It’s been 10 days. We had about 150 participants who agreed to try to consume 20-30 grams of protein at each meal along with 4-5 cups of multi-colored vegetables per day. It’s time to share how it went. Were you able to accomplish the goal? Did you feel any better? Did it take more or less time in the kitchen than you anticipated? Are you going to continue any of this practice from here on? These are the questions I hope you will answer.
Let me start.
I was able to do the challenge fully until this last weekend where, being spontaneous, we decided in a half hour to go along on a retreat with Joel’s college, and packed up up the kids and some essentials, grabbed some coconut kefir, and drove 4 hours away to bright sun, dry climate, pools, and camp food. Need I say that I didn’t quite make the challenge happen on the trip? I was able to eat plenty of protein (quality wasn’t the greatest, but it was protein). Vegetables? Not so much. A salad bowl that I could have eaten all by myself was passed around our table of eight. However, our first dinner there they gave our table an extra bowl and I *ahem* ate at least half of it with some pork loin cut up in it and my own homemade dressing. It was actually delicious.
Before we left, I was really thankful for the challenge as my infant has not been sleeping well the last few weeks. We can’t figure out why. She’s perfectly happy during the day, just a bit restless at night sometimes. By the time this challenge rolled around, I wanted to take naps on the couch, not prepare tons of vegetables for me to eat. However, I persevered (along with some of the suggested amino acid support suggested in The Mood Cure) and I did quite well! While my energy didn’t burst through the roof like it did when I was getting good sleep and eating this way, I think eating really well helped me maintain good energy despite my broken up sleep.
My Continued Plans
I do feel that I can be on the lower end of the protein suggested on this plan. I don’t think I always need 3 eggs in the morning, for example. Two seems just about right to me. I want to continue to eat lots of vegetables. Doing that on our budget without a garden is a challenge however. We will see what happens. I am also going to continue to push lacto fermented vegetables and drinks to help me digest all of that protein.
Now it’s your turn. How did it go for you?
In case you missed them: Here are some of the recent posts:
Salad Ready Lettuce in two Minutes or less
Salad Spinner, Salad Bag, Favorite Knife and Other Salad Stuff
How Much Protein and Vegetables Should We Eat?
Recipes and Tips for a Protein and Produced Filled Diet
Is Protein Hard to Digest? Are you getting the benefit of protein in your diet?
Traditional Food: Apple Cider Vinegar
5 Tips for Eating Salad With Children
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I didn’t comply 100% meaning that I didn’t measure cups of veggies. I absolutely increased my veggie intake a ton and also my protein intake. I followed a paleo/primal diet. I had much more energy, which is needed as I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I also lost 1.6 lbs. so I am really happy about that too.
Thanks for this challenge!
I wanted to do the challenge but am traveling overseas right now. I will let you know how it goes when I do it at home 🙂
We, too, went out of town this weekend to my parents’ house who always have tons of sweets and leave them on the counter to temp you 24/7. I did pretty well despite that. My story is that I was having major mood swings hormonally and asked my doctor what I could do naturally for it. He said the best thing you could do was to eat right and then I found this website that reiterates a lot of what he said. I’ve minimized refined flours and sugars, reduced meat intake, increased veggie and fruit intake, added iron and calcium/magnesium supplements and tried to buy more organic when we can. Within a month, I have so much more energy, am not moody and feel less on edge all the time. Now, I need to figure out how to do it on a tight budget consistently and how to lose weight on the diet. I still cheat some and haven’t lost anything.
I started off well and felt great! I’m a missionary at a boarding school for the deaf. This weekend our kids showed up. So when all my girls (I am the dorm mom for 15 girls, along with another woman) started showing up I eat the food prepared in the dinning hall. All that Mexican food tasted yummy but by the end of the day my body was hating me. Now that the girls are settled in I’m hopping to do the chanlenge again.
I started off great, except that it was too much food. I was so full! Then my family and I caught a nasty summer cold and didn’t eat much of anything for the last half of the challenge. I’m going to keep eating more veggies, maybe a little less protein though, as it did seem hard for me to digest.
Just saw the challenge, however the bulk of what we eat on a day to day basis is some fish/egg/meat + vegetable/fruit. Since we shifted over to this way of eating earlier this year (eliminating added sugars and grains) I find that I spend less time in the kitchen and I can “whip up” meals more easily. I don’t do as much meal planning, the grocery lists are more loose and I don’t need recipes to cook; only for inspiration. The downside is that our high grocery bills went higher. But it is still cheaper than medical and dental bills which would grow unchecked without this diet.
I lost cravings for sweets and my perception of sweet is more pronounced so fruit, for example, tastes much sweeter and things with added sugars seem over the top.
I do feel like I have less energy eating this way, even with added starches like roots & tubers, so much so that it is almost impossible to give up a daily cup of coffee. On the other hand, I feel much more emotionally stable and able to handle stress so it is a good trade-off in my book. It works for our almost 3 yr old as well – no eating related toddler meltdowns!
I am almost never hungry. I could really eat less and still be fine so that’s my project for going forward. We whittled down our eating to a late breakfast and early-ish dinner and then snacks as needed. I think reduced portions will be the key to reducing the grocery budget while continuing to buy high quality foods.
I was informally following along, didn’t sign-up that is. While I did think I felt better especially in controlling my blood sugar mood swings; I did find it hard to consistently do all that veggie prep (Where is my sous chef!). Actually adding up the protein was useful for me since I think I usually just assume I’m getting enough, but actually am way lacking.
I have been trying to eat this way ever since I read The Mood Cure, but I really struggle with breakfast. What do you eat in the morning?
Besides eggs, I also like sausage and zucchini (I stir fry the zucchini). Sometimes I do a scramble with zucchini (red peppers too, if I have them) sausage and eggs. Yum!
what type/brand of sausage do you like?
Breakfast is hard for me too. I can only eat so many eggs! I rotate between the following:
Eggs (I can only eat two)
Two Eggs and a Sausage link (this is a lot of food plus I always need fruit afterward)
Egg ‘Burrito’ (one/two eggs cooked thin and flat, like an omlet, with a layer of refried black beans, cheddar cheese and then tons of raw tomatoes, peppers, avocado, salsa, and drizzled with greek yogurt instead of sour cream)
Egg/Quinoa bake (two eggs and 1 cup of quinoa baked with tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms) but this is also a lot of food for me to eat in one sitting.
After a few days of this, I usually get bored/frustrated and start skipping breakfast.
What else is there for breakfast that’s high in protein and isn’t carb-heavy?
Check out this recipe…high protein and low carb!
I didn’t sign up for the challenge, but I greatly increased my (already high) veggie consumption with more than 5 cups every day. However, getting enough protein (I really don’t enjoy meat and I try not to consume too much soy) was always a challenge. On my very best days, I can only get 45 grams or so. I am a very active, fit, athletic person and that is just not enough protein – it is my biggest challenge. I felt great, until Labor Day weekend, that is. I didn’t do such a good job then as I ate more ice cream than veggies. Overall, I could stand to have a few more good, but easy salad dressing recipes and a few more recipes in my arsenal for easy, but tasty ‘mostly veggie with some meat’ dishes that even non-meat loving people with enjoy.
I had started reducing (on my way to eliminating…) grains and refined flour and sugar about a week before I found your post on the challenge. I didn’t sign up but I followed along and enlisted a friend to join me. I didn’t measure my veggie intake, but it was much higher than normal — probably double. I already eat a fair amount of protein, though probably not enough. That stayed consistent. It’s now been about three weeks since I started working my way grain-and-sugar-free and about 10 days being completely grain-free (and almost sugar-free…coffee needs a little something sometimes) and my digestion is better, I have more energy, and can concentrate better. I’ve noticed though, that I need to make sure I eat enough fat to stay full and satisfied. As school begins (I’m a teacher) I’m wondering how well I’ll be able to maintain this.
Have you thought about adding 1-3 Tbls of organic coconut oil to your diet to get in more fat? This might help you feel satiated and able to get through the day.
Overall, I felt great while on this challenge and would get really full from the salads that I made. They contained mixed greens, veggies, as well as avocado, hard boiled egg, chicken, nuts… Very filling. I couldn’t always finish them. I did not crave sweets and carbs while doing this challenge. I did get a little bored with my salads and egg breakfasts, but I am a creature of habit. I tend to do one thing that works and then stick with it. With work and kids, the habitual meals are helpful for the quick breakfasts and lunches. Dinners were more varied.
I am going to continue to eat this way, because I am more satisfied and have less cravings when I do.
I have replaced my carbs like potatoes in the evenings to salads and other fresh vegetables. I realize that the taste of fried food is a complete turn off for me so I am no longer compelled to eat fried foods – yay. I have had a lot of changes since last November, now if the weight would just start falling off!
I forgot about the challenge until I saw a reminder on the weekend. Veg intake is usually OK but having trouble with quality protein. I only use eggs from free-range hens and they are not that easy to come by. If I eliminate grains, which I know my doctor will be suggesting in the near future, I will have to get most of my protein from beans and nuts, if eggs are in short supply, and seafood, which I am considering eliminating due to fish farms and ocean/lake pollution. After 35 years I have no desire to resume eating birds and mammals even if they are free range and organic.
I have had varied opinions on dairy and tofu.
Can you offer any suggestions or guidance?
