Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Most Asked Question: What Does a Typical Day of Food Look Like on Ultimate Weight Loss?

Hi Everyone!

First off, I want to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post, whether it be here on the blog or on Facebook. It's always a little scary to let it all hang out, and getting positive feedback from so many people letting me know that they are going through exactly what I am going through has been important for me. No one wants to feel like an outsider at a club that they really want to belong to. And for me, the club is the "I am at a Healthy Weight Eating a Whole Food Plant Based Diet Club."

Secondly, I want to speak to a question that I am asked a few times each day, either on Instagram, Facebook or here in the blog comments, and that is, "What is a typical day of food on Ultimate Weight Loss?"

From this moment forward, I'm just going to direct people to this blog post and the comments that I hope will pour in from others who have been doing Ultimate Weight Loss.

So here's a fairly typical inquiry that I receive:


First of all, let me say how much I love your website and enjoy reading your entries.
I am stuck, however. Do you have an over-all plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For example, a grain and fruit for B, soup and salad for L, and vegetables and
starch for D?

I need a 'structured plan' for my meals each day, as I don’t really know how to put the
plant-based way of eating into practice. Can you help?

From reading your blogs, I take it you are friends with Chef AJ. Is it true that she doesn’t
use any salt, sugar or oil? Also, is it true that she uses no flour or nuts, either?

Thank-you in advance for answering my e-mail. What ever you can advise regarding
a structured daily eating plan would be greatly appreciated.


And here's the lowdown on where I'm at right now with UWL. Notice that I say, "where I'm at right now." I get the feeling that there is not ONE right way to do UWL. In fact, I can already tell from reading hundreds if not thousands of posts on the UWL Facebook page (it's private), people are tailoring the program to meet their needs and tastes. Not only that, where I'm at will likely change over time. I'm just never one to stay in one place with my food habits for too long. The likely direction for this to go in for me would be one of continued simplicity.

I have evolved a system where I cook up a 2 pound medley of veggies in the morning. I make this very easy on myself by purchasing "convenience" vegetables:

  • Trader Joe's sells vegetables that are prewashed and packed into mostly one pound bags and packs. Many of their greens are sold in 10 ounce packages. Zucchini comes in an 18 ounce package. They have cool fresh chopped vegetable mixes as well.If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, become familiar with how your favorite grocer sells prewashed and packed vegetables, unless you have the luxury of time in the morning, which I do not. I'm busy getting 3 kids off to school and myself off to work. Were it not for the prewashed or frozen vegetables, I would need to prepare my breakfast and lunch the evening before.
  • Trader Joe's sells many different frozen vegetables and vegetable medleys. These are especially important for days when I really don't have much time.
  • Costco sells vegetables that are prewashed and precut in larger bags, typically 2 pound packages. These are great to get, I just mix and match what I'm choosing. It's not like me to eat 2 pounds of just one vegetable, although I hear that this is just what Chef AJ often does, but she has been doing this for many years now.
  • Costco also sells a few different frozen mono vegetables and vegetable mixes. I haven't dabbled too much in them, but it might happen in the future.
  • In the summer, I will certainly get as much produce from my local farmer's market as I can. 
I use three basic methods for cooking the vegetables: an electric pressure cooker, a pot with a steamer basket or an old fashioned skillet, depending on what I am envisioning. Occasionally, I will roast vegetables, but only on the weekend. I'm not going to go into details here about how I do this. It's information for another day (or maybe a series of videos that my ten year old daughter has committed to making for us).

I flavor my vegetables really well. I'm just not that interested in eating plain veggies for the rest of my life--I tried that and failed. The vegetables that I make are so delicious, that I look forward to eating them every morning and every lunch. The beauty of eating vegetables for breakfast is that I absolutely cannot eat them unless I am truly hungry. I have gotten in touch with my true hunger signals for probably the first time in my life.

I pair the 2 pounds of delicious cooked veggies with 1 large sweet or regular potato or 1 cup of cooked whole grain like quinoa, brown rice, spelt, barley, farro, etc. I don't even begin to attempt to cook the potatoes or unprocessed grain in the morning--that would take far too long. I bake potatoes in large batches and refrigerate them once a week, and I do the same with grains. This can happen on the weekend or an evening, depending on when inspiration strikes. If I run out of something cooked, I can always grab a bag of cooked and frozen brown rice or cooked and frozen quinoa from my freezer.

On weekdays, I put the vegetables and starch all into one large plastic container and then the container goes into a medium sized insulated bag that I picked up at Target. I eat breakfast when I get to work and start checking my e-mails, voice mails and to do list (sorry, this violates all rules of mindfulness while eating--my life is just not set up for that right now). On weekends I get the luxury of serving myself breakfast in a beautiful handmade bowl (I'm not sure if I ever told you this but I used to be a serious potter).

I eat until I'm full and save the rest for lunch. This has really simplified my life.

If I'm hungry in the afternoon, I eat fresh fruit. 

Dinner is some amazing soup, stew, stuffed potato meal or other recipe (like Lentil Tostadas or Enchilada Strata) out of the 21 UWL day recipe guide. Almost all of the recipes are really quick, easy and delicious. One is best left for the weekend (the Enchilada Strata), but it's so worth the extra time. 

More fresh fruit if I want dessert, and a few times a week I indulge in a small smoothie or fruit whip. I still have a pretty active sweet tooth!

I think I am a person that needs some amount of variety in order to keep this going. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm very happy with my veggies these days!

Yes, we don't use oil or salt on this whole foods, plant based plan. I season my food with a variety of salt free seasoning blends (I'm like a collector now) or a nut free, oil free homemade sauce that I have in the refrigerator. 

No sugar. No flour. Nuts and avocado are healthy, but far too calorie dense for me not to gain weight if I am including them more than once or twice a month in my diet.

All this might sound impossible unless you have three things going for you:

(1) you have neuro-adapted or are committed to neuro-adapting your taste buds so that food without oil, salt and sugar tastes amazing to you (and I promise you, it will!)

(2) you've got a set of compliant recipes or the knowledge of how to prepare amazing whole food meals from scratch without recipes (it's so easy, you'd be shocked)

(3) you are involved in some kind of community support online (almost no one has real world community support with a program like this--but the virtual world is ripe with it). I am on Facebook many times per day and I feel totally connected to a power greater than myself. I'm surrounding myself virtually with people who share my struggles and think and eat the way that I do. It's shockingly effective.

I have been asking (really begging) Chef AJ and John Pierre to host a second challenge just for readers of Healthy Girl's Kitchen who weren't lucky enough to get in on the first UWL challenge. It will begin on April 13th. Sign up will start in a few weeks. Look out for all the information that will be coming to you by email if you are a subscriber to this blog!

For all of you who have been on the current UWL 21 day challenge (or a past challenge), I'm really curious! What does a typical day of food look like for you? I'm always looking for fresh ideas to keep me going!
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