Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Running Update!

As some of you may remember, I fractured my foot two times last year! First, while training for the Nashville Rock & Roll Marathon back in April 2018 and again (the same foot) while training for the Stanky Creek 50K back in August 2018. I don't why the original injury happened (possibly related me trying to tape my foot so I could still run with plantar fasciitis), but I'm certain the re-fracture was due to me jumping straight into 50K training after healing from the first fracture.

It was dumb, but like so many other runners, I do lots of dumb things in the name of running. I took a full four months off running after the second fracture, and I finally got back into my sport in time for the St Jude 5K last December. Now that my foot is feeling good, I've decided to make 2019 a do-over year. I've signed up for (or are signing up for) all of the same races as last year, many of which I didn't get to run.

I'm currently training for the Little Rock Half-Marathon (check out this inspirational sidewalk chalk I spotted on last Saturday's 9-miler!).

I declared 2018 the "Year of Trail Running" when I launched the year with the Memphis Runners Track Club Winter Off-Road Series. This set of four trail races — a 3K, 5K, 8K, and 10K — acted as my intro to trail running. I'd long been a road runner, but after spending some time in the woods, I'd found my true love. So I re-registered again this year. We did the Overton Park 3K in early January! My friend Megan and partner Paul also signed up for the WORS series this time, so it's been great to have friends to run with! Last year, I did most of the series by myself.

Btw, I was super-sick during that 3K (two days into a bad cold), but I did it anyway. Not my best race, but it felt good to get outside.

Two weekends ago, we all ran the second race in the series — WC Johnson 5K. It was COLD day (in the 30s!), but we survived.

The next two WORS races — Stanky Creek 8K and the Shelby Farms 10K — are coming up in February, and I can't wait! And this weekend, I'll run the Crosstown 10K in my neighborhood (starting and ending at Crosstown Concourse, where I work). I ran that last year (the first year for that race) as well.

Next up is the Little Rock Half (I ran that last year) in March. And then Paul and I have signed up to run the Nashville Rock & Roll together in April. That's the one I didn't get to run last year because I broke my foot on my last long run before the race. This will be Paul's first marathon, so maybe it's best that I was forced to wait and run it with him.

I also plan to run the Great American River Run Half in downtown Memphis this May (signed up last year but had to downgrade to the 5K as my first injury had just barely healed). And finally, my end goal is the Stanky Creek 50K — a trail race on the Stanky Creek bike trails!! I volunteered at the race last year since I couldn't run it, and I was inspired by all the people out there pushing themselves beyond their limits. Can't wait to make it happen this year!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Supplements for Vegans

Typically when I review products, they're items that were sent to me expressly for the purpose of featuring on my blog (of course I let companies know that I'll offer an honest review, and if I don't like something about a product, I'll include that in my review). But other times, I just love a product I've purchased so much that I want to tell everyone about it. And that's the case with Complement Plus.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might know that I'm a No Meat Athlete fangirl. I've listened to all the back episodes of the podcast, cooked plenty of dishes from both NMA cookbooks, and I'm a member of the No Meat Athlete Tribe/Pulse Community (meaning I donate a small amount each month to support the work of the NMA team).

Matt Frazier, the founder of No Meat Athlete, also serves as the Chief Outreach Officer for Alpine Organics, a new-ish supplement company that makes products designed for vegans. I learned about Complement on his podcast and subscribed right away last year! At the time, the original Complement was a D3, B12, and EPA/DPA supplement available in spray form (and it still is!). 

But just this month, they've released another product called Complement Plus – a capsule that contains B12, D3, EPA/DHA, Iodine, K2, Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc. According to Alpine Organics, which relies on medical advice of Dr. Joel Kahn, B12, D3, and EPA/DHA are the three essential nutrients missing from a plant-based diet.

So those are covered here. Plus, you get Iodine and Zinc (two important minerals not abundantly found in plant-based foods), K2 (which can only be found in natto, and who eats that everyday?), Selenium, and Magnesium. Before I started taking Complement Plus this month, I was taking the Complement spray for my essentials, taking a magnesium capsule to help me sleep and prevent headaches, and eating a daily brazil nut for selenium. 

