It’s Beginning To Feel Like Fall! Mexican Crockpot Quinoa

Although it’s still in the 70′s in Virginia, it is starting to feel like fall to me! It’s homecoming week already, the leaves are changing, and I got this in the mail today…

photo

My own personalized MRS sweatshirt!! I work for Varsity which is the most amazing cheerleading/dance company ever, so my job gives me an excuse to buy the most glittery blingy gear to wear for all events of my life. True, my wedding is in July and it’ll be 90 plus degrees on the honeymoon but…maybe it’ll be cold on the plane? I guarantee I’ll be finding somewhere to wear this!

I also know it’s fall because I have been busting out my crockpot!

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I just love walking in the house after a busy day and having the amazing aroma of dinner wafting through my home..and then, the even more amazing feeling hits me…I don’t have to prepare anything, dinner is already ready! Talk about relief.

CrockPotOpen

Yum yum yum…so good even Billy ate it.

This recipe comes to you from Mandie Marie at The Fruitful Turtle, who originally found this recipe over at 365 Days of Crockpot. Be sure to check them both out!

Mexican Quinoa

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup salsa (I used medium)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all above ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. The original recipe calls for the bay leaf, but I would omit it. I like the flavor better without it.

crockpotingredients

After cooking time is complete, fluff quinoa with a fork. Remove bay leaf if you used it. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over your quinoa and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add avocado slices, I went with Sabra guacamole on top.

You could add corn to this to make it more of a Tex Mex Dish..that would be pretty awesome too!

After finishing this delicious dinner, I was all excited to try a new Barre class at the gym,  but I showed up to find it was cancelled! I was so bummed. I ended up taking Body Combat instead which was a great workout. Tomorrow I’ll be giving my reviews on a couple of great workouts for your home gym: P90X and Insanity, so come back and check that out!

Questions of the Day:

What is your favorite crockpot recipe?

Does it feel like fall to you yet?

All-Natural DIY Eye Make Up Remover

It is HOMECOMING WEEK at the school where I coach. Always a hectic one, and super exciting for my team. They found out today who made homecoming court, which is a big deal to them, and really to most high-schoolers. I had one freshman and one junior make the court, and one senior…

HomecomingQueen

Which means she’s up for homecoming queen. And she’s the cheerleading captain. Seems like a good year to be her…and a good year to take your coach’s phone and take pictures of yourself!

My kids do this all. the. time. I swear since Instagram became big, they each have a signature pose and I see it in my photo gallery on a regular basis.

My cheerleaders wear a lot of make-up for games and events, so they need to have a good make-up remover. And so do you.

Ladies, do not go to bed with your make-up on at night. Let your pores breathe! I do my DIY Facial Cleanser and DIY Moisturizer in the morning and at night..but before I wash my face at night, I always use an eye make-up remover.

A couple of weeks ago my old eye make-up remover was empty, so I was up for the challenge:

OLDEyeMakeUpRemover

Time to make my own!

A simple, easy way to wipe your make-up clean…with no chemicals.

EyeMakeUpRemover

All Natural DIY Eye Make Up Remover

  • 1 part olive oil
  • 2 parts witch hazel
  • 2 parts water

Mix all ingredients together in a squirt bottle and shake.

The liquids will separate when sitting on your counter, so give it a good shake before you apply or you’ll end up with all olive oil! I read a lot of online recipes for eye make-up remover that contained feedback that the DIY mixture made their eyes burn. Maybe I just don’t have sensitive eyes, but I have NO problems with this. I have been using it for several weeks and I have only positive things to say!

Tomorrow I will be sharing a Mexican Quinoa recipe that I found from another amazing blogger..even Billy ate it so you know it’s good! And…you make it in the crock pot. It is fall and you know you want to bust out your crock pot! Love that thing.

