Let’s get real: I need to lose some weight

So I woke up yesterday and decided to weigh myself for the first time in about two months. 

The number on the scale shocked me, but it wasn’t surprising. I weighed in at my highest weight ever. With me only being 5’1” and having a petite frame, it’s clear I need to lose weight not just for vanity’s sake, but for my health. 

I’ll be honest, it was obvious I had gained weight over the past six months or so, but I was still in denial that I wasn’t that heavy, just thicc. I basically stopped exercising except for the odd walk here or there or one week bout where I would get all excited about my fitness only to abandon my workouts because of well, life, and just plain being lazy. Not to mention I have been eating a lot more lately. And with the pandemic, working from home and lock downs, who hasn’t been doing some comfort eating, amirite?

And while I love how much bigger my butt has gotten, I don’t like the fact that my bras and shorts don’t fit anymore, even some of my leggings and pajamas are too tight and I’m tired of getting winded just walking up and down the stairs in my house. 

I calculated my BMI (body mass index) on a BMI calculator and it came to 30. According to the site I used, I am not technically obese but I am overweight and my weight “is no longer optimal for my health”. I’ve always struggled with my weight, ever since I was a kid and I have body issues because of it. I’ve yo-yo’d between being skinny and also a bit chubby over the years, but I’ve never been as heavy as I am now. Maybe it was all those years of restricting myself, or maybe it’s because I’m in my thirties now but it’s harder to keep the pounds off.

But I know I can lose weight if I put my mind to it. I was very active about three years ago and lost about 25 pounds through lots of workouts and a pretty clean vegan diet. I’m still a vegan but my diet is not what I would call clean most days—let’s face it, I didn’t get this size eating tofu and steamed broccoli. (I’m looking at you Daiya cheesecake). I love Chinese and Filipino takeout, and I’ve also been known to polish off a pint of vegan ice cream in one sitting or a pack of chocolate biscuits in one go. 

I want to have a child soon so I know I need to lose some weight beforehand to have a safer pregnancy and I also want more energy and not to feel as tired whenever I bring a little one into this world. 

So I’ve decided that I will try to eat more unprocessed whole plant foods, for my health, vitality and waistline. My stomach has always been a problem area of mine and I would love to have a flat tummy at the end of this process. My goal is to lose thirty pounds by the end of December, work out 5-6 times per week, and eat as many whole foods as possible. 

Here’s a look at what I ate yesterday.

Breakfast: I had oatmeal with peanut butter, a bit of sugar and ground flax seeds. Halfway through eating this I realized I hate oatmeal but I still gagged most of it down. It was too thick and even with a tbsp of sugar, it had no taste. Also the PB didn’t melt so I kept getting big chunks of it on my spoon.  

After breakfast I did a workout. I’m on week two of Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program which I’ll review soon. It’s a circuit training style workout with a mix of weights, body resistance moves and cardio. Each workout is about 30 minutes. I think I burned around 241 calories but my FitBit stopped working and I’m just guessing from what I plugged into MyFitnessPal.

Smoothie in a wine glass? Why thank you!

Lunch: Green protein smoothie. I made a smoothie with two frozen bananas, about a cup of organic kale, one tbsp of hemp protein powder, half a cup of oat milk, a bit of water and a handful of ice. I served it in a wine glass, because why not?

Snack: I was feeling peckish after my smoothie so I had a few crackers, a slice of Follow Your Heart pepper jack cheese and a few olives.

Dinner: I had a Beyond Burger sauteed in a bit of olive oil, quinoa cooked in vegetable broth and spices and a hefty side of greens. I ate way more greens with dinner than I normally would. Usually I would have a bit more quinoa or rice and less veggies. My goal now is to have more greens than carbs on my plate.

Tracking all my food yesterday taught me a lot. Even though I went over my calorie budget, it was nowhere near as much as I normally would eat. For instance, I would usually have some vegan cookies or ice cream at the end of the day or dinner would be two servings of pasta.

I plan on posting about my meals as well as my fitness journey in hopes that it will keep me accountable and possibly inspire others to get healthy as well. Are any of you on a fitness journey? If so, how is it going? 

Let me know in the comments, xoxo

Creamy Ginger Carrot Apple Soup (Vegan)

This ginger carrot apple soup is easy to make and perfect as a vegan Thanksgiving appetizer or light fall lunch or dinner.

The other day I had a craving for soup and decided to make something I hadn’t had in years – carrot apple soup. Adding apples to your soup may sound weird, but I remember making this recipe when I first went vegetarian as a uni student and loving it.

It’s so simple to make as well as being nutritious and filling. This soup would be perfect as an appetizer for Thanksgiving or even just as a light fall lunch or dinner, paired with a salad and some bread. The full recipe is below.

Creamy Carrot Apple Soup

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 apples, peeled and diced

1 tsp grated ginger

1 small onion, diced

2 1/2 cups of water

1 tsp each of black pepper, ground sage, garlic parsley blend

1 vegetable bouillon cube

3 bay leaves

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

salt to taste

2 tbsp of oil


Directions

  1. Peel and dice your onion, carrots, apples and grate your ginger.
  2. Heat oil over medium low heat in a pot. Add grated ginger and onions and saute for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent, being careful not to let the ginger burn.
  3. Add carrots and apples to pot along with water.
  4. Add spices, stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Once at a boil, add vegan bouillon cube and bay leaves. Cover and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, until carrots are tender.
  6. Remove veggies from pot using a slotted spoon and add to blender. Add a few tbsps of broth if needed to blend. Reserve remaining broth and discard bay leaves. Add nutritional yeast and blend veggies until creamy.
  7. Return blended mix to reserved broth and stir. Add salt to taste. Serve soup garnished with sauteed kale and mushrooms. Top with red pepper flakes if desired.


