I'm not a vegan...

Veganism. I should have done more research. It turns out my plant-based diet doesn't make me a vegan.
Types of Vegetarians
  • Total Vegetarians eat only plant food. They do not eat any animal foods, including fish, eggs, dairy products, and honey.
  • Vegans not only omit all animal products from their diets, but they also eliminate them from the rest of their life. Vegans use nothing from animals, such as leather, wool, and silk.
  • Lacto-Vegetarians will include dairy products into their diet of plant food.
  • Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products.
  • Pesco-Vegetarians include fish into their diets.
  • Pollo-Vegetarians eat poultry, such as chicken, turkey, and duck.
I'm currently a Vegetarian. And to be perfectly honest, this weekend I was a Pesco-Vegetarian. I resisted the usual sushi rolls and shashimi, but totally caved when I saw the grilled salmon belly on the menu at the Japanese AYCE restaurant. Hey, it's a gradual transition.

I can't call myself vegan until I eliminate the leather, wool and silk from my home and wardrobe. And that won't happen anytime soon.


Skinny Bitch, my 10 day vegan challenge: Day 10!!!!

Why did I do a vegan challenge? Just to see if I could do it. That's really the reason numero uno. I'm not trying to save the world. I'm not an animal rights activist. I'm not trying to get skinny. I'm not overly concerned about my health. I wanted to prove something to myself and I did. Done. I could restrict my diet. Now what?

Day10 vegan challenge meals:

Breakfast: 8am, pomelo. A really big, tart citrus fruit. Big. Bigger than my head. Not recommended.
Beverage: 9am, Starbucks Via (bloody expensive instant coffee) with almond milk.

Lunch: Noon, rice bowl with crispy mushrooms (leftover from the night before and still crispy fresh) and spinach sauteed in garlic and onions.
Snack: 2pm, grapes, almonds.
Dinner: Nothing. Too busy with work and trying to get to yoga. Also, not hungry. Since when?
Post-yoga snack: Vegan hot cocoa while watching fall tv premieres. Ah, bliss!

My 10days are over. Hurray! After Wednesday, I can drink milk, eat cheese and steak and fish and pork and ... ewww. I just feel too good on this diet to ever go back to the way I ate before.

A new challenge begins. I'm extending my 10 days to 21! I can't post everyday. I'm too busy with work deadlines that I must respect. After all I owe my healthy lifestyle in part to my employer who allows me the flexibility to have the ideal work-life balance. Also, the new fall tv season has started (I have my priorities), and the tower of reading materials on my nightstand are becoming a dangerous situation. To fully transition to this lifestyle, I have to move from obsessing about veganism to fully integrating the new diet with the rest of my life.
The next 11 days will present different challenges. Restaurant meals, office party, girls' night... Will I be tempted to eat meat products and dairy? Or will I preach veganism to my companions? How much more annoying will I be? Maybe if I look fabulous I may convince them...

Can I fully commit to a vegan lifetyle? I can skip dairy. Steak, pork or chicken may never taste the same. The thought of hot dogs from a street vendor? Gross. But I'm not sure that I can give up fish yet. That's going to be tough.

And whatever will I do with my lifetime collection of leather bags, shoes, furniture, and *gulp* cowhide rugs?!

to be continued...


skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 9

Day 9 saw my mood lighten. I'm optimistic, energetic and much more productive. So productive in fact that I'm exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to be vegan. Now I have to plan, shop, prep and cook almost daily. On my normal diet, there were many days when I didn't buy, cook or eat anything fresh. Coffee for breakfast, leftovers or crackers for lunch, and then we'd go out or order in for dinner. My diet wasn't good for my body, and maybe even worse for my soul.

Today, 9 days into my 10 day challenge, not only do I feel better but I LOVE how my vegan food tastes. Everything is fresh, more flavourful and delicious! I should have been eating like this all of my adult life.


Day 9 vegan challenge meals:

Breakfast: 7am. Nectarine.
Beverage: 8am. Starbucks Colombian Via with almond milk.
Snack: 10am. Almonds.
Lunch: 12noon. Vegan fried rice with bok choy. AstigVegan suggested I substitute black bean sauce for salted shrimp fry (bagoong). It's not quite the same flavour, but it really worked with all the veggies and tofu. I was full for hours and didn't feel the need to eat anything before yoga.

