Day Four ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 4
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 Easy Stir Fry 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have a handful of raw almonds with an apple 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Sweet Potato Veggie Burger from My Whole Food Life. It makes several patties so you'll be able to save some for lunch tomorrow 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

Per suggestion from the recipe for the veggie burgers, I topped mine with avocado. You can save the leftovers for your lunch tomorrow.

sweet potato veggie burger

By now I was going crazy for some dessert so I made the One-Ingredient Ice Cream. So good!

For exercise I did the third day of the Five Day Plan.

day 3 of five day workout plan

I used my 10 lb weights again instead of five. I felt the burn! I did an extra long stretch session afterwards because I was feeling a little tight. Day four was another success!

Easy Stir Fry

It’s such a simple dish, yet can have so much variety that you’ll never get bored! I make stir fry pretty frequently and enjoy adding whatever veggies I have on hand at the time.

easy stir fry

What you’ll need:

1 package of firm tofu
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 carrots chopped
1 head of Broccoli, chopped
1/2 green or red pepper, chopped
4-5 cups spinach (loosely packed)
2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Drain the tofu and pat dry. Cut tofu into cubes and place on greased baking pan and bake for 45 minutes. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the oil, carrots, broccoli, and pepper until soft. Then add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Cook for few minutes until heated through. Enjoy!

easy stir fry

Day Three ~ Vegan Challenge

Keep up the good work! Day three is packed with more healthy options and exercise!

Day 3
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 Beans and Rice with an apple 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have 2 Tbsp hummus with either baby carrots or slices of cucumber and bell pepper 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Easy Stir Fry 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

You should be aiming to get at least 64 ounces or 8 cups of water a day! It feels great to get the recommended amount and flush out your system. And your skin will thank you!

For breakfast, I went with oatmeal topped with pecans, dried cranberries and cinnamon. I tried to mix it up while still getting a serving of fruit but I wasn’t craving any fresh fruit. I always try to get a couple servings throughout the day though so I added an apple to my lunch.

The Easy Stir Fry is something I make a lot. You can use any veggies you have on hand. Sometimes I add cucumber, yellow squash, zucchini, asparagus — feel free to add your favorites!

easy stir fry

For my exercise, I continued the Five Day Plan. This time doing the second day’s reps. I also ran 1.5 miles outside, but it was too cold to continue.

Five Day Plan Day 2

Once again, I used my 10 lb free weights instead of 5 lb except for the reverse fly. For explanations of the movements, click the link above. Try your best to stay in form while doing each rep and remember to stretch afterwards and rehydrate!

Day Two ~ Vegan Challenge

Now that you’ve survived Day 1, it’s time for Day 2!

Day 2
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 Roasted Spaghetti Squash with a side of steamed broccoli 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 Black Beans and Rice from My Whole Food Life. It makes several servings so feel free to cut the recipe in half (it should still give you plenty for two and lunch tomorrow)
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I chose toast with some almond butter and a banana. Such a good combination!
toast with banana and almond butter

The Black Beans and Rice for dinner were delicious! I recommend leaving a little extra liquid in the dish so the rice can absorb it for more flavor. Yum! I didn’t have any brown rice on hand so I used white rice. You could also sub quinoa for the rice in this dish as well.

black beans and rice

For my workout of the day I did some weight lifting. You may recall the Five Day Workout Plan I shared back in July. I’ve decided to start doing more of those exercises so I did the first day’s plan.

Five Day Workout Plan Day 1

I upped the weights to 10lb dumb bells. It was killer! I am so sore today. This workout can be done in 15 minutes! If you don’t have free weights feel free to use water bottles or cans of food — anything to give you a little resistance. Just make sure to maintain your form for every rep and push through! And stretch well afterwards!

All the Oatmeals of My Kitchen

Welcome to my kitchen of oatmeals! I used to hate oatmeal as a kid unless it was the Quaker Instant Oatmeal with all of the added sugars. As an adult, my love of oatmeal has blossomed and become a more healthy relationship (pun intended). Making it at home gives me the opportunity to make it healthy and flavorful without having to eat the same thing every day (unless you were the cool kid with the variety pack).

Here’s my current favorite: Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal!

cinnamon apple oatmeal

I make mine quick and easy, no boiling necessary!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats (I use the quick 1-minute oats from Quaker)
1 cup milk (soy or almond)
1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
Cinnamon to taste (usually several dashes to evenly cover the top)
Nutmeg to taste (usually a generous dash)
Generous pinch of brown sugar (for non-vegans)
Half an apple, chopped

Place everything except the apples into a microwavable bowl and mix it all up, then microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes

Stir well, then top with apples and a dash of cinnamon.

cinnamon apple oatmeal

It’s so darn good. I say brown sugar for non-vegans because it turns out, most sugar is filtered with bone char from animals. However, there are some brands that don’t. The Vegan Products Guide has a list of those companies that are bone char free. I may have to invest in some of those sugars, because I can’t live without something sweet!

Now for some other oatmeal topping options. The three basics (oatmeal, milk, chia seeds) are still the same, but I like to throw in other options every once in a while. Here’s a list:

Chopped pecans, walnuts
Sliced almonds
Macadamias
Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries,etc)
Chocolate chips (non-vegans)
Honey (non-vegans)
Fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, banana, raspberries, blackberries, pear, peach, apple)
Jam, jelly, fruit preserves
Nut butters
Shredded coconut
Coconut butter (I’ve been dying to buy some of this)

There are really endless possibilities! Top your oatmeal with any toppings that suite your taste. Enjoy!

