Archive for January 6th, 2012

January 6, 2012

2012 Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge

by ashley

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

http://vegontherun.com/2011/12/29/new-year-resolutions-vegan-weight-lossmuscle-gaining-regimen/

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.

 

January 6, 2012

Kale Sautee

by jem614

By Jessica Michael

Since being on this vegan bodybuilding challenge, I have been craving Kale for dinner almost every night.

I try to change it up so it doesn’t get stale but there are so many different ways to make it.  Two days ago, I added some tofurky Italian sausage and it was this spicy flavorful meal.


Last night, I wanted to add a little tofu to bulk up the calories (3 cups of kale is only around 100 calories).  It ended up being this amazing tangy delicious sautee that I wished I had more of.  I’m hungry just thinking about it right now.

Ingredients:
Kale (3-4 cups is probably good for one person if you’re eating this as a meal)
Salt
Pepper
1/2 zucchini
1/4 small Onion
Corn Meal Flour
Liquid Aminos
Sundried Tomatoes
Coconut oil (for cooking)
Olive oil (for flavor)
Garlic Powder
Firm Tofu
Lime

In a bowl, drain and cut your tofu (up to you- I cut about a 1/5 block of tofu) and cut into squares.  Dry your squares and cover with about two teaspoons of liquid amino with a little bit of oil.  Coat your squares then add a dash or so of garlic.  Next, add about a tablespoon and a half of your corn meal flour- not a lot just enough to add flavor to the squares and a little crispiness.

In your pan, add your coconut oil- I put mine on medium heat (so I don’t burn the oil) toss in your onions, sundried tomatoes and zucchini slices to sautee.  Toss in your tofu cubes to brown.  Once everything has a nice color, add in your kale (so you don’t kill the kale, always add it in last for just a minute or two).

Toss your kale with a little more garlic powder, salt and pepper.  After two minutes or so, it should be coated in oil and flavor and tossed with the rest.  Before it gets all wilted, take it out and put it in a bowl to toss with a squeeze of lemon.

You will have a nice refreshing and delicious dinner!

Bon Appetit!

January 6, 2012

Ashley’s Vegan Bodybuilding Challenge Update

by ashley

by Ashley Morgan

I think this is the first time in my life that I feel empowered to make a drastic change in my eating and exercise habits. Over the past year I’ve accomplished so much, including losing 15 pounds and keeping 11 or so of those off, even during the holidays. I’ve also completed my first half-marathon. I’ve learned about vegetarian and vegan diet habits and have been able to incorporate them into my daily life. My entire outlook on nutrition and exercise has completely been turned upside down.

 

A few years ago I would starve myself before an event, take diet pills, live off crazy things like lemons and cabbage. All of those things made me lose a few pounds and inches, sure…but the weight would come back on and I would feel worse and worse about myself after. I felt like a failure – I seriously couldn’t understand why I couldn’t handle eating 500 calories or so per day (which sounds ludicrous now). I am so lucky to have learned these things, incorporating more and more into regular habits. I certainly have not been eating perfectly this whole year, however I can say that I have eaten better than ever.

 

And so, as I embark upon this next step in my journey, I know that I have the right tools to succeed. I may not end up getting the supermodel body of my dreams, however I know for a fact that I will walk away having learned yet another lesson that will improve the rest of my life. My advice to anyone else trying to follow a strict diet and exercise program – don’t make it so strict! Have fun with it, it’s the only way to succeed. I’ve been playing around with new recipes, trying to make my workouts fun by using the Wii, walking with loved ones and going to classes with friends (i.e. JESSICA!). Challenge yourself, listen to your body and most of all – know that what you are doing is for you, not for anyone else.

 

A quick update on my progress:

 

Stick to the routine that I originally posted, I tried to make it more difficult this week (thinking I wasn’t going to be challenged enough). DON’T overdo it, you’ll end up dead sore and unable to do anything. I think the cardio every other day and weights on cardio off-days is the key. I was trying to do weights everyday and that didn’t work at all.

 

Secondly, you WILL be sore starting weight training for the first time – incredibly debilitating pain that will shoot through your arms and legs as you try to do daily activities. As long as you were careful to keep your form during exercises, this is just normal pain and soreness. If it doesn’t go away after two days or so, take a rest day. But don’t give up – the pain is from muscle growth and you only have a short window before you lose your progress. As long as you keep up the weight training, you will start to get less and less sore after each workout.

 

As always, I’m here if you have any questions about what we’re doing. We aren’t experts by any means, but we’ve been through a lot of these type of programs (especially with nutrition) and know a lot of resources that could help you, plus personal experience.

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