Writer Lauren Shumacker decided to try and eat like Beyonce for a week, to see if it made her feel any different.
Beyonce likes to eat vegan and plant-based meals, and recently said she’d become fully vegan after some years spent switching from a traditional diet, and eating a flexitarian diet too.
She is also famous for following the controversial Master Cleanse to get in shape for Dreamgirls. This involved drinking a lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water drink several times a day – not my idea of fun, but it sure worked for her!
Beyonce and husband Jay Z have become somewhat evangelical about veganism, with the pair writing an introduction for a book written by her personal trainer, where they claimed that veganism had changed their lives and that they want to “share that truth and lifestyle with as many people as possible.”
Being on a plant-based diet means that you eat mostly vegetables, grains, legumes etc. instead of making meat, dairy and fish the main part of your meals. Registered dietician Rachael Hartley says that “Moving towards a more plant-centric pattern of eating has major health benefits, but there’s no reason to go strictly vegan, unless you’re called to for ethical reasons.”
Shumacker had tried veganism before, so she says she felt confident starting a week of “mostly plant-based” eating. Beyonce is said to avoid red meat, doesn’t snack often, and avoids sweets and desserts most of the time, so Shumacker was reassured that it wouldn’t matter much if she slipped up and had a sweet treat or two.
Shumacker started the week with a smoothie made of unsweetened almond milk, frozen banana, blueberries, cranberries, frozen baby spinach and blueberry cashew yogurt.
For lunch, Shumaker was determined to try and be vegan. As her breakfast smoothie didn’t contain much protein, she got hungry again pretty quickly so she wanted a heartier lunch. She opted for boiled pasta with a vegan mushroom sauce, and loved it.
For dinner, Shumaker cooked Gwyneth Paltrow’s veggie paella from her book, My Father’s Daughter. She enjoyed it, and it was filling because it contained rice. Before bed, she snacked on some whole wheat pretzels and peanut butter, and she felt pretty good about day one.
Shumacker says she woke feeling energized after a good night’s sleep, but skipped breakfast because she wasn’t that hungry.
Mid-morning, she noticed her energy and mood taking a dive, so she decided to have an early lunch of the leftover paella with a bit of vegan aioli. While unhappy about the added sugar in the vegan aioli, Shumacker says it really did make a meal of the paella.
As she had to work late on this day, she ate a protein bar to keep her energy levels up, but irritability still crept in when she got home late and still needed to make dinner.
She made pasta and used some leftover arrabiata sauce she had in the fridge. Shumacker didn’t count day 2 as a success, and realized that it was important for her to meal plan or eat at regular intervals.
Shumacker woke up feeling better than when she went to bed, and had an apple and peanut butter for breakfast.
This kept her full til around midday, when she heated up yet more of her leftover paella for lunch, which she really enjoyed. It kept her full enough so that she didn’t feel she needed her usual afternoon snack.
Once home, Shumacker made another Gwyneth Paltrow dish of vegetarian chili garnished with cilantro and scallions. She also had a slice of whole grain bread dipped in some good olive oil, which meant she was getting some healthy fats.
Knowing she had dinner plans with her sister that night, Shumacker decided that she would be super-aware of the food choices she made throughout the day, and started it off with some grapes and coffee.
For lunch, she had some leftover chili, and added a dollop of low-fat sour cream. All afternoon, she had to fight cravings for comfort food because of the cold, snowy weather outside.
She and her sister decided to split a few things at the restaurant – two vegetable focused dishes, and a turkey sandwich. The dishes were buffalo cauliflower and beet tostadas, and Shumacker really enjoyed them.
Shumacker made a smoothie for breakfast with cranberries to balance out the sweetness of the other fruit. She had the last of her paella for lunch, and wasn’t looking forward to the night’s dinner choices as she had a 1st birthday party to go to.
She tried to make her dinner mostly salad, with a bit of chicken and a small amount of pasta with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese, and admitted she had a few treats, such as a piece of birthday cake.
She woke up feeling a bit bad, perhaps due to the sugary treats she’d had the night before. Wanting a warm, comforting breakfast, she decided to experiment with cinnamon breakfast quinoa, mixed with cacao powder and a bit of cayenne pepper.
Lunch was some leftover chili, and she had a snack of popcorn between lunch and dinner to tide her over.
Shumacker made zucchini noodles with vegan pesto, cherry tomatoes, some whole grain bread and a little salmon on the side.
The noodles filled her up, and she went to bed happy, knowing she only had one more day to go.
Shumacker started with an apple and peanut butter, and had the last of her chili for lunch. She ended the day with pizza, which is Beyonce’s favorite splurge according to Delish, yet she felt it was a disappointing way to end the day.
Overall, Shumacker felt that the week’s challenge was a lot easier than she thought it would be, and she found that eating a primarily plant-based diet made her feel good and energized.