Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cinnamon Pumpkin Milk; Quadriceps Exercises

I had acting class today, then spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunny 80-degree weather. I'm in love! This evening I've spent some time researching and writing an article for a new potential writing job.

Food Diary
Breakfast: 1 cup corn chowder w/ broccoli slaw and cauliflower
Snack: 1 serving Dal Mix
Lunch: 1 bowl Cracklin' Oat Bran with almond milk
Dinner: Steamed veggie bowl with broccoli slaw, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, sprouts, nutritional yeast

My hips, shoulders, triceps, and back are sore from yoga yesterday. All those good balancing muscles!

45 minutes bike
Weights/strength: quads, calves, biceps, chest, abs
Walking - 30-45 minutes? I didn't bring a watch or my phone.

Yesterday I mentioned I had a half cup almond milk for a snack. I actually had pumpkin cinnamon almond milk, but I was too lazy to upload the pictures onto the computer. I buy the big cans of Libby's pumpkin, and then store it in glass jars in the fridge. I haven't had a problem with it going moldy or anything because I manage to crank through it pretty fast if I'm in the mood. Then when the pumpkin level gets pretty low, I pour in some almond milk, dump in some cinnamon, and sweeten with a bit of stevia and shake vigorously!

Voila. Dude, this stuff is almost like egg nog. It's quite tasty.

I have a LOT of sore muscles today. It feels great! But one area I have a hard time getting sore is my quadriceps (the front of my legs). I loved using the leg press and extension machines at the gym but at home I've just been doing lunges, plies, and Pilates moves. Still, I can't seem to get them sore like my hamstrings (whoo boy!). Do you have a favorite exercise for the quads that you would recommend?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Indianlife Dal Mix

Thank you guys so much for your nice comments on my post yesterday!! I really appreciate your support.

I had another good day today, full of exercise. I went back to InYoga, which I reviewed a couple months ago, for the Community Flow class. It was a pretty fast-paced one-hour class, instead of the usual 90 minute classes. I liked that because my main problem with yoga is getting bored. The teacher, Tara, really mixed it up and kept me interested and challenged. She also played good music instead of the regular yoga hippie crap. So I liked it! It was a full-body workout and she also pushed to make it more cardio by having us do all these silent hops in different poses.

This afternoon I taped an audition for a feature film (it was requested) and did a bunch of acting administrative business. I also set up a visit to Kansas in a few weeks -- I'm going to see my dad, stepmom, and baby brother! Yay! I actually need to see my endocrinologist, which is why I'm going, but the family visit shall be nice. =)

My biceps are still sore from Sunday's workout, and my glutes and hamstrings are really sore from yesterday.


1 hour Community Flow yoga class at InYoga

50 minutes bike

Food Diary:
Breakfast: 1 Dr. Praeger's patty, coffee
Lunch: 1/3 cup lentil soup w/ broccoli slaw and broccoli
Snack: 1/2 serving edamame, 1/2 cup almond milk
Dinner: Salad with spinach, arugula, sprouts, sauerkraut, mustard, and Zukay Raw Sweet Onion Basil dressing
2 cups corn chowder (made very thick) with nutritional yeast and kelp powder
Snack: 1/3 cup oatmeal with flax seed

I've mentioned Dal Mix the last couple days (though I didn't have any today). I discovered it at Whole Foods last week and I love it. It's freaking delicious, with a nice spicy taste. And if you eat it piece by piece, it's easy to have a nice snack and keep portion size pretty small. I'm keeping some in my car for emergency food. And it's not expensive -- $3.50 per seven-serving bag. As far as health, it's not a superfood or anything, but it's a reasonable snack when you need some flave.

Chex Mix is for losers. Dal Mix is the jam!

Have you tried Dal Mix?

Do you get bored doing yoga? I really would like to do it more often but I always put it off because I know I'm going to get bored. I don't like being peaceful and relaxed!!! (Those exclamation points really hammered the point home, don't ya think?)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Confession: I Wanna Get Buff

I promised to talk more about my change in perspective about my workouts, so here goes.

