New Blog, New Me

Archive for the ‘Veg’ Category

Whos with me?

Why did I go from eating junk food, fast food, fried stuff, lots of red meats, too-large portion sizes, cookies, cheese on everything, and other naughty things all of the time. Well isnt that apparent? No.one. can eat junk like that all the time and be healthy. Its just not possible. I got tired of it. Enough. You know? Time for something drastic and long-lasting. Time for a new me! May 2012 I became a vegetarian and enter a whole lifestyle change.

Since then I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning and progressing, for me that’s what it is all about .. Progress not perfection! Progressing towards a completely plant based diet, towards someone who uses food as fuel not therapy, towards a mom who is confident and fierce. I’ve been feeling like it’s placed on my heart to start a new blog series, that’s also tied to my other social media accounts, which highlights the plant based/meat free diet. Starting in November each month will have a different theme and once a week I’ll post topics related to that. Themes like: 1) How to eat meat free on the cheap! 2) How to get all your protein from a plant based diet. 3) How to eat out while sticking to a veggie meal…

I get told a lot from people that they want to cut back on how much meat they are eating but are not sure where to start. Or even if its possible. I want to say – “Yes it is totally possible and here is a little info on how to do just that.” Maybe one day Ill get my ducks in a row and become a PiYo instructor and get a weight loss management certification. Become truly too legit to quit and all… But, admittedly I am not a personal trainer, Im not a nutritionist, I am not a size 2, and I dont have some body building 6 pack. So why am I even qualified to talk on this subject?

Well I am passionate about it and Ive stuck to it even through some struggles. Ive had many many people attempt to talk me out of not eating meat. It makes some people uncomfortable. Im not sure why but it does so they make it their goal to bring my diet up in conversations whenever they can, to persuade me to “go back”. No one cared enough to talk to me when I was 230 lbs, eating fast food multiple times a week, and clearly making bad choices all of the time! No one gently sat me down to have a heart to heart about what effect my diet and lack of exercise played on my health. None of these people seemed all that concerned when my choices lead me to getting gestational diabetes; while they saw me testing my blood sugars 4 times a day and restricting my foods to make sure I was staying within safe ranges for baby. Nope not a word to my face. However, after I decided I don’t want to eat any animals, limit the animal products (milk/eggs/cheese), and focus on eating more plant-based foods – that’s when people wanted to say something. Go figure? I know what its like to face opposition and my passion for my diet has helped me to not stop.

My passion drives me to learn more about the nutrition side. I love finding new foods and nutrition programs that will help me get closer to my goals. When I started out in 2012 I knew nothing. Not a single thing! I joined private Facebook groups, I scoured Pinterest, blogs and Instagram, I connected with like minded people, and I discovered some fantastic professional foodies/chefs. I honestly like looking stuff up! So if I didnt know an answer I’d dig around until I found it. Those all have been what has helped me stay on this path, but it did take some time. There are so very many different resources out there for vegan and vegetarians that it can get a little overwhelming, which is the exact opposite of what a newbie needs. Ive found some great resources from experts and the opportunity to have a forum where they can all be compiled together would be amazing.

While I know some would disagree with the method (meat free eating) I do feel led by the Lord to share my passion with others. He has given me a heart for helping people. I can feel that so clearly. The pull to want to come along side the person I was back in 2012 and help her see that there is a better way. To tell that frazzled mom: You don’t have to live in the prison of obesity, there is a better way, you can become comfortable in your skin, you can find happiness through exercise, and you can work at getting victory over the struggle of being overweight. As I am working for those things myself, I feel the Lord asking me to step out in faith because He has placed this passion in my heart for a reason. So my goal during this veggie series is to help others while honoring God. 

Check back on Mondays for the new blog posts that correlate to the monthly topic. You can also leave your email address to be added to the subscription list. Today was an introduction. I wanted to put my heart out there about why Im starting this in the first place. Next Monday Ill cover the main reason why I changed my diet to vegetarian – What are the health benefits of a plant based diet? (This wont be me ranting over eating animals. I wont go all crazy lady on ya. Lol. 😛 Nor will I be talking out of my butt. Ill give info from various professionals on the positive sides to a plant based diet and you can make the decision yourself about how you feel.)

Im excited! Who’s with me? 

Plant based vegetarian blog series trystea

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Who needs accountability?

