what I eat in a day: tasty vegan recipes for weight loss

I have a confession: I am embarrassingly obsessed with what I eat in a day videos on youtube. I can easily lose a few hours watching these videos and clicking through suggested videos, and I've discovered a lot of really cool vloggers and amazing recipes over the past several months. I don't know what the appeal of these videos is for me, but there is something so fascinating seeing what other people eat, and when I first went vegan these videos were incredibly helpful for me for inspiration. now that I'm focused more on my health and on weight loss, these videos are again a resource and an inspiration for my diet.

for awhile I've really wanted to film my own what I eat in a day video (and I even tried once!) but I found it so awkward to set up my phone to accurately capture myself cooking. instead, I decided to document a day on my plate in photos and blog about it! all of these recipes are vegan, easy to make, filling and delicious. over the past few months I've lost around 30 pounds so these recipes are overall fairly typical of what I would eat in a day to achieve my weight loss goals. 

breakfast: 8:45am

on this particular day, I worked out around 7am. I would normally eat before a workout, but because I had such an early workout I wasn't ready for food when I first woke up! as soon as I got home from the gym, I put on a small pot of coffee and a pan of oatmeal. once cooked, I topped the oatmeal with some fresh pomegranate seeds, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and a splash of coconut milk. I always have silk french vanilla almond cream in my coffee, and I usually have 1-2 cups of coffee, and 1-2 cups of caffeine-free tea in the afternoon or evening.

snack: 11am

I forgot to take a picture before I ate my snack, but I ate a handful of red grapes and a piece of multigrain toast with natural peanut butter.

lunch: 1:30pm

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I'm a huge fan of soups, particularly creamy, hearty soups! this recipe is really simple but really hits the spot! take 4 cups of roughly chopped carrots and place them in a pot with 3-4 cups of vegetable stock and 1-2 cups of coconut milk. this time, I added about 1 cup of dry split red lentils to make it extra filling and to boost the protein content, but sometimes I'll throw in potatoes or sweet potatoes. I usually add garlic powder, some grated ginger and some himalayan pink salt, but you can add any of your favourite savoury seasonings. bring the pot to a boil and then reduce it to simmer and cover for 25 minutes, or until the carrots are soft. once finished, blend in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. top with pepper and a dollop of coconut cream. I ate this with some savoury yam chips that I recently purchased at a farmer's market, and this whole meal was incredibly filling.

dinner: 7:30pm

I'd been drinking plenty of tea and water throughout the day, so I didn't really realize that I'd missed dinner until after 7pm! since I'd had a fairly intense workout that morning, I decided to spring for some pasta for dinner. to make the sauce, I added cooked quinoa, tomato paste, tomato sauce, olives, mushrooms and zucchini to a deep frying pan on low heat. I seasoned it with oregano, garlic powder, nutritional yeast flakes, sea salt and a little cayenne. I cooked this until the mushrooms and zucchini softened, and then served it onto whole wheat penne pasta. this recipe was insanely filling, I could hardly eat it all and it made lunches for work for my whole week! this sauce was so tasty; it was similar to eating traditional bolognese sauce but with no meat!

right before bed, I had a small square of dark chocolate with my evening tea. I didn't document my water intake, but on days that I work out I typically drink between three and four litres of water. 

so, that's what I eat in a day! if you enjoyed this blog post please let me know in the comments below - I would be happy to share more about how I've lost weight or what my diet looks like if that's something y'all are interested in hearing about!

a quick note about my diet: I would classify myself as vegetarian, and at times loosely vegan (around 70% of my diet is vegan). I don't count calories as it's not ideal for my mental health, but I do sometimes use MyFitnessPal to keep an eye on my macros to make sure I'm eating enough protein and fat. I'm not a health care professional, but I have been working with a dietician and personal trainer to make sure I'm losing weight in the healthiest way possible for me. 

