Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 44: Unexpected Break

Thursday is the night where I have 0 commitments.  About the only day of the week, but even though I didn't have any library work to do, I still managed to skip out on working out.  Steph and I made dinner then had to run to Target to get some things and to Whole Foods to pick up another batch of cookie making supplies.  I brought the cookies into work to see how they were, and they ate them all.  It was a dry run for Friday when we have Lisa's going away party.  I expect some harsh judges of deserts there, so I wanted to make them really delicious.

Unfortunately, I apparently wasn't born with the baking gene, as my first batch I almost forgot an ingredient, and mixed it in too late, causing my cookies to be a little flat, and the second batch seemed to still be gooey, even after an extra few minutes in the oven.  Oh well, it's still sugary, buttery dough, and it tasted fine as batter, so the cookies should be fine.  I guess I'll have to find out on Friday.

Menu:
Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Tofu migas with beans and tortillias

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews
1 chocolate chip cookie

Dinner:
Grilled asparagus and squash

I attempted eggplant as well, but it ended up too bitter, so I had to throw it out. :-(

Fourthmeal:
protein shake
chocolate chip cookie dough

Since I didn't have very much at dinner, I got hungry when making my cookies, so I treated myself to some shake, along with a generous portion of the cookie dough.  I like to eat when I get upset.

Day 43: Legs and Back

Wednesday brought on the hurt, as we had legs and back to work out, along with the favorite, ab ripper routine.  I don't know what my deal was, but I had nothing in the tank at the end of the legs and back routine.  I was gasping and wheezing like a fat man on a treadmill.  I couldn't make it through to the ab routine, and basically collapsed on the floor for a bit before managing to scrape myself up to take a shower.

It sucks to feel that tired.  I wanted to make it through, but my body just didn't want to comply.  Maybe that's a good sign though.  Wear your body down to exhaustion, so that it can build itself up more.  I guess we'll have to see if it works.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Grilled Veggies
Vegetable stir fry leftovers

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews


Dinner:
Pizza

Announcement: Fewer Posts

So recently I have become pretty slammed with other responsibilities, so I've been unable to maintain an everyday log of my activities.  Sorry, but I may have to tone down the frequency of posts to about one or two a week, giving a general picture of where I'm at.  With everything between work, the library, working out, learning a new language, and various other side projects, I fear that I won't be able to maintain daily updates.  I am working on doing an update on where I am from the start, new measurements, pictures, etc soon, so watch for that.   Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 42: Yoga Time

I finally got back to working out on Tuesday with yoga, which felt so good.  I know it's weird, but if I don't work out, I feel really crappy and tired.  Plus I am seeing good progress, so I don't want to mess it up.  Though we did bake cookies, so that might be a roadblock.

Yes, cookies.  They are definitely not on the diet, as cookies are basically butter and sugar i.e. fat and carbs.  I couldn't wait to try out some recipes from my joy of vegan cooking book, so I decided to do a trial run, with the hopes of making some for Lisa's going away on Friday.

I don't know what happened to them, but with every cookie I bake, they all seem to turn out thin and dense.  This applies to non-vegan cookies that I would make.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but they did not turn out nearly as good as the ones in the picture.  Maybe the next batch will be better.

Menu:


Breakfast:
protein shake

I realized that I have bought more fruit than one human being could consume in a week, so I may need to start drinking two a day before all these berries and peaches go bad.

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar (what else?)

Lunch:
Vegetable soup
"bologna" sandwich

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Homemade black bean burgers
baked beans
grilled corn

My sister-in-law gave us this recipe, which I'll have to put up later, but these burgers were super tasty.  We made and froze them the night before, and they held together very well.  It's always tricky to get a veggie patty to hold it's shape, but the trick is to throw them on frozen, and don't touch them for at least 5 minutes. Let one side get nice and toasty, then flip them.  If you move it before you get some good browning, it will crumble.

Day 41: Volleyball Night

Mondays are volleyball night for me.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of also volunteering at the library on Monday nights, leaving me with a packed afternoon.  The game went horribly, with our team losing both games and being down 16-1 at one point.  I also tweaked my back a bit going up for a block, so I was feeling super tired that night.

I went to the library afterward to sort books and whatnot, and it was some nice downtime in comparison.  I was hoping that this rest would leave me with enough in the tank to get back on the workout horse, but I was due for yoga, which is an hour and a half of pain, and I had nothing in the tank.  I bagged it and just ate dinner and went to bed.

Menu:


Breakfast:
protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Salad
leftover stir fry

Snack2:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Grilled zucchini and squash
couscous
mushroom and pepper kabobs

Day 40: The Morning After

So after the beerfest on Saturday, I had a slight headache the next morning.  It's funny that that only happens after I drink.

I finally rolled out of bed at 10:30 and spent most of the morning making and eating breakfast, and the afternoon on the couch watching soccer.  A disappointing appearance from our neighbors to the south left me feeling a little sad though.  Once I pried myself off the couch, we only had time to get to the grocery store and then over to Brierty's for dinner, so no workout tonight.  Though, I'm learning how nice my friends are about my whole vegan diet.  They went so far as to get me some Field Roast sausages for dinner, along with some guac.  Very kind of them to do, as I might have gone hungry if it was just brisket and chili dip.  Plus I now have almost a whole tub of baked beans that they sent me home with.  I guess no one else shares my love of the magical fruit.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Stuffed french toast

This was fabulous.  Banana and peanut butter filled french toast.  So easy to do as well.  Instead of egg, we just used soy milk, a little flour, and some vanilla extract to coat the bread, and the filling was basically peanut butter, banana, and brown sugar.  Not the healthiest start to the day, but perfect when you're feeling a bit "under the weather".

Lunch:
Honestly, I don't remember if I peeled myself off the couch for lunch. I may have had a sandwich before leaving for the market, but I'm not sure.

Dinner:
chips and guacamole
field roast sausage
vegetarian baked beans

Day 39: Beerfest

Saturday was beerfest for me and a couple of friends.  We went to the Great Austin Beer Festival to sample the finest brews from all around.  Of course, we had so sample the best beer ever beforehand, which was my home brewed German Maibock.  We polished off a couple of pitchers while watching the World Cup match, which was entirely disappointing.

So we're already 3 beers deep by the time that we got to the festival.  Needless to say, it was a fun day and I think that Steph enjoyed laughing at our escapades afterward.  I was not the worst off by a long shot, as Barrett kept wandering off at the festival, and at dinner, meandered down to the dock to sit by himself.  I think he enjoyed himself though, and apparently I'm his new best friend.

I fortunately did get in a quick workout before the game and after brunch, even though it was a busy day.  After beerfest and dinner, Stephanie and I made it out to a friend's housewarming party.  Luckily I took the safe route of chugging water through dinner instead of one of the Hula Hut's delicious concoctions, but you know what they say, beer before liquor...

Menu:


Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Brunch:
Tofu migas at Snack Bar

Lunch:
Grilled veggies
baked beans
Field Roast sausage

Snack2:
Many, many beers

Dinner:
Veggie enchiladas with no cheese at The Hula Hut.

Their pickings were pretty slim for dinner, so I went with the basics, just some grilled veggies with tomatillo sauce.

