Category Archives: Educational Resources

9 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Vegan

1. Mike Tyson

A plant-based diet helped Mike Tyson lose 100 pounds over a 3 year period.

A plant-based diet helped Mike Tyson lose 100 pounds over a 3 year period.

2. Betty White

92-year-old Betty White has been vegan for years and vegetarian for decades.

92-year-old Betty White has been vegan for years and vegetarian for decades.

3. Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery several years earlier.

Former President Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery several years earlier.

4. Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore is newly vegan, according to Forbes.

Former Vice President Al Gore is newly vegan, according to Forbes.

5. Joaquin Phoenix

Actor Joaquin Phoenix says he's been vegan since the age of 3 after watching a fish die on a family outing.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix says he’s been vegan since the age of 3 after watching a fish die on a family outing.

6. Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette says she eats vegan about 80% of the time.  She has done so since 2009.

Alanis Morissette says she eats vegan about 80% of the time. She has done so since 2009.

7. Usher

Usher turned to a vegan lifestyle in 2012 several years after his father died of a heart attack.

Usher turned to a vegan lifestyle in 2012 several years after his father died of a heart attack.

8. Russell Brand

Russell Brand has been a vegetarian for years, but switched to a strict vegan diet after watching the film "Forks Over Knives".

Russell Brand has been a vegetarian for years, but switched to a strict vegan diet after watching the film “Forks Over Knives”.

9. Woody Harrelson

Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson has been animal-free for over 25 years.

Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson has been animal-free for over 25 years.

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10K Training Update: Running Is Hard

Remember about 4 weeks ago when I was like, “Hey, I’m gonna train for a 10K“?  Well, believe it or not, we’re approaching the halfway point already.  My boyfriend (who hates long distance running) and I have almost exactly one month until we participate in our turkey trot on Thanksgiving.  I wouldn’t say training is going badly, but I have to be real with you.  I’m not really killing it.

I told you I’d keep you posted on my progress, and I’m a woman of my word.  Here’s exactly what I have and have not done up to this point.  The little red X’s indicate a completed workout, and the last red X on the chart is what I did today.

10 Novice

Notice all the blank boxes?  Yeah.  In my defense, my brother got married that week 300 miles away from where I currently live.  I was having a dress crisis.  Most of my afternoons during week 2 were spent combing Chicago for appropriate wedding attire.  Yes, I could have made time to run, but I didn’t.  That’s just me being honest.

The good news is that the unscheduled off days don’t seem to be holding me back.  My BF and I completed a 4 mile “long run” together last weekend with relative ease.  We didn’t break any records, but we finished.  And he hasn’t run that much at once since high school, so it was really incredible seeing him do something he didn’t think he was capable of.  He even went out the night before and bought special running tights to wear under his shorts.  So official.  And adorable.

During the weekdays, I have a different running partner.  He’s the kind of athlete who burns out early, but he’s working on his stamina.

DEXTER RUNNING 10K TRAININGTaken mid-stride during week 2

As previously mentioned, the turkey trot happens in ONE MONTH.  Until then, I’ll be channeling my inner Prefontaine and referencing my 10 Tricks to Getting Motivated, because it’s starting to get really, really chilly outside.  Holla at me if you have any running/workout tips you’d like to share, or if you need advice.  The address is thehungrytortoise at gmail dot com.  I always read and respond to every single e-mail I get.

I look forward to chatting.  Toodles!

8 Secrets To Surviving Your Vacation

Oh, hey there, readers!  I’m baaaack!  Extra points for you if you noticed my absence.  And if you didn’t, I still love you because guess what.  You’ve made the time to read this post.

