Every new year comes something we all tend to think about/despise--New Year's resolutions. It seems like we as a society tend to hate these resolutions because we have to hear and now read about it on social media. For gym goers, it probably sucks to have your machines and area filled with more people than usual. Goals are fine to have, and I encourage everyone to create them throughout their life. It's just something about resolutions that make me squirm. Simply put, everyone wants a fresh start and typically runs to the treadmill or looks to push or pull some heavy objects, but I am here to tell you that a new year starts with a new mindset on what you eat--and also trying out an experiment for just a week. (because resolutions are stupid, remember?)
What experiment, you ask? Starting January 1 for one week, make one meal per day meatless and see how you feel. (There's also a giveaway tied to this!) I am not your dietitian, doctor or partner, but I am someone who has given up meat and dairy for just over a year and feel phenomenal. (stopped eating fish in August of this year) I know what you're probably thinking: "How am I supposed to go to my family's holiday party and survive?" or "I need my protein James" or "I don't have enough willpower to do it and will crave meat." I thought the same thing before I gave up meat and dairy and changed my eating habits and lifestyle. I don't even work out as much as I used to while in college, but mainly rely on these five things. I feel more in shape than ever before after giving up meat, and that is something never would have envisioned. You might be worried about what to eat (totally fair) but I'm going to layout some quick fixes that can get you through your one week challenge if you do consume meat a lot.
First, stick to oatmeal, omelettes or an easy to make option like smoothies, like this one I made with strawberries, spinach, water and mangoes. For oatmeal, add peanut butter, blueberries, bananas, cinnamon or other fixings to make this breakfast pack more of a punch and give you some flavor when eating your first meal. Vanilla almond or soy milk pairs with well oats and makes for a quick breakfast. Into omelettes? Add peppers, onions, cheese, paprika, salt and pepper to taste and you have some simple ingredients for a quick and easy breakfast option. And you didn't even need ham or sausage. I assume breakfast might be easier for most people because they are not cooking anything complex as they try and run out the door to make it to their Monday morning staff meeting. What the issue could be is lunch time.
Lunch time is always fascinating to observe because it can send your day in a downward spiral or keep you and your energy levels up until dinner. It's so easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day minutia that you end up eating out and might opt for a dish with meat or you buy some pre-boxed lunch that has deli ham or turkey of some sort. That's why meal preparation is so vital the days before the week begins. Here are some items I buy to prepare for lunch: 2 heads of cauliflower, brown rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, mini bag of tortilla chips, cilantro, pita bread, hummus carrots, spinach broccoli, salsa and avocados. All of these foods are cheap, plentiful and can help you make an array of recipes. My favorite? A cauliflower black bean mix with salsa, avocado, cilantro and cholula sauce. It takes 20 minutes to cut and pan sear the cauliflower, and letting it sit overnight with these ingredients gives flavor and a "meaty" consistency that you probably want.
Don't feel like cutting any foods? Boil some rice and beans and pan fry them with Canola oil and use cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste and add those same fixings as above for another hearty lunch. Your protein comes in the form of black beans and any other beans, along with vegetables like broccoli that can go inside of a wrap with hummus, cilantro, spinach, avocado, peppers and tomatoes. There are a host of other ways you can get protein, and this list will help you for this one week challenge.
Dinner time is next up and you don't want to be caught sleep until it's much later. Try this easy to make spaghetti recipe that includes Morningstar veggie crumbles, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti and peppers and onions. This recipe takes under an hour to make in its entirety and you will have dinner for 3 to 4 days. I try to stay away from processed things like veggie crumbles, seitan or something along the lines of "meat alternatives" but think i can be a great addition and option when you're testing out meat free dishes. Also, buy apples, grapes and other sweet items that will certainly help you fight any craving that might appear. It will help fill you up and feel satisfied. Continue drinking water like I told you to do in my blog post in June and you will be nice and hydrated throughout the day.
If you are serious about this challenge, take photos of your meals and tag me (@jamespriceless_) in your posts and stories on Instagram showcasing your eats throughout that week with #wholefoods2018 and you could be the recipient of a Whole Foods gift card! Considering this grocery chain is notorious for its fresh vegetables and healthy options, I'll be giving away 3 gift cards to Whole Foods that will help you take more steps toward a healthier and holistic view of eating for 2018. Vegetables, grains and fruits are whole so what better place to find these options after this challenge than Whole Foods itself? Even for people who do eat clean, this could be a good way to incorporate more plants into what you eat on a daily basis. You can direct message me for more details and can create a group to show other people the food you are making and to keep each other accountable! As always, peace and grub, and I hope you are ready for this unique experiment!