vegan


Vegan, Schmegan: Why I Couldn’t Wait to Eat Meat Again

My experiment is over and I’m more than happy to be back to eating an all-inclusive diet again! For each the past three months, I have been following  a different lifestyle diet. I kicked things off with Paleo, then went vegetarian, finally ending with vegan. Veganism was tough, but I perservered! Ok Ok, I admit, this is how I really felt:

Yes, I HATED IT! Sorry vegan friends, it’s possible that if I tried it first I would have loved it, but  sadly, that fortune wasn’t written on the back of a soybean. Part of my dislike for the plants-only diet was that I did it last, and after two months, I was totally over having restrictions on my diet. Or maybe it was my terrible and terrifying belly-bloat from all the fibrous foods.

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Me, looking down at my belly. NO. I’M NOT PREGNANT.

Vegan Diet: The Breakdown

Difficulty: Hard to stick with. Boring. I really missed fish and cheese (not together, that would be gross).

Expense: As inexpensive as vegetarian since plant products are cheaper than animal ones. However, I spent more on vegan restaurants than I normally would. I spent about $250 on groceries that month, but probably $150 on ordering out.

What I Ate: I pretty much ate my weight in nuts, nut butters, and avocados. I even put almond butter on my sweet potatoes (it’s actually really good, I think you should try it). Dinners were mostly huge bowls of sauteed veggies with either beans on tops or a baked sweet potato. I ate more tofu than ever and discovered a love of Soba noodles. I ate a lot of avocado toast for breakfast or even a snack (probably too much).

Energy Level: Normal, I did not notice a change from the previous month.

Body Changes: This is interesting. One would expect a new vegan to have some weight loss but I actually gained weight. Nothing dramatic, I am actually the same measurements as I was before I started the project. Why the weight gain? I believe this has a lot to do with all the fat I was eating. Yes, they were healthy fats. But too much of a good thing…well you know how it goes. Also, those vegan restaurant meals aren’t always healthy, just because they’re made of plants. There is such a thing as vegan junk food, and I definitely partook.

So, now what?

I am blending all three diets into one super healthy, super “clean” diet by going vegetarian during the day and eat paleo-style at night. This way I get the best of everything the market has to offer, without over-doing it on a certain food group.

Also:

I will have less reliance on cereal grains. This does not mean none, my paleo peeps. Just less.

I’ll get my carbs by eating starchy vegetables and beans. You must eat these if you are active. Otherwise you will burn out during your workouts.

I’ll try to eat only grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and fresh-caught fish as much as possible. This is something I never thought too much about before I tried Paleo, but now I’m hooked.

Before I close the page (FOREVER) on veganism, let me share a recipe I came up with to minimize my time chopping veggies in the kitchen. I use the term “recipe” loosely, as there’s not too much to this meal. I made it specifically for the cooking-challenged folks out there, which includes myself. It is a no-chop, no-prep, meal that is also totally vegan.

No-Prep Tofu Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Feel free to add whatever you want to this; different veggies, chopped garlic, cilantro, etc…just keep in mind that it will no longer be “no-prep”

1 cup bagged kale

1 Tb coconut oil

1/2 bag of broccoli slaw

1 package of diced organic, firm tofu

Start by steaming the kale for about 5 minutes in a pan with a little water and a pinch of salt. Add the coconut oil, broccoli slaw and tofu. Stir fry for about 3- 5 minutes. You don’t want the broccoli to over-cook and get soggy, so keep an eye on it.

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While that’s cooking, start on the sauce

3 TB soy sauce

1 TB natural, smooth, peanut butter

1 tb apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar

1 tsp chili flakes

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp of coconut sugar (optional, if you want a little sweetness to your sauce)

Chopped nuts

Add the sauce and cook for a minute or two.

Your no-chop, no-prep meal is done!

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Boom! Drop the mic. Walk away.

Facebook.com/blitzyourbody Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Time to Shake That Booty

From my boot!

Yes, sweet, sweet freedom. After ten weeks of being burdened with a walking cast, aka Aircast boot, I am taking NYC by storm and walking on my own two feet.

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There they are!

I feel so lucky that I can perform a simple, everyday task, like walking. Having an injury sucks, but it does put things into perspective. When our health and vitality are taken away from us, we immediately bemoan how we took these things for granted. And when our health is restored, we have a greater appreciation for it. I hope I can keep this appreciative feeling as I leave my boot days far behind me.

Of course, I had to celebrate Boot Liberation Day with a few friends and mixed drinks.

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Don’t worry, this drink was way more pina than colada.

Vegan Stuff

When you don’t eat animal products, you miss out on some important nutrients. Here’s a quick little list I put together that are must-have items if you are going to go vegan.

