Monday?!?

Ah, Monday came quickly. I wish weekends were longer. Here’s my food update from Sunday:

Green tea with coconut milk

String cheese X 2 {that’s the last of my stock so no more for me from now on =( }

A handful of grapes and cantaloupe

Some veggie pasta with the left over cheese-less Alfredo sauce

veggie pasta with cheese-less alfredo

It’s a serving of veggies for each portion! Score.

Veggie pasta

And then my parents took me and Daniel to Famous Dave’s for dinner. I ordered with the Cedar Plank Salmon with steamed broccoli and pineapple. They were the suggested sides in the menu for a “light” meal because each side is 100 calories or less. I ate half the salmon, all of the broccoli and cornbread muffin, and half of the pineapple. The rest I saved for leftovers.

cedar plank salmon Famous Dave's

Then later that night I had a bowl of cereal with coconut milk. It was the off-brand fruity pebbles. Not super healthy but it hit the spot.

For exercise, Daniel and I walked around town since it was so nice out. We probably went at least a couple miles. I think we walked for about an hour. It was nice to get outside and we enjoyed observing the houses and discussing which ones we liked or didn’t and what we’d want in a house some day. Definitely a big front porch! We’re both a fan of bungalows.

Alright, this is a rushed post because it’s my bed time. Goodnight!

New Outlook

Alright, time to get back into this thing! I’m pretty excited because now that I posted My Confessions, I’ve actually been doing a lot better about exercising and eating healthier! (Minus some pizza I had Friday night and some Burger King I had last night….)

Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:

I’ve been trying to exercise every day by either doing a Jillian Michaels video or cardio. She’s hardcore! I’ve been alternating between her 30 Day Shred Level 1 video and her Six Weeks Six Pack video. They are great! I’ve also been trying to get in some running. Usually it’s just been a couple miles a week–one mile a day just to get me back in to it. I don’t want to cause any injuries by having too many miles too soon. I did go 2.5 miles yesterday and it felt great! I think I’ll do a couple miles for another week and then up it to three and so on.

For food I’ve decided to take a new approach. I liked documenting everything I ate from each day but finding the calories and posting it was a lot of effort–especially if it was something obscure that MyFitnessPal didn’t have in their database or if it was a strange portion size. So I will continue to post everything I eat but I will not be adding the calorie content. To lose weight it’s all about calories In VS. calories OUT. But I think as long as I’m eating a relatively “clean” diet and exercising regularly, I should be able to reach my goals without calorie counting. By “clean” I mean lots of fruits and vegetables to fill out my diet with limited process foods.

I’m going to miss string cheese so much–and dairy in general, but there are so many sources of calcium elsewhere so I’m sure I’ll reach the recommended daily intake of 1000 mg. Here are a couple articles I found on plant-based sources: Non-Dairy Foods With Calcium and 18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium. So many possibilities! I think I will still have the occasional greek yogurt, but I’ve pretty much eliminated them from my smoothie making regime. Lately, I’ve been digging the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie over fruit smoothies. I mean, helloooo chocolate! I’ll have the occasional shredded cheese on a taco and feta on my salad, but I won’t be including it into my every day diet. Whole foods in, processed foods out!

Now, what am I going to do about that sweet tooth of mine? I think I’m going to stock up on some dark chocolate Toblerone again and allow myself to have a piece or two a day. That used to be enough for me, and really helped me stay on track by keeping my cravings in check. I don’t want to end up binge eating later on sweets by restricting myself when I have a little craving. It’s all about moderation.

So here’s my day in review of yesterday:

Made some iced green tea with some vanilla coconut milk mixed in. It was yummy!

Worked out by doing TWO 7-minute workouts I found on YouTube. My friend Ashley told me about an app you can download for the 7-minute workout but instead I found several that demonstrate it online. I did both on them back-to-back with a short rest in between. They are very similar but I like the second one better because it’s an actual person going through the motions with you.

Then I made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie linked above. I didn’t feel like that was enough for breakfast so I cooked up two eggs with some dried parsley, garlic powder, and paprika sprinkled on them.

Later, I was over at my mom’s catching up with her and we each drank a bottled Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino. I had forgotten how delicious those are.

For a snack, I ate a few grapes and some carrots and cauliflower with some hummus.

Then Daniel and I went for a 2.5 mile run. It was so nice out I even wore shorts and a tank top. Spring has arrived! I made sure to stretch well afterwards.

For dinner, Daniel and I made this tasty looking dish—>

Cheese-Free Alfredo Alternative Spaghetti SquashIt is spaghetti squash with a cashew-based “Alfredo” sauce and sautéed veggies. It was delicious! The sauce recipe is a mashup of several I found online. It has white beans, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, white wine, and water in it. It didn’t really taste like Alfredo but it was a nice creamy sauce! It made quite a bit so I have extra to make with pasta today.

Then Daniel and I had some friends over and I drank these:

mang-o-ritasExcuse the poor picture quality and my chipped nail polish. I really like this flavor! And of course I had to use my fancy margarita glass. Those are reusable ice cubes in the glass in case you were confused. I found them at Bed Bath & Beyond. No water-downed drinks for me!

I had a few of them…. So I’ll be cutting back on alcohol for sure. Unnecessary calories! I only want to put food in me that will fuel my body.

So then drunk munchies lead to Burger King chicken tenders and fries. Oops.

I hope you had a fun, albeit more healthier Saturday too!

These Are My Confessions

I really am a terrible blogger. I come back temporarily and then leave again. Life happens. And sickness =( *cough cough*

I finished the Vegan Challenge but not without a few cheat days. I hope to post the rest of it soon. It went well but I didn’t lose much weight and to be honest, I wasn’t very consistent with the workouts. I want to redo it but maybe not go as extreme as vegan. That’s what made me want to binge and have cheat days. I think actually incorporating a cheat day into the plan once a week would keep me from binging when I do deviate from the plan.

But I really enjoyed making the plan and picking the meals and workouts! It was fun and definitely would deliver results if I had followed it to a T. I am loving my vegan cookbooks especially. Who knew there were so many healthy options out there other than just a salad?! I have explored some really good alternatives. And desserts! Ok, that Vegan Cookie Dough is seductive. Yep, seductive. It’s sooo good (yeah, recipe still to come, my bad!)! But just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy–hello sugar!! I may have ate it a time or two more than I should have. So this time around I’m going to incorporate desserts less, but add them enough that I don’t binge on cookie dough, and allow for cheat days before I go crazy. If you’re already vegan, you’re my hero!

So, as I finish up posting the challenge I’ll also be attempting to do it again. I don’t think I’ll repost each day, just update the old ones with my new changes. I’ll definitely be posting how it goes but to see all my eats/workouts it will be in all of the vegan challenge posts. I’ll make a tab along the top for it so they’ll be easy to find.

Just to clarify, when I had cheat days, it wasn’t meat. I was able to at least stay vegetarian, but I could not resist dairy! Cheese, ice cream, donuts. So desserts sound like the main thing I need to solve (which has always been my problem anyways). I’m cursed with a sweet tooth!

Now that I’m off the vegan challenge, I have consumed an incredible amount of dairy. Ice cream, string cheese, lots of lazy meals melting cheese on a tortilla in quesadilla fashion, feta on my salads (which is a must), and the list goes on. In face, I’m eating my second string cheese of the day. I have a problem. Sure, string cheese is a good source of protein, but I really shouldn’t be consuming it as much as I am.

So that brings me to my NEW GOALS! Cut back on dairy for sure. I don’t think I’ll completely eliminate it, but I plan to reduce my intake. No more string cheese. Ice cream only on the occasion. Feta on my salad. No more quesadillas *sigh*. Next, I plan to workout at least 3 times a week. I’ve been doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Level 1 and I feel strong enough that I may move on to Level 2 soon. By the way, I got Daniel to do it with me today! He had a meeting he had to leave for so he only did half of it but I think he was surprised at how out of shape he is. He has agreed to try to workout with me regularly again. Now that the weather is starting to warm we plan to run again. I’d like to run 3 days a week, and strength train 2-3 days a week.

So that’s what’s up.

