The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately

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by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Take the 30-Day Vegan Challenge and see the difference a plant-based diet can make in your life!
Whether you want to improve your overall health, shed a few pounds, demonstrate your compassion for animals, or help the environment, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau holds your hand every step of the way, giving you the tools you need to make the vegan


Take the 30-Day Vegan Challenge and see the difference a plant-based diet can make in your life!
Whether you want to improve your overall health, shed a few pounds, demonstrate your compassion for animals, or help the environment, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau holds your hand every step of the way, giving you the tools you need to make the vegan transition—healthfully, joyfully, and deliciously. In this one-stop, comprehensive guide, Patrick-Goudreau
• debunks common nutrition myths and explains the best sources of such nutrients as calcium, protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids
• helps you become a savvy shopper, restock your kitchen, read labels, and prepare nutrient-rich meals without feeling overwhelmed
• offers practical strategies for eating out, traveling, hosting holiday gatherings, and attending social events
• empowers you to experience the tangible and intangible benefits of living a healthful, compassionate life

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Patrick Goudreau] excels in demystifying something that feels unobtainable to many people--vegan living--and...distills it into practical steps and information without dumbing it down. Colleen is like your best friend: supporting you but also encouraging you to live up to your potential....I recommend [this book] for anyone who has struggled with trying to go vegan in the past, or would like to try it for the first time. For those of us who are tried-and-true vegans, I also recommend the book for its...common sense approach to...compassionate living. Plus, recipes! Get this book as a gift for yourself, your friends, and family." —The Chicago Examiner

"What a delicious way to get more energy, say good-bye to those stubborn pounds, and get healthy for good." —Neal D. Barnard, M.D., president, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and author of 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart 
"If you’ve ever asked Where would I get my protein?, How would I bake without eggs?, or Is there really life after cheese?, then this book is for you!" —Rory Freedman, co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Skinny Bitch

"This is a gorgeous, smart, insightful book to guide you through the ins and outs of eating a healthful vegan diet." —Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.98(w) x 7.38(h) x 0.69(d)

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1
Welcome to Positive Change

You may have come to the 30-Day Vegan Challenge motivated by a need to get healthier or lose weight, the desire to help decrease the use of the world's resources, or the compulsion to manifest your compassion for animals. Whatever your motivation, eliminating animal products from your diet-even for 30 days-will reap many benefits, some of which you may never have considered before.

Many of the changes people experience are immediate, some are noticeable by the end of 30 days, and all of them can be broken down into several categories of positive change in terms of nutrient consumption, disease prevention and reversal, physical changes, palate sensitivity, and a sense of ethical congruency.


Being vegan is as much about what you take in as it is about what you eliminate.

Expect More

As soon as you eliminate meat, dairy, and eggs from your diet and fill it instead with plant foods, I can absolutely guarantee you will be eating more fiber, more antioxidants, more foliate, and more phytochemicals, because the source of these healthful substances is plants, not animals. You will also be taking in more essential vitamins and minerals, because-as you will discover on the following pages-the nutrients we need are plant-based, not animal-based.

Expect None

I can also guarantee that you will be consuming no dietary cholesterol, no lactose, no animal protein, no animal hormones, no animal fat, and no aberrant proteins that cause mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)-all of which originate in animal products and not in plants. Not only are these things unnecessary, they can all be harmful to the human body.

Expect Significantly Less

Making whole foods the foundation of your diet, which is what I recommend, means that you will be significantly reducing your consumption of many other disease-causing substances, including:

n Saturated fat: Though it exists mostly in animal flesh and secretions, saturated fat is also found in small amounts in plant foods, primarily from coconuts. However, plant-based saturated fat is chemically different from animal-based saturated fat and doesn’t appear to have the same negative effect on our bodies. In other words, a little coconut butter or coconut milk in your diet is fine-possibly even beneficial.

n Heavy metals: Heavy metals such as mercury and other toxins settle in the fatty flesh of animals and are consumed by humans through their consumption of fish, dairy, and meat. The reason I didn't add this to the "Expect None" category is because even vegans consume low levels of heavy metals that end up on our food, but in significantly smaller quantities.

n Food borne illnesses: Although fruits and vegetables you buy in a store or restaurant can be contaminated by animal feces (and thus salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, etc.), if you keep a vegan kitchen, the worst things you might find are aphidsin your kale and a borer worm in your corn.

n Transfats: By following my recommendations for eating whole foods, you take in far fewer trans fats, which are prevalent in processed foods via partially hydrogenated oils and which are also present in animal-based meat.


Decades of research have borne out the many benefits of a vegan diet in terms of disease prevention and reversal.

If your goal is prevention, treatment, or reversal of cardiovascular disease (particularly atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes), you couldn't make a better dietary change than switching to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. And by the end of 30 days, you will see changes in the markers for these diseases.

Countless studies also point to the fact that a vegan diet contributes to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers-particularly prostate, colon, and breast-macular degeneration, cataracts, arthritis, and osteoporosis. See "Resources and Recommendations" for books and experts who specialize in these fields of research and treatment.


Typically, the physical changes people detect have to do with what they tend to lose, but there are gains to be made, too.

Expect to Lose

People tend to lose weight when they remove fat- and calorie-dense meat, dairy, and eggs from their diet; they tend to notice a decrease in the severity of their allergies; and women tend to experience fewer PMS and menopausal symptoms.

Expect to Gain

Many people who switch to a vegan diet notice they have more energy, brighter skin with fewer blemishes, and an increase in the number of times they move their bowels, which is definitely beneficial for short- and long-term gastrointestinal health.


Many people report that once their palate and body begin to know life without being coated by fat and salt, cravings for these things are greatly reduced or totally eliminated. As a result, your palate may become more sensitive, you may taste flavors you never noticed before, and you may even have a more acute sense of smell.


The harder-to-measure goals are those that have to do with what it feels like to make choices that reflect our values. Prior to becoming vegan, I perceived myself as a conscious, compassionate person, yet I was supporting what is very likely the most violent industry on the planet. I was paying people to be desensitized and to do what I would never do myself: hurt and kill animals. I still consider myself a conscious, compassionate, nonviolent person, but now those values are authentically reflected in my everyday behavior. There is much joy and peace in living in alignment with my values.


Since you're holding this book in your hands now, I’ll assume that you know why you want to make some changes and that you're eager to reap one or more of the benefits I've identified above. Perhaps, though, you’re unclear about how to make this transition-smoothly, joyfully, healthfully, and confidently. Let me assure you that whatever compels you to become vegan and however you identify yourself at this moment (carnivore, omnivore, pescetarian, flexitarian, vegetarian), the transition process is the same for everyone: it's a matter of undoing old habits and creating new ones.

In my experience, when most people contemplate becoming vegan, they feel utterly overwhelmed because it seems so unfamiliar and they don’t know where to start. Many who try and fail conclude-mistakenly-that being vegan is an ideal that only a disciplined few can attain. They think being vegan requires willpower they don't have, so either they don't even try or they give up after a short time. Filled with questions and misconceptions, what they need is a personal guide to hold their hand through the transition period, debunking myths and demystifying what it means to "be vegan."

Enter The 30-Day Vegan Challenge-your very own personal guide.

I take the approach that it is not the fault of “being vegan" that people revert back to eating meat and animal products or that they are unable to even go a month without them. Rather, I believe it's because core habits and perceptions remained unchanged, support during the transition process was nonexistent, and a dietary foundation was removed but not replaced with anything else to stand on. You won't have those issues. You will have my guidance and support the entire time.

Throughout the next 30 days, I will:

n Debunk myths using common sense so you will make informed decisions with confidence

n Get to the root of old perceptions and behaviors so that change is effortless

n Anticipate your challenges and provide validation and support

n Help you create a strong foundation of new habits

n Provide practical solutions for a variety of scenarios

You might choose to read only one chapter per day, or you may want to read well ahead. You may want to dive into the recipes dispersed throughout the book or use the weekly menu ideas on page 313 to plan your bountiful meals. Whichever way you choose to digest the information, you can be sure that along the way, some old thought patterns will be challenged and some new behaviors will be created.

If change is what you're looking for, then change is what you’ll get, and I commend you for seeking it out. Change is often one of the most difficult things for humans to cope with-even when that change is positive. How many of us avoid making changes until we're absolutely forced to? How many of us engage in habits that make us sick rather than simply change the way we eat? I've even heard doctors freely admit that they don't always give their patients the option of making true diet changes-beyond advising them to switch from "red meat" to "white meat"-because they believe people won't change.

Now, you can call me crazy, but I have more faith in people than that. I know people change. I see it every single day. When the bar is raised and people are given the tools and resources they need to feel empowered, they do change. The problem is, the more we keep telling people it’s too hard to change, the more they just believe it.

The more we buy into the myths that there's something radical about eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, beans, mushrooms, herbs, and spices and something extreme about not eating the bodies and secretions of nonhuman animals, the less we'll expect of ourselves and others. And nothing will change.

But by holding the bar high, we see radical changes take place in people-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

All I ask is that you remain open. Never say never. Embrace the journey that encourages us to be humble, to learn new things, to become better people. That's what being human is all about, isn't it? We can continually make new choices, better choices, more compassionate choices-once we know better.

By virtue of your picking up this book and being willing to take the 30-Day Vegan Challenge, you've raised the bar. I thank you for letting me be part of your journey, and may you find joy and abundance in the changes you make.

chapter 2
Defining "Vegan"

Because there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about what being vegan means, let's start out defining what I mean when I say vegan. In the most literal sense:

n Being vegetarian means to eat everything but the flesh of animals, whether they are from the land or sea (including fish).

n To be vegan-pronounced VEE-gun-means to eat everything but the flesh and secretions of animals (including their milk and eggs).

In defining what it means to be vegan, it's important total about the history of the word vegan, which was coined in 1944 by British activist Donald Watson (1910-2005). Founder of the first vegan organization, Watson crafted the word vegan from the beginning and the end of the word vegetarian, because he was frustrated that being vegetarian had come to include eating dairy products and eggs.

Watson defined veganism as "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude-as far as is possible and practical-all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose."

And although being vegan-as Watson defined it-is about making conscious, compassionate choices, I think he would agree with my perception that it is not about trying to attain an impossible level of purity or striving to become a 100 percent certified vegan. There is no such thing-the world is just too imperfect for that. Even Watson acknowledges this in his definition when he uses this qualifier: "as far as is possible and practical."

Contrary to what many people believe, being vegan is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. For me, that end is unconditional compassion: doing everything we can to make choices that cause the least amount of harm, both to ourselves and to others. And being vegan is an easy and effective step toward attaining that goal.

Though Watson coined the term vegan less than a century ago, the principle of compassion has been a guiding force in all the world’s religions and secular philosophies for centuries. The idea of nonviolence, of ahimsa-causing no harm-is certainly not a new idea, and veganism is simply an extension of that principle. This is why I use the words vegan and compassionate interchangeably.

However, when people hear the word vegan, they tend to associate it with asceticism or martyrdom, deprivation or sacrifice. They often think being vegan is about rejecting things-about saying no. On one hand, this is true. Being vegan is about saying no. It's about saying no to suffering, exploitation, and violence. It's about saying no to unhealthful and unnecessary food. It's about saying no to the wasteful abuse of natural resources and the destruction of the remaining wild places in the world.

But at its core, being vegan is about saying yes. It’s about saying yes to our values; after all, what's the use in having values if they don't manifest themselves in our behavior? It's nice to say that we’re against violence and cruelty. Most of us are. But how many of us actually take these abstract values and put them into concrete action? For me, being vegan, which extends to every area of my life, is an opportunity to do just that: to put my abstract values into concrete action.

By choosing to look at what happens to other animals-human and nonhuman-on my behalf, for my convenience, I'm saying yes to my values of accountability, responsibility, and commitment to truth and knowledge.

By standing up for what I believe in and speaking on behalf of those who have no voice, I'm saying yes to my values of justice and of service to others.

By choosing to eat life-giving rather than life-taking foods, I'm saying yes to my values of peace, kindness, compassion, health, and simplicity.

The problem isn't that we wake up in the morning wanting to contribute to cruelty or violence. The problem is that we don't wake up in the morning wanting to create more compassion, peace, and nonviolence. If that were on our to-do list every day, imagine what we could accomplish. Imagine what our world would be like. Making choices that reflect nonviolence has an undeniable effect on our own psyches. That is to say, whereas violence creates more violence, nonviolence also creates more nonviolence, and I like being on that side of the equation.


In the many years I've been doing this work, what I know for sure is that people want to make healthful choices, but they also want these choices to be convenient and familiar, and they assume being vegan is neither.

This assumption has more to do with our perception than reality.

We tend to put "normal" or "regular” food in one box and "vegan" food in another, as if the latter were its own alien food group. The truth is, vegan food is food that we're all familiar with-it's vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, herbs, and spices. In the case of baked goods, it's flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla, spices, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and yeast.

Meet the Author

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion. Through her writing, inspiring lectures, and popular podcast “Food for Thought,” she has guided thousands of people to living compassionately and healthfully. Visit her at

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The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
MsWatson More than 1 year ago
Colleen's book is a wonderful, comprehensive guide that has up to date information about vegan products and recipes that is VERY accessible. It is set up as 30 days, but it is not a day by day guide. It reads more like 30 things you should know about a vegan diet (no meat, fish, eggs, dairy, cheese, butter, honey). The book is well laid out and the tone is very friendly and open-minded. She even explains the difference between vacuum packed soy milk that is shelf stable until you open it, and then should be stored in the fridge, which seems obvious, but there are some people who may not have known that (like my dad), but she doesn't say so in a way that would offend the reader. Colleen is a wonderful author and this is a great compliment to her cookbooks. If you like the recipes in this book, you will find more like them in her other three cookbooks, but she has had picked her tastiest and easiest recipes for this book. Even though I have all her books, I am rediscovering the same recipes through new color photos. If you are more interested in a day by day book, the Vegan's Daily Companion by Colleen shares cooking tips, recipes, animal surivival stories, animals in literature and film, and true letters from people about why and when they decided to go vegan, which are truly inspiring. While it is called the Vegan's Daily Companion, all animal lovers would enjoy that book and not just vegans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this book in the mail yesterday evening and cannot stop reading - wonderful and easy to follow information. If you are sick and tired of how you feel and want to live healthier or even if you just want to make little changes towards taking better care of yourself, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this book. This book will help explain all the crazy myths out there about veganism. Colleen explains it all and offers great info on where and how to buy certain products; also offers great recipes that even I can make (I never cooked before until I started purchasing Colleen's cookbooks).
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this book from the library, and decided I really wanted to have a copy for myself. What I don't understand is WHY is this book SO EXPENSIVE???? Although the contents are very informative & interesting, I don't see what makes it worth any more than the $22 that is printed above the ISBN on the the back cover. What am I missing? What about this book would make some want to pay $370 for it. I saw it on Amazon for $999!!! Great book....that I will live without!!!
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