Best Challenge Ever!!
It has been 4 months since we welcomed 2015 and for 4 months i have been dedicating 100% to my body, mind and soul. A promise i have made as soon as i welcomed the New Year, at 00 on that December 31st 2014.
I have promised to make this the healthiest year possible. Not that i haven’t been healthy in the previous years, but because i have been pregnant twice, i had certain limitations – food and exercise wise.
As soon as we welcomed January, I have been working out like mad!!!And felt soo good to finally concentrate in something that i really L.O.V.E. Working out! Sometimes solo, others with either Maya or Sienna … always with a stroller!You can find me jogging and do power walks in the streets and trails of Taipa at least 4 x a week. I have included my very own routines of Yoga and Fitness too.
A part from all this workout routine and breastfeeding Maya, i knew that something was missing, in order to increase my milk supply and the quality of my milk, increase my energy and feel lighter. I also wanted to recover faster from the pregnancy and c-section and be at my best for my family and loved ones. I have noticed – after a month of giving birth, that i was not digesting well/fast enough, and i always felt bloated at the end of the day, with a full stomach sensation..Something that i never had. I’ve been observing for 1.5 month. I knew i was eating well, but always wondered if could be healthier…i knew i needed to be more consistent with certain things. I included Juices (of course) to my day and started feeling the difference right away – More Energy. It was no news…i know exactly the benefits of adding Juices to the Lifestyle…
Since i am Breastfeeding Maya – non stop – i just can’t undergo a Juice Cleanse. I am dying to…(everybody has tried Sattva’s Cleanse Programs but me)…anyway, I knew i had to do a type of cleanse to renew, re-start, re-energize…
After my last post, I did research after research, read books, magazines and articles about Diet/Food…i start feeling that the key was to Cleanse my Body and Heal through Food!I thought why not give it a go?that could work for me…the more i learned the more i was sure that i needed to Spring Clean my Diet too. So, i decided to make a 20 Day Challenge to see the difference.
20 Days Challenge of Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet (Mostly Raw). (You can follow my Journey @marianahedegaard)
What is a Plan-Based diet?
It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil. A plant-based diet can be basically another way to say “vegan”, though many people do use the term to mean that you eat almost all plants with some animal products. I believe Veganism is the ultimate plant-based diet.
There are many different types of plant-based diets. The three most common ones are:
Vegan: No animal products such as meat, eggs, or dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian: No meat or eggs, but dairy products are OK.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: No meat, but dairy products and eggs are OK. – Mine as i eat eggs 1 x a week
People ask me why this Challenge? my answer is simple. To change, to improve and to learn.
What’s the benefits of this Challenge? As a Nutritionist and being in this industry for some years now, i can’t get tired of sharing/advising that a good nutrition and a balanced diet is key to everything. Along with that, our bodies need a break every now and then. With that in mind, i always advise and insist on the same thing:
Fast at least once a week. You choose: Juice Cleanse, Water Fast, Raw food cleanse – for a day. And you will see the results right away!!Once you make it an habit, your body will be forever grateful.(Before getting pregnant Wednesdays were my Cleanse Days. I used to drink water or herbal teas for the whole day).
From my personal experience, my favorite benefits of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle is the increased clarity of mind and energy levels. I can feel it that I am consuming what my body wants and needs on a cellular level. I love feeling overall so clean and good.
The benefits are endless: illness prevention such as diabetes and heart diseases, more energy, better mood, more positive thoughts, happier, lighter, less bloated, better circulation, less water retention, better skin, stronger hair and nails, more motivation, better digestion and of course weight loss.
How often do i eat: Breakfast (8am), Lunch (12.30), Afternoon snack (glass of Almond milk or a small bowl of probiotic yogurt and fruits), Dinner (19). Times may vary, but it’s always a 4x a day meal including the afternoon snack. It works for me, but doesn’t mean it works for you. Check your G.P or Nutritionist for advise first.
What i eat: a variety of things. This challenge pushed me to learn new recipes and their benefits!!Eating Raw and Plant-Based food only never been this easier and tastier. I am not talking about the humble lettuce and tomato salad. I am talking about Kale salads, Rice salads, vegetarian screws, grilled vegetables, couscous, quinoa… wowwww,So much choice!!!Basically i am eating the freshest and cleanest whole unprocessed foods and as as much Organic as possible, i am adding tones of superfoods and Raw nuts to the diet, eating nothing but the best and healthiest oils including Coconut Oil, good fats,eating gluten free and lactose free too. I have swapped Cow’s milk for Almond, Cashews and Rice milks, i have lactose free cheese, i drink litres of water, organic and herbal teas only including Mother’s Milk Tea, Cold pressed Juices and Smoothies and my MUST HAVE Decaf coffee. I am so motivated that i don’t even feel tempted/crave to fish. meat or seafood. I have my soups every now and then too. I have Chia Seeds pudding and Açaí bowls too…i even managed to learn how to make it. So easy, so fast, so yummy and soo healthy…Come on…
10 days have passed.
Do i Regret? NO
Do i enjoy? Yes
Do i love it? Yes
Do i recommend? Hell yeah!!!!!!
No need 20 Days like i am doing…start with 1 day and take it from there.I also recommend to follow this diet after you finished your Juice Cleanse program. This is a great way to break the cleanse and to keep with a healthy routine/lifestyle.
For me personally, it’s not a challenge because my diet – before this challenge – was very plant-based already. What really helps is not focusing on what I was giving up, but on the good things I could eat! Actually it’s very simple — you just learn to eat a variety of plants. If you slowly change your eating patterns, it’s not hard at all. Be flexible and don’t be too strict — you’ll find that it’s much easier if you allow yourself an occasional meal with animal products, especially in the first 6-12 months.
Control your quality of life by consuming a plant-based diet. Filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains is the best means for disease prevention and even disease reversal. Equally important, a plant-based diet is the best means for feeling good inside and out, everyday. While it keeps your arteries clean and your cells happy, it also brightens your skin, eyes, and hair. Weight management is just an added bonus.
Eat your vegetables! A few consistent musts for your grocery list: broccoli, spinach, apples, and blueberries.
If I could make a single dietary recommendation to people looking to get healthier, it would be to move to a plant-based diet, No doubts about it.