WIAW: The Lunchbox Edition

Oooh!

Guess what! I remember to take pics of all of my meals after writing it on my to-do list everyday for like 2 weeks… what’s the use of a to-do list if you never use it to remember “to-do” anything?!

Actually, I make very good use of my lists I just never look at them before 7:30 am so my breakfast is usually a distant memory by then. I had so much fun doing my first WIAW post about a typical home-office day I wanted to do one for a day on site. Not to mention I totally dropped the ball on Peas & Crayons’ link up last time. Maybe I should add “link up” to my to-do list today.. hmm..

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The majority of the time I have to pack a lunch to keep me fueled from the time I leave the house at 7:15 am (5:30 if I’m hitting the gym – eek!) and return at 6-7 pm, depending on what time I get to the gym after work.

I always eat breakfast at home because my belly is growling when my feet hit the floor then I’m dining on the road until dinner. Here’s a look into what I ate this Monday while on the job:

Breakfast: My first “oats in the bottom of a nut butter jar” (AMAZING)
~1.5 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 cup cooked oats, 1 tsp cinnamon,
1 tbsp maple syrup, handful blueberries

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Morning Snack:
Peppermint Stick LUNA bar + Cara Cara Orange

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Lunch: Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
huge handful spinach, 1/4 cucumber, few grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup buffalo cauliflower,
1/2 cup green garbanzo beans + 1 tbsp Goddess Dressing (watered down)

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Afternoon Snack: Veg+Hummus
1/2 cup baby carrots, 1/2 cup broccoli + 2 tbsp hummus
(oops, almost didn’t get a pic…)

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Pre-gym: The ushe 😉
Hey, if it ain’t broke…

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Dinner: Buffalo Cauliflower Tortilla Pizza
1 brown rice tortilla, 1/3 cup pizza sauce, handful spinach, few mushrooms,
1/2 tomato, 1/2 cup buffalo cauli, heaping 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella + side garden salad

I made a batch of the cauliflower on the weekend… don’t judge 😉

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Evening Snack: Yogurt bowl + homemade water kefir
1/2 cup So Delicious coconut yogurt, 1/2 tbsp almond butter,
2 tbsp brown rice crisp cereal, 1/4 cup blueberries

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Along with 3-4 litres of water, that’s a wrap!

In case you’re wondering, which I’m all of the non-veggies are, my total protein intake for the day was 68 g. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to do a little experimenting and I’m loving it!

It’s recommended to get 9-10% of your daily calorie intake from protein and I average about 12%. Check out this post for more details on your true protein requirements 🙂

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Click here to see what other bloggers are chowing down on this week!

Did you eat anything interesting this week?
What’s the ushe in your lunchbox?

Liz xo

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8 Chocolatey Love Day Recipes <3

Happy Valentine’s Day!:)

I totally love this day!! Ever since I was a little girl and my very first Valentine was my mom, she always did something special for breakfast and had some chocolates & a little gift waiting for me when I woke up. You don’t need extravagant plans with a significant other to spread love today. Don’t ruin the fun by boycotting Valentine’s Day just because it’s “a day to promote consumerism”.

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Here’s what I had to say about the day of love on my Facebook today:

I don’t care that Valentine’s Day is a made up, commercialized Hallmark holiday. Guess what? So is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day, etc. Would you boycott Mother’s Day too…? Why can’t we take one day to drop our ordinary routines and do something extra special with someone (anyone!) we love? 

You have to make your own happiness. Why not just accept this day as an excuse to dine out, eat chocolate for breakfast, and give someone a pretty card? You don’t need to spend a tonne of money or do something extraordinary. Just be happy. Wear red. Eat candy. Say I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day to ALL of my amazing family & friends. I can’t name everyone but you know who you are ♥♥♥

I hope you all agree 🙂

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Something I do have to say about traditional Valentine’s Day gifts is that those heart shaped boxes of chocolates are usually pretttty unhealthy. Now, I know a day like today isn’t about being “healthy” but I because I feel so strongly about food and how it fuels out bodies, our lives, I prefer to say I love you with homemade, plant-based treats as much as possible.

I can’t feel good about saying “I love you, but here’s a bag of high fructose corn syrup that has been linked to diabetes, heart problems, and other health concerns”. Not at all…

Here’s a little compilation of some sweet treats you can feel good about this Valentine’s Day!

