Friday, March 21, 2014

"I Need a Sandwich" Workout!

I Need a Sandwich

As promised, and better late than never: Here is the "I Hope No One is Watching" workout, however, I changed the name to "I Need a Sandwich" workout for reasons that are two-fold.  A) It made me hungry and I wanted a sandwich B) The 6 rep superset is sandwiched by 2 one mile runs.  

It goes a little something like this:

So simple, yet so exhausting!  I did the 1 mile run at a pace that was pretty fast for me, so I was really pushing it.  I stayed near the wall for the handstands (for extra support).  If you recall, one of my goals is to be able to hold a handstand for 30 seconds without support, so this is with the goal in mind.  I held 15 pound dumbbells for the walking lunges.  I wanted a little resistance, but not too much.  Six sets is a lot!  Alternating between those two exercises, I was pretty wiped out by the time I did my second mile run.  I kept a steady pace, then wrapped up with a 10 minute Corpse Pose :) Ommmm.

This workout was simple and fun.  It was just what I needed.  Definitely got my heart rate up and the blood flowing.  The handstand helps force some blood flow to the brain.  Did you know that the human brain accounts for less than 2% of your body weight but consumes 20% of the blood flow throughout the body?  Just read than in Daniel Amen's book, "Magnificent Mind at Any Age". 

If you are interested, click here for an article about the benefits of holding handstands.   

The Angry Vegan

I've had a some moments lately.  I was feeling a little weak and hungry and started to blame my experiment.  I actually considered eating an egg!! Or three! But a good friend talked me down (to my surprise) and I ate a sweet potato with hemp seeds instead…whew, that was close.  The whole point of the experiment is to experience these issues, address them and resolve them.  I suppose having an egg is on way to resolve the issue, but I want to be true to my word and to the experiment, so I am pressing on.  (If you really want to own something, blog about it.  Really ups the commitment ante).  I think my solution is very simple…Plan. Better.  I keep worry about losing lean mass with my decreased protein intake as well as the increased amount of fat and carbs that I'm getting.  Bottom line, my body appreciates all of these nutrients.  They are coming from whole food sources.  They are good for me.  I checked my body composition today and I'm actually quite the same as I was when I started.  

The following rules really apply to anyone who is trying to stay committed to a healthy meal plan.  Feeling panicked, frustrated, having cravings, etc. are all normal facts of life.  What can you do?  Make a list of your favorite "go-to" foods that are supportive of your goals and delicious.  Have many or all of them available always!  Or at least be aware of what they are so that you know what to get.

Here is my list of vegan life savers:

Roasted Chickpeas

I did Italian seasonings on this batch, but you can make them spicy, sweet or savory.  They are so amazing right out of the oven, but keep well for a few days too.  I usually do a 1/2 cup serving.  That has 135 calories, 22.5g carbs,  6g fiber, 7.5g protein.  

 I love avocado.  I put it on everything!  Here I paired it with a diced grapefruit as part of my breakfast. I could put avocado on absolutely anything!  I would typically have 1/4 of an avocado as a serving.  If it's a tiny one, I may eat half.  That's about 80 calories, 7.5 grams of fat, 4.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 1g protein.  Avocados are an excellent source of potassium (containing more per weight than bananas). In addition, avocados are rich in Vitamins K, B9,B6, B5, Vitamin C, and E.
Hemp Seeds
These versatile seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and a soft texture.  I love putting a spoonful on top of my sprouted grain toast with apricot jam.  I also add it to salads, sweet potatoes, smoothies, etc.  Three tablespoons contain 170 calories, 14g fat, only 2g carbs and 11g protein! 

 Chia Seeds
Love topping my protein shake with these.  I already told you about my life saving vegan protein mix that I drink daily.  Love that stuff!  This drink includes 2 scoops of the vanilla vegan protein, 2 cups of water, 1 cup frozen pineapple and 1 teaspoon Matcha tea.  I put 1 tablespoon of Chia Seeds on top.  Chia Seeds are an excellent source of fiber & healthy fat.  They also have a reasonable amount of protein.  Click here for more info on why you might want to have some Chia in your life.

Tofu Curry
This is from one of my favorite restaurants, Thai Grill in Westerville.  I am obsessed with their Salmon Curry, but that is off limits for now.  This Tofu Curry is insane!  I could eat it every single day! So glad this place is close to where I work and live, because when I'm really hungry, nothing is as satisfying as this dish.  It includes tofu, cabbage, sweet potatoes, snow peas & zucchini.  I would tell you to go try this place, but they are already pretty busy and you might slow down my order :)  Kidding! Check it out, but take me with you!!

Magnificent 7

Last one!  I'm back into juicing.  I had a love affair with juicing a year or so ago, but I am currently without a garbage disposal, which makes cleaning my juicer hazardous to my plumbing…lesson learned.  Luckily, Raisin Rack has phenomenal juices!  My favorite is the Magnificent 7.  It contains beets, celery, lemon, ginger, apple and 2 other ingredients that have escaped me.  It tastes like drinking a delicious cup of health.

So, that's what keeping me alive and well.  What are your "go-to's"?  Vegan or not, I'd love to know!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Know better, Do better!

Good news (I hope ;)!  I've been vegan for 10 days and I'm still very much alive :)

Here is a little update on what I've been eating!  No, I don't take a pic of every meal ;):

Protein cookie dough fail turns into pancakes!

  I attempted this garbonzo bean/flaxseed/nut butter puree that was supposed to taste like cookie dough (how shocked are you that it kinda didn't???).  When it didn't taste like legit batter, I shifted my plan.  Added a bit of maple syrup and some oat flour and pan seared them in some coconut oil.  Perfect pancakes!! They were dense, which made them filling.  They were pretty protein dense and full of fiber.  #FailBetter  Good save!

 This next one is pretty simple.  Baked potato with sautéed power greens topped with hemp seeds.  That orange stuff in the middle is a cauliflower marinara that I made.  It has a good amount of nutritional yeast in it for extra B vitamins and protein.

Check out this fun little gem!  That lovely log you see on my plate was a gift from a friend/client.  Sue makes these vegan "sausages" using mostly spices, nutritional yeast and vital wheat gluten.  It was actually quite delicious and "sausagy".  Added bonus: 1 link=21 grams of protein.  Served with a potato and steamed broccoli.  This was a cozy meal :)

 Up next!  Spaghetti squash topped with sautéed spinach and my cauliflower marinara (recipe to follow…eventually).  This was delicious, but left me hungry.  Solution: Hidden stash of vegan cookies in the back of the freezer.  Another glorious contribution from a friend, I have a few cookies from my FAVORITE Pattycake's Vegan Bakery.  I break off about half of one when I'm having a cookie emergency.  I'd like to pretend I wait a few minutes for it to thaw, but no…I eat it frozen…shameless :)

 Veganing Out

Eating out can be done!  I'm still discovering good options around town.  I don't eat out all that often, but I have a few times this past week.  All experiences were a success!  

I'm a regular at Raisin Rack in Westerville year round.  I probably eat lunch here twice a week.  They have plenty of vegan options.  They have plenty of omnivore options as well, so don't write it off if you aren't on board with veganism.  Pictured below:  Hummus wrap with veggies.  That side dish is a cabbage salad with edamame.  We'll talk about that in another post :)

Northstar Cafe!  One of the best casual restaurants in town.  If you haven't been, get there ASAP!  I cannot say enough good things about this place.  Picture below is the Buddha Bowl with tofu.  You can also get it with chicken, should you prefer that.  The sauce is a peanut sauce.  They also have a Karma Bowl which has a tomato based sauce.  Both are excellent!

I totally slacked on posting all of the macros this time, but I will get them added soon.  Stay tuned!  My "I hope no one is watching" workout is coming up next!  I completed it around 11am today and I'm already feeling it!

As I practice my vegan plan, I get a little better each day.  Which leads me to my parting inspirational quote:

Thanks for reading!  If you have comments/questions/advice don't be shy about it.  I LOVE hearing from you :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sweet 16 Workout!

 Sweet 16 Workout

As part of my vegan experiment, I want to make sure I'm maintaining muscle mass to keep my metabolism going and protect my bones and joints.  Consistent weight training helps maintain and build lean mass.  Here is my workout for the day.  I had already done yoga, but wanted a quick and effective workout.  This one primarily targets the shoulders, glutes and core, but you've got every muscle group involved at some point at least secondarily.  

I call this my Sweet 16 workout because I did these 4 exercises, 16 reps, 4 sets.  So, 16 reps 16 times :)

1) Low Squat & Arnold
You could do this on a bench or kitchen chair if you don't want to take it as low as a Bosu ball.  I like the low seat so that I really have to use my lower abdominal muscles to stand up.  "Arnolds" are a rotating shoulder press. You start holding the dumbbells with your palms facing you and as you stand, rotate your palms forward and press the dumbbells straight over your head.

 2) Split Leg Squat with KB Press
One foot forward, one back.  Hold the kettle bell by the handle with the weighted part toward the sky.  You really have to engage your stabilizing muscles to keep it steady.  If you are new to this exercise, start with a much lighter dumbbell or kettle bell .  As your knee is down, the kettle bell is by the shoulder.  When you straighten your legs, contract your muscles and press the kettle bell straight up.

 3) Squat and Pull
Using a cable with a rope handle, set the handle high above your head.  Sink down into a low squat (weight in the heels), as you stand, pull the rope toward you, above the chest.

4) Squat with Alternating  Upright Row
Sink down with the weight in the heels.  As you pick up the dumbbell, straighten the legs, contract the glutes and raise the elbow up high.  Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.  As you alternate sides, feel your transverse abdominals engaging.  Keep your core contracted to protect your back.

Spin 16

When I completed this circuit 4 times, I wanted to finish with a little cardio.  To keep with my theme (I love themed anything!), I did a 16 minute spin workout with 4-4 min. circuits.  I'm not much of a spinner, but this was quick and fun.  I probably could have spun twice as long, but that would have ruined my theme.

Vegan Recovery

Post workout, I was HUNGRY!! Today I had my vegan "Strawberry Milkshake:

This is so delicious!! It's extremely simple.  You take 2 cups water and 1 cup frozen strawberries, 2 scoop Arbonne-Vanilla protein shake mix and blend until smooth.  This protein powder is the best I've had, vegan or not.  The chocolate is totally fabulous too.  It's the only one I've found that I can blend with water and still enjoy.  I always keep a bag of each in the pantry.  It is soy free, which is great, because I don't want to overdo the soy on this plan.  2 scoops contain 160 calories and 20 grams of protein (which comes from peas, cranberry and rice).  It's very smooth, not grainy at all.  I don't know why anyone would go to Steak & Shake when you can have something this delicious!! 

What is your favorite post workout snack/drink?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014



Today is the first day of Lent.  Are you making a sacrifice over the next 40 days?  It's day one of my Vegan Experiment.  I'm actually really excited about this.  Who knew animal protein was such a controversial subject!  I'm going to share some of my vegan meals with you as well as provide you a macronutrient comparison to what I would typically be eating.  I won't do this every day, for every meal…because there is more to me than macronutrient calculations :)!  However, I do like knowing the difference and I will say that I have yet to find a single vegan cookbook that provides macronutrient data or even calories per serving for their recipes.

Today started with this:
Apple Pie Toast
2 Slices Sprouted Grain Toast (Trader Joe's brand)
2 TBSP Organic Almond Butter
1 medium apple

 Calories:375 Fat:18 Protein:14 Carbs:32 Fiber: 14 Sugar:13

I would normally eat a version of this:

1 ego plus 2 whites, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 banana (usually grapefruit) and a few walnuts. I usually have coffee or tea (this day, apparently I couldn't choose :).

Calories: 325 Fat: 9 Protein: 20 Carbs: 40 Fiber: 7 Sugar: 8 

Today I had the rare opportunity of drinking coffee at home out of a real mug.  Coffee tastes a trillion times better out of a ceramic mug.  Anyone else agree.  It's just not the same out of a steel travel mug.
This one was brought back to me from my Sister when her family went to Disney.  It makes me laugh :) And think of my nieces and nephew!  I added 1/4 cup of frothed soy milk to my coffee, so add 27.5 calories and 2 grams of protein.

The only thing missing is a the Margarita :)

For lunch, I made a recipe I titled Fiesta Fajitas.  Do you name your food?  Say yes.  

2 Sprouted Ezekiel Wraps
¼ cup refried black beans (vegan, obvi)
2 TBSP Salsa
1 TBSP Hummus
2 handfuls of baby greens
¼ avocado
(split the ingredients amongst the 2 wraps and enjoy)

Calories: 340 Fat: 9 Protein: 12 Carbs: 44 Fiber: 12 Sugar: 3

Dinner To Go

I'll have dinner at the gym because I have a full evening of training.  I am pretty excited about having it prepped and ready to go!  This is called my Sweet and Savory Loaded Potato:

I'll put it together when it's time to eat it.

Calories: 401 Fat:10 Protein: 10 Carbs: 69 Fiber: 12 Sugar: 12

Note:  All of the sugar that I have consumed today has been the sugar that is naturally found in the whole food that I'm eating.  There has been no added sugar (aside from the amount that's in my post workout shake-which I will share with you in the next post-including my workout!)

Vegan Day #1

This pretty much concludes my food for the day.  I did have a "Vegan Strawberry Milkshake" which I will share in the next post and a square  2 squares of dark chocolate (vegan, obviously) that totaled 50 100 calories.  Also included 9 grams of fat, 8 carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams sugar and 2 grams of protein.

I would normally have one additional snack, but I got to sleep in today (until 6:30am!) so I slept through what would normally be my first meal.

No worries!  You will not be getting a daily play by play of my life through food!  Ain't nobody got time for that!  But I will share with you periodically to let you know how my body & mind are responding.  I will also share some macronutrient comparisons (to my non vegan, typical meals) for my lunches, dinners and snacks on future posts.  Let me know if you want to see/know about something I haven't shared.

Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter @omnoshedidnt and participate on Instagram  Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #VeganExperiment2014.  You can find me on Instagram under xTheSwanx, and here is a link to my Facebook page Swan Barre on Facebook!  I will be doing a give-a-way at the end of March, so stay tuned!