Thursday, February 8, 2018

Vegan Keto: 5 Pounds in 7 Day (Quasi-sold)

Well its going on seven months as a Vegan and I am trying something new! I'm doing a 20 day Vegan Keto diet! I need to mix things up to lose a few pounds by the end of the month so I remembered hearing rave reviews a few months ago about Keto. What is  Keto? Well learned about Keto from a Soror who started her own blog called Live Keto Fab ! Please check it out! She was really passionate about how doing the Keto really changed her body and wanted to share what she's learned with others. When she gave me the overview I didn't see how a Vegan could do Keto! One thing I love about a vegan/plant based diet is all the carbs lol but I can say in seven days I've lost five pounds. I was up slightly last Thursday so maybe its more like three but either way today was my lowest weight in almost 18 months! And beat that by a pound! 

If you're not Vegan there's a lot less work, thinking, planning involved. Its basically a low carb diet so if you eat meat there's plenty of options. So being Vegan poses a challenge because things like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, beans, etc are all high carb and all things I've grown used to eating. Also fruit! I enjoy fruit but they are high in sugar/carbs. The goal with this diet, like all low carb diets, is to burn fat by reducing your carbohydrates that are typically used for fuel first.

All in all I don't hate it. I've made some great new dishes and really liked them! I am using a lot more processed foods/mock meat to round out my menu. I tried to reduce those foods in January so it kind of feels like a step back but I am only using them sparingly. I downloaded an app called Carb Manager to help me keep track. My goal is 44 Carbs a day per the app and I've been over that pretty much all week. I hover around 50 which I'm sure is still a substantial reduction hence the weight loss. These carbs, even healthy ones, add up quickly! It's just day seven for me but I can say I could not do Vegan Keto long term but I will definitely reduce my unlimited carb loading after my 20 days. I've lost 20 pounds in six months which is great; 1-2 pounds a week to ideal. With the information I have I can understand why my workouts do not yield faster results. This week I've done the treadmill, elliptical and the bike about 45-60 minutes. So nothing over the top but I may add weights this week. Lastly, below is a quick peek at my week in Low Carb Vegan!

Jamaican staple: Callaloo is a popular Caribbean dish originating in West Africa served in different variants across the Caribbean. 

Not a bad cracker replacement 

Curry Veggies

Jackfruit: Sold at Trader Joe's in a can.
Jackfruit is a unique tropical fruit that has increased in popularity in recent years. It has a distinctive sweet flavor and can be used to make a wide variety of dishes. It's also very nutritious and may have several health benefits

BBQ Jackfruit with salad

Jackfruit, cauliflower mash,   

Creamy mushrooms

Excellent pasta replacement

Vegan pesto! Wonderful!

Skinny Pop

Lifesaver 0 point Weight Watchers soup

My first Vegan Keto creation. Pesto, Coconut milk, Pasta Zero, spinach, mushrooms! Yummm! 
Vegan Keto Breakfast -Ackee, callalou, avocado, Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo
 In Jamaica, the ackee fruit is a mixed blessing. Though originally native to West Africa, it migrated to Jamaica in 1778 and is now the country's national fruit. Sauteed with onions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper 


Vegan Keto Breakfast -Ackee, callaloo, avocado,

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Six Months Vegan!!!

And just like that I have been Vegan for SIX WHOLE MONTHS!!! I must say it flew by effortlessly. As a quick recap my sister the Veterinarian recommended I watch the documentary What the Health  
and I went cold (faux) turkey on all meat and dairy. My decision was based on ethical reasons after seeing how animals are treated. I no longer find meat appetizing. I guess I am lucky because I no longer crave meat. The look, the smell, the blood ugh can't stomach any off it.

I tend to be a very black or white, yes or no, on or off person so that straightforwardness works well in this vegan lifestyle. The support of my husband has also made it extremely easy. He joined me about two weeks after I started so we have cooked for each other, learned with each other and celebrated an improved lifestyle with each other! So I'm grateful for that! Six months ago I created a Facebook group called "Pink & Green and Plant Based" for members of Alpha Kappa Alpha either living or interested in a Vegan and/or Plant Based lifestyle. I have an AKA workout group that's been around for about eight years and that group has been so supportive in my journey I figured one for my vegan lifestyle would be as well; and I was right! I just started an Instagram page called "PlantBasedAKAs" all in an effort to provide as much information and resources about this way of life. Every step is beneficial for the animals, the environment and  for us as humans so this is me doing my part.

Its been interesting on both sides people can be so judgmental. I'm trying to be a good Vegan Ambassador but people act like if you are vegan you have to be 100% or you're the devil. I always give the example of "cafeteria" Catholics. Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean you don't sin. People pick and chose what works best for them. My thing is ANY  lifestyle change that supports veganism is a step in the right direction! No Vegans aren't perfect no meat eaters aren't the devil but knowledge is power and I think if more people knew what was really going on everyone would be vegan.Total win/win.

This month is Veganuary! A month to promote the vegan lifestyle. It has been a great opportunity to  spread the word. I have shared recipes, success stories and information. The response has been very positive!

Since I was already Vegan, I wanted to really try to go more Plant Based in January. So I had a goal to reduce processed vegan foods, eliminate alcohol and increase healthy vegan foods like fresh fruits and veggies. I created a January challenge and its been good. I haven't been 100% perfect and it showed me how much I like some Vegan junk food like chips, potato bread, and vegan processed products like the Aldi vegan chicken nuggets! As with everything its progress not perfection and since veganism isn't a "diet" for me it can be challenging to focus on healthy options. Here is the challenge try it for a month, a week or even a weekend!

Speaking of healthy choices; I finally went back to a Weight Watchers meeting. They changed the plan again. I don't know if I am happy about it yet. It reminds me of the Simply Filling plan to allowed certain foods 0 points and you are supposed to trust yourself to stop when satisfied. Weeeeeeellll I can't speak for everyone but if I knew how to stop eating when satisfied I wouldn't need to be on a weight loss program like Weight Watchers!

As a Vegan I should be happy since tofu, corn, beans, fruits, veggies, legumes, etc. are all 0 points.  So we will see how it goes. I have to lose 7 pounds in about 4 weeks; less than 2 pounds a week. So I am gonna tighten up starting today with getting back on the app and exercising!

I want to give some quick updates since it was my 6 month anniversary! Below I will drop some helpful links!  While everyone may not be willing to go vegan there's a way to ease into the lifestyle for many! So here are a few helpful resources!

10 Zero Point Meals on WW Freestyle Program

Vegan Shopping List at Trader Joe's

The Ultimate Trader Joe's Shopping List

Vegan Shopping at Walmart


Aldi rolls out vegan and vegetarian product line

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year Blessings to you all

OMG WHYYYYY IS IT 2018!! Its incredible to even imagine! God is soooo good though. 2017 was a good year. It will be the year major changes happened for me in terms of my health, wealth and spiritual growth.

My husband and I celebrated five months as Vegans! The idea never crossed my mind ever in life until the documentary What the Health and I have not looked back. I am starting 2017 at only eight pounds away from my goal. My husband lost 33 pounds, his blood presdire dropped by about 40 points and is in overall better health concerning other health issues. Both of our doctors are pleased.

We will celebrate three years of marriage in July and that time has certainly flown by. Three is the number of completeness in the Bible and as we learn and grow as a couple I'm excited to see what 2018 will bring our way.

This month I am doing a #JanuaryHealthyVeganChallenge with the Pink and Green and Plant Base group I started in Facebook for Sorors. The idea is a 31 Day Challenge to go completely Whole Food Plant based in terms of our eating. Anyone can join in so join us! 

So #WhatVegansEat is my go to hashtag along with #CyliasVeganJourney on my Instagram CyliaFitAndFab account please feel free to follow me there for updates! 

Today I posted about my first attempt at cooking Black Eyed Peas and promised to share it here on my blog so here we go!

1) Purchase a pack of black eyed peas
2) Rinse peas and soak over night
3) I microwaved my peas for 15 minutes (I did 3, 5 minute sessions rinsing in between)
4) Add veggie broth to crockpot with garlic, onion, bay leaves, Trader Joes 21 Season Salute
5) Add black eyed peas to crockpot on high for 2-3 hours


Make 2018 your best year ever! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"You Want It To Be One Way….But It's The Other Way"

It's been a busy month! Lots of events both near and far! It was a greattttt summer. I mean really great. I can't believe its already fall! 2017 is flying by; I swear when you are a kid summer feels like forever but as an adult its flies by. No summers off I suppose... But I am not complaining its been a great year and I am looking forward to a lot of things in 2018 so I will just be grateful for the season!
I guess I am in a nostalgic mood lately. Hence the title of the blog post... I re-watched The Wire series and it is one of the quotes I always remember from character Marlo...

This scene came to mind when I was sitting in the Weight Watchers meeting after a .2 gain. I just knewwww I lost weight after my trip to Jamaica. I usually do. So when the WW leader who checked me in asked me how my week was I told her not bad I was on vacation in Jamaica and so she said "Wooowww really well you only went up .2 so you'll have to tell us how you did that!" 

My jaws were tight! I gave a half smile and sat down. So for the non Wire fans... or those who may have forgotten... In the scene Marlo a ruthless drug dealer really drug lord... (he was running an entire multi million dollar operation not sitting on the corner) goes into a store and steals two 10 cent lollipops in full view of the security guard.  The security guard completely annoyed, obviously knowing who Marlo is, follows him out and confronts him; albeit respectfully. Spoiler alert: Respect doesn't save him though. During the exchange Marlo tells him over and over "You want it to be one way..." Finally exasperated the guard basically says what are you talking about and Marlo's response "You want it to be one way….But it's the other way." Marlo walks to his waiting car and orders the murder of the security guard. 

So what resonated with me was the fact that the security guard knew who Marlo was and what he was capable of doing to him. Those were facts. But the security guard confronted him anyway. Now some may consider that brave others foolish. No matter how you see it, the results were the same; the security guard ends up in the vacants (in the empty row homes in Baltimore with 21 other victims by the season's end). 

Now the parallel for me: I didn't track what I ate. I did not restrict myself (aside from my Vegan commitment). I didn't plan my meals. I didn't even cook my meals. YET I want it the OTHER way. I thanked the WW leader during the meeting because my jaws were tight but I can't be mad and in fact .2 says a lot positive about my ability to go away be forced to eat out every day for over a week and deal with unlimited buffets and alcohol and come back with such a minuscule increase. 

Granted I didn't drink a drop of water or eat a thing before weigh in  and I wore a feather light dress so I went in as  ready as possible but... see I want it to be  one way but it's the other way. For me weight loss means it's the other way... I don't lose by accident; its the other way... I have to plan, track, exercise, drink water and go to meetings. It's the other way. I have this internal battle more often than I should... but this quote will be a good reminder for me. I'll use that quote as an anchor. 

I think that's a good segue into my Vegan lifestyle update. Well I am over two months in now! Celebrated while in Jamaica and I must say it is wayyy easier than anyone could imagine. Easy to find things to eat not easy to control what one eats.  At least not easy for me because I like to eat lol there's an ongoing debate about being vegan vs plant based. There are lots of junk food vegans; not eating meat or dairy leaves a ton of other things besides fruits and veggies to eat and plenty of it not healthy and not healthy in large quantities. That's why Weight Watchers is important for my goals. I ma down over 10 pounds in the two months and I am committing to being physically active every day until the end of the year... 146 days straight. I'm over 50 days in and making it happen BUT I need to get back to my trainer to make bugger strides. I want to lose 12 pounds by the 31st! I can do it! That's 13 weeks so less than a pound a week! DONE!!!! 

Anywayyyyyy I promised to do a blog post about my Vegan Shopping List! I'm no expert but I have definitely researched a lot  and tasted a lot lol so I can stand behind my reviews! So here  we go!

I ball on a budget so most of my shopping has been done at Wegman's, Trader Joe's and my new bae Aldi's! All three have great prices. I will be honest I spend a lot of money and I can sometimes be wasteful so better to spend less and still get good quality! 

My fave is Trader Joe's so we will start with them. I found a great list via a group on Facebook of Vegan items from Trader Joe's it was so helpful!

First must haves: SPICES! I already have garlic, curry, black pepper, sea salt but these are some other great ones to have on hand! Less than $2 a bottle!

Other staples: Rice I try to mix up my types and cauliflower rice is a great option! Less calories but still great! These were about $1.99

Frozen fruit and veggies are helpful and save $$$ I kept buying strawberries but they kept spoiling so I bought some frozen one. The tri-peppers are great for soups and chili! The coconut "yogurt" was realllyyyyy great but 9 WW Smart points! Yikes! Sttill have the portabella fries and Somasa to try

 The flaxseed I have added to oatmeal, dairy free yogurt and apple sauce. The Ancient Grains are great its basically an oatmeal. The toasted coconut granola is good although my husband devoured it so I can't recall it exactly lol I guess I'll buy two next time.

More staples: Lara bars, red onions, a hugeee eggplant, beets, Almond butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, cherry tomatoes, bread thins which were great but not fully cut so be veryyyy careful slicing, blue corn tortilla, ginger, Goddess dressing which is de-lish and only needs a splash and lastly canned Jackfruit! All of this was less than $30

Some new items I really liked: Dr. Prager's veggie burgers were sooo good. My husband didn't love them but I do. I really do not crave meat so the fact that it does not look like a beef burger is appealing to me. The Meatless Meatballs are great! The cook up very easily. The Falafels are good. High in points though but I had a salad with one and figured I could re-create it at home for half the price! The veggie spring rolls are soooo good. The beef-less ground was good although I added the Trader Joe's soy chirizo for additional flavor and it turned out nicely. The roasted plantain chips a fave and are perfect with guacamole or hummus. The tempeh I still have not tried yet! So stayed tuned.  More frozen fruit for smoothies and oatmeal!

Lastly from Trader Joe's broccoli, almond milk, steel cut oats, maple syrup, vegan spread, peaches and red potatoes. 


Their prices can't be beat even better than Farmer's markets and produce markets for the most part!

Ok  Whewwww that  was a lot and for some reason now I have fall allergies and the meds are kicking in so I will do part 2 with Wegman's and recipes next week!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lighter, Better, Faster, Stronger. 1 Month Vegan

Yesterday I hit the one month mark as a Vegan.

The Good: Way better sleep, I feel lighter, I am down 5.6 pounds, loving the new meals and extra energy in the gym. I feel a lot better mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

The Bad: Lots of cooking and washing dishes🤣😂 

The Ugly: My skin is still breaking out

Overall though its been great. If I had it to do again I would have done a gradual change vs going cold turkey but yes one whole month since I accidentally turned Vegan lol When your sister the Doctor (of more than one species) says you should look at this documentary "What The Health" you do and mannnn I ain't looked back since! Funny I re-watched #WhatTheHealth with my husband who is going meatless for August with me and the animal cruelty was like a flash in the pan but I remembered it sooooooo much you couldn't tell me it wasn't the main focus 😂🤣 so it was good to re-watch it and really catch the rest of the information. The health implications and the environmental impact is really startling. The other hard pill to swallow is how long this information has been around annddd how the money trail explains it all. As Maya Angelou says "Once you know better you do better..." so that's where I am.

The positives: The people that are supportive are super supportive. My friend Dawn has shared her veggies from Gather Baltimore and I have made some great food! And I share! Real community living now! My personal trainer and his fiancee had a pre-wedding cookout so those of us going to their destination wedding could meet before hand and she made a point to buy Vegan burgers for my husband and me! How sweet is that? They also cut up a ton of veggies and grilled it up for us! I mean that is SUPPORT! Love it! The burgers were really good too and she gave us the box to take home. Totally going to BJs to buy more! Restaurants are also very accommodating. Shout out to The W who modified a pizza for me last week! 

The other positive there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians out there... many I know but didn't know or realize they were vegan.Even my maternal Grandmother 😲  How  How cool is that? I have a lot of cousins that are either vegan or vegetarian as well so the concept is not foreign to me or my family so I think that's a plus. Even my husband was vegetarian at one point...chileeee and he even had dreads so you know he legit gets the honorary Jamaican status lol 

The online community is AMAZING. Its like a whole new world. I swear it's like The Matrix. The Black Vegan community is very strong and impressive not for their "accomplishments" but just how they are using their time on earth mostly outside of Veganism. Its dope. Its all about alignment. I was saying to my sister its like when I would not buy Stag beer in Trinidad because their slogan is "Stag... A man's beer!" I was SOOOOO offended! Like WHAT? I vote with my dollars and if its one thing I pride myself on its being consistent. I am very black or white when it comes to what I feel is right or wrong and so this has been a pretty easy change for me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. There is an endless supply of resources out there and its been so informative.  

If it was "just" for health I think it would be more of a struggle for me. This is not a diet for me. Health is a nice side benefit but honestly despite being overweight my cholesterol is under 100, my blood pressure is like 110/70 and all my other numbers are well within healthy ranges. My sugar number (Black I know lol) was higher than my doctor liked last year and my goal was to lose 20 pounds and she felt that would reduce that number, so I am looking forward to my annual physical in October. 

I feel a lot more energy at the gym even though during the day I am napping more consistently lol I tend to be high energy except for inside the gym. I tend to drag myself around when I workout, now that may be mental but I have noticed I have way more energy to workout lately.I set a commitment to workout at least 35 minutes a day for the rest of the year when we were at day 146 from the new year.  Yesterday was Day 15 of 146! I've gone over 100 days before so I know I can keep it up. I have been busy and still on track from New York for my 25th to DC to back home. I am making the time. I notice that I can go 90 minutes even when I plan to workout for just 35 minutes when I get there so that's great. 

Knowledge is power. There is a lot of information out there and that's another positive I like learning and I'm still researching. While some think What the Health was too over the top... think about it even if what they said was half of the truth that is scary as hell!!!

The negatives: The people who have posted such anti/messy/ negative things I find totally bizarre. I've engaged some and its a good opportunity to dialogue. I think its a bit weird to care what another person eats or doesn't eat on both sides but no one likes feeling judged and if you are compassionate and passionate I get it. I'm not in the conversion business even when it comes to my faith. I'm Team Jesus but I know that's not for everyone but there are certain things that are Christ-like and I am striving to exhibit that if that brings someone to Christ cool I think I have done my part. Ultimately, if my sharing helps someone understand a bit more and cut back on eating so much meat and dairy for compassionate reasons and try a more Plant based diet that's great... if not, no judgement. We all have one life to live and we do the best we can.

A lot of people have emailed me about resources so I am going to list some of those things and in a different post I will do some sample menus. Below are a few documentaries, doctors and organizations where you can look things up and get more information. Click names below to go to the websites!

Netflix has:

What the Health 

Forks Over Knives 



Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2


14 Vegan Doctors  (Article)

Dr. Michael Greger M.D. - Awesome FREE resources

Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C 

Kim A. WilliamsSr., MD First vegan Doctor to President of the American College of Cardiology


Brown Vegan  I purchased her Zero to Vegan training course! very informative!

Sweet Potato Soul great recipes

#BlackVegansRock  a list of 100 Black Vegans 

32 Vegans Celebrities 

Well that's all for now! So I will check back soon with menus and restaurant reviews! Thanks yall!!