Exclusively Lifting

It is day 20 of exclusively Lifting weights – yep that means NO cardio (with the exception of some long walks with Zoe).

I am following (once again) the Livefit trainer by Jamie Eason. Out of all the programs I have tried… Livefit is my favorite. Not only have I been successful on the program, (got me in the best shape of my life) but it just makes since. It is easy to follow and it is the way I personally like to lift in the gym. Of course I always customize the program to my needs, sometimes incorporating different exercises I prefer from other programs.

Anyway, the first phase (4 weeks) is all about gaining as much strength and muscle as you can. And because cardio can eat up your muscles or make it harder for you to gain, cardio is eliminated from the first phase.

And because of pregnancy, I haven’t trained like this in about a year, so it has been nice just to focus on one thing- weight lifting.

My experience so far…

Damn! Even though I have pretty much lost most of the baby weight. I am definitely starting from scratch. Appearance wise- My legs and booty have never been this skinny, my boobs have never been this big. So as you can see my body is the complete opposite of what it use to be. With that being said, it is amazing how with only three weeks of lifting, I am already starting to see some change – my glutes are starting to make a come back.

However, I am not focusing on what my body looks like but rather how it can perform.¬†Muscle memory¬†is an amazing thing. I get to the weight room and it is like riding a bike, right back at it. The first two weeks I took things slow, grabbing lighter weights and working on form. I see it all the time… people lifting heavy who have no business lifting that way because their form is so poor. I definitely do not want to be that girl trying to lift heavy with poor form – I might as well be on my road bike riding with out a helmet. So in the beginning I really focused on form, and now I feel ready and I am upping the weights.

Some of the exercises, I will do a warm up set with lighter weights, just to make sure my form is good and muscles are ready. It is then that I realize I need to up the weight. But there are some exercises mainly body weight exercise, such as push ups or bench dips that I struggle to finish the set. So weird that some exercises surprise me because I need to lift heavier, while others surprise me because they are a struggle when they use to be a piece of cake. I think this is because my core muscles need to be rebuilt. Because of this I am doing as many weight lifting exercises in plank so I am with out doubt engaging my core.

Anyway, I am not weighing myself until the end of the program. I am not worrying about numbers like that because they mean nothing to me. I am more concerned about hitting new PRs in the gym and getting stronger. Plus muscle weighs more than fat, so in this first phase I may not see a drop in weight at all, because I’m hoping for muscle gains. I will post progress pics though.

Diet is 80-90% of the reason why people see results.  This week I am really cleaning up my diet, by eating clean organic mostly plant based. I am also cutting back on sugar, and drinking more water. When trying to put on more muscle you need to eat. Muscle gains are supported by calories. So I will try to eat (clean) every 2-3 hours.
Below is a picture I posted on instagram,  on Day 17 of the Livefit trainer РNO cardio, exclusively lifting!Trying to gain as much muscle/strength back before I start running again. ***FITNESS TIP of the Day: try to do every weight lifting exercise you can in a plank. For example: Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks or One Arm Dumbbell Row are more challenging when in a plank. That way you are definitely engaging your core. #fitmom #fitspo #girlswholift #liftheavy #livefit

Follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

Mommy & Me (Baby) Classes (Yoga and Pilates)

I have been wanting to try Mommy & Me (Baby) classes at Mind the Mat Yoga Studio, since the week I found out I was pregnant. My friend Mariana went with her baby (Jasper) when she still lived in the area and she really enjoyed the classes. Along with her, I also know a couple of other mamas who have participated in the Mommy & Me classes at the studio and they too were really impressed.

The studio offers Mommy & Me classes in pilates, yoga, and barre. However, because I was recovering from my c-section I wasn’t able to do any type of exercising with the exception of walking, until I got cleared from my doctor. This was disappointing for me, because I really wanted to take Zoe to the Mommy & Me¬†classes earlier, during my maternity leave – instead I finally just got to take her, this last week. We joined Piper and Lindsay at the Mommy & Me pilates class on Tuesday, and then went to the Mommy & Me yoga on yesterday (Friday).

