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I’m excited to announce that I was a guest on the Angriest Trainer podcast! Check it out here…
Angriest Trainer 185: The Vegan Episode!!! (53:30 minutes)
According to my phone records, this experience was my “15 minutes of fame” (+2 minutes). It’s crazy to think that “little old me” would end up rubbing shoulders with some influential names in Hollywood. Pinch me!
I’m so very thankful that I was given this opportunity to “tell the world” my story of vegan transformation. At the same time, I was completely outside my comfort zone and super nervous. I’m extremely introverted!
Despite my fright, I wasn’t about to blow my chance to effectively speak up for the animals– especially considering that the vast majority of the Angriest Trainer’s fans are not vegan.
For this occasion, I did 100 Saadatjoo push-ups and I poured myself a little shot glass of Villa Cappelli olive oil. I didn’t want a dry mouth!
BTW– Do you even know about this podcast? Let me explain:
The Angriest Trainer is Vinnie Tortorich… AKA “Hollywood’s Go-To Fitness Trainer.” Vinnie’s simple, but effective approach to getting rid of unwanted body fat is…
“No Sugar, No Grains” – NSNG
I found out about Vinnie Tortorich and the Angriest Trainer podcast because I started listening to the Rich Roll podcast. Rich had Vinnie on his podcast (RRP #12). Vinnie is not 100% “plant powered,” but he is funny and informative. Naturally, I started listening to Vinnie’s podcast, too.
Right away, I appreciated Vinnie’s acceptance of vegans. And more– I realized that the NSNG dietary approach is quite accessible to vegans. (NSNG does not necessarily mean “low-carb.”)
By following this approach for just a short time, I’ve become more lean than ever before, but without being hungry. It really does work. Check out my pages, “What I Eat,” and “#PPNSNG Kitchen” for more details.
A Facebook group called “Vinnie Tortorich’s No Sugar No Grains” was created for fans of the podcast. This is a place for people to support each other, share recipes, and seek advice about all things NSNG. Endurance runners and triathletes in the group discuss how NSNG improves athletic performance. It’s all about becoming “fat-adapted.”
I know this might come as a shock, but in the Facebook group, vegans and omnivores actually co-exist without killing each other. (GASP!) It’s pretty refreshing.
I joined the Facebook group 6 months ago. Initially, I admit it was a stretch for me to purposefully place myself where I knew I’d see animal-based food and read discussions about animal products on a regular basis. Although it was difficult, I joined for 2 reasons:
- I wanted to add a vegan presence to the group.
- I wanted to demonstrate that NSNG can be done quite easily without consuming animal products.
Over these months, I’ve found that the vegan NSNG perspective is still needed. I’ve observed that many former “plant-based” people end up going back to eating animal products as a result of listening to the podcast (in particular, bacon, eggs, and high fat dairy). This is hard to witness and makes me very sad.
In order to support other vegan NSNG fans who prefer not to see animal-based food pictures or enter in discussions about animal products, I joined with 2 others (B.J. & Ciry) to create a dedicated “Plant Powered” Facebook group. (B.J. was the happy-go-lucky Texan interviewed before me on “The Vegan Episode!!!” Check out his blog, “Living Better.”)
Honestly, I’m hoping that the supportive environment of the PPNSNG group will help stop the trend of folks returning to eating animal products. I do sincerely thank Vinnie for talking about the plant powered group and stating in his own voice that NSNG and vegan diets can go together.
Join me at “Vinnie Tortorich’s Plant Powered No Sugar No Grains.” You don’t have to be vegan or 100% plant powered to be a member.
Read “Fitness Confidential,” by Vinnie Tortorich and **Dean Lorey. It’s really the best way to get to know Vinnie. It’s part weight loss/fitness manual, part memoir, and part survival story. (Literally, Vinnie survived cancer and then finished “The Toughest 48 hours in Sport,” the Furnace Creek 508 Bicycle Race.)
Who knows?– It might just inspire YOU to find out what you’re really capable of. It had that effect on me!
(**Dean Lorey was in the opening segment of the “The Vegan Episode!!!” (although he’s not vegan). He mentioned his upcoming new show on CBS this Fall called “The Crazy Ones.” It stars Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. I’m planning to watch it!)
