Thursday, January 28, 2010

She works hard for the money...

Hey guys! I hope you're all doing well! I successfully completed my longest distance thus far in my training, five miles, on Tuesday of this week--woohoo! Life is starting to get insanely busy, with my two jobs and rehearsing in the evening, AND preparing for upcoming auditions...geesh. It's going to make it very difficult to get my runs in, along with COOKING instead of buying food out. I really need to save money, though, so I have to be as careful as possible. By the end of May, I hope to have about 4,500 saved.

Speaking of money...
Being a vegan can sometimes be expensive, but familiarizing yourself with certain options can make it incredibly affordable--maybe even moreso than vegetarianism/meat-eating!:

1. Shop at Trader Joe's. Organic products are incredibly cheap there, almost always less than you'd be able to at stores such as Whole Foods. I think their Organic Extra Firm tofu is something like 1.79! I also found raw agave nectar there for maybe 2.99, which was amazing.

2. Buy bulk grains. Big bags of brown rice are cheap. If you're interested in more expensive grains like quinoa or kamut, go to whole foods where they sell it in bulk. Buying it in those boxes in the natural foods section is way too pricey...
Your other option is shopping at a place like Costco. I'm not a member there, but the people I live with are, and they buy tons of quinoa cheaply.
Speaking of bulk, buy your specialty flours or even regular flours this way too, and nutritional yeast.

3. Veggies Veggies Veggies! These bulk up your meal and can cost very little. Try to do organic when you can. Sometimes these are priced ridiculously high, but just last week I got an organic bundle of both spinach AND kale, and they each just cost me about a buck.

4. Beeeeeeeeeeans....yum. Dried beans! SO CHEAP! UNLESS you buy them, again, in the natural foods section. I bought some dried fava beans out of desperation last month, in a small bag from a brand that does a lot of specialty flours, and boy did it cost me a lot.

5. Get creative. This is something I'm now learning myself. Invest initially in a variety of spices. This way, you can start with a typical base: grain/veggies/beans or tofu, and then jazz it up with different spices.

6. Keep convenience foods to a minimum. Vegan convenience foods are great, but unless you're making a lot of money (and I'm an actress...I don't) frequently buying them is going to drain your bank account.)

Does anybody have any other suggestions/ideas? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Wonderful Day

I haven't written in a full week! Sorry about that...

I've spent the entire day with my sweetheart. Hence the title.

I did not increase my mileage this week; my knees began to hurt last week and I want to avoid injury. So I capped my two long runs at 4 miles to be safe.

Today's workout was amazing. Despite having an upset stomach all day, as soon as I started to run I entered into a meditative state. I ran the fastest I've run so far, and though I was planning on sticking to two miles because of my tummy, not only did I run four, but I did a little bit of weight training and ab work today (which I rarely ever do...I run because I love it. Toning stuff bores the hell out of me even though I know how beneficial it is.)

This coming week's long run is five miles.

I'm feeling incredibly grounded and vibrant as a vegan. I incorporate a lot of "superhero" foods (see The Kind Diet) such as kale, quinoa, brown rice, sprouted grains, etc, everyday. That has made a significant difference. The previous times that I've gone vegan, I didn't feel well at all, but that's because I was eating way too many convenience foods; even though their calorie and fat and fiber content were fine, they were so heavily processed that their nutrients were less accessible to my body. My overall health suffered because of this. I didn't understand it then and blamed the vegan diet, going back to vegetarianism, but now that I'm more educated about nutrition, I am able to live wholesomely and energetically completely veg.

Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls with Trader Joe's Organic Whole Grain Drink

Organic Apple

Leftover Dinner from last night (recipe below--deLICious!)

Workout (see above)

Banana + Trader Joe's Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

Tofurkey + Tofutti Cheese on Sprouted Grain Bread
(way processed but I'm at the bf's house and didn't want to open my new groceries to cook, since I have stuff at home that needs to be used first.

Landree's Sweet, Savory, and Fat-Free Tofu Stir-Fry
(keep in mind that I did not measure ingredients...turns out, as a cook, I just use my intuition. If anyone has further questions, just message me and I'll be more detailed.)

Saute onions and kale in vegetable broth. Once these are mostly cooked, add the kale. Add more broth as needed. Turn heat down and add these delicious items:

Raw Agave Nectar
Minced Garlic
A bit of Chili and hot sauce
Soy sauce

Serve over brown rice or quinoa, or just eat as is if you're wanting something grain free.

