When I decided to join Whole Foods 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge, I thought it would be easy. Increase consumption of plant-based foods, reduce oil, sodium and sugar intake and eliminate all animal products. I figured since I currently avoid dairy, eggs and most sugar, I was already practicing this diet and it would be a snap. But, when I asked Girlfriend if she wanted to join the challenge (after I had already signed up), she said “no way, I love meat!” Wait… No meat?? I definitely interpreted ‘animal products’ as dairy and eggs and completely forgot about the biggest animal product in my life: meat! This might be harder than I thought it was going to be… But, I’m up for the challenge and can do anything for a month, so I started researching and brainstorming meatless dinner options and new recipes.
Before I share my favorite veggie dish, let me give some background. The Challenge follows the principles outlined in the book, Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn which basically focuses on committing to a plant-based diet to lower cholesterol, lose weight and improve overall health. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but will share the highlights in the next few weeks. Guidelines include the following:
- Complete elimination of animal-based products and processed foods
- Reduction in oils, sugars and sodium
- Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains
- Exercise minimum of 5 times per week
So, for the next 28 days, I am going goat-free! A little sad to put the “Goat” part of my blog on hold for the month, but I did discover So Delicious coconut yogurt, so at least I will have something to pare with my delicious granola.
Throughout the month, I will update you on my progress, suggest veggie-friendly meal ideas and post vegan recipes. Today I will leave you with one of my favorite salad recipes that’s fast, easy and very filling. Feel free to change the ingredients with any fresh veggies you have in the fridge.
Jicama Arugula Salad
2 cups Spinach
2 cups Arugula
1 large Jicama, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 cups strawberries, sliced
½ can black beans (drain juice)
½ can whole kernel corn (drain juice)
2 ripe avocados
2 Tbs oil (avocado, olive or walnut work well)
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs Cilantro, chopped
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and serve!
Also, the official Challenge start date was Wednesday, May 11, so today is Day 2. Since my OCD couldn't handle starting a new program mid-week, I started on Monday, so it's Day 4 for me. From here on out, I will follow the Challenge dates, but let's recap since it's almost been a week. Minus a small fiasco when I totally blacked out with a bag of tortilla chips, I haven't had any slip ups and the no-meat thing hasn't been too hard. I haven't been very inventive at adding interesting dinner and lunch ideas into my diet. For the most part, I've been eating spinach or arugula salad with vegan soup every day... So, for this upcoming weekend, my goal is to start brainstorming and find some fun and interesting dinner ideas to spice up this diet. Stay tuned!