8 Chocolatey Love Day Recipes ❤

Chocolate Rice Crispy Squares via Georgia Trying Something New (from The Kind Food Diet)

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My FAVOURITE Peanut Better Balls from Oh She Glows

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Crockpot Chocolate Almond Bark from Hol-Fit

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Basic Chocolate Cupcakes via Lizzie Fit (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World)

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Double Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream from Hummusapien

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For the single ladies: Healthy Birthday Valentine’s Day Cupcake for One from Lizzie Fit

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Basic Chocolate Covered Strawberries (or pretzels, orange slices, etc.)

Melt some dark chocolate in a pot with a little coconut oil. Dip your strawberries or other fruit/pretezels in the chocolate then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until set then enjoy 🙂

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Three-Ingredient Cookies from Skinny Taste

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More great round-ups can be found all over the blogosphere today! I suggest checking out Hummusapien and Oh She Glows for desserts and Making Thyme for Health and I Heart Vegetables for some vegan vegetarian dinner ideas.

What are you doing to spread love this Valentine’s Day?

Will you be making some heart-healthy treats? 

Happy Love Day Ya’ll ❤

Liz xo

WIAW: So, what DO you eat?

Since going veg, I get asked all the time: What DO you eat?

Reaching my current lifestyle has been a slow process. I’ve made small but significant changes over the past 6 years and I was a very healthy eater before going completely plant-based last spring. The only major difference between then and now  is that I don’t eat any of the small amounts of chicken and fish I used to eat, I replaced my dairy products with dairy-free alternatives (in moderation) – Daiya, So Delicious, Tofutti, etc. – and I cut out eggs.

I probably eat a wider variety of foods than the average person, I definitely don’t have a problem getting enough calories, and I certainly have my fair share of sweet & savoury treats.

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There’s just something about the words plant-based and vegan that make people think you’re restricting yourself. The truth is that this lifestyle has been just the opposite, introducing me to a whole new world of food, health, & wellness possibilities!

Though it sometimes surprises me to be asked, “what DO I eat?”, a few years ago I would have asked my future-self the same question. SO, regardless of being a veg-head, what do I eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet to maintain my weight and feel good in my skin?

What gives me the energy to get through my crazy week of work, exercise, blogging, cooking, socializing, and bachelor watching?!

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I’ve been a huge fan of What I Ate Wednesday posts from the bloggers I regularly follow. I love knowing what my inspirations eat on a daily basis when they aren’t posting delicious recipes & product reviews. Here is my very first WIAW post, brought to you by my last home-office Friday:

Breakfast: Pumpkin Oats
1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup pure pumpkin, 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
topped with 2 tbsp hemp granola, 1/2 tbsp almond butter & a little almond milk

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Mid-morning snack: banana + protein drink
1 scoop chocolate Sunwarrior, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 cup almond milk

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Lunch: Cafe Loka date with my boy
Vegan Your Day: Scrambled tofu w/ potatoes, veggies & spices w/ toast & side salad
black bean brownie for dessert (covered in almond butter when I got home ;).. )

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Afternoon snacks:
Almond Joy Energy Balls
handful of baby carrots + 2 tbsp hummus

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Dinner: The Big Vegan Bowl
greens topped w/ carrot, tomato, quinoa, avocado, hummus, & roasted chickpeas & sweet potato

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Evening Snack:
DIY water kefir & a {vegan} Pumpkin Quinoa Muffin

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So there you have it! A day of simple, healthy plant-based eats, at home & at a restaurant (for more tips on eating out, check out my post on Vegging Out at Conventional Restaurants).

What are some healthy weekday eats you’ve been into lately??

Liz xo

Black Is The New Brown {Rice}

Hey friends 🙂

How’s your week going so far? Have you done something to get moving today? How about yesterday?

As part of our #JumpstartJanuary challenge, Georgia and I got together last night for a Hatha Yoga class from our friend Rachel at the YMCA. Afterwards, we met up with Kaylee and took over one of the private workout rooms to totally kick each others butts with a quick circuit.

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Georgia says that’s a fake smile because I made her do burpees… muahaha >:)

As much as I am loving my 30 day yoga challenge, I still want to keep up with my weight-training and HIIT. Yes hot yoga is challenging and yes I’ve been sore pretty much everyday but I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained at the gym.

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The purpose of JSJ is not to workout everyday, its to do something to MOVE everyday. The longer you sit, the slower your metabolism, even if you exercise later! The Lean Green Bean posted an amazing list of mini-routines to “Move for 5” this week. Brittany @ My Own Balance is also posting tips to help you #JumpstartJanuary all month long!

