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YU+Me=Clean Challenge: Meet Beth McVay

My friend Beth McVay and I are pals from the college days in West Virginia. She is a proud auntie, an outdoor enthusiast, massage therapist and all-around great gal living in Boulder, Colorado.

Recently, Beth approached me with a very inspirational idea—she wanted to try a super clean plant-based diet for 10 days and she wanted to use YU as a guide for her success. I told her how much her experience could help many folks with similar goals and she enthusiastically agreed to share her experiences with the YumUniverse community. Luckies!

You can read about how Beth arrived at this idea and what her plans are for the next 10 days at her new blog WhyKnotMassage (Isn’t she clever? She also named this challenge.).

Beth’s food goals for the next 10 days:
1) Be vegan, no exceptions
2) Be dairy free, no exception
3) Severely restrict my added and refined sugar consumption (may allow for 1 emergency sugar use with             coffee)

Beth’s food preparation goals for the next 10 days:
1) Leave the house packin’ with prepared snacks
2) If going for coffee must take coconut creamer and agave (or JUST SAY NO to my dear java)
3) Make 7-10 new recipes from yumuniverse.com

Beth’s ultimate wellness goals for the challenge:

1) Increase my energy
2) Look and feel brighter
3) Lose the annoying headache

Sounds simple enough, right?

Be sure to comment below, ask Beth questions and leave her support and tips as she gets seriously plant-based for 10 days. Are you up for the challenge? Try it along with her! Just be sure to stay tuned for Beth’s helpful and inspiring progress posts, and in the meantime, read our kickoff interview with her:

Why did you decide to take on this challenge?
I like to eat with awareness…and I feel like I have been slipping on that recently. I have let overly processed foods (especially my beloved sugar) sneak back into my diet and I feel it big time in my energy level. I think this challenge will bring back the awareness and intention that I have been lacking recently.

[Beth, I too struggle with that sweet tooth. You may want to look into picking up the book The Body Ecology Diet and look into other reads and websites that discuss anti-candida diet changes. Sadly, yeast in our body thrives by eating sugar, and when we crave sweets, it means that we may have a yeast overgrowth. Yikes.]

What parts of this challenge do you think will be effortless for you?
Effortless… hmmm…probably making the yummy treats like Chocolate Salted Almond Bark and Raw Cacoa Pudding! They might not be effortless to make (though the YU recipes I have followed thus far are way easy) but it is so fun to make them I can’t call it “effort.”

What are the obstacles that you anticipate with this challenge?
I really enjoy ½ and ½ with my coffee! So, although I plan to go to my coffee shop “packin’” with my own coconut creamer, I am sure I will find
myself ill equipped, at some point! Will I cave? Will I stand strong? Also, this may sound ridiculous but I find myself drawn to the bulk food
section at the grocery store! I sometimes refer to it as the “sample aisle.” Well, I like to sample the chocolate covered things the best!

[Beth, stay friends with the bulk food aisle! Just ignore the things you want to avoid. The bulk section will help you save money and you can usually find all kinds of gluten-free flours, spices, inactive nutritional yeast and protein-filled goodness like quinoa and amaranth here—great for making recipes like Creamy Quinoa and Kale Salad. Also, if you want to try an alternative to acid-forming coffee, check out a Maca-based product called MaCafe.]

How did you hear about a plant-based diet?
How did it all begin?

I decided to experiment with a meat free diet in the spring of ’07. I wasn’t a big meat eater before, and I wasn’t militant about it after making the decision, but I wanted to see how going largely without would effect my digestion. I started exploring various vegan and raw websites online and had a blast putting together new recipes that were plant-based.

Do you still eat meat? (We still love you if you do)
I do eat meat again. I try to be pretty picky about it, but sometimes I think that’s just to make me feel better about eating meat…I don’t always trust where it’s from or what its been fed or which hormones it may have been injected with or….shoot, maybe I should just quit it again!

What are your favorite foods?
Ice cream, salad, popcorn and apples.

How active are you?
How do you think this challenge will effect/enhance that?

I would say that I am very active. I am an avid kayaker and mountain biker. In the winter months I LOVE to get on my snowboard! I also try to
get to yoga class every week and go hiking in the beautiful mountains of Colorado! I think this challenge will enhance energy level, no question. When I cut processed foods, sugar in particular, out of my diet my energy and motivation shoot way up!

What plant-based kitchen appliances to you have?
What do you want the most?

I have a food processor and an old school juicer, as in, no motor. It is actually excellent quality—but it is only good for citrus fruits. My food
processor is a Black & Decker Power Pro 7-cup deal, which has worked really well for me since I bought it about a year ago. I probably covet a dehydrator the most. I would love to have a VitaMix blender but if I had to pick, I would go with the dehydrator. Its good for snacks and I’m a snacker!

Tell us more about your work.
I am a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist. (I don’t have a website. I know, boo. But I do have a new blog. Yay.) I graduated from the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in 2005. I do a lot of what I would call “treatment oriented” work. Many of my clients come to me for focused, deep work on areas like: the rotator cuff (shoulder), hamstrings, or neck. I also do full body Swedish massage for relaxation, but living among such an athletic population warrants the treatment-oriented work a bit more.

Tell us about where you live and what you love about it.
I live in Boulder, Colorado. It is the most incredible place to live if you are an outdoor enthusiast! As I mentioned above, I like to kayak, mountain bike and snowboard. The weather here is such that we can enjoy the different seasons outdoors year round! Love that!

Boulder is really a little bit of a bubble. There is an extraordinarily high standard of fitness and overall health here and that energy is contagious! Love that too.

Follow Beth on Twitter

Go Beth!


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  1. Do tell, where do we get coconut creamer for our coffee? Sounds delicious. Great challenge, I may join in on this!

  2. Beth McVay

    Chantel, do it! I made the popped amaranth crunch last night to snack on and had it again for breakfast!
    Coconut creamer can be found at Whole Foods with the other dairy creamers!
    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Beth McVay

    I just thought I would let you all know that I have made the Kale chips and pumpkin pancakes….Oh. So. Good!

  4. Chantel

    I think I will! I’m headed to whole foods to get my hands on some creamer! And some amaranth, I can’t wait to try that!

  5. Edie Sperling

    GO BETH!!! You are amazing!!! Gotta try the raw cocoa pudding :)

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