'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food' - Hippocrates

Link when clicking on photo is broken, I believe it is a blog link

Link when clicking on photo is broken, I believe it is a blog link

link when clicking on photo is broken, I believe it is a blog link

link when clicking on photo is broken, I believe it is a blog link

Welcome to Veg Pledge Prep! 

Have you set your intention for this next week? What do you want to feel in your body as a result of giving yourself nutrient dense foods to eat?
I appreciate you taking that step! Having an intention will be a tremendous support as you move through this week. 

You can find the shopping list + recipes for next week right here.(LINK BROKEN) It's your choice if you'd like to follow it to the letter or use it as a guide for your week of plant strong eating!

As you prep for Veg Pledge some fears may come up about venturing into the unknown + letting go of some foods you really enjoy eating. It's all OK. You're not alone! Welcome to being completely normal!

One of the first things that comes up for people considering doing a Veg Pledge is 'WHAT ABOUT MEAT + DAIRY? I mean, what's left to eat? Will I starve? But I LOVE cheese! You don't understand, I really, really love cheese! And yogurt, what about yogurt? It's Greek! Isn't Greek yogurt a good food?' My response is always the same...

B R E A T H E, you've got this and I'm here to help lead the way which is.... AH-MAZ-ING (because I really love this stuff and I happen to be good at it too).
Also...it's just a week! Aaaand you get to decide how plant strong you want to be because YOU are the boss of YOU! Are you going full on Vegan?  Vegan means: a person who does not eat meat or use animal products of any kind, like diary. Or are you lovingly leaning into eating more plants? Include that info in your intention as a place to come home to when you're feeling like you NEED to leap into a giant bowl of cheese dip!

A word on meat/ diary: Organic, humane meat and dairy in moderation offer numerous vital nutrients. However, as consumption rises and quality becomes compromised, the health benefits of animal products decline (read that twice, it's crazy good information)!
By reducing animal products, you may experience heightened awareness of mind and body, as well as more vibrant health. That has certainly been the case for me! There are lots of foods you can add to your diet to get the same health benefits that animal products provide – a prime example of “crowding out” questionable foods by increasing great foods.

 Try the following exercise I call Embracing the New!

As you grocery shop, think beyond the meat and dairy aisles – expand your food horizons!
Ask yourself: Hey self- when was the last time I tried something new?
It's pretty easy to become robotic in our food routines which can often lead to creating habits that may not serve us. Makes me think of the time that my sister and I were convinced that eating 1 Morning Star Farms veggie corn dog + 2 veggie 'chicken' nuggets was the way to perfect health and a bangin' bikini body! ha!

Take this time to choose a new item that replaces a meat or dairy staple. Incorporating new foods can reignite your passion for food + life!
Choose one (or two!) from the list below to get started:

Dairy Alternatives: almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk
Meat + Poultry Alternatives: temped, quorn, seitan
How are you feeling? Concerned about hunger? That's really common as meat and dairy are naturally heavy foods that provide quick satiety. An easy solution: fill your plate with extra vegetables or have an extra portion of bean salad instead (never met a chickpea I didn't like)! 
Remember: No one diet fits all. Many thrive on good quality meat and dairy while others do just as well without. Try eliminating some animal products from your diet over the next few days and go from there. Find out what works best for YOU!
P.s. Did somebody say Veg Out? (http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2013/03/10/snl-veganville-skit-justin-timberlake-does-the-harlem-shake-video/) Get ready to find love in a meatless place this week!

Schedule your coaching call. (https://www.timetrade.com/app/td-449335/workflows/kw3x2/schedule/welcome?view=full&fs=1&wfsid=e03diova7m0t7vdktd0j1gbkv3)

Ready to get this party started? Me too!

Welcome to Day 1!

How are you feeling after grocery shopping + intention setting? I am excited to support you and get to know you all better through this process.

Before we dive in please repeat after me! 

I (say your name), do hereby promise to be super duper kind to myself over the course of this Veg Pledge. I will tell those close to me that I'm going plant strong (at least for a week) and ask them kindly NOT to invite me to a steakhouse or fondue party. I will absolutely modify recipes so that they work for me. I will plan ahead to ensure that my days are full of nourishing foods. I promise to breathe, to take this Veg Pledge lightly and recognize that I'm already a success for just having shown up! This is my solemn Veg Pledge!

Yay! High Five! How'd that feel? 

The next 5 days you will essentially be conducting a food experiment to see how you feel eating more veggies + whole foods and less meat/ dairy. You will become naturally more mindful about food. As you move through today notice how often you think about food. Are you making breakfast thinking about eating lunch? 

Did you know that vegetables are the #1 missing food in most modern diets? 

When I ask my clients why this is, they usually say it’s because of bad memories of their parents making them eat all their soggy green something before leaving the dinner table!
The truth is, veggies are not intimidating and are seriously good for you. Not only are they packed with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, but when prepared correctly, they are incredibly delicious! Best of all, an extra serving of veggies can help you fight a meat craving.
These vegetarian options provide that extra hearty satisfaction your meatless meals might lack:

·       black beans ·       black-eyed peas ·       lentils
·       garbanzo beans ·       carrots ·       pulses (legumes)

Worried about getting enough protein? 

I've been eating veggie/ vegan for the last several years because that is what feels nourishing and supportive in my body. Don't get me wrong I still love a really expensive hard Gouda every once in a while but for the most part I eat vegan. The #1 question I'm asked is about protein. Where are you getting your protein? Is it the same as meat? How do you know you're getting enough?

It's a really common fear in our culture. Somewhere in the 90's amid the fat free craze we were also told that we must have protein to be strong, lose weight and function properly. I'd venture to guess that most of the population thinks protein = meat. Plant strong eating is infused with protein! Beans have protein, grains have protein (quinoa is a complete protein) and greens have protein! I promise, you will never lack for protein eating whole foods! Aaaand the really nice part is you get the protein without all the other stuff. I call it clean protein!

When you're consuming meat/ dairy you have to consider how the animal was raised because you'll be eating what it was eating and more than that you'll be ingesting any hormones, antibiotics, etc that the animal may have been given in it's lifetime. Additionally, many believe that how the animal was killed affects the quality of the meat + how our bodies receive + assimilate it.

Amazing people eat veggies!

There are some power-house people in the world that exemplify that a vegan diet can support any lifestyle. Justin Timberlake (musician), Alec Baldwin (actor), Garth Brooks (musician), Brad Pitt (actor, um beautiful actor!), Prince (musician), Russell Brand (comedian), Bill Clinton (former President), Cesar Chavez (co-founder of NFWA), Ellen DeGeneres (actor, talk show host and my future friend), Anne Hathaway (actor and also my future friend), Jenny McCarthy (model), Ben Stiller (actor) and Trisha Yearwood (musician) to name a few!

Bonus Recipe!
If you’re up for experimenting in the kitchen, try curbing a meat craving with a succulent Portobello ‘steak’ burger for you and a friend:

·       2 portobello mushroom caps ·       1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
·       2 wholegrain burger buns ·       2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
·       1 tablespoon olive oil ·       Salt & pepper to taste
·       ½ teaspoon dried basil + oregano  

 1.     Place the mushroom caps in a shallow dish. To make the marinade, whisk vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour over the mushrooms.
2.     Preheat grill to medium heat.
3.     Brush grate with oil. Place mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender. Brush with marinade frequently.
4.     Serve on warm wholegrain burger buns.

As Michael Pollan (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143124102?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0143124102&linkCode=xm2&tag=lacyyoung-20says) “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
 Need a snack? Big ole' blog post full of ideas over here. (LINK BROKEN)

Schedule your coaching call. (https://www.timetrade.com/app/td-449335/workflows/kw3x2/schedule/welcome?view=full&fs=1&wfsid=e03diova7m0t7vdktd0j1gbkv3)

“I am a better person when I have less on my plate.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Welcome to Day 2!
Today we're deconstructing cravings!

Anyone having crazy cravings? Deciphering cravings is an art form. When you experience a craving, your body is simply asking for something. It's trying to communicate with you!

Consider a baby crying, as a mama (or in my case proud auntie) you learn early on that one cry = hungry while another means tired and on and on. Your body is speaking to you in the same exact way! It just takes a little love, patience and tools to determine what your cravings mean.

Often cravings come from lack of nutrients. We are simultaneously one of the best fed and most malnourished countries in all the world! Seriously, we're eating loads of processed foods that are completely devoid of nutrients! We're fat, yet we're starving! Terrible combo. One of the very best ways to combat cravings is to make sure that you're eating enough nutrient dense foods. 