I hope you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a little time away.  I just got back from a raucous trip to Vegas with about 15 of my best friends, and I have to admit… although I was really, really excited for the vacation, it also made me a little nervous, because I was in a situation I assume is not too rare:  I needed to go to Vegas.  I needed to go HAM.  But I also needed to look hot for a wedding and reunion of sorts just 2 weeks later.  My vegetarian ass ended up eating at least 4 different animals over the course of the trip.  I drank like Lindsay Lohan for 4 straight days and 4 straight nights.  I gambled with chain smokers.  But with a little forethought and some careful packing, I managed to come out looking and feeling great.  Not a single hangover.  Not a single regret.  Not a single pound gained.  In fact, one of my co-workers looked at me on my first day back and said, “You look like you never left!”.  Here’s how I pulled it off.

8 Secrets To Surviving Your Vacation

  1. Pack Healthy TSA-Approved Snacks:  Sbarro.  Cinnabon.  Burger King.  These usually represent your meal choices at the airport.  And even if you manage to find something healthy, the prices are ridiculous.  Make yourself some raw trail mix for the flight, and carry along a few pieces of fruit.  This way, the only thing you’ll need to purchase at the gate is water, and you’ll always have something nutritious on hand.
  2. Walk When You Can.  Work Out If You Want:  Vacation is a time to relax, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about letting your regular workout routine slide, at least for a few days.  But consider walking to dinner instead of taking a cab.  Or maybe do a quick tabata circuit in your hotel room with a friend.  Snorkel.  Cycle.  Take a jog to explore your new surroundings.  Any movement counts and will help chip away at the extra calories you may be taking in.
  3. Take Your Vitamins:  Dry air and close quarters increase the likelihood of you getting sick.  I recommend taking a multivitamin and an extra vitamin C supplement just in case.  A probiotic could help with digestion, especially if you plan on eating things you normally wouldn’t.
  4. Get Your Greens:  If you’re doing your vacationing right, you’re allowing yourself to eat whatever the eff you want.  You’ve earned it, right?  But if you’re used to eating clean, the sudden change in diet could shock your system.  We’re talking headaches, bloating, constipation.  Yuck!  Avoid the nasty side-effects of decadent foods by keeping your body as alkaline as possible.  Greens will help.  And if you don’t have access to fresh produce, use my little shortcut – green food suppliments like chorella or spirulina.  They’re available in powders and easy-to-swallow tablets.VEGAS SPIRULINA
  5. Lemon Water:  I was the girl who packed an entire bag of fresh lemons in my suitcase.  Why?  Because fresh lemon juice fixes EVERYTHING.  One glass of lemon water first thing in the morning de-puffs a tired face, helps with digestion, and helps alkalize the body.  Extra points for adding a splash of raw apple cider vinegar.VEGAS LEMONS
  6. Cha-cha-cha-CHIA:  I also packed a mason jar full of chia seeds in my carry-on.  The chia seed is a unique superfood that keeps the body in balance.  Each little seed carries water along with it to keep you hydrated.  The little sponges also pull toxins from the digestive tract so they’re eliminated when you… you know… “go”.  And you’ll be “going” regularly.  Chia seeds contain substantial amounts of necessary fiber.  Mix one tablespoon in with your lemon water in the morning.VEGAS CHIA SEEDS
  7. Stay Hydrated With Coconut Water:  Excessive alcohol consumption will dry you out faster than anything.  The easiest way to not feel like a 10 pound turd after a night of partying is to drink as much non-alcoholic liquid as you can before going to bed and the morning after.  My #1 recommendation is coconut water.  It has more electrolytes than plain water, and most brands are better for you than sports drinks because they’re all-natural.VITA COCO
  8. Choose Your Booze Wisely:  Sometimes we binge drink.  We’re adults.  As long as you’re not driving, it’s okay.  But when you’re planning on going hard, consider the consequences.  Having one or two?  Go ahead and indulge in your favorite margarita or mudslide.  Having 15?  Stick to drinks lower in calories, because the extras add up FAST.  Take my favorite for example, the vodka soda with fresh-squeezed lemon.  One of those will run you only about 70 calories.  If you have 7, that’s 490 calories.  But if you decide to have 7 light beers instead, your calorie consumption jumps to 700.  Big difference, right?