Both classes are for babies before crawling age.

MOMMY & ME PILATES

The pilates class focuses on lower body, mainly glutes. This class is definitely a workout for the mamas. I was squatting and sweating while Zoe stayed in her car seat napping. It is especially important for breast-feeding mamas to get a good booty workout in considering breast milk is made from the fat from your booty.

zoe at pilates

MOMMY & ME YOGA

The yoga class is less intense then the pilates class. The first half of the class is for the mamas and focuses on the core muscles. The last half of the class is for the babies. This part was by far my favorite part, because nothing is better then having your baby smiling.

Zoe absolutely loved it. During the first half, while I was stretching, Zoe was watching me, smiling. Then during the second half, it was Zoe’s turn. I took her out of her car seat, and stretched her toes to her nose. I bicycled her legs, rotated her hips, stretched out her arms, and legs.

These classes are great!

While taking care of a baby, it¬†is easy for a mama to forget to take care of herself. However, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things. It can be really hard to find time to work out especially when you don’t have family to help watch your little one. This is why I love these classes. There are very few workout classes that allow you to bring your baby with you, and most gym daycares don’t allow young babies.

I will admit that I have never been to a louder class. Some babies were screaming their heads off, but because we are all mamas in the classroom, screaming babies do not even phase us.

If you are a mama in the DC area who has a baby who isn’t crawling yet, I highly recommend trying these classes. And if you are a mama to be, try their¬†prenatal yoga class¬†– it is amazing!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Post Pregnancy Training Plan and Goals

Last Tuesday, I got cleared by my doctor to start working out again. This means I am free to lift heavy and run far. I usually have no problem pushing myself and I actually enjoy it, however, because I had a c-section I want to take things slow. My worst nightmare would be to over do it and then have a major set back with an injury.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you probably already know, but one of my fitness idols is Jamie Eason. It was because of her, and her Livefit trainer, that I fell in love with weight lifting, and got in the best shape of my life.

She had a child two years ago, and she had a c-section as well. It took her three full months to feel good enough to even start working out again. This was really refreshing to hear coming from a fitness model/trainer. So many times you see people in the fitness industry jump right back into shape, but do they really, or are they just posting the good pictures.

Anyway, Jamie Eason has created a post pregnancy work out plan. It is available for free on bodybuilding.com. Her post pregnancy trainer focuses on the core and back muscles. The daily work outs are circuits, which builds endurance. She also has a 15 minute training day, which is great for the days you may not be able to fit in a long work out. My favorite part about the trainer is that she creates a training day  that includes your baby using a carrier or a stroller РI love this idea.  Most exercises are ones that use body weight and can be done anywhere РSo there is no excuse.

My Game Plan

My game plan is to spend the next month building back the muscle I lost, by completing the Livefit trainer again. I saw great results with the Livefit trainer, so I know it works. However, I also want to include some ideas and work outs from the post pregnancy trainer.

Because of hormones from breast-feeding, it may be difficult for me to build muscle. Plus, as long as my baby is taking in breast milk, I am not allowed to use any supplements. So for the next month, I am going to do minimum cardio, only long walks with my baby, and maybe a short run once or twice a week. My main focus is building muscle and strength back, and to much cardio can also deplete some muscle growth.

With my schedule, I should have no problem making it to the gym, however, I am also confident that I will be able to complete the work outs, outside of the gym.

I definitely want to do some yoga as well. And I’ll let you know when I am 100 % back to running again -trust me, I miss running most, and have already began to think of what races I will be doing in the future.

Mommy and Baby classes

I really love being with my baby, and enjoy her being by my side while I work out. I can’t wait to try some Mommy and Baby classes at Mind the Mat. I think it will be really fun for Zoe to be in a yoga studio with other babies. I’ll be going to my first class tomorrow.

