Coming this March, I have challenged my friends and coworkers to a 30 Day Eat Real Food Challenge. I want to invite you all to join along. We all strive to eat healthfully, but our definitions of healthy all differ. However we choose to reach our own optimal health, I believe we can all agree that current standards are falling short of meeting our needs. So many foods and meals are offered for our convenience, but have we stopped to consider at what cost?
Many of us eat out, whether for pleasure or for sake of a busy schedule. Sure, we can navigate the menus and order things that are gluten free, fat free, vegetarian, or heart healthy. But what ingredients are they using? Are they using organics? High quality, grade A options for oils, vegetables, and meats? Are they abiding by proper preparation and cooking practices? Chances are, they are not. They want impact, they want good reviews. And sometimes, the proper way to get a food to the point of rave reviews takes too long. So they find shortcuts. Using soy, canola, or peanut oil is common practice in restaurants. These oils are not stable and tend to go rancid under heat and processing. Organic foods and grass fed meats are costly, and many establishments avoid offering these, or if they do, it’s at a premium. Even then, if you order a grass fed cut or meat or organic chicken, it may be cooked in other non-organic or low quality ingredients. So this meal out is not really stacking up to be what you thought, now is it?
How about when we buy premade meals at the local supermarket? Frozen or from the fresh section, it likely has so many ingredients added to it to keep it looking and tasting fresh that it would take us ten minutes just to make it through the ingredients list. And once there, can you even pronounce them? Yeah, so maybe these also are not the healthy option you thought they were.
So enter the 30 Day Eat Real Food Challenge. Thirty Days of clean eating. No processed foods, no refined flours or sugars, no additives or unnatural colors, no synthetics. How about it? Real food, 30 days. It’s so much easier than you think. And as you will come to find, rewarding.
This is tailored to what you eat, what you need. If you are vegetarian, great. Paleo, awesome. Raw foodist- well, you’re probably already aceing this! (Pretty hard to eat processed food when you’re a raw foodie!) The aim is simply good quality real food. If it grew in the ground, survived on what grew in the ground, and has only itself as the main ingredient- it works! You cook it and prepare it, but it can’t come to you additive and preservative laden, packaged up and ready to nuke in the microwave.
You choose your level of participation, the one that resonates best with you. But keep in mind, this is a challenge. Challenge yourself! Pick your goal, make a plan. Maybe you find this desirable but overwhelming. I suggest start with replacing one to three meals a week with real foods. Nothing processed or “microwave ready”, just wholesome, real foods. Or maybe you choose one processed indulgence and replace it with something non-processed, something real. Maybe these are no problem for you. In that case replace one meal every day with real foods. You could choose five days of clean eating, allowing weekends to be a time to regroup and have your fun. Or maybe you’re ready to go whole hog- all seven days, three meals a day, REAL FOOD! Whatever is right for you, grab it, and do it. Plan ahead, make your menus and your shopping lists, and get going.
I’ll be posting meal and snack ideas periodically, along with recipes. Together we can do this, and you will discover how amazing real food can make you feel. You never know, your skeptical self just may become a believer!
Here are some sites for incentive: