Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2012
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover."  ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Juicing Like Crazy

We got a juicer a few weeks ago and have been going juicing crazy in our house and loving it.  The best part, we didn't pay a thing for the juicer!  That is what you get when you have a mom that buys anything and everything kitchen related on TV and she has to have it even if she doesn't use it.  Well, since my mom passed away about 5.5 years ago, items are slowly getting discovered in the house where my dad still lives.  Since my dad is not a cook at all, the kitchen items are up for grabs.  My husband found a juicing cookbook amongst a ton of other cookbooks and knew it came with a juicer, but where it was, was the big mystery.  After checking all the cabinets in the kitchen, I found it in the last one I looked tucked back in the corner.  To our surprise, it was so clean, we are almost positive it was never used.  We are now the proud owners of the Juiceman II Elite.  It might not be the fanciest or finest, but it does the job and we love it!

So far our favorite is apple, carrot and spinach.  I have to be honest, I am nervous to go the all green juice route, but know that is the best for you.  Will have to work up to that since I love sweet things, going all green will take some time.  My boys are loving it just as much and it is turning into another easy way for us to get them to eat their fair share of fruits and veggies which can be a challenge with a 2 and 5 year old.  The only downside is that we are making more trips to Costco to get bulk produce more than ever since we use it so much.

One thing I feel guilty about juicing is all the waste of the pulp spitting out the back into the bucket.  I have looked online for recipes on how to use the pulp, but everyone's comments are not positive and say as hard as it is, it is best to just throw it away or compost it.  If you happen to have a recipe that works for the pulp, I would love to hear about it and try it!  But other than this negative part, I am loving this juice thing and can't believe we have waited so long to try it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Hoarding

Have you heard the news recently?  Peanut butter prices may rise as much as 40% over the next few weeks.  Some people are saying we could expect to pay as much as $6 a jar.  This seems to be what everyone is talking about on the news, twitter, blogs, facebook and other social sites recently.  Being vegan, we eat a lot of peanut butter in the house as a staple to our daily diet.  We love it on bread, dipped with apples, add it to smoothies and the list goes on. 

So do we believe the media or chalk it up to be all a marketing hype?  Well, it seems that this is one of the worst peanut harvests we have seen in decades.  Which will result in skyrocketing prices in the stores very soon, if not already.  You can read more about it here or just google "peanut butter price increase" and you will get a lot of recent articles on this subject.

What are your thoughts on all of this?  Will you go out and buy an extra jar or two in the next few days or just ride it out?  Will this cause a huge hoarding scare to where we may see bare shelves where once peanut butter used to sit?  Only time will tell, but I am not taking this chance with my two little boys.  Yep, I fell into the trap, went online to and just brought 12 jars of it so we are set for the next few months.  My boys are in the very picky eating stage and pb&j sandwiches seem to be a staple in our house at all times.  Let's just hope it isn't as bad we expect, but if it is, I am prepared so to speak/eat!

Happy World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day, a day late.  Yep, I forgot it was world vegan day.  Better late than never :)  But hope everyone was able to celebrate it in some sort of fun vegan fashion!  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gluten-free Vegan, that's me!

Ever since I had my second child, almost 3 years ago, I have had to deal with eczema that appeared during my pregnancy and has stuck with me to this day.  You know that dry, itchy patches of skin if you scratch too much it pusses and bleeds at times.  Sorry for the details, but it is not fun to deal with, but you learn to live with.

Well, becoming vegan and eliminating the dairy helped relieve some of my eczema, but not completely.  In the past I have been able to hide it pretty well being on my legs, arms, torso, hands, but during the past few weeks it spread to my face.  My first reaction was to freak out as I was starting to look like a teenager with a very bad case of acne, YIKES!  I have used so many products in the past that say it can help get rid of eczema, but nothing has worked for me.  After more researching online, I decided to see if gluten and wheat had anything to do with my flare-ups.  Well, I am proud to say that in just a weeks time of eliminating them from my diet, my eczema that was attacking my face where I felt like I just wanted to pull and itch at it constantly, is very minimal if not gone.  Plus, the horrible patch on the palm of my hand that I have had for the past year is completely gone.  Yeah, I have my hands back to normal.  I sure hope this is the case because I can't believe something like gluten/wheat could be such a culprit on your body and system.

It has been a challenging week finding new items to snack on as i didn't realize how addicted I was to carbohydrates.  I was crazing bread, pizza crust and pretzels.  Plus, going into the grocery store looking for gluten-free products was a huge sticker price shock to me.  I couldn't believe companies are trying to sell gluten-free bread for $8.75 a loaf and it was the smallest loaf of bread I ever saw.  Seriously, that is outrageous!  So my hunt is on to find a cheaper homemade version to make myself along with all new vegan gluten-free foods.  My new culinary venture begins on the gluten-free, vegan path.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan Martial Artist

I have officially done it.  I am now fulfilling one of my dreams on my to do list, I joined a martial arts school to begin my journey to earn a black belt!  My husband and 5 year old son started two years ago and realized if I don't start now, I never will.  Plus, I had two of my girlfriends interested in joining as well, so we made a pact to do it together.  We are fortunate enough to have the owner provide us a class all of our own so we don't have to learn in front of a ton of people watching us, which has helped tremendously.

Although this isn't the actual style of martial arts I dream of learning, for now I will go with the family flow.  My husband and son go to Kicks Unlimited Middleton and it made sense for me to start there as well.  We are learning American style Tae Kwon Do.  I actually started in mid-July and am really loving it.  It is amazing how much you can sweat by just doing slow stances for about 45 minutes.

Someday soon, I plan on learning Wing Chun which was actually invented by a Chinese women.  Wing Chun is simple and direct art making it seem very fast, this makes it suitable for weaker less athletic types to fight well and on many occasions win the fight. Your age or gender is not important; Wing Chun is suitable for mostly everyone. I came to learn about Wing Chun from watching the foreign film, Ip ManIp Man is a semi-biographical movie of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.  Yip Man if famously known as Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher.

