Day Twelve ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 12
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover White Bean Salad with rice and Balsamic Vinaigrette 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie or some bell pepper slices with two tablespoons of hummus 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich or Spinach Salad with fresh veggies and balsamic vinaigrette 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I had a tasty bowl of oatmeal topped with pecans, dried cranberries, and a little bit of shredded coconut. Absolutely delightful.

Lunch was made up of the leftover White Bean Salad with rice and balsamic vinaigrette. I also had a little bit of the Mediterranean Baked Tofu left from Day Eight. Still just as tasty!

Dinner was a total bust. I was tired and lazy so I went the PB&J route. I made it with almond butter and strawberries preserves. I wasn’t very hungry because I chose the smoothie earlier for my snack and was still full from it.

chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie

I also had a little more of the brownie batter for dessert from the day before. I kept what I didn’t eat in the refrigerator. It’s so yummy!

Exercise for today was Day Five of the Five Day Workout Plan.

Day 5 Five Day Workout Plan

I love me some ab exercises! It feels so good to tighten those abdominal muscles. I can’t really do the plank because of my shoulder but don’t give up! Sometimes I have to split a one minute plank into two thirty second planks. That’s ok too. As long as you hold for a total of one minute.

I also did this building balance video. She is extremely flexible but just focus on breathing and following the movements.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

It tastes as good as it sounds.

chocolate peanut butter banana protein smoothie

First things first: I’m not sure if all protein powders are vegan, so check before you use it, but I use Shakeology in the chocolate vegan flavor. If you don’t want the added protein or don’t have protein powder, cocoa powder should do.

Ingredients:
1 banana
1 scoop of Chocolate Shakeology or 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup almond or soy milk
3-4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

chocolate peanut butter banana protein smoothie

Day Eleven ~ Vegan Challenge

I’m getting behind again! Here is day 11.

Day 11
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Spinach Salad with strawberries blueberries sunflower seeds and raspberry vinaigrette 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have an apple or celery with 2 Tbsp of nut butter (I like almond or peanut butter) 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner White Bean Salad from My Whole Food Life with a side of rice 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

Daniel made me a beautiful salad for lunch. Can’t go wrong with some strawberries and blueberries!

fruit and spinach salad

For dinner I followed yet another recipe from Melissa at My Whole Food Life. Easy White Bean Salad. It’s so refreshing! I liked it but I added some balsamic vinaigrette to the final product for some more tangy flavor.

white bean salad

Now, get ready for this amazing dessert I had! I kind of stole the idea from Pinterest. Unfortunately, I closed out of the link so I’m not sure where it originated from but I’ve adapted it a bit for the vegan diet. It was also originally a cookie dough mix but mine became more of a brownie batter.

healthy brownie batter

Excuse my photography skills, it was late and I was ready to dig in!

What’s in it:

2 Tbsp almond butter
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
2-3 Tbsp Almond milk

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! You can eat as is or put it in the fridge for 20 minutes for a firmer, cooler treat.

Serving suggestion: add chocolate chips or cocoa powder to make it even more choco-licious! If I had either on hand I totally would have done that–but alas, I didn’t. And I’m also not sure if chocolate chips are vegan. Maybe the semi-sweet are but obviously themilk chocolate chips are not. *sigh*

Workout Time! The 4th day of the Five Day Workout Plan. Shazam!

Day Four Five Day Workout Plan

I had to skip the pushups because of my shoulder but was able to do everything else. Then I did a little yoga core exercise.

Day Ten ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 10
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR a piece of fruit (apple orange or banana) with EITHER 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing or a homemade Larabar 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Kale with Tomato Risotto 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have an apple or celery with 2 Tbsp of nut butter OR a larabar 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Leftover Black Bean Veggie Burger (if you have any) crumbled over a Spinach Salad with salsa for dressing (add your choice of fresh veggies to the salad) 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I had an orange with a Larabar. It was tasty and simple.

Lunch was a plate of the leftover Kale with Tomato Risotto. I love the flavors of it. I want to make it again with some actual Arborio rice though. It’s not the same without some creaminess.

Kale with Tomato Risotto

For dinner I was lazy and still had a Black Bean Veggie Burger so I crumbled it over a spinach salad with some salsa. If you don’t have any veggie burgers left, just make a spinach salad with some fresh veggies and either salsa or balsamic vinaigrette.

For exercise I did my shoulder exercises as well as jumped back in on day 3 of the Five Day Workout Plan since it doesn’t involve anything that will bother my shoulder.

day 3 of five day workout plan

I also followed this yoga video for some good stretching. I like the chest stretches since my pecks are tight which is contributing to my shoulder problems.

