One, and only one thing could possibly bring me back to my dearly beloved and oh-so-neglected blog.

What would that one thing be?

Well, the election of course. Specifically, fuel prices and each of our candidates positions on what they are going to do to fix this situation.

Of course, I’m lying.

The fuel I’m here to talk about is the fuel that powers our bodies… food.

Ever since having Henry (14 months ago-eek!), I have felt like my full amount of energy is no where to be found. In the early months, it was easy to blame that sluggishness on lack of sleep, nursing, a little baby extra baby weight and reduced exercise.

However, for the past 9-10 months those explanations didn’t really work anymore. The boy was sleeping, I was at my pre-baby weight, and I was back into my normal workout routine. I lived with this general caffeine fueled tiredness until I just got fed up.

I hated yawning throughout the day.

I hated a PM run to Starbucks so that I could stay focused in my office.

I hated coming home from work and feeling like I didn’t want to make dinner or workout or do any number of the things I knew deep down I liked doing.

Right about this time, I happened upon the documentary Forks Over Knives. Like any documentary, this film has an agenda. And while I don’t agree 100% with every claim that they make, I wholeheartedly agree with the crux of the film.

Food is the fuel for our bodies, and how we choose to fuel our one and only body will affect everything- our current physical state, our current mental state, our future health and ultimately our future generations.

The film encourages people to take up a whole foods (the foods not the store) plant based diet.

No, I’m not becoming a vegan- nor am I suggesting that you should… unless you are into that sort of thing, then by all means go for it.

For me, I wanted to take the challenge for a week- eat a whole foods, plant based diet- Рno meat, no fish, no dairy, no eggs, no animal products whatsoever. Pigs everywhere sang a hallelujah chorus. So did cows. And maybe a chicken or two.

I guess I just wanted to see.

Day 1 was the hardest worst day. I felt very serious, very physical cravings about 5 hours into the day for some cheese or a piece of bacon. I don’t eat that kind of food everyday, but man… knowing that I couldn’t have it, made me want it. Bad.

But I persevered. And by day 3, I had not only lost 3 lbs (yes, 3 lbs in 3 days and I wasn’t even trying!) but I had started to feel pretty darn good.

And by day 4, I was waking up before my alarm. 4 freaking days.

And my pre-baby energy was back- maybe even more so.

That is a pretty compelling argument for fueling your body with foods that are really really good for you.

So, I have a challenge. And no, it isn’t to totally cut out all animal product like I did. My challenge is for ONE DAY eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables AND eat the recommended servings of whole grains/legumes. If that seems way too easy, then I challenge you to go ONE WEEK with the same goal of getting all of those fruits and veggies and whole grain that your body wants badly.

Shoot for at least 4 servings of vegetable, 3 servings of fruit, and 6 servings of Whole Grains/Beans/Legumes, etc. I’m in the camp that, specifically with vegetables, there is no such thing as too many.

If you are feeling brave, ditch meat. If you are feeling really brave, ditch all animal product.

For a week- just to see.

About Protein: I think this is the number one concern with getting rid of meat. How will you get protein? Well, this was actually pretty easy. First, most Americans eat 50% more protein every day than their body needs. To figure out how many grams of protein you need, take your weight and divide it by 2.2. I was worried about protein intake and I was paying attention to it, and I had nearly hit my daily amount by lunchtime every day.  Beans, Legumes, Whole Grains all have a ton of protein. Surprisingly, even things like pineapple and spinach have small amounts of protein.

So, over the next few days, I’ll share with you some of the snacks and meals I’ve been chowing down on.

In full transparency, there are a lot of NASTY tasting vegan or veggie based meals. And my vow is to only share tried and true yummy treats.

So, without further ado… I give you my brand new obsession. The Green Smoothie.

Please don’t let the green color scare you. It is so so good. When I make one, Henry is stuck to me like glue begging for a taste. It seriously tastes like a milkshake. You must try it!

Simply blend up 1/2 c. of Soy Milk, Vanilla Soy Milk, Or Skim Milk with

1/2 c. of fruit- I love pineapple the most, but strawberries or bananas are good to

2 c. of raw spinach

2 T. of peanut butter or almond butter

2 T. of ground flax seed (you can get this at the regular grocery store in the natural foods section usually near the baking goods)- it looks like this in the package:

If you want a little sweetness, add in a squirt of Agave nectar. This should be located close to the ground Flax in the grocery store. It looks like this:

Flaxseed is a wonder food providing you with Omega 3s, fiber and lignans (antioxidants) amongst other things.

Agave nectar is a low glycemic sweetener- meaning it will make your food sweet without causing that pesky spike in your blood sugar.

So good- and the smoothie gives you 15.5 g of protein with next to no fat. I drink this before I leave for work around 7:30 am. It keeps me full until about 9:30/10 when I eat breakfast #2 (I’ll be sharing my normal second breakfast/mid-morning snack with you soon).

Also, with this one smoothie, you have downed 1 serving of fruit, 2 servings of vegetable, and 1 serving of whole grain (flax seed). Pretty good right?

Another easy snack or starter for the day is toast. Exciting, right?!? Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the recipe for toast.

But can I suggest these as toppings?

One slice with honey and peanut butter. Oh yum.

And even better, a second slice of toast with Coconut oil (it is supposed to be a solid, not a liquid so don’t be alarmed if it looks funny to you) and some mango butter. It tastes like vacation on bread. I bought both the coconut oil and mango butter at Trader Joes.

And for an easy vegan on-the-go snack is my favorite, Larabar:

Key Lime Pie is sinful, and so are the rest of the flavors. The Coconut Cream Pie is also incredible! Most of the bars are under 200 calories and they have 3-5 grams of protein, and they give you another serving of fruit. These guys are also available at most regular grocery stores. Kroger keeps them in their natural foods section, and they cost $1/bar.

I hope you’ll consider taking my whole foods challenge- not for me, but for you.

Your one and only precious body deserves it, right?

This guy thinks so:

Talk to you soon.

XO,

Leah

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