Sunday, October 11, 2009

30 Days and 30 Nights Complete my Vegetarian Journey!

Well I did it! 30 days and 30 nights of vegetarianism complete….well I guess 29 nights if you want to count the 1 night I had seafood while on vacation. It was interesting to say the least! When I set out 30 days ago to learn more about what it’s like to live life sans meat, I had many reasons for doing so. First and foremost, I was inspired to try it from reading The China Study and also by hearing from others dealing with cancer and using vegetarianism as a way to fight their disease with nutrition. Outside of that, as a personal trainer and someone who offers a lot of support to others looking to reach their health & fitness goals, I wanted to see if the things I would normally recommend to clients or friends would even still hold true or be “doable” without including meat in their diet. On a personal level, I was curious how it would make me feel. It seemed to me that every vegetarian I’ve met is just crazy about their lifestyle and they all seem very devoted to staying vegetarian. I wanted to see what it was all about, and I think to understand something better it’s good to experience it first-hand. I’ve always been a hands-on learner! Even though there is surely much more I could explore and learn about vegetarian living, I’d think to think that I’ve at least gotten a little taste by doing it for a full 30 days. I know that there are quite a few people who’ve been reading this who haven’t commented or become a “follower” and that’s ok:-D I appreciate everyone taking the time to pop in and read and hopefully a few people have learned a thing or two right along with me!
So to sum up this little journey, I thought I’d share some reflections on the past month…

Some take-away tidbits from this:

1) It IS absolutely possible to get enough protein to support even the most active lifestyles with vegetarian eating. For anyone doing or considering doing Body-for-LIFE, it IS absolutely possible to do it as a vegetarian too. It does take a bit of creativity and planning for anyone who’s trying to consistently get a certain required amount (ie. 110 g protein per day) into their diet successfully. It’s equally as necessary to be mindful of carbohydrate and fat intake for anyone trying to do BFL, but it is absolutely possible and become easy once you find staples that work for you.

2) There are no vegetarian sources of protein outside of cheese that do not also contain carbohydrates and fats. I never found one. If I’ve missed something feel free to drop me a comment, but I looked pretty hard and couldn’t find any. ALL vegetarian proteins also contain carbs and fats to my knowledge.

3) Dairy is not the devil. I think this little experiment helped me realize I had a pretty big fear of dairy before. Outside of fat free cottage cheese, I just never really ate cheese much. God forbid I allow anything with lactose into my body! No I’m not lactose intolerant, but I think being so involved within the fitness community has somehow unconsciously made me think that if I eat cheese, I will get fat. Well, I ate quite a bit of cheese during the past month and didn’t gain an ounce of fat as far as I know. However, I did pay VERY close attention to choosing cheeses that were fat free or reduced fat AND rBGH free, as well as close attention to serving sizes (taking the time to measure) anytime I ate cheese. Cheese was many times my saving grace to get to my magic # of 20-25 g of protein at each meal.

4) Most vegetarian high protein sources that are even close to reaching an equal protein content found in animal sources are all derived from soy. Things like tempeh, tofu and really any and ALL vegetarian “meatless” products are simply soy in a different form and flavored with different flavorings. Even though I was changing up the foods I was eating, I felt a little uneasy about ultimately having a fairly limited diet that wasn’t as varied as I would have liked. When it came down to it, I was just eating more of the same many times…soy. I also already knew that there were many soy products contained in many many foods on grocery store shelves and that we really don’t even think about (same with corn), but this made me pay even closer attention to nutrition labels and ingredient lists…man this world is made of soy. Too much soy in my opinion. I know the jury is still out on the whole soy controversy. I do think it has benefits, but I also think that too much of one thing is probably not the best approach to having a balanced diet, so I am on a soy hiatus for a while after this month. I’ll continue to eat edamame, but probably won’t be purchasing any Morningstar Farms for a while.

5) I did however, realize that meatless products are helpful in more ways than just getting more protein into one’s diet. For instance, meatless breakfast sausages and meat crumbles are absolutely a better choice in my opinion that the full fat, full cholesterol options. I’d rather have an overabundance of soy in my diet than to eat cow lips and pig parts any day. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that ALL of the meatless products I used such as those made by Light Life (Smart Dogs & Roast Turkey style lunchmeat slices), were free of carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites as well as a whole host of other harmful chemicals….things which ARE present in most processed deli meats. Again, I’d rather choose soy laden meatless dogs and lunchmeat over Oscar Meyer any day of the week no contest….yes, even over sliced turkey breast if it isn’t all natural and free from nitrates and nitrites.

