If you’re like a lot of Westerners, you might not have given much thought to your food philosophy. Maybe you were raised in a house that ordered pizza every Tuesday and fried chicken every Friday, or maybe you grew up on mom’s cooking. Whether you have a bowl of ice cream after every meal or stick to a diet of protein and vegetables, there’s probably a lot you’re doing well, and at least a little bit of room for improvement.

At TB12™, the goal is to eat as much seasonal, local, and organic food as possible. On top of that, we also focus on eating mostly plant-based. This goes beyond having a salad at lunch and some Brussels sprouts with dinner — although those are beneficial parts of a healthy diet. The goal is to eat more plant-based meals throughout the day, and see how much better you feel.

The benefits of a plant-based diet have been proven. According to Paul Hagerty (LAc, CSCS), a Body Coach at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center, eating plant-based allows you to get a range of essential phytonutrients that are believed to help combat chronic degenerative diseases. “Eating plant-based can also help you get a larger variety of vitamins and minerals that can help with everything from your bones to your skin,” he says. We also emphasize alkalizing plant-based foods, which help limit inflammation and promote sustained peak performance.

Here’s a challenge to help you kick-start your plant-based regimen, and see how much extra energy it gives you!

 

THE CHALLENGE

For each of the next 12 days, you’ll swap one of your normal meals for a plant-based, dairy-free, and meat-free option — every single day. Don’t worry about every meal, just focus on one plant-based dish a day. So, if you’d usually have a burger for lunch and grilled chicken for dinner, you can have the burger for lunch and make your dinner a plant-based power bowl. It’s that easy!

According to Paul, after 12 days of eating just one plant-based meal a day, you should feel lighter, faster, and have more energy. You won’t be making any major sacrifices, and we’re here to help — we have incredible plant-based recipes that the whole family can enjoy!

 

PREPARING FOR THE CHALLENGE

Studies have shown that when you spend time preparing and planning your meals, you’re likely to eat healthier. Set yourself up for success with these five easy steps.

1) Plan ahead. The best laid plans to can be derailed when you get home late and don’t have the energy to cook. Get ahead by prepping as many veggies as you can over the weekend and keeping them in the fridge. Wash and slice carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and any other favorites you might have, then store them in airtight containers. That way, all you’ll have to do at mealtime is mix them up or steam them!

2) Focus on what you love. Don’t make this any harder on yourself than it needs to be. If you have a particular aversion to kale, don’t try to make a recipe that’s kale-heavy. At the end of the challenge you’ll feel more level-headed and physically lighter, but you’ll hopefully also realize that eating more plant-based meals isn’t hard or unpleasant — it’s great!

3) Keep delicious flavors on hand. Make sure your pantry is stocked with things like black pepper, chili powder, cilantro, and cinnamon — plus any spices you love! Just make sure to keep it to natural flavors, and avoid heavy sauces and dressings.

4) Don’t skimp on protein. Just because you’re having a plant-based meal doesn’t mean you won’t be getting protein. There’s actually lots of protein sources that aren’t from animal products! Focus on incorporating good sources of protein like legumes and nuts into your meals, and consider healthy snack options like TB12 Protein Bars, TB12 Crunch, and TB12 Snacks so you’ll feel full, energized, and satiated between meals.

5) Don’t lean into carbs. When you go plant-based, don’t just replace the missing meat with empty carbs. Your goal is to add more nutritious vegetables into our routines. A heavy plate of wheat-based pasta isn’t what we’re after here.

 

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