But…I have even bigger news. Today I made foundation!!! Not powder..I have seen lots of online recipes for DIY “foundation”, which is really powder. They are two different things, okay?!?! I wear both and about every other make-up product known to man. This is creamy liquid foundation that goes on smooth and leaves your skin looking good. I am beyond excited to share it with you…coming soon!

Questions of the Day:

What all-natural DIY recipes would you like to see in October?

How often do you use your crock pot?

Weekly Weigh In: Week Two

Can I just weigh in tomorrow and tell y’all? How does that sound for everybody? Or Wednesday? Or next week? Or…

TheColdHardTruth

This week was just like last week. Ate well all week, ate horrible all weekend and gained ALL the weight back. Two of the 2.5 pounds from last week are back. So..I’ve lost half a pound. In two weeks. Something is not right here.

Yesterday I was talking to Billy about it, in tears and frustrated because I want to lose this excess weight and have my perfect body, but I keep sabotaging myself. I said “You know, I was doing better before I came up with a set diet.”

And it’s true. I was eating consistently well. Not perfectly, maybe too many sweets some days, but I was making good choices and I was never massively overeating. And now? It’s all or nothing. I’m either super strict or flying off the deep end. And I’m embarrassed to say that, since I started my “cheat days”, I have been eating foods that aren’t even vegan. That’s just not who I want to be. Everything feels like a rule and an expectation and too much to manage.

Last night I came up with a plan to eat the same thing for the next 77 days, which included foods that require tons of prep work despite the fact that I know I’m often travelling. I told my Dad (who told me to just pick something and stick with it) that I would make it work no matter what, no matter how crazy it was.

My best friend Ashley told me it was not a practical way to eat.

AshandCara

She is a tiny Barbie, as you can see, and she works hard at it, so I always listen to her advice. And her advice was: this is crazy. You can’t eat the same thing for 77 days.

One of my favorite books, Thin Side Out: How To Have Your Cake & Your Skinny Jeans Too by Josie Spinardi, talks about this specifically:

You create a diet, you rebel on the diet because diets are too restrictive, and you binge. After you binge, you’re in a panic and heartbroken because you’re now further away from your goal…hmmm, sounds like somebody I know…

“You have to cut a deal — by making “the plan.” Because now you have even more work ahead of you. Not only do you have the original weight to lose, you also have to make up for your little — okay, big — caloric indiscretion. You start making all kind of promises to yourself. You’ll diet more strictly, without any of that pesky moderation that may have bogged you down the last time around. No, this time you mean business. You start going free-style, creating your own damage control plan…You’ve hoisted yourself back up to the top of the triangle — determined, powerful. This time, you won’t blow it. This time, you’ll make it stick…You whip around the triangle with the relentless fury of a bad carnival ride: diet, binge, beat yourself up. Diet, binge, beat yourself up. Over. And over. And over.”

This is my life. So what’s the plan going forward? The plan is to get rid of the plan. The plan is to eat when I’m hungry, the healthiest smartest vegan food that sounds delicious to me, and to stop eating when I’m satisfied. The plan is to focus more on being a happy, healthy young woman and less on how many calories are in my green smoothie or my morning oatmeal. My body has the capacity to grow a living, breathing, human being inside of it, so I’m sure it can handle reaching my perfect weight — if I would let it. The plan is to make NO more plans.

I feel better already.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my all-natural eye make up remover so come back and check that out!

Questions of the Day:

What are some of your favorite books?

How do you maintain your perfect weight, or how are you trying to?

 

Food Journal Friday: 09/20/2013

I had my first DIY all-natural beauty fail last night. Somehow, the first six or so things I’ve tried have all turned out pretty awesome. I guess I got too cocky. Last night, I tried to make my own deep conditioner. I felt like my ends had gotten dry so I applied this liberally. I rinsed it out, and the ends were smooth, but my hair was so greasy. I washed it twice with my DIY Shampoo and Conditioner and it is still oily! Ugh. I curled it all up to hide that, and the failed attempt was great for holding curl..so I guess that’s the silver lining!

curlyhair

P.S. My mom is a French teacher, check out the French bathroom sign behind me! Oui Oui.

Thursdays are my favorite workout day: Body Step class! During the week, I generally do Body Flow, CX Works, Body Pump, Body Attack, and my favorite: Body Step. On the two days I’m at home for practice, I usually run or do Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis DVDs, but today I made myself do Insanity. Keyword made. It hurts so good! Tomorrow is my rest day, thank the Lord!

So before I went to Body Step yesterday at 930 am, I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t eat very well on Wednesday (whoops) so I started my day with a big class of water with the juice of half a lemon, 1/4 tsp of B12, and my biotin, calcium, and iodine tablets. Check out the supplements I take and why here.

MorningMeal

After my class, I went back home and had a substantial breakfast, my new favorite:

MorningMeal2

1/2 cup oatmeal with 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams. This is my new Nutella replacement. Sometimes I do 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 tbsp of Dark Chocolate Dreams, sometimes honey and raisins, just depends on my mood. This breakfast sticks with me for so long which makes it well worth the calorie count.

When I was about 45 minutes from the high school where I coach, my tummy started growling. It was about 130 pm and I was ready for lunch! When I got to the school, I ate this:

LunchandDinner

Which, before I devoured it, was 1/2 cup homemade Mexican rice, 1/2 cup black beans, and 1/2 an avocado. I liked it so much I had the exact same thing for dinner, just with a whole cup of rice. Again, I failed to take a picture before wolfing it down!

I’ve also gotten into a daily dessert routine I can live with:

Dessert

Banana with 1 tbsp Dark Chocolate Dreams and 1 tbsp natural peanut butter. It doesn’t look nearly as delicious as it actually is…I am well aware that I need to improve on my picture taking skills! My biggest problem is probably that I’m taking them on my iPhone..camera is on my Christmas list, right next to Vitamix!

FoodJournalFriday

I finished the day at 1350 clean calories. But was it a great day? I’m still skeptical. No greens. Only veggie was the avocado (does that even count?) and only fruit was the banana. Not as nutrient dense as it could’ve been. I have to get in the habit of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my daily routine, so grocery shopping and prepping will be happening this weekend!

Speaking of the weekend, I hope you all enjoy yours and keep it healthy (or at least reasonably indulge!). Monday I’ll be sharing My Weekly Weigh-In for the end of Week 2 so come back and see how I did: hopefully better than last weekend!

Questions of the Day:

What kind of camera do you use?

What are your favorite workouts?

Why Exercise Won’t Make You Skinny

When I got down to my goal weight in 2010 from doing P90X I was counting every calorie I ate…

CaraP90X

And every calorie I burned. Back then, I didn’t have the cool technology of the Fitbit so I tracked what I did every minute of every day and then logged it all on The Daily Plate. Since then, they’ve removed the feature of tracking activities such as sleeping, reading, talking, and other things that are not exercise. They probably removed it because of me, since I was crazily logging every minute of my day. If I went to the bathroom in the night, I logged that. If I sat down for two minutes at the library, I logged that. I wanted to know exactly how much of a deficit I was creating with my 1000 calorie-a-day diet.

At some point — specifically in late June after hitting my goal weight in May – doing Insanity, P90X, and running every day on 1000 calories was no longer sustainable and I began binge eating. I couldn’t control myself, I was famishedI wasn’t taking care of my body. Sure, I looked great, but I was anti-social and pretty miserable, since I was hungry all the time. Spending a minimum of three hours a day on exercise plus a full-time job doesn’t leave much social time, and I made it a habit of going to bed around 8 PM so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat late.

Besides wanting you to understand that there are happy ways to lose weight and miserable ways to lose weight, I do have a point for Thursday Thoughts: Exercise won’t make you skinny. Ever heard the old phrase You can’t outexercise a bad diet?

donuts

You can’t. Here are the obvious steps to getting your dream body. Obvious? Yes. Easy to follow? Not always. If it was so easy to do, we would all have our perfect bodies by now, right?