Meeee, this girl does! Last week went sideways. I could list plenty of reasons but pretty much they all boil down to .. I took a week long break from all things. Lol. I managed to survive with the 3 kids and hubby in tow. Bleh. Even when you are so very much wanting to change things and make better choices, sometimes you’ll have a hiccup and come to a halt. Getting back to it by making plans and setting a goal will help you start turning those gears again.

My plan: follow the 21 Day Fix and train for a 5K Thanksgiving run
My (short term) goal: Lose 15 more pounds

The people over at Beach Body finally listened to all the voices asking them more a more reasonable vegan 21 Day Fix eating plan. They way the plan was before, the only vegan sources of protein allowed were tofu, tempeh (which is tofu-like), Shakeology, and a very vague “veggie burger”. Thats just not enough choices and no one wants to eat 4 servings of tofu a day! I did the whole 21 days before, eating only vegan foods, but it was pretty limiting.

But they recently edited the 21DF plan to include many more plant based sources of protein, along with a new break down of carbs, and a change in the 21DF container amounts. Which made this girl super happy!!! I can do the plan while focusing on eating a vegan diet and actually continue the nutrition plan after the 21 days is over! (Why do I ❤ this plan so much? They have a pretty great listing of yummy and healthy foods you can eat, you use their recommendations for calorie bracket and container amounts, cook the food, measure it in the containers, and eat the allowed containers for that day. Its really simple and takes little thought.)

I just prepped my meals for the next 3 days. Why 3 days? I figured out that batch cooking for any longer then that takes too much time, the food doesnt stay super fresh, and I start getting tired of eating it after 3 days! Im posting not exactly to get anyone to join (although, hello, you totally should join!) but to have the accountability of putting it out there. Encouragement and accountability. Because I want to lose the stupid final 15 pounds that have been hanging around. And I want to show that this nutrition plan is very do-able (even for people with dietary needs or restrictions, like no animal products). It can be done. You can do it. I HAVE done it (after baby no. 2) and I WILL do it again this time. Woop Woop!

  • Breakfast : Smoothy (Shakeology, Salad greens, Banana, 2tsp chia, water)
  • Lunch: Quinoa, Tempeh, String beans, Mushrooms
  • Snack: Apples, Nuts, 2teasp peanut butter
  • Dinner: Brussels sprouts, snow peas, tofu, Sweet potatoes, hemp seeds, 1tsp oil
  • Snack: Edamame, Cauliflower, Brown rice

21 day fix vegan

Plan my what..?

Today in my Fall into Fitness PiYo Challenge I did the Core workout. One of my favorite in the PiYo series because I know I have a bit of a mommy tummy to deal with and I want some abs! I’ve never had them before. However, along with the core exercise, diet is key to leaning out and getting those abs to show through. When I hear experts and trainers talk they consistently agree that you cant out exercise a bad diet.

I like to meal plan on Sundays, keeping in mind I need to use whats already in my kitchen … because I’m cheap and I want to go ahead and use what I already have. Here is my meal planning menu for this week. Its all animal-free, I cook enough for myself and my family and then my hubby will cook the meat for every one else (Im the soul vegetarian). For some of the meals I’m using the Beachbody Fixate cook book (so if you want a review of that particular meal or curious about ordering it ($15), shoot me a comment and I can walk you through that). I also find a lot of recipes on Pinterest! Its flooded with healthy options but you do have to pay attention to the ingredients because not all are meat free.
Breakfast
  • Shakeology with unsweetened coconut milk and banana
Lunch
  • M- Spicy tofu and cabbage, baked sweet potato, broccoli
  • T- Fixate Zoodles with veggie tomato sauce
  • W- Cauliflower steaks with mushroom gravy and roasted sweet potatoes
  • T- Leftovers
  • F- Veggie burger, baked beans, and slaw
  • S- PB&J (lol)
Dinner
  • M- Fixate chili over wheat pasta
  • T- Leftovers
  • W- Fixate stuffed bell peppers and peas
  • T- Burgers, baked beans, corn
  • F- Tofu, carrots, and green beans
  • S- Grilled veggies with brown rice
As a busy, homeschooling mom I really do not have the time or energy to cook some over the top meals but all of these are very do-able. Plus with a little prep work (cleaning and chopping veggies, batch cooking the tofu) I dont actually have to spend very much time cooking it because a lot of the work is already done. Score!
meal planning menu
Meal planning Sunday, join me! I found this super cute Meal Planning template on Pinterest to make it even easier to keep track of grocery store items and daily menu.
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Are You Hungry? Weekly Meal Prep

Hey there! I haven’t felt too inspired to write lately but as Im currently trying to search through recipes for this next week’s meals I thought Id share! You know, in case any of yall wanted to do a meatless Monday or even a meatless Monday-Sunday with me! 😉 (Hey, a veggie girl can hope.)