6) Although I realize there are many more recipes and dishes I could have tried, I wanted to try to maintain my normal 40/40/20 ratio of macronutrients as closely as possible. That meant I wasn’t going to be feasting on grains, beans, and fat sources without paying attention to the amounts. I know there are going to be people out there that disagree, but I still consider things like beans, legumes, and so-called high protein grains such as quinoa, to be carbohydrates first and foremost. I also consider peanut butter to be a fat first and foremost. Yes they have protein, but the amount of protein compared with the other macronutrients they contain is very small. Open up any vegetarian cookbook, and you will see that it is very rare to find a recipe that falls within the 40/40/20, which is why I made the choice to piece together my own meals, rather than just trying a bunch of recipes out of a cookbook that were filled with higher carbohydrate and higher fat recipes. (I didn’t do the math on every single meal I made, but I did pretty good at maintaining equal amounts of protein and carbs at each meal in my opinion.) Plus, I like things to be simple and don’t typically have an interest in making things that take 10 + ingredients for the most part. Just as I do in my normal everyday life as a meat eater, I found things that worked for me, and made them staples into my diet, because they were easy, convenient, healthy, and balanced according to my own dietary goals.

7) I never had a vegetarian epiphany. That is….I didn’t hate being vegetarian in the least, but I also never had a light bulb moment whereas I felt completely different or improved in any physical or mental aspect. Admittedly, I did feel better on days where I ate more vegetables, especially on those days where I ate upwards of about 5-10 servings of veggies per day. However, as an omnivore I already ate a ton of vegetables, rarely ever ate red meat, and consistently already getting roughly 30 g fiber usually daily before this. I think that is perhaps why I never experienced any drastic changes in energy levels or with digestion of the food. People would consistently ask me if I felt like I was doing a cleanse with all of this vegetarian eating, but really I didn’t.

8) Eating out healthfully at restaurants is challenging! If you think it’s hard to order healthy when you are out as a meat eater, you should try doing it as a vegetarian! This was perhaps the biggest eye opener for me. Vegetarian restaurants and options on menus are pretty limited, especially where I live in Texas, where beef is what’s for dinner. I am pretty well versed on ordering out healthy. Give me a menu….any menu, and I will figure out a way to order a perfectly balanced healthy meal (as an omnivore that is). During this experiment, I found myself for the first time in quite a long time extremely hungry and floundering at a sports bar trying to think of something healthy to order that was vegetarian and wasn’t just a lame iceberg lettuce salad. I ended up eating queso and chips! Ha ha! If I would have been eating meat, I could have at least had a grilled chicken salad or sandwich, but I’m telling you that I was STUCK for the first time in a long time, and finally gave up on even trying and decided to just order whatever would come to our table quickest…I was that hungry and at a loss of options. It showed me just how important it is for vegetarians to be able to research restaurant menus ahead of time to find good healthy options at restaurants. It made me even more passionate about my belief in the need for nutrition facts labeling on restaurant menus too. Fires me up just thinking about it! I was, however, also pleasantly surprised on occasion at having more vegetarian options than I even knew existed. For example, I got lucky on my layover in Dallas at Au Bon Pain where they had an entire section of their menu with really yummy healthy vegetarian options. As much as I’ve shopped at Whole Foods in the past, I never actually realized how many vegetarian options they really do have. Wow! That is the place to shop and grab some quick lunch or dinner if you are a vegetarian for sure! I love it even more now! Two thumbs up for Whole Foods!

9) Supplements are a big help to anyone trying to adhere to a high protein diet. Although I use EAS, which does contain milk and soy in many of their protein products, there are also Vegan protein powders out there which do not. Whole Foods carries some, as do other health food stores. I think it would be beneficial for any vegetarian looking to their build/maintain muscle mass and/or lose fat to include supplements as part of their daily diet. My whey protein and other supplements were a hug staple in my diet throughout this past month. I incorporated them even more than I did while eating meat, because I was looking for ways to get the magic 20-25 g of protein at every meal. I feel really strong right now and I feel like I have slightly more muscle definition than I did four weeks ago. I wouldn’t doubt that including supplements have had something to do with it.

