Maximum Wellness: What I Eat in a Day

My dream kitchen!

My dream kitchen!

I have been immersed in a wellness program lately and it’s changed a heck of a lot more than what I’m eating.

The 21-day program by Kris Carr is one I’ve done for the last three years (this is my fourth go-round). I’ve made it three (almost) full weeks without cheating (much), which is fine by Carr because she encourages “progress not perfection.” So since I used to be a stone-cold vegan, later was a vegetarian, and have done this program almost four times, everything ran as smoothly as Skippy peanut butter…

HA! Just kidding.

Guys. I’m human. There’s no superpower that makes it any easier to resist temptations like a glass of crisp rosé on a spring day or a cup of coffee to help me open my eyes. But, for the most part, I did resist them, and lots of other things. The program (it’s not a diet!) avoids allergens and inflammatories like corn and gluten, meat, dairy, alcohol and coffee. It supersizes portions of greens, nuts and seeds, and vegetables of all kinds. I join the program every year for one reason:

I need a reset.

But now that the program is winding to the end until next year (click here to join the waiting list), how will I move forward from here? I can’t just go back to swilling wine and eating a row of Town House crackers for dinner—that would be insane after the hard work I’ve done. So, I have a not-very-originally named plan in place for myself and the hubs.

It’s called:

The 80/20 Plan


John (aka, Mr. Lemmony) did join me on this adventure and thank God he did. He’s the one who did the grocery shopping and the juicing. I did most of the cooking, with his sous chef help a few nights. Instead of wine in our glasses, we turned up the music and sipped on Bubly flavored water. We learned a lot about ourselves in this program. John learned that he feels “foggy” after eggs (cutting them out rendered him completely clear-headed), and I learned that I am supercharged whenever I eat mostly plants—which I learn (and relearn 🙄) each and every year.


We were pretty tired of eating beans during week two, and Friday night in the spring just begs for that glass of rosé I mentioned earlier. And sometimes, coffee really does hit the spot.

The solution? We’re going to be ON. IT. 80% of the time and 20% of the time we’re going to have whatever the heck we want. Both John and I have a pretty strong inner rebel. As soon as that leather-clad, Aviators-wearing rebel hears the word “no,” we’re both like, “Hold my beer and watch this…” Rather than thwart it we are going to attempt to appease said rebel by giving her/him whatever s/he wants…20% of the time.

Being the precise person I am (at times), I did a little math. Turns out 80% of 21 meals turns out to be 4.2 meals. We rounded down to a nice, even three, which gives you a requisite “cheat day” that we’re going to basically spread out throughout the week. But most of the time we’ll cook a nice pot of soup or veggie bake—if you haven’t had a decent plant-based dinner in a while, you’re cooking the wrong recipes! Carr’s recipes are satisfying and delicious and even my meat-loving hubs was able to pick several to carry over into our monthly cookbook which I’m busily designing.

What I eat in a day

A typical day of health and wellness for me is:

  • A.M. ~ lemon water and a green tea latte (no coffee!)

  • Breakfast ~ a smoothie made with oranges, strawberries & bananas

  • Snack ~ carrots & hummus

  • Lunch ~ black bean & quinoa salad

  • Snack ~ leftover smoothie

  • Dinner ~ broccoli & penne pasta with creamy tomato sauce + a salad

  • Nightcap ~ herbal tea, or 1 oz. of 73% (or more) dark chocolate, or homemade banana cinnamon ice cream


How I Feel

Have you ever known someone who says this about diet and exercise?:


I have, and it always makes me pause and shake my head. Why? Because it’s so short-sighted. Eating well and moving your hot bod is about a heck of a lot more than adding years to your life down the line. In fact, there’s no guarantee at all that it will! I don’t eat well to tack on extra lives like a cheat on Super Mario Bros. I eat well because I want to feel well in the present.

Ditching dairy and gluten for the most part over these last three weeks has been significant as I’ve noticed I wake in the morning and I don’t hurt. Let me say that again…

I don’t hurt in the morning any more.

I used to wake up with my joints aching almost every morning.

I thought it was normal. I thought it was hereditary. Then I start eating well again and lo and behold, no joint pain. How about that? What have you gotten used to in your body that you think is “normal?” If there was a way to reverse it, would you? Even if it meant deprivation in the short term?

Deprivation is temporary.

Coffee, you guys.

Oh, how I whine every year giving up coffee! I like my warm buzz in the morning. Here are a few justifications I made:

  • I work hard!

  • I deserve it!

  • Coffee is good for you!

  • Coffee makes books happen!

Now that I’ve had a total of two cups of half-caff in the last three weeks, I have to call bullshit on myself. Coffee is lovely and delicious and, yes, not bad for you according to lots of research. BUT. It’s also addictive, dehydrating and can affect how well you sleep. If you’re saying to yourself, “It doesn’t bother me at all” you might want to take a closer look. Your new normal might be dehydrated and hopped up! Your adrenals might be blown. But here’s the point: you don’t have to give it up forever! But what if… what if you exchanged it for a matcha latte (which I’ll include in a recipe on this blog very soon!), or Teechino—another tasty bev, but this one has no caffeine and I like a little jumpstart to my day. ☕️) What if the reason behind your insomnia or the anxiety is too much of this substance?

Those are questions worth asking.

Emotional Upheaval

Something else interesting happens when you clear the crap (both literally and figuratively) from your body.

Your mind is clear and your energy SOARS. Nutrition is about getting enough of what you need, but to me it’s not been about counting carbs or points or calories. It used to be! I used to have my little calculator and food plan and, speaking personally, I have to say it was EXHAUSTING. Then years ago I went on a vegan diet and retaught myself how to cook and I lost 25 lbs. in 8 months. I jokingly called it the “beer and french fry diet” because those were the two vices I refused to do without.

Since then I’ve learned how to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet for the most part. I joked recently that having a chicken wing every once in a while makes me a really good vegetarian because, again, deprivation has a shelf life for me. (I’ll totally throw out the baby with the bathwater.) Lately, as I’ve cleared even the “good” stuff like gluten and eggs from my diet, and added in lots of juices, salads and healthful dinners (including pasta!), I noticed that I didn’t have my go-to crutches to lean on any longer.


  • Anxiety? Have a glass of wine.

  • Tired? Drink a cup of coffee.

Has turned into this:

  • Anxiety? Try Tapping. Go outside. BREATHE.

  • Tired? Take a nap. Have a green tea. Go for a walk.

Relying on a substance to put you to sleep and another to wake you up isn’t a good habit to be in, am I right?


Perfect timing

I also found Brené Brown, who has been around for a long while but previously had only lingered in my periphery. Then a friend recommended her Netflix special, which I watched twice, and I started reading Rising Strong—a book all about emotions and how vulnerability is brave. It’s not a totally new concept for me, but oh do I have my blind spots when it comes to vulnerability!

This is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.

Even though I’ve done a wellness program for four years, and even though I’ve been full-on vegan before, this year it was totally different. Maybe it’s my Breakthrough year I was determined to have, who knows? Either way, I’m trusting that I’m in the right place at the right time and doing just what I’m meant to do.

And when something as simple as “eat your veggies!” becomes this life-changing, it’s really hard to whine about coffee or cheese.


Wishing you huge blessings and abundant health,

xo, Jessica 🍋


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Maximum Wellness: What I Eat in a Day