So there you have it…

Last weeks work outs consisted of long walks on the trail with the baby, and some free weight exercises along with some walking lunges.12072767_10102786043199146_8981504843243271286_n Then on Saturday I hit the gym for the first time since having the baby. It felt so good being back. I’m really excited to share this next chapter of my fitness journey with you. I can’t wait to start seeing some serious results.¬†12074791_10102789844281746_6007220832008158331_n

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Start Something New!

Hey lovelies!

I know, I know, I have been MIA! But honestly, I needed a break. So after my last Christmas post, I stopped writing and reading blogs, and just shut down… I barely checked facebook or instagram either. Social media was actually becoming overwhelming. So I knew it was time to take 2 weeks away.

Quick Update

During this break, my best friend, Mariana, came home from Sri Lanka. She is so pregnant. So we have been hanging out, and catching up. The baby is a boy and he is coming in 5 weeks. Her baby shower is this weekend. Exciting!

Together, we got to check out the health and fitness expo, and Union Market.

The expo was not what I expected. Because I am use to marathon expos, I expected it to be more fitness focused. But instead it was catered to people who are interested in starting a healthy lifestyle, not ones already living it. I expected more supplement vendors, and equipment vendors. On the positive side, Mind the Mat yoga studio was there, and they were worth seeing and supporting. (I’ve been to Mind the Mat, and it is an awesome studio.)

Union Market (although small,) is more than I expected. If you are a foodie, you will love it. It is basically a gourmet food court. There is also a really awesome shop, with house stuff, baby stuff, jewelry, lotions, etc. great for gifts. Because Mariana was with me, we loved all the super cute baby stuff! I definitely will be going back. If you come to the DC area, you must check it out.

Start something New!

2015

2014 was very hard to say goodbye to. It was a very special year for Erik and I. In February, we shared an amazing adventure to the oh so exotic country, Thailand. And then in June, we exchanged vows, and promised to love each other for eternity, aka, we got hitched! So although, 2014 has come and gone, it will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

2015 a lot has happened

But now, two weeks in 2015, the new year is here in full force. I usually by now have a new years resolution. In the past, I have had pretty creative ones, such as, Try one new interesting exotic food, I have never tried before, once a week. (Want to loose weight, try this one.)
2015 this is my year
But this year it has been hard to come up with one. I have been having a hard time because in 2014 I have become a huge goal setter. By constantly setting goals and reaching them, I don’t feel the need to set a new year resolution as much as I did in the past. Anyway, because it is tradition, I am going to set one. I don’t really want it to be too fitness focused because I am not weak in that area. I’m bored and just want something new and different.
My main focus this year for fitness and food is BALANCE. I want to be healthy, not obsessive. I have a pretty addictive personality so balance is something I need to work on.
Food and Nutrition: New Years Resolution, Goal
When it comes to food and nutrition, my goals are simple, boring, but necessary, drink more water, quit eating sugar, bring my lunch to work. 
Fitness, Running: New Years Resolution, Goal
Continue to Run and lift consistently Рto be healthy and have fun. Focus on yoga! Not bikram, I want to be upside down more.
2015 New Years Resolution: Goal, focus on Balance, Creativity and Start something New.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Balance
This year I am going to focus on balance when it comes to fitness and food.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Creativity 
I am also going to be even more creative in everything I do. This means more fashionable. Creating more art. Knitting more.
New Years Resolution: Goal- Start
But my main goal in 2015 is to Start something New. I don’t know what that new thing is yet, but I’m excited to report back to you guys, once I discover what it is. I am excited to write a blog post at the end of this year, with what I have explored. Can’t wait!
2015 best
What’s your focus for 2015? Are you planning on starting something new?
If you need tips on keeping your resolutions and goals click here.
© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Carpe Diem & Balance

6a011168668cad970c016302eba872970dLately, I have been craving yoga, and thinking about Balance, and being present.

I read a lot of fitness and healthy lifestyle blogs. Whether it is the sport they participate in or the diet they choose to follow, some of the athletes of these blogs, seem obsessive and extreme in some way or another. For example, body builders are putting on more gains during the off season and become even more lean weeks leading up to their show, claiming they are bringing an even better package to the stage. They are counting every macro, and the debate of which diet plan is constant – should I eat clean, or will IIFYM be a better choice? When it comes to long distance runners… They are running even more races, and some are choosing to run further distances.

All of these athletes are inspiring because they show passion, dedication, and hard work.

It is hard to tell in blog world, what the truth is… Just because someone only blogs about running, or prepping for a show, doesn’t mean, that is all they do. No doubt about it, these sports are time consuming and those who participate in them are very passionate about the sport they choose, but they do have rest days, and some are parents, and they go to work everyday. See my point?

Lately… I have been seeing these athletes ease up a bit and begin to talk about some of the other things in their life, and some have even talked about the importance of balance.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I need to work on balance in my own life. It is hard to juggle everything, and when one point of life gets busy others need to take the back burner, right? Not in all cases. By planning ahead and setting time aside for each task things can get fit in. It is important to figure out what your priorities are… Don’t let one part of your life take over.

I have read a couple blogs where the athlete made their sport and diet their life, and they ended up getting burned out or injured. They realized they needed to be more balanced. Actually, by being balanced they saw better results mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Balance is important in diet as well. Stop choosing a label (paleo, gluten free, vegan, low carb, clean eating, IIFYM,) ¬†to describe your eating habits. Start eating balanced healthy meals. Instead of obsessing over food, lets fuel our bodies. Nutrition isn’t restrictive, it’s healing.

 

Another aspect of life where balance is important is when you goal set. As I said in previous posts, I am a “goal digger.” I always set goals, and try to reach them. Once I reach them, I set new goals. Goal setting is very important, it is a glimpse of what you want for yourself in the future. It helps you challenge yourself and keeps you on track. However, you need to be balanced too. By always worrying about the future, you make forget to live in the present.

This is true for me as well. I love the word Carpe Diem – seize the day, but I don’t always live that way. I need to stop focusing on the future and start being more present, seizing the day.¬†large

 

How do you stay present? How do you stay balanced?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe

My November Goal post revealed my food goal for November, which is to explore and test my Thanksgiving recipes instead of winging them the night before or day of. So I have been in search for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert recipe -something new and different that my family has yet to try.  To find this recipe, I have been reading tons of magazines and blogs. While browsing Bon Appetit I finally came across a Sweet  Potato Cheesecake Recipe.

thanksgiving mags

 

I don’t bake much, but I have been lately. Having a Kitchen Aid Mixer and a Vitamix has made me more adventurous in the Kitchen. These tools are must haves and I can’t believe I use to cook and attempt to bake with out them. They save me in the kitchen.

Okay, lets talk about Sweet Potatoes…

When baking this recipe there were so many firsts for me.

It was my first time making a Cheesecake and using a springform pan. First time ever using sweet potato as a dessert. And it was my first time doing a water bath.

So lets define some important tools you must know before you continue on…

Springform pan: is a type of bakeware which features sides that can be removed from the base. This is a must have when making cheesecake. Like any product, you can find one to fit your budget. I got mine at Sur La Table for under $15.

Water bath: At this point your cheesecake is already assembled in the springform pan. Now you are going to place it (cheesecake springform pan and all) in a bigger baking pan. You will boil water over the stove. Once water comes to a boil you will pour the boiling water into the bigger baking pan until it is about 1 inch deep up the side of the springform pan. Then you will transfer the cheesecake and water bath to the oven and bake. The water bath keeps the cheesecake moist and prevents drying and cracking.

cheesecake

 

So there are two parts to this cake, the Oat-Pecan Crust and the Cheesecake Filling.

Oat-Pecan Crust

INGREDIENTS:

all ingredients are organic

  • 2/3 cup whole pecans
  • 1/3 cup large rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats.)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Combine all dry ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, slowly increase to Variable 6 for 5 seconds.
  • Bring back down to Variable 1 and pour melted butter in though the lid opening.
  • Pulse until everything is blended.
  • Transfer crust mixture to a 9″ springform pan, pressing it into the bottom and 1″ up the sides.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Place on wire rack to cool.

Cheesecake Filling

INGREDIENTS:

All ingredients are organic

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cooked and cooled
  • 1.5 lbs or 24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Peel and Cup the sweet potatoes, boil them until soft.
  • Combine all ingredients in Vitamix.
  • Select Variable 1, push start, increase to variable 10 until all is blended
  • Start water bath, (for additional notes check above) bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  • Position the springform pan inside large baking pan/dish.
  • Pour filling into crust.
  • Pour water in the outer baking pan/dish until it reaches 1″ up the springform pan.
  • Transfer cheesecake in the water bath to the oven and bake for 60 minutes, until edges are firm.
  • Remove cheesecake from water bath and cool cheesecake on cooling rack for 1 hour.
  • Then transfer cake to refrigerator and cool completely for 4 hours.
  • When ready, run a thin knife around sides, remove springform pan sides.
  • Serve with whipped cream.

Important note: Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature. If it is cold the eggs will not mix well. It will be lumpy.

 

cheesecake

 Wondering how this taste!? Well it turned out delicious. I brought it to work and it was gone in 5 minutes. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? What are you making for Thanksgiving? Have your tried sweet potatoes as a dessert?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Butternut Bisque with Coconut Swirl

Besides running and cheering on the marathoners. I have been cooking and eating. It is my all time favorite season. The leaves are changing. The air is comfortably breezy and crisp. Lucky us! ¬†We have been having some absolutely beautiful FALL days here in Washington, DC. And although it hasn’t been too cold yet, I am still craving everything fall.

One thing that defines fall is butternut squash. When I was growing up it was a special treat that my mom made only at Thanksgiving, but now it is a staple in my house. I love everything about it. I eat it all different ways, but my favorite way is in soup form. That is why when I came across the Butternut Bisque recipe in the cookbook Isa Does It, I knew I had to make it asap, plus its Vegan!

10670049_10101994954796646_8860335652522428620_n

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you desire)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS

ROAST SQUASH

TIP: (you can do cook the squash in advanced, and the soup will come together in 20 minutes.)

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash in half.
  • Remove seeds.
  • Brush the parchment paper with olive oil or coconut oil and place the squash pieces cut side down.
  • Roast for 45 mins. until squash is tender.
  • After squash is cooked let cool and continue with the soup recipe. If you are making squash in advanced, refrigerate the squash until ready to use.

LETS MAKE THE SOUP

  • Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add coconut oil.
  • Cut up onion, and add to the pot, saute until caramelized.
  • Add ginger.
  • Add garlic.
  • Mix in red pepper flakes
  • Add white wine and deglaze bottom of the pan, by scraping with a wooden spoon.
  • Peel and scoop squash.
  • Add squash to the pot.
  • Add vegetable broth (if you don’t have vegetable broth on hand you can use water.)
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Add maple syrup.
  • Add lime juice.
  • After everything is heated all the way through, add soup to you Vitamix. I actually use the soup setting, which continues to heat everything. Blend until smooth. If you are using a Vitamix it shouldn’t take long.
  • Pour bisque into a bowl, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and swirl coconut milk on top.
  • Enjoy!

What is you favorite way to eat butternut squash. I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about this recipe. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I Quit Sugar (8 week detox) review

I am a really competitive person, and I absolutely love challenging myself.

So that is why I am very excited to tell you guys about my new challenge.

I am trying my hardest to quit sugar.

I have talked about my sugar addiction in the past. I have written about it in the blog post, I’ve been drinking my sugar. I also have seen, Fed Up, the latest documentary on sugar addiction. It is a must see and is available on iTunes to rent. ¬†Now, that I have all the facts on sugar, it is time to really get serious. I don’t want sugar to control me anymore.

Do you have a sugar addiction?

I realized I had a sugar problem, when I woke up every morning craving it. I would get my sugar caffeine fix and neglect eating breakfast, but still feel full and energized. Then I would head into work and around 2:00 pm, I would began feeling sluggish again. The craving would start and I would go get my sugar fix. When I was feeling stressed, or my day was not going well, I would immediately want some sort of sweet treat, whatever it may be, it made me feel better. I never thought I had a huge sweet tooth, but I knew I was drinking to many sweet drinks.

I usually don’t pay to much attention to my diet, I just try to eat as many organic plant based whole foods that I can. However, after reading the book, I Quit Sugar, I began to analyze my daily diet even closer. It was then that I realized that all of my healthy snacks was secretly laced with hidden sugars. Did you know you body can not tell the difference between a natural sugar or¬†an added sugar. Your body processes these sugars the same way.

The American Heart Association sets the sugar limit at 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, which translates to 25 grams of sugar. I was getting way more than that. Are you?

Finding the Detox

US-2014-IQuitSugar-257x300__78278.1405359019.386.513

A couple weeks ago, I was at the book store picking up a new cookbook, when I came across the book, I Quit Sugar. I thought to myself, “I need this book.”

This book is awesome. It not only has a sugar quitting program, but it also has a lot of amazing recipes.

What I have discovered about quitting sugar….

I have been doing this no sugar diet for a couple weeks now. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. It is very hard, because sugar is in everything.¬†Compared to this, eating a plant based diet is easy for me. Being vegan or vegetarian you always face the question, “Well what do you eat?” A common answer to that question is… everything, but animal products. Well when it comes to no sugar, I found myself asking the same question. Does this mean no carbs? In the beginning I was very confused.

During, the first week of this no sugar detox, I found myself asking the question, “Well what do I eat?” ¬†I always knew that I drank my sugar, with my daily indulgence of a sugary chai tea latte from Starbucks. But now I am really becoming more aware of all the sugar I have been eating. My daily diet seemed to be a heathy one, but it was laced with hidden sugars. The author of the book, Sarah Wilson, had a similar issue. She too ate tons of health foods, but they were all sugary.

Now here’s the deal…

This detox is sugar free, low carb, gluten free. The foods that make up this detox is organic meat, dairy, and whole foods. The detox is only no sugar for 8 weeks. After the 8 weeks you can add natural sugars back into your daily diet, but remember keep in 6 teaspoons or less, in other words, no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

My experience and what I have learned so far…

This detox (sugar free) and then diet lifestyle (low sugar) is very similar to paleo. For me this detox has been especially hard because I eat mostly plant based. I am finding that a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes have a good amount of sugar in them. If you eliminate both animal products and sugar form your diet, it is more difficult to find things to eat. For example, a friend of mine is also participating in the I Quit Sugar detox,  but because she eats meat, I found her nibbling on an organic chicken breast though out the day. Chicken breast is sugar free, so it works for her, but you will NOT find me nibbling on chicken, thats just not my style.

So the first couple weeks of the detox, I have been reading labels and have now gotten a really good idea of how much sugar I eat and drink daily. Because I was confused on what to eat, and didn’t have time to meal prep, I have not been cold turkey off all sugars yet. I also didn’t necessary feel like I was eating healthier. For the next 4 weeks I am¬†planning on keeping all of my sugars under 25 grams a day.

In conclusion…

So that is the plan. I will be updating you through out the next couple weeks about my experience. I also will be sharing with you some of the recipes I have tried from the cook book. And when it comes to a very meaty dish, I will be substituting the meat with a veggie option, while keeping everything organic and whole.

Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you a sugar addict?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

I don’t like labels.

Last weekend, I went to DC VegFest. It was totally cool hanging out with all of those vegans and vegetarians. ¬†The Veg community¬†is a very friendly group, and most wanted to know my story. I was asked by a couple different people, ¬†“What brought you to VegFest today? Are you vegan?”

My answer to that questions is…

No. I don’t feel it comfortable or necessary to label myself as anything. I don’t want to follow rigid rules of any kind, when it comes to food – I am too much of a foodie to be so restrictive and disciplined. I simply want to eat a healthy well balanced diet – full of color, flavor, and texture. And although, I eat and cook mostly organic plant based, I¬†am opened minded, adventurous, and willing to explore all different types of food lifestyles.