Vegan fried rice. OK, vegan food isn't pretty.

Dinner (sort of): 8:30pm. Crispy oyster mushrooms in the guise of Chicharon Bulaklak. Post yoga, I wanted a treat while watching my fall tv shows. (Yes, I schedule my life around tv. Yes, we have a PVR.) I wouldn't call this a nutritious dinner, but it was exactly what I wanted! I was tempted by twitpics of porchetta and fried pork rind (which I know sounds really disgusting to non-Filipinos), and was dying for something salty and crunchy. This was HEAVEN!
Crispy oyster mushrooms aka Chicharon bulaklak, from AstigVegan
Tomorrow, the last day of my 10day Skinny Bitch challenge. Will I continue my vegan ways?


another coat option: flame trench

jcrew trench
On second thought, maybe I'll get this orange Townhouse trenchcoat instead of the Majesty peacoat. As the weather gets more dreary every day, it would be nice to wear something cheerful.

Shouldn't coats at this price point at least have a teeny bit of cashmere?


skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 8

Maybe it was because the day was so dark and dreary, which after weeks of sunshine caught me by surprise. Or my laptop crashed just as I was about to deliver an important project I'd worked so hard on. Or hormones. But after proudly writing that I'm not hungry, today my appetite caught up with me.

I've successfully completed a week of a vegan diet. Really no mean feat for someone who's lived on the planet for 50 years craving salted shrimp bagoongong with my green mangoes, sinigang with pork belly, and steak very well done. I've even been known to single handedly finish a bag of chicken skin chicharon during the 10 minute drive from the Filipino store to my mom's house. I'm a carnivore born and raised. It's a miracle I'm not twice my size. So I'll pat myself on the back for a successful week as a vegan.

Day 8 and the track might be a slippery slope but I'm still on it. I ate vegan, just ate more today than I should have. I'll accept that stress and loneliness might be getting to me. I want to lay on the couch and drown my sorrows. I couldn't find the energy to go out in the dark to my yoga studio. Instead I chose to make calzones for Precious. It makes me happy to pamper him sometimes; he asks for so little. I didn't eat a calzone, not one little bite. I deserve a medal for that.

Day 8 vegan challenge meals:

Breakfast: 8:30, nectarine. Just fruit, nothing else said Skinny Bitch.
Beverage: 9am. Starbucks Gold something roast with almond milk.
Lunch: 11:30-12:30, Pita with portobello, avocado, peppers.
Snack: 3pm, Praeventia cookies, 8 almonds.
Dinner: 6pm, Fried rice noodles and eggplant.

I was too hungry and lazy today to even take a picture of my food before I ate everything. But tomorrow will be different. I'll be energetic and productive. There will be pictures. My forehead will touch my yoga mat. And I'll continue my vegan journey.


skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 7

On day 7 of my my 10day vegan challenge, I'm feeling better than ever. Yes, I'm feelin' skinny, but that isn't because I've switched from meat to veggies.

A vegan diet isn't an automatic free ticket to weight loss. Vegans may avoid high-calorie foods such as meat, dairy products, eggs, and honey, but if we stuff ourselves with loads of pasta, bread, french fries, dairy-free ice cream, and nuts, we'll end up gaining weight, not losing it. Yes, I can eat salad for every meal, but if it's smothered in dressing, diced avocado, roasted almonds, croutons, and Craisins, I'll probably go up a size.

I'm proud to say that on my weekend trip to the vegan aisle of my local grocery store, I was happily surprised to find these delicious vegan treats that I've heard rave reviews about. Although I could technically eat them on this challenge, but I'm glad I passed.
Frozen vegan treats. Yes, I can eat them, but should I?
Day 7 vegan challenge meals:

Breakfast: 10:30am. I slept in, again! A plum. The BEST thing I've learned from SkinnyBitch is to eat fruit for breakfast, on an empty stomach. Just fruit. Not fruit and juice. Not fruit and toast. Not fruit and coffee. Just fruit. Try it and thank me later.
Beverage: 11am. Coffee with almond milk.
Lunch: Noon. Leftover Buddha veggie stirfry with white rice. Too busy cleaning and working to cook. And the food was still delicious.
Dinner: 6:30pm during Emmy red carpet. Coconut jam on 3grain bread, decaf chai tea almond latte.