Day Nine ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 9
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR a piece of fruit (apple orange or banana) with EITHER 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing or a homemade Larabar (this is for coconut cream but her website has other Larabar recipes too!) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Over Mediterranean Bake Tofu with rice 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have an apple with a handful of almonds; Kale Chips; or if you didn't have a Larabar for breakfast have one for a snack 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Kale with Tomato Risotto 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

I was craving some homemade Larabars after I saw the Coconut Cream Larabar recipe on My Whole Food Life. I had one for breakfast with an apple. And to be honest, I had one for a snack too. They’re just so good! If you’re not a fan of coconut, feel free to try another recipe. But seriously, these are amazing!

coconut cream larabars

The recipe made 10 bars for me. I cut them roughly to the size of a typical granola bar. I want to eat another. Go make them right now! And then come share them with me. I’m in love.

coconut cream larabars

The left over tofu was pretty good. I still had some rice but had eaten all of the broccoli I made with it last night. I added a little lemon juice for flavor.

What really stole the show today was the Kale and Tomato Risotto. I love risotto. It has to be one of my favorite dishes but I haven’t had it in a long time. I didn’t have any Arborio rice, which is why it didn’t turn out as creamy, but it was still just a flavorful!

kale with tomato risotto

I’m still just doing my shoulder exercises, but continue the the Five Day Workout Plan.

Five Day Plan Day 2

Try using 10 lb weights if the 5 lb is too easy. And don’t forget to stretch! This is a good yoga video to loosen you up a bit.

Kale with Tomato Risotto

This is not my original recipe but I have altered it for the Vegan Challenge. It comes from the Superfoods cookbook by Dolores Riccio that I picked up in Portland, OR. It’s super easy and can be made mostly in the microwave!

Healthy Vegan Kale with Tomato Risotto

Ingredients:
1/2 pound Kale
One 13-ounce can of vegetable broth
1/2 cup Diced canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp Arboria rice or 1 cup white rice
1-2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Directions:
Wash kale and cut stems off of the leaves. Fill a large pot halfway with water, bring to boil and blanch the kale for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Drain and chop the kale.

Combine the broth and tomatoes in a large skillet and bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer until needed.

In a 3-quart casserole dish, microwave the onion and garlic in the oil on high for 3 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the rice and stir well to coat it with the flavored oil. Add the hot broth mixture, cover, and microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes, until boiling. Change the setting to medium and continue to cook for 10 minutes, until rice is just tender and the liquid has absorbed. Blend ii the Nutritional Yeast if desired and stir in the kale, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

kale with tomato risotto

I used white rice so mine is not as creamy, but you should be able to obtain the creamy consistency that risotto is known for if you use Arboria rice. The starch content in it is what causes the creaminess in the dish. I did not add any Nutritional Yeast to mine because I liked it as is, but if you’d like a little cheesy flavor, go right ahead. And for non-vegans, add 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

kale with tomato risotto

Day Eight ~ Vegan Challenge

Now that I’m caught up again, here’s day 8!

Day 8
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Black Bean Veggie Burger topped with red pepper hummus OR crumble a veggie burger on top of a salad and use salsa as dressing 8 oz of water
Afternoon Kale chips! or an apple and a handful of almonds/walnuts 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Mediterannean Baked Tofu from Vegan Eats World (recipe and pictures to come) and a side of rice 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

I was rushing in the morning so I had a quick piece of toast with some almond butter and a banana for breakfast.

For a snack I was craving some kale chips so I made a small batch.

Kale Chips

I added a little paprika to them. They’re addicting!

For dinner I made a recipe from one of the books I bought while in Portland: Vegan Eats World. It’s by the same author of Veganomicon, which is also an awesome recipe book. Daniel’s sister had it, and I perused it quite often while we visited to help prepare me for my vegan challenge. It has so many good recipes and tips! Vegan Eats World has similar tips but the recipes are of an international variety. I literally want to make every recipe in it — they all sound so delicious and the pictures are mouthwatering. I think every vegan should have both books.

I had another rest day instead of exercise… sort of. I went to the chiropractor and have some major problems with my left shoulder. I’ve felt a dull pain/uncomfortableness in it for at least six months and finally decided to do something about it. Turns out my shoulder is out of place and is being pulled forward by ligaments over compensating for the weak/tight muscles (or something to that sort). Every time I do a push up or arm exercises it pops. My chiropractor gave me some exercises to do to strengthen my shoulder so I did those instead of a more intense workout. If you’re following the challenge, just restart the Five Day Workout Plan on Day One. Keep getting stronger! It should be easier this week and you shouldn’t feel as sore.

Five Day Workout Plan Day 1

Make sure you’re not using too light of weights. It should be difficult to get through 3 sets of 12. I use 10 lb weights. Be sure to stretch afterwards (arms, shoulders, quads, hams, and calves) and rehydrate as well!

