Friday, January 31, 2014

January Recap

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits did a series called “A Year of Living Without” where he gave up (or restricted his use of) something different each month. I like the idea of doing a monthly reflection, and I’m working this year on forming new habits and meeting some goals so I thought it would be nice to spend the last day of each month reflecting on my progress. This month I wanted to start a habit of writing in a journal nightly. This is something I did for a span of 3-4 years as a pre-teen, and I really enjoyed the practice.

I am happy to report that I have successfully written an entry in my journal each night. I made it part of my nightly routine (after the bathroom stuff, before laying down), and it hasn't been too difficult to implement. I didn't put any codifiers or restrictions on my writing, I let myself get out whatever needs to be expressed and don’t force myself to hit a certain length or depth of reflection. I’m not sure how to assess the impact of this habit on my life, but I believe that journaling can be a stress reliever, provide focus, and help you identify patterns you may not have been aware of. I think I need to re-read my entries for the month in order for the experience to provide actionable feedback.

I set five running goals for myself this year. One and two are specific races, both taking place in March. I am registered for both and getting mentally and physically prepared for them. My third goal was to do different speed workouts each week and I have been doing that with great success. It’s making my runs more fun and I look forward to trying new things. Goal four was to increase my weekly run total to between 15-22 miles per week. If I get my long run in tomorrow I will have run weeks of 18.5, 20, 21, and 17 miles this month.

The reason I say if and also why this week is less is because I've been feeling some soreness in my right leg along the outside of my calf area, and I felt a weird pain in my right leg just below my knee on the outside during my last two runs. Instead of 4 miles yesterday I opted for a 40 minute hill interval workout on the ARC trainer. I am hoping my leg feels good tomorrow morning, but if not I have come to peace with the fact that I may need a few more days off.

My final running goal was to make some running friends, and I haven’t tackled this one yet. I’m struggling to find a running group that meets at a time/place that works in my schedule and I also worry that I won’t be fast enough and don’t want to frustrate people. This is definitely a work in progress! My first March race is local so I’m hoping to meet some runners at the race or expo that are my speed.

No reflection is successful unless it also looks forward. For February I’d like to start a habit of meditation. I've been reading, listening and learning about meditation for at least six months but can’t seem to make it a habit. I've struggled with feeling like I don’t have enough time to fit it in with my work, fitness, household, and relationship responsibilities. I realized that I was aiming for 5 minute minimum sessions and that I might be able to be more consistent if I broke that up into smaller goals.

I also know from reading about habits (BTW, this book is excellent for that) that they only stick when they are triggered by a cue and followed by a reward. I am going to set a goal of three two minute meditation sessions per day with the option to make them longer if I feel I can. The cues will be as follows:

Monday-Friday: Session 1 in the car when I get to work; Session 2 after I sit to eat lunch before I start to eat; Session 3 in my car when I get home from work

Weekend: Session 1 before I go out for my workout; Session 2 after I sit to eat lunch before I start to eat; Session 3 after I sit to eat dinner before I start to eat

The reward is easy because meditation provides its own – a sense of calm that is hard to replicate elsewhere. I will start on this tomorrow and make February my month of meditation. Check back in a month for an update! The other personal goal I have is to read more books than last year. I read 84 in 2013, and if I finish the book I’m almost done with today I will be at 8 for this year. Multiply that by 12 and I will smash my goal!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIAW and a Workout

This is a light week for food pictures, I've been eating lots of leftovers! I also wanted to share a new workout I tried this morning.



Roasted sweet potatoes might be my favorite food! Served with a broccoli, lentil tomato sauce on top of baby spinach.

Quinoa salad with green tomato and peppers, sides of hummus and roasted golden beets.


Bun salad! You can tell this is Carly's plate because it has craploads of cilantro on it. 

Hot sauce line up at Tijuana Flats. The bottom is ghost chiles! 

Beans and rice bowl at Tijuana Flats - topped with their red enchilada sauce. 

Moroccan inspired chickpea stew with carrots, sweet potatoes, green olives, artichokes and currants. Served on greens with roasted butternut squash.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

Sometimes the best meals are ones you don’t plan. Carly was out of town all week and I've been eating weird combinations of food. I did my long run in the morning (10 miles) and usually go out to lunch on those days but since Carly wasn't home yet I stayed in for lunch. I surveyed what we had on hand and put together an amazing dish that is definitely worth repeating (and sharing!).



Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 small-medium acorn squash
1/3 C brown/green lentils
Hummus of choice
5 kalamata olives, sliced
Scallions, chopped
Salad greens
Raw veggies of choice
Spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, harissa)
Tahini or tahini based dressing

Preheat your oven to 450. Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the middles. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and harissa. Place face down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Roast until fork tender, check after 15 minutes and flip if there’s nice color on the cut side.

Rinse the lentils and pick out any stones/twigs. Place in a small pot with 2/3 C water and spices to taste. Cook until done. If they are tender with water left, drain it out. If there’s not enough water add more.

Stir a generous dollop of hummus and the sliced olives into lentils until combined.

Place a bed of greens and your raw veg of choice in a bowl. Put the squash halves face up on top of the greens and fill each with half of the lentil mixture and top with scallions. Drizzle with tahini/dressing and sprinkle with more harissa if you love spice like I do!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Health at Work

I’m not going to lie, I get jealous of the vegan/running/health bloggers out there who don’t have full time jobs. I truly love my job as a librarian for a large university on one of their regional campuses, but having a regular 9-5 type schedule means that I have to fit my workouts in early and do a lot of planning ahead for meals and food prep. Fortunately, working as a librarian does allow me the opportunity to spread my message of health and wellness to a wider audience.


At my desk

I write a blog about being a librarian called Digital Carrie. I often write posts that talk about how these two aspects of my life intersect. I wrote a post yesterday on how mindfulness and meditation have impacted my work. The post before that was about the parallels between running a race and an academic semester. I also wrote a post in December called “Bringing Your Passion to the Library” about how I've used my interest in health and wellness to add depth to my work as a librarian.

The back of the building where I work, college campuses are great for taking walk breaks during the work day!

I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to explore this side of myself as part of my work, and one that’s in an environment conducive to living the lifestyle I want. I know how difficult it is to stay on top of being healthy when you have a 40 (or more) hour work week plus responsibilities in your home and within your family. Starting my health journey in college was a blessing because it allowed me to spend more time learning, but I have had to figure out what works best for me in each new work situation.

Here are a few tips on working health and wellness into your life:

1. Plan ahead – I look at each week at a time and plan my meals and workouts based on my schedule for the week. This week I had to work late one day and Carly is out of town so all the food prep, household tasks, and dog maintenance are on me. It definitely impacted the days I worked out, the workouts I chose, and the meals I chose to make.

2. Be flexible – It’s nice to have a plan, but there’s almost always something that pops up during a week that derails it. In those moments I take a deep breath and let myself move forward by making the best possible choice for the situation.

3. Embrace leftovers – It’s much easier to stay on track for a healthy lunch if you don’t have to do anything elaborate to make it. I often prep my lunch for the next day at the same time as my dinner and pack my lunch box before I go to sleep.

4. Add more movement to your day – Even if you have a desk job you can find ways to fit in movement or wellness. I stand as much as possible. When I sit I set a timer on my phone or on Google (just type timer XX minutes and Google does the rest!) and make sure I get up every 20 minutes and walk or do squats or stretch. I also try to take a 10-15 minute walk every afternoon.

5. Make the most of your commute – If you can walk, bike, run, etc. to work then by all means, do it! If not, try to look at your commute as time to spend with yourself. You can practice mindfulness, listen to a good podcast, or put on your favorite music. I've learned to relish this time in the morning to reflect on my day ahead and in the evening to decompress.

6. Find a routine - It's much easier to make healthy choices if you routinize the decisions you make on a daily basis. This can be as simple as going to the grocery store the same day each week, choosing variations of the same breakfast each day, or having an eating schedule. The more decisions you make automatically, the more mental energy you have to make new ones and to deal with unexpected snags.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

The past week included a long weekend and we had a chance to get out and try a new restaurant and visit an old favorite. I'm afraid my pictures for next week won't be as impressive as I'm on my own most of this week and eating lots of leftovers!

Wild rice bowl with edamame, broccoli, snow peas and raw cucumber/peppers. 

Salad topped with buffalo roasted chickpeas and cauliflower plus roasted parsnips

What a typical work lunch for me looks like: salad & leftovers at an outdoor table.

Leftovers recombined: hummus salad, roasted acorn squash & zucchini cakes

New restaurant find: Sankalp Orlando. Left is masala boondi, top right is chana peshawari with a side of dosas, bottom right is Carly's  keerai cheese garlic dosa. Can't wait to go back and try more!

High raw pad thai: raw zucchini, carrot, pepper & jicama noodles topped with cooked noodles, tofu and assorted veg with peanut sauce

Our cute beagle Emmy waiting for her food!

Lunch at Infusion Tea after a long bike ride, tempeh taco salad. SO good!

Tortilla soup with hominy: my lunch for the next few days!

Leftover channa paired with roasted sweet potatoes and cider braised swiss chard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Clothes Make the (Wo)man

Every day we have to make decisions about what clothing to put on our bodies. We usually have sets of clothing for different environments: work clothes, workout clothes, casual clothes, summer/winter clothes, etc. Choosing clothing has been something I've struggled with throughout my life, although now my challenges relate more to how to pick the right running gear for the weather!

As I gained weight I had to keep buying new clothes, and as I lost weight I had to either dig out old clothes (if I kept them) or buy new ones. I've spent a lot of money on clothes in the last eight years, and I think people who have gained and/or lost extreme amounts of weight have probably spent more money on this than most. This was a challenge in itself, and I still find myself wearing clothes that don’t fit properly because I’m tired of having to buy new things over and over again.

Clothes shopping was easily my most upsetting and stressful task when I was going through the process of gaining and losing weight. I went through a growth spurt in first grade that left me taller and wider than almost all my peers. I never felt comfortable buying clothes as a child and then teenager, and I often wore clothes that were baggy and good at hiding the shape of my body. I had a brief period of time at the end of my senior year of high school through the first six months of college where I was my lowest weight before now (around 160) and I felt good about how I looked. I remember buying a bunch of new clothes and starting to dress in more form fitting clothes.

College!

Unfortunately that period didn't last and as I gained weight I went back to my trend of baggy clothes. I also shopped a lot in the men’s department. This was partly because the clothes hid more and partly because I was exploring my queer identity by wearing men’s clothing. I absolutely hated going to the “fat girl” stores like Lane Bryant, although I would occasionally find something at Torrid that fit with my alternative aesthetic. I can’t tell you how many dressing rooms I've cried in, how many times I've left stores embarrassed and empty-handed, and how guilty I've felt about the money I spent on clothes that would fit for a few months at a time.

Baggy when it's cold...

Baggy when it's warm!


At my heaviest I was wearing a size 28 pants in women’s or 48 in men’s. I was wearing men’s 2XL shirts and basically could only buy women’s shirts at plus size stores. The initial weight loss was the most difficult for clothes as I dropped about 70lbs in six months. I know I relied a lot on clothes I’d gotten too heavy for. I had several periods where my weight stabilized for longer amounts of time, once around size 16 and again at size 12.

Now I wear clothes that fit, even if it's scary sometimes

I hit size 12 around 2011 and that’s when I really started to enjoy clothes shopping for the first time. I also got back into wearing more form fitting clothes, and I know I look much better in them than in baggy things. I honestly thought I’d be a size 12 forever (and was happy with that), but eating a clean plant based diet and running has caused me to drop to a solid 10 and sometimes 8. I've been toying with the idea of setting up some kind of online exchange website for women on weight loss journeys to trade gently used clothes as they gain/lose weight. I’d welcome any feedback on this, and wonder if anyone has already heard of something similar?

Some of my run gear!

On a related note, I usually don’t run on Monday but my schedule this week and the weather convinced me to take a run today. Unfortunately, my usual running gear was all in the washing machine! I had to wear clothes I usually use for other types of workouts and was also breaking in a new pair of shoes. I almost felt like a completely different person! I’m so used to my usual gear that those small changes were annoying me throughout my run! In case anyone is wondering I usually run in compression shorts/tights from Road Runner Sports, and I rotate between tanks/tees/long sleeved shirts depending on weather. When it’s cold I usually run in an Under Armour zip up hoodie that has inner pockets that are great for storing my phone and any gloves/hats I shed as I go. My experience this morning convinced me that clothes have a bigger impact in how we feel than we realize!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Training update

I’m currently training for two races, a 10K on March 1st and a half marathon on March 23rd. I had registered for the 10K first but after my first half marathon in December I decided that I wanted to run another before it got too hot in Florida. I haven’t officially registered for the half yet, I have until February 1st before the price goes up. I wanted to make sure my training felt good before I committed. I inquired about hotels yesterday so I think I’m close to making the plunge!

