What You Need to Know
Can I start whenever I want?
Yes! Of course. We know that not everyone can start on a Sunday or on Jan. 1. Just follow the plan as it is laid out since many of the daily recipes use ingredients cooked or prepped on previous days.
What if I don't like almond milk?
Any nondairy-beverage alternative can be used in this plan as a substitute for almond milk. Hemp, rice, coconut (that is, a coconut milk beverage, not canned coconut milk), flax, soy, etc. C&J suggests you opt for one that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Do I have to give up coffee and tea?
There is no reason to cut out coffee and tea completely since doing so can often sabotage the success of a plan like this. But don't go crazy! Limit yourself to no more than two eight-ounce cups each day — 16 ounces is a Grande at Starbucks. Do drink your coffee or caffeinated tea by noon, since these beverages can interfere with sleep. If you like milk in your coffee, try it with an unsweetened dairy alternative, like soy or almond. Or try your coffee black — you might just like it.
Do I have to give up alcohol?
Yes. See if you can de-stress without that glass of wine or cocktail. Give your body a break from the boozy holiday celebrations of the last two months.
What is the average daily calorie count?
All the meals, snacks, and treats included add up to about 1,600 calories per day. The carb, protein, and fat ratio is close to 50:20:30. The carbs are high fiber and minimally processed. The protein is lean, and the fats are primarily plant-based.
When should I eat the snack and the daily treat?
The creators of this plan, C&J Nutrition, recommend not going more than four to five hours without a meal or snack, so use the snack and treat to ensure this timing happens. A daily meal schedule might look something like this:
7 a.m. breakfast
10 a.m. snack
1 p.m. lunch
6 p.m. dinner
8 p.m. treat
You can also eat your snack or treat in midafternoon if you are eating dinner later in the evening. Basically, you want to eat when you start to feel your stomach rumble, but before you become overly hungry. You want to blunt the hunger pangs a bit before you eat your next big meal. It's much more difficult to make wise food decisions, like portion size, when you're well past the point of being hungry and have entered the low-blood-sugar "famished" territory.
I don't like canned tuna — what can I use instead?
If you don't like canned tuna, you can substitute canned wild salmon in any recipes that use tuna.
What is a good protein substitute for a vegetarian?
The key when using vegetarian protein substitutes is knowing the amounts that will provide a roughly equal amount of protein and calories, as well as the best substitute from a culinary perspective.
For nutrition purposes, in place of every 4 ounces of beef, chicken, or fish you can use:
- 1 cup beans or legumes (such as black beans, white beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils and cooked out of the shell edamame)
- 8 ounces (about 3/4 cup) firm or extra firm tofu, or 2/3 cup tempeh
- 2 eggs + 2 egg whites, which contains 171 calories and 20 grams protein — if you eat eggs
For the best substitute by protein type for taste and texture, here are some tips:
- In place of canned tuna or salmon in a salad: eggs work well, as do canned beans (white beans, black beans, kidney beans), which you can mashed lightly or leave whole.
- In place of roasted, grilled, or baked meats: tofu and tempeh steaks can easily work well. We recommend choosing firm or extra firm tofu and draining well (press the tofu by placing the block between two paper towels and topping with a heavy pan top or plate) before preparing.
- In place of eggs: use crumbled tofu, or tofu steaks (slice a steak-like piece from a block of tofu and prepare like a whole eggs would be cooked in olive oil).
Hydrate: Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water each day and even more when you exercise. Some people need more water than others, and the best way to tell if you're dehydrated is to check the color of your urine. It should look pale yellow to almost clear. If it's looking more like apple juice, it's time to drink up! Water and herbal tea are great ways to hydrate.
Be Open-Minded: You might be trying new foods in this plan, like socca, a thick pancake made with chickpea flour, and congee, a rice porridge popular in many Asian countries. But this plan also takes popular favorites and gives them a twist, like making savory oatmeal, which might sound odd if you're used to adding brown sugar to your morning oats, but it's fun and filling meal.
Freezing Meat: After shopping, you should freeze any meat that you are using later in the week. You want to protect the meat from air, which can "burn" it. Wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap, and then place in a ziplock bag. Label the bag with the freezing date and type of meat.
Thawing Meat: The safest way to thaw meat is in the fridge. The night before you plan on cooking frozen meat, take your cut of meat out of the freezer and place it in the fridge, still wrapped. Small cuts take about 24 hours to thaw. You can also place small cuts of meat in a bowl of lukewarm water.
Still have questions? Leave them in the comments section below.