Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vegan Brunch Buffet!

Remember a few days ago when I said that I cheated on my cleanse twice last weekend? Well, I shared pics from Stephanie's un-birthday tea party already, but tonight I'm going to show y'all my other cheat. Of course, now the cleanse is over, and I can eat whatever I want. But we're going back in time here.

This month, Bastet of OC Vegan Foods (who may be going by the name Omo now, according to Facebook) launched a weekly Sunday all-you-can-eat vegan breakfast buffet at Brinson's downtown. I found out about the buffet on the Sunday before last, but it was already over for the day. So even though I was still cleansing, there was no way I was going to miss the following week.

My friend Greg and I went last Sunday around 11:30 a.m. The place was already pretty busy, and I recognized quite a few folks. Memphis vegans and vegetarians stick together, and since we're a small city, we pretty much all know one another.

Brinson's is actually a bar by night. They have dupstep Fridays and reggae nights and spoken word nights. But the place cleans up nice for Sunday mornin' breakfast. It did seem a little strange to be at Brinson's and not be surrounded by glowsticks and hipsters sipping on PBR.

Anyway, you're here for the food, not the ambiance. And so was I. There was so much deliciousness there: Tofu Scramble, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage, and a Kale and Veggie Saute. Oh, and there's a Coconut-Banana Pancake with Strawberry Syrup hiding under that pile of food (you can see it there on the right):

Here's the same plate from another angle:

There was also a Buckwheat Porridge. I'd never had anything like this, but it was so delicious. The grains were ground down, so the porridge was smooth and creamy and lightly sweet:

Here's Bastet (or Omo) preparing some pancakes. Those pancakes were amazing:

I'll be back this Sunday for sure! I probably can't eat that much every single Sunday, but I'm going to try to go a few times each month. Oh hell, I might just go every week.

For the locals who'd like to check it out, Brinson's is located at 341 Madison. The buffet runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

And don't forget: Cookbook author Justin Moore is raising money on Kickstarter for the second English printing and first German printing (he lives in Germany) of his awesome cookbook, The Lotus & the Artichoke. He generously sent me a copy a few weeks ago, and I plan to review it very soon. But it's basically a full-color, photo-heavy vegan cookbook filled with dishes from across the globe. Help him out!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And the Cleanse Ends ...

It's over!! I ate healthy whole foods all month. And I survived! I actually ended my cleanse at 5 p.m. today. I could have lasted all day and gone back to regular eating tomorrow. But I go to Imagine Vegan Cafe with friends every Wednesday night, and I wasn't about to order another veggie plate there. Their veggies are fine and good. But I've ordered veggie plates and veggie soup every week there this month, and you just don't really go to Imagine Vegan Cafe for vegetables.

You go to Imagine Vegan Cafe for meat: Vegan meat. And vegan cheese. You know, all that stuff I wasn't allowed to eat on the 28-day whole foods-based Thrive Forward cleanse. But let's back up just a bit.

I wasn't supposed to meet my friends at the restaurant until 6:30 p.m, but I was hungry after work. I'd eaten healthily all day: chia cereal, salad, trail mix, green smoothie. But my tummy was growling. So I couldn't resist tearing into this bag of Earth Balance Aged Vegan Cheddar Puffs that I'd been hoarding in my pantry for two weeks.

Have y'all tried these yet? OMG! It's like Pirate's Booty and Cheetos had a vegan baby. So delicious. I ate a generous handful, but I stopped myself before I downed the whole bag.

Then I headed to Imagine Vegan Cafe, where I ordered a Blue Moon Valencia Amber Ale (yea, beer again!!) and a 12-inch Vegan Cheese, Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Pizza:

This was just a slice, but I ate two and saved four slices for leftovers. Imagine makes the best vegan pizza in town. They use Follow Your Heart instead of Daiya. I never have as much luck melting FYH, but they do it masterfully. The cheese even gets those little crispy brown spots on top!

So now that the cleanse is over, will I keep the healthy habits I've adopted over the past month? Of course! It won't be pizza and cheese puffs every night, folks.