  • Eat fewer calories than you burn. Counting calories is annoying, sure. It can be obsessive, I know. But in order to be sure you are going to drop weight, you must be certain you are eating fewer calories than you’re burning. How do you know what’s the right number to be eating? Livestrong.com will estimate it for you, as will many other websites. If you’re responsible enough to portion out reasonable amounts of food and not eat past your satisfaction point (not FULLNESS, just satisfaction), then good for you! Go for it. You’re a better person than I am. I have to hold myself accountable for every bite or the bites will become more and more frequent as time goes on. Some people can simply cue into their internal hunger signals. However, those people tend to be thin already.
  • Eat RIGHT. What that means for you depends on what makes you feel your best. Only you know what makes your body feel healthiest. What it means for me is a vegan diet that is as close to all-natural as possible and includes solid meals of clean, high-quality food that will keep me nourished and energized all day long. For me, eating this way means weight melts off much faster. When I lost my weight in 2010, it took me 69 days to lose 25 lbs. So far, my weight has dropped much more rapidly this time around and I am eating more calories. But they’re good calories that my body can recognize and process. All calories are not created equal. The other day I had Nutella on my banana for dessert, rather than my usual peanut butter. Later I looked at the ingredients and realized Nutella has milk in it! Who knew?!?

NutellaTrash

So that went straight in the trash! The following morning, although I had stuck to my calories diligently, I had lost hardly any weight. I usually drop a pound minimum on a day that I eat clean and adhere to my calories. So I knew something was out of whack, and I am sure it was the Nutella. A vegan all-natural diet fuels my body in a way that I never experienced before making the switch. Eating a low-calorie diet void of nutrients will make you void of energy, miserable, and not losing weight as quickly as you could be.

  • Work Out. Wait, am I contradicting myself now? The title is Why Exercise Won’t Make You Skinny. I’m not going back on my claim, I promise. If you want your BEST body you are going to want to exercise to complement your portion controlled clean eating, so when you reach your goal weight you’re not just skinny but also lean and toned. Exercise will make you fit. It will release endorphins and you will get hooked on doing it. But it will not make you skinny, not unless you’re starving yourself. Otherwise, burning more calories and creating a larger deficit is simply going to make you more hungry. You can’t go to spin class then run six miles a day and expect that your body won’t need more fuel. This type of diet will not last. If you do get your results, they will be fleeting, just like mine were.

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So there you have it! Tony Horton, creator of P90X, says
“Take care of your body and it will take care of you”. I am finally learning what that means. It does not mean punish your body with hours of excessive exercise. It does not mean take classes at the gym that you hate because you’ve been told “no pain no gain”. It does not mean starving because your body is bad and won’t lose weight if you don’t force it into submission. On the flip side, it does not mean eating a whole pizza because you need a break or skipping the gym all week because exercise won’t make you skinny. It means: eating correct portions, eating right, exercising. Loving your body and treating it the way it deserves.

So, why is this so hard to do? I’m not a nutritionist or a personal trainer, I’m just a girl who wants to be in my best shape, like so many other girls. So here is my take on it:

TheColdHardTruth

Old habits die hard. Gosh, I am full of cheesy lines today. Like any daily habit, making a change will take major focus and effort at the beginning. People talk about eating healthy and feeling great and all you feel is tired, cranky, and hungry. I’ve been there. Junk food can be like a drug, truly. And withdrawal is hard. But once you get a few weeks in, you begin to love your new lifestyle and you don’t even have to think about eating right or working out daily: it just comes naturally. For me it generally takes three weeks of eating right every day to get into a routine. If I get off track one day, I really have to start all over. I get a taste for those junk foods and my cravings are back to square one. But, if I persist day after day, I come out on the other side of those 21 days feeling healthier, more confident, and ready to take on new challenges.

