back roads and mason jars

live country. eat plants. be happy.


nutritional yeast

what i ate on a wednesday

I have spent less than ten single meals in 2016 as an omnivore.  Every other meal has been vegetarian at least.  I don’t know exactly what day that I stopped eating meat.  I viewed this as a process – a transition that would take some time to adjust in an effort to put less pressure on myself.  I viewed each meal as a choice to pick vegetarian choices for my plate.  As 2016 is coming to a close in the next few months, I am viewing the transition to veganism in the same mindset.  Each meal and grocery store purchase is a choice.

In this series, I will photo all the things I eat in a single day.  I will also try to get a range of days like whether or not I’m at home all day or I’m out of town.  Something that remains the same each day is that I drink at least 100 oz of water a day in addition to unsweetened iced tea almost daily.



I always start my day with a glass of water and some juice, iced coffee or tea.  I chose the Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice latte that was reviewed on my page last week – check it out here!  I was busy doing things around the house today and forgot to eat a more substantial meal for breakfast that just coffee and water.  I tend to have a lot of liquids in the morning and eat a breakfast during the late morning hours.




Today for lunch, I just wanted something warm to throw in the oven with little effort on my part.  I gardein-wiaiad-watermarkchose a little Gardein BBQ porkless pocket and a few baked craft beer fries from the freezer.  Nothing easier than that!  This BBQ pocket was one of the first vegan items I tried and I have been in love with them since!  It is so unreal how much it actually tastes like BBQ in flavor and texture.  I would challenge any carnivore to try this and see if they could actually tell that it wasn’t pork.



Sometimes you just get too involved with work and life that you really have no ambition to be creative in the kitchen.  While I usually plan my weekly menu plan, there are times that we go off schedule.  This dinner was one of those times.  I just wanted something easy and flavorful.  I boiled some frozen broccoli, drained and added vegan butter and salt.  For the pasta, I boiled a box of tri-colored rotini, drained it and added vegan butter and nutritional yeast.  Super easy and tasty dinner.  This was also a really cheap dinner with lots of leftovers for lunch for those on a budget like me.

Bye y’all!

are you scared? part 3

What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?

Part 3 of the Friday mini series addressing the fears of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle focuses on the #1 asked question when people find out that I don’t eat meat anymore – But where do you get your protein?!  Click to read part 1 and part 2!

Are you worried you’ll never get enough protein for those gains you’re working on?

Our society has become obsessed with protein specifically animal based.  Between the meat counters at the supermarket, whey protein shakes of every flavor and even protein infused vodka, there is a high demand for animal products to support a high protein – low carb lifestyle.  As a weight loss surgery patient, I lived this life for several years and I felt miserable.  I was instructed by a nutritionist in connection with my surgeon on what I should consume in my new post-op life.  My nutrition instruction was based largely on a diabetic diet.  I only met with her for approximately 30 minutes once before surgery and never afterwards.  I was given instructions to consume a minimum of 75 grams of firm animal based protein each day starting each meal with the protein first and, if I still had hunger, I could have some vegetables or fruit.  While the surgery did help me lose a significant amount of my excess weight, I just wasn’t happy with the way I felt.

When I started transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, I was still obsessed with calculating my protein grams each day.  How could I survive without protein?  I know how silly this thought process was now.  The USDA recommends 5 ounces of protein for a woman in my age range which is far less than what I was consuming each day.  My blood work started to suffer from my diet as well.  For the first time in my life, my cholesterol was starting to rise enough to concern my doctor and discuss medication.  In an attempt to eliminate having to take medication, I started taking meat out of my diet. Below is a standard formula for the recommended protein grams that you need per day.

Formula for protein grams:

Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = Recommended Protein (in grams)

seafood-watermarkI started first by researching more on the nutrition of fruits, vegetables and grains and changing my mindset.  I was so tired of my diet and knew there was no way I could eat this way for the rest of my life.  My research led me to protein grams first naturally given my previous mindset.


I traded in bacon, steak, chicken and eggs for tofu, beans, pasta, broccoli and meat alternatives.  I’ve never felt better!  Now I know I get my recommended protein grams without even trying and I focus more on getting the recommended 35 grams of fiber per day instead.  Below shows some examples of vegan foods and their protein grams.  As you’ll see, it is so easy (and yummy!) to get your daily recommended protein grams cruelty free plus fiber!