10) Trying something new is never a bad thing. It’s good to try new things to see what else is out there. I’m a pretty big creature of habit…probably one of the biggest I know! It’s good to think outside of the box and try something new just for the sake of trying it and learning something new. Not only did I learn a few things about what vegetarians might experience in some aspects of daily life with respect to diet, I also learned a few things about myself in the process. I learned what I can live without more (surprisingly chicken wasn’t missed much) as well as forming a deeper appreciation for the things I can’t wait to have back (seafood!!!).

So what will change now if anything?

I am definitely more familiar with different types of vegetarian meals that can work for me and which I rather liked. I still have quite a few vegetarian foods here, and I plan to continue to incorporate them into my diet. I will definitely be cutting back on eating so much chicken. I really did not miss it much, despite the fact that I probably ate more chicken than anything else before I started my vegetarian eating. I don’t hate chicken now, but I don’t anticipate that I will go back to eating it upwards of 2-3 times per day as I did before. If anything, I might use it in dinners from time to time, but I’m not going to feel the need to put it in anything and everything anymore. I do look forward to stocking up on some good quality wild caught seafood….salmon, mahi mahi, shrimp, and scallops are what I’ve missed most. I really feel like God put those things here on Earth for us to eat, and so I will be happy to have them back in my life!

More than anything, this experiment has taught me to just practice moderation. I no longer feel like it’s absolutely necessary to add a piece of meat to every single meal, and I’m much more aware now of ways to come up with balanced meals that don’t contain any meat or even any “meatless” products at all. I definitely plan to continue using some of the meals I used regularly as part of vegetarian eating. Protein oatmeal anyone?! I tried it only because of this experiment as a way to get protein, and now I’m completely hooked. There are a million and one ways to make it, and there are plenty I haven’t tried yet. Protein oatmeal isn’t going anywhere and neither are my yamcakes, veggie flatbread pizzas and huge salads with edamame. Tofu, that’s another story. I like tofu, but prefer ordering it when someone else is making it. I’ll probably be more adventurous when ordering out in the future if I have options to order vegetarian foods, but I don’t see tofu making it into my shopping cart each week as a regular staple going forward. I also won’t be getting nearly as much soy in my diet. Moderation is foremost on my mind and just trying to get as much variety into my diet as possible from here on out. Too much of any one thing, whether it be chicken or soy, isn’t a good thing.

Eating goals going forward…

- To eat mostly whole unprocessed foods
- To eat five servings of vegetables per day on most days
- To eat one serving of fruit per day (tomatoes count)
- To continue eating 40/40/20 for most meals on most days
- To continue eating a balanced meal every 2-3 hours
- To continue drinking at least 1 gallon of water each day
- To continue avoiding products containing hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, preservatives, nitrates & nitrites, and foods containing refined carbohydrates.
- To continue to use supplements as part of a healthy balanced diet for added support for training.
- To practice moderation and vary my protein sources to include those from plant sources more often in lieu of animal protein sources.

I’ve had several people ask me if I’ll still be posting my meals on this blog. Really this was intended to chronicle my vegetarian experiment, and now that it’s ended, I won’t be posting all of my meals every day as I have been. However, I do plan to leave the link active so that it can possibly be of use to anyone in the near future. I’ve had many nice compliments from people who’ve passed along this blog to someone else they thought could gain something from seeing it. I figure if anyone is interested in learning about how they can eat a high protein diet as a vegetarian, they might be able to look at this and see that it can in fact be done. There are also people in the Body-for-LIFE community that I think can benefit from seeing that you can definitely do BFL as a vegetarian. Hopefully I’ve shown that if I can do it, anyone can!

If you want to stay connected, feel free to check me “Emily Alvers” out on facebook as a way to stay connected if you’d like. I’m not going anywhere, just going to be continuing to focus my energy into helping others live a healthy lifestyle through a variety of other avenues.

This has been an enlightening experience that has taught me a great deal! Thanks again for taking the time to read The Chickpea Chronicles!

