I’m vegan. And gluten free. I don’t consume alcohol or sugar. I err towards low FODMAP. I mostly avoid night shades. I eat relatively little processed foods. I haven’t eaten at a fast food restaurant since 2001. Feeding me is a nightmare.
About one month ago, I started following the Daily Dozen, a checklist of foods we should try to eat every day. After 6 years of vegan, I am finally full! If I eat everything on the list in the suggested serving sizes and number of servings, I am constantly full, beyond full. The Daily Dozen illuminated how I’ve been proportioning my plants over the years and it wasn’t pretty! My constant failure to get in enough greens & other veggies – SOLVED! This is the best I’ve eaten as a vegan.
Dr. Greger wrote the best selling book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. I haven’t read it. It was his little video about the Daily Dozen that inspired me to become a different vegan.
The Daily Dozen, isn’t a formalized meal plan, its guidance. Basically, it tells you to eat these types of foods, this many servings per day, in these serving sizes. Implementation – how you craft your meals for the day is up to you.
In full disclosure, there is hunting and gathering to be done in the morning. I pick and prep 2 cups of grapes from our arbor to serve as my berries and part of my fruit serving; measure and look 2 cups of greens for my smoothie (that’s how we say it in the south – look the greens ie get the dirt & bugs off); chop apples & carrots for snacking; and make a cruciferous salad. It takes about 30 min first thing in the morning.
One bit of advice that Dr. Greger offers is to look at each meal/snack and ask yourself if it can be even more healthy? I keep a two page printout that that I created from his video slides handy on the counter and ask myself “can I add some fruit or chopped greens or nuts/seeds or turmeric?” “How about a glass of soy milk instead of water to get my beans in?” I can usually squeeze in one more serving of something!
Here is a typical day of my meals that captures the foods, serving number, and serving size of the DD.
Toast on gluten free bread with peanut butter and ground flax seed; (1 serving whole grain; 1/2 serving nuts; 1 serving flax); or
*Steel cut oats with apple, flax, seed mix, peanut butter, 1/2 cup soy milk, and turmeric (1 serving whole grain; 1 serving fruit; 1 serving flax; 1 serving sees/nuts; 1/2 bean serving; 1 turmeric serving)
*You can see how this option would get me further on the daily dozen than toast, but sometimes a girl has to have her toast.
Grain with vegetable curry (1 serving whole grain; 1 serving vegetables)
Fried tempeh with roasted veggies over grain/pasta with seeds & turmeric (1-2 servings of beans; 1 serving veggies; 1 serving whole grain; 1/2 servings seeds; 1 serving turmeric)
Snacks throughout the day
Smoothie (2-3 servings fruit; 1 serving berries; and 2 servings greens)
Raw carrot slices (1 serving veggies)
Raw apple slices (1 serving fruit)
Cabbage salad – raw cabbage with vegan mayo, mustard, horseradish, chili paste, sour kraut, and olives (1 serving cruciferous)
Beverages (60 oz per day)
42 oz of water
6 oz coffee
6 oz tea
6 oz herbal tea
Brisk walking (1 serving moderate intensity)
I use the Daily Dozen app on my iPhone. It is a super simple daily checklist that tallies my “grade” as a percentage. If I complete the day’s dozen, I get 100. I like to be an A student, so it motivates me to try to get in the full 12 each day. What I love best about this app is that in the morning it starts over. There is no history/graph/chart to obsess over. It doesn’t remember how I performed yesterday. It doesn’t care how I’m trending. It’s wheelhouse is what and how many boxes did I check today. And that keeps me eating well. I like a clean slate. And a clean plate.