22 day diet revolution

Is The 22-Day Revolution The Right Vegan Diet for You?

Recently Beyoncé revealed the secret sauce behind her bootylicious curves — and it includes turning to a certain vegan diet for a reset whenever she needs to slim down. This recent endorsement from “Queen B” has put The 22-Day Revolution by Marco Borges on the fast track to success. The plant-based program, which Beyoncé and husband, Jay Z, have been following since late 2013, promises to “transform your body, reset your habits, and change your life.” If Beyoncé’s body is proof of its success, who wouldn’t be on board?

22-Day Revolution: A Plant-Based, Whole Foods Diet

The 22-Day Revolution is a vegan plan with an emphasis on eating fresh, whole, plant-based foods. The plan differs from a traditional vegan diet by eliminating processed vegan foods as well. In other words, meat substitutes, protein bars and shakes, and French fries don’t make the cut. Borges emphasizes the numerous health benefits of eating a plant-based diet, which include weight loss, increased energy, and a decreased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Why 22 days? Borges cites studies that have shown it takes 21 days to break an old habit and form a new one. By establishing healthy eating and exercise habits for 22 days, he believes that you’ve established healthy habits that have become a part of your lifestyle and will, therefore, last forever.

The 22-Day Revolution is based on 5 key guidelines:

1) Choose plant-based over processed foods.

2) Eat three mindful meals a day.

3) Aim for a 80-10-10 (80 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent fat, 10 percent protein) breakdown of calories in each meal.

4) Exercise for 30 minutes each day.

5) Drink water (aka don’t drink your calories).

In addition to the diet book and website, Borges has recently partnered with Beyoncé to offer a meal delivery program. The service allows you to receive one, two, or three organic, portion-controlled meals per day for five days, a week, or all 22 days of the plan. (Three meals per day for all 22 days will run you $610.)

The 22-Day Revolution: Sample Menu

A day on The 22-Day Revolution might look like this:


·Lean Green Juice


·Spanish Beans over Sweet Potato


·Artichoke, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

One healthy snack every other day

·Cut veggies with 2 tablespoons of hummus

The 22-Day Revolution: Pros and Cons

The 22-Day Revolution may work well for some, but it may not be the perfect fit for everyone.

The Pros

Vegan diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber than traditional meat-containing diets. This is especially true when emphasis is placed on eating fresh, whole, plant-based foods and eliminating processed foods, as The 22-Day Revolution recommends. Eating a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has also been shown to provide more of certain vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytochemicals (as compared to a traditional American diet). A number of studies show that following a plant-based diet may lead to decreased cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and decreased risk of heart disease.

The 22-Day Revolution also places emphasis on eating enough iron- and calcium-rich foods; nutrients that are harder to get enough of when following a vegan diet. In addition, Borges offers healthy tips like how to eat mindfully, stopping eating when you feel 80 percent full, exercising daily, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and support.

The Cons

The 22-Day Revolution is based on a nutrient breakdown of 80 percent carbohydrates, 10 percent fat, and 10 percent protein. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nutrition professional who would recommend this sort of nutritional imbalance. If you’re exercising 30 minutes per day as the plan recommends (and not clocking in 5-hour dance rehearsals like Beyoncé), it’s unlikely that you will burn off the high amount of carbohydrates each day. Any extra carbohydrates would be converted to fat and stored in the body for later use. However, upon analyzing a sample days’ worth of meals, it turns out the suggested meal plans are actually much lower in carbohydrates and higher in fat than the prescribed nutrient breakdown.

Additionally, for a vegan plan, the sample meals are fairly low in vegetables. For example, one sample lunch meal contains over 1300 calories (upon our analysis) and calls for just one handful of spinach and one carrot. We’re hoping this is meant to serve more than one person, but it’s not possible to tell because the recipes in the book do not list the number of servings each serves. Regardless, a handful of spinach and a single carrot would be less than what we would recommend for someone following a vegan meal plan.

Finally, when looking at the shopping lists for each week, the cost of these meals would add up quickly. For instance, one list calls for 2 cups of chia seeds for the week — about $11 for this one ingredient alone!

Short-term and Long-term Effects

If you have a decent amount of weight to lose and follow proper portion sizes, you may initially see quick results following The 22-Day Revolution. However, if following the recipes provided in the book, the servings can be difficult to determine. This may cause confusion and lead to overconsumption. For example, one of the dinners contains over 2000 calories and 178 grams of fat — which is more than most dieters should consume in an entire day if you’re trying to lose weight.

When switching from a traditional diet to a vegan plan, you’ll likely be getting much more fiber each day than your body is used to and it can cause gastrointestinal issues, like constipation, in the first few weeks. Nutrition professionals recommend gradually increasing fiber intake, and drinking plenty of water, to decrease these side effects. The 22-Day Revolution does not build in time for a gradual increase in fiber.

While the premise behind The 22-Day Revolution is that it builds habits that will last a lifetime, the reality is that it will likely take the majority of people much longer to build life-long habits, especially if they were eating a traditional American diet beforehand. Those who switch back to their previous eating habits immediately following the 22-day plan are very likely to regain any weight that they lost during those three weeks.

The 22-Day Revolution by Marco Borges: Food list

The 22-Day Revolution (2015) is a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

  • Eat whole plant foods – vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Aim for 80-10-10 – 80% unprocessed carbohydrates, 10% fat, 10% protein.
  • Avoid animal products, processed and refined foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners.

See below on this page for a description of the food recommendations in the diet. General guidelines | What to eat | Unclear foods | Foods to avoid | Fast track program for weight loss | Lifetime diet. There’s a lot more in the book.

Use this page as a cheat sheet alongside the book. Send this page to friends, family, and anyone else who you want to understand what you’re eating on this diet.

Get a copy of The 22-Day Revolution for how to develop positive habits, exercise/fitness guidelines, how to get vitamins and minerals from plants rather than pills, sleep and stress management recommendations, how to get calcium and iron on a plant-based diet, guidelines for eating in restaurants and with friends, shopping lists, meal and exercise plans and pep talks for each of the 22 days, and recipes.

The reasoning behind The 22-Day Revolution

The book says that a plant-based diet will help you lose weight and keep it off, provide an enormous amount of energy daily, and prevent long-term health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure. The 22-Day Revolution program is a 22-day intensive program built to reset your body and mind by changing your habits.

The 22-Day Revolution diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

General guidelines | What to eat | Unclear foods | Foods to avoid | Fast track program for weight loss | Lifetime diet

General guidelines

  • Types of food
    • Choose plant-based foods over processed foods. Think about what your great-grandparents ate: whole foods, grown on farms. If your ancestors wouldn’t recognize what’s on your plate, don’t eat it
    • Buy local if possible, including farmers’ markets and CSAs
    • Choose organic to avoid pesticides –especially for foods identified by the Environment Working Group as the “Dirty Dozen” – in 2014 this was (worst first) apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, potatoes. If you have to purchase produce from the list, make sure you wash thoroughly before consuming. Removing the peel can also help reduce residual pesticide levels
  • How much to eat
    • Eat 3 mindful meals a day
    • No idle snacking: Before you get used to eating only 3 meals a day, you may eat a snack once every other day at most, as needed – e.g. ¼ cup raw and unsalted nuts, a piece of fruit, cut veggies with 2 tablespoons hummus, 1 tbsp of nut butter with celery/apples/pears, ½ serving of a smoothie
    • Desserts – you can have 2 desserts from the recipe section in your entire 22-day program
    • Eat dinner at least 2 hours before you go to sleep
    • Eat with restraint – to 80% fullness, or just a little bit less than full. While on the program, follow the portions outlined – your body adjusts to the correct portion sizes, and you’ll learn what 80% fullness should feel like
  • Plate proportion
    • Aim for 80-10-10 (80% unprocessed carbohydrates, 10% fat, 10% protein – presumably as percentage of calories, although that isn’t clear from the book). If you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, or an athlete, your requirements will be different, although the book does not explain what you should do in those circumstances except saying that rice protein is as beneficial as whey protein
    • The book states that all plant-based foods have varying amounts of protein, and therefore getting enough protein is not an issue on a plant-based diet; a plant-based diet that is well balanced will give your body all the protein you need to thrive
  • Water guidelines
    • Men should drink 13 eight-ounce cups and women should drink 9 eight-ounce cups a day
    • Start the day with a glass of water and lemon – this is good for alkalinity, digestion, and rehydration
    • Drink a glass of water/ fluid with each meal
    • Drink a glass of water/ fluid between each meal
    • Drink a glass of water/ fluid before, during, and after exercise
    • Drink more water/ fluid when it’s hot
    • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water; once you are thirsty you are likely dehydrated

