Today is the last day of my 100 Days of Real Food 10 Day Pledge and I’m proud to say that I (almost) successfully completed it! When I first started the challenge, I did not think it would be that much different than how I normally eat. However, this was a really great experience and I can’t believe how many benefits I’ve noticed from eating this way! Although it wasn’t easy, I learned so much from this experience that I really think that it will inspire me to make some changes in the way I eat.
Along the way there were a few challenges:
- For one, when I got sick I really wanted to have some cough drops or cold medicine but we could not find any in the store without sugar or fake sugar. This was pretty surprising! Rich did some research and bought me Vitamin C and Zinc tablets which helped some. Also, he found out online that eating plain honey could help soothe throats, so I tried that as well.
- Although eating at home was pretty easy because we were able to control what we were cooking, going out to eat proved to be a challenge. We went out for sushi one night and that was a pretty easy swap from white to black rice. However, deciding what to eat was a little difficult. The majority of restaurants use white flour, which is the biggest challenge. Plus, you never know what’s going into your food.
- Lastly, it was a lot of work to eat this way. Thinking about every single detail of the food we were eating proved to be somewhat time consuming. I think over time this would get better after the initial learning process. Now that we’re used to and know what to look for in food, it’s become almost second nature.
The benefits of the pledge far outweighed these challenges:
- The most amazing benefit of this challenge was how clear my skin has gotten. I have always broken out around my period and eating this way has completely cleared up my skin. This is a pretty big deal because I have been breaking out regularly for over ten years. This alone is enough for me to cut out refined sugars and refined flours forever.
- Even though I’m sick, I have a lot more energy than I’ve had in a long time. Rich noticed that he needed a lot less sleep and I’ve noticed how much more alert I am. In the mornings, I’m much less groggy than normal.
- My digestion is so much better. I won’t go in to much detail with this, but things have been much more regular in this department. I feel much less bloated and my stomach feels a lot flatter.
- Lastly, this challenge made me realize that I am able to eat 100% natural. For years, I’ve had the goal of eating clean but this pledge gave me the extra push I needed to do so.
What I learned from the pledge:
- This pledge taught me to think through my cravings and figure out if I’m really craving a food, or if I’m emotionally eating. I’ve always struggled with emotional eating, but in a small way this pledge has helped me work on these issues. This weekend, I was really craving comfort food. Instead of reaching for a box of mac’n’cheese and having my “comfort” in fifteen minutes, I went to the grocery store and got the ingredients for my Mom’s homemade mushroom soup recipe. I made the soup from scratch, and although it took a lot longer, it was much more satisfying than something out of a box. Plus, the fact that I spent the timing making the food proved that it was actually what I was craving. The same goes for the brownies I made over the weekend. If I wanted chocolate enough to make brownies from scratch, I really wanted brownies.
- I did not feel deprived at all during this challenge, which is so different than any other way I have eaten before. On diets, I was always left thinking about what I could not eat. With this challenge, I focused on the foods I could eat-whole grains, fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, natural sweeteners. Because I was seeking out real food, I went for the foods that I wanted and those foods satisfied me. Not once did I feel deprived or unsatisfied.
- I learned that America is filled with processed foods and it’s hard to avoid them. Finding a restaurant was difficult, but we did it. Also, grocery shopping wasn’t too different than how we normally shop, it just took a little extra effort to avoid the seasonal Oreos and the new flavors of chips. Did we miss them? Not really.
- I realized that eating clean takes a little extra effort, but is so doable if you think about it. If you spend the extra few minutes reading labels, seeking out natural foods and swapping whole flour and natural sweeteners for processed foods, you’re well on your way to eating clean all the time. Now that I know it’s possible, this something that I would like to do in my every day life.
So there you have it. I learned a lot in the past ten days, haven’t I?
Have you ever done a challenge like this? Do you try to eat clean? Have you ever had an experience that opened your eyes and made you want to change the way you eat?