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March 17, 2011 | 35 minute read

Step Up to the (New American) Plate for Cancer Prevention

Could you meet the New American Plate (NAP) challenge?

We know nine people who are ready to try! This spring, these folks are stepping up to the New American Plate Challenge to lower their cancer risk through healthier eating, increased physical activity and weight loss if appropriate.

Every Monday for 12 weeks, they’ll get  a specific challenge (diet or physical activity) that helps them move towards the NAP way of eating or to the AICR recommendation to get at least 30 minutes daily of moderate physical activity.

We’ll post the challenge each week here and follow their progress by sharing some of their comments and photos.

This week’s challenge is:

Challenge #12 (sent to participants May 30)

This week’s challenge is:

Minding My P’s and Q’s (Cues)

This week I will eat according to the New American Plate principles of proportion and portion and use cue strategies at least four days this week.

Let’s check in for the final week –

From sPg:

I guess it worked…well, mostly.  The good news is that 12 weeks later, some things are now just natural and eating according to the New American Plate principles is well, “Normal”.  Gone are my lunch meat sandwiches (let’s face it, lunchmeat was never *that* good); gone is a weekly menu that had a burger and beef chili and meatloaf and pork chops in it (a bit to my husband’s chagrin, but he’s coming around on fish which we now have at least once a week, with veggie days more frequent than they ever were), gone is my careless pouring of a glass of wine (now I think, is this the day that makes sense?), gone is me eating without thinking, “Is this the right decision for my health? Is this the right decision for my family? Is this a meal that will help me live longer?”.  I’ll admit, I’m a little sad to “know” what I know now, but at the end of the day, if I can make these small changes and help my family live longer, well…its worth it.  I haven’t just given up things though.  I’m loving sardines (who knew hidden calcium could be so fun!). I also have found the perfect farmer’s market sausage that let’s me eat sausage without nitrates and also give a local farmer some business. I love tea and am happy to have a beloved beverage affirmed.

The exercise stuff has been tougher.  I’m absolutely moving more, but not yet as much as I would like. The challenge inspired me to think a little more creatively. I found a fellow mom to walk with in the morning once a week; I took my daughter to a new park that was a farther walk this weekend because I knew the step count would be better for me.

I know I didn’t come close to my weight goals, but I think the 12 weeks helped me “get my mind right”, as my father would say.  Change is hard and food and exercise are really personal decisions.  Even the clearest of evidence requires a little getting used to, which is what this process has done.  For me, the challenge doesn’t end here. I’m moving on to Weight Watchers, something I wasn’t ready to do before.  The  challenge laid the groundwork, but I realize that my portions are still a work in progress. But, so am I and in all honesty, I just shared with my husband that I feel in control of my health for the first time in a few years and THAT has made these past twelve weeks some of the most important (potentially) of my adult life.

From miriaminthemorning:

The best parts of the challenge overall were:

  • the challenge of finding extra pockets of exercise
  • eating lots of colors
  • eating more fruit (when encouraged to do so by Alice)
  • eating more of a variety of foods

The toughest parts of the challenge were:

  • cutting down calorie-laden beverages (soy lattes!)
  • cutting down portion size
  • writing down what I ate during the day

My favorite cues this week:

  • smaller plates
  • start with a salad
  • try not to eat as an emotional response

Best thing?  I started running again this week (see photo)

Challenge #11 (sent to participants May 23)

This week’s challenge is: “Be FITT – Every Step Counts!”

Adding UP Minutes: This week I will find at least 10 minutes of “hidden” activity opportunities every day.  This will help me to reach and maintain my ultimate goal of doing 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days per week.


Stepping on UP: This week everyday I will find at least 1,000 “hidden” step opportunities every day.  This will help me reach and maintain my ultimate goal of 10,000 – 12,000 steps daily.

From: Liz

went for a nice run on the beach while home on vacation! its a beautiful day!



From: sPg

Every step does count—and sometimes its hard to find them! I recommitted to walking one direction to work, or at least part of it. That made a difference.  I also find that building in a trip to the park with my daughter gives me steps (even if some of them are up and down a piece of playground equipment!).  Its really the awareness that matters. Also, my husband recently bought a pedometer and now we talk “steps”, seeing who has had a 12,000+ day or who was below 10,000!

From Miriaminthemorning:

Hi everyone…

Here are my added efforts:

1.  Walking up seven flights of stairs instead of using the elevator in my apt. building

2.  Scheduling “walking” instead of “coffee” supervisions at work

3.  Doing a little bit of weights work (see attached photo) for ten minutes before I leave for work and when I get home

Happy weekend!