I am following a plan similar to that of my last half but including more leg training on my strength days. I also have done some research on different types of speed work to do so I’m not always doing the same one or two runs a week. I also slightly upped my total weekly mileage from last time. Here’s what I've done so far:



As you can see, I haven’t filled in my weekly runs past a few weeks from now. My work schedule is weird for the next few weeks, and I need to see what works for the mornings after this chunk of weird weeks. I do have all my long distances planned in advance, but have been flexible with them as I go along. I know this probably isn't the best way and I think for my  next race I might pick a proven method/plan to follow.

One thing I am happy about is my list of speed workouts to draw from:



I know this looks like a mess but here’s how it works (in my head):

Title of the workout / length of warm-up run at an easy pace / the speed work section / the number of repetitions

The first workout has W/J/S to imply walk/jog/sprint. All of the others use F for fast and S for slow, which for me fast means my race tempo or a bit faster and S means a steady easy pace. Negative splits is a run where I aim to run each successive mile faster than the last. I haven’t tried them all yet but I enjoy the ease of picking one that fits my time and how I’m feeling.

I welcome any feedback, comments or questions on this – I am still learning! I also want to thank the non-runners who stumbled across this post!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I need to reiterate my gratitude for all the new blog hits. I found an article written about me in a Puerto Rican online magazine this morning, amazing! The accountability of being featured online really helps me stay on track with eating clean and running. Here's some highlights from this week.

I've started to enjoy serving pasta sauce over roasted veggies. This is a bowl of roasted cauliflower topped with a sauce of diced tomatoes, lentils, mushrooms, onions and olives.

Butternut Rancheros from PPK served on a salad with chopped jicama.

Carly on Cocoa Beach - we took a day trip on Saturday after my long run.

Chips, salsa trio & guacamole at Coconuts on the Beach.

Best restaurant in Cocoa for omnis and vegans to co-exist: Fat Kahunas. This is my veggie tacos served with amazing coconut rice and black beans. The sauce in the top right by the rice was their homemade hot sauce & it was incredible. 

Tofu scramble. This time we sauteed the veggies separately from the tofu - I think we'll continue making it this way in the future.

Quinoa, apple & beet salad over greens with pepitas on top. 



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gratitude

I am an ordinary person who happened to put in an extra-ordinary amount of effort to take control of my life and work to improve it. I feel blessed to be able to share my story with others on this blog. Many of you are visiting for the first time because you saw my story online.

I wanted to use this post to say a huge thank you to Huffington Post and Fitsugar/Popsugar for producing these stories:

I Lost Weight: After A Wake-Up Call Diagnosis, Carrie Moran Lost 170 Pounds

Before and After: How Carrie's Plant-Based Diet Helped Her Shed 175 Pounds

I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to learn more about me.

I want to say thank you to my parents, my partner, my family and friends for supporting and encouraging me on this journey.

I am filled today and every day with a deep gratitude.  Thank you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Zucchini and Corn Buckwheat Cakes

I found a recipe for these cakes on Quick'n'Healthy over the summer, and we've made them a few times. Our style is to find a recipe and use it as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule, so we made some changes. We also serve them a bit differently than the original recipe. Here is our version.



Zucchini and Corn Buckwheat Cakes
1 C buckwheat, toasted if you can find it
½ C plain nut milk
½ C water
½ lime, juiced
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp chia seeds or flax meal
½ tsp baking soda
Sea salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic and cayenne to taste
Coconut or other oil for cooking pancakes

Soak buckwheat in water for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse buckwheat.

Add the buckwheat, nut milk, water, lime juice, and coconut to a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a thick batter. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add the grated zucchini, corn, chia seeds/flax meal, baking soda and spices to the batter and mix well.

Cook as you would any other pancake. We used a bit of coconut oil in the pan for each batch. This makes about 15 small pancakes.



To serve:
1 can beans of choice (refried, black, pinto, pink and kidney work best)
Fresh salsa
Scallions
Cilantro
Extra fresh veggies of preference (peppers, tomato, etc.)
Greens

Place greens in a bowl. Top with cakes, ½-1 C beans, salsa, fresh veg and garnishes. Alternatively, you could eat these by themselves or with an Indian spice/chickpea theme as well.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In Other Words

Here's what I've been into online lately!