december goals

we’ve made it to the end of 2016. it’s definitely been quite the year, and I get the sense that this last month is going to feel like the end of a long marathon. I decided to keep it short with my goals for this month as I know life is going to be crazy with work, play, and events for the next 31 days.

in terms of last months goals, I was overall fairly successful: for the most part, I stuck diligently to no spend november and I saved so much money. in this season of consumerism, it was so great to take a brutally honest look at my spending habits; I honestly really enjoyed having friends over for meals instead of eating out and watching movies I’d been meaning to get around to rather than visiting the theatre. I was fairly diligent about sticking to the gym (until I got super sick, which meant for one full week I only hit the gym once), and used the meditative breathing strategy most days. sadly, I did not clean out my storage closet as I decided to revisit that goal in january as I’m putting away all of my christmas decorations. 

one / complete the minimalism game. I heard about this from the edmonton journal this morning, and instantly knew I wanted to try it. this challenge instructs you to liquidate belongings for the whole month of december - giving away one item on the first day, two items on the second, and so on. by the end of the month, I will have given away nearly 500 items. I’m questioning whether or not I have 496 items to purge, but like no spend november, this challenge another way of examining the consumerism that surrounds the gifting season. if you want to follow along with my minimalism game, you can find my updates here.

two / stick to nutritional and fitness goals throughout the holidays. december is known as a brutal month for weight gain, and I don’t want the holidays to get in the way of the success I’ve had already or the fitness goals I’m still working towards. I won’t be skipping all of the holiday treats or events, but I’m not letting this very fattening month sidetrack me from where I want to be. this means enjoying in moderation, and making an effort to continue mostly eating whole foods and hitting the gym!

three / enjoy christmas. if you’ve ever talked to me about christmas, you know that it is my favourite holiday of the year. I love how friendly people become in december, I love snow, I love twinkling lights and christmas parties and holiday treats… and the list goes on. despite my deep seated love for christmas, I often find myself spending the month of december running around like a maniac between work and trying to do everything and be everywhere. this month I’ve made myself a holiday advent calendar that includes one christmassy thing to do every day leading up to christmas. I’m working on being very intentional about enjoying every moment of each of the activities and treats I have planned for myself. 

that’s all I’m working on this month - what are you goals for december?

november goals

I cannot believe that we’re almost completely through 2016. this year has been full of incredible growth for me as a person; there have been lots of good times and lots of tough times, but overall I would say 2016 has been pretty bomb. 

just because the year is winding down doesn’t mean that it’s time to coast through these last two months. I still have goals and plans for 2016, and I thought I would share what I’m working on this november. I decided that I would link-up with kristen and jordyn today because they're cute and I like them, I like meeting new bloggers, and I like link-ups. 

one / participate in no-spend november. this month some coworkers and I are challenging ourselves to stop mindless spending (and to save a little money for the holidays). obviously we’re still spending on essentials, like bills, groceries and transportation costs, but no eating out, no mindless shopping, no coffee out. it’s gonna be tough, especially during one of the biggest shopping months of the year, but I think it’ll be worth it.

two / practice meditative breathing. this time of year is a really happy one for many reasons, but can also be really stressful and tiring. every day I want to spend at least 5 minutes practicing meditative breathing; luckily I do have an apple watch so I’ll be using the breathe app to keep up this healthy habit.

three / hit the gym at least three times per week. I’m happy to share that I’ve now lost about 25 pounds, just by eating plenty of whole foods and being more active. I’ve officially just signed up with a personal trainer to take muscle-building to the next level, and my goal is to get a workout in at least three times each week in november (if you want to see a post with an update on my weight loss journey, let me know!).

four / clean out my storage closet. as I’ve been practicing minimalism in my personal life, I’ve gotten rid of so many of my belongings and organized so much of my house. overall, my house is pretty well kept, but I do have one very embarrassingly messy closet in my house (think monica’s secret closet from friends). since this month I’ll be decorating for christmas, it seems like the perfect time to get my storage closet into shape.

so that’s what I’ll be working on this month. I’m already devastated by no-spend november because the starbucks christmas drinks have officially come out! hopefully my goals will be worth a peppermint mocha-free november. 

what are your goals this month?

my tattoo story

on my birthday this past year, I got two new tattoos. although I booked the appointment a week in advance, it was a semi-impulsive decision.

when I booked the appointment, I didn’t even know for sure what I was going to get. making the appointment required putting down a non-refundable deposit, which was terrifying. 

