Happy Herbivore Blog

Live Better: Join me for the HH 28-Day Whole Food Challenge!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Are you up for a challenge? A few years ago, I hosted a 30 Whole Days Challenge. The goal? Eat only whole, unprocessed foods. My Editorial Manager, Nichelle, took the original challenge not too long after she found HH and it changed her whole outlook on food (she's been 100% plant-based ever since!). Nichelle mentioned the challenge in her guest post earlier this week, and Herbies on Facebook and Twitter made it clear that they wanted in on it. So by popular demand, say hello to the upcycled HH 28-Day Whole Food Challenge starting this Monday, June 3!

Be a part of our community pledge and challenge to live better (with prizes!)

The premise is simple: eat and drink only whole foods. 

A good rule of thumb: does it look they way it did in nature? If not, is there more than one ingredient? More than five ingredients? Keep it simple. 

Fresh foods are ideal but there's nothing wrong with frozen veggies, canned beans, spices, corn tortillas. The goal is get processed foods out of our diet and eat more healthfully. 

To clarify, I use the term "processed" to signify foods that have been made and prepared by companies or manufacturers to sit on a shelf. Faux meats and cheeses (i.e. Daiya and Boca burgers), TV dinners, that's what I'm talking about. Cookies, chips and pretzels. You know, "foods" you probably wouldn't find at a farmers' market or in the produce section of the grocery store. ;)

Use your noggin — you know what's healthy!

Need help, ideas or more hands-on guidance? Use our meal plans! Or jump in with the 3-Day Reboot and 10-Day Cleanse & Immersion. These are perfect tools for the challenge. 

28-Day Whole Food Challenge (#HH28) Preparation: 

  1. Pack up all processed foods to the extent possible (remember, "out of sight, out of mind" — less temptation!). If you live with someone who isn't doing the challenge; try to isolate an area of the fridge, freezer and pantry, which is only filled with your wholesome food. 

  2. If you're not using the meal plans or Reboot/Cleanse, create a list of at least 10 recipes (aim for 15!) that only use wholesome foods; print up the recipes or mark them in a cookbook (dig out your copy of HHC, EHH and HHA —  lots of great choices there!). Not sure what to pick? I suggest selecting recipes that are familiar to you in some way. For example, if you love burritos, have a burrito salad — put all the fillings (beans, rice, corn, salsa, hot sauce) over lettuce or greens instead of in a tortilla. Or use corn tortillas to make "tacos" instead.  

  3. Go shopping and prepare your meals ahead. With the meal plans, we advocate cooking once a week. It will make such a difference, I promise. Having a healthy meal always ready and waiting for you makes its easy to skip past the drive-thru or grab something "convenient."  

Calling all Bloggers! Tweeps! IG-ers! FB!

We have some fun surprises in store for bloggers and social media mavens taking part in the HH28 Challenge (hashtag #HH28 on social media). If you're on Facebook, upload pics to the wall on Happy Herbivore's Facebook page (use the hashtag with your description).

Tweet Chats!

I'll be hosting a chat next Sunday morning (11 a.m. Eastern, 8 a.m. Pacific) on Twitter to recap the first week — June 9th! Be sure to follow me @happyherbivore for details.

Hopefully we can slip a few in mid-week too!  (*I'll try to do a chat online with video, too -- so everyone can join. Keep up with the blog/facebook/twitter for details).


I'll be giving away Happy Herbivore swag (stickers and buttons), cookbooks, more books, DVDs, and other prizes during the 28 days! 

For a chance to win: Blog about the challenge (send us a link nichelle(at)happyherbivore(dot)com), tweet, post pictures on Instagram and HH's Facebook wall, and use the tag #HH28 so we find it. (Also @happyherbivore if you can, where applicable, so we can re-share it). 

We'll be selecting random participants every week and handing out prizes nearly every day!

And don't forget to rock your awesome participant badge (in 3 sizes):

Pixels: 325x320

Pixels: 260x184

Pixels: 125x125

**Note: I think it's important with this challenge to use your intuition — you know what's healthy! The point is also to prove how easy and possible this is. The goal is not to make this so extreme it becomes impossible. In other words, do your absolute very best to eat whole. If you need a little mustard to get your greens down, or a pinch of salt to making something palatable, do it — but remember less is more with these things. :)

Are you ready for the challenge? Pledge!! We're going to help each other live better and inspire others! Be part of the 28-day community! 

Feel free to share your Twitter/Instagram handle in the comments. 



Do you have to be plant-based? 

Although I always encourage everyone to keep a plant-based diet, you don't have to be plant-based to participate — all are welcome to join. 

Do I have to start June 3? Must I pledge the full 28-days?

Don't be discouraged if you need to start late, can't commit to the entire month, or know you'll need the occasional "cheat" day for events etc. It's okay! After all, one of my mottos with Happy Herbivore is "progress, not perfection."

What exactly do you mean by "processed"?? Is non-dairy milk processed? Mustard? Tofu? A homemade baked good? 

I think there is a sliding scale with "processed." For example, mustard is technically processed, but you can't compare it to an Oreo. Plus when you're using mustard, you're using just a little for flavor. I personally feel there is a difference. I also don't think it's fair to lump a homemade vegan muffin made with whole-wheat, bananas, no oil, etc. in the same group as the junkier version they sell at Starbucks. 

The goal is to get highly processed junk out of the diet. I encourage you to find your own balance so that this is realistic for you. (We're all coming from a different place, so what's an easy change for one person might be a drastic 180 for someone else). That's why I'm being loosey goosey. 

What's the point of having this challenge if no one can do it? I don't want to set rules or guidelines that make it too hard or impossible. So, you decide what's in and what's out — how far are YOU going to take it? 

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