And now I can get everything in three handy pills every morning! Complement Plus is offered by subscription. A two-month supply is $70, which is about what I was spending on vitamins from the store anyway. If you're interested, check it out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tacos, Muffins & Pies

On Friday night, my friends Misti and Mike suggested we all go out for dinner and drinks, and Misti chose Babalu in Overton Square. It'd been quite awhile since my last visit there, and they've changed the menu a bit. But of course, they still had Tableside Guacamole! I could typically make a dinner from this alone.

But I ran nine miles Saturday morning, so I was pretty hangry. I needed a little more than chips and guac. I used to love Babalu's vegetal tacos, but I was sad to see those are no longer on the menu. They did have Cauliflower Tacos, which were less vegan friendly (with mayo-based slaw and mayo-based comeback sauce). But the server let me swap out slaw and sauce for pico. They were good, but the old tacos were better. My whole meal was washed down with a Crosstown Brewing Co. Traffic IPA.

When my parents came to visit Friday night, my mom brought me a Blueberry Muffin she'd made. It had a crumb topping and made a PERFECT car snack while out running weekend errands.

My dad brought me some tofu he'd smoked in his new smoker. I first tried the tofu on a salad with tahini dressing and fried chickpeas. So good!

Then I had some in a Smoked Tofu & Veggie Bagel Sandwich with Air-fried Squash. The sandwich (on a whole wheat bagel thin) had avocado, tomato, cucumber, and lettuce, and it hit the spot. The air-fried squash (my dad's recipe) satisfied my craving for deep-fried squash without the oil.

Speaking of the air fryer, I also made some Maple Cinnamon Apple Hand Pies in the air fryer using my mom's no-fail crust recipe and my apple pie filling recipe. These were flaky and best enjoyed warm with Halo Pancakes & Waffles vegan ice cream!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Burritos & Burgers & Cupcakes

Y'all, I swear I'm getting my junk food binges under control, but I still have some older pics from the week before when I just went junk food crazy!

One of those meals was a Daiya Santa Fe Burrito with vegan beef crumbles, brown rice, potatoes, and Daiya cheese. I saw these at Sprouts and just HAD to try one cause they're new! They had some with rice and beans (instead of plant meat), but I figured "go big or go home," right? Topped with homemade cashew sour cream and served with baby carrots and hummus. Because balance.

Last week, I was really back on that whole foods wagon. But then we had our monthly Crosstown Arts staff lunch meeting, which meant Impossible Burgers, Home Fries, Nachos with Vegan Chili, and Salad. Prepared by our Crosstown Arts cafe staff.

And we also had vegan Cookies & Cream Cupcakes from Muddy's Bake Shop. I'm so lucky to work in such a vegan-friendly place!

Here's a healthy meal! Tempeh with Brussels, Squash, & Kale Over Quinoa with Tahini Sauce. Nothing beats a bean/grain/green bowl with tahini.

And finally, my parents were in town on Friday night, and we went out to eat at The Liquor Store. They have Impossible burgers there, but since I'd just had one at staff meeting, I opted for the Cuban Platter with black beans, yellow rice, sauteed peppers and onions, and fried plantains. So good!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Lulu's Brunch: The Classics

The Lulu's Food pop-up brunches are back! And they're hopefully happening on the regular now. My friends Don & Kenzie have hosted occasional Lulu's brunches at Fuel Cafe over the past year, but they were more sporadic — typically once a month. But that was back when Fuel Cafe was open for business, and Don was working there full-time as the pizza chef. He was holding his brunches at Fuel on some Sundays when they were closed for regular business.

But Fuel Cafe closed back in December, and owner Erik said he was keeping the restaurant space so chefs could hold pop-ups. And Don is taking full advantage of that! He says Lulu's brunches should be happening every other week now, so long as everyone who makes them happen is in town and available to help out. There may be a few times when every other week isn't possible, but that's his goal. 

Today's Lulu's brunch was themed The Classics, and the menu featured biscuits and gravy, a big breakfast, and crepes. I started with a black coffee (small batch, locally roasted).

