(Kale & Lentil Soup – pic by Drew)

First off — with our Accidental Nutritionist out-of-state, we still managed to get food kits built and transferred, nothing caught on fire, and there were no knife wounds! This is called “success” when the boss is away, for which we celebrate with this glass of fizzy water and Tuscan Orange bitters!

Meal Plan – Week #21 (Written by Jamie)

Cost: $43.71 week for 3 people // $1.04/serving* (*NOTE: These numbers are calculated off what we actually spend each week, which may include occasional supplements of grain, starch, or beef for Drew and Jamie which Charlie cannot have. Week-to-week fluctuations in cost are more reflective of the times we need to pick up staples like olive oil and vinegar, or weeks where Jamie is prepping three weeks’ worth of cauliflower rice, rather than one week’s meal plan costing extra. Taken overall, we believe this offers a more accurate reflection of what this diet might look like financially for others.)

(Second Note: Most of the food this week was frozen from previous weeks and pulled out for this week when Jamie was out of town. What was bought fresh were mostly vegetables and a couple of staples. This means that the “per meal cost” doesn’t reflect everything Charlie and Drew ate this week, but it also means that previous weeks “per meal cost” stretched even further than it looked like they did.)

Meal Plan Diet Categories: (Gluten-Free, Lactose/Dairy Free, Diabetes Diet, Low Fat/Low Cholesterol, Cardiac Diet, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Meals: (Click on the names to go to the recipe) (1) Turkey Pasta Sauce with Turnip Noodles / (2) Standard Chicken / (3) Thyme Pork Sweet Potato Hash / (4) Kale & Lentil Soup / (5)  Cumin Black Beans (Variation 9) / (6) Citrus Cannellini Beans (Variation 10) / (7) Salads / (8) Quinoa

Snacks:  Chopped Veggies (for dipping) / Balsamic Herb Dipping Sauce / Egg Whites / Naked Popcorn / Almond Butter

Health Stats: Down 42 lbs, and 20″

Diving into week 21 of our adventure, you can see how Charlie’s stats have continued in the right direction even with the newly added rice, oats, and quinoa. The key to this (and to avoid tummy issues with new foods after a long detox) is slow introduction and moderation (of course.) The clearance amounts her Doctor has given are only distributed by about 1/3 for the week, and generally two of the three types at a time. And because Charlie fills up quickly, it is important for her to remember that the veggies are the key and primary focus, with the others used only a fillers/slow burners. It’s also important to balance the higher sugar veggies (corn and peas) with the lower sugar ones (green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.) Keeping the new additions to the meal plan in almost a “treat” status instead of as the new full-time consumption meal plan, is working like gangbusters.

…Meanwhile, though not dedicated to as strict a diet as Charlie, my own eating-for-health journey has also come along slowly but surely. With the same basic meal plan, but with added access to grains and even an occasional red meat fix, and no snacking between meals, (plus pulling back on the alcohol), across 12 weeks I managed to dump 18.6 pounds. Though not a massive ROI in what feels like an extremely slow road to progress, it IS “progress.” And it is fun to swap pant size stories with Charlie.

So…whichever way your journey takes you toward healthy eating — the strict and specific route or the more tempered, occasionally indulgent route — with dedication and these meal plans Jamie builds every week, you can start to make progress to a healthier you.

Trust me, the first time you take a hill you’ve been puffing up for years, without having to stop for a breather till the top — you’ll feel so freakin’ accomplished! You’ll barely even miss not having potato chips as a reward!


P.S. Don’t miss Jamie’s article this week on her fav 5 recipes she’s created so far and why!