What 1500 calories looks like (the FSL way) + why Vegan Cuts is rad

**This post contains affiliate links.**

Lots to share today:

♥ what 1500 calories a day looks like,
♥ a weight loss update,
♥ some workout notes (& a review of two workout DVD’s)
♥ + a little Q & A about Vegan Cuts
& why I think you should get yourself a snack box subscription.


what does 1500 calories look like? // bring-joy.com #vegan #diet


Most people can lose weight on 1500 calories a day (very petite women may need even less to lose weight), especially if you’re adding exercise into your daily routine. 

Of course, not all calories are created equally–it all depends on whether or not they are raw, cooked, whole, refined, &/or processed as well as their macro-nutrient makeup. (I go into greater detail about this concept in my ebook Fit, Strong, Lean: The Diet.)

When you eat whole plant foods, you get the most bang for your caloric buck. Meaning, you get more volume & weight on less calories (translated: greater satiety on fewer calories–yay!).

what 1500 calories looks like, the FSL way:

(with each meal being roughly 500 calories)

breakfast: pumpkin almond cherry oatmeal
lunch: chickpea & sprouted pumpkin seed romaine salad
dinner: lentils, rice, & veggies (see below for the un-recipe)

The above dinner is something we eat on a fairly regular basis.

To keep things interesting, I change up the veggies, & I always remember to season my lentils (salt, no-salt-seasoning, cumin).

for weight loss, focus on filling your plate with plant-protein & colorful veggies // bring-joy.com #vegan #weightloss


1 1/2 c. lentils
1/4 c. seasoned rice
1 tomato, diced
1 corn tortilla
sauteed broccoli & red peppers in a bit of avocado oil

Colorful, filling, protein rich–you gotta love lentils.


weight loss update

As I mentioned three weeks ago, I felt it was time to stop tracking calories & food intake & just go for a complete intuitive approach. It’s always a little scary to do this, but after several months of measuring & tracking I have a good grip on what my food intake needs to look like each day if I want to lose weight.

I’ve done this for a weeks now, but I think to change things up, especially in light of my low loss week this past week, I’m going to go back to tracking for the next week & see if I can get under 170 by next weigh in, which would put me just barely into the category of “healthy BMI” (which is, less than 25).

Starting weight: 204 lbs.
Last week’s weight: 172.0 lbs.
This week’s weight: 171.5 lbs.

Net loss: .5 lbs
Net total loss: 32.5 lbs. 

{Here, for a recap of all prior weeks.}


204 lbs.
January 2014



177 lbs.
April 2014



175 lbs.
two weeks ago



172 lbs.
last week 


weight-loss-picture-after-may-9 171.5 lbs.
this week 


workout notes

You know I like to workout at home these days.

A few weeks ago I shared 5 of my must-have workout DVD’s.

(→I stream all of my workouts through Gaiam TV–a subscription is only $10 a month & you get access to hundreds & hundreds of yoga & fitness videos. You can try a free 10 day trial HERE.)

This week I tried out a few new workouts, most notably Tracy Effinger’s Squeeze: Stronger & Jillian’s Yoga Inferno. (both are available on Gaiam).

Here’s my take on both.

tracy effengier Tracy Effinger’s Squeeze: Stronger
I’ve tried a few of Tracy’s other workouts & I like that a lot of her exercises don’t require weights but are core strengthening & toning.

This one was a little very intimidating, mostly because it is one hour, 19 minutes long! When you don’t have a lot of time as it is, anything more than 30 minutes seems really long. But, I wanted to give it a shot.

I admit about 20 minutes in, I thought, “are we done yet?!” I had been doing Jillian’s 30 minute workouts, which are a formatted to keep things moving at a fast pace & with the interval setup, you don’t have much time to get bored before you move on to the next exercise.

Tracy’s format for this workout was: upper body, legs, then core, with 3 sets of high reps for each subgroup of exercises. Once I was about halfway through I began to enjoy myself. The legs & core portion are killer–she does some really nontraditional, yet effective toning exercises (some I’ve never done or seen before). It’s the time of workout that is challenging, energizing. You break a (little) sweat (though I should say it’s not cardio) & you immediately feel stronger, more intune with the strength of your body. Overall, I liked it. If you have time, it is a super effective set of exercises that will tone & strengthen.

jillian Jillian’s Yoga Inferno
I love all of Jillian’s workouts, but I have to be honest. She’s no yoga instructor. Does she get results? Does she keep things interesting? Yes & yes. But a yogi she is not.

I’m no yoga purist, & I love that a lot of instructors are drawing from yoga & other mind/body formats. But, personally, when I do yoga, I want it to feel like yoga. This felt like Jillian taking a few yoga “inspired” poses & tossing them into her interval training format.

Did I enjoy it? Sure. Is the workout, overall, effective? Yes, I think so. In this workout, Jillian combines weights, interval training (she adds a bit of cardio in there), & some yoga-like poses. I like the addition of weights (I even have my own yoga with weights workout, here), but again, if you’re looking for traditional yoga, you’re not going to get it from Jillian. (Also, can we agree that she doesn’t quite have the voice nor tone of a yoga instructor? Somehow shouting, “make it burn!” doesn’t quite jive with the spirit of yoga.)

Would I recommend it? Yes.

But if you’re looking for straight up yoga, check out Kathryn Budig.



Q & A about the Vegan Cuts snack box

Have you heard of Vegan Cuts?

They are a totally innovative company, spreading all sorts of vegan goodness. They offer the best in vegan products & help you discover some awesome, delicious, & healthy vegan delights through their snack & beauty box subscriptions.

And, I’m lucky enough to be a Vegan Cuts affiliate. On Monday, I mentioned I received this month’s Vegan Cuts snackbox.

Since then, a few of you have had questions about it:

Is it mostly healthy food or junk food?
How does it work?
As a subscription service can you cancel it anytime (without penalty)?
Do I think it’s worth the price? 

Here are my answers to these questions:

Is it mostly healthy food or junk food?
The folks at Vegan Cuts are incredibly discerning. They’ve got impeccable taste & know their customers are looking for delicious, healthy, innovate vegan fare. (Check out their marketplace to get a feel for the kinds of products you’ll get in your snack box.) They also just began offering raw snack box, you can check it out HERE

♥ How does it work?
You sign up for a subscription. It’s $19.95 a month. They send you a box of goodies every month.

♥ As a subscription service can you cancel it anytime (without penalty)?
Yup! (but I doubt you’ll want to.)

♥ Do you think it’s worth it?
This is my first snack box, so it’s hard to tell. But so far, I absolutely think it’s worth it. The cost is $19.95 a month & this includes shipping. You get 7-10 items (this box had 9 items). That amounts to around $2 for each item, plus you get free shipping.

A lot of these items are 100% organic, & it’s all high quality stuff. You get exposed to the best in new vegan brands & products, which should help you save time & money because you won’t end up buying a bunch of something that you don’t actually like, & it will help you find stuff that you will really love & use.


Here’s what I got in my snack box this month:


1// Numi organic savory tea:
A blend of organic vegetables, wild herbs, decaf green tea, & aromatic spices. I tried the carrot curry & the spinach chive. A totally new way of experiencing tea. I really liked both, but especially the carrot curry.

2// Mediterranean Snacks baked lentil chips:
Made from lentils (yes!), chickpeas & adzuki beans, so these chips are bit higher in protein (4 g per 100 calorie serving). Gluten-free, light, & crispy, I loved the flavor. I wonder why more brands don’t use bean flour?

3// Simple Straws reusable, BPA-free glass drinking straws:
Can be used in both cold & hot drinks. My first experience with glass straws–I liked it & liked even more that I can save on plastic waste. The straws are easy to clean (a good rinse underneath running water did the trick), but they come with a cleaning brush. They’re shatterproof & come with a replacement guarantee. Vegan Cuts sells a set of 3 colored straws (+ cleaning brush), for $22. Check it out, HERE

4// Oatworks pomegrante blueberry smoothie:
An oat-powered smoothie, made with 100% fruit juice & has as much soluble fiber as two servings of oatmeal. I like making my own smoothies, so there’s a slim chance I would buy this for myself, but if I were traveling & needed something quick, I would buy this, though I wish it had some protein in it (one bottle is 170 calories, 2 g fiber, 0 g protein).

5// MctLean Vegan Protein blend, natural vanilla flavor: 
A pea & rice protein powder that tastes good! It’s not stevia sweetened, so good for those of you who don’t like stevia. It’s also corn, soy & gluten-free. One serving provides 20 g of protein & 160 calories. & 4 g of fiber. I love my Nutiva hi-fiber hemp protein powder, but the advantage of this one is that it has a bit of flavoring & doesn’t have to be masked like hemp does. I’ve found most protein powders run $1-$2ish dollars per serving. This runs on the higher end (about $2.50 per serving), but you get what you pay for–a high quality, non-GMO soy-free protein powder). You can get it from Vegan Cuts, HERE.

6// Vigilant Eats superfood cereal: 
Gluten-free, no-refined sugar (coconut sugar sweetened), no additives or preservatives, soy-free. The cereal combines maca, vanilla, hemp, & cacoa nibs. They use a hemp milk powder, so all you have to do is add cold water. I like the texture & flavor, & think this is the perfect little mini-meal. Stash a few in your car, use at work, or take when you go camping or on vacation.

7// Nuttzo, nuts to go:
Organic, gourmet nut butter made from a blend of seven nuts & seeds with a pinch of salt added (& nothing else!). I like it, so much so, I wished they had given me a bigger sample! I’m a fan of any kind of nut butter & really liked how this nut butter is a blend of seeds & nuts. Would love to have a stash of these packets in my purse & car for when I’m out & about. Combine this with some gluten-free crackers &/or apple slices, & I think you’ve got a great snack.

8// Nii bar:
Organic, almond butter-based nutrition bar, studded with chocolate chips & omega-3 rich seeds. I see snack or meal replacement bars as treats, or something I’d have in my purse to eat or give to my kids when we’re out & about. I really liked that this bar has a bit more protein than the Lara bars (8 g), & to me, it tastes good enough to be dessert! It comes in two flavors–almond chocolate & berry cashew. I only tried the almond chocolate, but I’d imagine the berry cashew is similar in texture & the flavor sounds like it would be tasty. Like the protein powder, nutritional bars tend to run from $1.50-$3 per bar. Since these are organic, using only the best ingredients, they’re at the higher end of things. You can check a pack of 12 from Vegan Cuts, HERE.

Vegan Cuts







Well, I think that’s it!

Hope you have an awesome weekend.



Thanks for coming to bring joy today!

Did you know I’m also on twitterpinterestg+ & facebook?

You can follow the blog via feedly or subscribe via your fave blog reader.
Have a question for me, or just want to say hello,
send me an email.


  1. lisa
    on February 10, 2016 at 9:40 am said:

    Morning, do you have a certain amount of protein, carbs and fat you try to hit daily in you 1500 day?

  2. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on May 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm said:

    Can I just say that this week’s pic of your is ADORABLE?!? xox

  3. Jenny
    on May 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm said:

    Hi Janae, I love seeing your updates every week. You are doing such a great job and you look so lovely each time. Thanks for sharing 1500 calories pictures, truly I think visual is best sometimes. I can see listed on a meal plan, “1 cup oatmeal” but seeing it in a bowl is a whole different story. I am wondering if you have ever had struggles with emotional eating. A year ago we moved and begun to renovate our new home and the weight crept on in a few months, I almost didn’t notice it until I had to put on my jeans last fall. I have been trying to lose weight for months and the scale is not budging despite my efforts to work out six days a week and eat well. I started keeping a journal, really documenting when I eat and trying to look for patterns and/or times when I eat too much or less-than-ideal foods. I never thought I was a stress eater but by George, I am. I’ve tried all the suggestions to stop emotional eating (found on various websites) and I just cannot seem to stop self medicating with food. It is the worst, because then I get so angry at myself for eating a cookie (or an apple, doesn’t matter) instead of dealing with my feelings, then I feel even worse. Totally a vicious cycle. I am eating mostly vegan (with the exception of eating out- like that Olive Garden salad!) and lifting weights and doing some form of cardio 5-6 times a week. I love working out, it’s my “me time” and a great stress reliever but obviously not enough. I really feel like I’m in the “healthy” category but my body definitely doesn’t look like I want it to. So I’m hoping you’ll have some insight.

    • Janae Wise
      on May 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm said:

      Hi Jenny,

      This post is dedicated to you!

      Let me know if you have further thoughts or questions.



  4. stacy
    on May 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm said:

    Ok, I think you are beginning to read my mind now! I had all your workout DVDs form the last post in my Amazon cart but streaming them, WOW! Thats awesome.

    Also, my hubby got me Yoga Inferno for Christmas and I finally got around to trying it last week. I didn’t make it all the way through … we just got a new puppy who is proving to be a huge distraction but the whole time I was doing it I kept wondering if you had tried it and what you thought 🙂

    • stacy
      on May 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm said:

      I told my sister in law almost exactly what you said, it was nice but it didn’t “feel” like yoga. Off to check out Kathryn now

  5. Lisa C.
    on May 10, 2014 at 8:42 am said:

    Great post. 🙂

    A question: do you snack? I just can’t imagine getting from one meal to the next without snacking.

    And you are really tempting me with the Vegan Cuts! I tried Conscious Box once and thought it was horrible. It was the same price as VC but it was ridiculous what I got- a few teeny tiny samples but mostly advertisements! I cancelled immediately. It felt like throwing money down the drain.

    VC looks much better!

    • Janae Wise
      on May 10, 2014 at 10:24 am said:

      I’m not a big snacker. Instead, I’m a “desserter”–I’ll eat what’s shown here, plus have something afterwards, a lot of times fruit & a small handful of nuts, or actual dessert!

      I do always have to have a before-bedtime snack (usually tea or hot chocolate + something else), although that might go as soon as I get down to needing to lose the last 5 or 10 pounds.

      I’ve never heard of Conscious Box. This is my VC first box, but I think if the rest of the boxes are like this one, I’d say it’s a good deal.

  6. Keri
    on May 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm said:

    I just want to say that it’s so nice to follow another mom’s REAL weight loss journey. I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy, had my baby 1/21, and am down 30. BUT I’ve been stuck there for about 2 weeks. Mass media always portrays these women having babies and looking ridiculously skinny a week after. It’s depressing. Your journey, however, is inspiring! I’m so grateful for sharing.

    I do have two questions–especially as a first time mama to whom losing post baby weight is completely new. First, are you breastfeeding? Is 1500 enough if you are? (I guess that was two questions, so I have another)

    Probably way TMI, but can you do the normal Jillian workouts? Most jumping still makes me feel like my insides are going to fall out–no matter how many squats or kegels I fit in each day :/

    • Janae Wise
      on May 10, 2014 at 6:35 am said:

      Wow Keri, you’ve definitely made some solid weight loss progress! 30 lbs. is awesome. Way to go.

      “Mass media always portrays these women having babies and looking ridiculously skinny a week after. It’s depressing.”
      It’s silly. First off, so many of these Hollywood women don’t actually gain very much weight to begin with, so it’s pretty easy for them to return to pre-pregnancy weight anyway. The rest of us, (you & I 🙂 ), we live in the real world without personal chefs & trainers, massage therapists, etc..

      I am exclusively breastfeeding. And no, for me, 1500 calories is not enough. I’m usually in the range of 2000 or more, depending on my activity levels for the day. I move a lot, I eat a lot 🙂 For a non-nursing person though, the ball-park range of 1500 calories from whole plant foods is usually enough to meet nutrient needs while at the same time giving enough of a calorie deficit for noticeable weight loss.

      About the weight stalls–it’s bound to happen. The thing is, our bodies adjust so well, that whatever you were eating 10, 20 pounds ago to lose weight is probably too much now. You have to either: eat less (not an option for me) OR eat MORE weight loss friendly foods, ie. veggies & plant protein (like lentils!) which should naturally crowd out more calorie dense foods. So, switch up your routine, your foods a bit, & refocus on those weight loss friendly foods.

      About Jillian’s workouts–I definitely have to modify some of the exercises (I’ve had 5 babies so I understand the “my insides are going to fall out” feeling 🙂 ). I’ve actually found Pilates to help a lot with not just strengthening my pelvic floor, but core as well, which is so important post-baby.

      Anyway, you’re doing AWESOME! Don’t worry about low-loss or no-loss weeks (I’ve had a few of those). It just goes to show that our body’s are crazy amazing in that they’re super adaptable & we just have to be one step ahead of the game 🙂

      Great questions, thanks for asking. Let me know if there’s anything else.


      • Lisa C.
        on May 10, 2014 at 8:43 am said:

        I’m glad you clarified because I couldn’t imagine that 1500 calories would be enough for an active, nursing Mom like you!

  7. Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent
    on May 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm said:

    Your weight loss photos always make me smile: not because you’re losing weight, but because you look so happy! I’m loving the photo on the left from this week. 🙂

    • Lisa C.
      on May 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm said:

      I agree!