Monthly Archives: January, 2013

14 Weeks of Real Food Challenges

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As I stated in my previous post, one of the goals I have for myself this year is to eat a healthier diet by cutting down on processed foods and moving to more whole, real foods.  A recent tool that I have found to help me in my journey is the 100 Days of Real Food website.  I found 100daysofrealfood.com back in early November, and have really enjoyed the content.  I’ve been trying to learn more about the food industry and more about where my food comes from.  There are recipes and meal plans, and it’s a great source for parents looking for healthy ways to feed their children.  I recommend checking the site out if you are even a little interested in a commitment to eating real food.

Lisa (who created the site) and her family have taken on a couple 100 days of real food projects, and you can read about the unique challenges they experienced while attempting it.  The purpose was to show people that they too can eat healthy and completely cut out processed food, even if they have small children or have a tight budget.  The site encourages readers to take a 10-day pledge to follow their “real food rules” that have been largely influenced by Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food.  But they also realize that not everyone can do a “cold turkey” 10-day pledge, so in Spring of 2011 Lisa created 14 mini pledges to ease people into the concept.  Tim and I have decided to give the mini pledges a try.

Each week we will be attempting to tackle one of the 14 real food challenges.  I am going to do my best to stick to the challenge for all of my meals.  Tim will be following for dinner for sure, but lunch is provided to him by his work three out of five days, so he will play that by ear.  We’ve also decided that since our weekends are always so up in the air, we will commit to a five day week (M-F) and allow some leeway on the weekends when necessary.  Some of the challenges will be a lot easier than others.  Some will be down right (seemingly) impossible.  We are going to do our best.  My plan is to report back to you on how the weeks go for us and what specific challenges we faced as we tried to accomplish each task.  Then I’ll announce the next week’s challenge and start the process all over again.  The over-all goal of taking the mini pledges is to gain a new perspective from the experience and make at least some positive long-term changes.  Baby steps.  If you want to learn more about the mini pledges, click here for the master list with links to Lisa’s specific posts about each challenge.

So, that’s the plan.  We start today with the challenge for Week 1: Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.  The whole point of this particular challenge is for you to displace something else that you would normally eat (like chips or fries or even crackers) with some colorful produce.  I don’t think that this is going to be as big of a challenge for us as other weeks will be.  We’ve already been making a point to eat more fruits and veggies, so this challenge is just super sizing the effort we are already making.  I realize that it is really easy for me to say at the beginning of the week that this will be no problem.  Check back with me by Friday and it could be a whole other story, right?  But I really do think that we have this week under control.  I am optimistic about week 1.  I will let you know how it turns out.  Wish me luck.  🙂

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Reflections and Resolutions

It’s taken me a while to figure out what I am looking for from 2013.  2012 was not a very good year for me.  In fact, It has been one of the toughest I’ve lived through in quite some time.  I’m very glad to see the back of it, frankly, and I am hoping that 2013 will be much better.  More than that actually, I am determined to have a good year.  Granted, it hasn’t started out all that great, since was sick as a dog for the first half of January.  But I am finally feeling better now, and am in the proper mind frame to figure out how I want this year to go.  I’m not really one for making resolutions but, as it turns out, I do have several goals for this year.

The biggest goal I have for 2013 is to seriously reduce my debt.  Tim and I have more debt than we would like, and we have some big plans for 2014.  In order to accomplish those plans, we need to pay off debt and save up money this year.  We made a lot of headway financially in 2012, so I’m hoping to keep that trend going and improve on it.  One of the big things that needs to improve is to get our spending in check.  For the most part, we don’t make too many large purchases, but we tend to shop a lot for small things throughout the month and it eats our money up.  We also eat out a lot.  All these little things add up faster than one would think.

The other big goal for the year is to improve my health and lose weight.  This is the same goal that I had last year, but I didn’t make much headway with it.  I started out the year doing really well, but once my grandma got sick, and then especially after she passed, I really couldn’t have cared less about eating right and exercising.  Grief really screws with the diet.  But, I am in a better headspace now, so I am recommitted to my goal.  I don’t just want to lose weight, but I want to gain strength.  I was never thin, but when I played sports in high school, my body was capable of performing.  I miss that feeling of strength and ability.  I want to get that back, no matter what weight I am.  I want to feel physically strong.  Part of that goal is to enter a 5K or two this year.  I’ve never been much of a runner, but over the last year or so, my interest has been piqued.  I’ve never entered a race, but I really want that experience.

The other part of getting healthy, besides the physical, is changing our diet.  I want to cut out processed foods and eat more whole foods.  I’ve been doing a lot of research into the food industry in America, and I am dissatisfied with what I am seeing.  I want to try to move toward more locally grown organic food.  I have a lot more research to do in this area, but we have already started making changes.  We have organic produce delivered to us once a week.  We have started shopping farmers markets.  We are also going to take 14 weeks or real food challenges that were set up by the 100 Days of Real Food website.  (More on that later.)  I hope that by changing my diet I will find myself healthier and stronger in 2013.

I want to grow with my photography.  I love my camera so much, it was the best present ever.  I have so much to learn, and I am so excited by all of the information that I am gathering.  I realize that I am such a newbie that I don’t even really have a concept of how much I don’t know, but I am excited to jump in.  Although I think the pictures on my beauty blog are pretty good, in general, there is always room for improvement.  I’d like to explore lighting options and get a better lighting set up.  I want to be a better photographer, and I am hoping that I will make big strides this year in that department.

The final goal that I have for myself is to cut out and let go of those things in my life that are toxic.  I feel like I have made big strides in this area over the last several years by letting go of past issues and distancing myself from certain people.  There are just a few areas of my life that are still trouble spots.  Relationships with toxic people are really hard for me to break off.  I’ve managed to reach a place of health in my life where I don’t make destructive or reckless decisions, but I still have a hard time walking away from those people who are bad for me.  I’ve decided that I need to cleanse my life of those remaining things that still bring me down.  This goal is a bit nebulous, and I still need to do a lot more thinking on how that will actually work, but I have recognized that there are still issues and I want to clean house.