Sunday, January 2, 2011

Veg Kickstart Kick-Off!

Hey guys! If you stopped by the blog yesterday or earlier tonight, you may have seen my post about my blog and gmail account being hacked. Thankfully, Blogger restored the original settings and removed the offending post (and the ads the hacker set up). All is back to normal. Thanks, Blogger! Now I'll proceed with the post I'd planned before the crazy hacking.

Every year in December, I totally let myself go. I stuff my face with every bit of chocolate, grease, and refined carbs I can get my grubby little hands on. The holidays are a time for indulgence, and I can indulge with the best of them. That's why every January, I go on some sort of cleanse or healthy eating plan to reboot. Last year, I did the ACT cleanse (raw breakfast and lunch, whole foods dinner, no alcohol, coffee, sugar, or gluten). But um, that was a bit crazy, and I failed about 22 days into my 26-day cleanse.

So this year, I'm taking it a little easier with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's 21-Day Vegan Kickstart plan. It's designed as a healthy diet for new vegans, and though I'm no spring chicken, I could use a whole foods meal plan to get me back on track. The plan has a website and a handy iPhone app with a menu plan for each day — breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and sometimes dessert. All meals are mostly free of refined sugar and processed foods. And the app provides you with easy recipes or cooking suggestions for each meal.

As for coffee and alcohol, well, I'm not quitting coffee. Never, ever again. But I am giving up beer and liquor during this cleanse. I will allow myself a few glasses of red wine each week.

I started the plan on Saturday, January 1st with this warm bowl of Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, a hearty breakfast free of added sweeteners:

Lunch was a bowl of Carrot & Roasted Pepper Soup with made-from-scratch roasted peppers:

And a bowl of Couscous Confetti Salad — brown rice couscous, raw veggies, and dried apricots:

For the snack on Saturday, the plan suggests rye or pumpernickel toast (for its low glycemic index) topped with apple butter and banana slices. I didn't have any apple butter, so I opted for banana and coconut butter instead:

Finally, Saturday's dinner was Hoppin' John Salad and Kwik Kale:

Gotta have your black-eyed peas and greens on New Year's Day or you won't have prosperity in the new year. Even though the Kickstart plan may be started at any time, I guess they added the Hoppin' John Salad for those folks who chose to start the plan on January 1st. The Hoppin' John Salad was black-eyed peas, brown rice, raw veggies, and a tasty olive-oil-and-rice-vinegar dressing.

This morning — Sunday — the plan suggested cereal for breakfast, but it recommends a bran or high-fiber cereal for a low GI. I went with this Nature's Path Smart Bran cereal with frozen blueberries and unsweetened soymilk:

The plan recommends a veggie burger for Sunday's lunch, so I chose the least-processed burger I know of — Sunshine Burger's Southwest Patty on rye bread with avocado, tomato, spinach, and mustard. Not pictured is my side of leftover Carrot & Roasted Pepper Soup:

Dinner was Southern Beans & Greens and leftover Couscous Confetti Salad:

The beans & greens recipe was super-simple — canned beans of your choice (I chose kidney beans), fresh kale, garlic, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. And I love how the plan makes use of leftovers since some of the recipes make quite a bit of food. I have been halving most recipes though and still having enough left for several servings.

For my snack, I was allowed Cheezy Popcorn — air-popped kernels topped with nutritional yeast:

Though I'll probably eat most of my snacks between lunch and dinner during the plan, I opted to have my popcorn at around 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Well, that's it for now. Come back tomorrow for more Vegan Kickstart. Oh, and in case you were wondering, my cookbook manuscript is almost done. Just one final edit and it will be off to the publisher. Yea!!

20 comments:

Rick said...

fantastic start to your cleanse! im doing the Health Force Level Three Intensive Seven-Day juice feast/cleanse. i will be following!

i also posted a comment on that "offensive" post - hope you saw it before it got deleted.

Tender Branson said...

I love that while it is a cleanse the foods still remain varied, beautiful and delicious. That cous cous looks awesome. How did you make your banana coconut butter?

K. said...

Very inspirational! I need to do something similar. Question for you - what kind of sweetener do you use in your coffee (assuming you sweeten it)? I need to get off the white stuff and I need a good alternative for coffee. Thanks, and Happy 2011!

Vegan Epicurean said...

I signed up for the Veg Kickstart too. If nothing else it will be good for ideas or reminders.

Ali

The Kuntrageous Vegan said...

I'm giving up beer/liquor/sugar/refined flour myself.

Sarah S. said...

Off to a good start, Bianca! Love this. It was really fun reading along with your cleanse last year, looking forward to reading more this year. Glad to hear you aren't giving up your coffee this time ;)

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Lovely food! I totally overdid it in Dec too... oyvey..

Everything here looks so colorful and tasty

Vegyogini said...

Congrats on being so close to handing in your manuscript! That is so exciting!

I did 3 different all whole foods cleanses last year (the first being the entire month of January) and loved them! I didn't have an indulgent holiday season this year, so I'm not cleansing now, but I try to stick with whole foods 99% of the time anyway. Can't wait to hear how the rest of the month goes for you!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

This sounds great!! Such yummy eats.

I am actually doing the ACT this year (today is Day 1 for me!), partly inspired by your posts about it last year. I know you say you "failed" 22 days in, but I think you did pretty damn great! And this cleanse (as detailed in Kris Carr's new book "Crazy Sexy Diet") is actually only 21 days, so hopefully I make it! :) I feel fab so far.

C said...

@K - Not to hijack, as I'm not the author, but...I use agave when I have coffee, and a bit of unsweetened vanilla 'milk.'

That's pretty rare, though. :)

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat said...

Yay, congrats on the manuscript! The Veg Kickstart sounds really neat, I checked it out on Facebook. Don't know that I'll do it completely myself but definitely looking forward to meal ideas :)

Bianca said...

Hey K and C....on the coffee: I also use agave and unsweetened soymilk. I started that last February after going off the ACT cleanse, and it's one of the few good habits that actually stuck. I think agave tastes better in coffee (and tea) than sugar!

Jessica said...

This seems much more reasonable than your act trial. I especially like the soup - I'd be happy to have leftovers with a sunshine burger.

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

Congrats on the book! So exciting!!! I have the vegan kickstart plan on my phone, but I haven't made anything from it yet. Looking forward to reading all about it on your blog! I want to do a vegan version of Clean next week. Too much sugar and white flour in December!

Jennifer said...

This looks great. I've been thinking about doing some kind of vegan diet and blogging about it. This may be the one. I'll let you know for sure after I see more of yours!

K. said...

Thanks, Bianca & C - I will try Agave. I didn't know if it would be sweet enough.....I am pretty hardcore with the sugar, but I think it is time to try something new!

Desiree Diaz said...

I wanted to try that app too!!! now that I see this beautiful pics of what you're eating I'm going to use it too!!

Cole Jones said...

Congrats on doing the Kickstart. We loved the Sunshine Burger pic and featured it on our FB page! Thanks so much!

Kelsey said...

I've had that app downloaded for a few weeks but I haven't done anything with it yet.

Eric said...

Hmm never heard of this kickstart plan, I like the idea though. I really need to go on a cleanse as well… did the master cleanse once, and would love to do it again but it can be really tough to stick to mentally :) And I just realized how far behind I am on your post! Gaaah!?