It looks like I'm not eating much. It's true. I'm just not hungry, or craving anything. I didn't expect this. Considering ordering pizza (vegan for me, pesto for Precious), but Precious came home from a late lunch with his aunt and said 'I'm so full I don't think I can even eat dinner tonight.'. Me: 'Who are you and what have you done to my child?!"

A healthy lifestyle is contagious.

skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 6

eThe weekend and the toughest part of my 10 day challenge has arrived -- the Saturday night Filipino (and definitely not vegan) family dinner. How would I handle it? Should I tell them of my challenge ahead of time? Not wanting to call attention to myself, I decided against telling them. The best way to handle dinner would be to just eat the vegetables in front of me. How I prayed I wouldn't be tempted by a steak or barbeque dinner!
Instead my in-laws served a variety of foods -- chicken and vegetable curry, sauteed green beans, fried rice noodles. I wasn't even tempted by the pork tenderloin. Dessert was buko pandan and watermelon. I only ate the veggies and fruit and nobody seemed to notice any changes in my diet. Whew!

Day 6 vegan challenge meals:

Beverage: 9:30am, green tea. I slept in (what a luxury!) and decided against coffee before 10am Bikram.

Lunch: 1pm, Buddha vegetable mix (sauteed 3 kinds of mushrooms, water chestnuts, tofu, baby corn, carrots) on rice. Delicious!
Snacks: All afternoon, almonds, bag of Praeventia vegetarian cocoa cookies, plum.
Dinner: 7pm, All the vegan options from the family dinner--fried noodles, vegetable curry on rice, sauteed green beans. Watermelon for dessert.

I'm already feelin' like a skinny b*tch.


skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 5

Yesterday I was both flattered and humbled that AstigVegan, an inspiring vegan lifestyle blog and twitter friends I follow, chose to write about me and my challenge here. There aren't enough words to express how grateful I am for their support, so I will just say this: THANK YOU!

Beyond enjoying the challenge and the benefits of a vegan diet, I find that I am kinder and less moody.And so while on the path to skinny, I am actually less of a b*tch. In fact I'm embarrassed to even associate myself with the term and this blog, so I will use less of it.

Day 5 vegan challenge meals:

Beverage: 8am, Starbucks anniversary blend with almond milk
Breakfast: 11am, Grapefruit. So busy with work assignments, I was too busy to eat.
Lunch: 12, Kitchen sink salad: lettuce, portobello mushrooms, avocado, grapefruit, sunflower seeds for crunch.
Dinner: 4pm, Vegan Pinoys's tokwa fried rice. Recipe here. Not a good idea to eat anything this heavy before Bikram.
Snack: 10pm, Vegan hot cocoa. Recipe here.

I spent the evening alone, post-Bikram, with a cup of rich cocoa watching Ryan Gosling in 'Blue Valentine'. There are worse ways to spend a Friday night.

just sayin'



fashion friday: peony peacoat

This will be mine. Damn those shipping charges.
jcrew majesty peacoat
Update: Because I couldn't return the coat (maraschino cherry, size 4p) I purchased online at the Canadian store, I decided to keep it after all.  The colour is GORGEOUS; it makes me feel young.

skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 4

Posh was just really skinny, I'm sure she's not a b*tch. mindbodygreen.com
Houston, we've got a problem. I woke up this morning with a crippling stomach ache and blamed it on last night's rice bowl with among other vegan goodies, spicy tofu. So many vegan menus replace meat with some kind of tofu, I was worried that I can't make it through this challenge if I can't have soy products. And I was so looking forward to making Astig Vegan's sizzling tofu sisig!

Then I remembered that I was munching on this bag of dried green mangoes as I cleaned the pantry at 11pm last night in a fit of Bikram energy. I may be vegan, but still a compulsive eater.
So good! But you probably shouldn't eat this just before going to bed.
It's day 4 and I love this challenge. I'm not hungry at all. My fridge is stocked with fruits, vegetables and other vegan goodies that I've prepped over the last few days. The key to my success so far is planning and making meals that are just as hearty and tasty if they were made with meat. In fact, they're more delicious. I actually look forward to eating the meals I've prepared for myself.

