So. A friend approached me with a project. She wants to make some changes to her diet, and asked if she could hire me to plan and shop and make all her food — for three weeks. It’s sort of what I’ve been wanting to do, but now that it’s here? It’s daunting, definitely. I’m no expert, to be clear — I just like to cook, I’ve learned a fair bit about nutrition on my own over the years, and I’m interested in learning more.
I have a lot of recipes in my Pinterest/Evernote queue, but now I need to make plans, figure out what can be made ahead of time, how far ahead of time, and how long it’ll last. Many of the grain and legume salad recipes I have aren’t really intended for single servings, so I’ll either have to cut them down or split them up and adjust the cost.
I’ll be blogging along the way, since I think it’s an interesting small-scale project. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to do this full-time, and very sure that I couldn’t maintain my standard of living with this as a full-time job, but it’s fun to give it a try for a short time! And I have a selfish reason for doing it, too: it’ll get me back in the habit of making more food for Melli and I, so that we eat out less. We wax and wane on that one, despite intentions, and lack of planning is what almost always trips us up.
So, for the next three weeks, I’ll be blogging menus and our reactions to the meals. We’ve worked out a deal: she can’t micromanage the menu, send anything back or otherwise “cheat” by buying anything other than what I make. She can make requests for more of something in particular, and obviously I’d rather that she enjoy what she gets! And I’ll want to adjust throughout to make sure she feels like she’s getting enough nutrients, so we’ll probably check in daily at first. She doesn’t want to count calories or carbs or protein or anything, so I’ll have to keep track of a certain amount of that both to document what she’s getting during this three weeks, and also for her to compare against her energy levels. She’s planning on kicking up her current exercise routine at the same time, so it’ll be an extra challenge to make sure she’s getting enough.
The parameters for the three weeks are hers: no gluten, refined sugar, animal products, alcohol or caffeine. Other than that, she says it’s all up to me — GULP.
- At least 3 servings (1 oz) per day of whole grains
- 3 servings of low-fat / fat-free dairy
- 5-6 oz. protein
- 2 c. fruit
- 2 1/2 c. vegetables
I have ZERO experience with gluten-free cooking, so that’ll take some additional research. Her plan doesn’t call for a 100% ban on gluten, but she wants to avoid it where possible — no wheat flour, for starters. Again, the ADA has some suggestions here, geared towards people with gluten intolerances.
I think we’re a yes on small amounts of unrefined sugar like honey (which we can actually get from neighbors), but only when necessary. Adding lots of fruit, and lots of different kinds should help make up for the lack of sugary things.
It’s been a while since I cooked or ate vegan, so that part will take some extra attention, too. I plan on making some non-alcoholic cocktails for those “I could kill a beer” moments, and I’m hoping that delicious breakfast smoothies will help distract from the lack of morning caffeine.
Time to put all those recipes and packed-lunch experiments to work!