What I love about this ongoing achievement is that I am pursuing it as a vegan.  Another proof that by eating vegan and working out won't make you weak and feeble, but stronger and smarter.

L to R: me, Mrs. L and Mrs. J

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”    ~ Bruce Lee

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wisconsin Cheese Attack

This billboard cracks me up and so is all the attention that is has been getting in the last few days around here.  The Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit vegan organization, is putting this billboard up today in Wisconsin right near Lambeau Field where the Green Bay Packers play up in Green Bay, WI.  The organization is hoping to have warning labels put on all high-fat cheesy foods served at Lambeau Field.

"The dietary guidelines for Americans, which are produced by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), came out earlier this year, and one thing it says is, we need to consume less saturated fat, and the No. 1 source of saturated fat in American diet is cheese," PCRM representative Susan Levin was quoted as saying by WBAY-TV, Green Bay.

Well, me being vegan, I love this.  It is getting everyone attention and stirring the pot so to speak.  The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is also upset because well, they are the milk marketing board.  Oh and I shouldn't forget to mention that the hat maker of the infamous foam cheese hat is also upset for using their product on the grim reaper.

Honestly, anyone with a tie into the dairy industry is getting some free PR on a simple billboard trying to tell the truth in an outrageous, but spot on ad campaign.  Anyway you look at it, I would say PCRM has done what they were out to do and with great success on this campaign on a billboard that isn't even up yet!  Can I get a "woot, woot," for the vegans!

Monday, September 26, 2011

1 Year Vegan Anniversary

Happy 1 year vegan anniversary to me!  So many things have happened in the past year that it has been truly amazing.  If you would have asked me just two years ago if I would ever consider being vegan, I would have thought you fell off your rocker.  Why would anyone want to give up meat let alone dairy, especially since I live in the dairy capital of the United States.

I am beyond proud that I took the steps I did and have succeeded on becoming vegan.  Of course people think I am nuts at first when they find out I am vegan, but it always leads to curious questions about veganism.  Seasoned vegans already know you get the usual, "how can you live without cheese or pizza?"  But we vegans already know there are tons of alternatives out there and we just don't eat cardboard and drink water.

So raise your glass of your preferred beverage and say cheers to many more vegan years to come! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Forks Over Knives Review

I was super excited when I heard that the new documentary called "Forks Over Knives" was actually coming to our local Sundance Cinema in Madison, WI.  Patiently, I have been waiting for this movie to finally make it in our area and knew right away who I was going to see it with.  I emailed my friend, Ms. L, who helped me become vegan. We even coaxed our meat eating husbands in joining us for an adult evening out with no kids to see the movie and get dinner after.

Honestly, I was a little nervous on seeing this and getting the reactions of our husbands on this movie.  I knew I would love it as I enjoyed reading "The China Study" book which this is based on.  The documentary was truly fantastic and I loved ever minute of it.

After the movie, we headed across the street for a late dinner at Restaurant Muramoto for some sushi and other entrees.  I have never been there and am not a sushi fan, so I was happy to see they had a fried tofu entree.  It was tofu with sautéed baby carrots, asparagus, onions, mushrooms in a truffled ginger scallion broth and it was heavenly divine.  The waiter was a saint and made sure my food was made properly for me being a vegan.  Don't you just love that when waiters go to out of their way like that?  Everyone else went for sushi, but they said it was fantastic as well.  Will definitely be going back and bringing the camera next time so I can take pictures of the food.

Believe it or not, the movie had great impact on our husbands as we were talking over dinner.  Ms. L's husband is a true meat eater and I thought he would hate the movie.  But, after having him watch "Food Inc", I knew this might help him understand why his wife and I went vegan and give more incite on just how bad meat can be.  I think Ms. L almost jumped out of her seat to cheer when her husband said he would be eating less meat because of that movie.  It was definitely a sign that we both wanted to hear.  I wasn't worried about my husband as I knew he is slowly creeping into the vegan world and seems to really get it.  Overall it was a successful night!

One of the added perks of going to the movie was that if we took our ticket stubs to our local Whole Foods store, they would give us a swag bag full of vegan goodies in return.  So, the next morning we headed to Whole Foods to get our bags.  To our shock and surprise the bags were more than what we were expecting.  It was the best swag bag we have ever gotten.  There were recipes, coupons, snack and dish soap samples.  Thank you Whole Foods! 

If you hear that this movie is coming to your area, I highly recommend seeing it.  They also just released it on DVD, so you can watch it in the comfort of your own home.  I hope this gets as big as "Food Inc" or even bigger!  Has anyone else seen it?  Would love to hear your take or others on this movie.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vegan Confession

Yes, I admit it, last week was bad for two of the days for me.  I was doing so well on the vegan diet, something clicked and all I craved was cheese.  Not just any cheese, but mozzarella cheese which led to an all out veggie pizza binge with lots of cheese.  I am almost a year into being vegan and I slipped up, messed up, what ever you want to call it.  It was a horrible feeling after I ate it and then to have it again for another meal the next day, what on earth was I thinking.

But, I learned a few amazing things from my two day slip up on having real dairy cheese.  My stomach ached for days after, clogged up my system, acne came back at full force on my face, skin started to itch like crazy (I believe my eczema outbreaks are related to dairy) and felt so tired.  I couldn't believe how just a few meals could change my body so dramatically.

In a way, it was a great experiment, if you want to call it that, to see how much my body has adapted to whole foods and the vegan lifestyle in just short of a years length.  But, I am even more amazed how my body is changing back for the good.  Acne gone, system being flushed out, skin clearing up from the eczema outbreak and energy back.

Has anyone ever slipped up on the vegan lifestyle before?  I can't imagine I am the only one ever to have done this, but it certainly was a great wake-up call and so glad to be on my vegan path again!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bucket Container Garden

Wow, it has been awhile since I last posted.  Guess that is what happens when the weather is perfect to stay outside almost everyday with the boys.  Love summer regardless of the heat people complain about, I just love it!

Since we don't have a lot of space for a garden in our yard, we decided to do a bucket garden on our deck.  I read a lot about the Earthbox garden kits you can buy, but honestly,  I wasn't ready to pay $55 for one or more.  We just couldn't justify that amount of money for some produce.  So off I went online to search for alternatives and found a great website to make your own for hardly anything. 

After some searching, I came across this amazing website developed by two teenage boys hoping to help others grow produce anywhere with two buckets, some PVC pipe and a plastic cup.  Grant and Max Buster of Boulder, CO have a vision of turning the rooftops and abandoned industrial wastelands of developing countries into mini-farms filled with green growing vegetables. The goal of their website is to share with the world the simple steps required to build the 2-bucket system.  They created Global Buckets.

Really, this system is fool proof and actually works.  We made three global buckets following their instructions from their youtube video and have had great success!  Several of our friends that have seen our bucket gardens have since made their own and had fantastic success as well.  We plan to make a few more for next year.  But so far, we have two buckets of tomatoes and the other one with a mixture of green beans and lettuce.  Next year, the lettuce and beans will have their own bucket as this is a learning process for us.

Here are a few pictures of our tomatoes growing, we should be able to harvest close to 60 tomatoes.  We have had 3 batches of green beans so far and they just keep growing.  Our lettuce has slowed down, but that has to do with the fact that they are sharing the same space as the green beans and are not getting enough sun.  So exited to see and taste our bucket garden success for first time gardeners!

Filling the buckets back in May 2011

Growing like crazy in early July 2011

The tomatoes after pruning the plants late July 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mad City Vegan Fest Review

I am honestly torn on which direction I should write this post. This weekend was the first ever Mad City Vegan Fest here in Madison, WI. I was fortunate to attend with some friends despite the fact that it took place on father's day. My fellow vegan friend and I were able to drag our husbands and kids in tow to the vegan fest during the afternoon hours. There were some great things about the first ever vegan fest, but there were many negatives as well.

So, we shall start with the bad and end with the good!  The picture below kinda says a lot from our first steps into the venue.  Yep, it was packed to the gills!  (must mention I am not photographer, just someone with a point and shoot hoping to get a decent shot, sorry for not getting better pictures)  From the organizers standpoint this is a fantastic thing you want to happen especially for a first time event.  But for an attendee with cranky and tired little ones, it was not really ideal.  Luckily, my two year old slept through most of it on daddy's shoulder and my five year old just went with the flow eager to find the next sample to taste test.

The place was too small for all the people there and getting from one table to the next seemed like an eternity.  There were probably around 15 or so vendors and a few with food samples.  But there wasn't anything spectacular about the food samples (Tofurky, seitan, "cheese" samples to name a few).  Vendors actually selling food was beyond overpriced.  I would never buy a bag of six vegan cookies for $8, that is just crazy to me, especially being on a budget.  Which brings me to another thing that bugged me was the astounding high prices for vegan food samples vendors were selling.  Being that I am almost to my one year anniversary being vegan, the prices made vegans look like we have money coming out of our ears that we can afford food like that.  Wish there was a table mentioning how vegans can eat budget friendly healthy foods and still reap the benefits of a healthy vegan lifestyle.  Also never noticed anything about how to become vegan.  If I had not a clue about veganism or how to start to become vegan, there was nothing around to find this information.  I did see a lady carrying around a "How to Become a Vegetarian" booklet, but have no idea where she picked it up as I was looking at every table and found nothing. 

An interesting viewpoint from my five year old was trying to explain the clientele at the vegan fest.  As I try to say this as polite as possible, but veganism can be seen as an alternative lifestyle of sorts.  Which is why I had to explain to him why some girl was wearing safety pins in her nose when he asked or about the studded outfits and jewelry were all about that some guys were sporting.  It was definitely a place to people watch for sure!  

But on the bright side, there were hundreds of people that showed up that the organizers weren't expecting.  They even had vendors wanting to participate, but had to turn away as they just didn't have the space at the venue.  I know the organizers worked their butt off to pull this off and if I were them, I would be ecstatic on the response.  Now, they just need to find a bigger venue and hopefully have a table of information on general veganism for next year.  Plus, if I go next year, I am going with other fellow vegans and leaving the hubby and kids at home so I can attend the speakers as well!  Yes, mixed reviews, but I am looking forward to next years to see if they improve or not.  Until next year Mad City Vegan Fest!

My two year old napping on daddy's shoulder during Vegan Fest!

My unhappy 5 year old not wanting his picture taken in front of the sign.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cheap Vegan Grocery Shopping

When I think vegan grocery shopping, my mind goes directly towards Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  That is great in a world where money is no object, but in my household and on our budget, I have to be realistic.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had to figure out a way to provide my family with whole foods in the cheapest way possible.   
Yes, couponing does work, but many of the foods we eat rarely have coupons.  So many of the coupons out there are for processed food which we try to avoid.  But, I do take advantage of the double coupon days  at our local grocery stores and am very thankful for local blogs that provide match-up's (thank you Dannelle at Operation $40K).  They basically do all the work for me, I just go shopping with my coupons and save!

I could easily spend $600-$800 or more a month if I shopped at Whole Foods for a family of 4, but realistically I am trying to whittle our monthly food budget down to $200 a month.  Can I do it, well, I am close.  So far, I am getting to about $300 - $350 and that includes our paper products and diapers.

