I really love (aka: slightly obsessed with) Lisa over at 100 Days of Real Food. As a mother, she transformed the way she feeds her family and has cut out all processed foods. It’s pretty inspiring for a mama like me. So when she posted her 14 week challenge to cut out processed foods, I signed up immediately. While we have made great strides in our diet here at the Lee house, we still have a road ahead of us. As one of her challengers, each week we were emailed a new challenge. The weeks were to be cumulative. So as you progressed through the challenge you would be “processed foods free” by the completion of week fourteen. So here we are at the end and my kids ate peanut butter filled pretzels and jelly beans for a morning snack. Obviously we are working on progress not perfection!
Here’s a quick rundown of the challenge and the grade I’ve given us for each week.
Week 1: Two fruits and/or vegetables per meal- 70% Sounds easy right??? Nope. Not at all. My first discovery was that a serving of vegetables is most likely more than what you think. But it was great to bring awareness to our fruit and vegetable consumption and we did eat more than we had been. This continues to be an ongoing goal for our family.
Week 2: “Real” beverages- 100% This was an easy one for us. We don’t buy soda as I gave up Diet Coke on December 30, 2014. If you are a Diet Coke addict and reading this… I PROMISE you can do it. I was known to load up all four of my kids in the car just to drive to McDonald’s for a large Diet Coke. Now, I don’t even think about it. In fact it kind of sounds gross. We drink water, milk, and 100% juice for treats
Week 3: Local meat- 100% Do we need to revisit my obsession with Becker Farms?
Week 4: No fast food or deep-fried foods 100%. For that week, we did not eat any fast food and I have no idea how to deep fry at home. This has been one that we have not kept up on. We do get fast food maybe once or twice a month!
Week 5: Two new whole foods 100% . I tried dates for the first time in my life. Where have they been??? Some dates with a little bit of Barneys Butter may be one of the most divine snacks ever. My second whole food was radicchio. Wasn’t a super fan. Too bitter for my taste. I’ll stick to my kale, spinach and bibb lettuce!
Week 6: No low-fat, lite or nonfat food products 100%. One of the first changes I made when altering our family diet was to go back to whole fat food. Sounds counter intuitive right?? But I had to relearn that healthy fat is not bad. I would rather serve the kids whole milk organic yogurt with more fat than the fat free artificial ingredient laden alternative.
Week 7: 100% Whole grain- 60% My kids still aren’t lovers of whole grain bread. Our compromise is white bread from Great Harvest and I’m okay with that.
Week 8: Stop eating when you feel full- If there was a negative value I would have earned it. This is, has been, and will continue to be my biggest struggle. Always a work in progress.
Week 9: No refined sweeteners- 80% For sweetener I try to stick to whole cane sugar, liquid stevia, honey or maple syrup. But sometimes you just need a little brown sugar on your oatmeal!
Week 10: No refined oils- 100%. We use pure olive oil or coconut oil. Uniess we are making play dough then it’s cheapo vegetable oil
Week 11: Eat local foods- 50%. Our meat and produce are local provided by Becker Farms and Green Bean Delivery. Our dairy is organic but not necessarily local and our pantry goods come from who knows where!
Week 12: No sweeteners- 0%. I decided not to participate in this challenge week. No sweeteners included any honey, stevia or maple syrup. Honestly, I didn’t see the point.
Week 13: Nothing artificial- 20%. This week was just an off week for us. There was a lot of candy in our house for Easter!
Week 14: No more than 5-ingredients- 80%. The majority of food we eat (Spring break week NOT included) would be considered whole foods and most don’t need a food label. We eat lean meats, veggies, fruit, cheese, nuts, air popped popcorn, etc. But that remaining 20% have more than 5 ingredients!
I really loved this challenge. Some weeks were more impactful than others but I would definitely recommend spending 14 weeks on this process. If you are interested in learning more you can find Lisa’s challenge here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/100-days-of-mini-pledges/