Health Resolutions, Live Consciously

NA Challenge: Go Vegan Once a Day!

By Nutritious Life

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Your 7-Day Challenge to Go Vegan Once Daily:

Channel your inner plant lover and enjoy the benefits of clean eating! Go vegan for one meal everyday for one week…it’s not as hard as you think.

PRIZE ALERT: Post your progress on social! Show us the most creative way you’re going vegan each day and whoever posts the most creative will win a bag of Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein! Tag @keriglassman, make sure your account isn’t private so we can see it, tag your friends, and use #VeganMeal #NutritiousAbundance

 

Day 1: Shop ‘Til You Drop
Don’t be afraid of the word vegan. You already eat a whole lot of vegan foods without realizing – start simple with those foods you already know and love. Create a list of vegan friendly foods you love and plan a trip to the grocery store NOW! I’ll make it easier and start a list for you: almonds, cashews, pecans, chickpeas, lentils, romaine, spinach…

 

Day 2: Plant a Plant-Based Breakfast in Your Belly
Find a vegan breakfast you love. Mix quinoa (cooked) with chia seeds and almond milk and top with cinnamon, blend a smoothie with plant protein (my fave is unsweetened coconut milk, 1 teaspoon almond butter, ½ banana, ⅓ avocado and a scoop of protein powder), get creative with your oats or even a simple fruit salad with sprinkled coconut and chopped almonds will do.

 

Day 3: Yes, Salad Can Be A Meal Too

Bulk up a green salad with all of your favorite textured veggies, crunchy nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. Just remember no cheese. If you are watching your waistline, you won’t want to add nuts and seeds without caution. You do need to think about how much you are adding into to your salad veggie base. If you’ve been feeling good eating a chopped romaine salad with carrots, tomatoes and peppers topped with grilled chicken, feta and vinaigrette, an easy transition would be to go for the same chopped romaine and veggies, swap out chicken for chickpeas (about ½ cup – you can overdo these little guys!), and chopped, toasted walnuts for  the feta. The chickpeas will keep you full from the fiber and protein and the nuts will provide satiety from the fat, fiber and protein too. Yes, keep the dressing but remember to keep it to about 1 tablespoon.

 

Day 4: Expand Your Horizons

Experiment with new, less familiar foods and try a grain you’ve never had like bulgur or farro as the star ingredient of your main course. Instead of orecchiette as a stray from the go-to ziti try  spaghetti squash marinara. Or, say buh-bye to your mainstay turkey burger and opt for a black eyed pea salad instead.  

 

Day 5: Get Creative

“Veg” up your fave recipes and swap traditional protein with beans, nuts or tofu. Note: I am not a huge fan of soy but do think there is a place in some people’s diets for real soy such as firm tofu. Replace the beef in burritos with black beans or chopped, tofu and grilled veggies. Instead of bacon on those yummy brussel sprouts try adding chopped, toasted cashews.

 

Day 6: Avoid Dairy Withdrawal

Missing milk and cheese? Try a dairy alternative like rice or almond milk in your smoothie, cereal and coffee. Top popcorn with nutritional yeast, use flaxseeds instead of eggs when baking your next batch of cookies and top your ezekial toast with coconut butter and cinnamon instead of butter.  

 

Day 7: Be a Smart Meat Head

When eating meat at other meals, opt for lean versions like chicken or turkey and lean grass-fed beef which is loaded with antioxidants and omega-3s. Remember, there’s more to the world than meat and potatoes. Since this is your last day of the challenge, go all out and go vegan for the entire day!

 

Why You Should Challenge Yourself to Go Vegan Once a Day:

  •       Excite and experiment with new veggies you’ve never had before
  •       Lower your risk of chronic disease
  •       Become a lean, mean, heart-healthy machine!
  •       Help the environment – eat and be green!
  •       Live longer, maybe even to be a centenarian

 

Hit the Books. Do some research and learn the details about what being a vegan means. Did you know that some seemingly vegan ingredients/foods may not be vegan after all? For instance, some brands of peanuts, Worcestershire sauce, oj, veggie patties, etc. actually contain non-vegan ingredients or are processed using non-vegan friendly methods. If you really wanna go vegan, there’s a lot to learn!

A little goes a long way. Research shows eating at least one vegan meal a day can help lower your risk of chronic diseases.

Show your heart some love. Vegan diets are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, which studies have shown cause vegans to be leaner and have lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Fill up on fiber. Eliminating animal products = increased intake of fiber keeping you satisfied and regular!

Be green and help the environment. Meat production has been shown to have a negative environmental impact; limit your intake, limit your impact. I recommend red meat one time per week if you are a meat eater.

Keep on living. Fruits and veggies provide antioxidants that mop up free radicals slowing the aging process, promoting weight loss and improving overall health. Research also shows red and processed meat eaters have a higher overall risk of dying from heart disease and cancer.

Eat the rainbow. Try a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds – experiment with new foods and recipes. Your pantry and fridge will thank you…it was tired of the same ole same ole anyway.

Power up with protein. Vegan diets incorporate a diverse array of protein sources such as beans, lentils, seeds, tofu and tempeh for exciting, and tasty, meals. Branch out from your chickpea salad.

Vegan doesn’t mean processed junk. As tempting as it is, don’t opt for vegan processed unhealthy foods like french fries, potato chips, bagels , and processed soy patties, and try not to replace meat with large amounts of refined carbs. Read labels carefully and of course buy as many whole, real unpackaged foods as possible.

Pump some iron. Red meat is not your only source of iron – get your fill with almonds, apricots, beans and lentils, seeds, broccoli, and spinach; eat them with vitamin C to increase absorption. Think spinach with tomato sauce and lentil soup with a citrus fruit salad for dessert.

Become your own chef. Invest in a vegan cookbook (and of course check out Pinterest) for more ideas on how to expand your meal plans and experiment with new ingredients. Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat like a bird, and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy tasty meals. Did you know you can make a pizza crust out of cauliflower? Or “cheese” out of cashews?

Find a new local hotspot. Go vegan even when eating out! Investigate restaurants in your area that offer vegan fare, and try a new dish or cuisine – if you like it, challenge yourself and make your own homemade version.

In it for the long haul? If you decide to adopt a vegan diet on a regular basis, consider taking a B12 supplement as it is only found naturally in animal products. If you’re looking for a great vegan protein powder to supplement your diet, try my Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein.

 

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