Monday, February 8, 2016

Week of February 1 - 7

Workouts

Monday: Run 2.7 miles (12:57 pace)

Tuesday: Unplanned rest day - having choir practice is really throwing a wrench in my ability to do anything else this day of the week! 

Wednesday: Run 4.0 miles (12:52 pace)

Thursday: Run 2.0 miles (12:36 pace) + swim 1,100 yards

Friday: Planned rest day

Saturday: Bike trainer 10.5 miles (13.9 mph, 64 rpm)

Sunday: Run 5.0 miles (13:05 pace)

Total swimming: 1,100 yards
Total biking: 10.5 miles
Total running: 13.7 miles
Average daily steps: 11,169

I had some extra appointments this week that made my days super long and hard to do anything beyond the bare minimum once I got home, even though I've only this week hit the minimum 55 hour work week for busy season. (We're also "capped" - sort of - at 60 hours, my firm really does try hard to let us keep some balance in life.) But this next week I should be hitting closer to 60, but have much less going on during the week otherwise, so hopefully I'll feel up to doing a bit more working out. 

I want to move on to the next (and final!) phase of NROLFW (I did a chin-up randomly this week to see if I could still - yes, but it was more difficult than it should have been!), will be trying to prioritize that now.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NW Veg 22 Day Veg Challenge: Week 3

(See also posts about the first and second weeks.) 

This week was crazy busy and exhausting, so I did even fewer of the actual tasks! But I stuck reasonably well to the actual eating vegan part. Got Chipotle for lunch one day again sans cheese, as well as a similar bowl through catering at work from Qdoba. I thought the shredded cheese really added something to burrito bowls, but I'm not really missing it that much. 

Sunday 1/24
Try a new grain, such as amaranth or spelt. 

Quinoa has become a staple in our house, it's great for stir fries instead of rice. 

Monday 1/25
Find a recipe for a vegan dessert to try out.

Well, on Wednesday I tried a new dessert - a fabulous vegan chocolate cake! When one of my coworkers (who is not vegetarian, but definitely conscious of the issues and so very aware in terms of making accommodations for someone who is when the need arises) found out it was my birthday, she decided to organize a little celebration with our team (as often happens - a lunch or Starbucks outing, perhaps), and ordered vegan cake from New Seasons! I think some of our colleagues were a bit apprehensive about trying it, but everyone thought it was really great!



Tuesday 1/26
Check out a new vegan soup recipe.

Later on the weekend Abe made a recipe from a cookbook he got for Christmas, a butternut pear soup. It's not my kind of soup (pureed - it has to taste really good to overcome that kind of texture!) but wasn't too bad. 

One note about soups - I very rarely eat soups in restaurants, because even veggie or minestrone soups are frequently made with a non-vegetarian broth. Be sure to ask, no matter what the description on the menu says!

Wednesday 1/27
Check out resources through NW Veg, such as their YouTube channel
Think about how animals are friends, not food, by learning about Esther the Wonder Pig.

I went ahead and liked Esther's facebook page. I knew she existed due to an acquaintance on facebook who frequently likes things on the page. I don't know her super well, but she's vegan, and the food she shares on facebook really is a nice quiet reminder to see how great this lifestyle can be.

Thursday 1/28
Despite the stereotype that we eat nothing but salad, it is a part of a healthy vegan diet and can be quite filling - eat a big salad!

I've actually been eating a lot of salad as part of my monthly goals - January was to eat either a salad or smoothie every day. I ended up meeting this 28 out of 31 days - not bad!



Friday 1/29
Check out one of the many vegan podcasts for support and resources on living a vegan life.

Already on my to-listen list (but not currently prioritized until I've caught up on Gilmore Guys) is the No Meat Athlete podcast

This night we had dinner with my in-laws. They typically have cheese and crackers while we chat before dinner, so we brought some of the camembert we bought at  Vtopia along. Best compliment it could get was I think the reaction - "it tastes like cheese!" I was sad to see so much of it eaten up by someone other than me, but I'm thrilled they all enjoyed it! 

Saturday 1/30
To continue on the vegan journey, officially join NW Veg as a member.

I was previously a NW Veg member, and plan to rejoin. While I haven't been super involved all the time, I have definitely taken advantage of its resources. At one point I did a six week cooking class, I like going to Veg Fest, and this challenge was definitely a great experience! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week of January 25 - 31

Workouts

Monday: Swim 1,200 yards + run 2.55 miles (11:48 pace)

Tuesday: Unplanned rest day - too much going on including choir practice straight from work.

