The #YU30 Plant-Powerful Challenge Kicks Off Today!

Today is the day that #YU30 Plant-Powerful Challenge registrants take a first (newbies), or a five hundredth (veterans), step on an incredible journey to feeling empowered, informed, strong, vibrant and healthful (I could probably list a ton of bennies here). It’s a day where over a thousand (wow!) people have committed to making themselves a priority all month long. And it’s a day where they start supporting others who are on the same page, by sharing their experiences, triumphs and insights. Change for the better on a personal level, and on a community level, starts right now, and I couldn’t be more excited to kickoff the #YU30 Plant-Powerful Challenge.

Registrants have received interactive Starter Packets, full of tips, resources and recipes to keep them going all month long, and they have a one-week meal plan to use anytime during this Challenge month of plant-powerful eating and being. I will be sharing tips, recipes and resources with registrants directly via email, but know that I’ll also be sharing stories, and more, from Challengers here on YumUniverse throughout #YU30. If you missed the registration deadline (yesterday), you can still cheer on Challengers and support them as they take on a Plant-Powerful diet this month.

Ok, Challengers:
• To kick off Week One, either use your sample YumUniverse Meal Plan to prepare a week of delicious meals, or create a plan of your own. Be sure to choose recipes for breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks and desserts that you are excited to try—write all ingredients for these recipes down and consolidate a shopping list for yourself. Try to make at least one meal a week that uses ingredients that you are not familiar with, or usually don’t eat—this is how new habits/interests are formed.

• Read all of the articles included in your Starter Packet so you have the information YU need to stay motivated all month long. And if you don’t find an answer to a question, #YU30 it.

Soak quinoa, buckwheat, lentils and nuts tonight while you sleep, and in the morning give them a good rinse, and then either cook them up, or store in the fridge until you can (maybe when you return from work). Keeping already-prepared ingredients will help you make quick meals, and soaking while you sleep is a great way to stay prepared. Repeat this prep every 4-5 days. Or better yet, as soon as you use up some ingredients, start a new bowl of goodies soaking. You don’t even have to have a recipe in mind, just keep prepared quinoa, buckwheat or legumes prepared in the fridge, and when dinnertime comes, search the site for a recipe to plug it into. And when all else fails, cook an onion, garlic, kale and your prepared ingredients together—add salt and pepper (maybe a squeeze of lemon)—and done. Dinner.

If YU can remember to charge your phone and take it with you every day, YU can make planning and food prep a priority, too.

• Start a food journal—I like a small Moleskine because it easily fits in purses, backpacks and laptop cases so you can take it everywhere. Do your best to document what you eat, when and how you felt afterwards. Write down recipe adaptations, ideas and what your goals are for your Challenge. How do you anticipate you’ll feel this month? At the end of your Challenge? What hurdles do you think you may face? How do you plan to overcome them? How’s your sleep? Are you pooping regularly? Yep. Write it all down. Any time you are making big changes, it’s more important than ever to document your experience. Emotions, detox symptoms and kicking addictive foods can make for a swirl of emotions—your journal is your best way to see patterns, and ultimately find out what works best for YU.

• Don’t spectate—participate! Use this site, #YU30 and the YU Facebook to post questions, to share experiences, recipes, photos, video and to support your fellow Challengers. This month is designed so YU don’t feel alone in this, and your questions and experiences will no doubt help someone else out there. I can’t say it enough, taking on a plant-based diet is like learning a whole new language. And. There. Are. No. Dumb. Questions. What YU have to ask/share, matters.

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Thanks again to our incredible sponsors, and good luck to everyone participating to win!


– One Vitamix high-performance blender
– One DVD copy of the documentary film Vegucated
–  Vega One Whole Food Health Optimizer
– One case of MarkBars


– One Cuisinart 12-Cup Elite Die Cast Food Processor
– One DVD copy of the documentary film Vegucated
–  Vega One Whole Food Health Optimizer
– One case of MarkBars


– One Vega Pack: includes one large tub of Vega One, one tub of Vega Sports Recovery, one Vega shaker cup for smoothies on-the-go and a Vega shopping bag
– One DVD copy of the documentary film Vegucated
– One case of MarkBars

- – -

Remember, this transition takes planning, accountability and a fresh perspective. Some of you may go back to some meat and dairy—some of you will be amazed at the difference you feel and never go back. No matter how this challenge goes for YU, I think all medical professionals, nutritionists and holistic practitioners would agree, that the more clean, whole, plant-based foods we can incorporate into our diet, the better off we all will be. I know YU can do this, so have fun with it, because THAT is what it is all about. Highest of fives.

Now, I want to hear from YU.
What are your plans for the #YU30 Plant-Powerful Challenge?

What tips/experience can YU offer others?

What is going to be your first plant-powerful meal?

WHY are you taking on #YU30?


Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. Brittany

    I have been vegetarian for a while now and I haven’t been tempted once but I am now trying to transition to completely vegan. I’ve been trying for a few weeks now, its been going pretty well. My goal for this challenge is to eat completely vegan, no cheating. I have been surprised by how people around me react to my change. Most say they could never do it, yes you can! I feel that with a little education anyone would consider it. How have your friends and family reacted?

    • Heather Crosby

      Bravo, Brittany. I think it’s so important to feel confident in your own decision to eat the way that you feel is best—then no matter what family members say about it, your foundation stays solid. I’ll be sharing more about my thoughts on this topic soon, but family opinions can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome for a lot of people. My approach is to lead by example—let them see your healthy glow, bright energy and delicious food and want to ask you about it. All too often, we try to force our position on others—and while we may have the best intentions—noone wants to hear that what they are doing is wrong. And the simple fact that you don’t eat meat or dairy can trip defense mechanisms in the people closest to us—our fam. Personally, I have family members suffering from Grave’s disease, high blood pressure, pre- and full on diabetes. I learned quickly that no matter how hard I try, I can’t change those around me unless THEY want to change. I had to let it go (and yes, it burns/stings/hurts to watch people you love hurt themselves). So focus on your own progress, and maybe one day, out of curiosity, or when the time is right, your family will join you on your journey. The more you remain confident with your decision, and the less you preach to them, the more accepting they will be. Good luck and enjoy this journey—it is an incredible one. Your family will no doubt see that ;)

  2. teri pastorino

    I am so excited! it is day one of #YU30
    I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity a couple month ago so i have already been a path of trying to adjust my eating. i came to the realization that eating plant based foods was going to be the easiest way to achieve this, and that is when i found your site, and now the challenge.
    I have the support of my husband, he is excited to eat plant based too, but i think more as a spectator.
    My biggest hurdle is going to be cooking and taking care of myself while coaxing the children to try some of these new foods. it will be more work because unfortunately they have picky palates and often require a separate meal.
    I can’t wait to make big changes in my eating and my life.

  3. Courtney Humes

    I am so excited to get started! I am a newbie vegan who actually loves veggies so I can’t wait to try out some new recipes. My main goal through this challenge is stop feeling so tired, and eliminate some headaches. I also have very dry skin and rosasea on my face, so I am interested to see if the absence of dairy and the addition of more plant based foods will resolve my issues. Then, I can stop spending 100′s of dollars per year on fancy creams and facewashes. My concern is my morning coffee creamer.. I am not a fan of almond milk in my coffee.. so I am going to try to find a yummy substitute tonight. Have fun everyone!

    • Heather Crosby

      This sounds like a good plan to me, Courtney. I am getting ready to share a pretty comprehensive post about non-dairy milks, but in the meantime, try blending macadamias, hazelnuts and/or Brazil nuts and water (1/4c nuts to 1 cup water). Add a bit of sweetener, a pinch of sea salt and maybe vanilla. Strain through a cheesecloth and use those milks instead of almond. They are so decadent and creamy. Have fun!

  4. Ping

    I have been veggie for 3 years and for the past month have been eating fish (trying to add protein to lose weight).. I don’t like eating fish but was really missing good filling protein… I am excited to hear some suggestions on good on-the-go protein meals :) I am excited to have a challenge to get me back on track!

    • Heather Crosby

      YU can do it, Betsy ;) Thanks for joining us.

  5. Lisa

    I have been eating a whole foods plant based diet for about a year now for health reasons and joined the challenge to help step it up a notch and learn a few new tricks and recipes. I’ve actually already tried your Quinoa Tacos (which both my girls loved as well) and even used leftover quinoa to make a collard ‘burrito’ – yum! I’ve also tried your Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peach Cobbler and Honey Chia puddng. Your recipes have definitely offered me new options that even my kids enjoy! I’m excited to continue on this month and learn new things!

    • Heather Crosby

      I’m so happy that you’ve joined us, Lisa, and I love it that your kids are enjoying the recipes, too! Keep up the great work.

  6. Meredith

    I have really been wanting to go vegetarian for a while now. My family had this lifestyle when I was in high school and I loved how I felt! I now have a family of my own and a husband who is in the habit of eating meat protein for his weightlifting goals. I am excited to get back to feeling great and think my only challenge will be making proteins exciting for my hubby and staying away from dairy for me :).

  7. What are your plans for the #YU30 Plant-Powerful Challenge?
    My husband and I switched to a plant-based diet in 2011 (wow it’s been that long!), and we’re looking to recommit to this. Also, we’re laying off the gluten to help my husband with weight loss – he has a harder time losing weight when he’s eating gluten.
    What tips/experience can YU offer others?
    I think having your meals planned is one of the most important things to do, if not the most important. Getting that out of the way, and having all your shopping done based off your plan is very powerful and let’s you really just relax and enjoy the food!
    What is going to be your first plant-powerful meal?
    We had a smoothie this morning, and I’ve got oatmeal with nuts, seeds, and fruit sitting here looking at me :)
    WHY are you taking on #YU30?
    Recommitting to this plant-strong, plant-based, plant-powerful lifestyle – whatever you want to call it, we know it’s great for us and we’re ready to win that sweet Vitamix! hehe

    • Heather Crosby

      Love this, Rachel. Thank YU for sharing!

  8. Kerry

    I’m so excited for the challenge! I’ve been vegan for about 5 months, and I’ve never been happier or felt better. I joined the challenge because I want to be even healthier and take my diet to the next level. When I get busy I tend to forget about planning ahead, and I end up relying on processed foods and meat substitutes more than I would like. I don’t even like these foods that much, but sometimes I just need something quick and easy and the convenience factor wins over taking the time to prepare something really healthy.
    This month, my plan is to keep the basics stocked, and prepare ingredients ahead of time to make meal preparation easy. I’ve already started soaking and cooking batches of quinoa and buckwheat, and it’s made a huge difference. Breakfast is so easy now! Lately, I’ve been mixing 1/2 cup of each cooked quinoa, buckwheat, and almond milk with 1/2 Tbs chia seeds and some spices (cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg). After it’s hot, I top it with some chopped apple, almond butter and some hemp seeds. It’s really good, and it makes me feel healthy and energized for the day.
    My next goals are to stop using the microwave, and to start cooking my own beans and give up the cans. I’ve pinned lots of your recipes too, and I can’t wait to try them all! I made your chocolate chia pudding last week, and I loved it!

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