Monday, April 19, 2010

Featured Cookbook: Vegan With a Vengeance!


If you're a vegan/vegetarian you're prob all, "duh, Carolyn! Tell us something we don't know!" and that's totally understandable. :) But because I love this book and there may be some peeps out there who don't know about it, I decided to highlight it, k? ;)
Anyways, this is a GREAT book with excellent recipes. I don't think there isn't a yum recipe in this book! A few of my favs: Coconut Rice with Toasted Coconut, Roasted Applesauce, Green Goddess Garlic Pizza, BBQ Pomegranate Tofu, and Ethiopian Seitan and Peppers (I could go on but you get the picture). So if you don't have this cookbook, dude, you're missing out! Seriously!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tomatoes save the day!


I love me some tomatoes! I especially love the heirloom tomatoes with their strange shapes and variety of colors. Did you know there are like 7500 varieties of tomatoes? They contain lycopene which is a very potent natural antioxidant. Consumption of tomatoes has been linked to lower risks of breast, head, and neck cancers as well. They may even provide protection against certain neurodegenerative diseases. Oh, and they taste good too!! If you're interested, check out lots more about tomatoes here. And if you can, have a tomato day today! K? Yay!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dinner!


Tonight's dinner: African-Style Peanut Stew. It was absolutely de--lish! Again, it's from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook. I am slowly (pun intended) working my way through this book!

Dinner!


So today I decided to make 2 dishes, one for now and one for lunch/dinner tomorrow. Pictured above is tomorrow's lunch/dinner. It's called Wheat Berry Gratin. Looks yummy, right? I got the recipe from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook, by Judith Finlayson.

Workout of the Day


Because my TV got wet yesterday due to an open window and a rainstorm, I am relegated to workout on my spinning bike and treadmill (boo hoo, right?). Anyway, I thought I'd post my workout for those who may have access to this equipment. If you're wondering, my bike is a 'Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike'. I guess that's a fancy way to say 'spin bike'? I've had the bike since February and I LOVE it! Most of the spin bikes I looked at ranged from $800 - $2000. This one cost me a little over $300 with $4 shipping on amazon.com! I thought it was a great deal if I do say so myself. ;) On to the workout:

T Mill: 3 minute warm up (walk starting at 2.6 MPH and increasing to 3.2)
S Bike: 6 minute ride (alternating 'standing' and sitting every 2 minutes)
T Mill: 6 minutes (2 min fast walk/2 min med run/2 min fast walk)
S Bike: 6 minutes (alternating stand and sit every minute)
T Mill: 6 minutes (alternating fast walk/med run every minute)
T Mill: 3 minute cool down (slowing the tempo to reduce HR)

Total running time: 30 minutes baby!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Featured Fruit: Avocados!!


I *heart* avocados! I often use them to make guacamole (obviously) and for a creamy spread on toast with a little squeeze of lemon topped with some fresh pepper. Mmmmmmm.... Apparently, they are good for you too! In some studies they have been shown to positively effect blood serum cholesterol. They are also rich in vitamin B, have more potassium than bananas, and are loaded with fiber. Oh, and technically, they're a berry! (Oh, Wikepedia! How I love thee!!) Check out some basic avocado info here.
And if you're looking for an unusual avocado recipe, check out this avocado fudge recipe (I know, right?). I haven't tried it yet but I think it looks de-lish! To veganize the recipe, just use a vegan margarine, like Earth Balance.

Field Roast


I saw this product a few months ago in the refrigerated vegan/tofu section at Whole Foods and was curious. Well last week I actually bought some and gave it a try. We've only tried it in sandwiches but we both thought it was SO good! I like that you can slice it thicker for a heartier sandwich. In fact, I just had a Field Roast sandwich for my workout recovery meal. YUM! Here's some video of Ellen DeGeneres' chef actually making it into a roast. Looks yummy, right? Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New equipment!


