Feedback from our “10 Days of Real Food” Pledges

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It dawned on me the other day that you guys might like to hear from someone other than me on occasion. :) So it’s been a little while since I’ve done this, but I wanted to share some of the feedback we’ve gotten from those who have completed our “10 Days of Real Food” pledge.  If we followed our real food rules for 100 days then anyone can do it for 10, right?!

Before I get into their feedback though, I just have to share this one comment that a reader left on a post a couple months ago:

“My 5 year old daughter has always been ‘difficult.’  Very sensitive to her world, her environment, prone to extreme meltdowns over trivial things. In September, it had gotten to the point where I was ready to take her to see a behavioral therapist. Sure enough, I started researching online regarding this type of behavior in children and came across Lisa’s blog as well as numerous articles about the American processed diet and how it relates to ADHD, etc. I thought, it’s worth a try. As soon as we started cutting out the processed foods, her behavior improved considerably. October and November was literally like living with a different child. I have been amazed at the difference in her. At first, my husband couldn’t believe that it could be the food we were eating, but now that he has seen the difference, he is totally on board with the lifestyle changes. It makes sense that a child that is sensitive in so many other ways would be sensitive to what goes into her body.”

Now back to the pledges. We asked them to share what they learned from their experience and also if they noticed any improvements in health:

“I’m more full without eating as much. I feel less bloated. I feel more energetic! I also committed to drinking 8+ cups of water a day (which I was terrible at doing before – It was all sodas and juices). I learned SO much just by cleaning out my cabinets. I had no idea. My friends thought it was ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ but once I got into the swing of things – I was unstoppable.”

“OMGosh!! I learned that I can survive without a ton of sugar everyday. I learned that I don’t need one or more Diet Cokes everyday. I learned that hey, if I eat real food that’s good for me, my stomach doesn’t hurt every night! I learned that if I say no to my usual row of chocolate chip cookies and handfuls of candy everyday, I feel GREAT! I learned that at 43 years old, I don’t need a nap every afternoon! I learned that I better adapt this real food living to my everyday living.”

“We realized how sweet everything actually is that you buy.  It’s amazing once your palette gets used to not having that sweetness added just how much you DON’T miss it!  We were really encouraged just overall by the process and what surprised me the most was how easily the kids adapted!  My daughter stopped complaining of a tummy ache she’s had for months!”

“My husband and I actually started this challange on the first of December. While all our family laughed at us starting a “diet” around the holidays, we stayed strong and are proud to say that this is no longer a “diet”, but a lifestyle change that we plan to follow permanently. I have lost 14 pounds, and my husband has lost 10. I’ve noticed that my tastes and cravings have completely changed- I’m finding things don’t need to be sweetened or salted, and that I actually do love fruits and veggies. We graze throughout the day and have taken a packed lunch to work everyday since we started; it’s amazing that we are actually saving money, and nothing goes to waste in our house anymore! Another unexpected benefit is how much fun my husband and I have with food now. We love to shop at Earthfare once a week and come up with fun new recipes to try. As a former junk food junkie ( I would eat fast food at least 6 times a week), I am so thankful for this program, it has changed my life!!”

“Our family has learned so much. We’ve learned how to feed our bodies in a natural and healthy way. We learned that eaing healthy can give you so much energy and our moods have lifted. My husband and I actually got along better. My three year old calmed down tremendously and our house was overall a happier place.”

“After completing the 10 day pledge, I learned that it really isn’t that hard to eat a meal made almost entirely out of real food ingredients. I also learned to meal plan better and if I made a few meals ahead then I can time manage my week better. I did notice more energy throughout the days during the challenge and my stomach didn’t get upset as often since I wasn’t consuming highly processed foods or taking the quick way out with fast food.”

“Wow–this was such an amazing experience.  I have eaten more vegetables and fruit than at any other point in my adult life–OH, and I enjoyed it. I lost 7 pounds, slept through the night for the first time in a couple of years, and just feel better.”

As I’ve said many times before it’s not all fun and games…so we also asked the pledges what their biggest challenges were and this is what they said:

“Preparing the foods in advance for the work week, a little time consuming but worth it.”

 “Eating out with friends and social activities. It’s difficult but can be done. Just trying to get over the “poor me” attitude when everyone else is eating stuff I think I want. I’m learning though that I don’t want it as much as I thought.”

“Getting my husband on board!”

“Eating out. (Which isn’t such a bad thing – It’s a money saver to eat at home/bring snacks… I ended up meeting up with people after they went out to dinner.) I will say, when I asked a question about a sauce at a restaurant and they had no idea what the ingredients were… I was taken aback.”

“The most challenging part was convincing my children to try new things and sticking to it.”

If you have any feedback of your own about making the switch to real food please share in the comments below.