I had a hard time choosing between the Big Brekky and the Lion's & Crepes (sweet and savory crepes stuffed with lion's mane mushrooms). But in the end, I realized I was craving tofu scram more than crepes. So the Big Brekky it was! Tofu scramble, Don's homemade sourdough bread, roasted white & sweet potatoes, country smoked carrots, and braised shiitakes from local Bluff City Fungi.

I can't wait until the next brunch! You can follow Lulu's on Instagram to get details on future brunch dates, plus that'll also let you know when Don will be at the Cooper-Young Farmer's Market selling his famous buns and cookies. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Beyond Burger at Huey's in Memphis!

For years, Memphis burger joint Huey's has won the Memphis Flyer's Best Burger award in their annual Best of Memphis readers' poll. It's a beloved homegrown place with nine locations all over the city (and even in North Mississippi). I've been going there for their veggie burger for as long as I've lived in Memphis. It's a veggie-based patty.  It's vegan. And it's really, really good!

But Huey's stepped up their vegan game recently with the addition of the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger, Follow Your Heart vegan smoked gouda, and vegan mayo! To celebrate, we had our Memphis Vegan Drinks meet-up at the Midtown location last night.

For vegans, burgers are served with your choice of steak fries, tots, sweet potato fries, or steamed veggies. Typically, I'd go with tots ALL DAY. But as I mentioned in last night's post, I need to get back on my whole foods game this week. I figured the Beyond Burger and white bun was enough of a treat, so I ordered the veggies on the side. But I did have a High Cotton Scottish Ale with my burger (pints are only $3.50 during happy hour!).

You can order the Beyond Burger or the regular char-grilled veggie burger in all kinds of ways. I opted for the way it came on the menu (kaiser bun, onion, lettuce, tomato, vegan gouda, and vegan mayo). But you can also go with the West Coast burger (whole wheat bun, guac, just sub vegan cheese and mayo) or the Texas Toast Burger (thick white toast, sauteed mushrooms and onions, just sub vegan cheese and ask them to prepare the mushrooms/onions in oil instead of butter).

Note: The black bean patty at Huey's is NOT VEGAN. It contains eggs, so it's safe for vegetarians but not vegans.

The coolest thing about Huey's adding more vegan options is the accessibility factor. Since Huey's has locations in certain areas of the suburbs where vegan options aren't as available, more people will have access to meat-free burgers. Yay!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Some Meals I Didn't Eat at Home

Y'all. I went straight off the whole foods rails last week. Like just FELL. RIGHT. OFF. Sure, I still had a few healthy meals at home. But for the most part, I gave into every craving for sweets and oil and ate out more times than I typically do.

And that's okay! Sometimes, you need to treat yourself, and I think it was time. Our cafe at Crosstown Arts was KILLING IT with desserts and specials last week, so I ended up eating quite a bit at work. And I treated myself to a decadent meal at Imagine Vegan Cafe last Tuesday.

That Imagine meal — the Vegan Memphis platter — comes with seitan BBQ, seasoned fries, and baked beans. It's one of my favorite things to order, but I so rarely eat fries.

Once a week, I eat lunch in our cafe at Crosstown Arts (where I work in communications). The menu is pretty whole foods-y, but a few things are a little more decadent. Like the Chicken Fried Tofu Over Grits and Greens. It's my favorite menu item (and it's all whole foods!), but since it's fried, I try to limit this to a monthly treat.

Our head baker at the cafe — Ali —was rolling out all kinds of amazing things last week. I mean, she's always on her game, but her specials last week were all calling my name. One day, she made Meyer Lemon & Cashew Cream Cheese Hand Pies. I'm a sucker for anything lemon-y. I did split this with a co-worker, so I feel pretty great about that. I always feel best when I share a dessert.

The next day, I came in and saw she'd made VEGAN CRONUTS!!!!! These were Pineapple Coconut Croissant Doughnuts, and holy hell, they were SO GOOD. Just look at those layers. I'd never eaten a cronut, so I pretty much had to order this. Had to. And no, I did not share.