  • I'm going to try to work in a few raw meals every once in awhile, and I'll aim to have a salad or cooked greens (kale, collards, etc.) once a day. But my salads will more often be side salads rather than big ole dinner salads.
  • I will have Vega smoothies for breakfast on running days. I like the way these smoothies make me feel — full but not stuffed, healthy, energized.
  • I will eat fruit EVERY DAY (and bottled juice will not be a substitute).
  • I will continue to make my own energy bars.
  • I will make sure I'm eating a variety of alkaline foods each day.
  • I will attempt to limit sweets to a couple of times each week. And I'll try to save the big sugary splurges (giant layer cake, etc.) for special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc.) and stick with smaller bites (Tofutti Cuties, little cookies) of sweet things on regular days.
  • And I will try to keep substituting hot raw cacao for my morning coffee. I'm not giving up coffee entirely, but I'd like to not be slave to it. It could be an occasional treat.
I think I'll have pretty good success with most of the above resolutions. Coffee is the only iffy one. We'll see how that goes.

As for how I felt while cleansing, well, for the most part, I felt great. My body felt great anyway. Very little digestive issues. Lots of energy. But my soul needs things like scones and Gardein and Daiya and the occasional fried thing. I get a little sad when I can't have those things every once in awhile. These cleanses that I do every January are awesome for resetting my eating habits in the new year, but I'm always so ready for those forbidden foods when the cleanse is over!

On another note, my Facebook pal Justin Moore is raising money on Kickstarter for the second English printing and first German printing (he lives in Germany) of his awesome cookbook, The Lotus & the Artichoke. He generously sent me a copy a few weeks ago, and I plan to review it very soon. But it's basically a full-color, photo-heavy vegan cookbook filled with dishes from across the globe. Help him out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Stephanie's Un-Birthday Tea Party!!

So if you've been reading my blog for some time, you've no doubt heard of Stephanie, right? She's kind of amazing. She's a professional vegan baker who bakes all the desserts for Imagine Vegan Cafe. She goes by Poopie Bitch on the Post Punk Kitchen, so I'm sure many of you know her there too.

Anyway, Stephanie had an Alice In Wonderland-themed 32nd un-birthday tea party this past weekend, and even though I'm cleaning until Wednesday night, I just couldn't resist cheating for this one. You'll see why.

Upon entering the porch, these little signs directed (or un-directed) guests to the door:

Inside, Stephanie had a full spread of delicious food and a couple of tea pots of Earl Gray and Vanilla Rooibos:

There were mis-matching tea cups and saucers, bowls of sugar (white cubes or the brown natural stuff), and a pitcher of almond milk:

But the food ... oh, the food!! Let's see. There were Tofu "Egg" Salad Sandwiches:

And Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches:

And the most amazing vegan Chicken Salad Sandwiches! I could have eaten five of these! But having not had gluten or white flour in weeks, I figured I'd better stick with one:

Stephanie went all out on the sweets ... like she does. There were the Queen of Hearts' Stolen Tarts:

And Blueberry Lavender Chocolate-Dipped Cookies:

And my very, very favorite thing of all — Vegan Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam!

Now I've never had dairy clotted cream, but this stuff was RIDICULOUS!!!! She made it with Earth Balance, Tofutti cream cheese, and powdered sugar. But it was softer and more whipped than, say, a buttercream frosting. And not as sweet either. Plus, the scones were fresh out of the oven! I've been dreaming of these scones now for days. Sigh.

For the birthday cake, Stephanie made little "Eat Me" Petit Fours with amaretto in the center. Aren't they too cute?

And no Alice In Wonderland party would be complete without something that says "Drink Me." She had that covered too with these adorable Vodka-Cranberry Cocktails:

Oh, and to top it off, this was a costume party! The birthday girl was the Mad Hatter:

And my friend Cassi made a perfect Queen of Hearts (trust me, it suits her):

I threw together a Cheshire Cat get-up at the last minute. I'd forgotten about the costume requirement, but my new purple striped sweater, some cat ears, and a little makeup got the point across:

Now, you can totally see why I cheated, right? :-)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thrive Forward, Day 26

I'm almost there! Only two-ish more days left until my 28-day Thrive Forward cleanse is over! Now, I know I promised some pretty awesome cheat posts from the weekend, but I'll post one tomorrow and one on Thursday. Today, I want to show y'all more cleanse food because this day was filled with awesome new healthy eats.

The morning started with the usual — Mango Coconut Energy Bar (I swear I'm almost out of these!) and a weight session. Then I had this creamy bowl of Chia Cereal:

It's been quite awhile since I've played around with chia seeds, but this may be my favorite use for them yet. I put three tablespoons of chia seeds in a cup of almond milk overnight. This morning, the seeds had expanded into their magical jelly-like state. Then I stirred in one tablespoon of Bee-Free Honee, two chopped dates, a handful of raspberries, and some chopped walnuts and almonds.

