Friday, March 28, 2014

Fitness Friday: Morning Workouts

I am not a morning person.  I like to sleep until right before I need to get up, shower and go to work.  I usually make my smoothies in the morning, and I drink them at work.

I have ambitions though.  I love my after work fitness routines, which is basically yoga classes or jogging with Josh, but I need to add strength training.  I don't want to give up my yoga classes or my runs, so I'm going to strive to be a morning exerciser.

This has been attempted many times over the years to no success.  Josh and Bodhi will get too cuddly, it will get too cold outside, or I will get too lazy.  I'm really going to put some effort into this, though, because I think it will help a lot.  If I'm going to relax a little about what I'm eating, I need to kick up my fitness routine.  Ultimately, I want to do this so I'll be strong and healthy, so that's a pretty good motivator.

So, I'm changing my ever changing workout plan again.  I will keep the yoga and running after work, and the hiking on the weekends, but I'm going to strive to get up 4 days a week and do strength training and cardio for 30 minutes.  Short workouts are way better for me in the morning, and I have a space in my home and plenty of equipment to do it.

So far, this week has been good and bad.  While I have been able to get up and work out, doing a double workout on Tuesday kind of wrecked me for Wednesday.  So, there's a give and take.  I will be pushing through!

This week's victory:

I ran a mile in 11 1/2 minutes!  That may not seem like a whole lot to some, but that's amazing for me.  Josh ran with me Tuesday, and we crushed it.

Workouts Achieved:

I got in a hot yoga class, a run and 2 strength training sessions.  I'm going to strive to be physically active this weekend, but as it's the final push before my exam on Monday, there's no telling what's going to happen.

This week's struggles:

The addition of strength training, probably coupled with my stress and anxiety over my test, pushed my appetite up this week, and I found myself at Whole Foods more than a couple days grabbing lunch.  I'll recap all the Monday, but I definitely let the added workouts fuel my food intake.  That's something to work on for next week.

Fitness is a practice, and it's always changing.  So, I will keep pushing for morning workouts in addition to my after work activities, and I will continue to eat healthfully!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slow Cooker Black Bean Fajitas

Saturday night, I decided we needed more black beans in our life.  So, I got to soaking.  Now, we have been cooking from cookbooks lately, but this one was half cookbook recipe, half winging it.

We cooked the beans down all day in the slow cooker, and the whole house smelled like garlic.  To go with it, we made Mexican Millet from The Veganomicon.  Oh Isa, is there anything you can't do?  The millet was so delicious, and it made a great base for the fajitas.

Black Bean Fajitas

Recipe by Dana
Slow cooker black bean fajitas.
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cook time: 8 hours.
Total time: 8 1/2 hours.
Yield: 10 servings
  • 2 cups dried black beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can hot rotelle
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 poblano pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • lettuce leaves
  • flour tortillas
Cooking Directions
  1. Overnight, soak black beans in water.
  2. Discard water, rinse.
  3. In a large crock pot, add beans, rotelle, and vegetable stock.
  4. Mince garlic and add to pot.
  5. Add cumin and seeds.
  6. Cook on high for 2 hours, then switch to low for 4 hours.
  7. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium high.
  8. Slice onion into rings.
  9. Slice poblano pepper into small strips.
  10. Place in hot pan.
  11. Reduce to medium heat and cook down for 20 minutes.
  12. Serve beans topped with pepper mix in lettuce leaf or tortilla.

Josh had his on flour tortillas, and I had mine on lettuce topped with cashew sour cream.  It was a great and simple dinner that we've had again this week.  

It's been lovely to have food prepped in the house, because I have been trying to study every night after work.  As my test approaches, the stress mounts.  Hopefully, I will get through it and move forward, and I won't have a reason to fight emotional setbacks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LR Restaurant Review: YaYa's Bistro

Last Thursday was date night, and it was also one of the warmest days we've had in Little Rock this year.  Josh had originally planned to take me to the soft opening of BJ's Brewhouse, but we didn't know we needed a reservation, so when I called to see if their menu was vegan friendly, I got told I wasn't eating there this week.  Sigh.  Oh well, it didn't look that friendly anyway.  I'm sure I'll check it out at some point, because they have a kale and brussels sprout salad.

So, we were left scrambling to decide where date night was going to happen.  Being so beautiful outside, I wanted a patio.  When it's pretty, I want to walk around, and when I want a date night involving walking, I often point us to The Promenade.  It's ritzy, but Lululemon is out there, and so are a few local eateries like Big Orange and Local Lime.  I really wanted something I had never tried before, so we decided on Ya Ya's Euro Bistro.

I immediately saw several items on the menu I wanted to try.  There were multiple salads that could be made vegan, as well as some pasta dishes and sides.  It's usually a good sign when I see quinoa or beets on a menu, so I knew we'd be ok.

Their patio is very nice.  It's full of comfy chairs, couches and tables.  The only down side is that the chairs are very low and laid back, which makes sitting up to eat a bit on the awkward side.

Since it was beautiful, and since I am releasing my grip on detox ever so slightly, I ordered a cucumber basil cocktail.

It was delicious, but it took me an hour to drink it and I was pretty giggly afterwards.  I had an amazing conversation with a good friend yesterday, and she really put the whole drinking thing in perspective.  She told me, "It's better to be a person who drinks rarely than someone who rarely not drinks."  That resonated with me, for sure.

I was really hungry, so we ordered their hummus (feta on the side for Josh) to start.  The flavor was good, but it was super runny, which was a little off putting.  The pita bread was great, though.  Very warm and fluffy, with nice grill marks.  Josh let me have both olives.  That's love, people.

