I'm not going to lie, I woke up last Monday feeling like the odds were stacked against me as far as starting the program goes. My sister, brother in law, and nephew stayed over Sunday night, which is one of the perks of now living closer to family. The downside of this was the pizza remnants inhabiting my refrigerator. Upon waking up, I also happened to receive nature's negative pregnancy test, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend the week eating healthy and working out every day. Scratch that, the last thing I wanted to do was weigh myself and take my measurements, which is what you're supposed to do the first day of the fix.
See... this is where being part of a group helps. There's a very real possibility that I would have said, "fuck it", and put off starting the fix for a few days or a week, but there was a group of seven other people all starting the plan that day, some who posted pictures of the workout they had to wake up at 5am to do because they needed to get the workout in before their children woke up and before they had to get out the door to go to work. Suddenly, my jobless, bloated self was out of excuses, and I jumped into the plan with (feigned) gusto!
I'll preface the sharing of my snackery by reminding y'all that I'm following the vegan version of the 21 Day Fix eating plan. This version of the plan calls for more carbohydrates, emphasizing the importance of whole grains. It also calls for more vegetables, fewer fruits, and fewer proteins. Lastly, certain foods that are categorized as carbohydrates under the regular plan — think beans, lentils, and such — are proteins on the vegan plan. Oh! One more thing, I know they are not vegan, but I did eat eggs, and I counted them as a protein. I include all this information because I don't want to misinform or confuse anyone considering trying 21 Day Fix.
Continuing down the path of setting myself up for failure, Casey and I went out for breakfast on Monday, because we have decided to move our food shopping day to Mondays (for real, the grocery store on a Sunday is hell on earth). Luckily, the place down the street from us offers some healthier options, so I managed to stay on the plan by ordering a breakfast bowl with brown rice, black beans, eggs, tempeh, kale, and avocado.
I totally panic ordered extra protein, and wound up getting almost my entire daily allotment of this food group from one meal.
For the rest of the week, I made breakfasts consisting of eggs, quinoa, and spinach. Toward the middle of the week, I noticed I was struggling to include one of my vegetable servings later in the day, so I added mushrooms and onions to the spinach to sneak in an extra serving.
Now, let's go back to that uneaten pizza in the refrigerator...that beautiful, delicious pizza. On most diets, pizza is one of those forbidden foods, but there is actually a container count listed for it in the 21 Day Fix eating plan. That's not to say the program encourages you to incorporate pizza into your daily routine — the container count for a piece of pizza is so not worth it — but, I do think it's helpful that the program enables you to account for the occasional indulgence, because life happens. So, for lunch on Monday and Tuesday, I had a piece of pizza alongside a big ass salad, and made the necessary adjustments at dinner. I made a way bigger deal out of this in my head than I needed to.
The week's remaining lunches were salads loaded with vegetables, beans, and seitan. I noticed later in the week that I wasn't getting enough servings of carbohydrates, so I began adding brown rice to my salads to bulk them up.
As far as snacks go, I usually had 1/2 a banana each morning, and if I needed the extra serving of carbohydrates, I'd have some oatmeal in the afternoon.
Once again, I had a lot of fun in the kitchen when it came to dinners. Here's what I made:
Deconstructed Vegetable Pot Pies — I am a huge fan of comfort food, and pot pie is no exception. This has become one of my go to pot pie recipes, and I can vouch for the fact that this recipe produces delicious results as written. That said, for purposes of keeping this meal 21 Day Fix- compliant, I made a couple of adjustments:
- I used fresh broccoli and carrots instead of frozen vegetables
- I added 2C of frozen peas for protein
- I used soy milk instead of almond milk (this wasn't so much for health reasons as it was my not wanting to kill Casey. He has an almond allergy)
- I didn't make the vegan biscuits.
Instead of preparing the pot pies the traditional way in ramekins with the biscuit on top, I used the filling as a topping. I used store bought biscuits for Casey's, and cooked millet for mine. It must not have been that bad, because Casey wants to have it again next week.
Tacos — If you need to know one thing about me, it's this. I love tacos, like so much! Admittedly, I don't always make the healthiest decisions when it comes to my favorite treat, and this dinner was more a pile of healthy stuff on top of a tortilla than it was an actual taco, but it was still pretty tasty. The 21 Day Fix eating plan had a recipe for a southwestern seasoning, which I made and enjoyed very much!
I heated the tortilla, then topped it with black beans, brown rice, spinach, peppers, onions, avocado, and pico de gallo.
Red Lentil Burgers — Oh man, these were good, and for sure something I will make again. I only made the patties, opting out of making the aioli or using the suggested buns and toppings. Instead, I cut a 4" pita in half and toasted it to use as a bun, and topped the burger with smashed avocado and a small squirt of sriracha. I added a side of sautéd vegetables, and we enjoyed a kickass meal!
One cool thing about the plan is that up to three times a week, you can exchange one of your servings of carbohydrates for a "treat beverage". For alcohol, this means you can imbibe one 4 oz. glass of wine, up to three times a week. I definitely took took the "4 oz. glass of wine" as a suggestion, and wound up exchanging my carbohydrate for one 12 oz. bottle of beer four times. I don't feel remotely bad about this.
In addition to providing a meal plan, 21 Day Fix includes an exercise plan consisting of one 30-minute workout each day. The workouts are a combination of cardio, muscle building, and active recovery. By day three, going down stairs or walking downhill made me cringe, which eventually subsided in exchange for having to change the way I walked because my hips and/or my side butt hurt. I am almost certain this had more to do with the fact that I was using muscles in a way they hadn't been in a while, and less with the actual workouts.
There is a schedule that indicates which workout you should do each day, and I like that the schedule staggers workouts that target specific muscle groups in such a way that you don't feel like you're overdoing it. There were a couple of days I was a little afraid to press play because I was so sore, but at no point did I feel like I was straining a sore body part. The last workout for the week was a yoga-inspired workout, which was an amazing way to do some serious stretching and mentally prepare for doing it all over again next week.
After one week, I am down about four pounds, and I am definitely feeling a little lighter. I'm attributing most of that to the fact that shark week is over, but a loss is a loss, and it's great motivation for me to keep it up!