Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe time: Another bean idea

Another way to get me 1/2 cup of beans a day is with a super light black bean chili. This would also be good cold I think in the summer time but I have been eating it hot since it is winter.

Black Bean and Vegetable Chili
Makes 3 small servings
1/2 small to medium sized onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium sized carrot, chopped small
1 stick celery, diced
1/4 orange or red bell pepper chopped
1 small tomato diced
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans (use a little of the liquid from cooking or the can)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
salt and black pepper to taste

Lightly spray a medium sauce pan with vegetable oil or put a little water in the bottom. Over medium heat saute onion, garlic, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and tomato until onion is translucent and carrot begins to soften. Add beans and spices and cook until carrots are no longer hard, 5 minutes or so. You can add a little water if the chili begins to get dry.

Nutrition Facts
User Entered Recipe
  3 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Total Fat0.6 g
     Saturated Fat0.1 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.3 g
     Monounsaturated Fat0.1 g
  Cholesterol0.0 mg
  Sodium15.8 mg
  Potassium469.6 mg
  Total Carbohydrate25.7 g
     Dietary Fiber8.6 g
     Sugars0.5 g
  Protein8.4 g
  Vitamin A27.9 %
  Vitamin B-120.0 %
  Vitamin B-68.3 %
  Vitamin C55.5 %
  Vitamin D0.0 %
  Vitamin E0.8 %
  Calcium3.9 %
  Copper11.8 %
  Folate35.6 %
  Iron11.7 %
  Magnesium17.1 %
  Manganese25.0 %
  Niacin4.3 %
  Pantothenic Acid    3.6 %
  Phosphorus    14.3 %
  Riboflavin4.6 %
  Selenium2.3 %
  Thiamin16.5 %
  Zinc7.3 %

Friday, December 7, 2012

recipe time: red and yellow dahl

So I am supposed to eat 1/2 cup of cooked beans for one of my meals everyday... now I could eat black beans everyday for the next 8 months but I don't want to go insane so here is one of my alternate bean meals for you to try. There are a small amount of vegetable calories thrown in as well but it's pretty minor.

Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1/2 cup dried yellow lentils
1/2 small-medium onion (about 1/2 cup) chopped
1 small to medium tomato, chopped
1 1/2 cup water
scant 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each of the following:
dried ginger
garlic powder
ground coriander
ground cumin
cumin seed

Soak lentils for around 15-30 minutes and rinse well. Chop onion and saute it in a large pan with a tiny bit of spray oil or a little water on medium heat. After onions begin to soften add rinsed lentils, tomato, water and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and cover. Stir occasionally and allow lentils to cook to desired consistency. Takes around 20-30 minutes. You can add more water if desired.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

guess who's back... (back again)

well hello blog!
In 8 months I am going to be competing in my first body building show. If you've known me a while, or been following my blog, you probably know that my dad was a competitive body builder when I was young (making his return to the stage this year!) and that my sister and I have been lifting weights since we were old enough that he would let us go to the gym with him before school. You probably don't know that I have always been interested in competing but was hesitant and apprehensive because of the diet and the huge and rapid fat loss that has to occur to make you stage ready.
I am not much of a dieter... I am vegan but that's pretty much where I stop worrying about what or how much I eat. I eat pretty healthy because I LOVE vegetables and salad and don't care much for bread or grains, overly sweet things or processed foods. Having to follow a portion or calorie controlled diets is one of my biggest fears... I can get kinda obsessive about things and I am concerned this borders on eating disorder for me... That is part one of the reason I have never tried to compete.
Part two is a little more psychological. As much as I am always saying that women with muscles are more beautiful and all that (which I completely believe) I am also pretty cozy in my body as it stand now, aka with a butt, hips, and breasts... womanly. That AND I have a little bit of a small person complex. I am afraid if I get any smaller I will just disappear and be insignificant. So the idea of having to get down to 7-10% body fat is super scary.
Wanting to compete was always kinda waring with those other factors but I finally got a little push that was enough to make me take the plunge...
About three weeks ago my friend Giacomo from Vegan Proteins text me and said "Any interest in competing? Looks like we are going to have a ton of support together on this one next year" the idea being that he would organize a team of vegans to all compete in one show together and collectively make a huge statement for veganism and vegan athletes. If everyone comes through it will be amazing. Every one of us that steps on stage will have an announcer mentioning the word "vegan". 
Also for me it is exciting because I may be one of two women competing in the Body Building category (the other being the awesome Marcella Torres from Vegan Muscle and Fitness), as opposed to figure or bikini, and I am always complaining that there is currently this strongly supported stereotype within the vegan athletic crowd for the men to be big and strong and the women to be petite and dainty. I am so excited to get to be one of the two people who is going to be destroying that idea.

