The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick Goudreau

by Melissa West on September 8, 2011

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner and Living Compassionately.

People ask me two questions all the time. 1) How to eat a more plant-based diet and 2) How to lose weight. Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s newest book, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner and Living Compassionately answers both these questions. And, probably for the first time ever I actually have a book that I can hand people when they express interest in adopting a vegetarian diet.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau is no stranger to my bookshelves. I love all of her previous books from The Joy of Vegan Baking to the Vegan Table, Color me Vegan and Vegan’s Daily Companion. But this one is different, it reaches out to people who are curious, who express an interest, but have no idea where to start. And even if they have some idea of how to start, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge will inspire them into action. This book has been endorsed by the well known and respected registered dietitian, Brenda Davis, who wrote the forward to the book. Davis describes the book as “a comprehensive and delightful resource to offer every morsel of support imaginable as you venture through what may feel like unfamiliar territory.”

First of all, let me say, the book is beautifully laid out. It is full colour, loaded with glossy pictures, glorious colours, and brilliant sidebars in orange boxes to “challenge your thinking.” Visual learners will be apprenticed. Those who like pictures in cook books to get an idea of what the recipes they are cooking will look like, will be salivating. There is even a full colour “center-fold” spread of the vegan food products that Colleen recommends throughout the book. This is food porn at its best. Best of all it is not degrading to any living sentient being.

Let’s talk a little bit about the content. The book is divided into three adorable sections. 1) Get Ready, 2) Get Set, 3) Go! Don’t you just love that? In get ready, Colleen has chapters defining vegan and explaining why the challenge  is 30 days. In get set, Colleen sets you up for success suggesting you get a food buddy and set your goals and intentions. In this section there is also a chapter on collecting your before numbers – everything from your BMI, to blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and tryglicerides. You are after all going to be tracking your success by taking on this 30-day challenge.

I love the chapter on completing your 3-Day Food Diary. As a vegan I have a lot of people tell me that they don’t eat a lot of meat – almost everybody who finds out I’m a vegan insists they don’t eat much meat. Colleen always asks, compared to who? what? when? It can be an eye opening experience to track how much animal products you actually consume.

The section called Go! has lots of tips that will contribute to your success. Colleen offers advice on stocking a healthy vegan kitchen, eating affordably, how to navigate the grocery store as a vegan, ideas for breakfast, packing lunches, and eating vegan while traveling.

One of my favourite pieces of non-nonsense advice that Colleen gives is this, “If you don’t have time to get sick, you have to make time to be healthy.” Colleen rightly states that our dependence on the processed, packaged, frozen and fast food (that is making us sick) has given us a completely distorted sense of how much time it should take to prepare our food. People think money is the most important thing, until they lose their health. Make time people, this is your life we’re talking about.

Colleen is incredibly skilled at debunking myths and overcoming objections. Issues such as  cravings for meat, “I could never live without cheese,” where do you get your calcium, where do you get your protein, getting iron, omega 3’s and B12 are all addressed with savvy competence. Colleen will even teach you how to make tofu actually taste good.

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge also gives you the skills for eating a plant-based diet in social situations. She addresses some of the common challenges from eating in social situations, to eating in a mixed household.
What most attracts me to Colleen’s work is her unending positive attitude. Colleen writes book after book about vegan living that focuses on the positive and abundant qualities of being vegan. When you view the world from Colleen’s eyes, being vegan is not about lack, it is about thriving in a bountiful way. As a yogi and daily meditator I also appreciate Colleen’s infusion of Buddhist and Yogic philosophies from non-violence to compassion. Like Colleen says, it’s cool to be kind.

I highly recommend Colleen’s book, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, but you’ll need to buy more than one, because you’ll be wanting to give away multiple copies to all your friends and family.

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