Friday, March 9, 2012

RECIPE TIME!! Quinoa Mix!

Since Ashley so kindly brought up quinoa the other day, I thought I'd share my recipe. I actually used a recipe for black bean and corn salad and just changed it up! I like how easy it is to swap things in vegan recipes!

2 cans Black beans, rinsed
1 Red pepper, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced
4 Cloves of garlic (or however much/little you want)
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 cup cooked Quinoa
Pint of Cherry Tomatos

1 Lemons juice
Dash of Cumin
Dash of Cayenne (If you can handle spicy)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Bunch of cliantro (or basil)

Mix all of the above in a bowl and VOILA! See how easy this vegan thing is? Let us know if you try it!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Holy Guacamole! I'm Back!

Well well well Vodka lovers (and veganites) I have returned. I was away for a few days and severely neglected this but thankfully I had the best co-blogger to step up and take over! Gracias Ash!

So I'd like to start off by recapping my month of beginner veganism. First, official weigh in: -10lbs. IN A MONTH?! THAT'S EPIC (and probably frowned upon by most doctors but eh, f 'em.) I also got an iPhone (yay finally a part of 2012!) which I've discovered has access to amazing apps. I downloaded the Whole Foods Receipe app. You just select vegan as the specialty and whatever you want as a the meal; Dessert, main dish, appetizer etc. You can also give the app 3 ingredients that you have on hand and it will give you recipes to work off of with those ingredients! Amaze-balls. (Bonus-it's available on droids or whatever Ash has because she downloaded it too!)

As I continue my quest to convert everyone, my friend Erin finally watched "Forks Over Knives" and began her barrage of complaints over supposed scientifically inaccurate items. While I disagree with her on some points(she's not a doctor but she'll take a look), I did agree with her on one thing: exercise. The documentary that started it all left out an important component for a healthy lifestyle. I try to get to the gym 4-5 times week. Spin class, body pump (weight lifting) and running are all part of my workout routines. I 100% support exercise as a necessary piece of the puzzle. So if you're just changing what you're eating, you might be missing out on a huge boost to your health! Get out, get active, get healthy!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Survived the Grocery Store Part 2

Team Vegan just keeps growing.  The newest to accept the challenge is my roommate Alicia.  She's joining me in my March challenge and frankly, I couldn't be happier.  It's always easier when you have a partner in health, even more so if you live together.  Alicia and I ventured to Whole Foods over the weekend.  (Unfortunately, there isn't a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's in close proximity to our house - what the frick, Boston?  But it's a doable little weekend drive).  Anywho, I fell in love.  I enjoy grocery shopping as it is.  I feel like people either love it or hate it and I'm definitely the former.  But Whole Foods was like a whole new level of romance.  I feel better just being there, like we're all there for the same reason - we care about what we put in our bodies.  I swear the veggies were brighter, the fruit was fresher, the options were endless and I could actually pronounce everything on the ingredients label - score.  And yes, it may be a little more expensive.  But Alicia and I filled our cart and split the total and we each paid $70 - what we'd each typically spend on ourselves at Stop & Shop - score.

Bonus score - They have handles on their paper bags.  If other stores would do that, it might cut down on the ridiculous amount of plastic people who don't care enough to get reusable bags use.  Also, I hate those little tear off plastic bags in the produce section.  There's gotta be a friendlier alternative. [End of rant].

Happy shopping!


Fruit Salad Makes Me Happy

I've always loved fruit salad.  I probably don't need to go on.  You all know it's sweet, it's refreshing, it's healthy, it's hydrating, it's easy and it's fun because you can make your own combo.  Alicia and I threw together watermelon, canteloupe, strawberries, pineapple and grapes and the result is an enjoyable mid-morning snack or a guilt-free late night sweet tooth satisfier.  So go on, get a little fruity.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Recipe Time! Introducing, Quinoa.

My roommate Allison is so vegan and she doesn't even know it.  She came home from work with a bag of quinoa one of her co-workers had given her.  She asked me if I'd ever tried it to which I said no, but I've heard of it and seen it in a lot of recipes.  She decided to cook some up.  She boiled the quinoa, prounouced: KEEN-wah (yeah, I've been pronouncing completely wrong) and rinsed it.  Then threw in some corn, black beans, and salsa... and voila!  It was that quick and easy.  It was also delicious and satisfying.  A cup of quinoa was plenty for the both of us to share.  Needless to say, I'll be stocking up on some quinoa and doing some experimental mixing of my own.  Thanks, Al!


I Survived the Grocery Store

March 1st fell on a Thursday.  So I went shopping a couple days prior with the intention of getting some basics to make it through my first weekend.  With Kerry's guidance, I made it through the grocery store in one piece.  I figured I'd start with the things I like that I regularly buy that I know are vegan friendly: fruit, veggies, salad, brown/wild rice, nuts, veggie burgers, hummus, oatmeal, cereal, almond or soy milk.  This already gave me some meals and snacks which was reassuring.  It hurt my soul to walk by the entire dairy section (my roommate Allison is my witness, I think I shed a tear).  I've always followed this rule: If I don't buy it, I won't eat it.  It's much easier for me to walk by something in the store then to avoid it in my house.  I figured these staples would get me started and I would be back with a list for recipes once I planned my meals for the week and got into a routine I felt worked for me.  Aside from the health benefits, this new lifestyle will help me with my organization, time management, and cooking abilities.  I am severly lacking in all of these areas.
I can almost hear my body thanking me already.

How it All Started: The Ashley Version

So when I decided to try the vegan life, I thought to myself. I can do this. 
I'm a girl so I've tried diets (Weight Watchers, South Beach.  South Beach worked for me, WW didn't.  But it's vise versa for most people I know).  Many believe that a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is dangerously unhealthy - unrealistic, unneccessary and lacking in nutrients.  But... ya know.  There's a lot of unhealthy food out there.  And to each his own.  I think it's true that you're most likely to be successful by just being conscious of what you put in your mouth and exercising regularly.  But who am I?
I think of myself as always having been a relatively healthy eater. I mean I'm not the best but I'm not the worst.  One of my roommates my junior year of college was very much into health and fitness and not unlike Kerry's choices, her lifestyle rubbed off on me.  I started being more aware of what exactly I was eating, eating more of a variety of foods, and switching to the healthier versions of the foods I liked.  And I've continued since.  I even took a couple health science courses as electives in college.  (In addition to psychology and photography... Why did I major in Comm again?)
I rarely eat red meat - maybe a steak and a burg or two a year.  Seafood is something I just discovered I like a couple years ago and I enjoy getting it on occasion when I'm out on the town - sushi dates have become the highlight of an otherwise dull work week ever since my roomies introduced me to the stuff a few months back.  Chicken I eat most often.  Chicken will be missed.  But I'll live.  I can do this.  Thankfully, there's a lot of vegan alternatives to many (though not all) of the foods we love.  How they compare?  I can't tell ya yet.  But I'll keep you posted.  Luckily, I love trying new things.  New food?  Bring it on. (except tofu still creeps me out, Kerry's gonna have to hide it in a meal and tell me about it later.) 
I happen to have three cousins who are vegetarian so at the holidays they always have their own dishes.  And yes, I always try theirs too.  And yes, they're always phenom.
So the vegetarian part of vegan I can adjust to.  It's the vegan part that scares me a little.  I love dairy. Yogurt, milk,  cheese - um hello is cheese not on everything?  And incredible edible (unless you're vegan) eggs.  And and my personal weakness... dessert.  There are vegan recipes for these (don't think I didn't check).  But still.  Ouch.  That hurts my sweet tooth. 
But I can do this.  I'm up for the challenge.  I keep telling myself it's only 31 days.  But in those 31 days, I may just feel better, drop a couple el be's, and most definitely learn something.