Speaking of challenges, here’s one for you (and me!):

21 Days. Count Your Calories. Eat Right. Exercise 4-6 Days Each Week.

Who’s with me? In three short weeks we will be better in so many ways for having committed ourselves. Comment on this post if you’ll take on this challenge, and come back tomorrow to see what I ate today on Food Journal Friday.

Get Skinny By Breakfast: Green Smoothie Under 100 Calories

Camel

Guess what day it is?!?! I don’t care how many times I see it, I can’t help but laugh at that commercial. Blame it on the animal lover in me, but that camel is hilarious! Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Today I want to share a recipe that was inspired by a blog I absolutely love, The Green Forks. Laura has transitioned her family from a “carbitarian” diet to a vegan whole food plant-based diet..and she is making this happen with two children under the age of 5! I think that’s beyond inspiring, since I have enough trouble making it happen just for me!

A couple of weeks ago I tried Laura’s Green Smoothie and really enjoyed it. However, it was way too big for me. I couldn’t fit it all in one portable cup and, as you all know, I am always travelling so my food needs to be travel-friendly. I couldn’t finish the smoothie and it does not keep well (duh, Cara). I tried to drink the rest of it the second day and it was um..less than delicious. So, I adapted based on what was in my kitchen and what better fit my calorie budget. Here’s what I came up with:

GreenSmoothie2

Cara’s Green Smoothie (adapted from Laura @ The Green Forks)

  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 cup watermelon
  • 1 cup spinach, packed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 packets stevia, to taste

Watermelon

  1. Slice cucumber and watermelon
  2. Throw all ingredients in the blender
  3. Blend!

Unlike most of you, I don’t have the awesome Vitamix. It’ll be on my Christmas list, trust me. But for now, I have a cheap little basic blender and it worked perfectly for this recipe. I ended up with a brightly colored, smooth green juice. Anyone can create this healthy nutrient-packed breakfast, you don’t need a high quality blender!

GreenSmoothie

This recipe comes out to 75 calories and you’re getting a serving of greens before you even have your coffee! When was the last time that happened? I hope this will eventually replace your morning coffee, like it has mine!

On a side note, yesterday’s post got me motivated to make more DIY Facial Cleanser with my homemade cashew milk. I threw out my original batch that I made with store-bought almond milk. I love the consistency of my new face wash. It is much thicker and creamier than my original version..feels more like a real cleanser.

Washed my hair with my DIY Shampoo/Conditioner this morning so I’m all fresh and ready to take on the day! I’m currently going 2-3 days between washes. I have never been happier with the look of my hair and skin.

TheVeganBarbie

If you haven’t tried these DIY Beauty products yet it’s time to do so!

Questions of the Day:

What is your favorite commercial?

When was the last time you had greens for breakfast?

How To Get Glowing Skin On A Dime Part 2: DIY Moisturizer

Your skin is your body’s biggest organ. Think about this for a second.

You can be eating the most amazing clean, whole food plant-based vegan diet and still be destroying your body with chemical products via: you guessed it, your skin.

skin

And why would you keep spending money on these products when you don’t have to?  Why would you purchase a product that tests on animals when you don’t have to?

I had been using the same product brand for years before I read that they were not cruelty-free, although they claim to be. What I read explained that they outsource the animal testing to a company in China so that they can identify as a company that does not test on animals. Now, I understand you can’t believe everything you read, but I’d rather not run the risk.

This summer I saw this video on Facebook and knew it would change the choices I make as a consumer.

This video is a positive, beautiful, loving video about beagles who spent their first 6 years in a test lab, but are rescued here. Definitely worth watching, it will make your heart smile. Don’t worry, I will never put a horrific video on here of animals being abused. I know it happens, but I can’t watch it. I choose to be a vegan to do my part to end it.

You may not save all the animals with my DIY Moisturizer, but every little bit helps.

