Monday, March 28, 2011

Gear Review: Datsusara Battlepack- BP-02

Datsusara is a company that makes hemp products, primarily targeted at martial artists. Their current line includes a gi, tshirts, a large backpack, a smaller backpack, a large duffel bag, and I believe they will soon be coming out with a smaller duffel bag. Datsusara's website can be found here, and the specs for the BP-02 as well as an assortment of pictures can be found here. Additionally, I will post the specs below, directly from the website:

• Body made of heavy duty 100% hemp canvas
• Large main compartment (23x13x8", 58x33x20cm)
• Expandable center compartment with compression straps
• Large side pockets (17x5x3", 43x13x8cm)
• Front pocket with dividers (16"x12"x1", 40x30x3cm)
• 2 sided upper zip pocket (5x9x1", 13x23x3cm)
• Back plate (removeable) retains the pack's form and provides support
• Inside pocket for laptop (laptop area approx. 13x13", 33x33cm)
• Media player compartment with headphone port
• Molle compatible webbing on front and sides
• Sternum strap and padded waist strap (waist strap can be hidden)
• YKK® self healing zippers
• Back and Hip Pads
• Removable logo with velcro patch, now you can customize your bag
Comes with a large polyester "nasty bag" for wet gear separation (13x22 inches, 33x56 cm)

I used the BP-02 for my trip to California for the Pan Ams. This allowed me to have only one carry on, which was quite convenient for the trip. This bag has an insane amount of pockets and compartments. It also has sternum straps and strap you can lock across the bottom. If you don't like the straps that come across the bottom, you can store them in the back outside pockets. There are two large pockets on the side. In one pocket I stored my flip flops, while I put my granola bars, checkbook, and a water bottle in the other.

There is one outside pocket that is smaller and thinner than the rest of the backpack. On my trip, I folded and put my "regular" clothes in there aka clothes I wouldn't work out in. The top part of this pocket buckles on to the rest of the backpack. This way, you can shove some clothes into this space and rebuckle the pocket. I imagine you could shove a gi or towel in that space if you wanted to, but I wouldn't put anything too small.

The main compartment of this bag is HUGE!! When you open the compartment, there are two mesh pockets and one nylon pocket on the front inside, and an elastic compartment on the back inside. In the main compartment I stored the following:

- A1 Atama Women's Mundial 9 gi
- jiu jitsu belt
- 3 athletic cotton tshirts
- a few pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of socks
- 3 books
- 1 magazine
- pair of shoes

In the mesh pockets I put:

-mouthguard in case
- toothbrush
- contact lens case
- contact lens solution
- glasses case

I could have absolutely shoved more gear in this bag. I kept two rashguards in the nylon pocket. I could see this pocket being used to isolate a sweaty rashguard from the rest of your gear. However, if you want to keep a sweaty gi away from the rest of your equipment, every Datsusara bag comes with a nylon nasty bag. The nasty bag is meant to keep sweaty items from stinking up the rest of the stuff in your bag.

On the top front of the bag, there are two small pockets. These are pretty small, and I think they're only really good for small items like jewelry.

I rate this bag a 9.5/10. There are only two reasons for it not being a 10. The first reason is the price. This bag costs $99.95, which is pretty steep. However, since hemp is sturdier than cotton, I imagine this bag will last much longer than my other gym bags which need replacing every few years. And this bag may save me from the cost of checking bags in the future! The second reason is the two small pockets on the top front of the bag. To me, they are too small to put anything in except for jewelry, which I wouldn't put there anyway.

Additionally, Chris at Datsusara provides some of the best customer service. I was having problems with the straps on my Light Battlepack, and he was extremely apologetic. He exchanged the bags for no extra charge. Additionally, he is very receptive to customer concerns and suggestions via email or the Datsusara facebook page. I remember asking about a Light Battlepack (LBP) a year or so ago, and now I have one in my hands. The BP-02 is also the result of customer feedback regarding the BP-01.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reflections: Last Days as a Vegetarian and Pan Ams

I haven't been updating this lately, as I flew out to California on Wednesday, and only returned yesterday afternoon. This entry will be in two parts: one about my last couple days as a vegetarian and one about Pan Ams.