Foods to eat in The 22-Day Revolution

  • Vegetables
    • Portion size: 1-2 cups (if you’re really hungry, add another cup of plainly prepared veggies)
    • Dark leafy greens (most highly recommended vegetables) – e.g. beet greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress
    • Other green veggies – e.g. asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, broccolini, green peas, jalapeño peppers, lettuce (all types), okra, seaweed, spirulina
    • Bright veggies, the more color the better – e.g. beets, bell peppers, carrots, corn, peppers, radicchio, squash, tomatoes
    • Starchy veggies – e.g. squash, sweet potatoes
    • Other veggies – e.g. alfalfa sprouts, artichoke hearts, Belgian endive, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, daikon, eggplant, fennel, garlic, hearts of palm, jicama, mushrooms, onions, scallions, shallots, zucchini
    • Avocado (note ½ cup serving size as this is considered a fat)
  • Fruits
    • Portion size: 1 cup
    • g. apples, apricots, Asian pears, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, grapes, guava, kiwi fruit, lemons, limes, mangos, melons, oranges, pears, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
    • Dried fruit, e.g. cranberries, currants, dates, dried figs, raisins
    • Coconut is listed as a fruit
  • Grains and pseudograins and foods made with them
    • Portion size: ½ – 1 cup (presumably cooked)
    • Whole grains, e.g. amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats (steel-cut, gluten-free), quinoa
    • Whole grain gluten-free cereals, e.g. puffed rice cereal
    • Whole grain gluten-free pastas and noodles, e.g. brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta
    • Whole grain gluten-free breads, e.g. gluten-free vegan bread, corn tortillas
    • Whole grain gluten-free flours, e.g. brown rice flour, gluten-free oat flour, millet flour, quinoa flour
  • Beans and legumes
    • Portion size: ½ – 1 cup (presumably cooked)
    • Dried or canned (look for cans without BPA linings) or bagged or glass jars
    • Beans, e.g. adzuki beans, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, white beans
    • Chickpeas, hummus
    • Lentils – e.g. beluga lentils, black lentils, green lentils
    • Low-processed soy – edamame, tofu
  • Nuts and seeds
    • Portion size: ¼ cup for whole nuts and seeds, 1-2 tablespoons for nut butters
    • Keep fresh – cycle out your stock regularly, or put them in the fridge after opening
    • Raw and unsalted, for healthy fats and proteins
    • Nuts – e.g. almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
    • Nut butters – e.g. almond butter, peanut butter
    • Nut flours – e.g. almond flour
    • Seeds – e.g. chia seeds, flaxseeds (and ground flaxseed), hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
    • Seed butters – e.g. sunflower butter, tahini (sesame seed butter)
    • Seed flours – e.g. ground chia seeds
  • Fats
    • Fats like avocado – portion size ½ cup (not clear what else is “like avocado” for this portion size)
    • Oils – portion size 1 tablespoon – e.g. canola oil (high heat), coconut oil, flax oil, extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil (high heat)
    • Canola mayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise)
  • Beverages
    • Water (see amounts and recommendations in General Guidelines above), water with lemon
    • Unsweetened tea
    • Nut milks, e.g. almond milk, coconut milk
    • Coconut water
  • Herbs and spices
    • Herbs – e.g. basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, thyme
    • Spices – e.g. black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, garlic powder, ginger, paprika, sea salt, turmeric
  • Sweeteners
    • Agave, maple syrup, raw cane sugar (included in a small amount for a bread recipe after the diet)
    • Vegan dark chocolate (over 70%)
    • Dried fruit
  • Other foods / condiments / pantry
    • Savory – e.g. capers, coconut aminos, mustard, nutritional yeast, olives, nori sheets, tomato paste and canned tomatoes, red curry paste, vegetable broth, vinegar (e.g. apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar)
    • Sweet – e.g. applesauce, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract
    • Neutral – e.g. arrowroot flour, baking powder, baking soda, coconut milk, dry active yeast, tapioca flour
    • Nut and seed butters and flours – see Nuts and seeds above
    • 22-Days Nutrition protein powder
    • 22-Days protein bars

Unclear foods with The 22-Day Revolution

  • Unclear – Gluten-containing foods – the book doesn’t expressly say that gluten and wheat are bad, but it doesn’t have any recipes containing wheat products and it even calls for gluten-free oats. If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy it tells you to avoid gluten. But it appears that this diet encourages you to be gluten-free in general – it would be nice if it were a little clearer!
  • Unclear – Coffee – this isn’t mentioned in the book, and caffeine also isn’t mentioned. Presumably you can have unsweetened coffee (so you’re not drinking calories) and use plant-based milks and creamers

Foods to avoid with The 22-Day Revolution

  • Animal-based foods
    • Meat, e.g. beef, pork, processed meat, deli meat, hot dogs
    • Poultry, e.g. chicken
    • Fish, seafood
    • Eggs
    • Milk products, e.g. milk, butter, cream, cheese, ice cream, yogurt
  • Refined and processed foods / “Frankenfoods”
    • Anything containing processed white flour – cookies, pancake mixes, cake mixes, white breads, cupcakes
  • “Vegan” processed foods, e.g. vegan hot dog made in a vegan bun made from processed flours
  • Sugar and sugary foods
    • If the ingredients include “sugar” or “corn syrup”, don’t buy it
    • g. sugary drinks, candy, chocolate
    • Hidden sugars – e.g. tomato sauces, salad dressings, peanut butter, pretzels
    • Honey isn’t expressly excluded, but the book does say that vegans avoid honey
  • Artificial sweeteners
    • Diet sodas, diet candies, diet anything
  • Artificial additives, flavorings, preservatives
  • Beverages
    • Drinks with calories
    • Soda, lemonade
    • Sugary tea
    • Alcohol – no alcohol for 22 days, and with restraint after that

Fast-track program

This is a program for people who have more than 30 pounds to lose.

It will take time to lose weight, by taking in fewer calories and burning more calories – don’t expect miracle results.

  • Replace dinner or breakfast with a smoothie a few times a week (recipes in book)
  • As a meal replacement, try a 22-Days Nutrition protein powder in one of the smoothies, or try a 22-Days protein bar as an easy grab-and-go meal
  • For a more aggressive approach, or if you have more than 50 pounds to lose, supercharge your weight loss even more by replacing your dinner with a green juice at least 4 times per week. Start your day with a smoothie for breakfast, and lunch from the meal plan, and then a green juice for dinner
  • Shift the meals and eat the denser, more carb-heavy option for lunch instead of dinner
  • If you have more than 50 pounds to lose, try intermittent fasting – skip meals every once in a while or every other day

Lifetime diet

  • Continue to eat plants
  • Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of eating for emotional reasons
  • Eat consciously by sitting while you eat and eating slowly
  • Eat right when you wake up in the morning, not right before you go to sleep at night
  • Remember that alcohol calories are empty calories, so choose them wisely. If you’re going to reintroduce wine, do so with moderation and realize that it affects your weight and your health

Health benefits claimed in The 22-Day Revolution

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: acne, asthma, atherosclerosis, bloating, cancer, cardiovascular disease, constipation, diabetes, prediabetes, fatigue, heart attacks, heart disease, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension, inflammation, overweight/obesity, slow metabolism, stomachaches, stroke, vision problems

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of The 22-Day Revolution for how to develop positive habits, exercise/fitness guidelines, how to get vitamins and minerals from plants rather than pills, sleep and stress management recommendations, how to get calcium and iron on a plant-based diet, guidelines for eating in restaurants and with friends, shopping lists, meal and exercise plans and pep talks for each of the 22 days, and recipes.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

Beyoncé’s body is a temple—worshipped by fans around the world, myself included. My body, however, is less temple and more a place delicious foods go to meet their demise. This is not body shaming, just fact. I’m what you’d call a foodie—so much so that just the thought of giving up meat and dairy to follow in the path of Beyoncé brought on sweet memories of meals past. I decided to move forward with the plan despite my trepidation to see if this would be yet another thing Beyoncé is simply better at than most laymen. I shook off the anxiety, cracked open my advanced copy of The 22-Day Revolution, written by Beyoncé and Jay Z’s friend/trainer/nutritionist Marco Borges, and waited for my delivery of ready-to-eat vegan meals from 22 Days Nutrition.

Based on the idea that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, The 22-Day Revolution is a guide for creating the good habits needed to live a healthier lifestyle. This lifestyle includes ditching meat and dairy for 22 days (and beyond, ideally) to fully reap the benefits of clean eating. And, trust me, it doesn’t get any cleaner than this: The recipes in the plan (and all 22 Days Nutrition meals) eliminate meat and diary—standard for vegans—along with gluten and soy. So meat substitues and french fries aren’t an option here.

Borges and Beyoncé announced that they were launching a meal-delivery service in February, after teasing it for more than a year. Our first peek at the meals came from Beyoncé’s Instagram account in December 2013 after she announced that she and hubby Jay Z were going vegan for 22 days right around the time of the rapper/mogul’s 44th birthday.

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#22dayveganchallange 😋

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:08am PST

I opted for the three meals per day for seven days plan because I knew channeling Yoncé would be easier if my entire day were mapped out in advance. I also kept a journal of my transformation from regular, flawless woman to Beyoncé-ified superhuman. I lived to tell my tale despite being really tired—how does she rule the world with just beans for protein?

RELATED: Beyoncé May be Behind a Rise in Temporary Vegans

Day One
The meals are delivered on Fridays only. This makes me think Beyoncé is evil. Being vegan is enough of a challenge, but starting this journey on the weekend is the equivalent of getting a root canal on a Friday night. I wake up Saturday, grab the Banana Walnut Breakfast Muffin, and head to my kickboxing class. I pack lunch (an Amalfi Coast Kale Rice Bowl) and dinner (Penne Provencal) in my gym bag so I’m not tempted to muck up my first day as vegan by inadvertently grabbing a dairy-, gluten-, soy- or meat-based product in the heat of the moment.

Later in the day, while at a friend’s house, I heat up lunch in front of an eager audience of women, who, much like myself, have always wondered what Beyoncé eats when relaxing on a yacht off the coast of Italy.

The Amalfi Coast Kale Rice Bowl—which is simply organic brown rice, cauliflower, carrot, celery, and kale seasoned with onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, and sea salt—smells and tastes delicious. It’s way more flavorful than I expected and could be best described as a dairy-free, healthy risotto. I’m surprised and pleased—you could even call me giddy. I proclaim out loud: “I am vegan, damnit, and it is awesome!” I decide to take this new lease on life from my friend’s place to Whole Foods. Where else does a newly minted vegan spend a Saturday night?

My excitement is short-lived when I realize that Beyoncé has incredibly high standards. It’s damn near impossible to find anything organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free; as I shuffle through the aisles, I realize that almost all meat substitutes are soy-based. Prior to this revelation, I was subtly alerting my fellow grocery store goers to my new way of life: I’d casually mention to non-attentive Brooklynites that I was in search of meatless, non-dairy products and not-so-casually discuss my veganism with random employees. Post-revelation brings on a meltdown, though. I’m close to having a Kanye-esque tantrum. Soy being the enemy—as Beyoncé and Borges say it is—is beyond frustrating. It becomes clear that eating tofurky and chik’n products in between 22 Day meals is not going to happen. Giddyness gone.

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Lunch!! 😋#22daysnutrition #22daysvegan #plantbased #glutenfree #veggies #lettucecups #recipeidea

A post shared by 22 Days Nutrition/Marco Borges (@22daysnutrition) on Apr 2, 2015 at 9:53am PDT

Day Two
Sunday is my chillax day, and I usually spend it recovering from the night before. This time, I have nothing to recover from. I also don’t have brunch plans because, well, I have 18 vegan meals in my fridge so it doesn’t seem necessary. I’m also not brave enough to abandon my pre-cooked meals and eat out yet. I don’t trust myself. Last night’s trip to Whole Foods is proof that I am fragile. Instead of eating French toast like I normally would be doing at 2 p.m. on a Sunday, I hunker down with some heat-and-eat Thai Coconut Curry with Heirloom Red Quinoa. I fall into a boredom funk shortly afterward and think, “What would Yoncé do?” My first thought is to jet off to Thailand. Second is visit Kelly and her new baby. I go with my third thought and run to the hair salon to work on feeling more flawless.

Day Three
If we’re being honest, I—like most people—don’t look forward to Mondays. But this time around, I’m so excited the weekend is over. I need to be around other people with dietary restrictions. I would’ve worn an “I’m Vegan Because Beyoncé” shirt if one existed because I need the support.

I have the biggest bowl of quinoa for lunch. I guess skipping meat means filling up on healthy grains. Dinner is a big bowl of adzuki beans, and I add hot sauce to enhance the flavor. Revelation: This food may taste good, but it ain’t pretty.

Day Four
I’m seriously missing caffeine, which I abandoned altogether because I like skim chai lattes. This morning’s breakfast is the 22 Days Nutrition granola, and I decide to treat it as cereal and add some almond milk and blueberries. The leftover almond milk stares me in the face so I decide to add it to a cup of coffee (in my “I Woke Up Like This” mug). Note to readers: Almond milk will not lighten up a dark roast. Yes, I successfully prevented myself from falling into face-eating zombie mode, but I didn’t enjoy it.

RELATED: 3 Tips for Going Vegan the RIGHT Way (Even If It’s Just Part Time)

Day Five
People keep asking if I miss meat, and I don’t. I do find myself wishing I could abandon my microwaveable meals for something non-Beyoncé-approved, though. Fortunately, I’ve scheduled a call with Borges. The 22-Day Revolution author pours me a tall glass of the proverbial Kool-Aid, and I drink it. He reels me in with his knowledge and passion for his plant-based movement and explains that what he promotes is simply the purest form of clean eating. “I’m a student of life,” says Borges. “I’ve been practicing every method that I know how of life extension ever since I can remember. I’ve always been in search of optimum wellness.” And after 25 years in this space, Borges admits that people are always trying to pick his brain for the secrets to this “optimum wellness.” “The one thing that every single person on this planet can do that can have the most profound effects in their lives and the lives of the people around them is to adopt a plant-based diet,” he says. “And what better way to get people to adopt a plant-based diet than to get them to create a habit around it.” An hour later, I’m an official believer in Borges’ plant-based movement. Now, I know the secret behind Beyoncé’s greatness—she’s got a friend/health-and-fitness guru on speed dial.

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Every day is a new opportunity to live the life you want not just the one you have!! #iamthe22dayrevolution #marcoborges #22daysnutrition #22daysvegan #22dayrevolution #the22dayrevolution #plantbased #larevolucionde22dias

A post shared by 22 Days Nutrition/Marco Borges (@22daysnutrition) on Apr 28, 2015 at 5:12am PDT

RELATED: Beyonce’s Personal Trainer Shares Her Stay-Slim Secrets

Day Six
I thought I would be ready for a countdown at this point, but I’m totally fine. I go to dinner with friends and share that I’ve given up meat and dairy. After I order a vegan quesadilla, the rest of my group goes vegetarian for the night, too. A friend explains that I’ve “set the tone” by confidently ordering first.

Day Seven
I eat my last 22 Day Nutrition breakfast—the Cinnamon Date Oatmeal. I have a few more lunch/dinner meals in my fridge, thanks to a night out with friends and accidentally skipping lunch on Sunday, but I wrap up the seven-day journey with a homemade salad. I realize I’m now more drawn to greens but would like some fresh veggies (I guess eating them microwaved for a week will do that to you).

The verdict: Borges and Beyoncé are definitely onto something. By the end of the week, I’m six pounds lighter. I convince myself that the weight loss is motivation enough to put bacon on the backburner for a few more days, maybe weeks. Fifteen days later, with just a few white-knuckle moments, I’ve managed to actually complete all 22 days of the 22-day challenge. I reintroduced meat and diary back into my diet during a trip to Paris but have noticed that my eating habits are definitely different—I expect for good. Giving up meat and diary for 22 days has given me way more control over all other cravings. I’ve also adopted a “greener” approach to eating. All in all, Beyoncé would be proud.

— — My family celebrates major milestones by going to steakhouses and ordering as though we’ll never eat again.

Over the past decade or so, we’ve been especially lucky: I’ve sung “Happy Birthday” to my brother at Peter Luger Steak House and the Palm in New York City, where I live. I’ve toasted my parents’ wedding anniversary at the Precinct in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. I marked my college graduation at Gibsons in Chicago and my sister’s at St. Elmo in Indianapolis.

To me, a gluttonous steak dinner with salads smothered in blue cheese dressing, loaded baked potatoes and bottles of red wine signifies that life is good.

I’ve always assumed that celebrities do not eat like this, even on happy occasions, and that’s how they stay so slim. After all, life is full of trade-offs. But after Beyoncé showed up to the Met Gala looking like this, I admit, I was curious: How can a human being look like that? What does someone have to do to achieve that kind of body?

Here’s the answer: She has worked with exercise physiologist Marco Borges for years and even penned the forward to his new book, “The 22-Day Revolution.” Borges advocates for a plant-based diet and believes that if it takes 21 days to change a habit, devotees need to go vegan and alcohol-free for 22 days. He also suggests avoiding soy and gluten.

It’s restrictive, yes, but according to Beyoncé, who launched a prepared food line with Borges earlier this year, it works. So, in the name of journalism — and swimsuit season — I agreed to give it a whirl.

To do this challenge, I had two choices: I could order the prepared meals from Borges and Beyoncé or make them myself. I went the latter route for a few reasons, but mainly because I didn’t think that microwaving my food would lead to healthier habits in the long run. (It was also because three meals a day for three weeks would have cost about $600.)

I quickly learned the DIY route wasn’t cheap either. I forked over $200 during my first trip to the grocery store. Among my purchases were a $9 jar of almond butter and an equally expensive tin of tahini that remains unopened. Borges recommends organic produce for the “dirty dozen,” including apples, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers, and while I balked at the $14 organic grapes, I mostly complied.

With a fridge full of fresh produce and a cabinet stocked with roughly 12,000 kinds of beans, I felt ready to go. Three weeks later and eight pounds lighter, I can report that Beyoncé was mostly telling the truth about this diet. Here’s what I mean:

“I thought … I would feel deprived and hate food, that I would miss out on restaurants and celebrations, that I would get headaches and be irritable, etc. I was wrong about all of that.” – Beyoncé

This is half-true. At first I did feel deprived and I did hate food. Most of all, I hated myself for agreeing to do this experiment. Who did I think I was? Without a moral leg to stand on, it felt overwhelming. What vegan wears leather?!

“Beyoncé is a liar,” I declared to anybody who would listen. The problem for me was the pressure to follow the meal plan outlined in the book. There was no way that I could balance my career, a social life and my other obligations with cooking dinner, preparing breakfast and whipping up lunch to bring to the office all at once. I nearly threw the book across the room when one lunch recipe required homemade cashew cheese. Side note: You’re also supposed to work out every day, rotating cardio and stretching with resistance training. Good luck with all of that.

I vented to my friend Tracey Lemle, a certified health coach who runs Kale with a Side of Fries. One way to approach it, she suggested, was to think about what I wanted to eat and find a recipe in the book that would satisfy that craving. Stick to the tenets of the diet, but make it work for you, she said. This is supposed to be fun.

It may have been a violation of the rules, but it helped: If I wanted Mexican, there were walnut tacos. (One friend declared that they looked like “a nightmare,” but I loved them.) Thai? Vegetable curry. Italian? Gluten-free pasta. The trick involved eating making lunch the heartiest meal — a challenge for someone like me, who tends to make salads a side at dinner rather than the main event.

Still, things improved dramatically once I let myself relax, and the weight kept falling off anyway. Previously a cereal devotee, I loved the breakfasts most of all, especially granola (instead of making my own, I splurged on Early Bird’s Jubilee brand), almond butter on toast with berries, and juices, which I made at home.

As the days wore on, I enjoyed cooking the meals even more, and now that I was exercising portion control, I often had leftovers. Extra quinoa made for great salads. Too much avocado led to next day’s avocado toast with red pepper flakes. The best part was, I was usually pretty full after the meals, and was rarely tempted to snack.

Going to restaurants proved to be a bit trickier. I quickly discovered that seemingly vegan options are often made with egg or butter, and that lentils get boring very quickly. Celebrations changed too. At one birthday dinner early on, I nearly ripped off the face of the woman next to me who tore into fried chicken while I picked at a grain bowl. On the upside though, I found myself ordering things that I never would have chosen before (carob torte, anyone?) and actually liked them. I even checked out a few all-vegan restaurants, and, much to my surprise, really enjoyed everything I ate. Did I want to wash it down with a glass of Sauvignon blanc? Yes, but I discovered a new love of seltzer in the meantime.

“What I discovered was increased energy, better sleep, weight loss, improved digestion, clarity and an incredibly positive feeling for my actions and the effects it would have on those around me and the environment.” – Beyoncé

This is accurate for the most part. I steadily lost eight pounds, but almost immediately felt lighter and more confident. While I never had meat, dairy or alcohol over the course of the 22 days, there were times that I pushed the limits of the diet a bit (i.e, injera bread at an Ethiopian restaurant). When I did, I immediately sensed a difference in my body — and not in a good way. Suddenly, I didn’t want to cheat.

People have asked me if I had increased energy while on this meal plan, and the truth is, I have no idea. All signs point to yes though: I slept well and I hit the gym more often than usual. My digestion improved, my skin looked great and I have to admit, I was proud of myself for sticking to this thing. I never realized I could be so disciplined.

“You can control the quality of your life with the food you eat. … The truth is that if a Houston-born foodie like me can do it, you can too — you just need to try it for 22 days.” – Beyoncé

She’s right, but “just trying it” isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not fun to always pass on junk food, at least a few of your friends will treat you like a buzzkill and you will get frustrated at times. After all, a non-vegan diet is ingrained in our culture and many social events seem to involve cocktails. But if you’re open to trying something new, even temporarily, there are tremendous benefits.

I used to think that eating should always be fun, and that looking at food as fuel was boring. Now that I know how much better it feels to balance the two, I can’t imagine fully retreating to my old mindset. While I don’t think this is a diet I could religiously stick with forever, I do think it’ll force me to think twice about what I’m putting into my body and why I’m doing it. Plus, it’s tough not to start to consider where your food is coming from and the way it got to your plate.

Soon enough, I’ll face the ultimate test: My family is going to a steakhouse to celebrate my father’s birthday later this month. I can’t say that I won’t have a bite of a New York strip, but I won’t eat myself into oblivion either.

Beyoncé would be proud.

So, why 22 days, specifically? Borges’ theory is that at that point, you’ve started to build habits around plant-based eating. After that, you can keep going straight vegan or modify your diet to adopt some of your new knowledge—and if you can walk away eating fewer animal products in a way that works best for you, that’s still a win for your health, animals, and the environment. “The more you eat plant based, the more you realize the incredible benefits there are, and the more you want to do it,” he told me.

In his book (and online) Borges provides a daily meal plan with recipes, and there’s also a fresh meal delivery service if you want to keep things really simple. The principles are straightforward either way, though: There’s no meat, dairy, or other animal products (like eggs) involved, and gluten and soy get the boot, too. There’s also no room for eating out or alcohol, and definitely no processed foods. The goal is to eat clean to the extreme for 22 days with the end-game of resetting your habits to eat more plant-based, whole foods.

Before we even spoke, I knew I was not realistically going to be able to stick to every rule, so Borges helped me devise a modified strategy that I believed I could actually pull off during busy workweeks and without abandoning my social life (and would still help me reap many of the possible benefits). It focused less on specific meals to cook, and more on what foods to look for on restaurant menus and my work cafeteria. This included opting for things cooked with olive oil over butter, going heavy on vegetables and steering clear of most dessert menus. I decided not to completely cut out gluten and soy, since they weren’t part of my original mission (although many wheat and soy products also contain an animal product, so they were ruled out by default). I decided to focus on the cornerstone idea of eating plant-based, vegan foods.

Very Serious Question Number One: Am I doomed to be hungry for 22 days?

I decided to chat with a registered dietitian about the effects I could expect from changing up the ratio of macronutrients in my diet. Getting expert guidance is a good idea when you’re making big changes in your eating habits, and it’s important to go in with realistic expectations and the understanding that healthy eating isn’t one-size-fits all. If you have a history of disordered eating, you should absolutely check in with your doctor before beginning any new nutrition plan at all, weight-loss oriented or otherwise.

In Borges’ plan breakdown, about 10 percent of your calories come from protein, 10 percent from fat, and 80 percent from healthy carbohydrates (like fruits and vegetables). Even though I wasn’t following his plan exactly (cooking every day and ditching alcohol just aren’t realistic for my lifestyle), that’s a big shift from how much protein and fat I’m used to. I don’t track them, but on average I’d estimate that I get about 20 percent from protein, 30 percent from fat, and 50 percent from carbs. I also wanted to make sure that I knew how to get all the vitamins and minerals I need on a daily basis.

So, my first question (naturally): Was I going to be hungry? The answer was a resounding yes–but mostly at the beginning. My source assured me there’s a light at the end of the hangry tunnel for most people. “It’s common that vegans at the beginning may feel like they’re not getting full, but eventually, you get used to the difference in your diet,” says Sharon Palmer, R.D., author of Plant-Powered for Life. “I would estimate that within two weeks of having a balanced vegan diet, you will feel satiated. Work in snacks to combat hunger, and make sure that each meal has a modest amount of fat (like avocados, olive oil, nuts, or seeds) and a good portion of protein,” she suggested.

Food editor: I ate like Beyonce and lost 16 pounds


I lost 16 pounds in 22 days following the new vegan cookbook by Beyonce and Jay-Z’s trainer.

The strict diet meant no sugar, flour, milk, meat, gluten, eggs, cheese, alcohol, coffee or soy products for at least three weeks, the time prescribed in The 22-Day Revolution by Marco Borges.

Instead, I sipped green smoothies, noshed on salads, learned how to make a mashed chickpea and smoked almond sandwich and spent hours in the kitchen preparing foods so I would not fail.

And the weight fell off.

As the Courier-Journal’s food writer, I study eats for a living. And I care passionately about nutrition and exercise, with two marathon runs under my belt, two triathlons, a few 100-mile bike rides and a rabid cycling habit for Kroger, errands and to work downtown from Old Louisville.

But a recent marriage added three boys to my 14-year-old son and has left little time for exercise. The approach of 50 and menopause in recent years has resulted in a maddening weight creep.

By January 2013, I was so intent on dropping 16 pounds that I made it my workplace password “16poundsbyApril.” I typed those words everyday into my computer and tried to monitor my eats and exercise via smartphone apps such as MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun.

For two years, nothing happened.

I used to run off excess weight and eat whatever I wanted. After a 20-mile run, there was no better reward — or faster way to fall asleep — than a greasy Smashburger with fries. The food coma was my friend. Packing my stomach with heavy foods was the way I grew up and an unhealthy habit to block out fatigue or emotional overwhelm.

As I have aged and my metabolism slows, I find exercise no longer takes off weight so quickly.

And there was the matter of time I no longer have. A serious endurance athlete schedule can consume 20 to 30 hours a week. Hours-long afternoon runs or Sundays cycling with friends was a great substitute for a social life when I was a lonely single mom.

So I started paying attention to the flood of healthy diet books that pour over the transom at the Courier-Journal. Author Marco Borges caught my eye with his story of exercise and diet in his new vegan book, The 22-Day Revolution.

When his Miami spinning clients ate vegan and worked out with him, Borges discovered they dropped weight fast instead of dropping out of class. That combination powered Borges’ fame to spread among musicians, which led to a job as the personal trainer for Beyonce and Jay-Z 10 years ago. In late 2013, “B” was looking to shed weight after the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy. Borges started with vegan breakfasts he prepared at their New York City home, beginning with hearty oatmeal for Jay with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and vanilla almond milk. Beyonce’s breakfast was “avocado cherry tomato salad with a really cool seeded bread that was vegan and gluten free.”


Both “B and Jay,” as Borges calls them, eat vegan and are business partners with Borges in the 22 Days Nutrition Vegan Challenge Kit, a meal plan launched this year with the book.

As Beyonce said in the forward to the book, she reluctantly gave up her hometown Houston favorites of fried chicken, fajita tacos, BBQ ribs, fried shrimp and po’boy sandwiches.

“I thought I would feel deprived… that I would get headaches and be irritable. I was wrong about all that,” Beyonce said. “What I discovered was increased energy, better sleep, weight loss, improved digestion… that I could still love food but this time it would love me back.”

After completing The 22-Day Revolution last week, I don’t have Beyonce’s body but I agree with her on the other perks. Profound sleep is deep and uninterrupted. My eyes pop open at 6 a.m. Colleagues and my family report that my skin glows. Most important, I was able to pull those size 14 Lucky jeans from my closet last week for the first time since 2013 and they fit.

Borges’ plan looks nothing like the pasta, bagels, pork roast or tacos I love. Light in calories but loaded with volumes of fruit and vegetables, menu plans from The 22-Day Revolution also pack protein-rich quinoa, almonds and cashews. Abundant fats come later in the day via avocados, almond butter, tahini, or coconut milk.

A typical day began with a tart vegetable smoothie of spinach, kale, cucumber, peeled lemon, ginger root, turmeric, carrots and Granny Smith apple. Some breakfasts took resolve. One half cup of chia seeds soaked overnight in two cups almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon real maple syrup looked like grey seafoam jelly but tasted amazing and held my body steadfast until lunch. My favorite breakfast was almond butter smeared on two pieces of gluten-free toast with a side of blueberries and banana.

Borges allows no snacks, coffee, or alcoholic beverages. My only cheat everyday was Earl Grey tea with some Stevia sweetener and nonfat half-and-half — a soothing hot drink that saw me through doughnuts and Hershey’s kisses left around the newsroom. Bicycle treks around Louisville or long walks with our two golden retrievers were my only daily exercise.

Lunches might be a baked sweet potato with tossed kale, cranberries, sunflower seeds, balsamic vinegar and mustard or a salsa of tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and jalapeno peppers loaded onto slices of grilled eggplant. I learned how to make gluten free pizza crust topped with “cheese” made of cooked ground cashews and topped with tomatoes, fresh basil and other vegetables. Dinner could be peppers stuffed with quinoa and beans, a lentil soup, or hearty salads.

Norton Cancer Institute clinical nutritionist Anita McLaughlin, who has lived a vegan lifestyle she now supplements with cheese, analyzed the 22 Day Revolution menu and remarked that the regimen is light in calories but packed with plentiful proteins and vitamins.

“It did seem a little light. I can see where you would drop fast,” McLaughlin said.

For those trying to eat healthier, but are not ready to go vegetarian or vegan, McLaughlin suggested loading half a plate at mealtime with fruits or vegetables, one quarter starch like brown rice or quinoa and one quarter protein.

Putting down the spoon or fork remains challenging. And Borges cautions that without portion control, little weight will come off. As a result, I ate just four slices of vegan pizza one night and left the table. Sure enough, I felt full after 20 minutes had passed and my stomach had time to register that it was indeed satisfied.

On day 23, I cycled to Comfy Cow with my husband and four sons to celebrate victory with a scoop of bourbon pecan caramel ice cream. The creamy mouth feel of ice cream felt comforting but I paid dearly for the excess by nearly falling asleep at my desk for two days. A grilled ham and cheese sandwich over the weekend also left with me bloat and sluggish digestion.

Among my Facebook acquaintances, Kentucky Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Shively), was inspired. Jenkins claims to be the only vegetarian in the state legislature and started The 22-Day Revolution after seeing my posts. In her second week, Jenkins reports she is down 8 pounds and “could eat this way 90 percent of the time.”

When my family ate pizza with pepperoni for Sunday dinner, I knew that cheesy load of refined carbohydrates could result in a sleepy week. For dinner instead, I blended a smoothie of spinach, almond milk, avocado, hemp seeds, mango and strawberry. I woke up rested Monday and those Lucky jeans still sag off my hips.

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