The 28 Day Healthy Eating Challenge I’m doing for Whole Foods is coming to an end. When I first started it nearly a month ago I had a hard time shifting gears on my already healthy eating habits. I always strive to make smart choices when it comes to the food I serve myself and my family, so giving up meat, dairy, eggs and all oils seemed very extreme. Its been an adventure, that’s for sure!
The best part of this challenge was doing it with my husband. It has been nice to share an experience with him even when we are apart all day. We checked in with each other often – “Are you hungry?” “Did you like that vegan dinner last night??” “Feeling any temptation today??” This challenge inspired me to find other creative ways to keep connected to Chris.
We took two “breaks” from the challenge – during Memorial Day weekend while on a mini-vacation in Michigan and the other night while at a party to celebrate my sister’s engagement. It was too hard to stick to an entirely plant based diet while eating in restaurants and in friends’ homes. And, my mom made AWESOME food for my sister’s party and, quite frankly, I just couldn’t turn it down!
Even though it was hard, at times, to avoid familiar foods like whole milk and eggs, I really enjoyed this experience. Eating only plants does make me feel healthier. And, I had a serious sugar addiction (mid-afternoon homemade chocolate chip cookies!!) that has pretty much been tamed. Chris and I agree that at least four days a week we’ll continue to eat plant-strong, which allows us plenty of meals to indulge in roast chicken, pizza and homemade ice cream. Our homemade gazpacho dinner last night was the perfect, plant-strong end to a hot summer day – and I didn’t miss meat, eggs, dairy or oil one bit!
Summer in a Bowl Gazpacho
2 red or orange peppers, roughly chopped
1 English cucumber, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
5-7 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1-2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 cups low-sodium vegetable juice (like V-8)
1/4 cup olive oil, optional
Add pepper and cucumber to food processor, and quickly pulse a few times. Pour into a large bowl. Put tomatoes in food processor and quickly pulse. Add to bowl. Put top back on food processor and turn on. With the blade running, drop in garlic cloves and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Add onion to the processor and quickly pulse. Add garlic/onion to the large bowl.
Pour in vegetable juice, white vinegar and olive oil. Stir well and add salt as needed. Serve with simple homemade croutons.
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