Tag Archives: exercise

When in Philadelphia…eat all of the vegan food

Greetings, folks! We returned yesterday from our eastern seaboard adventure. We decided to keep our summer vacation cheap and simple by visiting friends in Philadelphia. Driving the 13 hours and sleeping on our friends’ trundle bed proved to be the most fiscally efficient way to get out of town for a few days, and it made for quite the vegan adventure. Can I just say that I loved Pennsylvania way more than I anticipated? Largely this is due to the complete lack of research I did (I am a control freak and I plan our vacation itineraries to a T–but since we were visiting friends, I relinquished my inner control freak and got to do this crazy thing called “going with the flow”). The small amount of research I did do before we embarked on our journey was to scout out some restaurants along the way where we could pick up some filling vegan fare. Man oh man, did I luck out.

I didn’t take as many photos as I normally do on vacation, but what I lack in pictures I will try to make up for in vivid descriptions of the sumptuous fare I indulged in. Let’s start from the beginning: I packed a lot of vegan snacks for the road. Bananas, clementines, pumpkin clusters, cashews, and clif bars, oh my! Unfortunately that was where the healthy eating began and ended. I indulged in so much fatty delicious food that I fear it will take me a month to burn off all those excess calories. Point in case, I nearly croaked during my treadmill run today after my week of splurging.

Cleveland

Drew Carey would have you believe that Cleveland rocks, and while I can’t say definitively that it doesn’t, it was definitely the low point of our trip. We arrived in Cleveland at about 11:30 pm eastern time. We intended on waking up around 7 so we could make it to Cleveland Heights to grab breakfast at one of the few restaurants in the area that offers vegan breakfast substitutions, Tommy’s, but 7 turned into 8 and we didn’t hit the road til 9. By the time our not-so-trusty GPS navigated us to Cleveland Heights, it was already 9:30, and we didn’t exactly have time to linger over breakfast. We wanted to check out the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but breakfast took longer than we’d anticipated so we didn’t get to spend near enough time in the museum. I’d go back just to do the museum again, but there didn’t seem to be much else in town to warrant a second trip.

Tofu scramble with fruit and dry wheat toast at Tommy’s

The tofu scramble was okay but the broccoli was a little on the (monstrously) large side. It was a good, hearty breakfast before the second leg of our journey, though.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame entrance. I don’t know what the plaque below the guitar said, but the building is sort of reminiscent of the Louvre, no?

The line for tickets was crazy long and we sped through the museum like it was our job. We picked up some collectibles on our way out (a shot glass for him, a pint glass for me) and were back on the road by noon.

Philadelphia

I expected Philly to be dingy and gross, thanks to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In fact, it wasn’t (at least, Center City wasn’t). The best part is how vegan-friendly this city is. Even the most carnivorous of restaurants has at least one vegan option, for the most part. I’m always surprised by that as I hail from a very un-vegan friendly suburb of Chicago. We arrived around 6:30 pm and immediately set out to one of our friends’ favorite restaurants, Wrap Shack. I ordered the vegan volcano on a spinach wrap (not pictured, due to my excitement and ravishing hunger) and DAMN was it delicious. Black bean hummus is apparently a thing, and a delicious thing at that. We shared a pitcher of Yuengling, which might not be a vegan beer, but I’m less anal about that. We needed a drink and we wanted to have an authentic ole time in Pennsylvania.

We wound up at several bars that night and drank all of the beer in sight. Center City at night on a Saturday is just lovely and we had a blast.

We ended up at a bar called BAR (insert hipster joke about how it’s so cool that you’ve probably never heard of it) where “pickleback” shots are the specialty. I was too chicken to try one but it’s just a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle juice. Our more courageous friends tried it and said it was delicious.

Sunday was my birthday and we spent it at a Phillies game, followed by a trip to a few bars and brew pubs. Monday, both of our friends were working so we spent the hot-as-balls day in Old City checking out all the historical sights, including the Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin’s grave. But first! We went to Green Eggs Cafe, where I had the most delicious tofu scramble to date (not pictured) which was served with rosemary potatoes. I would go back to Philadelphia just for those potatoes. No joke.

We made a pitstop at an all-vegan pizzeria after touring Old City, which was kind of sketchy but hit the spot.

Daiya and seitan pepperoni pizza

Before leaving Tuesday morning, we stopped at Greens Eggs Cafe again and I had some delicious vegan french toast that rivals that of Herbivore in San Francisco.

