Last year Angela and I embarked on a 21 day journey of no animal protein or by-products. I decided I would take it a little further and also eliminate alcohol and gluten. One big kick in the rear that I encountered was the blizzard. We lost power and stayed with friends and family for a couple of nights. In the midst of my pity party and some subtle peer pressure, I caved and gave in to the whole shebang (wine, steak, and bread!). You can read about it here:)
I don’t believe in regrets – they are a waste of time and energy, so after my 2 day fall I dusted myself off and climbed back onto the vegan wagon. Turns out that I really thrive on limited animal protein (and by-products). Angela, however had a very different experience.
Well, it’s that time of year again and I am truly looking forward to 21 vegan days in February. This exercise is a fantastic opportunity to shake things up and approach food with a fresh set of eyes. It certainly helps that a proper plant-based diet, with a focus on whole, nutritionally dense food, reduces inflammation, lowers body acidity, and improves almost all markers of health. I encourage you to participate as much or little as you feel comfortable, and remember; “In order for your food to be interesting (and delicious), you must take an interest in your food.”
This book is an amazing resource for this 21 day journey. Kris Carr is SUPER DUPER and provides us with a wonderful outline of what these 21 days should look like. Not only does she offer some great recipes, but she also teaches us how to be kind… to ourselves.
If you are serious about making 2014 a kind and prosperous year, take Kris Carr’s lead and follow her Crazy Sexy Diet. I will be using this as my guide – it includes a day of juicing (or smoothies) every seventh day. Even if you decide not to juice or if you are on the fence about going completely vegan, this is still a tremendous tool for cleaning things up and focusing on what your body truly needs. Eat well and live optimally.
What’s the plan?
Beginning February 1st, I will follow an entirely plant-based diet. Put simply, for 21 days I won’t be eating any animal products like meat, dairy or eggs. This doesn’t mean French Fries and Tofutti (vegan ice cream)- the standard healthy eating principles still apply. The focus will be on whole/ minimally processed foods, free of artificial ingredients, refined grains and sugars. What does this look like? Lots and lots of veggies (organic whenever possible), fruits, some whole grains (preferably less inflammatory- brown rice, sprouted grains, millet and quinoa), beans, raw nuts and seeds and some less common foods like tempeh. (No worries, there are lots of recipes to come).
Check out the Shopping list below for suggestions.
What are some of the benefits of a plant-based diet?
- Supports our body’s pH and fights inflammation. Removing the acidic load of meat, dairy, refined grains and sugar and increasing our intake of alkalizing fruits and veggies (particularly the green leafy kind) makes for a happy body, clear skin, strong bones (and muscles), good immunity and even a brighter mood. A few weeks without dairy, and pesky symptoms of congestion, acne, irritable bowl and joint pain may diminish. Dairy is one of the most common allergies and intolerances in both adults and children.
- Heart healthy and supports longevity. A well-designed plant-based diet will lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and may even help us drop a few lbs. Most of the healthiest and long-living people in the world follow a mainly plant-based diet.
- Plant-based eating is better for the environment. Factory farming is a dirty business. A 2006 United Nations report concluded that, “Livestock have substantial impact on the world’s water, land and biodiversity resources and contribute significantly to climate change. Animal agriculture produces 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 13.5 percent from all forms of transportation combined.” Although we didn’t take on this challenge for the environment, or in support of animal rights, it is impossible to ignore the far-reaching implications of our food choices (and they are many). The places we chose to spend our food dollars (the restaurants where we eat, the companies we support, etc.) send an important transformative message. Take this opportunity to rethink food and nutrition, and bring consciousness to the table in whatever way that means to you.
Can I order vegan at my favorite local restaurants?
Absolutely. Increased awareness of nutrition, allergies/sensitivities and preferences has led most restaurants to offer plant-based dishes.
Destination Soups. We have teamed up with destination soups for the 21- Day Challenge. They have committed to offering healthy and delicious vegan soup options daily. Take the pressure off, and warm-up with a bowl of their soup for lunch, or take a quart home for a stress-free dinner. Follow us on Facebook for daily vegan selections.
Spicy Lime. Try edamame, crispy tofu, papaya salad, as well as curries and stir-fry’s.
No Problemo. All burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads can be prepared without meat or dairy. I love a spinach salad, “no cow” add avocado and plantains.
The Green Bean. The Boutique Fitness Smoothie is always dairy-free The Green Bean is vegan-friendly, and offers soymilk for coffee or tea, fresh juices, tofu scramble and oatmeal.
Flour Girls. Not only do they have green smoothies made with almond milk, but you can also get a nice salad or wrap with no dairy.
Tip: Always speak with you server or chef about your plant-based preference. Most establishments are eager to accommodate.
I look forward to taking this 21-Day journey with you. Stay-tuned for updates, weekly tips, vegan recipes, and much more.