My Plant Based Keto Journey

My Plant Based Keto Journey

So you may have noticed I talk about keto on most of the recipes I post. If you follow me on social media you noticed I also sing the praises of it’s results. If you seen me in person then you may have noticed I have lost quite a bit of weight. This past December, the 4th anniversary of me giving up meat I decided I wanted to try something new. I hadn’t lost any weight since the first 45 pounds I lost in the first 90 days of being vegan. I had been doing detoxes seasonally which helped me lose a little here and there but, when I returned to my regular meal plan I would gain a few pounds back instantly. Foods I relied heavy on in my vegan journey like beans and grains had failed me. I never knew they were loaded with carbs because all I was paying attention to was the protein.

The first week starting keto was the hardest. I kicked it off with a 24 hour water fast to prepare me for also starting an intermittent fasting schedule. My first day’s calories totaled to 1400 and I was beyond stuffed. I never had a high fat diet and it was hard to finish my meals so I cut down to 1200 calories a day. I learned to listen to my body and intuition over the years which has paid off. I was also drinking more water than I ever have in life the first week. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I had not had water in years. I didn’t realize that my body was adjusting and I was actually losing a lot of water and electrolytes because I was running to the bathroom as often as I was chugging bottles of water.

Day four I started feeling weird. My days started with me having a lot of energy but, by the afternoon I was fading and feeling nauseous. Day five it got so bad I had no appetite and just wanted to rest. I had been struck by the dreaded keto flu. It sounds very dramatic and it’s avoidable, really it’s not the worst compared to the real flu. Day six I was still fatigued and had minimal appetite. I just felt weird overall, it’s hard to explain. I was also breathing weird, sort of short for breath. Finally I found the cure in some heavily salted soup broth. I was taking a calcium/magnesium supplement but, it was a new adjustment that sodium is an electrolyte too and I needed to replace what I was losing.

Every blue moon during my second month I would feel slight keto flu symptoms. Every once in a while I felt fatigued, had weird sleep patterns and headaches but, these symptoms were slight and bearable. I really shocked my body cutting my pizza addiction and curbing my sweet tooth. I actually didn’t even crave sweets anymore. I did miss breads and some snack foods but, I was so satisfied from my meals I didn’t feel a need for them anymore.

I finally felt better week two. I was sleeping deeply through the night and I guess the fasting had me having some crazy, vivid dreams. Also in the mornings my hands were a bit shaky but, my energy was steady. Every once in a while I did experience headaches. I really went all in starting keto and intermittent fasting at the same time. The results blew my mind. In the first month and for the first time since I was 18, I was under 200 lbs and my measurements were close to a hourglass shape. In one month I lost 15 lbs and 7 inches so fast I thought I might have gone too far. This is when I learned the majority of what I lost was just water weight.

So here I am now, three and a half months into eating a plant-based, keto diet. I lost a lot of weight very quickly without exercise. My starting weight was 212 and today I’m 187 lbs. You also lose a lot of inches off your body consistently on this lifestyle. Some weeks the scale barely moved but, I lost an inch or more. My starting measurements were 46-37-43 and today I’m at 41.5-32-41. It’s crazy how much water weight your body holds when you are on a heavy carbohydrate meal plan. It also crazy how my habits changed. I became more aware of old addictive patterns I had with my relationship with certain foods. Even with a cheat meal or snack here and there I have maintained my weight loss. I also added in exercise recently which helps burn off any carbs I treat myself to but, overall necessary for good health.

I did take dramatic before pictures and I also keep a journal with my measurements and notes of how I’m feeling. I can’t wait to show my final after picture now that I’m in the gym and working towards losing a few more pounds and toning other areas. I don’t think I will stay on keto forever but, I do want to see if there are any more benefits in going a couple more months. Outside of weight loss I haven’t had any waves of depression which is great during the winter months that usually trigger it and I also haven’t had any pain in my body which I usually get from working long days on my feet. I hope to inspired others with my journey and prove that keto can be plant-based and is not just for meat and cheese lovers. Stay tuned.. I’m sure I will have more praises as I keep pushing forward on this journey.

