When I decided to register for the NYC Marathon, I realized that I needed to do something about my nutrition. During my training for my first marathon, I gained 10 lbs. Then over the last 2 years, I gained another 8-10 lbs. Although I’m not sure that I’ll ever get back down to my pre-marathon weight, I would like to fit in my clothes again. Furthermore I know that I’m very sensitive to food choices – both during the work day and during my longer training runs.
Back in March I tried to make sure I was increasing my fruit and vegetable intake. My goal was modest: eat one serving of either fruit or vegetable daily. That should have been easy but, honestly, there were days that I didn’t even achieve that goal. I knew that as the weather warmed up, it would be easier to get fruits and vegetables. We’ve planted a nice garden this year and we’ve joined a CSA which starts this week. Both should make eating a more plant-based diet easier. (I had a salad made from fresh-picked greens, carrots, and pea pods from the backyard tonight!)
In May we finally bought a Ninja smoothie maker. We used Simple Green Smoothies and started with the 10 day kick start. We had a smoothie for breakfast each morning and then ate our usual food the rest of the day. The smoothies all started with spinach and then added liquid and fruit. They were surprisingly filling and we were definitely getting several servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
For reasons of temporary insanity….or just inspiration….we decided to go a step further. Rich and I thought it would be helpful to do a 7 day cleanse. Rich researched options and we chose the Thrive 7 Day Reset. The plan is vegan, gluten-, caffeine-, and alcohol-free. A pretty far cry from how we usually eat. The initial shopping list cost over $200 for 2 people and we had to re-stock during the week. Eating a plant-based diet is apparently quite expensive!
We drank the same smoothie for both breakfast and lunch each day. The smoothies were either spinach or kale based. Most of them were tasty although I have found that I don’t love smoothies that have a lot of avocado in them (and I love avocado). Upon awakening we were supposed to drink hot water with lemon and turmeric in it. That lasted exactly one day as I couldn’t get it down. In addition to the smoothies, we ate a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack each day. The snacks were tasty – avocado, almonds, apples with almond butter (not eaten together, those are just a few examples). Dinner was the equivalent of a large salad most nights. The most filling night was roasted vegetables which included sweet potato.
We cheated one night when we attended a wedding. I think we both stuffed our faces as much as possible! I had some coffee without sugar (I usually drink my coffee to taste like coffee ice cream) but only a few days of the week. We went to our local brewery for beer one night but didn’t eat any food there. Other than those cheats, we followed the plan pretty closely.
The positives: I lost 3-4 lbs that week. I didn’t get the caffeine withdrawal headaches that I expected. I felt pretty energized the whole week. The food tasted pretty good.
The negatives: Rich and I had the same calorie intake even though we are not the same size. We were both starving all week but I think it was worse for him than for me. Some of the snacks weren’t terribly portable which made it challenging to figure out how to bring the food to work. The hardest of all was not being able to eat with other people. It was so restrictive that eating outside the home would have been almost impossible. And I gained some of the weight back as soon as we returned to regular eating.
Would I do it again? I think so. It was expensive and labor-intensive but I generally felt good the whole week (hungry but good). I could see doing this 2-3 times per year to reset my diet. More importantly we are continuing to have smoothies for breakfast most days (every so often you just need bacon and eggs) and I am placing greater importance on making sure that plant-based foods are included in my diet. I know that there is some seasonality to it – having a weekly farm share plus a garden will make that easy for the next few months – but I can do better than I was.
My goal going forward is to increase the amount of plant-based foods in my daily diet. I hope that will help shed a few pounds but that’s a secondary goal. Let’s see how things go as I increase my weekly mileage….