Friday, March 23, 2012

Training Update...

So, it has been hard. My trainer wasn't lying when he told me to keep with the clean diet and not steer from the course. It is crazy difficult getting back on it. I keep reading in health magazines that making a 'vision board' helps. I kept thinking this was silly, but as I continue to discover how difficult it can be I started thinking 'why not'. I started on it last night. I was drinking wine......regardless, I am making steps towards 6 protein packed meals a day. Never again will I steer away. Holy shit this has been hard! Almost harder then the strict diet I was on! Will power don't fail me!!! AHHH!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And it Begins Again.....

It has been a long time since I have posted anything on here. Christmas in Montreal was magical and New Years was fun! I have made many recipes since my last post and I am lagging on my updates. I owe many recipes. We are already in February! The time is flyin' by.

The NGA is the day before my birthday, April 14th, and with time flying as fast as it is I know that I will not be ready in time. I have decided to take a different approach this year and I will begin to start training NOW for the NGA and NPC shows in the fall!

16 weeks of strict dieting took it's toll on myself and my beloved Chrissy. I have continued with my workouts, but the holidays have left a bit of their leftovers on my lovehandles! I don't want to compete unless I am leaner then the last show and I definitely can't handle doing another strict 16 weeks. SO, the next 6 1/2 months are going to be spent building yummy lean muscle and dieting. No sweets but some cheats.

I am currently doing 1 hour of cardio a day and lifting 6 days a week. Now it is time to return to 5 to 6 meals a day of clean eating goodness! Super excited to keep all of you up to date on the training and the eating!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lentil Stew

Frickin' freezing outside!! I had some leftovers so I decided to make a stew! One of my favorite things to eat when I was a kid and I was freezing my too-cus was my mom's homemade beef stew. I found this recipe online and thought it was missing something, so I changed it up.

Lentil Stew

1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot sliced
4 cups vegetable broth (*I used 5 cups)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup dry lentils (*I used 2 cups cooked lentils I had left over)
1/4 tsp pepper (*I used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp thyme (*I used 1/2 tsp)
2 bay leaves
*** I also added 1 lb of red potatoes and 2 white mushrooms, both diced

Saute the onion and carrot with the oil for about 3-5 minutes, until the onion becomes clear.
Add vegetable broth, lentils, onion, carrot, potatoes, mushroom, pepper, thyme and basil to a stew pot. (I don't even know if that is what you call that ginormous pot. That is what I call it. The big one....). Heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until lentils and potatoes are soft. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice. Yummy in my tummy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Being Healthy is a Way of Life

When I was at the gym this morning, I was thinking about all of the reasons that I go. I know that some people work out with a gym partner, but for me being at the gym is time that I get to be with myself and my thoughts. If I'm not running, I spend the time on the elliptical or the bike reading a good book or one of my most recent fitness magazines. Going to the gym turns a bad day into a good one for me. Sometimes I feel as though I am releasing bad energy and letting in the good. Although, having the motivitation isn't always the easiest - being healthy is a way of life.

I don't think that I am the picture of perfect health, but I have had several people ask me for advice. One of the most recent questions is "What diet did you go on?" or "Were there any pills that you used?"

The answers to these two questions are: I eat clean and no way. I take a multivitamin every day. That is it. I know that some people who lift weights take pills, but hopefully it is under the supervision of a certified trainer who knows what is safe and what isn't. The eating regimen that I was on for the competition was crazy strict, but it was clean. 'Diets' in general are poop. Some diets can be a good jump start for your metabolism if you are planning on maintaining a healthy lifestyle to follow, but starving yourself and then eating pizza and beer are not the answers. Healthy eating is a way of life, not a temporary fix. 80% of what your body looks like comes from what you put into your mouth, not how much time you spend on the treadmill.

The most important part is, I work out and eat healthy for me. No one else. It has to be for you, or it just won't stick. Fitting into a smaller size is just an added bonus! Being healthy and losing weight can't start when you walk into the gym doors and end when you leave. It is a lifestyle.

