Vegan Finds

Today I want to write about some awesome vegan things I’ve discovered lately.  First of all, did you know that they’ve invented Almond Milk Greek yogurt?!  I was beyond excited when I discovered these at Whole Foods the other day!  Of course, I went back today for more and all they had was plain flavor, but I bought a few more, because I can add a little Chocolate Shakeology and coconut flakes to it (snack idea thanks to another Beachbody coach!) and I’m good to go.

As for plant based milks, my absolute favorite is the Almond Coconut Milk blend by Blue Diamond.  Surprisingly, I can’t find this at Whole Foods at all, and need to go to the regular grocery store to get it.

Next up?  These vegan bars that I saw at Whole Foods today.  Overall, I like to stay away from bars, because they can be a little high calorie and you can eat something like an apple as a snack instead, which is higher in nutrients and contains less calories.  However, they’re nice to have on hand if I’m running from one place to another and get hungry.

Let’s not even talk about the next thing.  So I used to actually not like peanut butter at all, up until a month ago at the Beachbody Coach Summit, when my coach bought some for us to put into our oatmeal in the mornings.  Now I’m seriously addicted to it and can’t get enough!  I also picked up a few Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars, which the fabulous Kris Britton over at i heart wellness happened to post about on her Facebook page the other day.

Last, but not least, I got my pilot issue of Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine in the mail yesterday.

So what are some of your favorite vegan finds?  I’m sure there are many more things that I have yet to discover and I love trying out new stuff!

 

Latin American Fiesta

What a busy day it’s been!  I’ve accomplished so much and amazingly I’m not tired as I normally would be.  Perhaps it’s the lasting effects of the acupuncture?

I was up at 5:30 am to get in my workout.  I knew it was going to be a busy day and I’ve found that once I do my workout in the morning, I feel so great that it’s done for the day and that I’m helping to rev up my metabolism.  Not to mention that I can’t come up with any excuses as I might later on in the day for not doing it.  On top of that, I’m actually feeling muscle in my arms and calves.  So exciting!  I can’t wait to see the final results.

Today was my first day working back at the Montessori preschool where I used to work before I began working for the county.  It was great seeing all my former co-workers and all the kids that I’ve known since they were 3 years old.  I couldn’t believe how much some of them had grown up and it was nice to receive their hugs and cries of “Miss Jennifer!” when they saw me.

I also managed to go to the dentist for my final Invisalign set, go to the chiropractor, get a manicure and pedicure while reading 50 Shades Freed (the 3rd book in the 50 Shades of Grey series), come home and cook dinner, and various other odds and ends that needed to be accomplished.  My point?!  There should be no excuses for what you want to achieve.  If you want something badly enough, you will find the time to do it (and I live in chronic pain and with normally low energy — no excuses from me!! 🙂 )

My fuel for today included some amazing food, thanks to inspiration that I received from the PCOS Diva.  She’s a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (which is where I’m currently going to school) and has put together a fantastic Summer Meal Plan to help women with PCOS plan and make amazing meals.  The best part is that the recipes are vegan friendly!  I did make a few changes to what she had on the menu for today, but overall I followed the plan and I was excited to be back in the kitchen cooking amazing food!

Overnight oats with chia seeds, PB2, almond coconut milk, slivered almonds, and blueberries for breakfast!

I also couldn’t resist this snack at Montessori, mainly because I wanted to try the salsa.  I have the recipe and will have to make it sometime for myself, because it was super delicious!

Lunch was a GF wrap with veggies and hummus.  I was actually so excited to make my own hummus, until I got home and realized that I’d completely forgotten to buy tahini so I could make it!  Thankfully I had some hummus in the fridge, but it wasn’t the same.

I was trying to avoid eating an afternoon snack, especially after I listened to one of my IIN lectures about Ayurveda and just eating 3 main meals a day, but I got pretty hungry in the afternoon, so I had an apple while I was at the nail salon, and then a Chocolate Shakeology when I got home.  Seriously, that stuff is so addictive.  It was calling my name and it’s well worth it!  Tastes like a chocolate shake, but it’s filled with so many ingredients that are great for you.  Shakeology is the reason I don’t really drink green smoothies, even though I want to start increasing my intake of green smoothies as well!

My liquid gold!  🙂

And my dinner?!  I made amazing black bean burgers, with homemade guacamole and homemade pico de gallo (all thanks to the PCOS Diva’s recipes), over salad greens.  My burgers didn’t turn out quite the way I anticipated, probably because of the recipe for egg replacer that I used, but I figured that I can always experiment with other egg replacer recipes and that it doesn’t matter if the burgers didn’t turn out perfectly.  At least I was experimenting!

