100 Days of Mini-Pledges

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14 "Real Food" Mini Pledges...baby steps for cutting out processed food!We took our own pledge for 100 days in part to convince others that they could follow our same “real food” rules for only 10 days. We realize not everyone is keen on the idea of going “cold turkey” with the 10 Days of Real Food pledge though, which is why we also developed 14 weeks of mini-pledges. If taking baby steps is more your speed then check out the weekly “real food” challenges detailed below.

If you’re interested in giving these weekly challenges a shot you could start at the beginning or go in your own preferred order. You could also build each week on top of the next or simply tackle one weekly challenge at a time. Our hope is if you take these mini-pledges (or the 10-day pledge) that you’ll gain a new perspective from the experience and make at least some positive long-term changes as a result. No matter what though…these pledges will get you to start reading ingredient labels (if you don’t already)!

14 Weeks of “Real Food” Mini-Pledges:

  • Week 1: Two fruits and/or vegetables per meal – Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
  • Week 2: “Real” beverages – Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).
  • Week 3: Meat – All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish.
  • Week 4: No fast food or deep-fried foods – No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.
  • Week 5: Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.
  • Week 6: No low-fat, lite or nonfat food products – Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”
  • Week 7: 100% Whole grain – All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.
  • Week 8: Stop eating when you feel full – Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.
  • Week 9: No refined sweeteners – No refined or artificial sweeteners including (but not limited to): white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice. Foods and beverages can only be sweetened with a moderate amount of honey or maple syrup.
  • Week 10: No refined oils – No refined or hydrogenated oils including (but not limited to): vegetable oil, organic vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, organic canola oil, margarine, and grape seed oil.
  • Week 11: Eat local foods – Eat at least 1 locally grown or raised food at each meal. This includes, but is not limited to: fruits, vegetables, eggs, grains, nuts, meats, and sweeteners like honey.
  • Week 12: No sweeteners – Avoid all added sweeteners including, but not limited to: white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, date sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice.
  • Week 13: Nothing artificial – Avoid all artificial ingredients including, but not limited to: sweeteners, flavors and colors.
  • Week 14: No more than 5-ingredients – Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients

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188 comments to 100 Days of Mini-Pledges

  • We are going to sign up for the 14 week mini pledge.

  • krisitina howell

    So I started this on the new year and im confused about the whole 2 fruit two veggie its easier for me to just do two fruits mostly because i don’t have to cook it.. I’ve been eating a crazy amount of little cutie oranges but then today I was reading that it is possible to eat to much fruit! and that its recomended only 2 to 4 servings a day and i eat that much by lunch time.

  • I just started week one of the mini pledges. And am hoping to make it through all 14 with my husband. I have been wanting to make fruit and/or veggies half of each meal and even made it part of 45 things I want to do before 45. Thanks so much for your website. I get lots of great recipes especially your honey whole wheat bread. Thanks.

  • Nicole S.

    I’m so excited about this. I’ve been trying to get my family to eat more fruits and veggies and it’s SO hard! My 2 young girls are easy and still impressionable. My 14 yr old, however, stops at the store twice a week for chips and whatever on his way home from school, my husband eats garbage at work all week. I am going to make this happen. Week 1, 2(except my husband and his freaking diet coke addiction), 4, 6, 7 and 9 we’ve mostly always done! ..LOL. I will implement the rest of these weeks on our next payday. Yay!! To make it easier on my son who is used to buying whatever his chubby little heart desires at school, I may keep letting him do that for lunches only and then throw him full in during summer and make him take his lunch next year. Since my 5 yr old will be starting kinder and I will be making hers anyway. My thoughts are: One overly processed meal 5 days a week isn’t going to do much harm considering how much processed we’re eating now. :P

    • Vaughn

      I’ve been laughing hard for 5 minutes straight after reading your post. As soon as I read the line “my husband eats garbage…” I imagined a guy sitting at a desk with his head buried in a trash can like a horse eating at a trough. I actually use that same language when talking about my 11 year old daughter’s eating habits. So it’s been 7 months since your post. How has the family done with these changes? Have they stuck?

      Thanks Lisa and Amy! It’s great to have such a rich and thorough resource for changing our families’ eating habits as we’re all floating in the sea of misinformation that supports the S.A.D. We’ll be starting our family’s transformation in about two weeks once we return from vacation.

  • Jennifer

    I have a question about sugars. I like to buy frozen fruit (with the one ingredient being the fruit itself), but the nutrition labels have sugar listed. Is that considered the natural sugar of the fruit?

    Also, I have been making a lot of the recipes off your website, and while I have loved them, I find that I am using A LOT of honey and maple syrup, more than I ever have before. With so much concern over the amount of sugar we are eating, why does it seem like you use it so much?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Jennifer. Your frozen fruit should not have added sugar on the ingredient list, just the fruit. Regarding the use of honey and maple syrup, those are our go-to sweeteners because we do not use refined sweeteners. If you want to avoid the use of all sugars, then choose recipes that are savory vs. sweet. ~Amy

  • Jessica

    Locally raised meats is rather tough. I live in Hawaii, so I’d be limited to fish and maybee some chicken. Local food is even more expensive that the stuff shipped in. Ideas? Recommendations?

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi there, Jessica. We know that every region can come with unique challenges. Yours must be eased by the joy of living in such a beautiful place. :) We were just there last summer for the second time. On The Big Island, there was an enormous ranch and many cowboys. Does that not translate into beef access? If you aren’t a local, talk to some locals about where to find real food. This looks like a good resource: http://slowfoodhawaii.org/grindz/food/. Do your best and don’t try to be perfect…just aim for better. All that said, I do know we paid $9 for a mango. It was delicious. :) ~Amy

  • Mary

    My 2 daughters and I are doing the mini-pledges. Some weeks will be more difficult then other weeks.

  • fajne zestawy na cały miesiąc

  • Lynne

    So, I have a couple of questions.

    Week 2: Do home made green smoothies count with the beverage? I have trouble eating in the morning. I do a banana, spinach, pineapple, and organic, unfiltered local apple cider in the morning. Would that be ok? Also, does that count as fruit and veg for breakfast :)

    I understand week 9, what is the reason behind week 12? We do daily local raw honey for allergies during allergy season, and homemade elderberry (with the local raw honey) during the winter for health. Would those still be ok with week 12?

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