With Gratitude,
Chickpea 4 Me

Saturday, October 10, 2009

TGI my last Friday as a Vegetarian

And so...this is my last Friday as a true vegetarian. This whole vegetarian experiemnt has been interesting, and I really do feel like I've learned something new every single day of it, whether it is finding and trying a new food, making new combinations of food that are balanced with proteins and carbs, dealing with struggles presented by being vegetarian, or just experiencing the way that different foods make me feel. I will be up front and say right now that I don't plan on staying completely vegetarian once my month long stint is over. I'll get into more of a summary of the whole experienece in my next post, but as for now, I will say that I'll probably continue on a path of eating that is mainly pesco-vegetarian. I cannot live without fish. Nor can I live without egg whites. I definitely don't see myself ever becoming Vegan, but I surprisingly don't miss chicken that much at all....mostly just really missing seafood. So, here is last Friday as a vegetarian...Hope I don't bore you too much with my food today.....was a bit lazy on the creativity and preparation front and just throwing stuff together. Look for my long final post on living as a vegetarian to come soon! :)

Pre- Workout (6 am)- EAS Catapult

Didn't expect my breakfast to be smiling at me this morning...he he

Meal 1 (8 am)- 2 Morningstar Farms maple sausage patties + 1/2 cup egg whites (this is what happens when I don't have pre-chopped containers of veggies in the fridge ready to throw into things...plain egg whites) + EAS Muscle Armor + multivitamin & 2 glucosamine/MSM
Tried another new variety of vegetarian sausages, this time maple....really yummy and made the whole house smell like maple. I thought that the serving size was 2 patties, but just realized that only 1 of these tiny little things has 10 g of protein....holy cow! No wonder I was so full yesterday morning!
Meal 2 (11 am)- AdvantEDGE RTD + small gala apple + 12 unsalted almonds

The Whole Foods checkout isle got me again with their enticing little dark chocolate squares. The tub of two bite brownies were also calling my name, but they remained on the shelf. I've found that dark chocolate is WAY more satisfying than baked good and doesn't cause me to just crave more later. This really does a good job of satisfying my sweet tooth.

Meal 3 ( 2 pm)- Whole Foods Tofu Satay -grilled tofu, peppers, bok choy & steamed brown rice w/ their "special peanut sauce".

I must say that for the first time EVER I was disappointed with something from Whole Foods, mainly because of their so-called special peanut sauce. I've had satay from plenty of other places and this stuff was completely watered down to the point that it made my meal a bit soupy and watery with not much flavor. Bland doesn't begin to describe this. I wanted to try a different tofu dish today, but in the future I will definitely stick with the tofu teriyaki bowl instead. You cannot go wrong with the teriyaki bowls at Whole Foods., absolute favorite!

Meal 4(5 pm)- Wondering what I can eat that doesn't require any effort..just need some eat something quickly...a couple cups of raw broccoli & 2 tbsp. Newman's Own light protein here. I could have eaten some cheese with this for some protein, but I just wasn't in the mood for any so I didn't force myself to.

Got busy and realized I should probably eat something for dinner at some point. I am seriously not feeling like cooking and don't feel like going out to eat. I just need to eat for fuel right now, not the enjoyment of any glorious meals so I threw together a carb and a protein.

Meal 5 ( 7 pm)- 6 roasted garlic triscuits topped each w/ 1 vegetarian meatball & shredded parmesan cheese broiled in the toaster oven...actually pretty tasty and hit the spot....better than the soggy meatball sub I could have had...I have to have some crunch! Munched on a few triscuits w/ a couple tbsp. hummus while these heated up.

Ok day eating. I wasn't into my food too much today if you couldn't tell. I always feel better when I have at least one huge salad with a big variety of veggies! I know I'll be running around this weekend, but getting in lots of fresh veggies in my goal for the weekend. Going to start making salads to go right now... :-D

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Vegetarian Meatballs!

Not too much to write tonight. I had a bunch of things I wanted to say, but honestly I am exhausted, and my head is a bit in the clouds right now. I'll save you from my ranting until tomorrow;) Lots of pics today though! Making the most of this last week of vegetarian living!
Body Fat update...exactly the same as the last time I took it....I can deal with that.
I am not a scale addict, but I need to weigh myself to do my body fat, and I am curious if there will be any changes with my body fat...still exactly the same as it was last time I took it.
I don't have an overabundance of sympathy for people who whine about not having enough $ to eat healthy. Some of the healthiest meals in the world are super cheap! It just take a little extra work....more than going through a drive through at least. It CAN be done....actually cheaper than a bunch of prepared processed microwaveable stuff too.

