Tag: vegan food

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review | Week 1

Finding a weight loss program is a daunting task. There are SO MANY to choose from. Finding one that meets your needs and budget can be really challenging. I signed up for the TrueStrength 8-Week Challenge from Veganfitnes.com. I’ve looked at various options but decided to try this challenge because it’s made by vegans with a focus on vegan nutrition. However, you don’t have to be vegan to do this program. I asked my Instagram community if they’d like to see a weekly update with my thoughts and opinions and I received a resounding yes. So this is my review for week one of the Vegan Fitness TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge. 

Why A Review

I wan’t planning reviewing this program. I was going to do it for myself to get healthier and not really share anything about it. However, after the first 2 days I had so many thoughts about it that I thought should be shared. I’d want to know these things before spending this kind of money on a program. I’ll cover who this program is for, cost, whats included, what’s not included, meals, nutrition tracking, extra costs you can expect, and more. I hope you all find this helpful. Ok, let’s get started.

What Is This Program?

This is an eight-week fitness training program to help you get fit. The program comes with a vegan nutrition plan, basic nutrition information, planned workouts, and simple how-to videos for both the workouts and some food. You’ll also be granted access to a private facebook group to join other who are also currently doing the challenge. Once a week, there will be a livestream with the founders of the program where there answer pre-submitted questions. 

The Cost

This cost for this eight week program is three hundred dollars. You can recieve $10 off the program total by clicking the following special link. Click Here.

Preface

Before we get into the review I should tell you some information about me and my fitness level. Before the challenge I was regularly working out 3-4 days a week. Some days are just strength training, others are just cardio, sometimes it’s yoga, somedays it’s a combination of these. I work out because my work leaves me idle most days. I’m typically sitting at a computer for hours on end, so moving is quite necessary. I’m not a stranger to working out. I’ve hired professional personal trainers in the past. I hired the first one when I was 18 years old. This was when I was introduced to the world of macros, counting calories, the app My Fitness Pal, and basic “nutrition”. The word nutrition is in quotes because what I learned then was nutrition as influenced by the meat and dairy industry. 

Even while on a diet focusing heavily on meat, dairy, and eggs. I was able to loose weight and get fit. My trainer at the time had me eating string cheese, cottage cheese, spoonfuls of peanut butter, and plain hardboiled eggs as go-to snacks and sometimes also as lunch. While consuming these foods high in saturated fat, I still lost quite a lot of weight. I dropped from a size 12 to a size 6 within about 10 months. I learned how to workout, meaning which types of exercises to do to target the desired areas. I learned how many set and reps to do, I learned how to use gym equipment, and much more. 

All this to say, I’m not a novice to the gym and I know about conventional nutrition. However, I don’t consider myself a very “fit” person, meaning I don’t have muscle definition, I don’t have low body fat, I can’t lift large amounts of weight. Keep this in mind when reading the following review. 

TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Review – Week One

Choose Your Preferences

You’ll start off by answering some questions and entering some basic information about yourself like age, height, and weight. They’ll also ask you to upload pictures of yourself in a bathing suit to track progress, this part is optional but highly recommended. Then you’ll choose between the shred program (weight loss) or bulk program (muscle gain). I chose the shred program.

You’ll also choose between a home workout or gym workout. I chose the home workouts because I can’t always get to the gym since I have a toddler. For food, you can chose the conventional plan or the meal prep plan. I initially chose the meal prep plan. They give examples you can follow for both. You’ll then receive a slightly customized program. I write “slightly” because it’s not as customized as a program would be if you were training one on one with a personal trainer.  

What I Don’t Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge 

This Program is Not For Everyone

Let me start off by saying I thought this program was for everyone. It isn’t. Even though I workout 3-4 times a week, I would consider myself a beginner because I’m not very strong. I would not recommend this workout program for beginners. If somewhere it clearly explains who this program is for, someone please let me know because it wasn’t made clear to me. I only realized this after doing the first workout and joining the discussions in the private Facebook group. I definitely struggled with the workouts this week. A lot of people in the group expressed the same feeling. After doing the workout myself, I could see why other people were also struggling. Keep in mind, everyone received different workout plans customized to them and their goals. 

