held up a two fistfuls of hair and said “Honey, your hair is falling out. This much is not normal. You haven’t been stressed have you?”

Uhhhhh….just a little? I knew my hair would fall out. It had been falling out all week. Showers were the worst. Clumps of hair would come out without me even touching it!

There’s a small animal stuck in our bathtub drain! Oh. Wait, it’s just Stacey’s hair.

I know what you are saying. “You lead a pretty good life, Stacey. You have a ton of free time and you just graduated college! What’s stressful about that?” First of all- I do lead a pretty good life. But I think I should put my worriesย  in bullet form ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Both of my animals health is failing
  • This is the first time I’ve not had a job since I was 14. (In other words: I’m dependent on someone else to provide me with everything I need. It’s not in my nature at all! I am a very independent person)
  • National exam to get my credentials is coming up in Feb
  • Most of my clothes are too big for me, or have holes in them ( a petty worry, I know..but this does cause confidence issues)
  • I can’t pay my own bills.
  • How the heck am I going to pay for UMDNJ?!
  • There are no dietetic technician jobs in this area. At all. The closest is 3 hours away.

Now that I read that list, all of those thoughts sound kind of silly.

I know that everything will work out, but I have trouble not chewing on my problems.

SO. From now on, I am going to try to…what is the word normal people use??? Oh yeah! Relax. Be stress free. Or at least control my stress. I’m sick of having panic attacks, insomnia, headaches and muscle aches! Plus, I want to keep my hair ๐Ÿ˜€

The last time I was in the hospital with a panic attack, the doctor advised me to find something to do that relaxes me. Running! Exercising! Hiking! <–is what immediately came to mind. But then I was told “No.” I was told that while those things are great, he wants me to find things that do not put physical stress on the body.

Uhhhhh…okay. Like, what? All of my stress-relieving activities are physical! What does he want me to do?! The only three things I can think of that are not physical that help me relax are:

  1. Taking a long, hot bath with a book
  2. Doing 1,000 piece puzzles <–dork
  3. Yoga. This is physical and my heart rate does increase, but in a relaxing way. There are only two things I think about when I’m doing yoga: my posture and my breathing. Therefore, my brain is not wondering. It’s focused.

So, I am on a mission.

I don’t want to cloud my brain with insignificant thoughts anymore.

I no longer want to worry about something until it drives me crazy.

I want to learn how to let go of things I cannot control.

I want to learn how to take life “as it comes”. One day at a time.

I am on a mission to find non-physical activities that will reduce my stress, and help me relax. And I need ideas!

Teach a girl how to relax! How do you normal people do it?

______________________________

Good things in my life right now:

  • I graduated!
  • We finally got our new couch!

  • The people over at Secret are freakin’ AWE-SOME. There was a little surprise package for me in the mailbox this morning! Remember the owl apron that I wanted? Well, they loved the review I did for their Clinical Strength deodorant, so they sent me an apron to thank me ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you to the team at Secret deodorant, it was such a nice surprise!

They also sent along a trial-size of their Waterproof Clinical Strength Formula for me to try out!

Can’t wait! Guess I’ll have to plan a run in the rain soon ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  A big thank-you goes to them! Be looking for a review sometime in the next two weeks!

Thanks to anyone who posts relaxation advice, a big thank-you goes to you too ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Bean Queen

Hey!

Thanks for your input on a few good reads ๐Ÿ™‚

It feels good to be blogging again. I’m not even sure what I plan on writing about today, I just know that feel like writing ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekend was a little stressful for us, actually this whole week has been stressful for us! Christmas is coming up and you can’t even turn on the radio or TV without hearing “Hurry! Buy now!” Or some crap like that. I don’t buy into that mess. I find it a little ridiculous and annoying, actually ๐Ÿ˜€

We’ve decided not to get each other presents this year. Money is tight, and while I am still job-hunting, it may be awhile before I actually get a response to all of the applications I’ve put in! Which brings me to another note:

I’m starting my own business!!! <–Just a wee bit excited ๐Ÿ˜‰ So far, I’ve planned out what services I will be offering and what area I will mainly serve. The things still left up in the air:

  1. How much to charge for said services.
  2. What to name the company.

It will be a home-based nutrition consultation company, something that I will do on the side at first, just to see if there is a demand for that sort of thing or not! But either way, it’s very excitingย  getting out there on my own and practicing nutrition the way I want to practice it! So, yay for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Moving on, this weekend we took Trixie to the dog park to get her “socialized” a bit. She pretty much stayed by our side until time to go, she’s such an old fart!ย  Haha ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t imagine having a dog that plays like this:

Hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ I love watching all of the dogs at the dog park. (A few of them even play a game of fetch with me!)

After the dog park, we came home and Trixie immediately settled into her afternoon nap with the cat.

Yes, I agree. They ARE so cute.

Aside from starting my business, know what else I’m excited about? Working out!

It’s been 3 days since my last gym visit and I’m craving it like a model craves a doughnut. Bad analogy? Oh well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve downloaded some new tunes (GLEE, duh!) and I’m ready to throw on my running shoes and hit the treadmill like whoa. Just gotta wait for Jas to come home, and then it will be time!

Switching subjects:

Last night I found a new black bean burger recipe.

From here on out, I shall dub myself the “Bean Burger Queen” ๐Ÿ˜€ Bean burgers are becoming my “specialty” if I may say so. This recipe was just okay. I think I liked the pineapple rice more than the burgers themselves! The flavor was kind of “meh”. The rice that goes along with it was pretty fun to eat! Who would have ever of thought to put pineapple in rice?? Not me! But I loved it!

I think this recipe is still my favorite go-to bean burger recipe. It has a lot of flavor and a crunchy outside too. Nomnomnom. ๐Ÿ˜€ ( ‘Tis also Jason’s favorite as well!)

And that concludes my sermon on the best bean burger ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning I woke up and went to my last Chemistry class before finals and it. is. freezing outside! Yesterday we had about 10 minutes of snow, but ohmygosh, it is so cold today! Lower 30’s and the wind is unbelievable! I’m now snuggled inside with a warm sweater and the space heater at my feet ๐Ÿ™‚

I love the fact that technology has allowed me the pleasure of searching for a job while I sit in my flannel pajamas and drink hot tea ๐Ÿ˜€ Yay, technology!

Oh! I’ve started “Born to Run” and I love it! Can hardly put it down!

Feel free to keep sending reading suggestions! I love adding items to my list ๐Ÿ™‚

And if you have an awesome bean burger recipe that you think is out-of-this-world, send that my way too!

I’d better go for now! See ya later in the week ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay warm folks!

Merry Fitness!

*Blows the dust off of her keyboard*

Hi BLOG!ย  I’ve missed you, have you missed me? ๐Ÿ˜€

I never realise how much writing is a stress-reliever for me until I stop writing! (Or until I start grinding my teeth during my sleep…NOT a good thing.) I get in the mood every few months or so when I just need to take a bloggie break. Well, now I’m done ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure there are no readers left on this thing, but that’s ok. I kind of like to think that I’m writing to myself because it keeps me honest!

A quick update from the world of Stacey:

  • My internship at the YMCA is finished
  • I have 2 more days of Chemistry before I am completely done and ready to graduate!!!!!
  • I’ve made A’s on all 4 of my chem exams (I’m also starting to wonder if Chemistryย is ย just “my thing”…because -dork alert!- I love it.)
  • I spend almost half of my day looking forย a job (still no luck, not even a phone call)
  • Trixie keeps getting sick but she is on medicine and is acting fine as of right now

Um, I think that’s pretty much it!

People keep asking me if I’m excited about graduating…and the answer is……well, the answer is “YES”. But am I screaming from the rooftops? No, not yet. In my mind, I’ve already graduated. Now, if I get into University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, then HELL YEAH I’ll be screamin’ from the rooftops! I want into that school SO BAD it’s not even funny.

They only accept about 30 Registered Dietician students, and I am hoping to be one of them. Fingers, toes and eyes are crossed!

Moving on: Thanksgiving was pretty great. My family and Jason’s family got together (for the first time!). We ate a ton of food, rode on donkeys and laughed to our hearts content ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so nice to see my family. I consider our time together precious because we don’t reallyย seeย each otherย that often.

In the past few weeks, Jason and I have grown even closer. What with me being jobless, money is a little tight and it has caused us to work together in saving and budgeting. Mushy moment ahead: I am so grateful to have him in my life. Not only has he been supporting me financially (when need be), he has also been my cheerleader whileย  I look for a job. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I need that right now.

So thanks babe ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay! Mushy moment is over. Sorry for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Moving on (once again): These past few weeks have provided me with ample amounts of thinking time. My main thoughts: “Where do I want my career to go?” And these are some of the options I am tossing around in my noggin:

  • start my own business
  • become a personal trainer while going to school to be an RD
  • become a yoga teacher <–I’ve actually had like 3 dreams where I was a yoga instructor! Crazy, huh? ๐Ÿ˜€
  • write a book (it would have nothing to do with fitness or healthy lifestyle, by the way)

That’s where I’m at right now. I’m kind of leaning towards starting my own business (home-based) but I have no idea how to go about doing that!ย So if any of you are entrepreneurs and have some advice, please give it!!

My lifestyle hasn’t changed that much in the past few weeks. Jason and I went to Maryland for a few days for business and lookie at what I found!

A Dunkin’ Donuts of course! I went there 3 times during our 3-Day stay in MD ๐Ÿ˜‰ This trip was truly a health challenge. The room we were staying in only had a refrigerator and a microwave. We lived off of Trader Joes frozen dinners and instant oatmeal cooked in disposable cups. By the time we left, my stomach was in knots from all of the processed food I’d been eating. Get this girl some fresh greens and ripe fruit, stat!

As for my fitness, I kept it up!

Using the hotel furniture as my equipment, I was able to do step-ups, chair dips and planks.

I was also able to squeeze in a few jumping squats (much to the dismay of the person in the room below us), push-ups and bicycle crunches. Oh, and tons of Food Network and HGTV watching as well ;).

I guess you could say that I’ve done a lot of soul-searching these past few weeks. I’ve spent time creating new goals for myself, and pondering the goals that I am about to achieve (school).

A few of my new goals are:

  • To run a marathon this year (just like the yoga dreams, I also have been having marathon dreams!)
  • To expand my knowledge in fitness
  • To pass my DTR exam in Feb, and then apply to UMDNJ in March
  • To get a job I am mostly happy with, and not settle for Burger King
  • To keep up my dog’s health as much as I can
  • To find creative outlets and set fewer boundaries on what I think I can’t do
  • To be happy ๐Ÿ˜€

What do you think? Too long? Nahhhhhhh. It’s the perfect size for me!

You know what’s weird? The dreams!

Three times I’ve gone to bed only to have a dream where I am in a yoga studio wearing cute yoga clothes, my students in down dog all around me. I’m walking through and correcting their poses while telling them to “relax” and “let the stress of your day roll from your back, down to your arms and melt onto your mat”. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a sign. The dream is the same every.single.time.

(source)

Yoga has become a big part of my life. I’m shocked by how much I love it. It’s spiritual for me. Just like running, only in a different way. I finish a run craving the athleticism of it;ย with yoga, I finish craving theย calm and peacefulnessย feeling of the practice.ย Yoga let’s me forget about not having a job.

It lets me forget about Trixie’s recurring illness. I focus on the postures and breathing, and not what is going wrong in my life.

Every week Jason gives me $5 so that I can attend a hot vinyasaย power class at Y2Yoga. I anticipate that class as much as I anticipate my runs ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s an hour of sweaty, good-for-the-heart exercise that I look forward to all week long.

My side crows pose still needs a bit of perfecting but I’m working on it. Thank you YouTube videos for showing me the move step-by-step! My non-fractured chin thanks you ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anywho, time to jump off of here and clean up a bit! I’ll be back soon…perhaps with a giveaway??? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Stay tuned!

P.S. I finished “Same Kind of Different as Me”ย  and it was a tear-jerker!! I cried pretty much throughout the whole book! Twas very inspiring and I’m glad that I read it, it changed my views on a lot of things. Go read it!

Next, I will be reading this:

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen [Book]

Have you read it? If so, tell me what you think!

See ya later bloggies, and if you are in an area where it’s freezing: Stay warm! ๐Ÿ˜€