Do you have any secrets for surviving a particularly decadent event?  Let me know by commenting in the section below or emailing me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.  Together, we will conquer the dreaded hangover!

Happy trails, and I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

How To Open A Young Coconut

Coconuts are SO in right now and for good reason.  The water inside is sweet and delicious with enough electrolytes to hydrate an elephant.  Trust me.  The fresh stuff is so much tastier than Zico of Vita Coco or what have you.  The oil in coconuts has antibacterial and antiviral properties to support immune health, plus it’s full of healthy saturated fat, something most people (including yours truly) didn’t even know existed until a few years ago.  The fat could help increase metabolism, which may lead to weight loss, and other awesome things like shiny hair, strong nails, and soft, healthy skin.  Long story short, coconuts are the bomb.com, and you should start learning how to eat them.

Of course, you can’t reap the benefits of a coconut until you learn how to open it.  It’s really easier than it looks.

1. Get a big ol’ knife.  Place the coconut on a hard, flat surface.

photo (18)2. Whack four straight lines making a square around the peak.  You may need to go around twice or thrice or four times.  You’ll eventually hear the hard shell crack.

photo (17)

3. Wedge the back corner of the knife into the perforation to pry off the pointed tip.

photo (16)

4. You can just drink the water straight with a straw or use it to make fresh, raw young coconut milk!  It’s easy.  Just throw to the water and the meat from inside the coconut into blender.  The meat should be easy to scrape with a spoon from the inside.  Blend until smooth.

And once you make the milk, save it!  Tomorrow, we’re using it in a super-healthy dessert/breakfast/snack recipe.  Make sure you check back, ya’ll.  Toodles for now!photo (14)photo (15)photo (12)photo (11)

The Price Of Today’s Diet

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now.  If you’re in any way interested in improving your health or the health of your family, I recommend watching the following video.  It’s not new, but it’s striking.  English chef & TV host Jamie Oliver explains how our ignorance of food, and its affects on our bodies are leading to our demise.  He challenges us to demand better for ourselves and for our children… and to start really paying attention to the food we’re giving to the people that we love.  Powerful stuff!

Grow Green Onions!

No garden?  No problem!  You guys… you can still grow green onions in your kitchen, and it couldn’t be easier!

Trust me, I know less than nothing about plants.  I’ve managed to kill everything, including a cactus.  I saw this somewhere a long time ago, and decided to try it.  Surprise… it WORKED!

ONIONS DAY ONEONIONS DAY TWOONIONS DAY THREEphoto(11)

All you need to do is…

  1. Buy some green onions.
  2. Use what you want, and instead of throwing away the bulbs at the bottom, place them root side down in the bottom on a mason jar.
  3. Fill the bottom with about half an inch of water.
  4. Place in a sunny window sill and watch magic happen.

Mine started growing within the hour.  I’m not kidding!  In a week, I had enough green onion growth to trim and use in a salad.  I imagine if you had a few of these jars going at a time, you’d have more green onions than you’d ever need in your life… for free!

Have you started a garden?  Or have you pulled your own hack like this one in your kitchen?  Tell me about it!  Use the comments section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

Recipe: Better Than Bob’s Eggplant Chili

Update!  I’ve survived 2 whole weeks on Bob Harper’s Jumpstart To Skinny plan!

BOB HARPER JUMPSTART

I outlined the basics about a week ago HERE.  It’s a 3 week diet aimed at getting you to a better body fast before a big event, or to “jumpstart” a longer weight loss journey.  My big event happens to be a work trip to Hawaii (I’m serious).  800 calories a day for women.  12oo for men.  It’s temporary, yes… but that kinda of starvation takes some getting used to.  I’ve remained mostly on track, minus a premeditated trip to my favorite sushi buffet last Saturday.  I don’t even feel guilty.  There was mackerel.

