Chavalina’s Vegan Challenge–Day 4 (1/4/2012)

Happy vegan challenge hump day to me! I’m more than halfway there!

Breakfast: Toast w/PB, V8. No coffee this morning; I needed to go to the store and buy more!

Lunch: I went out to grab some coffee and pick up groceries around 11AM. After that, I was ready for lunch. Chipotle happened to be on my way home and, as I learned last night, Chipotle is also one of those awesome places that clearly tells you which of their products are not vegan-friendly. I was thrilled to see that I had vegan options there, not only because I love Chipotle’s food, but also because it’s important for me to know there are places where I could go when I’m on-the-go or with friends and not feel like I’m inconveniencing anyone. Nobody wants to go out with friends and have to sit there munching on celery while they eat a real meal. (Especially since I hate celery.)

Delicious Chipotle FoodMy burrito bowl, with fajita veggies, salsa, lettuce, brown rice, and vegetarian black beans, was delicious. I got a side of guacamole, too, but only ate about half of it. With a large drink (iced tea), my meal cost almost $9. Probably a little much for a bowl of rice and veggies, but it was a delicious bowl of rice and veggies. Seriously, I thought I’d been doing a good job of cooking this week, but why does my stuff not taste this good???

Snack Time: I was just going to have some chips and salsa, but since my leftover guacamole was already looking a bit brown, I ate that as well.

Dinner: I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this dinner, but it turned out phenomenal. Tonight’s scheduled meal was fake chicken strips with BBQ sauce, but I couldn’t find vegan chick’n strips. Instead, I decided to use portobello and onion. I’m not a huge mushroom fan, so I didn’t think I would enjoy it, but the portobello strips smelled great while sautéing, and did a nice job of adding a meaty texture and flavor to the dish. I served it up dressed, on a bun, with yuca fries I made using this recipe. If you’re not familiar with yuca, try it sometime. These require a bit more preparation than potato fries, as yuca is a bit tougher to peel and there’s a vein in the middle of the root that needs to be removed, but they come out crisp, a bit sweet, and delicious. You can serve them with ketchup, but they are just as good with a little salt and pepper. Dessert was another ice cream sandwich.

How I Felt: Today’s meals were filling and delicious. I can’t complain. To satisfy my curiosity (and because I’m a big nerd), I decided to track my intake of calories and selected nutrients today and compare them to my recommended intake. The recommendations are from Livestrong.com and are based on my age, height, weight, and activity level. Calorie count and nutrition info was drawn from the labels, and for food without labels I estimated using Livestrong and the Chipotle Nutrition Facts Calculator. Though I was planning to do this today, I did not make any purposeful attempts to add or cut food from my planned meals for the sake of counting, only to attempt to adhere to recommended serving sizes to keep the count accurate. Here’s how I compared to the averages.

Calorie GraphNutrition GraphAs you can see, my calories were well below where they should be for weight maintenance, even more so when I accounted for the calories burned on my run tonight. Weight loss was not really a goal for me in attempting this challenge, but it’s clear that if I were to stick with this long-term, my weight would decrease over time. My protein and fat intake were also a bit lower than recommended levels, and really most of my fat today came from avocados and olive oil, which are “good” fats. Sodium was the only negative, with more salt in my diet than there should be. The overall picture, though, is that I’m still getting adequate nutrition with fewer calories. And that I have a lot of time on my hands for making colorful charts. You know you’re jealous.

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