Monday, January 16, 2017

Reset & Restore, Day 15

It's MLK Day! And it's day 15 of my 21-day Reset & Restore whole foods-based, intuitive eating program. My office was closed for the holiday, so I slept in until 8ish and then headed out for a lovely four-mile run in the warm nearly 70-degree weather. Aside from a handful of very cold, snowy days, this winter has been super-mild so far and just perfect for running!

After my run, I had another R&R recipe — Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Pudding! This was a chia-based pudding with Nutiva chocolate protein powder and peanut butter. Topped with salted peanuts and cacao nibs. Such a creamy morning treat!

Since I had the day off, I figured I ought to at least make good use of my time and tackle the long put-off task of painting my kitchen trash closet. I painted my kitchen about three years ago and fully intended to paint the closet (the one where the trash can goes) shortly after. But I procrastinated — FOR YEARS. So I finally did it today! The walls were really nasty, and now they look quite nice! While I painted, I snacked on some Mary's Gone Crackers Kale Crackers (they're gluten-free) with homemade Cashew Cheese. I am trying to mostly avoid processed food (except for protein powders and plant milks!) on this reset, but I've really missed crunchy snacks. And I've been too busy (lazy?) to make my own crackers, but as crackers go, these are pretty healthy!

I put off lunch until I'd finished my paint job, so it was after 2 p.m. by the time I heated up this plate of last night's leftovers — Hasselback Japanese Yam, Lentils, & Steamed Broccoli with Tahini & Nooch. 

That was such a hearty lunch that it held me over for hours and hours! I wasn't hungry for dinner until nearly 8. And that's when I had Lacy's Mexican Baked Oatmeal — a savory spin on oats with pinto beans, black olives, salsa, and Mexican spices. Topped with a little mashed homemade guac, salsa, lettuce, and tomato. 

Y'ALL!!! THIS WAS EVERYTHING! I've made savory oats on the stovetop for breakfast, but I'd never baked oats. Baking results in this creamy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-edges texture that I absolutely loved. And the flavors here were just incredible. This and the socca pizza from earlier in the week have been my favorite dinner recipes so far! I'd love to experiment with other savory baked oat recipes!

Well, that's it for tonight! Hard to believe next Monday I'll be done with the reset. I'm already planning out my first post-reset dinner! Even though I fully intend to retain the principles of this way of eating 80 percent of the time, I'm also planning to bring gluten (daily) and desserts (occasionally) back into my life.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reset & Restore, Days 12-14

Another weekend recap! I'm on Day 14 of my 3-week Reset & Restore program of whole foods, limited refined sugar, and no gluten. All of the meals I'm eating are made using recipes by Lacy Davis, and throughout the program, I'm doing workout videos by Jessica Wilkins. This weekend was smooth sailing! I did get a little refined sugar treat in though, but more on that in a few.

Friday morning started with bootcamp at my gym. It was a TOUGH class with lots of squats, burpees, plyometrics, and free weights. The one thing that pushed me through was knowing that, as soon as I got home and showered, I could eat this delicious Savory Breakfast Pancake. This is Lacy Davis' spin on traditional Indian pudla — a chickpea flour pancake topped with savory goodness. Mine was topped with sauteed squash, zucchini, and peppers and a drizzle of cashew cream and salsa verde. I've long had a love for pudla, and I'm not sure why I don't make this ALL THE TIME.

My morning and afternoon snack at my desk was Coconut Oil-popped Popcorn with Nooch. I made a big ole bowl of it to bring to work, and I snacked on it throughout the day.

Lunch on my meal plan Friday was a DIY Giant Salad with whatever I wanted on it. The key was to make sure and include some carbs, proteins, and fats. So mine had romaine, maple baked tempeh, brown rice, steamed broccoli, sliced bell pepper, sliced raw mushrooms, and a homemade lemon-tahini dressing.

Dinner was a gorgeous, steaming bowl of Lacy's Ratatouille with Steamed Kale & Brown Rice. This ratatouille was some of the best I've ever had. Tender eggplant and peppers with the tang of balsamic vinegar! It was just perfect with the greens and grains.

After dinner, I stopped by Imagine Vegan Cafe for their grand re-opening party. Imagine moved to a new location (just down the street from their old location and next door to their original place) a couple months ago. This is their third move since they opened in 2011, and it's by far the coolest (and largest) space they've had. Yet it was so packed for the party, and there was a long waiting list for a table. I hadn't planned on dining in, but I had planned on grabbing a quick treat! For at least a week prior, I'd been dreaming of having a Vegan Soft Serve Cone there at the opening party. So I did! Imagine just got a soft serve machine, and they're serving Chicago Soy Dairy's Temptation Ice Cream. It's sooooo good and surprisingly very low-cal.

I know I said I was avoiding refined sugar, but this reset program revolves around intuitive eating. And that means letting yourself have a treat every now and then if you really want one. After two weeks without a serious dessert, my intuition was telling me to eat that ice cream cone. And it was delicious. :-) I didn't hang around long after eating the cone though since they were so busy. Plus, I had to meet up with friends at Billy Hardwick's All-Star Lanes for my friend Shara's 34th birthday bowling party. I considered getting a little wine at the bowling alley, but I talked myself out of it, opting for coffee instead. I figured ice cream was enough of a treat for one night.

Besides, I had a long run planned for Saturday morning! My training plan had me doing 14 miles Saturday. So I woke up early and enjoyed a bowl of Pumpkin Pie Oats with Almond Butter (made with Trader Joe's canned pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice). And then I headed out to the Shelby Farms Greenline to get in those miles.

Post-run, I had some Vega Sport Mocha Performance Protein mixed with a little almond-cashew milk. And then I heated up some leftover ratatouille with brown rice and kale. That held me over for several hours, but later in the afternoon, I snacked on some Apples with PB2, a banana, and some coconut oil popcorn while watching Empire and Sense 8 on Netflix. PB2 (the low-fat peanut butter powder that you mix with water) is weird on sandwiches, but I love it for fruit dip and mixed into smoothies and oats.

Dinner on my R&R meal plan for Saturday was "eat out with friends"! So I met up with my friends Andy and Mike at Zaka Bowl for a healthy vegan bowl. I chose Zaka Bowl — a build-a-bowl restaurant — because it's a totally vegan place where I know I can get one of the healthiest meals in Memphis. Everything there is totally on-board with my reset program, so I could go wild! My bowl had garlic olive oil quinoa, baked tofu (double portion!), roasted herbed cauliflower, roasted carrots, sauteed bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, pineapple salsa, sesame soy sauce, and creamy avocado sauce.

After dinner, Andy and I joined a few more friends at The Pumping Station, my neighborhood gay bar, for a couple glasses of wine. I'm allowing myself a few glasses per week but nothing crazy. So I had my wine and went home around midnight like a responsible adult. Andy and crew, however, stayed out until 4 a.m.! Glad I went home!

On Sunday morning, I slept in until 9 (that's late for me!) and then made Lacy's Flourless Thai Pancakes in my PJs. These were totally gluten-free coconut-ginger pancakes, and they were AMAZING. You'd have never known they were gluten-free. I covered them in maple syrup and enjoyed these while watching more Empire.

Lunch was the last of the ratatouille with more kale and some quinoa. And then later in the day, I snacked on Celery & Spinach Hummus while I cleaned the house. I also had a small cup of KeVita Tart Cherry Kombucha.

I had a little chocolate craving in the afternoon, so I reached for a piece of Addictive Wellness Raw Chocolate, which is sweetened with stevia and loaded with superfood powders. It's also raw, so basically it's as healthy as chocolate can get.

Finally, there was dinner! And it was so yummy! I made yet another Lacy R&R recipe for Hasselback Japanese Yams, Lentils, & Steamed Broccoli.

This was my first time trying Japanese yams, and I was blown away. They're very similar to a sweet potato, but the flesh is white, not orange. And they're slightly sweeter and a little starchier. This one was baked with olive oil, salt, and nooch. And then the whole plate was sprinkled with more nooch and drizzled with tahini. Such a hearty and healthy meal!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Reset & Restore, Day 11

Halfway there!! That is, I'm halfway done with my 3-week Reset & Restore intuitive eating program! Usually by this point in a January reset program/cleanse/detox/whatever I'm calling it that year, I'm already dreaming of all the things I'll eat when the plan is over. Pizza, cupcakes, beer, fried tofu, noodles, burgers, bubble tea, etc. But not this time.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I WILL be eating ALL of those things. But this time around, I'm not looking at those meals/drinks as "bad foods." And I'm allowing myself an occasional treat now and then (totally planning to have a vegan soft serve ice cream cone at Imagine Vegan Cafe's grand opening tomorrow night!). Because of that change of mindset, I'm not hyper-focused on those things I'm not eating right now. I'll have them eventually, and when I do, cool. But I'm fine right now without them (and I can have them now if I really want them).

Anyway, onto today's eats! I had a 4-mile run this morning in beautiful 70-degree weather. It's basically spring in Memphis right now. But I'm sure we'll have more cold days ahead. Remember last Saturday when I nearly froze to death running outside in the snow? Winter in the South is so weird. After my run, I had these Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Oats. I used Nutiva chocolate protein powder and a raw superfood cacao mix (with mesquite and lucuma), banana, and PB2 for these!

That was a very filling breakfast! But I was hungry again by 11:30-ish. That's when I had a Fuji Apple with Nuttzo Peanut Pro (peanut-almond-cashew-Brazil nut-sunflower seed butter). Few snacks are more wholesome or delicious than this.

Lunch was a leftover Macro Bowl! Brown rice, maple tempeh, avocado, kale, blackeyed peas, kraut, peanut sauce, and sesame seed.

I'm trying to drink lots of booch to aid with digestion since I'm eating so many beans and legumes. After lunch, I cracked open this bottle of Simple Truth Organic Blueberry Ginger Kombucha. I'm having a small 8-ounce serving daily since storebought booch is so pricy. Starting a new batch of homebrew this weekend. I also had a small square of Lakanto monkfruit-sweetened almond chocolate in the afternoon because I had a little chocolate craving. I'm avoiding refined sugar as much as possible (except in booch!), but monkfruit, stevia, and other such sweeteners are just fine right now!

Tonight was PIZZA NIGHT for dinner! YES! Lacy included a recipe for gluten-free Socca Pizza in her Reset & Restore meal plan. This was sooooo good.

It had a crispy, cracker-like, chickpea flour crust and was topped with some jarred kale marinara (from Fresh Market), cashew cheese, black olives, mushrooms, and bell peppers. This was definitely my favorite dinner recipe from the reset thus far (warm oats/banana soft serve would be my fave breakfast). I made a single serving pizza by cutting the recipe in half, but now I wish I'd have made the whole recipe so I'd have leftovers.

Have a great weekend! I have some fun things/meals planned, so I'll check back in on Sunday with a recap.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reset & Restore, Day 10

Back with my daily recap of what I ate on Reset & Restore — a 3-week, vegan, whole foods-based intuitive eating program! This morning started with a half a Cherry Pie Larabar (I got a bunch of this one flavor on sale at Kroger in case you're wondering why I'm always going with cherry pie) and a trip to my usual Wednesday morning (6:15 a.m.!) gym class — Butts & Guts! It's a circuit training class with lots of squats, lunges, abs, and arm stuff.

After class, I had the breakfast on my meal plan today — Strawberry Dream Smoothie.

Y'all, this smoothie really was a DREAM. I don't think I've ever had a smoothie this creamy! Lacy Davis (who is co-moderating the program with Jessica Wilkins) created this recipe to mimic her favorite smoothie at Harlow in Portland. Rather than my usual banana, this smoothie has soaked cashews (I didn't soak mine because Vitamix!) and avocado, as well as frozen strawberries. I've used avocado in smoothies before but never with cashews too. The combo makes this smoothie something akin to cream pie in a glass!

My snacks today were the same as yesterday. I had Carrots and Spinach Hummus in the morning at my desk. No internet again today!! My boss brought a hotspot in that worked for awhile, until we had too many people needing to get online at once.

I went home for lunch again and had leftover Thai Red Curry. This was so good, and I'm sad it's gone now. And a small portion of the remaining Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup from Monday night. Also very good. I love leftovers!