Fourthmeal:
2 bean burritos minus cheese from Taco Bell

After a few adult beverages, Taco Bell was always my stop of choice.  I was psyched to hear that their beans and burritos have no lard in them, so as long as you stay away from the cheese, these burritos are 100% vegetable.  http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/OtherInfo/Taco-Bell.htm

Day 38: Out To Eat

For Friday, we were both feeling a little tired from a long week, so we decided to go out yet again.  We tried a new greek place up north that was pretty tasty.  Zorba Greek Restaurant was the name.  I had the usual fare, hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, etc.  Nothing to write home about, but it was close to home and satisfying.

We also had another task, which was to pick out a fan and lights for our back yard.  So we headed up to Home Depot to pick out both.  It was fairly successful, and we're definitely looking forward to having a nice cool patio this summer.

Steph was feeling a little under the weather that night, so it was just me.  It is so much tougher to work out by yourself than it is with someone else.  With another person, you have to push yourself, since you don't want to be the first one to stop or let up, so I just had to push through by myself.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Vegetable soup
"bologna" sandwith

Snack:
1/4 cup mixed nuts

Dinner:
Vegetarian platter including dinner salad, falafel, hummus, baba ganoush, dolmathes, and stewed eggplant.

Day 37: ?

I honestly can't remember what I did on Thursday.  It's hell getting old.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 36: Bring On The Carbs

Wednesday was the start of phase 2.  We started at least the phase 2 diet, but not really the workout.  We rested today as well because we had a few things to take care of that were holding us back, not to mention the glut of carbs that I ingested at dinner.  I had a room full of donated books at the library that needed to be sorted, and Steph was working later than normal and had to run to the grocery store afterward, so no new workout today, but we did have Mexican for dinner.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
spaghetti with wheat balls

Dinner:
4 Boca meat and bean tacos
1 cup soy milk


Just from dinner I got all the carbs I needed, not to mention a huge plate of spaghetti for lunch.  I think it's been so long since I didn't worry about carbs that I went a little overboard.  From dinner I had 4 tortillias and a cup of beans, which left me too stuffed to really work out.  I threw the whole "eat a lot of light meals" mantra out the window for this day and binged.  Oops.

Day 35: The Calm Before The Storm

Tuesday was the last rest day before starting phase 2.  This not only means new workouts, but also a changed diet.  Before my servings looked like this:

Source: Servings

Protein: 7
Vegetables: 4
"Dairy": 3
Fruits: 1
Fats: 1
Carbs: 1

For phase 2 it's:

Protein: 6
Vegetables: 3
"Dairy": 2
Fruits: 1
Fats: 1
Carbs: 3

So it's still high protein, but I actually get to eat some carbs.  I don't much care about dairy, I throw on some Daiya or drink a couple of glasses of soy milk and I'll be fine.  I'm more concerned about the lowered veggies, though this will give me more options for lunch other than soup and salad.  Heck, I may even get to eat beans again.

Since it was a rest day, we decided to also rest from our diet, and we went out to Kerby Lane Cafe.  Here's what I got:


The fried portobello steak was incredible.  Topped with their homemade soysage and vegan gravy, I subbed out the sides to get their home fries and yummy spinach.  That's my wife's pickle on the side there.  We couldn't have gone at a better time, because this was on the Spring seasonal menu which just ended.  I wonder if I could twist their arm to make it just one more time for me.  Of course, I got the immaculate tofu dark chocolate cheesecake for desert, which is my favorite desert in the world last night.  Maybe not P90X diet, but it's tofu, so at least I'm sneaking in some protein.

Menu:

Breakfast:
Tofu scramble
1 cup soy milk

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Spicy chikn' salad with Amy's Goddess Dressing

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Fried portobelo steak 
steamed spinach
home fries
pickle
Tofu dark chocolate cheesecake

Day 34: Don't Call it a Comeback

Monday was definitely a day of bringing it.  Mondays are my volleyball nights, but that doesn't mean that we get to skip our P90X workout.  Hell no, that just means that we get to add a little fun to our workout day!  The game went great, with the team coming back after losing the first game and being down by 10 in the second to win in 3.  It was one hell of a comeback for the team and left me with a high to get through our Yoga X routine.  It really was the perfect day to do yoga, with me coming from being all amped up about the volleyball game, to winding down with some nice relaxing poses, like Warrior III.


Menu:

Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack: 
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Vegetable soup
Grilled eggplant

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Tofu stir fry

Day 33: Father's Day

Sunday was Father's Day, and like all good kids, I gave my dad a call to wish him well.  Unfortunately I was treated less charitably by my dog, who bit my finger when I was feeding her at the park.  I need to treat that little scoundrel some manners.

Other than the dog biting incident, it was a good day.  We spent some time getting some misc groceries, hanging up a dry erase board at home, and doing some laundry.  I felt like it was a very productive day for us, especially since we even crammed in some Core Synergistics, which I like a lot more than I did the first time I did it.  I think with P90X, your first time on one of the workouts is like a "try to survive" mode, and when you do it more and more, you get better at the moves and strengthen the areas that you want to strengthen.  This is definitely true of core, as I was feeling toasty afterward.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Lunch:
Salad bar at Jason's Deli

I asked about their muffelata bread and if it was vegan, because it sounded pretty tasty, but I guess they don't make the bread there like Panera, because they had to look on the nutritional facts, and even then couldn't tell me for sure.  I'll have to call HQ to get a straight answer.

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Dinner:
Grilled portobello  and asparagus
Apple Sage Field Roast sausage with sauerkraut
Bread with Texas Tea jam
Mango
2 peaches

The Texas Tea jam that we got from the farmer's market was really good.  It had almost an apple-buttery like flavor, but sweeter.  Steph didn't like it, but it was great on her homemade bread.  A great desert in my opinion.

Day 32: Meet Me At The Oasis

Saturday was our usual farmer's market trip.  We got there a bit early, not realizing that the market doesn't officially open till 9, so we stood around our favorite guy's booth and picked out everything we needed.  When the bell rung at 9, we were ready to check out.  We even picked up some Texas Tea jam, made with Dr. Pepper and lemon juice.  I asked the lady about it, thinking that most jams are made with gelatin or something, but she assured me it was just Dr. Pepper, sugar,and lemon juice.  Sweet.  Can't wait to try it on some of my wife's fresh baked bread.

It was truly a feasting day, as we went to Snack Bar down on South Congress.  They had a great vegan menu, and I was tempted by the waffles, but I got the vegan migas, since I am obsessed with migas nowadays.  They were so deliciously spicy and savory, I could have eaten three plates.  They also have a vegan chocolate cake there, but I was feeling stuffed after the huge plate with beans and tortillias.  The prices aren't bad either.  We might make this place a tradition after farmer's market.

We were all about eating out today, as we were meeting a friend for a celebration dinner at The Oasis.  Stephanie took a nap in the afternoon while I consumed one of my books from Barnes and Noble.  I didn't get her up until about an hour and a half before we were leaving, so we barely had time to get in our P90X workout.  Good thing for us, it was just stretching today, which I forgot was a whole hour, I thought I remembered it being only a half hour, but I was feeling quite limber afterward.

At dinner, it was a bit of a challenge to find something to eat.  They have a straight up salad, but no vegan dressings.  I could have done a honey mustard dressing, as I personally don't have a problem with honey, though others would argue that I should, but I have to be in a certain mood for that, and I was definitely not.  The other option was a Garden Burger, which is not vegan, so nix that.  I ended up with the veggie fajitas, which were damn expensive for grilled vegetables.  Tasty, but $17 for some grilled veggies and guacamole?  Give me a break.

