Adventures in Semi-Vegetarianism

To answer Erin’s question about what program I am using to move towards a more vegetarian (or pescatarian at least) nutrition model, at the moment I am just attempting to replace one of my usual two servings of meat per day with a vegetarian or seafood option. I normally have some kind of lean meat at lunch and dinner, with breakfast and snacks leaning more towards eggs, soy, nuts, and protein powder for my protein sources, so cutting out the red meat and chicken without using dairy as a crutch will be the major change.

Since I am still eating fish and eggs, this isn’t as big a transition as, say, going full-on vegan or even just strict vegetarian. In fact, I just gobbled down some innocent pre-cooked shrimp as a snack. 😉

What I’m having a difficulty with is making time to try out new vegetarian recipes that really feel like full meals instead of side dishes, especially those using beans. Beans are not really a staple of the Taiwanese diet and don’t feature prominently in most of my staple recipes like Beef Noodle Soup, stir fries of any kind, and Korean BBQ burgers. I think I need to give veggie chili a try (I WILL miss my ground meat in this…sigh) as well as some soups and stews. I also need to learn some better ways to prep tofu. Don’t get me wrong–I love pan-fried firm tofu with a blog of hot sauce, but some veggies would be nice in there, too. I’ve been too busy with other projects and social commitments to just buckle down, crack open Vegan with a Vengeance, and get cooking, except for my recipe-less Pingtung eggplant, scallions, jalapenos, and tofu in oyster sauce last night, which totally rocked my socks off. Quinoa and brown rice will have to make a come back, too, because I am sick of sweet potatoes, and I cannot have just fruit as my carb portion with lunch.

This is Day 4 of the experiment for me, and it has not been an unqualified success.

  • Monday, I developed a headache by 7 PM that I couldn’t shake off. I think I didn’t quite eat enough that day or was sensitive to something I ate–possibly a banana or a Nature Valley Fruit and Nut bar. Worked out anyway and felt better after chugging more water.
  • Tuesday, I stupidly consumed a boiled egg that I could tell wasn’t quite right in texture (too soft/mealy) as a snack, and then proceeded to reap the rewards of food poisoning for the rest of the day, including a major migraine and some really unproductive nausea. Didn’t work out as even turning my head too quickly made me want to boot. On the plus side, did no evening snacking. 😛
  • Wednesday, I had to rejoin the ranks of the actively eating, but I stuck with bland foods and lots of water. My stomach no longer rebelled. Still had a residual headache.
  • Thursday, my head felt fine in the morning, and I am so far feeling pretty good. I don’t think I drink enough water when I’m eating meatless meals, though. CLX Burn Intervals and Abs should be on for tonight.

So that is my semi-vegetarian week so far. I went into it not quite prepared, but I’m muddling through as best as I can until I have the time to really plan out a good menu for myself.

ABW1D3: January Progress & Vegetarian Fail

I know the month started last week, but I think I’m a Monday starter because I didn’t really feel ON until yesterday.

I like the workouts I’m doing this month a lot; I wasn’t sure if I would, but they are essentially a hybrid of traditional gym lifts and the Red Carpet Ready moves using heavier loads. I will probably go heavier on many of the weights on Build days, but the overall flow is not bad. I will be designating this workout block the Action Babe program, or “AB” for shot in my logs.

Diet-wise, I am still not ready to tofu it up, mostly because I wasn’t able to get to the Asian grocery this weekend for cheap bean curd. I’ll go sometime this week, but until then, I’m still a practicing omnivore. In fact, I went grocery shopping Monday night, scoring some seriously cheap protein–split chicken breast for 88 cents/pound and pork roast (for Chinese BBQ pork) for 98 cents/pound. I think I picked up close to 25 pounds of meat combined.

I know, I know…I am already a failure as a vegetarian, and I am less than a week into the new year.

Frozen veggies were also on sale, so I loaded up on those as well. I am starting to think that I should have bought myself a new chest freezer last month instead of the K2 Alexis inline skates and Panasonic TZ5 camera.

As far as some of my other January mini-goals go, I did successfully clear out my belongings from Mom and Dad’s house Saturday and help them take down the Christmas tree, and Sunday DH and I cleaned up the vegetable garden. We WERE going to hack down the out of control banana tree, but lo and behold, the contrary thing went and popped out a massive appendage loaded with beautiful green bananas while we weren’t paying attention. DH wanted to cut it down anyway, but I argued that we should give the bananas a chance to ripen. There are enough on the tree to freeze up for a year of green smoothies! (Oh hey…another reason I need a chest freezer!)