3 ingredients is all you need for this one.

Meal 1 (8:30 am)- Strawberry 'n Cream protein oatmeal (1/2 cup quick oats + 1 scoop EAS vanilla whey protein + 1/3 cup diced strawberries)...wallah! + EAS Betagen & Glutamine + multivitamin & 2 glucosamine/MSMMeal 2 (11:30 am)- Organic wild rice tempeh cooked in evoo & reduced sodium soy sauce + steamed asparagus & 1/2 sweet potato w/fat free Parkay butter spray...adding the 1/2 sweet potato this time was the trick to keeping me full for longer...worked like a charm
Same old song and dance at the car dealership. Every time I go there I have the same view....ha ha! I was actually grossed out by these cookies....only because I knew I brought something WAY better with meeeeeee:) So NO I didn't have any of these.
I love these coolers that they have at Target. I could hold an 18 pack if I even drank beer (which I don't), but instead I can stuff it full of really large waters, shakes, fits anything and it's super light weight and cute....cute for a cooler anwyaysLove these "to go" containers from Target too! They come with a handy fork and a little snap in container for dressing or nuts or whatever else you want to put in it...they hold a LOT of veggies too!

Brought my own dressing this time. Last time I brought a salad to the car dealership, I had to scavenger dressing from the break room, but I was prepared this time.

Man I just love salads...especially with edamame!

Meal 3 (2:30 pm)- Spinach salad w/red onions, shredded carrots, tomato + heaping 1/2 cup edamame + 1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese + 20 sprays Ken's all natural raspberry walnut spritzer dressing

This made those cookies look like complete rubbish!
The makings of a healthy dinner.

We love spagetti squash in our house! Excited to try these meatless meatballs, and I love Barilla marinara....low sugar in many of their flavors....added some extra veggies of my own to the sauce. While I'm not the world's biggest fan of eating so much soy based food, reading labels like these makes me bad can soy really be? I know the jury is still out, but I have been eating more soy than I'd like. However, I couldn't pass these up in Whole Foods and wanted to try them...3 meatballs have 90 cal, 9 g protein, 4 g carbs (not too bad), but also 4.5 g fat (higher than I'd usual) I am always surprised when I tell people to use spagetti squash that many people don't know how to make it....I make it the easy and quick the microwave.

I use a meat cleaver to chop it in half or quarters, then scoop out all the seeds with a large spoon.Then I take a casserole dish with about 1/2 in. water in the bottom, place the squash cut sides down into water, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave until you can press on the outside of the squash and it gives a little...this really large squash took 13 minutes to cook. Then I use a large serving fork to remove the comes out stringy kind of like spagetti. I used that big quarter piece (on the right above) for my meal.

Meal 4 ( 5:30 pm)- 1 cup spagetti squash + 6 meatless zesty meatballs + garlic, mushroom, pepper & onion marinara sauce + 2 tbsp. reduced fat grated parmesan cheese....BIG fan of this sauce....huge chunks of garlic and only 6 g sugar and 12 carbs per serving (I always try to stay around 5-7 g sugar or less with marinara if possible)

Two thumbs up...even from hubby! I have extra meatballs left over which I can't wait to use for a sub or a meatball pizza tomorrow! yum!
Meal 5 (8:30 pm)- Myoplex strawberry cream shake

Another day of clean eating...vegetarian style! Looking forward to tomorrow's UBWO bright and early...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hamster Wheels and Gym Zombies

I can honestly say it's been a while since I've gotten sore from a LBWO within hours of working out. I completely kicked my own arse in the gym this morning. I think the people in the gym think I am a complete crazy person by now, but I don't care. It's ALL about the intensity! I am probably louder than I even think because I am wearing headphones too. However, I am at least doing things in the gym that are just products of working out, like sweating, groaning in agony, and breathing heavily...I have an excuse. I still haven't figured out what is going on with this lady that waves her arms and sings gospel on the bike, or the other woman who does this Y-M-C-A looking dance in there. he he I think it's great to see people of all types in there, because at least they are working out and not down the street going to one of two McDonald's that are directly across the street from each other. Yes, I live in McDonald's is clearly not enough for a two lane road that is among cow fields. I am going to take a pic of the cows next to McDonald's...what an oxymoron! ha ha!