Thank yourself in this moment for showing up for Veg Pledge and eating nutrient dense foods this week!
Today, I’d like you to think about what drives your meat and dairy cravings. When I ask my clients this, I get a multitude of responses:
·       “The stressful evening rush hour prompts me to crave heavy and grounding foods like steak or pork.”
·       “My hectic schedule causes erratic eating patterns, leading me to ‘fill up’ on meat in place of missed meals.”
·       “It’s the eating culture I was brought up in – no meal is complete without meat.”
Sound familiar? What else causes you to crave?
Aside from stress and daily events that spur cravings, I encourage you to consider how other components of your life might seriously be affecting how you eat.
Think back to when you were a child, playing outside, having fun. Suddenly your mother announced that dinner was ready, but you were not hungry at all. The passion of play took all your attention. Sometimes the energy in our lives feeds us more than food.
I regularly tell my clients that while what is on one’s plate is important, healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your real hunger for life. 
When these areas of your life – your primary foods – are balanced, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.

Next time you experience a craving for meat or dairy (or any craving for that matter!) focus on what caused it in the first place.
Activity: Let's Get Real! 

Look at your primary foods: relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. Give each item a rating from 1 – 10 as you see them in your life right now (10 being satisfied, off the charts awesome and 1 being dissatisfied, completely abysmal). Pssst.... lean in.... It’s okay if you are dissatisfied with some (or all!) of your primary foods – you are one step closer to deconstructing your cravings once and for all!

Now that you’ve taken this step toward achieving balance, consider other ways you can reward yourself.  Make a list of meat-free meals to call upon when your primary foods get unbalanced.

Pause for dance break + celebration! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEPTlhBmwRg) What are some positive changes you’ve made so far? Please share them on the Facebook page!
Here's a list of some common cravings and what they can mean:

MEAT = iron. Time to fill your plate (or glass, I LOVE a green juice or smoothie) with a heaping helping of dark leafy greens! Sea veggies are also FULL of iron. Craving fish/ poultry often means you're not getting enough protein. If you're not vegan or don't have ethical qualms about eating animal products try adding in some eggs prepared just how you like. Most people reach for nuts/ seeds to add in more protein and while they are a marvelous clean source of protein, zucchinis are surprisingly higher in protein then almonds!

SALT = We actually don't need that much sodium but if deficient it can become a health issue. Salt cravings are best satiated with chips and beer. I'm totally kidding. Just making sure you're paying attention! If you're feeling a salt craving eat celery, swiss chard or spinach.

SUGAR = This one's a loaded bag (that we talk about more in Sweet Surrender, 7-day sugar detox)(LINK BROKEN). One of two things could be happening. First, are you in withdrawals from processed sugar? Sugar has been shown to effect the body like heroin + cocaine! That gives you an idea of the level of addiction involved. Crazy, right! The other reason is that you may legitimately need some glucose in your bloodstream (i.e. waiting way too long to eat and you feel yourself crashing). Fruit to the rescue in this case! Fresh is best as dried fruit can send you into a sugar crash. I know dried mango is amazing, don't eat the whole bag! Trust me on this one.

COMFORT FOOD = Craving comfort foods like mama's chicken-n-dumplings or grandma's mac-n-cheese typically come from a place of lacking primary foods. You're body is not lacking for nutrition but other nourishment like a meaningful relationship, to be heard, hugged, feel loved etc. I know it's way easier to cope with a pint of Ben + Jerry's. Oh do I know. I had a hot + heavy love affair with those boys for a good year but it left me overweight, sad and still trying to fill a hole that no amount of ice cream would ever touch.

BREAD = Oooh if I had a nickle for every person who said 'I JUST CRAVE CARBS!' I totally get it... recovering bread + sugar addict, right here. Bread delivers that really yummy full feeling. It's hypnotic, isn't it? Bread (gluten-containing grains) + dairy contain an amino acid sequence that target endorphin receptors and make you feel amazing. Works the same exact way opiates do. Super addictive + begging for love. When you're craving breads it's time to go outside, get some sunshine on your face, do something that you love that does not involve eating!

CHEESE = If you're craving cheese, butter, fast foods you may be in need of calories! If you're craving fat it is likely that you've not had enough to eat. Try eating an avocado or an extra helping of greens, grains or beans (or all three). Cheese cravings can also be from withdrawals (like bread).