This came with non-dairy whipped cream and strawberry deliciousness. (This one isn’t served with rosemary potatoes, so we shared an order, obviously.)

Gettysburg and Pittsburgh

We decided to stay in Pittsburgh on the way back to attend a Pirates vs. Cubs game. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but my boyfriend’s life goal is to tour every ball park in America. Every city we go to, we either attend a game or a ballpark tour if the team is traveling. We had great seats in left field, three rows up, and a home run was caught four people down in our row. So, I was even on TV! How’s that for exciting?

Before Pittsburgh, we stopped in Gettysburg for about an hour and toured the battlefield. It was interesting and I’m glad we made it there.

We didn’t have time for vegan food pit stops in Pittsburgh, aside from some game time food…

Don’t let the name fool you: these are just fries seasoned with Old Bay. We first discovered Old Bay seasoned food in Philly and apparently, it travels as far west as Pittsburgh. They serve the fries with a cheesey sauce that I obviously didn’t eat. I think I need to buy some Old Bay!

While we didn’t have a proper meal, we did hang out at a couple of bars after the game. Penn Pilsner is pretty delicious, I found out, and Iron City isn’t so much. As we were driving back to our hotel, we somehow ended up at a casino (my first time) and apparently, I’m pretty good at Roulette. We each decided to play with just $20 and we won $30. I said I’d never go to a casino but somehow, after a few drinks, I was convinced. When in Rome…

And that was that. Sweet home Chicago was ours for the taking again at around 4 pm yesterday, and I went back to work today. So much good food, so much great beer, and so much fun with friends. We can’t wait to travel again. It was a whirlwind!

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ideal running conditions

If I’ve learned anything during this short foray into running, it’s that my body and mind depend on a certain set of conditions to be met before and during my run. Those precise conditions are something I’m still trying to nail down.

I had a wonderful 3.15 mile run on a nearby trail this weekend. It felt effortless and smooth. I took a few very short walking breaks but only because there are a few very steep hills on the trail and I didn’t want to expend all my energy climbing them: the breaks weren’t a necessity due to fatigue or breathlessness, a fact I’m proud of. I’ve been anxious to get back on that trail, and I did so today after work. This run felt laborious, difficult, and I was absolutely exhausted. I only completed 2.46 miles and I took a few extra walking breaks that I didn’t take on Sunday (but I did complete a mental and physical challenge: climb one of the steeper hills).

Last week I ate a lot of processed junk and drank a lot of beer, so this week I’ve been paying special attention to my diet: clean eating, lots of fruits and veggies, no beer. I thought this would help my run today, but it didn’t. I started to retrace my every motion from Sunday. What made that run different?

On Sunday, the weather conditions were perfect. It was about 80 sunny degrees during my mid-morning run. About an hour previous, I’d downed two cups of coffee so I was probably still feeling a caffeine buzz. Let’s not forget that it was the weekend so I’d slept a delightfully long weekend sleep. Perhaps most importantly, I hadn’t spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working prior to the run.

Fast-forward to today: it was cloudy, humid, and buggy. I had spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working before my run. And, though I’ve been trying to eat cleanly, I did eat a clif bar around 1:30 (which was the last time I ate before my run) and my body could have been experiencing a sugar crash by the time I went for my run at 5.

I’m a very calculated person and I refuse to accept that one day, I can run 3 miles effortlessly and three days later, I struggle just to get through the first mile. I’d like to get a discussion going, hopefully from both the running novice and the running extraordinaire: what are your ideal running conditions in relation to diet, drink, time of day, weather conditions, mood, etc.? How do you get through the difficult runs, if you have them? Am I the only one that experiences such inconsistency?

On Sunday, I thought I could easily blast through a 5k and potentially shoot for an eventual (in a year or two) half-marathon. Today, I don’t even know if I could get through a 5k in under 50 minutes. Are these simply the growing pains of the young runner?

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me vs. me

Some days my brain conspires against me in ways I don’t quite understand. Yesterday, the massive heat wave that has been hovering over the midwest offered a slight reprieve. It was 80 glorious degrees and I never thought I’d say it, but 80 degrees is downright pleasant when your body is fighting to acclimate to 100+.

I decided to celebrate by going for a run outside on a trail near my parents’ house. I haven’t been on this trail in a few years because, well, I’ve never been much of a runner in the first place. Also, they found a body not far from the trail a couple of years back and my mother tried to convince me to never run on a trail (or visit a forest preserve) ever again (always the fear monger, that one is). Judging by how busy the trail was yesterday with bikers, walkers, and joggers, I’m going to venture to say the trail itself isn’t that unsafe.