The way my diet works is that for the next 8 months I have to follow a pretty strict eating schedule- it's as much about when I eat as what I eat. No sugar, low carb, and lots and lots of protein. In 4 months I begin the cutting phase, which is where I start losing body fat. I have to loose about 15% body fat over 4 months. I won't be fun to be around... fair warning. The good thing is that I still get to eat giant salads, which is one of my favorite meals...
I am working with an awesome coach for my diet and exercise plan. Dani Taylor (from vegan proteins) is helping me to stay accountable to my diet and make sure I get all my macros and that I am able to get as low as I need to be to compete. If you are looking for a great personal trainer to hire I would recommend her! She has been vegan a long time and knows her stuff with both diet and training.
I plan to keep this blog updated regularly over the next 8 months for anyone who is interested in following my progress. 
So three weeks in to training and still working on getting firm with my diet. Here are my measurements...

Height: 4'11"
Weight: 124
Body fat: 24% (based on body fat scale)
Right Biceps: 12"
Left Biceps: 11.25" (eek)
Right and Left Forearm: 9.85"
Right and Left Thigh: 20.25"
Right and Left Calf: 14.5"
Proper Waist: 27"
Low Hips: 38.5"
Lat circumference: 36"
Wrist: 5.75"
Neck: (forgot to write this down, will edit it later)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I really have been working out... I promise

So normally when I haven't updated in a while it is because I have been slacking and have nothing to report... but this time is different. I have just slacked on blogging. For the last two months or so I have been pretty consistent with my activity level... I have been doing a decent amount of lifting, cardio several times a week, and also fun stuff like trapeze and tennis. I was seeing a slight difference in tone, but no drop in weight or body fat. I guess I am realizing that now into my 30's it is a little harder to trim down than it used to be. I am taking somewhat drastic measures and have decided to go on a calorie restricted diet. Don't worry, nothing crazy, plus I get to eat my workout calories, but it has really put some things in perspective. I had no realistic idea about how much I was eating... I think that before I was dating the hummingbird my natural diet kept me within a reasonable caloric intake range. Now that I have this bad influence (<3) in my life I have to be a bit more careful. We eat out a lot and at the types of places where it is hard to choose a healthy option. We also always have sweets around, and as I have mentioned he like to feed them to me. So by recording my food intake I am able to actually gauge what I am putting in my body. Definitely eye opening. Since I have started I have lost just over 2% body fat. It feels good to finally be affecting some change in my body, and to gained some control over my body fat. I am aiming to get down to where I was in my mid 20's which I feel was a good, moderate place for my body to be in. Here is a fun little trapeze video :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Product Review: Warrior Food, by HealthForce Nutritionals