Maya Angelou says, "When you know better you do better." That quote is so perfect for cravings. I **KNOW** this one is a biggie. I'm asking you to look at a lot in this email. We're going in and going deep right away. We all have cravings. We all reflex into eating snacks, eating to fill something... cravings are tough, seductive and pervasive. We're compensating for something by eating... we're seeking balance. So very much can be chaotic in this busy, demanding world. Turning on the light of awareness can become a tether. It can become a way to keep yourself grounded and empowered to make the choice that truly feels best in your body.



I've always believed that if people are given a healthy choice, they will choose it and if they choose it often enough it will soon be their only choice. - Terces Engelhart

Welcome to Day 3!

Today you're over half way there! Are you feeling like a happy veggie? Have these past few days been harder than you thought they'd be? Easier?  

Today we're going to do something few people actually think about... Chew! Are you a chomp, chomp, swallow kind of eater or do you sit down your fork and actually chew?

Eating begins with the simple act of chewing. Chewing leads to smooth digestion and greater assimilation of nutrients by initiating the release of digestive enzymes that break down food.
Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with chewing. Chewing turns grains and other complex carbohydrates into satisfying sugars and makes oils, proteins and minerals available for maximum absorption. Whole foods, especially whole grains, must be mixed with saliva and chewed until they become liquid to release their full nutritional value. In addition, the more that whole carbohydrate foods are chewed, the sweeter they become. Because digestion becomes so efficient when you chew your food thoroughly, your body will begin to feel wonderfully light.

Chewing 101

To get into the habit of chewing correctly, try counting the chews in each bite, aiming for 30 to 50 times. It helps if you put your fork down between bites, clasp your hands in your lap, breathe and chew.

Did you just freak out over 30 to 50 times? Yeap, been there. It's ok, I did the same thing! If 30 feels like it's never going to happen and 50 makes you want to laugh then cut it in half and start with 15 chews! That feels easier, right?

Are you seeing a theme with me? I hope so. I'm all about making health + wellness completely do-able! Once 15 chews feels really good then you can up it to 17, then 20 and onward.

Chew every mouthful of food at least xx times each (The # will be what feels best for you. Anywhere from 15 - 50), until the food becomes liquid. 
Chewing breaks down food and makes it easier on the stomach and small intestine to digest. 
Saliva assists in the digestion of carbohydrates. 
 Saliva also makes the food more alkaline, which creates less gas. (Gas is experienced in the stomach and intestine, but it is caused by spleen imbalances.)

If under pressure at meals, take deep breaths, chew, and let the simple act of chewing relax you. Taking the time to chew will help you to enjoy the whole spectrum of tastes and aromas that make up the meal.
Expand your menu:
Flip through a magazine or browse online for 1 - 3 new dinner recipes to use next week. 
If you rarely eat pork or beef and tend to stick to lean meat and fish, opt for a meal with lots of beans and legumes. If you consider a meal to be nothing without a succulent steak, choose chicken or turkey instead. 
If you really want to step out of your comfort zone try a non-meat protein like tempeh or tofu! Tempeh is fermented soy. Tofu is coagulated soy milk. Both can be beneficial foods for those transitioning from meat and into veggies. I call tempeh + tofu bridge proteins. These can be very helpful, as always I invite you to experiment and see what feels best in your body!

If you still feel you’re missing out, add an extra protein-packed side to your meal. Try these delicious options: Brussels sprouts (LINK BROKEN) , spinach, broccoli, artichokes, bean salad, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds.
Remember, you don’t have to go full vegetarian right away! Small, slow changes are key. I encourage you to be mindful of the concept of crowding out as you move forward. By simply eating more whole foods from plants, you naturally reduce your consumption of meat which means less swelling in the body and less dis-ease!

Excited to hear how chewing goes!

P.s. Need a smile? Gotcha covered! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE6L_iuTVw0&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLzvRx_johoA8PC6S5k5S2SszRQOR8oSEa)


There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled. -Edward Lucas

Welcome to Day 4!

How's it going with your intention? Are you being kind to yourself? Are you trying more veggies and planning ahead? Is anything coming up for you that's been surprising or tough? 