So how in the heck am I only spending $300 a month on food for a vegan, almost vegan husband and two whole food healthy kids?  My secret is Aldi's!  Yep, I shop at Aldi's and am proud of it.  We are fortunate to have three Aldi grocery stores in our city, but I go to the store on the opposite side of town.  It is newer, quieter and the clientele is a far cry from the other store closest to me.  No, they don't have very many organic items, but their produce has been top notch at amazing prices.  I really wish I could get all my produce organic, but I would rather get any type of fresh produce over a processed snack any day for my family.  We buy the dried beans, tortillas, cereal, produce, condiments, etc...  There are actually many options for vegans in Aldi's, but I am careful to not get their buns or bread items as they contain high fructose corn syrup among others.  Also, from doing some research I am finding that any item in Aldi's that has a "compare to....brand" sentence on their packaging really is from the name brand company.  For example they have a knock-off Kashi cereal that is vegan and on the box it says "compare to Kashi', it really is Kashi.  Why pay for the expensive Kashi in the grocery store when you can get the same thing for half the price or cheaper at Aldi's.  No brainier for me and our budget.
We still order our monthly organic produce from Share and also shop at Costco, the local grocery store Copps/Pick n' Save, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but it is just for items I can get cheaper with coupons or refuse to buy as a knock-off at Aldi's.
So, where do you grocery shop and how much do you spend a month?  Are you a crazy saving shopper or spend whatever you would like?  I am proud to be a savvy shopper and proud to call myself an avid vegan Aldi shopper!
Aldi Grocery Store Shopping Tips:

  • Bring a quarter. You need a quarter to get a cart, but you get it back when you return the cart.
  • Bring your own bags. Bags are not free at Aldi’s, but you can purchase them for $0.10 a piece.
  • You have to bag your own groceries at the counter after you pay at the registers.
  • Aldi’s owns Trader Joe’s so if you are a frequent TJ’s shopper you will notice some similar products.
  • Everything is in the boxes it was shipped in and a lot of boxes are on pallets. This is how they save money and pass along the savings. Very little time ($$) is spent putting products out on the floor.
  • Just because it is sold at Aldi’s doesn’t mean it is cheaper than regular grocery stores. It usually is, but pay attention to the price and have an idea of what that price would be at your usual store.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The USDA's New Plate Controversy

Have you seen the USDA's new replacement for the food pyramid that came out today?  They replaced the food pyramid with a plate that shows how much a person should eat for their daily requirements. Personally, I love the new plate idea as it is easier for people to grasp of what really needs to be eaten at each meal.
But, I must say I love the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's (PCRM) Power Plate much better that was introduced last year.  Plus, it is geared towards the vegetarian/vegan.  PCRM dietitians developed the Power Plate food guide, which is a simple, colorful graphic depicting a plate divided into four food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. There are no confusing portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate simply asks people to eat a variety of all four food groups each day.  For those that don't know, the PCRM is a non-profit doctor's organization that tried to sue two federal agencies for ignoring a vegetarian alternative to the traditional food pyramid, despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.  It seems to me that the message was taken into account in some fashion to change the pyramid to the plate by the USDA.

Although the government is moving in the right direction with the plate idea, there is still a lot of controversy that needs to be heard.  The new federal MyPlate food icon that recommends Americans fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables is completely at odds with federal agriculture subsidies as it promotes production of high-fat, high-calorie food products. The PCRM points out that more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.

“The USDA's new plate icon couldn't be more at odds with federal food subsidies,” says PCRM staff nutritionist Kathryn Strong, M.S., R.D. “The plate icon advises Americans to limit high-fat products like meat and cheese, but the federal government is subsidizing these very products with billions of tax dollars and giving almost no support to fruits and vegetables. Congress has to reform the Farm Bill to support healthy diets.”

I know, I know, small steps right?!?!  Just wish that two of the most important foods that should be eaten for a healthy lifestyle are the most unsupported.  What are your thoughts on all of this?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daily Water Intake

Do you ever wonder if you are drinking enough water or what is actually the right amount to drink each day?  And what about the 8 x 8 rule  (drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day) that you hear every where these days?

I did a little searching online and found that the 8 x 8 rule is almost correct.  What you should do is take your weight and divide it by half and that number should be the minimal number of ounces you intake each day (i.e.  150 lbs / 2 = 75, 75 ounces of daily water intake).  It is a simple math equation to give you an idea of what you need.  Now there are other factors to add into this equation if you exercise or have health issues or if it is hot/humid outside.  The Mayo Clinic has a great article on this.

So do you actually drink the right amount of what is needed each day?  I know I fall short many times, but am trying hard to get my daily requirement in.  Water certainly does help me feel fuller so I don't overeat and you have to love that it is calorie free.  I know that once the summer weather comes, I drink a lot more.  Now go grab a glass of water and enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Time to Change Your Sweetener?

Found this poster flow-chart on sweeteners and had to share with all of you.  Love the fact that the organization behind this poster's advice is to: "Eat less of the sweet stuff, but when you do, go natural and choose minimally processed sweeteners without all the chemicals and potential side effects." This is something I am striving towards each day.

It amazes me how much my taste buds have changed since becoming vegan and eating more natural. I realize I need less of added sweeteners and enjoy my food so much more. It is sad that others are missing out on this great experience with their food!

What is your favorite sweetener?  Mine is either pure maple syrup or agave.

How to Choose a Sweetener
[Source: Be Food Smart]

Thursday, May 5, 2011


When you Google the word "superfoods", there is a plethora of different views on what should be considered a superfood.  Superfoods generally are considered the superstars of nutritionally healing foods or supplements, amongst the "healthy foodie" groups.  Foods/supplements that may meet this criteria can be anything from blueberries, to spirulina, to bee pollen to maca.  This list can go on and on depending on who you ask or where you look.

Traditional people's knowledge of healthy superfoods was passed down from generation to generation. Most of the foods touted as health food today are backed by an industry that wants people to eat them. Wheat and soy are both traded in the stock market as commodities, and the dairy industry is heavily lobbied.

Personally, I believe many vegan foods to be the real superfoods.  Whole foods packed with organic nutrients are the foods I want supplying my body with the energy needed to get me through the day.  It can be mind boggling when you begin your search for these foods.  I mean, not many people know what maca is let alone how great it can be for boosting your energy and mood.

There was a fantastic article in the latest Oprah magazine where her editor and chief headed to Peru in the search of some superfoods.  It just amazed me on the length that people will travel to find food that may be mass produced for the good of our human existence.  It is very exciting to read about these foods and hope that many will become easily accessible than in a very expensive smoothie powder mix (i.e. Shakeology) sooner than later.

