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Travel Log: All day of travel to reach Jakarta

I know I haven’t blogged much lately. Things have been busy to say the least. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Portland VegFest where I was the emcee for the new Fitness stage. It was the first time they offered fitness classes and it was a huge success! I gave a demo on how to use a resistance band and different exercises for all the muscle groups. It was my first time leading a fitness demo and it was more difficult than I imagined it would be. I’ve been speaking and teaching cooking classes for 10 years but the fitness thing is all very new. It’s hard to articulate what you are doing with your body into words haha!

badassveganJakarta

I returned on Monday, did laundry, finished packing, paid rent, and tied up all loose ends for my 7 week excursion to Indonesia and Australia. If you didn’t know already I’ve come to visit my friend Lori (who is an amazing personal trainer and food coach) in Jakarta and she is helping me lead the retreat in Bali on the 18th. We’ll be spending the next week planning the food, cooking classes, and fitness talks for the retreat. All while fitting in time for the gym, exploring, getting massages, and trying out some restaurants of course.

When I arrived she had these cute presents on my bed and I brought her things from Texas like coffee, Thunderbird bars, and my new favorite protein powder, NuZest. I got in at 11:30 pm and lost a day while traveling. After I got home from Portland I started changing my sleep schedule over to Indonesian time so when I arrived I wouldn’t have jet lag. I took a few cat naps throughout the first day here and generally feeling pretty awesome! But it is an adjustment. I haven’t been sleeping through the night yet.

LoriFlexI still managed a good gym day with Lori on Friday (we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for Flex Friday!) and on Saturday we went to the Organic, Green, & Healthy Expo, which was in it’s 4th year! It’s awesome to see that people in Indonesia care about important matters like organic farming and sustainability. I got to see Simone of The Wellness Warung do a raw food uncooking demo, we tried some delicious food and samples, and then went to the National Museum for a cultural experience.

Today, Sunday here, we are just chilling and working at home because it’s a huge Muslim holiday where they slaughter animals. We can hear their squeals from the nearby mosque and it’s extremely sad. We don’t plan to leave the house today.

I will document my travels here just like I did when I went to Asia 3 years ago. If you ever want to find the travel post you can use the search box in the right sidebar and search “travel log”.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and start of fall! If you are in Sydney I’ll be speaking at the Cruelty-free Festival on October 26th. Hope to see you there!

 

Posted on 10/04/2014 | Comments Off

Cool articles for you to read…

I’m going to share some cool articles for you to read…since I’ve been completely slacking on updating my blog.

You know I love to write. You know I have soooo much amazing content I want to share with you. But finding time to fit it all in has always been a challenge for me. You’ll find me sharing more easily and freely on Facebook, Twitter, and (my new favorite) Instagram because it only requires a short line or two to connect with you. So do make your way to those three places if we aren’t already connected there.

indo/australia map

For those of you who would like to see more content on my blog, things will pick up in October while I’m relaxing in Indonesia! I think most of you know that I will be there for about a month and now a few weeks in Australia has been added to the trip. If you live anywhere in Australia please let me know so we can meet-up!! Fingers crossed I hear back from the Melbourne VegFest where I hope to speak but if not I will see you there anyways!

So I leave in less than a month and I’m working extra days as a substitute teacher to save up money. Along with client check-ins and getting issue three of Definition Magazine ready to launch on the 17th, there’s no time for blogging interesting stuff. So today I will share with you some really badass articles that other people took the time to write!

Let me know what you think of these. I would love to have a conversation in the comments about these very important topics!

10 Mistakes Women Make With Diets
First, do you need to be on a “diet”. No. Just eat healthy and don’t fall into the trap of these mistakes.

1200 Calories
Do you need to eat only 1200 calories a day to meet your goals? No. That is not a magical number and is far too few calories unless you are laid up in bed all day. Eat the food!!

An Open Letter to Everyone Who Has Told Women “Don’t Get Too Muscular”
As someone who has first hand experience being told by a man “but don’t get too big” I can tell you that it’s up to YOU what you do with your body. If you want to be strong and have muscles then go for it! Who cares what other people think!