Menu:


Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Brunch:
Vegan migas
orange juice

Lunch:
Salad with tomato and Field Roast sausage

Dinner:
Veggie fajitas
Oasis sunset cooler
Oasis sunset shot
1 pint Fireman's Four
1/2 pint of wife's unwanted beer

Definitely a carby day, from beans with breakfast to beans and beer for dinner, but it was all delicious.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 31: My Wife Hates Me

So Friday is our normal date night, which for a while consisted of us doing simple things like eating out and browsing at stores.  Unfortunately, our date night this week consisted of working out instead. Since I was bushed from working till midnight on Thursday, I didn't want to get up early and get it out of the way, so we instead waited until after work to get our workout in.  It wasn't bad, it was just Kenpo, which I really enjoy, especially since I needed to get some stress out from my project that I was working on.  Nothing better than kicking and punching your problems out of the way.

Afterward we did get out to do something.  We went to Barnes and Noble to browse the book section and I wound up buying a ton of books.  We got two different vegan cookbooks, one for eating on the cheap, including how to make stuff like veganaise and setian at home, and another with over 1000 recipies, so I'm going to have to branch out a little over the next few weeks.  A powerful combination of laziness and lack of time has produced an extremely repetitive menu lately.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Greek food at Tino's Greek Cafe

Great lunch selection of different side dishes like stewed eggplant, hummus, falafel and other Greek food.

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Grilled squash
Field Roast sausage

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 30: It's Pizza Time

So Thursday afternoon at work was a nightmare.  Apparently I'm holding things up and I didn't even know it, so Thursday was a work night with no work out. Fortunately, it gave me the excuse I needed to order in instead of making something for dinner.  I've been waiting for the opportunity to try Promise Pizza since I first heard about them last month.  They offer fully vegan and gluten free pizzas.  I ate the whole thing too, which was a mistake.  I paused halfway through the pizza and thought to myself that I was good, but I couldn't resist the rest of the pizza, even though it wasn't the greatest pizza I've ever eaten.

As it came from Promise Pizza


After I added some Field Roast sausage.


I think it all comes back to the principle that you will eat whatever is in front of you.  It's ingrained in a lot of us from childhood to finish what's on your plate, so nowadays, we can't help but feel a desire to finish off a meal, even if the portion size is out of control.  That's why I usually like to set aside half of my burrito at Chipoltle before I get down to it, otherwise, I get a bit overzealous and chow down.  Plus, once you make it through 3/4 of your meal, you look down at what's left, and it's not enough for lunch, but too much to throw away, so one has a psychological need to finish it off.

This is why I am trying to portion snacks and such.  It sounds so dumb, but it's true, if you just ration out your portion of nuts, you will eat just that.  You won't keep reaching back into the jar for "just one more handful".  It's a powerful way to control how much you eat and where you are getting your calories.  It's working out well for me so far, but last night I definitely fell off the wagon.  No workout and overeating is not a good combination, but as the saying goes, everything in moderation, including moderation.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Tofu scramble with choirizo style setian

Snack: 
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Orzo with sun dried tomatoes and kale
Italian sausage

Snack 2:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Medium Whole Wheat Regular Crust Promise Pizza with Daiya cheese, mushrooms, olives, and Field Roast Sausage.

They didn't have any fake meat for their pizzas, so I added my new obsession to the dish, to give it some more protein.  Looking up the nutritional information, it wasn't so bad:

582.8 calories
22g fat
622.4 mg sodium
56.4g carbs
7.2g fiber
9.2g protein

With the sausage, that gives me 35g protein in a meal, and maybe 800 calories in a meal, not too bad, since I'm shooting to get in 2500 a day, but considering that I account for burning 600 in a workout, and that I failed to do so, it wasn't a great day food wise.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 29: A New Workout

One of the main reasons that people give up on working out is that it's boring.  You get into a rut, do the same thing over and over again, and don't see results.  After the initial two weeks, we've been doing the same workouts over and over again, and for the first time, we got a new workout tonight, Core Synergistics.  It was a challenge, not so much in the degree of tiredness afterward, but since we have new moves to do, it takes a bit to get into the proper form, so I feel like I didn't get a very good workout tonight, but it was fun rolling around on the floor like I saw in the infomercial.


One thing I've noticed though, is the amount of equipment you really need to get the workout done right.  I went with bands since that appeared to be the only thing beyond the chin-up bar that I needed, but you really do need some free weights to maintain good form on some of the exercises.  I'll have to keep an eye out on craigslist for a set, as I looked at the cool adjustable dumbells at Sports Authority, and they're like 400 bones, a bit pricey for my taste.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Orzo with sun dried tomatoes and kale
Salad with tomato and avacado

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Field Roast Italian sausage X2
Spaghetti with red sauce
side salad


I have to say, I am totally in love with these Field Roast sausages.  They are flat out the best vegan meat replacement I have had.  They have a wonderful flavor, and are juicy and moist.  On top of that, they're chock full of protein with very little fat.  If you eat veggie dogs or Boca burgers, just throw them out and get some of these Field Roast sausages.  I'm going to have to get some of their other products too.  I've got a celebration roast in my fridge  right now just begging to be eaten, and that Hazelnut en Croute looks very tasty.

Day 28: Yoga

The first activity in our "rest" week was an hour and a half of yoga.  You know, before ever doing yoga, I just thought of it as standing around and breathing, not something that could actually get you a workout.  Yoga X has completely changed my mind.  The balancing and the standing may look easy, but I was deceived in the same way that Albert Pujols makes hitting a home run look easy.  Just holding these poses is a challenge that gets my whole body working and the sweat flowing like a river.

It is also a calming experience as well.  After the cool-down period, I generally feel pretty mellow, which is a lot different than after I finish something like plyometrics and am still a bit amped up.  It's good that it calms me, since by the time we were done working out, it was all but time for bed.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Soy scramble with chorizo style seitan (over 50g protein in this meal!)

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Tofurkey wrap with mustard, tomato and arugala on wheat pita
orzo with sun-dried tomatoes and kale

Snack:
1/2 cup cashews

Dinner:
Mexican-style field roast sausage (spicy and yummy!)
Grilled peppers and mushrooms
Roasted red potatoes with rosemary



I went a little crazy with the carbs today (pita, pasta and potatoes all in one day), but I think I'll survive.  The orzo I used actually had 6g of protein in it, so I'm sneaking in the protein wherever I can.

Day 27: Is This Ever Going to End?

Monday had a whole host of issues.  We had to pick up the car from the shop before work, I had a volleyball game and a board meeting after work, and didn't get home till 9 that night and Stephanie was trying to get some work done.  It was another day of a missed workout, and I'm beginning to think that this 90 day program is going to be more like 120 days.  With what we have been doing, we should be on day 22, so we're way behind, but that's ok.  I think that the results are already beginning to manifest.  I checked myself on the scale last night before bed and I'm down to 158.2 lbs with 10% body fat.  I can definitely notice a change in both muscle definition and with strength, so I'm guessing that this is working out so far.  Now we just have to stick with it for a couple more months.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Chef salad
Stir fried vegetables

Snack:
1/2 cup cashews and peanuts

Dinner:
Guacamole salad

Snack:
Cole slaw
Bread with margarine
handful of olives

I had a light dinner, as the board ordered in some Mexican food, but I'm still leaving beans out as much as I can until next week, so I opted for a salad.  I was a little light on my carb intake and calories, so I decided to have a little snack when I got home with some of my wife's awesome home made bread.

Yum

Day 26: Meet the Neighbors

Sunday is the day we like to either have people over for dinner, or go over to other's houses for dinner.  Without family in Austin, it's nice to have friends to break bread with on a regular basis, and Sunday is always a good day to spend cooking and hanging out with those that you love.

I ran into our neighbor on Saturday while he was walking his dog and it was the perfect opportunity to invite him and his wife over for dinner on Sunday.  We always seem to see them when we are out gardening and we've talked to them a few times at our property owner's association meetings, but we wanted to get to know them a little better.  After all, we're going to be living next to them for a while, so we should probably get to know, and hopefully like each other.

Unfortunately for my wife, this added a little stress to our evening, as we want to make a good impression, so the house needed to be clean and we needed to make some extra special goodies for dinner.  To add to that stress, I went golfing on Sunday morning with Steve, so I didn't get back home till after 2.  Even worse, the roast that we picked up at the farmer's market was still frozen and needed so long to cook that we wouldn't be eating till Monday morning.  Oops.

She called me after my round of golf and asked me to drop by the store to get basically a whole new menu for dinner.  Needless to say, it's a bit nerve racking to not have a menu for dinner at noon when you have people coming over.  I think it all turned out well though.  Of course, she's the one that did pretty much everything, I got home after dropping by the store and mowed and trimmed the lawn.

I think it all turned out well though.  Casey found it amusing that he'd never grilled ribs before, and here was the vegan out there with three huge slabs of meat, grilling it up.  I found that even with the meal we were making, it was pretty easy to substitute things for myself.  Bruschetta was made with vegan mozzarella, cole slaw with veganaise, margarine on my corn, and my favorite apple sage sausage instead of ribs.

Of course, with new people always comes the question of why I'm a vegan.  I think every time I answer that, I get just a little more clear.  When first asked, I had thought about it a lot, but never had to articulate it in a short period of time.  Now it's getting easier to boil it down to 3 points: animal welfare, the environment, and the moral implications of excess.  Basically, I don't eat meat because animals are treated poorly in the process, CAFOs are basically toxic wastelands which pollute the water supply and lay waste to air quality, and if we instead ate vegetables, we would have enough food to end world hunger tomorrow.  I of course, wasn't that succinct, but with time maybe I'll be able to transmit this message more clearly.



I think they understood though, and Lauren and Kevin are really nice people.  It was great having them over and I hope that they enjoyed themselves.  I felt a little bad about dinner being so late.  We had appetizers at 6, but didn't get everything on the table till 8.  I felt bad, because Kevin needed to walk Walter after dinner, and it was getting pretty late.  It was good getting to know them a little better.  I just hope that we didn't scare them off.  Though who can resist a neighbor with a keggerator in their garage?

Menu:

Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar
Protip: Don't leave these in a golf bag, they get uber melty.

Lunch:
"Bologna" sandwich
cashews

Appetizer:
Bruschetta

So simple, just dice tomatoes, toss in balsamic vinagrette and olive oil, lay over sliced bread with a slice of vegan mozzarella and broil till the cheese melts.  So tasty though.  We made ours with yellow, orange and red tomatoes to add color.

Dinner:
Field roast apple sage sausage with sauerkraut
Corn on the cob
Cole Slaw
Baked beans
2 pints German Mai-bock

Desert:
Indian mango

Found this a Central Market over the weekend.  They suckered us in by giving us samples, which were so freaking good.  This was the best mango I've ever had.  It was perfectly ripe, juicy and full of flavor.  If only they weren't so expensive.  This is a rare treat if you can get it.

Day 25: Rest Day

Saturday was our rest day, which couldn't have come at a better time, since we, as usual, had a lot to do.  Mostly errands and such, but some fun stuff as well.  We went to the Austin farmer's market down at 4th and Guadalupe in the morning.  We've started making this a bit of a ritual each week, because they have such good produce and a lot of really good artisan food as well.  It is totally worth the effort to make it down there.

Beyond that, it was running to Central Market to get some of the stuff they don't have at the farmer's market like setian and tofu, getting some golf supplies, and returning a bunch of stuff that we found out that we don't need.  Once we got back to the house, we were dog tired, but pushed through to plant the flowers in the back since we were done repairing the sprinkler system.  By the time we were done, it was almost 7:30, which is a shame, because we were planning on doing dinner and a movie that night, but it wasn't to be.

Instead we just did dinner.  Stephanie was nice enough to indulge me in one of my favorites, Kerby Lane Cafe.  I have to say though, their vegetarian selection is out of this world, and with a few substitutions, a lot can be made vegan, and their vegan pancakes are amazing.  So I had some brinner and we headed back home to pass out.  For a rest day, I felt surprisingly tired.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Panera Black Bean Soup
Apple

Dinner (@ Kerby Lane Cafe):
Tofu scramble with soysage and blueberry pancakes
Some of my wife's French fries
Dark chocolate tofu cheesecake

Restaurants: Kerby Lane Cafe


I'll be honest, I am a little biased toward Kerby Lane.  As a big lover of brinner, I love a place where you can get pancakes and home fries any time they are open.  They have several different locations in Austin, each with a bit of a different feel to them.  The one I usually go to off of 183 is newer, and has a less worn in feel to it than the original, but it still captures the vibe well, with an expanded seating section and a nice outdoor area.  

The menu has a little something for all types of eaters, from queso and migas, to burgers, to hummus and tabbouleh.  It covers all the bases with the constant menu, with an addition of a seasonal menu that keeps you coming back to try their new flavors.  On right now is a portabello fried steak, which sounds amazing.  I didn't ask if the gravy was vegan, but it's soysage gravy, so it might be, but the guy behind me at dinner was vegan and he ordered it with a change of sides, so maybe it is meat free.

If you are vegetarian, everything is clearly marked on the menu, and unlike many places where this is maybe a couple salads and a veggie burger, they have a wide selection.  Even if you are vegan, there is a good selection, from basil pecan pesto pasta to the always popular vegan pancakes, there will be something for you.  Any of the scrambles like migas can also be done with their tofu and nutritional yeast, which is really good if you have never had scrambled tofu before.

My favorite dish is the vegan platter, which comes with their fluffy, moist, delicious pancakes, tofu scramble, and house made soysage.  Everything here is made from scratch each day so it's fresh and delicious.  Pair this with a glass of OJ and you have yourself one great breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or fourth meal).  They also serve my favorite desert here, which is a dark chocolate tofu cheesecake.  It is simply to die for, with a graham cracker crust and smooth, chocolaty center, you can't go wrong with this one.  It's one of the best deserts that I've had, vegan or not.


Sorry, I couldn't wait to dig in, so the picture is of the half-eaten cheesecake.

I can't give this place anything less than a perfect score.  Like I said, I'm biased and it's in my top 10 restaurants list.  It is quite simply the perfect place for people who love breakfast anytime of the day, with a well-rounded and unique menu and one of the best deserts in Austin.

