Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge- Last Week!

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

Wow, after reading on the Vegan Bodybuilding website that today is the last day of the Vegan Bodybuilding challenge, I couldn’t believe it!  We’ve done a full 30 days of trying to be vegan.  Ok, we have to be honest that we haven’t been entirely vegan throughout the last 30 days but we have made an astounding improvement to our eating.

Here is what I have learned this month:

1. I can eat more when I exercise (bonus!)

2. Oatmeal for breakfast really does fill you up for a few hours

3. Drinking water literally takes your cravings away

4. Eating 5 small meals a day helps you not to be ravenous- I am no longer binging at home on a regular basis.  I feel satisfied

5. Eating vegan seems much healthier than just vegetarian.  It depends on the person though- it helps me to cut out cheese, most of the breads and focuses me on eating greener

6. Whole grains are so easy to make and add so much to your diet!

7. I’ve become a total policeman when it comes to what others eat (this is probably not a good side-effect because it isn’t very helpful)

8. is probably one of the best sites available for getting help, getting encouragement and tracking your progress.  You look forward to seeing other’s comments and that keeps you motivated

9. My husband is a total drill sergeant in the gym but without him, I’d be working out at 50%.  I may be angry when he trains me but he doesn’t take my crap

10.  Saturating yourself with information and people who have the same goals, help you reach your goal

11.  Bonus- in order to keep up with my training goal, I attended the most amazing boxing class and will be starting to train weekly in February!  I already have my pink gloves and I’m ready to hit the bag

By no means are we done with this challenge, I just wanted to mark the fact that we’ve already come so far.  We encourage all our readers to keep reaching out for your resolutions.  If you have slacked off, it’s ok!  Pick it back up and keep going- research how to get to your goal, find someone to help you accomplish it, follow experts on Facebook and Twitter so you can get updates.  Do everything you can to meet your goals because we only have this one life, “grab 2012 by the horns and show it who’s boss!”

January 27, 2012

Fufu and Greens

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

Ashley sent me a recipe from Made Just Right yesterday that was a dish from Kenya.  Being that my husband is from Africa (though he is from the West and not East), I jumped at the opportunity to make something different.  The recipe by Healthy Voyager seemed easy enough: a simple corn meal “mush” and some veggies, how hard could it be?

It was extremely simple and kind of fun to make but I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled about the taste.  The corn or “Ugali” is very bland and it’s a little strange to eat mush with vegetables (that are a bit watery).  The butter on top didn’t do much to make it taste better either.  If you put too much salt it tastes disgusting (so be careful).

"Ugali or Fufu" Before my husband got ahold of it and made it look prettier

Greens or "Sukuma Wiki"

My sister in law mentioned that she had the same thing before in Liberia but it was made out of Casava flour and it was called “Fufu”.  She wasn’t a big fan even living in Liberia so she opted out.  My husband, on the other hand, was a real trooper.  He actually started teaching me how to make the corn “fufu” the way that they make it in Liberia.  His eyes glazed over and he got that far-off look as he reminisced about how people cooked all the time in Liberia (poor thing had no idea when he married me that he’d be marrying an “experimental” chef vs. a “good” chef).

Anyway, apparently you cook the fufu by constantly smooshing it and rolling it around with a fork or spoon in the pot till the pot has a nice layer of crust and the rest of the fufu is a nice smooshy ball.

In the end, he ate it but asked me to throw the rest away because it was just not his cup of tea (I couldn’t even finish mine).  No offense to any Kenyans, I think it’s just an acquired taste.


I think this recipe is certainly worth trying, you may like it anyway.  It was fun to eat with your hands and the greens weren’t bad, it was just a very strange combination for me personally.

For more information on the original recipe and origins of it, etc., please go to the below sites.

January 26, 2012

Vegan Salad Roll: So Easy You Can Make At Home!

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

This little caterpillar-looking roll is a vegan salad roll available at many fine sushi restaurants (and Publix stores!).  These are my new favorite, I can’t get enough of them and at only about 130-180 calories for two rolls, they are a great snack or addition to any meal.  I actually had them for a pre-lunch snack and then proceeded to snarf down a 10 piece-brown rice veggie roll which topped out at around 400 calories for both (it was a huge meal for so little calories).

