I am so excited to write this, so I'll just start here. I'm a week in to Ashley Carlson Co.'s new plant-based program, Nourish + Glow, and I feel incredible!
I should start out by saying that I'm a decade-long vegetarian, thought I knew quite a bit about healthy eating, and generally spend most of my grocery store expeditions in the produce aisle already. I thought this was going to be such a no-brainer, and I was super (happily) wrong.
When I first looked at the grocery list, I was super impressed by how many of the ingredients were incorporated into multiple recipes. I was also super excited to try some new things! (Hello, Dragonfruit!)
I have crazy high praises for Ashley already, as my boyfriend's sister, and I'm fully prepared to call her my soulmate if he and I don't work out.
But as for her education, training, and her program, I am SO amazed. Unlike many of the wellness accounts we all follow, all over social media, I believe Ashley is totally qualified for her title. She has a degree in Healthy Lifestyles from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and her take on mental wellness and its incorporation, or interconnectedness really, to your diet is so important to me. I have been battling anxiety and depression for the majority of my life, (and actually used a vegan diet to combat postpartum!) and I fully believe that how we treat ourselves, especially when dieting, determines how we feel.
This program is not about restriction, it's not about deprivation; it's about abundance and whole, clean, goodness. And I love that! I've seen diets that blatantly tell you that you're not allowed to eat certain fruits because of the sugar content, but you should still eat a slab of steak for dinner each night (I'm looking at you, HcG Diet).
This program is about spending some time on yourself. So far, I'm a week in, and I've created a whole list of affirmations. I've sat down four times to meditate (that's about double the amount I had in the past 3 months). I've spent more time in the kitchen. I've spent more time in the shower. I TOOK A BATH. I've gone to bed every night smelling like a spa, thank you doTerra. I've slowed down when I'm eating, put my phone down, and actually paid attention to the flavors I'm putting in my mouth. I've drank so much lemon water that I have to pee at all times, and I have so much energy. I own a coffeehouse, and have not had (nor needed) coffee in over a week!
I was really excited to try things I'd seen on Pinterest but didn't actually know where to find in store, like dragonfruit, watermelon radish, and spirulina. In case you were wondering, they are as amazing as they look on your feed.
But here's where I realized that I wasn't the greatest know it all vegetarian on earth: I had NO idea where to find so much of this stuff. I really had to expand my horizons and step out of my usual aisles at the grocery store, which made shopping really exciting. I've discovered so many new products that make a plant-based lifestyle seem completely easy.
Even if you are not trying to go "vegan", this program is great because it's not either. This is plant-based. Meaning our portions should be more about fruits and veggies, and less about grains and meats. Think about the pie chart and pyramid from grade school, and throw them away in your brain's receptacle immediately. Throw some shrimp in your pasta, toss some feta on your salad, GO FOR IT! But make the greens the focal point.
What's incredible to me is how sweet something can be when it's sugar-free, how filling something can be when it's gluten-free, and how not bloated you feel after something that's dairy-free. Like I said, this is not about restriction, it's about giving your body everything that's good for it, and to experience how amazing you feel when you do.
I don't want to give too much away, but I received SO many messages when I posted a few of these meals on my Instagram stories, so I thought I'd give you a little insight to the Nourish + Glow program. (I picked my two favorites, which just so happened to be the two that received the most attention!)
1) BANANA PANCAKES:
I topped mine with blueberries, raspberries, hemp seeds, and agave. (I used agave instead of syrup in the recipe as well, just because I had it on hand!)
I also doubled the recipe on this guy because I knew how much my little ones would love this, so ours made 8 total! We had a rare Saturday morning without Jakey while he was skiing, so we snuggled up in warm blankets in front of the TV and made this for breakfast! So filling, and SO GOOD!
2) BUDDHA BOWL:
Honestly, if this entire program was just eating this Buddha Bowl for 5 weeks, I'd do it. This was by far my favorite meal of the week. It was immensely filling, perfectly savory with some sweetness from the sweet potato, and I got up to do a happy dance when I finished. Do you know that kind of full? Where your belly is definitely satisfied, but you don't need to unbutton your pants and take a nap? You can actually dance after a meal? YEAH that's called eating for fuel my friends, and it was applause-worthy.
I also used vegan butter instead of grass fed, because I had it on hand and because I wanted to put personal emphasis on cutting dairy this week to totally test how my system feels without it!
This is just a review of how I feel a week in. I'm so excited to let you know how I feel FOUR more weeks from now! Taking bets on if you guys think I'll go full vegan after this (which I kind of want to), or if you think my boyfriend will convince me to go on a pizza date (which I'm accidentally always down for). We shall see!!
Side note: I'm also hoping to be able to stage the next few weeks' meals a little better. This week was a crazy time-crunch, and I was just so excited to snap one photo or two before stuffing my face!
Check out Ashley's program, Nourish + Glow !!
To learn more about her coaching, schedule a consultation, check out more recipes and tips, or just to see how beautiful and glowing she is 100% of the time, check out her site ---> ashleycarlson.co