Day Twenty-eight & final thoughts

We did it! We completed the 28 day Abundance Diet eating plan! We are so, SO happy that we did it, even if there were times we were craving a cupcake or french fries. That was all part of the journey. We’ve learned a lot about our eating habits, and just how easy it is to get lazy and go for convenience over quality. We started our day (Sundays are our favorite day of the week) with a run at about 6:00. Wow! You really get to see the beauty that God has created when you’re up that early! 😉 Now, let’s not get hasty and say I’ll be getting up at 6:00 everyday, but it was a gorgeous morning to head out.
Sunrise

We came home, cooled down, stretched, and immediately made our breakfast. On the menu was Quinoa Berry Banana Bowls. I was a little skeptical about a bowl of quinoa, soymilk, and fruit, but it was surprisingly tasty and filled us up and gave us a great hit of protein. Nick added a smidge of PB2 powder to his soymilk which he said added a little bit more sweetness. I might try that next time. Our quinoa was also cold, as we had made it ahead, so I don’t know how it would be if it was hot. More like a porridge or oatmeal, maybe? The fresh berries were great, too.
Abundance diet day 28

We then set our sights on making a GIANT batch of kale chips. We made a hybrid recipe of Somer’s and the All-Dressed Kale Chips from Oh She Glows.
Sunday Funday

We then got ready for the day, and walked over to the local Farmer’s Market. We loaded up on local apples, peaches, cucumber, and green beans. It was a bit of a hot walk home, but it was worth it, and Olive had a great time at the market!
Sunday Funday

We made up the leftovers for the Nicoise salads for lunch. We kind of improvised as we were trying to use a few things that we had leftover in the fridge. For dinner we heated up the Chile Rellenos Casserole, and then couldn’t wait to enjoy our Luscious Lemon Tarts for dessert.
Abundance diet day 28
Wowza. These tarts are delicious! They’re super creamy, and the lemon zest and juice adds just the right amount of tartness. Nick and I both thought that the crust was tasty, but not at all necessary. It would have been great to have more of the creamy goodness! We had a few leftover raspberries from breakfast, and they were a great addition. Every bite was a winner! We’ll most definitely be making these again.

Final thoughts, and what how we’re going to implement what we’ve learned along the way:

1. Even though we didn’t do this diet primarily to lose weight, it was a great “side effect”! Nick lost about 11 lbs, and I lost about 10 lbs. I’m sure that it was mostly from sugar, and all the refined foods we’d been previously enjoying. While we’re not going to go gluten free, we’ll definitely watch our wheat intake, and try to choose better whole grains that keep us from feeling bloated and blah. We aren’t going to give up sugar entirely, either, but we’ve come to appreciate alternative sweeteners, and dates are our new best friends!

2. We’ve also learned that we’ll snack on what we have in the house. So we’re planning to keep the pantry stocked with healthy snacks, like kale chips and Somer’s gluten free cheesy crackers, with loads of fresh veggies and fruits in the fridge. We will definitely enjoy a sweet treat now and again, but maybe we’ll just have 1 cookie, instead of 3 or 4. 😉

3. Sunday has been our day to prepare for the week ahead. Getting dressings made, soups prepared, and veggies prepped. That’s something we’ll definitely keep doing. It makes the week SO MUCH BETTER! There are no last minute “oh, shoot!” moments, and we both know what’s the fridge to grab for lunch. Occasionally it made Sunday afternoons a little hectic, but it was a worth is for an easy breezy week.

4. While we made weekly meal plans before this plan, we’ll definitely do a better job of sticking to what we’ve chosen. We’re planning to stick with a few soups, and various salads throughout the week for lunches. For dinner, we’ve decided to stick with a more whole foods approach, and only occasionally add in a processed item. For example, this week we’re having BBQ Soy Curls (we made our own BBQ sauce), with homemade coleslaw, homemade baked beans (using our own homemade BBQ sauce), and steamed green beans for a weekday dinner.

5. Moderation is the key. Giving up things that we love – like cupcakes, cookies, and french fries – just isn’t something we want to do. But! We know that we can have those things as a special treat, and completely enjoy them. As long as our diet is mostly a clean, whole foods diet, we’ll be good to go.