My morning snack wasn't nearly as photogenic as that bowl of chia cereal. But it was still really, really delicious. These Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas were from the Thrive website:

Those are chickpeas cooked in a balsamic reduction, hence their dark color. Then they were baked with chopped kale, salt, oil, and garlic.

Lunch was the last of my New Caesar Salad with Rustic Sweet Onion Flatbread. Then in the afternoon, I had this Blueberry Rooibos Antioxidant Smoothie from Thrive:

In the smoothie is a banana, blueberries, hemp protein, hemp oil, and some Blue Lotus masala chai rooibos powder.

Dinner was one of the best meals I've made on the cleanse so far! Stuffed Peppers with Cashew Cream:

These roasted peppers are stuffed with a curry and cumin-spiced mixture of quinoa, brown rice, green onions, and black beans. Then they're topped with a warm cashew cream made with soaked cashews, chopped onion, garlic, olive oil, and nutritional yeast. Ahhhhh ....

I wasn't really hungry for an after-dinner snack after eating those, but I'd already planned on having fruit with nut butter. So I ate it anyway. Sometimes, I eat just because I want to. :-/ Here was my Organic Apple with PB2 for dippin':

Okay, tomorrow I'll be eating mostly leftovers, so I promise to post fun weekend cheater pics!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thrive Forward Weekend Recap (Days 23-25)

Normally, in these Thrive Forward cleanse weekend recap posts, I have loads of pictures of all the uber-healthy stuff I ate to show you. But I have to be honest. I did a lot of cheating this weekend! But it was all planned cheats and worthy ones at that. In fact, each of my two big cheats deserves a post of its own. So more on each later this week.

Friday was the only day I didn't cheat. It started in the usual way with a Mango Coconut Energy Bar, a weight training session, and a breakfast of Toasted Apple Cinnamon Cereal and almond milk. I went to an all-day journalism conference for work, so I brought my green smoothie for my morning snack with me. But I forgot to take a picture!

I did, however, get a picture of my delicious lunch. Cosmic Coconut, the all-vegan smoothie and juice bar, is only a few minutes from the University of Memphis, where the workshops were being held. They serve lunch, but I'm never able to try it during my usual work days since I work downtown (about 20 minutes away). So I hit up Cosmic Coconut for the soup of the day — Winter Squash, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Soup:

This was so good! I loved the big chunks of starchy veggies! I ordered a cup of soup instead of a bowl, because I ordered more food. But Cosmic Coconut is very generous! This "cup" size portion looks more like a bowl to me.

I ate all my soup and still managed to save room for this Bean and Rice Burrito:

This was so amazing! It's beans, rice, veggies, avocado, pineapple salsa, and a raw gingery dressing served quesadilla style in a brown rice tortilla. Look inside!

You can get the same dish bowl-style, but I love these brown rice tortillas. This was very hearty, and I left Cosmic Coconut completely stuffed.

Dinner was another Spicy DLT Sandwich, so I'll spare you a picture. Since I stayed up late watching My So-Called Life on DVD, I wanted a little dessert. So I made Banana Soft Serve in the food processor and topped it with cacao nibs and goji berries:

Banana soft serve really is the best thing on the planet. Just throw a frozen banana and a splash of almond milk into a food processor and blend until smooth and soft serve-like.

I'll fill y'all in on my other weekend eats in separate posts!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thrive Forward, Day 22

I may have had a weak moment yesterday with that cinnamon roll situation. But that's okay. I was right back on the cleansing wagon today. I woke up a little late because I turned my alarm off in my sleep, so I only had time for a 30 minute run. But I fit it in and followed it up with my favorite Vega smoothie combo yet — Cashew Butter Maca Chip Vega Smoothie:

Yes, it is as good as it sounds. I found the recipe on Vega's Facebook page. But here it is (with a few changes): 1/2 frozen banana, one cup almond milk, 2 Tbsp. cashew butter, 1 scoop Vega One Natural, dash of vanilla extract, 1/3rd of a Vega Maca Chocolate Bar.

Blend everything together except for the Maca Chocolate Bar. Add the bar to the blender and blend on low until the chocolate turns into chips. Man, this is so good and creamy! It's hard to believe it's health food and not dessert.

My morning snack was Rustic Sweet Onion Flatbread, which I've used as croutons on the New Caesar Salad for the past few days. It makes a great crouton, but it's just as delicious on its own:

Lunch was this Chopped Garden Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing (both recipes are from Thrive Foods):

The salad has romaine, radishes, carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, sprouts, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. And the dressing is so amazing! To make it, you roast a whole cup of garlic cloves in olive oil. Then it's blended with balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar and oregano.