I've never really felt the need to be in great shape. And I never have been! I've been skinny and not-as-skinny, and I've usually been in decently good shape. I've exercised throughout most of my life, with a couple spotty teenage years where I'd go a few months at a time being slothful. I've also always been a fairly good eater, though my eating habits certainly got better after I went vegan almost 2 1/2 years ago. People have usually thought that I'm athletic, because my body type puts on muscle pretty well and I have freakishly low blood pressure (thanks, Mom!). I'm not actually good at any athletic endeavors, however (thanks again, Mom!).

But as I was saying, I've never needed to be in great shape. I've wanted to be skinny, and I've wanted to be healthy. Right now I wouldn't say I'm skinny, but I think I'm "fine" and I'm healthy. I'm not at my lowest or highest weight.

In case you've forgotten what I look like, this is me wearing shorts a couple weeks ago:

And from a recent Fashion Friday post

I've been thinner:

(Fall 2009)

And fatter:

(Spring 2007) Ohh, freshman year of college, I do not miss you. Not at all. Plus, this is me pre-vegan. I do not miss those pre-vegan days, either!

BTW... I have no idea why I'm posting these pictures. I just got the desire to be all honest and open and I'll probably regret this tomorrow. In fact, I already regret putting up that last picture. But I love it so much when other bloggers are honest to the point of embarrassment, so I guess I'll do it to myself, too. But no promises I won't take this down someday.

I've always felt like I'm not the kind of person to be in great shape. I think there's two reasons for this:

1) Confidence (or lack thereof) -- Not wanting to push myself is part of a lack of confidence in myself. Most people who know me would characterize me as extremely confident, because I am, but I have often lacked body confidence. Not a strange thing for young women, I know.

2) Self-Acceptance. Here's the other side of the die -- I am good enough. I like myself. I think I'm pretty and healthy and I don't want to feel bad about myself.

But I recently starting thinking, is "good enough" the best I can do? Why should I settle for good enough? I only have ONE LIFE. This is all I get. So I'd like to try being all that I can be!

This doesn't mean I've set out a big plan for myself. I'm really good at making extensive plans and not as good at keeping up with them. So instead of a whole new plan, I'm just focusing on a different goal and letting that inform what I do. Instead of exercising and eating just to stay healthy and happy like I have been, I'm going to work towards really getting in shape. That primarily means stepping up my weight-lifting, which is something I enjoy, anyway, but had been inconsistent with. I haven't been pushing myself, mostly because I lost interest in being skinny. I don't know why, it just doesn't interest me much right now. I'd much rather see if I can get some definition in my arms and uncover my abs. Now that would be fun. But this does not mean I will start running. I hate running. Running can go screw itself.

So, that's all. I'm sure I'll write more later as I figure out what this means, but for now all I know is that I'm admitting to myself and you that I want something more and I'm going to work for it.

15 minutes bike
20 minutes ballet
Strength/weights: quads, hamstrings, inner/outer thigh (Pilates), squats, abs, lower back

10 minutes bike
10 minutes kickboxing

My deltoids and biceps are suuuper sore from yesterday, and the groin muscle I pulled in my sleep last week was twingeing a little bit so I stretched quite a bit. I probably spent 45 minutes or so just stretching.

Food Diary:
Breakfast: Steamed veggie bowl (just like last night's dinner) - fat-free refried beans, broccoli slaw, broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut, sprouts, pico de gallo
Lunch: 1 Dr. Praeger's patty, 1 serving edamame, 1 serving Dal Mix, coffee
Dinner: Salad - spinach, arugula, sauerkraut, sprouts, mustard, pico de gallo, TJ's fat-free balsamic vinaigrette, Dal Mix
Snack: 1/3 cup oatmeal with peanut flour and flax
1 cup chocolate almond milk (unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp cocoa powder, and stevia, put into a jar with a lid and shaken vigorously)

By the way... encouragement and commiseration are welcomed. Telling me I need to start running is not. I wasn't joking about that part.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Does Sucker Punch Objectify Women?

On Friday night I went with some friends to Harvard and Stone, a bar in Hollywood/Silverlake where they have some burlesque dancers who come out every 45 minutes or so and do a sexy dance. It was fun to watch!

That's me on the right, obviously...

On Saturday I had acting class and in the evening I went with some acting friends to see Sucker Punch. What a crazy movie! There isn't a lot of character development but there is quite a bit of ass-kicking and some well-defined abs. Abbie Cornish in particular looks incredible. I talked before about the movie Bright Star and how much I loved it, and I will always like her because of that movie.

