I wanted to talk a bit about food and fitness in light of an upcoming 14-day vegan challenge my mom and I have decided to go on. I’ve been wanting to try a vegan challenge for a while, and I finally have a little time set aside to do so. I do not intend to go vegan as a full-time commitment, but I would like to incorporate more plant-based eating into my life and I knew this would be a great way to learn about it and practice mindful eating. As you might know, I love food and basically live in the kitchen (see our food blog Thyme and Temp for proof). I love to eat everything, period, but I think this will be a great time to reset my attitude towards food and get creative with recipe ideas.
Obviously I don’t eat the way that we cook on Thyme and Temp every single day, even though Jeff and I do eat at least a little of everything we make. Our neighbors and friends get the overspill of what we cook on Thyme & Temp, doughnuts and sticky buns included. I have always believed even the “naughty” things aren’t as bad for you if they’re homemade. During the work week Jeff and I typically eat vegetarian most of the time. Lunch is usually a kale salad with roasted veggies and a soft boiled egg, or a pureed veggie soup with homemade bread. I cook the same healthy recipes I love over and over…I’m really looking forward to learning some new ones during this challenge.
In my early twenties I developed a very painful autoimmune disorder. The pain that accompanies it can sometimes greatly inhibit my mobility. The first years living with it were so difficult, emotionally and physically. It felt like I spent the first six months under a blanket in bed. I was embarrassed to leave the house because it would mean having to explain to people why I was always canceling plans or why I was walking oddly and had to sit down all the time. Just getting out of bed every day was a struggle, and getting around for work was so painful. I was advised to try a grain-free autoimmune friendly diet. So many people have had success living on these diets, but it did not ease my pain and in fact I felt worse on this diet than ever before. It just made me feel lethargic and stressed out about adhering to the incredibly restrictive diet boundaries. I became resentful of being unable to cook the foods that I loved and recipes I wanted to try. I really strive for a healthy relationship with food, it is never something I want to obsess or beat myself up over. I adapted my diet to a more flexible intuitive way of eating that focused on healthy eating 80% of the time and a little bit of mindful indulgence on the weekends.
If you follow me on Snapchat, you might have noticed that I am a big meal prepper. Above is a picture of a meal I repeat constantly: baked chicken with turmeric cauliflower rice and roasted veggies. We are always on the go for Sea of Shoes and it can be hard to cook during the weekdays. If I don’t prep in advance, a healthy lunch is probably not in the cards. I bought a bunch of Tupperware at the beginning of the year and have not looked back. Every Sunday I batch cook my vegetables and protein, and usually whip up a soup and/or a pot of chili. This has been the most effective step to healthy eating I have ever taken. It is so hard to mess up a healthy eating plan when you have delicious food prepped and waiting for you in the fridge! Even if I do have something a little indulgent, I don’t feel bad about it because I know tomorrow I have a healthy day of eating prepped and ready. Meal prepping on Sunday gives me structure for the week ahead and I feel like I’m setting myself up for a successful week when I do it. For our vegan challenge, I am super excited to do my first vegan meal prep. I have so many menu ideas in my head!!
I try to exercise diligently, at least an hour a day 5 times a week. Even when I’m in pain, exercise really makes a difference in my stamina and mobility so I am highly motivated to never miss a workout. A good hour of sweating and moving is the best natural pain-killer I know of and it’s turned me into a bit of a cardio addict as of late. I have been a devotee of Ballet Beautiful and Sleek Technique for over three years. It’s a killer workout with lots of weight-baring strength moves that really challenge you to push your limits. I have gained so much strength doing these workouts for three years. I started with short 15 minute workouts and worked my way up to hour and a half workouts. I dislike gyms very much…they can be so expensive and time-consuming. I love that when I’m ready to workout I just put on my leotard and slippers, set up my ballet barre, and do about 90 minutes of Sleek and Ballet Beautiful. I’ll do about 45 minutes of dance-based cardio and then 30 minutes of Sleek Technique barre work or Ballet Beautiful mat work. I love to lift weights a few times a week too. I plan to do a more in-depth post about my favorite routines soon!
I tried to include pictures of what my typical meals look like in this post…as you can see, we eat a lot of eggs. I love eggs. They will be the hardest thing to give up for two weeks for me. I have already switched to non-dairy yogurt and milk this week to ease me into it.
Starting tomorrow, my mom and I are going vegan for 14 days. We are going to share the meals we make on Instagram and our food blog, Thyme and Temp. I can’t wait to share my favorite recipes!! I have to admit, I did a bit of recipe testing last week and I already have some recipes that I am dying to share with you guys. Follow us on Instagram to keep up with our meals and keep checking Thyme and Temp, because we have some great vegan posts going up soon. If you have any cookbook recommendations, leave a comment on my Instagram or email me! I would love your suggestions! Stay tuned for the challenge…xx