Veggie to Vegan

Happy February, friends!

Today’s post revolves around a decision that has been months in the making for me–I’m officially starting my transition from vegetarian to vegan.  This is my “official” start because we all know the Internet is forever–I figure if I declare it here, I’ll have to stick to it.

Just for a bit of background, I gave up meat on and off during high school (over 10 years ago #oldladystatus) but made my forever transition to vegetarianism in 2016.  In the beginning, it was tough–I literally dreamed about frying chicken–but now I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the lifestyle change.  The cravings for meat have subsided, and vegetarian cooking has become second-nature.  Honestly, some of the vegetarian dishes I make taste better than the meaty version!  (At least to me, anyway.)  Check out a few vegan meals I’ve made below, and if you want more #foodporn, follow me on Instagram:

food collage.jpg

Delicious vegan food I’ve made!  (Clockwise from top left:  Banana “Ice Cream” with Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, Tofu Fingers with Roasted Potatoes, Tofu Scramble with Roasted Potatoes, and Portobello “Steak” Strips with Green Beans and Rice Pilaf)

Why haven’t I become vegan yet, then?  Three big things:  Greek yogurt, eggs, and cheese.  Greek yogurt makes the list because it’s a good source of protein, which is something I need since I don’t get protein from meat.  It’s also super convenient for breakfast and/or a snack, which works well with my work/gym/life schedule.  Eggs make the list for the same reasons–protein and convenience.  (Also, plenty of the baked goods I love contain eggs, and I can’t quite give up my sweet treats just yet.)

And then there’s cheese.  Ahhhhh, cheese.  I live in Wisconsin, y’all.  The cheese up here is out of this WORLD, and it’s EVERYWHERE!  Real talk, I had no idea how many different types of cheese there are–and how tasty they could be–until I moved to America’s Dairyland.  I’m also a firm believer that it ain’t pizza unless it has cheese on it–and I love me some pizza.  So cheese has stuck around for a while even though I got rid of butter and cow’s milk a long time ago.

So–how is this transition going to work?  Starting today, I’m cutting cheese out of my diet.  (Guess I’ll be eating a lot of “ain’t pizza”.)  I know it’s going to be rough, but I really want to transition to a plant-based diet so I’m gonna do it!  Here are a few of the reasons I made this decision:

If you’re interested in cutting meat out of your life, check out this article by the Harvard Medical Center–it’s got some good information about the different types of vegetarianism and potential health benefits (and risks).  Also check out my Veggie Girl board on Pinterest for lots of vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas.

If you’re not interested in cutting meat out of your life, that’s cool with me.  #nojudgementhere #yourlifeisyours But I hope you’ll wish me luck on my journey from veggie to vegan!

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Body Goals

Today was my monthly weigh-in with my trainer, and guess what?

I lost seven pounds in the past month!

My trainer tasked me with logging my food intake each day, which has been extremely eye-opening. The “healthy” smoothie I made for breakfast each morning? Yeah, that baby was over 1000 calories. 😳 The container of homemade trail mix wasn’t terrible…but eating it all in one sitting was. It was OOC–out of control. 

So lately, I’ve been working on eating more protein-rich, fiber-rich foods to stay fuller longer. Portion control has been a big focus as well. In the beginning it was really tedious and frustrating to log everything I ate (and honestly sometimes it still is). But lately I’ve been trying to think of it as an asset instead of an inconvenience. If this is something that keeps me on the right track, I need to do it. I don’t just want to lose weight–I want to be healthy. 

Seven pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it feels awesome. (I couldn’t weight to text my mom to tell her!) My boyfriend–who has a degree in exercise science–said that diet is a bigger influence than exercise when it comes to weight loss. And as much as I hate to admit he was right…he was right. I’ve seen faster results in the past month than I ever expected. #thanksbabe 😘

I originally wanted to lose 30 pounds before my 30th birthday, but I’m altering that body goal. I want to be healthy. I want to be fit. I want to make good food choices. And I feel like those are goals that are worth working toward. 

Eating Well and Helping Out #100HappyDays

Day 94:  Eating well makes me happy.  I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog but for those who may not know, I’m a vegetarian.  (Fun fact:  July 8 was my one year veggie-versary!)  I originally became vegetarian in order to eat healthier and improve my lifestyle, but quickly fell into the habit of eating very unhealthy vegetarian foods.  (Another fun fact:  French fries and cheese pizza are in fact vegetarian, but they aren’t the best foods for you.  #TheMoreYouKnow)  I’ve also been working with a personal trainer, and he encouraged me to start a food diary to keep up with the number of calories and amount of protein I’m eating (peep this post for more on that).  Now I know it’s possible to have a delicious, filling dinner for under 700 calories!  (Final fun fact:  This does not mean I’m never going to each french fries or cheese pizza again.  A lady has to indulge every now and again.)

Day 95:  Helping out my company makes me happy.  I actually have *two* days in the office this week!  And I chose to spend two hours of each one not working in my office.  (That’s #assbackwards I know.)  Our annual company picnic is on Saturday, and I’m helping out with advance registration. Volunteering for this internal opportunity made me happy in a few ways:

  1. I get to spend time in a part of campus that I never go to.
  2. I met three really cool coworkers that I probably wouldn’t have talked otherwise.  (In a company of 9000+ people, it’s easy to work with folks you’ve never met.)
  3. I got to brush off my retail customer service skills.
  4. I got to pick up my own tickets in advance.
  5. I got a free t-shirt!

Surviving, Snacks, and Family Vacations #100HappyDays

Day 80:  Surviving makes me happy.  This was my sixth day in a row of teaching customer class and my voice started going out.  I was able to get through my class anyway though–sometimes you just have to be happy you made it through.

Day 81:  Buying snacks makes me happy.  For our upcoming family vacation (more on that below) I was in charge of buying the snacks.  Who doesn’t like buying snacks?!?  The hardest part was trying not to eat them before the trip (and remembering to load everything into the car).  For the record, I did try to buy healthier snacks…but some s’more ingredients may or may not have made their way into the cart too.

Day 82:  Fridays make me happy.  Especially Fridays before a long weekend!

Days 83-87:  Family vacations make me happy.  My family and I camped near Mammoth Cave for the holiday and it was really fun!  We had the most awesome RV in the park (and that’s not me bragging–people came by multiple times a day to compliment it).  We hiked a trail near the cave, which was somewhat challenging in 90° weather with 1,000,000% humidity.  But we made it–and rewarded ourselves with great food and lots of laughs.  Check out the view from our campsite and my new friend Belle below!

 

Kentucky is so beautiful!

Victory (a.k.a. the baddest RV in the park).

Belle!  She protected us by barking at everyone who walked past our campsite.

 

Days 88-89:  Short work weeks make me happy.  That’s the awesome thing about coming back to work on Thursday–you’re already basically at the weekend!  Is it bad that I’m already counting down the hours until the weekend officially starts?

Breakfast Blues

“Ashley, can I have some cereal?”

These are usually the first words I hear from my step kids every day. They can’t wait to get a bowlful of some sugary concoction first thing in the morning. Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, Reese Puffs, and Frosted Flakes are some of their favorites, but they don’t discriminate too much.

When I was a kid, I ate my fair share of breakfast cereal–heck, I’ll still have a bowl every now and again for a snack. But I want the first thing my kiddos eat to be real food, not artificially colored sugary nothing. So today we did something different!

I sliced and toasted two whole wheat bagels, spread one half with peanut butter and the other with Nutella, then cut the halves in half (necessary for little fingers). I sliced two apples and gave each boy four slices along with half a bagel (one peanut butter piece and one Nutella piece). A glass of orange juice and we’re done!

The older boys gobbled it all up; the youngest ate the bagel and most of the apple slices. They loved that they could make a “sandwich” with the two bagel pieces and use the apple slices to scoop up the peanut butter and Nutella from their plates. I loved that they got a bit of protein, some vitamins, and a meal that would really fill them up. I ate the same portion size as them and I even I got good and full!

What are some kid-friendly recipes you’ve made to keep the little ones full and happy?