But back to the gym...Sometimes I feel like I am part of a strange movie being filmed in the gym. Do you ever feel like you are in a movie? Hubby and I have this running joke when we feel like we are experiencing a strange moment in time....we'll look at each other and one of us will say, "Is this for real right now?!" Then the other will say, "It's happening. This is really happening" We die laughing every time. I swear sometimes that the show Candid Camera has made a comeback and they are following me!

I am probably one of the biggest gym rats in there, but sometimes I feel like the treadmills are like hamster wheels and we are all part of a big experiment or something. Probably because most of the people aren't really changing the pace and most others are just "going through the motions" on the's like they are zombies sometimes! Man I do not miss spending hours on end in the gym with no results. I used to be one of those gym zombies....never going back there.....ever again! Can I get a hallelujah? And how about some arms waving and some gospel to go along with it?;)

Pre-Workout (6 am)- EAS Catapult

Meal 1 (8:15 am)- EAS Muscle Armor + Whey Protein Isolate + 1/2 sweet potato w/10 sprays Parkay fat free butter spray & cinnamon (just pick it up and eat it with the skin and all)...super fast on the fly breakfast + multivitamin & 2 glucosamine/MSM
Meal 2 (10:30 am)- Myoplex banana cream RTD
Meal 3 ( 1:15 pm)- Rosemary La Tortilla Factory tortilla + tons of spinach, zuccini, mushrooms, asparagus, red peppers, red onions + 1/4 cup low fat feta cheese + 1 tbsp. reduced fat grated parmesan, salt & pepper....not sure why this was soggier than yesterday's...maybe the Rosemary doesn't get as crispy as the Whole Wheat tortillas? Was still yummy! Meal 4 (4:15 pm)- Wild Rice Tempeh cooked in evoo & reduced sodium soy sauce + 1/2 plate steamed broccoli w/20 sprays fat free parkay butter spray, salt & pepper...I still really LOVE tempeh...too bad it is so freaking high in fat...I really do not like the fat content of this stuff. It would be worth it if it filled me up for a long time, but it really does not. I could eat the whole package easily (this is 1/2 of the package).

Meal 5 ( 7 pm)- 3/4 cup fat free cottage cheese + 1 diced gala apple

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Biggest Loser and a Salad

Tonight's Biggest Loser episode has so far been my favorite episode. The contestants about lost their marbles when they were told that the refrigerator would be chained shut and that they would have to order out for all of their meals. They also took a trip to a Mexican restaurant and had to get creative to order food that was still authorized. It's neat to watch so many people have a lightbulb moment all at once! I was laughing to myself, because it made me feel better about being so specific when eating out. Because most places do not list their nutrition facts on the menu's (someday they will be required to do it, and I will be very happy when the happens), using keys words to recognize unhealthy items and to also give the order to the waistaff that way you really want it is a learned skill for sure. No, it's not always the easiest to do. Usually I know that I can ALWAYS order a grilled chicken salad or some sort of lean meat and vegetables...however, last Friday night was my first experience trying to get creative in a sports bar where the menu is only 1/2 of one page on one side of a menu and where the drink menu is longer than the food menu. It's definitely necessary to get more creative as a vegetarian and options are much more limited when trying to order out healthfully. I could have ordered a garden salad for dinner last Friday night, but when you have an appetite like mine, a garden salad made with iceberg lettuce along simply won't do.

I think it would be REALLY awesome if they had a vegetarian on the Biggest Loser....I don't think they've had one...really curious what they'd have that person eating. I've done pretty well so far for such a novice at this as far as making sure I still get enough protein (around 110-120 g per day). It's not always easy, but I am getting it in any way that I can. It does take more effort, but it IS possible to do Body for LIFE as a vegetarian...I know that for sure now that I'm doing it myself.

Speaking of which...back to eating my protein packed salad and watching Biggest Loser:-D...

Pre-Workout (5:15 am)- EAS Catapult

Meal 1 (7:45 am)- Chocolate Protein Banana Nut protein oatmeal - 1/2 cup (dry measured) quick oats + 1 scoop EAS chocolate whey protein + 1 packet Sun Crystals + 1/4 cup diced banana + 1 tbsp. silced almonds + multivitamin & 2 glucosamine/MSM

Are you all getting sick of seeing my flatbread pizzas yet?....cause I'm not getting sick of eating them...I put enough veggies on this tortilla to make a huge salad!