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29 comments to Feedback from our “10 Days of Real Food” Pledges

  • Karen

    Thanks for the challenge, Lisa. We are taking the challenge for Lent and then donating the money we would have spent on fast food. How great it must feel to know the impact you have on others. Laissez les bons temps rouler :)

  • Sam

    How do we get a cool green bracelet? I’ve been following your blog for a loooong time and have never seen it… Thanks! Sam

  • anexactinglife

    I was looking back over the years that I raised my kid on processed food :( I regret that we didn’t come to our senses until Link was ready to leave home. But honestly, better late than never:

  • Gina Lindsay

    Thanks for posting the feedback. I know for me one of the biggest challenges was meal planning, especially lunches to take to work. We have been doing this for several months now and while I am no expert meal planner, it has gotten a lot easier. Thanks for all of your tips!

  • love this article. my son is very hyperactive (only 2 tho) and we are just begining to do only real food with an occasional dinner out. i found a great web site in my area that delivers local/organic items for free once a week ( however its only in specific markets. thought i would share incase anyone else wanted to use it if its in their market.

    • Tina

      Thanks Lauren! I have never heard of this but they deliver in my area (DFW). I’m going to check it out!

    • Melissa

      I was told that my son was borderline ADHD, and needed drugs. Shame on me for not researching things sooner, and agreeing to put him on them. After 2 months of horrible mood swings that left me scared to be left alone with him, I started researching. After giving up a majority of processed food and junk, he totally changed. He is now a straight A student, serves on student council, math team, and very active in sports. Though we are about 75% non processed, I am ready to go the extra now. We are going to do this pledge. Thank you so much for putting this out there. People need to be educated on what processed food does to the body and mind. My whole family is healthier.

  • Teresa

    Today is day 52 of eating only unprocessed foods. I feel great – no more heartburn, feeling bloated, or having an upset stomach. And no more snacking just to be snacking. Being in the Ministry, I work Sundays and several evenings a week. I have to be organized and cook ahead so I have food ready. Some mornings I have to pack my breakfast, lunch, and supper to take with me! The only complaint my husband has is that he misses going out to eat occasionally! That’s my difficult thing – eating out. I’m sure I’ll learn how to do that eventually.

  • Netty

    I thought it was interesting how our kids adapted to the change. They think MOM is AWESOME when I make this great snacks for them. PRESENTATION is SO important at a young age ( mine are 9,7 and 4). Banana ICE CREAM is what I call it ( all I do is blend frozen bananas with milk and put a little bit of vanilla in it. They think is ICE CREAM. They use to always grab a fruit snack or other candy they got for Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter. I make smoothies in fun glasses cut an orange and get fun straws. I also bought each one of them a new FUN water bottle so now my kids drink WATER instead of juice boxes for lunch like we used to. My oldest 2 even take the water bottles to school :).
    Getting the kids involved in the prepartion was key for us as well ( making granola has become a weekly fun time for my 4 year old and MOM while the other 2 are at school.
    Thanks for all the GREAT ideas…we take baby steps everyday.

  • Adrienne

    My kids love the “popcorn-trick” popcorn. They like it plain out of the bag. And the cinnamon glazed popcorn is amazing! I’m having so much fun trying all of these recipes, and I’m even 6 months pregant with my 4th child so I must have more energy on the real-food diet.

  • We haven’t completely cut out processed food, but do pretty well. I just wanted to remind you of one of the “challenges” I have heard you mention: DISHES. Where is really isn’t all that bad to whip up homemade dressings and granola and etc, my kitchen sink is always seems to be full! Ok, Whine over.

    As for the good, I have always had really awful skin and now it is so much better. That may be due to reducing the amount of dairy I eat, but I know the processed food doesn’t help either.

  • Jaime

    I want to do this so badly, I feel a bit overwhelmed and thanks to your blog feel like I would at least have a place to start. Do you have a grocery list? And also what peanut butter do you use?

  • Jennifer

    I’m doing my own version of the 10-day mini challenge of no refined sugar – it has become a 40-day challenge for Lent! The motivation for this came after a particularly horrible binge on Girl Scout cookies…I realized I need to kick my sugar habit/addiction. I’ve been gearing up for this by cooking more at home (since removing refined sugar will cut out a lot of processed foods). The trick for me is having fruit ready to grab from the fridge for my lunch or a snack (washed, cut up, packed in storage containers) and easy lunch solutions (leftovers and/or a salad).