Publix offers their salad rolls with a duck sauce but I’m partial to ordinary-ol’ soy sauce.  This wrap is vegan and gluten-free because it’s made of tapioca; a sticky, thin wrap around slices of just-ripe avocado, red cabbage, carrots, cucumber and lettuce.  You can certainly make them at home fairly easily and bring them to work with you or have as a late night snack (this is a no-cheat wonder).  *Note that there is a warning that some tapioca wraps are mixed with wheat so please check ingredients before buying.


I wish I had a better picture for you but my Nikon is hanging on the back of the bedroom closet door waiting for batteries that I keep forgetting to buy.

The only downside to this little wonder is that it’s a bit pricey at $5 for just vegetables but again, you can probably make twenty of them at home for the same price (although I don’t think they will keep that long).  I found some online and it seems that you can probably find the wrappers at an Asian grocery somewhere in your neighborhood.  If you want to buy them online, here is a link to Amazon

January 26, 2012

Go Vegan One Day a Week: Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Readers Urged

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I love reading Whole Living – their clean and simple recipes are easy to make and can make excellent weeknight meals. They have had several e-mail blasts lately about vegan and vegetarian recipes, but today was the first e-mail I’ve seen actually urging readers to adopt a vegan diet at least one day per week. The most astonishing thing is that the poll associated with the article had over 95% of readers saying they would absolutely be interested in doing it. Granted – they all clicked on the article, so they are already interested in vegan recipes and it was only 30 or so respondents, but it is a great start.

I’m impressed, Whole Living! Keep up the good work!


January 23, 2012

Ashley’s Vegan Bodybuilding Update: 3 Weeks

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

So far I’ve lost a total of four pounds in three weeks – not bad, but I know I could have done better. While I’ve been good about doing some sort of exercise frequently, I haven’t been doing all I could and I certainly haven’t been following the plan religiously. It’s hard starting a new routine, especially one that is drastically different than how I normally would spend my time or fill my stomach.

For a reason unknown to me, I usually live life in extremes. I am either extremely motivated, overdoing it with exercise, eating way too little and/or restrictively or completely the opposite, barely wanting to move and eating with gluttony. My personality is also like this, moving from one extreme to the other. It can be a whirlwind of emotions and motivations (or lack thereof). In some ways this makes me more creative, fueling my artistic side. But more often than not, this lack of consistency is a hindrance.

New Year’s resolutions are usually superficial things – losing weight, changing the way you look or dress. I want this to be more than an irrational resolution that will be just as quickly forgotten as it began. I need a bigger change in my life, one that will put me on the path to greater happiness and health. January should be a time of reflection, a time we remember the good from the past year along with the bad. Visualize the person I want to be, realize the traits I already possess and work on those I feel don’t line up with my goals. One of these things is eating in secret – it’s a horribly embarrassing thing to admit, but I have a problem with secret eating and binging. It’s something I’ve only just let myself realize, but it is something I’ve done since I was very little.

Binge eating is a serious issue that affects those overweight, underweight and average alike. I began binging when I was borderline anorexic as a young teen. I would refuse to eat for days, snacking on limes and other very low calorie foods – and then, when I couldn’t handle it anymore, I would hide in my room in the middle of the night and eat high calorie foods. I was very skinny and looked fit until I moved in with my boyfriend at 18 or so – and that’s when I started eating all the time instead of in secret. He was a better influence in terms of binging, but a worse influence as he doesn’t eat very well and made it so I didn’t need to eat unhealthy things in secret.

In the past year I began looking at the way I eat and realizing that it isn’t healthy to continue like this. I went from a size 0/2 at age 18 to a size 10 at age 22. Now that I’m 23, I’m back down to a size 6, squeezing into a 4 in some things =), but I know that I have a long way to go to getting to the healthiest I can be. Jessica and I have tried several detoxes and diets, that while I may not have completed with perfect, I have learned something from each and every one. And that is what I’m hoping happens with this, our most drastic diet/exercise regimen yet. While I haven’t eaten perfectly, I’ve slipped and eaten dairy and even had fish once, I want to continue learning. From July 2011 I’ve lost a total of 17 pounds and kept them off, which is a huge feat for me, someone who’s never lost a significant amount of weight before.