I recently found my new favorite blog called, My New Roots. When reading Sarah’s (the owner of the blog) About page, I thought to myself, ” Wow! She nailed it. This is exactly how I feel.”

Sarah says, “The only label I‚Äôll slap on myself is ‚Äúwhole-food-lover.” Nothing makes me feel better, think better, and look better than whole foods! And the big bonus? I¬†never¬†count calories or worry about my weight because I know that if I eat this way, my body will be in a perfect state of balance and health, naturally.”

I agree with her 100%. Although, my diet is mainly plant based, consisting of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, I still can not label myself as vegetarian or vegan.¬†There has been weeks in which I have gone meatless, but there are days you can find me eating a greek yogurt. ¬†I absolutely love eggs and eat them a couple times a week. I also can’t live without fish. My favorite thing about summer time is eating a Maryland crab feast or a Lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, your main priority is eliminating all animal products. But the most important thing to me is that everything I eat is organic and whole. It is a very rare day, if you find me eating something that is not organic. I avoid GMOs and processed foods. I try to buy everything from local farms, and eat seasonally. If I am eating eggs, they are from cage free hens eating an organic feed. When I eat fish, I only eat wild caught. And on the rare occasion that I eat dairy or any other animal product, it must be treated as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics and hormones.

There are times in which I love labels, and there are times in which I hate them. There are some labels that are simple, while others are more complicated. The times in which I love them is when they are simple and define ones identity. The times in which I hate them are when they are complicated and become stereotypes.  I can label myself as a marathon runner, simply because I run marathons. But, I can not label myself as vegan or vegetarian, although I often cook and eat that way.

I bought this pendant from a vendor at VegFest…

 

Plant Strong 2Plant Strong

 

It says, Plant Strong.

So if I must come up with a label, Plant Strong is a pretty awesome one. I also love the label that Sarah from My New Roots came up with РWhole Food Lover.  Add organic to it and slap it on me.

What’s your label?¬†

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Roasted Chickpeas

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This photo got a ton of attention when I posted it to Facebook and Instagram last night. People requested the recipe and wanted to know all the details from what kind of seasoning I use to if they get crunchy.

Why I decided to make these…

On Saturday, when I was at DC VegFest, they handed out free samples of this snack. They tasted delicious, and the minute I saw them, I knew I have seen them before. In my favorite cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson has a recipe for these. So instead of buying a bag at VegFest, I decided to make them myself.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas. (Drain and dry them the best you can.)
  • 2 tablespoons evoo
  • 1.5 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons hot paprika (I didn’t have hot paprika on hand, so I used red pepper flakes as a substitute. When using red pepper flakes I only used 0.5 teaspoon.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary. (I used dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme. (I used dried)
  • Lemon zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Pour the chickpeas on a baking sheets, and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Check the chickpeas at 10 minutes shaking the baking sheet, making sure they aren’t stuck to the sheet. Continue baking for the rest of the time.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine evoo, salt, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, paprikas, and red pepper flakes if using.
  • Once chickpeas have baked for 20 minutes, take them out of the oven and put them in the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix together.
  • Place paprika covered chickpeas on baking sheet and put in the oven, baking for an additional 5-10 minutes. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crunchier they get. Just make sure they don’t burn.)
  • Let cool for a couple minutes and serve warm.
  • Enjoy!

*** All of the ingredients I used are organic, and non GMO. ***

Why I love these…

I absolutely love these chickpeas. They are a wonderful alternative to potato chips, kale chips, or popcorn. They are a low in sugar, high in protein snack. You can eat them by themselves, or add them to salad, soups, or even on top of grains. And although, I flavored them with paprika,  you can really chose any type of seasoning or flavors you are craving. A friend of mine, commented on facebook that she made hers with garlic and grated parm. So try away, get creative!

Have you tried roasted chickpeas before? What is your favorite seasoning? How do you flavor you roasted chickpeas?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily