Week three of our Real Food Challenges is over, and I am happy to say that we rocked it. Just a quick reminder, Tim and I are participating in 14 weeks of real food challenges that have been outlined at 100daysofrealfood.com. Our challenge this week was as follows: 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 said in my last post that I was going to make an exception for Valentine’s Day, and since we ended up having Mexican food, that was a good thing to say in advance. I’m pretty sure those tortilla chips are deep fried. To make up for it, Tim and I continued the challenge through the weekend. (If you remember, we are only committing to the challenges M-F because our weekend schedules are pretty wacky and we never know what we are doing food-wise.) I figured that the biggest threat to our success for this past week would be pure laziness. Poor planning that leaves us starving and not wanting to cook or clean up after a meal are the main reasons that we go out to eat in the first place. Fast food is just so damn convenient. The whole point of this challenge was to teach that convenience is not a good enough excuse to eat crap at McDonald’s. The goal was to make planning meals ahead and making sure to have healthy snacks on hand a habit so that you don’t even need to consider fast food. We did a really good job of sticking to the menu that we made. I was really proud of us. This challenge taught me that we really do not need to eat out nearly as much as we do. The only day that gave us any issue was last night, actually. Sunday nights are the biggest temptations for me to eat poorly. I have that “start anew on Monday” mentality, which is a blanket excuse to indulge on Sunday because I will re-commit to heathy eating tomorrow. It’s a flimsy excuse, and one I need to stop using. We had our dinner all planned out, but we both had a craving for cheese fries which would have led to burgers and who knows what. There was some whining and complaining (on both of our parts) but we decided to stick to the plan and cook at home. I’m really glad that we did.
The other reason Sunday was a big temptation was because we knew that we wouldn’t be able to go out during week four either. We’ve been a bit nervous looking ahead to this challenge, actually. Week 4: Meat- All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish. They go on to basically define “meat” as land-based animals, so there is no restriction seafood. Also, there is no restriction on animal products like eggs, milk, cheese, etc.
This challenge is a tough one for us, Tim especially. For many years his family raised animals for food, so he is a big meat eater. He has already told me that he would never consider giving up meat entirely. It will be tough to cut back and treat meat as a side item and not the main point of the meal. Also, this challenge makes us both nervous because locally raised meat is really expensive. We had a very interesting conversation with a local butcher on Saturday about how, right now, local farmers in our area are price gouging because of the high demand for locally raised, grass-fed beef. It was a very interesting conversation. We did manage to pick up the meat that we need for the week, but it did take more figuring than it otherwise would. We will be eating a fraction of the meat that we normally eat. It will be an interesting week. Just for clarification, Tim is only participating in this challenge for dinner M-F. He gets lunch provided for him at work. I will be following as best I can for all of my meals. I’m not too worried about dinner, but I have to be a lot more creative with my lunches than I am used to. I usually have chicken in soups or salad or something like that at lunchtime We did not get any local chicken at the market, so I have to divert from my usual fare.
One great thing about this challenge is that we visited the 7th Street Public Market for the first time. We had so much fun! In addition to stopping at the butcher shop, we picked up some blackberry balsamic vinegar and some lovely loose leaf tea. I also stopped at a raw vegan juice bar and got a lot of questions about juicing answered while tasting several of their juices. It was a great time. We arrived home about ten minutes before the snow started to fall. This picture, taken from my balcony, was about thirty minutes after we got home. I love winter, and was so happy to see the snow, but I was also happy that I was not caught out in it. It got very cold very fast. I must still be a California girl at heart, because the few minutes that I stepped outside to take some pictures froze me to the bone. The snow is really beautiful, though.
Anyway, I am nervous and excited about this week’s meat challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes.