Whole Food Plant Based Challenge

I’m always intrigued by new ways of eating and how to ensure my body is at it’s healthiest.  How can I give it the most nutrition? What are the different ways it is impacted by the foods I’m consuming?  What will fuel my brain and push it to it’s highest potential?

By most standards I am pretty healthy 80% of the time.  I do consume processed snacks, faux meats and vegan cheeses from time to time and the snacks have especially increased since we’ve moved in with Andrew’s parents recently (more on that soon).  I drink wine and beer a few times a week and on the weekends.  Other than this, the majority of my meals are filled with a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  I don’t consume animal products.  However, I’ve been wondering how I’d feel if I cut out all processed and refined foods for a week to see how my body feels.  Thus the one-week challenge was born.

What does whole, unrefined plant-based mean (a.k.a. what am I getting myself into)?

  • Plant-Based: Only foods that come from plants.  No animal products, which includes dairy, meat and fish.
  • Whole, Unrefined and Non-Processed: Consume only whole plants which have not been broken down chemically and/ or mechanically.  Think potatoes, not potato chips.  Homemade lentil balls, not processed or fake meat.  Intact grains.  Avoid oils, sugar, candy, protein shakes.
    *Although I am going completely unrefined, minimally refined is okay for this challenge if you are joining.  This means the foods is one to two steps away from the whole plant, such as whole wheat pasta or 100% whole grain bread. Tofu or tempeh.
    *A more robust definition and explanation can be found here: Nutrition Studies

Meal Plan
I’ll be sharing and documenting meals for you all week.  I haven’t planned them all out yet, however sample meals will look something like this:

  • Breakfast Ideas
    – Smoothie: homemade with almond milk, frozen banana, frozen berries, spinach, peanut butter, flaxseed
    – Overnight Oats: oats soaked in almond milk, cinnamon and agave overnight in a jar.  Add berries, nut butter, chia seeds or other toppings before eating the next day
  • Lunch Ideas
    – Veggie/ Buddha Bowl: steamed kale, brown rice, tofu, cauliflower, chickpeas, avocado, potatoes, tahini sriracha sauce
    – Salad: fresh kale or romaine lettuce, lentils, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, black beans, mushrooms, garlic dill sauce
  • Dinner Ideas
    – Curry: homemade veggie tofu curry
    – Falafal Veggie Pasta: homemade falafel balls over zucchini noodles, additional veggies, homemade tomato sauce
  • Snack Ideas
    – handful of almonds
    – apple or plum with peanut butter
    – veggies with homemade hummus

You can find more ideas for whole, plant-based recipes by a quick internet search, or on Forks Over Knives and Nutrition Studies.

Store-bought Foods I’ll Miss

  • Kite Hill almond yogurt
  • Kite Hill cream cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Dave’s Killer Bread
  • Stacy’s pita chips
  • Lentil chips
  • Store-bought vegan tamales
  • Vegan ranch dressing

I am looking forward to learning new ways to cook, seeing how difficult it really is and if I feel any difference.  I may go for two weeks if this week is successful.  So the question is…ARE YOU IN?!