When I was running out of my last container of protein my friend Tim contacted me and said "I have a great product I want you to try". He told me about it: Rice and Hemp protein blend, low sugar and sodium, klamath algae (great for kidney support and rich in b12), and nopal cactus for blood sugar function, plus digestive enzymes... sounded great so I was pretty excited to give it a try.
HealthForce is known to be a super reputable source for whole food supplements and has a great track record with me. I love their green food, Vitamineral Green, and their Maca Force product, so I expected good things from this protein. It did not disappoint.
I loved that this product was so low in sodium and not over sweet. To some people it may even be "not sweet enough", but I always add a banana to my post workout shake to get my blood sugar back up and start the glycogen synthesis going. With a banana added I find this to be the perfect sweetness. I am really impressed overall with the improvement in texture and palatability of protein powders now days. This product and the new vega product both have a great new hemp protein that suspends in liquid really well. In the past with protein powders you would notice that the hemp would always settle down to the bottom and you would constantly be shaking your drink to keep the hemp suspended in the liquid. No longer! I was also told that because of this new micro refining of the proteins they absorb better as well which makes the assimilation rate higher.
One thing I noticed that sets Warrior Food apart from some of the competing brands is that their recommended serving size is only about 2.25 tablespoons, which is about half of other products. The protein per serving is 15.4g (as opposed to 25 or so). When I asked about this I was told that the company is finding that the athletes they are testing are doing so well assimilating this protein that they have been able to cut back on the amount they are taking as a supplement because they are absorbing more and recovering and preforming well on a smaller dose. Ultimately I think you have to do what you normally do with any of these types of products which is to listen to your body and do what is right for you. I do like the idea of taking as little as you need to see results- because an excess in protein isn't any better for your body than a deficit.
Two things I see as possible negatives (and I am really reaching here)- The blend is not as broad as some of the other protein powders out on the market, so that could be a possible point of contention for some... but they did choose super good and easily digestible sources. The only other thing is that the name is very similar to "sun warrior", I have no idea who had it first or anything else, but when I want to tell people about this great product I have to be really clear that this is WARRIOR FOOD, not SUN WARRIOR, and that can be confusing. Not knocking sun warrior cause it is a great cheap source of plan based protein, but this is just a higher quality product in my opinion.
Why use a plant based non-isolate protein, EVEN if you aren't a vegan? Whey and Soy isolate proteins are very acid forming within your body and hard for you to digest and absorb. They create an acidic environment in your body and you react by pulling calcium from your bones to act as a buffer from the acid, long term this can cause a decrease in bone density and even osteoporosis. Which is why countries with a high intake of animal proteins, like dairy, which are very acidic actually see a HIGHER rate of osteoporosis even though they ingest more calcium.
All in all I am VERY happy with this product and would recommend it as being one of two of the highest quality plant based (alkalizing!) protein supplements on the market!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 22 grams (2 Heaping Tbsp)
Servings: 11

Calories: 83 Fat Cal: 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 0.7 g 1.0%
Saturated Fat: 0.0 g 0.1%
Chloesterol: 0.0 mg 0.0%
Sodium: 6.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 3.9 g 1.3%
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g 2.6%
Sugars: 1.0 g
Protein: 15.4 g

Vitamin A: 0% Calcium: 7%
Vitamin C: 0% Iron: 3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Warrior Food, Vegan Protein Ingredients
Sprouted, Raw, Non-GMO, Organic Brown Rice Protein
Organic Hemp Protein
Organic Actual Vanilla Bean
Wildcrafted Nopal Cactus
Organic Whole Leaf Stevia

Enhanced Nutritionally:· Phycocyanin extract from Klamath Algae (for Kidney support*), Enzymes (protease, bromelain, papain, amylase, lipase, cellulase, alpha-galactosidase) – for assimilation.

Enhanced Energetically: •·Homeopathic •·Magnetic •·Vibrational

Warrior Food™ says “No Whey” to high uric acid forming, kidney damaging animal proteins.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The value of keeping a training log

So I am back at it again... If I ever worked out consistently for more than 3 months at a time I would be very proud of myself. I am trying to get in a super regular/reasonable routine so that I will keep with it through the summer, or at least until skateboarding season is in full swing ;)
My current motivator is actually my workout log. I made a spreadsheet that is tailored specifically to my current routine and it has graphs that show me my progress from week to week. I can't wait for each next workout to watch my weight lifted to go up. My goals are to gain strength and mass, and drop fat- which will happen without effort as long as I am working out regularly.

I plan to adjust my workout and specific exercises every 4 weeks or so for now but that may change as I see how I am progressing. I like repeating specific exercises for a few weeks to see improvement but I don't know if I will keep it at four weeks, maybe just 2. I was trying to keep my spreadsheet from getting too complicated.
I am really looking forward to being able to look back at it in a few months and see where I started versus where I am at that point. Anyone else find logging to be as helpful as I do?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interview with vegan body builder Derek Tresize

So I am a little behind with this one... I would like to introduce you to Derek Tresize, vegan body builder and soon to be daddy from Richmond, Virginia. I met Derek this summer when he was competing in the Washington State Natural Bodybuilding Championship, where he took 3rd in his class. As a young competitor he already has a huge amount of mass and looks to only be getting bigger, Derek is one to watch in the future, and a great example of strong vegan athlete! Derek is about one week out from competing in the OCB Body Sculpt Open, so now is a great time to pop over to his blog and wish him good luck!