See? Gorgeous.

There's been some controversy around Sucker Punch, saying that there's a discrepancy between the apparent female empowerment message of the film (it's all about abused women kicking the shit out of everyone who has hurt them, pretty much) and the skimpy outfits they wear throughout the whole thing, that reeks to some people of objectification. The coincidence of my burlesque viewing on Friday combined with this movie made me consider whether women wearing sexy outfits is really objectification and/or exploitation. I read a review that said that the outfits in Sucker Punch are all about exciting men, as if that were a foregone conclusion. But here's my radical hypothesis -- heterosexual women like seeing beautiful women in sexy outfits just as much as heterosexual men or homosexual women do. I don't know about homosexual men but I'm willing to bet that they can appreciate some awesome-looking lady body as much as I can. I'm not romantically or sexually interested in women but I love looking at beautiful, sexy women in revealing outfits. I think all women do (uhh... fashion blogs/magazines?). It's about appreciating beauty (and appreciating the hard work that goes into those defined abs). So why do we immediately think that women in sexy outfits are just being objectified or appealing to men?

Obviously, there is a lot to be written on this topic. And you know that thousands of graduate school essays have been, so I won't attempt to be comprehensive. I'll just re-iterate my point: women like looking at women, too.

Moving on...

This week I've been eating lots of steamed veggie bowls. I took a few pictures, but I've realized there is NO way to make these look appetizing. Though they are.

Fat-free refried beans, broccoli slaw, broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut, sprouts, spinach, fresh cilantro, nooch, pico de gallo. Everything until the sauerkraut mixed and microwaved for two minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients. Season with whatever.

A similar veggie bowl, different meal. This one had seitan and kale.

This one had BBQ sauce.

I've also been working out a lot, and often twice a day, because I've had the time. This isn't inspired by Sucker Punch, though that certainly didn't hurt my motivation. It's just inspired by wanting something more out of my workouts... which I will talk more about TOMORROW. I did feel inspired to write down what I ate and what I did for exercise today, though. It might be fun to keep track for a little while.

45 minutes bike
30 minutes weights - biceps, triceps, deltoids, chest, upper back, abs
15 minutes bike
10 minutes calisthenics

Food Diary
Breakfast: 1 bowl Cracklin' Oat Bran with almond milk
Lunch: 1 Dr. Praeger's patty, three bites Trader Joe's beefless strips
Snack: 1 serving edamame
Dinner: Veggie bowl with fat-free re-fried beans, broccoli slaw, broccoli, cauliflower, clover sprouts, sauerkraut, BBQ sauce, and nutritional yeast
1 serving Dal Mix (new Whole Foods purchase I'll write about soon)

BTW, I will just reiterate what I hope is obvious -- I'm not saying this is how anyone SHOULD eat or exercise. This is just what I happened to do and eat today. I don't necessarily think Cracklin' Oat Bran is the healthiest cereal, but I find it really filling and delicious and I felt like buying it this week. I could have used more raw veggies. Oh well.

Have you seen Sucker Punch? Or burlesque dancing? What do you think of my theory? Do you think skimpy outfits immediately mean women are being showcased for men's enjoyment, or are we all enjoying it? I would include the actresses, here. Everyone likes getting dressed up and if I had a six-pack I'd probably be showing it off.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nail Art!

I am terrible at painting my nails. I usually paint all over my fingers and then wash my hands and hope the extraneous paint comes off. That's a slight exaggeration, but whatevs. I do like painting my nails, though, and I usually paint them dark purple or black, sometimes with sparkles, because I like sparkles. But today while I was watching The Duchess I decided to get creative!

I bought a new, more natural/vegan nail polish remover:

It works just as well as my old stuff and it should be better for my nails.

I used several colors of nail polish. I would like to buy the more natural ones, but those can be pretty pricey and all the ones I own now cost about a dollar or I've had them for a long time. I remember reading that you should throw away your nail polishes after a year or two. HA! I still have some I owned in third grade. Take that, hygiene.

I used base coat, then the "gray suede" color, then the dark purple and pink glittery ones to make stripes on my left hand and polka dots on my right hand.

I could be a hand model, right? Hahah. I always think other people's hands look weird. I'm guessing everyone feels this way, because you spend so much time looking at your own hands, but everybody's fingers and fingernails are shaped differently.

I like the result! It's not perfect because as I said, I suck at painting my nails - but I think I did a pretty good job and I'm a little proud of myself.

By the way, my pulled groin muscle feels a lot better today. But I still took it easy and I watched two movies today:

Mini Movie Reviews

The Duchess: I knew nothing about this movie besides that it had Keira Knightley and won some awards for costumes, but it really is a good movie. It's a bit slow in the middle but the acting is great from both Keira and Ralph Fiennes, who plays a pretty unlikeable character. Many actors don't like to do that, but he isn't one of them! The story is sad, though, and I kind of felt like punching myself in the stomach at the end. Pow.

Chloe: Amanda Seyfried plays a prostitute hired by Julianne Moore to tempt her husband, played by Liam Neeson. The end isn't great but the rest of the movie is fantastic, and the acting is really good. And what a brave role for Amanda Seyfried to take! I was really impressed. Plus, wow, she looks awesome naked. She really lucked out in the boob department.

Do you paint your nails? My mom said she painted her nails ONE TIME when she was 14 and hated how it felt and never did it again. That always cracked me up. I do paint my nails, but as I said, I am not good at it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eating Vegan in Croatia and Hungary

I pulled a muscle in my sleep last night! My groin muscle, to be specific. I must have been doing something very violent. It really, really hurts so I didn't do much today. Hopefully it'll feel better in a couple days.

I did get to spend an hour and a half on Skype with my mom this morning. She just got back from her trip to Zagreb, Croatia and Budapest, Hungary and I wanted to hear all about it! She took a group of students there to study emerging markets and meet with business leaders. But she also managed to find vegan food and take a few pictures for the blog!

This picture is from a vegetarian restaurant in Zagreb called Nova that Mom found on the internet. She said it was fairly standard, yet delicious vegan food - not especially Croatian. Unfortunately, Mom said the restaurant was totally empty all night and very difficult to find. Restaurants have been suffering with the economic downturn in general, but I hope that doesn't spell doom for its vegetarian restaurants!

After Croatia they headed to Budapest, which used to be two cities -- Buda and Pest. Pest is the business side and Buda is the residential side, in general. They were visiting Buda and got so hungry they just needed to stop in a restaurant so they quickly found one called Arany Hordo with a veggie plate. Mom was thrilled to find out that the veggie plate was delicious and fancy!

Mom's last restaurant experience was at Govinder, a vegan Indian restaurant in Budapest run by a couple who subscribe to a Hare Krishna lifestyle and have successfully run the restaurant for thirty years. Mom tried a bunch of stuff and said it was all great.

Veggies, croquette, dal, and plum sauce that she couldn't figure out how to use so she dipped everything in.

In general, Mom said it wasn't too hard to get vegan food. There is a lot of cheese and butter in Europe, but it was easy to find veggies cooked in oil and she ate fruit at hotel buffets. I've never been to either Croatia or Hungary so it's good to know there are options!

Have you ever been to Europe? How did you find healthy/vegan food to eat? Are you interested in visiting Eastern Europe? I've been to Europe quite a bit, but not much in Eastern Europe - just Russia and Estonia. I'm very interested to travel there, though!

Monday, March 21, 2011

LaLa's Argentine Grill

On Friday we went to Venice Beach to see the interesting characters in that area. We were even blatantly offered pot -- while we were walking down the sidewalk, a guy asked, "Hey, you guys need some pot?" Doesn't get anymore clear than that, does it? I also ran into a friend of mine from high school who was out here on spring break. I had no idea he would be here, and we just happened to pass each other on the sidewalk! We went to a sandwich place that surprisingly had nary a vegan option. Not one. I was surprised, because there aren't many restaurants in LA with absolutely nothing to eat. Luckily, I wasn't really hungry.

For dinner we went to LaLa's Argentine Grill. We wanted a somewhat nice restaurant where my brother would be forced to put on actual pants instead of athletic shorts, but we didn't want to spend a ton of money. There are a couple LaLa's in LA - one on Melrose and one in Studio City, so we walked there. It did take over 20 minutes, and they were a little annoyed at me that I made them walk and might have underestimated how long it would take. I underestimate how long everything takes.

