Tag Archives: Go Veg

Foodie Pen Pals: October 2012

Hello all! Yesterday was Foodie Pen Pal reveal day for October, I am a day late, my internet went down and I fell asleep mid-post last night. I was paired up with Serena from Utterly Sinful for October! First of all, she was awesome. She sent me an email right away and asked me a detailed list of questions about what I liked, did not like, if I had any allergies etc. She also made me laugh 107x in just a few emails. New best friend? I hope!

Serena lives in Massachusetts in Cape Cod and most of the stuff she sent me was local!

  • Late July Sea Salt Tortilla Chips – Organic and Delicious. I opened the bag and ate most of them while going through the box of food!
  • Green Mountain Gringo Salsa – I LOVE that she took not that chips and salsa were my favorite snack (and food). I plan on ordering a case of this.

She is AWESOME. so is salsa.

  • Bear Naked Granola – simple and delicious. I use it with Chobani!
  • The Accidental Vegetarian cookbook – I already love this cookbook because a lot of the recipes do not require a lot of ingredients and are relatively simple to prepare!
  • Measuring Spoons (magnetic, awesome).
  • Cheribundi juice! I have already had these and I love them so I was excited to get another.
  • Cape Cod Mustard! I don’t usually eat mustard but she recommended using it with pretzels and I did just that! Thank you for the suggestion, it was delicious.

Thank you Serena! Everything was amazing!! Check out her blog Utterly Sinful, for delicious recipes (and unfiltered conversation)!

If you would like to be a part of Foodie Pen Pals, head on over to Lindsay’s blog to read the rules and sign-up!

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Meatless Monday A to Z (Edamame!)

As usual, I am late with my recipe challenge post (2 weeks to be exact)!

I was on the train home from the city tonight and thought about what I should make. I wanted tacos so I decided to create some sort of Edamame guacamole! I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some ingredients that I thought would compliment and got started!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shelled edamame beans
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons water

Directions

Combine edamame beans, avocado, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor.

Add water and pulse the mix until the guacamole is creamy and smooth. After completed, top with salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes!

I used the guacamole as a liner of my soft tacos! I topped it with brown rice, roasted red peppers, medium salsa, Chobani plain greek yogurt and Sriracha! It was perfect. I love tacos.

Next time I will put less garlic in the mix because it was very noticeable (some like a lot of garlic, I do not)!

Please visit Better With Veggies for the recipe link up for other recipes with edamame and check back soon (I hope) for the next featured ingredient, FIGS!

Blogger Q&A: Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete

I am beyond excited about this Q&A. If anyone read my post about my decision to become a vegetarian, you would have read about how Matt Frazier’s blog, No Meat Athlete was a HUGE help and is still (and probably will be for a long time) my go-to for information, recipes and general support! I emailed Matt with some questions I had wanted to post in this section of my blog and he is freaking awesome and got back to me with very detailed and informative answers! I am very excited to share this with everyone!

1. Who inspired you to share your story (and to continue to share your story to tens of thousands of people) on NMA?

I’m half-embarrassed to admit that the push to get started with something (anything!) was Tony Robbins, the motivational guy from those infomercials. I went to one of his seminars and actually really enjoyed it, and learned a lot about the nearly-vegan diet he advocated.

When I got home, I did a 10-day challenge to eat essentially vegan + fish, and I felt so great about it that I decided to go completely vegetarian after that. I was worried about what it would do to my training — I was working towards qualifying for Boston at the time — and when I did some research, I couldn’t find any great sources of information for plant-based athletes. So I figured I’d start something myself to write about my experiences and what I was learning, and that became No Meat Athlete.

2. For readers who do not read your blog, can you please share how transitioning to a plant-based diet improved your times as an endurance runner?

When I decided to go vegetarian, I was dealing with some IT-band syndrome that kept me from running for about six weeks. So it was probably a month of eating vegetarian (or eating mostly-vegetarian while transitioning) before I did my first long run on the diet, and I’ll never forget it. I ran a 12-mile route that I ran a lot back then, and I ran it faster than I ever had and felt better than ever. And this was after six weeks of almost no running!

From there, I started training for what would be the marathon where I qualified for Boston. Over that six or seven months, I was able to workout harder and more frequently than I had been before, without having any injury issues. I’m always hesitant to say, “Yes, that was directly the result of my diet,” because there were lots of new things going on then. But it certainly played a part, and many of the vegan athletes I’ve talked to have confirmed that they notice the same recovery benefits.

I ended up running a PR (by over 10 minutes!) in that marathon and qualified for Boston by one minute. To this day, it remains the single most gratifying moment of my life as a runner; I had worked so hard at it for something like seven years and couldn’t believe that journey was over. It was a relief too, because finally I felt free to train for other things. So from there I got into ultrarunning and ran my first 50-miler the next year, and that’s where I am now.

3. I know you did not become a vegan immediately, any advice for vegetarians trying to make the transition to vegan?

For me, going vegan was an entirely different experience when my heart was fully in it than the first time I tried it, about a year and a half after going vegetarian, when I felt that I “should” go vegan but somehow wasn’t ready yet.

But I don’t think the approach I took, even that first time, was bad. What I did was just what I did when I went vegetarian and recommend to others: commit to a time period that you’ll stay with it, and once that’s up you’re free to do whatever you want without feeling like you failed.

What I did the first time I tried to go vegan was commit to just one month (and for some, maybe a week or 10 days might be a better fit). When I reached the end of that 30 days, I knew I wasn’t ready. It was still hard and it didn’t feel right, so when the month was over, I went back to eating cheese occasionally. But that month taught me a lot, and only a few months later, I decided again to go vegan, this time for good.

A big part of the difference in the two attempts was the motivation. The first time, I wanted to go vegan, but didn’t feel that I needed to. Honestly, if you’re vegetarian and want to be vegan but can’t quite make it happen, I’d suggest reading or watching documentaries about how dairy cows are treated. For me, hearing about what goes on there made it very easy to go vegan.

4. Can you please give an example of your diet on a typical day?

There are a few constants in my diet each day — a smoothie in the morning, and a salad or plate of cooked greens (some type of kale, usually) in the afternoon. Making sure I get at least these two things each day helps to keep me on track for the rest of the day, since after a smoothie or salad, you tend to feel good and not want a bunch of junk food.

For lunch, I almost always do leftovers of whatever the previous night’s dinner was, just because it’s quick and convenient.

And dinner, usually, is something pretty simple but healthy and varied. Beans and rice are a favorite of mine, and we make lots of lentil dishes too. Usually it’s some combination of grains and beans or lentils — even if we’re having a pasta dish, for example, we’ll add chickpeas to red sauces, or white beans to pesto sauces (a lot of authentic Italian dishes, actually, mix beans and pasta).

And throughout the day, I fill in the gaps with snacks — hummus in a pita, lots of fruits, nuts or trail mix, almond butter on a bagel, for example. Even though I don’t worry much about protein, even as a vegan, I do try to make sure that every meal or snack has at least some good protein source in it, even if’s just a little bit. That keeps me from just eating carbohydrates all the time, a mistake a lot of vegetarians make.

5. Does your diet change at all when it becomes closer to race day?

It does. About a week or so before the race, I start to increase my portion sizes, and I focus more on carbohydrates. As the week goes on, especially in the last two days before the race or so, I start to take in significantly more carbohydrates, sipping on sports drinks instead of water just to get more carbs wherever I can to top off the tank. And the day before the race, I eat my really big, carb-loading meal at lunchtime, and then just a light dinner so that I sleep well and have more time to digest the big meal. I actually wrote a post on my blog that goes into more detail about what to eat the week before a race; you can check that out if you’re interested.

6. What was your favorite finish line?

It’s got to be the one at my first marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego back in 2002. The Rock ‘n’ Roll races always do a good job of creating a party atmosphere at the finish, but more than that, it was that I was so miserable for the last 8 miles of that race that nothing has ever looked so beautiful as the finish did then. I made so many mistakes during the training for that first race, it was a wonder I finished at all. But the worst part was that, even knowing that my training hadn’t gone well and I had struggled a lot with injury, I was still naive enough that I let my adrenaline convince me I could run a 3:10 and qualify for Boston that day! Instead, it was a 4:53.

7. I was an inaugural member of “Run Your BQ.” Can you give everyone a brief explanation of the program?

Sure! The goal of Run Your BQ is what it sounds like — to help our members run their fastest marathons and qualify for Boston. Rather than put that information into a book, it’s an interactive experience. So in addition to articles and training plans, there are videos, audios, live Q&A sessions, and of course the forums where members can get help from each other or from me and Jason.

Jason and I are a good combination — he’s super fast (2:39 marathon PR) and he’s a running nerd who knows tons about technical aspects of getting faster. I, on the other hand, tend to focus on the bigger-picture things that I had to use to go from 4:53 in my first marathon all the way down to 3:10 to get to Boston. So we bring different skills and approaches to the table, and I think that’s extremely valuable for our members.

8. Do you have a running blog and/or veg blog that you consider a go-to for information and resources?

Honestly, I don’t really read many blogs. There are only 1 or 2 that I subscribe to and read every post from, but they’re not about running or food. Strength Running is my favorite running blog and I learn a lot there; Jason (also from Run Your BQ) has a way of presenting technical running information in a way that makes it interesting. Choosing Raw is my favorite vegan blog, even though I’m far from a raw foodie. But Gena makes some great food and writes a lot of thought-provoking posts.

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Matt. His blog is full of helpful posts about running and being active on a plant-based diet! His recipes are also amazing, there are recipes for every meal (make sure to check out the smoothies)! Please visit No Meat Athlete for some wonderful blog browsing!

Meatless Monday A to Z (Dates!)

Following my extreme tardiness on the recipe challenge, I made this snack exactly one week after it was due. Just like last week, I had never cooked with dates so I went to the handy world-wide web, and more specifically, to one of my favorite vegan recipe blogs, Oh She Glows. Angela had a perfect recipe for 5 Ingredient No Bake Vegan Dates Squares!

You can find the ingredients and directions on her website as well as below – recipe was copied from her site!! I did not change one thing when I made the bars, except I used a pan that was too big, I did not have an 8×8 pan and I used tin foil, go figure!

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1.5 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Date filling:

  • 25 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (~2.5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

1. Line a square pan (8 in x 8 in) with two pieces of parchment paper going opposite ways. In a food processor, process the almond, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Now add in the dates and process until crumbly again. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until sticky. You can add a tiny bit more oil if the dough is too dry. Remove from processor, set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later, and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into the pan.

2. Grab your pitted and roughly chopped dates and water and process in the food processor until a paste forms. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You can add a tiny bit more water if needed, but you want the paste quite thick. Scoop out the date mixture onto the crust and gently spread with the back of a wet spatula until even.

3. Sprinkle on the 3/4 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.

Waiting to cool!

Final Product!

So what did I think? Delicious. What did I do wrong? I used the wrong size pan and I used tin foil. When I cut the squares, the cut the tin foil on the squares. Obviously that would happen. In general I absolutely loved them, they were very simple (5 ingredients, helloooo!). The only thing that took a long time was cutting up 35 dates, but I will definitely be making them again!

Please visit Better With Veggies for the recipe link up for other recipes with dates and check back some other time (will most likely not be a Monday) for the next featured ingredient!

I Want to Live Compassionately Fit

This post is a bit overdue I think, but I have never put it into words before and I have never explained it in such detail so here goes.

I have only been a vegetarian for 9 months. I feel like I should have been a vegetarian my whole life. Just like running, fitness, frizzy hair and sarcasm are part of who I am, being an animal lover is as well. Unfortunately, the disgust I now feel for animal cruelty took 26 years to truly surface.

I was the definition of a carnivore. I ate all meat (I did not discriminate) and I ate it all rare. I was the asshole that said “I don’t give a shit, the animals taste good.” That asshole part of me slowly died during the months of November and December 2011. I am not even sure how it happened but I watched a video of undercover footage of a Butterball Turkey farm. I could barely watch it and was definitely crying at my desk at work. I spoke to Melissa about it every day for weeks. She told me she used to be a vegetarian as well and gave me some of her thoughts and tips. I heard about Oprah’s special on veganism (note: I never watched it and I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that is not what this is about). I did, however, watch the video part of the special of Lisa Ling’s tour of a slaughterhouse. I watched the entire video and I cried. I realized that prior to this I chose to ignore what was happening to the animals before they arrived on my plate. I ignored these videos that I knew existed because I did not want to see the way humans act towards other living creatures.

I did not make the decision to become a vegetarian that moment. I made my decision on New Year’s Eve 2011 after weeks, and tears, and plenty of drinks and chats with my friend Michelle (who is a saint for listening to me literally wail that night). I said before that part of me died when I made this decision, and when that happened, more importantly, another more eager and compassionate part awoke.

I was clueless when I started. It was so new to me. I had to learn, I had to evolve. I researched. The healthy living community helped me more than I could ever say. Personal stories and tips and recipes got me through each day! I also watched Forks Over Knives, a “feature film that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” It was extremely informative, if not mind-blowing. I have a list of videos and books that I still want to watch and read on the subject! The reason I became a vegetarian is apparent and will be with me everyday, I want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. The environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet are an added bonus. I am now very aware of what types of food enter my body. I eat whole ingredients and I buy organic when I can. I am not interested in eating food that was grown with pesticides, chemicals or that was genetically engineered. I believe that my dietary choices will help me live a longer, healthier life.

Fun fact time? Ok!

  • I had no resistance from my friends or family, only unconditional support. Sarcastic comments about not eating meat were expected and they do not offend me. I am not throwing red paint on anyone.
  • It is not hard at all to switch your diet from 100% meat to 0% meat. When doing it for the right reasons, you will not miss it at all.
  • I do not eat any meat, fish or any faux meats.
  • I cut down my dairy intake significantly, but I am not a vegan.
  • I have discovered and eaten so many amazing foods I would have never tried prior.
  • I cook a lot. I am forced to. I enjoy it, but I still suck at it.
  • I no longer eat any fast food, there’s nothing for me too eat. BONUS!
  • I get plenty of protein through my diet. You do not need to make that the first question.
  • I slowly switched all of my household (and beauty) products to cruelty-free products. Slowly though, because it is expensive.
  • The only leather I wear now is my running sneakers, and I am in the process of looking for an alternative.

I am still learning and adjusting each day, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier, healthier or a better runner.

If anyone has any questions (or comments) – please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment! It is definitely an interesting (and emotional) transition. I would never have gotten through it without advice from friends and family and online resources and blogs!

I think I will add more of this aspect of my life into my blog. It is very important to me. Let me know if you would like that, what you want to know, don’t want to know etc.!

Here are the links to the blogs that I used all of the time!

Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/

Veggie Fitness – http://veggiefitness.com/

Forks Over Knives – http://www.forksoverknives.com/