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Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Steak Day

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Steak Day

Today I’m sharing one of my meals for the week. I don’t have a full week’s prep honestly because I didn’t feel like making a store run for ingredients I ran out of for my other recipes. I got the idea to try cauliflower steak years ago when I first went vegan and wanted to find non-processed meat alternatives. While this recipe is super easy it takes some patience while roasting, the cook time can be over 30 minutes depending on how much color you prefer on your food. Also don’t get your hopes too high, no matter what you do to cauliflower I promise it doesn’t taste like meat.

I paired my “steak” with what most choose… sauteed asparagus! On keto this pair has a ton of benefits too. It’s super filling, low in carbs, and even has protein. This combo is also great for gut health. I sliced up my cauliflower to look like the shape of a steak and seasoned it like I would if it was actually beef. I doused it in avocado oil to keep my macros on track with a healthy fat. I roasted this for about 40 minutes because I like the delicious flavor that comes with the darker color (I promise it’s not burnt). I basically did the same with the asparagus but, instead of roasting after seasoning I sauteed them on low heat so they wouldn’t over cook and be a mushy mess.

It was hard to capture a picture that makes this meal look as yummy as it tastes. It is flavor packed to be such a simple dish. I might even add a little steak sauce just for kicks. Happy Meatlesss Monday! I would love to hear what you are having tonight.

Meal Prep Monday: Italian Vibes

Meal Prep Monday: Italian Vibes

I been slacking yall! I took a week off keto (among other things) ironically starting Fat Tuesday and it was an epic fail. I gained a few pounds and for the first time in my three months doing keto I stopped tracking my macros. Accountability is so important for me in all areas of my life and tracking my meals has been major in my success on this journey. Life got hectic for a bit and I had a million excuses but, today I’m getting right back into my flow.

I decided to bring back my original excitement when starting this journey by prepping two fun meals this week. One thing I’ve learned on keto is keeping it simple is best to be successful. My break-fast this week is my go-to chocolate smoothie and for dinner it’s my ketoarian spinach pizza and spaghetti with zucchini noodles. As usual I only prep for four days at a time.

This is my second time experimenting with making a plant-based keto pizza. I’m still working on getting it perfect but, this time I finally made a better crust that didn’t fall apart!

My spaghetti recipe is super simple too. I used Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and made a traditional sauce. I replaced regular pasta however, with zoodles aka zucchini spirals which, surprised me being a very yummy replacement. I can be picky at times when food doesn’t look right, smell good, or has an odd texture.

If you think these look yummy and want to try them out, let me know and I will gladly post the recipes!

So Mercury is Retro again…

So Mercury is Retro again…

I’m sure by now you have heard your friends who are into astrology complaining about Mercury going retrograde. Well today is officially the big day, although the effects can be felt weeks before and after. Now if you are like the average person who has no clue what this means or just don’t really care, today I will share some things that at the least will give you a heads up. It’s not really as bad as people make it seem in my opinion, even though the situations that come with the season can be frustrating.

Mercury is a planet that rules communication and commerce. When retrograde the planet slows it’s orbit and appears to be moving in reverse. This year all these retrogrades happen in water signs so I predict high emotions but, also a time to use more emotional intelligence and intuition. When I say it rules communication I mean everything from listening, speaking, writing, editing, research and negotiating.

Watch out for text messages, mail, emails, and faxes getting lost in the ether or being delayed. Computers, appliances, and electronics tend to act a little crazy at this time so back up any files, make copies of important documents, make sure you have a good handy man, and keep insurance on your cell phone if you are anything like me when it comes to cracked screens or water damage. It’s also not a good time to launch anything new. This goes for websites, advertising, magazines, etc. Put off signing any contracts, leases, or agreements. People tend to have changes in plans and miscommunicate the tiny print. Forgetfulness is also common so it’s best to avoid making any big decision.

Some things can’t be put off so just be sure to ask lots of questions if you have to go through with anything. Read and reexamine every single detail. Don’t make any big purchases either! I’m talking no new cars, expensive jewelry or electronics. You may find yourself regretting the purchase later or there may be setbacks and malfunctions.

One the good side is that Mercury retrograde forces you to slow down. While a delayed flight or car trouble my not be convenient, everything happens for a reason. This season is a great time to be introspective and think things and situations all the way through. It’s also a good time to rest, detox, and meditate.

You may reconnect with old friends, distant relatives, even an old boss. These people usually pop back in your life for a good reason. Now exes also may return and either you need to learn a lesson of why they are an ex or you won’t learn your lesson and repeat a cycle or situation you have experienced before. Personally, I love making sure my block list is strong lol. Due to high levels of miscommunications and misunderstandings, romance might not be the best so just be patient and think before reacting.

Reorganize files and closets. You might find some things you once treasured but, forgot all about or find things you haven’t used in years and have no use for so, remove the clutter. Re-access, rethink, repair, repeat, revisit whatever situations come up for you doing this time. I saw some memes I loved (pictured below) that sums up my positive view of this season. I hope this helps you out a little bit but, don’t worry Mercury goes back direct in three weeks!

Bouncing Back After a Cheat Day

Bouncing Back After a Cheat Day

So last week I had a cheat day. I was craving carbs bad, so I got some chips but, then I couldn’t stop and continued with a variety of crackers. Normally I don’t beat myself up because I rarely cheat on keto but the next morning I woke up with a terrible, upset stomach. Usually if I cheat it’s an actually meal and I may have a tiny piece of something starchy. I don’t know what got in to me this time.

I decided Thursday to do a 24-hour water fast to reset. I normally do a water fast monthly but, I felt the need to after my cheat day because of how bad my stomach was hurting. To break the fast I made veggie soup. I freestyled the recipe and it turned out tastier than I expected. I started slow only having broth the first night then ate the rest the next day. By Saturday I was back to my regular meal plan.

Monday I was happy to see the carb bloating was gone and I didn’t gain any extra weight during my weekly weigh in. Now I don’t recommend fasting too often or feeling guilty for treating yourself but, I took it way too far this time. Even if you aren’t doing the keto diet, here’s the yummy soup recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. of avocado oil
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tsp. of garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 3/4 a cup of tri-colored bell peppers
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 2/3 a cup of diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of vegetable broth
  • pink Himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Creole seasoning (optional)
  • fresh parsley to taste
  • juice of half a lemon
  • garnish with scallions (optional)

I sauteed the shallot until translucent in avocado oil then, added the garlic on a medium heat setting. After I few minutes I threw in the chopped carrot, celery and bell peppers. Once the heat picked back up I added the veggie broth, tomatoes, and green beans. I added the seasonings and tasted to make sure it was flavorful. I let the pot simmer on lower heat for about 20-30 minutes then, once the heat was off I added the fresh parsley and lemon juice. I garnished with more parsley and scallions just to be sure no flavor was lacking.

I plan to make a batch of this again and keep it on standby because it was so good. You can play around and add whatever veggies you like and if you are super strict on keto you can omit the carrot. Let me know if you try this recipe. I promise you will enjoy it!

Weekend Recap…

Weekend Recap…

Hey there! Hope you had a lovely weekend. Mine was pretty chill having another rare Saturday off. I kicked it off splurging at Walgreen’s because of the BOGO sale on natural hair products. I’ve been wearing more protective styles and been slacking styling my natural hair. I picked up some old favs and some newbies to test out. Right now I’m playing in Camille Rose’s line to see how it performs for a twist-out. I’ll share my results later this week.

I love a good deal. I find balance in being frugal but, I also enjoy luxury a whole lot! I get bi-weekly manicures from one of the best nail techs in Chicago. She goes by Spifster Sutton and the mini pieces of art she designs on my nails are astonishing to say the least. She never ceases to amazing me and I never make any color or design requests, I just let her do her thing. She also takes amazing care of my natural nails underneath the acrylic and one of the rare techs that actually uses real liquid gel and not the fake powder versions traditional nail shops use.

I spent Sunday, my favorite day to relax and practice as many forms of self-care as possible. Majority of the day 227 reruns played in the background while I focused on writing out my priorities and goals for the week in my planner. I caught the beginning of the Oscars which was a pleasant surprise to see so many Black people win for their first time and even some first of all times for any African American. It’s crazy I was watching Regina King as a teen on 227 then to see her win an Oscar live. Synchronicities and seeing things play out full circle blows my mind sometimes.

Since I didn’t prep any meals for today. I took a break from cooking and ordered Thai takeout. It’s a super, safe and a tasty choice for my vegan keto lifestyle. I ordered the garlic veggie entree which was so flavorful and had a nice variety of vegetables. The restaurant is right in my neighborhood so it was a relief to not have to travel far and keep the relaxing vibe of my Sunday going.

Of course, my day of self-care isn’t complete without sheet mask. This is my first time coming across one from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know what gods work for this company and read my mind but, they always carry everything I want and more!

Fill me in or your weekend. I’m sure it may have been more eventful than mine. Let me know how you practiced self-care too! I really wish everyone took a day to themselves to relax but, more so do things that promote wellness of the mind, body and soul.

My Non-Toxic Skincare Regimen

My Non-Toxic Skincare Regimen

Let’s talk skincare today friends! Don’t judge me, but I am late to taking care of my skin. Now that I’m over 30, I figured I need to get it together. I wear more makeup now and noticed before starting my current regimen, my skin was a bit dull. Before I was one of those I only use water and moisturizer type girls but I’m so glad I have upgraded.

Just like the foods I eat, I want my beauty products to be free of harsh chemicals and fragrances that irritate my sensitive skin. I also need good a quality moisture. I have dry skin and winter doesn’t like to treat my skin well. SPF is a must for me all year around! Black doesn’t crack, but it needs protection too! I still believe in less is more, so daily I try to keep a simple three product routine.

I still wash my face with water (insert side eye) but, I rotate in a facial scrub every other day. I like my current exfoliator because it’s gentle enough to use daily and is a must for days I need to remove ALL of my makeup. My next step if using a toner. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this new rose water toner from Trader Joe’s. I was using the popular Mario Badescu’s version but, I was sad once I read the ingredients weren’t natural. I finish off with my Affinia moisturizer which is the truth! My face is left so soft and moisturized, between this and the scrub, some days I go without makeup because of how my skin naturally, glows. I also use the moisturizer at night but, on occasion I use a face oil (like I posted here) or some good, ole coconut oil.

What are your skincare must haves? I would love to hear your regimen as I’m still perfecting mine!

Workout Wednesday’s with J Sculpt Fitness

Workout Wednesday’s with J Sculpt Fitness

My weightloss journey has been amazing! I have lost over 60lbs just from changing my diet. I lost about 40 eating vegan instantly and noticed after four meatless years I hit a plateau. Recently I added in the keto diet and lost over 20 more pounds. Somehow on this journey I have never been consistent in the gym, more like nonexistent. I try to walk as much as I can but now that winter is full force I find myself being more sedentary.

I really want to begin a fitness journey and workout consistently. My current goal is to tighten, tone and sculpt my body while maintaining my curves. For motivation to get in the gym, I purchased the J Sculpt fitness belt. Instagram is full of women in cute gym outfits and workout belts so you may have seen this before. I was sold after watching one of my favorite YouTubers review this belt in particular.

I am totally against waist training, it looks uncomfortable and can’t be healthy long-term. This belt looks like one but works totally different. It promotes the loss of water weight and inches around the midsection. It can be worn during workouts or all day. The belt is multi-tiered and it’s adjustable as you shrink. There is also no steel boning, it just zips up and you Velcro the top layer to your level of comfort.

I was so excited when it finally arrived that I immediately began wearing it all day. I really have to put it to the test in the gym which the owner highly recommends for reaching goals. I find it very supportive because as a hair stylist, I’m usually not standing with good posture. This not only sucks me in but keeps my back straight. It’s not so tight I feel uncomfortable doing daily tasks and visually I am snatched!😍 In two weeks I have already seen results which were instant. I wear waistbeads and they dropped down a few inches which was my proof the belt is working. I can’t wait to share more details about this belt with you.

For more info I recommend checking out reviews from countless of YouTubers or checking out the site.

Happy Full Moon!!!

Happy Full Moon!!!

Tonight is yet another supermoon! I feel like we hear this a lot lately but, it just means the moon appears brighter and closer than usual. This time the full, snow moon is in the sign of Virgo as we enter Pisces season. I love to practice new moon rituals and find them very emotional healing. It’s a time I can focus on manifesting my goals and any desires while the energy is amplified with the light of the moon and elements from nature. I believe there is no right or wrong way to create a full moon ritual, so if you want to give it a try just go with what feels right for you. Some moons I go all out and others I might only charge up my crystals overnight while I sleep.

Women especially are effected by the closeness of the moon. Our bodies even mirror the cycles of the moon. We have more water in our bodies and some feel more emotions, especially during full moon phases. I like to approach these times with ease and rest if necessary because the ebbs and flows can be exhausting. With this moon entering into a water sign and Virgo being known for overthinking I won’t be surprised if emotions are already high.

Virgo is a mutable, earth sign. It’s ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication. It is also associated with the 6th house in astrology and connected to the sacral chakra. I like to research traits of the signs each moon and compare them to my own astrology, as well as how those traits correlate to what I want to manifest during the moon phase. Virgos are know for being analytical, health conscious, and orderly/neat. This makes a great moon for focusing on cleansing and healing. My ritual varies depending on my energy but, I follow my intuition and use whatever tools I have available. I never go out my way to purchase anything because the strongest part in any ritual are your own thoughts and intentions.

Here’s a list of what my full moon ritual will consist of:

  • Charging crystals, oils and a fresh bottle of water on a surface that reflects the moonlight
  • Making a list of habits, thoughts, and things to release that don’t serve my highest good
  • Burning my release list and/or intentions from previous moon, leaving it to the universe to handle
  • Creating a sacred place to burn candles, light incense, play music, practice tarot, dancing, singing, etc.
  • Taking a spiritual bath with herbs and oils that support what I plan to manifest during the moon cycle
  • Rest, Rest, Rest! Also paying attention to dreams and visions

Some good crystals to work with are but not limited to: adventurine, jade, carnelian, citrine, fluorite, amethyst, peridot, sapphire and chrysocolla.

Some good plants, herbs, or oils to use are: rosemary, peppermint, lemon, frankincense, bergamot, lavender, and cypress.

Also you can work with white or blue candles and elements of silver. I recommend looking up the meanings of the crystals and properties of what plants you chose to work with to see what resonates with you. I usually only use three max of each but like I said before sometimes you just have to use what you already have available, sometimes making substitutions. Don’t worry if you feel like you missed out on the perfect time tonight. This energy lingers for a couple more days. Same goes if you can’t see the moon, the light is still there for charging and sometimes visibility is better the next morning or night. Enjoy and manifest!

Meal Prep Monday: Plant Based Keto

Meal Prep Monday: Plant Based Keto

If you haven’t picked it up yet, I have kicked my vegan journey up a notch and started the ketogenic (keto) diet. Most people associate it with tons of bacon and dairy but I have made it work for my plant based, lifestyle. I often get asked what exactly I eat from people who assume vegan keto doesn’t have many options. I’m not big on processed foods or meat substitutes so it can be tricky at times but, I love a good challenge. It really helps to keep things simple and focus on whole foods.

I also incorporate intermittent fasting which is eating only during an eight hour window and fasting for sixteen hours. It sounds crazy but half of my fasting hours I am sleep and naturally I’m not hungry until around noon. I also feel satisfied with only two meals because keto food keeps you full forever.

I use an app to track what I eat and to measure the macro-nutrients, which is essential for staying in a state of ketosis. All of these fancy words just mean my diet consists of a high fat intake, moderate protein and low carbs. There is no sugar and the carbs all come from non-starchy veggies. I only prep four meals at a time because I like variety and freshly cooked food. I also want to leave flexibility for when I’m social and go out to eat.

So let’s get to it! Here is my meal plan for the week:

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Break-fast: Strawberry Coconut Smoothie
  • Dinner: Buffalo Grilled Cauliflower and Pumpkin Seeds

Wednesday:

  • Break-fast: Hemp/Chia Breakfast Bowl with Almond Butter
  • Dinner: Sauteed Asparagus in Avocado Oil

Thursday:

  • Break-fast: Hemp/Chia Breakfast Bowl with Sunflower Butter
  • Dinner: “Cheezy” Broccoli Bowl

I try to keep my calories around 1200 because I’m not very active at the moment. My goal fats for the day are 99 grams, protein 48 grams and net carbs I try to keep below 30 grams. Now I know my breakfast bowl looks boring but I add berries, shredded coconut, and stevia sweetened chocolate chips in the morning. It’s like an overnight oats type thing, after a few hours the milk will absorb. I like to warm them up before adding the toppings. I also soak the walnuts so the body can digest them.

If you would like the full recipes just let me know. If you are doing keto too please feel free to share some of your go to meal ideas. My eating window is almost up so it’s time for me to smash! 😋