Score: 4/4
Location: 4 locations in Austin, TX

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 24: Early Morning Routine

So Friday was going to be a crazy day.  I had accounts to balance at 8, then work, then we were off to the Texas Stars game.  Looking at our schedule, we decided that we had to get in our workout before my 8AM meeting.  So we got up super early for us, and worked out at 6.  It was strange, but nice.  We are so used to doing our workout at the end of the day that it was nice to get it done and out of the way early so that it's not hanging over us.  I don't think it's a trend we are likely to continue, as we are definitely not morning people, but it was a refreshing change of pace.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack: 
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Vegan lasagna
salad

Snack:
30 pistachios

Dinner:
Stir fry

Stars Game:
20 oz Bud Light

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 23: Good News

Well, good news is that I have finished repairing my sprinkler system in the back yard, so it's now working again.  What a pain in the rear end that was.  If you ever need to fix some straight PVC pipe, pick up one of these bad boys, you'll save yourself a lot of time for just a few bucks.  It worked awesome, and it only took a few minutes to perform the repair, which was awesome, since it left a lot of time to get in a workout and even for a few minutes of down time, if you can believe that.

The workout last night was arms and back, which kicked my butt.  I was gasping and wheezing at the end, and was light-headed enough to skip most of the ab routine.  It was enough to get me to basically collapse on the floor after we were done.  Needless to say, I slept really well that night.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Vegan lasagna
side salad

Snack 2:
Pistachios

Dinner:
Grilled tofu
grilled zucchini and squash
1 cup cherries
banana

As you may notice, I've been increasing my intake of fruit lately.  It's crazy for me to limit myself to a single serving of fruit, especially when I have so many tasty peaches in the fridge.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 22: Seriously?! That Thing is Huge!

Since we had two days of rest, it was a pretty good day to get down to business and do some yoga.  Our schedule wasn't quite as busy today, just work, library, dinner, then workout.  No digging up crazy broken pipes in the ground or planitng gardens, just a straightforward day.  It was a nice change of pace for us.  The only thing unusual about today was my wife's trip to GNC to get some protein powder.  I was going to get the chocolate soy powder this time, but she was nice enough to go get it for me from the store.  When she got back, I saw this on the counter:


Holy moly!  That's a huge container of protein powder.  It makes me look like I'm training for the Mr. Universe contest or something.  The one I had before was a small container that fit nicely in my cubbord, the new container's like the previous one's big brother packed with enough steroids to kill a large horse.  Seriously, this thing contains 1.275 kg of protein.  That's more protein than some animals have in their whole bodies..  I guess it's a good thing, since it will last till the end of my training, but damn that thing is huge.  (That's what she said.)

I guess there was one lowlight of the night.  My wife was cleaning out the freezer and put a tub of homemade vanilla ice cream on the counter for me to empty out and wash.  The call of it was too much for me to resist, and I rationalized it to myself that it would be even worse to throw away perfectly good and delicious food, so I chowed down on it.  Tasty, but I didn't need the additional fat right before the workout.  On a side note, I wonder if I could make vegan ice cream some time.  Damn, they've thought of everything.

Menu:

Breakfast:
Protein shake (Natch, going to be drinking a lot of these for a while.)

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Vegan Lasagna
Side salad

Snack 2:
30 pistachios

Dinner:
3 veggie dogs
sauteed spinach
roasted red potatoes
3 small peaches

An odd dinner, but it was leftover night and I didn't want to have lasagna three times in a row (lunch, dinner, lunch), so I had to get creative.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 21: Plumbing Issues

After the disaster that was trying to plant flowers in my backyard this weekend, the wife and I tasked ourselves with fixing our own mess.  After breaking a pipe in our sprinkler system, we needed to replace a good section of it.  Instead of hiring someone to do it, we figured that we could do it ourselves on the cheap.  Unfortunately, with cheap comes time.  I am now realizing why mechanics and plumbers charge you $400 for a repair, and use $10 in parts.  It's cheap, but it takes forever.

We dug up sections around the pipe and fit some new pipe in there.  Sounds simple right?  Not when the pipe is 2 feet down.  It took us till 10PM working basically from the time we got home till then to get the piping in place.  Beyond that, I'm not even confident that it will work.  When we spent hours fitting and digging and cutting, the 30 seconds that we had to attach the pipe before the glue dried were the most crucial, and we managed to not fit them quite right.  Ugh, beyond the fact that it started raining not long after we finished and it's now a backyard pond, we had 0 time to work out.  So it was another "rest" day for us.  At this rate, the program's going to take closer to 120 days.

Menu:

Breakfast:
Tofu scramble with mexican seitan, mushrooms, spinach and tomato

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
"Bologna" sandwich with veganaise, cheddar "cheese", arugala and tomato on wheat pita
Side salad
3 small peaches

I tried my sandwich with a slice of the vegan cheddar I got from the store.  It wasn't bad, and had a vaguely cheese-like flavor, but the sandwich could have done without it.  I also had some great peaches from the farmer's market.  They are so ripe and tasty.  I don't know if I can stay with just eating one serving of fruit with peaches like these.

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Pizza with mushrooms and "pepperoni"
Side salad
3 small peaches
cup cherries

I tried out this Daiya cheese from Whole Foods for my pizza.  I know, I know, pizza is not part of the diet here, but I couldn't resist.  I thought the pizza was great, the cheese melted very nicely and really did taste like mozzerella, closer to the lower quality Kraft mozerella than a fresh block of Italian that my wife had.  The peperoni that I got could be skipped, and I forgot that I had bought Field Roast italian sausage, so maybe I'll do sausage next time.  Overall I thought it was good.  Though I'd like to do a blind taste test with some of my vegan food to see if it actually tastes good, or if I just think it tastes good.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 20: Life with One Car

So a couple of months ago, I dinged the door of my car against a yellow Mustang in a Home Depot parking lot. The wind caught the door when I was getting out and I wasn't paying attention.  In those few seconds, I just cost myself a good chunk of money.  Today was finally the day to get the door fixed.  So we dropped the car off at the shop and said goodbye.

Another challenge to getting in a workout is timing.  Sharing a car limits your ability to get from A to B when you choose to do so.  So we tried to plan a bit ahead.  Unfortunately, with working a bit late, and working at the library after that, I didn't get to even start making dinner till 7:45 PM.  After eating dinner, I still had to go to Home Depot and get some PVC to fix the pipe I busted in the yard yesterday when planting our huge flowering bush.  After all of this, I was home at 10PM.  Way past the time that anyone should start working out.  Since it was yoga tonight, and that is a 1 1/2 hour workout, I decided to just cash it in and catch up on my blog posts before bed.  I guess I'll just have to bring it even harder in the coming days to make up for it.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein Shake

Snack 1:
Peanut Butter Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Lasagna
Chef Salad

Snack 2:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
2 apple sage Field Roast sausages with sauerkraut
grilled zucchini and squash
steamed broccoli
roasted red potatoes

I overdid it on dinner.  By the time I got home, I was starving, which is a sure way to overestimate how much you need.  I could have easily done with one sausage and skipped the broccoli, but I couldn't contain myself.  In fact, I ate at a little after 8, and right now, at 10:50, I still feel stuffed, not a good feeling.