Meal 2( 10:45 am)- La Tortilla Factory whole wheat tortilla + 2 large handfuls fresh spinach + zuccini + lots of fresh asparagus + red onions + 1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese crumbles (I am having a hard time finding fat FREE feta forever now!) + 1 tbsp. grated reduced fat parmesan cheese, salt & pepper + evoo mist
Meal 3( 1 pm)- 3/4 cup fat free cottage cheese + 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberriesRealized I still had some veggie products I haven't tried...Morningstar Farms Chik'n Grillers...worth a try...going to make some open faced Chick'n Melts!
This is what they look like cooked and cut in half to top off 2 Wasa crackers...

Meal 4 (4:15 pm)- 2 Wasa light rye crispbreads + yellow mustard + spinach + Chick'n pattie + 1 slice Jarlsberg Lite swiss cheese + sauteed red peppers & onions + sliced roma tomato

These were AWESOME! Tasted just like a grilled chicken sandwich or turkey burger...yum! Highly reccommend these!
I think this humongous spinach salad put me at about 10 servings of vegetables today...seriously..losts of veggies...

Meal 5 (7:30 pm)= Huge spinach salad + roma tomato, shredded carrots, red pepper, 1/2 heaping cup edamame + 1/4 cup fat free cottage cheese + 1 tbsp. Newman's Own light vinagrette

So far edamame (soybeans in a completely unprocessed form) is the only thing that comes close to making me feel as good as things like salmon, mahi mahi, and ahi tuna...hard to explain...almost like a high when I eat those types of seafood ...edamame is a close second!

Gret day of eating today in my opinion:-D

Monday, October 5, 2009

12 Weeks Until I Won't Make A NY Resolution!

I was reminded this morning that there are only 12 short weeks left of 2010! I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by! It also reminded me of the upcoming holiday season and all of the tempatations that start lurking around every corner starting this month. I remember a time when I couldn't even make it through the grocery store without stopping in the bakery, grabbing a container of cookies, and start eating them while shopping, or even downing a candy bar right there in the checkout lane only to hand the cashier the empty wrapper to ring up once I reached the front. Yes, I had a sugar addiction that was THAT bad! I still like sweets and can appreciate a good brownie sundae or some random treats here and there on the weekend, but sugar does not control my life anymore.

With that said, I was just in Target today... It's like a battleground in there with all the Hallloween candy. I treat the ice cream isle, the candy isle and the bakery as war zones. I just don't even go there and expose myself to open fire. I actually think it's really sad how strategically things are placed in order to catch the eye of children....don't get me started on that topic!

Next month it will be Thanksgiving, and then Christmas....but that isn't going to stop me from maintaining the balance that I've now found. Last year was the first New Year's that I didn't make a New Year's Resolution involving weight loss....cause I didn't have any to lose! What a freeing feeling, and that is what is going to motivate me to stay healthy this holiday season too. I will NEVER again be making ANY New Year's Resolutions to lose weight...because THIS is for LIFE. This past year, my New Year's Resolution was to cut out aspartame....which meant diet coke and diet sprite were ousted obviously. I am happy to say that I have not purchased any and have only had a diet cancer...I mean diet coke when out to dinner maybe 2 or 3 times total this year.

There is just something about deadlines and numbers that spark motivation in me to start setting new goals and being mindful of where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. 12 weeks and counting until I wake up NOT needing to make a resolution to lose weight.....again. :-D I am going to be shredded on January 1, 2010. Period.

Pre-Workout (6 am)- EAS Catapult

Meal 1 (8 am)- 1 cup liquid egg whites w/spinach, tomatoes, onions + 1 packet Cream of Wheat w/1 packet Sun Crystals & cinnamon + EAS Muscle Armor + multivitamin & 2 glucosamine/MSM
Meal 2 (11 am)- Huge spring mix salad w/ tomatoes + 1/2 cup reduced sodium black beans (rinsed and drained) + huge amount of sauteed peppers & onions + 1.5 oz. Cabot reduced fat white cheddar cheese + red wine vinegar as dressing

Meal 3 (2 pm)- Large La Tortilla Factory whole wheat tortilla + 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese + 15 large steamed asparagus spears + 1 tbsp. reduced fat grated parmesan cheese + salt & pepper
Meal 4 (5 pm)- 3/4 cup fat free cottage cheese + 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
(Just deleted my pic...oops!)

