Every year in January, my workplace (I’m a public school teacher) participates in a wellness challenge. It’s totally optional, run by our area BOCES, and involves free stuff! Last year, I said I wanted to participate, but when I heard what it entailed…I just wasn’t willing to do it. However, this year, we are doing the same challenge, but with new resources. Anyway, you probably didn’t want to know all that background stuff, but I wanted to include it because this is a difficult challenge! For 10 days, you are to only eat a whole-foods plant-based diet. I’ll go into lots of details in this post, so let’s begin our 10 day wellness challenge!
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and you should always talk to your doctor first about any diets of medical issues.
What is the 10 day wellness challenge?
Basically, this is just a diet that you keep to for 10 days. It’s also suggested that you workout more often than you usually would during this time. The hope is that you’ll find new foods to eat, become more conscious of what you eat and where it comes from, and become healthier.
The challenge is a strict whole-foods plant-based diet. It sounds very fancy, but it really just means eating lots of fruits and veggies, and no processed food. I’m really trying this year to make it the full 10 days, and find some different recipes that I enjoy!
What can I eat?
This is not a diet that you should ever be hungry during. When you are hungry, you should eat, not deprive yourself. Having 3 meals a day, as well as a few snacks is perfectly fine, as long as you are eating the right food.
Here are some foods that you are encouraged to eat during this challenge:
- Raw fruits and veggies
- Beans – black, kidney, pinto, split, garbanzo, cannellini, all kinds of beans!
- Grains – quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, brown rice pasta
- Vinegars and Sauces – apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegars, red/white vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, dijon/regular mustard, ketchup (with no high fructose corn syrup), hot sauce
- Nut butters (all with no added oil) – almond, peanut, tahini
- Unsweetened plant milks
- Maple syrup (as a sweetener)
- Whole wheat flour
- Dried fruit
- Canned goods
See – that’s lots of things that you are allowed and encouraged to eat during this challenge!
What can’t I eat?
As with all diets and challenges, there are some foods that you are asked to stay away from. For a whole-foods, plant-based diet that would include:
- All meat
- All dairy and eggs
- Highly processed foods
- Soda, juice, alcohol, smoothies
- Added sugar and salt
This challenge is based off the writing of Shari and Doug Schmidt. Their website goes further into the 10 day challenge, and also includes a blog and real stories. We got a recipe book this year called Eat Plants Love: Recipes For A Good Life. At first glance, these recipes didn’t look quite like things I would eat. However, since I’m doing this challenge, I might as well try some new foods and recipes too!
Although not part of the whole-foods plant-based diet, exercise is, of course, encouraged. If you already exercise, maybe try to exercise more, or harder. If exercise is something you’d like to get into, now is the perfect time!
I started this challenge on a Monday in January, but you can start the challenge whenever you want! If you decide to take this on, let us know in the comments so we can be in this together!