Recipe: Vegan Lasagna

Vegan Lasagna
1/2 box lasagna noodles (most should be vegan so long as they aren't the no boil type)
1 package soft tofu
2 Field Roast Italian sausages
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup Italian seasoning (or combination of basil, oregano, and parsley)
2 cups vegan mozzarella (Daiya makes some good vegan cheese)
1 28oz can peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are my favorite)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil the lasagna noodles, you'll want enough for 3 layers, at least 9 noodles, depending on the width of your pan.
  3. While noodles are boiling, combine the soft tofu, seasoning, and 1 cup of mozzarella in a food processor, blend till mostly smooth.  I don't usually measure spices, opting instead to add enough so that the mixture looks tasty, but you can just use the approximate amount above.
  4. Quick chop the tomatoes from the can.  Set aside the juices from the can.
  5. Once the noodles are al dente, drain and dry the noodles.
  6. Oil the bottom of the pan and place a bit of the tomatoes and juices.
  7. Place a single layer of noodles down, top with tofu and spice mixture and about 1/3 of the tomatoes, as well as half the mushrooms and one of the sausages, either crumbled or sliced, your choice.
  8. Continue layering evenly.  I use 3 layers, so you use half the ingredients on the first layer of noodles, the second half on the next layer, and a final layer of just noodles.
  9. On top, place the last of your tomatoes and juices.  Top with 1 cup of vegan mozzarella.
  10. Bake in oven covered for 30-40 minutes.  
  11. Uncover, bake for another 10 minutes.
Let this guy sit out for a bit before eating.  It will fall apart if it's still too hot.  I had some issues with too much water in the lasagna, which some get around by using pasta sauce instead of tomatoes, or paste in place of the tomato juice.  Either way, a night in the fridge and a warm up the next day make it even better.  You have to love left over lasagna.



There are probably much better recipes than this.  Mine I modify and add in some layers of eggplant or some spinach.  Make it your own and have fun with it.

Day 19: Home, Home On The Range

Sunday was a hot one here in Austin, so Steve and I decided to hit the driving range early.  Well, early for us anyway.  We got there at nine and much to our dismay, they changed the hours and now didn't open till 10.  He and I scooted to Round Rock Donuts, where he got a few sweet treats and I refrained.  Those things are almost certainly non-vegan and definitely not on any sort of diet plan other than Paula Dean's Get You Fat Now Diet.


So we hit the driving range for about three hours.  Probably not the greatest idea on shoulders and arms day, but it's when I had time to do it.  From there it was a pretty normal day.  Got some groceries not available at the farmer's market, including some vegan cheese I've heard is quite good, as well as some other tasty treats for the vegan eater.  I'm hoping to mix it up a little this week.  You're probably as tired as I am of seeing protein shake, salad, soup, and grilled veggies.

As a final note, if you have a sprinkler system, and are planting in your yard, don't go all crazy with the pickax, no matter the consistency of the dirt.  Had to learn that the hard way.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Tofu scramble

Lunch:
Vegan Lasagna
side salad

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar


Dinner:
Grilled Portobello mushroom (brush with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste)
Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary
Grilled Asparagus

Day 18: Hoeing and Hip-checks

Saturday was a wonderful day out for some gardening.  The wife and I got up early to check out the selection at the farmers market, spying some wonderful smelling basil, as well as a bunch of other tasty veggies.  She even got some steaks from local, pasture raised beef.  I think all my bleeding-heart animal welfare-ism is starting to rub off on her.

We not only picked up some locally grown food, but we are beginning to grow our own in the new community garden at work.  We stopped by a nursery, after spending quite a bit of time trying to find their location, as they had moved and not put up an obvious sign at the old location.  With a bit of digging and some heavy lifting, we planted some nice rows of tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, and peppers.  Should be a good harvest in a few months.  If we don't kill them.

After the gardening, it was time to get our workout on, and even though we had already spent a few hours sweating outside, we needed to get our sweat out indoors.  It was back to plyometrics, and we both definitely brought it this time.  The wife was able to get through the entire thing without feeling ill, which is quite an accomplishment for this workout, as I am usually feeling at least light headed and at worst am grabbing for a bucket.

We got that in, then it was off to watch the Texas Stars kick the pants off the Hershey Bears to take a 2-0 lead in the Calder Cup finals.  I wisely ate before the game, as there wasn't a single item at the stadium that was nutritious and didn't contain animal products.  It was still tough to resist the call of frozen custard after the game, but I stayed strong.  It was made easier by the sweet taste of the Cliff Bar I had mid-game.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Lunch:
"Bologna" sandwich with tomato, arugala and veganaise on a wheat pita
2 cups tomato soup

Dinner:
Vegan Lasagna
side salad
1 cup veggie soup
watermelon

Snack:
Chocolate Cliff Builder's Bar

Day 17: It's Friday Night, and I Feel Alright

Friday was an unusual day.  As the beginning of the weekend, it is typically a day meant for leaving work as early as possible, and going to do something fun.  For me though, it was a day of getting out of work to eat, workout more, and then go out for a friend's birthday party.  Luckily, the party didn't start till 9:30, so we had some time to get ready.  The pre-party workout also allowed us to burn off some calories before we decided to consume a few tasty drinks.

An always persistant opponent of a healthy diet is soda.  Soda is basically just sugar high-fructose corn syrup water.  Nothing but carbs, sugar and calories.  Almost none of it is useful to your body for growing muscle or shredding fat.  So I have been doing a decent job of avoiding it all together until Friday.  The bar we went to was a place called Townhouse, which we initially confused for meeting at someone's townhouse, but that's another story altogether.

It's a cocktail bar so it was pretty much exclusively mixed drinks, and some really crazy stuff like catnip infused vodka.  So I broke down and had a pegleg and some gin based drink that I don't recall now.  I assure you, they were well worth the empty calories.  Sometimes you just need to cut yourself some slack, and focus on enjoying yourself.  The process of getting fit shouldn't be 90 days of hell.  It should be enjoyed as well.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein Shake

Snack 1:
Lemon Cliff Builder's Bar

Lunch:
Tomato soup
chef salad (3 cups romaine, 1/4 cup hearts of palm, 1 roma tomato, 1/2 package tofurkey deli slices)

Snack 2:
30 pistachios

Dinner:
Vegan lasagna
side salad

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 16: Off Day

Day 15 was the last day in the workout cycle, so today was a rest day.  We debated if we should take the day off, or keep going through the next week, since we just took off two days over the last weekend due to the road trip, but we decided to rest and get back on the normal cycle of workouts.  It was nice to have a little bit of free time at night, but I didn't let that go to waste.  I decided to try to make a vegan lasagna.  I'll post the recipe depending on how it turns out. I made it to throw in the oven for dinner the next night, so I won't know till later if it's trash or treasure.

On a physical note, I felt sore during the rest day, even though I felt like the Kenpo wasn't really giving me the workout I wanted.  I guess it did and I just didn't know it.

Menu:


Breakfast:
tofu scramble
1 cup soy milk

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar (mint chocolate)

Pretty tasty bar.  I don't think I'd want it every day, but it will be good to add to the repertoire.

Lunch:
"bologna" sandwich
2 cups tomato soup

Snack 2:
30 pistachios

Dinner:
Spaghetti and "meat" balls
side salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers and goddess dressing

I realize that I forgot my fruit for the day.  I'll have to make up for this with some watermelon tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 15: A Long Day

This day was a bit of a struggle for myself.  I was working at the library today after work, so I didn't get home until after 7:30, and on top of that, it was storming outside.  Nothing makes me feel like just crawling under the covers and doing nothing like a thunderstorm.  Alas, it was not to be.  After making dinner, eating, and cleaning up, it was already 9 PM, a great time to just turn in.  Instead of turning in, we turned it up, and busted out a set of Kenpo X.

