A couple of Sundays ago as I was easing into my morning with a fresh cup of coffee and on my Facebook, I saw Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday live feed.  She was talking with author Suzi Amis Cameron the author of OMD: The Simple, Plant-Based Program to Save Your Health, Save Your Waistline, and Save the Planet.  The concept of going vegan one meal a day to make a huge difference in the environment is something I wish I could say I was diligently already thinking about, but honestly, I just so happened to stumble upon it on this leisurely Sunday morning.  And I am glad I did!

I was kinda half-listening as I scrolled through my Instagram to see what everyone had been up to over the weekend when I heard a statistic that stopped me in my tracks.

 “Just switching to one plant-based meal a day for a year saves up to 200,000 gallons of water and reduces as much gas equivalent to a road trip from LA to New York.”

I listened further, thinking: this must be what happens when everyone switches out a meal, but no! This is a per person statistic! Mind blown! Kaboom!

I was so astonished by that stat that went back to replay what she said and then grabbed my notebook to write it down. I put it at the beginning of my journal to remind me to make plant-based meals part of my weekly nutrition plan. I was excited about it because sometimes I feel like my individual efforts don’t amount to enough. But this change is a big deal!

While I’ve known of the benefits of plant-based meals for quite some time and do practice making vegan meals here and there, I’ve never been consistent about it.  I also haven’t thought about going all vegan because it seems so overwhelming to learn a new way of cooking. I’m thinking maybe it’s that way for most of us. But one meal a day? Even this country girl who grew up with meat in basically every meal can do that, right?

Maybe, but I have an unfortunate tendency to go crazy when I start a new project. There I was googling fancy vegan recipes and cool places to shop for my vegan stuff. Before you know it, I’m overwhelmed because I’ve over complicated this simple one meal a day plan.

So, I scratched all the fancy stuff and stuck with the basics. I asked myself: what meal would be the easiest to replace with the least hassle? For me, it’s lunch, when I’ve got just myself to worry about. So I made out a simple grocery list that could be used at any basic store for week one: whole grain bread, veganaise (vegan mayo), tomatoes, greens, avocados, nuts, coconut yogurt,  fruits, almond butter, coconut coffee creamer, and a bunch of organic vegetables for a fresh pot of fall pumpkin soup.

I gotta say, this simple pantry list really worked for me. Each day I made a toasted sandwich of some kind and packed a thermos of soup and some steaming coffee to enjoy on my lunch break. I can also honestly say that my week felt amazing in more ways than one. Instead of scarfing down my lunch to get back to the task at hand, I ate with the mindful intention that comes from getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

The second half of my day also felt more energetic as the optimism of making a big difference buoyed my mental state. After all, at the end of every day, I get to feel like a Rockstar, because I personally saved about 500 gallons of water!

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