You need two simple items and two ingredients:

IngredientsMoisturizer

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Empty moisturizer tube (I bought mine in the travel section at the drug store)
  • Vitamin E capsules
  • Coconut Oil

The quantities aren’t very exact for this and they don’t need to be. Scoop out some Coconut Oil (I would guess I use 1/4 cup) and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will be very melted and that is how you want it!

CoconutOil

Cut the tips of two Vitamin E capsules and pour them into your melted coconut oil. Mix together well.

VitaminE

Use a small funnel to pour your mixture from the bowl into your moisturizer tube. This can be stored at room temperature. Unless you keep your house very cold, you’ll be able to squeeze it out easily when you want to use it. If your fiance likes to keep your home at 65 degrees like mine does, you may have to melt it for a few seconds before using.

When I was still using my brand name moisturizer, I had to use a separate foundation primer prior to applying my foundation. It’s a clear liquid that gives your skin a smooth finish and makes your foundation look polished. Now that I use my coconut oil moisturizer, there is no need for a separate primer. My makeup glides on effortlessly. I even put this on my eyelids because it makes a huge difference in the application of my eye makeup.

My skin routine is very simple now:

  1. Wash off makeup with DIY Eye Make Up Remover (recipe coming soon)
  2. Clean face with DIY Facial Cleanser, wipe face clean with warm washcloth
  3. Apply DIY Moisturizer
  4. Admire your beautiful skin in the mirror

That’s all there is to it! Don’t waste any more time or money on your brand name products, they are by no means a requirement to have beautiful skin.

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever used foundation primer? How much makeup do you wear on a regular day?

Do you appreciate the honesty of animal cruelty videos or do you avoid watching them?

Weekly Weigh In: Week One

Happy Monday everyone!

Well, I have good news and bad news:

The good news is: I lost 2.5 lbs in Week One!

The bad news? On Saturday morning I had lost 7 lbs total…and then the weekend came. And now I’m down just 2.5 lbs…you do the math.

Week1

My Week One graph tells it all: two steps forward, one step back.

So I’ve come to a major realization: the word cheat day just can’t be in my vocabulary anymore.

junkfood

Cheat days set me up for a deprivation/binge cycle. I work for several days on a strict number of calories and then my cheat day is a free-for-all. All last week I looked forward to my cheat day Saturday, when Billy and I could go out to a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company. By that point, I was so sick to my stomach from overeating during the day that I couldn’t enjoy dinner or catching up with Billy. My stomach was so distended and uncomfortable all I could think about was leaving. What an awful feeling!

After we left the restaurant, all I wanted to do was lay down. I didn’t write a meal plan for Sunday, it just totally slipped my mind. I’m pretty much lost without my meal plan. Sunday morning I got up early, went to the gym, went to Church, went to a work appointment. Around dinner time I realized I had nothing to eat in the house, so I ran to the grocery store to get some healthy food. Well I did get healthy food…and a lot of unhealthy food which I ended up eating instead. By the time I came out of my crazed binge, I was miserable. The disappointment in myself was overwhelming. All I could do was cry.

Once I get off track, it is so much harder for me to get back on the right path. And a cheat day, even when planned, feels like getting off track. For this reason, cheat days are out the window.

My parents are always very supportive of my diet efforts. Every time I work on something new, they seem to get healthier because of it. Me? Not so much. But this time will be different, you can count on it!

momanddad2

Although my parents enjoy hearing the new facts I learn about nutrition, the thing that drives them crazy is that I’m constantly changing my diet. My Dad thinks I don’t give myself enough time to let anything work. I tell him I’m not changing it, I’m just tweaking it. He tells me that’s synonymous with change.

