My Vegan (plant-based) Meal Staples and Status on New Year Goals

It’s already been two (almost three) weeks into the new year and time is already flying by so fast! I can’t believe it. Does it always get like this as we get older? I’m only a quarter of a century old.

Anyway, I wanted to give an update on my vegan (or should I say plant-based) meals and how my fitness goals are going. I guess I should go with my fitness goals since that is easier to talk about.

The good thing is that I am following my push, pull, leg/ab and cardio routine. I feel like it’s helping me get stronger than the other routine I’ve been following (which is no routine, just doing random machines). For my yoga 3 times a week, I haven’t been following as much. I have done it twice so far, so it’s not a total fail yet. The other problem is that I have a hard time trying to stretch after every workout. I just get so busy but I do have to make time to stretch. I can feel how tight my my muscles are. I know how important stretching is.

I tried spinning for the first time on Sunday with my friends. I did not know how hard spinning was, omg. I loved the music our instructor chose. However, I think either my muscles are weak and tight or the bike wasn’t positioned correctly for my height. My knees hurt during most of the class and they are still hurting today. I feel so old. I am hoping it will go away, I am trying to avoid any exercises that are too impact for the knees, like running. I may  have to skip leg day on Wednesday or just do body weight exercises for legs. I’m sad but I don’t want to injure my knees any more.

Regarding my plant-based diet, mi novio and I have been trying to come up with eating out options for vegan meals if it ever get to that point. We also have thought of some meals we can cook and eat at home.

Eat Out Vegan Options

  • Loving Hut
  • Burger Patch
  • Pizza Bell
  • Chipotle- sofrita bowl
  • Carl’s Jr Beyond Burger w/ no cheese, no mayo
  • Panda Express – chow mein/rice, eggplant tofu

I think that is enough options for us for now. We plan on eating in most of the time.

So, when it comes to plant-based staples for eating in, here is what worked for us so far.

  • Tofu/tempeh stirfry with Healthy Noodles or rice and teriyaki sauce (we use the frozen stirfry veggies from costco)
  • General’s Tofu
  • Vegan Burgers (mainly the beyond meat)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
  • Nuts/Fruits
  • Soymilk

We are trying to finish off our meat-products we have at home so all of our meals haven’t been plant-based yet. But this is what we had and liked so far. I will post a more extensive list after our plant-based challenge next month.

We are excited to see what happens to our body next month when we switch to a fully plant-based diet. Hopefully clear skin, more energy, better blood work, lower blood pressure, and just overall better health.

In my next post, I will talk about vegan/plant based health and staples everyone eating a plant-based diet should have in their refrigerator/pantry.

What is “healthy eating”?

I have no idea where to begin on what is “healthy eating”. I have a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition and it still boggles my mind. Now, I probably should clarify and say I don’t understand what “healthy eating tips” are, or how they came about in the first place.

Well, before I get more into this unorganized post with a lot of ranting, here is my definition of healthy eating: “Eating food that nourishes the mind, body, and soul“. Yes, eating healthy means to eat food that provides all the nutrients for your body. Yes, that means eating your fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, etc. However, there is another aspect of eating: eating food that nourishes your soul. That means that if you want to eat that scoop of ice cream, go right ahead. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.

People put so much shame on eating that greasy burger or pizza. “I’ll gain 10 pounds by just looking at it.” “That burger will make me fat”. You know what? Don’t! If your body is craving it, eat it. Just don’t eat it every single damn day. It’s about finding the right balance of healthy eating and eating foods that you enjoy. It’s like they always say, everything in moderation! It won’t kill you if you eat burgers and fries every once in a while.

I get that some people have the all or nothing approach. They have to eat only “healthy foods” if they want to eat “healthy”. There’s no way they’re eating a piece of chocolate because after that, they won’t be able to stop. However, the question is whether or not you enjoy that type of eating. I like having a piece of chocolate every once in a while. I like eating pizza, burgers, fries, and ice cream. I just don’t eat it every day. You have to find the right balance.

The reason why I’m posting this is because it’s January, it’s a New Year, and people will fall into the diet trap. Keto, Whole30, whatever diet is the trend that year. If eating like that makes you healthy and feel good, sure. Do you like the food? Go for it. But, if you’re suffering through it and you’re not enjoying it, why torture yourself? 

I get it. People want to be healthier, maybe even lose weight. But remember, enjoy your food. Don’t be so hard on yourself. As long as you’re eating healthy, it’s okay to eat the other foods every once in a while. 

So, what is your definition of healthy eating?

What’s your favorite food? 

Simple Ways to Start Eating Healthy

What is healthy eating? There are articles online, blogs, magazines, and even posts from people you follow on social media. Some say you have to eat organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. It has to be “grass-fed” beef or even local.

You know what? That apple you’re eating does not have to be organic. That beef you’re eating does not have to be grass-fed. And you know what? Bananas are already genetically modified. You can think of genetically modified organism  as selective breeding. It’s called choosing certain characteristics of an organism and breeding it together.  Let’s take that banana for example. They used to be small, weird shaped, and had hard seeds in them. Now, they have much smaller seeds, easy to hold, and very tasty!

Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked. My point is, you can go ahead and eat the regular apple that’s not organic. You can eat that GMO banana. It’s hard for some people to eat healthy and seeing these labels such as “organic” and “non-GMO” can steer people away from eating healthy, especially since these products also tend to cost more than regular food.

To start eating healthy, here are some tips:

  1. Start incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  For example, instead of snacking on chips and soda, try snacking on grapes, apples, carrots, red bell peppers, nuts, or roasted seasoned chickpeas.
    • Pro tip if you have children: Have your children pick a new fruit and vegetable to try each week. They are more likely to eat it when they choose it.
  2. Meatless Mondays!
  3. Start making half of your grains whole grains (if you haven’t been eating whole grain). For example, if you have regular toast as part of your breakfast, you can use whole wheat bread for your sandwich or use brown rice instead of white rice for lunch.
  4. Use smaller plates/bowls to reduce portion sizes without feeling like you’re eating less.
  5. Bring lunch to work everyday (this also saves money!). One easy way is to cook an extra portion when you cook dinner and bring the leftovers for lunch.
  6. Make a meal plan for the week. This advice is something I am hesitant to give since I like to eat something different everyday. However, having a plan can help you save money and reduce food waste. You know what you’ll be eating so you won’t be buying extra groceries and you won’t be wasting extra food if it doesn’t get eaten.
  7. Eat until you are 80% full. The Japanese call it “hara hachi bu”. There will be a separate post about this since I feel like this is important!

As you can see, you don’t have to go on a “Whole 30 Diet” or go to any extremes to eat healthy. Small things you do everyday will add up.

I hope this post steers you in the right direction into eating healthy.

What type of nutrition posts would you guys want to read about?