My update is two-fold: I’m happy to be continuing thinking in healthier, more active terms and yet I haven’t been perfect in either the diet or exercise. I can’t be too hard on myself, I’ve come a long way. I just know I have a lot farther to go before I’ve banished all my bad habits =)

January 18, 2012

Miami Tandoor Indian Restaurant

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

I had a craving for Indian food last Friday when I came in from Denver so I had my husband swing by this little Indian Restaurant called “Miami Tandoor”.  It was my first time eating here which is a surprise because I cannot eat enough Indian food.

I called in my order on the way from the airport and when I got there they knew my name, asked me how I had heard about them and made me feel like family.

I ordered some papadam (which I love with green sauce but unfortunately I forgot to ask for some), an order of vegetable samosas and palak paneer.  The papadam was amazing, just the perfect blend of spice and crunch and the vegetable samosas were fabulous.  I could have eaten a monument of them.  The palak paneer was a little different than I was used to but it was still good- I ate half one day (it was alot of food) and the other half the second day.  I think it was actually better the second day.

I’m looking forward to going back and trying some more of their vegetarian dishes as they have quite a few.  It seems like there are a few Indian restaurants in the area so we’ll be going there more often now that I’ve found it!

For more information on Miami Tandoor as well as their menu, go to


Papadam and Veggie Samosa

January 17, 2012

Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge- Jessica Week 2 & 3

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

Last week I traveled to Denver for our yearly sales conference for my “day” job.  I love going because we always go during the winter time and it’s the only time I get to enjoy snow.  The part that I don’t like is that they usually have really bad food and terrible options for vegetarians.

This year, I emailed the event coordinator to see what type of vegan/vegetarian options there would be.  She replied saying that like last year, we would have pasta and veggies and salads.  I proceeded to explain to her that those options were not “healthy” options and that a week without protein could leave all vegetarians feeling a bit tired.

Amazingly, she listened and the Hyatt at the Colorado Convention Center actually provided incredibly healthy and filling vegetarian options (go Hyatt!).  Each meal provided something tasty- quinoa with cranberries and other succulent tastes, vegetable based soups, couscous, mushroom and roasted vegetable sandwiches, fruits, veggie casseroles, the list goes on.

However, as we’re on a vegan bodybuilding challenge, I did falter.  I drank too much alcohol (in Denver 2 glasses is actually 4 because of the altitude), didn’t work out enough (out of the 5 days I was there, I only worked out twice) and ate bread that I had told myself I wouldn’t eat.  I didn’t gorge myself and I should have known better than to start a vegan challenge a week before I went away for work.  But life doesn’t always wrap itself in a neat little package, it’s real and you mess up.

On a lighter note, it’s week 3 and I’m back on track.  I worked out on Sunday for an hour and I’m back in the gym today and eating healthy again.  The transition from vegetarian to vegan isn’t easy but it’s do-able.  I drank an Odwalla for breakfast yesterday, had an apple for a snack, a huge salad for lunch, some peanuts for afternoon snack and then some more kale for dinner along with some seaweed snack chips (I read that type O blood types increase thyroid/metabolism function by eating Seaweed and not necessarily taking Iodine pills).

Each day is a challenge but we’re facing it head on and every day we become stronger and healthier.  I can’t wait till June to see how far we’ve come!!!

January 11, 2012

Truffle Fries at the Brown Palace

by jem614

By Jessica Michael


Whoever invented truffle fries should be excommunicated for making such a sinful concoction!  This exquisite delight put a few dents in my derriere last week (thank goodness I’m eating better this week).  My friends from Ouray took me away from standard convention food for a night so I could enjoy some local flavor.

