Food Fight!

Dear Erin,

I have another food movie for you to add to your netflix queue: “Food Fight”. Thanks for recommending so many inspiring movies to me in the past year or two. I think you will really like this one. Its about the local food movement. It was really fun to realize I have been a small part of that local food movement, shopping at the many local farmers markets we have in RI, and frequenting a restaurant we have in North Providence called the Locals. They opened up just a year or two ago, and serve foods that are locally sourced and also delicious. As a bonus, when I went on Friday night, I was able to get a local meal that was also vegan and quite tasty.

Its been two weeks since I started my vegan whole foods only eating. I had two meals now when I chose to incorporate some non-vegan or fried items into my diet. Overall, they convinced me (especially the fried foods) that my body really likes eating whole foods. I feel healthier. I plan to continue to definitely cook whole foods at home, perhaps incorporating a small amount of lean protein back into my diet. And maybe eggs. I didn’t realize how much I like eggs til they went away these past couple of weeks. This next weekend, I will be attending several birthday celebrations for me and two of my friends, and I plan to consume some alcohols and refined sugars. Cross your fingers for me to make other healthy choices to go along with those indulgences.

In the meantime, I continue to visit the gym 3 days per week for cardio and strength training, training with Kenya once a week, and to bust my butt with yard work and gardening for additional exercise. (I moved over 900 pounds of crushed stone around my gardens this weekend.) With family coming in from out of town on Wednesday, I am still planning to make all my gym appointments, but won’t be back to the blog til next week.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend (yes, I know I’m early). I hope you are having an easy time getting back on track.

Next week – revisiting those goals after posting them 2 months ago!



Slow and Steady!

Dear Erin,

This little guy was making his way across the path this morning on our walk. Since I weighed myself before our walk, I couldn’t help but make a comparison. My weight-loss on my new vegan for now (but just mostly vegan for later) clean foods eating has kept me right on track of loosing about a half a pound a week. I’m totally fine with that. As my weight slowly creeps down, and my body gets stronger from the Strength Training I’ve been doing 3 days a week at the gym, I also feel MUCH better.  Much.  I won’t attribute my well being completely to clean eating, since I have also been getting to spend a lot of time outside in the warm weather, doing landscaping and gardening, and generally upping my overall activity level.

The past few weeks, I have been spending my Friday night at the gym. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes by myself. I go in and do a strength training circuit, about 40 minutes of cardio, and then soak in the whirlpool or sit in the sauna or steamroom for a little bit before I shower and put on my pj’s to wear home. Its completely wonderful. And, because of the application of some sort of heat at the end of my workout, I don’t have any problems going to sleep when I get home like I do if I just go and work out.  Since I have plans for tonight, I had my Friday night on Thursday.  As an added bonus, I timed it so I could watch the Big Bang Theory while I was doing my cardio. It was great.

So that’s my report pre-weekend. Slowly loosing, good. Gym with whirlpool, good.
Have a great weekend. I know I plan to.


Welcome back sunshine!

Dear Erin,

After I ran to Lowes and did some planting in the garden (hot peppers and rhubarb today) this morning, Murph and I celebrated the return of the sunshine with a quick walk to the beach.

Last night’s training session was brutal. My trainer decided since I’m getting stronger on all the exercises, she would increase the intensity of ALL the exercises at once.  It was fun, and difficult, and at the end, I debated whether or not I would really be able to walk back downstairs to the locker room without falling down them. Perfect.

Afterwards I went to the dinner. The food was terrible (seriously restaurant, get some BETTER salad mix), but the company was fun. And I definitely didn’t go for the food. I had a great time visiting with friends, and even won a couple of books as door prizes.

This weekend, more gardening, and hopefully we fit in a hike!



Dear Erin,

I really like the link you put on facebook yesterday. Fifteen Powerful Things Happy People Do. Thanks for pointing me to some more good inspiration.

I would like to report that I skipped one of my gym workouts this week in favor of doing 1-3 hours of heavy duty yard work every day. I think my body has gotten the better end of the deal, as has my yard.  Tonight I return to the personal trainer for a good workout, and then out to a vegan dinner out with friends at a very non-vegan friendly restaurant for dinner. I’m bringing my own condiments (salsa and homemade salad dressing) for a plain garden salad and plain baked potato.

On the vegan eating…I would like to report that my body is really happy with my whole foods regimen. I cheated a little bit on Sunday night and has some cheese. I didn’t get sick or anything, but I just didn’t feel good, and it reaffirmed for me that I am feeling a lot healthier eating dairy free – with whole foods. This does not, of course, mean I won’t sneak a little bit of meat and dairy back into my diet on a limited basis later, or that I have stopped craving cheeseburgers. Just that I affirm that my body really appreciates the healthier fuel I have been filling it up with for the last week or so.

Also, I lost some weight – a whole shirt size now. Which is really nice.

Pictured above, me, playing at the playground on Monday (sporting that smaller sized shirt). I was there for an excellent mothers day celebration on Monday with my mom, sister, and nephew, pictured below. What fun!


Bonus Workout

Dear Erin,

Here is a picture of those veggie burgers from yesterday.
Mine didn’t stick together very well, and I am eating the leftovers as a bowl of rice and lentils, with the toppings chopped up on top. Since I really like homemade veggie burgers, I am thinking I need to get a patty mold to squish everything together more. (I guess that will be a weekend mission.)

I would also like to report that I did a bonus workout at the gym last night, just because.
I usually go Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  This week I added in an extra 40 minute workout on Thursday night! And I’m still going to go tonight too.


A Recipe for You…

Dear Erin,

Since you asked me to pass along recipes, here is a really good one:
Lentil and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

You use 3 pans to cook up all the ingredients before forming the burger patties, but they are so good, its worth it.

In other news, yesterday’s workout went really well.
I was thinking of what you said earlier in the blog, about small goals seen to fruition over long periods of time = progress.
I definitely feel this way about the gym, and especially about working out with a Trainer. Each week, the exercises are a little more difficult than the last, and yet I feel a little bit BETTER after we do them, not worse (like I did the first week). YAY! PROGRESS!

Also, it looks like it may stop raining here, so Murph and I can get back out into the garden.
I hope there is a lot of garden time in your future as well!


I ate out!

Dear Erin,

Playing outside here has ceased and a long hard rain has settled in instead. I am trying to be happy because the garden loves rain, but I am honestly feeling a little bummed out. I was on a real roll out there.  Can’t wait to get back to it.

Here is my eating update – Went out to dinner last night at a Mediterranean place. Ordered a baba ganoush sandwich on a pita with no cheese. There was no option for whole wheat pita, and there was some oil on the sandwich, so it wasn’t completely “clean,” but it was vegetarian, low fat, and delish. I am calling it a success.  I also had a fun time with my friends at the event we went to – listening (and knitting along) to my favorite pod-caster and knitting celeb Brenda Dayne of Cast-On talk about knitting and memory at the famous Webs. It was really cool.

Also, today’s lunch was indeed homemade brown rice (with a splash of rice vinegar) veggie sushi rolls. They included, cucumber, avocado, carrot and spinach inside the nori with the rice. I accidentally made the rice not-very-sticky, and the rolls were a little messy as a result, but it still tasted very good. They were supposed to be my picture for the day, but they looked really disastrous, so I skipped it and am re-using this picture of the Murph being sad about the last rain we had (previously posted on facebook). Because that’s how I feel about the rain today, too.

Tonight…third personal training session. Wish me luck!



**For those of you missing Erin, she is without a computer for a little bit, but I expect you will find her back posting with us soon.
She HAS been posting some pictures over at our flickr account, so you can visit her there if you are missing her too much to wait.

Mac and Chreese, Please!

Dear Erin,

That’s not a typo, its Mac and Chreese. (You can buy it on Amazon, where I borrowed the pic from, thanks Amazon.)
It a pretty not-gross alternative to kraft a quick lunch. (I had mine plain, since I planned to have a BUNCH of veggies for dinner. It would have been better with a salad.)

Today, I am off to Northampton for my first dining-out experience where I am totally vegan.

Tomorrow, I am going to make some veggie sushi for lunch.

Working out and playing outside in the garden as much as possible, continues on. Murph is quite pleased about the second.


Time Flys!


Dear Erin,

Time has really gotten away from me. I have a lot to report, but I will stick to the basics.

1) I had my second personal training session last Wednesday, and it created a lot less pain than the first. I continue to go to the gym 3 days per week to do both cardio and strength training. Murphy is desperately hoping I will get my act together to get us on a walk every morning too, but the weather was pretty crappy last week, so I wasn’t very motivated.

2) There is much progress on my garden. (My annuals bed is pictured above, pics of the veggie part on to come once i finish the landscaping.)  Which is great because I am enjoying beautifying my yard, and prepping to plant some healthy and delish veggies. PLUS, gardening is great exercise.

3) I have decided to commit to two weeks of vegan “clean eating”. Pictured below is my first attempt from the Engine 2 Cookbook (they have a website too), Sweet Potato Lasagna. It was tasty, and filling, although not very lasagna-y. I will report back on how I feel after I am a few days in, since this is only day 2. I have to say, right from the start, clean eating is a great way to cut back your calories, because even when you add in some treats, its pretty hard to get too many calories if you are mostly eating veggies and whole grains!


PS I already miss cheese. (Those are ground cashews on top.)


That Training Session

Dear Erin,

I am so excited for all of your changes in your life, and proud for your leap!
I know it will all end up the way you need it to.

Here is my report on the first (real) day of Personal Training:
Kenya had lots of exercises ready, and we ended up going through a circuit of 15 or 20 of them twice. (Yes, I actually lost count.)
Some of the exercises were really difficult, and some were vaguely familiar and a couple were variations on yoga moves I already knew. I made it through everything, even with a little joking. You know when you watch the Biggest Loser and they have the contestants in a position where their back is against the wall, and their knees are at a 90 degree angle with Jillian STANDING ON TOP OF THEM? Yeah, I did those last night. Just me, with no one standing on top of me. And I almost couldn’t hold the last rep of the second set for a full 5 count. That show is just crazy!
Anyway, when the session was finished she asked me how I was feeling, and asked me to text her if anything we did bothered my back injury. I was feeling fatigued but accomplished when I walked away. However, when I got to the LONG set of stairs to get down to the locker room, I realized I was in trouble! On a dare and a prayer, I made it down the whole set without tumbling, and was more proud of that than the session itself!

This morning I woke up sore, but none the worse for wear. Murph and I even went for our walk to the beach. (Pictured above.)

Today’s Exercise: Mowing the lawn for one hour at lunch. Necessary but not my favorite.

Hope your day, is filled with the joy of knowing you did the right thing for yourself!