From Liz:

went on a hike this weekend…8 miles, 6 hours…but a great low cost workout thats a ton of fun! heres the view from the top of the Old Rag Hike.

Challenge #10 (sent to participants May 16)

This week’s challenge is: Calcium Balance: This week I will eat or drink three servings daily of calcium rich foods.

From sPg:


From miriaminthemorning:

This week’s challenge came at a good time, as my doctor called me on Monday to say that I needed more calcium.  Kismet!I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t eat much dairy at all except for cheese, and I’ve been trying to cut down on that, too.  So this week I started getting almond and rice milk which is fortified with calcium, and I continue to eat lots of calcium-rich vegetables.  In addition, I got some chewable calcium gummy bears, which sPg and I have enjoyed with our lunches.  See photo below!

From Jane:

This was a great week to combine week 10 and week 9 challenges. I have become a huge fan of Greek yogurt. I like all of it. I’d it’s plain I add a little honey or a little pure maple syrup. My favorite is chonani blueberry. Although Dannon is really good too. Now to get back to the combing the two challenges. My favorite snack this week has been a bowl of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blueberry Greek yogurt. It is wonderful. Definitely something I will continue to eat.

From Katie:

Adding calcium rich foods has been a terrific challenge – there are so many!

My morning iced coffee includes a little less than 1/2 c milk;  fruit with Greek yogurt.

… sardines (even got my husband to try them) with a big salad for lunch. . . also shredded Parmesan cheese as a topping to the salad.

I have a great recipe for kale ragout with canellini beans and tomatoes that incorporates the calcium rich greens and the white beans.

I made a pan-fried trout recipe one night (pictured) which I chose because it included a sided almond topping that was SO tasty. Not a whole calcium serving but a little more . Pictured with the fish is corn on the cob, and a wonderful sweet potato hummus that has tahini, chickpeas and sweet potato – all of which pack a nice calcium punch.

*a new snack (pictured) – any whole grain bread spread with plain Greek yogurt, salt and pepper and fresh veggies of choice,  a small helping of yogurt, but it adds up.

* a new smoothie recipe to try with strawberries, silken tofu and honey..Later, lassi – an Indian yogurt drink : plain yogurt, cold water and any fruit of choice.

This weekend I intend to attempt homemade miso soup with seaweed, and edamame on the side.

One more picture to share with NAP Challenge participants – this is a delicious smoothie featuring silken tofu for calcium and protein.

Recipe is approximate:

  • 1/4 c silken tofu
  • 1 1/2 c mixed fresh berries of choice (I used strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1/2 c of strongly brewed red roobois tea, chilled (I used a blend called Frooty Loop: Red Roobios, apple, mango, dried pineapple, rosehips, and orange)
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • Blend on high for 20-30 seconds, serve cold

Challenge #9 (sent to participants May 9)

Going Cuckoo For Color: This week I will eat at EACH MEAL one or two servings of red, yellow, orange, green, blue or purple fruits or vegetables.

From Katie:

This week has been a fun challenge.Variety of food however, has been a blast, and actually has been nice since what I want to eat seems to change almost hourly! My three favorite colorful meals this week:

Breakfast: Kashi brand blueberry waffles – these little guys have about the same calories as my usual whole wheat English muffin, along with 6g dietary fiber, 4g protein and a “7 grain flour” Kashi lists as including: whole wheat, oats, rye, brown rice, triticale, barley and buckwheat. And it’s got ground flaxseed! All that AND blueberries! I had these a couple of mornings, with some fresh cold pink watermelon chunks.

A colorful lunch, pictured, included an avocado with lime juice, halved grape tomatoes and a hard-boiled egg (I forgot my whole wheat bread slice that day so I just ate it like a salad!)

And a colorful dinner, pictured, was a wonderful lean beef stir fry, with bright green broccoli rapini, yellow bell peppers and shitake muchrooms, with a colorful wild brown rice blend. Dessert that night was fat, juicy red grapes.

Thanks for this challenge – it inspired some fun shopping and eating this week!

From sPg:

I love this week’s challenge. Nothing makes me happier than a pretty plate and a little nudge has been fun. I went out of my way to include peppers and beets in my lunches. I even used the challenge as an excuse to make a new kind of carrots (braised in carrot juice, ginger, garlic and jalapeno).  The fact that I now eat salads for lunch once or twice a week is entirely due to the challenge! Thank you!