Part 1: vegetarianism- last days and thoughts

My diet log is a little off, as I didn't write down everything I ate.

Wednesday: granola with Kefir yogurt for breakfast, vegetarian (soy?) cutlet sandwich with vegan pesto on wheat bread for lunch, and assorted items from the Whole Foods hot bar for dinner. Also had a couple of granola bars throughout the day

Thursday: Luna Bar and Gnu Flavor and Fiber bar for breakfast, vegetarian wrap and juice at lunch, Sun Chips as a snack, and pasta with vegetables at dinner. This was my last day as a vegetarian!

I don't think I could be a vegetarian forever, but it was definitely an interesting experience. I felt a little more energetic and rarely stuffed myself at mealtimes. Not that I normally overeat, but I found it more difficult to do so as a vegetarian. I was aware that I could definitely overdo it with carbohydrates and grains, so I tried to use vegetables and legumes as bases to my meals. I think it's more expensive than being an omnivore. I had to keep buying fresh fruit and vegetables, and I had to eat more vegetables and other produce to feel full as opposed to just eating a smaller portion of meat to obtain the same level of satiety. Being vegetarian also forced me to be more creative with my cooking. I had to find new bases for dishes I made.

It is also just as easy to eat unhealthily as a vegetarian as it is for an omnivore. Pizza, loaded veggie burgers, sugary drinks, and almost any dessert are all vegetarian and are definitely not good for you.

The biggest inconvenience was going out to eat. So many dishes have meat or seafood in them, even if it's a pasta dish and doesn't have a meat base. I typically only had a couple of options when going out to eat, but I was trying to avoid doing that anyway.

I will definitely be eating less meat in the future. I think I will eat meat at one meal each day, probably at lunchtime. I believe meat more difficult for the body to digest, so eating it right after training at night might not be the best idea. I liked eating a vegetarian dish right after training at night, because I don't like heavy meals at night or after training, and the vegetarian dishes were a good balance of sustenance without being too heavy.

Part 2: Pan Ams

I originally signed up for lightweight and switched to middleweight, as I was having a tough time making the cut. I flew out to California on Wednesday, and I competed on Thursday. It was quite an experience to get there and see so many people. I've only done local tournaments in the past, so there's only so many people that show up. It was cool to see the likes of Cole Miller, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, Bruno Frazatto, and Shawn Williams walking around. I tried not to think about seeing those people though, and tried to focus on the match at hand. I never walk into a tournament thinking I'll walk through everyone or anyone. I just keep in mind that I train very hard and with a great team, and that my hard work should pay off.

Long story short- I lost my first match. I pulled guard, continually got passed so she had full or side mount, and continually reclaimed half guard. I managed to get it standing again, but then I pulled guard and the same thing happened again. My opponent won on points, and ended up winning first place.

Needless to say, I am very disappointed in myself. I gave up my spring break, rearranged my schedule for training, and changed up my diet in preparation for this event only to fly all the way to California to get shut down for five minutes. But of course, my competitors were probably doing similar things and it's not like I am the only person who trains hard. It just wasn't my day, and I fought a weight class above what I normally do. Additionally, I weighed in at only 2 pounds over the minimum for middleweight, making me one of the lightest in the division. Not like that's an excuse for losing, as technique beats size and strength.

However, I am really happy for my teammates. They all performed well, and most of them medaled. It would be silly for me to let my own failures create a cloud over the success of my friends and teammates.

I went to BJJ this morning to get some decent training in. Five minutes of BJJ over a four day period isn't enough! I didn't work on fixing what I did wrong at Pan Ams, but just wanted to get back into the swing of things again. Once the people who watched my match return, I imagine I'll go back and work on what I did wrong.

I'll be posting a review of my Datsusara Battlepack soon, which I used to bring all my gear to Pan Ams. This is bigger than their Light Battlepack, and it was awesome to only have one carry on that also fit my gi!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 25- Last Day of Training

Breakfast: steel cut oats with 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
Snack: Flavor and Fiber Gnu peanut butter granola bar
Lunch: chickpea and tomato curry, greek yogurt
Snack: cashew nuts
Dinner: chickpea and tomato curry, mango

Today was my last day on the mat before Pan Ams. Did some drills and light rolling. I'm feeling more confident in myself each time I hit the mat, and I'm hoping to retain that calmness and tenacity when the tournament comes along.

I realize I haven't put this in all the blog entries, but I've been snacking on roasted and unsalted cashew nuts a lot lately. While you should watch out for the fat contents, it's a very satisfying snack and a good source of protein.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 24

"Breakfast": chickpea and tomato curry with rice, greek yogurt
Snack: apple, cottage cheese
Dinner: 1 egg yolk and 3 egg whites with 1 oz. of cheddar cheese
Snack: toast with baked beans, mango

I ran for about an hour today. I'm tapering down my exercise intensity for Pan Ams this week. An hour sounds like a lot, but I walked/jogged towards the end.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 23

Breakfast: 2 Van's whole grain waffles- one with almond butter, one with strawberry jam
Lunch: chickpea and tomato curry with wild rice
Snack: Luna Bar
Snack: apple, cottage cheese
Dinner: quinoa burger with swiss cheese, tomato, and jalapenos, sweet potato wedges
Snack: cashew nuts, Arctic Zone frozen dessert

Today was my last day of hard training. I had 3 hours of BJJ in the morning, and was feeling pretty wiped out at the end, hence my dinner!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 22

Breakfast: Van's whole grain waffle with almond butter and strawberry jam
Snack: Luna bar, cottage cheese, 1 medjool date
Lunch: chickpea and tomato curry, greek yogurt with a pinch of chocolate protein powder
Snack: apple, 1 teaspoon of almond butter
Dinner: chickpea and tomato curry, greek yogurt
Snack: 1 serving of Arctic Zone dairy free ice cream

As promised, I made chickpea and tomato curry. I found a bunch of recipes online for it, but tweaked it a little and made it my own.


- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- two 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes- do not drain
- 2-3 cups of chickpeas, canned and drained or soaked overnight
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly chopped
- 3 serrano peppers, chopped
- cilantro
- lemon juice
- salt (optional)

Heat up the coconut oil in a big saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, serrano peppers, curry powder, and ground ginger. Saute for 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Let the curry come to a boil, and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add the cilantro, lemon juice, and salt. Serve with rice. Enjoy!

NOTE: 3 serrano peppers make this dish EXTREMELY SPICY. You can omit them or add less if you'd like. A good way to cool down after a spicy dish is to have yogurt afterwards.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 21

Breakfast: Van's whole grain waffle with almond butter and a bit of strawberry jam
Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash, kale, and tempeh.
Snack: apple, cottage cheese
Snack: yogurt, chocolate protein powder
Dinner: 2 egg yolks, 3 egg whites, ~1oz. of cheddar cheese, apple
Snack: 1/2 serving of cottage cheese, 1 piece of ezekiel bread with a bit of mango jam and almond butter

Tomorrow my class is cancelled, so I will have some free time to cook some more. The kale and tempeh are done, so cooking will be necessary. I'm thinking of making a chickpea and tomato curry, and will post the recipe no matter what I make!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 20- chaos!

Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder, coffee with a tiny bit of half and half
Lunch: rice, steamed veggies, egg roll
Snack: Odwalla sweet and salty almond bar, cookie (free at an on campus event!)
Snack: Sandwich- ezekiel bread, peanut butter and a bit of mango pepper jelly, cottage cheese
Dinner: one sushi roll- brown rice, mango, avocado, Kombucha drink

Today was an insane day. Stuck on campus, hence the egg roll at lunch time and the cookie in the snack portion. I am not too happy with what I ate today, as I feel there wasn't nearly enough protein in my diet. I feel like I allowed myself to eat more carbs today because I know that I am competing at a higher weight class.

I'll be back on track tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 19- weight classes

Breakfast: greek yogurt with 1/2 scoop protein powder
Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash, kale, and tempeh, balsamic vinegar, cottage cheese
Snack: 3 walnuts, about 4 almonds, toast with a bit of peanut butter (not quite enough to cover the whole piece of toast)
Snack: 3 egg whites, 1 serving of broccoli
Post Workout: 5 pretzel sticks (about half the size of a regular one), 2 cookies- yikes!
Dinner: cottage cheese, yogurt with protein powder

I was pleased with my meals until after I worked out. I had to rush to a meeting on campus and couldn't stay the full time at BJJ. I caved a little and had some junk food at the meeting, as you can see.

Additionally, I decided to go up a weight class for Pan Ams. Each day for the past few days, my weight has either been a pound over or a pound under with my gi on, and I'd hate to get there and not weigh in correctly. I spoke to my instructor, and he said to email the IBJJF immediately. A lot of the pressure is now off me. Otherwise, I maybe not have eaten the morning of the Pan Ams and felt weak while competing. The past few days I have felt weak while rolling, and would hate for that to carry over into competition.

I also realized that just because the girls in middleweight might be taller than me, it doesn't mean they'll be better than me. I'm just going to go out there, do my best, and hopefully my technique will be better than the competition!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 18

This was my first day back from spring break. Reality definitely struck me as I ran from meeting to class and all the way back to my apartment.

Breakfast: Toufayani smart bagel with greek yogurt
Snack: Luna protein bar
Lunch: leftover spaghetti squash with kale and tempeh
Snack: handful of peanuts, apple, cottage cheese
Dinner: leftover spaghetti squash, kale, tempeh, balsamic vinegar

I'm cutting out as much starch as I can for the coming days, as the Pan Ams are next week and I want to be sure I'm on weight.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 17- Spaghetti Squash

Courtesy of Daylight Savings, I woke up an hour later than usual, and therefore have a slightly skewed meal schedule.

Breakfast: one piece of toast with peanut butter and mango jelly, one piece with cottage cheese
Lunch: kale sauteed in garlic, spaghetti squash, olive oil, tempeh, and italian seasoning
Snack: apple, a few peanuts
Dinner: unsweetened chocolate almond milk, piece of toast with peanut butter
Snack: cottage cheese, 2 walnuts

I know dinner looks a little weird, but I had it late after a run, so I wasn't hungry for something too big.

I experimented cooking with spaghetti squash today. The hardest part about cooking it is cutting it open! It seriously took me about fifteen minutes to cut the spaghetti squash in half. You then put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. After taking it out, scrape the center out, removing the seeds and pulp. Then, gently scrape the inside of the squash with a fork, and spaghetti like strands of squash will come off. Transfer the strands to a bowl, and enjoy! One spaghetti squash makes several servings. It's kind of plain on its own, so I suggest using herbs, olive oil or cheese to spice it up. I'm trying to avoid sodium before Pan Ams, so I just used a tiny bit of olive oil and some herbs.

This was also the first time I tried tempeh. Tempeh is a form of fermented soy that doesn't have all the negative properties of regular soy. I have heard that regular soy affects estrogen levels in the body. Tempeh has a lot of protein and fiber, but not a lot of taste. I cooked it on the stove without oil, as I used the same pan I sauteed the kale in. It tasted fine once I paired it with the kale and spaghetti squash, but it's definitely not something I would eat on its own.

I am now a little over two weeks in to this experiment. I've noticed that I am a little more energetic, and I somehow feel more clean, if that makes any sense. The most annoying thing is going out to eat and having only a few options on the menu. But if I am careful about how I get my daily protein in, vegetarianism isn't nearly as painful as I thought it would be!

While I don't think I'll be a vegetarian for life, I will definitely eat less meat in the future.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 16

Got some good training in this morning followed by about a 5 mile run in the afternoon.

Breakfast: Toufayani Smart Bagel with greek yogurt
Post Workout Snack: smoothie: frozen banana, Sambazon unsweetened acai, 1/2 cup of almond milk
Lunch: Portobello mushroom, cheese, spinach, and tomato on a whole wheat bun, 4 potato wedges, mixed greens salad 1/2 can of natural ginger ale
Snack: apple, 4 strawberries, green tea with 1 tsp. honey
Dinner: the last of my chili, handful of peanuts, 1 walnut, 3 egg whites with 2 yolks

The smoothie tastes even better with a frozen banana. I may buy a bunch of bananas, wait until they are ripe, and then freeze them. Additionally, smoothies are a great way to use overripe bananas.

Today was the first time I went trail running with my Vibrams. Unfortunately, you can feel every rock and pebble on the path, and I felt much more prone to tripping. This means I need to plan out my path pretty carefully. I'm not sure if I should continue to try and run outside with them, or if I should restrict myself to running on a track.

Gear Review: Manto 'Meia Baiana" Rashguard

Disclaimer: MMAHQ provided me with this rashguard. In no way is my opinion of this product influenced by MMAHQ or Manto.

For those who are unfamiliar with MMAHQ, it's a website where they sell one discount MMA item per day. It can be anything from a jiu jitsu gi, a rashguard, boxing gloves, or shin guards. The discount is normally pretty steep, and shipping is only $5. For example, today's item is a Venum gi for 120, but it normally retails for 200. You can check out these deals at

Manto is a jiu jitsu brand that makes gis, rashguards, grappling shorts, and other grappling related products. From my knowledge, they are primarily known for their rashguards, as they also make a variety that are IBJJF approved for nogi tournaments. I will be reviewing one of their long sleeve rashguards, which is a size small.

Specs from the website:
- fully sublimated printing on front, on sleeve, in back
- material: 100% polyester
- long sleeve
- tight fit
- improved neck and overall fit

First impressions/look:
This is a very decorated rashguard. There is an outline of the Jesus statue in Rio on the back, with "Rio De Janeiro" written right underneath. There is a big MANTO logo with two people on the front. It says "MEIA BAIANA" on the left sleeve, while the right sleeve is blank. There are also two smaller MANTO logos on the sleeves with the two people about to grapple. This is a compression style rashguard. There are small cuffs at the end of the sleeves, which I imagine is to prevent it from riding up.

One of the first things that struck me about this rashguard is that the logos and designs are sublimated. This means that they will not fall off or fade like screen printed logos. Upon initial inspection, there were no loose threads in the rashguard.

As of now, this is the best fitting rashguard I own. I have a small and am a 5'5" 140 pound girl, so keep this in mind when I discuss sizing. Manto has a pretty detailed sizing chart, which you can check out here:

I also own Hayabusa, Kaizen, Sirius, and Cageside MMA rashguards. The cut of the Manto rashguard is slightly longer to prevent riding up. While my other rashguards are also cut this way, the Manto is the only one I truly do not have to adjust. I wear rashguards under my gi, and it's a pain to keep having to pull down my rashguard while rolling. I have not had this issue with the Manto at all. The neck is also high enough that it isn't a turtleneck, but still covers me up to the base of my neck. Since most rashguards are cut for men, I've found that they are made for people more broad than myself. This makes the neck a little wider and the shoulders a little more loose than I'd like. This is not the case with the Manto, which does not have either of these issues.

Additionally, this rashguard feels very soft. I guess it's the 100% polyester material, but it's the most comfortable rashguard I've worn so far. I have only worn it twice so far, and both times I wore it under my gi. I rarely do nogi, so I think durability will be less of an issue for me.

I rate this rashguard as a 9.5/10. The only reason I am not giving it a ten is because I think I'll need to use it for a few more months to see how it holds up. The fit and feel is unmatched by any of my other rashguards thus far. I think I'm going to buy the short sleeve version of this in the future, and maybe one of their gis for tournament use. Some might feel strange with the big Jesus silhouette on the back (I am not religious myself), but it's not a big deal for me. And if that's the biggest complaint one could have, that says a lot about how good the rashguard is!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 15- Popcorn fail!

Today I bought some plain popcorn kernels, as I thought they would be a good snack. I put two tablespoons in a saucepan and put it on the hot stove. The kernels popped a tiny bit, and then the remaining ones quickly burned! My apartment now smells like burnt popcorn. I put two more tablespoons in a bowl and popped them in the microwave with a cover over it. Most of it popped, but it still took two sessions. There was about half a tablespoon remaining at the end.

