Women’s Heart Whole Food Diet 21-Day Challenge Supports Healthy Lifestyle

By Kim Urquhart

The 75 participants in the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet 21-Day Challenge hosted by Piedmont’s Women’s Heart Support Network this summer are seeing the benefits of healthy eating.

“There is strong evidence that a whole food plant-based diet can not only prevent, but reverse, heart disease,” says Avril James, MPH, women’s heart program coordinator.

The 21-day challenge included meal plans, grocery lists, and weekly check-ins for emotional support. “The goal was to create a sense of community,” Avril says.

“I learned so much about making healthier choices to improve my eating habits,” says participant Latasha Blissett. “I was actually able to shift my mindset and consider the nutritional value of food. Slowly but surely I am achieving a much-needed mind and body detox.”

Other participants indicated that they saw a positive change in their weight, cholesterol, glucose and energy levels.

From introducing new foods to learning how to prepare them, says Avril, “We wanted to give women inspiration and give their body a break from what they’ve been eating. In this time of coronavirus especially, people need something to raise their spirits out of the mundane,” she adds.

Since March 2020, the Women’s Heart Support Network has pivoted to offering health and wellness events online, free to the community via Zoom. Online events include weekly yoga and meditation sessions, and workshops on nutrition, fitness and emotional well-being.

Participant Maria Thomas expressed appreciation for the online Zoom classes. “Even in the middle of this health crisis, [we] have been able to keep our bodies moving and our minds healthy,” she says.

“The 21-Day Challenge was an excellent complement to my yoga and meditation classes, in addition to the other course offerings for the mind, body and spirit,” says participant Resha Gadson.

“No matter how you finished the Challenge,” Avril told participants, “you now have some recipes and resources for adopting a healthier lifestyle that you can pick up whenever you feel inspired. And that is success!”

The next 21-Day Challenge is set for Sept. 14, 2020. Stay tuned for details on piedmont.org/womensheartsupport.

Click here to view sample recipes from the Whole Food Plant-Based Diet 21-Day Challenge.

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