I'm not gonna hide it, I'm a huge fan of step aerobics. I'm such a fan that I even spent lots of my own money and time creating, filming, and coming up with music for my own step workout! 80's and butt-floss unitards you say? NONSENSE I say! Step aerobics is a great and totally fun way to get your HR up without leaving your house. Yes, there is often choreography involved, but there are lots of videos out there that focus more on athletic drills rather than intricate choreography. Case in point: Cathe Friedrich's Drill Max, Athletic step, and her Hiit workouts (brutal - but in a good way). As you may have noticed, I'm also a huge fan of the Friedrich and her workouts as I consider her to be the best. But that's just one girl's opinion. I realize there are lots of other instructors out there. In fact, when I opened my new slanted risers today, I was happily surprised that they came with a video by Kimberly Spreen. LOVE HER! So if you're the slightest bit interested, I suggest you run over to your nearest gym and try a step class. Butt-floss unitards are totally optional.

PS: Why does my spell-check not recognize 'unitard'? I use that word ALL THE TIME!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Carrots people! CARROTS!


Who doesn't love carrots, right? They're nutritious, pretty, and soooo tasty in stews and stuff. We eat carrots at least 3 times a week in this house. If you're a carrot-fan like me, you may want to take this little 'carrot-quiz' by the Sacramento Bee to test your carrot knowledge. And if you're not a carrot fan, you may consider changing your tune once you discover how totally awesome they are. They will change your life!

Vegan Book of the Day


If you're a vegan, or just interested in vegan literature (and who isn't?), then I suggest you check out Vegan Freak. They have a new revised edition of their book, a website, and a wonderful podcast. Check 'em out, peeps!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes Save the World!


Vegan alert! From April 24th through May 2, vegan groups around the world will be holding cupcake bake sales to raise funds for various charities. Click here to check out the locations!

Friday, April 9, 2010

20 minute Circuit


Here's a fun but challenging 20 minute circuit that I cooked up.

Equipment:
Medium weights or medicine ball (I use 8 - 10 pounds)
Timer
Jump Rope (optional - I just pretend I have one)
Music (for motivation)

3 minute Warm Up:
1 minute regular march in place -1 minute wide march-1 minute side to side step

Circuit:
1 minute - jump rope - alternating feet (moderate tempo and intensity)
1 minute - narrow jacks (don't jump out very wide)

Active Rest: 1 minute (walk around room)

1 minute - moderate tempo squats with weights
1 minute - pushups (on knees or toes)
1 minute - plank jacks (in plank position - either on hands or bent arms - jump legs out and in like a prone jumping jack

Active Rest: 1 minute

1 minute - jump rope (high intensity, fast tempo)
1 minute - wide jacks (legs jump out wider)
1 minute - fast tempo squats with weights

Active Rest: 1 minute

1 minute - narrow high knee jog (legs fairly close together)
1 minute - wide high knee jog (legs far apart)
1 minute - jump rope - feet together -side to side 'ski jumps'
1 minute - jump rope - alternating feet - 'swing jump'

Cool Down: 2 minutes:
Walk around room to slowly lower heart rate

Stretch

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dinner!



Tonight's dinner: Chard-Studded Stew with Dumplings! Once again, another recipe from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson.

Spring Interval Workout



Spring is great for outdoor interval training! I personally love interval training. I think it's because it makes the workout fly by and keeps me focused on what's coming next. Anyway, here's one of my favorite 30 minute intermediate workouts that I like to do outside. I use a 10 point scale for walking tempo (1 being super slow and 10 being the fastest you can walk before running). For running tempo, I use a 5 point system (1 is a slow jog, 5 is your fastest sprint). You can tweak those point systems and make them work for you if you like. :)


3 minute walking warmup (5/10)
5 minute faster walk (6/10)
1 minute run ( 1/5)
4 minute walk (7/10)
1 minute run (2/5)
3 minute walk (8/10)
1 minute run (3/10)
2 minute walk (8/10)
1 minute run (4/5)
1 minute walk (8/10)
2 minute run (3/5)
1 minute walk (8/10)
5 minute cool down walk (starting at 5/10 and reducing tempo)
End with a nice stretch!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tired?