The meal that I took a photo of did have homemade meatloaf.  The plate was small, but it was still probably a nudge big at 4 oz or so.  The soup was a homemade puree of seasonal veggies (greens, asparagus, a few carrots, celery in a light broth) and I did have a few pickled beets on the side (but they wouldn’t fit on the plate).  The cucumbers are a miso cucumber salad with sesame seeds, which was a Cooking Light recipe that was interesting and pretty tasty.

We are also kicking up our walking. I now walk with another mom one morning a week and my husband is also now wearing a pedometer and we are checking in with each other on our “steps per day”.  Feels good to be moving.  I also feel a little more focused after feeling a little discouraged last week.

The challenge continues to be a “challenge” in some ways.  It can be discouraging to eat better, but still not see weight loss of any significance.  I do miss eating a few things in blissful ignorance but I still can’t help but think its made a difference. One example: I don’t know if I’ve had processed meats more than once since the challenge began. I love sausage, but my brain seems to have responded well to the “but it will give you cancer” response.

Hoping still for a strong finish and enjoying a week of colorful plates!

From miriaminthemorning:

> Hi!  I thought I’d share a photo from our kitchen at work this morning – how nicely does that fit into this week’s challenge?!  This was my favorite week’s challenge.  I’ve been eating salads for lunch and for/with dinner, and I’ve been filling them with (purple) cabbage, all sorts of peppers (red, yellow, green), blueberries and blackberries and beets (blue/purple), and artichoke hearts and hearts of palm (yellowish).  The exercise is going well, and though I’m struggling with drinking ridiculous beverages (coke, koolaid at parties, etc.) and have given in to the cupcakes at work twice this week, I feel like I’m mostly on-track.  Hope everyone’s well!

From Liz:

strawberries and lowfat yogurt…delicious breakfast at my desk!

Challenge #8 (sent to participants May 2)

Adding UP Minutes: This week I will spend at least 30 minutes trying an activity I haven’t done before.
Stepping on UP: This week I will take at least 4,000 steps while trying an activity I haven’t done before.
Note:  Some new activities, such as swimming or yoga, might not increase your step count.  If you try one of these activities, record the amount of time you spent engaged in that activity instead.



From miriaminthemorning:
Hello everyone!  I enjoyed adding a variety of exercises to my routine this week.  Typically I bike to work (3 miles each way) but this week I walked most days.  I also ran one day (just for 20 minutes) and tried a yoga class called ashtanga, which I didn’t quite get, but variety is the spice to life.  I’m still enjoying seltzer water with lime… This week was way too busy but the exercise was grounding.
From Jane:


The challenge was “Adding UP Minutes: This week I will spend at least 30 minutes trying an activity I haven’t done before.” When I received the email my initial thought was there wasn’t much that I could do that I haven’t already tried and then my daughter asked me to participate in a 5K on Mother’s Day. I’ll be honest I have done a 5K before but I walked the entire thing.  On Sunday my daughter, my son and I ran a minute and walked a minute and we completed the race in 43 minutes.  I’ll be honest I was quite proud of myself and my knees didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought they would.  I’m not sure I would have agreed to it if it hadn’t been for the challenge.  I’m finding it easier and easier to exercise every day since I’ve been participating in this challenge.

From Katie:

This week’s challenge wasn’t great for me – the variety of exercise was just too much for me as I am dealing with early pregnancy tiredness. I did focus on MOTS – more of the same – instead. Thanks to the nice weather, I’ve been walking to and from work every single work day, and opted for walking instead of cabs or subway during our weekend in New York City. If extra naps count as variety of physical activity, then I did ok

Challenge #7(sent to Participants April 25)


Refresh and Relax with Fizzers and Spritzers: This week I will enjoy a variety of non-alcohol containing Fizzers and mini-alcohol Spritzers instead of drinking alcohol beverages.

How is everyone doing?

From Ed:

I finished this past week without drinking any alcohol and this was while attending a three day conference with an open bar. It’s funny the pressure you get from the bar tender when you order a non-alcoholic drink. When I ordered the attached sparkling water (with a lime), the bar tender tried to get me to add vodka.

From WEM:

The last 2 Challenges have been a BREEZE……… for me!!!  The Only thing I DRINK is WATER!!!!! (smile)

I really don’t have too much to say except I’m really trying hard to focus on my Portion Sizes and Stepping up my Steps per day. I’m looking forward to my next challenge and I hope everyone is doing GREAT!!!

