Yesterday my good friend Di posted a comment on this blog about "Real Food" and the movement that inspired me to start my own 100 Days of Fun with Real Food challenge. I thought her comments were so provocative that I would post it where everyone might take a look at it. She said:
I was thinking about just what is "real food" in the context of the 100 days pledge. So I investigated and this is what I found. (It may have already been talked about, but I missed it having been quite busy lately--maybe someone else did too.) "A family with 2 young children in Charlotte, NC took a 100 Days of Real Food pledge. They didn't eat a single ounce of processed food or refined ingredients for 100 days in the hopes that they would inspire people to follow suit." I am not going to be able to do that pledge right now but I am going to do my best to eat better as often as I can. I hope that many of you who feel overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once as this young family did will join me in changing as much as we are able to at a time. It is better to change some things than to give up and change nothing. I know Dr. P would agree!
My son Michael attended Gonzaga Prep High School and I distinctly remember something he learned in his Life Skills (I'm pretty sure we called it Home Economics when I was in HS) class. His teacher challenged him to go grocery shopping and purchase at least 75% of his food for the week from around the perimeter of the super market. She went on to explain that the unprocessed or "real food" was displayed all around the perimeter - things like fresh fruit & veggies, meats, fish and poultry, dairy products & eggs. She continued her discussion by asking them where they could find things like sodas, chips, candy, boxes of mac & cheese and canned veggies - and they all knew those could be found in the interior of the store.
So this is my idea of eating "Real Food" - 75-80% of the food you purchase and prepare would be found in the perimeter of your grocery store. Now I know that for the hard core real, paleo or raw foodists these percentages would likely be considered too low. But Di is right, it's better to make incremental changes because they tend to "stick" better than sweeping changes.
It's my hope that during this 100 day challenge that you think about ways to have fun while making some changes. Remember this is a "no guilt zone" challenge. It's not about deprivation either . . . just a bit of a shift in thinking or planning. For example, rather than making spaghetti try spaghetti squash; rather than white rice try quinoa; rather than a tortilla try lettuce or collard greens as a wrap for your next taco; rather than an apple pie try a fresh or a baked apple.
|Try steaming seed grains like quinoa or amaranth |
instead of a more processed food like pasta.
I think that if you plan even 1 meal a day that is made without any sugar or processed foods that you will feel better. You see processed foods, particularly those labeled GF and/or foods, are often filled with starches, sugars and flavor enhancers. These tend to create or exacerbate inflammation in your body. So taking a break from sugars and starches really does do your body a huge favor! You will notice that aches and pains, bloating and gas, digestion and elimination will all improve.
So far on my journey I've replaced grains and sugars with more fresh produce and lean sources of protein. I'm happy to report that I've been inspired to create some new, super delicious recipes I'll be sharing and (drum roll please) I've actually noticed some positive changes in my weight, energy level and happiness quotient.
I'm still opting for some minimally processed items like jarred or BPA free canned organic tomatoes, organic chicken stock and protein powder in my cooking. So don't think that if you cannot do 100% unprocessed, raw, fresh foods that you are failing this challenge . . . instead consider it a step in the right direction every time you do choose a fresh ingredient over something processed . . .
By sharing your ideas, questions and comments we all benefit! Thanks Di for bringing this discussion forward! I do hope everyone is enjoying the journey . . .