Monday, December 28, 2009

My Holiday

‘Twas a successful holiday trip to the south food-wise. I was able to find good animal free things to eat on the two restaurant dining excursions I had. One was a lunch where I ate from a salad bar and left full of veggie goodness. One was a dinner where I got to choose the spot and thanks to some pre-trip internet research I found an Italian restaurant that good food for all, and a whole wheat pasta dish with lots of veggies sautéed in olive oil for me. I made sure there was no butter and had them separate the vegetables and pasta (so I’d make sure to eat most of my veggies first) and voila-a delish dish! For the second leg of the journey I cooked up a pot of Eggplant Chana Masala and Chocolate Peanut Cups courtesy of The Kind Diet, and I bought some kale, apples, and oranges at a grocery store, so I had plenty of clean delicious food for my belly. I actually lost a couple of pounds over Christmas. And we all know that my scale is quite opposed to budging, so this was great news! Even better news is that I really didn’t feel tempted or deprived sans a momentary slight pang I felt in choosing not to have queso dip. I quickly reminded myself of how I would feel if I ate it and knew the possible stomach ache wouldn’t be worth it! The feeling seriously just lasted a moment.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by The Conscious Cook cookbook, so my supportive husband got me a simpler cookbook for Christmas, The Urban Vegan by Denise Balcavage. I’ve only just started to go through it and it seems much less intimidating. Eventually I will dive into some of the more complicated time consuming dishes in The Conscious Cook, but since I am still new to this kind of eating, I need to slow down and learn some good basic go-to meals. I’m excited to test out some appetizer recipes this week when some friends will come over for a little pre-New Years Eve party toasting!

I am looking forward to 2010 as a year of renewal and change and health. I’ll start my women's seminar, begin rehearsing for my next show, and embrace the four months I have left to reach my goal. There will be a lot of hard work involved mentally and physically as I unclog some mental blockages and dive into more intense exercise and toning, but I feel ready for the challenge. If I were to say what my New Year’s resolution is, I would say that I want to be more selfish. Sounds funny doesn’t it, but it’s true. I don’t always feel like the majority of my choices are all about what's best for me (I am a card carrying member of the People Pleaser Club), so I want to start making choices based on what’s best for me mentally and physically which I know will make me feel healthier inside and out each day!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feelin' Great!

So my show closed this weekend. It's so bittersweet because I really had a blast. Sometimes when you reach the end of a run you are ready to let it go and move on. Sometimes you enjoy yourself so much you could keep going and going. I was so fortunate that the latter was the case with my latest show. On the other hand, soon I will have a little more free time to work out and play with new recipes in the kicthen.

Tonight I had a great win. It was my husband's birthday today and in addition to fun gifts and a day at the planetarium for my galactic-loving mate, I took him to dinner. He wanted a steak for his birthday dinner and I scoured nearby restaurants for a place that could possibly suit my needs in some way (aka I was resigned to the fact that I would most likely be eating a boring salad or some steamed veggies-none of the menus looked promising.) Then, on the way home from learning about stars and galaxies I remembered one nearby restaurant that I'd forgotten to look into. Lo and behold, there seemed to be some really decent options for me as well as a great steak option for the birthday guy. Boy was there ever!!! On the menu was a "Greens and Grains" option that changes daily. Tonight it was quinoa, fresh green beans, carrots, seared tofu, and a balsamic carmelized onion. YUUUMM! It was so delicious and succulent and fancy and animal product free!! The waitress said almost all of their soups were animal free as well and they would make pretty much anything on the menu animal free for me if it's at all possible. Awesome. My husband said his steak was terrific and my meal was fantastic so it was such a win! I had been so bummed that I would most likely be eating lettuce leaves and sneaking raw carrots and nuts from my purse for dinner, but the fates smiled and I felt rewarded for sticking to my health guns! (For any Chicago folks the restaurant is Sola on Lincoln Ave.)

I am feeling so healthy and confident and slender lately. Cleaning up my diet and sticking to grains, greens, and bean protein has made me feel so amazing! I touched my abs randomly today and they felt so much more lean and toned.

