Update on my 28-day challenge

So if you have been reading along, I have currently been undergoing a 28-day challenge with Whole Foods to eat a plant based diet based off of the Engine 2 diet. The idea is to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts omitting animal bi-products, dairy and all oils. What I feared would be the most difficult thing I have ever done has turned out to be somewhat of a turning point for me. I was as skeptical as anyone, professing my love for meat and swearing I would always be a carnivore. I had a general perception that vegetarians (particularly vegans) were pretentious, snobby and used poor reasoning for choosing that way of life. I have since changed my tune.

Many vegetarians argue the main reason why they can’t eat meat is because they do not agree with the way animals are treated in slaughter houses. While I do not agree with the poor conditions and treatment of the animals in these facilities, that is not reason enough for me to omit it from my diet completely. (don’t hate me, I love animals just as much as the next PETA but this is just my opinion)

What really convinced me is that:

  • After a few days or so, once my body adjusted to the change, I began to have more energy, my hair, skin and nails feel healthy, my digestive issues are all but gone, I feel better and I’m in a much better mood by the end of the day. Most intriguing to me was that my cravings disappeared. I have posted on numerous occasions my obsession with chocolate and needing it everyday after lunch. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t resit myself when Corey would have a cup of ice cream, I just haaaad to have some too, no matter how hard I fought it. I no longer experience those cravings – it’s the oddest thing. Even when someone is eating something I would normally die for right next to, it is easy for me to look away.
  • I was talking to a girl in our first challenge cooking class (pics are below) that had taken the challenge before me. She told me that prior to this diet she was numerous medications for rheumatoid arthritis. Somedays she was in so much pain she could hardly move. After seeing every doctor under the sun and trying every medication, she started to look into holistic therapy and decided maybe something in her diet could help ease the pain. After she began eating a plant-based diet her symptom started to disappear. After only four months she is completely off all of her medication and feels like she got her life back.
  • After hearing so many of these stories, both from films such as Food Matters and Forks Over Knives (which I haven’t seen yet but I have heard SO much about) and from Rip’s book the Engine 2 diet, it’s hard to deny the facts.

We had our first cooking class of the challenge on Tuesday night and I learned so much!! The theme of the class was learning about different greens.

I couldn’t even tell you everything that was in there but the three we focused mainly on were collard greens, kale and bok choy. So while we munched on this lentil veggie soup we watched Becky, nutrition expert at Whole Foods, make collard green wraps and massaged kale salad.

First up was the Collard Green Sushi Wraps: (I made the name up – no idea what they are actually called)

Take a huge collard green leaf and cut it in half to get rid of the stalk (it’s tough to bend into a wrap and eat)

Spread hummus over leaf.

Add your choice of fillings (she used a broccoli slaw)

Roll and cut into slices. Doesn’t it look like a sushi roll? So cute, I love it!

Next up was the Massaged Kale Salad

Chop up some fresh kale and toss in a large bowl

Sprinkle sea salt on top and begin massaging the kale (it will begin to wilt slightly)

Add half of an avocado cut into pieces

Continue massaging, coating the kale in the mashed avocado (the kale will continue to wilt)

Add desired toppings – she used red bell pepper, and sunflower seeds. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice for some extra flavor if the kale is too bitter for your taste.

Then she made Steamed Bok Choy

Chop the end of the bunch off and discard. Then chop remaining leaves.

Place in a heated pan (you can use veggie broth or water to saute rather than oil)

Keep adding broth or water if needed so the veggies don’t stick to the pan.

They should come out looking slightly wilted.

This would make a great side dish if you are looking for a veggie other than the usual broccoli or asparagus.

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28 responses to “Update on my 28-day challenge

  1. everything sounds fab with the challenge!!! ahhh and thta food looks AMAZING!

  2. It’s so interesting reading your updates on the challenge! I’ve read similar things to what the woman with arthritis has told you, and completely believe that a plant based diet can hugely benefit people. I’m not sure I could give up yogurt or some meats, but this is kind of making me think about it a little. Thanks for sharing some delicious recipes!

  3. That’s awesome to hear that you’re already starting to see the benefits of a plant based diet. Do you think it will be tough for you to go back to eating meat after the 28 days are over? On a side note, I really love that Collard greens rolls idea!

    • I know isn’t it an awesome idea! I never would have thought of that! I don’t know what I will decide after the challenge, we’ll see how things continue but I am definitely more open minded to the idea of sticking with it, at least loosely. Maybe having meat once a week and small amounts of dairy here and there…We’ll see – stay tuned!

  4. This seems like such a good challenge!

  5. I love the collard green roll! That looks tasty and it’s so cute! πŸ™‚ I’m intrigued by this challenge you are doing. I may consider trying it, but I’m scared!! haha πŸ™‚ I think it would be easier if I could convince my husband to do it with me.

  6. Thanks for all the info. Those sushi things are adorable. I’m glad to hear your reasoning on the vegan/vegetarian/carnivore thing. I love animals, but I find them increadibly delicious. I have started to buy organic meats and dairy, as well as introduce more vegan/vegetarian meals into my diet, but I’m not close to giving it all up!

  7. I’m glad you are feeling and doinf so well on a plant based diet! I changed my diet around last summer and have never looked back. I’ve never felt better, had more energy, or felt SO healthy in my life! I love it!

  8. Isn’t it amazing that food can HEAL! Thx so much for sharing that story!

  9. shiningfromwithin

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to take a cooking class specific to vegetarians/vegans.
    I have the same belief that meat (and animal products) can cause certain illnesses.

  10. I LOVE all the yummy veggies in this!! especially the sushi!!

  11. I have to admit I can’t imagine doing a challenge like this, but I love that you are loving it so much!

    That steamed bok choy looks fabulous!

  12. I think what you’re doing is a wonderful idea and I am so glad that it is having such a positive effect on your health! πŸ™‚

    I feel the same way in that I like to eat much less meat and dairy than most people but I don’t plan on giving it up completely because I don’t feel as well while eating a vegan diet. However, I do think it can work for some people.

    I love the WF cooking class, yours looks like so much fun! πŸ™‚

  13. Wow this is so weird bc I am also doing a 28-day challenge but not as strict, just no meat, seafood, eggs. I’m allowing a little cheese and some milk/yogurt here and there, but I’ve only got 16 days left! Now I’ve got some great ideas of things I can make, so THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

  14. This is so inspiring, Jessica! I always *try* to stick to a plant-based diet, but I find myself leaning heavily towards grains because they’re so delish. Maybe the collard green wraps are the trick–too cute!! πŸ™‚ I actually made a similar “collard green pizza” (basically same thing, just without wrapping it, with hummus and tomatoes and it was SO delicious. I’m feeling under the weather today, so LOTS of veggies are in order!! Glad I found your blog πŸ™‚

  15. So glad you’re doing great on the challenge and you’re sticking with it. A lot of ppl really just give up but you’re doing well with it πŸ™‚ Love the sushi!

  16. I want to do this so bad. My food cravings and digestive issues are out of control.

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  18. Kale, Bok Choy and Collards are the most nutrient dense veggies. Collard Green sushi rice looks so delicious I have to try that.

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  20. awesome to hear about this challenge! yay for vegan experimentation πŸ™‚ I look forward to following the journey…

    and everything looks delicious!!

  21. So awesome that the challenge is going well, and that your body seems to be enjoying it! All the food they made looks tasty…especially that kale salad!

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