And then on Friday, Ali made Vegan Sausage & Cheese Biscuits with her homemade bean-based sausage, vegan American cheese, and handcrafted buttermilk biscuits. This brought me right back to my McDonald's days (but so much better!). In college, I lived off McDonald's sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits (without the sausage — I was vegetarian then but not yet vegan).

So yea, that was a delicious week. But I am trying to reign that in this week. I feel better when I'm limiting sugar and eating less white bread and fried foods. No regrets though!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Cats & Buns & Tortillas!

Now that Fuel Cafe is closed, my friend Don of Lulu's Food is back to selling his baked goods every Saturday at the Cooper-Young Farmer's Market (and he's still hosting pop-up brunches in the Fuel space!). I got there right at opening time this Saturday and scored my favorite savory bun — Smoked Carrot Bacon & Cashew Cheddar. This heavy bun is made of soft, pillowy dough that's similar to a croissant. Perfect pre-yoga snack. And Polaris liked it too. 

Don also made corn tortillas this week, so I bought six and enjoyed them over the past couple days with pinto beans and Spanish rice (made with brown rice) and lots of avocado. Simple meals like this are my fave.

Speaking of tortillas, I used some of the Sprouts Artisan Corn Tortillas (they contain some wheat, which makes them super-soft) to make Lentil Taco Meat Taquitos with more of that Spanish rice on the side. 

Yesterday afternoon, Paul, Megan, and I had a race — the WC Johnson 5K — as part of the Memphis Runners Track Club Winter Off-Road Series. I had a big bowl of Oats with Blueberry, Banana, & Walnuts that morning as fuel.

Later that evening, Paul and I celebrated our race with cocktails at Art Bar at Crosstown Arts (where I work — yes, I hang out at work on my off days!). I had a Pay de Nuez cocktail (tequila, maple syrup, pecan liqueur, and turmeric), and Paul had a Memphis Made Fireside Amber ale.

I was off today for MLK Day, so I slept in until 7:30 am! And then I had a bowl of Koyo Lemongrass Ginger Ramen with Tofu, Edamame, Corn, Peas, & Carrots. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Burger, Sandwich & Workout Meals

Now that I'm caught up on review posts, I'm back to sharing random meals. Last week, I created the most delicious Red Bean & Brown Rice Burger using the No Meat Athlete veggie burger formula as a guide. It's not a recipe at all — just a good formula to help you understand the best portion of beans, veggies, dry ingredients, spices, and flavors. You try any combo of beans and veggies and it'll come out perfectly every time!

That burger was great on a bun with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, but I also enjoyed a patty crumbled atop a Burger Salad with pickles and cashew ranch.

Here's a Fried Green Tomato & Tofu Bacon Sandwich that I made using air-fried green tomatoes. Oil-free!

And now for some weird food! Since I did Health Made Simple a few months ago, I've really shifted the way I eat most of the time. Not only am I low-oil at home and sticking with whole foods as much as possible (not all the time!), I'm also following the No Meat Athlete recommendations for pre- and post-workout nutrition. After my workouts, I immediately follow with quick-digesting carbs, like white rice, banana, or juice. White rice is my fave though, and I especially love it with Green Tea Leaf Dressing (made with spent green tea leaves, rice vinegar, a smidge of sesame oil, and soy sauce). Looks weird, tastes good. A recipe recommendation from my friend Madelyn! 

I follow that was a whole foods smoothie about an hour later. I also take in quick-digesting carbs pre-workout. Before short runs, that's a Larabar or a banana. But for longer workouts, I've been enjoying Steamed White Potato about two hours prior to the workout. 

Workout nutrition is weird, but I love to nerd out on protein-to-carb ratios! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: MaryRuth's Vegan Omega Gummies

Over the holiday break, I received a mysterious package on my doorstep. It wasn't anything I'd ordered, so I ripped it open to find this big bottle of MaryRuth's Vegan Omega 3-6-7-9 Gummies!

I don't remember being contacted by this company to review their products. But it happens sometimes that a company will have my mailing address and just send me review products with no warning. And lucky me — I was fresh out of vegan omega supplements.

