Tuesday, December 18, 2012

100 Days of Real Food.

Our family recently completed the 100 Days of Real Food challenge. To sum it up, the challenge was to only eat "real" food for 100 days. That means nothing processed, no sugar (unless it was in its natural form, like maple syrup or honey), only whole grains, and healthy oils and fats (like olive oil or coconut oil). After raiding my pantry, I was shocked by the amount of additives, preservatives, and sugar in our food. We threw away the opened packages and the rest we gave away. It was time to start fresh.

The hardest part to starting the new way of eating was the fact that I was constantly reading labels. Everything I once thought was healthy (or somewhat healthy) suddenly wasn't. I used to only read the calorie content or fat content of foods; now I was reading the ingredient list.

Once we got the hang of it and had a good idea of what was "real" food and what wasn't, it was pretty easy to map out meals. To save money (because eating real food is much more expensive than eating processed, sugary food) I learned to make a few things from scratch. I make whole wheat bread and plain yogurt once a week. Occasionally I make whole wheat tortillas (always a double batch because I freeze half of it and I think they are a pain... but they are SO good) and granola cereal (so that we can have something besides cream of wheat or oatmeal). Yes, it takes some time. I normally do all my bread baking/yogurt making on Mondays, so I don't have to do it again the rest of the week. But in case you didn't know, homemade ANYTHING is 1000x better than something you can buy at the store :)

helping momma make whole wheat muffins

We noticed some differences in our health while on the challenge. Ryan and I both lost about 10 pounds each, which was awesome! Especially since I was eating MORE than when I started the challenge. It was just more of the "real" stuff and not full of sugar and empty calories. I was also prone to an afternoon "slump" before the challenge, but once we made the food changes I was able to have a much more stable energy level throughout the day. My face didn't break out as much either! Instead of my face rivaling a 15 year old's acne war zone, I had clearer, brighter skin.

One of the biggest questions we got throughout this challenge was how the girls were eating with the change in our food habits. To the surprise of most (especially me!) they actually ate more and better than they did before! They love oatmeal and cream of wheat, veggies, fruit (of course) and they are nuts about nuts! :) At their recent checkup, in the last six months Ruby gained 3 pounds and grew 2 inches and Piper gained 7 pounds and grew 4.5 inches! Healthy girls :)


Now since we've been off the challenge, we do maintain most of the "rules" at home. It is nearly impossible to do so if you go out to eat or to a friends' house, so we are flexible on that. I have not liked having all this sugar around the holidays though (my face is letting my know I've eaten too many sweets) so it will be nice when its over and I'm not so tempted to eat anything coated in icing or shaped like a snowman.

Overall, I would definitely recommend trying the 100 Days of Real Food challenge if you would like to help your family eat healthier.

Do you think you could do the 100 Days of Real Food challenge? Would you be more willing to try the 100 Days of Mini Pledges?


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