I digress. My body has really accustomed itself to the treadmill and now I’m fighting to break the habit by introducing more challenging landscapes. To my delight, I handled it with the gracefulness of a gazelle (not really, but bear with me). I was able to crank out over 3 miles and it felt great. I felt like I was running on a cloud. This was my first time running outside that I didn’t feel like a giant failure. I vowed to repeat this today. That didn’t happen for two reasons (or three, depending on how you look at it):

1: I went for a walk during my lunch break and the flats I was wearing totally deceived me and cut up my heels very painfully, making it difficult to walk in shoes

2: it started to rain during my commute home, even though weather.com CLEARLY stated that there was only a 10% chance of showers, and…

3(ish): after the first drop of rain, I gave myself the permission to skip my run even though I knew the rain would pass.I do this a lot…grant myself permission I don’t deserve. And then that is usually followed by eating more than I know I should because I get into this mindset that it doesn’t matter anyway (which is a bad mindset to have).

I guess the only point I have to convey today is that I’m still here and I’m still struggling, but I’m owning up to my failures and keeping on track the best I can. I’ve been so sleepy and lethargic lately–moreso than usual–so it’s been incredibly easy to cut myself slack even when I know I don’t deserve it. I’m trying to find a motivating factor that I can use as a weapon against myself when sitting on the couch and eating cookies sounds better than putting forth effort to be a better and brighter me. I haven’t really found it yet, but I’m searching.

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run, sweat, drink beer

I’m down 17 pounds. I’ve finally (FINALLY!) run 3.1 miles straight through without a walking break in sight. I’ve been sweating my ass off both in the gym and in my car, whose lousy A/C decided to crap out during the biggest heat wave of…ever, as far as I’m concerned. And now I have two glorious days off (the weekend before the weekend!) and I’m going to drink some beer and get all self-congratulatory about meeting my short-term goals while still trying to keep myself in check so as not to deter myself from continuing on to the next leg of this journey: the long-term goals.

Happy Fourth!

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the one where I talk about the worm I found on my kale

Hi all. I haven’t been posting very often, and the reason for that is twofold: 1) I haven’t really been making anything interesting worth posting about, and 2) I’ve been kind of bored with my life and haven’t found much reason to update. But something so disgusting and so obscene happened just the other day that I’ve dragged myself here to write it down.

Around noon, when I was sitting at work, I got a craving for something salty and crisp. Remembering I’d purchased a big bunch of kale three days prior, I salivated at the thought of coming home to bake some kale chips. I was so excited because kale chips are the best, and I only recently discovered them. I got home from my workout and even before showering, I decided I wanted to get these puppies in the oven. I pulled out my bag of kale and picked out a few choice leaves.

As I was getting ready to rinse them, I noticed something black and white in the center of the best looking leaf. At first I thought there was just a small rotted piece. The rest of the kale looked fresh so I thought huh, how strange… I was getting ready to cut that piece out and then I realized it was not a rotted piece of the leaf: it was some sort of larva. Larva. In my kale. LARVA.

Did I want to take a photo of this? Yes. But I couldn’t stand the thought of this larva-infested piece of kale sitting on my cutting board while I went to find my camera. I have to assume it was dead but I didn’t let it stick around long enough to find out. My stomach turned. LARVA!

Needless to say, I did not eat any kale chips. I tossed the whole bunch. Poor kale.

This was bound to happen eventually, right? It only makes sense: produce comes from outside. And, duh, so do pests. But did I expect to find larva on my storebought kale? It wasn’t even organic kale, so no, I did not.

The sight of this white larva surrounded by black something-or-other has turned me off of kale for a while, I’m afraid. You best believe I’m going to be thoroughly inspecting my produce from now on. Ugh.

So, that was the bad news, but I have good news too. I’m down 13+ pounds since I’ve started working out in February. I expected a faster weight loss since I have so much to lose (I aim to lose about 40 more pounds). But, instead of beating myself up for this, I’ve decided to embrace it and give myself credit where it’s due. I’m doing well and I should be happy. And, for the first time since high school, I ran 2 miles straight the other day on the treadmill. No, it’s not quite a 5k, and yes, it’s on the treadmill–which is much easier to me than pavement–but it was 2 miles! I’m well on my way. I will get there.

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weight loss challenge update

I recently wrote about the weight loss challenge my boyfriend and I are doing together. We took a hint from The Biggest Loser and decided a more fair measurement would be percentage weight lost rather than weight in pounds. Unsurprisingly, he won last week (but only by 0.2%!) and this meant he was able to dole out a week-long punishment to me. He said it was difficult to find a punishment because I’m (usually) so healthy, but he zeroed in on my one weakness aside from sweets (which, let’s be honest, he’s probably saving for next time): coffee.

The punishment: No coffee on days I don’t work out. Obviously, the end goal here is to make me work out every day this week so I can have my precious coffee. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but I start each and every work day with a 22 oz humungous travel mug full o’ joe. I have this vision in my head that me without coffee = trainwreck. It’s probably much more psychological and much less based in fact, but I don’t chance it! I have never, since starting my professional life, forgotten my coffee in the morning. I actually set my coffee pot the night before and have it on a 6:30 am timer. This saves me money and calories I’d otherwise be spending at the Starbucks in my office building. I don’t think I’m really addicted to caffeine, per se…but how would I know, seeing as I haven’t gone a day without it in years? I think it’s more that I’ve always consumed coffee is a treat. It’s a warm, soothing beverage I like to enjoy and on particularly bad days in the past, I’d treat myself with an afternoon Starbucks. Coffee is a little reward I allow myself each day, much the same as people reward themselves with a few squares of dark chocolate, or a cookie, or an after work drink.

So, I didn’t work out Saturday or Sunday (big surprise). I didn’t even work out yesterday (it was Memorial Day, after all!) but he surprised me with a soy latte anyway and chalked it up to a “holiday treat” (can you see why we’ve had trouble losing weight in the past?) Today, I dragged my butt to the gym and suffered through my first workout in two weeks. The flaw in the system is that I consume my coffee in the morning but don’t work out until the afternoon. In theory, I could easily have my coffee and just decide not to exercise after work–but that wouldn’t be fair.

I got home and curiously stepped on the scale, knowing I wasn’t going to like the number after my weekend cupcake binge. The verdict: I’m up three pounds since Friday. Ugh. But, there are factors to consider, like I normally weigh myself in the morning before eating and today I weighed myself after eating all of my meals. I’ve historically had a difficult time keeping weight off. The minute I slip up, the weight comes crashing back to my belly. It’s always belly weight, too, which is apparently the worst place to carry extra weight because of all the increased health issues, like cardiovascular disease. I envy women that pack weight onto their thighs or butts. It seems like a better location for extra poundage–me, I’ve always carried around a spare tire.

This week will be a difficult one just to break even, much less lose. We’ll see who comes out victorious on Friday!

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weight loss challenge

I’ve been writing quite frequently about my desire to get in shape, and just recently, have started actually succeeding in that plan. The problem was that my boyfriend also needs to follow suit, but getting him motivated is like pulling teeth. I thought if I started cooking healthy (vegan) food and working out almost daily, he’d see my happiness/excitement/drive and join in. That wasn’t the case. He spoke often about wanting to join in, but just never did. He’s a man of a thousand excuses (a lot like how I used to be, and sometimes still am) so I concocted a sneaky plan to get him enthused about healthy living.

He’s a very competitive guy. He does well when reality is transformed into some sort of game with tangible punishments and rewards. He also loves watching The Biggest Loser, which I can do without just because it’s two freaking hours, who has the time? In short, I decided to combine these things to create a “game”-like scenario to get him motivated. For others, this might not work. I strongly believe that anyone embarking on a life change like losing weight should have that a-ha! epiphanic moment where they realize that they need to change, and the reasons for change come from within. I think he’s honestly already had that moment but didn’t have the drive to execute the changes he realizes he needs to make. Our “game” is as much a social experiment to me as it is a (potentially) life-altering change for him. Only time will tell if this will work, but so far, so good!

The Game:

Fridays are our “weigh-in” days. We weigh ourselves in the morning and then calculate our percentage lost since the previous week. This is all honor-system, guys. I’m not sharing with anyone how much I weigh, even him, but we trust each other not to cheat. Whoever loses the bigger percentage for the week has “won” the week and gets to dole out one “healthy” punishment to the loser for the next week. That’s the punishment side. The reward side comes from monthly meetings. Whoever wins the most weeks by the end of the month gets to decide on a fun activity to participate in (being active here is key)–we haven’t gotten this far yet, but suggestions I presented to him when I explained the rules were: going to the zoo on a Saturday (major walking going on there), going downstate to one of the national parks for a day of hiking, even going bowling would count!

