Saturday, January 24, 2015

And Now For Something...Completely Different

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I told you something new and exciting was coming.

It turns out I needed a little me time before I decided to commit to blogging about my new venture. Hence, my short absence.

I have been following the 100 Days of Real Food blog for about a year now. In a sentence, the blog's author, Lisa Leake, her husband and two children challenged themselves to eat only real food for 100 days. Following this, Leake has continued to feed her family a diet of primarily real foods. On her blog, she offers readers a 10-day pledge* as well as meal plans and a slew of resources for eating real food. While it is certainly commendable that Leake and her family have committed to such a lifestyle, her passion goes a bit overboard to borderline obsession. It puts me in mind of a Wall Street Journal article I recently read which states in a medically eloquent way that the eating healthy obsession has actually become unhealthy for some.

*Please note: While Leake refers to these commitments as 'pledges', I call them 'challenges' at home, because Lord knows, they are challenging.

While we aren't looking to make a lifetime pledge to eating only real food or foods with only five ingredients, Hubby and I did decide it was time we started eating better. This is partially due to wanting to lose a little weight but also due to just wanting to feel better all around. If I've learned anything from doctors, proper eating is key.

We decided we would take the 10-day pledge. I'm realistic. I knew I would never, ever survive a 100-day challenge. And if you sit there thinking, it's just real foods, how hard could it be? Just check out Leake's Real Food Rules.

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I was just finishing up blogging about my recipe challenge when we took the 10-day pledge. So I was a little tuckered out and surprisingly not in the mood to photograph any food I cooked.

Here, in a nutshell, is how it went:

Days 1, 2, 3: Ate only real foods. Began the day with a banana and whole wheat bread*. Lunch was a mixture of PB&J, fruits, and leftover real food dinners. Dinners were filled with veggies, pan fried chicken and fish.

*Not all whole wheat breads are equal. To find one that is actually "real" you have to search the ingredients list and/or search for the whole grains approval stamp.

Day 4: I cracked. It was a Saturday, I had been busy all morning and hadn't eaten a thing when noon rolled around. Hubby took me to Starbucks, and I was under the impression he would be cheating, too. So I ordered a caramel macchiato and a breakfast sandwich.

Then Hubby ordered a black coffee and I wanted to ring his neck like a wet towel. This proceeded to tears, a quiet car ride, a breakfast sandwich being thrown out the window, and a trip to Cracker Barrel.

Day 5 and 6: Repeated the same as Days 1-3.

Day 7 and 8: I cheated in small ways. I ate one or two food items that had only one or two "not real" additives.*

*Like sugar. Because I needed a little chocolate in my life, and no matter how they package it, chocolate bars made without delicious white sugar taste like bitter mud.

Day 9 and 10: Finished the challenge on two days of real food only.

Whew! That was a pretty large nutshell!

Despite my lack of control, I learned a lot from the ten days of attempting to eat only real food. I learned to really read food labels. I learned that I eat less when I eat real food. I also discovered, after this past week of being able to eat what I wanted, that I feel better eating real food. Maybe it is a trick of the subconscious, but I suppose it is a rather positive trick.

So what now? I'm sure you've guessed that this isn't the end of the road. Leake realizes that not everyone can jump into real food eating immediately. It is certainly a gradual process. Enter her 14-week mini pledges. Each week has a different pledge. For instance: Week 4 is "No fast food or deep-fried food". We have decided to mix the order of the pledges up and to build each week upon the next.

The next fourteen weeks on this blog I will be writing about how these pledges (challenges) are going. 

Please know that the most difficult part of this challenge will be the eventual forfeiting of sugar and white flour from my diet. Also, please know that I do not intend to keep these eating habits forever, but only to complete this challenge and instill a framework for better eating habits in my house.