Do you have a superfood?  If so, what is your favorite superfood you would recommend to others?  Would love to hear your views on this subject!  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game on, Mr. D.M., Game on

Ok, I just read an article that freaked me out about being in my mid-thirties and the big differences of women working out in their 20's, 30's and 40's.  Yes, I admit, I looked pretty damn fit right before I got pregnant with my first son in my late 20's and worked hard to get back in shape when I found out I was pregnant with my second son.  But, after reading this article it made me upset and scared on what to expect in the next years to come once I hit my 40's.  I know quite a few people in their 40's and I must say they do not look decayed at all (have to read the article to see what I am talking about).

So, this got me thinking, how can I prove that being in your 30's is not a downward spiral once you hit the next decade and so forth.  Trying to figure out how to get some motivation back into my groove, this article helped step up my game as did a recent karate class I took my son to.

There is a karate instructor that is in his 20's, he is tall and skinny.  Probably eats anything and everything without worry, but he is all muscle.  When anyone has a birthday in karate, they do push-ups while singing happy birthday and this instructor who I will call, Mr. D.M., was sort of showing off his triceps push-up skills on one foot.  Then it hit me, why can't I do that, just because I am in my mid-thirties who says I can't be just as good or better doing that.  Why should age really matter.

I stumbled upon another blogger, A Spirited Mind, about how one person is better at something than others and it all boils down to owning it.  If you want it, you have to own it to make it happen.  Since I enjoy working out and the way it makes me feel, I should easily be able to do any workout activity as long as I own it to enjoy it.  With that being said, I want to own the moment of being able to do what those 20 year olds do, male or female, and prove that I can do it because I own it.

Now I am challenging myself to do push-ups like a 20 year old, just like Mr. D.M.  Quick, fast, with easy and showing off the form.  Sure hope Mr. D.M. doesn't read this because it will certainly take me time to get close to his level of push-ups, but hopefully by next year I will have my pre-baby body back and fitter than ever.  To end this, I say, game on, Mr. D.M., game on!   

Friday, April 15, 2011

Inspiration - Motivation - Dedication

My favorite quote of all time that keeps me motivated and going is below.  I wanted to share it with all of you in hopes it will inspire you as much as it has and does me!

“Being inspired is fine for a week, and being motivated might work for a month or so, but to make any lifestyle change last a lifetime, you need dedication!”
John “the Penguin” Bingham

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Workout Update

It has been quite awhile since I updated you all on my progress and thought it was due time.  Since getting sick mid-January, my motivation has been weak to say the least.  I tried to do a third round of Insanity again, but got tired of it.  Then I decided to do the hybrid version of P90X and Insanity, but hurt my back on some of the P90X floor exercises.  From that, I played around with the Biggest Loser workouts and now am back to good 'ol Billy Blanks and Tae Bo.  Yep, I admit, I get bored quickly with workouts and need something to keep me going.  I am in that phase again where I am trying to find the next fun workout to keep me going.

With all of the jumble of workouts, I did actually loose weight and inches since January.  It hasn't been much, but I am impressed with the inches lost than I am the pounds.  Since January, I have lost another 7 lbs and 6.75 inches!  So overall since last year, I have lost a total of 23.4 lbs and 22.25 inches!  Plus, I have gone down 2 sizes in pants and am finally fitting back into my medium sized t-shirts which means I can stop wearing my husbands large size t-shirts!  It is the little things that I take into account and call it a victory.  Yes, I know I still have a long way to go with 30 pounds yet to loose, but every small step counts in my book.  I am too chicken to post before and after pictures just yet as I am not where I want to be.  So hopefully this time next year I will have one of those cool YouTube videos everyone makes with before and after pics to get my pre-baby body back!

Ok, onto the raw diet before dinner.  I have to admit, I have fallen off of that horse two weeks ago.  Yes, I did get more energy from eating fruits and veggies, but certainly missed a hot lunch.  The weather has been quite chilly here, but am hoping once it gets warmer out I will be back in the smoothie swing of things like I usually am in the summer months.  But, I did get a chance to make some amazing raw recipes and will be incorporating them in more and more into our vegan lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Post Workout - Coconut Water & Dates

So what do you have to eat and/or drink after a workout?  I wanted to find something that didn't involve mixes and bars, so after some searching online I kept finding great things about coconut water and dates.  Could two simple natural foods really help after working out from my kickboxing class or P90X or Insanity workouts?  Well the quick short answer is YES!  I was quite surprised how amazing the two are to have after working out and giving me the boost I need after the high intensity.  Here is the lowdown on these two foods on why they are so great for you.

Coconut Water:
  • natures energy drink to replenish your electrolytes after working out
  • contains 294 mg of potassium, that's more than bananas and sports drinks provide!
  • contains 5 mg of natural occurring sugars unlike energy drinks that contain an average of 10-25 mg of sugars or other sweeteners
  • contains high levels of calcium, chloride and magnesium
  • naturally sweet, nutty and refreshing flavor
  • healthier than orange juice and less calories
  • helps break up kidney stones
  • supercharges your metabolism
  • promotes weight loss

  • one of the best energy boosting snacks
  • Gives extra energy to a tired human body within half an hour after taking it
  • packed with 29 grams of natural sugars including glucose, fructose and sucrose
  • only around 23 calories per single date fruit
  • contains 31 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of dietary fiber
  • have a high content of iron in them, which makes them great home remedies for reducing iron deficiency
  • rich in potassium, which is essential for a healthy nervous system
  • low in sodium, thereby preventing blood pressure levels from rising
  • consuming dates on fasting days before breaking the fast helps avoid overeating after the fast. The factor responsible for human hunger is shortage of sugar in the blood. Consumption of dates, not only pacifies the feeling of hunger with its sugar content, but also all of its nutritional value is absorbed by the body. This prevents people from overeating after a day of fasting.
 So what do you think?  We have only tried the O.N.E Coconut Water brand as that just happened to be what my husband bought at the store.  Man was it good, but pricey for a small container.  But since it is working and I like that it is all natural, I will have to work it into our budget.  As for dates, we always have a big container of medjool dates in our fridge that we get from Costco.  We usually use them in our smoothies, but we also have them because our 2 year old loves to eat them like candy as a snack.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegan Fest

I am so excited, I just found out there is going to be a vegan fest right here in Madison, WI!  It's the Mad City Vegan Fest 2011.  From what I am reading it is the first one for our area and hope it isn't the last.  Since becoming vegan, I have heard of these gathering, but many have been at larger cities, so it is great to see one right in my backyard.  The only downside is that it takes place on Father's Day (June 19, 2011), but thank goodness my husband is excited to go with me!

