Sunday, March 8, 2015

Brussels Sprouts Salad With Roasted Garlic and Meyer Lemon

Red leaf lettuce with brussels sprouts, roasted garlic, and the juice from a meyer lemon. Good stuff.

22 Days Nutrition

I was reading the latest Money magazine a few weeks ago and read about meal delivery programs. This got me thinking about vegan meal plans and vegan meal delivery programs. I was considering the idea as a way to kickstart my health journey. This was actually a couple days before I wrote my blog post about being super healthy again. While spending a few hours researching different vegan meal programs, I came across 22 Days Nutrition. The meals are all organic and full of great ingredients.

Surprisingly, I decided to try it. Unfortunately, I had to wait two weeks for the delivery, but I finally got the box on Friday.

Before ordering the meals, I'll tell you what I was thinking.
  1. These meals could be crap, full of salt, and a waste of my money.
  2. Why aren't the ingredients listed on the website????
  3. Beyonce's name is mentioned in every Google search for 22 Days Nutrition. The website says the program "recently guided Beyonce and Jay-Z on a 22 Day Vegan Challenge." This was all off-putting to me.
  4. The program is new and I can't find many reviews...
  5. According to the website, the meals are all: 100% plant-based, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, environmentally conscious, and made with love.
  6. What do I have to lose? Especially since I had a coupon code to use: TWITTERLOVE.
So, here's the box and my thoughts. I ordered the "2 Meals a Day for 5 Days" plan. As I mentioned before, the meals were delivered 2 weeks after I placed my order. I guess you have to order by Wednesday to get it the following Friday.

Ok, so nice looking box.

Yay, styrofoam. 

Some information.


More Beyonce.

Ok, thanks for the tip. 

The food was still cold. That's good. The box was delivered at 3pm and I got home at 4:45pm.

Hmm...lots of mushed food that obviously moved around while it was shipped. Are there 2 of each? Nope, each pack of two has different meals. That means 10 different meals. That's good.

I put 5 in the freezer and kept 5 in the fridge. With the exception of today, I plan to only eat the meals for dinner. I like to have big salads for lunch, plus I'm not willing to microwave the meals at work.

Great ingredients and meals that I wouldn't usually make (but that I like!). The sodium content is low. That's a good sign.

I was surprised to see 845 calories. That's high. Oh wait, the print is way too small. All the 6s look like 8s. That's better.

So my first meal was the French Vegetable Ratatouille with Pesto. Not bad, but pasta isn't that exciting to me especially when the pasta was breaking apart in the saucepan. 

I had the Montecito Mushroom & Pea Risotto with Black Kale for lunch today. I really enjoyed it!

I will try either the Adzuki Macro Bowl or the Israeli Aubergine Ganoush on Turmeric Veggie Rice tonight. (The company should fix the "tumeric" misspelling.)

Would I try 22 Days Nutrition again? Probably not, but you never know. It's pricey and I'd rather make my own meals. I do appreciate trying new things and getting ideas for my own meals. This week is particularly busy for me, so having these meals on hand has been a definite plus.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunset and Spring Rolls

I've been locked away for most of the weekend writing a paper on systems theory. You can imagine my need for a break after submitting my paper this afternoon. I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some spring rolls and broccoli salad and drove to the beach to watch the sunset. It was a great evening. :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Get Your Veggies On

So far, so good! I've been eating really well and I feel better already. I lost a few pounds, too.

I prepped salads on Sunday for lunches and I made a really good vegetable stock for soups. I made soup the last three nights using a variety of vegetables and some potatoes. I also made a chickpea scramble one night with garlic, onion, asparagus, kale, and red cabbage.

I made tacos/fajitas tonight with grilled onions, zucchini, asparagus, black beans, avocado, and red cabbage. I enjoyed eating a hearty meal tonight after eating pretty light earlier in the day.

I definitely need to get back on Pinterest to get some good ideas for next week. More and more people seem to be going vegan, so I'm happy to see so many new recipes on Pinterest. More to come.

Feel free to comment with suggestions as well. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Solid Foundation for Success

Step 1: Start from a solid foundation

For me, this meant stocking my kitchen and fridge with fruits, vegetables, and grains. This seems simple enough, but this is where I've been going wrong the last few months. Creating a solid foundation also meant cleaning and organizing my house this morning to create a more inviting and workable space.

Step 2: Try something new 

I tried guava for the first time today. I nearly broke my teeth on the seeds, but it was very good!

Step 3: Eat breakfast

I have a habit of not eating breakfast and then I end up eating whatever I can find. I'm back to the basics now. I had muesli with almond milk and a banana this morning. The muesli tastes far better than anything I normally grab and I feel better. I need to remember that.

Step 4: Plan for the week

I have a busy week ahead with work and school, so I will prep salads today for lunches next week. I have chickpeas soaking at the moment and I will freeze most of them in ready-to-use portions. I also bought some root vegetables to make a hearty stock for soups. I will freeze some of the stock as well. Where I've gone wrong the last few months is taking something like a banana for lunch, but I would never eat it. Instead, I would buy food or wait until I left work at which point I would be starving and eat far too much food. I should know better! To be successful, I need to plan and have healthier options on hand at all times.

Step 5: Eat when hungry

Only when I'm hungry!

Step 6: Cut back on coffee and get more sleep!

I'm not going to lie. I've been drinking too much coffee every day. I usually drink two large iced coffees a day from Starbucks. Not only is that hurting my cash flow, but I know the coffee is terrible for me. My goal is to stay hydrated with water and lemon and just have the occasional coffee when I want it.

Step 7: Have fun

I need to have fun with food and I need to have fun. Period. I only have one life and I need to make the most of it!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A New Journey

Almost a year has passed since my last blog post. I was definitely losing momentum by March of last year and I was going through some personal problems, which I allowed to take over my state of mind. I lost the drive to be really healthy. Without any support system in my local area, I just let what happen happen.

So here I am, back to the blog that initially helped support my healthy lifestyle goals. This blog and the online vegan community is my support system. I can't hide anymore. I need to be honest with myself. My blog keeps me on track, keeps me excited, and most importantly, accountable. Nothing will change unless I make a change and that is exactly why I am here.

Now, almost a year since my last post, I am roughly 25 lbs heavier. My knees hurt with the extra weight, I'm always tired, and I don't fit into any of my clothes. It's time to re-focus. With the exception of a handful of times, I have remained vegan. I still buy organic fruits and vegetables and I stay far from processed foods. My problem has been portion control and eating out.

So here's to a new journey. To a long-lasting, health-driven journey that focuses on self-love, cooking and preparing food at home, and learning and sharing about living a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


A short break during class yesterday led to two separate, isolated conversations with students about health. I'm continually amazed at the increasing awareness of health and the negative effects of dairy, eggs, and meat. Yes, I'm in an educational setting, but this is becoming quite a popular topic.

One conversation was about the powers of advertising from the meat and dairy industries, the environmental impacts of these industries, and how calcium is lost when consuming milk on a regular basis. I mentioned calcium loss here. Calcium is released from the bones to help neutralize the acid from animal products.

The second conversation I had among a few students in my class was about veganism. One girl mentioned she was vegan for two years in her late teens/early twenties, but she became skinny, pale, sick, and had sunken eyes. I, of course, chimed in and said I've been vegan for over a year and I'm "plump"! I suggested she probably wasn't eating enough, which she confirmed and attributed her health issues to her ex-boyfriend, problems with friends, and a few other events in her life at the time. I just wanted to say, "well, don't tell people you were sick from being vegan!" But I didn't. A few others started asking me questions. It seems the topic of veganism initially came up because one of the girls just switched to vegetarianism after being vegan for quite some time. A girl a few seats down told me she's been vegetarian for 17 years, but can't go vegan because she won't give up cheese. I understand, but if you really want to be vegan, then know that your taste buds will quickly change and you will very quickly forget about cheese (or you can try healthy nut-based cheeses). At least that was the case for me and other vegans I know and read about. So, two conversations within about 15 minutes about health, the environment, and veganism. I was happily surprised to see so much interest.

After two busy days in the classroom this weekend, I was finally free to enjoy some sunshine and go grab some food at Slice of Life in Sebastopol. I was craving some healthy mexican-inspired food, so I ordered the tofu tacos. These were SO good. The corn tortillas were perfect - thin and not falling apart. The tacos had a small amount of tofu, plenty of organic greens and sprouts, salsa, guacamole, and a little vegan sour cream on top. A few drops of hot sauce made these babies perfect.