That's really, really normal. You're not alone. Often when you change your diet (and especially when you're adding in loads of nutrient dense foods, naturally crowing out processed foods) your body experiences a detoxification. As a result, emotions can well up to the surface from seemingly out of no where. Pay attention to them. Honor them. Take a moment to write down what you're experiencing or call a friend to vent. It makes a huge difference. Often the emotions just need to be released. Talking through them or writing through them is a powerful tool for both men + women.

This might be the most fun homework so far! Today is all about R+R!

We spend so much time choosing the right foods and making them (hello! chopping veggies), that sometimes we forget the importance of rest and relaxation. Are you guilty of neglecting your body’s call for breaks? Rest is just as important as healthy food + movement. We're a culture of push hard all week and recoup on the weekends. That practice is not sustainable for everyone, in fact it's really hard on most people. Consistent periods of relaxation help reduce long-term stress. When we’re not stressed, we don’t crave heavy comfort foods like meat, milk, and cheese. Listen to your body when it’s asking for a break.

Sleep well to be well!

Your sleep needs are as individual as your food requirements – depending on your day-to-day schedule you may need more or less.  It's totally ok to focus on quality, not quantity.
Whether you require six, seven, or eight hours of sleep, these tips will help you to create an unwind ritual and maximize your precious time:

Turn the lights, noise, and heat down as you get ready to sleep. Light candles, turn off electronics, and try to keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
Watching TV and surfing the web right before bed will leave you overstimulated and restless – so turn off your electronics at least one hour before and listen to soft music or meditate instead.
Late-night snacking (especially on junk foods) and caffeine before bed will keep you staring at the ceiling into the early hours, so plan your last meal in advance. I try to stop eating at least 3 hours before bed.



What would you do if you weren't afraid anymore?

Welcome to Day 5! You did it!

Congratulations on 5 days of plant strong eating! I hope you feel invigorated, revitalized, and ready to take on new challenges. Can I get a Kale Yeah! You may or may not be a full-fledged vegetarian, but hopefully you understand your relationship with food (especially dairy and meat!) a little better. You have come a long way in just 5 days – did you believe you could achieve all this and discover so much about yourself in so little time?

Cook once, eat twice (or more)!

As we wrap up today I want to leave you with a few tips to maximize your time and help make this new plant strong lifestyle completely supportive. Consider preparing food on Sunday (or any day of the week where you have a few hours to spend in the kitchen) to last you through the week.

Prepare a pot or two of beans, brown rice, quinoa and chop veggies for the week! Your meals will grow from the staples you prepare.
Beans + grains keep really well in the fridge! Quinoa is amazing because it goes with virtually anything and is really tasty hot or cold.
Cut up veggies with different chopping methods. We usually do carrot, celery, zucchini sticks for easy snacking. Slice mushrooms, bell peppers for homemade pizza and cut squash + Brussels sprouts for veggie bakes. I use a cheese grater to shred veggies like beets + jicama for adding to salads! Another favorite is to use a carrot peeler or julienne peeler to vary textures for easy stir-fry dishes.
Make a soup (LINK BROKEN) to eat on for several days.
Make a bean or grain salad (LINK BROKEN) or tabbouleh. (LINK BROKEN)
Cook beans + rice, eggs (if you eat them), get a great organic salsa and tortillas and do make ahead breakfast or anytime burritos. Roll em up, wrap in foil and put in the freezer. Pull one out the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning while you're getting ready for work warm in the toaster oven!
Peel and freeze bananas for making quick smoothies (LINK BROKEN). We almost always have frozen fruit in the freezer, a tub of spinach and almond milk on hand for smoothies.
Create snack mixes with raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Store them in mason jars on the counter for easy reach.
Try to keep all the healthy stuff in sight both in the fridge and on the counter so that you'll use it!

Would you like to keep up your momentum and adopt even more healthy changes? Learn how to cook delicious, nurturing food? Continue to experiment to find what foods feel most supportive in your body? I can help!

I wish you well on your journey!
Big veggie lovin' + genuine gratitude!

P.s. As you continue on in your journey remember your Veg Pledge from day 1. Take yourself lightly, be gentle and loving to yourself! Remember that it's what you do most of the time, not some of the time that matters. Health is a vehicle, not a destination. Don’t stop now, there is so much more to explore. I believe in you!

Schedule your coaching call. (https://www.timetrade.com/app/td-449335/workflows/kw3x2/schedule/welcome?view=full&fs=1&wfsid=e03diova7m0t7vdktd0j1gbkv3)