My Success on the 21 Day Challenge
Lately I've been feeling like I could use to lose a few pounds, and while I thought I was eating pretty healthy (at least in my main meals) I couldn't ever drop below 215, part of it was due to the muscle building from power lifting, but also... the late night chips and gummies, or the pastries for breakfast.
Last year I tried to make a really conscious effort to workout more, and was up to 4-5 times a week. This proved to be pretty good, dropping my weight from 223 at the highest, down to 213 before going to Mexico. After returning I was back up to 222, that was 4 months of hard work deleted in a week. I decided I needed to get serious. One of my trainers at the home gym I workout at suggested the 21 day challenge, and I went from 222 to 209.
First, what IS the 21 day challenge? It's to try and not eat any wheat, sugar, salt, dairy, rice, or potatoes for 21 days, FYI it was VERY difficult, but thanks to some planning and a very supportive partner, we were able to complete it and drop 11 pounds. (I took a week off and am now back on it with the goal of getting to 200).
It was super effective! The first week was exceptionally difficult as you adjust to no carbs and sugar and your body rebels, but if you can get through it, you WILL see results. Below I'll break down and example of my weekly shopping list including cost, and some of our favorite recipes. As with all diets, please consult with a doctor before doing anything and know that not everything works for everyone. Also, it's OK to make adjustments if some of it isn't working for you (our peanut butter has salt for example).
Each week our food budget for 2 people was between $165 to $215 Canadian (which was inline with our previous weekly budget of $200 normally). This provided enough food for breakfasts, dinners, and lunches. Your startup cost will be more than this because you will need some things you probably don't have, for example, an assortment of spices (no salt means more everything else), organic honey, organic peanut butter (ours had salt but nothing else), a blender or magic bullet if you want morning smoothies.
Daily Meal Plan
Breakfast: Smoothie (almond milk, choice of frozen fruit, honey, peanut butter, etc)
Lunch: Leftovers from the previous nights meal (or a salad with chicken breast cooked before)
Dinner: One of the delicious recipes below, or chicken with roasted veggies.
Snack: Mixed Unsalted nuts, or apple slices with peanut butter and cinnamon, or ants on a log.
Weekly Grocery List
On average, this is what I would purchase each week, with some changes depending on the recipe or mood.
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
1 Bunch of Asparagus
2-4 Sweet Potatoes
1 Pack of Spinach
1 Pack of Arugula
1 Head of Lettuce
1 Head of Cauliflower
2 Bulbs of Garlic
3 Roma Tomatoes
1 Pack of Smol Tomats
3 Stalks of Celery
1 Pack of Thick Cut Bacon
12 Free Range Eggs
1 Pork Tenderloin
1 Pack of Ground Beef (or Steak, or stewing beef)
4 Chicken Breasts
4-8 Chicken Thighs
1 Bunch of Bananas
1 Pack of Frozen Fruit (Mango, Pineapple, whatever)
1 Pack of Red Kidney Beans
3 Scoops of Quinoa (this is your rice/pasta substitute)
1 Bag of Unsalted Nuts
1 Bag of Rasins
1 Bag of Dates
1 Pack of Zevia Pop
1 Case of Club Soda
Spices I use:
Paprika, Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper
For these remember to substitute anything that isn't part of the 21 Day Challenge, for example don't add salt. If these seem complicated just learn some basics, roasted chicken, roasted veggies, how to cook quinoa, and you can usually make it through a dinner. Just remember every time you try one of the recipes out, or learn how to roast chicken for the first time, it's now in your tool set, you're learning new skills as you go! (Trust me, they wouldn't turn out perfect the first time.)
Twice-Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes https://www.plaidandpaleo.com/2014/04/paleo-twice-baked-breakfast-sweet-potatoes.html
Kale Salad with Sauteed Apples https://brooklynsupper.com/kale-salad-with-sauteed-apples/
Asian Chicken Chopped Salad https://tastythin.com/asian-chicken-chopped-salad-whole30-paleo/
Sweet Potato Fries http://meljoulwan.com/2013/11/07/crispy-oven-baked-sweet-potato-fries/
Chicken Thighs with Pesto https://paleocomfortfoods.com/recipes/chicken-thighs-with-peppery-pesto/
Sloppy Joes https://www.jaysbakingmecrazy.com/2015/04/13/sloppy-joes-paleo-whole30/
Grilled Chicken & Veggies with Tomato Vinaigrette https://lexiscleankitchen.com/grilled-veggie-grilled-chicken-salads-with-tomato-vinaigrette/
Cauliflower in Puttanesca Sauce https://www.cookincanuck.com/cauliflower-in-puttanesca-sauce-recipe/
Tuscan Pork Loin https://sweetcsdesigns.com/five-ingredient-one-pan-tuscan-pork-loin/
Chicken with Brooser Sproots https://www.asaucykitchen.com/one-pan-chicken-with/
Tomato Basil Garlic Chicken https://www.asaucykitchen.com/tomato-basil-garlic-chicken/
Avocado BLT Egg Salad https://www.stupideasypaleo.com/2014/04/30/avocado-blt-egg-salad/
What I learned and am doing differently the second time 'round
The biggest hurdle is the cravings, especially at night, just remember to have some nuts, honey, or one of the snacks ready, it's also good to know that these go away after a couple weeks.
Put aside at least 1 hr each night to cook as some of these recipes take time, but luckily most of them just require some prep and time in the oven.
Make sure to cook enough food! The biggest stress when cooking was "am I making enough for lunch as well. A good thing we learned was to have salad ready in case, that way we could just throw a chicken breast on top and be good for the day. (We found a great dressing you can make with just lemon, oil, pepper, apple cider vinegar, honey, and some other spices.
Do it with someone, having a partner there to help you overcome the cravings and plan the meals was a big factor for our success.
It worked for me! From 223 to 209 in 21 days. It was hard, but now having done it once, I'm excited to try again. It also really opened my eyes to some new recipes and food to cook at home. And, as someone who suffers from Ulcerative-Colitis this has been the best diet I've ever been on in regards to being "regular".
Checkout my Instagram for some delicious pictures of all the different food I cooked will doing the diet. https://www.instagram.com/blairkbrown/