I am so glad that the mini-pledges are off to such a great start this week! I love hearing from everyone on facebook…you guys are doing really well with this first one. It has been an interesting week for us too since our family took on this challenge as well. We normally eat fruits and veggies of course, but there is definitely no “two per meal” quota around here. I’ve learned how quick and easy (and painless!) it is to add to my daughters’ meals a side of sliced pear or frozen peas (yes, they like them frozen). I’ve also realized how much I focus on my children’s produce intake instead of mine. So even though we’ve had a busy week, and I ate most of my lunches standing up while doing 8 other things, I managed to get in all of my fruits and veggies too! And while I don’t expect everyone to live by the number “two” rule every day until eternity I do hope this experience will lead to some positive long-term changes. Increasing your consumption and variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best (and easiest) changes you can make to your diet! Don’t forget though that the fruit/vegetable pledge isn’t over quite yet…not until the end of the day on Sunday.
With week 1 coming to a close it’s time to announce the next mini-pledge, which will start on Monday and tackle beverages! I hate to throw one of the more difficult pledges out there early in the game, but I realize that different things will be difficult for different people (depending on what your vices are!). So as you consider this next pledge please keep in mind that it is only for one week. When I had to give up my white chocolate mochas during our 100-day pledge it forced me to come up with another alternative…that I now love! Without our pledge I imagine I would still be addicted to those highly processed white mochas because I would’ve never had a reason to seek out an alternative. So here goes nothing…
Mini-Pledge Week 2: March 21 – 27 – 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).
As you can see this means no Splenda (or sugar) in your coffee and it also means no soda pop. Can you (and your family) do it for seven days? Each week it will be up to you to decide if you want to take the pledge for one meal, one day, or for the entire week, and this is definitely one of those pledges where I encourage everyone to do it all week-long. The lessons learned will be much more valuable if you do this for more than a day. Here is the reasoning behind our decisions for this pledge…
Sweetener Choices: The moral of the story is that all sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, brown sugar, etc.) are high in calories and low in nutrients. The artificial sweeteners that have no calories are just chemically created imitations invented in a lab somewhere…how’s that for appetizing? So no matter what kind of sweetener one uses we hope that it is, first of all, not an imitation and second of all, used in moderation. For this pledge we ask that you stick to honey and/or 100% pure maple syrup for your beverages for two reasons…
- They are both (mostly) made in nature and slightly higher in nutrients than other sweeteners like refined white sugar.
- It is hard to find highly processed foods or beverages that have been sweetened with honey or maple syrup, and if you sweeten items yourself chances are you will put in a lot less than the factory. In our opinion sugar is way overdone in our society so while you can still have sugar in your food during this pledge we hope you can commit to at least keeping it out of your beverages (baby steps!).
Please note: Honey and pure maple syrup are more concentrated sweeteners than white sugar so you can use a little less.
Juice Restriction: Just like the sweeteners mentioned above natural fruit juice contains a concentrated amount of (natural) sugars, which again should be used in moderation. And while 100% natural fruit juice offers a great deal of nutrients and is highly recommended over a soda, it is not nearly as nutritious as eating the natural, raw, whole fruit itself. There is certainly nothing “wrong” with drinking fruit juice (as long as it is 100% real fruit juice and preferably organic), but we believe it is best used in moderation. Try displacing some cups of juice with something else like water, which most of us can never seem to get enough of.
Moderate Wine Consumption: In his book Michael Pollan suggests, “Have a glass of wine with dinner,” and I like to take him up on that advice! Some nights I admit that one glass can turn into two (or more…oops!), so per my doctor’s advice I try to make sure my consumption averages out to one glass a day. But Pollan does go on to say, “Drinking a little every day is better than drinking a lot on the weekends,” what can I say…I do my best with this advice. He also says “alcohol of any kind appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, but the polyphenols in red wine appear to have unique protective qualities.” So let’s take to heart Pollan’s research showing “abundant scientific evidence for the health benefits of alcohol” and not be afraid to enjoy a glass of red wine (in moderation!) with dinner this week.
Here are some beverage alternatives to consider during this pledge since most people like to cure one addiction with another…
- Try a naturally sweetened mocha or coffee
- Squeeze a little lemon in your water
- Eat a few juicy grapes or oranges to help quench your thirst with something naturally sweet
- Try offering your kids some naturally sweetened cold or hot chocolate milk
- Mix a half a cup of juice with some water to help stretch your juice consumption throughout the week
- Or just put a splash of juice in your water to add some flavor and make it last the whole week (grapefruit juice is great for this!)
If you are addicted to soda just think how much money you will save if you give it up since water (a far superior alternative) is free! My husband used to habitually drink Coke Zeros in the car when he was on business trips (his company was paying for his travel expenses after all!), but he of course had to give them up cold turkey when we started our 100-day pledge. And even though our pledge is over he still has not had a single soda….after going so long without one he is “cured!” And I don’t think I can remind everyone enough that this pledge is only for one week.
To take the pledge: Please leave a comment below with the number of adults and kids in your household that will take this on, and also share if you will do it for one day or for the entire week. As always…there is just something about putting it in writing that makes it official!