Day One ~ Vegan Challenge

This challenge is a means for me to eat healthier, get fit, feel better, all while simultaneously not contributing to animal cruelty. Read this post for more information on why I started this challenge. Yesterday was my first day and I feel great already! My body was starving for some real nutrition.

Here are the rules:

  • Take a photo of yourself front and side view so you can see your progress at the end. You don’t have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to! These can be just for you.
  • Only weigh yourself at the end of every week (tough, I know, believe me, I’m married to my scale but we must resist!). If you weigh yourself everyday you may not see the progress you want as our weight fluctuates naturally from day-to-day. You’ll be less likely to give up if you only weigh once a week.
  • Try your hardest to stick to the plan for the entire 30 days!

Ready, set, GO!

Day 1
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 Mock Tuna Salad from My Whole Food Life. Lots of healthy fat and protein! TIP: add black olives for extra flavor 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 Spaghetti Squash with kale from the Pioneer Woman. TIP: cook onion with some garlic for added flavor 8 oz of water with dinner
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

The Mock Tuna Salad turned out great but I added some black olives for extra flavor (not pictured). I ate it with my left over apple slices from breakfast. Make sure to click on this Oatmeal link to see all the great varieties of oatmeal you can make!

Mock Tuna Salad and apples

The Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale was probably my favorite meal of the day. I love all of the flavors! Not only did I add in garlic while cooking the onion, but in the end I added in a little more balsamic vinegar to the final dish. I love that stuff. Also, if you don’t have chili powder on hand, just do what I did: add equal parts oregano, paprika, and cumin to replace the tsp of chili powder. Voila!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Kale

For my workout I followed this hour long Zumba video. It’s great cardio and so much fun! You will sweat a lot but you won’t even notice it because the dance moves are a blast. And don’t worry too much about following the dance moves exactly, she can get pretty fast, just keep moving!

I’m Back and Ready for Action!

Sign my name in blood because this girl is going to go gangbusters on the 30 Day Vegan Challenge! Whoop whoop!

I started yesterday and it’s been good so far! I’ll post about it later. For now, I want to share with you what I’ve been up to! No exercising and lots of food! My vacation was fabulous. I stayed with my friend Michelle and husband Nony in Tacoma, WA for a few days. It was so much fun! I got to finally meet their little 7th month old, Malakai. He’s adorable! We went on adventures to the space needle, Pike’s Place Market, an awesome Moroccan restaurant, and more! Here’s a peak at a few of those things:

Complimentary photo at the space needle. Doesn’t Malakai look so happy? hehe.

seattle space needle

top of space needle

space needle

My attempt at being artistic with an iphone.

seattle space needle

Daniel and I by Pike’s Place.

Pike's Place

Fresh oysters, say what?!

fresh raw oysters

The very first Starbucks! And I ordered a soy green tea latte.

original starbucks pike's place

Michelle and I at Marrakesh, the Moroccan restaurant. It was delicious! A little pricey, but it came with a five course meal. No complaints! I left full and happy.

Marrakesh Moroccan restaurant

I had so much fun visiting them and wish them the best on their new journey to Japan!

After our Washington adventures we headed to Portland, Oregan to visit Daniel’s sister, Sunny, her husband, Chris, and their cute boys, Theo and Elliot. They took us downtown to the big Powell’s Books store. I’d live there if I could. I bought a vegan cookbook and may use some recipes in it for the vegan challenge. We explored the area a bit, went to Le Bistro Montage which makes you awesome foil animals to-go (so don’t clean your plate), Voodoo Doughnuts for a Voodoo Doll (delicious), went to Multnomah Falls, and Seaside with Daniel’s friend Troy who moved to Portland 6 months ago.

My swan and Daniel’s scorpion from Montage.

le bistro montage foil animals Voodoo Doughnuts paints their brick with glitter! Awesomeness.

voodoo donuts

We had to try the Voodoo Doll of course. He was delicious.

voodoo doughnuts voodoo doll

Multnomah Falls! It was gorgeous even though it was raining. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hike up it because the bridge had a hole (see right side of bridge). Apparently a rock had fallen on it earlier that morning. But we did hike up half of another fall nearby it. I’d say we went at least a mile. I didn’t keep track. But we were too hungry to continue.

Multnomah falls

I definitely enjoyed the trip, but I didn’t eat the healthiest. A majority of my diet was vegetarian but I did eat some meat too. I could have tried harder to avoid it but I was on vacation and didn’t want to miss out on any of the delicious food. Exercising also didn’t happen for me, but I was doing a lot of walking. My Fitbit Flex helped me to keep track and most days I was reaching, or even surpassing, my 10,000 steps goal! This could be why I didn’t gain too much weight while gone. I’m currently sitting at 124.8 lbs. It’s not as bad as I was expecting.

I can’t wait to share later what I’ve been doing. I was wanting to provide a grocery list for each week but I’m not sure what I’ll be having exactly each day yet. There’s so many vegan recipes I want to try and I just can’t decide which ones to do first! Who knew a vegan diet could be so tasty?!

How’s the start of your new year? Done anything exciting, or are you just trying to get back into a routine?