Meal 5 (8 pm)- Myoplex chocolate mint protein shake

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Wonderful Vegetarian Weekend

There is nothing better than a rainy weekend to make for a great start to the next week. It's been raining on and off in Austin all weekend and it's been steadily getting cooler here. I took the opportunity to go buy some new candles for fall and have been taking in the aroma of pumpkin spice and apple cider all weekend. Mmmm! Love this time of year!

We were supposed to go to a big music festival here called Austin City Limits, but we sold our tickets at the last minute. We just found out that hubby has a herniated disk in his neck, so with all of his traveling lately, we just really wanted a weekend to spend time together rather than standing up in crowds of people. It actually worked out perfectly since it ended up raining the entire weekend anways. We took the opportunity to instead go check out the Texas Stars hockey game. We had so much fun and cant wait to go back! Gorgeous brand new facility and I was amazed at how much the crowd was into it. I've been to NHL games before, but didn't know what to expect with minor there were more fights than you see in NHL, which is a pretty big part of the fun at hockey games...he he :)

Rather than post every little thing I ate and drank this weekend, thought I'd just include some of my favorites. I'm looking forward to a great UBWO tomorrow bright and early!

Banana Nut Protein Oatmeal- 1/2 cup (dry measured) quick oats + 1 scoop EAS vanilla whey protein + 1/4 banana + 1 packet Sun Crystals + cinnamon + 1 tbsp. sliced almonds - Pure Heaven!
Tomato Basil & Roast Turkey Style Wrap- La Tortilla Factory tomato basil tortilla + 4 Vegetarian Roast Turkey style slices + mustard, spinach, red onions, tomatoes- I will never get sick of wraps! This my favorite vegetarian wrap...
Went to Olive Garden before the hockey game- Oh yeah! I noticed they are now selling their house dressing in bottles, so I checked the nutrition label on the way out (of course), and I was actually pretty surprised that it was 8 g of fat for 2 tbsp...thought it would have been more, but not as bad as I thought it would be.
Skipped the bread sticks to save room for some whole wheat pasta...

So I was really let down by Olive Garden a while back when they discontinued my all time favorite meal which was the Chicken Giardino. It was bowtie pasta w/chicken breast, zuccini, squash, peas & lemon herb sauce. It was a "fit fare" menu item, and when they discontinued it, there really was nothing that I like for a while.

I was SO excited that they now offer whole wheat linguine with a roasted portobello mushroom marinara sauce as part of their endless pasta promotion...yes! You can't really see how great the sauce was under the grated parmesan, but I was impressed with this new sauce, and having whole wheat noodles is a definite must in my book...I left very happy:-D

I know you probably wouldn't even know how much I love lentils, because I haven't eaten them much as part of my vegetarianism, but I really do love them. I found a whole variety of different easy to make lentils at the new farmer's market near my house and had to try them...two thumbs way up!

Ate the 2 servings that come in the pouch...whole meal with low fat cheese was 270 calories, 18 g protein, 32 g carbs, 16 g fiber, 7.5 g fat...I will definitely be buying more of these Tasty Bite products.

I don't like regular hot dogs, but the smell was making me crave them last night at the hockey game, so I had some vegetarian dogs instead today...and these don't contain a bunch of chemicals and nitrates/nitrites like regular hot dogs either...definitely a plus!

Used 2 small La Tortilla Factory whole wheat tortillas instead of bread + mustard + sauteed onions + 2 Smart Dogs...all of this for 200 calories?! I can deal with that! I wil be having these again...

I think I'm on a bean and tortilla kick this weekend.

Sunday dinner- 2 small La Tortilla Factory whole wheat tortillas + 1/2 cup reduced sodium (drained and rinsed) black beans + sauteed peppers & onions + tiny bit of shredded Kraft reduced fat 2% white cheddar + diced fresh tomatoes..I like these a lot, but I think hubby is getting bored of all of my meatless dinners... God bless him for going along with my food experiment!