When I had a lot of clients, it was inevitable that some of them at any given moment were overtraining. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I get it, I love to exercise too, but we must be aware of how exercise is effecting us, positively or negatively. It is my opinion that everyone deals with exercise differently, so I don't make blanket statements about how many hours/days a week a person should exercise. Rather than doing that, I think each person should evaluate how they are feeling. Some signs of overtraining are: persistent fatigue, irritability, heart rate changes, loss of motivation, injuries that won't heal, etc. I know when I overtrain (yeah, it happens), I get this weird twitch in my eye and often some sort of leg pain that doesn't go away.

Personally, I like to workout 5 days a week for 7 or 8 weeks and then take an 'active' recovery week. During this week I'll take lots of walks, do some light yoga, and maybe a few easier workouts. I like to try and schedule these rest weeks during vacations and stuff so I'm not stressed about working out when I'm vacationing. I also think it's super important for people to make sure they are cross-training. To reduce the risk of overtraining, exercise programs should be well-rounded. This includes a variety of cardiovascular training (NOT just running, people!), and a weight training program that is progressive and keeps the body guessing. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to take a nap.

Monday, April 5, 2010

So THAT was hard!




Whew! I just finished Cathe's HiiT 30/30 and well, I'm about dead. But in a good way. Hiit (stands for high intensity interval training) is a great way to increase your cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. And feel like you're about to die. Kidding!! In this workout, Cathe does 30 seconds of INTENSE activity and 30 seconds of rest. There are 3 workouts on this disc and I did the easy one. No where to go but up, right? ;)

Dinner!



Dinner tonight: Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato and Cheddar Cheesecake (veganized of course!). I got the recipe from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook. If you're wondering, I replaced the cheese with rice cheese, the evaporated milk with MimicCreame and the eggs with Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. Looks yummy!!

The ADA and veganism



Ever wonder what the American Dietetic Association (ADA) thinks of vegan diets? Well here's a quote from their latest findings from their journal (July 2009):
“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.” Cool huh?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can I fit something else in there?



I think not! Seriously, I don't think I can fit even one more slice of rice cheese in my fridge! You can't blame me though, the leeks take up WAY too much room! ;)

Vegan Cake!


I usually make my husband's birthday cakes, but this year I ordered one from our favorite vegetarian restaurant in San Antonio called Green. If you're ever in SA, give Green a try. I kinda squished the cake as we were driving home but I thought I'd post a picture anyway. Cause who doesn't love pictures of cake, right?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Workout of the Day


So I just finished my workout for the day. It was one of Cathe Friedrich's newer ones called, 'MMA Fusion'. I really like this workout. Actually, I really like watching my husband, Jason, do this workout. It's just plain fun watching him try to keep with with tiny Cathe. I find that funny. That may make me mean, but I'm totally okay with that. Anyway, it was a lot of fun both because of the workout itself and because I got to watch Jason attempt hamstring curls. Hamstring curls are funny when men do them. Don't ask me why, that's not my expertise.

So the workout is about 35 minutes of MMA combos, each one ending in a cardio 'blast'. We then moved on to core conditioning drill that were lots of fun and not too hard or too easy. A+++

Healthy Breakfast!


It's no secret that we love steel cut oats in this house. And anyway, we don't keep secrets in this house. Outside the house, maybe. But inside, NO WAY! :) Steel cut oats (or grouts) are thicker and heartier than rolled cut oats. This is because they are cut in a few pieces rather than rolled. They also may have a lower glycemic index than instant oatmeal which means they probably cause a smaller spike in insulin levels. They can get a little expensive so I buy them in bulk at our local health food store.

I like to make a huge batch of them in the slow cooker so we have them on hand for a quick, healthy breakfast everyday. I like to mix them with barley and lately, sweet rice (a suggestion from my sister). Here's what I do:

Ingredients:
1 Cup Steel Cut Oats
1 Cup Barley
1 Cup Sweet Rice
10 Cups Water
3-4 tbsps of fat (I like to use organic virgin coconut oil)
1 tsp of salt

Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir before serving. I like to add fresh apples, bananas, and raisins to mine but go ahead and add your favorite stuff and enjoy! And don't keep secrets! Especially in your house! :P

Friday, April 2, 2010

Slow Cookers Rule!