In the afternoon, I went back to Otherlands — the coffee house where I worked yesterday morning too — to steal internet and have some tea. Double Bergamot Earl Grey Black Tea this time. (By the way, I'm happy to report that, as I'm typing this at home, my internet is back up and running!).

My afternoon snack was another Sweet Potato with Nut Butter. I opted to have this again today because I had a yoga class at 6:15, and I knew this would keep me full until I could get home and eat a proper dinner. But today, I went with Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Butter rather than almond butter just because it sounded good. And it was!

Dinner was Lacy's Macro Bowl (inspired by her favorite bowl at Portland's Prasad). This is the same bowl that was featured as the cover photo on the Reset & Restore Eventbrite page when they were selling tickets for the plan. And I drooled over that pic for weeks before the reset started.

Mine isn't quite as pretty as Lacy's, but it was oh-so-tasty. Bowls like this just make me feel so good for hours. This had baked maple tempeh, brown rice, blackeyed peas, steamed kale, sauerkraut, homemade peanut sauce, avocado, and sesame seeds. All my favorite things! I can't wait to eat this again for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reset & Restore Day 9

Day 9 and I’m feeling fine! In case you’re just catching up, I’ve been doing Lacy Davis and Jessica Wilkins’ Reset & Restore program since January 2nd. It’s a 3-week intuitive eating program with meal plans, recipes, workout videos, and guided meditations. I’ve had a few people ask me how they can join in, and I’m sorry to say that the program is sold out for this go-round. There were a limited number of slots since the program also involves one-on-one health coaching sessions with Jessica. But I’m really hoping that they do this program again next January!

This morning, I had half a cherry pie Larabar before heading outside for a 5-mile run (speedwork this morning!). Much to my surprise, it wasn’t cold! Overnight, the temps had warmed up to the 50s. But it was SO WINDY. That made for a tough run, but I’ll take warmish and windy over cold any day. After my run, I had what has become my very favorite new breakfast — Warm Oats & Banana N’ice Cream.

This is a Lacy Davis invention, and it’s genius. You make frozen banana soft serve (I added a scoop of vanilla protein powder to mine) and then top it with warm oats, resulting in a hot-cold combo that’s so melty and perfect. I’ve always been a fan of the warm pie/ice cream combo, and that’s what this reminds me of. I sweetened my oats with maple syrup and then sprinkled it all with cinnamon and drizzled it with tahini. This breakfast is definitely going into my regular rotation post-reset.

Remember that wind I mentioned? Well, it blew over a tree on my street and knocked out internet at my house and my office (they’re a block apart). So when I got to work, I wasn’t able to get much done. I opted to spend the morning working remotely at Otherlands, a coffeehouse in Cooper-Young, where I enjoyed a pot of Roasted Green Tea.

I even carried my morning snack into the coffeehouse. I snacked on Carrots & Roots Spinach Hummus while I worked.

I went home for lunch (as I do most days) and had this steamy bowl of leftover Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup with brown rice. Even though it was warmer out, the wind made the air feel quite cool, and this soup was just what I needed.

The internet was still down at the office in the afternoon, but I went in anyway and found some off-line things to do. Around 4 p.m., I heated up my afternoon snack — half a Baked Sweet Potato with Almond Butter.

That was a perfect, hearty snack since, right after work, I went home and did the third Reset & Restore workout video (led by Jessica and emailed out by Lacy on Monday). This kept me satisfied throughout the 30-minute workout.

But afterward, I was hungry! Thankfully, I had made my dinner the night before for easy reheating. I’m all about meal prep, y’all. When I’m hungry after work, I just want to heat something up — not spend an hour cooking dinner. Anyway, tonight’s dinner was this Thai Red Curry, a recipe Lacy adapted from Cookie & Kate.

Unlike most of the recipes on this reset so far, this one didn’t have a big protein source (like beans or tempeh or tofu). Instead, it was just veggies — red and green bell pepper, onion, carrot, and kale — seasoned with the most amazing, coconut-ty red curry sauce. I do usually love having a higher protein meal, but sometimes, a veggie-based entrĂ©e hits the spot. When veggies stand alone, their flavors really shine!