I'm off to a four day visit to my home state of Texas bright and early in the morning. I'm nervous about food options, but my plan is to hit a grocery store for some staples to get me through the visit. My hubby is so supportive so I know I can get through it! I wish you all very fanatsic and healthy holidays. I'm thankful for all of you! We can make it through this season of temptation!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I've had some wins lately that I'd like to share.

Energy! I have a lot more. I'm finding that I get bursts of energy throughout the day that I haven't had in a long time. My schedule has been really hectic and having an energy boost from all of the clean food I am eating has been helpful to keep me from crumbling under the pressure. Yesterday for example I worked, went to an afternoon work function, had a surprise call back for a show, and had a holiday party to attend later that night. Holy moly, what a long day! BUT I felt more equipped with the stamina to do it!

I dined out for lunch! At my work function I was faced with my first time of being at a restaurant and attempting to eat animal product free. It was a nicer restaurant that didn't have a standard "big salad" to order, so I thought maybe I will have them tossed some salad greens together for me or order some side veggies cooked without butter. I was okay with that since I know choosing clean foods right now is really benefitting my health. When I mentioned that I was trying to go the vegan route and asked if could I have some sides of veggies, the waiter said it was no problem he would make something for me. The result: I was served the most succulent dish of squash, zucchini and other veggies in a delicious tomato ragu with a side of fresh green beans. It was a delight and I felt very satisfied and full. I can do this!

I feel deflated (in a good way): By reducing my processed food intake I feel less puffy, less salty, and lighter!

I'm also enjoying trying new whole grains. My current love is barley. It's terribly nutritious and I love how it's like super soft brown rice. So nutty and light and comforting! I like to top it with steamed kale (another current love.)

Saturday I made a recipe from The Kind Diet, a delicious Eggplant Chana Masala. It was really easy and made a ton of stew so I was able to eat it for a few meals over the weekend and freeze some in individual containers for lunches this week. My husband also liked it a lot!

Last week I exercised in some way everyday but Friday (I was out the door at 7:45am and didn't return until after midnight-fair enough I'd say). So I came near my week's goal. This week I want to make sure to get in two full hour work outs. I've got to get my workout lengths up to boost this gettin' lean mean machine!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seventy Savories Sent from Secret Santa

Oh yes, I have already attended a holiday paty and was gifted by a Secret Santa! Friday at a little day job gathering I was overjoyed to be recipient of The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. He is the mastermind who crafted the plant based dishes that were so delectable that Oprah was able to stick to a 21 day cleanse. I have just cracked the cookbook open this week, and I am so excited to try out some of the seventy exciting recipes.

I typically hate following recipes. It makes me feel constricted and like my creativity is being taken away, hence why I am not a big baker (but clearly, I have control issues-haha). However I need to get better at succoming to following recipes since I am a novice to these new innovative plant based dishes. Sunday I made Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet chocolate peanut cups and they are soo good and in my opinion far more divine than a highly processed Reese's Peanut Cup. Okay, I can do this. See, I can even have kind clean desserts. I just need to stick to some recipes at first and then I can learn the basic tools of this cooking method.

I went to Whole Foods early Saturday morning to get some things and felt overwhelmed. While I have my favorite veggie store, Stanley's, as my go-to Mecca of cheap organic produce, I need some cooking essentials if I am really going  to commit to more than my standard grain/bean/veg stirfry concoctions of late (although they are fab if I do say so myself). There are only certain kinds of fake meats I enjoy, and I am surrendering to the fact that fake cheese just isn't for me (I don't like most of it, so I'm not wasting calories eating it). I also had an unsucessful brush with tempeh so I need help understanding how to cook it-I can't just wing some of this stuff. What to eat, what to eat? I decided to treat myself to some animal product-free choices at the Whole Foods Salad Bar to give my pallet some variety and ideas. It was a delight!!!!!!! Much of it was tofu based, but so delicious! I currently have some curried tofu salad in my fridge that I want to copy-it's criminal how yummy it is.

This kind of cooking will just take me a little more time at first and I will also need to put some money into to get my essentials. I've already been using soy butter (Earth Balance soy butter is amazing-I doubt anyone could tell the difference), but I had to buy some things like mayo substitute and still need some other vinegars, sweeteners and various grains. Once I have all of the essentials then I think I will be in good shape. I also just need solid time at home to cook. Somehow even with my show up and running I have crammed my weeknights full of other things like auditions and seeing friends' plays and such. Health is an investment of mind, body, soul, time and money. That's a lot of committment, but I am truly enjoying most of the foods that I am trying and feel cleaner inside. I also feel good about being compassionate to my animals friends. I still find myself indulging in sushi so I am not a complete convert, and I may never stop, but overall I am feeling healthy!

Do you wonder why I am not using the word vegan? Here's why: I think over the years the word has been negatively conotated. I know because I was one of the Negative Nellies. When I would hear about someone being a vegan I would think that they were super malnourished and crazy and actually sacrificing their health. I thought it was down right scary! However, I've been doing a lot of reading and I am committed to learning how to incorporate the lifestyle successfully. There is work involved in making sure you get what you need, but there are soo many benefits and so many delicious creations to try (if you like to cook and are open to trying new things). Now listen, I may never fully cross over, but moving closer to the animal product-free end of the dietary spectrum is comfortable to me. I wrestle with a self imposed black and white pressure to be all or nothing, but there is no human rulebook that says I have to have a title for my dietary habits. I like using an Alicia word and saying I eat kind foods. I also love that in the literature I have been reading there are no harsh judgements about meat eaters and vegetarians. In fact, all I am finding is encouragement to all who are expressing interest and praise for small steps like incorporating one veggie based meal a week into your diet. I like praise. I'm a Taurus after all :)

I have been visiting The Kind Life everyday for inspirartion.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monthly Measurements

So I didn't lose any inches this month, but I totally expected it with three weeks of almost no good workouts due to my hectic rehearsal/show schedule and some major work stress (the last quarter of the year is a particularly hectic time in Day Job land.) I'm disappointed of course, but I know I will do better over the next month. I also know that I need to make the most of Jan and Feb because I was cast in another play this week that will begin rehearsing at the end of Feb. On the flip side, knowing I will soon have about two months of more free time at night and on the weekends will help get me through these tough spells when I am frustrated with not having time to hit workouts hard.

Nov 3rd Waist (at belly button): 31 inches
Dec 3rd Waist (at belly button): 31 inches
NO CHANGE Down 2.5 inches total!

Nov 3rd Hips: 36.25
Dec 3rd Hips: 36.25
NO CHANGE Down 2.75 inches total!

Nov 3rd Arm: 11 inches around
Dec 3rd Arm: 11 inches around
NO CHANGE Down 3/4 inch total!

Nov 3rd Thigh: 22 inches around
Dec 3rd Thigh: 22 inches around
NO CHANGE Down 1 inch total!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Toned Cheeks!

How much do I covet a pair of Reebok EasyTone's? So much!! How much do I hate spending lots of money? Sososososo much! However, as much as I hate to have the moves put on me be manipulated by commercials, Reebok has hook, line, and sinkered me with this ad. I want an impossibly gorgeoues hiney too!! Here's my money! As an actor, I do have to wonder what that audition was like. Did they line up a bunch of women backwards and call back their top five bums?

You can look at all of the styles of Reebok EasyTones here.To celebrate being named on Oprah's holiday "O List" they are offering free shipping and returns all season. Score!

My current sneaks are silver, and I love them so much I wish I had bought two pairs, so needless to say, I want the Reeinspires in silver.

Will you be asking Santa for a fitness inspired gift this year??

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Call for Recipes

Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving?

I had a calm one and came out relatively unscathed health wise. I've nuzzled into a groove of good eating habits and find that I'm tempted a loss less, drink much less diet soda, crave raw veggies and salad to clean out my system when I've eaten something too heavy or salty, and I have in fact not died from greatly reducing my egg and dairy intake (much to my egg and cheese loving surprise). I've also gotten into a bit of a food rut. I am tiring of my standard veggies and soups and need to work on some new kind food based dishes to enjoy. I feel like since I have been weeding out processed foods and animal products that I am more sensitive to harsh foods. If I eat a piece of sugary candy I feel it pretty fast. If I eat something full of sodium my body gets puffier than it used to. Interesting.

I recently picked up a wacky turnip-y veg that I need to cook up. Ever heard of kohlrabi?? I need to get adventurous soon and see how it goes.

What are your favorite vegetable dishes??  My mouth is bored!