I was telling one of my friends and she thought it was a really weird idea. It is, and I honestly don’t care at all about it, but it helps him and I know that. If competition is what he needs to succeed, then bring it on. It also gives us a reason to do at least one fun, active thing per month. We tend to really get stuck in our routines and we don’t really do much together when we have days off because we’re either a) tired or b) hellbent on saving money. This, though, will hopefully bring us closer together.

I won the first week and my punishment was based upon his severe addiction to diet coke. He’s tried to quit before and I’ve told him not to bring it over so he’s not tempted, but he does anyway. It’s bad. So my punishment to him for this week was: no diet coke at all, but one 12 oz diet coke can be earned per day by going on a 30+ minute walk with me. You better believe that we went for a walk yesterday. 😉 And today he’s golfing 9 holes, so I told him that counts, too.

At the rate I’m going, I should be at my first goal weight in 20 weeks. That seems like a long ways away, but as long as I keep inching toward the goal, I think the time will cruise on by. Cheers to my new life!

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progress

I’m happy to report that my weight loss goals are (finally) on track. Vegan-me has lost 8 pounds, meaning vegan-me is now at my previously heaviest weight ever. Congratulations are not in order for that accomplishment, but what it means is that the ball is finally rolling. I’ve started to seriously track my food intake using My Fitness Pal and it has really, really helped. I thought I had a pretty good handle on things before but I’m finding now that I was just eating too much. Mostly my diet was healthy before, but too much of a good thing can still be bad. I haven’t wanted to eat my own hand yet so it seems that my body is adjusting nicely to the change. When I don’t work out, I tend to go over my calories by about 200–which is about what I burn when I work out–so clearly the solution is to keep working out. D’oy. It’s not realistic that I will get 30 minutes of cardio in every single day, but my goal still remains to work out more often than not. I aim for at least four days a week, usually taking the weekends off–but now that it’s summertime, I hope to get some exercise-that-doesn’t-feel-like-exercise in on the weekends. Leisurely walks. Trips to the zoo or downtown Chicago. Just something to keep my body moving.

I fear that my body will never look the way I want it to, but that shouldn’t stop me from aiming for the stars with this healthy new life. I’ve done some damage to my body by years of bad eating and inactivity that cannot be undone without the help of plastic surgery, which is out of the question, so I don’t think I’ll ever be proud to call this body mine, even if I hit my goal weight. But what I should be happy about when (not if!) that day comes is that I will be a healthier, happier, more vibrant me. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.

I didn’t work out all week until today and I found my muscles becoming antsy. I’ve never experienced that feeling before, but my legs were aching to move. My brain didn’t want to go to the gym but my body definitely did. I had a decent run/walk on the treadmill and now my legs are happily spent. This is good, this feeling. The feeling of wanting to be active is something I’ve never really experienced. I didn’t play sports as a kid and I dreaded gym class. I always identified as more artsy-fartsy than sporty, and I think that’s the difference between me and several other adults that aim to lose weight. Others are aiming to reacquaint themselves with an active life, whereas I’m starting from scratch and building from the ground up. After a few months of reluctantly dragging my ass to the gym, I’m starting to get into a groove. I’m starting to enjoy it. This is huge for someone like me. If I can enjoy exercise, I have faith and certainty that anyone can.

PS, lettuce wraps are my new favorite thing. Such a healthy alternative to tacos, burritos, wraps, or what-have-you. The possibilities are endless! Start wrapping your food in lettuce! Crisp, fresh, delicious lettuce. My personal fave is romaine.

PPS, how can you not be happy listening to this song?

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no use crying over spilt lentils

I spilled a quarter of a bag of lentils on my (filthy) kitchen floor tonight while preparing dinner. #veganproblems

The cats thought it was great fun to frolic through the lentil mess while I scrambled to find my trusty broom and dust pan. I probably could’ve scooped them all up, rinsed, and life would’ve gone forth as usual, but I really don’t trust the state of my kitchen floor. Into the garbage they went. What a sad day.

As far as diet and exercise goes, it’s been a frustrating week. I’ve been uber stressed at work and as the emotional eater I am, this has translated into a) skipping the gym and b) eating lots of sweets. I have no excuse for my behavior. I think I need to accomplish two things in the very near future:

1) I need to bring more fruit and veggies to snack on at work because I find I am ravenous upon arriving home and will literally sit down and eat just about anything in unimaginable quantities.

and 2) I need to find ways to add activity into my daily life outside of my organized cardio routine to offset the extra calories I’ll be consuming through snackage.

