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 […]
Original 100 Days
In case you haven’t noticed we not only took a 100-Day Real Food Pledge (two of them actually), but we’re also inviting readers to join the fun by taking a 10-day pledge. More than 800 people from around the world have signed up so far (yea!) by pledging to follow our very same food rules for a shorter amount of time. We developed the 10-day pledge because it is such an eye opening experience to live like this even if it is only for a week and a half. It forces you to read ingredient labels and reevaluate every single ounce of food that you put into your body. Our hope is that people will use their valuable 10-day pledge experience to help them decide what changes to make long term. Living by the rules is just to teach a lesson…our intention is not for people to follow them for life because, thankfully, eating the “bad stuff” in moderation is okay!
Okay, so in my last post I said we’d figured out some new guidelines to follow (now that our official real food rules are over), and that we were embracing our new freedom of flexibility. Well, as it turns out, all of that is easier said than done…for me at least. My children seem to have no problem whatsoever scarfing down something that I consider downright nasty (pizza from the school cafeteria anyone?), but my husband and I on the other hand feel that we are just going through the motions of pretending it’s okay to occasionally eat “junk” food when we are out. Now that we know the hidden truth behind all the junk out there it’s just turning out to be harder than expected for us to truly feel carefree about eating something with an unknown origin. So the truth is…
Okay, so last week I was struggling with how to move forward after finishing our 100-day pledge. Should I still bring our own food to birthday party and other social outings? Is it okay to just sit down and eat a piece of dark chocolate? What about making cookies for no reason? Should I say yes or no when my kids ask me for something that was previously off limits? I know that anything in moderation is okay, but (to quote my husband) the slippery slope was probably what was scaring me the most. Not to mention we worked incredibly hard to master the art of eating real food and experienced improved palates as a result. On the flip side one of my other concerns was that I would end up spending more time worrying about the food we were eating than actually enjoying it. I definitely don’t want that to happen either, and I certainly don’t want my kids to have a negative association when it comes to food. So when seeking the happy middle where does one end up? I do have to say that all of the comments from blog readers on my “struggle“ post were very helpful in all of this. Thanks to those words of wisdom and some other deep thoughts, here are some very general guidelines to help us move forward:
This post was going to be all about how we’ve barely even broken the rules (other than on 2 or 3 occasions) since ending our pledge….and then today my husband went to Subway for lunch. Yep Subway, as in the fast food restaurant that specializes in deli meat from who knows where? I have to admit I cringed when he told me this because I can’t say I was ever a big fan even before our real food pledge. He is out-of-town on business of course, and was both hungry and short on time (what else is new with his biz trips?). I guess since our pledge was over I thought I was off the hook for having to pack him food to bring along, but today I very much regretted that I didn’t do it anyway. While he was off chowing down on a fast-food sandwich I was at home relishing every last bite of a super yummy “roll up”. I have come to be a little bit obsessed with these homemade whole-wheat tortillas and wrapping up everything I can in them (pictured is homemade hummus, cheddar cheese, and some local tomatoes). See the thing is…our real food pledge actually kind of spoiled us. When you eat wholesome, nutritious, flavorful, real food day in and day out you come to love it and want it (and expect it) for just about every meal.
I had this vision that after completing our 100-day pledge it would be difficult for us to indulge in any former rule-breaking foods. As it turns out…we didn’t have any trouble with it at all! And one of our first meals ended up breaking even more rules than we originally anticipated. Pictured is one of the delicious (if I do say so myself) tacos that we had the other night. My first thought was that we would be breaking the local meat rule with an all-natural ground turkey option from Earth Fare. I personally prefer the flavor of ground turkey over ground beef, and unfortunately I cannot find any local sources for ground turkey around here. As you can see our turkey taco mixture (which included bits of carrot and mushroom) as well as some other goodies (like cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream) were all wrapped up in a nice little crunchy taco shell. I was so focused on finding these shells that are made with masa flour (which is a whole grain corn flour) that it didn’t even occur to me to consider how the taco shells were made. So a few bites into our meal, I couldn’t help but notice the yummy crunchiness and said to my husband…are these deep-fried? The moral of our little dinner story is that if it looks like a chip, tastes like a chip, and crunches like a chip, then it is definitely a deep-fried chip!!
