Saturday, April 23, 2011

Right Now

This past week has been pretty great. Why?

1. The sun has decided to stick around for a little while.
2. I had an amazing time at the Spring Beer & Wine fest. Like fall down drunk amazing.
3. The Blazers just kicked SO MUCH ASS in the 4th quarter, giving us a 6th game in this finals round.
4. Even though I was dehydrated, exhausted and allergy ridden, my run in the sun today was pretty fucking great.

A photo I took at my husband's work when he was not there. He laughs at people that stare at this. Well, I stare at it, so stop laughing, dude!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bridge to Brews, or how the sun made an appearance in Portland.

Yesterday was awesome.
 My second event of the year happened! Bridge to Brews is an 8k/10k course that crosses two bridges and finishes up at Widmer, one of Portland's first breweries (and home to one of the first beers I actually enjoyed, the ubiquitous Hef). The sun decided to reappear for the event, something that I know most of the runners were praying for. It was super cold, but when you have the sun instead of rain, you can't complain!

This was a challenging course. Right after the starting line, you had to climb an intense hill and then follow it up with a long uphill onramp onto one of my favorite bridges, the Fremont Bridge!

The Fremont is a car only bridge, but is opened to pedestrians a couple times during the year. Crossing that bridge has been on my mind a lot lately. I LOVE the view from the car and being able to stop would be heaven. And it was.
 I am a super giddy nerd.

The rest of the course (after the very long downhill portion, weee!) was pretty flat and took the runners through NW Portland and past my favorite tattoo studio. We then got to cross another bridge, the Broadway bridge, another favorite of mine.

That last mile was a tough one for me. My farthest distance before this was 3.7 miles, so my legs were definitely feeling it. But I tried to run as much as I could and beat my previous per mile time by 10 seconds. I am so proud of myself right now. I never thought of myself as an athlete, let alone a runner. It's been a hard journey but crossing the finish line makes it all worth it. Oh, and so does this:
I ran with my friend Libby and new friend MJ. My sister in law also ran this course! She gets huge props, she is deathly afraid of bridges and has been battling some foot problems. She finished barely 9 minutes after me!
After we finished slopping beers all over ourselves (it was COLD and the cups were full!) we decided to get breakfast in NE Portland at a great little cafe called New Deal. They had tofu scramble and I was able to sub veggie sausage for a buttermilk biscuit. I cleaned that plate to its former sparkling white self.
I also wanted to add my finish line photo, because it's so great. I'm working on actually smiling for cameras, and this was the result. I kinda love it.
(thanks to Libby and Karen for the photos!!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kickstartin' and a Birthday

Last week was my first week on the Vegan Kickstart plan and I have to say, it was awesome. The program forced me to prepare food for the rest of the week, ensuring I ate very well and didn't resort to easy things like (vegan) butter noodles and peanut butter from the spoon. Since re-starting Weight Watchers, I have struggled with a lack of points at the end of the day but on the Kickstart I had at least 5 left over each night after dinner! Win!!

For some reason, the past week has produced many a blurry photo from my camera, which upsets me a little. Here is a combo of those plus camera phone photos of the meals from the plan. yaaaaay technology!!

 Hummus sandwich with couscous confetti salad
 Veggie burger with ginormous amount of couscous confetti salad
 Veggie burger with....tortilla chips
Couscous confetti salad with roasted red pepper & carrot soup

Now, it looks like an awful lot of couscous salad. But I just happened to take pictures of the meals that had it! Please note, also, that I'm only showing you some of the stuff for lunch + dinner, my breakfast is always oatmeal. I get all fainty if I break that pattern...

My birthday also happened this last week. I celebrated on Saturday with a bunch of good friends and food. I made these delicious cupcakes (subbing tofu for the eggs), chocolate peanut butter pillows, the Vegan Mouse's spinach artichoke dip and mac 'n' cheeze. There was also a lot of gifted beer and I ended up with three bottles of vodka (including a bottle of Grey Goose, my own personal BMW of vodka). I had an amazing time! Here is the only photographic evidence I have:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A kick to the arse.

A funny thing happens when I do something I'm proud of: I reward myself with food.

That might be ok if it were just once, but nope, I've been rewarding myself for a week now. I have gained a little over a pound in two weeks, which is NOT a bad thing but it's still a little discouraging. (please don't tell me gaining weight is normal, I'm well aware!!)

Every couple of months, PCRM puts out a vegan Kickstart program, a 3 week program designed to help new vegans ease into an awesome and healthy lifestyle and to provide current vegans a "kick" to their current routines. I've decided to participate in April's Kickstart as a plan to get myself back into the habit of eating well and cooking somewhat regularly. I love me some PB & J and vegan mac, but I gotta give my body a break!

Now, one of the hugest misconceptions about veganism is the cost. I can't tell you how many times I hear "it's expensive!" when talking to somebody about my diet. Um, hello, I work one day a week and my husband's work is event based! I never, EVER go out with my friends! I wear my clothes until they're threadbare and scandalous! We're far from rich and we can afford to eat well on about $50 a week, which is still pretty high, in my opinion. In fact, it's the weeks where I'm grabbing stuff like PB & J and mac on a regular basis that it adds up! Today I went and bought the veggies for the first week of the Kickstart program. Here is my list of all the things I need for the week:
Honestly, that pile of veggies totaled up to $16. I still need to buy beans, grains and some spices but all of that can be had at the bulk section of Winco, a local ginormous grocery chain that is mostly cheaper than the regular grocery store (Fred Meyer, Safeway). The trick is buying whole, unprocessed foods. When you start getting into the analogues and "fake" foods, you pay more. Yeah, they taste good, but are they really worth it? I love me some Coconut Bliss, but I only buy it if it's on super sale. Daiya is a nice treat, but it's also just that: a treat. The thing about processed foods (vegan or not) is they have higher levels of sodium and preservatives to make it taste better and last longer but c'mon, that shit isn't good for you.

I plan on sticking to the meal plans PCRM gives me, with some minor changes that I'll detail as I go along. My birthday is on Wednesday, but I'm not celebrating until Saturday so I'm taking that as a free day. I'm also running Bridges to Brews on April 17th and you'd better believe I'm drinking my two beers at the end. Other than that, though, I'll stick it through and I feel good about the decision to participate!

If anyone else is interested in trying it out, here is the link:  21-Day Vegan Kickstart!