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:
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.
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!
- 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 : firstname.lastname@example.org