My Healthy Valentine

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope everyone’s weekends were enjoyable and snow-filled, like mine (just a casual 20 inches)!

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I figured I would give you guys a recap on my Valentine’s Day, since my day was probably spent a little differently than most.

After a very snowy few days and two unheard of snow days given by Virginia Tech, I was getting a little irritable spending so much time indoors with no way to get around. There was some snow trekking and sledding, but there’s only so much you can do outdoors when it’s blizzarding on ya.

Naturally, I was even more excited than usual to go to the gym. Two days without working out definitely got to me. Once you’re so used to going everyday, just a little time apart feels like an eternity. First thing in the morning, Ryan and I finally were able to head to the gym for our routine Friday workout, leg day, both of our favorites!

Leg Day

  • 5×12 squats
  • 5×12 leg presses
  • 5×12 leg extensions
  • 6×10 Romanian dead lifts
  • 4×10 (each leg) step ups
  • 4×10 (each leg) walking lunges
  • 3×15 leg curls
  • 4×20 front squats
  • 3×20 calf raises

I’ve been upping all of my sets, as well as weight little by little. I can tell I’m definitely getting stronger. I’m sure doing legs twice a week helps a great deal too!

I thought this was funny and kind of ironic.

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A little later in the day, after Ryan dug out my snow buried car, we went grocery shopping to pick up some things for our plans to cook dinner together later that evening.

It can get a little complicated when cooking both for a vegan and non-vegan, but after careful deliberation on what dish to cook, we decided on a quinoa stir fry. I decided to go the Italian spicing route, as that tends to always be a favorite of mine.

We chopped up tomatoes, onions,  and garlic and placed them in a pan with spinach and a drizzle of olive oil, turned it on medium-low and let it cook while the quinoa did the same. I added in some fresh rosemary and ground black pepper to the mix as well.

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My handsome chef!

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Once both the quinoa and veggies were cooked, we poured the veggies into the quinoa pot and stirred.

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Ryan asked me to give him a 10 minute countdown before the dish was ready, so he could put on a steak for himself to add to the mix. We both agreed it didn’t really go with the meal, but what can ya do? Boys love their steak.

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It was a lovely, relaxing night in and with such a delicious, healthy valentine meal that suited both the vegan and non-vegan appetite.

Sometimes it is challenging to always be around someone that is constantly consuming all of the foods I have given up for so many reasons, as I’m sure it is hard for him to be around someone that doesn’t eat what he does. It’s all about respect though. We both maintain very healthy lifestyles, but with different healthy diets. Ryan promised me that he would try being vegan with me for a week or so over the summer, so that’s something! I will take what I can get. A few documentaries, some plant-based research articles and decadent vegan dishes and who knows what will come of it? 😉

Since we didn’t get a cute Valentine pic, here’s one from last night before we headed to one of my sorority sister’s birthday party. Prom pose of course!

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Well that’s all for now! I need to get to my studying, as it’s been a lazy Sunday so far. At least I wrote a blog post, right? That’s gotta count for something.

Until next time! Chow.

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7 Months Vegan Feels Pretty Darn Good

As you might have guessed, today marks 7 months on my 100% plant-based journey. And golly gee, does it feel good! Besides the fact that 7 is my lucky number, I would say this is a pretty grand feat.

There are so many incredible things about consuming only foods from the earth that give me such an electric sense of pride.

Over the past few months, I’ve grown to love the question, “why did  you go vegan?” a question I once got a little nervous answering because I was still figuring it out myself. All I knew then was that I was doing good and enjoyed it. I luckily have a little bit more knowledge under my belt now.

So WHY AM I VEGAN you ask? Well, let me tell you!

  • My own personal nutrition: I’m the healthiest I have ever been in my entire life. Plant-based foods are the most nutrient dense foods known to man, packed full of every nutrient (phytonutrient poppin’) you could ever want or need. Nutritionally, I am missing absolutely nothing from my diet. If anything, I am intaking even more vital nutrients than I was before. Without all the extra fluff (sugars, fats, etc.) in my foods, I am able to stay lean and am able to live super comfortably (aka I can eat all the food I want) without any gain. I’m also very physically active and do a good deal of weight training, so I need lots of energy to perform adequately. My food keeps my body performing at its potential and looking good while doing it. Food is fuel. If you put exceptional, high quality fuel into your engine, your body will only output that of the highest quality. Why put anything less into your system?

Here’s my handy dandy vegan nutrition chart if you were curious to see the wholesome breakdown!

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  • The environment: I’ve reduced my eco-footprint. When I first decided to go vegan, it was honestly not for any environmental reason at all. It was solely for me. After educating myself as I went along, watching documentaries, reading books and articles, it hit me. Veganism is something greater than myself. It’s about people changing their ways as our world continues to change. The world population is rapidly increasing and with that, our resources are not doing the same. At the same time, carbon is being emitted into the atmosphere left and right and causing a serious detriment to our society. Did you know that the livestock instrustry emits more green house gases into the atmosphere than the transportation industry does? If everyone would simply eat less meat, our world’s current environmental burden could at least be partially lessened. Some people are unfortunately unaware, but then there are others that simply turn their head to this rising issue. All I’m saying is if I can make a small change in my life to help the world out, why wouldn’t I? I mean it’s been so good to me. It only seems fair.happy_earth
  • Animal cruelty: I don’t have to feel sorry for my food. The documentary Vegucated first englightened me to what actually goes on behind closed doors in the livestock industry. The truth behind these mass producing animal farms would leave anyone disturbed.  Intelligent animals are often kept in cramped and filthy conditions where they cannot move around or perform their natural behaviors. At the same time, many suffer serious health problems and even death because they are selectively bred to grow or produce milk or eggs at a far greater rate than their bodies are capable of. Regardless of how they were raised, all animals farmed for food meet the same fate at the slaughterhouse. This includes the millions of calves and male chicks who are killed every year as ‘waste products’ of milk and egg production and the animals farmed for their milk and eggs who are killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan. The fact is that this is so disgustingly unnecessary. In no way do we need animal products to feed or clothe ourselves. Choosing a vegan diet is a daily demonstration of compassion for all these creatures.

