It was like what I imagine a final meal on death-row would be like.
There I was, sat at the kitchen counter, an over-sized portion of roast potatoes and stuffing in a hash, hot off the pan. An 8oz sirloin steak, medium rare, cooked to perfection and seasoned accordingly, would be accompanied by a room-temperature glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Christmas selection.
To top off the Sunday evening, they would be washed down by a half bag of sour jellybeans, the last of a tin of sour creme and onion-flavoured Stackers, the Aldi-equivalent of Pringles, and a handful of sweet chilli Kettle crisps, because that’s how I roll during the lockdown.
While the steak was dealt with and the wine downed, the whole occasion played out like I was saying farewell to the finer (read: less healthier for me) foods in life, at least for the next month or so.
If that description of a hearty home-cooked meal and a crazy snack and sweet-filled follow-up rings true with anyone else, I feel you.
I’ve been doing it for too long and with an over-reliance on sugary snacking to fill the void between relatively well-prepared meals, I’m changing things up.
If you’ve ever wondered is it possible to go cold turkey and do no turkey, or chicken, or beef, or dairy, then wonder no more.
For the month of February, I’ve decided to take some rather radical action and give the whole month over to a plant-based wholefoods diet when it comes to all things food.
Why would you do such a thing?
Straight up, I love a challenge – and to me, this is a challenge.
Having the odd day here and there, or the lentil stew, or adding broccoli to my dinner, that’s not a challenge. Cutting out the trash and the eating clean for a month, now that’s a challenge.
But there’s also the fact that I need to ditch a rake of things that I’m eating, work on erasing some bad habits (ducking to the shop for the packet of crisps on the way home, that turns into two packets for the drive), cut down and out on the excess sugar intake and generally eat more fresh food.
I’m doing it for me, I’m doing it for family, I’m doing it to see if it can be done and if it can, it will be done to mark long-term changes. Bags (upon bags) of jellies? Gone. Fizzy drinks across the week? Gone. Giant cappuccinos? Gone. The bars of chocolate that go with the coffees? Let’s ease those off.
This is cold turkey, or no turkey, chicken, beef or the rest.
Given we’re a while away yet from restaurants reopening and I won’t be seeing a Farmers Market until at least the middle of June, it seems like there’s never been a better time to give it a try.
But what will you eat?
Honestly, I’ll be eating a lot of what I do now only there’ll be no meat involved, little to nothing in terms of processed foods, a serious cut back on the white bread, takeaways, and the rest.
Breakfast this morning? A tidy oat berry smoothie with blueberries, apple and more on oat milk. Lunch? Mushrooms cooked in soy sauce, a drizzle of maple syrup, paprika, on a bed of tomato, lettuce, humous and all rolled up in a wholemeal wrap.
Mrs. Ken On Food is the well-documented vegetarian who, since our daughter arrived late 2019, has been following a primarily vegan diet while we work through assessing allergies, introducing the new addition to the family to a wealth of food experiences.
That has meant my cooking over the past year has been primarily vegan, from curries to pies to experimenting with avocado, tofu and all these wonderful things that never really flew across my radar. Ok, they were there, but I never went actively looking for them.
I may have to draw the line when it comes to mushrooms but essentially I’m building on the groundwork laid over the past few months while casting aside more heavily processed food and trying to scratch the junk food off the list as well.
Given that my general fruit and vegetable intake is quite minimal, starting from a low base will be interesting.
Are you following anything?
Yes – in as much as I can anyway.
Back at the beginning of January, I picked up a copy of The Plant-Based Diet Revolution: 28 Days to a Happier Gut and a Healthier You (aff. link) by Dr. Alan Desmond with Bob Andrews in the background somewhere.
I had interviewed Alan last year for the Urban Gym podcast (also carried on the Ken On Food feed) where we spoke about all things plant-based, the health benefits (with the medical backup) and just generally had a great chat.
At the time, I didn’t know there was a book on the way, but it landed in the shops at the beginning of January, and if it’s going to take 28 days to kick start a happier gut and a healthier me, then why not use February as an end-to-end month to give it a lash?
It may not be a bible for the next 27 days, but the 4 weeks of meal plans, shopping lists and recipes will be fairly handy!
Are you documenting anything?
Absolutely. I’ll do an end-of-week post after each of the four weeks to see how the food is shaping up. I’ve managed to get some “before” photos taken as well and get some measurements in keep an eye on some statistics after the month.
Elsewhere, I’ll be making a few adjustments to look at getting earlier nights in the bed, monitoring sleep stats and getting some work in on Zwift to get some regular exercise in.
And sure we might line up some interviews in a month’s time to dig a little deeper into the lifestyle.
Time to get cooking
With all that said and done, it’s time to get cooking. Here’s to a happier gut and a somewhat healthier me in a month’s time.