I'm so excited that some of you will be joining me on this challenge. If you can't do everyday and every meal it's okay. I understand the cravings, the emotional ties and pressure from friends and family. I once ate and fed my family the standard American Diet.  The way I eat now is the product of 7 years of refinement, experimentation and hiccups along the way.

When I started years back , I didn't have a support system or a good friend to help guide me through the process. What I did have was a spark of internal motivation. I was showing early signs of heart disease. I had also spent the last 4 years watching both my father and my husband's mother succumb to lung and pancreatic cancer respectively. We had a strong family history of heart disease I knew I couldn't ignore. My grandfather who I never met died in his 50s of heart attack and my favorite aunt survived a heart attack at 45. I didn't wan't to become someone dependent on medications for the rest of my life. I did my homework, I read the China Study and slowly started the journey back to health. 

Some of my students will be joining me on the challenge. I'm in Fairfield County, CT so some  of my recommendations will be local. This is a snapshot of what I generally eat. The reason I am doing it is because people ask me a lot what exactly I do. This is a general guideline and you can pick and choose, ignore or follow and see if you like what I do. It's not medical advice, just a sample of where I am now.

The general rule is as follows:

Start the day with lemon water. Limes are okay if you can't get a lemon. Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Make sure to get a lot of dark leafy greens. I aim for at least 10 different fruits and vegetables a day. A general rule of thumb is to try to eat the colors of a rainbow. I don't always do it, but it's a really smart practice. Choose a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans. Eat a smaller meal in the evening by 6pm if doable.  Eat when you are hungry. This is not about starving yourself so listen to your body, just like yoga. Stay away from using a lot of oil. I use olive oil and sometimes coconut oil. This is really all you have to do. I use Braggs liquid aminos to flavor a lot of my food and often instead of salt. Have plenty of fresh green juice. If you don't have a juicer, then look locally. I also juice turmeric, ginger, lemon, with cayenne and black pepper daily.

I have a cup of coffee in the morning now. If you want to be super pure, don't have caffeine or have matcha tea from Japan (not China due to lead). I drink matcha tea daily too. Coffee is probably my worst thing that I do daily but I'm okay with it. It works for me and funny enough I didn't drink coffee for 8 years prior to switching my diet 7 months ago. Go figure.

Reserve alcohol for special occasions. 5pm is not a special occasion :) Seriously though, if you clean up your diet, this urge does subside quite a bit. When I first did a very strict version of my current diet I had no caffeine or alcohol for about 5 months. Now I crave it less and sleep better. This is a personal choice. 

If you can't always stick to vegan and you have a cheat, so be it. Don't consider it a failure or a reason not to continue. This path took me a long time. Go easy on yourself but the more you can adhere to what I'm doing the better your results will be. If you can only make some changes, then that's awesome. You are doing something better than you were before. I will start posting what I eat on Wednesday May 31st. The challenge starts the next day, Thursday June 1st. 

That's it for now