Breakfast: chocolate brownie Gnu Flavor and Fiber bar- got up 15 min. before I had to leave...
Lunch: chili, cottage cheese, 1 walnut
Snack: 1.5 tbsp plain popcorn, greek yogurt with chocolate protein powder
Snack: 2 tsp. chili, 3 strawberry
Dinner: rice, chapati, okra curry, lentil curry, eggplant curry, chai tea, half of a kheer dessert

The greek yogurt with chocolate protein powder is DELICIOUS. It tastes like chocolate pudding, and really satisfies my sweet tooth. Regarding protein powder, the only brand I use is Jay Robb. They use ethically raised cows for their whey protein, natural chocolate flavor for the taste, and only use stevia as a sweetener. I feel very comfortable using this product knowing that the ingredients are coming from organic and ethically raised animals. I've also tried Vega's protein powder, but it doesn't have as good a taste. Additionally, Vega is more expensive, and Jay Robb is expensive enough!

My dinner was obviously a bit rich today. I'm going to have to get back on track this week in terms of eating healthily. Pans Ams is now under 2 weeks away!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 14

Breakfast: Toufayani Smart Bagel with Greek yogurt
Lunch: chili
Snack: Larabar- peanut butter cookie, cottage cheese, 1 walnut
Dinner: chili (less than what I had at lunch), 2 walnuts, about 10 peanuts, 4 strawberries, broccoli

Went to jiu jitsu today and I was more tired than usual. I didn't stay for the second class, and think yesterday may have taken a toll on me. I kept getting caught in submissions and just felt weak. Definitely weaker than I've ever felt while rolling. It was the first time I really externalized my frustration while rolling, and the first time I've ever felt truly frustrated. I smacked the mat hard when I got caught and definitely looked disgruntled. I'm trying to not take it too seriously, as I'm sure it's due to overtraining, but getting caught so many times definitely does suck.

I'm taking tomorrow off and will continue training on Saturday. Saturdays are typically a pretty intense morning, with BJJ from 10am-1pm.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 13

Trained BJJ for a total of 3.5 hours today! Morning session and evening session. Consequently, I had more meals today.

Breakfast: Toufayani Smart Bagel with Greek yogurt
Lunch (right after BJJ): smoothie: acai, banana, 1/4 cup almond milk. 3 egg whites, 1 yolk
Snack: Flavor and Fiber orange cranberry granola bar, cotttage cheese
Snack: bowl of chili- before 2nd workout
Dinner: one piece of Ezekiel bread with cashew butter and a tiny bit of mango jelly, green tea, about 15 peanuts, 2 walnuts, 4 strawberries

The smoothie was really good. I don't buy into the whole acai hype, as I think there are plenty of other fruits with similar antioxidant levels, but I bought a few packets of unsweetened acai just to try it out. With the almond milk and banana, it was pretty awesome! I think I'd only have it after a workout though.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 12

My day started much earlier that anticipated. Even though I'm on spring break, I had a meeting on campus at 9:30am, and went from there to work, which started at 11am today. Then I had BJJ from 6:30-8:45pm. I had the chance to space my meals out and eat a little more reasonably.

Breakfast: Toufayani Smart Bagel with Greek yogurt
Snack: Larabar- Key Lime Pie
Lunch: leftover chili
Snack: granola bar
Dinner: apple, cottage cheese, tiny bit of chili (two forkfuls), and two walnuts

What made today exceptionally awesome was that my Datsusara BP-02 came in the mail today! For those who don't know, Datsusara is a company that makes martial arts products from hemp. They currently sell a large backpack (BP-02/Battlepack), a standard sized backpack (LBP-01, light backpack), hemp fight shorts, and most recently, a hemp gi! I wanted to check out the hemp gi, but after getting the LBP and then the BP-02, I'm pretty broke!

Once I use the BP-02, I'll be sure to post a review. It looks like an awesome bag- very roomy and this means I won't need two carry ons at the airport. This will be perfect for Pan Ams, as I will be packing my gi and clothes. The gi can get quite bulky, especially when it's not being packed on its own.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 11- Recipe time!

So today I had work and then jiu jitsu. Some spring break, huh? BUT I got out of work early, and had just enough time to whip up a vegetarian chili! After browsing the Internet for recipes, I mashed them all together and came up with my own:

Vegetarian Chili

- 3 bell peppers- 2 red, 1 orange
- 3 portobello mushroom caps
- one can of black beans, no salt added
- 1/4 cup of navy beans
- one large can diced tomatoes, no salt added
- basil
- oregano
- chili powder
- thai chili pepper
- garlic
- coconut oil, or cooking oil of your choice
- optional- fake meat product of your choice. I used Seitan, a meat substitute derived from the protein in wheat

Soak the navy beans overnight and boil in water until cooked. Saute the garlic, peppers, mushrooms, basil, oregano, chili powder, and thai chili pepper in the coconut oil between five and ten minutes. Add both sets of beans and the diced tomatoes. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add the meat substitute of your choice last; typically, these products only need to be warmed, not cooked.

The amount of the spices and herbs are up to you. Mine are all in shakers so I just shook out what I thought would be okay. Add more thai chilis and/or chili powder for a spicier dish.

I try and avoid soy as a main source of protein, as I've heard it's not great to use as a staple in one's diet. It messes with your estrogen levels, which is bad regardless of gender. Additionally, I've been trying to use coconut oil when I cook. Coconut oil is the only one I know of that does not change into trans fats when heated. Trans fats raise your "bad" cholesterol, and raise your "good" cholesterol. You can read more about this here.

Diet Log
Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder
Snack: Vega vibrancy bar
Snack: cottage cheese, a few peanuts
Dinner: some vegetarian chili

I labeled the meals in between breakfast and dinner as snacks because I don't really consider them full meals. I forgot to bring lunch to work today, so I didn't have much of a chance to eat.

I should also mention that today was some of the best jiu jitsu training I've ever had. We did some awesome drills in class, and got to drill every possible position. Additionally, a brand new Manto rashguard came for me in the mail today, just before I left for BJJ. I wore it under my gi, and not only did I get compliments, but it is easily the most comfortable rashguard I've worn thus far. I'll do a review in a couple of entries so I can give a solid opinion.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 10- Making up for lost sleep

So I got up at 2:30pm today to make up for losing so much sleep this past week. Therefore, I only ate two meals today. Not ideal, but I try not to eat too late at night.

Meal 1: steel cut oats with protein powder
Meal 2: Toufayani 100 calorie bagel with greek yogurt on one half and cottage cheese on the other, 3 strawberries
- half a packet of hot chocolate- 12 grams of sugar
- 2 strawberries
- handful of peanuts
- 2 walnuts

Now that I'm on spring break, I will definitely have more time to cook and experiment. I am currently soaking some navy beans in anticipation of making chili tomorrow!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Days 8 and 9- the stress is over!

Yesterday almost made me collapse! Stayed up late writing a paper, then classes and meetings until 5pm.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder
Lunch: rice, steamed veggies, egg roll
Snack: Luna protein bar
Dinner: PB&J on whole wheat bread
Snack: a few peanuts, 1 walnut, apple, cheese, cottage cheese

Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder
Snack: the last 3 spinach and feta spankopitas- finally!
Lunch: cucumber, avocado, and brown rice sushi
Snack: a few peanuts, green tea with honey

Going to get dinner with a friend soon. I'm trying not to go out to eat too much, but this is someone I haven't seen in a long time. The past few days have been so busy, I barely have time to breathe. I'm a little upset that I haven't been cooking enough real meals, and have thus been eating things like PB&J.

Finally got back to training after two days of not doing BJJ. It felt good to get back on the mat for 3 hours of drilling and rolling, and gave me some of my energy back. This week is my spring break, which I will be spending at school training as much as I can while still working. I also volunteer to help out a fifth grade class at a local public school, but we'll see if I can manage it. I really do need some time to just focus on myself and recharge!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day Seven: nonstopjampacked

This blog entry refers to Thursday, March 4th, but once again, I am up late. Thursdays, like Tuesdays, are very rushed for me. It's midterm season, and I still have a paper due tomorrow (or today as my clock has it). I have class at 10am, work until 5pm, and BJJ from 6:30pm until 9pm. It also doesn't help that I drive back to my apartment during rush hour, giving me just enough time to put down my stuff, change, and leave. There was no BJJ for me today, but I was still busy until about 10pm.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder
Lunch: 3 spinach and feta spanakopitas, cup of coffee, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, a few peanuts
Dinner: PB&J on Sara Lee whole wheat bread (I ran out of my Ezekiel bread and had to borrow from my roommate), slice of eggplant parm, cottage cheese, a few peanuts and walnuts

I'm not too happy with how today went in terms of meals. Not enough meals spaced throughout the day, and I had my carbohydrates too late in the evening. Carbohydrates in the evening often make me feel sluggish and a little sleepy since I'm not walking around campus or running errands. I also didn't get any fruit in today, and not as many green veggies as I'd like.

