Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vegan Soap and Skincare

Sometime ago I talked about switching from our old shampoo (made with goat's milk for some unfathomable reason) to vegan soap made from mint. I do not regret that decision as my hair did not show a difference, I was living up to vegan ideals, and my hair actually smelled better.

Now, my friend has posted a contest giving away free vegan lip balm and skincare products. While I am not a big lip balm user, I am do use lotion, especially in the winter, when my skin can get so dry it cracks. So I am excited to try some of Daisycake's soaps from Daisycakes Soaps, LLC. I plan to try several of her lotions and get my wife a lip balm since she's the chapstick addict in the house.

More than anything I want to support somone who believes that veganism goes beyond the dinner table and I am starting to believe what goes ON my body is just as important as what goes in my body.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Five Weight Loss Secrets: Secret #1 "And" is Not Your Friend

This is the inaugral post in my new series Five Weight Loss Secrets. These are observations I have made throughout my attempts at losing weight. These tips work for vegans and non-vegans alike, though I can say with absolutely certainty being vegan will speed the weight loss and fitness process.

Secret #1: When Ordering Food, NEVER Say "And"

Here's the scenario: I would like the pita sandwich and to start off with, some red pepper hummus.

I would like the phad thai, no egg please and some spring rolls.

I think I will try the spaghetti marinara, no cheese, and some breadsticks.

Problem #1: Extra Calories and Fat

All of these orders should sound fairly common. Getting extra hummus with a pita is normal. What is a Chinese meal without an appetizer, right? Well, the problem is that each time you say "and" with an order you increasing your caloric intake by 100 or more calories and usually they're not nutrient-rich calories. Usually, what you get when you "and" is either fried or laden with empty, processd carbs.

In other words what comes after the "and" is not good for you.

Problem #2: American Restaurants Serve Too Much Food Anyway

Remember a serving of anything, be it fruit, veggies, hummus, etc. is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. Next, time you go out, see how many decks of playing cards can fit on the platter you are served. I had Chinese last night and there were probably 6-8 decks on the plate they gave me.

Vegan or not. Fitness fan or not, that is Too Much Food. And it's only made worse by using the word "and."

The challenge for you is next time you go to your favorite restaurant: don't say "and." Order one thing and enjoy it. Then enjoy the fact that you took steps to lose weight.

In the next installment, we will talk about tips for reducing how much you eat. And I promise you won't be hungry.

Back after Posting Hiatus

So yeah, vegan fitness fans, I'm back.

Don't worry, I was vegan the entire time. I was also still into fitness, at least from a dietary side.

I was also extremely swamped with a multitude of projects, work issues, and generally exasperation. The good news is that I've been able to work out from home. Getting a set of dumb bells for the house was a fantastic decision and one that has allowed me to work out on my own terms. I think this has lead to me being fit overall and I think being vegan has really helped.

The scale says that my weight has fluctuated, and that's kind of depressing. I have found that when I don't work out at all, my weight will climb. When do any little bit of working out, though, it seems to drop off. I think this is an important tip.

Still, I have targeted Aug. 15 as sort of crunch time. I have some friends who are reading my vegan fitness blog and I really, really want to look better so to prove a point that being vegan does help.

I think that means I need to wean myself off fried foods.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bird Flu Found in Tyson Chickens

Normally I am not much of a hypochondriac, but stuff like this always scares me:

According to this article, the bird flu was found in Arkansas chickens.

I'm not very happy about this development considering that my son eats chicken if we go to a restaurant and I bet at least some of it comes from Tyson chickens. And frankly, I just don't want him to get the bird flu. Or any kind of flu for that matter.

I feel medium safe from any outbreaks of bird flu because of the vegan diet, but if I am at a restaurant, I hope they're preventing cross contamination.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Red Pepper Seitan

So in a continued effort to provide real vegan content instead of just talking about vegan, I present you with tonight's dinner.

This little scorcher of a dish has a ton o' spice, but it's also a good dish to serve to unsuspecting guests whose mouth you want to burn.'s called red pepper chicken because of the red bell pepper AND the red pepper flake. Most unsuspecting guests won't realize the heat floating around in the sauce...until it's too late.

Red Pepper Seitan
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flake
  • 1 package of seitan cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
  1. Place a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Add the carrots, red pepper, and onion and cook until the carrots begin to soften.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all but two tablespoons of the soy sauce, the pepper, garlic, and red pepper flake.
  4. Add the soy sauce, spices, and seitan to the skillet and boil the seitan until it is soft.
  5. Mix the remaining the soy sauce and corn starch to form a slurry and add it to the skillet. Mix well.
  6. The sauce should begin to thicken. Once it is thickened, serve over rice noodles.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Angel and Devil on My Shoulder

When I weighed myself this morning, the scale dutifully reported that I had gained 5 pounds!! So much for there being no such thing as an overweight vegan.

Well... that's not exactly fair. I know that I am in a marathon, not a sprint. I can't say I'm very pleased by this turn of events, vegan or no. Still, without adversity, there's not success and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Stupid scale... Maybe I should it. No animal products there.

Actually, I think it will be better for me in the long run that this happened. It has both driven home a valuable point and made me really look back on what happened last week.

Firstly, it's likely that I didn't lose six pounds last week and so I didn't put on five this week. At least not of anything but water.

Secondly, I will admit that I didn't have the kind of week I wanted. I didn't get much cardio at all which is, as I understand it, cardio is really what burns the fat. There is a limit to what strength training alone can do. As a corollary to this, since I did do a lot of weight trainining, some of the weight could be musicle.

Third, I didn't watch what I ate very carefully over the weekend. I ended up eating large portions of less than healthy stuff for several days with only my long run to show for it. This includes not only fried foods, but salt and alcohol which I need to get out of myself.

Most importantly, this morning's trip to the scale was a real eye opener and it has taught me that I definitely need to get back on track.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I really, really wanted to go jogging today, so I did. I jogged for an hour for all intents and purposes I did it non-stop.

Either the vegan thing is working, the diet is working or I need to move to warmer climates because I haven't felt this good in a while.

And it was on my bad day.