Vegan and Fitness Journey

After my physical a few weeks ago Weigh In Wednesday?  My doctor made it clear that I may have to make some drastic changes in my diet to see weight loss. As you may recall my blood pressure was elevated during my physical which was pretty scary.  I am a foodie at heart I love trying new  restaurants I LOVE to cook and trying out new recipes I love all things FOOD! As I was doing research online to help me in the journey to fitness and weight loss I read several articles regarding a plant based vegan diet (no meat, or dairy). I know you may be thinking,”girl you are doing too much” I believe you can be healthy and eat meat but for me I wanted to see how my body would respond to such a drastic change. To be honest I think cutting out meat is way easier than my beloved CARBS! I am team Carbs all the way.

I haven’t had any meat or dairy in eleven days; it has been a lot easier for me because we were already eating meatless meals a few days per week anyway. What I will miss most, cheese, butter, seafood and bacon! The dishes I have made were already in my arsenal and I have added many more, I have gotten recipes from a dear friend (his blog) YouTube, Instagram, Vegan Blog http://whole and my  own creations. These days it is easier than ever to incorporate a plant based diet because there is so much information available. Michael is joining me on this journey as well. Our teenage son Aaron is not quite sure he wants to embark on this journey and that’s absolutely fine. He is an aspiring chef and when he wants meat he can make himself whatever he wants to go along with what I have prepared. I have persuaded him to give up cow’s milk for a month to see how his body responds and he agreed.  Aaron has acne, asthma, and severe seasonal allergies there are so many studies that suggest eliminating dairy from your diet can drastically change all of the those things; I will keep you posted. Here are a few of the vegan dishes that I have prepared.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Bowl


Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burger


Curry Vegetables over Brown Rice


Black Bean Tostadas


Spinach and Mushroom Hash


The flavor in these dishes are amazing, in any cooking you have to build complex flavor and I was able to do just that in each dish I prepared. This is just the beginning of my vegan journey and so far I am loving it!

My fitness journey is going well despite some set backs, I have had chronic pain in my left hip for a while now but running has exasperated it so much more. During my follow-up visit with my doctor referred me to an orthopedic and ordered an x-ray. My hip hasn’t stopped me from exercising but it has sidelined my running my body takes such a beating  I don’t think its worth it. I tried out boot camp for the first time last week and it was intense, scary and amazing at the same time! I was working out so hard during one of the boot camp sessions thatI HURLED! I had to run out of the studio and find a place to well HURL. I was there by invitation of a friend she showed me the ropes and encouraged me as did all the ladies. It was hard but I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do it I just pushed until the end. When I got home and showered my arms were so fatigued from 100 push (not all at one time), weight lifting etc; I barely had the strength to wash my body (no exaggeration ) eye arms felt like jello. I was extremely sore all over  especially my arms, it was so worth it though. Boot Camp will be a part of my fitness journey for sure!

How are you doing with your fitness goals? What do you eat in a typical day? Would you give up meat?

P.S. My blood pressure is back to normal 113 over 60 YAY!  I am not sure what happened a few weeks ago but I am back to normal WHEW!


  1. Joyce Riley
    June 21, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    Fitness goals are good but I do need to do more cardio other than running. I’m trying to incorporate weight lifting on the days I don’t run. The only meat I eat is salmon, fish, turkey and chicken. I’m trying to cut out the carbs but I haven’t been successful with that. I’ve done well with cutting out bread but cakes and cookies I still eat from time to time. I probably wouldn’t give up meat.

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 21, 2017 / 2:29 pm

      I sadly think I have to give up running it kills my hips! The carbs are hard thing to break up with but I have cut back love cakes cookies and all of the sweets especially if they are home made! Weight training makes a huge difference I love it.

  2. Theresa
    June 21, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I’m so proud of you. You didn’t even say anything. You’ve been very diligent. I’ve given up meat in the past, which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but every now and then I do like a nice steak…ummmm!

    I’ve cut a lot back on carbs and I’ve never been a huge dairy fan. BUT I have noticed that when someone says you HAVE to cut this or that out, it seems that’s when you want it more (even if you weren’t big on it in the first place).

    I’ve cut way back on the Starbucks and sweets. If I do have a taste for it every now and then. I will now get a tall instead of grande or venti. Way less calories. (This, by the way is where i was when I got this post … lol) I love walking and I have lost a lot of inches and about 7lbs which is nice. Just that small amount of weight makes a big difference. Walking about 2 – 2 1/2 miles every evening has helped me to maintain, but I know if I really want to make a significant impact then I have to ramp up the work out. That’s what tends to work for me.

    I would love to go vegan or even vegetarian, but 2 things hold me back: 1. I have a husband who doesn’t consider a meal complete if there isn’t meat and 2. When I do out to eat on our date night, I definitely want it to be worthwhile for a nice meal…I can eat a salad for lunch or at home any time. 🙂 But when I do that, I have noticed that I cannot eat the entire portion, I will always have a to go box if it’s too much food.

    I love your blog Karen…Keep it UP!!

    • Karen's Essentials
      June 24, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      Hey! Thanks so much for always being so encouraging! So try girl when you have to give up something you do miss it and crave it! I think the key for me is meal planning and making sure I have everything on hand to make a good flavor packed meal. Great job on your weight loss small simple changes. Slow and steady! If you aren’t sure then keep eating meat but make sure you have more grains, and vegetables than meat. When and if you do decide to give up meat then make a whatever vegan meal you’re going to make and then make your husband some meat and he can eat it with the vegan dish. As far as going out don’t that let hold you back. Most restaurants have vegan options. Especially farm to table type restaurants. Not many chains have vegan options but good quality establishments do besides salads. Bus and Poets has great options for vegans, and there are so many others. Just do what works for you!

      Aww I am so glad you are enjoying the blog! I love doing it and the best part for me is interacting with all of you!

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