I didn't have an afternoon snack because I was being interviewed for a magazine all afternoon! But more on that way later, like when the article is scheduled to come out.

Dinner was another Spicy DLT (dulse, lettuce, tomato, and avocado) Sandwich. Then I attended a booksigning for rescue dog advocate Ken Foster's new book I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America's Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet. As y'all probably know, I have a pit bull named Maynard. And he's a very good dog. Hyper as all hell. But a very sweet boy.

Right now, I'm snacking on the last of my Rhythm Superfoods Kool Ranch Kale Chips, and then I'm off to the Hi-Tone Cafe to catch a Purity Ring show. I'll leave you with some Fineshrine ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thrive Forward: I Cheated!

I have a confession to make. Remember that "amazing self-control" that I bragged about in last night's post after I loaded a grocery cart with snack foods that I can't eat for another week? Well, there are two things that can bring my "amazing self-control" to its knees: vegan donuts and vegan cinnamon rolls.

And tonight, when I went to Imagine Vegan Cafe for my usual Wednesday night dinner with friends, I was greeted with gooey, fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls made by my dear friend Stephanie of Swell Baked Goods. Stephanie delivers fresh baked goods to Imagine every Wednesday, but she typically brings cakes, cookies, or brownies. She hasn't made cinnamon rolls for Imagine since September, and that was the last time I had one.

By my logic, if I didn't eat a cinnamon roll tonight, it could be four more months before I'd get another chance. Of course, since she's my friend, I could probably twist her arm into making some before then. But let's just pretend that's not a possibility. Could anyone resist these ooey, gooey, vanilla icing-covered rolls?

Yea, I didn't think so. So I ate one. But I followed it with a big bowl of Imagine's homemade Vegetable Soup. I figured all those veggies would somehow balance out the fact that I'd just eaten sugar and white flour for the first time in 22 days.

I also had the Cosmic Coconut (pineapple, banana, coconut meat, coconut milk), the signature smoothie at the all-vegan Cosmic Coconut juice and smoothie bar earlier in the day.

And I've eaten really healthily all day (except for my cinnamon roll splurge) — another New Caesar Salad, Garlic Thyme Yam Oven Fries, Health(ier) Popcorn, honeydew, and a Mango Coconut Energy Bar.

So I didn't even feel the slightest bit guilty for my sugar splurge. In cleanses past, I've learned that when I completely deny myself the occasional treat, I'll mega-retox after the cleanse is over. A few years ago, I did a variation of the Crazy Sexy Diet that ended in FIVE cupcakes, a loaf of bread, and many, many glasses of red wine – all in one night. I retoxed big-time then.

But my goal with Thrive Forward is to adopt healthier eating habits for the long haul. When it's all said and done, I'm not giving up Daiya cheese or Tofurky or Gardein. I'll still eat those things a few times each week, but I'll try harder to balance them with more alkaline foods (more salads, more smoothies, etc.). Anyway, an occasional sugary treat now will help me to understand that it's not about deprivation. It's about adding in healthier foods.

Or maybe I'm justifying ... whatevs. That was a damn fine cinnamon roll. Worth every bite.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thrive Forward, Day 20

You know, some days it feels like my Thrive Forward cleanse is flying by. And other days, it feels like I've been doing this for months. Today was one of the latter days. I was tempted by vegan cookies at Whole Foods, and I felt like Tofurky cold cuts were literally calling my name, "Bianca, we've missed you! Buy us! Let's be friends again!" Oh, and my Whole Foods now sells Earth Balance Vegan Aged Cheddar Puffs.

So I bought a bunch of junk food, but I have amazing self-control. I'm stashing it for my reward at the end, which officially happens NEXT Wednesday night (only one more week!). Anyway, enough junk food talk for now. Let's talk about the healthy stuff I ate today, all of which was super-delicious.

Before my run, I had a Mango Coconut Energy Bar (yes, I made a ton of these, so I'll eat one every day until they're gone). After my run, I had coconut water and another Apple Cinnamon Vega Smoothie (apple, cinnamon, almond butter, almond-coconut milk, and Vega).

My morning snack was Carrots and Hummus (from Thrive Foods). But lunch was something new —the New Caesar Salad from Thrive Foods:

The homemade caesar dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic, and dulse flakes. It actually called for wakame in the dressing and dulse in the salad. But I'm leery of many sea veggies cause I'm not crazy about fishy tasting foods. But dulse is cool. It only has a mild sea flavor. It added that special caesar dressing taste.

