The Vegan Challenge: Oprah Does It. So Can I? (plus tips if you want to give vegan a go)
So last week I happened to be on the elliptical at Equinox and saw Oprah’s Vegan Challenge Show where she and her staff of 378 go Vegan for a week. Kathy Freston, a well known Vegan who promotes healthy living and conscious eating faced off with Michael Pollen, a meat eater who stresses the benefits of ethical meat eating. Both made good points, but I must say that meat eater in me sided far more with Pollen who promotes a natural diet that includes animal products that are produced responsibly.
I had just come back from vacation when I was on the elliptical that afternoon, and the idea of a good cleanse was more appealing than ever. After watching and hearing stories from Oprah staffers who felt amazing after the challenge, I began to wonder how a week with no animal products would make me feel. Typically, I already load up on veggies and love my tofu and almond milk, so how hard could it be, right?
Deciding to give Vegan a go was solidified after I attending a Lightlife Event last week. My friend and Vegan Chef Cindi Avila introduced me to some fantastic and delicious vegan options. I also met Jess Underhill, a healthy living blogger (aka Fit Chick In The City) who was thinking about taking on the same challenge.
So, this week it’s animal free for for me. I am excited about the little experiment, but must say the thought of no sushi for a week has me trembling with withdrawals already. I have a feeling that I may end up as Oprah did at the end of the challenge (that being vegan-ish), but I am going to give it a go.
Stay tuned for an update next week, and if you decide you want to give Vegan a try, check out Kathy Freston’s Vegan Starter Kit, which includes meal plans and info to get you ready. Also we found a few helpful tips on Jess’s website on how to do Vegan right (you do have to watch, weight gain IS easy if not done correctly!).
Tips For Going Vegan For The Week
From Jess Underhill*:
1) Choose Wisely. Avoid gaining weight by making sure to load up on veggies and not extra starches. Replacing meat with extra starches may lead to weight gain.
2) Be Aware. Read the ingredient list on food packages. Processed vegan foods often contain a lot of ingredients. Remember you want to choose foods with a short list of ingredients
3) Do Your Homework. Research foods that are high in calcium (dark leafy greens (think kale), tofu, figs, and white beans).
4) Get Your Protein. Make sure you consume enough protein and healthy fats to stay satiated and to eat a balanced diet.
5) Arm Yourself with vegan recipes. A few of my favorites:
- Apple-Cinnamon Coffee Cake
- Summer Berry Pancakes
- Easy Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Sauce (just don’t top it with cheese)
- Sweet Potato with pomegranate seeds in light coconut milk
6) Plan Ahead
- Scan a menu before going to an event or on a dinner date.
- Carry vegan friendly snacks.
- Try out a vegan restaurant. My NYC picks are Candle Cafe, Blossom and Gobo.
* Jess is not a registered dietitian. For more specific information for your specific dietary needs please consult a Registered Dietitian.
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