I eat an incredibly healthy diet 80% of the time. I am not one of those people that hates fruit and veggies. I adore them. I eat them daily, in large quantities. But I also have a sweet tooth and enjoy sugary treats the way Paula Deen enjoys butter. I sooth my bad days with candy and $4.50 soy lattes. I sometimes think I’m an addict of sorts. Depending on the stage of my life I’m referring to, I can pinpoint exactly what I used as a soothing agent: lately, it’s been food. But there have been times *cough*mylastyearofcollege*cough* that it was more the booze-sooth. I can be a junkie for just about anything. People say it takes a lot of willpower to be a vegetarian or a vegan, which I’ve been able to demonstrate, but the willpower required to stay away from sweets is a brand of willpower I have yet to perfect the art of.

I spend a lot of time thinking about and complaining about my dreaded sedentary deskjob life. The truth is, I can bitch about it all I want but if I want to be able to stay on top of my bills, I have to accept this fate. I’ve been reading lots of stats lately that 1 in 3 adults are overweight or obese in this country but when I look around at my friends, peers, coworkers, it seems very few are struggling with the affliction I struggle with. I have a really hard time noticing how damned skinny my coworkers are and it doesn’t even really seem like they’re trying. You get really cozy-close with coworkers: you see them eat, you hear them talk about their personal lives, and it seems to me that no one thinks about food or exercise at the rate it’s always weighing on my mind. Of course, I’m no mind reader. I could be very wrong about their struggles. To the untrained eye, though, I see myself struggling and I see everyone else going out to lunch, eating high calorie meals, and not. getting. fat.

Part of my problem is laziness, I think. I don’t want to have to try. When I do try, I don’t see results so I lose my drive. I need to be held accountable. Convincing my boyfriend to be active with me and thusly, hold me accountable, has been a struggle. We both would rather sit on the couch and talk about changing rather than actually change. I find I’m not so much in love with my life these days. These are those trying times when I go into hiding. In fight or flight, I’m definitely flight.

I never thought I’d have a blog I stuck with because I never thought I had enough interesting information to convey to the outside world. I still don’t really have anything of interest to convey…but regardless, I’m enjoying being part of the conversation.

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c25k update

I’ve been cooking new meals but I have neglected to take any decent photos, so this post will not be about that. But for the record, I made vegan stroganoff this week (very tasty!), and caribbean coconut rice w/ chickpeas and broccoli (this was tasty but I sort of ruined it by adding a touch too much cayenne pepper–my mouth was on fire! I also don’t think I’m a big fan of ginger and this called for a whole tbsp of ground ginger). I used my Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan for the MOST delicious tofu scramble I’ve cooked to date. I wish I had photos! It was to die for. It was the talk of work when I brought my leftovers for breakfast. I love when my coworkers are intrigued by my meals. They are always telling me how delicious my food looks and smells, and they’re always shocked to find out the ingredients. One of my coworkers even told me I’ve inspired her to include more veggies into her meals. I love that! 🙂

I’m chugging along with the c25k program. I decided to abandon the regimen and go it alone. I finally “graduated” week 5, finally running 20 minutes straight. I’ve really, really slowed my pace, which I’m okay with. Speed and time will come later. Right now, I’m really just trying to bump up my endurance. Being able to run for 20 minutes was a huge accomplishment for me, even if my pace is barely a step above a brisk walk. I’m going to try to add a couple minutes to each run until I get to 30 minutes. Then I’ll start bumping up my speed by a tenth of a MPH until I get back up to my original pace. I will get there. I will not give up. (However, I only ran twice this week and only worked out three times total. My boss let us leave an hour and a half early yesterday and I decided to go home and relax rather than go to the gym…and then I ate way too much food and called it a day.) I’m taking my run outside today for the first time. I’m anticipating crashing and burning. It’s much easier on a treadmill. We’ll see how it goes. I’m lucky I live in the great-freakin’-plains and I won’t be dealing with any inclines. Just flat terrain here in Illinois.

We’re leaving for San Francisco on April 21. For anyone who’s been: what restaurants do you suggest for vegans? I plan on doing some research but I thought I’d mention it here in case anyone has any brilliant suggestions.

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