healthy goals

For just over a year I’ve tried to stick to a modified plant-based diet. Along the way, I ended up deciding to add back in small amount of fish and eggs (for protein and iron), but otherwise, I more or less committed to healthier plant-based eating habits. However, recent travel in Europe and general convenience led to me eat a bit more cheese than I’ve planned.

That said, I’m ready to start feeling better and eating better, so I have some new healthy goals! One way to help achieve a goal is to make your intensions know; build in some accountability. Which is why I’m sharing my goals with you all today.

Restaurant De Kas Amsterdam #100DaysofMiaPrima

Goal #1: Increase my iron and protein intake

How? Include at least one serving of iron and protein-rich food a day, along side vitamin C (to help absorb the iron)

Foods: tuna, salmon, spinach

Timeline + Measure: Feel noticeably more energized mid-day and during workouts by June 1st

 

Goal #2: Improve digestion

How? Include at least one serving of high fiber food a day. Drink ginger tea four time or more a week. Decrease cheese intake to one meal a day or less.

Foods: oatmeal, whole wheat bread, veggies

Timeline + Measure: Evening stomach issues occur less frequently by June 1st

 

What are your health goals?

 

Cheers!

Sarah

This post is #38 of the #The100DayProject. For more updates on my progress, be sure to follow me on Instagram and look for the hashtage, #100DaysofMiaPrima.

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The FAQs of a New Vegan

FAQs of a New Vegan. For example, "What about ice cream?" and "Why? As in why would you do that?" on miaprimacasa.com

I’ve been following a plant-based diet (think: vegan + limited refined sugar and processed foods) for a couple weeks now, and there are a few things I’ve learned. First of all, I feel a whole lot better already. My energy is up. I don’t rely on caffeine like I used to. Netflix marathons do not have to simultaneously accompany a candy binge after which I feel like total crap but for some reason still want to lie on my couch, drinking beer, and thinking sad guilty thoughts about my body/heath/exercise habits.

Second of all, friends and family have a lot of questions. That’s fair! They are concerned about my health and well-being. I’m not (yet?) a jaded vegan who thinks everyone is judging their nutritional habits. That said, I want to shed some light on the answers to some of those common questions. Maybe I can just start referring inquirers to this blog post. 😉

The FAQs of a New Vegan. on miaprimacasa.com

Why? As in, why would you do that?

Because I am young and by today’s standards healthy. That is to say, I don’t have a disease, I’m not overweight, and I have no broken bones. But I do have anxiety, allergies (to, like, every plant ever), trouble sleeping, adult acne, neck problems, fatigue, and a strong urge to binge eat candy the moment I get home from work and set eyes on my couch (why does candy taste best when you eat ten servings of it!? I have a feeling there is a vey logical scientific answer to that one…).

In other words, I don’t feel healthy.

I exercise regularly (see: Pittsburgh Marathon, Here I Come!) and don’t smoke, so I figured a factor to my feelings of crappiness probably had to do a large part to what I was eating (and also to stress, but that is hurdle to discuss at another time).

So there you have it. It’s really quite simple. I’m eating plant-based because I am trying to feel, and be, the best version of myself.

Make sure you are getting enough protein!

Very good advice. But good advice for anyone. Before I became vegetarian (about six months ago), I would eat on average three turkey sandwiches a week. I didn’t really care for red meat, and I didn’t really know how to cook meat at home either. I also wasn’t consuming plant protein like nuts or beans or using protein powder.

Today, I am more careful than ever about ensuring I eat enough protein. In fact, I am sure I eat more now than I did before I was vegetarian! My energy level has gone up, and I feel like I’m getting more from workouts.

Bottom line is: just because you aren’t a vegetarian, doesn’t mean you are getting enough protein. And just because you are, doesn’t mean you’re not!

Healthy Cookie Dough Brownies

Cookie Dough Brownies from Desertswithbenefits.com. Yes, these are vegan. And yes, they are delicious.

But what about ice cream? And cheese?!

There may be nothing better than fresh Wisconsin cheese curds. But truth be told, I stopped craving cheese after I stopped eating it for about a week. All I did was avoid it. Seriously, I just didn’t buy any cheese at the grocery store, and I didn’t order dishes with cheese in it

when I went out. What kept my self-control strong was the disappearance of that fuzzy feeling I got in my head after a cheesy pizza or the bloated stomach after a grilled panini that I scarfed down at my cubicle.

And as for ice cream, I switched to coconut ice cream. Which is as good as is sounds! Yum!

Why are refined sugars so bad for you?

First of all, sugar doesn’t contain: nutrients, protein, healthy fats, or enzymes. So, from my perspective (as in, not a scientist), sugar sounds like empty calories. Which actually doesn’t sound that bad. I mean, sugar is clearly not good for you…but does that mean it’s bad for you?

The cincher for me is that sugar is addictive. I have sugar. Then I want more sugar. And more sugar. And eventually nothing else (honey, maple syrup, fruit)  tastes all that great because it’s, well, not as sweet and delicious as sugar (and now I’m going to get all fancy and give you a scientific source for what seems to be an obvious observation).

Other research suggests that refined sugar can cause also weight gain and poor sleep. Bummer.

What are you going to eat when you travel abroad?

For me, eating is a huge part of exploring another culture. I tried gelato in every major Italian city I visited. I ate margherita pizza in Naples. Tasted octopus in Southern Italy. Enjoyed cheese filled sausages in Bavaria. And fish and chips in London. Eating is part of the adventure. Since I don’t travel often, I’ve decided not to follow a strict plan-based diet while, say, visiting my expatriate twin sister in Amsterdam. I’m going to try my best (she already has some great vegetarian restaurants in mind!), but let myself experience the food of that culture. I’ll just try to stick to one stroopwafel…instead of ten.

The FAQs of a New Vegan. on miaprimacasa.com

THE BEST HOMEMADE BURRITOS EVER. Recipe from thekindlife.com

Eating out is going to suck.

Actually, no, it really hasn’t. Combining appetizers with salads or soups makes for a good option when visiting a less vegan-friendly

restaurant, but if you live in a city, my bet is you can find some pretty decent vegetarian places as well. That said, I’ve come to an understanding that compromises will be made. Non-whole wheat pasta at an Italian restaurant, for example, or a bit of cream in some tomato soup.

And the truth is, eating a vegan, plant-based diet hasn’t diminished any joy I get from eating (out, in, or otherwise). In fact, I think I enjoy food a whole lot more. Imagine discovering food that tastes wonderful and that you can eat without abandon or guilt to your heart’s  content (literally!).

Because nobody ever felt shitty after binge eating homemade sweet potato fries.

Thoughts? Recommendations? I know you got ’em, and I want to hear ’em!

Cheers!

Sarah

Resources:

Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone, T. Colin Campbell, and Caldwell B. Esselstyn

The Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever

No Meat Athlete

The Kind Life

Wellness Mama

The China Study

T.Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Thrive Fitness by Brendan Brazier

Plant Based Diet Reading on miaprimcasa

Related Posts:

Adventures in Plant-Based Nutrition

Running Hard, Getting Healthy, & Going (Almost) Vegan

Euro Brunch, Vegetarian Style

Vegetarian Pasta Dish in Just Ten Minutes

Lemon Mango Cucumber Water- Yum!

Lemon Mango Cucumber Water. Yum! on miaprimacasa.com

The idea is so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner! Add cut up cucumbers, lemon, and frozen mango to a pitcher of water, and suddenly you have a refreshingly healthy drink that actually makes you excited to drink more water. Plus, every time I pour a glass I feel kind of fancy. 😉

Some other flavors I have in mind:

*Cucumber Mint

*Strawberry Lemon

*Blueberry Lemon Lime

*Honey Lemon with a hint of Green Tea

*Cucumber Watermelon

*Honey Lavender

 

What’s your favorite?

Cheers!

Sarah

 

Related Posts:

50 Awesome Flavored Water Recipes

Naturally Flavored Water

Adventures in Plant-Based Nutrition

Running Hard, Getting Healthy, and Going (Almost) Vegan

Adventures in Plant-Based Nutrition

My Plant-Based Nutrition Plan on miaprimacasa.com

I’ve been a vegetarian (actually more of a pescetarian, really) for five months already. I originally toyed with the idea of switching to vegan and cutting out all animal products all together. But I was skeptical. Would that really improve me health? Would I have less energy? How would I be able to eat out? And what about the stigma around the word “vegan” itself?

Plus, I really, really love cheese.

And ice cream.

And more cheese.

But then I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives, which introduced me to the plant-based diet. A plant-based diet is a bit different from veganism. Besides not eating animal products (including dairy, eggs, and meat), people following a plant-based diet also limit their oil, refined sugar, and refined carb intake. And this is what appealed to me the most. I’ve always had this nagging feeling that sugar and refined carbs might be contributing to my sluggishness, worsening allergies, and poor, sensitive skin.

I’ll admit it; I’m not ready to dive cold turkey into a plant-based diet. I still love and cook with olive oil (having an Italian family and living in Florence for a bit makes the idea of cutting out olive oil earth-shattering), and I’m hesitant to give up fish.

So instead, I’m giving myself the following easy guidelines to follow:

1. No meat (duh).

2. No dairy (including cheese and milk). For my coffee, I’ve switched to agave nectar for sweetening and soy milk.

3. No refined sugar.

4. Eat whole foods (veggies, grains, you get the idea).

5. Eat processed whole foods (crackers, pita bread, and cereal) sparingly.

6. Avoid adding oil when cooking and limit oil consumption to coconut and olive oil when possible.

7. Eat fish, but sparingly and buy the highest quality possible (think: wild salmon over canned tuna).

8. Make more of my own training food: protein bars, gels, sports drinks. I have a feeling this is going to save me some money as well!

9. When I travel (to say, Amsterdam to visit my sister), I’ll try my best to eat according to the plant-based diet, but enjoy the local food to its fullest. So yes, I’m going to eat stroopwafels. Just maybe not ten of them….

10. Try new things. Cook with new veggies and beans. Continue to try new ethnic restaurants with a new perspective. Use my crock pot more often. Buy more cook books. Experiment with my own version of recipes. Fall in love with food- real, whole, and delicious food.

11. Share my adventures and recipes in plan-based nutrition with you all on MiaPrimaCasa!

What do you think about my plant-based nutrition plan? Any suggestions or recommendations?

Plant Based Diet Reading on miaprimcasa

My Plant-Based Education Reading List:

Forks Over Knives by Gene Stone, T. Colin Campbell, and Caldwell B. Esselstyn

The Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever

No Meat Athlete

The Kind Life

Related Posts:

Running Hard, Getting Healthy, & Going (Almost) Vegan