30-Day Plant-based Eating Challenge

Today is May 25, 36 days away from my 46th birthday. To say the least, it’s been a hard year so far. We are collectively suffering in one way or another from the stress of having our autonomy limited by the pandemic.

This week I tested my courage by heading back to my small office where apparently no quarantine rules apply. I’m pleased to report that no outbreaks have resulted from our low key breach of the county’s mask ordinance. In all likelihood, we were all exposed early on when at least one office mate had an “unidentified” severe respiratory illness. Our risk to one another now is relatively low, especially with distancing and disinfecting.

One of the most challenging parts of restarting office life was getting back my confidence. I hadn’t exposed my face-and my severe breakouts-to anyone except family and close friends for a while, and I felt especially insecure about the 5 lbs I had gained from all the comfort food I had been consuming. I was fortunate enough to get out for some uphill hiking on a warm afternoon this week and was stunned at how winded I am now after having lost my stamina from weeks of little to no daily exercise.

This weekend, being one of America’s big grill-out holidays, I encountered a surprisingly well-stocked grocery store. I filled my cart with meats, dairy, eggs, salty chips, sweet beverages, and some veggies and seasonal fruit, and thought about what a great dinner party I could throw if it wasn’t a quarantine (and if I was more inclined to throw parties). And while I’m filled with gratitude for all the conditions that made it possible for me to eat my fill of just about any food I wish, I recognize I need to be a lot more conscientious about what I’m choosing to consume.

My age, metabolism, hormone fluctuations, and food intolerances are all catching up to me. There’s an abundance of information (and common sense) that tells me if I made better choices with my diet, my weight, appearance, and mental state would all improve. Over time, it could prove to be a meaningful way to create less waste. Transitioning to plant-based, and eliminating meat, alcohol, sugar and dairy, is something I’ve been wanting to try to see if my body responds positively. Along with daily exercise and more water consumption, I can’t help but believe it will make me look and feel more like my old self, with fewer headaches, breakouts, mood swings.

So it’s time to do some homework and make a plan for a trial. For the month leading up to my birthday, and as a gift to myself, I’m going to treat my body to healthier food and lots of outdoor exercise.

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