I was thinking of getting some mountains as a tattoo, but I hadn’t seen a single drawn mountain that I wanted on my skin (much less for life). I mentioned this to my tattoo artist and she said she would sketch some things for me.

the week leading up to my birthday was actually filled with intense anxiety and nervousness as I realized that I didn’t know what I wanted. I started playing around with various fonts of a phrase I’d found years earlier and asked my friend Clara, a handwriting guru, to write it out for me. as she sent me samples, I started to feel more confident that this would be my new tattoo… until I realized that I didn’t know where on my body I wanted it! I realized that I really wanted it on my wrist but I was freaked out at the thought of having a tattoo that would be mostly visible at any given time - my only other tattoo is on my foot and can be easily covered up with the right pair of shoes! 

when I showed up at the studio, I showed the hand-written phrase to my tattoo artist and asked if we could sticker it onto my wrist in a few places so I could decide how I felt about it. at the same time, she pulled out a hand-drawn mountain range that she’d sketched for me and I loved it. when I asked how much it would be to get both, she said it would be the same price as it’s an hourly charge… so I decided to get both (the most financially responsible decision, right? how could I not?).

I absolutely love both of my new tattoos, and despite my lack of planning both of them instantly became incredibly meaningful to me.

the mountains I got as a testament to my ability to conquer my anxiety. while anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I remember, I will always be stronger than the stress and will grow every time I am faced with panic. over the course of this past summer, I fell in love with hiking and challenging myself in nature; I thought that mountains would be the perfect representation of pushing myself beyond my anxiety. I think this is the first time I’ve publicly shared a picture of this tattoo - it’s immensely personal to me. 

ad maiora is latin for ‘towards greater things.’ in my mind, this phrase is a challenge to keep growing, to keep learning and to keep pushing myself to be my best (especially in the face of difficulty). I’ve kept this phrase as a bit of a mantra for the past few years; it’s a reminder to keep moving forward, and that my future is filled with wonderful things. I deeply love this tattoo - not only is it beautiful, it’s very inspirational on a personal level. 

so these are my new tattoos, and I love that I got them as a quarter-century-marker. while I still don’t feel 25, I do feel like I’ve grown tremendously as a person and these tattoos illustrate that for me. 

do you have any tattoos? do they have big stories or meaning to them?

currently: a fall catch-up

it’s already snowing here in Edmonton, so I feel like fall is over and winter has started. I was even itching to start putting up Christmas decorations today! despite the fact that I feel Christmas is a 3-month period, I resisted the urge to bust out my wreaths and tree by lighting some fall scents from bath & body works and making some soup. 

it’s been a long time since we’ve caught up so I wanted to share a few of my current favourites and hear about what you’ve been up to!

C U R R E N T L Y

[watching] the good place - there is something about kristen bell’s new show that makes me so happy! it’s funny, heartwarming and the perfect 20-minute length to watch before bed.

[reading] the crown - I’m embarrassingly obsessed with the selection series. the friend who recommended it to me described it as ‘the hunger games meets the bachelor,’ which is a perfectly accurate description.

[listening] the arkells - I first heard the arkells at a music festival at the beginning of september and I instantly fell in love with them. their stage presence shows just how much they love making music, and they’re canadian!

[planning] my trip to montreal this coming february!

[making] superfood salad to bring to work for lunches this week.

[feeling] relaxed. 

what have you been up to so far this fall? I need to hear about all of your favourite things! xo.