I’d like to preface this post by saying that I’m not an adventurous eater. At all.

I’ve touched on it a few times in my previous Athletes’ Journal entries, but I have a tendency to eat a pretty basic diet, and don’t venture out of my comfort zone to try new foods nearly as much as I should. Since starting my training at TB12, I’ve really tried to slowly incorporate new things into my diet, one food at a time.

Taking it slow like that has allowed me to improve my eating habits gradually. Recently, though, I decided I wanted to take a giant step out of my comfort zone and try something I had been thinking about for a long time. I started eating like the GOAT.

#EATLIKEAGOAT

I had been dying to try the TB12 Performance Meals since they were first announced last March. Everything about an organic, plant-based diet is outside of what I’m used to, and I had never tried any kind of meal delivery service, either. I really had no idea what to expect when my first box of food arrived.

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I first got the meal box back to my dorm room. As if I wasn’t fired up enough about trying the meal in the first place, the #EatLikeAGOAT with the TB12 logo on the top of the box was all the motivation I needed to tear open the packaging and get started on my first meal.

Here’s how it works: the box comes with three separate meals to make over the course of the week. The recipes with cooking instructions come on three large laminated sheets that sit on top of the food. The first sheet caught my eye immediately, so I decided to make Butternut and Black Bean Quesadillas with Cumin Sour Cream right away. I love quesadillas, so I figured that was a great way to ease myself into the big adjustment of eating these meals.

The food itself made a great first impression, since every ingredient was fresh and natural; just produce, spices, and vegan sauces, nothing ultra-processed or artificial at all. I don’t have much cooking experience and had never put together a pre-planned meal like that, so I was justifiably nervous about how the final product would turn out. It really didn’t help that my dorm kitchen has no countertop space and an oven so small that I can’t even fit a normal baking sheet inside.

I knew right away that my quesadillas were going to look just a tad sloppier than the culinary perfection displayed in the photo on the meal card. I just wanted to make sure my quesadillas tasted great regardless of how ugly they turned out to be. Lucky for me, the process was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I had no issues at all putting the meal together, thanks in part to the easy-to-follow directions and the well-incorporated photos in the recipe card. The whole process was novice-proof — it seemed like even I couldn’t mess it up.

EXCEPT FOR ONE SMALL DETAIL

The only challenge I ran into during the cooking process was figuring out how to open the can of black beans despite not owning a can opener. I tried cutting it open with one of my cheap knives and slamming it against the corner of my kitchen table before I finally smartened up and went door-to-door to see if any of my hall neighbors had a can opener. That 20-minute delay was a minor bump in the road before I was finally able to open the beans (without smashing the can to pieces) and get back to work.

Not surprisingly, my final product only vaguely resembled the professional photo on the card — especially after I got greedy and tried to stuff a little too much of the butternut squash into one quesadilla, then ran into trouble flipping it on the frying pan. I thought about taking a picture of my disaster of a quesadilla, but I demolished the entire meal before I even had time to sit down at the kitchen table.

I was hooked from the first bite on. I couldn’t believe that I was eating natural, plant-based food (that I had cooked for myself!) that actually tasted great. I had kept my expectations low going into my first week of TB12 Performance Meals because I had just assumed that meals as healthy as these would have to sacrifice taste.

That first bite proved me wrong. The whole experience left me really pumped to continue to eat the meals and dive deeper into the TB12 Method.

Get The TB12 Performance Meals

DELICIOUS

That first experience with TB12 Performance Meals was back in the late fall, and I’ve continued to eat the meals on a weekly basis since then. While my abilities as a chef haven’t improved as much as I expected over the last few months, my eating habits absolutely have. I’ve become so comfortable with meal planning that I’m now able to stretch the three meals in the box into more than half a week’s worth of lunches and dinners thanks to the magic of plastic containers.

The last few months have also reinforced the fact that my first experience with TB12 Performance Meals wasn’t an outlier. Although there are some meals that I love more than others (the Socca Pizza and Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos are amazing), I’m now more willing than ever to step out of my comfort zone and try the meals no matter what they are. I’ve found that I just generally feel better after eating a TB12 Performance Meal than I do after eating some of the bulky, high-carb, and fatty meals I normally would. I get home from my handball practices three nights a week at 10:30 p.m., and I’m always exhausted and left with absolutely no desire to put the time and effort into making myself a full dinner that late at night. Where I used to turn to pizza, sandwiches, or pasta for a quick (and junky) dinner, I now have a fridge fully stocked with healthy ingredients I can cook up in a half hour or less. There’s no better feeling than following up an exhausting handball practice with a healthy plant-based meal and loaded fruit smoothie, and that’s something I never would have imagined myself saying.

 

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

Try to make this the week that you really step out of your comfort zone and try some new foods. Check out some of the TB12 recipes that are all over the app and see what plant-based eating is all about! Find a meal that looks good to you and give it a shot no matter how skeptical you are or how different it may seem from your normal routine. I think you’ll find that eating like the GOAT is a lot easier and a lot tastier than you expect!

 

The Athletes’ Journal will provide you with a first-person narrative on the TB12 Method, covering pliability exercises, workouts, hydration, nutrition, cognitive exercises, and rest. Our first TB12 Athlete, Drew, has been training at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center and living the Method for over a year as he pursues his goal of playing Olympic Team Handball. This is his second Athletes’ Journal, be on the lookout for more!

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