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:

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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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Enjoying the Gym (a.k.a Something I Never Thought Would Happen to Me. Like, EVER. )

It’s been a bit since my last post, but I’ve been busy in an unexpected place–the gym!

Now, I’ve never been particularly athletic. If I was, it was in an artsy-fartsy kind of way–ballet and jazz classes or colorguard with the marching band in high school. And I’ve definitely never liked to sweat (real talk–still don’t). But once I got to my heaviest weight ever last year, I decided to get my ass in gear…workout gear. 

Like many hopeful fools at the beginning of 2016, shortly after January 1 I bought a gym membership. Guess how many times I went to the gym that spring? 

Approximately twice. (Lame, I know.)

But now, a year later, I’m hitting the gym three times a week. And you know what? I actually kind of like it!

I never thought I’d look forward to going to the gym. Ever. It’s like Invasion of the Ashley Snatchers over here! But there were a few things that changed my mindset:

  1. Accountability. Instead of working out solo, I hired a personal trainer at my gym. This way, I have an appointment–and someone to hold me accountable for showing up. Now it isn’t “I’ll work out when I have time” or “I’m tired so I’ll work out tomorrow.” I’ve got someone who expects me to be at the gym. 
  2. Guidance. When I worked out solo, I got anxious. I had no idea what exercises to do or if i was doing them correctly, so I stuck to easy cardio (walking usually). When I worked out in large groups, like a boot camp or class like Zumba, I got anxious and embarrassed. Was I the worst person in the group? Were the other people judging me? Once in a group boot camp, an extremely pregnant lady literally ran laps around me–not a great confidence booster, y’all. (And guess who never went back to that boot camp.) With my trainer I’ve got someone to show me what exercises to do, how to do them, and no pressure to be “the best” in the class–I’m #1 by default!
  3. Consistency. If you know me, you know I’m a full-fledged Type A control freak. I gotta have a plan for errythang. So, I plan my workouts. I meet with my trainer twice a week on the same days at the same time; a recurring meeting request on my calendar keeps me on track. Starting this month, I plan a solo workout too–a week in advance–and put that on my calendar as well. Getting in a routine makes getting to the gym much easier for me. 

Since I’ve been hitting the gym regularly, I honestly haven’t lost much weight. However, my body fat percentage has decreased since I’m replacing fat with muscle. I’ve noticed changes–my body is more toned overall and my waist is smaller–and other people have too. When I went home to Kentucky for Christmas, multiple family members commented on how I’d lost weight since they saw me for Thanksgiving less than a month before! 

Don’t get me wrong–she’s not a gym rat yet. I go to the gym, sure, but I still hate sweating. (I guess some things never change.) However, I’m slowly enjoying my time there more and more. I’m even toying with the idea of adding a fourth workout each week in the morning before work! 

My goal is to lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday in September. But even if I don’t meet that goal, I’m still really happy and proud of myself. I’m making a lifestyle change! And that’s pretty damn awesome.