Days 5-7 were actually pretty great! I felt good, not too hungry, with plenty of energy! Friday night we went out to Blake Street Tavern for the Pathways fun night, where we met up with some of my fellow advocates to celebrate a friend and fellow advocate’s birthday! Let me tell you, it was a bit strange to be in a restaurant and just get water! Saturday night we attended a wedding (where I did not eat, but I did sneak the cake home in a Ziploc bag!), and Sunday morning we went with friends to one of my favorite breakfast places, where I again just ordered water!

Today I am feeling pretty hungry and tired. It is amazing what a roller coaster this is–one day I feel great, and then the next day is hard. I know this will continue over the next few weeks, but I can honestly say the first week went pretty fast. We are on day 8 already!

Last night was our weekly meeting with our fellow advocates–those times together are such a blessing to me! In every day life, it is easy to fall into the temptation to isolate, but being with other advocates who are going through the same thing is such an encouragement!

And speaking of encouragement–I have been blown away by the encouragement I have received from so many people!! I am so thankful for the many of you who have sent encouraging messages to me, have prayed for me and have sponsored me! It is such an amazing blessing to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself.

Our group is currently funded for meals through later this week, probably Friday. Please consider joining us in our effort and also spreading the word to your friends and family.

Be the change! www.25inchange.org Thank you!


Q&A with Leah

My awesome friend Kristie asked this question: “do you think you are going to lose a lot of weight? obviously, you do NOT need to lose any…therefore, are you concerned about your health/losing too much weight during this journey?”

When I first signed up for this, I had no idea what to expect, so I was a bit concerned about the health aspects of the project. As a dietitian, I was definitely concerned about the nutritional aspects of a beans and rice diet! Thankfully, I am getting about 1400 calories, so definitely adequate, but probably less than I get regularly. I have been weighing myself every morning and am down 3.8 lbs, but I feel like that is probably leveling off. I am also taking a good multivitamin, so getting adequate iron and other vitamins/minerals.

So am I worried? Not really. I lost about 10 lbs last summer (unintentionally–related to some health issues I was dealing with) but have since regained that and then some, so have a few pounds to spare. 🙂 The last few months, my eating habits have gotten a little out of control (I love wine and sugar!!), so I feel like this is a good opportunity not only to help starving children but also to get my own eating habits back where they need to be.

Thanks for the awesome questions!! Anybody else??

Sandy asked about our beans and rice preparation. We are able to use any kind of beans and rice but are encouraged to stick with the same kind throughout the 25 days. Each meal is one cup of rice and 1/2 cup beans, with 1 tsp oil and 1/3 tsp salt. I am using brown basmati rice, which I feel has a little more flavor, and brown ricehas more nutrition than white. I am eating black beans, because I love them, and olive oil, because I love the flavor. I think I am probably using less salt, because I don’t particularly like a lot of salt in my food, although I have found myself adding a little more each day, as the beans and rice become less and less interesting. We aren’t allowed to add any spices or anything else.

I feel like I am probably pretty lucky because black beans and brown rice is a pretty common staple in my diet, so I enjoy eating it–though I may feel differently after 25 days! Also, because Jason is a vegetarian, I am not accustomed to eating a ton of meat, so adjusting to a no-meat diet hasn’t been bad.

Let me know if you have any more questions about what we are doing–I love to share!!

We were warned before we started that we were going to feel isolated and emotional–and these feelings hit me hard on day 4. As I listened to the petty American complaints around me all day, all I could think was “How can you complain about THAT while children are STARVING around the world??” I kinda just wanted to retreat and be by myself, because no one around me really understands what I am experiencing.

My hunger levels weren’t too terribly bad on day 4. There were definitely moments of hunger, but I always know that my next meal is just around the corner, which so many people don’t have the luxury of knowing. It is amazing the abundance that we have in our country. As I was shopping in Wal-Mart yesterday, it was so amazing to see all the food and to consider all the choices and availability of food we have as Americans. We so often forget how blessed we are!

One of the goal to this program is to create empathy in the advocates–and I can say I am definitely feeling more empathic to the plight of the starving worldwide. I will never fully understand or know what they are going through, but this journey gives me a small insight on what it must be like for so many millions of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Please consider making a donation to 25 in change. Trust me, you will change someone’s life.  http://25inchange.org/leah-stephens/

Day 3 was a big improvement over day 2!! I had moments where I felt weepy and short-tempered but was WAY less tired on day 3! We even went to the theater last night and had a great time!

I have been thinking a lot about how life will be different after the 25 days are over. What will I eat? Will I go back to my old habits or stick with some of the new ones I have developed? One thing I have noticed that some of the other advocates have mentioned as well is that the way I look at food is changing–I think of it as a source of fuel now rather than a source of enjoyment. When I feel badly, I cannot emotionally eat. So many people in the world have no concept of emotional eating or eating for pleasure rather than survival. Please help us help those in the world who depend on food for survival. Visit http://25inchange.org/leah-stephens/ to make a $25 donation to provide 100 meals to children in need.


If I had to use one word to describe day 2, it would be TIRED. There were moments in the day I had adequate energy, but overall I was so tired. I went out to my car over my lunch break and took a little nap, and then I slept last night from about 7-12 and then about 1 to 5:30. I was planning on going to yoga last night but just couldn’t drum up the energy to do so. I cannot imagine feeling like this all of the time.

I haven’t felt overly hungry, but there have been moments where I feel light-headed and groggy, like my brain is full of cotton. Yesterday, one of my co-workers was talking to me, but what she was saying just wasn’t sinking in, wasn’t making sense. I think I probably just looked at her with a blank look, nodding in what I hoped looked like understanding and comprehension. Again, I cannot imagine feeling like this all the time.

If I start to think about how many days we have left of eating nothing but beans and rice, I get very overwhelmed. I have to focus on just one day, one meal at a time. But for the starving children worldwide, there is often no end in sight. That absolutely breaks my heart.

Please help us raise awareness and stop hunger by making a $25 donation at http://25inchange.org/leah-stephens/. A big THANK YOU to those of you who have already donated–you are amazing!!

I made it through day 1 of beans and rice!! There were moments when I was pretty hungry, and I had a headache most of the day, but overall it wasn’t too bad. About mid-day, I started to feel a bit light-headed–it was a good reminder of how children around the world who don’t get regular meals and good nutrition must feel.

One thing that really stood out to me yesterday was how bombarded we are with food in our culture. Everywhere I turned there were reminders of food I wasn’t getting to eat–fast food coupons on the break room table, the work candy bowl filled with chocolate, the smell of bacon cooking as I drove by McAlister’s Deli, discussion about donuts across the room at work–the list could go on and on. It would be amazing if we could make our culture less about food, especially unhealthy food.

I was especially encouraged by our meeting last night with my fellow advocates. What an incredible group of people! There is no way I could do this alone–I would have given up by dinner time last night! I am so thankful for every person in that group and am excited to see how God changes the world through this project!

We are currently funded with enough meals to feed everyone through Friday. Please consider making a $25 donation at http://25inchange.org/leah-stephens/. Each donation goes 100% to the World Food Program to provide 100 meals to children who would otherwise go without.

Thank you!