I had been taking omega supplements a few months back, but when they ran out, I didn't get more. And I keep meaning to! Isn't that always the case with vitamins??

Anyway, these are awesome. They're orange flavored and they have the same gummy texture that SurfSweets vegan gummies have. So basically, they're candy but they're vitamins. Win-win. They're also non-gmo and gluten-free.

The omegas come from sea berry omega-3 powder and flaxseed oil. Good stuff! I will definitely pay for more when I run out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: Sneakz Protein Powder

I don't consume protein powders all that often these days, now that I'm trying to base most of my day around whole foods. But I do believe protein powders have their place and can be helpful. I used to be a diehard protein powder fan, and I had protein smoothies after every run to help with quick muscle recovery.

But then I did the Health Made Simple plan and realized that I don't need THAT much protein every day. I learned that a handful of walnuts or flax seeds is plenty for my level of activity. I'm not body building after all. However, there are days when I put in a REALLY hard effort (like a long run of 10 to 20 miles) or days that I know I'm not going to be eating well (like when traveling or just really, really busy). On those days, I still consume protein powder.

And it was on one of those days recently (pretty sure I was extra busy that day!) that I tried Sneakz Organic Chocolate Protein Powder in a smoothie with banana, spinach, and extra cocoa powder.

Sneakz sent me this powder to review months ago, right as I was starting my whole foods journey. So it took me awhile to try it. But I've had it a few times since then, like last weekend after a 7-mile treadmill run that left me feeling weak and sluggish all day. Pretty sure I overheated a bit on that run, and I was getting over a cold too. I figured I could use a protein boost that day!

Sneakz, when mixed with liquid, tastes like chocolate milk. But it's made with a simple blend of whole organic foods, including sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and beets (1/2 serving of veggies in every scoop). Plus, it has 14 grams of pea protein, probiotics, and 10 essential amino acids.

Sneakz does contain some organic cane sugar, which I think some protein powder fans would prefer. But I'm firmly in the stevia camp for my protein powders. Consuming sugar in my smoothie makes me feel like I'm having dessert for breakfast (and I'd rather save dessert for dessert time!). But the sugar does make it taste pretty great. This would be an awesome product to deliver protein and veggie nutrition to picky kids!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sandwiches! Bagels! Tacos! Treats!

Last Tuesday, I made the best Air-fried Avocado Tacos! I made avocado fries in the air fryer and topped with cashew cream and veggies. And I made some Chipotle Lime Street Corn in the air fryer as well. Taco Tuesday!!

I'm sticking with whole foods almost all the time at home these days, and I'm saving my plant meat and junk food splurges for eating out. But sometimes, a girl needs some Beet Puffs. These Vegan Rob's puffs are made with pretty wholesome ingredients (like whole grain sorghum flour), so as junk food goes, they're not bad. And I had a healthy BLT with Tofu Bacon on sprouted grain. So I feel pretty good about this meal.

Here's a totally whole foods-based Tofu Stir-fry I made last night for dinner with broccoli, bell pepper, and mushrooms over quinoa. I feel best when I'm eating this way.

But treats in moderation are a-okay! My friend Don of Lulu's Food has gone back to selling his vegan baked goods at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market. He posted a mouth-watering menu of vegan croissants and savory buns, as well as cookies, baguettes, pita, and morning buns, on Instagram the night before this Saturday's market. It opened at 9 am, and I was there by 9:15 am. And he was almost SOLD OUT!! All that was left were cinnamon morning buns and cookies. I opted for a Chocolate Chip Cookie and a Morning Bun (both AMAZING!!). Next week, I'm getting there right at 9 am!

And finally, here's a Whole Wheat Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese from Otherlands coffee shop that I ate yesterday morning. I had to get some freelance writing done, and I work best outside my house. I enjoyed this with a soy latte. Good stuff. They use Dave's Bagels (the best!).

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What I Ate When I Was Sick

I'm back with a special soup edition of "Stuff I Ate." Late last week, I came down with a cold. I rarely get sick, which I like to attribute to my daily fire cider shots. Who knows if that actually helps boost immunity? But I tell myself it does. It seems like everyone I know is either sick now or has been sick over the past few weeks, and I guess it was just my turn.