Day Seven ~ Vegan Challenge

Sorry about the delay on day 7! And to think I had just mentioned I’d be better at posting. Whoops!

Day 7

Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Quinoa Pesto and Vegetables and Sweet Potato Veggie Burger (if you have any left) or some fresh veggies and 2 Tbsp hummus as a side 8 oz of water
Afternoon A handful of almonds and an apple OR Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie (recipe to come) 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Black Bean Veggie Burgers from my Whole Food Life (noticing a trend? I love her recipes!) 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I had 2 slices of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana slices. Seriously, can’t get enough of it. It’s like dessert to me now. My, how times have changed. Have I said this before? Déjà vu!

For lunch I had some of the leftover Quinoa Pesto with Vegetables. Pretty good the next day! I was still a little hungry afterwards so I ate a leftover Sweet Potato Veggie Burger as well with a little ketchup. I’m a fan.

pesto pasta and vegetables

Dinner turned out tasty! I actually cut the recipe in half just because the extra black beans I had cooked back when I made the Black Beans and Rice only measured out to be roughly one can instead of two (I’ve started buying dried beans because they’re cheaper and easy to make, just time consuming because of the over night soaking). But I was still able to make 8 patties! They seemed pretty mushy as a mix (maybe I should have added less milk) but an hour in the oven firmed them up. They were still pretty soft though. I ate mine with ketchup and mustard and a roll. Crumbling them up over a salad with some salsa would be really good! Ooohhh total lunch idea!

Black Bean veggie burger

It doesn’t look the prettiest  but it tasted so good!

black bean veggie burger

Today was a rest day for exercise. Just do some stretching and maybe go for a walk! I went walking around campus for classes, does that count?

Who’s seen some weight loss or changes yet? This completes the first week now. I’ve lost 1.5 lbs! I’m feeling pretty good. I love all of the tasty recipes but I could be doing better on exercise. I need some more cardio I think. I’ll try to incorporate that more into this next week.

Day Six ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 6
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Spinach salad (what you had for dinner last night); or left over Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers if you have any; or Mock Tuna Salad 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have an apple or celery with 2 Tbsp of nut butter or a Larabar 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Quinoa Pesto with Vegetables from My Whole Food Life. Feel free to just use quinoa instead of quinoa pasta or whole grain pasta 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I had oatmeal with cinnamon, banana slices and pecans. Yummy!

For lunch I went with both a small spinach salad, and a veggie burger. It was a delicious combination.

The pesto and vegetables turned out pretty good for dinner. I ended up heating the tomatoes too with the broccoli and spinach. If you’re a non-vegan, a little parmesan would probably be tasty with it.

pesto pasta and vegetables

For my exercise I did the final fifth day of the Five Day Workout Plan. Now after the fifth day, take a rest day or two and then start all over again.

Day 5 Five Day Workout Plan

This one will give you abs of steel. But first it will make your abs sore! I need a nice ab stretch sesh afterwards. Feel free to add some cardio as well!

So classes have resumed today for the semester. I can’t believe I’m onto my second semester of grad school already! But don’t worry, I’m making an effort to time manage so I don’t fall short blogging again. Hopefully!

Day Five ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 5
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR 2 pieces of whole wheat toast topped with a nut butter of your choosing and a side of fruit (apple orange or banana) 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers with an avocado or ketchup and a side of fresh veggies with 2 TBsp hummus 8 oz of water
Afternoon For a snack make a fruit smoothie 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Spinach Salad with slices of cucumber; yellow squash; diced Roma tomatoes; black olives and balsamic vinaigrette 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

I chose oatmeal for my breakfast and topped it with cinnamon, strawberries, and pecans. Oatmeal never gets old for me. And it’s so filling!

I had another sweet potato veggie burger for lunch today. This time with 1/2 Tbsp ketchup. I actually liked that more than the avocado. Must be the corn syrup 😛

For dinner I went with a simple classic: salad. Admittedly, having no feta just seemed wrong, but it was still full of flavor. Plus, I needed an easy way to use up more of my tomatoes.

I continued my workout trend with the next segment of the Five Day Workout Plan.

Day Four Five Day Workout Plan

I used those 10 lb weights again except for the Reverse Fly. The link above has descriptions for some of the exercises. I didn’t do the reverse pushup because I was too lazy to get under the table to do it, which is really the only place in my apartment that it will work. If you’re at the gym, the bar that goes over benches is the easiest for reverse pushups, or just simply do pull-ups (if you can!).

After my workout, I indulged in a smoothie for my snack. I blended up a banana, 5 strawberries, a handful of fresh spinach, half a cup of almond milk and half a cup of orange juice.

fruit smoothie