  • hi! i love your blog/site but your idea behind it is what’s really awesome. and brave. i am trying to eat less processed and guiding my kids in same direction. but it is not even kind of easy.
    and i love candy.
    im sure it was not a simple 100 days for you but you must feel awesome having achieved it and your kids im certain are way better for it.
    i try to use fear tactics with mine.. 11.5 and 13 years old. doesnt work to well. maybe just educating is better.
    i am quitting gluten and dairy for a bit and trying to let go of the sugar intake. TRYING!
    again, super cool site/concept!

  • Camille David

    I am on day eight and being a college student, the challenge has been very hard. Meal planning has made the last eight days much easier and I love my crock pot (unlike the typical college student). However, the price of unprocessed foods is certainly higher, so budgeting has been hard.

  • Lucie

    My mom was kind of a hippie and we grew up with no processed foods. No juice, only a few lemons squeezed into water and no sugar. There were four of us and we were incredibly well behaved. We weren’t hyper, add, adhd or any of it. We didn’t have fits or throw tantrums. I have asked my mom how she did it and she just shrugs, we just were good kids she replies. I’m beginning to think that our diet must have played a part.

    When I went off to college I was forced into eating tons of processed foods. At first I lost weight and went from thin to rail thin because I couldn’t stomach any of it, but eventually as I was faced with the choice of eating of starving I began to pack on weight. I struggled for a long time to drop all the weight after college, but this summer I became conscious of cutting out processed foods and I’m happy to report that I”m back down to the size I was in high school. I love your site, I love the recipes, and I think what you’re doing by disseminating this information and popularizing this diet is so wonderful! Thanks for keeping it up!

  • Jackie

    I’m a young working adult and my roommate and I have been doing this since November. We voted to only do sprouted grain, so not even whole grain unless it had been sprouted (Ezekiel bread or sprouting our own). No sugar at all and only raw honey or pure maple syrup if we need something to sweeten with. Overall, both of our healths have improved! I have way more energy and I’ve lost 15 pounds. Her acne cleared up and she’s lost weight too. It’s kind of crazy how much a food choice can affect you! But I’m not going back to poor choices!! On a side note, my doctor said that this is the diet they put cancer patients on because it balances your body chemistry and allows your body to heal easier. Makes sense!

  • Holly

    I second the comment about dishes lol…the sink stays full. My husband and I have been eating real for a few months now. I’ve lost almost 25 lbs so far, have more energy, better mood, etc etc etc. He is naturally skinny and has stayed the same but feels better. We both love the taste! We feel like we just discovered food. Learning to cook everything from scratch has been so rewarding. We do spend more but with my health problems (I spent 6 weeks with pneumonia last year among other times being sick and I’m 27 years old!), I am happy to invest in my health a bit through food to avoid these gigantic doctors bills I’ve racked up through my high deductible health plan in the last couple of years. Thanks for the awesome site Lisa! It really helps.

  • Holly

    Oh forgot to say you eat way less with real food! I’ve got to get used to it. I still bring too much. Yesterday I brought a tuna sandwich on whole wheat and some sliced tomatoes and only ate half of each. It has taken like 5 times of not finishing a regular sandwich to get through to me. I cannot believe I can be full on a half sandwich and no sides lol. I used to eat a white bread whole sandwich chips etc and be hungry a couple hours later.

  • lisa

    I am on day five of the ten day challenge. It hasn’t been as hard as I thought. I am eating more fruit and vegetables than I ever did, reading all labels, and not eating out. The hardest thing for me was giving up my Coca Cola. I started drinking seltzer water to replace the bubbles. I am actually having fun creating new recipes. I loved Lisa’s macaroni and cheese recipe. I added frozen peas to the recipe and it was delicious. Thank you, Lisa. Looking forward to meeting the ten days and then going further.

  • Sile

    We’ve just started this week (doing the mini pledges to get us fully geared in – some of these weeks will be HARDER than others and some will be rediculously easy!), but I already started not replacing the processed food since we moved house two weeks ago. When it runs out, it’s gone for good. Well, the stuff that was already open. The stuff that wasn’t opened yet I’m putting aside to donate because I can’t bear the thought of just throwing food away.

    My husband will pretty much leave his diet in my hands, thankfully, but he does shake his head and chuckle a bit sometimes when I’m scanning food labels. With him it’s hard to find fruits and vegetables that he enjoys. For fruit it’s basically apples, oranges, bananas and grapes. He doesn’t like fruit with seeds like strawberries and raspberries (though he will eat seedless preserves, go figure). He also usually says he doesn’t like something even if he’s never HAD it before, which can be frustrating (he’s like a picky kid, I swear!). However, we do have the one bite rule in our house as well, and he has been good with trying new things (sometimes multiple times, cooked multiple ways and/or raw) and explaining why he does not like the item if that’s the case.

