30 Days Of… January Challenge

30 days of being a vegetarian monthly challenge

Monthly Challenge.

30 Days Of…

January Challenge.

I hope that all of you are having a lovely holiday season. I didn’t think I’d be back with a post until Friday. Then I realized, not only are we rapidly approaching the end of the year…we are rapidly approaching the end of December and I haven’t announced the 30-day challenge that I will be undertaking for the month of January.

Many of you are familiar with the fact that I started doing a 30-day challenge each month that started this past September in honor of the milestone of turning 40. They say that it takes 21 days to create a habit. I figured by 30 days it should be pretty well solidified if it’s going to take.

Plastic Reduction.

Even though my September Challenge focused on plastic bag usage, I also made a conscientious effort to reduce plastic straw usage. I am still maintaining that effort and will be implementing more plastic waste reduction efforts as I move into the new year.


I have loved discovering meditation throughout my October Challenge. I have had days in December where I’ve missed meditation. The first time I missed my day of meditation, I woke up in the middle of the night, realized I had missed it and was disappointed. At first, I was hard on myself for missing, but then I realized that it isn’t a competition, it’s a growth process. I also learned that on the days when my family is home, it’s better for me to set aside some time in the morning.

New Recipes.

The November Challenge was the most challenging physically with trying to prepare a “new to me” recipe each day. It is not a “habit” that I continued, but it wasn’t really meant to be. I still hunt for new recipes, just not daily.


While I will address the December Challenge once I have completed it, I will tell you that I have acknowledged the daily prompt in a concrete form each day so far.

Well, what about January?!

My 30-day challenge for January will be:

30 Days of being a vegetarian.


Vegetarian Challenge.

When I started the 30-day challenges, I knew that this would be one of my challenges. I just didn’t know what month I would choose. Originally, I thought we’d be traveling over the new year and had planned it for February. My husband asked me to move the challenge to January because he is interested in participating in this challenge with me. As far as how this challenge will look for me… while I won’t be choosing meat, I also won’t be asking at restaurants if my food is cooked in an animal product. However, if I make my teens bacon and eggs, I won’t be cooking my eggs in the same pan as the bacon.

Long Term.

I don’t anticipate becoming a full-time vegetarian after the challenge. If the challenge agrees with my body, I could see it becoming an 80/20 lifestyle. Part of the journey of the November Challenge was to seek a new way of eating. I could be very happy living on bread and cheese (the staples of my husband’s vegetarian stint in college), but I’m not convinced that my body is a fan of those things either.

Bowl of Lemons

The background for this challenge choice.

Everybody has a different reason for some journeys that they begin. Mine is a journey of gut health. There are all types of articles out that state the importance of the gut microbiome.  While my body has served me well for 40 years, I want to be sure that I am serving it well.


I have had problems with foods for years. Yet, I still have never learned all my triggers. I don’t do well with milk but can tolerate many milk-based products. In fact, I can tell the difference between the stabbing pains caused by milk and the pains from other trigger foods. Also, I can tell you that the pains under my ribs or radiating across my back after eating certain meals have lessened over the years. And I will also share that I had some testing done for other reasons in my early 30’s. The testing showed no damage to my intestines. I don’t think I’ve had specific testing for celiac disease, but there’s no indication that I have it.

30 days of being a vegetarian monthly challenge

When I moved to Virginia, I had some blood work done due to some symptoms I was having. I did test positive for autoimmune antibodies, but negative to the specific autoimmune diseases that they then tested for.

Talk to your Doctor.

My doctor thinks I probably have some level of IBS (which in my understanding basically means…we know you have issues, we just don’t know what causes them). He has recommended a low FODMAP diet. I haven’t committed to ruling those foods out yet. But I may as I work through this process of discovering what my body requires for its optimum health.

Heart disease also runs in my family and at a younger age than you’d expect.

It is important to me that I do whatever I can to take care of my health.

I am not a doctor and nothing I share should be interpreted as that. My personal belief is that your body may not require the exact nutrient intake that mine requires (and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that means for my body). I think diet is a highly personalized situation.

Pineapple Avocado Smoothie

I’m a little nervous about that many meals without meat. I’m also nervous about feeling awful at the beginning of the transition. My blogger friend, Dee, over at Life Honey recently went predominately vegan (I’m not prepared to give up eggs and cheese) and said she felt lousy for about 5 days.

If you have any tips on being a vegetarian, please, please, please, share them.

If you’ve decided to join in with me for the January Challenge, be sure to let me know.

I hope you all are having a beautiful day!

update: wondering how it went? read about it here.

Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. - Alice Walker


Let your light shine!





21 thoughts on “30 Days Of… January Challenge

  1. I’ve said it before, and I suspect I’ll be saying it every month this year – I love this monthly challenge you are doing, and this is another one month goal that resonates with me.

    Last summer my oldest son and his partner went vegetarian, and when planning this year’s Christmas dinner, I was horrified to discover I would have 4 vegetarians and 2 gluten-free people at my table. It turned out I too ended up eating vegetarian on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – even though meat was available for the carnivores – and I felt better for it. I too can see an eventual drift to the 80/20 goal.

    Good luck, Amy. Looking forward to reading about your insights.

    1. Thank you Joanne!
      I’ve read a lot of great things about how being a vegetarian really makes people feel well (and gives them lovely skin). My niece has been a vegetarian for the past 2 years and has no intention of ever returning to meat. I think 80/20 ultimately seems like a manageable reality for me. 🙂
      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t find the shift hard while still trying to keep the carnivorous teens fed.

  2. Yay! That’s so awesome. Go you. Great challenge Amy! Looking forward to seeing your progress and how it goes. I’ll be right there with you! I have found finding new recipes that work for the whole family a bit of a challenge so far but I have a book by Jeremy Dixon who runs a cafe in Auckland called Revive that is helpful. He puts out vegan cookbooks that have awesome recipes in them. In the back it has bases recipes and ideas for different variations of things like wraps, dips, stir fry’s etc. I love seeing your challenges! xx

    1. Thanks Dee! I’ll have to see if they have that cookbook here. I’ll be watching your progress. My teens don’t plan to join me, but some meals may default to vegetarian for them. I’m guessing they’ll add chicken to the salad days 😉

  3. I was a vegetarian for 6+ years and had no issues. It wasn’t an ethical or dietary thing, it’s that I didn’t like meat. I still don’t love it. Most of it doesn’t agree with me. Like you, I listen to my body.
    When I carried Sassy, I started eating meat again. And since then, now 15 years, I do eat it, just toddler sized portions and not every day, sometimes not every week. I cook meat about three times a week, but I don’t eat it. I’ll eat more of the other and around the meat. For instance, on Monday, I will make a big pot of Hoppin John, and while I will cook it with hambone and bacon, I won’t actually eat the meat, but my family will. I will be happy to have the savory flavor of the meat, without meat.
    Eggs and fish, though, eggs and fish are a big, happy yes for me. My body and brain love eggs and fish 😀 Additionally, I eat a lot of fruit, veg, nuts, and dairy.
    I recommend variations on frittatas and Morningstar Chik patties in the freezer section, because the carnivores in this house love them both.

    1. I’m hoping that through the process I’ll be able to hear a little clearer on what my body prefers.
      I have to look into that Chik patties. I used to eat some black bean burgers that were in the freezer section. Frittatas sound wonderful. I’m not a fan of fish, but I’m trying. 🙂

  4. This is such a great challenge. I’ve been trying meat-free Thursdays and have been really enjoying finding new recipes and trying to change my thinking a bit. A whole month though; that must be hard! Good luck! X

    1. Thank you! It’s been an interesting challenge. I haven’t found new recipes as much as I’d liked. January ended up being busier than I expected and I’ve relied on simple staples or pre-made much more than I would have preferred. Best of luck with your meat free Thursdays!! 🙂

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