Enjoy!

How To Make The Best Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins

The other day I had a few overripe bananas on my counter, and instead of chucking them in the freezer for my smoothie stash, I decided to make some banana muffins.

Not just bland banana muffins, but the best banana carrot muffins you will ever eat and they’re vegan to boot. Before I made these, I was on a self-imposed break from baking. I went from baking some sort of treat every week or two, to basically going on a baking fast if that’s a thing (it’s not lol).

The BEST vegan banana carrot muffins. Photo by: The Island Vegan

So when I made these muffins, I was worried that they wouldn’t come out well or worse yet, they would be so good that I would eat the whole dozen in one sitting. (They are that good but I have self-control and only ate three of them in one day. Progress!)

Trust me when I say these muffins are delicious, moist (did you just shudder at that word?), sweet but not too sweet and filled with lots of fiber that you won’t feel guilty if you eat as many as I did in one day. I shared them with omnivore friends and they were a hit, one even said she couldn’t tell they were vegan, which I took as a compliment!

The recipe calls for wholewheat flour and a flax egg, making them healthier than standard muffins, but trust me there is no compromise on taste. The carrots add more fiber and antioxidants to the recipe, while you’re getting potassium from the banana and Omega-3s from the flax seeds. Win, win!

Bet you can’t eat just one! Photo by: The Island Vegan

You could use white flour if that’s what you have on hand and your fav egg replacer but the result may turn out a bit differently than mine did.

Can I just tell you how much I love vegan baking? Even if you’re not vegan, there’s lots of reasons why you should add some plant-based recipes to your arsenal. First of all, you’re free to lick the spoon (and bowl, who am I kidding) without worrying about salmonella. You can serve vegan goodies to friends or relatives who may have allergies or dietary issues with consuming dairy. And you can indulge in healthy but tasty treats knowing they have a lower carbon footprint than traditional desserts and no cow or chicken had to be harmed to make them.

As the weather cools down, I probably will be baking a lot more so watch this spot for more recipes. Until then, let me know in the comments how this banana carrot muffin recipe turned out for you.

The Best Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1 flax egg

1 tsp of white vinegar

half cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk

⅓ cup of oil (I used organic canola)

1 scant cup of vegan sugar


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare flax egg. (Mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed with three tablespoons of water. Stir and set aside until it congeals, about ten minutes.)
  3. Peel bananas. In a small bowl, mash banana with a fork until it resembles pudding and set aside.
  4. Add vinegar to non-dairy milk, stir then set aside.
  5. Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and then add flax egg, banana, and remaining wet ingredients. Mix well to combine with a spoon, but do not over mix. If mix appears too dry, add one tablespoon of non-dairy milk. Fold in carrots.
  6. Lightly spray or grease a muffin tin. Scoop batter into muffin pan, filling each hole about 2/3 full. If you have remaining cups, fill them with one or two tablespoons of water to ensure even baking.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for five minutes before eating or cooling fully on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Ok, I’ve Gained Weight (And I Am Not Happy About It)

So I have neglected this blog for months on end.

It’s part writer’s block, part feeling like a fraud, part feeling like I’m not good enough/not getting enough engagement and part laziness. I had a plan to abandon this space all together, to scrap it and start a new blog with a new direction – because that’s what I do. Push things aside and abandon them when they get hard. But I’m a writer and I am passionate about veganism, so I don’t want to leave this space. I just have to let go of my desire to be perfect all the time and only post what I think is perfect content.

I started this blog for myself mainly and then became upset that many people weren’t reading it. Now I am just going to go back to the mindset of having a space to share my thoughts and not trying to fit into the mold of a food/lifestyle blogger and sharing the aesthetic of an Instagram perfect life. Because my life is far from it. I will share recipes from time to time because I enjoy that. I will share vacation photos and tips on where to eat vegan because I enjoy that too. But I also want to be more real.

To be honest the past 10 months or so have been pretty hard on me. I went through a break up and then getting back together with the love of my life. I went from not being able to eat and feeling like my world was at an end and losing weight to eating so much junk food and comforting myself with processed meals that I have gained back nearly all the weight I lost when I first became vegan.

One of the handful of pics I took on vacation because I felt self-conscious about my weight.

I don’t feel like the perfect ambassador for veganism. I’m not skinny, sometimes I am tired and stressed and I have bags under my eyes from insomnia. I get so anxious from my job that I don’t have the energy to do anything creative and that makes me even more miserable. I went from exercising six days a week and feeling strong to working out every two weeks or so. I stopped working out because I was depressed or maybe I was depressed so I stopped working out. Whatever the case, I’ve decided to get my life back on track. I will cut out the vegan junk food and work out five times a week.

Let’s make this clear: I am not trying to be skinny. I suffered from an eating disorder from my teens until my late 20s. While I don’t restrict or purge anymore, sometimes I still binge – which is not healthy. Focusing on filling my body with more whole foods and dealing with my anxiety will help change those patterns.

I will meditate and be grateful for all I have, instead of wallowing. My goal is to write more and share more, whether one person reads it or 100 people do. So I will start fresh tomorrow, with a log of my food and exercise plans. I will also share what I am doing to better my mental health and my self-care tips. My goal is not to be skinny, but to focus on my health and vitality and treat my body with the love and attention it deserves.

This will be a space to keep me accountable, instead of one where I feel intimidated or not good enough.

xoxo