Cheating for Cookies

I walked into the law library today on my way to Income Tax class, and there were Tim’s cookies. Tim is a reference librarian at Oklahoma City University School of Law who often makes cookies from scratch for the students on special days. Today is Constitution Day! While most people think it is just another Tuesday, law students everywhere are looking at displays on the Constitution and the rights It provides for Americans everywhere.

But Constitution Day is not the point; Tim made cookies. He made chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and his favorite, the snickerdoodle. The first time, I just walked by them, thinking about taking a cookie, but holding out. The second time, I lifted the lid, but walked away. The third time, I took a cookie. I took a bite out of that cookie, and before I could chew a rush of flavors hit my mouth. But they were not good flavors; salt, dairy, egg, and milk chocolate. I spit it out and gave the rest of the cookie to my friend Erin. Don’t get me wrong, the cookies are delicious. I have always loved one of Tim’s cookies! But, last week I gave up refined sugar, and that was the first time I tried to eat some since. One week doesn’t seem like a long time; it doesn’t seem like long enough for your taste buds to change/heal. Skinny Bitch says once you stop putting crap into your body, your taste buds heal and develop the ability to distinguish the flavors. Today, that proved to be true. I am not proud that I gave into the cookie desire.. but I am happy to find out that while my mind wants it, my body does not.

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Vegan on the Run!

One of the things I have to keep reminding myself is that while something may be vegan, that does not mean that it is healthy. Last night we had everyone over and made pasta and played monopoly! It was a wonderful evening, but at the end Michael opened up some of our dark chocolate bars (which were vegan.. and the few pieces I had were delicious.) But today, I want sugar. I spent the morning playing with the dogs, and forgot breakfast. So on my way to sit through 8 more trial team auditions I grabbed rice cakes (which did not fill me up). Gable Gotwals had a wonderful slew of snacks available, all of which had refined sugar, except for the baked lays, whose label said sugar, but not refined sugar. I moved past the sugar craving (for now), but I was starving, so I grabbed a bag and opened it them up. I had about 10 chips before I slowed down and actually tasted the chips. They. Were. Awful. They were so salty my tongue hurt.. I looked up the ingredients in the chips to see how healthy “baked” chips actually were.

This is what I found:

“Now let’s look at the ingredients label for the baked chips.  The potatoes used are dried so they aren’t even fresh potatoes!  No information on how the potatoes were dried is provided.  If the potatoes were dried using a very high heat, which is likely, then acrylamide would be formed just like with the fried chips as the lower temperature baking occurs after the drying process!

Tricky, tricky, eh?

Baked Potato Chips

In addition, corn starch, corn oil, and soy lecithin are used and since they are not organic, there is a high likelihood that these ingredients are from genetically modified (GMO) sources.

Given that GMO corn is linked to liver and kidney damage in rats, these are not the innocuous ingredients food manufacturers would have you believe.

In addition, sugar and corn sugar (aka, high fructose corn syrup) are stealthily included which means that while you are getting less of the unhealthy vegetable oils in the baked chips, you are getting in return ingredients that are perhaps just as bad!”

. . .

I might as well have had Oreos, at least those are delicious. My other “healthy” option was fruit chews, which are notoriously unhealthy. Once I left, I headed to school to work at the library. I was still starving, so naturally I started considering my options. I had about 5 minutes to find food, which limited me to fast food. Since I made a 30 day pledge on GoVeg.com, I did not want to break it based on convenience. Early today, my best friend Stacie told me a story about her cousin (who is vegetarian-ish?) who still eats fast food french fries from certain restaurants. I thought about that as an option but french fries are the devil, and I get addicted to them quickly.

mcdonalds2

In fact, I am pretty sure french fries are scientifically addicting, at least McDonald’s French Fries are! In fact, after further research McDonald’s fries cannot even be called vegetarian, so I am glad I did not go down that road! Instead, I had Michael bring me a bowl of pasta up to the library so that I could eat clean food and study in peace. He brought pasta, vegetable sauce, spicy tofu, blueberries, raspberries, and a la croix, which was way better for me than anything I was going to find at a fast food place.

Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps does provide a few places that have vegan options on the go at popular chains! Including:

Subway – Veggie Delight Salad, Vegan Breads: Italian White, Roasted Garlic, Ciabatta, and Hearty Italian

Baskin Robbins – Sorbet Flavors

Chipotle Mexican Grill – Custom Burrito Bowl, Taco, or Salad, but no pinto beans (made with lard/bacon)

Johnny Rockets – Soy Boca Burger “Streamliner”

Taco Bell – Many Items sans Cheese; Veggie Fajita Wrap

Let Them Eat Cake!