Day 4 vegan challenge meals:

Beverage: 8am, chamomile tea (stomach much too upset for anything else)
Breakfast: 10am, red grapefruit. Probably not the best fruit to eat on an empty upset stomach, but that's what I had so I ate it.
Beverage: 11:30, coffee with almond milk of course. Just not loving my homemade coffee, but I hate to go to Starbucks and pay $2 everyday. Must find a better brew for home.
Lunch: 1:30, Rice bowl with bok choy, spicy tofu and eggplant. I had to know if it was the tofu that was upsetting my stomach. Verdict: I'm fine. It's not the tofu.
Snack: 3:00, Vegan Hot Cocoa. Vegan heaven in a cup, recipe below.
Dinner: Nothing. Working. A nap--cocoa does that to me. Yoga.
Post-yoga Snack: 10:30pm, Sunflower seeds.


It was a surprisingly cool day. When Precious got home from school I asked him if he wanted hot chocolate and he said 'But it's not good for me'. I tell ya, I think my kids aren't listening, but they clearly are! When I said it was made with almond milk, he wanted to try. What boy can say no to a cup of hot cocoa when he comes home from school? He loved it! My vegan version is just as creamy and spicy as this Mayan hot chocolate or a drink from Soma.

Vegan heaven in a cup
Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups almond milk, 3 tbsps cocoa powder, agave nectar to taste, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, pinch each of salt, ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Bring the soy milk, agave, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk until frothy. Serve immediately.  

Tomorrow, day 5. And then the weekend and a family dinner. THAT will be a challenge.


gaga sings my song

If there was ever any living pop star who should sing my theme song, it's Lady Gaga.Just listen to this superb duet with the legendary Tony Bennett. Her voice was meant to sing the classics.


cheesiest song ever: air supply

This is the cheesiest love/breakup song EVER. It's so bad, I should be ashamed to admit I love it. But I can hum this for hours. Here's the video just to remind you just how terrible early 80s fashion was. And now it's all coming back. But please, not the 'fro.

What cheesy song do YOU secretly love?

skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 3

Should I just admit that I needed this challenge not just to get healthy, but to do something with myself? R has been away on the LONGEST BUSINESS TRIP EVER. rorygilmore has *sob* moved back to school. Precious has such a busy social life he really just wants to be funded, fed, and driven everywhere. So I'm lonely and I needed a project. Veganism is my project, at least for 10 days.
Skinny Bitch in the Kitch

It's easy to be vegan when you live in my neighbourhood. I'm surrounded by grocery stores of every variety. I can walk to the higher-end grocery store that has the best bread and produce, where there also happens to be a Starbucks that I've now convinced to carry almond milk. For free. There is a Costco 5 minutes away where I can buy a boatload of portobello mushroom caps for less than the latest issue of Vogue. There's a farmers market on weekends where I can buy a bushel of tomatoes or carrots for $10. Not that I would. But more importantly, there is the large Asian supermarket that has 50 varieties of tofu and this.
Filipino vegetarian food. In a can. Who knew?
I have no excuse. And with less people to worry about these days, there's lots of time to shop, prep and cook healthy meals.

Day 3 vegan challenge meals:

Breakfast: The last of the canteloupe and papaya
Morning beverage: Fresh brewed Starbucks anniversary blend with almond milk. I'm not giving up coffee. This coffee was the highlight of my morning. Which is kinda sad and tells you a lot about my day.
Snack: Nothing. Wasn't hungry and didn't really have the time.
Lunch: Avocado and grilled portobello, red pepper and zucchini on 3 grain bread.
Yummier than it looks!
Dinner: Rice bowl with sauteed bok choy, spicy tofu and eggplant. Precious and I had dinner after I returned from yoga. I made him a bulgogi rice bowl.
My late night post-yoga vegan dinner. I started to eat, then took the picture.
As my vegan challenge buddy ChattyCathy (CC) says, 'This is fun!'. Obviously CC is lonely and bored too.


skinny bitch: vegan challenge day 2

Is there anyone more repulsive than a Skinny Bitch? I have no desire to be one. My real hope is to be healthy and teach my children to eat well and live a healthy and kind lifestyle. I want them to eat right and exercise, so they will feel strong and healthy and confident.

So the 10 day vegan challenge continues.

Here's today's foul mouthed excerpt, which sounds exactly like something my beloved former boss, Evil Genius, would say. And no, I don't speak to my kids this way. Yet.

