Here is a run down of our Eat to Live inspired 21 day challenge, laid out in a series of posts for you to reference or follow along. Feel free to contact us with any questions if you are interested in doing your own Eat to Live challenge.
Are you ready to get started?
I hope that you have started reading the book Eat to Live
and have joined the Facebook group.
The basic premise of Eat to Live is:
Eat mainly nutrient-dense, natural plant foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. Have a variety. Aim for foods with high nutrient-per-calorie density – this is measured in Dr. Fuhrman’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index or ANDI.
Eat few, if any, animal products (a few servings per week at most).
Eat no (or almost no) foods that are completely empty of nutrients or toxic to the body, such as sugar, sweeteners, white flour, processed foods, and fast foods.
Super foods that you should include in your diet every day: G-BOMBS – greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.
We've done some research for you.
We've created a library of sorts, where you can find links, handouts, and shopping lists that you might find useful. Some of these are necessities, while others are just creative ways that others have gone about the program. Feel free to share your own resources or inspiration on the community Facebook page.
There is a lot of information here, but DON'T GET OVERWHELMED. We're just giving you all the information at the beginning and you can work through it at your own pace.
“A plan without action is just a dream, action without a plan is a disaster.”
So we understand the premise, what’s next? We have to come up with a 7 day meal plan and purchase our foods. In the pre-start, you cleared a shelf or two in the fridge and cupboard, now we need to fill it with goodies!
Creating a 7 day meal plan can be a challenge as you may not be used to planning meals more than a day or two in advance. You may also be tempted to make choices based on what you feel like eating at the time… creating a plan will help to insure you don’t end up in a situation where the choices aren’t great and you give up on your goal.
Below is a checklist to use as a guide for starters. We don’t have to get fancy, in fact most of the food we will be eating will not need to be cooked and will be unprocessed because that is where the nutrition is and phytochemicals are.
A large salad as your main meal is awesome, there is really no cooking involved. Add tomatoes, beans, sunflower seeds and avocado. You’d be amazed at how full you feel with the high nutrient content you take in.
We are planning for success not focusing on failure!
As a reminder, this is not about perfection. The purpose of this challenge is to gain knowledge about how we eat and learn to make informed choices on a path to health consciousness.
We embark on this journey together with support and community.
This will be exciting!
How's it going so far?
I have a specific challenge for you.
Download the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) Chart below.
Challenge yourself to eating 5 foods from the first column everyday.
Try to eat 3 foods worth over 300 points each day.
Add up your score, the higher the number the better.
Variety is key, more is better!
You may have already found her in your research, but I'd like to share a great resource with you.
My Momma Told Me is a Nutritarian expert and she's got some great methods, charts and strategies.
Check out her site, she might be helpful to you too.
Creating a 7 Day Meal Plan
Meal planning is always a struggle for me, it always presents a challenge. Planning is one level and taking action is another, but both are necessary to achieving success in my goals.
I hope you have been following along with the Eat to Live guidelines and taking advantage of the helpful checklist.
When planning out a 7 day meal plan, you may find some repetition; NO JUDGEMENT!
The purpose of the Eat to Live inspired 21 Day challenge is to create new habits that will result in a longer, healthier life, and forming new habits takes time.
What meals have you made that you like?
What are your “go to” vegetables and fruits, nuts?
What would you like to do a little differently?
Strategy: prepare as much as you can at one time.
Here is a sample of what I typically prep on the weekend to have available during the week:
- Roast or steam 2 heads of broccoli and 2 heads of cauliflower, sprinkle with garlic powder
- Roast or steam brussel sprouts
- Roast butternut squash
- Sauté zucchini with onion and tomatoes, garlic powder and curry powder
- Quinoa with vegetable broth enough to last 2-3 days.
- Lentils with vegetable broth
Here are samples of some of my meals throughout the week:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with flax seeds (instant from Whole foods), blueberries, banana, blackberries & some walnuts with almond milk.
