100 Days of Mini-Pledges

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

Also, check out:

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  1. Debbie Fockler |

    Today is day two of my ten day pledge. The green smoothie was a modified version of your recipe. It tasted just as good though and filled me up quite well. Thanks for the pledge and the website.

  2. Cheryl Jones |

    Lisa you are darling! Great work. I’m not sure if there is a better place to leave this comment so I’ll just have a go…check out http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org I replace all my oils with coconut oil to get 3 TBL a day of medium chain fatty acids that are medicinal and extremely important as a cellular food. you might find it more than approves real food and what a wonderful alternative when something needs to be ‘deep fried’. In addition there are 5 parts to a coconut: (meat, cream, milk, oil & water) And one other interest….coconut sugar. considered a whole food sugar. Something to get aquainted with. Dr Bruce Fife among others are educated in this amazing seed and it’s health benefits. Thank you for your dedication :)

  3. miccah |

    Hi! it’s great to see that you are encouraging moms and dads to take control of their own diets and show their children, by example, that eating whole foods is waht we really ought to be doing with our bodies. I do have to say that I have researched evaporated cane juice, or “Panela” sugar, which comes in hard blocks from Central or South America. I can get these in my local grocery store, and the research I have read has convinced me that it’s a great, economical and nutritionally whole sweetener. I am not talking about the semi-processed “raw sugar.” this stuff is just dried-up cane juice which is pressed into bricks. it has a lovely maple-like flavor from all the molasses it contains. anyway, i encourage you to do the research on your own and see about striking it off your “banned” list. it’s good to have a solid-state sugar with all nutrients intact. thank you so much for what you do!

  4. MacKenna |

    I cannot imagine how much time this has taken you to research, cook, tweek and post everything on your website.

    Thanks for sharing so many great recipes and thought provoking ideas.

    I’m trying hard to improve our family diet but it’s time consuming!

  5. |

    Great stuff Lisa! I publish a local website with social media that is centered around wellness as being one of its pillars. Would love to refer to your website in writing short articles on the commitment. We’re working with a vegetarian who writes weekly recipes and tips, and also the local Slow Food group to raise awareness. Let me know if we can share back to your blog.


    Todd Smekens

  6. Lisa |

    My family and I getting ready to starting doing the pledge mini weeks this upcoming Monday and though we are doing it in order I do have a question about the oils. With coconut oil does it make food sweeter? So is it going to sweeten my vegetables where I may want a more savory flavor, also can you suggest some real brands of extra virgin olive oil?

  7. |

    Homebrewed whole grain beer doesn’t count as a real beverage? No syrups here…and sometimes hops grown in the front yard!

    I have been slowly switching our family over to local foods (CSA, our own eggs, bartering with eggs, farmers market meats and dry beans and fruit). But we can’t give up the beer!

    Can anyone recommend a good oil for making mayonnaise? Olive oil is too strong-tasting (I never thought I’d say that!).

    • Alison |


      While olive oil does have many health benefits, canola oil can be a good substitute for recipes when you would like a milder flavor. Check out the chart on the link below. Canola is actually lower in saturated fat than olive oil.


      • Alison |

        Nevermind about the canola oil! I did not realize Lisa had addressed that elsewhere.

  8. Brandie Taylor |

    I am starting week one today. I have been wanting to do this for awhile now but I don’t think I could do it cold turkey, so when I found this website I was so happy.

  9. Liz |

    My husband asked about home brew too! He’s on board, but not willing to give up the home brewing. I guess it’s better than store bought, so maybe he will just need to “cheat”.

  10. Melissa Nowack |

    This is an AMAZING idea! I love the mini pleges and how we, as a family, can work to accomplish each one! I am going to have a family meeting this week to propose this idea to my husband and kids! I LOVE THIS! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I wish that you lived next door to me! :O)

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