Babycakes NYC (vegan and gluten free baking book)
If you don't have this baking book yet, even if you're NOT a vegan, BUY IT. Not only are the two recipes that my beau and I have made been delicious (the chocolate cupcakes and banana bread--we added carob chips to the bread), but they're genuinely good for you! The sweetener is raw agave nectar, and you use virgin coconut oil, which makes each dessert exceptional. My favorite was definitely the banana bread.

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's My Birthday!!!

So it is my birthday! I'm 25! Last night, I had a big birthday party with my friend Kris whose birthday is also today, and it was a lot of fun. Not going to lie, I think I drank 2.5 Long Island Iced Teas....I'm amazed that I didn't vomit. Thank God my boyfriend drove me home.

I'm pretty nauseous today hahaha. I ate lunch even though I probably shouldn't have.

BUT I wanted to post what I've been eating Wendy, since I got your comment, and I love getting ideas too! I'm going to be better than about posting everything:). Plus, it does keep me accountable. Today will probably have some indulgences since it's my birthday!

So Far Today:
1/2 piece of vegan chocolate cake (hehe for my birthday):)

Brown Rice angel hair noodles with peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and hummus...yum
half a banana with half a tablespoon of almond butter
coffee with organic whole grain "milk" and stevia

Aloo Mater (peas and potatoes in a tomato sauce)
Basmati Rice (white)
1/2 piece of naan (white)
2 pieces of fried veggie appetizer

And THEN I had a vegan chocolate cupcake!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I'm really proud of myself today.

I have struggled with depression in my past, pretty hard-core, but have been doing really well. That being said, there is usually a stretch of days every month where chemically I am just ridiculously down and have trouble doing anything.

I really had a rotten day yesterday, and because of that I felt even more rotten when I woke up today. But EVEN SO, I forced myself to go and run 3 miles. Woot.

Also, I've developed a really strong intolerance to wheat sadly. It gives me really bad cramps, my face gets super flushed, and I have trouble breathing. Weird. In any case, I'm trying new products, and for breakfast this morning I had Barbara's Original Puffins. Yum:)

Monday 1/11: 4.1 Miles woohoo!!!

Tuesday 1/12: 3 Miles

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Today was a day of rest, AND my first day of training for a program called Girls on the Run!!! It's a wonderful program that teaches girls to feel great about who they are, encourage and respect one another and their differences, contribute to their community, AND run a 5K!!! I feel so blessed to be a part of this, and I can't wait to start working with the girls.

As far as my health is concerned, I got some recent blood tests back, and apparently I am in excellent health! Even my iron is good (take that doubters!:)). Thyroid's a teensy bit low but not awful.

Now, onto training reflections. In Brendan Brazier's book, Thrive, he talks about wanting to be an Ironman and researching how other professional athletes achieved their success. What he noticed was that training was pretty similar across the board; however, what people ATE could often be very different. And so he surmised that if he could create a diet that speeded up and shortened his necessary recovery time, he could train more, therefore gaining ground on the other athletes.

With an incredible amount of information, he turned to a completely plant-based diet, and has had amazing results. One thing he mentions that I decided to address in MY training this weekend was the pre-run snack as fuel, and the post-run snack to help the muscles recover. Running anything up to an hour is considered Level 1 intensity by him; he suggests consuming simple carbohydrates for immediately accessible energy; something high in glucose, which goes straight to the liver to be used for immediate energy. He also suggests pairing glucose with fructose, found in high amounts in fruits like bananas, papayas, etc. Fructose burns just a bit slower, so the two will help you with short bursts of energy (like a 30-60 minute run.)

Following your workout, rather than fasting, you should within the first 45 minutes, and something again that is easily digested because your body is already fatigued and needs to expend energy on muscle repair, not on digestion, so again, simply carbs (again the healthy kind) are the way to go.

I tested out this theory, and after both my friday and saturday runs, I ate a simple handful of raisins (a high source of glucose). Despite feeling ready for a nap, after consuming these raisins my body felt so refreshed. On Saturday, I took it one step further; I didn't have a banana handy, but I went with an apple and a couple raisins for breakfast, and was able to run the farthest I've run all week! And, again, I followed up with raisins afterwards, and my body feels excellent today. The only thing is, I think that rather than doing this as a breakfast thing (just having an apple for breakfast) I need to plan my workout for later....only eating an apple for breakfast, though it fueled me really well, left me way too famished after having not eaten for 12 hours, ya know?

3.1 miles

3.75 miles

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Milk is for baby cows, not Landree. I'm sorry cows:(.

I woke up feeling like a truck ran over me.

It's amazing, you don't necessarily notice a huge difference in the way your diet makes you feel until you compromise. Then you realize how much better you actually DID feel.

Dairy is not my friend.

When I woke up today, my head felt as though it weighed 100 pounds, my fingers felt swollen, my tongue felt caked...

Really attractive.

But eating breakfast and drinking plenty of water got my body back on track. The bloat disappeared early evening and I felt back to normal.

Healing Foods of the Day:
Kale, cauliflower, carrot, onion, and chickpea soup (lunch)
Black bean soup (dinner)

I love soup. I could eat it every day. And as Alicia Silverstone points out in the Kind Diet, soup is wonderful for your body. Very easy on the digestive system. I always feel more at peace and fulfilled after a tasty bowl of soup.

** editing my other posts to simply point out the healing foods that I have eaten that day, I deleted my workouts! They'll be back tomorrow:).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Girl's Gotta Eat!

EAT.WHEN.YOU'RE.HUNGRY. I was RAVENOUS all day, but I had made the mistake of weighing myself and being really satisfied with where my weight has been consistently, and so I thought I'd be really restrictive...cue me eating ice cream (the non-vegan kind...I messed up:/). When you don't eat when you need to, and eat things that satisfy, like healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, walnuts), complex carbs (quinoa, brown rice, millet), VEGGIESVEGGIESVEGGIES, and sundry other good things, you will eventually cave and eat something crappy but convenient.

In other words, preeettty sure it's not an allergy to corn. We can rule that one out. Didn't have any corn products and had the same reaction to eating the pasta tonight. I sure hope it's not an allergy to wheat. Guess we'll experiment with soy and wheat now.

Healing Foods of the Day:
Eggplant, peppers, mushrooms (dinner)
Brown Rice, Mixed Vegetables, Impromptu Cheeze Sauce (lunch)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh Soy!

Hello friends!!! Good news: Today was a little easier energy-wise. My body is slowly repairing from the abuse. But something that I have been more and more aware of: I think my body has a sensitivity to soy. And to corn. This evening, I had one tortilla chip and immediately felt bloated. And then along with the tofu, my stomach was not a happy camper. In Brendan Brazier's book, Thrive, he talks about the most typical foods (including those listed above) that people have sensitivities to--not full-blown allergies--but sensitivities, enough that they cause us discomfort but small enough that we don't realize the cause or what is making us feel consistently lousy. As a result, I am going to be much more mindful of these products in what I eat, and I'll report on the results.

Healing Foods of the Day:
Unsweetened Rice Milk--with a whopping six grams of fiber per cup and only 45 calories, this is a delicious best bud for your cereal, adding even more sustaining fiber to keep you going until lunch (or your mid-morning snack!)

Vegan Grated Topping in Parmesan by Galaxy Foods...
BUY THIS!!! The flavor was so similar to parmesan, and a lovely addition to my pasta. So tasty I wanted to pour it on with a vengeance. But my common sense took over and thus generously sprinkled my noodles, instead of drowning them in a deluge of deliciousness (oh yeah alliteration).

Zevia in Root Beer...
Fine. Very sweet, so if you are used to artificial sweeteners this is a great substitute. Seems a little more spicy than regular Root Beer. Overall? Despite its higher than diet soda price, I will purchase it again. It satisfied my craving for pop, without any excess calories or dangerous chemicals. Cheers!

Monday, January 4, 2010

It Can't be Nashville Every Night...

Ms. Silverstone says something really important in her book...without the direct quote handy, she creates the rule of "no guilt" when it comes to being a vegan. Sometimes we slip up. Sometimes we don't take care of our bodies like we should. Maybe we can't resist that piece of cheese pizza, or that ice cream sundae (notice what my temptations are? Definitely fatty dairy haha). Or, as you'll read in a bit, we indulge in too much alcohol, or bum a cigarette, or throw away that pop bottle instead of recycling... And too often we beat ourselves up and create the negative cycle of screw up, berate oneself, then screw up again because we have weakened our faith in ourselves.

I started to do that today. After yet another night of carousing last night involving too much beer, I woke up today exhausted, with a headache, and a little nauseous. I then went on my usual workout and could only do, again, two miles; very frustrating because prior to Christmas I was running 4.5 easily. And so of course, the self-flagellation began...thoughts like "If I had not been so unhealthy over the holidays and committed to wholesome behavior I would not be behind right now"..."It's my fault that I don't feel in top shape"...and the like filled my brain.

And then I decided to stop and give my thought patterns a 180. Rather than dwelling on the damage that I've done and the lack of work I've put in lately, I decided to turn it around and use that as motivation to take care of myself better today, and tomorrow, and the next day.

Clearly, I need to pick and choose when to go out in the evenings with my friends. As much as I love these people and have crazy fun each time, my body cannot handle drinking a few times a week. My constitution is way too sensitive, and then my actions make me feel crummy the whole next day.

BUT *big sigh* this blog is not about someone who has already achieved Atalanta status. Rather, it's about a woman who wants to become strong and empowered and feel as healthy as that Greek Goddess of running. I am an average jane. And that's why I feel like writing about this journey is important. So that others who may want to join me so that we can encourage one another recognize that none of us are superhuman, we're ordinary people working towards extraordinary things. And so, like The Tragically Hip sing, "It can't be Nashville every night." Every day can't be perfect. But we can make a greater commitment to ourselves, each other, and our world with every new day.

Healing Foods of the Day:
Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Grain English Muffin (breakfast)
Also, just a little shout out to local restaurant Indigo Cafe:

For dinner this evening, my boyfriend and I went out to a restaurant called Indigo Cafe, and I have to rave about a DELICIOUS vegetarian sub (minus the cheese) with TONS of marinara sauce...I love me some tomatoes.

So Delicious Agave Sweetened Mini Fruit Bar (raspberry)
SO YUMMY!!!! Holy cow! The consistency was very creamy, like ice cream, and the flavor was very full--both sweet and tart, perfectly raspberry. And only 70 calories and fat-free! Very light and satisfying after my carb-heavy day (let's be honest!).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here we go! Day 1

Hello there! I am a 24 year old (soon to be 25!) woman living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am self-employed as a regional actress (definition: I make some money by acting but still have to keep part-time work).

The goal of this blog is to document my journey towards being a successful vegan female long-distance runner, leading to the longest distance I will have ever raced: The Flying Pig Half-Marathon in May. This blog will follow my journey, what I eat every day to keep myself well fueled, the workouts that I do, and simply how I am feeling.

Here's some history on me. I grew up in a family of meat eaters, and not just meat eaters, but busy ones who typically turned to processed convenience foods. As a result, I ate a lot of crap. I rebelled around 8th grade and tried to become healthy, but with so much information out there, leading a truly wholesome lifestyle is boggling. Thus started a really distorted relationship with food and with my weight and how both related to my identity.

Fast forward to age 20: I decided to become a vegetarian. Working in Philadelphia, I encountered so many vegans and, not knowing what a vegan even was, did some research and found myself horrified by the crimes committed against the environment, animals, and our bodies by the meat and dairy industry. I wavered between veganism and vegetarianism for the past five years, but have been more consistently vegetarian, mostly out of laziness but also because I just did not know how to do the veganism thing in such a way that I felt strong and healthy.

Which leads us to now. I have read sooooo much on the topic of veganism, and finally feel equipped to commit to this thing, due almost entirely to Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, as well as a great 12-Day Program book by Dr. McDougall. Unfortunately, I have been met with a lot of negative scrutiny: Where do you get your protein? Grumble grumble HIPPIE grumble LIBERAL...

So I've decided to prove those in my family (who, let me clarify, I do dearly love and know they have my best interests at heart) and my select friends who scoff at the idea that one can be both vegan and live a vibrant lifestyle--and not only vibrant, but super athletic!

Healing Foods of the Day:
raw cashews and raisins

Quick and Easy Meal:
Brown Rice covered in "Cheeze Sauce" with a bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots that I threw into the sauce
--This was really tasty! I adapted a recipe for the cheeze that I found online because I didn't have any veggie broth, and I think I preferred it this way. It was milder, not as salty.

Veg Impromptu Cheeze Sauce:
2 cups plain rice milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
garlic to taste
dollop of mustard
sea salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Heat the rice milk, then set some aside to dissolve the cornstarch in it. Once that is done, add the thickening mixture back to the whole, then throw the rest of the ingredients into the pot. Once the nutritional yeast has dissolved, turn the heat to medium low, add the frozen veggies, and heat until they are cooked through, frequently stirring. SO easy, and yummy! The cheeze was creamy, and the flavor did not overpower the dish. I prefer using the rice milk to vegetable broth. It tasted more like a creamy cheese sauce without the dairy cruelty.

Suggested Reading: The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone