Meatless March Has Begun: #SwansonChallenge Goes Vegetarian (Even Vegan) for 31 Days!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by Ben H

In January, Kaitlin and a few bloggers went sugar free. February saw Jenna and a few more bloggers attempt the Whole30 Challenge. For March, we’re switching things up a bit for the #SwansonChallenge... we’re keeping it all in-house. And we’re enlisting the help of our local clinic to help measure any actual changes with before and after blood tests. It should be pretty interesting to see what happens when three of us go meatless in March!

“Meatless March” Plan:

Meatless March

It’s pretty obvious what the plan is: eat no meat for an entire month. That’s the only hard and fast rule for this #SwansonChallenge. The other change is that we won’t be posting weekly updates... instead we’re going to focus on delivering one, highly detailed wrap-up post at the end with the results of the month-long challenge focusing on the following factors:

  • Weight
  • BMI
  • Body Fat %
  • Total Cholesterol
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Total/HDL Ratio
  • Triglycerides
  • Glucose

(We thought about including blood pressure, but the nurse explained that there are so many factors that can play in to your reading on any given day—or time of day—that it may not prove to be a very reliable indicator of overall change.)

 

“Meatless March” Participants:

We picked three people here at Swanson that would provide a real range of diets and activity levels in order to provide as good a cross section as we could, and to see who may benefit the most from a change in diet. So, here’s our team...

 

Ben

Hi, I’m Ben. I’m the lead web content specialist here at Swanson Health Products, which is just a fancy way to say “writer.” If you’ve ever entered a contest or a giveaway here on the Swanson Health Blog (or on our Facebook page), you know me. I get to write those posts, learning about the thousands of brands and products we carry along the way.

The idea for Meatless March was partly mine, so I will only have myself to blame if it doesn’t go well! I’m actually pretty excited to make such a change to my diet, hoping that it will help me feel better, slim down and improve a few other numbers as well.

Lately, I haven’t paid near as much attention to what I’m eating as I should. My part-time job coaching swimming keeps me pretty busy, so meal time is one place to cut time by taking shortcuts. I don’t eat fast food very often, but I certainly don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables either. I may be the perfect “typical American” eating the “Standard American Diet” with a few improvements.

I don’t really have any concerns about the “Meatless March” #SwansonChallenge, because my wife, Emily, is going to participate with me. So with a built-in, at-home support system, I am feeling pretty confident. I do honestly enjoy trying new foods, and this will give me every opportunity to do just that. Plus, this might give me the perfect excuse to buy a really nice blender for some morning smoothies!

 

Courtney

I’m Courtney, the lead web editor here at Swanson. Already a vegetarian, I got folded into this Meatless March challenge to take it one step further and go completely vegan for the month.

I followed a vegetarian diet for a while in high school but stopped at some point for reasons I can’t recall. I started up again probably eight years ago. I’ve often thought about a fully vegan diet, but was daunted by the research and diligence it would require. That’s where I’m at right now: Well, it doesn’t say “eggs” or “milk,” but do I know what all these other ingredients are? I have to worry whether the sugar is processed with “bone char”? They might use fish bladder to make my wine!? Gross, and also that’s a lot of work.

A concern of mine is how this will impact meal planning and dinners at my house. One of my simple pleasures is making dinner with my husband after a long day of work. He is definitely not vegan. Mostly I see us having to wash a lot more dishes. On a more positive note, I’m looking forward to expanding our repertoire of DIY staples and healthy recipes. I won’t be perfect, but I’ll try my best and, I’m sure, learn a lot along the way!

 

Dillon

Hi, my name is Dillon. I’m a designer here at Swanson Health Products. I design a wide range of things here, all for our website. You have probably seen some of my work in our emails, our social network promotions and on our website.

I consider myself an active and healthy person. I try to get to the gym four times a week and I am conscientious of how I fuel my body. I have never changed my diet to exclude meat, and to be frank I am a little nervous about doing so for this challenge.

I’m not concerned about the food – all the vegetarian dishes I’ve had have been delicious – but I am slightly concerned about how the change in nutrients will affect my body. At the end of this month I hope to have maintained my weight and possibly improved the results from my health screening.

Another concern is that of convenience and time. I understand that I can get most, if not all, of the same nutrients from a vegetarian diet that I need. However, working full time as well as being a full-time student leaves me with little time to focus on getting the nourishment I need, in the correct quantity, from this diet.

Overall I am excited about going meatless for March. I am looking forward to expanding my tastes and to take a walk in a vegetarian’s shoes. I’m sure it won’t be easy but I am excited for the experience. After all, it is supposed to be a challenge!


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