I wanted something healthy, and while I was tempted by the beet salad, I went for kale.  I ordered it no cheese, add quinoa, and after the vinaigrette mishap at The Main Cheese, I asked for their dressing on the side too.

When it came out, I thought, "Great, here is another restaurant that doesn't know what vinaigrette is."  I thought there was no way that was vegan, so I asked the waitress to go ask the chef.  She came back and assured me that the thickness came from cooking down apricots.  They take their vinaigrette and add the cooked fruit, no dairy or eggs.  I tried it, and it was definitely sweet.

As for the salad... Don't get me wrong.  I love kale, but when ordering a kale salad, I guess I thought it would have been massaged in lemon juice or prepped in some way to take the bitterness out.  Maybe I don't like raw kale?  The dressing made this more edible, but in the end, I ate the quinoa and onions most of all.  I won't order this again.  The apricots were too sweet for my taste buds, and while the fennel was good, overall it just wasn't my cup of tea.  Next time, I'll go for the beets!

Ya Ya's Euro Bistro on Urbanspoon

Cookbook Creations: Vegan Meatloaf

Friday, before I headed off to hot yoga, I got in the kitchen and prepped a vegan meatloaf!  The second recipe Josh and I had in our quest to use our cookbooks more came from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker.

This recipe was pretty easy to follow, and it's definitely omni friendly.  I was afraid to make a "meatloaf" for Josh, since he eats meat, but he liked it!  The flavors were good, and the texture was satisfying.  We're going to try this on sandwiches later in the week.

As you can see, there are a lot of ingredients, and my kitchen was a bit of a mess afterwards.  Totally worth it though.  This makes a good amount of food, and I think it would be great in a Thanksgiving-type situation.

I roasted some broccoli and served it along side.  It was a hearty and delicious dinner.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekly Recap: Out of Detox and Into Life

When I was coming out of my Arbonne 28 day detox, I was really afraid to include any "forbidden" foods.  My momentum was good, but tentative, and I knew I could lose my progress so easily.  I wanted to push it to 100 days of detox diet, keeping out gluten, alcohol, sugar and caffeine.  Slowly, though, these items have been making it back into my diet.  I was so afraid that when they did, I would fall back into unhealthy patterns.

I'm happy to report that isn't the case.  On Friday, I weighed in 3 pounds down for the week, bringing my total weight loss to 18.5 pounds.  I have set a 5 pound a month goal for myself, ensuring slow and steady weight loss through the rest of the year, and I have met and exceeded that goal for March.  All this, and I had a cocktail on date night Thursday!

I think I'm to the point now where allowing some of these "non detox" foods is ok.  When I finished my 28 day detox, I was terrified that I would slip back away from my healthy diet.  I'm not afraid anymore.  This is my way of life, and a cup of green tea in the morning or some Sunday pancakes will not completely destroy all my progress.  Since I have a history of being obsessive about my diet, I don't feel bad releasing my grip ever so slightly.

All that being said, I will continue to work hard, eat well, and check in weekly.  If I am getting too far off track, I know I can tighten things up.  I'm not looking for a crash diet, ultimately.  I want to live now the way I will live when I hit my goal weight.  That means having treats every now and then.


I'm still completely in love with smoothies.  During the week, my breakfast smoothies were as follows with limited variation:

2 scoops protein powder
1/3 cup frozen strawberries
1 tbs maca
1 tbs chia seeds
1 cup spinach
1 cup coconut milk
ice and water to mix

I made Josh and I these amazingly bright blue/purple smoothies for breakfast on Saturday.  They were vanilla protein and protein, and man were they tasty.

I have also been brewing a pot of green tea in the morning.  I love the ritual, and while it has caffeine, it's still a healthy breakfast choice.  I was getting tired of the fizzy sticks, which are pretty sweet.  I'm dying to try matcha, especially after this awesome write up on Happy Healthy Life.  Have you tried it?

Also, I made pancakes from Minimalist Baker on Sunday.  These were amazing.


Lunch all week were smoothies.  On Friday, I got fancy and added some Whole Foods salad bar to the mix.  I'm loving the mix I have for lunch, so I have not been varying much.

2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 tbs spirulina
2 carrots
2 cups spinach
1 cup coconut water
1/3 cup frozen mango
ice and water to mix

It's such a healthy lunch, and I can't get enough.


This week, Josh and I cooked out of Appetite for Reduction.  I've already given a review of our amazing dinner, which we had most nights.  Thursday, we had date night, but I'll recap that later this week.  I also have been playing with my new favorite food, quinoa.  More on that later, too.


Monday: 3 mile run with Josh
Tuesday:  Intermediate/Advanced Yoga
Wednesday: 3 mile run with Josh
Thursday: Date night (no workout)
Friday:  Hot Yoga

I didn't get any workouts in this weekend, because I was swamped with studying.  I did manage to leave the house for a crafternoon at my friend Erin's house.  Although, I tried to study.  I got fairly distracted by all the glitter and one super cute baby.  Studying is going well, but I will probably be a bit of a basket case until my test (a week from tomorrow.)

Next week:

I plan to continue to eat well, try to manage the stress of my impending test and start strength training.  My goal is to get in 2 body revolution workouts in addition to yoga and running.

Here's my treat cocktail for the week.  I found a cucumber soda (45 calories) at Whole Foods and added a smidge of vodka to it.  After 3 months of sobriety, a little is all I need.

Have a kick ass week!