Updated: Feb 28
I have been on my plant based journey for over a year. I started, somewhat by accident as a Vegetarian at the end of 2020 and then transitioned to a Vegan plant based diet in March of 2021. I recently realized that this first year or so has been a process of learning how to cook and create vegan meals that taste good and help me to replace many of the meat based meals I was so used to eating. Now that I have developed the skills of navigating successfully through this vegan plant based lifestyle, it's time for me to take things up a notch.
This revelation or “ah ha moment” really came after a recent visit to the doctor. It was time for an annual physical and I wanted to get a full panel of blood work done to get a baseline on all my numbers. When I received the results, I learned that my cholesterol and A1C was higher than the normal range. I was a little shocked because I mean, I am vegan, my numbers should all be perfect, right? Well, the truth is, even as a vegan it is necessary to make sure you are not just trading one bad thing for another. This information caused me to reevaluate my health goals and motivated me to shift my mindset to eating with purpose.
I highly recommend getting your blood work done before starting a new eating plan. Then you can create the plan that is right for you. Having the information from your blood work will let you know if there are areas that you need to work on. Or, if you are on the right track. After getting these results I decided that I would work on correcting the areas that need my attention. I began this journey with a 5 day detox. Basically, a healthy reset. I have spent a lot of time enjoying foods and learning how to make them, but now I want to focus on how to eat with purpose and use food to improve my health even more.
With my specific goals in mind I decided that I needed to eliminate deep fried foods and lower my sugar content. I decided to remove bread and pasta, which oh my goodness is hard! I love pasta and probably eat it at least 2 or maybe even 3 times per week. On this detox I am not eating it at all. To make things simple I also decided to do meal prep instead of trying to cook several meals, I only had 2 main meals. As I am writing this article, I am currently on day 4. I am planning a different menu for the following 5 days. Here is what I have done so far:
I start with a cup of water. I purchased an infusion pitcher a couple of days in and made a detox water with lemon, ginger, turmeric and mint leaves. I am just drinking water for a beverage or herbal tea. No soda or juice.
Blueberry and Banana Smoothie
I add chia seeds, flax meal and wheat grass powder. Super delicious. I can’t believe I haven’t been eating more blueberries!
Kale and Beet Salad
I have eaten this salad many times before but I took it up a level by adding quinoa and blueberries. It is so delicious. I also made a simple and delicious vegan dressing out of vegan mayo and stone ground mustard. I can’t get enough of it!
I cut up a few cucumbers, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and lemon pepper for snack. In hindsight, I would not make the cucumbers ahead. I like them to be crisp and when I make them ahead they got soggy. I still enjoy them and they really come through when I get hungry.
I also snack on a handful of almonds. Almonds actually have a lot of benefits including helping to lower bad cholesterol and blood sugar. I don't know why I have not added them sooner.
Kale and Sweet Potato Nourish Bowl
This past week for my birthday I tried a new restaurant that had a Nourish Bowl. It was very good but I felt I could make it a little better. I recreated this and have eaten it for dinner during this 5 day detox. I also add my dressing to this Nourish Bowl.
One day 1 I got pretty hungry, but my body has adjusted. I just added more kale to my meals. On day 3 I got a little bored with eating the same thing. To switch things up a bit, I sautéed some kale and added some black beans and quinoa and seasoned well. It was a nice change having something hot and hearty. It was enough to satisfy me and still stay within the meal plan.
Losing a few pounds was also something that was added to my health goals after my recent doctor visit. This detox has already started the process. While I know it is water weight, I am down 2 full pounds since starting!
To watch the complete steps on how I did the meal prep watch the video below.