How many times have you competed as a body builder and are there any notable placements I should mention?

I've competed twice, once in the NPA Championships in Richmond VA and once in the NANBF Championships in Seattle WA. In Seattle I placed in the top 3 of my class!

What class do you normally compete in? Or plan to compete in?

I have competed in middleweight and middleheight, depending on the class criteria. I hope to gain enough muscle to move to the lightheavyweight class.

How long have you been lifting weights and how much of that time was with the intention of competing?

I have been lifting weights seriously for about 10 ears, but I have only focused on bodybuilding for the last two years.

Please explain your basic dietary philosophy, for building mass and maintaining a low-moderate percentage of body fat... So normal, non-competition prep, diet.

Both Marcella's and my dietary philosophy revolve around whole food plant based nutrition. We are always learning and modifying specifics, but we try to consume as much unprocessed plant food as possible to maximize our health and our physiques. For building mass I focus on two things; increasing calories and getting plenty of protein. I don't worry about fat as much, but I always stay away from junk food. I incorporate things like sprouted grain bread, peanut butter, and lots and lots of beans to take my calories as high as 6k. I supplement with protein after workouts and sometimes before bed, but primarily I take in lots of whole foods.

What does your normal daily fat/carb/protein ratio look like and can you give an example of an average days food intake? Do you follow a fixed rule regarding protein intake vs. body weight?

Daily macros are around 20% fat 20% protein and 60% carbs, and each will vary by 5% in either direction. I get the bulk of my calories from fruit, veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, beans & tofu, nuts and seeds, soymilk, sprouted grain bread, and I supplement with protein post-workout. I try to get above 1.5g protein per lb bodyweight, but I don't stress as long as I'm getting a calorie surplus.

Can you briefly describe your weekly workout schedule?

My schedule varies a lot because I change my routine every few weeks. I typically train 5 days per week, hitting every muscle group once, except for arms which i train twice. An example would be:
Mon:Shoulders, Tues: Legs&Arms, Wed:Chest, Thurs: Back, Fri:Arms

Where do you hold your non-comp body fat percentage at and how low do you have to go for competition?

I generally stay around 8% in the offseason. When i became vegan my boyfat dropped to 7-8% and it pretty much stays there year round since i never eat terribly for extended periods of time. For competition I shoot for getting to 5% or below.

How long do you allow to drop to that level and how does your diet and exercise routine change to help you reach your goal?

I give myself 8-10 weeks to drop down to that level. I can do it quickly because I don't have too far to go, but I like to have a wider margin. To get in condition I drop my calories to around 4k/day (maintenance for me) and add 20-30min of cardio once or twice a day, before breakfast and/or dinner.

What inspired you to start lifting?

Arnold! Hah, all my action heroes were buff and strong, so i wanted to be too!

Do you get strange reactions from other body builders when they find out you eat a vegan diet?

Absolutely! Most can't believe it and give me mad props for what I've accomplished. I tell them it's not that different and a lot healthier in the long run.

Is there anything you wish you had known starting out or any advice you would give to help someone who is interested in competitive body building?

Yes. Consistency. Nothing will beat working hard and eating well day in and day out. A lot of people want instant results or second guess every step they make (I know I do) but when it comes down to it any training program will be effective if you work as hard as you can consistently and eat a healthy diet.

Do you have a recommendation for a pre or post workout drink or meal?

My favorite pre workout drink ever was Superpump 250, but it has been discontinued. Another good one along those lines is NOxplode 2.0, and an excellent all-natural pre workout is Vega Sport. For Post workout protein my favorite is Sunwarrior with soymilk and a ton of fruit - tastes great and really helps me recover!

