Reflections: 40 Day Challenge

So far I have been on a meatless diet for the past 11 days. With the full support of my husband, family and friends I must say that it is a lot easier than I expected it to be. My experience thus far has been enlightening – I am amazed with my energy levels, my lack of cravings, improved digestion and my creativity to experiment with meatless meal plans. With that being said I must say there have been some pitfalls. In the past 11 days I have also experienced lethargy and an evening of what I like to call me being “hangry.”

IMG_20130217_235805I pushed through working 8 of the first 11 days, dinner out with family and attending a work dinner function. So I would like to say if I can do it, so can you. I despise paying $12 – $15 for a salad at a restaurant because vegetables are really inexpensive but I did. I was in the clear until my husband decides to order a few appetizers for the table, being considerate he also orders spinach and artichoke dip so I can indulge. I could have gone without sampling the dip as my salad was sufficient. Normally I would feel stuffed with a heavy and bloated feeling but after my meal that was not the issue. For my work dinner function I ate all the vegetables offered and passed on the chicken. That evening when I arrived home I prepared another small salad as I was still a bit hungry. Through these experiences I do believe that you need to be mentally prepared and your fridge/pantry fully stocked with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
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I chose to eat the same breakfast of yogurt, granola, Goji berries, blueberries, hemp hearts and Chia seeds everyday. It took the guesswork of figuring out what to eat and I found that I enjoyed the consistency and it fueled me till lunch. My lunches were also pre-planned/prepared in advance. Inspired by Pinterest I made ‘Salad in a Jar.’ Prep some whole grains (quinoa in my case), chop up some veggies, add some greens and voila lunch is ready for the next couple of days. I also incorporated Juicing to my lunches. For those of you who have not watched ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ it is an interesting documentary on a person’s journey to health through juicing. I have contemplated doing a 3-day juice fast however nothing has materialized as of yet. Some of lunches did consist of 2 cups of juiced: kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, lemon, ginger and apple.

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I have used the handy Vitamix to prepare soups, fresh Broccoli and Almond Butter Soup and my version of a Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Soup that I tried at Baked Expectations in Winnipeg. I substituted the Peanut Butter with Almond Butter. My dinners have been: Garden salads with carrots, cucumbers, apples, nuts/seeds, feta and apple cider vinaigrette; Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Butternut Squash Sauce; Whole Grain Pita Pizzas with Pesto, tomatoes, olives, feta and Arugula; Whole Grain Pita with Avocado, Roasted tomato and Arugula; Couscous salads with Arugula; and Bean Burritos.

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At times, thoughts of becoming a full-time Vegetarian cross my mind. I know for a fact that I could never be a Vegan as my love for cheese will be hard to let go off. But the more I learn about how animals are treated, what animal protein is doing to our bodies the more I wonder if it is sustainable to continue consuming meat. I am also struggling to achieve balance with my belief that in many cultures especially my own food is a rich resource symbolic for communication, expression and love. Animal proteins in traditional dishes are a part of my being, my heritage and my upbringing (plus they are delicious). I still have 29 more days of consuming a meatless diet to go. I will be taking it day by day and taking it from there.

20130221_093357_Sophia_RoundThanks for reading. For any readers thinking of adopting a meatless diet, try it out for yourself. For those of you that have or are struggling with my same thoughts leave a comment. Next on my challenge is to try experimenting with other whole grains and incorporate some exercise into my routine. Till next time.

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