DAY 28 and Vegan Date Macaroons!

Today was the last day of my 28-day Engine 2 diet Whole Foods challenge! What a journey it has been. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I embarked on plant-based/veganish challenge for the past month. I was to stay away from all animal bi-products, dairy and oil. Going into it I swore up and down I would never/could never be a vegetarian, let alone a vegan! I was looking forward to experimenting with new health foods and ways to prepare food, and to see how my body would react but it didn’t come without fears, doubts, and skepticism. To bring you up to speed here is a short timeline:
Week 1

Corey and I were feasting on meat-based meals every night so naturally, I expected my body to react to the drastic change from carnivore to meat-no-more. (Day 1) After the first couple days I began to experience withdrawal-like symptoms, which after asking Beck, our Whole Foods health expert for the challenge, is actually pretty normal. I was tired, felt kind off, had a heandache, etc.

Week 2 (Update post)

I was feeling fantastic. The withdrawals had come and gone and I was on the up! I had more energy (even though I was omitting my daily coffee), I was in a good mood all day, I was productive at work and my cravings for salt, sugar and processed foods were almost non-existent.
Week 3

I was beginning to really enjoy learning how to cook without using oil, cook meals not centered around meat, and I was certainly enjoying the health benefits. Some of my favorite recipes were Green Goddess Soup, Rip’s Sweet Potato Bowl, and “creamy” artichoke and green bean rotini. All of my fears of not being able to find something to eat and fill me up had surpassed and better yet, my grocery bills were down at least $100!

Week 4 (Update 2)

By now I had gone out to dinner and successfully stayed on my diet, made plenty of meals to realize you can eat a lot without using meat or dairy and I had realized how great my body can feel by incorporating more fruits and vegetables. I was surprised how easy it was to eat out at a restaurant and stick to the (what I consider) strict guidelines. When my parents came into town for Memorial Day weekend they kind of gave me crap about it but my mom was happy to hear my digestive issues were pretty much solved (something I had been suffering from for years). Yet they encouraged me to “live a little” the last night when they took Corey and I out to our favorite restaurant in Chicago, Carnival. I may have taken it to the extreme by eating a smorgasbord of ceviche, beef, chicken, fish but needless to say, the next day I had never felt so sick in my life! It took several days for me to feel normal again which really made me think – my body is rejecting this food for a reason.

The Last Supper (or is it….)

All the bloggers (or what was left of us….not nearly as many as the number that started) got together tonight to share our stories and enjoy some good food! It was amazing to hear everyone’s stories of overcoming sugar cravings, losing weight, feeling better (“cleaner” as one blogger put it) and just the overall positive experience that everyone had. Natalie, who blogs over at Bake and Destroy, said the most rewarding thing was to watch her husband reap the health benefits of this diet and was relived of knee pain he had been suffering from previously. Anyways, I’m so glad I did this and stuck with it. Huge thanks to Becky for all of her hard work and for answering all my millions of questions!

For our last supper we had a veggie lasagna, salad and for dessert we had fresh strawberries and kiwi and vegan date macaroons (recipe below). These were so simple and so delicious, I was shocked! And with so few ingredients, you can whip these up anytime!

Vegan Date Macaroons


  • 8 medium sized dates, pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coconut flakes


1. Preheat your over to 350. Place ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Depending on the size of the dates and ripeness of the banana, you may need to add more or less coconut to get the right consistency. Mixture should be moist, but not gooey.

2. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 mins, until done. Cookies will be soft, but should cook enough to have a golden brown bottom and hold together well.


I have had a lot of questions about this challenge, this diet, my experience, etc. which I plan on answering in tomorrows post. Do you have any questions for me? Ask away, I’m not shy! If you don’t feel comfortable asking here, you can email me and I will keep your question anonymous :


16 responses to “DAY 28 and Vegan Date Macaroons!

  1. Congrats on finishing your challenge! You’ve really made me want to give it a try. My questions: Did your boyfriend participate at all or show interest in doing the challenge with you? Will you continue to eat “meat/dairy” free? I would love to try this, but I know my husband won’t do it or will at least fight me on it and the thought of making two different meals every night does not sound fun to me. 🙂

  2. Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub

    congrats on completing the challenge–that’s amazing! sounds like it went really well. 🙂 One of my favorite things about becoming vegan (not too long ago, back in October) was discovering lots of new, delicious foods and recipes, so I can totally relate.

    I guess my question is where will you go from here?

  3. Congrats on the challenge, girl!! You did a great job!! I’m curious if you’re going to continue to stay vegan, or if you’re going to at least decrease your meat/dairy consumption in the future? Another thing, was there any specific food that you craved during the challenge? 🙂

  4. I love hearing about people who have switched to a vegan way of eating and have felt much better physically. Just like the other commenters, I’m wondering if you’ll continue to eat this way and also, what was your favorite vegan meal? 🙂

  5. I wanna make those macaroons AND THEM DIP THEM IN CHOCOLATE. 😉 I’ve actually never had a “real” macaroon. we sell them at work and they look super good and creamy. But there is obviously dairy in them.
    I cannot wait for the next post, I want to hear all about your challenge!


  6. Sounds like you had a great experience with this challenge, can’t wait to hear more about it! I’ve never regretted being vegan/vegetarian, as I’ve never felt better! Are you planning on continuing with some elements of the challenge? And those date balls!! I’ve never seen coconut flakes, but this makes me want to find them! I love all desserts involving dates.

  7. sunshinevegan

    Ahh I gotta make some of those macaroons!
    Good for you for conquering that challenge! Seems like you had a really good experience and might be a new convert 🙂

  8. Awesome job on the challenge! I recently became a vegetarian, and I had some cravings here and there for some fried chicken, but I was missing the crispy crust and not the chicken. I’ve never been a big meat person, but for someone who eats meat every day and all their meals revolve around it (as most Americans), it could be pretty hard to imagine your life without it.

  9. I’m so excited for you… I did a detox back in feb and fell in love with a vegan lifestyle I just feel amazing!! Are you planning to stick with it?

  10. Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 4 weeks already, look at you. Congrats on sticking with it, girl! I’m getting married this fall and I’m thinking about going vegetarian for a month or two beforehand. My fiance is already freaking out! lol.

  11. That is great that you stuck with it! In the future what do you plan on doing?

  12. Congratulations on making it through! I don’t have a problem giving up meat (considering I’m a vegetarian, haha) but giving up processed foods would be SO hard!

  13. Kaila @healthyhelperblog!

    Congrats Jessica!!! That is SO AWESOME! I would love to do a challenge like that! Wish i had a whole foods by me so I could participate 😦

    Such a big accomplishment for completing it though! And it looks like you made some amazing meals for it!

  14. Lenna (veganlenna)

    Congrats on finishing this and making such a huge changes in your lifestyle!! I am glad that you are seeing so many benefits 🙂 When I started with vegan diet, it was also sort of a challenge to see if my health could improve. The benefits I experienced were so amazing that I never came back to the omni diet. But even if someone turns back to meat eating, I think that the experience is so well grounded that it will change the eating and living style in many aspects.

  15. I dont think I could ever go completely vegan for a whole month but I just like being vegan-ish! Kudos to you for tyring it out though! Sounds like it was a pretty good experience!

  16. People wonder why they get sick & cancer…well, because they eat SICK animals! Those poorely treated creatures are suffering from infected injuries, get hardly any treatment, only tons of hormones and anti-biotics… Yummy! By law animals with infections,? e.g. wounds with puss coming out, & cancer are allowed to be made into food! Hey, you meat eaters – next time you chew on a sausage, think about all the grinded hormone-fat and virus-meat. But no worries, it’s been micro-waved & x-rayed…

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