I have tons of leftovers of the black bean burgers too and I’ve already thought of a few different ways to use them up — as fajitas with onions and peppers, in a breakfast scramble with sweet potatoes, or with some quinoa.

All right, it’s been a long day and I’m getting sleepy!  About to get on my Beachbody team call and then I’m going to bed so I can get up early again to do my workout!  Have a great night!

Protein for PCOS

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about plant based ways to incorporate more protein into my diet.  Before I get any further, we all know that the number one question that vegans get asked is where they get their protein from.

I do honestly believe that vegans get more than enough protein from adequate plant based sources. Just look at the picture above and you’ll see that the gorilla has no problems getting his protein. Nor does the elephant or the ox (ever heard of the expression “strong as an ox?”) The truth is, the human body does not require as much protein as we have been led to believe. Did you know that there’s an actual term for protein deficiency called kwashiorkor?  If people are so worried about being protein deficient, then how come they’ve never heard of this term before?  It’s almost like people get into a panic about not getting enough protein, but it never becomes a concern until you become vegan.

Isn’t this the truth?!

However, having said all that, I’m wondering if for myself, I’m taking in adequate protein, especially since I have PCOS.  I wasn’t even that concerned until I had a talk with my health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition the other night and she kept asking me about my protein.  The next day she sent me this article about signs of protein deficiency, and I seem to fall under a whole lot of them.  I do have PCOS and fibromyalgia though, so I’m sure that has something to do with it.  And I refuse to follow the article’s recommendation of adding a little red meat into each meal.

For now, I want to experiment with maybe hemp powder or another form of protein powder in addition to my Shakeology, and also see if I can try to get in more of a variety in my diet. I’m looking to two of my favorite authors, Kimberly Snyder and Kris Carr, to help me on my journey.

Since I’m getting amazing results doing the ChaLEAN Extreme and Brazil Butt Lift Hybrid, it’s time I really kick it into gear with super natural, clean plant based sources.  I can’t wait to see what my body will look like with the combination of the two and with modifying my protein intake.

If you have PCOS, how do you feel about your protein intake?  Do you feel you’re getting enough, especially if you’re vegan?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Getting Back on Track

I’m not quite sure how to begin this blog post.  I can’t believe it’s been a month since I was in Vegas, learning from the best coaches and corporate team at Beachbody about how to grow my business.  I got to meet Shaun T…

Attended amazing training workshops…

Over 5,000 coaches!!!

and solidified my commitment to continue to help as many people as possible by helping to End the Trend of Obesity in the United States.I also celebrated my 30th birthday with my friends & family with some gluten-free vegan Z Pizza and an awesome gluten-free vegan cake from CakeLove.

Yet despite my commitment to help End the Trend by helping others, I let myself slip with my eating habits.  Ok, so I haven’t really been eating THAT bad — I still don’t eat junk or anything processed.  I lost weight in Vegas, but coming back, I wasn’t mindful of planning my meals, and would start eating bananas or whatever else was around.  Now a banana here or there is ok, but eating too much of anything will cause you to gain weight, no matter what. And we all know that having PCOS causes you to gain weight in the flash of an instant if you’re not careful.

The result?!  I gained back at least 7 pounds of the weight that I lost on the Beachbody Ultimate Reset.  Not good!  Now I feel like I have to work 3 times as hard to get it back down again (of course, not uncommon with PCOS).

I really think I was ashamed to admit that I’d gained weight.  Afraid to admit that I allowed myself to slip up and that I wasn’t being as perfect with my eating as I sometimes appear to be, as if I’m being a hypocrite.  Yet I’m admitting this to show that we can’t all be perfect all the time.  We all slip up, but the most important thing to remember is that we can always get back on track.

I’ve been working out consistently with my Beachbody workouts (even doing a little Brazil Butt Lift, so much fun!!!), and it actually looks like I’ve lost several inches, so you can’t tell that I’ve gained weight.  I’m determined to get back to where I was and then some.  I refuse to allow PCOS and fibromyalgia win.  I am more than just my body, but my body is also what allows me to enjoy everything that life has to offer, and I’m going to do what it takes to be an example for myself and for other women that PCOS can be successfully managed through proper diet and exercise.  We’ve got this!

Vegas, Baby!

Wow, it’s been forever since I posted!  June’s just been a crazy month and I have missed blogging for sure!  I’m super excited also because tonight I’m heading to Las Vegas for Beachbody’s Coach Summit 2012, yay!!!!