Fortunately, this is a light day of workout.  Just one hour of calisthenics, and even when I bring it with full force, I don't seem to feel as tired afterward as I do with legs and arm workouts.  So it was a good day for kickboxing.  After peeling ourselves up and showering, it was bedtime.  Not a bad day, but a busy one.  When you go from waking up, to eating, to work, to more work, to making dinner, to working out, to bed, it makes for a long day.  There was a bright spot.  I found that REI sells Cliff Builder's Bars, and if you buy 12 or more, they're only $1.68.  Still kind of pricey for my mid-morning snack, but they are so tasty and chock full of protein that I don't mind.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake (banana and blueberry)
2 soysage patties

Snack:
Cliff Bar (peanut and chocolate)

Lunch:
Tomato soup
"bologna" flatbread

Lunch was really tasty.  Even after subtracting most of the olive oil from the soup recipe, it was still flavorful and filling.  The flatbread I made with some greek style bread that I found has 6g of protein in each piece, a nice little find.  Top that with a half package of "bologna", some tomato, cucumber, and veganaise, and it makes for a tasty sandwich.

Snack 2:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Tofu stir fry
cup soy milk

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Restaurants: Local Burger

Local Burger is a really awesome concept place in Lawrence.  The whole concept of the place is to provide food that is nutritious, and raised in a humane and sustainable manner, and the menu is pretty diverse.  There is something sure to please any type of eater in your party, from the vegan (veggie burger) to the wild game lover (elk burger).
The best veggie burger in the world didn't quite live up to it's name, but it was far from the usual Boca burger at most places.  Crispy on the outside with softness on the inside, firm, without being dry.  Topped with a whole grain bun, it's great for the health conscious eater as well.  The real treat was the vegan Caesar salad, which to my suprise was also topped with warm, seasoned tofu, giving a much needed protein boost to the salad.  The greens were crisp and tasty, and the dressing was spot on, not too heavy, not too light.



My wife tried the standard burger, and seemed a little unimpressed.  It wasn't the biggest looking burger out there, much to the chagrin of my brother-in-law, so the carnivores seemed a little less than impressed.

I finished off the meal with a chocolate peanut butter ball.  I didn't verify the veganness of the chocolate, but it was fairly standard.  It was peanut butter covered in chocolate.  Pretty tasty, but nothing special. 

On a second visit, I was so impressed with the vegan salad that I decided to try another.  The Buckaroo salad, which is ranch dressing (vegan!) with greens, fried onions and tofu.  It was just as tasty as the Ceasar.  To top off the meal, I also went with the baked tofu fries, which were out of this world.  Crispy on the outside, firm, but tender on the inside, with a wonderful orange dipping sauce.  I was on cloud nine the rest of the day after these fries.  I could seriously eat them with every meal.  If only they had a Local Burger in Austin.



I gave this place 3/4 stars.  I couldn't give it any higher, as the carnivores in the group seemed a little disappointed, but if you are veg/vegan, this is definitely the place to go for some lunch grub. If you haven't tried it, and live anywhere near Lawrence, go there now.

Score: 3/4
Location: 714 Vermont Street Lawrence, KS 66044 

Day 14: Back To Work

So it was my first day back to the grind after the four day weekend, which means one thing, getting back in the rhythm of my workout schedule.  It is so much easier to be back on the schedule of work, eat, workout, sleep.  It's so much easier to plan out.

It was a fairly normal day, legs and back today, with ab ripper afterward.  However, I ran out of gas halfway through doing abs.  I just couldn't go on any longer.  It's not like I was in too much pain, but that I didn't have the stamina to make it through.  My diet thus far has been low-carb and high protein, so I think I'm going to switch it up a little in the next few days and get some more carbs in there to help get me through some of these workouts.

I also spent some time making more soup last night.  I tried a tomato basil this time, quadrupling the recipe here for everything except the oil, which I left out of the caramelize step, leading to my tomatoes not caramelizing, but just kind of drying out.  I of course left out the cream and substituted no-chicken broth instead of chicken broth.  No-chicken broth is like vegetable broth, only tastier according to my sister-in-law, so I'll have to give it a shot.  I'll have it for lunch tomorrow, so we'll see how it turned out.



Menu:


Breakfast:
Tofu scramble
cup of soy milk

Snack:
Cliff bar

Lunch:
Vegetable soup
Salad
Veggie burger (no bun, no condiments)

Snack:
1/4 cup cashews

Dinner:
Field Roast sausage with sauerkraut
Grilled asparagus
Grilled zucchini and squash
1 cup brown and wild rice
1 cup soy milk



Dinner was awesome tonight.  I love these field roast sausages, and when you add a little sauerkraut in there, it adds a bit of bite to the sausage which tastes great.  This may be my new favorite main dish, low fat, high protein, and delicious.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 13: A Hard Day's Work

Monday was Memorial Day, so to all of those who have honorably served this country, thank you for your service.  You provide us with the freedoms we often take for granted.


Today was definitely a day of work for the wife and I. After getting back from Lawrence, we discovered that our lawn looked like complete crap.  It hadn't been mowed in about a month, and the weeds were up to 4 ft tall.  So we took to action, me on the shovel digging up all the Dallas grass weeds in the back yard, and her on the mower, tearing through the vast swaths of St. Augustine.  We were out there for a solid 8 hours, mowing, weeding, putting in new soaker hoses, trimming, edging, planting new grass and getting new rose bushes for the back yard.  After that long of a day in the sun, you would think that a break would be deserved.

Not so with us.  We knew that after missing two days of workouts, we couldn't afford to miss another.  So we plowed on through an hour and a half of yoga following 8 hours of yard work.  Words cannot describe the exasperation we both felt after our workout, but we were both glad that we kept pushing through, and are staying focused on our goal of completing these 90 days.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Protein shake

Snack:
Cliff bar

Lunch:
Salad (romaine, tomatoes, hearts of palm, Balsamic dressing)
2 Boca burgers (no bun, no condiments)

Snack 2:
Cashews

Dinner:


Spaghetti with "meat" balls
salad with balsamic

Used some Nathan's "meat" balls to add some protein to this dish.  Limited the amount of spaghetti, so I don't get too many carbs. Definitely waited to exercise for a good hour after this meal.

Day 12: The Road Home

So even though we had a blast at the wedding, we still had to head home to Texas.  So we had another 12 hour day of driving ahead of us.  Fortunately, the time seems to fly by when you have good company, so neither me nor the wife minded in the least.  I think she liked it because there's no way I could get away.  Not that I wanted to.

We scheduled this day as an off day, as it would be nice to have Sundays as our normal rest day.  So we're going to plow through the rest day this week, especially needed since we've missed two days in a row.

Again, preparation leads to success.  We brought fixins for sandwiches on the way back, as well as healthy snacks like nuts and fruits, and of course, Cliff bars.  We made some up in the morning before we went to breakfast, and were good to go.  Unfortunately, I broke fast again today, as we headed to what my sister-in-law claims are her favorite vegetarian biscuits and gravy.  We walked down to the cafe, but they didn't open till 10 on Sundays, so we had to scrap that and headed back to Mirth Cafe.

I could have gone back to my granola, or even done the beans and rice, but once I had Bs and Gs in my head, I couldn't get them out.  This was not only a failure for my vegan-ism, but also for the diet.  They were as tasty as I'm sure they are fattening.  Imagine a plate covered in biscuits and smothered in creamy, spicy gravy with soy sausage.  It was so good, yet so bad.