Shocking Infographics Reveal How Modern Grocery Shelves are Monopolized by Big Food Companies
I think we should all know where our food comes from. It amazes me that people will check a bag of dog treats to see where they’re made and don’t ask the same question of their own food. This graphic makes it clear that our food industry is monopolized by a few giants, and explains why it can be so hard to take a different path.

25 Science-Backed Ways to Change Your Life by Taking Better Care of Yourself 
I worked as a crisis consultant for several years and made good friends with several amazing therapists. One of the things we discussed over and over with clients was how important it is to take care of yourself. We cannot be good employees, partners, parents, children, etc. if we aren't in a good place ourselves. A lot of these are quick and easy to incorporate into your day.

10 Nutrients Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Awesome
I love this post because it shows how easy it is to get nutrients from plant based foods. I read some of the list to Carly and she was amazed by how much good stuff is in plants. Eat more plants, y’all!

Simple Rules to Eat Plant-Based Without Thinking About Calories or Nutrient Ratios
This list is only 5 items long and is easy to follow. My philosophy is that the less stress we feel about our eating, the more likely our bodies are to appreciate what we give them. I had to count calories to get where I am, but I’m so thankful that I no longer have to operate that way to stay trim and happy.

Are These 8 Lifestyle Changes Better Than Drugs or Therapy?
I saw a great TED talk, Hackschooling Makes Me Happy by 13 year old Logan LaPlante, that referenced the work of Dr. Roger Walsh on eight therapeutic lifestyle changes that make a big impact on happiness. I agree wholeheartedly with this list, and know that it’s backed by scientific research. I based some of my personal goals for the year on these changes.

Accuracy, resilience and denial 
Seth Godin is a great writer and his blog is fantastic for short bits of wisdom. This post talks about the importance of resiliency, which I think relates directly to mindfulness and staying in the moment.

Training Tip Tuesday – Loving The Long Run 
Neon is My Color is one of my new favorite running blogs. This list of tips is a combination of sound advice on things like fueling and safety, as well as strategic planning ideas.

If You Could Have Good Health From a Pill, Would You Still Exercise?
Another engaging read from Fit and Feminist. This really gets at the core of why we move our bodies (or don’t). I think that I would still exercise even if I had a magic bullet type pill to keep me healthy because I enjoy what I do. In that vein, the final article for this week is on finding a workout that is best for you!

Find Your Next Favorite Workout
This wonderful infographic from Fit Bottomed Girls makes me want to try some new things! I know everyone isn’t suited to running or Zumba or CrossFit but we should all strive to find something active that makes us happy and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why I Run

Running is like cilantro. Most people either love it or hate it, but some of us grow to enjoy it over time. When I talk about my running I’m often met with some form of “that’s great for you, but I’d be miserable” in return (unless I’m in the company of runners!). Even people I know who lift weights or rock the elliptical or are otherwise physically inclined seem to have a taboo when it comes to running. In the “No Meat Athlete” book, Matt Frazier talks about the fact that for most of us running is something we were forced into on a semi-regular basis through sports or gym class in our youth and therefore we didn't learn to take joy from it. I think this has a lot to do with it.  I always give different answers when people ask me why I run, and here’s my list of my top reasons:

Burning Calories
I’m not going to lie. I got into the running game because I wanted to burn as many calories as possible in a short period of time. This is why I like to do HIIT training when I do strength work. My favorite day of the week is Saturday because I do my long run in the morning, burn between 800-1200 calories, and then eat what I want the rest of the day. I don’t see this as a “cheat” day because I still focus on eating high quality plant based foods, but I eat more of them!


 Energy
The phenomenon of runner’s high exists. Some runs leave me feeling spent in the immediate aftermath, but I am usually so full of energy in the hours following a good run that I feel like I've taken a drug. There is a significant difference in my energy level and focus throughout the day if I've started my day with a run. This may be heightened because I eschew caffeine!

Connecting with Nature
There is really something magical about being outdoors. I usually run around my neighborhood which is very industrial, but (living in Florida) I still see tons of wildlife and beautiful foliage. My favorite runs are in the mornings before work because I start when it’s dark out with the moon and usually finish as the sun rises. Running from darkness into light is a very powerful experience.



Active Meditation
I've been working on a meditation practice and am planning to tackle it more consistently later in the year, but I've come to realize that running is a form of active meditation. Although I usually listen to music or podcasts, I still find that running clears my mind in a unique way – especially on my long runs.

Connection with my Body
Losing half of your body weight has myriad effects on your life. One of the most unexpected for me was how long it took me to accurately perceive my size after I lost weight. I got so used to avoiding narrow passages/gaps and picking my seats carefully that I continued those behaviors well into my weight loss journey. Running has been a great way to connect with the true form of my body and to know it more intimately. I have learned when pain means stop and when it means push through. I feel more balanced and more comfortable in my skin.

No Gym Required
I also got into running because I didn't want to pay for a gym membership. Running is simply a matter of putting on your gear and heading out a door. I've had some wonderful runs on my vacations where I got to explore new places from street level, and I love being able to workout in the morning before work without having to go anywhere. I also know that in a pinch I can run indoors on a treadmill.



Time for Myself
I've been in a committed relationship for over 11 years, and we've lived together for 10 ½ of those years. I appreciate this gift, but I also need time to nourish myself. I cherish the time I am out running because I get to spend time with myself and work out things that are troubling or anxiety producing along the way. The quote “running is cheaper than therapy” certainly has some truth!

Sense of Accomplishment
Running is a sport that is ripe with opportunities to set goals and milestones. I remember the first time I ran for 20 minutes without stopping, the first time I finished a 5k, the first time I broke the 10 mile mark, and the first time I ran a sub 9:00 mile. I usually find something to be proud of after every single run, and often I am most proud of my mental toughness and ability to run through weather, pains and my inner critic.



Running Buddies
If you read my Running Goals post you know that one of my goals is to run with someone this year. I've never done that (outside of a race). Even though I haven’t formally run with someone, I often see the same runners in my neighborhood when I am out. We give waves, hellos, knowing smiles and head nods.  When I see runners out and about I always feel a sense of kinship with them and this has been an unexpected benefit to the practice of running.

Haruki Murakami has a passage about this in chapter 4 of “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” where he says “Still, as a fellow long-distance runner who’d encountered them day after day, I felt like we somehow understood each other. Even if the skill level varies, there are things that only runners understand and share.” Word!

Challenges that Give Structure
Finally, a commitment to running and achieving goals like my first half marathon has elevated both my efforts and the way I feel about running. Knowing that I have a race looming is a great motivator, and provides a sense of structure and purpose to my runs. It’s nice to have something to focus on beyond the superficial goals of eating more and looking better.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I'm happy to have remembered to do a What I Ate Wednesday post this week - my last one was December 11th!  I did a good job eating healthy throughout the holiday season but I think I've been focused on eating as clean as possible this year without doing something crazy like a fast/cleanse/detox. I've debated doing those many times, but I think my diet is so clean that it's not really necessary. Enjoy!


Tofu bun from our new favorite Vietnamese place,  Lac Viet Bistro. Check my Orlando Eats post for more!

New Years Eve we had the best intentions of cooking but were out all day and ran out of time. Takeout pizza with added vegan parm.

New Years Day dinner - braised collard greens with black eyed peas and tomatoes served on brown rice with fresh veg as garnish.

One dish, two platings - mine is on the left: taco salad, Carly's on the right: tacos with a mess of lettuce

Found this new vending machine at work - it has vegan cookies, Larabars, edamame, kombucha and coconut water! Jackpot!

Our good friend Heather and her family were in Orlando for vacation so we met for dinner at Downtown Disney. We went to Raglan Road which had a naturally vegan appetizer, two vegan entree options, and even a fruit plate for dessert! This was my "side" of roasted root veg. 

Vegetarian platter and vegan empanada at Black Bean Deli - this should have made my Orlando Eats post, it's hands down the best Cuban food in Orlando plus they have great beverages and coffee.


I don't take many lunch pictures but this was a good example of a typical leftover lunch - homemade plantains, black beans from Black Bean Deli, and a salad with roasted sweet potatoes. 

One of my favorite easy dinners, Moroccan Carrot Salad - this is great to make a night ahead!


Another dinner favorite, tofu bun salads - I wonder how many times this has shown up on my What I Ate Wednesday posts!