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  • It’s delicious: Everything I eat tastes [and usually looks] amazing. I’ve developed a passion for cooking, or concocting as I like to say, and experimenting with plant-based recipes has been one of my favorite past times. I don’t just eat these things because they’re good for me. I eat them because they taste freakin’ delicious. Once you’re familiar with the plant-based staples and start exploring new herbs, spices and different techniques to prepare meals, it gets exciting. I get asked often if I miss certain foods in the typical American diet, but I honestly don’t. There are so many options and alternatives that are 110% better for you. There’s absolutely no reason to go back. In reality, I feel that those who eat the typical American diet are missing out on the amazingness of a plant-based diet, whether it be the foods, the taste or the way it makes you feel. There are so many mouth watering options, and as long as I keep up with my fellow plant-based foodies on social media, I know my taste buds will never got bored and my tummy will never be hungry.

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…or if I want to be a smart pants, I answer “because I know too much.” And then they start thinking I’m Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, Ghandi or someone of the sort. I then let them know they aren’t too far off, as all of these brilliant political and cultural figures were vegan. I’m just here trying to follow after some of the most brilliant minds of all time. I feel like they might have known what’s up.

Now I don’t know if I’ll stay vegan for life, but at this point, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. The only question that ever comes to my mind anymore anyways is “why shouldn’t I be vegan?” Crickets.

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This 7 month strong vegan is out.

Ya c-how-I-do? 😉

So Spring Semester Starts

Hey strangers!

I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year, so I sincerely apologize for that. I would say that I promise to never let that happen again, but you know what? Sometimes life just happens. I will, however, try to be better!

Well, this semester finally seems to be in full swing, and I have already gotten into a weekly routine, which leaves me at ease as a serious creature of routine.

I never technically posted about the final results for that so called “challenge” I put myself up to, but boy am I pleased! Weight training 4-6 days a week for approximately 3 weeks during winter break seriously paid off.

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Being able to notice the changes in my body, whether it be my tighter abs, lifted glutes, more defined legs and arms, or any of the other wonderful differences, made getting up at 5:25 AM to go to the gym before my internship so worth it.

Here are the workouts I followed over winter break that gave me such great results (created by Ryan, my trainer boyfriend)! As you can see, there are only 4 workouts here. Most all weeks I did two leg days, as that is definitely my favorite, and therefore my preferred muscle group to work. If I were to workout for a sixth day in the week, I would do a cardio day.

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With time, I have added sets and reps to these workouts, since I’m gaining strength. Once that super intense workout becomes less challenging than before, that’s when you know you’ve gotta step it up! Ya gotta feel the burn or you’re not doing it right!

Well, those three weeks of winter break just weren’t enough for me. Now that I’m in the swing of this weight training business, I can’t stop. And I won’t stop. 😉

After being early to bed (10PM-ish) and early to rise all through out break, it made the transition to early morning, before class workouts a breeze. I have been doing my very best to get up and head straight to the gym, usually around 6:45 AM–a whole 1 hour and 20 minutes later than what I had been doing! Working out first thing in the morning allows me to get my workout over and done with (although I enjoy it when I’m there) and feel nice and energized for my day. Feeling the soreness from my workout earlier in the morning gives me such a sense of accomplishment as I go through the hustle and bustle of my day. Plus, its an excellent way to beat the mid-day and evening crowds! I know I’m not a fan. I highly doubt you are either.

I would say the hardest part about getting up at wee hours in the morning has been the cold weather. The walk from my apartment to my car and then my car to the gym has been the biggest struggle, especially during record lows. :/ It’s all worth it though!

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Since I’ve been back at school, I’ve been working out 5-6 times per week at about 1 hour and 15 minutes per work out. I always begin with sprint intervals on a treadmill or on the track and go at that for about 10-15 minutes. This way, I get my supercharged cardio warm-up in, burn tons of calories and build muscle all in less than half the time of a prolonged endurance run. Afterward, I head to the weights to begin my muscle group workout for the day.

It’s a great little routine I have going on. I have a feeling I will probably stick with it for a while!

As far as food, I’ve been keeping with my deliciously nutritious plant based diet, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been meaning to try some new vegan recipes lately, but haven’t found time in the midst of sorority recruitment, classes beginning, sorority new member events and being President of my business fraternity, but I will make time soon, don’t worry. Otherwise, I have been eating lots of the usual oatmeal, nuts, nut butters, beans, lentils, fruits and tons of veggies! Same old yummies.

Here are a few foods I have prepared since I’ve been back at school.

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All of these food pictures above were snagged from my newly created healthy living Instagram account @chowidohealth. I figured it was about time to separate my personal account from my high passionate health posts. Feel free to follow and enjoy!

Well it’s getting to be past my bedtime here in Blacksburg. I have my all time favorite muscle group, legs, to work tomorrow, so I gotta get some shut eye!

See ya soon, but Chow for now.