I got the veggie plate made with no butter. That included grilled veggies, rice, salad, and even mashed potatoes, made with no dairy! Amazing! And delicious, and $9. Not bad for relatively fancy dining.

Sorry for the bad picture -- it was very dark.

We had planned on trying to hit up an 18+ club but we didn't want to pay the $20/person cover so we just stayed in and watched The Scorpion King, which we have seen so many times that we know all the lines and everything. The Rock is amazing (and super hot) in it. We loooove the Mummy movies and the Scorpion King is a spin-off that is amazing in its own right. And I love that it has absolutely no desire to be historically accurate in any way.

On Saturday I took them to Du-Par's for pie (I didn't have any) then I had to drive them to LAX. Very sad. Luckily, I had an audition right afterwards so I had something to do besides sit on my couch and cry. Heheh.

My food obsession of the last two days has been veggie bowls of soup, broccoli slaw, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, nooch, and cilantro. So good.

On Sunday I played a prostitute in a play reading. I didn't take any pictures, but I did dress very slutty and people were surprised that I was wearing my own clothes. Haha! Who knew I had such a versatile wardrobe?

My mom has been in Croatia and Hungary for work for the past week and got back today but I haven't gotten to talk to her yet. I can't wait to Skype with her tomorrow and hear about it!

Have you been to Venice beach? Do you like the hippies, or do they creep you out?
Have you seen The Scorpion King? I don't even need to ask if you think it's awesome, because if you've seen it then you know it IS.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break Days 4 and 5: Universal Studios and Asian Food

On Wednesday I took my brother and his girlfriend with me to acting class and then we went to Hollywood and Highland for some touristy fun. We got lunch at a random Asian restaurant a couple blocks east of Hollywood and Highland that turned out to be amazing! I got vegetarian Bibimbap (no egg). It's a Korean dish with lots of veggies and rice, with some delicious gojuchang chili sauce. This was a seriously amazing meal and I was full for six hours! I didn't even finish all of the rice.

After Hollywood we went back to Beverly Hills to walk around.

For dinner we ate at Mexicali in Studio City, and I got tortilla soup and veggie fajita salad. Yum.

Yesterday, Thursday, we went to Universal Studios. I hadn't been there before and it was so fun!!

We rode the Mummy ride a couple times in a row:


I also liked that all the trash cans sort out recycling:

Cool, right?

We went on the 40-minute Universal Studios tour.

Fake plane crash made for War of the Worlds.

Cars from Back to the Future (that's the Delorean)

Fake flood

For dinner after the park closed we went to the sushi restaurant in the Universal CityWalk and my brother's girlfriend and I shared the vegetarian Shabu Shabu, a Japanese version of hotpot. Veggies, noodles, and tofu in miso soup broth. It was a ton of food and ended up costing $7 per person split between the two of us.

After dinner they ate a bucket of doughnuts. I did not partake.

I would definitely recommend spending a day at Universal Studios. We all had a great time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break Day 3: Santa Monica and Malibu

We went to Santa Monica today, because it was supposed to be our warmest weather. We got there around 1 to some weird, intense fog. I've never seen fog like that -- we couldn't see the ocean from the beach!

We walked down the beach to Muscle Beach, where exhibitionists practice strange forms of exercise. My brother did some flips on the rings:

His girlfriend (a gymnast) showed off her mad upper body strength. She climbed all the way up the rope without using her legs.

And that rope is really high up!

I can do neither of these activities. Way to make me feel out of shape.

We had a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I made.

We explored the foggy beach...

But then the sun came out!

We drove up the PCH to Malibu for no reason, just because it's beautiful. It was in the seventies and we just blasted the radio with the windows down and enjoyed how beautiful California is. We took a random Canyon road that went up and up until we found a really cool view over the ocean.

Then we turned around, drove all the way back, and headed to the Grove for some window shopping. We also set the test iPads with embarrassing background photos of each other.

They got gyros and ice cream at the farmers market and I ran across the street to the Whole Foods (3rd and Fairfax) and got some food from the salad bar and took it back to eat with them. Worked for everyone.

Aren't they adorable?

Tomorrow I'm taking them with me to acting class and then we'll head to Hollywood and get touristy.