Yesterday I came across this CNN Health article "An inconvenient challenge: eat real food for a month." I was excited to see such a popular blog challenge (900 participants!) but surprised that many people found it 'hard'.
Happy Herbivore has always promoted eating whole, unprocessed processed foods... and without added fat! Sure tofu, non-dairy milk, flour, condiments like soy sauce and even pasta find their way into my recipes (and my diet) but for the most part, I've found eating a whole diet rather... easy, and quite delicious, too!
So I mozied on over to my fridge and pantry to see exactly what processed foods I had on hand. It was the usual suspects: tofu, whole-wheet bread, brown rice pasta, sweeteners, condiments and some canned tomatoes. Could I live a whole month without this stuff? I wondered.
I immediately took my question to twitter and HH's facebook page, asking everyone if they'd be interested in joining me for a 30-day challenge of eating only whole, unprocessed foods. The response was overwhelming (and exciting!!). Within an hour more than 75 people responded "yes!" and I knew this was something I had to do.
Starting May 1, I'll be living 30 days WHOLE -- no processed foods! and I invite you to join me.
The guidelines are 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? While fresh foods are ideal, I plan to incorporate some frozen veggies and dry spices. And remember, real foods don't come in a cardboard box.
And although I do encourage everyone to keep a vegan diet, you don't have to be a vegan to participate -- all are welcome to join.
I've also created a Google Group where we can post discussions, share recipes and ask each other questions. I'll also be posting daily tips and challenges. (A FAQ strand has already been started with questions I've received.)
Here is a cool button (okay not that cool, but the best I could do) for bloggers who are participating.
I'm really excited about this challenge -- to learn about myself (just how healthy do I eat?), spend a month with you directly, reset my taste buds and just nourish my body in the best way possible.
And just in case good food, excellent nutrition and improved health aren't motivating enough, I'm going to contact a few companies and stores I've worked with in the past to see if they are willing to be sponsors -- a.k.a. give away some cool swag to people who make it the whole 30 days!
**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 you 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. :)
*** I use the term "processed" to signify foods that have been made and prepared by companies or manufacturers. Things that come in a box, items that have more than 1 ingredient, 'foods' you probably wouldn't find at a farmer's market or in the produce section of the grocery store... Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils in any way that you like... cooked, raw, juiced, blended, straight-up... or (e.) all of the above!