Now onto some foodie fun…

Food for Life recently contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing their new Black Rice Tortillas. I jumped at the opportunity since this is my first food product review on the blog! I love Food for Life’s products, especially their Ezekial bread and brown rice tortillas.

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The black rice tortillas are vegan, gluten-free, and yeast-free but what really sparked my interest was in the product details on their website:

“Many don’t know this, but black rice rivals and often exceeds some of the most notable antioxidant rich foods. Plus it’s loaded with natural fiber – A great healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas.” 

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Since we made two batches of Buffalo Cauliflower last weekend (yes, I have an addiction), Ryan suggested I make buffalo cauliflower wraps with the tortillas. Perfect.

I topped the tortillas with sauteed red pepper & onion, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and buffalo cauliflower. I enjoyed one wrap with a side salad for dinner and packed the other for the next day’s lunch!

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So what did I think?

Well… I really, really love the brown rice tortillas. I enjoyed the black rice version but I didn’t love them quite as much. The texture was a little tough but this could be due to thawing then re-freezing during transit time. They were, however, very malleable and didn’t crack or break when rolling into wraps. Sometimes this happens with gluten-free tortillas and it always happens with whole wheat pitas, grrr!

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I had a feeling that I might enjoys these most as baked pitas triangles as a side or an appetizer, dipped in salsa or hummus. We had my all-time favourite Mexican Lettuce Wraps for a quick dinner on Thursday night so I baked up a few pitas for a side. I loved them like this!

Overall, it was nice to try something different than my usual Ezekial  or brown rice fare but I think I still prefer brown to black rice.

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So is black the new brown rice? I’d say it depends on the person. This chick will probably be sticking to the original 😉

Big thanks to Food for Life for the opportunity to review their product! If you have any questions about any of their products you can check out foodforlife.com or contact them for more information.

Are you a fan of Food for Life products?

Have you tried the new Black Rice Tortillas?

Liz xo

*Food for Life supplied me with tortillas but I was not compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Holiday Recipe Round-Up

Happy Holidays 🙂

As much as I enjoy sharing my own healthy recipes, I love sharing recipes from other bloggers that inspire me. Even before having a blog of my own, I loved recreating recipes & sharing my favourites with friends via email, pen & paper, or Facebook.

Here’s a list of must-try recipes I’ve been pinning & printing over the holiday season.

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1. “Christmas Tree” Veggie Plate with Hummus from Better Recipes

What an easy, healthy option to have for guests to snack on before dinner. I love creamy dips & bite sized h’ors doeuvres but its nice to have some lighter fare to avoid filling up before the meal.

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2. Holiday Meatless Loaf by Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen

This is one I plan on making for Christmas dinner. I love a plate full of delicious sides but am looking forward to having a special dish to look forward to when everyone else is swooning over the turkey.

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3. Dad’s Vegan Wild Rice, Cranberry, & Pine Nut Stuffing (Gluten-Free Option) by Vedged Out

Stuffing has always been my favourite part of holiday dinner (followed by sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce & dessert of course). I’ve always been a fan of stove top but since I’ve become much more health conscious over the past year, I’m digging the homemade fare.

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4. Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bites by The Hummusapien

I needed a quick snack to take on the road for work and I wanted a change from my usual protein bar recipes. This popped up on my Facebook one day and I was sold. Festive and healthy? Count me in!

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5. Gingerbread Amazeballs by The Fitnessista

I have always loved Gina’s Amazeballs, especially the original chocolate chip, so I was super excited when she posted a holiday version. Usually these are rolled into balls, hence the name, but I love the cookie cutting option 🙂

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6. Gingerbread Breakfast Cookie by Clean Eating Veggie Girl

A quick, easy & delicious way to wake up. Make this festive oatmeal cookie the night before to save some time in your busy day of shopping, wrapping & socializing 😉

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7. Peanut “Better” Balls by Oh She Glows

Wow… wordless. I made these for our Christmas Eve treat to snack on with our egg(less) nog & holiday movies. I made a batch a week in advance and froze them…. then I made a second batch, if you know what I’m sayin 😉

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8. Chocolate Peppermint Bark by Vegan in the Freezer

I saw so many boxes of peppermint bark in the stores this season and could only wish for a vegan version. Here is the answer to my prayers! I’d like try some different modifications with nuts & dried fruit too.

