Disappointment Kitchen 2: Vegan Basketti & Puttanesca

After a painfully long, six-month hiatus, the long-awaited second episode of Disappointment Kitchen has arrived. Join me as I prepare a delicious meal of whole wheat pasta, vegan “meatballs” and puttanesca sauce.

Promotional consideration not provided by The Purple Carrot…yet.

Lazy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe)

Veganuary is going great so far. I’m definitely noticing changes in my body: my skin is clearer, I’m sleeping better and my stubborn midsection is thinning out.  I poop four times a day and sometimes I crave deep dish pizza so badly that I want to cry, but generally things are great.

I’m fortunate (?) enough to be funemployed right now so I’ve been spending my endless spare time using my parents’ money to experiment with a ton of exciting new vegan recipes. The last time that I went vegan for an extended period of time, I subsisted mainly on fruit, steamed vegetables, Greek salads from Panera (hold the feta!) and Amy’s canned soups with frozen brown rice. This time around, I’m trying to better myself and improve my (frequently contentious) relationship with food by actually cooking it.

One of my  recent late-night hallucinatory episodes revolved around chocolate chip cookies. Like a meth addict in withdrawal, I sat in bed shaking and dreaming of gooey chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven as my stomach growled and demanded the sugar and butter of which I have been depriving it all year. In that moment, I decided that I needed to make some vegan cookies to keep myself from going completely insane.

These cookies definitely did the trick, although take note: they aren’t like regular chocolate chip cookies. This batch didn’t come out super sweet (which I appreciate, I haven’t been eating a lot of sugar lately so “normal” cookies would have sent me into diabetic shock) and they are more scone-like in their consistency than a gooey, buttery cookie. Ultimately, they did the trick for my sugar cravings and I can’t wait to make them again. Continue reading “Lazy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (Recipe)”

I Am Too Famous for Muffin Top

In 29 short days I will be dashing through the streets of downtown Baltimore in just my underwear. Unlike most people, I have no inhibitions and would probably run naked if they would let me (it is a charity run, after all). For me, it is not my bathing suit area that I am worried about showing off – it is my midsection! To steal a line from my fitness icon Tony Horton, the holidays have left me a little “loose in the cage” and I need to whip myself into shape before appearing on camera in just my skivvies.

I had a similar come-to-Jesus moment with myself last year and completely changed the way that I think about eating, exercise and my body. Although I initially dubbed my fitness regimen “The Miserable Bitch Diet”, I ultimately ended up making most of my changes permanent and was quite triumphant. Throughout 2013, I made excellent fitness progress: I significantly reduced by body fat percentage, ran my first half marathon, discovered yoga and went vegetarian. I am ready to (or, rather, the horrifying threat of muffin top in my Instagram pictures is forcing me to) take my training regimen to the next level in preparation for my almost-nude appearance.

Diet

DAIRY

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 9.48.22 PMEight months into vegetarianism, I am feeling better than ever. Although originally intended to be a temporary experiment, vegetarianism has become a way of life for me and I am not planning to ever look back. I try to eat vegan as much as possible but lately I have been slipping, especially with my dairy consumption. Cheese has slowly crept back onto my pasta, my salads and my sandwiches and I have been eating pizza with embarrassing frequency. As I have aged, I have become increasingly lactose intolerant; cheese and milk bloat me horribly and give me the shits. It is time to bid them both farewell once and farewell in the name of having a bangin’ body.

Protein

The only part of vegetarianism with which I still struggle is my protein intake – without animal proteins in the picture, eating enough protein requires a bit more effort. I love me some rice, beans, lentils, nut butter and chickpeas but I need to step up my protein game if I want to hold onto any of the muscle that I am building. I alternate between a few different protein/superfood supplement products (Shakeology being my favorite) but I need to commit to consuming them daily.

Refined Sugar

Sugar is literally the bane of my existence…all I will say is that I seriously need to cut down my sugar intake.

Exercise

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 9.47.59 PMI basically spent all of 2013 running. I barely ever picked up a weight and, although I was successful in trimming a lot of fat off of my body, I ended the year feeling rather lanky. My 2014 workout regimen needs to be much more balanced than last year’s.

For the time being, I am going to do cardio 2x/week, strength training 2x/week and yoga 2x/week. I would love to be able to do some yoga every day but my schedule this semester is packed to the brim.

Until it gets warmer outside and I can start running regularly, I have been cycling at the gym to get in my cardio fix. Those of you who know me know that I hate going to the gym; sometimes I struggle (to say the least) to find the motivation to go to spin class. The yoga class that I attend is a heated power vinyasa flow which honestly I would almost count as a strength workout – there is a lot of upper body work involved (shout out to my teacher Jessie!) and I have noticed great progress in my upper body since I started doing yoga.

Time and time again I return to P90X and this year is no different. Core Synergistics and Legs & Back are my respective upper and lower body strength workouts of choice. Tony Horton never lets me down!

handstand

By putting my fitness plan out in the world I am hoping that I will hold myself more accountable than ever. As much as fitness is about health and wellness, I am a vainglorious narcissist who works out and eats well mainly so that I look great and, as such, the next 29 days will either make or break my self confidence on race day.

PS – If you’re feeling generous, please donate to fund neurofibromatosis research. It’s for the children!!