HAVE MORE ENERGY BY MAKING ONE SIMPLE CHANGE TO YOUR DIET
If you’re like a lot of Americans, chances are you haven’t given much thought to your food philosophy. Maybe you were raised in a house that lauded the clean plate club — maybe you’re a lifelong vegetarian. Maybe you crave something sweet at the end of every meal, or you stick closely to a diet of proteins and vegetables almost exclusively. Whatever your approach, there’s probably a lot of stuff you’re doing well, and at least a little bit of room for improvement.
At TB12, the goal is to eat as seasonally, locally, and organically 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 your dinner — although those are definitely delicious and beneficial parts of a healthy diet. The goal is to eat more vegetables in your meals throughout the day, and see how much better you’ll feel. The benefits are 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.
At TB12 we also emphasize the alkaline-producing qualities of plant-based foods, which helps limit inflammation and promote sustained peak performance. So we aim to eat more alkaline-producing foods, and avoid those foods which cause acidification.
For each of the next 12 days, you’ll swap one of your normal meals for a plant-based, meat-free option — every single day. No, we don’t mean that you won’t eat meat all day and we don’t mean that you can’t go out to dinner. The whole challenge is just to make one of your meals plant-based. So if you’d usually have a burger for lunch and grilled chicken for dinner, you can make your dinner a veggie and grain bowl instead (and still eat the burger!). We also encourage you to eat local, organic plants throughout this challenge. “Eating locally is a great way to get the highest nutritional value,” says Hagerty. “In some Eastern cultures, they eat food according to the thermal energetics of the food, so try doing that as we enter the winter months by adding ginger and cinnamon to your meals and drinks,” he says.
According to Hagerty, after 12 days of eating just one plant-based meal a day, you should feel lighter, faster, and have more energy. And it’s not like you’ll be making any major sacrifices — we have incredible recipes for plant-based meals 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, so set yourself up for success with these five easy steps.
Plan ahead. The best laid plans to have the delicious salad you picked out for dinner can be derailed when you get home late and don’t have the energy to do all the chopping and washing it takes to prepare it. Get ahead of this by prepping as many veggies as you can over the weekend, and keeping them in your fridge. Wash and slice carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and store them in airtight containers so that all you have to do is mix them up or steam them and your healthy meal is ready to go.
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 is kale-heavy. At the end of the challenge you’re going to feel mentally clearer and physically lighter, but you’ll hopefully also realize that eating more plant-based meals isn’t actually hard or unpleasant — if you try to force-feed yourself stuff you hate, that’s unlikely to happen!
Keep delicious flavors on hand. Make sure your pantry is stocked with pepper, chili powder, cilantro, cinnamon, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, oregano, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, saffron, and any other herb or spice that you can’t live without — just make sure you keep it to natural flavors, not sauces and dressings that you rely on as spreads or salad toppings.
Don’t skimp on protein. Just because you’re having a plant-based meal doesn’t mean you won’t be getting protein. Focus on incorporating beans and nuts into your meals, and consider healthy snack options like TB12 Protein Bars, TB12 Crunch, or TB12 Snacks to make sure you’re feeling full, energized, and satiated between meals.
Don’t lean into carbs. When you go plant-based, don’t just replace the missing meat with empty carbs: our goal is to infuse more vegetables and their nutrients into our routines, so a heavy plate of wheat-based pasta isn’t what we’re after here. Sorry…
Now that you’re primed and ready to go, see below for our grocery list of TB12-friendly ingredients!
FRESH, ORGANIC VEGETABLES WE LOVE
Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butter lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumbers, endive, ginger, green beans, kale, leeks, onions, radishes, romaine lettuce, shallots, snow peas, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, watercress, and zucchini.
FRESH, ORGANIC FRUITS WE LOVE
Apples, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, coconut, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pomegranate seeds, and raspberries.
Hungry to get started on this challenge? Our TB12 Performance Meals combine all of these steps into a kit with three delicious ready-to-prepare meals delivered to your doorstep each week. For some additional great recipes, we’d recommend you check out our nutrition-related content on the TB12 Method App. There, you’ll find plenty of recipes, updated weekly, to guide you towards a more TB12-aligned nutrition plan.