Protein Source Serving Size Protein Fiber
Tofu 1/2 cup 10 grams 0 grams
Black Beans 1 cup 39 grams 29 grams
Lentils 1 cup 18 grams 16 grams
Hemp Seeds 3 Tbsp. 11 grams 1 gram
Quinoa 1 cup 9 grams 5 grams
Green Peas 1 cup 8 grams 7 grams
Pasta 1 cup 8 grams 2.5 grams
Nutritional Yeast 2 Tbsp. 8 grams 4 grams
Peanut Butter 2 Tbsp. 8 grams 2 grams
Artichokes 1 medium 4.2 grams 7 grams
Asparagus 1 cup 2.9 grams 2.8 grams
Broccoli 1 cup 2.6 grams 2.4 grams
Spinach 1 cup .9 grams .7 grams
Meat Alternative Protein Fiber
Beyond Beef Patty 23 grams 4 grams
Boca Beefless Grounds 13 grams 3 grams
Gardein Porkless Bites 13 grams 2 grams
Boca Chik’in Patty 12 grams 3 grams
Gardein Crabless Cakes 9 grams 1 gram
Gardein Fishless Filets 9 grams 3 grams
Gardein Crispy Chicken 8 grams 1 gram

Bye y’all!

movie night!

I love going to the movies, but even for two people it can cost about $50 if you want a drink, popcorn and a sweet treat.  Since we are on a budget, we tend to lean towards Netflix or Redbox for our movie nights.  Plus I get to cuddle with my dog during scary scenes while in my pajamas.

My favorite part of movie night is the fact that I get to have snacks for dinner!  Let’s start with the best part…popcorn!  If you are spoiling yourself at an actual theater, choose Regal or AMC.  You’ll thank me later.  Per the PETA website, the popcorn is cooked in canola oil so you’re safe there.  Now on to the serious business…movie theater butter.  Everyone loves it except our waistlines.  Regal’s buttery topping is actual made of soybean oil and is dairy free – so it’s VEGAN!  AMC’s topping is made mostly of coconut oil so it’s VEGAN too!  Hallelujah!

We usually watch our movies at home since we are on a budget like most people.  I prefer a low fat popcorn and it’s pretty impossible to find one that is vegan and readily available in the grocery store.  I haven’t found anything that meets the vegan requirements so I prefer to pop my own kernels with an air popper.  It’s a fairly inexpensive piece of equipment that  popcorn-watermarkdoesn’t take up too much space in your kitchen.  Since you’re at home, you can also customize it with lots of vegan toppings for pops of flavor.  Adding a tablespoon of coconut oil or melted vegan butter with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast will give you that movie butter flavor.  Some other options to add to some melted vegan butter are garlic, lemon, paprika, lemon pepper or chili powder.  The options really are endless.  If popcorn isn’t your thing, check out some salty snacks that are accidentally vegan like Doritos (only the Spicy Sweet Chili flavor), Fritos, Lay’s (classic and barbecue flavors), Wheat Thins, Pringles (original and barbecue flavors), Kettle Brand Potato Chips (several flavor options here – including barbecue, jalapeno, pepperoncini, sea salt and vinegar, maple bacon and more!) and Ruffles original flavor chips.

Now on to the sweet treats!  I have never been a big fan of candy bars or chocolate except dark cracker-jacks-watermarkchocolate with sea salt.  YUM!  I prefer to snack on gummy fruit flavored treats, but a lot of gummy products are not vegan because they contain gelatin.  However, there are a lot of snacks out there that are accidentally VEGAN that you probably already enjoy and you didn’t even know it!  Cracker Jacks are the sweet popcorn alternative that is vegan.  I actually like to mix a little with my air popped popcorn to mix it up a little bit.  Twizzlers are always a favorite in candy-watermarkmy house especially with my dog!  I love the strawberry and rainbow varieties the best.  Skittles are vegan too!  This list just keeps getting better and better!  My new favorite are the sweets and sours batch.  Sour Patch Kids have always been a staple on our movie night.  The watermelon variety is our personal favorite.  Dots are the classic movie candy for us too and one of my all time favorite candies.


For future reference, these are the three biggest offenders on your candy’s ingredient list – gelatin, carmine color and confectioner’s glaze.  When in doubt, just utilize your resources and search “Is it vegan?” with the name of the product in Google.  Most of the time you’ll find your answer pretty quickly.  Check out this link to get the best vegan candy to hand out for your Halloween trick or treaters.

Bye y’all!

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