"Okay. Use your head. You need to get healthy if you want to get skinny.
Healthy = skinny. Unhealthy = fat. 
The first thing you need to do is give up your gross vices.
You cannot keep eating the same shit and expect to get skinny."

Day 2 vegan challenge meal plan:

Breakfast: leftover cantaloupes and papayas, because I surprisingly didn't consume the 10 servings of fruit for breakfast yesterday.
Morning beverage: Coffee with Almond Breeze. I didn't enjoy this coffee. May have to give up my only vice.
Lunch: The most awesome portobello and avocado sandwich.
Snack: Praeventia cookies, 1 pkg. Vegetarian, not vegan, but so good!
Dinner: Curried cauliflower in coconut milk, white rice.

Again, it's not about being skinny. But I'm loving what eating kindly is doing for me so far.

tuesday shoesday: high heeled loafer

Alexander Wang high heeled loafers, style find


'A contemporary riff on the preppy-girl classic, this high shine metallic leather look has tassels and a chunky high heel.' Plus rubber sole, padded insole, pointy toe.

Gorgeous, but probably painful.


Skinny Bitch: my 10 day vegan challenge

After one too many bellinis, a few (bored, middle aged, gorgeous) girlfriends and I decided to challenge ourselves to go vegan for 10 days. The challenge starts today.

The Filipino diet is very meat-centric. I don't even remember salads or veggies as part of our daily meals growing up. Really, eating meat is in my DNA. So I'm trying veganism as a form of rebellion and to challenge my discipline. As research, I've been rereading 'Skinny Bitch', which isn't at all about being skinny or bitchy. Instead, the authors use 4-letter words to shock you into eating healthy and never eating anything that ever had a face or is a product of anything that ever had a face. I'm convinced.

I know what you're thinking "So you're not skinny, but you're such a ..."

Fortunately, there are a number of blogs written by Filipino vegans. Who knew? I'm particularly impressed with the Vegan Ilokana, Astig Vegan, and Vegan Pinoy, who shares a recipe for sizzling sisig using tofu! My only concern with the book and blogs is that there seems to be a lot of soy and tofu, which I try to avoid. Soy contains estrogen which makes me too curvy. Instead, I'll be experimenting with various types of mushrooms as a meat substitute.

Here's my day 1 vegan challenge meal plan:

Breakfast - sh*tload of cantaloupe and papaya (per Skinny Bitch), then coffee with almond milk
Snacks - 8 almonds at a time (8 almonds =100 calories), fruits
Lunch - Romaine salad with oil and vinegar, 1 avocado and kavli crackers.
Dinner - Ginatang kalabasa at sitaw (Squash and beans cooked in coconut milk), from Astig Vegan.

Since I've eliminated most cow's milk and dairy products like eggs, cheese and ice cream from my daily diet for a few months, I'm excited and ready for this challenge. I just have to avoid the Food Network. Wish me luck!


the perfect shirt?

Can one have too many animal prints? Or is the leopard print now considered so classic, that it's basically a neutral?
Jcrew Perfect Shirt
I hate to admit that I added another leopard print to the mix. But the Jcrew Perfect Shirt actually lives up to its name--soft, comfortable, tailored all at the same time.

What is not perfect however, is this...This shirt cost me $70 ($78 USD minus rorygilmore's 15% student discount, plus 4.25% tax) when I bought it in NYC. Had I bought the exact same shirt at the Yorkdale JCrew store ($92 CAD, no discount, plus 13% tax), I would have paid $104.Nearly 50% more for the exact same item! That's criminal!

Do retailers team up with the Revenue Agency to continue to rip Canadians off? Ugh. If I only had the willpower to boycott them all.


Eddie Murphy, Oscar host

Let's hope he brings these characters along.

Remember when Eddie was brilliant on SNL? He can only be an improvement from this year's hosts.

tuesday shoesday: beetles?

I couldn't resist these cute ballerinas when rorygilmore and I visited the 5th Avenue Anthropologie store.

Beetle trinket flats, Anthropologie
And finding a cute pair of shoes under $100 in NYC was nothing short of a miracle.


bad blogger finally buys a new bag...

...that looks like something she already has.

Longchamp Planete
 Some call it boring, I call it personal style.