WHAT IS IT?
The 7 Day Real Food Challenge is an idea I came up with to help people who really want to eat healthier but don’t know where or how to start. I know that the idea of eating healthy can be very overwhelming, especially if you have other very important responsibilities on your plate (and who doesn’t?).
This idea really came to me when I first started to receive feedback from the 30 Day Sugar Detox. Those who completed it came back to me with amazing results including, weight loss, clearer skin, minimal cravings, and better digestion. Fantastic!
However, there were many others who expressed great interest in doing the detox, but it just seemed too overwhelming to commit to. Those are the ones I’m after this time around. You who have such a strong desire to be healthier but just can’t find the time or motivation to really get started. You who find yourself time after time eating the same stuff that you know is not good for you (because you don’t feel so good afterwards) but you don’t know how to say no because you’ve said yes for so long. I’m doing this challenge for you, because I know that getting started is the hardest part. But be encouraged, because once you feel the difference, it creates less of a desire to go back.
The key to success in eating well that I think so many miss is that at the root of it all, it’s really not about eating less calories or less fat or even less sugar (although one or more of these things can have there place for certain individuals, it still should not be the focus). It’s about eating more nutritionally dense foods that help keep you satisfied. I think so many people choose to focus on 1 or more of the aforementioned things and end up missing the point entirely. The problem is, our society has embraced this idea of “dieting” and “losing weight” so much that even our foods in the grocery store are marketed this way (“low-fat”, “sugar-free”, “fat-free”, etc.) and we buy into it, thinking these foods are gonna help us “get healthy”. These foods are not gonna help you get healthy. Sure you may see some weight loss for some time, but that is in no way an indication that you are healthy. There is so much wrong with this type of thinking, I really don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll leave that explanation for another time.
So, in essence, this challenge is a foundational way to jumpstart your healthy eating lifestyle and retrain your mind to stop the “diet thinking” and just nourish yourself. Hopefully this guide will provide helpful tips to get you excited about your new journey.
The 7 Day Real Food Challenge will begin next Monday, June 10th and will end on Sunday, June 16th (However, hopefully you will be inspired to continue eating this way, but that’s entirely up to you).
Okay, so I bet you’re wondering how do-able this is. Well, lucky for you, I designed this to be a very short and easy (read: DO-ABLE) challenge. So if you aren’t joining in on the fun, you basically have zero excuses. ;) Once the challenge is completed, it is up to you to assess how you feel compared to how you normally feel and decide if you want to continue eating this way… or mostly this way (believe me, I know that eating 100% perfectly healthy all the time is just not realistic). For these 7 days, you’re gonna need to buckle down and be very strict though, to get accurate results. That means, for 7 days it is 100%, all in. If you choose to continue this journey beyond the 7 days, be realistic with yourself, give yourself some grace, but also HAVE GOALS to keep yourself in-line.
Okay, so…. here are the rules…
FOODS/DRINKS YOU CANNOT CONSUME FOR THE 7 DAYS:
1. Anything that contains an ingredient that you cannot pronounce or don’t know what it is. (Fair enough, right?)
2. Anything that contains refined grains, such as white flour, pasta or tortillas (corn or flour). (White rice in moderation, is okay.)
3. Anything that contains refined sweeteners, such as white sugar, corn syrup, or artificial stuff like Splenda.
4. All deep-fried foods (because they are often made using highly refined oils).
5. If it’s questionable, then it’s probably a no-go. Just put it down… walk away from the brownies, sir.
6. Anything that contains artificial colors, flavors, etc. (I mean, this is called a REAL food challenge, after all.)
WHAT YOU CAN HAVE DURING THE REAL FOOD CHALLENGE:
1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
2. Lots of fruits and vegetables.
3. Dairy products like whole milk, unsweetened plain yogurt, eggs, and cheese.
4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (sprouted grains are best, like Ezekiel bread, found in the freezer section of most grocery stores).
5. Seafood (wild caught is optimal).
6. Meats such as turkey, beef, and chicken.
7. Beverages limited to water, milk, kefir, all natural juices, & naturally sweetened coffee & tea.
8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts, and popcorn.
9. All natural sweeteners including local raw honey, 100% grade B maple syrup (or grade A with only “maple syrup” listed in the ingredients), organic cane sugar, and fruit juice concentrates are all acceptable in moderation.
1. If you’re going to consume dairy, it’s best to choose organic, whole, & unsweetened.
2. If you can afford it, choose organic with fruits and veggies as well. Check out this handy list for foods that need to be prioritized when buying organic.
3. Check out my post on Substitutions for replacements for refined grains, oils, dairy, etc. While you’re at it, check out some recipes too, to help you get started.
4. Purge your pantry. Even if it’s just temporarily, get a box and fill it with all the packaged crap you won’t be eating and put it somewhere out of sight or hard to get to (preferably in the trash can or donation center, but the basement is fine). If you really feel like you can’t live without these foods because they make you feel so great all the time, then you can put them back in your pantry after the challenge is done (it literally hurt me to type those words, I hope you know).
A QUICK WORD ABOUT REAL FOODS
Yes, they are more expensive than refined, packaged foods because they are worth more! Consider your priorities… do you really need another obnoxiously colored V-neck T-shirt? I didn’t think so.
Happy eating, folks. See ya on the other side. :)