I endured 35 days without coffee.
It seemed like an eternity…The longest 35 days of my life!
I did it to challenge myself. I gave up coffee and chocolate for 30 days while some friends in the Vinnie Tortorich’s No Sugar No Grains Facebook group gave up dairy for 30 days. My challenge lasted longer than 30 days because I (stupidly!) offered to start my challenge over when someone new joined the 30 day “No Dairy Challenge.”
I’ve always been a “one latte a day” coffee drinker. Rarely would I have more than one. I brew my espresso at home, enjoying my double shot with cinnamon, vanilla extract and a blend of non-dairy milks (soy, homemade nut/rice, and a splash of coconut).
I wanted to try going a full 30 days without coffee to see if I really missed it. In the past, I’ve tried going a few days or even a week without it, but I always ended up going back to my daily habit. I believe it does take at least 30 days to rid the body of addictive substances and establish new habits.
No– It’s not that I thought I had a caffeine addiction. No one would consider my consumption excessive. I do nothing to excess! Balance is my middle name. It’s my astrological sign: Libra.
I may be different than some people. I don’t use coffee to wake me up, or give me energy. Actually– I enjoy my coffee the most when I can sit back and relax with it. I really look forward to my coffee each day. It calms me. I’ve called it “my sweet elixir.” (Read this previous post for proof!)
Even still– part of me wanted to find out if I would feel significantly better without the coffee in my system. The people who give up coffee for good always seem to hype it up! They feel soooo great, blah, blah, blah. I always wondered if that would or could ever be “me.”
I also think that sometimes it’s good to not always get what we want, right when we want it. It’s a form of discipline. It builds mental toughness. It rejects instant gratification…and entitlement.
(Nah!! It just sucks– let’s be honest!)
I gave up coffee and chocolate for 35 days. The chocolate part wasn’t so bad. Sure, I wanted a chocolate pick-me-up every so often. But it wasn’t a big deal.
As for the coffee– I really, really missed it!
The first 4 days were a breeze. No headaches. No adverse physical symptoms. I was not physically addicted to the caffeine, apparently.
On day 5 everything changed. From that day, onward, I wanted my latte. I longed for my latte. I don’t believe I wanted the caffeine, but I did want the taste…and the comfort.
First, I substituted with various herbal teas.
Next, I bought an 11 oz bag of Teeccino Maya French Roast Herbal Coffee. I started brewing the Teeccino grounds in my espresso machine just like I’d brew espresso. This was much better…more concentrated, more like coffee. I made Teeccino lattes. Not quite the same, but not bad at all. Decent!
After the 21st day without coffee, I seriously had a dream about coffee. Is that nuts, or what?
In my dream, I chugged a cup of black coffee. (Funny, because I never drink black coffee!) I was immediately pissed off at myself when I realized that I wasn’t supposed to drink it. I’d ruined the whole challenge! At that point in the dream, I was also getting ready to accept a latte that someone bought for me. It occurred to me (in the dream) that I might get really buzzed from the caffeine of 2 coffee drinks, since I wasn’t used to drinking any.
I woke up glad it was only a dream!
After the first 20 days, I stopped counting every single day. That made it easier because the days didn’t seem to pass as slowly as when I was counting each one. I settled in.
Instead, I figured out the day I could have coffee again, and focused on it:
September 16, 2013
Tomorrow is that day. I made it! I survived without coffee. Physically, I feel the same. For me, there was nothing magical about giving up coffee.
Was it worth the deprivation? NO!
I found out that my daily coffee really does keep me in my happy place. It makes my good life even better. It makes life’s frustrations a little more tolerable. Coffee is soothing. I just need it to feel…content. Balanced.
I’m so glad I did this challenge because now I know without a doubt that I don’t EVER have to do it again. I found out exactly what I wanted to find out. Awesome! That’s the payoff!
Coffee–> I do declare:
You and I will never be separated again!
I’m back home from Portland, and it’s time for a fourth and final recap post about the ’13 Vida Vegan Con.
My first post had me hopped up on sugar and caffeine, thanks to Voodoo Doughnut and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. My second post was all about the swag. My third post was food porn from Saturday’s Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase. This one will be a little mix of my favorite things from the whole weekend experience.
