Our 2017 21-Day Food Day Challenge officially begins on Monday, October 30th.
We invite you to join us for this annual, complimentary event by clicking sign up here.
The idea of the Challenge is simple.
Individuals from around the world come together and commit to following a 100 percent whole food, plant-based diet for 21 days.
Whether you are just entertaining the idea of eating plant-based or you have adopted a whole food, plant-based lifestyle for years, there is something in the Challenge for everyone.
Throughout our three-week adventure together, you will be supported by like-minded individuals in the community and guided by the resources and expertise of the UC Davis Integrative Medicine team.
This is our 3rd Food Day Challenge, and every year we refine and improve the tools we offer to participants.
Given that good recipes and meal planning are at the heart of any healthful eating program, it is hardly surprising that our most popular resource is our Menu Book.
We first introduced a three-week Menu Book in 2016, and this year we are proud to introduce a brand new edition.
A feast for the eyes (not to mention the mouth and stomach!), our Menu Book is filled with a variety of simple, wholesome and delicious plant-based recipes.
The Menu Book will be your ‘best friend’ both during the Challenge and long after it is over—a source of inspiration and motivation as well as a handy, indispensable tool for your plant-based kitchen.
Let me tell you a little about it.
The 2017 Food Day Challenge Menu Book
The theme for our 2017 Food Day Challenge is ‘Crazy for Carbs,’ so in this year’s Menu Book we put an accent on recipes featuring carbohydrates.
Contrary to the popular myth that ‘carbs are bad for you,’ whole and intact carbohydrates—i.e., those that have not been stripped of their fiber, are some of the most nutritious foods around. Packed with fiber, they slow the absorption of glucose (sugar) in the blood and, therefore, keep you satiated and full of energy all day long.
On the other hand, processed carbohydrates—i.e., those that have been stripped of their fiber during the industrial process, are the carbs you should avoid. With little or no nutritional value, they are energy dense, do not fill you up, and encourage overeating,
Given the distinction, our Menu Book is filled with an excellent selection of recipes for whole and intact carbohydrates organized into three weeks, each with an international theme and a ‘star’ starchy carbohydrate:
- Week 1: Latin American Cuisine and Potato
- Week 2: Mediterranean Cuisine and Pasta
- Week 3: Asian Cuisine and Rice
Within this 3-week framework, we give unique suggestions for lunches and dinners every single day, including yummy, innovative recipes such as:
- Broccoli Rice Bake
- Chickpea ‘Crab’ Cakes
- Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
- Spicy Peanut Stir Fry
- Teriyaki Noodle Bowl
- Tuscan Vegetable Soup
- Wild Rice Salad With Garlic Dijon Sauce
Importantly, even though the cookbook gives you a structure, you can and should customize your weekly menu according to your own taste and dietary preferences.
You can mix and match by focusing on your favorite international cuisine, your favorite carb, or by trying out substitutions.
In addition to the weekly themes and daily plant-based recipes, you will also get:
- Breakfasts: Every week we suggest both a sweet and a savory breakfast recipe featuring a starchy carbohydrate.
- Salads and Dressings: We encourage you to eat salad every day—either as an appetizer or as a main meal. To help you with that, we have included 30+ recipes for oil-free dressings and sauces to try with your personal Salad Bar.
- Soups: Soups are a great addition to any whole food, plant-based diet—easy to make and packed with nutrition. Prepare a big batch of our weekly soups on Sunday then whip up a healthful meal in just a few minutes all week long.
Want to Swap Your Carbs?
Most of the recipes include the week’s theme ingredient (potato, pasta or rice), but here are some of our favorite suggestions when it comes to ‘swapping’ carbs:
- Potato: Cauliflower is often a great substitute for potatoes, particularly when they are meant to be mashed or pureed. Root vegetables like cassava, taro, turnip, rutabaga, and celery root are good alternatives when a recipe calls for a potato to be roasted, baked or boiled. You can replace sweet potatoes with yams, pumpkin or winter squash.
- Pasta: Your pasta can be made with a variety of ingredients such as whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, corn or Jerusalem artichoke. You can also prepare your own pasta with spaghetti squash or spiralized vegetables using zucchini, carrots or palm hearts.
- Rice: There are many types of rice, including wild, brown, red, and jasmine, but you may substitute rice for other whole grains including farro, quinoa, couscous or Kamut. Alternatively, a few dishes may be prepared with cauliflower ‘rice’.
Shirataki, a thin, translucent Japanese noodle, is another substitution option, which might be less familiar. Shirataki is made of water and glucomannan (a water-soluble dietary fiber from konjac yam). It is a good high-fiber, low-energy replacement for either pasta or rice.
Advice on Food Prep and Shopping
The cookbook includes handy shopping lists for every plant-based recipe as well as suggestions regarding food preparation:
- Shopping Lists: In the Menu Book, we share a general pantry list of items, which will be useful for you during the 21-Day Food Day Challenge (and beyond!), plus each recipe is accompanied by its own individual shopping list. Here are some ideas for getting ready for your weekly shopping trip.
- Review recipes on Saturdays
- Choose which recipes you will prepare during the week (feel free to skip around and try recipes from other weeks if you want)
- Use the individual shopping lists which are included for each recipe
- Add the ingredients you will need for breakfasts, soups, and salads
- All recipes are scaled to offer 2 servings each. If you have a bigger crowd at the house, simply double or triple the ingredients. Even if you are on your own, you might prepare recipes in larger quantities and use the leftovers for extra meals.
- Food Preparation: Here are some of our weekly food preparation ideas.
- Chop vegetables for the salads and entrees that you will be eating during the week and keep them in airtight containers.
- Bake potatoes and cook rice or other whole grains of choice in advance.
- Cook dry beans and refrigerate for a few days or freeze for longer.
- Mix up a few salad dressings for use throughout the week.
- Prepare sandwich spreads and sauces and store them in airtight containers.
We are confident you will enjoy this Menu Book as much as we loved creating it for you.
Go here to get your very own copy and to join us for this year’s 21-Day Food Day Challenge!