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Everything posted by SpartanDiva

  1. This was my first time trying raw, vegan kale chips; and I got a great intro with Brad's Nasty Hot special recipe. It tastes like crispy chips with cheddar and jalapeno. Too bad they aren't organic! I polished off the entire package post-workout with a few slices of avocado. Heavenly!
  2. I feel badly that the WSJ did not name Timothy Bradley in the title of their article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204520204577247533423440946.html It seems that being a vegan athlete is so weird still that it is the main point of interest. Hope this phenomenal athlete becomes a household name.
  3. It's important to end the title with a question mark. I'm not sure if I am truly done with competing; but I am done with the crazy lifestyle that is required to compete. Are you in the same boat? Now, my top goal is to achieve the pinnacle of health, and show others how to do the same. In the past,every pound of fat gained/lost, every ounce of muscle gained/lost, grams of macronutrients and milligrams of sodium consumed, water retained/consumed, posing routines, supplements, darkness of my tan, and so on had become an unhealthy obsession. Yet last week, the lightbulb lit up in my brain. Don't worry. I still want to challenge myself in the gym to my max potential. I want to eat clean every day; and have a full-blown reward meal (or even a complete day!) once a week. I haven't gone wimpy on everyone. Everything that I discover, I want to share. There are some really incredible things I can't wait to finish testing and let you in on.
  4. What more romantic way to celebrate the holiday, than to make sure that animals are happy and healthy. Tonight, we're going for dry-cooked Chinese vegetables with tons of spicy chili sauce, and a touch of garlic and ginger. Add some Righteously Raw chocolates, a Love Potion #9 cocktail, and organic red roses, and I'm a happy lady!
  5. Have you tried GT's Synergy kombucha with chia seeds? It not only is a great source of omegas; but is a raw, organic, fermented product. While the texture is strange, it is addictive and chewy. Cherry is my favorite flavor. It's so good, that we have a difficult time keeping it stocked in my home.
  6. Great to hear from you! I wasn't sure how to respond to e-mail, since it didn't include your address. Here are general suggestions: Eat 5-6 small meals per day Limit your carbs when you get close to a shoot or comp Drink 1 - 1.5 gallons of purified water per day Supplement to fill in nutrition gaps Reduce sodium to less than 150 mg/serving Some sample soy-free, high-protein vegan meals: Explore Asian black bean or mung bean pasta Vegan supplement bars and shakes Nut butter on Ezekiel bread Salad with beans, hummus, and raw coconut vinegar Ezekiel tortillas with vegan black beans or refried beans Lentil soup or vegan chili Kale salad with lentil pate Best of luck to you! Let me know how it goes.
  7. What I love about training is that it is a never-ending quest for improvement. Each day in the gym is different. Each day brings a glorious new challenge. It's truly "woman versus herself", and I believe that I'm winning the battle, slowly but surely. It's rarely a steady, upward climb...most of the time I find myself losing ground. But that's what makes it so enticing. Speaking of which, I'm ready to train legs with my weighted-vest circuit. Time to get up close and personal with my own Station of Pain.
  8. There's only a pound that separates my before and after photos. Thanks to weight training and a meat-free diet, the body recomposition is significantly different (sorry, but my calipers are lousy...don't have exact stats). Give it a try...but step away from the pink dumbbells! Go play where the boys are.
  9. I actually avoid soy, since it is a goitrogen and has estrogenic effects. The fruit causes too much glycation and messes with blood-sugar levels. Am working on perfecting a formulation for a low-GI vegan shake and bar to make up half of my diet. I also eat Explore Asian pasta with nutritional yeast; legumes and hummus on salad with nutritional yeast; and Ezekiel bread with Wilderness Poet hempspread or peanut butter. It is indeed a challenging balance to find.
  10. As if weight-training circuits are not tough enough, try adding a weighted vest. Then decrease the rest time between cycles. This is a whole new realm of pain ; but you'll be proud you did it. Carb up first, and be sure to replace your electrolytes after.
  11. No, the nutrient was cholesterol. I'm good on the others that you listed. Deficiency in cholesterol actually compromises the integrity of cell membranes. It seems that my natural synthesis of it is too low. Perhaps in the future I can find a way to stimulate the cholesterol pathway directly. Until then, I'm okay with the certified humane eggs.
  12. My fellow competitors are convinced that it's impossible to abstain from meat and build a beautiful physique. Yes, even figure competitors think that you can't do it. And I'm out to show them that they are wrong. The new foods that are available when compared to the late 80's and 90's (when I was a sickly, skinny vegan) are staggering. The sad thing is that despite these culinary advances, the studies that demonstrate the value of plant-based foods, and Robert Cheeke's tireless work in the field, people still think that this is not possible. I've argued with my coaches; and the worst ones are those that use the Bible to bolster their argument about how we have dominion over the Earth, as if that means that we should torment and kill innocent animals. I've learned that the term "subdue" used in Genesis does not mean to harm, rape, and pillage; instead, it is in the context of loving, caring stewardship. Those of you who are also preachin' this gospel, please keep on keeping on! Thank you for what you do! Hopefully, with enough focus and dedication, we can build a critical mass. Our society needs to wake up from this strange brainwashing that meat is a requirement for a healthy, strong, muscular body.
  13. Bodybuilding competitions are a very strange place to find myself in, especially since I landed here intentionally. Watching people apply tans and Bikini Bite on each other, posing, eating volumes of junk foods (just because they're there and the diet has gone out of the window), and hanging out in posing suits is the most bizarre experience.It's so strange to walk around in a French-cut bikini with rhinestones and 5" stripper heels, not feeling the least bit uncomfortable nor tugging at my suit. Peanut butter and Nutella are like crack to a perennial dieter, and we descend on them as if we're vultures. When they brought in the pizza, the craziness just intensified. Not to mention the fact I looked like a Vegas showgirl, and went out to the mall for lunch with the group, wearing a black tracksuit in 90-plus degree summer weather. People must've thought that I had the worst tan they've ever seen; and that's absolutely true in natural light. But where else can you go to find people with the same work ethic and dedication to training and diet that I have - and perhaps even more? What a strange way to validate this difficult path I've chosen to walk! Now, time to call the massage therapist to help me work out these lower back spasms. Thank goodness for bodywork to keep me functioning.
  14. It is a huge challenge to find low-carb and -sodium vegan foods; but I've finally figured out a diet. (I do confess to occasionally eating certified humane eggs, as nutritional blood analysis showed that my cell membranes are deficient in the nutrient; and I haven't found vegan sources.) This is my third day on the diet, in preparation for the competition on Saturday. I feel weak, lethargic, spacey - just the way a figure competitor should! The workout today was lousy. Yes, it's a bit late in the game to be cutting; but I didn't want to loose too much hard-earned muscle. At night, I have difficulties sleeping, thinking about gluten-free, carb-rich vegan goodies that I can have to replenish glycogen stores just prior to stepping on stage - muffins, pancakes, pasta, bananas, cupcakes. Mmmmm...
  15. Absolutely - but only if you're into rich foods!
  16. Per serving: blend 1/2 c each hemp-fu and water, 2 T raw rice protein, 1 T each xylitol and cocoa powder, 1/4 t cinnamon until smooth. Works beautifully to satisfy cravings for a sweet, creamy, chocolate-y vegan dessert; while contributing protein (hemp and rice), EFAs (hemp), flavonoids (cocoa), and calcium absorption (xylitol).
  17. I've just started this way of training legs, and there's nothing left of me but a puddle on the floor at the end of the day. Early A.M.: HIIT cardio Late A.M. or early P.M. (depends on schedule): Leg and ab circuit, 3 cycles of 15 exercises/calf workout Late P.M.: Abductor/adductor/glute exercises with resistance band and ankle weights
  18. I've had coaches that don't want to even look at my diet, since they don't know how to deal it. I suspect, though, that we'll become a vocal minority and will start to educate people. Bill Pearl has been doing this for decades now.
  19. I know what you mean. Having read up on what people say about trying to get your cats to be vegan (since the topic was disturbing to me, too), it is going against nature. The most convincing research shows that cats are obligate carnivores. We also have had snakes, centipedes, and spiders as "pets". Those would definitely not be vegan, and it would be cruel to starve such beautiful creatures to impose our values. Nature is sometimes inherently cruel. However, I am thrilled that I can make a conscious choice about my diet and be perfectly healthy being vegan.
  20. I read a ton of nonfiction books in many categories. The most influential to me were Super Rich by Russell Simmons and Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness by Robert Cheeke.
  21. After killing legs yesterday (I have a special "leg triad" that consumes much of my Tuesday and Friday), the massage therapist worked out rotator cuff, ITB, and piriforis pathologies. Painful, yes; but effective. Then, we had a lovely vegan feast: Awesome Foods raw pizza, Brad's raw chips (Indian AND Red Pepper), luscious figs and blueberries, So Delicious coconut-milk frozen dessert bars, and white wine. Afterwards, I did a bit of yoga; and drifted off into the deepest, most delicious sleep ever.
  22. If someone would have told me (convincingly) that being in my 40s would be so great, I wouldn't have dreaded it so much! Really, life seems to be just beginning at this age. Like I'm hitting my stride, and hungry for more. Healthier and more focused than ever. Today's a celebration to me, not a day to ignore or disdain. Enjoy the journey, y'all!
  23. Nice work! Sounds absolutely yummy. My only concern about the Nates would be the sodium. I like to cut below 150 mg per serving of foods to get ready for competitions. I'll crumble tempeh in a low-sodium pasta sauce, add extra spices, and simmer.
  24. No, this is not a new style of MMA. It's an alternative to soy-based tofu. I actually love tofu; but the more that I read about the phytin and other potential estrogenic issues, the more I want to stay away from it. Blend 2 cups of shelled, chopped hemp seed in 3 cups of purified water for approximately a minute, until you have a thick, rich cream. Pour the cream into a large pan, and turn the heat to medium. Curds will start to form quickly. Stir occasionally. Once it starts to boil, keep it at a gentle boil for around 5 minutes. Line a colander with cheesecloth, and drain. Allow to cool, and squeeze the remaining liquid out. Put the curds into a small container, and press. Keep refrigerated. I haven't tried a tofu press yet. However, the curds have a little bit of a grainy texture and may not form a block. Hemp-fu is a good substitute for scrambled eggs, makes a good pudding, and works well in salads and on pasta. The flavor is pretty much bland, with a slightly earthy-sweet essence. I also noticed that if you are impatient and boil the living snot out of the hemp-fu, the curds are larger. Since the smaller curds are more elegant, I get busy with other cooking preparations and multitask.
  25. They taste just fine. No fishy nastiness like Miracle Noodles (which by the way, clogged up my digestion. Yuck!). They don't interfere with any sauce, veggies you might saute and add on top, or spices. The mung bean fettucini is also wonderful. A lovely celadon color, it cooks to the perfect al dente texture in only 6-8 minutes. I found these in my local allergy-free specialty food shop. You can purchase them from Navan Foods online.
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