None of us are perfect, in fact there were times prior to becoming vegan that I had to ask Chris to put the Nutella in his locked safe so I wouldn't eat the entire jar....again. If you can't make it to the gym, go for a long walk. Don't beat yourself up for having a cookie, but just don't eat the whole jar.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Turkey-less Thanksgiving

Needless to say, my Thanksgiving was turkey-less. We did not eat To-Furkey because….well….To-Furkey? That sounds frickin nasty. I love tofu in lots of things, but it is turkey or no turkey for me. I LOVE thanksgiving! So….here are the recipes for the yummies that we ate.
Thanksgiving Lentil Casserole
(I found this one on, I highly suggest making a gravy with it because it is good by itself but gravy gave it some extra phizazz J)
2 cups brown rice (I used lentils)
½ cup cashews or walnuts chopped (I used ¼ cup of each)
2 slices of whole wheat bread chopped into small cubes
1 cup of vegetable broth
½ cup of soy milk (I used almond milk)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (I used 3 tbsp)
1 rib celery, diced (I used 3 ribs)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Herbs to taste: sage, majoram, thyme, pepper, rosemary (I used about a tsp of each)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 or 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray
While rice (lentils) are cooking, sauté the celery and onion in the olive oil. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread into a casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes. That’s it! Super easy!
Golden Mushroom Gravy
This was frickin’ amazing! YUMMMMMMMM! I got this one out of my ‘1000 Vegan Recipes’ cookbook by Robin Robertson
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups vegetable broth (I ended up using about 2 cups)
1 ½ cups sliced white mushrooms
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp savory
1 tsp sage
Salt and pepper
Heat oil on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, cover and cook until softened. Add the chickpeas and ½ cup of veggie broth. Stir until all ingredients are softened
Take chickpea/onion mixture and put into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside. In the same saucepan, combine the remaining veggie broth and mushrooms and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and add the chickpea mixture to the mushroom and veggie broth. Add all of the spices and stir. You can serve this right away or store it overnight. I made this the night before and when I reheated it, I had to add more broth. I served it over the Lentil Casserole.
Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples
What the yum?! I got this one out of my ‘Appetite for Reduction’ cookbook. Her recipes are also at the Post Punk Kitchen blog that I follow. This was SOOOO simple and yummy!
1 lb apples (about 2 average sized apples. I used fuji) cut into chunks
2 lb sweet potatoes or yams cut into ½ inch chunks
 *the recipe says to peel the apples and potatoes, but I LOVE the skins so I left them on
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp agave nectar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
Bring water and salt to a boil. Add the apples and potatoes. Cover and reduce heat to low. Stir often. Slowly let them steam so they don’t burn. Steam for about 20 minutes until they are soft and tender. Drain. Mash with a potato masher. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Serve. YUM!
The Salad
Literally, this was nothing special. I just mixed dried cherries, spinach, cucumber and tomatoes. The best part was the dressing. I used Walden Farms Balsamic Vinaigarette… what…no calories. None. All natural. Check out Walden Farms website. Some of their stuff frickin rocks!
Vegan Walnut Brownies
Ok, so these are NOT necessarily good for you. I tweaked the recipe a bit, though…sooo they are better than they are supposed to be. I will give you the regular recipe and I will put in the changes I made.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of stevia)
¾ cup of cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup water (I used 1 ½ cup water)
1 cup oil (I used ½ cup of oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix up all of the ingredients and spread into a greased, square pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (*because of the changes I made, I had to increase the baking time to 40 minutes).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So, I know it is not Thanksgiving yet. It is Thanksgiving Eve. I was trying to figure out what to write about and then I realized that tomorrow is meant to be a day of reflection (and the anniversary of pilgrims taking over Native American land....but let's not focus on that.....I wonder if Thanksgiving ever makes Native Americans angry????).....back to being thankful.

So, today I am going to write a list of the things that I am truly thankful for:

1. My dad. I love him more than words. I love everything about him. He embodies kindness. He is the most giving person I will ever know and loves everyone he knows for who they are. He helped me become vegan and for that I am thankful.
2. My health.
4. Iggy. I literally want to eat my nephew.

5. Chrissy.....yep that hunk o' man before you is all mine.

6. Pogo....yes even the practically incontinent dog
7. My friends and family. Too many to name.
8. The great outdoors....they have given me serenity many perhaps I should thank the Indians???

9. My crap as it is.
10. Carbs....I love you!

This is hard.....there are so many things and so many people that I am thankful for in my life. I will spend the rest of the night preparing for my vegan thanksgiving and thinking about all the people that I am so very thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What DO you eat????

So, I run into this question just about every other day. Along with "Where do you get your protein?" and "Where do you get your calcium?" and "What about essential fatty acids?"