Anyways, Im kind of in a bit of a food rut so instead of trying to come up with something of my own, Im searching through foodie blogs for inspiration. My absolute favorite vegan (no animal products as all) foodie is Happy Herbivore, I have several of her cook books and have found most everything Ive made from hers is delish.. Plus, unlike a lot of other vegan cookbooks I have from different authors, HH is really easy to follow with not a lot of odd ingredients. Easy and fast is exactly what Im looking for.

Breakfast
Chocolate Vegan Shakeology with Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Lunch
Caribbean Peas & Rice
Cassoulet

Dinner
Crockpot 3 Bean and Corn Chili
Chickpea Cacciatore with Italian Veggies

I know cooking all that sounds like a lot at first but Ive found that if I don’t, I end up ordering a cheese, tomato, and jalapeño pizza for dinner. (Ugh!) Ill get too busy with my day and then by the time dinner rolls around, the last thing I want to do is to think of something healthy to cook & actually fix it. To remedy that problem – today is planning the meals and tomorrow is making the meals, then Ill be all set for the rest of the week. It is a lot of work up front but it really does help me stay on track.

healthy eating

Give it a try?

News flash, it’s almost April. You know what that means? Summer is nearing! This summer I will have a child who turns 10 and will then be in the double digits for age. The baby will turn 1 and will be on his way to walking and talking. Insane! And we will be celebrating these birthdays in the Florida Keys! Key Largo, here I come! … Bathing suit season … Here. I. Come.

I know I’m not the only one trying to get that sexy summer bod! 😉 Hows it going out there? It’s way too easy for me to give into ordering take out or eating out so my diet got a little wonky the past two weeks. Planning and preparing meals in advance solves that problem completely! (Along with observing a little self-control and actually eating what you plan.)

Last week I ordered some food trays to use for meal prep, they come divided into 3 sections but there are other variations you can get as well (I might order the bowl style for stir fries). I ordered them from Amazon, here. It’s kind of a thoughtless meal, like a frozen TV dinner kind of thing, but hopefully you don’t fill it with crappy food. I like that there’s room for everything – all your protein, carbs, and veggies.

The packaging says you can also freeze them so cook in bulk, divide meals up in the trays, freeze, and take out for a quick meal later on. Pretty darn helpful for example, a pregnant lady wanting to eat healthy meals after the baby comes. Or if you have to go out of town and leave your hubby at home, he will be able to survive without suffering through whole days of nothing but coffee, Hot Pockets, and Ramen Noodles (YEP, my poor husband).

Yesterday I had some free time while the baby was napping and the other 2 kids were playing, to tackle this task. It was pretty simple but did require a chunk of time to get it all done. Beans, veggies, and sweet potatoes. That’s it! Im still learning but I hope to get pretty good at this meal prep business. If you don’t already, you should give it a try!

What I wish my meal prep looks like…

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… What my mealprep really looks like!

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Are You Hungry? Lentil Bolognese

Woah! Its almost been a month since Ive made a post. Where has all that time gone?! I knew it had been awhile but not that long. This homeschooling business is kicking my butt. Im going 1000 miles a min during the day. Think being a stay at home mom is hard? …Try also being your child’s teacher. Im rambling, Ill blog more about that in another post. I made an oh.so.yummy Lentil Bolognese dinner last night. Ive been in a dinner funk, feeling lazy and not wanting to put forth effort to cook. I spent about 30 mins yesterday trying to come up with this week’s dinner menu, nothing really sounded good. Until I happened upon this one foodie blog, Maple Spice and all Vegan Things Nice. I pinned like 10 different delish looking recipies! I just happen to have almost all the ingredients for her Lentil Bolognese so that’s what I cooked.