I’m meeting all my Beachbody teammates and will be learning from the best in the business about how to grow my business, I can’t wait!!

Tomorrow I’ll be waking up in Vegas and I can’t wait to tell all of you about it!  😀

Go Heavy or Go Home!

I just had the best workout ever and I can’t get over how amazing it made me feel.  Last week, I went through the same workout, but I could barely do it because the pain from my fibromyalgia was so horrendous.  This week, I powered through it and even though I was sweating buckets, I felt fantastic.  Chalene Johnson even said at the very end “You should feel like a million bucks” and I shouted back at the TV “yes Chalene, I do!!!!”  I can’t wait to work out live with her at Beachbody’s Coach Summit in Vegas in a few more weeks.

I even bought heavier weights last night because 5 pounds just wasn’t cutting it anymore!

Despite the recent weight loss that I’ve had thanks to the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, my weight has stabilized and I’ve been getting frustrated with myself because of the fact that I still have body fat on my body.  Which you might think sounds kind of ridiculous, but as my good friend Katy affectionately says to me, I’m eating “twigs and berries.”  I honestly don’t understand how it’s physiologically possible for me to have fat on my stomach and thighs when I drink a superfoods shake for breakfast everyday, have a salad with fruit for lunch, have another shake as a snack, and then eat vegetables with a whole grain for dinner, practically everyday.

I’d understand if I were eating junk here and there, but I’m honestly not.  There’s nothing that I’m eating that my body can grab onto in order for the fat to be there.  The only thing I can think of is that something strange is going on with my PCOS.  Either I’m not eating enough calories, or I’m eating too much (I don’t ever bother to count calories).  My guess is I’m not eating enough, because I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night starving.  I’ve also been eating higher glycemic fruits, like bananas, so I guess I have to cut back.  I’m still figuring out what works for me, because so many foods still make me so bloated, but it’s just so frustrating because I know that I take care of myself, and although I’m not severely overweight, I’ve got at least 10 to 20 pounds to go.  It’s even more frustrating when I see people shoveling junk into their bodies and they maintain a slim physique.  Trust me, the last thing I want to be doing is shoveling junk into my body, but it’s kind of a pain having to overanalyze every little thing that goes into my mouth.  Ok, rant over.  🙂

The weather’s been gorgeous around here, so today at lunch I sat outside with my IIN Fast Track Workbook and worked on learning on how to market myself while I enjoyed my delicious fruit.

And then when I left work, I couldn’t resist stopping by Starbucks and buying a soy chai (with half the amount of sugar or else it’s way too sweet for me!) and then having some Shakeology “ice cream” as a snack!

I also ordered two new books from Amazon and was excited to see that they were at my door when I arrived.  One’s a brand new vegan cookbook (as if I didn’t have enough already!) and the other one is about, as the title says, healing your headache.  The latest medicine that the neurologist gave me isn’t working, and even though I’m seeing him again next week, this book came recommended to me by another Beachbody coach who has fibromyalgia, and I’d like to see what it says and whether it’ll help me.  Hopefully it’ll tell me something new that I don’t already know.  It also had great reviews on Amazon.

For dinner, I had these amazing Tempeh Taco Lettuce Wraps courtesy of The Fitnessista.  A super easy recipe that only took me a few minutes to make!  Unfortunately I didn’t have mushrooms and I probably would’ve added some more spices next time, but definitely a recipe worth repeating!

Can’t believe it’s already June tomorrow, but I’m ready for it!

Glowing Green

It was back to work today!  Only 3 more weeks until it’s the end of school, which is pretty exciting, although I’ll be working throughout the summer to help me pay bills until I can get my Beachbody business off the ground running.

The exciting thing is though that it’s only 3 more weeks until Beachbody’s Coach Summit 2012 and 1 month until I turn 30!  I’ll officially have 3 weeks off (notice a 3 week theme here?!) between my last day of work and working summer school, but it’s definitely going to be a busy time!

Breakfast was, as usual, Shakeology, and for lunch I’ve been sticking to microgreen salads.  I won’t lie, I’m definitely getting tired of eating them everyday, but they’re so quick & easy to make, and I can get pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, so they’re my standby for now.

I accompanied my salad with some delicious blueberries.

Even though today was my workout rest day, I decided to do ChaLEAN Extreme today because tomorrow night I’m meeting up with some people who are in my Integrative Nutrition class.  My pre-workout snack was Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, which I haven’t made in a while, but it was delicious!

And for dinner I decided to have some of the butternut squash that my mom roasted for me yesterday along with some garlicky kale toasted in some coconut milk.  It was so good that I was thinking next time I’ll have the kale with some gluten-free pasta!

Now it’s off to bed for me.  It’s raining again, which means my pain levels are high and sleep tends to elude me.  Praying it’s different tonight!

 

Bring On Summer!

Hi everyone!  How did you spend your long weekends?!  I hope that you were able to relax and spend time with friends and family!  I know that I was very thankful to finally be able to let go and not have to think about anything other than just being free to do whatever I wanted.  I spent the majority of the weekend by the pool, soaking up the sunshine and swimming – my idea of heaven!  🙂

A little gf vegan pizza, something that I definitely consider a splurge meal, but it was very delicious!

Chipotle poolside today while I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

I bought it last year and Alicia talks about things I already pretty much know about, but it helped to re-affirm why I choose to eat a plant based diet.  I also love it because she delves into the Macrobiotic lifestyle, something that I just learned about at Institute for Integrative Nutrition and that I’ve been wanting to explore more, so it’s perfect!

I bought lots of groceries to help set me up for the week, including salad greens, spinach, kale, celery, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, pears, shredded carrots, chia seeds, romaine, lemons, black beans, coconut milk, and blueberries.

Since it was still so warm out when I got home from the pool, I decided to make a cooling cucumber avocado soup for dinner, followed by Tropical Shakeology ice cream for dessert!

And my mom grilled up some butternut squash that I had sitting around, so I’m all set for tomorrow’s dinner, which I’ll probably eat with a side of some steamed kale.

Bring on summer!

Exercise Makes You Feel Happy :)

On a day like today when I’ve 3 Shakeology’s to get me through my meals because I’m too exhausted to cook, I wanted to remind you to eat fresh whole foods and get in your exercise. In the words of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, “”Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”

 

 

What have you done for YOURSELF today?!

Fibromyalgia meets PCOS

Imagine having pain all over your body 24/7, with no relief in site.  It’ll come and go in waves, but it’s always there.  For a while, the best I could describe it is that it felt like I could always use a massage through my shoulders and back, but I didn’t think much else of it.  Oh yeah, and then there are the chronic daily headaches that I live with on a daily basis and that I’ve talked about before.

As I’ve gotten more involved with going to the chiropractor regularly and been more involved with researching my symptoms, I’ve been hearing more and more about fibromyalgia.  My chiropractor even briefly mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he thought I might have fibromyalgia, but I still had no idea what it meant.  I finally did my own research thanks for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and thanks to the guidance of a few other Beachbody coaches that also have it, and I couldn’t believe that I felt like I was reading about myself.

So today I finally talked to my chiropractor about it.  My Beachbody coach friends told me to ask him about a functional medicine doctor.  Somehow, it went over my head that he also practices functional medicine.  He’s actually been suspecting for a long time that fibromyalgia has been my problem, but since it’s hard to diagnose and there’s no specific test for it, other autoimmune diseases must first be ruled out of the picture.  Since I’ve tried pretty much everything and ruled out a lot of things (including Lyme!), he finally conducted the official diagnosis by assessing the fibromyalgia trigger points, which was most definitely painful!

I’m actually happy that I finally have an answer.  And it’s no wonder that nothing is really working and I feel the way that I feel.  Having PCOS AND fibromyalgia is quite a concoction in my body, to say the least.  I know that the healthy lifestyle changes that I’ve made are definitely helping.  Exercise is definitely helping.  Even if I don’t immediately feel it, I know that the pain could be a lot worse.  And every single day I’m thankful for my illness (illnesses? dis-eases?), because if it weren’t for what I have, I would never have discovered my true passion.

Now, onto the food I had today!  Shakeology was for breakfast, as usual.  I actually stopped taking pictures of the Shakeology because they’re always the same, yummy and good!  But I do have an awesome picture that was shared by another coach on Facebook related to Shakeology!

Lunch was a yummy microgreen salad

With some fresh fruit

I did have a chocolate Shakeology as a snack before doing my ChaLEAN Extreme (gotta stay in shape, despite the pain!)  I used to use the pain and being chronically tired as an excuse, but after another coach told me that she doesn’t let fibromyalgia win, I decided to adopt the same attitude, and I haven’t missed a single workout since!  🙂

I was super tired today too, because I didn’t sleep well last night.  On days like these, I don’t feel like cooking.  Instead of being lazy about it though, I threw some millet into the rice cooker, chopped up some zucchini, onion, asparagus, and some carrots, and dinner was ready in less than 15 minutes.  Quick, simple, easy, and delicious!

And now I’m headed to bed because my pain levels are high and I need some sleep!!!