There’s a lot to love about eating healthier—but the cost isn’t one of them; a point that has been roundly driven home to me, as I’ve attempted to comply with 22 Days Nutrition, the plant-based eating plan designed by Beyoncé’s trainer and nutritionist, Marco Borges. For those of you who have wondered aloud if I’ve been playing fast and loose with the prescribed plan, the answer is yes—and no. In the first five days of my 22 Days adventure, I admittedly didn’t make any of the recipes from the plan—but I did technically eat according to plan, so there’s that.
What does that mean, you ask? Well, that involves taking a slightly deeper dive into the components of 22 Days, and how it can be used. While I’ve been using the 22-day timeframe as a litmus test for plant-based eating, it truly has a range of applications, whether you’re a seasoned vegan looking for a more structured eating plan, or experimenting with going vegan or primarily plant-based, like me. So, for $99 a year (or $14/month), what does the plan offer? Obviously, I’m still in progress, but let’s weigh the pros and cons of 22 Days, so far:
Pros: Okay, so this is is a no-brainer, but if Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and any number of meal delivery services have taught us anything, it’s that having a plan is a huge component of success when it comes to eating responsibly (and efficiently). 22 Days has literally hundreds of recipes, and will even put together a grocery list for you with quantities, to make it that much easier to shop—and surprisingly, there are quite a few brand name snacks and ingredients on the list.
One of the coolest features? The app will ask how much time you have available to cook (I put in 5 minutes each for breakfast and lunch, and 25 for dinner), which is a nice touch that respects the fact that many of us live very busy lives.
Cons: Meal plans only appear by the week, so if you don’t love any of the options, you have to do a deeper dive, which involves searching by food type or meal. If you do, may I suggest picking several groupings of the same types of foods, rather than picking whatever strikes your fancy? I say this because, by the time I was finished, my grocery list consisted of 169 items—meaning that at even a dollar an item, I’d be doing the most at the grocery store. And since I am not, in fact, on a Beyoncé budget, that will simply never, ever do.
While I actually think $99 a year for Borges’ plan is a bargain, in the past week, I’ve made three trips to grocery stores (including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Chicagoland’s Jewel/Osco) averaging out at about $70 per trip (see the pic above for my latest haul). That’s right: trying to eat right has officially got me broke. And while I don’t exactly live in a food desert, it’s something to balk at when you consider those who do; unfortunately, eating healthily remains a luxury.
This one is a bit trickier because if you’ve been reading along, you know that I really only started experimenting with Marco Borges’ recipes this past weekend—and so far, fine. Aside from being vegan, many of the recipes are intentionally low on salt, which is great for keeping off water weight, but perhaps not as savory as my palate prefers, off the bat. That said, these are issues easily remedied with a little creativity, and, on the whole, turn out pretty delicious.
Over the course of Days 4-5, I tried the Stuffed Sweet Potato (really easy and filling), the Teriyaki Sushi Bowl, and Banana Bread Overnight Oats (yum)—and the Chipotle Tempeh and Cauliflower Tostadas are on deck tonight (all of which are pictured in this post). And fun fact: You don’t have to join 22 Days to access the recipes; my understanding is that almost all of them are available in Borges’ cookbooks.
Pros: While I haven’t really garnered any strong cons yet, one of the major pros goes back to the grocery list. When looking at available options, if nothing turns me on, that 169-item list is a cornucopia of options—and I’ve been mixing and matching at will. (See? I told you I was technically eating according to plan!)
So, as I completed my first weekend of 22 Days, what was my biggest takeaway? I can do this—the only question is, can I afford it?