Now that it’s April, I think it’s finally starting to feel like spring around here, we even have flowers blossoming! All that cold weather made us really just want some junk food, so we’ve been enjoying some cupcakes, cookies, donuts, all kinds of sugar filled goodness. Not to mention all those meringues and macarons! I have gotten to the point where I just can’t take it anymore. All I’ve been craving is fresh fruits and veggies, my face broke out in horrible zits, I’ve been tired and groggy, and overall just not feeling too hot. I knew the solution was pretty simple, just stop eating so much junk! We actually rarely even have tons of junk food in the house, we just happened to be feeling a little more indulgent lately. Plus, when your hobby is baking and cooking, it happens.
We originally decided to just cut out the sugar and processed stuff for a week or so, but then we figured we might as well have fun with it and go for a whole month eating 100% whole-food plant-based. This isn’t really anything new for us, we just usually do it in October, which is arguably one of the worst times to do it if you ask me. I mean come on, how am I supposed to resist all the fun fall treats (including Halloween??)! Warmer months are the way to go- all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies that are actually in season. Thats my kind of heaven.
So anyway, we are following basically the same “rules” that apply to October Unprocessed, just in April! Here are the basic guidelines we like to follow when doing this:
- Whole wheat flour for any baked goods (that means bread is a yes!)
- No store-bought vegan cheeses
- No store-bought meat alternatives
- No refined sugars (coconut sugar, dates, maple syrup are OK, agave is meh)
- When eating out, choose simple meals
- If having pasta, choose whole wheat pasta
- Tofu and tempeh are OK
- Use minimal amounts of oils
- No store-bought breads, tortillas, etc.
- Make your own nut milks
- If you want to get super technical, spices, soy sauce, mirin, etc. are all OK
- Things like cacao powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc. are all OK
- Frozen fruits and veggies are OK
- If you can make it at home, it’s usually OK
Now there are a few exceptions and continuations of these rules. For example, even though you can make something at home, the use of items such as Earth Balance makes it a no-go. However, when buying pre-packaged items, if it only has a few ingredients and you could technically make it at home (maybe you’ve got a busy schedule and don’t have time for all that, who knows!), its OK. This includes things like Larabars totally ok. We bought some corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s that only contain corn and water- we could make it at home if I had the time and/or desire to do so.
An example of a typical day for me would go something like this:
Breakfast- usually oatmeal with bananas, raisins, molasses, and some kind of nut butter
Lunch- leftovers from dinner or a couple of sweet potatoes, 2 oranges, and a banana
Snacks- apples and peanut butter, bananas and peanut butter, handful of nuts, smoothie, etc.
Dinner- tacos with corn tortillas and mushroom filling
In addition to just doing this challenge all month, we are also going to try to blog everyday (don’t get too mad if we miss a day) about how things are going and such. That’s pretty much the gist of our definition of unprocessed and the plan for April. If you’re feeling up to it, join us and tag your posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever kind of social media you are using these days with #AprilAllNatural
This challenge is meant to be fun and re-boot our systems so we don’t feel so poopy, if you’re not having fun and feeling great, there’s no point in continuing!