Saturday, April 7, 2012

I'm back!

Holy crap, it's been a year since I've posted. First, I've decided to change my blog name. I'm not technically unemployed anymore, and I don't want to jinx myself. "Joie de Vegan" came to me today while I was washing dishes. To my disappointment, I saw that there are already a couple of blogs by this name, so I decided to add "Court" to it, et puis voilĂ : Now it's different and hopefully no one will sue me for copyright infringement.

I started triathlon training last week and have really been increasing my veggies, thanks in no small part to the CSA boxes I recently started getting. My hatred for wasting food has become an extra motivation to eat more greens!

I'm excited for a variety of reasons about my plant-based diet and training:

First, I can't believe the energy and stamina I have. I haven't seriously exercised in over a year, so coming back has been a huff-and-puff challenge. After just a week or so of getting back into the swing of things, I can tell I'm already getting stronger.

Second, I finally feel like the conundrum of always being hungry during tri season (thanks to my increased activity level) has been resolved. The low calorie density and high fiber of plant-based food means I can eat more, feel full, and not gain weight. Win.

Finally, I'm recovering faster. I have had little issue with fatigue or soreness, and that is saying something, given my long-term inactivity. I'm crediting my green smoothies. I CRAVE them after a workout now. The fruit and veggies help reduce inflammation, the hemp protein helps rebuild muscle, and the liquid nature helps the nutrients to be absorbed more rapidly.

So without further ado, here are some of the things I've been eating lately. 

Court's Recovery Smoothie (Recipe courtesy of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)

Small bunch of kale (about a cup)
1 bag frozen strawberries
2 carrots
1 c fresh squeezed oj (I buy a bottle from Central Market)
1 c water
4 TBS hemp protein powder

Toss together into the Vitamix and ENJOY! You should really make an effort to buy fresh squeezed juice (or make it yourself, if you have a juicer). Way more nutritious than store-bought bottled juice that has been pasteurized and essentially killed off all the nutrients. Just make sure you drink your fresh juice within a few days, since it also will lose nutrients and start growing bacteria after it's been opened. Oh, and you can also omit the hemp protein if you're not drinking it after a workout.

Delicious Vitality Vegan Mac & Cheese

This recipe is by Alex Jamieson. You may recognize her as the vegan girlfriend (now ex-wife) of Morgan Spurlock from Supersize Me. I recently got her books and have been enjoying her recipes a lot. The nice thing about this recipe is you can make the sauce and serve it over basically anything: pasta, greens, you get the idea. Also, the sauce itself has shiitake mushrooms inside, which, in addition to being really good for you, give it a great flavor. I served it over whole wheat pasta and collard greens with cracked pepper on top, and let me tell you: Yum. It keeps very well, which makes for some quick meals on the go. Just dump into a saucepan, heat, and eat.

Hungarian Chickpeas with Double Garlic Quinoa and Roasted Beets

The first two are classics from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. I'm trying to do low/no oil, so I omitted it from the Hungarian Chickpeas and greatly reduced it in the Double Garlic Quinoa, using veggie broth as a fill in liquid for sauteeing the garlic. Still tasted good to me. Oh, and I also boiled my quinoa in veggie broth, which I think gives it a really yummy flavor.

The beets came out of my CSA box. I've never been a big fan of beets. Too many memories of my aunt taking them out of a can and putting them on top of her salad with some kind of gross salad dressing, and then trying to make me eat them. But I've decided I can make peace with beets when they are roasted, since they have a nice caramelized flavor. Supposedly beets are good at helping to reduce your sugar cravings, as well. Win. 

Veggie Pizza! 
I love pizza, and I don't mind eating it without cheese. There are some vegan friendly places in Austin (Conan's is one of them), although that gets pricey. I recently discovered these pizza crusts at Wheatsville Co-op, and I love the fact that they are whole grain, contain flax seed, and are low in oil. Basically I threw on the ingredients I had on hand: tomato sauce, mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, basil, spinach, and oregano. I also put on a few slices of Dr Cow Tree Nut Cheese. It's made from cashews and is pretty freaking awesome. And when I say it's awesome, I mean it, because I have always been a huge cheese snob and find pretty much every vegan cheese out there to be absolutely disgusting not all that great. This stuff doesn't melt like cheese, but it still adds a nice cheesy flavor. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Quick, easy, and healthy!

I'm really hoping to document my triathlon come-back on a plant-based diet, so hopefully more posts will follow. I'm also trying to take the pressure off of myself to be a perfect writer, so these posts might be random. As long as there are pictures of food, it's ok, right? Right?


  1. Love these recipes and can't wait to try them! Where do you buy the nut cheese? Glad you are back and love using all your healthy tricks since we are trying to cut back on the oil too.

    1. Hey Mel! It's fun to be blogging again! I got the nut cheese from Rabbit Food Grocery, this new vegan grocery that just opened. They are based in Austin but don't have a store front yet, so they announce every week where they're going to be. I think they might also deliver? In any case, I saw them at Veg Fest last week, so that's where I bought this.

      It's not cheap--about $10 for a small round--but it is really delicious, and totally Engine 2 approved. The only ingredients are cashews and acidopholus (I know I'm spelling that wrong). I got the kale/cashew cheese, which had an interesting flavor, but I liked it. I will probably try the straight up cashew cheese next time.

      Check it out!