Those croutons are the Rustic Sweet Onion Flatbread from Thrive Foods. It's basically a flax and hempseed cracker with chopped red onion, tomato, and raisins. They're made in the dehydrator, and they're probably about the best-tasting flax crackers I've ever made. They're super oniony, like those onion bagels with the little onion bits on top.

My afternoon snack was Health(ier) Popcorn from the Thrive Forward website:

Again, amazing! Popcorn is popped on the stove in coconut oil. Then it's drizzled with hempseed oil, and agave, sprinkled with a pinch of salt and cinnamon, and mixed with walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Dinner was the Spicy DLT Sandwich from Thrive Foods:

The "D" stands for "dulse," which is sprinkled onto mashed avocado spread on sprouted grain toast. That's topped with salsa, tomato, and lettuce. Even though this was completely cleanse-approved, it felt delightfully naughty, probably because I got to eat bread. Damn, I miss bread.

On the side, I had some Kool Ranch Kale Chips from Rhythm Superfoods:

I reviewed their Texas BBQ Kale Chips a couple weeks ago. Those were amazing, but I think these are even better. As far as I know, this is the only vegan ranch-flavored snack. As a former lover of Cool Ranch Doritos, I must say that these are probably the best flavor of kale chips on the planet. Crunchy, ranchy, healthy goodness.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thrive Forward: The Un-Coffee Post

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you might remember that, during past January cleanses, I've done a lot of whining about coffee. Since coffee is highly acidic, it isn't allowed on these alkalizing cleanses, like Thrive and the Crazy Sexy Diet.

In the past, while cleansing and doing without my daily java, I've been a big ole baby. I used to say that you'd have to pry coffee from my cold dead hands before I'd give it up. But this time around, giving up coffee has been one of the easiest parts! Why? I have found a perfect alternative —Hot Cacao!

You see, I listen to Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan's podcast, Our Hen House, pretty much religiously. Months ago, I remember Jasmin raving about the couple's swap-out of coffee with raw cacao powder mixed with hot water. It didn't sound that great. It sounded bitter and not nearly as awesome as coffee.

But when embarking on the Thrive Forward cleanse, I decided to give it a whirl. In the past, while cleansing, I've tried to use hot tea to replace coffee. But that's just a joke! Hot tea is fine, but it's no coffee replacement. So anyway, I boiled some water in my kettle, filled up my mug, and stirred in one tablespoon of Nativas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder. I took a drink, and it was, indeed, very bitter.

But then again, coffee is bitter when taken black, right? So I did what I do with my coffee and added a teaspoon or so of agave nectar. Voila! It was delicious. Just like a hot cocoa made with very dark chocolate. But would it give me the energy boost I needed to get me through a morning of editing and reporting at the office?

Yes, it did! Unlike with hot tea, I actually felt awake after drinking the raw cacao. But not overly awake, like jittery coffee. Just alert and not sleepy anymore. It has the bitterness, which tea fails at. And it keeps me awake.

Will I give up coffee forever? NO WAY! But I like this beverage so much that I might just make it my new morning brew after the cleanse is over. And then coffee can be more of an occasional treat. Only time will tell, but I may have broken my coffee addiction. Maybe.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thrive Forward Weekend Recap (Days 16, 17, and 18)

Wow. This cleanse is really flying by! Only one more weekend left after this one. I've decided to take the cleanse to 28 days instead of 30, because that's an even four weeks. Anyway, here's what I ate this weekend.

I started Friday morning with a Mango Coconut Energy Bar, a weight training session, and a breakfast of Garlic Oregano Yam Oven Fries. But you've already seen all those pictures. Before lunch, I snacked on some Sunridge Trail Mix (peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apples, raisins, and dates) and an orange:

Lunch was more South of the Border Coleslaw. I had a Sweet Green Smoothie from Thrive for an afternoon snack (romaine, dates, honeydew, hemp protein, and flax seed):

I was still hungry after my smoothie, and there were hours until dinner. So I snacked on some Skinny Crisps Cinnamon Crisps that I keep at my desk. They're gluten-free crackers made from chickpea flour and almond meal. There's a tad bit of evaporated cane juice in them, which isn't really allowed on my cleanse. But that's okay.

Dinner on Friday was a MASSIVE plate of Spaghetti Squash with Three-Step Marinara and Parmela Topping from Thrive Foods:

Can you believe that giant pound of "noodles" was less than 200 calories? And that's with the homemade marinara sauce! Spaghetti squash is so awesome.