There seems to be a great line-up so far for speakers and demos.  One of my favorite cookbook co-authors is going to be doing a food demo.  It is Terry Hope Romero who is a co-author of bestselling books Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  Yeah, as I love my Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar cookbook.   Also, co-founder of Our Hen House, Jasmin Singer and Mercy For Animals' Chicago Campaign Coordinator, Kenny Torella will both be speaking.

Have any of you gone to a vegan type fest?  Not sure what to expect, but can't wait to learn some new vegan things and blog about it sometime in June!  Check out all the details on their website, Mad City Vegan Fest, as more is added frequently as the event comes closer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Organic Fruits & Veggies

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had the job to figure out how to to save our family money since we were going to be living on one income.  Through the first few months when our first son was born, I surfed the internet on how to make ends meet.  Food was a huge issue especially since we were adding a new little one to the family.  I was lucky enough to find a local food buying club where I could buy food at a discount each month.  The best part was you order online and then just pick-up what you ordered the following month, which was usually at a local church.  No need to step into a store, especially with little ones.  Also, many of these clubs are free, but a few require you to volunteer your time each month.  Our club is called SHARE Wisconsin and just has us pay a few dollars a month to cover gas and handling. 

As we were transitioning into this vegan life, we are fortunate enough to have our local buying club offer organic produce each month at an amazing rate.  We get 10+ pounds of organic produce for only $15.  Since going vegan, we now get 3 boxes a month and may even get 4 once summer months come.  This has provided my family fantastic organic produce which has saved us lots of money and time.

There are many food buying clubs out there that you might be able to take advantage of in your area.  I know not all have organic produce to offer, but groceries in general are cheaper when bought in huge quantities and divided among those that are ordering.  Here is a list of other food buying clubs that may help you out if you live in any of these states:

Angel Food Ministries
Serving many states within the United States

SHARE Food Program of Pennsylvania
Serving Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Metro New York, Maryland East Shore

SHARE Food Network
Serving Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia

SHARE Hampton Roads 
Fare For All 
Serving Minnesota 
Serving Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota 

SHARE Wisconsin 
Serving Wisconsin, northern Illinois and the UP of Michigan 

The Community Food Co-op of Utah  
Serving Utah 

Golden SHARE Foods 
Serving Southern California 

There are probably many more out there, just do a search  for food buying club in your state and see what comes up.  Hopefully this will help some of you save money for yourself and others. 

Here are some pictures of 2 boxes of produce we got a few months back to give you an idea of what comes in our boxes.  The only thing that stinks about the boxes is you never know what you will get, so it is a surprise each time.  But we have never been disappointed over the past 5 years of buying.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exercise Shoes

Yep, I am going to talk about shoes here this week.  I have had the worst time finding a comfortable shoe to workout in that doesn't rub my toes together, cause friction, sweat that results in blisters, bleeding and sore feet.  This past summer, I found the perfect pair of shoes and fell in love with them since.  They are the Vibram FiverFingers KSO shoes.  The best part is they are made with vegan friendly material, so it is a win-win situation for us vegans!

Now, I am going to be honest, they are not cheap.  I believe I paid about $85 for my Vibrams, which is why I had to wait quite awhile to get them as I needed to save up.  But so glad I took the time to research and find that they were worth the wait.  Yes, my feet still sweat, but I now can come out of kickboxing class or a run without bleeding and blistered feet.  One thing I wish they would include is some sort of odor eaters for the shoes as they do stink after a few sweaty uses, but I just throw them in the wash and am good to go on my next workout.

These shoes certainly do get looks when I wear them.  They are the perfect conversation starters if you need help in that area!  But, I can't begin to tell you how comfortable they are.  They even make socks you can wear with them on colder days to keep your feet warmer.  Every time I put them on, I am still in shock on how comfortable they are!  

If you do decide to get a pair, make sure to get fitted at a local reputable retailer or buy directly from Vibram online.  As there are many fakes out there and the poor quality just makes the real ones look bad.  Plus, I found out each style sizes differently from the guys that sold me my shoes from Berkeley Running Company.
I must say it is nice going into a store and finding knowledgeable people that know their shoes and what will work for each person that walks in.  You don't find that, that often now-a-days anymore.

The weather is just starting to warm up again here in Wisconsin and I can't wait to get outside running in them as it has been a super snow and long winter here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Raw Vegan til Dinner

I have been so inspired lately by everything I have been reading on the raw food blogs and watching YouTube videos on going raw that I have decided to try going raw.  I started just a few days ago where I am eating fresh produce until 5pm and than going back to being vegan for dinner.  If I really like the whole raw experience, this will help me easily transition to completely raw in the months to come.  

Plus, what I seem to be finding is that many vegan athletes are actually raw vegans when they are training and go back to being vegan off season.  I must say the past few days my energy has been through the roof which I didn't expect.  My house looks cleaner than it ever has and I am getting so much done.  I am contributing this energy towards the great fresh produce I am eating.  Also, I found that you need to watch how much nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, and other fatty foods as they can zap your energy.  So, I am filling up on plenty of fruit and veggies and only having a little of the those fatty foods.

There is an amazing website called We Like It Raw that has amazing before and after going raw pictures that will blow your mind.  The changes are amazing and so inspiring.  Also if you enjoy watching videos, there are two YouTube pages that are a must.  First check out Dan the Man from Life Regenerator and the three crazy brothers of Raw Brah's.

Has anyone else done this or am I just crazy to go this route?  Time will tell and I will keep you all posted on this little experiment!

Here is a great video I found on YouTube that I had to share.  It makes me appreciate the choice I have made going vegan.  Seeing this man who is a raw vegan try a two week experiment of the standard American diet scared me and makes my decision to go vegan even more powerful!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you so much Michelle at lovinlivinvegan for the this super fun award. It is a great way to find out some new fun things about other blogger friends out there.