It took all of my will power last night not to stick my finger in the frosting of a cake. I don’t really even like cake. In fact, if you put a vanilla cake with vanilla icing in front of me a month ago, I would have said “no, thank you.” Chocolate cake is a bit of a different story, but even then, it is not my favorite dessert (ice cream). Last night, Michael & I went over to my friend Erin’s house to watch the Tech vs. TCU game. When we got there she had cooked pork tenderloin, mac & cheese, salad, and cheese bread. Other than salad, none of these things are my favorite foods. I’ve never really liked pork tenderloin, even though my dad made his stuffed; I did like it when it was battered and fried at home though. Mac & Cheese has always been my enemy because I can’t make it. It seems super easy, I just can’t do it. It always comes out weirdly liquid or overly cooked? Then there is bread. I hate bread. I hate bread soooo much. I wouldn’t even touch bread until I was 18, and I had to eat something on volleyball trips. Secret: I have never (ever) eaten a roll (ever). The point is, last night I wanted to try all of these things (not the bread)! It is the idea that you cannot have something that makes you want it. Skinny Bitch addresses this issue and says (something to the effect of) you can have it, you choose not to, and that is how you overcome the urge to eat it. I would tell you more, but I let a friend borrow my book so she could read about the horrors of cheese (she’s already vegetarian).

Anyway! Instead of eating all of those things, which contained something I did not want to consume, I made vegan nachos! I looked at a bunch of recipes, but in the end I used what I had in my kitchen, plus a few extra ingredients from Whole Foods! They turned out really well! (All Ingredients = Organic) I used Amy’s Low Sodium Medium Chili, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Corn, Red Bell Pepper, and a vegan taco mix from WF veggie section which had onions, cilantro, and other goodies. I cooked the chili, beans, and corn together, put it on top of chips, then the veggie mix, then the vegan cheese, then the bell peppers. I used a vegan cheese that I had heard is to die for, and it was delicious.

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After nachos, I wanted cake. I did not have cake, but I wanted cake. So I thought I would add a few vegan cake recipes on here so that next time I can make my own cake to bring!

Vegan Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Cookie Bars

Vegan Petits Fours

Petits Fours

Why You Should Do Yoga

I have never been the most flexible person. In fact, I played volleyball in high school and I was constantly injured so I spent a lot of time in the training room, which means a lot of time on ice, heat, STEM, and stretch, and I was SO un-flexible that we celebrated any time my legs got to 90 degrees. It wasn’t that I didn’t stretch! I did! Just not often or long enough, apparently. Today, I can almost put my palms on the ground and after an hour of yoga, focused on hamstrings, I usually can.

I tried yoga once while in college at Texas State University.. I hated it. It was the most awful vile thing I had ever experienced. At this point in my life, I hated stretching. I worked out and ran, but the only time I would stretch was in group warm-ups, when everyone was stretching, but looking back that does not count because touching your toes and counting to ten is not stretching. I should tell you now that stretching is not the only reason to do yoga, nor is it the primary reason, but at 19, I didn’t know that. I walked into that yoga class thinking it was going to be calm and serene stretching, but by the end of the class I was soaked in sweat, had fallen a few times, and my ego was bruised. I didn’t go back… until last year.

I started practicing yoga in a rec room inside the OKC Lighthouse in September 2012, with a wonderful woman named Judy. Judy was somewhere between her late 70s – early 80s and had been practicing yoga her whole life. This is when I first realized that yoga was not just stretching; Judy looked like she could not be a day over 65. (Not to get off topic, but this realization has held true in every woman I have met that practices yoga; something has taken years off their looks.) I spent three months in that rec room with Judy, and my roommate Allison, learning how to practice yoga. On my first day, I walked in, grabbed a mat and sat near a wall; I later learned the wall part was a bad choice because I have monkey arms. The lights turned off, incense were lit, and they started the practice with deep breathing through the nose. All of this was foreign to me, but I went along with it because everyone else seemed to enjoy the idea, and I was there for a new experience. We began that day with what I now know are sun salutations, however a the time I was pretty sure I was doing a slower version of burpees. Up, Down, Up, Swan Dive, Jump, Push, Pull, Fall, was essentially the order I went it. After 30 minutes, my arms were burning, my mat was slick, and breathing through my nose was not an option; I was out of shape. At the end of class, I thanked the teacher, wiped the pool off of my mat, and left wondering what the hell just happened in there. But I went back. Somewhere in the next few classes, Judy taught me how to flow properly. Then I learned the Warriors. And by the end of my three-month subscription at OKC Lighthouse, I could generally keep up with the easier modifications of poses. I didn’t notice a difference immediately, or at any given time, it just got a little less difficult day by day; even so, my favorite pose is still savasana.

After I left the Lighthouse, I decided to go to a studio dedicated to yoga. I started off at Cadence Yoga, in midtown in January of 2013. I loved Cadence! It had a wonderful class schedule and amazing teachers. I absolutely grew as a yogi under that roof. I learned more about practicing yoga mentally, not just physically. It was here that I decided that yoga need to be a part of my everyday life. Michael finally decided to join me in my yoga adventure after going to Mandy Lathan’s (the owner) class one time. We both committed to a month of unlimited yoga at Cadence, and we went as often as possible. Unfortunately for us, Cadence was going abroad in February, so it was time to say goodbye and find another studio. We spent a month visiting studios all over Oklahoma City. Thankfully, most of the studios around here will let you try your first class for free, so that you get a feel on what their studio is like. We loved all of the studios, but none of them had that special feeling, until we discovered The Yoga Room. Mandy had suggested The Yoga Room a few times before she left, but we were still hesitant and looking for a place with similar student pricing. In March, The Yoga Room picked up Cadence’s prices and teachers, so we went to try it out, and we never left.

I guess this month is my one year anniversary with yoga. I must say that I have grown the most under the Yoga Room roof. They have amazing teachers, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and that special something that I can’t actually put into words. I have learned so much about yoga and the effect it has on the body. I even gave a speech about it at IgniteOKC. Fortunately for me (and you), Ignite has posted the videos from the event, so now you can listen to my five minute talk on why you should do yoga, instead of reading it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRL5LJefduw

I named this post “Why You Should Do Yoga” and the answer is not just one thing. It is everything. It is community, friendship, health, fitness, and spirit.

Namaste!

Organic Co-Op

So today is hump-day! Time for an update! I have held true to my elimination of refined sugar from my diet! I had a dinner party Tuesday night for Turner Inn (law school inn of court) and they served Big Truck Taco, which meat-eating Caitlin wasn’t really a fan of anyway, but everyone loved it. I stared at the food for a second wondering what I was going to eat. My trial coach suggested nachos, so that is what I ate.. Not vegan, but still vegetarian. However, my body was not pleased with cheese, even though it has only been about a week since I had eaten cheese; my stomach hurt for the rest of the night. This experience only solidified my desire to eat clean. Other than Tuesday night, my week has been pretty tame; lots of fruits, salads, and tea.

My main reason for choosing to eliminate refined sugar this week was because last week (when I was not eating meat,) I would eat snacks that were not healthy – like cookies full of sugar. I think the reason I want to get refined sugars over with is that I want to stop craving sweet things. Monday night Michael wanted a popsicle. Earlier, we purchased organic frozen fruit popsicles from Whole Foods for dessert, but Skinny Bitch says you can’t have something because you need it, only if you want it. We have a bad tendency of always needing something sweet after dinner, which is a habit I would like to kick! After letting the craving pass, he realized he really didn’t want the popsicle, thus (hopefully) retraining his mind not need something sweet after every meal. However, there is always a 50/50 chance that he ate that popsicle without me knowing. 🙂

As of yesterday, Michael and I are officially part of an organic co-op in Oklahoma City called OKC Organics. We bought a year membership to this co-op, which gives us access to $35/bag of organic fruits (4) and vegetables (8) once a month. Skinny Bitch says organic fruits and vegetables are important because they are grown without pesticides, so organic food keeps you from worrying about all the chemicals that you would be ingesting. Michael and I have always shopped at Whole Foods, but we don’t necessarily buy only organic food. I always kind of assume that Whole Foods is watching over me and make sure that pesticides aren’t in my food, but Skinny Bitch has the right idea because you have to know exactly what you’re eating to be able to control what goes into your body. Yes, organic food is more expensive, but you’re going to waste that money anyways – going out going out to dinner and buying frivolous things that you don’t need – when you could be putting money into your health and your body. It is hard to justify not doing so when you know you only get one chance.

Over the past few days I’ve been searching for wonderful vegan recipes on Pinterest while I wait for my Skinny Bitch in the Kitch book! I wanted to share a few with you! I have linked the pictures and the titles to the websites which have ingredients!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins - Easy Recipe at averiecooks.com #vegan #pumpkin #muffin #recipe

Mushroom Chili 

Mushroom Chili - VeganJumbo Stuffed Shells

Jumbo Stuffed Shells made without dairy? Oh yes, it's true!

Kahlua Hot Fudge 

Vegan Kahalua Hot Fudge | via minimalistbaker.com