My Top Essential Vegan Foods

It has been over a year since I decided to go “vegan.” I say that in quotations because I really only became so due to my lactose intolerance. It has only been since recently that I decided to make a conscious effort to eat completely Vegan both for my health and welfare of animals. I plan on writing an article on the reasons why everyone should go vegan, but that’s for a later time.

I’m here to tell you about my staples as a vegan. The foods I need to have in my house at any given time.

  1. Frozen Vegetables. I find frozen veggies are the best way to get your full helping of veggies a day because they are so easy to dump in your lunch and go. Or if you don’t feel like creating an elaborate spread for dinner, just steam these suckers and BAM, side dish! I buy my bulk sized frozen veggies from Costco. At $6 a 6lb bag… that’s a steal! That’s about $1 a pound, where most frozen veggies from normal grocery stores are $3-$5 a pound bag. I usually get the normandy blend which has a nice mix of broccoli, carrots, yellow stone carrots and cauliflower. Basically it can go with anything.
  2. Tofu. As a newly converted vegan, I still have yet to master the several ways of cooking tofu. I have fried it, marinated it, and souped it. I haven’t ventured into uncharted tofu-territory yet. I have accumulated several recipes that involves cooking tofu a little bit different than what I am used to. Now with my own house, I will have the freedom to experiment to my vegan hearts desire! Tofu is one of the cheapest “easy” vegan proteins I buy. One $1.99 block will usually last me 3/4 of the week. If I only eat tofu with my meals (lunch and dinner) I feel its also the most versatile protein out there (in my opinion) because it can act like chicken on a BBQ pizza or rice and veggie dish. It can be a noodle substitute for stew and soups. It can be a creamy alternative in smoothies. Or my favorite EGGS! It has the same consistency as scrambled eggs, perfect for a Sunday morning homemade brunch with the boyfriend.
  3. Brown Rice. Richer in fiber and a great way to fill up on carbs, brown rice is the right rice! Without breaking the bank rice is a great item to stock up on. Again, my 20lb bag of brown rice is from Costco, and they are never overpRICED! I love making rice in big batches so I can scoop some with my lunch for the next couple days. My go-to quick, easy, simple lunch is Rice and Veggie Tofu bowls. Just sprinkle some soy sauce and  I have a yummy and filling lunch that has all the nutrition to keep me happy and healthy! I will say, I have had to convert Ryan from a life of over processed white rice because I ain’t about that life! We’re only going to eat the least processed kinds of food in my household!
  4. Oatmeal. Another easy food that can be souped-up! I love having oatmeal for breakfast! I will usually do something a little different each day with my oats but even just plain is good if you’re on a tight budget. I will usually put chia seeds and honey in mine for a basic oatmeal breakfast. But if I’m feeling fancy I will go balls-to-the-wall and but chia seeds, honey, walnuts, berries, and granola in it! (can we just talk about the literally shits though! so much fiber to keep you regular!) I have also discovered homemade oat flour so of course you best believe I buy this in bulk!! I have made the most amazing and delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies using my homemade oat flour and I cant get enough! Thank god Ryan has an heavy duty Blendtec blander! That thing gets shit done!
  5. Fresh Fruit. I have always loved fresh fruit, whether it be in smoothies, in oatmeal, in salads, or even by themselves as a snack. I love fruit. Its naturally sweet for those sweet-p.m.s.-tooth-cravings! I love making fruit salads in the summer time, and sometimes instead of oatmeal for breakfast, I’ll make myself a smoothie. Apples, bananas, and oranges are my favorite all year long. But in the summer there is a magical fruit that takes all the happiness and shoves it into a spherical ball of deliciousness. Watermelon is my all time favorite food. Not fruit, FOOD! I could eat it all day everyday! I guess strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and black berries are good too. But WATERMELON THOUGH! I have one in my fridge as I write this! I can’t wait to eat it!!

What are your staples as a vegan/vegetarian?? Everyone is a little different but I’m sure you all have some foods you just can’t live without!

What is Healthy?

pescatarian

“Wow you eat so healthy!” “I wish I could be as disciplined as you.” “You are always eating that healthy food, huh?” These are just a few of the comments I get from co-workers and friends. I get it, not everyone eats healthy or they feel the need to compare their eating habits to others…maybe for some validation.

But here’s the thing, I don’t force myself to eat healthy. I eat healthy because it tastes good! I hate when people say that “I couldn’t eat like that, I need more flavor, and that stuff is just so bland.” WHAT!? Ok maybe if you’re just started to convert your unhealthy diet to a healthy lifestyle. Yes house salads are boring and a cup of ranch is the only way to make it better. But there are so many other healthy foods and food alternatives that are delicious and flavorful!