I am a slow cooker addict! Over the last 9 weeks, I have done nothing but cook everything in the slow cooker. I'm not sure exactly why it appeals to me, but it has definitely been my saving grace of healthy eating. Maybe it's because I feel like I'm doing less work than traditional cooking requires. Actually, I am doing less work than regular cooking requires, but it's still some work. And for this lazy vegan, that's a lot of work. :) I'm even starting to question the validity of my oven. Why do we have that thing again?

Since I've started using the slow cooker, I've used about 3 cookbooks. Lately I've been using 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson. I really like the cookbook because many of the recipes are vegan and those that aren't can easily be modified. I especially like the Lentil Shepherd's Pie and the Tamale Pie with Chili Cornmeal Crust. So run out and get a slow cooker, peeps! They're fun, easy to use, and will totally clean your kitchen the minute you turn your back on them! Or not. Either way.

Go Wear Fit


What's a 'Go Wear Fit' you ask? Well let me tell you!

The 'Go Wear Fit' is a device that you actually wear (like ALL the time) that records your activity levels (light to vigorous), steps taken, calories burned, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency. You wear an armband on your left arm (which I believe picks up body temp and overall movement), and if you choose, a display unit. The display unit basically looks like a watch, although it can be detached from the wrist band and worn clipped on to clothing. The display unit is sold separately but if you buy the armband, I would strongly advise you to go ahead and get the display as well. It makes sense to me to be able to access your information so you can easily modify your activity in relation to your goals. Without the display, you have to plug the armband unit into your computer to access this information, which is not always convenient. For more info, go to: http://www.bodymedia.com/

My review:
I actually own this device, as does my sister, Amy. I used it for about 6 months straight and she continues to use hers (she might be going on a year with it now). Overall, I felt it was a really cool gadget! I liked having immediate access to my steps taken and calories burned. I wasn't too sold on whether or not the device could actually determine the quality of my activity (light/medium/vigorous) but I enjoyed getting beeping messages whenever I reached my goals. There is also a nutrition component to the device that I never used, so I can't comment on that. The device does need to be plugged into your computer and updated/charged from time to time as expected. I also found the GWF's feedback on my sleep patterns interesting at first, but I quickly lost interest in that as it was mostly the same information everyday. I should note that some people love this feature, especially if they have insomnia issues.

What I didn't love:
First things first, I didn't love wearing the armband day in and day out. I found it to be a little bulky and it was obvious under clothing (except coats and bulky sweaters). Also, there is a fee associated with the online service that accompanies the device. I believe I paid about $6 a month for 6 months which isn't bad, but I found it annoying. Also, I caught myself getting a little to obsessed with my numbers and found myself walking around my room in circles at night to reach step goals (weird, I know). I could see how this might not be the best device for someone with OCD tendencies. :)

I'm not sure why I stopped wearing it. I guess I thought I was taking a break from wearing it and I just never put it back on. I still have it though and my husband is considering using it in the near future. I recently ordered a similar device called the 'Fitbit', which is like the GWF but doesn't have the armband. It's more of a small clip-like thing that you attach to your clothes. I'm waiting for it to arrive but when it does, and I have a few weeks of experience under my belt with it, I'll post a review.

Note: doesn't the accompanying picture look so peaceful in a 'fit' kind of way? I couldn't find a picture of myself doing this, but trust me, I do this EVERY day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Post #1


Hello everyone in internet land! I'd like to welcome you to my blog! This blog will be about fitness, veganism, and everything that falls in between. I will be updating this blog with fitness stuff, favorite recipes, vegan shopping and so on, but I encourage everyone to participate, vegan or not! Oh, and this is a picture of my cat, Mr. Bee. :)