It’s here – the 30-day Plant Powered Promoter Challenge upon which I have embarked.
I started Day 1 with a run and a plate of protein pancakes smothered in fresh peaches. So far, so good!
In talking with friends, clients and followers about this challenge, the biggest question I’ve been getting (aside from “are you crazy?!”) is “what are the rules for this challenge?”
Let me be clear: my rules of engagement are really only guidelines – to set the parameters I am going to try to live within, as I make changes in how and what I eat this month.
I’m happy to share them and if they resonate with you, feel free to follow them if they help. However, keep in mind, this is not a primer on how to be a vegetarian or a vegan – and some of the decisions I make might not work for you if you have different goals.
So here’s what I’ll be keeping in mind this month:
1. I’m eating plant-strong, not plant-exclusive.
I intend focus on veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds for the most part. But I will likely eat eggs and some dairy (yogurt, cheese) too.
This is often referred to as a ‘lacto-ovo’ vegetarian and it’s often the first step someone takes when they start down the vegetarian path.
For me – I like and am able to eat both dairy and eggs and since they are easily accessible forms of protein for eating at home and especially eating out, I think it will make the first few weeks more manageable.
2. I’m going to focus on fresh, whole foods as much as possible – but don’t be surprised to see some prepared short-cuts in the mix.
I know myself and I know my schedule for the month. Prepared veggie burgers or veggie hot dogs are going on the BBQ when my friends and family eat their beefy beauties. And while I don’t want to make powders or bars the default for getting enough protein everyday – it’s going to happen. I use canned and frozen produce and sometimes I use bagged salads too if it means I get dishes thrown together quicker. I’m just going to do my best to plan ahead, but I will not beat myself up if I have to grab-and-go sometimes. It’s real life, friends!
3. I’m travelling this month – a lot! And I have dinner plans and social events that have been pre-booked. And while there are many more options out in the world available to nourish vegetarians and vegans these days, don’t be surprised to see some meals or snacks that are just plain weird. Hey – I’m destined for a steakhouse reservation later this week and after checking out the on-line menu – I think I’ll be eating salad and stuffed mushrooms. I’m sure it will be tasty but definitely not the most balanced and nutritious way to eat long term. Planning ahead is going to be key but even then – not everything will go perfectly.
4. I will step out of my comfort zone with shopping, cooking and preparing meals. There’s not much I don’t like or won’t try when it comes to plants and I already eat a pretty wide variety. But there’s plenty of cooking and preparation techniques that I have avoided – because I’m lazy or busy or didn’t plan ahead, and it’s easier to stir up a casserole or dump some salad in a bowl. I know I’ll be bored out of my mind if that’s how I subsist this month so I’m committed to using plant powered ingredients in new and interesting (I hope!) ways.
5. I will not default to living on pasta, rice, French fries and baked goods. And you can hold me to that! This is a mistake I see many vegetarians and vegans making – and then they wonder why they gain weight and see their blood lipids rise.
6. I’m going to make mistakes. Either because I am rushed, tired, forgetful or because I just don’t know. I know a lot about food and nutrition – but there is still plenty to learn. And that’s one of the reasons I am taking this challenge on. All I can do is try – and take a page out of the great Maya Angelou’s book: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now I know better, I do better.”
7. I will not be forcing, cajoling, begging or (gently) shaming friends or family members to join me in making changes.
If you are inspired by what I’m doing and the information I am sharing, and you want to come along for the ride – even if that just means trying a Meatless Monday or two – that’s awesome. I’d love to hear how it’s going and I’ll try to help answer questions you might have.
And yes – I’ll still join you for lunch if you want to eat a chicken salad sandwich.
Vegetarily yours –
PS – Are you on Instagram? Follow me to see up-to-the minute adventures in the kitchen and beyond!