I felt it coming on last Thursday, the same day I had lunch plans at Global Café with a few co-workers. Global Café is in Crosstown Concourse, where I work, and they provide jobs to refugees and immigrants and give them a space to showcase their countries' cuisines. I'm a huge fan of the Nepalese booth, where I typically opt for the amazing veggie chow mein. But since I was feeling a little funky, I went with the Thukpa Noodle Soup. This has a spicy, garlicky broth with noodles, veggies, jalapenos, red onion, and cilantro. So very good. I will probably always order this when I'm sick now.

By Friday, I was feeling AWFUL. Definitely the worst day of my cold. I'd planned to have leftover lentil sloppy joes for dinner that night, but that didn't even sound good. What did sound good was No Chicken Noodle Soup and a Grilled Cheeze. So I dumped a can of Amy's No Chicken on the stove and made a quick grilled cheeze with Daiya and Earth Balance. I always keep a few cans of Amy's No Chicken in the pantry for emergencies. Doesn't look appetizing but, trust me, it's what you need when you need it. 

I was feeling a little better over the weekend but still very congested. Paul and I were signed up to run the MRTC Winter Off-Road Series Overton Park 3K on Sunday, and I managed to run despite feeling icky. A 3K is less than 2 miles, so I knew I could do it no matter how bad I felt. But afterward, I just wanted to sit on the couch and watch a movie and eat soup. We did stop for beers at Crosstown Brewing Co. first, but I eventually got my wish. Takeout Mandu Guk from Crazy Noodle and Birdbox on Netflix (I loved it!). The mandu guk has veggie dumplings, Korean rice cakes, veggies, and broth. Spiced up with a little sriracha.

I'm much better now, but I'm not feeling 100% yet. Still have lots of snot, and my nose is all raw from blowing it 50 million times. Plus, it's cold AF outside, so soup is still calling me. Today for lunch, I got the Thai Green Curry Bowl from the cafe at Crosstown Arts, where I work. This isn't soup, but it's soupy so it counts. Brown rice, tempeh, squash, eggplant, kimchi, and enoki mushrooms in a coconut curry broth. Perfection. Washed down with an iced chai tea.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Some Breakfasts I Ate

Here are some things I've eaten for breakfast lately. I'm still all up in my smoothie game on week days, a habit I started when I was doing the Health Made Simple meal plan back in October/November. Most days, I drink my smoothie while I'm getting ready for work.

But for part of last week and earlier this week, I was fighting off a cold and opted to skip my workouts in favor of extra sleep. That meant I had time to sit down to breakfast, but I still wanted to have smoothies for nutrition. So what's a girl to do? Smoothie Bowls! Here's one from yesterday with a base of banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach, topped with banana, walnuts, coconut, and chia.

Most of my week day smoothies are pretty simple — banana, water or almond milk, other frozen fruit, walnuts or flax seeds, spinach. But Megan included this Moon Juice Beauty Dust in my holiday gift, so I added that to a Berry Banana Green Smoothie one day!

On weekends, I tend to have a heartier sit-down breakfast (typically on my couch while watching Netflix). I love bagels, but I'm trying to focus on whole foods. I found these Smart Bagel whole wheat bagel thins at Sprouts and love them. They're certainly not as awesome as REAL bagels, but they'll do. Very good with a Tofu Scramble! I spread a little Daiya cream cheese on this one because we had some leftover from the holidays.

And here's a Whole Wheat Bagel with Berry Jam & Seitan Bacon. I've not been buying much plant meats lately (trying to save those for special occasions), but this Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon was leftover from Christmas breakfast.

This past weekend, I took a more whole foods-y route and made Tofu Bacon in the air fryer, served with more bagels (spread with BE-Hive garlic soy cheese, locally-ish made in Nashville).

And finally, here's a Breakfast Sandwich! A fun weekend breakfast with tofu egg, Benevolent Bacon (again, leftover), and spinach. Not quite as satisfying as a sandwich on a fluffy Dave's Bagel but still very tasty.