Now, sadly, my internet at home is STILL NOT WORKING. So right now, I'm at Imagine Vegan Cafe stealing wifi and enjoying a yummy Berry Good Smoothie (strawberry, blueberry, almond milk, agave) for dessert. Sucks having to leave home to use wifi, but at least there a healthy dessert in it for me!

That’s it for today! Now I'm off to find a stream of Barack Obama's farewell speech (TEARS, Y'ALL!!!) that I can watch using my phone (because no internet).

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reset & Restore, Day 8

I'm starting week two of my 3-week January Reset & Restore! And I'm feeling pretty great — though, TMI, a little gassy from all the veggies and beans (more on that in a few). Here's a recap of Day 8!

I woke up at 5 a.m. for my 4-mile training run. It was still VERY cold outside, but I can handle shorter cold runs better than I can handle the long ones (like the one on Saturday). I ate a date roll, bundled up, and headed out. After my run, I had some Garden of Life Smooth Coffee protein powder mixed with almond milk and a bowl of this warm Coconut Flour Porridge. 

This is one of Lacy's Reset & Restore recipes, and it's loaded with mixed berries and flax. Oh, and it gave me a chance to use some of the giant bag of coconut flour that's been hanging out in my deep freezer. I never know what to do with it! I topped the bowl with a spoonful of Nuttzo Crunchy Peanut Pro nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond, Brazil nut, flax, sunflower seed butter!).

The porridge was remarkably filling! Oats or smoothies usually have me feeling hungry again an hour later. But coconut flour must have more staying power. I wasn't hungry for my morning snack until 11:15 or so. That's when I had Salted Edamame at my desk.

Lunch was leftover Kung Pao Tofu — tofu, kale, and peanut sauce over brown rice.

Back to that gassiness. For the past couple days, my digestion has been a little off. I think my body is, like, "What is with all these beans and veggies?" In my non-reset diet, I do eat a lot of veggies, but I think I'm eating a little more now. And sometimes beans twice a day. You know what they say about beans, right? The magical fruit. Well, I may have found a solution! I've gotten out of the habit of brewing my own kombucha (must get that going again!), so I stopped by Kroger on my lunch break today and picked up this Raspberry Lemon Kombucha by KeVita. I drank it all, and it certainly seems to help! Yay! Probiotics!

Dinner was a new Lacy recipe — Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Soup, which is loaded with roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and garlic. I topped my bowl with leftover avocado and a little roasted cauliflower.

This creamy soup hit the spot on this cold, cold January night! I really loved the complex roasty flavor, and it's oh-so-garlicky. I'll admit that did have a glass of white wine with this dinner. I was planning to only drink wine on weekends during the reset, but we had a bottle of white open (Paul opened it Saturday night), and I didn't want it to go to waste. ;-)

Now that I'm all cozy and warm, I'm headed to bed. But I've got another cold run planned for Tuesday morning.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekend Recap: Reset & Restore, Days 5-7

It's been a yummy first weekend on the 3-week Reset & Restore program. I have to say, I believe this January reset program is my favorite one I've done so far! The food is amazing, and there's a big focus on maintaining a healthy attitude of not restricting "bad" foods (because there are no "bad" foods!). Instead, it's about making the most nourishing choices for your body. When you aren't telling yourself that you can't have something, it's easier to make the smartest choices. Does that make sense? Also, I'm loving the included workout videos, meditations, and the strong sense of community between everyone else doing this reset (we have secret Facebook group that connects all of us).

Anyway, on to the food! I woke up on Friday morning to SNOW! That's a rare sight down South. I was supposed to go to bootcamp at the gym, but I was afraid the roads might be bad. So I stayed home and did one of the Reset & Restore workout videos (led by Jessica Wilkins!). Then I had this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (pumpkin puree, banana, pumpkin pie spices, Vega One Vanilla Chai, almond milk).

Despite the snow, I still had to go into work Friday. Since I live a block from my office, I really have no excuse! But the snowy walk to work that morning and back home for lunch was lovely. My lunch was a Sushi Salad made with leftovers from Thursday night's sushi bowl — romaine, cucumber, carrot, edamame, avocado, sushi rice, and cashew cream (seasoned with ginger juice, soy sauce, and wasabi).

By dinner, though, I was craving something warm. The temps were COLD out on that walk home from work Friday night. Luckily, the meal plan's dinner that night was a warm and spicy Indian Bowl — brown basmati rice, curried red lentils, sauteed spinach and onions, and cashew cream.

I had quite a few snacks throughout the day on Friday as well. My mid-morning snack was a handful of Raisins with Raw Pecans and Almonds. I had Pineapple Chunks in the afternoon, and late Friday night, I watched Game of Thrones and snacked on Coconut Oil-popped Popcorn with Nooch.

On Saturday morning, I had a planned 12-mile training run. I'm training for the Little Rock Marathon on March 5th, and this was to be my first long run on the new training program. But it was soooooo cold. The temp was 22 with a wind chill of 12! I'm not used to running in that kind of cold. But it had to be done. So I first made a nice bowl of Warm Oats with Banana N'ice Cream (hot maple-cinnamon oats with cold banana soft serve — an amazing combo dreamed up by Lacy Davis).

I doubled up on layers (two shirts, two pairs of pants, double socks, a neck scarf, ear warmer, and gloves), hit my treadmill for a warm-up mile, and then headed outside for the coldest long run of my life. I've done shorter runs in colder weather but never one this long in the cold. I never really warmed up, but I made it!! All 12 miles! Yea, I could have done the whole thing on a treadmill, but I'd rather freeze to death and die in a ditch than run on a treadmill for 2-plus hours. 

I had a quick protein shake (Vega Sport Berry protein powder + almond milk) after my run, and then I sat down for this Indian Salad. Same as Friday night's bowl but with raw spinach instead of cooked. By the time I had salad, I was sufficiently warmed back up (thanks to a hot shower and hot coffee).

Afterward, I cleaned my house and made a few grocery stops. By the time that was done, it was time for dinner, which was a super-simple and hearty meal of Baked Sweet Potato with Steamed Kale and Chickpeas with Tahini.

My gym had a belated holiday party on Saturday night, so Misti and I Ubered downtown. I decided from the beginning that I would have some occasional wine on this reset, and I definitely enjoyed a few glasses of red wine at the party. Afterward, Paul and I found a good movie on Netflix, and I made a late night snack using some leftovers from the week — Sauteed Tofu, Steamed Kale, & Peanut Sauce.

Before I went to bed on Saturday night, I whipped up Sunday morning's breakfast, which I enjoyed this morning in my PJs while watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. It's a Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bake, and it was just fantastic. Sweetened with maple syrup and mixed berries and topped with crunchy nuts. I'm starting the second sample meal plan today, and this one is loaded with delicious-sounding recipes created by Lacy. Last week was a simple smoothie/oats, salads, bowls plan, but this one includes more complex dishes like this one.

We had brunch plans at Imagine Vegan Cafe with our friends, and honestly, Imagine isn't the most reset-friendly place (lots of fried foods and plant meat, which I typically love — just not what I want during this program). But I managed to create a hearty and nourishing salad using side dishes (my meal plan actually called for a build-your-own salad for lunch anyway). I ordered a side salad, tofu scramble, black beans, steamed kale, and guacamole, and then I put it all together! This was my first dining out experience on this reset, and I think I did a pretty good job. I left the restaurant feeling satisfied and nourished.

My snack today was Apples & Justin's Maple Almond Butter. Perfection! I love how much nut butter is in this meal plan.

Dinner was Kung Pao Tofu! This was another of Lacy's amazing recipes! Marinated tofu, peanut sauce, kale, zucchini, and celery, all served over brown rice. Perfect start to a new week!

After dinner, I was craving some hot chocolate since it's still so cold outside. Luckily, I had some Essential Living Coco Mojo Vegan Chocolate Drink Mix (a superfood drink with cacao, lucuma, mesquite, guarana, and coconut sugar). It's definitely preferable over a standard refined sugar-based mix. Combined with a little unsweetened almond milk, this drink really hit the spot.