The Truffle Fries at the Brown Palace were probably the best fries I have ever tasted in my life!  They were served with an herbed butter but it really wasn’t necessary because they were amazing on their own!  (I did share these fries with the entire table and we didn’t finish them so don’t worry- I didn’t really binge).  The Brown Palace itself is this gorgeous hotel in downtown Denver; close to the Convention Center.  There is a really nice restaurant inside called Ellyngton’s as well as the saloon-style restaurant we ate at called the “Ship Tavern”.

The staff was also extremely friendly and although we were initially only one of the few people in the restaurant, their bar did get really busy later in the evening.

For more information on the Brown Palace in Denver, please go to

January 6, 2012

2012 Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge

by ashley

We are doing a Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge for 2012! See more about our program here:

We will be posting regular updates, recipes and exercise ideas throughout the coming months.

Scroll down to see our most recent updates!

January 6, 2012

Vegan Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan 

My number one goal for our vegan bodybuilding challenge is finding healthy, protein-filled recipes that are fun to eat. This is the only thing that will keep me out of the trans-fat laden cheese and potato chips. I’ve been wanting to make zucchini “pasta” for quite some time now, however just never had the energy to cut it up. If you buy a spiralizer, this process will be much easier. As it is, I used a mandolin to cut the zucchini in strips, and then julienned them into small noodle-like strips.

My fiance is trying to go vegan with me for a while. Although I know he isn’t planning on sticking to it 100%, it is wonderful that he’s learning that every meal does not have to revolve around un-healthy meats and dairy products. His favorite sauce just happens to be vodka sauce, so I decided to make a vegan version, sans the vodka. I originally didn’t have high hopes for this recipe and was debating making a dairy version for him separately, however when I took my first bite it was heavenly. I hope he likes it, it’s all he got in his lunch today =).

You’ll need to start the cashew cream before you can begin on anything else. While the cashews are soaking, cut up the zucchini.

Cashew Cream

1 lb raw cashews (imperative that they be raw, unsalted)

2-3 cups coconut water

Seasoning (optional)

Boil regular water in a medium saucepan, enough to cover the cashews. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat, add cashews and cover. Set aside for 30 minutes. (Now is the time to start cutting your zucchini noodles.)

After 30 minutes, drain cashews in a colander and put into a food processor, blender or Vitamix. I used a food processor and it worked perfectly, however I’m not sure how well this would come out in a regular blender. Of course, the Vitamix is made for this sort of thing – but I haven’t found a huge need for one as of yet.

Add the first cup of coconut water and blend until all water is incorporated. It will probably be pretty thick still, but this is where your tastes come in. To thin out the cream, keep adding coconut water until you reach your desired texture. I like mine pretty creamy, like a sauce, so I added about 2 ½ cups or so.

Once you’ve reached your desired thickness, now is the time to season. If you’re making the zucchini pasta, you’ll want to add some garlic, a little salt, maybe some pepper. Get creative with it. It doesn’t have to hold full flavor by itself, just have a little kick of savory (or sweet if you’re making a dessert).

Makes about 6 cups cream, depending on amount of water added.


Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomato and Spinach Cashew Cream Sauce

2 large raw zucchini squash, washed and dried

4 cups fresh baby spinach

2 cans stewed tomatoes (I use the basil/garlic seasoned kind)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼-1 cup cashew cream (recipe above)

While you were soaking the cashews for the cream, you should have been slicing up your zucchini noodles. This is how it should be done, either use a spiralizer (the easy way out) to make noodles from the fresh zucchini or julienne them into long strips. You can use a mandolin to make it easier, cutting the zucchini first into long, wide strips, and then cutting from there into noodles. Set the zucchini aside once cut. 

In a large sauteé pan, heat the cans of stewed tomatoes, minced garlic and spinach over medium heat until bubbly. The spinach should start to wilt. Make sure to stir frequently. Once the mixture boils for 1-2 minutes, add the first ¼ cup of cashew cream and stir generously to incorporate. Taste and keep adding until there is a nice balance, all according to your tastes. Let simmer for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly and making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.

Once it looks nice and thick, add the zucchini noodles. Stir for about 2 minutes and serve.

Makes about four servings.


%d bloggers like this: