It’s been a busy week here. We’ve had our first workouts at the boxing gym . The kids arrived, activities started, smiles all around! They love the new gym space, the new equipment and the big bowl of fruit we have for them each day. I had the opportunity to have many conversations with the kids about healthy snacks. Each day the bowl is empty at the end of the night. They consumed 40 pounds of apples collectively this week in addition to 4 pounds of bananas. This warms my heart. The enthusiasm the kids have is contagious. I am so looking forward to watching them learn and grow.
This week also brings one of the Team USA boxers to stay with us for a few weeks. He’s here for training and to learn about plant-based nutrition. We will have several sessions, a mini immersion of sorts, covering the benefits of plant-based eating, calorie density, cooking, shopping and eating well while traveling. Athletes, like the rest of us, simply need a wide variety of plant-based foods to thrive. Several of the athletes from our program will be joining us as well, in addition to another Team USA Boxing member. Our plant-strong camp will help them get started on their journey to better health.
Our Plant-strong camper is young, in great shape and within a couple of pounds of his ideal weight. He wants to feel better, recover faster and prevent health issues related to the Standard American Diet. We started off this week by discussing favorite foods. It’s important to know what foods someone loves so we can work on finding plant-based alternatives. In this case, shrimp, Italian food and Mexican food. Though I won’t be seeking out a mock shrimp product for him, the rest I can do easily! We also discussed foods he doesn’t like at all like onions and mushrooms. He does like spicy food though, I discovered. All of this matters. So does knowing things like if he likes to eat breakfast, what his go-to snacks are now and what he sees as his trouble spots. In his case: salt. He loves salt!
We will start on Monday with some plant-strong basics. What makes something plant-strong? The benefits of following a plant-strong plan and we’ll cover the guidelines for following Engine 2. We usually watch Forks Over Knives and the Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue as well. Our next stop is the grocery store. We’ll go with our Engine 2 Extra Pantry list in hand. At Engine 2 Extra, we have many easy guides and ebooks available for members. The pantry list is one of my favorites. With the ingredients found on the pantry list, you can make just about any kind of meal. The things I stock in my kitchen all the time are there. It’s easy to just open the refrigerator and pantry and create a meal from what I have on hand that way. We will also take the label reading guide that UC Davis created using Jeff Novick’s label reading guidelines.
Watch for my next blog, covering our adventures at the market and in the kitchen as we shop and learn to prepare easy plant-strong meals athletes and non-athletes alike. We will be building easy meal bowls, making burgers, cooking in bulk and making food and snacks that can travel well.