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9. Pomegranate Spritzers by Making Thyme for Health

I love cocktails in fancy glasses with garnish (Appletini, mom?) but I don’t love the excess sugar & calories. This year I’ll be filling our martini glasses with this light cranberry cocktail to cheers guilt-free 😉

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10. Vegan Eggless Nog by Liber Abyss

This is a quick & easy alternative to the smoothie versions I’ve been seeing, like mine, which require blending fruit or nuts. I’m sure it would be just as delicious with almond milk & rum substitutions.

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11. Nicer Krispie Squares by Dreena Burton 

Every year at our Christmas cookie bake, there is a huge demand for rice krispie squares. These were never my favourite but I do aim to please so I have this recipe bookmarked in my Eat, Drink & Be Vegan cookbook. I think it might be a little too pricey for mass producing on cookie day but I will be keeping them in mind 😉

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For more vegan treat love, check out Dreena Burton’s post, The 12 Cookie of Christmas. I also recommend this 2013 Vegan Holiday Recipe Roundup from Choosing Raw.

What holiday recipes caught your attention season?

Do you contribute a healthier option to dinners & parties?

Liz xo

My Holiday Vacation Plan of Attack

Good Morning!

Tomorrow is my last day of work before my Christmas vacation. I am super excited because
1. I’ve been saving up my vacation days all year for this
2. I love visiting our families and haven’t been “home” since last Christmas
3. I just love Christmas

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For anyone who knows me, you know I’m a planner. I always have lists & alarms set in my phone. It keeps me from stressing when everything I need to do is right there on paper. I once heard this practice called “brain dumping” but I don’t think I’ll be adopting that term… lol

So of course I looked into the weeks ahead and made a tentative game plan to keep my health & fitness in check during my holidays. Yes I will have some wine & {vegan} sweets, and yes I will relax and enjoy myself. However, I cannot do those things and truly enjoy them unless I know I’ve been treating my body right beforehand.

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We will be spending the first week of holidays in my bf’s hometown so I will be working out at the local YMCA. The plan is to always have a healthy breakfast, lunch, & snacks to allow flexibility at dinner & in the evenings.

If you’ve read The One Thing You Need for a Healthy Holiday Season you know how I approach dinners & parties, so when I mention my “food” plan, I’m sharing what foods I will be treating myself to or what I will contribute to dinners to be sure there’s at least one healthier, vegan option.

Saturday – Travel day

  • Food – Pack healthy snacks & meals for the road:
  • Fitness – OFF for travel

Sunday – Annual Family Christmas Cookie Bake 

  • Food – Taking the advice of Victoria to not snack while baking. I’m bringing recipes from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan and definitely enjoying a few when the baking is done!
  • Fitness – Morning booty workout via Ashlee

Monday – Regular day 

Tuesday – Christmas Eve

Wednesday – CHRISTMAS DAY!

Thursday – Boxing Day

  • Food- Regular eats
  • Fitness- Gym is closed; outdoor run.

Friday – Travel day to Cape Breton

…and we start all over again for week 2. Stay tuned for next week’s plan of attack on food & fitness!

Are you planning your indulgences wisely?

Will you schedule in your workouts or can you successfully play it by ear? 

Liz xo

My Top 10 Favourite Healthy Cooking Tools

Hey friends 🙂

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! It was so nice to get home after traveling for the entire week. I did not feel like cooking so we went to Nirvana for dinner – my favourite! I had sweet potato & chickpea curry on quinoa and Ryan had the pizza.

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I was sure to get two super sweaty workouts in this weekend since my fitness is a bit sporadic when I’m on the road. It felt good to get a butt kicking BodyAttack in on Friday evening.

We had our team Christmas party for work in Saturday so I had another excuse to make my spinach & artichoke dip. Some of the wives are veggies too so our potluck was full of delicious, healthy, vegan options. Even one of the non-veg guys brought a vegan chocolate cake. It was approved & devoured by all 😉

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Today I am super excited to be guest posting over at Healthy Living Blogs as part of their December Healthy Living Tuesday features. Healthy Living Blogs aims to support the community of the healthy living blog world and its an excellent site for readers & bloggers alike to connect with new blogs & find new inspiration.

This month’s topic is “favourite healthy cooking tools” and you can read about my top 10 must-have kitchen gadgets here 🙂

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And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the winner of the Vega giveaway is:

Amanda Kilburn! 

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I will be contacting you via Facebook today and mailing your prize out this week! Thank you to everyone who entered & liked the Facebook page. I love inspiring people to live a more fit & healthy lifestyle & I am constantly inspired by others along the way.

Have a lovely week 🙂

Liz xo