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Road Trip & Spring 2013 Healthy Vegan Challenge

Posted Feb 18 2013 11:57am

Good morning and happy Monday to you. As mentioned, Alan and I traveled about 300 miles yesterday from the Palm Springs area back to our home on California’s Central Coast. It is a journey we make a few times a year because we live in both places. They are vastly different communities, each with its own weather, landscape, vibe, attributes and issues and I feel so lucky to experience both.

Life Update:

Before we left our desert retreat, we went for one last hike on Saturday:

Photos from hike in Palm Desert in February.

I made two big salads for lunch on the road, plus some fresh mango for dessert. I didn’t have any salad dressing to use, so I just put a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter on each salad along with some balsamic vinegar. The other ingredients in the salad were romaine, chickpeas, bell pepper, onion, broccoli slaw and sunflower seeds:

Road trip salads.

We left early Sunday morning with both kitties safely stowed in their travel crates in the back seat. Our journey started with the windmills that are so iconic to that part of the desert (thanks to Alan for taking these road shots):

Windmills of Palm Springs.

Hours later, we reached the coast and I was so happy to see the ocean again:

Finally...ocean!!!

After a lunch stop, a visit to one of my favorite farm stands for fresh produce and a few more hours of driving, we were home amidst the green rolling hills and vineyards that make this part of California so beautiful:

Vineyards and rolling hills of the central coast.

Once there, we unpacked, fed the hungry, hungry cats and had a snack of Cherry Tahini Ice Cream . We then got back in the car to run some errands, including a visit to Costco for more fresh produce:

Fresh fruit from trip to Costco.

I just can’t start the week without a full kitchen of fruits and vegetables, you know?

Healthy Vegan Challenge:

Speaking of healthy foods, that brings me to my next order of business:

Spring 2013 Healthy Vegan Challenge photo

If you follow me on my Facebook page , then you know that I’ve decided to re-commit to building some healthy habits this spring. For me, that means going back to the principles of Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live guidelines . In spite of eating an overall very healthy vegan diet, I tend to slip and develop bad habits over time. That’s human nature, right? Anyway, I find that I do really well when I have a structure and a goal, so I’ve decided to commit to 8 weeks of cleaner eating. Do you want to join me?!?

Originally, I was going to start this week, but I wanted to give all of us time to set our goals and make the commitment. So, let’s plan to start a week from today, February 25th, and go through April 22nd. That is 8 weeks which is not too short and not too long. Mark your calendars and do what you need to do to set yourself up for success. For me, that means:

  • Setting clear, specific goals and writing them down.
  • Planning ahead to make sure I have the right foods and access to resources.
  • Telling other people about my intentions so I have support.
  • Asking for help when I need it.

Even though my goals are centered around specific eating behaviors, you goals may be vastly different and may be bigger or smaller. Your goals could be anything from quitting smoking to incorporating exercise into your life to making the commitment to go vegan. I am not here to judge your goals, but my role is to help with structure, accountability and support.

Also, I should note that I’m not a health professional and I am not making any recommendations for changes you need to make. You should consult your physician or health professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Are you excited? I am!!!

If you are ready to accept the Health Vegan Challenge, then please leave a comment on this post. It would be great if you would write about your goal(s) in as much detail as you feel comfortable. That way, during the Challenge and at the end, you can refer back and gauge your progress.

I actually wrote out a contract for myself with my specific goals, signed and dated it:

Healthy Vegan Challenge contract.

I’ve made a few refinements to my goals and the most current version is:

  • No oil
  • No sugar
  • No dried fruit (except in salad dressings)
  • No sweeteners (non-nutritive or artificial)
  • No refined grains or flours
  • No cacao or cocoa
  • Added salt only 200-300 mg per day

It works for me to list my goals as things I am not going to do, but it might work better for you to list them as things you want to do.  We are all going to be different, so figure out what works for you, but write them down.

My hope with this Challenge is that we can support and encourage each other over the 8 weeks. I can’t wait to hear about your goals.

I’ll be back here on Wednesday with a short post because I have to leave early that morning for my doctor’s appointment. Until then, have a great start to your week.

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