From Katie:

Week 7’s challenge couldn’t have come at a better time! I am pregnant! So even without the challenge I’d be cutting alcohol from my diet, but thanks to this week’s challenge I explored some fun drinks that I can enjoy now and even after pregnancy as healthy alternatives to alcholic drinks. I took a world tour of different ginger ales because I love strong, spicy dry ginger ales. And I have to say, Honest Tea brand wins big points with me for being one of the few bottled teas that really doesn’t oversweeten their teas. For some reason, sweet flavors taste especially bad to me right now. Honest Tea’s Morrocan Mint, Community Green Tea and Black Assam are perfect – I keep a constant stock now, even taking them with me to restaurants where I know others will be enjoying alcohol – so that I can drink something I know I’ll like.
My favorite spritzer combination is:
  • 1/4 cup of pink grapefruit and pomegranate juice (Indian River makes this blend)
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of Pellegrino mineral water
Refreshing, tart, full of vitamins and minimal sweetness.
I’ve lost a total of 10 lbs since beginning the Challenge. I know at some point the pregnancy weight will start in, but I feel great knowing I’ve been eating so well leading up to it.

From sPg:

What a week!  This week was stressful and the food I ate showed it! But the challenge this week did keep me at 1.5 glasses of wine (I might have gone for the full second, but it was in the back of my mind) and it helped me to skip a glass of wine I really didn’t want with friends on another night. I opted for a flavored water instead and truthfully, it was fine.  It was a real challenge though in other ways. I was busy and we ate leftovers from our Seder (meat, potatoes), rather than more veggie-centered meals. And, I will admit, eating more meat made me crave even more meat!  I mean, do I ever really eat a brisket sandwich for lunch? Much less when I am eating brisket for dinner?  Yet, that is exactly what I had for lunch on Tuesday.  I think it proves that good habits and bad habits can be reinforcing patterns.  The challenge of previous weeks though really has changed my lens. Now I know that eating read meat 3-4 days in a row, just isn’t a great idea in a slightly new way.

But, it’s a new week and the brisket is finally gone and this weekend, I actually have time to cook.

The weather has been helpful though with activity. Its just easier to walk and move when the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. That has felt like a plus.  I love taking my daughter outside and using her as motivation has been helpful. This continues to be a useful. We also attended the White House Easter Egg Roll which was wonderful and meant that mom did a lot of extra walking and carrying.

So, it’s a new week and while I am tempted to feel a little frustrated and throw my hands up, I feel like the “new week” is just that—new.

I have to admit, a new product made me excited to drink water!

From Miriaminthemorning:

Update: Hi everyone!  Happy spring….I have been drinking lots and lots of soda water – love it.  I found that I don’t really like a splash of wine or other alcohol with seltzer or club soda, so instead I’ll have one glass of wine followed by a few glasses of seltzer with a slice of lemon, or just a bunch of glasses of fruit-flavored fizzy water.   I’m still drinking green tea a lot, and I’ve kept it down to one Diet Coke a day.  The “liquid calories” challenge definitely comes at a good time – it’s very pleasant to drink cool bubbly water outside…Have a great weekend!

Well….I’ve really gotten into the green tea, and I’m always a big fan of water.  However, I haven’t been able to kick the coffee or Diet Coke habit entirely this week.  I have one a day of each (coffee and Diet Coke), though I’m working toward eliminating them.  Funny, at the start of the challenge I was off both!.  Instead of going cold turkey, I’m doing some harm reduction.  I’m down to a small coffee and a can (not bottle) of Diet Coke a day.  On a positive note, I am enjoying seltzer with lime, regular water, and green tea.  Any tips on getting off of Diet Coke?  It can’t be good for you, but it’s so addictive…

Challenge #6 (sent to Participants April 18)

Bye Soda, Hi Tea: This week I will drink water or tea instead of soda and sugar sweetened beverages and limit 100% fruit juices to no more than a 1/2 cup portion daily.

Let’s check in:

From ZAK:

This week’s challenge will be interesting since I don’t really drink all that much sugary drinks. I don’t, however, drink enough water and tea isn’t one of my favorite caffeine drinks…especially in the morning. So far I’m doing well. I’ve been drinking plenty of water and I even drank some tea this morning. So far so good.

From Ed:

Tonight my lovely sister-in-law prepared the attached meal. The perfectly seasoned mahi mahi, along with a salad and broccoli made for a perfect vacation feast. I have been clocking more than 10,000 steps every day, but decided to up it 10 percent after last week’s challenge. I’ve definitely been walking late at night to hit the 10,000 steps, but adding an additional 1,000 steps per day will not be too difficult. The pedometer has been a real motivator. If NICR could provide some kind of meter to monitor what is entering my mouth every day, I would definitely drop some more pounds.