ALSO. It was my birthday. In February. On the 23rd day. And I turned 24. You know what this means?!? It means my “golden year” is over. If you don’t know what a golden birthday is, look it up. I accomplished quite a bit in that year! I finally started this blog, I lost over 10 pounds, I got accepted into grad school, I started grad school, I got a job as a grad assistant/intern, I have an awesome internship lined up for this summer, and I moved into a beautiful apartment with the best man in the world! Yeah, all you ladies be jealous. Check out my flowers!

Oh, and that’s my mug of tea. But you can’t tell because it’s brown inside the mug. It’s a coffee mug. With tea in it.

flowers and tea

But the flowers are beautiful! At first I thought Daniel bought me flowers as a surprise for riding my bike home *spoiler* he didn’t. Let me explain. So I’ve been wanting a new bike for some time. My bike is currently out of commission. I’ve had it fixed so many times, it’s just not worth it anymore. Plus it was a hand-me-down from my mom and I have no idea how long she had it before me. So the K-Mart in town is closing their doors and had 40% off their bikes! The selection was pretty picked over when I finally took the plunge and bought one, but I found a pretty Schwinn Mirada (I think that’s the name?) in good condition. It has a few scratches but for 40%, I won’t complain. Anyway, it didn’t fit in my car. And I didn’t want to subject Daniel to riding a small woman’s bike home (though I secretly wanted him to) so I offered to ride it home while he drove my car back. When I arrived back at the apartment, he was bearing flowers and a Cadbury Egg! Turns out, he bought them because just the day before I had let 4 of his friends stay at our tiny apartment for the “Fake Patty’s Day” celebration. It’s basically the biggest college party ever. It’s always held the weekend before Spring Break to make sure all of the college kids spend their money on green beer since the actual St. Patrick’s Day is during break. Clever folks. People wake up at 7am to drink and get a breakfast buffet at a bar! ….People like me… But, hey, it was good!

So that’s what the flowers were for.

And here’s a picture of my birthday celebration.

Rachel's 24th birthday celebration

I think it’s the only photo documenting the night. And it’s with two of my favorite people: Daniel and Corey! I also put fake lashes on myself for the very first time. It felt weird. But they stayed on the whole time so I’ll consider that a success! It was a fun night of dinner, drinking, and dancing!

So that’s what’s been happening with me. What’s been happening with you?!

 

Day Twenty-One ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 21
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 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 (I like almond or peanut butter) 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

For exercise I continued on to Day 2 of the Five Day Workout Plan with some 10 lb weights.

Five Day Plan Day 2

And then I made sure to stretch really well afterwards.

Day Twenty ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 20
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR Vegan Pancakes 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 some Baked Zucchini Chips OR an apple/celery with 2 Tbsp of nut butter (I like almond or peanut butter) 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Kale With Tomato Risotto (it should make enough for two and lunch tomorrow) 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

The vegan pancakes are delicious! I had mine with sliced bananas. Next time I’d like to throw some strawberries or blueberries in them. If you don’t have all of the flours you can just use All Purpose (AP). I had AP flour and Spelt but no Flax Meal so I replaced it with Almond Meal. They turned out great! Check out my action shot =)

vegan pancakes

Up close and personal now.

Vegan Pancakes

Fluffy and oh so good!

Vegan Pancakes

Yeah, I’m pretty much an advocate for these babies now. Go Vegan Pancakes!

The Kale with Tomato Risotto was delicious as usual! I didn’t take a new photo so here’s the old one. I used white rice instead of Arborio again. Either one works but Arborio will make it creamier!

Kale with Tomato Risotto

And then it was time to start the Five Day Workout Plan all over again!

Five Day Workout Plan Day 1

Followed by some Yoga =)

Day Nineteen ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 19
Eat Drink
Wake Up 8 oz of water
Breakfast Oatmeal with a variety of toppings OR Vegan Pancakes 8 oz of water
Morning 8 oz of water before lunch (I always keep a water bottle handy)
Lunch Leftover Black Beans and Rice 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) or a homemade Larabar 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

Today was a rest day so make sure to still get at least 8 cups of water even though you’re not actively exercising. Go for a walk or do some light yoga =)

Day Eighteen ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 18
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 with Vegetables 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry at any time throughout the day have a handful of almonds and some grapes 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Black Beans and Rice from My Whole Food Life. This makes a huge amount so it should still give you plenty for two and lunch tomorrow(and possibly the next day!) 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

Now get ready to feast your eyes on my new favorite VEGAN DESSERT!

vegan chocolate chip cookie dough

It’s AHHHH-mazing. I’m working out the details still but recipe will come soon. I wish I could eat it every night. In fact, I’ve made it a few times already…

I’m not for sure how vegan the chocolate chips are though. I bought Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips that don’t have any milk or milk products in them but they are made in a plant that processes those items so the package said “may contain milk.” Use at your own discretion!

But I have a confession. I cheated. I was at a potluck and couldn’t resist trying some desserts….

My shameful dessert plate

I shared some of this with Daniel but I mostly ate it. It was amazing and I don’t regret it though I’m sure there’s some egg and milk in that cake doughnut and probably some in the lemon bar in the back. As for the Indian dessert up front, I have no idea what’s in it but it was tasty and probably the only vegan dessert out of the three. But everyone needs a cheat day. If you don’t, you’re my hero!

I actually didn’t make the Black Beans and Rice for dinner since we went to the Potluck but it was part of my meal plan for that day. So if you need a dinner idea, I highly suggest it.

For exercise I followed Day Five of the Five Day Workout Plan.

Day 5 Five Day Workout Plan

And I did more stretching! It’s SUPER important. So do it!

Day Seventeen ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 17
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 Sandwich with whole wheat bread; spinach; slices of cucumber; tomato; yellow squash; and white bean pesto dip spread on each slice 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie or a larabar 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Quinoa Pesto With Vegetables from My Whole Food Life 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

We had our neighbors over for dinner so we went all out! Our dinner consisted of a spinach and fruit salad for an appetizer, the Pesto with Vegetables for the main course, and a homemade Larabar for dessert.

This time for the pasta we used the same macaroni noodles from before but we roasted the tomatoes first. We loosely followed this recipe. Well, we just added dried basil instead of fresh for the tomatoes, so I guess that’s the only difference. They were so good! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from that night so here’s an old one.

pesto pasta and vegetables

It was a fun night! And luckily our guests enjoyed the dinner. I wish could have made a more spectacular vegan dessert, but those homemade Larabars sure are tasty.

For exercise I followed Day Four of the Five Day Workout Plan.

Day Four Five Day Workout Plan

I used 10 lb weights. Feel free to bump it up if it’s starting to get too easy. And remember to hydrate afterwards!

I followed this video for stretching. She does a lot of my favorites which have recently been hamstrings, shoulders, and neck.

Day Sixteen ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 16
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 with rice 8 oz of water
Afternoon If you're hungry any time throughout the day have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie or an apple with 2 Tbsp of nut butter 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Spinach salad with cucumbers; tomatoes; yellow squash; and balsamic vinaigrette 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I had toast again. Then for lunch I crumbled a veggie burger over rice.

For dinner I went with a simple spinach salad with lots of fresh veggies.

Then I followed Day Three of the Five Day Workout Plan. Up the weights if you need to! Then followed Jillian Michael’s yoga video below. It’s a great stretch while working the muscles.

day 3 of five day workout plan

Day Fifteen ~ Vegan Challenge

Day 15
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 Zucchini Chips or fresh veggies and 2 Tbsp hummus 8 oz of water before dinner
Dinner Black Bean Veggie Burgers from My Whole Food Life 8 oz of water
Exercise At least 16 oz of water after exercise to rehydrate

For breakfast I opted for toast with peanut butter and banana slices and lunch was left over stir fry.

The black bean veggie burgers were so good I had to make them again. They turned out delicious! I ate it with some ketchup and a side of steamed broccoli (my new favorite).

Black Bean veggie burger

For exercise I did the second day of the Five Day Workout Plan.

Five Day Plan Day 2

 Afterwards I made sure to have another good stretch and followed this video.