The rules for this award are:
1. Make a post & link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!

Here are my 7 random things.

1. I secretly want to learn the martial arts called Wing Chun because I love the movie 'IP Man' and the history behind the art.
2. I love action movies.
3. I went to college to become a radio DJ/news reporter and ended up in marketing because it paid more and the hours were more "normal".
4. Would love to retire and move to Prince Edward Island, Canada.  This is where we went on our honeymoon and Anne of Green Gables book/movie is based there (love those movies/books).
5. Addicted to air popped popcorn.
6. Just started to text on my phone for the first time last month and am now addicted.  I get why it is so popular now.  Yep, I can be a little slow on some technology :)
7. I love to bake, especially breads.
Here are 10 blogs that I have started following recently. And the next Awards go to!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Plant Powered Workouts

Stemming off from last weeks post, I wanted to let you know about vegan athletic trainers.  The most popular vegan trainer in this time is Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser television show.  But there is another vegan trainer that is just as impressive if not more and his name is John Hinds.  He is the founder and owner of a local gym, Monkey Bar Gym.

The Monkey Bar Gym is a no machine, no mirror, old school gym that focuses on movements, not muscles.  I think the best part yet is that he posts a workout each day on his website for free.  Click here to check out the workouts.  So you can have your own personal vegan trainer in your own home helping you out along the way.

I love when you can find quality workouts online if you are needing a change or want to focus on certain areas.  Also like the fact that he is vegan!  The website is super impressive as is his blog.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Vegan Athlete Inspiration

There are amazing vegan athletes out there that are so inspiring and successful it makes it hard not to be inspired to keep going everyday towards my goal.  The best part is that not everyone came out of the womb born a vegan, so they all too had to take the steps to make the transition over.

Rich Roll, Brendan Brazier, Robert Cheeke, Mac Danzig, Scott Jurek, Carl Lewis, and the list goes on of just a few of the famous vegan athlete names that come to my mind.  The funny thing is, where are all the women vegan athletes?  There are very few and far between the male.  I have read that it may be due to the lack of iron women get compared to men and other vitamins or is that just an excuse that they can't perform at that level?  Or is it the fact that men still get more attention in the athletic world than women so they are not well known yet?  Either way, they are all vegan and successful vegan athletes that prove by eating plants can make you just as strong and even stronger than the carnivores.

It would be just an honor to be listed amongst the names above and hence being a female at that.  I know I have a long way to go, but it is possible.  Take the story of ultra endurance athlete, Rich Roll, who just four years ago was a 40 year old couch potato dad of four kids looking for a change in his life.  He went vegan and started working out and now look at him.  Just last year Men's Fitness magazine named him one of the "25 Fittest Guys in the World" and he made PETA's list of "Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities."  Now tell me that isn't inspirational!?!?!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sick and Tired

Yep, the title says it all.  I am sick and tired lately which is due to the lack of posts.  The cold/flu season has hit our household the past few weeks and keeps getting passed back and forth between everyone in the family.  What I thought was a cold went away to only come back as a sinus infection that is exhausting me while trying to keep up to the daily household grind.  So, the exercise is officially being put in hold for a few days until I can get the energy back.  Stay healthy everyone as we all know being sick is no fun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vega Breakfast Smoothie

I caved and bought a canister of the Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer, natural flavor, at Whole Foods this past weekend.  What pulled me in was the satisfaction of getting 100% daily vitamins and minerals in a smoothie and it is vegan.  Yes it is pricey, but if it provides me the energy needed without taking numerous supplements and food, I will take it.  Being a very busy mom of two young and energetic boys, it is worth the price over my time.

A's Vegan Vega Breakfast Smoothie:
  • 1 to 2 scoops Vega Whole Foods Health Optimizer (flavor of your choice)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, then enjoy.  This is a very filling smoothie that keeps me full for 3 to 4 hours and is perfect after my Insanity workout.

I am not going to lie, the natural flavor is not the greatest, but if it continues to give me the energy I keep feeling after taking it, it is worth it to me.  There were no other flavor options available at the store, so I bought what they had.  Went online last night and ordered other flavors in hopes of a better tasting smoothie and will keep you posted on my future taste tests with them all. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vegan Birthday Cupcakes

Ok, I know cupcakes are not the healthiest, but had to put a post up on how cute the vegan birthday cupcakes I made turned out for my now 5 year old's karate birthday party.  Plus, everyone was shocked to know they were vegan and wondered how the heck they could still be moist and let alone taste good  Love people's comments like this as they then realize you eat more than just celery and carrots! 

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes/Cake

  • 1-3/4 cups unbleached flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 bananas, overripe, mashed
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil or any light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square or round pan with Pam or other baking spray. Put dry ingredients into a bowl. Blend with a fork. Add oil, soy milk and vanilla. Stir until the mixture comes together, but don't over mix. Break bananas into chunks and drop into the batter, mash with a fork and mix briefly. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake on center rack for 35-40 minutes (about 40-45 minutes for cupcakes), just until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on wire rack to cool. To serve sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy! Also great with crushed pineapple or berries.

Here's a tip. If you like a smoother banana texture, break bananas into a separate bowl, mash and mix well, until smooth, then fold into the batter. Over-mixing your batter will create a more dense cake with a tougher crumb. Cakes should be gently mixed until dry ingredients are incorporated, unless specified otherwise. 

Cupcake Frosting recipes were from 'The Joy of Vegan Baking' book.  Love this cookbook!

Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened
  • 3 cups (300 g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 (42 g) cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons (45 to 60) water or nondairy milk
With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar, and cream for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, and turn the mixer to high speed once all the ingredients are relatively well-combined. Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add l or 2 tablespoons more milk if it's too dry. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.
Yield: Enough for one 9-inch (23-cm) cake or 8 cupcakes

Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (300 g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) nondairy milk, or more as needed
  • Food coloring (optional)
With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar, vanilla, milk and food coloring (if using). Once all the ingredients are relatively well-combined, beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add l or 2 tablespoons more milk if it's too dry. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.
Yield: Enough for one 8-inch or 9-inch (23-cm) cake

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Using Bugs as Food Dyes

I came across one of the most disgusting YouTube videos that I had to research and share with you all.  This is yet again another reason to stay away from processed food and to read the labels of everything you buy in the grocery store.