I didn't get any exercise in today, but I don't want to overdo it as I am breaking in my Vibrams. I can feel my legs are quite sore and I'd hate to suffer an overuse injury before Pan Ams. I'm hoping to run tomorrow, and try a little over a mile in the Vibrams. I typically run about 30 minutes or so in my regular running shoes, and finish up with the Vibrams.

Next week is my spring break, and I won't be flying home. I'll be staying here to train and work. Instead of paying for a flight home, my parents are paying for me to go to Pan Ams in addition to the hotel and registration fee.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day Six

Wednesdays are an interesting day for me. My only class is at 12:50pm, so I had breakfast pretty late. I also volunteer at a local public school with some other students, and had to attend some meetings on campus. I ended the day by running for half an hour in normal sneakers, and ran one mile in my Vibrams. This is an increase from the 3/4 of a mile I did last week.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with protein powder
Lunch: brown rice, steamed veggies, vegetarian egg roll
Snack: apple and cottage cheese.
Snack: free airhead from the campus bookstore :)
Dinner: 3 spinach and feta spanakopitas, one almond

At this point, I can't really say I miss meat. It's a bit annoying to find vegetarian options when I'm not cooking for myself, but I can't really say that I'm really craving it at this point. My life is also about to get a little more busy. I will be volunteering at the same school on a couple of weekday mornings. Additionally, I have a part time job on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Not to mention I am always rushing to make it to 6:30pm BJJ! I'm really going to need to work on my time management. Even though I am only taking two classes, I am working, volunteering, giving campus tours, training, and job hunting. This gives me little time to cook or relax, but I'll figure it out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 5: School comes before jiu jitsu!

Breakfast: two pieces of toasted Ezekiel brand whole grain bread with peanut butter and blackberry jelly
Lunch: steamed bok choy, cottage cheese in a mini whole grain pita, banana with 1 tbsp. cashew butter
Snack: Pita with cottage cheese, couple of peanuts, two strawberries
Dinner: steamed bok choy, 3 egg whites with one egg yolk, small piece of cheddar cheese, two strawberries
Study Snack: one walnut, couple of peanuts, cup of green tea

I've noticed I've been forgetting to mention that I've been snacking on peanuts, almonds and walnuts. I try and have both of these in very limited amounts, as the fat content is pretty high in all three. I've also been cutting out carbs at dinnertime. My body doesn't feel good when I've had carbs after working out at night- I get back as late as 9pm when I take two classes.

Another thing I should mention is that I am taking some supplements. I am vitamin deficient, but am also taking a couple due to vegetarianism.

- Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM- I use this for joint support. I had a knee ligament injury, and I swear this stuff helped it heal. I had to get a vegetarian version for the experiment
- Flax Seed Oil- I normally take fish oil pills, but switched to flax seed for the vegetarian experiment. I had heard conflicting things about flax seed oil compared to fish oil, but ultimately, I think the differences in health benefits are minimal
- Vitamin D- deficient as shown via lab test
- Vitamin B12- deficient as shown via lab test. Additionally, this is primarily found in meat, so it's really important I take it now
- Multivitamin- just to cover all my bases
- Calcium- I'm mildly lactose intolerant. I can't have milk or ice cream, but can have cheese and cottage cheese.
- Fiber- I take fiber in pill form occasionally. I only really take it if I know I'm not getting an adequate amount that day for whatever reason. I'd rather take it in pill form than in a powder like Benefiber
- Iron- iron deficient

Wow, that's a lot of supplements! And I'm actually against people overdoing supplements, but these are mainly because of vitamin deficiencies. I was actually surprised to see that I was deficient in some vitamins, as I have a reasonably healthy diet.

Had another intense day of training. Two and a half solid hours of class with lots of good sparring. I'll be out for the next two days because of academic commitments. Sometimes I have to remind myself that school comes before jiu jitsu!