Postpartum Fitness Challenge Journey and High Protein Low Carb Vegan Meals – Week 1

Hi Savvys,

Fitness has always been an important part of my daily routine, even throughout my entire pregnancy.  I worked out from 12 weeks of pregnancy all the way till I was 41 weeks pregnant!  I’m glad that I did because I believe it helped me with the delivery and recovery of the pregnancy.

Although I had to modify my workouts while I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to really challenge myself and gain my strength back after 3 months postpartum.  I began by working out every day and slowly building up my strength. When I was about 6 months postpartum, I decided to join Muse Fitness on an 8-week Beta Butt and Abs Challenge.

Follow me on my 8-week fitness journey as I regain my strength, endurance and most importantly my identity.

This week’s blog post and video showcases the 1st week of the challenge.  See below for the meal plan I had during the week, which features high protein, low carb vegan meals, all while I am still exclusively breast feeding!

I have also included the macros break down for each day below!

Don’t forget to subscribe to watch my full transformation!

Check out Muse Fitness to join a challenge.

Now set forth and be savvy!

Daily Snack: Protein Smoothie

Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 50g hemp protein (I get mine from Bulk Barn)
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/8 English cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup water

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth
  • Serve immediately or can make it the night before.
  • Enjoy!

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 apples, your choice, peeled, cored, diced and divided into 2 portions
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cups soy milk
  • Blueberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Soak the lentils for 2 hours – red lentils do not need to be soaked longer than this, especially the red split lentils
  2. When you’re ready to cook the lentils, drain and rinse the lentils until the water runs clear (about 3 times)
  3. I like to use my rice cooker to cook this porridge and setting it to cook for 20 minutes.  You can also do it over the stove top.
  4. Stove top method:
  5. Place lentils into your pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries and diced apples pieces from 1 apple
  6. Bring the pot up to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium as soon as the pot comes to a boil and simmer the contents for about 20 minutes, until the lentils become tender.
  8. Divide into 4 portions and top with the remaining apples and blueberries (optional)
  9. I like to prep this in advanced and freeze it in portions so it’s easy to have in the morning.

Makes 1 portion

Ingredients

  • 1 portion of Black Bean Noodles
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 ½ cups of water or homemade veggie broth (no sodium or oils)
  • ½ block of extra firm tofu (175 g)
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots (50 g)
  • 3 head of baby bok choy, sliced in half
  • ½ pack of enoki mushroom (your choice)
  • Handful of pea shoots, spinach or kale
  • handful of green onion for garnish

Directions

  1. Book the black noodle pasta according to package directions, drain and set into a large soup bowl
  2. Dissolve the white miso paste into ½ cup of the water/veggie broth in a medium sized pot
  3. Once the miso is dissolved, add the rest of the veggie brother and the remaining ingredients (except for the green onion)
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the veggies are cooked through
  5. Pour over the noodles and garnish with green onion

Ingredients for bowl – Makes 4 portions

  • 2 cups dried TVP, rehydrated in water
  • 1 package of beyond meat ground beef
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning (I use homemade taco seasoning to control the salt)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauteed mushroom and peppers – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for cauliflower cilantro lime rice – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients for vegan sour cream – Makes 4 portions

  • 1 package of silken tofu (300 g)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ACV
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions for Taco Meat

  1. To cook the taco meat, start by rehydrating the TVP in water, set aside
  2. In a large frying pan, cook the beyond meat grounds over medium-high heat.  I like to use a potato masher to break up the grounds.
  3. Stir the meat so that it browns evenly, for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Drain the TVP and add it to the meat mixture.  Stir to combine.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients for the taco meat and cook until the water is dissolved, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Portion into 4 equal portions
  7. Do not clean out the pan – continue to the next step to cook the mushroom and peppers

Directions for Mushroom and Peppers

  1. Using the frying pan from the taco meat (we will want to use the residual fat to cook the mushrooms and peppers), add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, just so that the veggies become fragrant
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies get a nice color on them.  Depending on your stove top you might need to turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about a minute until all of the seasoning is well incorporated.
  4. Portion into 4 equal portions adding it to the bowl of the taco meat

Directions for Cauliflower Cilantro Rice

  1. Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces
  2. Add it to the food processor and pulse until you get a rice consistency
  3. In a clean pan, add the riced cauliflower along with the remaining ingredients and stir until the cauliflower is cooked.  You might need to add a splash of water to help steam and cook the cauliflower rice – about 7 minutes
  4. Portion into 4 equal portions and add it to the bowl of the taco meat, mushrooms and peppers

Directions for Vegan Sour Cream

  1. Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Portion into 4 equal portions and serve on top of the taco bowls.
  3. Enjoy!

See below for the full day of macros for Monday/Thursday:

Ingredients – Makes 3 portions

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (350 G), crumbled
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the water, and stir to combine. 
  4. Continue to cook the tofu mixture over medium heat for about 7 minutes
  5. Add the water and cook until the water has dissolved
  6. Portion evenly into 3 containers

Ingredients – Makes 6 portions

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp garam marsala
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cups of water

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils in a strainer until the water runs clear, about 3 times
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the coconut cream from the can of coconut milk by taking a spoon and scooping a spoonful of cream from the top layer
  3. Sautee the spices (except the salt) in the coconut cream over high heat until fragrant, about a minute
  4. Add the lentils, the rest of the coconut milk, salt, soy sauce and water and bring up to a boil.
  5. Once the pot is boiling, turn it down to a simmer and cook until lentils are fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
  6. Divide into 6 portions.  You can also serve this with cauliflower rice.

Ingredients – makes 4 portions

  • 1 package of silken tofu (300 g)
  • 1 ½ cup vegan beef broth
  • 1 package vegan ground beef (I used lightlife for this recipe)
  • 2 cups dried TVP, rehydrated in water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms (227 g)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 package high protein pasta (I used Liviva Soy Fettuccini)

Directions

  1. In a blender, blend together the silken tofu and vegan beef broth – set aside
  2. In a large non-stick skillet over high heat, add the vegan ground beef
  3. Break apart so that they resemble a crumble and sautee for 3 minutes
  4. Add in the onion and garlic and sautee for another minute
  5. Add in the mushrooms and continue to sautee for 2 minutes
  6. Lower the heat to medium and add in the rehydrated TVP (if there is extra water, drain the TVP before adding the mixture)
  7. Mix the protein until it is well combined
  8. Add in the kale, soy sauce and black pepper and continue to stir until the kale is wilted and well incorporated
  9. Add in the silken tofu mixture and mix until well combined with the meat mixture – it should be creamy and not watery
  10. Add salt to taste
  11. Divide equally into 4 portions
  12. Serve on top of high protein pasta

See below for the full day of macros for Tuesday/Friday:

Ingredients – makes 4 portions

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts

Directions

  1. I like to cook my steel cut oats in a rice cooker, but you can use a slow cooker or instant pot as well
  2. Pour all of the ingredients into the container of a rice cooker, slow cooker or instant pot
  3. For rice cooker and instant pot method: Select the function which automatically cooks oats
  4. For slow cooker method, cook on low for 6 hours
  5. Portion evenly into 4 containers, heat in the microwave or stove top with water before serving.  Can be frozen for easy breakfasts as well!

Ingredients – makes 1 portion

  • 1 serving of high protein black bean noodles
  • 1 cup edamame
  • 1 king oyster mushroom, sliced (or mushroom of your choice)
  • Handful of spinach, kale or bok choy
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ block of extra firm tofu (about 175 G), cut into cubes

Directions

  1. Cook the black bean noodles according to packed directions.  Cook the edamame in the same pot to save time and water
  2. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and set aside
  3. In a non-stick frying pan, add the sliced mushrooms and cook over medium heat until it gets color, for about 3 minutes
  4. You may need to add a splash of water if your mushrooms are sticking
  5. Add in your greens, the sou sauce and the tofu and cook until the greens are wilted and the tofu is cooked through, about 5 minutes
  6. Add the pasta and edamame to the pan and toss until combined.
  7. Serve hot or can be eaten cold.  Goes great with hot sauce on the side!

Original seitan recipe found at Connoisseurus Veg – makes 4 portions

Ingredients for seitan dough

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for beef flavour broth

  • 5 ½ cup homemade veggie discard broth
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper

Directions to make seitan

  1. In a large bowl, mix the vital wheat gluten and quinoa flour together
  2. Add in the water and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms
  3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes by hand, or in a stand mixer
  4. Let rest while you prepare the broth – you can also prepare the seitan the night before and let it rest in the fridge overnight
  5. Place all of the ingredients for the broth in a medium sized pot (not too large since you will need enough liquid for the dough to be submerged)
  6. Set the temperature to high and let the broth come to a boil
  7. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape into mini loaves
  8. Once the pot comes to a boil, lower the heat to low so that there is a steady simmer
  9. Carefully lower each piece of dough int the simmering broth and let simmer for 1 hour, with the lid slightly ajar
  10. The dough should double in size during the cooking process
  11. Once an hour has passed, remove the seitan from the pot and let cool on a rack. 
  12. I stored the seitan immediately in the freezer after I let it come to room temperature.
  13. Take out the night before serving
  14. Can be sliced, cut into chunks, marinated.  I left it as a “steak” and served it with a mix of soy sauce and miso, baked in the oven over medium
  15. Tip for the left-over broth – store it in a jar and save it to be used in the vegan stroganoff recipe above

See below for the full day of macros for Wednesday/Saturday:

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