Wednesday: Run 2.5 miles (12:34 pace)

Thursday: Run 2.5 miles (12:36 pace) + bike trainer 7.5 miles (14.8 mph, 68 rpm)

Friday: Planned rest day

Saturday: Unplanned rest day - I thought I'd have time at home to get in something in between stuff, instead went straight from work to dinner to Gilmore Guys.

Sunday: Run 4.0 miles (12:42 pace) + bike trainer 13.5 miles (13.7 mph, 62 rpm)

Total swimming: 1,200 yards
Total biking: 21.0 miles
Total running: 11.55 miles
Average daily steps: 9,597

A lot going on, including increasing hours at work, making it hard to fit in quite as much, especially running, as I'd like to. I feel a lot more involved than I have for a long time, but it's a bit tiring for this introvert. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five: Vegan Snacks for the Super Bowl

Linking up today with MarCynthia, and Courtney for Friday Five

I'm almost done with the 22-day vegan challenge! On Sunday, if I want, I can eat aaalll the cheese and ice cream I want. Am I going to? Well, probably a little. We have some such products in the freezer to use up; and although going through something of a "boot camp" to force myself into finding the options has been useful, I think to keep it permanent, allowing it back in and more gradually phasing it out will also be beneficial. 

But, I still do want to continue seeking alternatives, especially when it comes to socially. I want to find restaurants that I go with options for me but without limiting the choices for omnivores in my life (plan to do a Friday Five for that sometime soon!), and I want to pick crowd pleasers to take to events that will please a mixed audience. Next big event? The Super Bowl of course! We're going to a get-together at my sister-in-laws, which will be mostly omnivores, and some gluten-free thrown in to boot. 

I want to take something vegan that I can enjoy with my newly adopted standards, but that isn't too far out there and can show others that vegan food can be great! (The cake that a veg-friendly coworker brought in for my birthday this week was a good example of that!) Good vegan food is basically an ambassador to this way of life.

Here are some sources for vegan superbowl snacks that I found to pick from.

1. Oh She Glows - The Big Vegan Super Bowl Recipe Round-Up

The warm vegveeta dip looks amazing!

2. Vegan Richa - 15 Healthy Vegan Super Bowl Recipes

Not sure if they fit the "an omnivore wouldn't find them weird" threshold, but the melty cashew mozzarella sticks are very intriguing. 

3. Veg Kitchen - 12 Easy and Fun Vegan Super Bowl Snacks

I'd like to try the artichoke and white bean dip - close enough to the real thing, I'm sure, but without subbing in anything too weird (tofu or a processed nondairy cheese or whatnot).

4. Running on Real Food - 14 Healthy(ish) Vegan Super Bowl Snacks

While not something that'd really be my favorite (vegan or not), the jalapeno poppers are something I think many people would love.

5. Veg News - Vegan Super Bowl Eats That are a Culinary Touchdown

I love the idea of the roasted red pepper dip - it's not trying to be a substitute for anything else, just a dip that happens to be vegan. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

That 30 Before 30 Thing

Since I turned, uh, 31 yesterday, I figured it was probably about time to address that "30 Before 30" goal list that I had. 

I started this when I turned 27 on January 27, 2012, and the point was to finish the list by my 30th birthday on January 27, 2015. That obviously didn't quite happen. Some of it was logistics, some of it was lack of prioritizing, some of it was goals changing over the years.

Final tally
Completed by age 30: 9
Completed after age 30: 1
Plan to complete soon-ish: 5
Plan to complete eventually: 9
Probably not going to happen: 6

1. Ride Amtrak across the country.


Still something I'd like to do. At this point, perhaps something to hold off on until we have kids and they're old enough to enjoy it. (Could make for a fairly cost efficient family trip!) 

We did do a train ride through Alaska, though, on our honeymoon. I really enjoy trains (of any kind - subways, light rail (MAX in Portland), travel). Especially when built into a city's infrastructure, they just seem like such an efficient mode of transportation. I just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. 

2. Build a computer.

The idea here was to volunteer in one of Free Geek's programs. Still something I'd like to do eventually, but I'm not sure when/how to make it a priority to make it happen. 

3. Drive a stick shift.

Nope, and I haven't had a need to, either. Are there any cars other than big trucks, SUVs, or sports cars that even are stick shift? 

4. Take a flying lesson.


This is something I still really really want to do. Someday. 

5. Shoot a gun.

I still do want to do this, though it's less of a strong desire than it used to be. 

6. Build a ship in a bottle.

I bought a kit for this, and it's been in progress for a couple years. I'll prioritize this after busy season!

7. Run a marathon. 

Done - twice! 10/6/2013 and 10/4/2015

8. Go to an opera. 

5/17/2012 And many more since then, since my husband does a lot of music stuff as a hobby, and my sister-in-law, her boyfriend, and a close family friend of theirs are professional musicians.

9. Perform in a play or concert.

Have not done yet, but will do very soon! Earlier this month I joined a community choir, and I'll have concerts coming up in March and May.

10. Do 50 consecutive push-ups.


Well, I haven't tried lately, but based on what I've done during NROLFW workouts recently, I think I could get to 15, maybe 20 before maxing out. I only have three weeks of NROLFW left, though, so I could prioritize this as my next strength, focus on it for the subsequent month or so. 

11. Make pad see ew that’s as good as Thai Basil’s.

I've, in large part, given up cooking since moving in with Abe. Why do my own mediocre cooking when he does it so well, huh? He makes a pretty good pad see ew. I don't know if it's quite to the standard of Thai Basil, though. (Thai Basil = a restaurant near my work 

12. Change the oil in my car myself.


No, but I did (with the help of my dad) change a flat tire recently, does that count?

13. Visit a country outside of North America.

No, things like getting married and supporting a student-spouse took up a large chunk of my disposal income. Like the Amtrak, perhaps something to do later on with kids.

14. Do NaBloPoMo. 


November 2013 and November 2014. In 2013 I think I was using the "official" NaBloPoMo prompts; in November 2014 mostly just using my own post ideas and trying to get something up every day.

15. Eat raw for a week.

Eh, not something that terribly appeals to me at this point.

16. Spend 24 hours in silence.

Though I think this would be an interesting experience, not something at the top of my list right now.

17. Take a fencing class. 

11/2/2013

18. Donate hair. 

11/23/2013

19. Swim 1,000 yards.


Sort of - I think I meant 1,000 yards straight without stopping, which I'm fairly sure I haven't actually done. I've definitely done more than that total in a workout (I've hit 2,000 yards at least once, and more than 1,500 most of the time now), but I think I've only done 600, or maybe 800, without stopping. Something to work on doing this year.

20. Go rock climbing.


I'm not sure if I meant for real, outdoors, or just on an indoor wall. I have done this on a wall! I'm going to go ahead and count that. It was even before I turned 30! (August 2014) On our honeymoon we did an Alaskan cruise, and one of the on-ship activities was a climbing wall. 

21. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes.


Not before I turned 30, but I have done this, in September 2015! (Race recap)

22. Bowl a game over 200.


Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen.

23. Watch all of the Best Picture winners.


I've watched 43 out of 87. Uh, I got almost halfway, so yay? I'd like to keep this list going and eventually complete it.

24. Read all of the Booker prize winners.


I've read 6 out of 47. Let's not bother figuring out what percentage that is. I also would like to keep this list going, but it'll take a while to complete at the rate I've been reading. 

25. Ride in a hot air balloon.

Not done, even though I did a 5k race at a balloon festival. 

26. Go whale watching.

Sadly no. Not sure where the best place to do this would be that reasonably accessible - maybe a trip to the San Juan Islands is in order?

27. Go spelunking.

Also no, and not sure where/how this would happen exactly. 

28. Get a non-earlobe piercing. 

2/12/2012

29. Donate blood. 

5/24/2013 After the fact, I found out that that first blood donation couldn't be used, due to recent travel in Mexico, but I donated a few times after that one-year travel ban lifted. I then, unfortunately got out of the habit; was going to re-start and then found some mixed information about whether it's prudent to do so while trying to conceive. It's definitely a no no while pregnant, so that might put it off longer, but if not pregnant we'll be taking a break for a few months, so I will be sure to prioritize it again. 

30. Get a manicure and pedicure. 


7/26/14 Kinda worth doing the one time, definitely not something I'm interested in doing again. I have no patience for spending time doing routine beauty maintenance for something like that to keep it looking nice, same reason I never dye my hair. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NROLFW: Phase 6 Recap

See also recaps of: phase 1phase 2phase 3, phase 4, phase 5. See weekly workout recaps in phase 6 here

I began this phase after a three week break post-phase 5. Phase 6 is five weeks, and I took a break in between weeks two and three (life getting in the way the week of Christmas). This phase was a bit different from the preceding phases. Not only were the workouts way shorter (yay!), but it was more focused on building strength to do a pull-up.

Performance progress

The workouts were set up for most of the exercises to increase weights but decrease reps over the first four weeks, and then for week five the instructions were to use the same weight as week two, but more reps. So I included week four since I feel like that shows up much I improved in weights, since week five had a set weight based on week two, not just lifting as high as I thought I could handle.

Workout A



Workout B


Appearance progress

Over 9 weeks (3 weeks in between phases, 5 weeks of phase 6 and 1 week off in the middle of the phase) I continued to maintain my weight at 124. I haven't taken measurements again, but I think clothes are still fitting pretty much the same (maybe the tinsiest bit looser? I don't think any loss of inches would be particularly significant, though). 

While I think you can kind of tell I have muscle (especially in my arms!) I'm certainly not to a point (nor would I want to be putting forth the effort to be to the point) where I'm working to have obvious muscle all over. I'm not aiming for visible abs or anything like. That'd take a lot more muscle building work, as well as reduction of body fat, and that's simply not what I'm aiming for. It can still be hard sometimes to really see where you've made progress (e.g., my stomach seems to look a bit jiggly at any weight, but I know it's substantially improved from what it looked like 45 pounds ago!). But I'm pretty content with where things are now.

Overall thoughts

It was such a relief to have these workouts have fewer exercises and barely take half an hour, compared to the hour that the earlier phases took (even after reducing the rest between exercises). I know it's worth the time, but especially with all the other types of workouts I enjoy and want to fit in, it's nice to feel like it can strike a balance. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

NW Veg 22 Day Veg Challenge: Week 2

(See post about the first week here.)

I wasn't quite on the ball in doing specific tasks on assigned days, but at least thinking about things, and caught up on some over the weekend. 

Sunday 1/17
Go to your library and check out some vegan cookbooks.

Well, we really don't need to check out any new cookbooks, we have plenty! 



Although I didn't set a goal to make new recipes from them this year (as I did for 2015), after busy season is over I'll spend some time picking out some new things to try.

Monday 1/18
Try out a new legume.

I had lunch with one of the firm partners (who, though I don't have one specific boss, is the partner I work with the most, so essentially my boss). As we were making small talk, he asked how my weekend was, and I mentioned that I went to a farm animal sanctuary. He seemed rather perplexed by the idea as I tried to explain it - but once we ordered, he got tofu on his dish instead of meat, so maybe it got him thinking...

Tuesday 1/19
Watch Cowspiracy.

I watched it this weekend - I liked it so much more than Forks Over Knives. Although ostensibly about the environmental impact, it eventually goes into so much more. I'd say it doesn't provide quite as much guidance about how to go vegan, but it does make it clear that's is a healthy and compassionate choice, and really hits hard to convince you of that.

This day I had lunch with a coworker, at a breakfast cafe restaurant. When I go here, I usually get the breakfast combo which is an omelet (with your choice of add-ins), toast, potatoes, and fruit. It's all so delicious! (How does even toast taste so much better at a restaurant than at home?) But... obviously not vegan. Instead, I compromised with a veggie burger, including the default cheese that it came with. Less animal product altogether than an omelet would have, but some nonetheless. 

Wednesday 1/20
Explore trusted resources to support your values.

NW Veg, of course  is a good resource in Portland (the organization leading the challenge). They put on VegFest each fall, cooking and classes to learn how to lead a vegan life, and much more. 

They suggested a couple other websites in the challenge materials, but while they each had some lists of other resources, mostly they were just animal-based clickbait, and kind of dumb. Personally, I think it's useful to follow vegans on Instagram or other social media - seeing pretty pictures of vegan food can be motivating to find such treats for oneself!

Thursday 1/21
Plan out your meals for the next few days to make vegan eating easy.
Share a photo of one your vegan meals to social media to show how easy and delicious it can be.

After Abe and I did our January volunteering gig this day, we had a late dinner at Veggie Grill. It's a fast-food type chain that is all plant-based! (Loving Hut (which I haven't yet been to) and Native Foods are also similar chains that we have in Portland.) I had a great burger and fries!




Friday 1/22
Read Mad Cowboy or No More Bull by Howard Lyman.

I wasn't able to make the speaking engagement by Howard Lyman (not the semi-retired law partner in The Good Wife), but I did request one of this books from the library and have started reading it. So far, I really love his style - very colloquial and entertaining. 

Saturday 1/23
Deepen your knowledge of all things animal. 
Consider volunteering or donating money to a nonprofit that helps animals.

Out of some suggested books, I decided to check out Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. Haven't started it yet (you know when every hold list you're on at the library comes in at once...) but am looking forward to reading it. (Reading it soon - there's still a hold list, so I can't renew it!)



I ended up "cheating" a few times throughout the week - the lunch out on Tuesday, the firm-provided lunch for working on Saturday was pizza which I had mostly cause I missed having had it for a while, the snacks that the firm brought in for busy season which includes string cheese. Cutting out dairy is so much harder to cutting out meat was (that was easy to do cold turkey). I know at least I've had sooo much less than I would have otherwise had during the past two weeks. 
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