THURSDAY, MAY 23rd…
Before I got to Oregon, I first stopped in the Lynnwood REI to look at the Vibram FiveFingers shoes. The shoes fit and they were on sale…Score! Later during the weekend, I took my first short walk in them– about 3/4 mile– over the Morrison Bridge.
Then, I met my parents for a quick rendezvous in Centralia, WA, before checking into my hotel room at Hotel Fifty.
It was raining, but I was in the mood to walk, instead of drive, to the White Owl Social Club for a “meet and greet” pre-conference party.
Literally the first people I recognized at the meet and greet were none other than Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, from Our Hen House. Vegan celebrities! I am HUGE podcast fans of the hens.
I stopped to chat with Jasmin. She was standing next to Carrie from Carrie On Vegan. What a funny coincidence that Jasmin was just at that moment telling Carrie about the vegan restaurant inside Portland’s Adventist Medical Center.
(I had suggested to Jasmin and Mariann via email last year that they dine at the Living Well Bistro while staying in Portland last Fall. They did! Here is the post about the bistro that I sent to the hens.)
For dinner that evening, the Thai Salad at Veggie Grill really hit the spot.
When I turned on the T.V. in my hotel room, I learned that the Skagit River bridge collapsed. I drove over that bridge every work day. Yikes!
FRIDAY, MAY 24th…
I slept like shit and woke up way too early. I remedied that situation with a vegan cream-filled donut and a soy latte. After a shower, I was off to the Portland Art Museum to pick up my official Vida Vegan Con badge and the immense Swag Bag of Wonder. (Good thing I’ve been lifting weights ’cause that sucker was heavy!)
Before the 11:30 a.m. kick-off to the conference, I ate lunch a few blocks away, at Loving Hut. I always love trying out new vegan restaurants. I had the Spicy Cha-Cha.
Once I got inside the Exhibitor Hall, I started to wonder why I ate lunch! I was confronted with booth after booth of vegan food samples. I tried Tofurky pot pie, Nasoya potato salad and Teese nachos. I spooned WayFare (oat-based) ice creams and puddings, and I went back for the Coconut Bliss over and over. I sipped cups of KeVita. I nibbled on Missionary Chocolates truffles. Those are just a few examples!
The first class I attended was a class on Compassionate Parenting, even though I’m not a parent and don’t plan to be. Sayward Rebhal, author of Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, was the class moderator.
The reason I went to that class was to see one of my vegan heroes, Dreena Burton. She is a mother of 3 vegan kiddos and author of more than 3 healthy vegan cookbooks. (She’s also much taller than I’d imagined!) Dreena’s blog is an excellent resource for vegan parenting. Be sure to check it out!
Another highlight from Day 1 was Ginny Messina’s class, “Vegan Nutrition: Keeping Your Blog Current & Reliable.” Ginny is The Vegan R.D.
After classes, we were treated to more food samples from Veggie Grill. At the end of the day, I was plenty full so I didn’t need to go out for any dinner. I went back to the hotel room to…what else?…blog!
SATURDAY, MAY 25th…
I slept like a rock on friday night and woke up refreshed. Awesome! I avoided the 4+ Starbucks’ that I saw on the way to the conference venue. Instead, I got my soy latte fix at Public Domain (hint: it’s way better tasting and the barista makes a pretty design with the foam) before diving into the Portland Vegan Breakfast Showcase.
After breakfast, I attended a class by Fran Costigan–the queen of vegan desserts. Interesting tidbit: Fran was once hired by the Esselstyn family to make a wedding cake. No, it wasn’t oil free…it’s cake! Fran said that each Esselstyn is “more good looking than the next”!
The “Build-a-Bowl” lunch buffet featured plenty of protein: greens, beans, “raw walnut meat” (taco flavored), tempeh, tofu, and more.
Following the afternoon classes, I must have been feeling lucky, because I found a 20 dollar bill (!) in the middle of the sidewalk. I later donated it to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest. It was the obvious thing to do!
On Saturday evening, I went back to Veggie Grill for an All Hail Kale Salad. There are only 2 things I need daily: coffee and kale.
After dinner, I enjoyed a walk over the Morrison Bridge, along the riverfront trail, over the Hawthorne Bridge (right before the drawbridge went up), and back to my hotel.
SUNDAY, MAY 26th…
I did a lot of walking during the weekend. It was my goal to not use my car once I got to the hotel. I fulfilled that goal. I enjoyed walking downtown. I enjoyed walking over the Willamette River. And I enjoyed walking in the park on Sunday morning near the Portland Art Museum. I was quite content being alone with my thoughts.
The last day of the conference started with a breakfast buffet. I tried some soaked chia seeds for the first time (bottom of picture). Delicious!
Even better than eating breakfast was chatting with Dreena Burton while eating breakfast. I love her.
Before I go right into lunch (what can I say, I’m obsessed with food), I’ll mention how cool it was to attend a class by Terry Hope Romero. If you don’t know who that is, then I assume you don’t like Vegan Cupcakes. That’s okay. You’ll find something you like in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.
Lunch was a sandwich buffet. I passed by the breads and opted for green leaves. The Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan was scrumptious. Upton makes some damn fine food! (I also had more of that yummy walnut meat.)
Ice cream: My favorite food IN THE WHOLE WORLD, period.
While trying to resist eating all the vegan ice cream in the place, I stopped by the booth for All Things Vegan Radio and VegNet Bend. I have a special tie to Bend, Oregon, so of course I had to stop and introduce myself to Judy and Barb. Some day I’ll coordinate a trip to Bend so I can join one of their monthly potlucks.
I attended one afternoon class before driving 3 hours to get back home. I had one final opportunity to snap a picture of Jasmin, from Our Hen House.
My first Vida Vegan Con experience was fantastic. As much as I loved all the vegan food, I do know for sure that the best part for me was just being in the presence of so many fellow vegans.
We’re ALL changing the world for animals. :-)
On April 11, 2012, I made my first blog post. I was inspired by words from a podcast.
Now, one year later, this blog continues to be an enjoyable endeavor. I appreciate every blog follower and visitor.
In this anniversary post, I’m still inspired by podcasts. What can I say…I listen to lots of them!
The following quote, from Vinnie Tortorich’s Angriest Trainer podcast, really sums up the FREEHEEL VEGAN lifestyle.
“Put life into living, and do it with enthusiasm!”
FREE YOUR HEELS…
PLAY IN SNOW…
BE SILLY & LAUGH…
APPRECIATE THE “LITTLE” THINGS…
HANG OUT WITH A BUDDY…
LEND A HELPING HAND…
FREE YOUR MIND. FREE THE ANIMALS…
“Put life into living and do it with enthusiasm!”
I love that quote and I love Vinnie’s podcast. But, I have a little more to add.
Yes- put living into your own life. But- also allow others to live their own lives.
To the fellow listeners and fans of the Angriest Trainer podcast:
Don’t be a “carnivorous vegan,” be an actual vegan. You can do NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) VEGAN style!
Adopt the FREEHEEL VEGAN lifestyle…and do it with enthusiasm!
November 3-4, 2012
Portland Road Trip to see The Lost Boys Live!
We drove south on I-5 from Seattle. At Longview, WA, we headed into Oregon via the Columbia River Highway (#30). It made the last hour of the trip less boring because we’d never taken that road before.
We checked into the Hotel Monaco in Downtown Portland. Thanks to my Visa card rewards program, the room was free
Our room was a King Suite.
I really loved the decor of the bathroom.
From 5-6 pm, the hotel offers complimentary wine and beer tasting.
After that, we walked a few blocks to eat dinner at the Veggie Grill.
The Veggie Grill is all vegan. There are multiple locations in California, Oregon and Washington.
I ordered the All Hail Kale Salad because Mariann (from the Our Hen House podcast) keeps talking about how good it is. (She’s right!)
Eric ordered the All-American Stack.
Finally, we were off to the main event of the weekend:
We saw the closing night show of The Lost Boys – Live at the Ethos/Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. My sister’s friend Michael played the part of David.
Oh, MY– I didn’t expect to laugh soooo hard! My cheeks were sore before the middle of the show. Hysterical!
Look, if everything that Bad Reputation Productions does is this good, then I’ll definitely be back for a future show!
Before we left Portland on Sunday morning, we stopped for some espresso at Public Domain Coffee.