 Here is an excerpt taken from Wikipedia on Cochineal:
Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colorants that resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural colorants and is even more stable than many synthetic food coloursThe water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine; the insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be colored in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets. The average human consumes one to two drops of carminic acid each year with food.  A new U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation will require all foods and cosmetics containing cochineal to declare it on their ingredient labels as of January 5, 2011.  Carmine is considered safe enough for use in eye cosmetics. A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes. A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too. The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to color pills and ointments.
Yes I know people eat bugs all the time in many places within our world, but to put them in without consumers knowing is what made me mad and disgusted.  At least now I know what to look for on the ingredients list to stay away from.  Another reason to be glad I went vegan where I eat very little processed food so this has little effect on what I put in my body. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Extreme Exercise Bonk

Well I did it, I hit a wall and "bonked" last week after my intense kickboxing workout, which happened to be my second workout of the day (I double up on Tuesdays and Thursdays).  I seem to push myself to the limit and beyond to prove that this slightly overweight mom can keep up with the fittest of the fit.  With my main focus to lose weight and my constant obsession to track every little ounce I put in my mouth, finally got the best of me.

On my drive home after class my vision started to become blurry which caused me to freak out followed by chills, hunger and exhaustion.  Even though I don't have diabetes, I knew I was having a hypoglycemia/low blood sugar moment as I have experienced seeing these same signs my mom had gone through as she had diabetes.  It literally scared the heck out of me, but luckily I made it home safely and into the arms of my husband armed with high sugar foods (banana, homemade granola & almond milk).

During any workout blood sugar is the primary determinant of how well you feel and perform, therefore it is vitally important to eat during any exercise longer than 1 or 2 hours. The calories burned in these intense exercises must be at least partially replaced during the workout or blood sugar will drop and you will feel tired. Most people misinterpret this fatigue as lack of endurance but very often it's simply low blood sugar. 

Not eating enough during extreme exercise will usually result in "the bonk". At one time or another every serious athlete will experience it. When blood sugar falls so low that further exercise becomes difficult, that's the bonk. Should it happen to you, find something sweet to eat right away and stop. Do not wait to eat and don't do anything more than necessary. It is possible to become so (physically) stressed from bonking that you wake up sick the next morning. Even if you do not get sick, you probably won't derive any positive training effect from the exercise. Recovery generally takes so long that you actually lose fitness, even if the workout had been high quality initially. 

With all the knowledge that I am gaining from my mishaps it certainly is making me stronger and wiser as I go forth on this plant powered journey to a healthy lifestyle.  For now, my gym bag is stocked with vegan lara bars and a banana which I will eat immediately after each workout.  I don't ever want to experience another bonk, that is one bonk to many! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Breakfast Smoothie

After working out each morning, my main go-to breakfast is a high protein smoothie.  It is super simple and gives me the energy I need to make it to lunch.

A's Insanity Vegan Smoothie
2 heaping Tablespoons Rice Protein
1 teaspoon Spirulina
1 clementine/orange
1 cup blueberries
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, then enjoy.  This filling smoothie that has an average of 266 calories which gives me boost I need after my intense workout each morning.

I know someday I would love to try the Vega protein powder mix, but it is a little to expensive for our budget at the moment, so I stick with a cheaper brand that gives me the same benefit.  So, there you have it, my morning breakfast recipe.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chemicals In My Food

I will try and make this post short, but you know this topic could write quite a few books on the chemicals used in food.  Everything I am learning in the new vegan world has taken me for quite a ride and the food issue has been my biggest wide-eye opening experience.

Everyday, I strive to provide my family and myself whole foods that are not processed, let alone involve any chemicals.  I am just shocked on why companies find it OK to add these chemicals that they consider safe into the food they sell, which consumers in turn put into their bodies.  Yes, I know that many companies will stand up and say they are used to help stabilize the shelf life of their product, yada, yada, yada.  But do we really want to eat bread out of a plastic bag that will expire in 2 months or longer after we bought it.  How come the bread I make at home in my bread machine has only 7 natural ingredients in them and it goes bad within a week or so after made?  Why such a short shelf life, well because that is natural way!  And yes, I know many of you just don't have the time anymore to make your own bread let alone exercise, but if you make the time, you will notice the difference in your body and your body will thank you!

It just takes small simple steps that transpire into a huge windfall of healthy and natural lifestyle changes that you in return need to dedicate to your life for the better.  I started out small, by reading blogs, online articles, books to reading labels of food I had in my house and grocery cart.  It will amaze you the quick few minutes it can take to search an ingredient that you are not familiar with online to realize how horrible it can be to your body.  So, I ask you to take a few minutes each day or week and look at what is in your pantry and if it really is what you want to put into your body or if it should just go straight to the trash. 

I guarantee you will be amazed how much your taste buds change after eliminating processed foods/chemicals from your diet.  This was one thing that I could not fathom, but now when I even try a processed food product, it disgusts me on all levels as I wonder how on earth I ate them before.  You could just taste the chemicals in the food as you try and choke them down your throat.  Please take the first step if you haven't already to eliminate those processed foods from your life, your body and the earth will thank you!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Insanity - Round 2 Workout

As of Saturday, I finished my first round of Insanity workout which is a 60 day commitment.  The loss of weight was very little as was my inches, but I will be starting round 2 tomorrow and refuse to give up.  Since starting this weight loss journey all over again after baby number two, it certainly has been a struggle, but not impossible! 

As of January 2010, I have lost 16.4 pounds and 15.5 inches overall.  To me it is heartbreaking considering I am eating healthier than ever before, but to know that I am moving in the right direction and having constant support from my friends and family keeps me going.  Hopefully, during this round, the weight will shed at a faster pace and for my muscles to become more defined.  Only time will tell!