I mentioned this to my wife in the car, and found some recipes online for vegan Bs and Gs, which I'll have to try and share at some point.  We also looked for a place to have dinner when we stopped near Dallas.  She found a place called the New Start Veggie Garden, which is the "ultimate vegan buffet".  (Review here)

Overall, not the best of days.  We missed workout, I broke fast, and we were dog tired after all that driving.  After a night of rest, and some relaxation, we should be able to get back on track.

Menu:


Breakfast:
Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy (Mirth Cafe)

Lunch:
Vegan "bologna" sandwich
watermelon
cashews

Snack:
Cliff bar (macadamia nut, yummy)

Dinner:
New Start Veggie Garden buffet

Restaurants: Mirth Cafe


The Mirth Cafe is a coffee shop that has transformed into a full cafe. The wife and I went here twice during our weekend trip to Lawrence.  We had breakfast both times, and service was definitely a mixed bag.  The first morning, we got a server that we only saw to order, get our food, and for the check, with getting the check coming about an hour after getting our food. It was to a point that we wanted to lay down some cash and just leave.  Especially since I had not asked for soy milk for my granola, and was left with a bowl of dry granola to munch on for most of the meal.  It's partially my fault, since he asked when I ordered if I wanted milk or yogurt, but I forgot to ask for soy milk.  Still, it should be customary to check on your guests about 5 minutes after they get their food.

The second visit had much better service, probably because they weren't as busy.  The food was about as mixed as their service, with the granola being way too sweet with not nearly enough fruit on top.  For the record, slicing a single strawberry on top does not count as granola and fruit.  I expect at least a cupful of fruit for it to be counted.

The second visit yielded better results, with me reverting back to my ovo-lacto diet and ordering the vegetarian biscuits and gravy.  They were spicy and satisfying.  The perfect hangover cure, not that I was hungover.  My wife got the French toast, which looked really tasty and she seemed to enjoy every bite of it.


Overall this is a very friendly vegetarian place, with a couple of vegan options including the granola and red beans and rice for breakfast.  It's sure to impress the meat eaters in your life as well, with the usual bacon and sausage options.

Score: 3/4 stars
Pros: Awesome vegetarian biscuits and gravy
Cons: Service left a lot to be desired
Location: 745 New Hampshire Lawrence, KS 66044

Restaurants: New Start Veggie Garden


The New Start Veggie Garden was a vegan buffet that my wife found online as we were driving through Dallas.  It's a very interesting concept and is the ultimate place for vegans, as everything there is vegan.  No worrying about does this have cream in it, or can I get this without cheese, or any of the other worries at restaurants.  They take the time to produce each dish without any animal products.  For that alone they should be commended.

I went on a Sunday, and didn't realize that it was all vegan at the time, I thought it was just mostly vegan, which led me to not really dig into the main dish of the night, cashew chicken.  Which is a shame, because my hesitation caused me to miss out.  I tried a bite of it, not knowing if it was really chicken or not.  It had a decent flavor, and I didn't detect chicken-ness, but I stayed on the safe side and refrained from it.  Boy was that a mistake.

The main dishes range from dumplings to "steak" to lentils and tofu, and on their site they look delicious, unfortunately, I only had the experience with the cashew "chicken", which was tasty, but my trepidation about if it was vegan prohibited me from enjoying more than a bite.

Other things on the buffet are cooked with light oil and seasoning, making them healthy and light.  I had a plate full of some of their spicy noodles and spinach, which were flavorful.  You can really taste the veggies when they aren't smothered in some type of sauce or over-seasoned, and that was a good thing.

Though I think I would enjoy it more on a second visit, my omnivorous wife wasn't that impressed with the fair.  Great for your vegan and veggie friends, but don't bring around your carnivorous acquaintances, as they are likely to be disappointed.

Rating: 2.5/4
Location: 2330 Royal Lane, Dallas, TX 75229

Day 11: Missed Opportunities

So yesterday we were in the car all day, but managed to work out.  Tomorrow we'll be in the car all day, and plan on skipping the workout.  One would think that the easiest day to fit in our workout would be the day where we don't have anything going on until the wedding at 4.  You would be wrong.

We started off the day by finding some breakfast.  I had scoped out a place called The Mirth Cafe.  I saw vegetarian biscuits and gravy and wanted to try them out.  I don't know what I was thinking when looking it up before, since it's over BUTTERMILK biscuits.  Then, I made things more complicated by overlooking the red beans and rice and instead going for granola.  Even worse, I instinctively said no to milk or yogurt when asked, and didn't see the waiter again till we got the check.  Upon forcing down half a bowl of dry granola, another waitress came by and I asked her for some soy milk, which made it tolerable, but still way too sugary for my taste.

Once we were done with breakfast, we headed back to the room and talked to my brother-in-law, who we planned to meet for lunch.  Our workout was yoga, which is an hour and a half, and by the time we got back from our almost hour long breakfast (thanks to the poor service) we only had 2 hours before lunch.  We made the call to opt out of the workout and try to do it after lunch, which didn't work out.

Local Burger again was the location for lunch and I must say, I love this place.  I got a Buckaroo salad with tofu, since it has vegan ranch dressing.  Score!  I also tried the baked tofu fries, which were just heavenly.  I have never eaten such delicious tofu in all my life. It brought me back to my high school days with the chicken fingers from the cafeteria.  I mean that in a good way.  The texture was right on, and the orange sauce was so tasty I wanted to drink the rest of it.  A great lunch to be sure.

Like I said, we skipped the workout after lunch, since we had just eaten and wanted to see the town for a bit.  So we instead walked around downtown Lawrence with my brother-in-law and his wife.  Not a bad little town.  That means a lot coming from a Mizzou graduate.

We found a bicycle shop that sells Cliff bars and I discovered a new type of Cliff bar called the Builder that has 20g of protein per bar.  I picked up one of these for a snack and I think it's going to replace my normal snack bar, because this thing rocked, and you can't beat the protein boost.  So tasty.

The wedding was nice, besides it being seriously hot outside during the ceremony, but the one thing I was worried about was what I was going to eat.  In a Kansas wedding, it's tough to find something without meat in it.  Hell, even the green beans had chunks of ham floating around with them.  Really?  Is it really necessary to take a vegetable and cook it with pig flesh?  Fortunately, my sister-in-law was in attendance and is also a vegetarian.  So she made one of my favorite dishes, the same one she made for her wedding.  It's a red pepper stuffed with a mixture of orzo, zucchini, tomato, and cheese.  She said she was sorry for not leaving out the cheese for mine, but I didn't mind.  It beats the heck out of eating iceberg lettuce salad for dinner.

Another problem with weddings and dieting is the drinks and deserts.  They had a whole bar filled with tasty treats, as well as another bar filled with tasty beer.  So tough to resist, but I think I did fairly well.  I had only two little morsels and limited myself to 2 Shiner Bocks and 2 Bud Lights (when the Shiner ran out).  It's a bit of a carb and fat hit, but I would normally take down about twice that much beer and 10 times that amount of deserts normally, so I chalked today up as a win.

Menu:


Breakfast (Mirth Cafe):
Granola with cup of soy milk

Lunch (Local Burger):
Buckaroo salad (greens, fried onions, vegan ranch and tofu)
Tofu fries

Snack:
Cliff Builder's Bar

Dinner:
2 red peppers with orzo stuffing
2 bite sized desert treats
2 Shiner Bock
2 Bud Light