I cannot believe day 100 is here! And at the same time I am so glad it is finally here. It’s not that I plan to do things much differently going forward, but I very much welcome the ability to make exceptions as I see fit. This new ability comes with a small price though…lots of difficult decision making! Rather than all the processed stuff just being “against the rules” we will now have to weigh the pros and cons for every situation like… Letting our daughters have the same cupcake as everyone else during birthday celebrations at school (I am thinking we will let them) Deciding what to do with all of the candy we get trick or treating this Halloween (we are thinking we might keep a few coveted pieces and give away the rest) Telling the dance studio that they can stop giving my 3-year-old a sticker while all the other kids get candy at the end of class (I am actually thinking I will not make this change…she hasn’t complained about only getting a sticker so what is the point in switching?) Ordering directly off the menu the next time we go out to eat (I think we can only make this decision on a case by case basis) Allowing any of us to eat white bread or anything made with refined flour the next time it presents itself (I don’t know what will happen with this one) Continuing to let our old “treat basket” remain empty rather than allowing it to fill up with the same junk again (At the beginning of our pledge I saved everything that came out of the basket, but had a change of heart a few weeks ago and actually got rid of all the sweets!) Deciding what food we […]
What a way to cap off our more than 3-month journey of eating real food and real food only! At the very last minute my husband’s boss said he would be in town and wanted to take the two of us out to dinner (our choice!). After scrambling to find a babysitter we decided that we’d love to be treated to a meal at one of our favorite local restaurants…Upstream. Since we hadn’t been there since well before starting our real food journey, I decided to call in advance to inquire about their menu (and to also spare my husband any embarrassment in front of his boss!). Whenever we are out and armed with all of our food questions we seem to always end up speaking with someone from the kitchen (rightfully so). And things were no different with Upstream because they knew right away where to send me. I was lucky enough to speak to a chef named Charlie that totally made my day! Not only was he incredibly knowledgeable and eager to help me (which I so appreciate since we are a tad bit difficult these days), but once he saw the challenge in trying to avoid white flour and sugar he made a fabulous proposal. He suggested that my husband and I choose whatever we wanted off the menu and he would make it real food approved for us. What a treat!
For the first time in 3 months I had a drink from Starbucks today! I must thank a friend who, during her 10-day pledge, learned Starbucks offers honey as an alternate sweetener. Without knowing that I would have never stepped foot in there. The thing is, I am not a regular old coffee drinker. I (used to) like their highly sweetened white chocolate mocha, and I knew I couldn’t go anywhere near that during our pledge. So armed with this new information, I wanted to try to order a drink sweetened with honey that would hopefully still taste good. I ended up getting a latté (which is simply espresso and milk….a mocha is also made with espresso and milk, but has the sweet chocolaty syrups added too) and asked them to add two little packets of their honey. It was surprisingly delicious! I do wonder though if I would have liked it this much before our 100-day pledge? You see…over the last 90 something days, our palates have changed! I can honestly say that the change in our palettes has been one of my favorite outcomes of doing this pledge. Not only do I now think a little bit of honey in my mocha is just as satisfying as 2 to 3 times as much of the flavored sugary syrup I used to love, but my kids will actually eat PLAIN yogurt now too!
Wow….only eight days left! I almost can’t believe it. Although we don’t plan to change the way we eat very much (especially at home) it will be nice to have a little less pressure on me to carry this out perfectly. This is on my mind after the second time in a week that a recipe I planned to make had to come to a screeching halt due to rule-breaking ingredients. I guess that’s what happens when I pull from my “pre-100 day” catalog of recipes. I have really been craving some flavors from New Orleans (my in-laws live in The Big Easy so we’ve been spoiled with their yummy cuisine on many occasions). So with a few substitutions in mind I thought I would be able to pull together my husband’s aunt’s gumbo recipe. Originally I was thinking that I would just sub whole-wheat flour for white flour when I made the roux. And even though I love to have sausage in our gumbo I would just have to settle with leaving it out since we recently discovered our source for local sausage uses sugar. Then I went searching at Earth Fare for a can of “stewed tomatoes” which as it turns out definitely has more than five ingredients. And Earth Fare said they didn’t have any fresh crabmeat on hand, and they don’t carry crabmeat in a can because it doesn’t meet their requirements (and if an entire grocery store chain deems something is “bad” would I want to eat it anyway?). I’d already bought some of the other ingredients by this point so I thought maybe I could make my own stewed tomatoes. But, then what about the crab? And at what point do I stop jumping through hoops just to make one damn recipe?!
See this beauty of a vegetable that we got in our Poplar Ridge Farm CSA box? I didn’t even know what the heck it was at first. Once I figured out that it was an eggplant, a little bit of excitement was lost because I don’t recall ever cooking (and probably barely ever eating) an eggplant in my life. So I settled on the idea of making some lasagna with it. It was the day after our fun dinner club evening, and I was still feeling a little out of it (okay, hungover) so I decided to wait until the very last minute to act on this plan. With our childrens’ hunger growing by the minute I finally moseyed on over to the grocery store at 5:45 P.M. to obtain mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheeses for the dish. This is when things suddenly came to a halt because I learned that all brands of ricotta cheese (at our grocery store) contain at least SIX ingredients!