Unfortunately, our society has been led to believe that we NEED meat. We NEED milk. We NEED eggs. Truthfully, we do not. Let me start with the milk thing. Humans are the only living species that drink milk from another animal....think about it? Gross. When a human mom begins to lactate, she does so until the baby is weened off of breast milk. Cows are the same. However, in our society, we hook these cows up to machines for the rest of their lives sucking milk out of them constantly so they are continually lactating. Sound morbid? It is. Let's take that one step further. So these cows are hooked up to a machine that is constantly sucking at it's udders. Overtime the udders become infected and the pus that forms is mixed into the milk that is sucked out...and we drink it. Yum! Under normal conditions, a cow produces about 10 gallons of milk a day. Under USDA approved farms, a single cow is made to produce over 100 gallons a day by injecting cows with hormones. Still sound yummy? If you are a meaty, no problem. Just please please please buy organic. So, where do I get my calcium? Easy. Here is a list of delicious foods that calcium lives in besides the overly advertised cow milk.

Fortified grains, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, kelp, seaweed, watercress, chickpeas, broccoli, red beans, soy beans (soy milk!), tofu, spinach, tomatoes, seeds and raw nuts. Pretty much anything green. There are also calcium fortified rice milks and juices. In fact, one serving of cooked collard greens has a higher calcium content than an 8 oz glass of milk.....interesting.

Alright. Meat. We are taught by many that meat is ever so important. White meat is told to be one of the purest forms of protein...and it is. Animal protein. Red meat also has protein, but it is also filled with all of the fantastic crap that fills our arteries and makes us have hypertension (known in the health industry as The Silent Killer), heart attacks and open heart surgeries. Recent studies have shown links to animal proteins that increase the risk of certain cancers. Feel free to read The China Study or Forks or Knives...or read this link:
So, if you believe any of this stuff then that means if you eat lots of meat you will get cancer....but of course that is as long as your heart doesn't kill you first. Last night I saw a comic who made a funny joke about dating a vegan with a "tofu dick" (aka limp dick) because he didn't eat meat. Although this is hilarious, it isn't true. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction. Think about it. There are no bones in it, just blood. If the blood can't get to it, then no boner for you. When I worked at the Senior Clinic, whenever a patient complained of E.D. the first thing the doc did was check his cholesterol. True story.....
Anyway, once again. I don't give a shit if you eat meat, but stick to the healthy stuff which isn't fast food and it sure as hell isn't bleeding. A bloody steak tastes fantastic, but in moderation. So, where do I get my protein?

Quinoa and other whole grains (quinoa has 18 grams of protein per serving!), beans, lentils, legumes (thank you indian food!), tofu, soy, nuts, seeds, nut butter, seitan and meat substitutes. Oh and my favorite. Vegan protein powder.

Essential fatty acids. Ok, so even when I was in nursing school I was taught that we get our essential fatty acids (the omegas) from fish. What do these things do? These essentials nutrients are needed for metabolism, but your body cannot create them so you HAVE to get them from food. They are omega-3 and omega-6. Turns out, fish isn't the only place and you don't have to take a shitload of vitamins either. Here is the list:

 Omega-6: Veggies, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds.....yeah, seems too simple. It is just that simple. There are also some oils you can get it from (safflower, sunflower, corn, soya, evening primrose, pumpkin and wheatgerm)

Omega-3: Flaxseed, mustard seed, walnut oil, hemp seeds, GREEN LEAFY VEGGIES, grains and spirulina. The best part???? DARK CHOCOLATE!!!!!

Ok, so there are a lot of things I CAN eat. A ton. The issue is basically going out to eat. I have to look at the menu ahead of time. The most sure fire way for me to KNOW it is vegan is to buy and prepare it myself. Do I care if you eat meat? NO. I do not care at all. Eat in front of me, next to me. I don't care. I haven't felt this healthy in my entire life and it is fantastic. No steak could replace it. I have been virtually allergy symptom free with the exception of the eye incident, but last year I missed over 13 days of work due to allergies and migraines. This year, I have missed 2 and a half. These are my opinions and my decisions, but I think it is always important to remain open minded. I know we have had meat and milk drilled into our heads for years....but why not go against the system? These organizations are run by the government and they aren't always the most honest. I leave you with a quote.

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”~ Thomas Edison