Week one consisted of 5 workout days and 2 rest days. The workouts each have 9 or 10 exercises plus 20 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. Each workout consists of 3 sets of 10-12 reps for most. Let me give you an example of why this program is not for beginners. Day five’s workout started with pull ups; there is also the option of assisted pull ups. Even when I was at my fittest when I was a 18 and a size 6, I could not do a pull up on my own; I was barely even able to do assisted pull-ups at that time. Currently, I can’t do either. I’d be a bit worried about beginners starting this program injuring themselves with some of these exercises.

My last thought for this is that you’ll have to buy some equipment if you chose to do the home program. So far, I’ve purchased 2 sets of dumbbells and a resistance band with handles; I spent $85. I guess I was also expected to buy the pull up bar (additional cost) but I chose to just replace that exercise. You’ll also need to get the paid version of My Fitness Pal app, which costs $10 per month, in order to track your macros.

The Meal Prep Plan Is Very Plain

A lot of the prepped meals contain fake meat to get the required amount of daily protein. A lot of people don’t have access to these fake meats so I would really take that into consideration if you’re thinking about purchasing this program. There’s also a lot of protein powder required. This will be an added cost which can get very expensive depending on the type of protein powder you decide to use. One of the daily meals consists of a protein shake. Another consists of a smoothie bowl with added protein powder to meet protein and calorie goals.

Lack of Guidance From Admins

I incorrectly assumed from the founders’ promotion of this program that there would be more guidance than there is. I also thought, they’d be more involved in the private facebook group with answering questions. There was a live Q & A with Nimai and Bianca (the founders), in the evening of the first day of the program. They answered questions but I’m not sure where the questions came from. I never saw a spot to leave questions before the live Q & A. I also requested to be added to the private FB group after signing up but wasn’t granted access until the next night so I missed the live Q & A, which I wanted to watch live to see if I could submit questions during it. The session was saved and posted afterwards so at least there’s that.

The private FB group is great for those that need the community aspect. However, they also ask and answer each others questions about workouts and nutrition. Which, in my opinion, is not super helpful for these two topics because most of the people in the group are not super knowledgeable on these two topics. There is an email where we can contact the founders directly so I guess I’ll start making more use of that. Hopefully, they’ll be quick to reply to messages; so far, according to other users, it take a while to hear back from them.

What I Do Like About The TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge 

Planned Workouts

Having a planned workout saves a lot of time. This is one of the main reasons I purchased this program. I’m knowledgeable on workouts and how to workout, like I said earlier but I didn’t want to think about and take time to put together a workout plan. This helped with that. 

The Meal Prep Plan Is Easy

I know, this is in both what I don’t and do like. While I don’t love the meal prep plan, as stated above, I think they are useful for those that are completely new to plant-based eating (not everyone in the program is vegan), don’t have any idea how to prepare food, or don’t care too much about taste. The meal preps are basic and straightforward. They’re not terrible but they’re also not impressive, which I understand because they are there to serve a specific purpose and not to indulge in. There are also about 45 basic standalone recipes in the program that one could choose follow. 

Basic Nutrition Info

I do like that there is basic nutrition information. They explain what macros are and there are simple how-to videos for making tofu taste good. This would be really helpful for beginners. 

The Final Say For Week One

Would I recommend the TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge? After this first week I would say no. Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything. I purchased this program because I thought I’d learn something new. I already know how to workout, track macros, and eat a healthy, low fat diet in order to loose weight. I also have the same plant-based nutrition certification from eCornell as one of the founders of the program.

If you’re looking to lose weight, get fit, and healthy, you need three things: a workout plan, which there are many of for a significantly lower cost (around $20/month), a plant-based diet meal plan (also available from various sources for a much lower cost, approximately $30), and an app that tracks your macros and calories (my fitness pal, $10/month). Cost is a huge deciding factor for most people when choosing a program. My total cost for this program has been $395 so far. Keep in mind this total does’t include protein power, which I’ve chosen to exclude thus far. 

TrueStrength 8 Week Challenge Discount Code

If you’re still interested in this program, you can use get a $10 discount off the total by clicking this link

My Daily Program Updates

You can follow me on Instagram for daily progress pictures and video. I post what I eat in a day as well as some snaps from the gym. To follow me on Instagram click here. 

 

Guest Post: Diana Edelman Founder of Vegans, Baby Shares 10 Las Vegas Spots with Amazing Vegan Food

Las Vegas is on fire with vegan options. Recently,  the city was ranked 10th in the nation (let that sink in for a moment, since in 2016 there were less than a handful of all-vegan restaurants) for being vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.

If you’re looking for a place to dine and enjoy amazing vegan offerings, the options are abundant.

It’s my job to go out and try all the vegan food in town, and I get asked all of the time where to eat out. These are some of my top picks, based on nearly three years of eating out for Vegans, Baby, which is proud to provide the city’s only comprehensive guide for vegan- and vegan-friendly dining (and more) in Las Vegas.

Want more vegan options? Check out the Las Vegas Vegan Dining Guide, loaded with the best vegan food in the city with nearly 100 suggestions for where to find all of the amazing eats in town.

VegeNation: Any visit to Las Vegas needs to include VegeNation. With two locations in town (Downtown and the ‘burbs) their global street food and rotating seasonal menu is super popular with the locals. Be sure to try their mac and cheese pizza or their Chicky Chicky Bang Bang, a spicy chicken sandwich.

The Modern Vegan: Opened in March 2018 and leading the charge for vegan restaurants opening this year, The Modern Vegan’s menu boasts a whopping 100+ dishes. Their specialty is comfort food, so be sure to order the corn dogs or Louisiana Fried Chicken. And, save room for dessert. Closed Monday – Tuesday.

Violette’s Vegan Organic Cafe & Juice Bar: This fun and hippie restaurant off-Strip focuses on organic comfort food and veganized food like nachos, mac and cheese, sandwiches, burgers and more. For healthier options, check out their juices, smoothies or bowls.

Go Vegan: This gluten-free restaurant is all about natural eating — their menu is heavy on the raw and healthy. Head there for breakfast and treat yourself to the breakfast platter with tofu scramble or omelette, gluten-free muffin and more.

Simply Pure: Located in Downtown’s Container Park, Chef Stacey Dougan’s Simply Pure serves both raw and cooked goodness, including their famous lasagna with tofu ricotta (this meal is a must). It even comes in a gluten-free version.

Tacotarian: Vegan Mexican food at Tacotarian will have you doing a happy dance. With more than a dozen tacos to choose from, the vegan restaurant also serves up traditional Mexican eats and fun dishes like Taki-covered elote and Frito pie.

Chef Kenny’s Asian Vegan Restaurant: Chef Kenny Chye’s restaurant is your go-to for Asian cuisine in Vegas. His sushi is incredible and lets you indulge in rolls you’d never thought you’d have again, like the Rainbow Roll. Bonus: the orange chicken is gonna fool your omni friends.

Blinders Burgers & Brunch: This northwest Las Vegas restaurant is all-vegan and offers a variety of creative burgers. Choose your patty — veggie, Beyond or Impossible — and then order up what suits your fancy. They also offer a weekend brunch that includes pancakes with crispy Herbivorous Butcher bacon.

Good Pie: Craving pizza? Head to Good Pie. Las Vegas doesn’t have its own vegan pizza spot, yet, but this is a must. The Detroit deep dish, gluten-free (yes, you read that right) is the stuff dreams are made of.

Beauty & Essex: If you’re looking for a high-end restaurant on The Strip, Beauty & Essex fits the bill. Perfect for vegans and omnis, this dining experience comes complete with eats like herb crusted tempeh, flatbread and desserts that will blow your mind.

Want even more vegan restaurants? Here’s a guide to all of the vegan restaurants in Las Vegas.

–Diana Edelman is the founder of Vegans, Baby which aims to make being vegan easier around the world. She also is the author of the Las Vegas Vegan Food Guide, founder of Las Vegas’ vegan dining month — Veganuary Las Vegas, and runs the Vegans, Baby Vegan Food Tours. Follow Vegans, Baby on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, find out where to shop for vegan goods in Las Vegas on Instagram, and stay up-to-date on Diana’s projects on her Instagram.

Las Vegas Dining: Wing Lei at Wynn (Birthday Dinner)

Watermelon martini and melon hor d’oeuvre.
Garden Dim Sum
Chilled vegetable roll.
Tiny chair for my purse. So cute!
After dinner, walking to the south valet.
Those are the doors to the south valet behind me.
Koi in the water. So beautiful.

Hi guys! I’m so excited to share my Wing Lei review with you all. I wasn’t planning on writing a review so I didn’t take too many pictures, none of our entrees. However, this immediately became one of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas so I have to share it with you. My birthday was 2 weeks ago. As I mentioned on my Instagram, we kept it low-key with a nice, quiet, fancy dinner. I’ve been wanting to dine at Wing Lei for quite some time now but it didn’t seem like a place you’d want to take an infant, so I decided to wait for the right time to try it out. My mom flew in for my birthday and offered to watch Athena so Marc could take me out to a nice dinner. I immediately thought of Wing Lei.

If you’re not familiar with Wing Lei, here’s a little overview from their website: “Wing Lei, the first Chinese restaurant in the country to be awarded a Michelin Star and the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award-winning Chinese restaurant in North America, combines Chinese flavors with Western technique to create an exceptional dining experience at Wynn. A lavish gold and jewel-toned dining space draws inspiration from elements of classical Chinese architecture and design to create contemporary rooms that are rich and eclectic. Wing Lei features a view of a private garden that harbors century-old pomegranate trees and a gleaming golden dragon. The elegant surroundings pair perfectly with Chef Ming Yu’s menu—a masterful mix of Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechuan flavors—featuring delicacies like tableside-carved Imperial Peking duck, mu shu pork and wok-fried Maine lobster.”

The Ambiance

This dining room is beautiful. It feels very open and equally private. There are beautiful wall sculptures, walls draped in luxe fabrics, traditional Chinese architecture, gorgeous flower arrangements, and touches of gold that dazzle the eye. The entire space is elegant and lends a relaxing vibe. We sat next to the private garden that holds century-old pomegranate trees.

The Service

We made a reservation for 8:30 but got there closer to 9. It wasn’t until we arrived that I realized they close a 10. I got a little anxious because I like to take my time during dinner, well, during any meal. But especially for dinner I like to sit and relax, converse, and maybe have a cocktail or some wine. When we arrived the hostess greeted us with a smile and we were shown to our table. The restaurant was about a third full. Our waiter came out to take our drink order and he also had a smile on his face. Already, my anxiety started melting away. By the time he came back with my drink, about 5 min later, I completely forgot about my anxiety. The entire staff was really nice and professional throughout the entire night. We were never made to feel rushed even though we left close to 11. We let him know we are vegan and he pointed out some good options.

The Food

We, of course, skipped the animal products, instead opting for their vegan options and it.was.fantastic! Did you know that every single restaurant inside the Wynn has a vegan and vegetarian options? It’s true! That’s because Mr. Steve Wynn, himself, is vegan. Wing Lei doesn’t have a separate vegan menu but there are vegan options on the main menu. They started off our meal with a complimentary melon and vinaigrette hor d’oeuvre. Marc immediately said it was the best melon he’s ever had. I have to agree, it was soooo good and we were left wanting a bowl full of it, lol.

Garden Dim Sum

We started with the garden dim sum. This dish is meant to resemble a garden and the presentation is just beautiful. These delicious little dumplings are colored with vegetable juices like, red beet, corn, and spinach. They are filled with a savory veggie filling with a texture similar to a traditional dumpling. Topped with pea tendrils and edible flowers to add a bit of whimsy and color.

Chilled Vegetable Roll

This chilled vegetable roll is filled with mango, carrot, cucumber, mint, wrapped in rice paper and topped with a chili vinaigrette and micro greens. It was delicious, so refreshing and light but filling.

Vegetable Fried Rice

I was so happy to see this on the menu. Fried rice is typically made with egg so I asked if they could make it vegan and they said absolutely. I was so excited because I love fried rice. I could have used a bit more flavor but it was still really good and perfectly complimented the Gardein chick’n dish.

Sautéed Mixed Vegetables

Bell peppers, mushrooms, choy sum, baby bok choy, and broccoli in a black bean sauce. This dish was so flavorful and cooked to perfection.

Tai Chin Gardein Chick’n

Gardein chick’n with scallions and garlic in a black bean-chili sauce. This was amazing! It was so packed with flavor and cooked perfectly. I highly recommend getting this when you visit.

Tips

Wing Lei is located near the south valet entrance. We left our car at the north valet entrance and when we asked for directions to the restaurant, the nice gentleman that checked our car informed us that we could pick up our car at the south valet; so convenient!

The restaurant is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

There is a dress code. Business casual attire is required; shorts are not permitted and gentlemen must wear a collared shirt.

Children under five are not permitted.

To make a reservation by phone, call (702) 770-3388.

Have any of you been here? If so, how did you like it? I’m dying to go back!

Americana: A Fine Dining Gem Off The Strip

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I’m overwhelmed thinking back to my first time dining at Americana. Overwhelmed in the best sense of the word. The food, the ambience, the service—I don’t even know where to begin! Walking into the restaurant, you can see slivers of water through the windows at the far side of restaurant. That’s Lake Jacqueline, on which Americana sits atop. The ambience is elegant and luxurious without being pretentious. The lighting gives the whole restaurant a calming glow; the vibe is relaxed and welcoming. This restaurant is tucked away in the middle of the Desert Shores community, far off from the strip but you’d never guess that looking at the food.

I was 1 of 6 Vegas Lifestyle Influencers invited to dine at Americana. We sat out on the picturesque patio overlooking the serene lake. Chef Stephen Blandino, who is also the owner, created the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing dishes for us. We were treated to a three course dinner as well as champagne, wine, and all the desserts a girl could ask for. They even created special dishes for myself and my fellow vegan Ashley Diana. Given the fact that a vegan menu isn’t standard here, yet every dish was phenomenal, there is no question, Chef Blandino and his team are experts in their field.

We started the dinner off with a flute of champagne. The first course was a mango and radish slaw salad with mandarins and strawberry caviar. A portobello mushroom steak followed. This was the most delicious portobello mushroom I’ve ever had in my life; it was juicy and so packed with incredible flavor. Then they brought out a cauliflower steak paired with corn, bell peppers, snap peas, and oyster mushrooms over a cherry reduction. I paired a nice glass of cabernet with my cauliflower. Everything was absolutely delicious! And these were just the items I had. There was so much food!

For dessert they brought out some amazing dishes including cheesecake, chocolate cake, a lemon bar, macarons, blood orange sorbet, and cotton candy. The blood orange sorbet and cotton candy were the two vegan options and they were both yummy. My mouth still waters when I think about that sorbet. We finished dinner off with cappuccinos and some great conversation. I was floored by not only the food quality and taste but also by the plating. Every dish was beautifully plated and prettier than the last. The Americana team really know how to make their guest feel welcomed and valued. I’ve been recommending them to everyone! If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion (or even just for a nice dinner) in an intimate setting with high quality food, great service, and beautiful lake views, this is the place to go. I can’t wait to go back for another fantastic dining experience.

If you’d like to know more about Americana visit their website, here, and follow them on Instagram at @AmericanaLV. You can also find them on Yelp, here.

Quick and Easy Vegan Pancakes

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If you follow me on Instagram you might remember that I said I’d be sharing some recipes from the cookbook I’m working on. It’s still got a little ways to go before it’s done but I wanted to share a few recipes with you guys before I publish it. I made these pancakes this morning. I topped them with my favorite berries and after seeing the red, white, and blue theme, I thought they’d be perfect for a Fourth of July breakfast! These pancakes are quick and easy to make. There are only 6 ingredients and they’re DELICIOUS!

This is basic vegan pancake recipe that you can use anytime, it’s quick and simple. I topped them with berries and a bit of powdered sugar but you can change up the toppings to whatever you like. They’re equally delicious with just maple syrup on top. I’m thinking next time I’m going to try peanut butter and carob chips on top—yum! If you make these, tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations! You can find me at @jeanettepadillavega. Happy Fourth of July!

Quick and Easy Vegan Pancakes

Makes 6 pancakes | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 10 min

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

1 cup almond milk 

1/4 tsp vanilla extract 

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder 

1 tablespoon organic cane sugar 

2 tablespoons evoo

Pinch of salt 

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl then add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is incorporated but careful not to overmix. It’s ok if there are some small lumps left. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high. Pour a ladle-full of batter onto the skillet and let it cook for 30 seconds or until the surface of the pancake is covered in small bubbles, then flip and cook an additional 15-20 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter, then top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!