Such a score because my Meat Eater Husband and Son loved it & my picky toddler ate a lot of it .. until she noticed the garlic bread, and then she only wanted bread. Womp womp. Lol. Its got a good amt of veggies in it! The lentils give it a meat-ish like of feel. And shhh don’t tell, but I used about half a package of mushrooms. The husband HATES mushrooms and usually wont eat them, but he has no idea that his yummy dinner was full of mushrooms! MuhHahaha!! (Unless of course, he reads this blog…) Now if you don’t like mushrooms either, don’t run away. The sauce is blended smooth in a food processor and you really cannot tell that there are mushrooms in it! Of course you can omit them if you want to be difficult 😛 but don’t! It feels great, feeding your family something that’s good tasting and good for them.

Heres the recipe: Vegan Veggie Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Veggie Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Veggie Lentil Bolognese

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 small package mushrooms, washed and quartered
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 cup brown lentils, drained and rinsed
1 12 oz box whole wheat fettuccine noodles
Heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the onion, basil, oregano and bay leaf and cook till onions are transparent. Add the garlic, stir, then add the carrot, and red pepper, cook for a few minutes then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms begin to wilt, stir in soy sauce and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Cook pasta per box instructions. Reserve some pasta water and add to sauce if its too thick.
Mix sauce in with the pasta.

To serve, add a little cheeze or nutritional yeast sprinkled on top and some fresh basil. Maybe a side of steamed broccoli or a salad. Some garlic bread (Vegan garlic bread recipe!! You can use olive oil in place of the vegan butter). And youre good to go!!

Updated! Are You Hungry? Lazy Baked Enchilada

You know how “they” say that weight loss is 80% healthy eating and 20% exercise. Ive been trying to eat out less and cook at home. Dirty little secret time, we tent to eat out a lot. It get expensive and even though I try to order things that are as healthy as possible, I know its not really that healthy. Case in point, I had to go to Olive Garden the other day for a baby shower. How do you eat Olive Garden and vegan? Well the OG isn’t my most favorite restaurant, the only pasta dish they have that I can eat it spaghetti and *I* can make sketty far better then theirs! So I ordered veggie pizza without cheese. I logged my meal into MyFitnessPal app and was shocked to read that my ‘healthy’ dinner was 900-some calories! Say whaaaat?! And the sodium was really high too. :\ Womp. Womp.

A lot of my problem has to do with me being too lazy/tired/busy (whatever you want to call it) to prep and cook. By the time dinner rolls around, the hubby comes home from work starving (because he usually skips breakfast and lunch!), begging for food, I don’t feel like jumping right then to cook something, so we go out! I will plan and buy a weeks worth of meals and then go out twice-ish a week for dinner. Ack!

So no more out to eat! Last week (or maybe 2 weeks ago) I had a hankering for Mexican so I searched on Pinterest and found enchiladas! Yum! I was going to assemble, fill/roll the enchiladas, and then bake them but once I started I was like, aint no body got time for that! so instead I made a Lazy (Wo)man’s Vegan Enchilada Bake with a side of Cilantro Lime Brown Rice. I used the Steamfresh brand rice (that’s in the freezer section, it comes in a bag, and you microwave it for 5 mins, then DONE!) and added cilantro + lime to it. Oh so easy! And bonus, delish! Its packed full of veggies, the kid loved it and even the meat-eater hubby gave his complements!

***Updated to add..

Oh how could I forget! The baby loved her enchilada dinner so much that she scarfed it down and even licked her plate. And of course, being the good mama that I am, I took pictures! Lol. Here’s what Bethany thought of dinner!

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Now it’s time to get serious!

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Vegan Lazy Baked Enchilada!

Lazy Enchilada Bake

Lazy Enchilada Bake

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomatoes with zesty mild green chillies, drained
1 onion, diced
veggies of choice (I used 1 cooked sweet potato, 1 diced zucchini, and 1 diced squash)
salt and pepper to taste
favorite salsa (I LOVE Walmart’s Great Value brand White Corn & Black Bean Salsa)
3 whole wheat tortillas
1 package enchilada sauce (I used Frontera Green Chile Enchilada Sauce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a round baking dish. In a medium bowl combine all veggies, black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, salt, and pepper. Layer baking dish: tortilla, veggie mixture, enchilada sauce, salsa. And repeat to make 3 layers. Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce over the casserole. Cover and bake approx. 35 mins. Garnish with cilantro and serve with cilantro lime brown rice.

Tip: you can assemble this ahead of time and then pop it into the oven at dinner time.

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