Challenge #5 (sent to Participants April 11)

Increase the Intensity!

Now it’s time to boost the intensity for you to reap greater health benefits, and add some variety (and fun!) to your routine.  This week you’ll learn what higher intensity activity feels like for you and will creatively incorporate it into your physical activity every day.

Adding UP Minutes: This week I will continue my usual activity and I will track the number of minutes I do moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity each day.  Next week I will aim to increase this total by 5-10 minutes.


Stepping On UP: This week I will continue my usual activity and I will track the number steps I take doing moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity each day using my pedometer.  Next week I will aim to increase this total amount by 500 steps.

So – how is everyone doing?

From Jane:

It was a tough week for me to get in dedicated exercise so I decided to concentrate on the number of steps. Here is my pedometer from Friday. I’m quite proud of that number.


For the past 2 weeks I have been in a funky mood. With me being sick and not wanting to do any working out, I resorted back to my couch potato ways. My food intake wasn’t a problem…it was the working out that was the issue. I was just lazy. So yesterday I decided to get back to it. It was a beautiful day and so I wanted to take a run. I am determined to complete a 10K Run on May 15th. I must say that I was proud of myself yesterday. I ran for 45 minutes and didn’t stop. I paced myself well but I sure did feel it this morning.


From Miriaminthemorning:

I don’t have a photo this week, but I do have a report on the increased fitness challenge. My goal this week has been 10,000 steps per day, and I haven’t gone to sleep any night this week without having gotten to 10,000 first.  That means twice I went out for a late-night walk around the block to get there, but it’s been fun to use the pedometer.  I’ve also done a one-hour yoga class every day this week.  I’m not great at it, but I’m enjoying the diversity in exercise.

From WEM:

For the last 2 weeks the challenges have been very CHALLENGING! I have been so busy that it kept slipping my mind to connect with my Team. So, I hope Everyone is doing GREAT! (SMILE) So here we go; my knee had been giving me a little trouble so last week I rested for 2 or 3 days so my steps for the day had really decreased.  But, I really made up for it this week. Even though I really didn’t feel like increasing my exercise this week I had that determination and I was able to do at least 10,300 steps a day. I even had a Little Company. (smile)  I walked outside at the park, walked and ran on my treadmill and I did a 10 minute walk in place video. Now to my eating habits….  Well….. eating more of the veggies, fruit, nuts, grain, and drinking water has been no problem at all.  It’s the MEAT!!!!!! I eat very little red meat; I’m having a problem with the serving size of my fish, chicken, salmon, etc.  I always manage to fit in that second serving of meat.  Yes I’m a MEAT HEAD!!!  Other than that I’m feeling GOOD and I’m looking forward to my next challenge.

Challenge#4 (Sent to Participants April 4)

“3 x 6 = no more than 18”: This week I will eat no more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat which includes beef, pork and lamb. Instead, I will eat fresh fish, chicken, turkey, and beans and nut spreads more often. Also, I will eat processed meats which includes bacon, sausage, salami, and ham no more than once a week with the ultimate goal of eventually avoiding all processed meats.

Time to check in to see how our participants are doing:

From Ed:

Attached is a picture of a recent dinner that I ate. To avoid red meat, you can see that I added a lovely small piece of chicken. I also mixed in brown rice with the white rice that I normally eat. You can also see a big salad….yum, yum. This new American plate challenge is working as I have already dropped close to 10 pounds. It’s been easy cutting back on the processed meat. This week’s challenge is easy.


From Jane:

This week has been a “challenge” and not the cut down on red meat kind of challenge.  I have been crazy busy this week and have found it really hard to eat right.  Just knowing that I’m participating in this challenge has made it a little easier to choose the right things. The few times I went out to dinner I tried to order fish and salad which is not something that I normally do.  I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store so my dinner last night consisted of a salad, with cucumbers and tomato and my favorite raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing and a chicken sandwich.  The bread is whole wheat which I do love and I used 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, cucumbers and tomatoes.  I wouldn’t have thought it but it satisfied me.

From sPg:

This week was hard—not because I am that big of a meat-eater, per say, but because I was out at events nearly every evening.  I spent my processed meat allowance on this fabulous prosciutto from Cashions—and it was worth it.  I spent my red meat allowance at a foodie event on Monday and frankly, it was also worth it. But I don’t think I came anywhere close to 18 oz.  6 would be my guess—max.