BIG thanks to Derek Tresize for taking part in my Vegan Body Builder Interview series. You can out more about Derek and Marcella by checking out their blog Vegan Muscle and Fitness.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I have been having a really hard time staying motivated to work out this month. I will be doing fine for a little while and diligently working out daily, but then something will come up that throws me off and it will take days to get back on track...
Here are a few tricks I have employed to try to get myself to work out...
- bribery -
If you do x, then you get to do y
- guilt -
I can't believe you are trying to not work out today! What have you done? Layed on the couch and read? Reeeeaal healthy lazy bones...
- fear -
You are getting totally out of shape and squishy! How much harder is it to bounce back when you get waaaay out of shape. Better get back on top of it now!
- kindness -
You feel so much better emotionally and physically when you work out regularly, so you should definitely get on that... First thing tomorrow!
- competitive spirit -
So and so looks awesome and is super strong, do you want to be left in the dust?!
- embarrassment -
You have to wear a bathing suit in a month... 'nuff said.

That last one seems to be the only one capable of working. So good thing my BFF Stacey is having her birthday party at a waterpark next month. I have 5 weeks to loose like 5% body fat... Probably not realistic but at least I have a goal.
Plus thanks to the glorious weather I may be able to get a few bonus workouts in with an early skateboarding season! Yay!
I am also gonna turn some focus onto my diet by recording all the food I eat this week and at the end of the week add things up and see what I need more or less of. Just having to acknowledge what goes in to your body tends to make one a little more pious in regards to nutrition.
Last thing... I am considering that what I really might need is to join some kind of structured/scheduled group or class so I have someone else to be accountable to. I am also really poor though so paying a monthly membership might be tough. Anyone have any ideas or recommendations for a good local crossfit or similar gym?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to blogging...

I apologize for being remiss in my blogging regularity lately. There hasn't been much to write about so I have not written. In the past month or so I haven't been working out super consistently- mostly just running. You all know I hate running, but when I am lacking motivation in a training routine and I know I just need to get a workout in I turn to running. So I have been running 2-3 miles 3-4 days a week... it is certainly better than nothing but I have gotten pretty out of shape so it's time to reinvest in a regular routine that is a little more intense.
As usual when I am not doing any resistance training (and let's be honest, a bare minimum of cardio) I have gotten flubby. What that means for me is that I have actually lost a little weight, but my body fat has gone up. It seems to have gone up about 4-5% over where it was in September, although I doubt the accuracy of my body fat scale, I can definitely see my body fat has increased.
It is fortunate for me that at this time when I need motivation and a fresh start the new p90x (p90x2) has just come out. I know there are a lot of haters... but say what you will, I still stand by this video series as a great way to see results and give a balanced and consistent workout to those like me who can't afford a gym membership/trainer and have equipment at home.
The new edition seems to have shifted pretty dramatically with an intensified focus on core strength, which I think is awesome. I will give a little overview of what I have seen so far- but keep in mind I am only on the first week of the first phase. This program is split up into 3 phases, kinda like p90x. The difference is that X2 is structured in a way that allows a little more flexibility for the user to take more or less time in the different phases before moving on to the next. So depending on where your strengths and weaknesses lie, or how in or out of shape you are, you can adapt the workout to fit your needs. It works in a platform system, where you must master the first platform before moving up to the next. The first is a conditioning "foundation" phase, where you develop your core and balance. The second is a strength building phase, I am imagining it to be more like the weight lifting days in p90x, although if it follows the trend of the rest of the series I have seen so far there will be a lot more compound movements and full body involvement. Less static lifting. Phase three is a "performance" month... and I have no idea what is in store for me there, but I bet it will be hard.
There is a fair amount of equipment involved for this program... if you did p90x you will already have something figured out for weights/bands and for pull ups. For X2 you also need to add 1-4 medium weight medicine balls and a stability ball- though it would also be nice to have a yoga mat, foam roller, a step platform, and push up bars. Right now I am doing it with the select tech 5-50lb adjustable dumbbell set, push up bars, single bar pull up bar, a yoga mat, and a stability ball. I have been able to modify everything so far to work with my equipment but it would be nice to get the foam roller and at least one medicine ball in the future.
I took my weight and measurements on day 1 and I am looking forward to seeing my improvement by the end of the month and then the end of the series. I will continue to update you on my thoughts about this program as I go along. So far though I am pretty pleased... it's not just a repeat of p90x with new videos- it actually feels like and evolved program.