Some wake-up calls to change our diets are more dramatic than others. For Rebecca Peress, the founder of plant-based waffle company Swap, her wake-up call involved her almost passing out during her junior year of college. She visited a doctor, who told her to cut all sugar, including naturally occurring sugars in fruit, from her diet from a year. This kicked off a massive overhaul of her diet, changing from eating “healthy” foods to whole foods with identifiable ingredients.
“I like knowing exactly what I’m eating. I like to count the ingredients on my hand,” says Peress. “I ignore nutritional literature and choose to eat what makes my body feel its personal best, and for me, that’s paleo (grain-free and dairy—except for Swiss cheese because it’s too damn good, agreed?)…. In following this dietary lifestyle for the past four years, I can say hands down I’ve felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”
To see how Peress follows this diet on a daily basis, take a look through her food diary below.
“An everything flavored Swapple (plant-based waffle) because I need something hearty, clean, and QUICK after a hard morning workout—and this has 6 whole food ingredients and ready to toast (and because it’s my company’s product and I have endless access to them…). I get super hungry super fast if I don’t eat enough healthy fats—it’s important for me to give my body exactly what it’s asking for. A half avocado is one way to do it, bonus points when it’s the perfect ripeness and tastes like butter,” says Peress. “If I’m drinking my protein, it has to be clean. Collagen peptides is a one-ingredient, natural source of protein that aids in muscle and joint recovery after a workout. I threw in some a natural greens superfood blend and spinach to get some extra vitamins and minerals in, and of course, used homemade, two-ingredient date-sweetened almond milk.”
“Turmeric roasted acorn squash—my FAVORITE fall squash after delicata. I like it because it’s naturally sweet and has a nutty taste when roasted. Spiced in turmeric an anti-inflammatory plus. I get this [kale slaw] from our favorite Trader Joe’s on the REG. I like to eat a blend of greens to get a better variety, rather than one kind,” says Peress. “I like to eat fish at least three times a week. I make cured gravlox at home because a) it is the EASIEST thing in the world and requires no cooking during a busy week and b) it doesn’t have as much sugar as store bought since I control the amount I cure it in. I like a creamy dressing with salmon (who doesn’t), but store-bought ones aren’t exactly the ‘cleanest.’ This [paleo coconut tzatziki] is made from a mixture of coconut milk, avocado-oil mayo, herbs and cukes.”
“Date-coconut energy balls: I make these in big batches at the start of the week because they’re something quick I can reach for when my afternoon sweet tooth starts screaming at me, without having to worry about eating clean,” says Peress. “With no added sugar and four ingredients, they’re a far better choice than granola bars, crackers, and the like.”
“I get organic whenever possible, and I’m more strict when it comes to meats. Costco has great prices on all sorts of organic cuts, so I’m always stocking up there on the weekends,” says Peress. “While broccoli is standard, jicama isn’t, and I like it that way. I make sure that I eat a wide variety of vegetables throughout the week, both for boredom and nutritional reasons. I just purchased an air fryer which I’m hooked on, because I love crispy things and can make them with far less oil. I chose to make a five-ingredient traditional Thai ‘peanut’ sauce with almond butter instead. Not only does it change up the flavor in an interesting way, but it’s great, clean creamy sauce for someone with a peanut allergy.”
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Consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet. Washingtonian does not endorse any diet without the supervision of a medical professional.