Meghan Markle may be known for being the Duchess of Sussex now, but long before she joined the royal family, the actress was well known for being a proponent of healthy living.
Her now-shuttered lifestyle blog, The Tig, once featured many musings and recipes with wellness as the overarching theme.
Many of Markle’s favorite foods are relatively simple in concept: Avocado toast, veggie quinoa, fish tacos, pasta. The list goes on, but Markle’s preferences seem to stem toward whole, fresh food more than anything.
I decided it would be a fun idea to try and eat like the duchess myself for 10 days. As a fellow California gal and on-and-off pescatarian, I was confident I’d feel right at home following Markle’s regimen.
First and foremost, it’s important to note Markle herself is not a fan of the word ‘diet’
This may be the reason why what she eats has changed so much over the years. Older interviews revealed she was vegan, like, 80% of the time and then pescatarian.
In addition, it’s fair to say Markle’s eating habits changed with respect to her wedding, pregnancy, and motherhood. But one thing has always remained fairly consistent about her eating habits: moderation. I tried to find a middle ground between all of these and ate as close as I could to Markle’s diet, incorporating her favorite foods.
Here is how the experience went for me:
For my first Meghan Markle breakfast, I started off with a colorful acai bowl
Markle told Eye Swoon in 2017 that her morning routine consisted of an açaí bowl, green juice, and cleanse shake.
I first tried açaí bowls while attending school in Santa Barbara, so this flavor was nothing new to me. But I wasn’t prepared to drop that kind of money ($10 a bowl) on 10 days of breakfast, so I looked for an alternative.
The good news is I discovered that Trader Joe’s sells frozen açaí packets that are ready to go.
Markle’s açaí bowl recipe is pretty straight forward: she blends the packer with the banana and a dash (emphasis on just a dash) of almond milk. I made the mistake of adding too much almond milk so I ended up with an açaí beverage the first time. She artfully tops her bowls with a sprinkle of fresh berries, coconut flakes, banana, Manuka honey, and bee pollen.
I assembled my bowl according to Markle’s instructions, sans Manuka honey and bee pollen.
The taste was refreshing and slightly sweet, which made for a perfect breakfast food. I loved that it made me feel satisfied without feeling overly full, like other carb-heavy foods. I also didn’t get that two-hour slump feeling after eating this like I do when I pick up my morning pastry.
I made this for breakfast for four straight days until I ran out of berries. But by then, I was craving something different.
Oatmeal also became a regular part of my morning on the Meghan Markle diet
After a few days of acai bowls, I was craving something with a little more carbs in the morning.
According to Delish, Markle regularly ate oatmeal while filming her television show “Suits.” This was likely because she spent many hours working on set, and needed fuel to keep her going.
Like Markle, I topped my oatmeal with bananas — which somehow grew sweeter as they warmed up against the hot oats. I also added a dash of cinnamon and drizzle of agave to give it that extra yum factor. Warm, slightly sweet, and satisfying.
I ate this around 8 a.m. one morning and wasn’t hungry until 2 p.m. That alone is enough reason to get me to start eating a regular breakfast.
Personally, I found the most difficult part about following Meghan Markle’s diet was cutting out caffeine
Markle and I may have a lot in common when it comes to food preferences, but our opinions diverge significantly when it comes to coffee. I happen to be a caffeine queen with a serious (bad) habit of daily iced lattes, whereas the duchess has a different morning habit.
Instead of coffee, Markle drinks a cup of warm lemon water every morning to start her day.
I’ll be honest, the first five days of waking up without my morning coffee were very challenging — I felt like an actual zombie. But I’m so glad I followed Markle’s advice because this small change showed me exactly how dependent I am on caffeine.
Since I couldn’t depend on my morning pick-me-up, I tried to be more mindful of my sleep schedule instead. Of course, one of the reasons I drink so much coffee is because, like most Americans, I don’t get the required eight hours per night.
Around the seventh day of swapping out coffee for lemon water, I began to feel different. I noticed I woke up much easier and felt far more rested. I also like to think the lemon helped with my digestion as Markle said.
Plus there was something about sipping lemon water every morning that felt so luxurious. I felt more like I were at a spa, rather than on my way to a meeting.
The duchess is also a big fan of avocado toast, so I made this my go-to lunch
Talk about knowing the way to my Millennial heart. The more fresh avocados, the better.
Markle said she usually orders “avocado toast with a poached egg on top” whenever she stays at a hotel.
Avocados are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, fiber, and healthy fats. When combined with an egg for protein, and whole-grain bread for added carbs and fiber, it made the perfect light lunch.
I don’t know if I want to publicly declare how many of these toasts I ate over 10 days, but let me just say it was more than five. Some days I added an egg, other days I added tomatoes and other veggies. Either way, every time they were absolutely delicious.
The majority of my full meals were gigantic salads
According to Delish, a typical Meghan Markle lunch consists of a hearty salad with protein, and usually a quinoa or rice base. Although Markle specified that she prefers using beans as a protein, I know from other interviews that she doesn’t avoid all meat 100% of the time. From my understanding, this means it’s okay to eat a little bit of chicken or turkey, as long as it’s paired with some greens.
Salad became my go-to lunch for nearly a week straight. And you may be surprised to learn I never actually got sick of it.
To me, people who dislike salad just haven’t found the right combination of ingredients. There are so many different greens and toppings to choose from. You just have to be patient enough to chop them all and ensure they’re uniform. Normally, this is what keeps me from making salads in the first place. The amount of prep that goes into them always seemed like a lot for a dish that was so simple.
I made one that featured baby greens, shaved turkey, craisins, herbed goat cheese, and pickled beets. Another day, I made tossed some white quinoa with Campari tomatoes, balsamic, and a little bit of basil.
However, I became bored with the green juice
Meghan Markel has called green juice her preferred afternoon snack. She drinks this as an alternative to coffee.
Here’s the thing — I don’t dislike green juice. I actually enjoy the earthy taste that comes from the combination of vegetables. However, I am not a fan of eating my vegetables in this manner, nor am I keen on spending between $5 and $10 for a serving of juice.
After a few days of incorporating cold-pressed juice into my routine, I understood why Markle is such a big fan of the stuff. Each time I sipped my colorful beverage, I pictured myself sitting outside near a peaceful, garden somewhere in London.
However, I don’t think this is a habit I will continue. For me, the juices weren’t filling enough to be considered a satisfying snack, even though I found them to be delicious. In addition, they were slightly too expensive for my budget.
But certainly, every once in a while couldn’t hurt.
Whenever I got hungry in between meals, I reached for hummus and fruit
Several years ago, Markle publicly declared her love for hummus, carrots, and crackers, on Today, calling it “trifecta snack.”
I’m already a fan of hummus, but I’m usually the person who reaches for something super processed like onion dip or ranch if that’s available. When I started this challenge, I made sure to toss all of those products away to avoid temptation.
Each time I became overwhelmed with the urge to start snacking on something super salty, I made myself a small serving of the duchess’s trifecta. No, carrots are not the same as chips, but it still satisfied my craving for creamy and crunchy.
I also made sure I had watermelon on hand for my sweets cravings. Markle told Today that she loves snacking on watermelon with cinnamon.
The combination sounded strange, but I’ve had pretty good luck with Markle’s diet so far, so I trust her opinion.
The verdict? Delicious.
For dinner, I ate sushi, veggie tacos, quinoa, and more salad
I purchased a salmon and avocado sushi tray from my local Whole Foods and savored every last bite. This was probably my favorite meal of the week. Nothing beats that umami flavor of thinly sliced raw salmon, nori, soy, and wasabi. It’s also packed with protein and healthy fats.
On other nights, I made quinoa with veggies like zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. I also used my vegetables again to make tacos, one of Markle’s signature dishes.
I followed Markle’s advice of using fresh herbs and I swear it gave my food a restaurant-quality taste. I absolutely loved it.
I also enjoyed several glasses of red wine
Markle told Delish that she considers a glass of red wine to be her dessert. To me, I’ve always considered wine a dessert accompaniment, so this was definitely a change.
Sadly, I couldn’t find Tignanello (Markle’s favorite wine and the namesake for her former blog), but I did purchase a nice, California Cabernet Sauvignon, and sipped a few glasses, a few times.
By the end of my challenge, I didn’t feel like I was on a diet at all
By the end of my 10 days on the Meghan Markle plan, my body felt much better. I don’t think I lost any pounds beyond water weight, but I did notice I had much less bloat around my stomach.
My skin also felt less inflamed. It wasn’t exactly clear, but I didn’t feel as puffy. I was also much less tired because I forced myself to go to bed earlier, and pushed through my daily jogging with far more intensity.
But most of all, I didn’t feel deprived.
In fact, I felt better than I did before I started
And that’s because I was eating a variety of foods I loved.
Because ultimately, I learned that “bingeing” and “elimination” don’t exist in Meghan Markle’s eating plan. Even though she minimizes the amount of gluten, dairy, and meat she eats, it’s important to remember she it appears she doesn’t believe in shunning them forever.
Although many trendy diets continue to dominate the health and wellness world, Markle’s laid back, yet mindful approach to eating seems to me the most sustainable.
However, I feel very motivated to continue following this lifestyle
Like Markle, I am a huge fan of food that tastes fresh. Farm-to-table restaurants are usually my all-time favorite places to eat. It’s not simply because it’s healthier. In my opinion, the food tastes better, too.
But I often let my good habits fall to the wayside in favor of convenience. I also feel like healthy foods get a bad rep for being boring and bland.
This diet proved to me that is simply not the case.
As long as you have fresh herbs, spices, and veggies, there is a limitless number of healthy and flavorful meals you can make yourself. And to me, this kind of eating is a win-win.