But, in the midst of all of these events, I feel like I had a bit of my own awakening. The small steps that we are taking are starting to sink in. Case in point, after three consecutive nights of “event food” which ranged from great to ok, I was just too tired to cook. But with the challenge in mind of not eating much meat, I opted for a Mediterranean salad bar at a local spot.  In another life, I would have had a burger, but I already “spent” my red meat allowance at the events.  Also, I took my daughter to dinner with me and knowing that she was eating food that was healthy made my choice feel even better (as if the tasty vegetarian food wasn’t enough!).  I was also inspired to make up that 10% more movement this week. The weather is starting to turn and the challenge is giving me just enough of a push to say, Ok, I can be a few minutes late and the walk will be nice.

Its interesting, this challenge isn’t teaching me anything new, but its reminding me that making the right choices isn’t really that hard.  And, aside from modeling good behavior for my family, these small changes make me feel like I am succeeding while also making me feel better. I will admit, I had hoped to have lost weight, which doesn’t seem to have happened yet, but people have commented that I look more fit.  I also just know I am being better to my body and frankly, reducing ones cancer risk is enough of a “big deal” thing that its just a little easier to make not-so-hard choices.

From miriaminthemorning:
Hi everyone!  Finally, an easy challenge for me!  As a vegetarian, I was highly successful at eating less red and/or processed meat.  However, since you all were busy with that, I did some research into the kinds of meat substitutes I regularly eat, and let’s just say that I’m going to try to eat “close to the earth” from now on rather than focus on processed meat substitutes that are supposed to taste like meat.  For example, I’m trying to opt for beans and brown rice as opposed to fake chicken that has fifty ingredients.
I am very excited for this coming week and boosting our activity!  I wear my pedometer faithfully, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks at work, and I haven’t had as much exercise as I would have liked.
I’m also attaching a photo of one of my meals this week:  ramen with bok choy, seafood, spring onion, and tofu.
From Liz:
delicious salad at fridays! chicken was cut into small bits but still satisfied the 2/3 1/3 rule!
salad with crutons and 1/3 chicken…it was so big i ate half and saved the other half for lunch on monday!


Challenge #3: (Sent to Participants March 28)


More Than Half Equals Whole: This week more than half of my grain servings will be whole grain such as whole grain cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, bulgur, and buckwheat (kasha), corn, and quinoa. I’ll start out with at least one whole grain serving daily and by the end of the week I will eat a minimum of three (3) whole grain servings each day.

Comments and Photos for Challenge #3:

Hello from sPg and miriaminthemorning, and Happy National Poetry Month!

Please excuse the joint entry.  This has not been a stellar week for our schedules or our diets, though we have included a photo of one of the few on-target meals we had this week:  muesli, yogurt, and fruit.  Here’s a haiku about our progress:

Poorly planned meals – ugh!

Though our pedometers flew.

Better luck next week!

From Katie:

Week 3 was an easy challenge for me…I love the “more than half equals whole” mantra… so I gave myself the challenge of trying at least one new grain this week… I met a friend for lunch, and chose… 1/2 c each of two different grain salads: red quinoa with red cabbage, carrots, mango and seasonings and barley with edamame, wakami, and ginger. Frankly, the barley salad was nasty – but I don’t blame the barley, the dish needed salt and seasonings. The red quinoa salad was delicious though, many textures and flavors, very filling and hearty.
Getting to 3 servings of whole grain  took a little planning but was not too hard…breakfast includes a 100% whole wheat English muffin (and you’re right! many products claim to be whole grain and are not.. a little extra fiber added back, but t is still “enriched white wheat flour” –  buyer beware) and…a whole grain for dinner …It’s easy to make extra rice or quinoa and keep it in the fridge all week, reheating and adding a little water or broth to keep it from getting stale. I can even occasionally add a little granola to my afternoon yogurt to add a little more whole grain (and those healthy flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds!)
In the meantime I’ve managed to keep my daily steps between 9000 and 10500 daily, and I attended my second spin class after work Monday night. I’ve lost 8 lbs so far.
My pantry, with millet, quinoa, brown rice, mixed brown and wild whole rices, Irish oats and my lunch with a new whole grain.
From: LIZ
I satisfied my taco craving with whole wheat shells and shrimp          2/3rds 1/3 rule tastes better by cutting up your protein into smaller bites!
I went on a hike at great falls national park!