I was lucky enough to have a mom that raised me to eat lots of fruits and veggies. I wasn’t eating a lot of fast food or dino-nuggets. I was eating a very colorful, varying diet and that had a huge positive impact on my adult life. I actually crave fruits and veggies! Ryan and I are definitely in a sticky situation when it comes to healthy eating with our families being less than vegans… Meat on top of meat on top of potatoes on top of pasta. So we try to cook for ourselves as much as we can, especially since I am pescatarian.

Sometimes I even hoard fruits and veggies from my grocery trips at work so no one else can eat them. I can go through a package of strawberries, blueberries and celery in like 2 days. In combination with how much exercise on a daily basis, eating healthy just comes naturally.

Now I am definitely no saint…by ANY means! I love cheese pizza, and nachos, and carbs! And that’s the thing that everyone forgets, you can eat anything in moderation! You CAN have 3 slices of pizza…but not every day. I basically reserve my “cheat food” for days that I’m going to be working out really hard, or when my period starts….or even just because. Now I don’t hoard my cheat meals or anything. I don’t restrict myself from anything. It’s only when you start listening to your body and feeling what it needs, is when you can decide if you should eat that pizza, or 3 helpings of cookie butter. And for me if I have a high calorie intake day, I get that junk food out of my system; I’m satisfied for another few days, maybe even weeks.

I don’t dedicate an entire day to eating shit food. I eat healthy 85% of the time, sometimes even 99%. But when I want a cookie, I’m not going to talk myself down. I’m not going to think I’m fat if I eat it…or 4… I’m going to eat it because my body is telling me, you deserve that cookie! It’s not going to hurt you.

FOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY!

Food is meant to nourish your body. It’s the fuel to keep all your organs and cells working. I think if everyone listened to their bodies and got a good amount of exercise, more people would be happy with themselves.

I also think a part of what helps me is yoga. Every day. Yoga really lets you get in touch with your body, not only when you’re practicing, but when you’re living your day-to-day life. In addition to that, just incorporate more activity into your day. I walk 30-45 minutes on my lunch break every day, I get up every half hour and stretch or walk around the office, I also switch around my gym workouts between 30 minute cardio sessions and 40 minute weightlifting sessions. On the weekends, I’m able to do morning and nighttime yoga and go hiking. So as you can see I do stay as active as I can. I’m no cardio bunny or anything. I just know that being active is GOOD for my body. It shouldn’t be a chore or a burden to get up and moving. You should WANT to move around, or go on a little walk, or even stretch out those kinks.

Don’t be afraid to change for the better. Our bodies are all we have. So we should take care of them, but not deprive them.

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January Favorites

jan faves

Sorry to start the new year off with a late favorites post…I’ve just been so busy with the Puerto Vallarta video I skipped out on my favorites! But without further adieu, January Favorites!!

  1. Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primers in Smoothing and Mattefying – Boy that was a mouthful! I know I am like the queen of drugstore makeup/products but lately I’ve been branching out into the high end makeup…I blame Jaclyn Hill! She raved about these primers in one of her favorites videos and I thought I would sample them first from Sephora…they’re awesome for that! (frugal pro tip… if you are looking to get samples, act as if you know nothing about the product you’re interested in…chances are the employees will give you a bigger sample amount than if you go in there knowing everything!) Anyway, these are totally worth $37 each…well sort of. I got the travel sizes which are $16 each. But I will definitely buy these again. The smoothing primer helps fill in my black holes of pores and helps with creasing under my eyes when I apply concealer. The mattefying one is an understatement… this will leave you HELLA matte its no freaking joke! I only use the mattefying on my forehead in between my eyebrows because I get SUPER oily there but not so much everywhere else and I still want some luminosity on my face so I look a little radiant.  I recommend this if you have really oily skin all over your face, and if you have combination skin like me, just use it in areas that tend to get shiny.
  2. Depeche Mode – What can I say, I’ve been on a binge listening to them. It’s come on more often on the radio than I’m used to. I have always been a Depeche Mode fan because of my mom, she listened to them when I was growing up. And lately the radio is bumping some bomb ass music lately and I rekindled that love for the 80’s English electro band. Enjoy the silence is a classic and I;; be honest when I say, its been my pump song for heading to the gym!
  3. The Spice and Tea Exchange Crème of Earl Grey tea -I am HUGE fan of tea. Hence why my tagline is nicki”TEA” if you didn’t get that. When I went to new Orleans last year my mom told me that there was a tea store that we should go to. I feel in love with the place, they have such a wide selection of teas, spice, salts, sugars, peppers..its incredible! I found this crème of earl grey that is similar to one you can find at any grocery store but it has a “milky” taste to it. It’s hard to explain but it is by far my favorite tea of ALL TIME! Contains just the perfect amount of caffeine and gets me going through my morning better than a fatty cup of coffee would.
  4. 85°c Bakery – So I heard of this place about a year ago from my mom. Its basically an Asian bakery/café. I think Taiwanese? I could be wrong but there is one conveniently located 2 streets away from Ryan’s house! I have gone there about 2x a month for some sweet treats and my favorite…sea salt COFFEE! But I’m making a point to bring them up now because the company recently reached out to me and asked if they could use one of my pictures from my IG to post on theirs. I was flattered and gave them permission and in return they mailed me 2 free coffee&bread coupons! I haven’t used them yet but I can’t wait. They have a new sea salt coffee flavor, caramel! Which is my favorite! I want to thank them so much for promoting my picture and just being an awesome café. Ya’ll should see the closest near you and try them out!
  5. The Positivity Blog – If you read my previous post, A Happy Person, you’ll know why this blog is so important to me. I don’t want to bore you much with this, but its a blog about self help and learning to become a better person that enjoys life.

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A Day of Eating (Good Days)

diary

So I thought I’d share some insight on how I eat. I have been losing weight (slowly but surely) but also noticing some visible muscle. Which could be from losing fat, very common.

7:00am – Breakfast ~372kcal / 28g Carbs/ 12g Fat / 50g Protein
– 1/2 cup EGG WHITES
– 1 EGG
– 1 LOW CARB TORILLA
– 1 scoop PB FIT POWDER
– 1 packet CHIKE HIGH PROTEIN COFFEE MIX
So here’s breakfast. I try to eat as soon as I wake up, allowing time to get ready and what not. There is always a debate on the importance of eating breakfast. In my opinion; the larger the breakfast, the less hungry I am the rest of the day. Now I say “large” in terms of protein. I find eating a large amount of protein keeps me feeling full longer. I still get my carbs and fats in there, but a higher percentage of Protein in the A.M.
10:00am – Morning Snack ~235kcal / 55g Carbs / 2g Fat / 2g Protein
– 1 CRUNCHY RICE ROLLER
– 1/2 cup GRAPES
– 1/4 cup BLUEBERRIES
– 1 BLISS CHOCOLATE PIECE
– 1 GALA APPLE
10am is when I take my 15 minute break, I usually will eat my snack and then go on a walk down the street. I like to eat a little more carbs now to get me energized for the walk and help me wake up. I still have 6 hours of work left!
1:00pm – Lunch ~351kcal / 26g Carbs / 18g Fat / 23g Protein
– 1/2 CUCUMBER
– 1 tbs HUMMUS
– 1 serving QUINOA TURKEY CASSEROLE (added turkey)
This day I switched my usual homemade chicken wrap for leftover casserole. Still fairly healthy, just a good break from eating only a wrap for lunch every day.
4:00pm – Afternoon Snack (pre-workout) ~234kcal / 21g Carbs / 5g Fat / 27g Protein
– handful CELERY
– 2 tbs PB FIT POWDER
– 12 pieces TEDDY GRAHAMS
– 1 can TUNA LIGHT
Gotta satisfy that sweet tooth with my favorite childhood crackers! I also am loving the powder peanut butter. I wouldn’t eat it everyday seeing how its IS processed to take out most of the fat. I’d still opt for fresh ground peanut butter, literally…ground your own peanuts! You know exactly what’s going in it!
7:00pm – Dinner ~304kcal / 23g Carbs / 5g Fat / 47g Protein
– 1 scoop PROTEIN POWDER
– 4oz TILAPIA
– 1 cup STIR FRY VEGETABLES
– 1/4 cup COOKED BROWN RICE
Yup more protein for this girl! Sometimes I’ll throw in my BCAA in the mix to recover from my workout if I lifted heavy. I also try to keep dinner to a bare minimum. I don’t like getting too fancy with ingredients because the macro/micro tracking becomes more fuzzy and less accurate.
Now this is a low calorie day. I only consumed roughly 1496 calories. I usually try to hit 1580. But I think this is a pretty well rounded day, full of vegetables, good fats, and good sources of protein. Sometimes i’ll treat myself with a bowl of French Toast Crunch cereal with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. A perfect substitute for a pice of cheesecake or cookie in my opinion!
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