MACKEREL

The Jumpstart To Skinny plan never really tells you how much weight you should expect to lose, which I actually appreciate.  Everyone’s different.  Heavier people will lose more.  Fitter people will lose less.  That’s just how our bodies work.  In 2 weeks, I’m down almost 5 pounds, and I’m totally thrilled.  I feel lighter, my clothes fit better, and I could be hallucinating… but I think I see an ab or two trying to come up for air.

I will say that I’m not following the diet exactly the way Bob outlines it in the book.  I’m not taking fish oil.  I’m not, for the most part, working out in the morning.  I’m not drinking espresso first thing out of bed.  I have, however, stopped pretending like coffee with sugar-free creamer and stevia isn’t important to me.  It just is.  Yes, the creamer is artificial.  No, it’s not accounted for in the daily calorie limit.  I don’t care.  It makes me happy.  Just like that sushi buffet did.

The plan has gotten a lot easier as the days press on, mostly because I’ve been repeating recipes that I like and finding ways to make them actually taste good.  In my last post about Jumpstart To Skinny, you’ll remember that I mentioned that Bob’s recipes are bland.  Total understatement, so I decided to get creative with his Eggplant Chili dinner recipe.  First, I’ll post Bob’s version.  Then, I’ll post mine.  It’s 100 times tastier, and the changes do not compromise the rules of the diet.

Eggplant Chili (Bob’s Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 c. diced eggplant
  • 4 oz. lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 c. roasted tomatoes
  • 1 c. low sodium veggie broth
  • 3 c. finely chopped fresh spinach
  • cracked black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the turkey and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned.
  3. Add the tomatoes and broth and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.
  5. Turn off the heat, add black pepper if desired, stir in the cilantro and serve

Nutritional Info:

279 calories, 24g protein, 23g carbs, 7g fat, 7 grams fiber.

Okay, time for my version!  Before we move on, it’s important to note that all the meals in the Jumpstart to Skinny book adhere to a strict 40/40/20 rule.  That’s 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat.  I’ve taken some things away, but added other nutritionally similar ingredients I think are a better use of the calories (i.e. they taste better).  I’ve also replaced the turkey with canned tuna.  I know.  Sounds gross.  But that’s only because I’m a sometimes fish eater and not a meat eater.  Tuna, I decided, was a better idea than tofu.  It tastes better than it sounds, I promise.  Oh, and one more thing.  All of the veggies in this recipe are UNLIMITED, so go crazy!  I added as many as humanly possible while still keeping a chili-like consistency.

This version makes four pretty large 3 cup servings, so you can make a big pot and eat it all week.

Eggplant Chili (The Hungry Tortoise Version)

EGGPLANT CHILI2EGGPLANT CHILI

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 c. spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1 c. low sodium veggie broth
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (I used 28 oz.)
  • 2 cans of chunk light tuna, water packed
  • Garnish: green onion, plain non-fat greek yogurt, avocado

Directions:

  1. Add garlic, eggplant, and a little bit of the veggie broth to a large pot, stirring frequently over medium heat.  Cook until tender.
  2. Add the zucchinis and mushrooms.  Again, cook until tender.
  3. Add the rest of the veggie broth, the entire can of crushed tomatoes, the spices and the tuna/choice of lean protein.  Stir and simmer until heated.
  4. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.
  5. Divide batch into 4 servings, about three cups each.  Garnish each with exactly 1/4 of an avocado, a dollop or greek yogurt, and as much green onion as you want.

Because we’re not using olive oil, we can have the avocado.  Because the protein is spread out over more servings, we can add a little extra with the greek yogurt.  Tomatoes are on the list of unlimited veggies, and the crushed variety adds to the heartiness of the meal.  The spices, in my opinion, are an obvious addition.  This is a low-calorie dinner I actually look forward to… and it keeps me full!

Do you have any healthy tricks up your sleeve to make bland foods taste better?  Let me know!  Comment in the section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.

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