Late Friday night, I snacked on the last of my Mock "Chicken" Salad (from Balewa's) with Sprouted Grain Toast while we watched The Words (with Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons).

I started Saturday morning with a Buckwheat Banana Pancake (I made four pancakes last weekend and froze them for future Saturday mornings). The pancake is a more substantial pre-run snack for my 10K Saturdays. Anyway, I ran six miles, had some coconut water, and then enjoyed an Apple Cinnamon Vega Smoothie.

For lunch, our local vegetarian group was having its monthly meeting at Balewa's Vegan Gourmet, the raw food joint across from my house. I walked over and had this spicy bowl of raw Cream of Broccoli Soup:

And I also ordered the Quinoa Chili with Chips (they're Garden of Eatin' blue corn tortilla chips). This really hit the spot. Probably my favorite dish at Balewa's yet:

Later on Saturday, I hosted my friend Greg's birthday party at my house. I wanted to keep the party as cleanse-friendly as possible, so went with a "build-your-own" sushi bar. I made a ton of brown rice and white sushi rice (not for me ... I had to eat the brown rice for my cleanse). I chopped up some baked tofu, bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and green onions. I laid out nori sheets and sushi mats and everyone rolled their own. Here's mine!

No sushi party is complete with Inari Sushi! These are little fried tofu pockets stuffed with rice. I filled some with brown and some with white. Now, technically, I'm avoiding fried foods on the cleanse. But I figured a few bites wouldn't hurt. I also had a few glasses of organic, vegan Orleans Hill Winery Cote Zero.

On Sunday, I didn't have much of anything new. More Buckwheat Soba Sesame Miso Ramen for breakfast, the last of my South of the Border Coleslaw for lunch, a Sweet Green Smoothie for a snack, and leftover Brown Rice Sushi for dinner.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrive Day 15: I'm a Winner!!

Guess what?! I won the daily prize package from Thrive Forward. Every day, when you tweet or Facebook-share the Thrive videos, you get an entry into a daily drawing for an amazingly generous prize package. Check out what I've won!
  • 4 large tubs of Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake
  • 1 case (24-pk) of CoCos-Pure coconut water
  • 1 annual membership to My Yoga Online
  • 1 Full Circle Home Wherever Water bottle or 1 Fresh Air kitchen compost collector
  • 1 annual subscription to Yoga Journal
  • 1 ZoN Fitness resistance tube and Thrive Fitness DVD
  • 1 Thrive Foods book by Brendan Brazier (titled Whole Foods to Thrive in Canada)
When I began the cleanse on January 3rd, I set out to win that package. I NEED that Vega and coconut water big-time, since I plan to continue the post-workout coconut water and smoothies after my cleanse is over. And Vega is expensive! So is coconut water! I shared the Thrive videos daily (sometimes multiple times each day) to ensure that I'd win. And I did! I can't wait until the stuff comes in. I'm sure I'll post about it again then. 

By the way, you can still win this package if you sign up for the free Thrive Forward plan and share the videos often. The daily drawings run through the end of February.

Until then, let's look at what I ate today - the halfway point. The morning started with another Mango Coconut Energy Bar, followed by a 45-minute  run (15 minutes warming up on the treadmill and 30 outside in the cold). Then I had some coconut water, followed soon after by this Apple Cinnamon Vega Smoothie:

I really think I'm in love with Vega. All the smoothies I've been making with it have stayed with me for hours. When I've tried to have breakfast smoothies in the past (without Vega), I'm hungry an hour after drinking it. But Vega keeps me full, and it makes for a thick and creamy smoothie. 

This one had a whole organic apple, two tablespoons of almond butter, almond-coconut milk, Vega One Natural, and cinnamon. I found the recipe on the Thrive Forward website. Loved the combo of apples and almond butter.

My morning snack was a handful of Nativas Naturals Trail Mix (a mixture of cacao nibs, cashews, goji berries, goldenberries, and mulberries), but I forgot to take a picture.

Lunch was a Mexican Salad Bowl from Thrive Foods:

It's a simple salad with romaine, black beans, fresh corn, grated carrots, cubed jicama, and green onion. The recipe doesn't include a dressing, so I used some leftover Tomato-Basil Dressing from Thrive.

My afternoon snack was more Rhythm Superfoods Texas BBQ Kale Chips and a banana. And dinner was a leftover Temple Rice Bowl (wild rice, bok choy, hummus, sprouts, onions, and hemp seeds). Oh, and I had a square of Vega Maca Chocolate for dessert.

Halfway done!