    One of the hardest things that we have been trying to tackle is getting him off soda completely. His “I had a bad day” drink of choice is root beer (neither of us drink alcohol). Since we moved and bought a new fridge with water/ice in the door, he has been drinking more water… it’s usualy what I get for him for dinner. He’s also not on board with whole milk. He’s gotten so used to 1%. I wonder how I can entice him to switch. Should we step up? Go 2% for awhile in between?

    On top of this “crazy new change”, we’ve agreed to not eat out at all for the entire month of october. He thinks it’s to save money to recoup our bank accounts after buying a house. ;) But really, I’m tired of the heavy feeling I have after eating even what is considered a “healthy” option at a restaurant.

    I’m ready to be real. I don’t think i’m buying enough fruits and veggies, though. how much do you usually buy per week in fruits/veg? I think I’m still stuck in my old way of thinking “dont’ buy a lot, it will go bad”… but that was before when I had a crappy fridge and couldn’t see my food, so thinkgs went bad when they were shoved to the back by leftovers. I suppose I should see how fast we go through certain things and use that as a gauge.

    Day 4 and still going strong!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Sile. I usually go to the store twice a week, so, I’ll buy enough for 3 or 4 days. If you plan your meals ahead, you’ll get a better idea of what to buy. I always have extra fruit on hand since my kids eat a lot of it. Sorry I can’t give a better answer, I think it just depends on your family. Jill

  • Sile

    Oh, I had another question too. I’m wondering if we’re eating enough. Especially for breakfast. Sometimes I’m still hungry after breakfast. I’ve been so used to restricting the amount of what we ate on other diets. Should I go for a whole apple instead of just a couple of slices? Are certain combinations of food more filling?

    Like this morning I made egg in a hole (with homemade bread – not 100% wheat, because I didn’t have enough whole wheat flour when I was baking), some cottage cheese (probably 1/4 cup), 3 apple slices and 3 or 4 prunes, and water. I was still a little hungry but I usually make myself wait awhile anyway before having something else because I know your brain can be easily tricked. But I was ravenous by 9am. Oh, breakfast was eaten at 6. Lunch for me can happen anywhere between 11:30 and noon. Thankfully I had some roasted nuts in a container in my lunch bag (just plain roasted, not honey roasted) so a few of those really helped.

    I should really subscribe to your meal plans so I can maybe get a better idea of what you guys do.

    I’d be grateful for any input! :)

  • Diggitt

    I have always marveled at what an easy child my daughter was. I begin to understand when I realize she never got processed food to eat.

    I don’t think I was some obnoxious, pious foodie. I had my rules and I stuck with them. The rules weren’t for her–they were just the way the household operated: home-baked whole wheat bread; fresh fruits and veggies, occasional organic meats. No snack food around, so soda ever. (The idea was that if it isn’t in the house, I won’t eat it and she wouldn’t think of it as a forbidden treat.) If it never enters the house, you don’t miss it!

    She didn’t whine and didn’t have tantrums. She DID get car-sick and have headaches, which seemed to be hereditary. I never felt the need to feed feed feed her–and yes, there were times when I would microwave frozen peas, one at a time (1 second each) to get her to eat SOMEthing! My own mother reminded me that no child ever deliberately starved herself to death. To this day (she’s 28) my daughter doesn’t drink soda, although don’t get between her and chocolate! But she’s a vegetarian, with regrets about bacon and roast duck, and slender, cavity-free, and bursting with health.

    Sometimes I hear stories about people’s awful kids and I marvel that they ever have sex again after producing such monsters! It’s no surprise to me, though, because these kids are basically on chemical benders, taking crap into their bodies that was never meant to be eaten.

    Pandering to kids is often an adult’s excuse for over-indulging. After all, if the food it out of the house, you can’t eat it either, right? If it IS in the house, you AND your child are the worse off for eating it.

  • Katie

    I just started your organic eating lifestyle challenge. I am loving the fact that I don’t have to try to figure it out on my own. That kind of planning is difficult for a full-time working Mom. The biggest challenge for me is that I cannot always find the suggested organic items in Mississippi. I can see why my state has such a problem with eating healthy…because even the grocery stores here aren’t on board or knowledgeable about eating healthy. I would like to start my own petition…for stores to stop putting the junk food at the check out station. I started the challenge because I have constant headaches, I have my Mother’s DNA when it comes to high cholesterol (even though I’m petite), and I want to feed my kids better. Thank you for all your hard work on providing this information on your website.

  • We just completed our 10 days. We started March 16th. What I did was adapted recipes we love. My biggest fear was for my 5 year old who is very “picky” about foods, textures, etc. She went to bed hungry many evenings, but after the first few days I did noticed less tempers in the child department. Her listening didn’t improve, but that could be a 5 yr old thing. :-) I am still struggling with her eating foods put in front of her….. We will be adapting our recipes to being better for us.

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