Nonetheless, I know my diet needs a tweak after Week One. Here is my diet makeover for the week: rather than 1000 calories 5 days a week and 2 cheat days, I’m doing 1500 calories every day. This is important for several reasons:

  1. My physical well-being: I feel awful when I overeat..I’m sluggish, tired, and have major stomach pain. When I eat well, I have energy to accomplish the many things I need to get done!
  2. My emotional well-being: When I eat poorly, I find that I have a much harder time managing my emotions. Life seems difficult to tackle and every mole hill looks like a mountain. Plus, eating in a way that does not correspond to the body I want makes me feel defeated, like I can’t accomplish my goal. But I know I can! I just have to stick with my plan.
  3. I’m a creature of habit: Once I get into a routine, I have an easy time sticking to it. It takes me a few weeks, but then I can follow my plan without thinking: it takes zero willpower because I love the way I feel. The cheat day breaks my routine and gets me out of the good habits I’m building, like writing down a daily meal plan and logging my calories on Livestrong.com. To build my optimal routine, I need to be on a plan every day.
  4. Someday I’m going to have a daughter: not today, not next month, but some time after we get married, Billy and I are going to have a daughter. Even though it’s in the distant future, I think about being a Mom and whether I’ll be good at it on a regular basis. I want my daughter to be able to look up to me as the woman she wants to become. Most little girls learn what’s right and wrong, what to value and what to reject from their mothers. I do not want my daughter to see me on an eating spree two days a week..or ever. I want her to see me eating healthy every day: in a way that nourishes my body and comes across as health-centered and not diet-centered. This is so important to me, to encourage my daughter to grow up with healthy attitudes toward food. I can’t eat the way I’m eating now and expect to accomplish that.

So, today I’ve done well and I’m feeling like I’m back on track. Hopefully in a couple days I’ll have dropped the 4.5 lbs I regained this weekend..and more! Until then, I’m going to chalk it up to experience and do something that is always challenging for me: forgive myself and move on.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing Part Two to my Glowing Skin tricks: A DIY All-Natural Moisturizer! Please come back and check that out.

Questions of the Day:

Do you incorporate a cheat day into your diet? What are your favorite cheat foods?

How do you instill healthy eating habits in your children?

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Food Journal Friday

Do you remember Kermit the Frog’s song “It’s Not Easy Being Green” ? I miss the Muppets. Every kid should be so lucky as to grow up with those crazy characters.

Kermit+The+Frog+kermit

Unlike Kermit, it was easy for me being green yesterday. I feel like I did much better than last week, which was loaded with sugar! Check it out if you haven’t already.

Going forward, I am working hard to maintain a diet of 1000 calories 5 days a week, with 2500 calorie days on Wednesday and Saturday. Read more about my diet plan on Monday’s post.

GreenSmoothie

Yesterday I started out with my version of the Green Smoothie from Laura @ The Green Forks. I’ll be debuting my lower-calorie version next week, so look out for that. I was able to keep it under 100 calories for a great breakfast including a serving of greens! This was a healthful way to start the day that kept me full and satisfied for several hours.

As I mentioned last week, Thursday is a travel-to-practice day so I packed a snack for the car. I had 1/4 cup of Wholly Guacamole and 1/2 cup of baby carrots. Healthy finger foods are perfect for card rides, and I can’t get enough guacamole!

CarrotsnGuac

I got to practice and enjoyed a cup of Four Bean Salad for a filling and energizing lunch. The photo below is from last week’s food journal and I would estimate it’s about 2.5 cups. I really lost all concept of what a reasonable portion was, and just figured I could eat my fill because it was healthy. Measuring and calorie counting this week has been eye opening! Not only that, but I was very satisfied with a cup. Sure, I could have kept eating, but I didn’t need any more food.

oatmeal1

When I got home from practice I was ravenous. I think so much of that is just getting home from a busy day and craving comfort. For too long, comfort has been synonymous with sugar in my life, so I can get the signals confused. I’m trying to become more aware of this. For dinner, I ate a cup of linguini but that didn’t seem to do anything to help. Do you ever eat carbs and just crave more food? This wasn’t the best choice for dinner.

pasta

I ate it so fast I forgot to take a picture until the very end! After this I added up my calories and realized I had plenty left for dessert. Mmmm..sugar! I am so proud to say I was actually craving a healthier kind of sugar and fat this week…

BananasPB

A sliced banana with 1.5 tbsp natural peanut butter and lots of cinnamon! This was perfect to keep me full and satisfied for the rest of the evening and I really had no desire for a cookie or ice cream after I finished it.

DailyPlate

Daily Plate tracking on Livestrong.com helps me so much, and you can see that I really stuck to my plan yesterday.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend! Check in with me Monday, I’ll be updating you on my weight-loss progress (or lack thereof) from Week 1 of my diet!

Questions of the Day:

How do you think I did today on my meal plan?

What is the worst diet you’ve ever tried?

Sleeping With The Enemy: Surviving Life With A Non-Vegan

Fridge

This is the fridge at Vegan Barbie Headquarters. Chicken breasts front and center..bad enough. Plus milk, eggs, butter…why is this happening to me?

For as long as I can remember Since I came out of the womb, I have always been bossy. In general, I think I have good ideas. And I expect other people to like my good ideas and want to follow suit. I like to call myself a natural born leader. But either way you slice it, I am more comfortable telling other people what to do than being told what to do. That’s totally reasonable, right?

When I decided to commit to a vegan lifestyle, I knew I couldn’t just expect Billy to do the same. For one, he grew up with a different family experience than I did. His family centers bonding time around hunting and fishing. While I didn’t grow up with those experiences, I understand how deep childhood memories run, and I don’t think Billy will be changing his carnivorous ways any time soon.

BillyandCara

But who can be mad at the face? He’s stunningly gorgeous. While I haven’t even attempted to get Billy to convert to veganism himself, I do expect him to be supportive of my choices and not tell me I’m crazy or ask me where I’m going to get my protein (because how many times have we heard that?!) Lucky for me, he backs me 100% and tells me regularly how proud he is of the decisions I’m making.

Being on separate meal plans isn’t too hard for the two of us despite the fact that Billy is a carnivore on a mostly Paleo diet and I am a gluten-free vegan. Thankfully, Billy is totally self-sufficient. As a D1 college athlete and 2012 Conference Champion, he knows how to fuel his body for optimum performance and never comes hom from wrestling practice asking me “What’s for dinner?”

ODUWrestling

Heck, he has his own poster. I think he can handle dinner! So, he might grill chicken and I might eat mashed cauliflower, or he might make steak and I’ll have rice and beans. On occassion, he will join me for Four Bean Salad  or brown rice spaghetti and homemade spaghetti sauce. I love when Billy agrees to try my vegan food, and I love it even more when he actually likes it! This is so exciting for me because one vegan meal a week is better than no vegan meals a week: he is still saving animals every time he chooses cucumbers and guacamole over beef jerky.

But..there’s one thing I don’t like to share: my Liz Lovely gluten free vegan cookies. Billy loves them and I don’t want to share! At $2 a piece they are worth every penny, but I think he should just eat the 25 cent cookies from the grocery store and leave mine alone! My vegan cookies are MY vegan cookies. Whoops, there I go being bossy again…

When we have kids, food decisions will be a bit more complicated. Although I’d love to raise my children vegan, Billy is not in support of that. We have agreed that we will prepare our food the way we do now, eating separate dinners most days, and we will allow our children to pick which meal they want to eat. We’ve agreed not to try to sway them in either direction and as long as we are both promoting all-natural diets, we will be okay with whatever our children decide.

While I am so inspired by parents who start their children on a vegan diet from birth, I feel that veganism is a much more powerful choice when it is made from a moral stand point by the individual who is choosing to take on the vegan lifestyle. For this reason, I am totally okay with waiting until our kids are old enough to make educated decisions on the diet they choose to pursue.

Please check in tomorrow for Food Journal Friday. Did I cut out sugar since last week and stick to my new calorie counting plan that I discussed Monday? Come back and see!

Questions of the Day:

Are you raising your kids vegan? How did you make that decision?

Do you live with a non-vegan? How do you make it work?