Vitamin B12: important for DNA synthesis, and brain and nervous system health. Unlike the other B vitamins, B12 is only found in animal products.

Nutritional Yeast: already discussed here : http://blitzyourbody.com/2014/06/glutesnooch/ This weird but tasty substance adds flavor to veggies and is supplemented with B vitamins, including B12.

Textured Vegetable Protein or TVP: I know, sounds delish, right? These are dry soy flakes. If you’ve ever had Morningstar farm soy crumbles, this is the same thing, just in its plain form and a lot cheaper. You just reconstitute it in a bit of water and add it to pasta sauce or asia stir fries to bump up the protein content. It takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in.

Oreos Kidding, kidding! I recently came across this list of surprising vegan foods and, happily, Oreos made the list http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/surprising-vegan-foods_n_3895853.html

I would never eat a toxic, chemical riddled Oreo cookie.

Or would I…

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Yep, the Reese’s ones.

If you’re a vegan and have a food to add to my list, let me know on facebook.com/blitzyourbody or on Twitter @AmyBlitz1

Vegan Rage is Real, People!

It’s been a sad morning. Not because of the vegan diet (which IS growing tiresome), but because of this…

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Don’t you hate when the entire stem rips off?

I had to make a little hat so that I wouldn’t get banana in my backpack.

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Caution: Genius at work.

I am more than mid-way done with my 30 day vegan diet, and am most looking forward to eating cheese again. In fact, I have begun to think of the past few months as B.C. and A.C. (Before Cheese and After Cheese, respectively).

I tried some vegan, soy-based, “cheese” which was just about the most vile thing ever invented.

vegancheese

 Slimy, smelly and EVIL. Why does this exist???

There are a few ways to create your own vegan “cheese” with cashews and nutritional yeast but I have yet to try it.  Has anyone ever made this stuff?

It’s a good thing that I live in NYC, where there is bound to be at least one vegan restaurant in any neighborhood you wander. I love Peacefood Cafe on the Upper West Side, where I treated myself to a piece of vegan carrot cake.

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It tasted just like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting-amazing!

There is even a new vegan soul food restaurant in Harlem which I will be hitting up very soon:  http://www.seasonedvegan.com/ Yes! SOUL FOOD! Get in my belly!

I often refer to veganism as the diet of side dishes. For example, last night I ate sauteed zucchini, a Kabocha squash mash, and a salad. I also tossed some black beans in there to help fill me up. This is a pretty typical dinner for me. I know, it sounds depressing to all you meat-eaters out there. But because I am eating a high volume of food I feel satisfied at the end of each meal.

Of course, satisfied does not mean happy, and as I write this I am being informed that I still have a poor attitude, and am short-tempered. I like to think that I’m being sassy, but yeah, I agree my fuse is short. VEGAN RAGE IS REAL, PEOPLE!

Finally, if you missed the grand announcement before, I have a new workout video on my YouTube channel! And it focuses on everyone’s favorite body part-the glutes!

 Talk to me on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Tweet me @AmyBlitz1

Work Your Glutes and Eat Your Nooch

First thing’s first: my exercise video is out on YouTube! In this, the first of many workouts, I focus on low-impact glute exercises that anyone can do. Don’t let the words “low-impact” stop you from trying them, even if you think of yourself as more advanced. The exercises I picked are  very effective for targeting the glutes, and can be made more difficult by adding weights. Check it out here:

Thanks to my friends at DSnap Photography! They did an amazing job!

And the Blitz goes on…

So, I’m a vegan now. Add in last month’s vegetarian diet, and I admit that I miss eating meat. It’s not so much that I crave it–I just miss having it as an option. But my energy is back (my workouts feel good), I’m not as sleepy in the mid-day hours, and my body finally seems to be adjusting to the new diet. Whew!

I’ve been playing around with some vegan products to ensure I get the protein and nutrients my body needs. In the strange-but-good category, I came across Nutritional Yeast.

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Hmm…looks strange…

And if the name sounds weird to you, just wait till you actually see it. The stuff looks exactly like fish food and the smell…I can’t describe it. But it’s not  exactly pleasant. However, once it’s sprinkled on food, it takes on a nutty, cheesy taste. I like it over steamed or stir-fried kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. It’s also good with beans and on salads. I’ve also heard it’s a tasty option for popcorn. Interesting. But really…what the hell is it?

Nutritional Yeast or “nooch” is an inactive yeast grown on molasses. It won’t help your bread rise, but it will provide you with vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, and protein. Basically all the stuff you need if you aren’t eating animal products. Try it, (on things rather than alone), and you’ll like it–I swear. If you aren’t eating any meat or dairy, you need this stuff in your life!

Got any vegan pro-tips for me? Easy recipes? Let me know on Facebook.com/blitzyourbody or Tweet @AmyBlitz1

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