Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I was all smug about Thanksgiving before it happened. I thought it would be super easy to stay on track with healthy eating because most things at the meal weren't vegan. (My cousin hosted and the only things that were vegan were the two dishes I brought.) She's super cool about it and was really excited to try the food I brought. I was planning on bringing 3-4 dishes so that I could have more variety and told her that she didn't need to do anything special, but I didn't have time to make the Lentil Loaf. So I ended up bringing Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Pie Brownies.

The recipe I used for the Pumpkin Pie Brownies is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Follow the directions! I thought the pumpkin pie layer looked too liquidy before it was cooked and added some extra pumpkin puree, but it wasn't necessary. It still tasted great, anyway. My cousin said it was really rich, and she was surprisingly the only one who asked any questions about my new dietary preference. (And they were nice questions, none of them concerning my protein intake.)

The previous weekend, I went to see the other side of the family for my grandpa's birthday. My uncle was very persistant in his questioning, but that's just part of his personality. He's very nosey and likes to know all of the gossip. He does this to every single one of my cousins, usually about significant others. He also isn't afraid to question the significant other and tell embarassing stories if they're in attendance. I felt like it was a good discussion, though, and he wasn't defensively asking questions. It was more curiousity since they've all known that I've been vegetarian for years, but they hadn't seen me since the switch. (Technically, I was flexitarian for most of that time, but only in relation to the farmer's market and eating fish sometimes at restaurants. So it was easier to tell them vegetarian.) I also didn't give prior warning about the change since it was a pitch-in affair, and I'm trying to keep a low profile. My uncle brought me out of the closet when cake was served, though.

Anyway, so Thanksgiving was fine. I ate fairly healthy and ate a little bit more when I got home that evening since I didn't have many vegan options at Thanksgiving. It was the 3 free days after that really did me in. I don't do the whole Black Friday thing, especially since I live right next to the 5th largest mall in the U.S., and it's just a hot mess there during the entire season between mid-November and January 1st. I sat around on the couch and watched Netflix and snacked on the food from the Second Thanksgiving that I made for my husband (since he had to work during Thanksgiving). There weren't many vegetables or fruits left in the house at that point, and I didn't feel like going to the store since there was already plenty of food. Bad idea. I kept telling myself I would go exercise or at least get out of the house and go to the store, but then another show would come on. I did walk my dog, but when you eat that much food and remain sedentary for the majority of the day, a dog walk doesn't really count as exercise. Also, it just ruins your mood. I was feeling pretty happy during the beginning of the week, but I was majorly depressed and upset over the weekend. It was just a vicious cycle of overeating --> sitting still and feeling tired because I ate too much --> eating more.

Oh well, now I'm getting back on track, and I know that next time I should probably volunteer for overtime, plan on going out somewhere, make an exercise date or attend a class when I have that much time off in a row. Everyone has times that they fall off the wagon, but I certainly fell off the wagon a little harder than most. I feel so much better yesterday and today since I exercised and ate better. I didn't realize how much I'd gotten used to the routine of work and exercise. I probably should make a game plan for Christmas break because I'm taking a whole week off to visit family.

It's amazing how much of a mood boost you get from doing something as simple as using an elliptical machine! You don't even have to go outside! I like to run outside, but I hate treadmills! I'm a wimp when it comes to rain, snow, and cold weather. (The fact that it is dark outside before I even leave work doesn't help matters.) However, I really enjoy the elliptical because I can read while I'm doing it. Yeah, I'm not working as hard, but I like to read and stay on the machine longer when I'm really into a story. I also listen to music to block out the sound of the television and other exercise machines. I know that's a lot going on, but it helps me to concentrate and speed up when a new, fast song comes on. I prefer to set the program to hill or intervals so that the incline is constantly changing, too. That way you can't just stay at a steady pace, and you'll probably work a little harder.

If you want to use the elliptical and think that you'd like to read on it, I'd recommend starting with a magazine because they're usually easier to read while exercising. Short snippets, less attention needed. I also have a friend who watches TV shows on her iPhone. Most ellipticals have a small stand for reading materials that will hold a smart phone, magazine, e-book reader, or small paperback at eye level. Sometimes you can find one of those clear plastic holders to hold a larger book, depending on where you are.

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