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We want to help you reach your goal to eat more vegetables and fruits this year with the Whole Kids Foundation 28-Day Challenge.
This at-your-own-pace challenge can be adapted to fit your comfort level and will follow the three principles of healthy eating: Eat a Rainbow, Eat Greens First and Eat as Close to Nature as Possible. We suggest picking one of these three challenges to help improve your health:
- Challenge 1 (Seedling): Eat whole food and plant-based for two meals a day
- Challenge 2 (Sprout): Eat whole food for all of your meals and only allow 10% of all your food to come from animal products
- Challenge 3 (Flowering): Eat whole food, plant-based for all your meals and eliminate all animal products
If these challenges seem too big for you to start your journey, you can also take smaller steps by doing our 2018 challenge, where you can pick more concrete steps toward healthy lifestyle changes.
Of course, if you have any medical questions or concerns, you should consult your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your diet.
Below you will find a host of resources to help you on your healthy eating journey. Click on a topic to jump to that section.
Lets lay out some general ideas for you to follow (or alter) to make your challenge easier
Changing your eating habits is no easy task; we provide some tips to help out
Videos from the experts on eating whole food and plant-based diets
Books that will provide knowledge, recipes and resources to help you continue on the path
Get out the popcorn and snuggle up to see some of our favorite feature-length films on the subject
From meal planners to recipes, this is the place to dig in deeper.
Testimonies from people that have made this transformation for better health.
Eat as Close to Nature as Possible: Eat unprocessed foods and emphasize local, seasonal and organic. That means consider brown rice instead of white rice, do not use processed sugars, and use whole grain flours instead of white flour. No matter what plan you pick, eat a majority of vegetables and fruits. If you select the Seedling Challenge, you will eat whole foods and plant-based for two meals a day. If you choose the Flowering Challenge, you also avoid all animal products, but if you prefer the Sprout Challenge, you will be all whole food-based and avoid all dairy products, but can still have lean meats (suggested below 4 oz per day) and avoid all dairy products. Nuts, seeds and avocados will be your primary sources of fat.
Eat A Rainbow: Remember to eat a wide variety of colors to get a wide variety of nutrients. Make sure every meal has a great selection of different colors in it and try to recreate a rainbow daily.
Eat Greens First: You'll be eating many other colors with the Eat the Rainbow principle but because leafy green vegetables have the most nutritional bang for their buck, try sneaking them into every meal and reaching for them first. They have such high nutrient density and will help fill you up while providing fiber and many great vitamins and minerals!
Committing for 28 days can break some of the bad habits we’ve grown up with and replace them with healthier alternatives. Even if you don’t continue with the lifestyle change after the challenge, you will learn techniques to use for the rest of your life.
Today can be the first day of looking at food in a new way. I want to invite you to not just think outside the box, but to forget the box ever existed. You will be met by challenges each day that will stretch your concepts of food beyond the perimeters we grew up with as a society. I cannot emphasize enough to research the science behind the program and the doctors that back up the evidence. I have included a couple of videos below under What the Doctors Say to get you started on your new path.
What to Expect
After your first five days, you should start to feel a little ‘better.’ The first four days are usually the toughest to get through. Your body will begin to go through detoxification, pushing all of the toxins out of your system, which can cause headaches or irritability. After four days, most symptoms of detoxification will go away. Please consult a doctor if any medical symptoms continue.
If you are new to this lifestyle, you may be noticing there aren’t many options at restaurants. Most chefs are trained to add butter, oil, fat, sugar and salt to make dishes taste ‘better.’ Restaurants cater to The Standard American Diet, which is a majority of processed food and animal products, leaving less than 10% for fruits and vegetables. If you visit a restaurant with quality ingredients, you can often get something from the menu altered or call ahead to see if they can make something to fit your needs. We will also provide links to many recipes below that will help you on the journey at home.
Temptation seems to pop up everywhere during your first weeks. Is it Girl Scout cookie season or a holiday coming up? Think about how bad you’d feel after a box of Thin Mints or high-calorie holiday favorites. Oddly enough, those who crave these types of foods during the challenge will find themselves later craving dishes they ate during the challenge. Breaking habits and sticking to the Healthy Eating Principles during the challenge will also change your taste buds. The tongue is the quickest healing organ in our body and the cells of your taste buds are replaced frequently. It only takes seven days to reform your taste buds, and we will have done that four times over!
Getting the family involved in healthy eating can be a daunting task. Having the kiddos to eat fruits and veggies younger can change their pallets to prefer more nutritious foods later in life. If you are looking for some great activities to get the kids involved at home? Check out our Whole Kids Foundation’s Better Bites activity pages. Each page is packed with bite-sized inspiration and easy-to-digest nutrition lessons and tips—with a dash of fun for kids of all ages.
Now here is the thing. This challenge isn’t a diet. It is a lifestyle change. The challenge is designed to break your old eating habits and help you adopt new ones. It takes 21 days to break a habit and 21 days to make a new one. When the challenge is done, you should incorporate what you have learned into your everyday routine.
Remember the ‘rules’ you’ve learned for better eating habits:
- Avoid over-processed and artificial ingredients.
- If you're eating meat, pair it with twice as many vegetables.
- Choose foods with high nutrient value thereby limiting empty calories.
Once you complete the challenge, you might be tempted to go out and devour a meal they think you’ve been missing (e.g., a burger and fries or a pizza). Careful here, folks! On the challenge, you detox your system for 28 days and your body is used to the lifestyle. Your system has gotten used to this cleaner way of eating, and if you devour an entire pizza covered with cheese and pepperoni tomorrow, your body will scream back at you. If you are craving something you used to love and still want to partake, take it slow and remember all your hard work and success.
What the Doctors Say
- Cardiologist Dr. Kim Williams talks about whole foods, plant based diets and how they effect the heart.
- 7 of the top plant-based doctors highlighted in one video
- Dr. Joel Kahn answers common questions about going plant-based
- What the Doctors eat for dinner
- Author of How Not to Die Dr. Michael Greger’s Ted talk on plant-based diets
- Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey talks healthy eating and the Whole Foods Diet
- Healthy lunch and snack ideas from the Doctors
- Dr. T. Colin Campbell talks about getting rid of chronic diseases through diet
Our Reading List
Books that will provide more knowledge, recipes and resources to help you continue on the path
- Your Body in Balance: The New Science of Food, Hormones, and Health – Dr. Neal Barnard
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual – Michael Pollan
- Eat for Life – Dr. Joel Furhman
- The Whole Foods Diet – John Mackey
- The China Study – Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- How Not to Die – Dr. Gregor
- The Plant-Based Solution – Dr. Joel K. Kahn
Below is a plethora of websites with amazing recipes and meal planners to help you on your journey. Many people feel they don’t have the time to cook, but if you follow this tip, it will make it more manageable. When you get home from the grocery store, put everything away in your pantry and freezer, but keep your produce out. Get out a cutting board and a knife, then cut your vegetables up into small usable size pieces (dice or julienne) and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
That way, when you get home from work or school, you are only about five minutes away from cooking a meal because you’ve already done all the prep. Then it’s as easy as saying, “What country do I want to go to tonight?” If it’s Italy, add basil, garlic and oregano. If it’s Thailand, add coconut, ginger or lemongrass.
This technique is called batch cooking, where you pick one day to make food, so it is ready during the rest of the week. You can also cook a big pot of brown rice and a separate pot of beans while cutting up the vegetables. Pair them with your veggies for a complete meal!
- Whole Kids Foundation Recipes
- Whole Cities Foundation Recipes
- Forks Over Knives Recipes
- Engine 2 Recipes
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Recipes
There are many meal planners out there that you can pay for (Engine 2, Forks Over Knives, and Live Kindly are pretty great), but here are three FREE meal planners to get you started.
Get inspired by people who have made this shift and changed their health for the better!
“I’ve gone from four blood pressure medications to two, and I’ve cut the dose in half for those two. My average blood pressure is now 112/70. I haven’t had atrial fibrillation since I started the diet. To cap it all off, I’ve lost 28 pounds.”
“I’ve been whole foods, plant-based now for a little over two years, and I have transformed. I no longer need blood pressure medication. I am no longer prediabetic. My BMI is now in the normal range. I’ve had to get a whole new wardrobe, as I went from wearing size 22 or 24 to wearing size 8 or 10.”
“When I stopped eating dairy and moved to a whole food, plant-based diet, I had no more hives, no more constipation and no more allergies. I truly believe that the body is a self-healing organism and that what we eat creates our blood that makes our cells that create our tissue that makes our organs.”
“In April 2018 after a five-day migraine attack, I adopted a whole-food, plant-based diet, which was free of oil. Five days into the new diet my ever-present migraines disappeared. On the 11th day, I did develop a migraine, but it was short and less intense. Over the past two years, I have averaged just two migraine days per month—down from 18. For the first time in years, I have my life back.”