6. We probably won’t do another 28 days in the future, but doing a week or so would be a great kick start to get us back on track if we should need it.

7. Oh! The biggest takeaway! WE LOVE SMOOTHIES FOR BREAKFAST!! We are totally planning to have smoothies throughout the week, and then enjoy a “special” breakfast on the weekends. Somer’s smoothie recipes are great, and a great starting to point for us to make up some of our own. We always feel full in the morning, and love how easy it easy it is to load up on leafy greens.

Thanks for following along with us these past 28 days. I’m sure there were times that the posts felt a bit boring or monotonous, but we tried to be as honest as we could. We didn’t always want to do it, and there were times we wanted to quit. But we also learned the value of sticking it out, and our bodies are the better for it!

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Day Twenty-Seven

I can’t believe our journey is almost over. As Nick asked you previously, “are you sick of this yet??” 😉 While I’m so happy that we did this plan, I have to admit that I am also ready to be done. Not because the food is lacking, but just because I miss the spontaneity when we’re out and about. We’re anxious to share all of our ideas with moving forward, but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post!

We had plans to take Olive to Old Town Alexandria to a pet boutique that was having a puppy ice cream social. We got into town about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start, so we took the opportunity to walk around, find some new shops, and just enjoy being together. Olive LOVED being in the city! She’s always a little crazy excited at first, but she seems to settle down quickly. She got to meet several other dogs along the way, and she did great at the pet store. They loved on her, and she loved her banana/peanut butter frozen treat.
Day in Old Town

We then headed out to Gravelly Point Park to have lunch (we packed our salads and some fresh watermelon). It’s a really pretty park along Potomac River that sits RIGHT NEXT TO Reagan National Airport. It was so fun to be outside watching the planes fly right over our heads! So cool. Olive loved it, too.
Day in Old Town

Since it was a weekend, we had a special breakfast and dessert to enjoy. For breakfast we had the Carrot Cake Waffles.
Abundance diet day 27
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first, but they grew on me rather quickly. The outside was crisp, and the inside soft and fluffy. (seriously, her gluten free flour blend is MAGIC) I didn’t taste the carrots so much, but the spices were pronounced and tasty. We topped these with a smidge of pure date syrup. Yum! We’ll definitely make these again!

After a great day, and some last minute grocery shopping for next week’s menu, it was time to settle in at home with our cozy pants. After enjoying the rest of Homestyle Mexican Casserole – with fresh avocado! – we were finally ready to dig into dessert. Nick made the Orange-Chocolate Silk Mousse in the morning before we left for the day so it could chill in the fridge and get nice and cold and set up a bit.
Abundance diet day 27
Wow. This mousse is fantastic. The orange flavor is subtle, but not so much that you can’t taste it. It’s just enough. This would be a great dessert to have with company, and you could easily mix up the flavors with other things like raspberry. Nick was so sad when this one was gone. That is always a great sign of a tasty dessert!

It was a really great day, and we had loads of fun together as a family. It was great to be able to pack up our salads and head out for the day. Having a plan about your meals definitely makes you eat healthier when out and about!

Day Twenty-Four

Olive and I were a little sad when we got up and we didn’t have friends here to talk to! But we persevered and went for our morning walk. She met several dogs along the way so she was a happy pup! It was a quiet day around here. I did laundry, picked up around the house, read my new book from the library, and just enjoyed the day. Nick and I recently realized that we have movie channels included in cable. Who knew? AND we found out that one of our favorite shows, “Homeland”, will be starting again in October. Nick discovered that you can watch the first two episodes of last season for free online. We watched the first one last night. After we watch the second one, we’ll have to figure out a way to binge watch last season before the new season starts. We live wild lives I tell ya. WILD.

Breakfast: (1 serving = 1 quart)
Green Julius
Abundance diet day 24
This smoothie called for 2 medium oranges, but I ended up using one giant orange instead. I’m glad that I did because with the orange, and all of it’s zest, it was plenty orangey for me. It didn’t really remind me of an Orange Julius, but it was tart and refreshing. Nick took it upon himself to add a splash of vanilla extract, and he said it tasted like and Orange Julius to him. So there you go!

Salad:
Vegan Nicoise Salad
Abundance diet day 24
I don’t understand this salad. Now, I never had a real Nicoise Salad before becoming a vegan, but even so, I don’t get it. It’s a large salad with all kinds of large chunks of things with a dressing that you drizzle over and keep some on the side for dipping. The creamy miso dressing is delicious, but it was all too confusing and fancy for me, I guess! 🙂 Nick loved it, though. He loved all of the flavors and different elements to the salad. He’s obviously fancier than me!

Soup:
Cheesiest Potato Soup
Abundance diet day 24
I remembered the picture today! So, as I mentioned the other day, we didn’t make all 3 soups for this week because we had leftovers from last week and we wanted to eat up what we had. Even though I ate this soup yesterday I wanted to eat it again today. So yum!

Main:
Homestyle Mexican Casserole
Abundance diet day 24
We ate this casserole in week one. It’s comforting, filling, and all kinds of delicious. I was excited to have this one again! I forgot how just how HUGE the portions are! The portions are massive! I couldn’t finish all of mine. It’s super filling.

Thoughts on today: Nick made a menu for next week, and we are incorporating several ideas from the plan to keep us on track. I won’t tell you all of them right now, because I’m saving that for the last post of this series! 🙂 It’s also SO TRUE that you’ll grab the kind of snacks you have in your house. Right now the only snacks we have are fruit, veggies, and kale chips. Can’t feel bad about eating any of those!

Day Twenty-Three

Good morning! Yesterday was a great day! It was fun to have friends here – even if they had to leave right after lunch. *sad face* We made both J & M smoothies for breakfast (the same ones we were having) and they were both sold! They stopped at the store on their way home for smoothie stuff so they could make some of them at home! Love it. After dinner Nick and I ran to the new Whole Foods Market that opened up here in town. We had used up a bit with more people in the house and just needed to replenish a few things. Then we came home to prep the salad for day 24. There were a lot of steps, so it was teamwork all the way.

Breakfast: (1 serving = 1 quart)
Mango Madness Green Smoothie
Abundance diet day 23
This one is pretty similar to the spotted smoothie we made a couple of weeks ago. I used flax in my smoothie, and M requested chia in hers. Mangos have an interesting flavor to them – a little woody? – but the sweetness from the banana balanced it out. This one went down very easily and was a hit for all!

Salad:
Curried Brown Rice Salad
Abundance diet day 23
This one definitely tastes like curry, so it’s a little on the sweet side for me. However, the veggies give it great crunch to go along with the soft, brown rice. This would be great for a party or a church potluck. We ate the salad cold from the fridge, but it would also be great served at room temperature.

Soup:
Cheesiest Potato Soup
*ack! I forgot a picture of this, too! I blame being a great hostess! 😉 *
YUM! I love this soup. M had a bowl, too, and she thought it was awesome. Success! I love it when non-vegans love vegan food. There are big chunks of creamy potato, slightly crisp carrots, and a cheesy broth with loads of parsley. Mmmmm. I can’t wait to eat this one again. I left it chunky for texture, but you could easily puree the whole thing to make it smooth. She also says you can swap out the potatoes for broccoli to make a cheesy broccoli soup.

Main:
Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna
Abundance diet day 23
Hmmmm. This wasn’t really our favorite. The flavors were good, but the eggplant was such a strong, awkward texture. Also, living in a townhouse doesn’t lend itself to having an outdoor grill, so it took me FOREVER to grill up all the veggies on the stove! Grilling definitely gave the veggies a nice flavor, and the grilled red onion was my favorite. Nick and I liked the overall flavor of the dish, but the eggplant was definitely the downfall. We’re already thinking of ways that we could use the general idea to make it again, but just with different veggies. We did, however, love the sauce that we found at Whole Foods. The recipe calls for an oil free (or low oil) marinara sauce. Whole Foods offers a fat free, organic sauce that’s really delicious! I highly suggest it.

Thoughts on today: dinner took FOREVER, but lasagna IS a labor intensive dish. It was really fun to have friends here who enjoyed our food, and took a few recipes home to try. Nick and I were talking about how we’d have to make our own menu next week. Say what?! It’s definitely been a treat not having to think about what to make.

Have an awesome day!