Blackberries and mangoes have been on sale recently, so I've been eating plenty of fruit. I've also been making salads or stopping by the organic salad bar at Oliver's or Whole Foods. I still drink my banana cacao smoothie in the mornings, but without the cold-brewed coffee now. I blend together one cup of almond milk, one frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter, 1 tsp cacao powder, 1 tsp maca powder, 2 tsp chia seeds, and a dash of cinnamon. I look forward to my morning smoothie every day!

I stopped by Gaia's Garden this weekend for a huge salad and their popular lentil soup. Sorry, no picture, but it was very pretty and so good!!

I briefly mentioned in my "Veganniversay" post that I stopped off at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley a few weeks ago before heading to a raw chocolate event. Here is a picture of our food at Cafe Gratitude from that night. I've nearly driven back twice just for dinner, but I stopped myself each time because it's an hour away! Cafe Gratitude is definitely worth checking out. Try the "I am Bueno" (butternut squash tacos with rice, beans, salsa, cashew cheese and salad)!

My good friend, Tony, finally started his own website after many people (including me) have encouraged him to do so. He has quite the following now and has helped numerous people on their health journey. Tony has been posting amazing health tips on his Facebook page for months, but these tips are now easily accessible and easy to reference at Check it out!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gym Update

Today was day 6 at the gym! I feel like I've been going much longer than that. Everything is becoming quite normal and routine. I have yet to venture off the treadmill and onto the elliptical or any other machine, but I'm trying to take it one step at a time. I typically walk on an incline for about 45 minutes to an hour.

I walked on the treadmill tonight and then went to the POOL! I half battled with myself while getting ready. I changed my top, then changed out of it, then back into the rest of my swimsuit. What do I have to lose? When my health and well-being (and my love of swimming!) are on my mind, caring about what others think goes right out the window. I'm at the gym for me. The pool was great, but a little too salty!! I don't think a pool should be salty... And considering all the pool chemicals, I shouldn't go too often. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the swimming. I forgot my flip flops, so I need to keep a pair in my gym bag. The pool was quiet, but there were plenty of men in and out of the hot tub and sauna next to me.

I've been using an app called "My Fitness Pal" to track my food and exercise. I don't entirely agree with the daily nutrition guidelines, but I can easily track what I'm consuming. I'm so glad I started using the app. I was having a hard time with food for a week or two before signing up for the gym membership. Not only was I over-eating, but I was eating salty and sweet foods. Who knows what was going on, but I'm back on track and "My Fitness Pal" is helping so much!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gym Membership

I survived my first real gym experience and I'm actually looking forward to going back!! That's incredible for me. I've always hated gyms. I joined the gym with one of my friends. Time was flying by on the treadmill tonight. I hope I will feel as comfortable even if I'm there alone. I just need to stick to it because it's vital for my health! This particular gym has a large pool with plenty of lanes, too. Hopefully I will feel comfortable enough to get in my swimsuit soon because I LOVE to swim. I'm definitely on a new adventure here and I'm excited!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dessert, Anyone?

This weekend was beautiful. I took today off work so I could enjoy a three-day weekend before school starts. I'll be taking two classes, one on weekends and the other on Monday nights. My professor already assigned quite a bit due next weekend, so I've been focusing on school work today. I'd rather finish reading The Minimalists: Essential Essays by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, but maybe I'll get to that later tonight! I think my cat was trying to tell me something too...!

Besides reading, I accomplished quite a few other tasks today. I did some laundry, cleaned up, cooked chickpeas I had soaking overnight, made cold-brewed coffee, and I also made fresh almond milk from raw, sprouted almonds I had soaking overnight. I saved the almond pulp and I was determined to use it this time! Using a food processor, I mixed together some of the almond pulp with a few pitted dates, cacao powder, maca powder, peanut butter, and maple syrup for a sweet treat. I rolled the mix into bite-sized pieces and covered each with shredded coconut. I tried one (yum!) and the rest are chilling in the fridge for later. Okay, back to reading. Happy Monday!