The first three days were great. I ate adequate protein and upped my veggies and felt really good. Then we had a death in the family and needed to travel for about a week. Now I feel a need to detox from all the bad food we had on the road. I am hoping to start again once I restock all my veggies.
I loved the challenge and want to keep it up. I ate tons of veggies and I feel like they give me energy. I did eat a bunch of popcorn one day….. I could help myself… It was yummy.
France @ Beyond The Peel
It went pretty well. On days when I worked back to back shifts (I work 2 jobs) it was not super. But i did make the effort to take in more veggies and protein at breakfast which makes a huge difference in my energy levels when I start my day like that. Most days the veggies weren’t a problem, but sometimes wanting to eat a protein source for 3 meals was harder.
It’s interesting that the expensive part for you is the veggies. For us in Canada, it’s definitely the opposite. My husband is America and I’m always shocked at how cheap the animal protein is. I can buy a huge bin of veggies from a local farmer for 30 bucks and we have enough for 7 -10 days.
I had a tough time getting the veggies in. Seems like other day I had to run to the store or farm stand to get more. I am going to continue in this direction. Practice makes perfect!
I wasn’t able to completely keep up but I did make sure at least two meals a day followed the guideline. It was really just too much food. I liked that it challenged me to add veggies to every meal. I think I relied too much on salads and I am going to try to continue it somewhat but make sure one meal has cooked veggies. I did find a couple of new family favorites from the cookbook. The chicken peach salad was a huge hit as well as the lettuce wraps.
If you Google “grain free granola” there are some great recipes for granola that are made with just nuts and seeds. Serve with yogurt or milk, and that is a filling protein breakfast.
That reminds me Jen, I actually have a nut based granola on this site too! I love it, just forgot about it!
If you Google “grain free granola” there are some great recipes for granola that are made with just nuts and seeds. Serve with yogurt or milk, and that is a filling protein breakfast (and egg free!!)
I have hated breakfast for the majority of my life. It has always made me sick – really naseated! But with a few changes here and there in my path of more nourishing foods and techniques I have learned to like breakfast…. especially with proteins/fats in mind. I’ll make a post sometime for one of your carnivals (they rock :)) but this comment is for those who are struggling with eggs.
1. raw yolk – even if not runny, even the tiniest little spot of moist yolk makes the egg digestible for me. A totally cooked yolk (included scrambled) makes me literally sick all morning or until it finally digests. Safe eggs, would obviously be at the forefront of this important change I made. I had never had a runny yolk until I was confident in my food safety choice. Backyard clean, grass, bugs, etc. eggs (or safe farm eggs) are great!
2. Onions!! I, and my boys that are “just like me”, could eat eggs by the panful if I fry up onions with them. I think there is something nutritionally going on, but I don’t know what it is. The only correlation I’ve run across in my reading is that onion lowers cholesterol. I have no idea if that is what I’m experiencing, but I know that we adore onion especially with our eggs and I have no problem with getting full on eggs if onions are involved – and so delicious. 🙂
And yes, I know that cholesterol is a healthy antioxidant, but perhaps I already have sufficient or something?!
A friend and I signed up for the challenge but didn’t do too well (disorganisation on my part) so we decided to make September Protein and Produce Challenge month. We are now into our second week.
I used a calculator to decide my protein intake (75g) and have been having 200g of produce with each meal. Here is the link to the calculator (which is by a University and seemed pretty sensible to me) :
I’ve been having 1/2 C chopped dehydrated almonds sprinkled over a raw pear or cooked apple with some coconut cream as we call it in New Zealand (I think this is what you Americans would call coconut milk). This keeps me going for ages.
I have definitely had more energy and minimal sweet cravings. I was also fairly disinterested in wine which is unusual for me – found myself drinking sparkling mineral water instead.
I have a lot of abdominal bloating and, well, basically an itchy butt (anal pruritis if you want to get fancy) and though my bloating is mostly the same the itching is completely gone!
I found myself getting very bored with vegetables by the end of the first week so have made up some interesting dressings to keep my taste buds inspired.
Oh, thought this might be useful to some of your readers. I used the USDA nutrient database:
To get 75g protein/day:
Choose two of these per day (30g protein each)
150g red meat (uncooked weight)
150g chicken breast with skin
160g chicken drumstick with skin
150g salmon (uncooked)
160g white fish (uncooked weight)
Choose one of these per day (15g protein each)
60g uncooked/170g cooked lentils (this = just over ¾ C cooked lentils – 85% of 1C to be precise)
65g uncooked/170g cooked kidney beans
65g uncooked/210g cooked mung beans
80g uncooked/170g cooked chickpeas
70g almonds (about ½ C)
3 medium sized eggs
450g whole milk yoghurt
2C whole milk
60g cheddar cheese
130g whole milk ricotta