Well, week two is over and it’s time for me to report on how I did. For those who are just joining me and don’t know what these Real Food challenges are, refer back to this post where I outline what I’m doing and why.
Week 2: 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). The point of this challenge is to minimize the amount of sugar and sweeteners we consume. All sweeteners are high in calories and low in nutrition, and the low-cal artificial sweeteners are just chemically created imitations invented in a lab somewhere. The restriction to honey and/or 100% pure maple syrup is for two reasons. They are both (mostly) made in nature and slightly higher in nutrients than other sweeteners like refined white sugar. The other reason is that 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.
This was a tough week, y’all. I pretty much knew that it was going to be going in. I grew up in a Diet Coke drinking household. We drank buckets of it. I hardly ever drank water, but the Diet Coke was a never ending flow. My drinking habits have morphed over the years, but I have always been a Diet Coke drinker and probably always will be. These days I drink a ton of water, but I like to have something else with my lunch and dinner. Most often I grab Diet Coke, but I also enjoy Sobe Lifewater, Vitamin Water, or iced tea. This challenge cut my choices down by quite a bit. We made a big pitcher of peach black tea Sunday night, and hoped for the best.
Tim was hit by an immediate stumbling block Monday morning when he forgot his milk at home and had to go without coffee at work. He doesn’t like black coffee, but the only creamer at his work has added sugars (even the half and half) so he had to go without. He was sure to remember to bring the small bottle of whole milk we bought with him the next day so that he could get his coffee fix. Otherwise, Tim seemed pretty content, or at least he didn’t seem to struggle the way that I did. I was okay with my iced tea on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday night I was demanding soda. Tim convinced me to have wine with dinner, which allowed me to hold out until Thursday night when I went to Starbucks with my sister and caved by drinking a spiced vanilla latte. I was fed up with the challenge by that point and drank my soda on Friday. Tim seemed to take on the attitude that If I was failing or cheating, that meant that he could too.
Though this challenge wasn’t an epic failure, it certainly wasn’t a success. I feel that I failed on week two. I was surprised by how much I missed my soda, especially considering that I don’t think I drink that much of it. I know that I am probably killing myself with the aspartame, but this challenge proved to me that I am not willing to give it up quite yet. I have decided to try to cut back. Instead of having two a day, I’m going to try to incorporate more of the other beverages I mentioned, especially the plain iced tea. I do actually really like iced tea, but we rarely have room in the refrigerator to accommodate a large pitcher. I think this challenge proved that I need to make room so that I have a healthy alternative to water and soda easily available to me.
So, on to the next challenge. Due to scheduling issues, I wasn’t able to get to the market for week three’s meat challenge, so I am switching week three and four. So, the new challenge is Week 3: No fast food (as detailed below) or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil. Fast food has been defined (for this challenge) by:
- Restaurants with drive-thru windows
- Convenience stores that also typically sell gas
- Places where you watch them assemble your food through a glass wall
- Restaurants that are situated in a “food court” setting
- School lunches (most schools do not have a fully functioning kitchen and simply heat precooked meals)
- Airplane food
I am thinking that week three will present a difficult challenge for us, but not an impossible one. We have been trying to cut out fast food, and have had moderate success, but there are always those days when we are both tired or not feeling well and don’t want to cook, or when it it’s really late and we still haven’t eaten. I hope that this week’s challenge combined with next week when we will also have to be fast food/takeout free will break our habit once and for all. Valentine’s Day is this week, and I am going to say right now that I am allowing a break in the fried-food part of this challenge for out V-Day meal. It may not be an issue, but just in case we are served something fried with our dinner, I am allowing the holiday indulgence. Otherwise, I am looking forward to seeing how well we do resisting temptation. Mostly, I think our biggest issue with this challenge will be one of laziness. Wish me luck.