I also dug up a colander full of homegrown sweet potatoes, harvested some sweet potato vine leaves for stir fry — which came out very tasty with a faint floral note — and reseeded my square foot garden with fancy lettuces, kohlrabi (I have no idea how to eat this so tried and true recipe suggestions are welcome), radishes, sugar snap peas, snow peas, purple dragon carrots, edamame, Swiss chard, and spinach. It’s probably too late in the season to start some of these, but we really haven’t had much of a winter so far, and all those leafy greens would have bolted if I’d planted them earlier.

And before I forget, here’s an amazing protein smoothie I just whipped up this morning. Squeeze in a full serving of fruit, over 20g of protein, and a serving of dark green veggies all in one shot! For all of you veggie-phobes out there, don’t worry–you cannot taste the spinach at all.

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Ruby Red Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 c. light soy milk
1/2 c. light ruby red grapefruit juice
3/4 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1/2-2/3 c. chopped frozen spinach
3 wedges frozen peaches
4 strawberries
1/2 small banana

Directions: Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and mix on your frozen drink/smoothie setting until well-blended. Some ground flax seeds or flax seed oil can be added for a boost of healthy fat.

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WORKOUT
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– Action Babe circuit B
– YF Yoga

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NUTRITION
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M1: 3 white/1 whole egg spinach and jalapeno omelette, 1.5 slices WW French bread, 1 t. pumpkin butter
M2: Ruby red grapefruit green smoothie
M3: 3 white/1 whole egg spinach, mushroom, and jalapeno omelette, 3/4 c. asparagus veggie mix, tangerine
M4: 14g raw almonds, 20g raisins
M5: 4 oz. chicken breast, 2 corn tortillas, 2 c. salad mix, 2 T. salsa
M6: 1/2 c. soy milk, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 1/2 T. cocoa, 1/2 oz. pistachios

Hello 2009!

Hey all! Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for the past month; all I can say is that 12 hour work days and a slew of holiday obligations can really chop one’s web posting time down to nothing. I think this happens every December, because I am feeling a sense of deja vu as I type these words.

I’m back again, though, and ready to start the 2009 off with some new plans on the fitness and nutrition front and in other areas of my life.

I’m also reviving the Project Wonder Woman blog which has been sadly neglected since last February. If you want to join me in working toward some grown-up chick scout badges for trying out new things and improving yourself in lots of different areas, check out the PWW blog and drop me a line if you want to become a contributor.

  1. Cooking/Nutrition: Get back to 90% clean eating (it’s been an uncharacteristically sloppy holiday season for me food-wise) and TRY to go mostly vegetarian
  2. Fitness: Complete two full months of Val Waters’s free Action Hero workouts (bonus action babe workout, too) without skipping any unless sick or injured, then follow up with the full New Rules of Lifting for Women program
  3. Knitting: Learn how to knit from the Stitch and Bitch book & make a knitted Sackboy doll to go with my crocheted and sewn ones
  4. Money: Complete Baby Step 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan by paying off my second mortgage
  5. Sewing: Do two back to back 6-month Wardrobe Refashion pledges and only sew my own clothing from fabric in my stash or clothes already in my closet
  6. Budgeting/Travel: Save up for a European cruise (second honeymoon since DH and I were frugal with our first one in 2007) in the fall
  7. Gardening: Get my veggie garden in order and make a month to month plan to keep it that way
  8. Painting: Complete all of the painting exercises in my watercolor pet painting book & learn how to use Corel Painter
  9. Singing: Take one month of voice lessons (I love karaoke, but have never been in a choir or taken real lessons.)
  10. Yoga: Make flexibility training a regular part of my routine instead of an occasional chore.
  11. Writing: Complete all of the exercises in just ONE of my many writing books
  12. Make My Own Badge: Any of the following – Get off my butt and just study for my personal training certification, work all the way through one PHP/MySQL programming book, or learn how to use my new video editing software by going through all of the included tutorials

For January in particular I want to:

  • Garden: Tear out the dead plants from my garden and cut down the invasive “dwarf” banana tree. Plant some cold weather veggie seeds.
  • Exercise/Nutrition: Complete all of my planned workouts and follow my meal plan. Swap out one meat-based protein portion per day with a vegetarian, egg, or seafood option.
  • Craft: Make my items for the Discworld Swap at Craftster–I’ll probably crochet some Discworld characters and sew some kind of bag…not sure what else. Make a “Spockboy” Sackboy doll for my co-worker.
  • Writing: Write five blog posts a week. Post at least four times a week at the two fitness forums where I am an administrator or moderator.
  • Money: Create a new budget for 2009 using the free PearBudget spreadsheet. Update W-4 withholding for me and my husband after plugging in our numbers in the IRS withholding calculator. File our taxes!
  • Organization: Cut down on extraneous online community involvement until I have a better grip on my real life work, hobby, education, and social commitments. Clear out and donate/toss my old stuff from my parents’ house.

I think the key to achieving these things is to flat out set a date for them instead of stopping at the list making stage. I have to schedule things right into my calendar for them to actually seem like tasks instead of goals. Goals are nice, but they will never be anything but words on paper unless I break them down into doable tasks.

30% Off Footlocker (No minimum purchase)

Footlocker.com has a Friends and Family 30% Off Internet Code: EMFF8CP3

Valid Thursday 12/4/2008 through Sunday 12/7/2008. On-line offer expires 12/7/2008 at 11:59 pm CST

Footlocker.com

You can also print out the Friends and Family coupon and use it in a brick and mortar Footlocker store.

Some of my favorite non-standard Mary Jane-style crosstrainers from RYKÄ are on sale, too!


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RYKÄ Women’s Ramble Mary Jane ($29.99)
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RYKÄ Women’s Versa Mary Jane ($39.99)
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M&F W7D7: Cozumel Cruise Wrap-Up

I’m back from my family cruise to Cozumel!

Actually, I got back Friday afternoon, but it’s been a rush of family activities (my sister flew in from Cali for the cruise and is staying until Monday afternoon), the memorial service for my friend Erick, and a frantic bulk food shopping and meal assembly session with two friends at my house.

My spray tan faded just in time for the cruise to begin, but it turned out that it was just a little bit too windy for DH and I to brave the pool or waters of Cozumel anyway. We did see some amazing Mayan ruins at Tulum on the Mexican mainland (after a truly nauseating high-speed ferry boat ride from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen–at least that is what my parents said–I slept through most of it) and walked up and down the main drag in Key West until we found the Key Lime Pie Factory where I indulged in some authentic, delicious Key Lime pie.

Even more importantly, I was able to sing some karaoke for three out of the four nights on the Imagination’s wonderful sound system in the Xanadu Lounge. It wasn’t Rising Star, but it wasn’t bad, either!

The gym aboard the Carnival Imagination was more than adequate for my workouts, and I got in a back/biceps/ab day, a RCR circuit day, and a cardio day on the recumbent bike. They were even kind enough to provide a TV screen on the bike that played the movie Speed Racer while I was pedaling, which made the time go by much faster than expected.

We also discovered the most awesome portrait photographer on board the ship the first night. His name was Joseph, and he had totally mad skills. The guy was a complete control freak when it came to posing his subjects, but since this resulted in such fantastic pictures, we didn’t mind. Seriously, he tweaked everything from posture and hand position to hair and clothing. We wound up going back to him two more times for more photos because we knew that we’d never find someone that good locally without a lot of trial and error.

It was kind of nice to know that the photographer was looking out for us and making sure we didn’t have hunched posture or stray hairs going on.

Here’s one taken by a different photographer. How Asian do I look in this shot? Muahahahaha!

I am back on the healthy eats wagon with a vengeance tomorrow, and will be doing my best to finish out my M&F program by December 31 despite the distractions of the holidays. Vacation was wonderful, but I am glad for the sake of my waistline that real life doesn’t come with 24-hour access to a frozen yogurt machine and room service. 😉

Nintendo Wii in stock @ Amazon

This may not last very long, but I just got a convenient text notification on my phone that Amazon.com has the Nintendo Wii in stock again for $249.99 with free shipping. If you are in the market for one of these this holiday season, you might want to take a look before they sell out again. I just caved in and snatched one up for the upcoming release of Animal Crossing: City Folk
.

Yes, I am THAT addicted to Animal Crossing.

M&F W5D4: Whoa…

Last night my husband completely floored me by asking, “Do you want to go to the gym with me in the morning?”

o_O

Was that really MY husband who said that?

Apparently it was, because Mr. Sleepyhead actually got up this morning at 7 AM, pulled on his dust-encrusted workout gear, and started stretching and warming up in the living room. When we got to the gym, he even took himself off to the 30 minute express circuit and stayed actively occupied for the entire duration of my interval run on the treadmill.

I’m not sure what to make of it, but I hope he manages to keep it up for the rest of the year. Maybe Obama’s election and acceptance speech lit a fire under DH’s butt?

Regarding this morning’s run though…despite getting 7 hours of solid sleep and taking yesterday off from exercise to recover from donating blood Tuesday, I still felt like a slug on the treadmill. I kept my speeds the same as usual with 3.5 mph rest intervals and working intervals of 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, and 9 mph, but my energy level was noticeably low. The 5k this Sunday is going to be rough. 😉

I wound up signing up for an official race in Celebration by Disney with some other people from my company, but I will still donate an extra $20 to a local animal charity called RAIN (Rescuing Animals in Need). There’s a branch of Florida Hospital there that is offering free bone density, blood pressure, body fat, and other screenings after the race, all of which I am geeky enough to want to try.

I will still be sporting my own homemade PDB Charity 5k shirt, though! If I can find some time, I may even try to sew up a running skirt from that Jalie pattern Irene and I both have. Hers turned out so cute that I have been wanting to give it a try since the August Pink Dumbbells cruise!

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 3 egg white omelette with 1/2 c. French cut green beans, jalapeno pepper slices, and 3 slices turkey pepperoni, 3/4 c. Total raisin bran cereal, 1/2 c. light organic soy milk
2. 1.5 c. chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and onions stew, 1/2 c. baked rosemary oregano sweet potato fries
3. 1 slice (1/6 loaf) Protein-fortified zucchini bread (Gourmet Nutrition recipe), 1 t. pumpkin butter
4. 4 oz. sauteed tofu, 1 t. chili paste, 1 peach
5. 5 oz. garlic and red pepper sauteed whiting filet, 1 c. green peas and green beans, 1/2 medium apple
6. 2 boiled eggs, 1/2 medium apple

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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– Interval run – RCR 3 (30 min; 3.5 – 9 mph)
– 100 Push Ups Week 4
– Skate (30 min)

M&F W5D1: Muscle & Fitness Reboot

My six weeks of Red Carpet Ready are officially over, and I am resurrecting my 12-week Muscle & Fitness Hers program from earlier this autumn in the middle of week 5 where I left off on September 22. I still need to take final RCR pics and measurements, but overall I believe that my results on the program were above my expectations. More on my results and opinion of the program in my full recap and review Tuesday or Wednesday. My plan for the rest of 2008 is to finish up the M&F program as written, then switch back to one of Val’s RCR plans (probably Action Hero 1 and 2)

I was so thrilled to be lifting in the gym again today. If I have any gripe at all about the RCR program, it’s that I had to perform all of the circuits at home, which just doesn’t provide the same motivational vibe for me as being in a gym full of people (a.k.a. potential observers). I wish I could have done them at the gym along with my intervals, but my gym has that grippy, non-slip rubber flooring that is incompatible with the Valslides, with or without the felt covers. Planet Fitness is a no-frills place that doesn’t offer group classes (which I wouldn’t take anyway), so there isn’t a separate mirrored room with a slick hardwood floor, either.

It has been a long six weeks of gazing wistfully at the free weight floor from various cardio machines for me.

I got right back in the saddle with chest/shoulders/triceps using weights about 2.5-5 lbs lighter than what I was lifting 7 weeks ago to ease my way into the program. I have definitely lost some strength, but I think I will be back up to pre-RCR levels in two weeks or so. I was short on time so I performed my exercises in tri-set fashion with minimal rest. I was finished in 40 minutes–woohoo!

I have 30 minutes of moderate cardio or yoga and a push up workout to get in, then I am set for the day. Food through meal 5 is packed, all of the Halloween candy is long gone thanks to the juvenile brigands that run amok my neighborhood, and the airbrush tanning place on the way home from work is conveniently open until 9 PM. I’m going to see if they can spray some six pack abs on me for my final Week 6 Red Carpet Ready pics. 😉

Just kidding! Really!

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 1 slice (1/6 loaf) Protein-fortified zucchini bread (Gourmet Nutrition recipe)
2. 1.5 c. chicken and broccoli with dried red peppers, 1/2 c. baked rosemary oregano sweet potato fries
3. 4 oz. sauteed tofu, 1 t. chili paste, 1.5 persimmons
4. 3 egg whites, 1 medium apple
5. 4 oz. sauteed tofu, 1 whole egg, 1 egg white, 3 c. salad with grape tomatoes, onion, iceberg and Romaine lettuce, and spinach, 2 T. low-fat Asian sesame ginger dressing
6. 1 chocolate peanut butter fudgsicle, 1/2 c. light soy milk

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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– M&F Hers Chest/Shoulders/Triceps (40 min)
– 100 Push Ups W4D1
– NYC Ballet Workout (30 min)