- Breakfast: 2 bananas, almond butter, wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf (variation on recipe in the book)
- Breakfast: apple sliced, almond butter, 2-3 clementines
- Lunch: salad - whole head of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, avocado, lentils, broccoli, quinoa (any leftover vegetables from the previous night I will put on top)
- Dinner: I will have a large salad as my main dish with medley of vegetables from what I have made on the weekend and a little Quinoa or brown rice.
For more ideas and sample menus, here are some links for inspiration!
MindBodyGreen's Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week: Vegetable Curry, Taco Bowls + More
My Momma Told Me: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven
Kara Lydon's Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato
Also, here's a meal prep planning sheet from My Momma Told Me.
I have an experiment for you.
Eating the same foods over and over can get boring and before you know it the thoughts of “how much longer do I have to do this” shows up.
Is that happening to you? If you try to ignore the resistance you get more resistance. Accept it, embrace it, use it as fuel, as motivation. Beat the resistance!
This is where some people give up because it is too hard.
Creativity, experimentation, trying something different can bring out the mad scientist within you.
It is important to have variety in what you are preparing for yourself otherwise you feel that you are limited and there is nothing to eat.
Here is the challenge:
Make some lentils (yum), at least 3 different kinds, try 3 different ways.
There are green, yellow, red, and even black. Each has a different flavor, but all are high in protein and nutrient dense with phyto-chemicals.
You can make a lentil soup and add leftover vegetables.
What barriers show up when we start to move towards a healthier self?
When we start to make changes to better ourselves and move towards a healthy lifestyle we can often be met with resistance. Resistance from ourselves, from breaking patterns that are hard wired such as emotions, traditions, cravings, etc.
We can also find that we are receiving resistance from our friends, family and co-workers.
It may come in the form of comments about how diets are all the same, or that it won’t work, or to try and poke holes in our goals with judgment and shame that can sabotage our efforts.
Don’t get caught up in those mind games!
Most likely, your friends and family are not malicious; a lot of times they feel shame. Your healthy habits and the strength that it takes to make significant change are intimidating. It highlights their own patterns and lifestyles.
The moment you start to make a change, it creates a ripple effect and can trigger people to compare their own lives to yours.
This is not about you, it is about them and how they feel about themselves.
Remember changing ones dietary habits is like changing religions and there can be a lot of judgment.
This is where you get to stand strong.
You can respond by saying, "I’m making these changes now because it will prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. I want to live a long and healthy life and this means taking charge of my health destiny."
Keep up the good work!
Watch out for those negative Emotions!
There is nothing like negativity to pull you away from your goals, like the kriptonite to our Superman (yes, YOU ARE the Superman, or SuperWOMAN, in this analogy).
Maybe you've received some upsetting news or are holding on to anxiety and uncertainty. There is plenty to go around in this political climate, no matter what your environment or views. Negative emotions can set us into survival mode, maybe not full on fight or flight, but enough of a spiral to drain our energy and enthusiasm.
Never underestimate the power of happiness and joy!
Here is an exercise to help you to stay on track and uplift your spirit by laughing.
Try writing down 10 things that make you laugh or bring you joy every day for a week:
- Animal videos
- Goats that sound like humans
- Boxing kangaroos
- Fart jokes
- People dancing
- Babies acting like adults
- New plants
- Catching up with old friends and that feeling like you're picking up right where you left off
- Rereading your favorite book or poem
There are no mistakes only lessons.
We are doing this Eat to Live inspired challenge to learn and implement healthy eating habits that are life changing. Our whole life we have been developing habits so when we make changes, even good ones, resistance kicks in.
NO shame or judgment about whether you are good or bad with this. These are old mind games and often they get jump out at us when we change a pattern.
When we fall back into old eating habits we have to look at possible triggers, such as:
- You're stuck in a place that didn’t have foods that supported the Nutritarian diet.
- Out with friends and decided “what the heck”.
- Self doubt.
- Criticism from friends or family.
- You don't see results fast enough.
- Fill in your own reason _____________________
“Mistakes” are lessons about the decisions we make when we are challenged.
Self awareness and recognition of risky situations will help you not to fall. You can take control and feel stronger about your decisions.
Slow down, recognize, take action,
care for yourself.
This challenge is about the process, not perfection.
Let’s learn and move forward!