For Challenges 1 and 2 keep reading….

Challenge #2: Comments and Photos

Adding UP Minutes: Beginning with my baseline activity – average number of minutes that I walk each day – I will slowly begin to increase my activity. By the end of the week I will aim to increase my daily time by at least 10%. Or


Stepping On UP: Beginning with my baseline activity – average number of steps that I walk each day using my pedometer – I will slowly begin to increase those steps. By the end of the week I will aim to increase my steps by 10%.

Time to check with the NAP Challenge participants on week two.

From ZAK:

I’ve really incorporated lots of veggies/fruits and whole grains with my meals. I choose to have one of these 3 foods for breakfast.

  • 1 large hard boiled egg, 1 toasted bread (100% whole wheat) and yogurt or fruit
  • 1 serving of oatmeal with half of an apple and cinnamon sprinkled on top
  • 1 cup of Cherrios or Special K cereal with half cup of almond milk


My biggest problem is eating breakfast but…since I’ve started eating the above meals, I don’t get as hungry throughout the day. I’ve noticed that I only eat grains during breakfast and lunch and have yet to eat it for dinner… dinner time I will have a smoothie or small salad. Maybe this weekend I will make a pasta dish with whole grain pasta.

From Jane:


I am quite proud of my dinner tonight. Portabella veggie burger/whole wheat bun with 1 tsp of hummus, cucumber slices, tomato and lettuce. Along with a sweet potato with 1 1/2 tsps of maple syrup and frozen broccoli with cheese sauce –  really filling and very tasty. Plus it was really quick to make

From sPg:

A healthy meal in the midwest! Stewed celery, grilled asparagus, homemade pasta in a beet sour cream sauce, grilled flank steak, homemade pickles.

The challenge to move more was a tough one–…I spent the week in the Midwest where the car culture means that the usual walks …have been replaced by short drives. The challenge did inspire me to take a chilly walk to get a few things…rather than the quick drive, but even with the extra effort…I’m 10% down this week on the steps!  It makes me realize how much easier it is to be healthier at some points living in a city rather than in a place where the only option is really driving.

Before arriving here though I noticed that my steps… varied by day–from 7,500 to 12,500.  The trick- how to find time to move more, even when I am not on vacation!  One thing I did do was commit to really walking to work, now that the weather is a little better.  This challenge has also inspired me to take my daughter out more since chasing her absolutely adds to my step count.

From miriaminthemorning:

today’s lunch:  salad with a brown rice/coconut milk/tofu/lemongrass/broccoli curry.  I used just a touch of lite coconut milk.

This week I am walking more.  I typically ride my bike everywhere and do yoga five times a week.  However, now that I have a pedometer, I realize I don’t walk enough.  So I’m walking to work three days a week now (about three miles each way).  I like the change.

I have been better about portions, and I’m always good about eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

From Katie:

Meal #1: black & white bean salad with avocado,fresh baby spinach,pea shoots, hummus, whole grain Kashi crackers and snap peas, with  diced cantaloupe

Meal #2:  veal chunks with portabella mushrooms, asparagus and garlic, corn on the cob and sauteed veggies with whole wheat penne pasta.


Week two was a great challenge and, for me, one of the toughest, because it involved time. Increasing … by ten percent required dedicating more time to moving. The best way for me to do this is to combine transit with exercise – walk places I’m going already.

…the cold winter discouraged me and I got into the bus habit. ..Before the challenge I was walking on average, 30 minutes per day, and at least once per week … 60 minutes

So last week, I made these adjustments: 1) IF it was very cold in the morning, I took the bus halfway and walked the rest of the way…twice last week. 2) If it was bearable or (heaven be praised) NICE outside, I walked both ways – two times last week. (The remaining weekday I was on bike for transit both ways.)  3)we used our Saturday afternoon for exploring, and walked through our favorite DC neighborhoods…total time out moving was about 3 hours…12,250 steps!

One more thing: I tried a spinning class! It was hard but not impossible, and I think I’ll try to work one per week into my schedule. It’s invigorating and I really felt I’d accomplished a lot.

I’ve lost a total of 6 lbs since starting the NAP challenge!

Challenge #2 (sent to participants March 21)


Adding UP Minutes: Beginning with my baseline activity – average number of minutes that I walk each day – I will slowly begin to increase my activity. By the end of the week I will aim to increase my daily time by at least 10%. Or


Stepping On UP: Beginning with my baseline activity – average number of steps that I walk each day using my pedometer – I will slowly begin to increase those steps. By the end of the week I will aim to increase my steps by 10%.

Check back early next week for comments and photos!

Challenge # 1: Comments and photos

It’s been one week for the NAP Challenge participants. Let’s see how they’re doing.

From sPg:


“..on Monday, we had pork chops (but small and lean), roasted Brussel sprouts and cauliflower, broccoli rabe and still I thought, “Will the boys be hungry?”, so I tossed in some cut raw veggies and everyone seemed happy.  …its made me aware of how easy and frankly, how much better I feel, when I take time to ensure that I have a good lunch.

From Katie:




“… to use a plate of 10 inches diameter or smaller helped a lot – it’s much harder to overfill a smaller plate. This reminds me of Japanese lunch boxes called bento boxes (which I use almost daily for lunch) – they’re designed to hold on average 600 calories for a woman’s box and 800 calories for a man’s box”

“Another “win” for me this week was a night out…I divided the portion in roughly 2/3 – and put one third in take-out box as my lunch for the next day.  One final very helpful tip…a midafternoon snack each day…has helped me feel more energetic on the whole, and less “starving” at dinner time so that I’m content with a smaller dinner.”

From ZAK:

“So far I am eating more veggies and fruits. I have limited my meat…The good news about this is I’ve found different foods that provide plenty of protein. I’m exercising more..I have lost weight…and I’m enjoying it!!”

From WEM:

Wow!! I have discovered that a bowl of Sweet Blackberries and Raspberries are just as good as  a chocolate chip cookie.  I love sweets and that is one of my challenges.  So, instead of that Cookie I had the Berries which really satisfied my sweet tooth.  The Good News is that I lost 2.20 pounds.  I look forward to the weeks to come and I’m very excited about my Healthier Lifestyle change.

From Jane:

Week one has been a good one.  By adding a salad to my evening meal is a great way to add vegetables to my day.  Plus I have found a great salad dressing where one tablespoon is plenty of dressing for a salad.  But to be honest the best tip I have for the week is to use real maple syrup in place of butter on your baked sweet potato. You only need to use about a ½ tablespoon. It’s delicious.

From Miriaminthemorning:

The 2/3, 1/3 rule has not been difficult, but cutting down on portion size has been a big challenge.

Things I’ve noticed:

1. I eat a lot of cheese.

2.  I tend to crave healthy foods but struggle with portions

3.  I can eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner, and it doesn’t bother me at all.  Is that healthy?

4.  I am more aware of what I am eating (or, in my case, how much) since starting the Plate Challenge.

What have you found to help you get more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains on your plate? Could you try any of the tips shared here?

March 14, 2011  Challenge #1

The 2/3rd – 1/3rd Rule to Plate By: I will fill my plate with two-thirds (2/3rds) of a combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts and no more than one-third (1/3rd) of lean animal protein such as poultry, seafood, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, or lean red meat. Of my 21 meals per week, 5 or more meals will meet the 2/3rd – 1/3rd rule.

So stay tuned! Check back every week and cheer on the AICR New American Plate Challenge participants.

2 comments on “Step Up to the (New American) Plate for Cancer Prevention

  1. Ed on

    I have cut back on red meat and instead am eating more chicken. I still eat red meat, but less of it. I also started eating Raisan Brand instead of Oatmeal Squares for breakfast. This challenge has been great as I am now more focused on trying to eat healthier. Tiny changes can make the difference.

  2. Richard D, Greensfelder on

    I have this theory that I have had for years that I would like to share. It supports your research about red and processed meat as contributors to cancer. Please accept my apology if I am stating the obvious. The “A” in DNA obviously represents acid, what if our bodies because of environmental factors ( too much carbon in the air, water , and food) , as a mutation, started to use the wrong acid at the molecular level. Carbon based acid in lieu of nitrogen based acid, would the result become abnormal, cancerous cells ? What if as we age and due to an environment of too much carbon and/or diet ,our bodies exhaust the right ingredients and a prediposed gene in some people triggers the switch to use the wrong acid in DNA and cells especially at the site of repetitive inflamation. The cell repair process going awry, using the incorrect acid to repair damaged cells at the site of chronic inflamation ( from colon, breast, lungs, etc.), abnormal cells forming cancer.This is why a diet of fruit and vegetables is so important, the correct nutrients for cells. This is why exercise is so important , physical activity burns up the incorrect ( carbon based) nutrients first ! Just some thoughts that I would like to share with you as you try to find a cure for cancer and help people who suffer from this dreadful disease, thank for listening.


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