Sunday, March 11, 2012

Plant Strong: Day 28

Almost four weeks ago, I embarked on a challenge. After seeing the Forks over Knives movie for the second time and stepping on the scale at my yearly checkup, I decided to make a change.

Now I'm 28 days plant-strong and loving it. I felt that was a long time to commit, but it's flown by and I don't regret a minute of it. Of course it wasn't easy and there were bumps along the way, but I've enjoyed the changes I've seen in my body, health and through personal growth.

I've never cooked so much in my life and I'm always looking forward to my next workout. Much to my surprise, I'm actually enjoying all of it. People still have questions for me and and I try to answer them the best I can, but I'm really doing all of this for my health.

It's not about losing weight. It's all about what you eat and staying with it. Keeping a positive attitude and knowing you're human helps, too!

For all of you out there who want to try out what I've done, check out the Engine 2 site.

Check out my six month results here!

Looking to go vegan? Check out these related posts below!
Where to Begin
Kitchen Overhaul
5 Tips for a Healthy Vegan Diet
Pinterest Plant-Strong Board
Top 5 Reactions to "I'm Vegan"
Protein in a Vegan Diet
5 Tips for Eating a Plant-Based Diet (Anywhere)
Veganism in a Nutshell (video)
5 Things I've Learned Through Veganism
Foods That Kill

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Rolled" Lasagna

I had seen a really great idea for lasagna on Pinterest. Unfortunately, the recipe included cheese, something that I'm steering clear of as part of my lifestyle change. So naturally, I modified it!

Rolled Lasagna
yields 9 servings

9 lasagna noodles
1 jar pasta sauce
6 mushrooms, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 container hard tofu, crumbled
1 tbsp. minced garlic
Italian seasoning
Herb paste
1 Roma tomato (cut into rounds for the top of each stuffed noodle)
Ground cashews

1. While boiling the noodles, cook the spinach in a separate pot of boiling water for five minutes.
2. When noodles are finished boiling, drain and lay flat on parchment paper to cool.
3. Combine chopped ingredients with Italian seasonings, tofu, herb paste and garlic in medium mixing bowl.
4. Spread a layer of pasta sauce on the noodle and carefully add a layer of the mixture on top.
5. Gently roll the noodle into a square and place in a glass 9x13 baking dish.
6. After all nine noodles have been stuffed and rolled, top with the rest of the sauce and add a tomato round and cashews.
7. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tasty Carrot Soup

I will start off by saying I had never really cooked before 19 days ago. That's when I decided to make a lifestyle change.

However, in an attempt to regain my health, I've now started. One of the first things I did was sign up for the Vegetarian Times newsletter. In one of the first emails, I found a carrot soup recipe... So here's my modified version!

Tasty Carrot Soup
yields 6 bowls

1/2 white onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
1/2 cup instant oats
3 small white mushrooms
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan on high heat, bring the carrots, white onions, green onions, oats and water to a boil. Stir frequently until the oats are cooked and the carrots are fork-tender (about 8 minutes).
2. Transfer all contents into a blender with the milk and mushrooms or use an immersion blender.
3. Once blended, add the ginger, allspice, salt and pepper. Garnish with green onions on top when serving.

Exercise: Fun?!

I've never been one to just head outside and start jogging. If you read my last post, then by now you know about my "lifestyle change" that I've recently undertaken. Even though I finally had the diet part down, I knew it was time to incorporate some exercise.

I was intrigued by a colleague's Facebook status update that he ran with an app he recently downloaded called "Zombies, Run!" The app, which is priced at $7.99, features a storyline intertwined with a playlist of your choice. During the first run I was informed that I was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and I was the new "runner" for the township of survivors.

While you run (or walk and jog like I do), you could be chased by a mob of zombies. A beeping noise indicates how close they are and if they catch you, a few supplies could be taken away from you.

Here's the end result of my walk/jogging last night!

When you finish your run or walk, you can then build up your town with the supplies you've collected. I have to admit that the app was really fun and the storyline is super detailed. Once you complete your mission, there's a radio playlist that weaves a "radio" broadcast of two silly guys and your music. Even then, you can still collect supplies.

Overall I truly enjoyed it and woke up this morning to see what happened next. After a tour of the "base", I think I heard some zombies, so I decided to sprint.

Whatever it takes to get me moving!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm not on a Diet; I'm Eating Healthy!

I've always taken my health for granted. When something goes wrong, I don't even know why I'm shocked! Looking back I know exactly how I got here. Now, I've never considered myself to be "overweight" or anything, but in the last few years I've noticed just a little extra that kind of bothered me.

A few weeks back at my yearly health checkup, I stepped up on the scale as the nurse requested. I was horrified by the number. It isn't terrible in some people's minds I'm sure, but to me 154 just didn't look right!

I've been telling people my excuse lately: in college I walked everywhere! To class, up the hills, down the hills and to my apartment for a quick nap. You see, I lived close to campus and I only drove my car to get groceries. I also didn't eat well.

Since I was getting so much exercise, I was burning off calories I didn't even consider that I was consuming. As a college student, I'm sure you know diet isn't usually a concern. (Mac and cheese for dinner? Yes, please!)

Fast forward three and a half years. Same diet. Near to none exercise. That equals a problem. Now I will say that I was in such shock over my nearly 25 lb. weight gain since high school (which was almost seven years ago now). And yes, I'll never be 18 again.

So I hopped on to my own scale in the bathroom. Luckily that one read 144 the same night. (Instant 10 lbs. of weight loss. Woot!) Now I don't know if the scale in my bathroom is accurate, but I've been weighing in on that one since my "lifestyle" change.

Yep, I'm calling it a lifestyle change. Not a diet! Diets can work for people who stick to them, yes, but a lifestyle change is something I feel is more permanent for me. You see, my mother recently found out that she has Type 2 diabetes. I knew it was now or never. So I studied up and did something I've never actually done before: cook meals at home.

And not just any meals. Healthy meals packed with vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts. Tacos stuffed with sautéed veggies and a side of beans. Whole gain pizza crusts covered in fresh veggies. Homemade fruit "ice creams" that I didn't feel guilty eating.

Friends are asking me, "So you're vegetarian, now?!" I don't know the answer to that just yet. However, I was surprised that 18 days later I'm now down six pounds. Not only that, but I'm feeling phenomenal! I'm getting to work an hour a half earlier and waking up without attempting to hit the snooze. I can see a change in my body and I crave the taste of my next decadent meal with the full flavors all the vegetables and fruits offer.

And I'm not looking back! Sure, there's been challenges. I've been tempted during my workdays with pulled pork, warm chocolate chip cookies and even endured the smells during Waffle Wednesday. It's all been well worth it, though. I'm excited about the challenges ahead but feel more empowered and in charge of my health than ever before! For more information on my new lifestyle change, please visit the Engine 2 Diet website.

UPDATE: See how going plant-strong changed my life and my results six months later here!

Looking to go vegan? Check out these related posts below!