10 Questions: An Interview with Christy Morgan of The Blissful & Fit Chef
Read all about how I started my fitness journey, my food philosophy, and more!

Ranch Salad with Red Potatoes and Smoky Chickpeas
A client brought this salad and dressing to my attention as another way to use avocado. I’m so making this!

Homemade Vegan Buffalo Wings (“Multivores” in the kitchen)
Vegan buffalo wings, no problem! I know in Texas, at least, many new vegans miss their beloved wings. This recipe should do the trick!

Thoughts?

I’m taking a limited number of clients for fitness and nutrition programs over the next month before I head to Indonesia. I help regular people meet their goals (I do not do contest prep). I will be doing client check-ins of course while I’m away. Beauty of the internet!

Check out my newly started testimonial page here.

Upcoming Events: Who’s coming to Portland VegFest? I will see you on the Fitness stage!

Posted on 09/04/2014 | Comments Off

Updated Raw Chocolate Mousse

Things have been so crazy busy with my business but I wanted to say HI and give you an updated version of the mousse I’ve been eating like almost every night. I’ve updated my already delicious raw avocado chocolate mousse that I posted years ago in 2010 by throwing in some protein powder and only sweetening it with dates. As a bodybuilder I like sneaking in extra protein wherever I can because protein really isn’t something you should blow off as a vegan. Especially if you want to build/maintain muscle mass.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with the PlantBuilt team again (can you believe it’s been a year since I did that crazy thing of competing in a bikini competition??). I took a lot of photos of the amazing female athletes for the next issue of Definition Magazine. It’s going to be epic and we are highlighting powerlifters! Be sure to subscribe to get Issue Two which is all about vegan CrossFit athletes! The whole PlantBuilt team dominated the competition and I’m so very proud of them!

Now onto the dessert! Thank you Emma from Coconut and Berries for this beautiful photo of the mousse. She made it not look like a pile of you know what like my photo! She’s got some great stuff on her blog and the most beautiful photography so check her out!

Choc Protein Mousse- Blissful Chef

Raw Chocolate Protein Mousse
Makes about 4 servings

2 medium avocados, pitted
About 14 dates, pitted, and soaked for 20 minutes with water to cover
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use PlantFusion)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or pinch vanilla bean paste)
Cinnamon, as desired (if you want to try it spicy add a dash of cayenne)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients (not date soaking liquid) and blend into smooth and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl a few times to incorporate all the ingredients. If you need it sweeter blend in the date soaking liquid a little bit at a time until it’s as sweet as you like it.

Hope you like it!

Pre-Workout SupplementIn other news, people are always asking me what kind of supplements I use and list is very short and all of them are performance based. I’m all for appropriate supplementation; don’t take things you don’t need! To get me revving to go in the morning for a workout this is the only “pre-workout” I use. It’s amazing, clean, vegan, and awesome.

It’s not cheap, but it’s totally worth it because there is nothing as clean on the market. It’s certified vegan. Suggested serving size is 2 scoops but I only need one scoop so it lasts longer. Totally worth it.

Click on the photo to learn more! That is an affiliate link, which gives me a small kickback when you buy this awesome product. You’ll only find affiliates for companies I believe in and products I actually use. Purchases made through my affiliates allow me to continue giving you free content each week! So thank you!

Posted on 07/30/2014 | 2 Comments

My First Vegetarian Summerfest – An Uplifting Experience

I owe you a recap of the Vegetarian Summerfest conference I attended and spoke at last week. To say it was a blast is an understatement! This was their 40th anniversary and I would be lying if I haven’t wanted to attend this event for the last 8 years it’s been on my radar. When I got the call to come do a cooking demo I jumped at the chance! Finally, I got to go to the infamous Summerfest.

summerfest ladies

I felt so much positive energy the entire time. Everyone was so incredibly nice, uplifting, freely throwing around compliments, I felt no judgement even though there were all kinds of eaters present. I especially felt a lot of camaraderie with my fellow female speakers most of which I have known for years, but also met some new faces! Everyone supported each other. After my cooking demo, the other chefs were munching on my food back in the kitchen and raving about it. After coming home and getting back to “reality” the realization hit me that I’ve longed for that connection and closeness with my peers. Basically, the last year and a half I took off from speaking engagements to focus on my fitness stuff. I was a little nervous going into this, having never spoke or attended Summerfest. I am pleased to say after giving a 2 hour cooking demo I’ve still got it and everyone loved the recipes I made. It felt amazing to be teaching again! This time with sexy guns ;) Big thank you to the amazing cooking demo staff and volunteers that made it all possible!

summerfest-demo

This event reminded me how much I love traveling, connecting with like-minded people, and showing people how darn tasty vegan food can be. Getting to rub elbows with the movers and shakers of the vegan/plant-based world is always a plus. And I always learn something new during the classes even though I’ve been at this vegan thing for 12+ years. I made new friends and got to eat some of the most amazing food prepared by Mark from Vegan Fusion. Thanks to all the kitchen staff and chefs for feeding our bellies! Each meal had gluten-free, oil-free, and raw options available and I dabbled in all of them. Let’s just say the sugar cleanse went down the drain as I ate desserts at every meal. Oops! It’s hard to reset when it’s right there for the taking!

summerfestrecap

If you have kids they has a special camp and did this awesome musical performance. My ankle was killing me most the conference so the only exercise I got was a little hula hooping and I used the fitness center once for some lifting. Then the last night of the conference we danced till the wee hours and thankfully some advil helped make that possible. I didn’t want it to end, but I’m so thankful for the time I had there and the new friends I made. Many thanks to all the NAVS staff and volunteers who worked many long days and nights on this truly special conference. I feel like part of the family now!

If you ever get a chance to go to Vegetarian Summerfest I highly recommend it! There really was too much awesomeness for me to go into here so you should check it out for yourself!

Posted on 07/11/2014 | 1 Comment

Why the numbers don’t mean a thing & the method to my madness

Numbers. I weigh this much. My body fat is this much. I lost this much weight or this percent body fat in x number of weeks. People get hung up on these numbers like they actually mean something. Women get so obsessed they go on a binge eating downward spiral or a crazy restricted 1200 calorie diet because of a number they see on the scale. We have to stop this nonsense!

The new “Fitspiration” movement is not helping women be any less obsessive. It’s a big pet-peeve when personal trainers and physique competitors talk about their numbers or their clients numbers all the time like they mean something. For the average person we do not need to dwell on the numbers. And they can be triggers for those who have disordered eating patterns or an obsessive nature. It’s important that trainers and coaches steer their clients into how they feel rather than how they look and use other methods to track progress than just the number on the scale. I wish physique competitors would stop telling average people what they do while getting ready for a competition because that isn’t what the average person should be doing.

We’ve talked many times about how the scale is not a good indicator of health and wellness. The photo below brings this to light.

145lbsWomen

The only thing we know about the women above is that they weigh 154 pounds at this given moment that the photo was taken (because as soon as they eat or exercise that number will change slightly). All these women have different body fat percentages. You can tell that by looking at them, but you can’t tell at all how healthy they are from this photo. You can’t tell if they have heart disease or some other serious health condition or if they even exercise. You can’t tell who is vegan.

A BMI chart will tell each of these women based on their height and weight if they are at a “healthy” weight. But BMI charts don’t tell the whole story. A recent study showed that muscle mass was a better indicator of health and longevity than BMI. This isn’t surprising since we know that resistance training (coupled with a plant-based diet) is the best for bone health. So have you started lifting yet?

If you just want to lose weight on the scale that’s pretty easy and can even be done without exercise (gasp!). Many people experience that when switching over to a plant-based diet. But you will not get the shape that you want, will have loose skin depending on how much weight you want to lose, and you will be unhappy having to restrict calories and you may have been told to do tons of cardio. By lifting weights and building muscle you can literally transform your body, eat more calories, and spend less time in the gym. It’s a total win/win!

Progress_1Year2

Above is my own 1 year progress. Guess what?! I weigh the exact same in both photos but with about 5-7% difference in body fat. That’s because I put on muscle and muscle is more dense and heavier than the body fat. I took 8 months bulking or building muscle mass and when I went to lean out (after putting on 8 lbs) I didn’t have to restrict my calories under maintenance or do tons of cardio. These are the kind of results you want. It’s best to take your time, slow and steady rather than just restricting to lose weight on the scale. When I prepared for my first bikini competition I worked my butt off, literally, to drop body fat fast and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. After that competition I decided I didn’t want to just be skinny or thin but wanted more muscle. And it was the best decision I ever made for my health and for my physique.

Since I wanted muscle that shows it took time. If you are wanting to look fit and “toned” it might not take as much time (you won’t need to “bulk”) and your program will look different than mine. That is one reason why I don’t share the very specifics of what I’m doing because every single body is different and everyone has different goals. If we work together one-on-one I develop a program just for you that takes out all the guesswork on what you need to do to reach your goals. One of the great things about having a trainer that has worked with different people of all ages and different body types! I don’t work with competitors. I work with everyday people who want to turn their health around. I will always encourage my clients to focus on building muscle over losing weight on the scale. And we can manipulate what that will look like based on your program. So if you don’t want to be as muscular as me that’s totally fine. You still will get resistance training in your program because that will help you reach whatever goal you have!

Many of my clients do not lose weight during their first 16 week program with me (or they lose a lot at first and then it becomes more gradual). There is a method to my madness! We first spend time building muscle and strength. Keep in mind when you start weight lifting your muscles start to build but also retain water. That shows up on the scale. When we leave the scale out of it and focus on building a great foundation it will work for you 24/7. And gaining strength is the most empowering feeling in the world! I know this can be frustrating and they might see other people’s progress and compare it to theirs, but I promise that slow and steady progress is not only better for the body and mind it’s better for long-term maintenance.

Aaron_8week_BeforeAfter

Then I have clients who want to put on weight and mass instead of lose weight. This process does require us to look at the numbers a bit more so we are eating enough calories and making progress in the other direction. Aaron, for example, has been kicking ass at the program I designed for him. It was a great challenge for me and him as he has always been the “skinny guy” and has never been able to put on and hold onto muscle even with years of training. In only 8 short weeks he has put on 15 pounds (with very little fat gain), is lifting heavier than he did in college and we are both elated about his progress. He said in previous years it would have taken him at least 6 months to put on that much weight. We got his nutrition on track and that has made all the difference along with a fitness program tailored to him and his needs. Put in the work and get results!

When I build your program I’m thinking about your long-term health and wellness. As we check in each 4 weeks and I watch your transformation, I’m planning what your program will look like as we move forward to get you the results you want. Nothing happens overnight. And as I already explained in this blog, the results you get might not be what you thought they “should” be. Getting in shape takes time and is a journey. Enjoy it every step of the way!

The gist of this post is to move away from a focus on just the numbers. I know it can be difficult but throw away the scale. Love your body. Feel it’s strength. It’s you versus you.

 

Posted on 06/27/2014 | 8 Comments

Day 10 Sugar Cleanse – Will you keep going?

Today we embark on the last day of our 10-Day Sugar Cleanse! I must say it was easier than I thought and I want to continue. I’m thinking of adding an unprocessed challenge on top of it to really give my body a chance to reset!

So how are you doing? Easier than you thought? Will you keep going?

For all of you who joined us during this cleanse I’d like to offer you $25 off my 28-day Wellness Reboot program. If you want to really take your health and fitness to the next level this is the program for you! It’s the most comprehensive plant-based program available and includes a full 28 day meal plan, cooking videos, and more. For more details on the program and to watch a video about it visit this page.

Use the coupon code SHARETHELOVE when you register. 

Definition_shoot_twists

If you are really serious about taking your health and fitness to the next level join my 16- Week Personalized Fitness Program (with or without meal plan). You’ve probably seen me post many testimonials to my Facebook page and you can find some at the bottom of this page with more details on what is included in my 16-week program.

Sign up now to work with me and change your life! Let me know if you have any questions! Discounts are valid until July 8th! It’s never too late to get your health on track!

Posted on 06/24/2014 | Comments Off

Day 6 Sugar Cleanse – Over the hump and feeling good

I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop that let’s me keep my unsweetened soy milk in their fridge and I have vegan donuts staring me in the face. I can honestly say I do not want them. Day 6 and my body has officially stopped wanting and craving sugar.

And I’ve decided that I don’t ever want to get hooked on the stuff again.

The whole reason for a simple sugar cleanse that didn’t have any other serious restrictions was to show you how easy it is to give up one thing and help you see how that one thing could change your whole life. What we are doing is sustainable. You hopefully will have no desire to binge after the cleanse, which is what most people do with other “cleanses”. I’ve gotten some slack from a few people, “You are eating corn chips on a cleanse?” and so on but I believe in moderation when it comes to organic snack food and it works for me. What doesn’t work for me is pastries, scones, cupcakes, and other treats with sugar in moderation. It’s that addictive. I personally can be happy with one treat a week or even every two weeks but if I start down a path to having it every day I’m screwed. And that’s what happened around my birthday last month. Hence the need for a sugar cleanse.

My hope is after the 10 days you will keep going!

Here is a fun circuit I did last week. Ever since I sprained my ankle I haven’t been able to train heavy or do serious cardio so I’ve switched over to circuit training to increase my intensity and burn some calories. It’s like cardio for me. Have fun with it!

Full Body Circuit (timed)

circuitworkout6 exercises, 6 rounds, 45 seconds on for each exercise (instead of rep counting), 10 seconds to transition to the next, and 1-2 minute break after you complete the circuit. Where you see two exercises I did 3 sets of each. As always pick the appropriate weight for you. This is a high repetition circuit so you will need lighter weights than you would normally use for a 8-10 rep range.

1. Bench Step-ups
2. Bicep curls/Tricep Dips off bench
3. Bosu Ball Bridge Pulses
4. Russian Twists/Weighted Sit-ups
5. Overhead Shoulder Press/Alternating Front Raises
6. Sumo Squats
(I used two 15lb dumbbells for leg stuff, two 7.5lb dumbbells for arm stuff, one 15lb dumbbell for the sit-ups)

Don’t forget to move your body on this cleanse! I know the first half you were probably dragging and didn’t want to do a thing but now is the time to get out there and make it count!

How are you feeling? Ready to conquer the world?

Posted on 06/20/2014 | Comments Off

Day 4 Sugar Cleanse – Smoky Chili Beans

We are in Day 4 of the 10-Day Sugar Cleanse. How are you doing? Yesterday I was a bit moody, dragging in energy, and quite clumsy as I dropped my favorite VVC tea mug on the ground. Last night my sleep was crazy! Lots of tossing and turning and waking up. But this morning I woke up feeling refreshed. I think I’m over the hump. It’s usually at day 4 or 5 when things level out and I don’t actually have cravings or loopiness anymore.

I thought I would give up coffee during the cleanse because my usual morning habit including going to one of three of my favorite coffee shops to get a latte or americano with a taco. There isn’t a coffee shop in town that has non-dairy milk sans sugar! Then I realized I could probably take my own unsweetened soy or almond milk and get them to make me a latte with that. One coffeeshop obliged and actually kept the carton in their fridge for me. One this morning did not, but I was able to use my own milk in an americano. So it doesn’t hurt to take your own milk and see what their policy is on that! I’m now “that” person. And I will continue bringing my own milk even after the sugar cleanse. If I can prevent the sugar from sneaking in my diet I will do my best.

tacosalad

I made the most epic and delicious taco salad I’ve ever had last night. And it literally took 10 minutes to throw together because I had the beans and quinoa already cooked in the fridge! That’s the beauty of prepping some staples at the beginning of the week.

For the red quinoa, I sauteed it in a pan with dashes of cumin, chili powder, nutritional yeast, cayenne, and apple cider vinegar. My beans were already made and this is hands-down my favorite way to season pinto beans. They are rich and flavorful without any harmful ingredients!

Chopped up some romaine, tomato, cilantro, and avocado, grabbed some tortillas chips and salsa and had a taco salad in my face in record time. Give it a try. From the moans that came from both my dinner guest and myself you won’t be disappointed.

Smoky Chili Beans
Makes 2 to 3 servings

1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, washed and drained
1/3 cup onion, diced
~ 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
Dash cinnamon
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Add onion, beans, 1/2 cup water, tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes with the lid on stirring occasionally. Remove lid and continue to simmer until most the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Posted on 06/18/2014 | 1 Comment

Lemon Tahini Dressing – A Frequent Dressing of Mine

Day 2. Sugar Cleanse. How are you doing? I feel pretty darn good. I had a pretty simple day 1; big smoothie for breakfast, made my raw chocolate mousse (sweetened with dates) topped with strawberries, Amy’s low sodium soup for lunch while I prepped my meals for the week, and this delicious plate for dinner (followed by a litte more chocolate mousse!). I took off from the gym but plan to go today for some lifting and a spinning class.

sugarcleansedinner

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite dressings to put on greens. This is one of my most refreshing, zesty salad dressings. Although it has no oil, it does use tahini to get a rich creamy texture. Tahini is ground sesame seed paste and is perfect to add a little oomph to dressings and sauces. Sesames seeds have more absorbable calcium that any other food so enjoy them.

I normally use maple syrup but for the sugar cleanse I gave it a try with dates. If you soak them for a few hours it is easier to blend and you can use the soaking juice to sweeten it and other things like your tea for the week!

IMG_6520

Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes about 1 cup

1 small lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup water, or more as needed
2 tablespoons tahini, roasted preferred
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5-6 pitted dates
1 teaspoon tamari
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
Cayenne, to taste

Directions
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add more water as needed to get the consistency you prefer. Season with black pepper to taste. Refrigerate up to one week.

So how did you do on day 1? Was it easier than expected? Be sure to connect with us and share what you are eating on the Facebook event!

Posted on 06/16/2014 | 7 Comments

10-Day Sugar Cleanse Underway!

Are you prepping some awesome meals for the week today? Fail to prepare or you will plan to fail! Prep some staples today and package up some meals you can easily grab and go. This really helps me keep my diet on track and prevents me from reaching for things that are not on the sugar cleanse!

meal_planning

Some people have asked, where is the shopping list and menu plan for the cleanse? There isn’t one unless you want to sign up for my 28-day program. I did give you a sample day of meals here. This cleanse is something I really wanted to do for myself to get my diet back on track after many birthdays and food events in the last couple of months. So I thought you might want to join in. It’s not anything formal and the “rules” are SUPER EASY. Just don’t eat sugar or anything with sugar in it. Easy peasy.

This will give us a chance to get back in the kitchen and make food from scratch, we will pay closer attention to the packaged foods we have been eating and learn how to look at labels more closely. We will recalibrate our taste buds to appreciate the deliciousness that whole plant foods contain.

And we will do all this together!! Yippee!

It just so happens that my friend Heather is leading a cleanse starting in a few days if you need more hand-holding. Check out her cleanse here.

Here are some of my favorite sugar-free recipes!

Polenta Porridge for breakfast. Just leave out the sweetener!

For lunch I like to have a big ol’ salad with an oil-free dressing. Here’s a guide to making salad dressings. Replace maple with a few soaked dates!

For dinner I like to have tofu scramble with steamed greens or veggie and tofu tacos (corn tortillas don’t usually have sugar!), brown rice sushi rolls, or a “buddha bowl” which is a grains, beans, and greens bowl with sauce drizzled on top.

Go wild and try new recipes in the kitchen! Or revisit your old favorites minus the sugar.

Don’t forget to join us on the Facebook event because that’s where all the action is happening and where I’m sharing what I’m eating this week. See you over there!

Posted on 06/15/2014 | Comments Off