BULLETIN UPDATE! How great to see so many coming in and wanting to do the healthy dance! Please don't forget if you've commented "I'm in," you need to click the "FOLLOW" button to be entered into the drawing for the $100 Amazon Gift Card (unless you already follow). If you're not sure, just click the follow button and it will let you know. THANK YOU!
So, I told you we were working on something. Here it comes. And I'm SO hoping you'll help me spread the word.
What Is It?
A challenge. And a chance at a $100 Amazon Gift Card.
Is It Complicated?
No, it’s simple and it’s free. It’s SO simple it’ll drive you crazy and you’ll want to add all kinds of rules and complicated information. I think simplicity is so simple it’s hard. Is that perfectly clear now?
This is a challenge for 30 Days – only 30 Days - to THROW DOWN FAST FOOD.
Launch Date: September 1, 2009.
(An “appetizing” example of the Not-So-Great American Diet.)
Are You Nuts?
Yes. Thanks for asking.
But we’ll eat healthier food, undoubtedly feel better, maybe increase our energy, or quit giving our scales a nervous breakdown every time they see us coming. Personally, mine is in therapy. It’s the least I could do after all the trauma I’ve caused it. I’ve also been known to avoid the doctor because people there insist on weighing me. Lately, I refuse unless they let me strip down to my underwear in the middle of the office. I didn’t eat my jeans. Why should I have to weigh them? Try it. They will never ask to weigh you again.
But I do realize I have a few issues. (See the answer to the question, “Are You Nuts?”)
Uh, How Do You Define “FAST FOOD?”
It isn’t only our favorite burger or taco place. It’s processed foods, too. Not swinging through “Big and Beefy – And That’s Just YOU!” doesn’t really work if we go home, throw a frozen dinner covered in plastic into the microwave, and slam a soda. That’s fast food from the grocery store.
My family and I wanted to see if we could MAKE ourselves, if only for 30 Days, know WHAT we’re eating and try to eat whole foods as much as possible. We already shop at Farmers’ Markets, buy locally grown most of the time, look for organic sources, and like to think we care about what’s going in our guts. Because trust me, when we look down, we realize…..they hold a LOT, so that’s important.
Okay, You Sound Holy. So, What’s Your Problem, Man?
We’re lying to ourselves. We are converts in our heads and total heathens in our guts. We still fast food it way too much. A pizza here, a cheeseburger there, a taco or burrito anywhere. And of course, my 14-year-old son’s favorite - imitation processed cheese product look-a-like that you pour over GMO (genetically modified organism) corn chips. (Any real relation to actual food is completely coincidental. Product restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited.)
And the reality is, when we do this, we don’t feel good. I mean, we REALLY don’t feel good. And why would we? What God put on this earth to feed us has been so adulterated, it’s hardly recognizable anymore.
Who Elected YOU The Big Food Sheriff?
I’m not challenging you because I have already arrived. I’m fat. I’m barreling down life’s highway seriously over the legal cheeseburger limit. I’m operating heavy machinery while in a pizza induced state. I’m driving while indoctrinated. I have allowed myself to believe that fast food and processed food can stand in as a decent substitute in a pinch. Well, I actually haven’t believed that for years but denial is a gift and it allows you to skip meal preparation or grocery shopping. And busyness and health issues offer yet more opportunities to fall by the wayside.
But this isn’t a beat-you-up, guilt inducing 30-day trek. This is a wake-up call. This is a belief that most of us can do almost anything for 30 days to improve our lives. Unless you don’t need to.
Maybe you live remotely and NEVER eat fast or processed foods. You are so far removed from this nonsense you can’t even identify with me. Maybe you grow your own food. If so, I’m in love with you and you have my undying admiration. May I stay with you for six months while I detox? It could get ugly. When do you want me?
But if your more like me than you want to admit publicly (and I am not offended if you prefer to act as though you’ve never even heard my name, not once in your whole life........including today), then you might want to do something about it.
The rules are amazingly simple.
DO THE BEST YOU CAN. (But no, REALLY do the best you can.) And if no one will do it with you, do the best you can. See? Simple.
How Do We Pull THIS off?
The first question my son asked was, “What if I’m with somebody else and their parents take us to a fast food place?” We believe, for the most part, unless the meal is laced with out-an-out e-coli, mad cow disease, a known allergen, or arsenic, one meal probably isn’t going to derail you. However, we advised him to make as healthy a choice as possible. Choose a salad, see if they have fruit, opt for grilled cheese, reach for water, try the yogurt.
And we aren’t saying don’t eat out at all. But choose a real-food restaurant if you do. Opt for salads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Utilize real cheeses, not processed cheese products. Get whole cuts of meat instead of ground (at least it comes from only one source unless you know they grind their own on the premises). Go for the baked potato or wild rice instead of french fries. Avoid “farmed” fish and ask for wild caught. Share a fruit dessert or something dark chocolate. Or, in the interest of cutting down on sugar (another highly processed food), forego it altogether.
Daily, plan ahead with the old brown bag. Fill it with healthy, whole choices the night before. Include raw veggies and fruits. Choose organic and local, if at all possible. Say NO to soda, including diet. Drink filtered water or, if you just HAVE to, top it off with a little bit of fruit juice while you adjust to foregoing the soda. Cruise through your favorite coffee place and enjoy your daily cup-of-the-Joe, Americano, or tea, but blow off the cafe-latte-dahs and froo-froo drinks packed with sweeteners of all kinds.
Now, this is where it can get harder but, if at all possible, avoid factory-farmed meats and look to local growers, or those who farm sustainably and who have grazing cattle eating grasses and herbs, pigs that can forage and root, or chickens that are free-range. That’s how animals are designed to eat.
I realize this isn’t always possible with meat, due to costs. It isn’t for us either, believe me, but we try to eat meat like this if we find good bargains and sometimes we absolutely do. Every little change, and every meal, adds up – for your health…..or not.
THE KEY – ALSO KNOWN AS “THE MAIN THING”
Meal plan with fresh, whole foods as much as possible. Buy organic IF you can – buy local IF you can. The End. Keep it simple. If you can’t, make your best selections and say, “Yahoo!” because you’re still FAR AHEAD of the fast food game and your consistently moving toward better and better eating.
We can do this. It’s only 30 DAYS. Quit on September 30th if you’re suffering and feel miserable. (I’m betting you won’t be, on either count.) By the way, this isn’t a political idea. I have no hidden agendas. All my agendas are available for public viewing and parades, as well as limited soapbox and high-horse engagements. I am not a vegetarian and will not become one. You’ll go insane trying to convert me and I would hate that for you. I KNOW all the choices. This one is mine. But if you are a vegetarian, you are highly esteemed. Please send me recipes to make my veggies all that they can be and help them realize their full potential.
Now, if life happens, and it does, here’s your contingency plan: know in advance where you can find quick, healthier food vs. fast food. In some areas of California, Pizza Fusion offers organic pizza and sandwiches. Chipotle dishes up super fast service and healthy choices including offering meat from animals raised humanely and sustainably. (You’ll be AMAZED at their philosophy and their food when I post about it.) You might want to forego the white rice in their burritos and get more beans, peppers, onions, salsa, lettuce, and lean meat. And these burritos are huge. You can easily share one and cut your costs in half, though they are already extremely reasonable. Whole Foods has a salad bar with EVERYthing, though the prices can be a little steeper. Trader Joe’s has a salad-in-a-box for $3.00 or so. Look for organic any time you can. And these recommendations aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Options are regional. Your thoughts are needed and welcome about what’s available in your area. Share what you find in the comments section or email me. I’ll post it here and we’ll help each other.
And if you’re concerned that you might find yourself caught between a rock and a cheeseburger, reference the advice to my 14-year-old son and then go one step farther: Plan ahead. Pull up the websites of the fast food restaurants you normally frequent and look at the calorie and nutrition content of their foods, ask where their meat is coming from, and find out how it’s prepared. Based on that, make healthier choices ahead of time.
These ideas will freak out the purists among us who won’t think this goes nearly far enough. But I believe in keeping the MAIN THING the MAIN THING. And this IS our main thing – for 30 DAYS. Nearly everything you read about healthier eating changes everything about your life almost immediately. Personally, that hasn’t worked for me. It’s often an “all or nothing” or “pass and fail.” But most of us can’t eat, won’t eat, or DON’T eat perfectly every day. This is a nod to real life. IT happens. If you fall off the wagon, RUN (you’ll burn a calorie), and get back on. Don’t let it leave without you. And if you fall off, you haven’t failed so DON’T give up. This is about the process. This is about 30-Day increments.
What Gave You THIS Hare-brained Idea?
One thing, among many others, was watching the movie “Food, Inc.” I highly recommend it and if it’s not already, it should be out on DVD very shortly. Through the years we’ve watched similar movies or documentaries and felt they were eye-opening. But in Food, Inc. I heard things I already knew, found out things I needed to know, and heard my own food beliefs echoed. I did chafe at an example they used which I felt was not well thought out. (I’ll talk about it and give them the FIX in my next 30-Day Throwdown! post.)
It got us talking and debating, and tickled our cerebellums, or amygdalas, or pre-frontal cortexes. Whatever it was, we found our brains still working and decided to utilize them. I required my kids to watch it as part of their school curriculum. I’ve been proselytizing about many of the ideas for years. But sometimes they (read I) need to see it and hear it from an outside source. It worked.
So, Is This a Food Blog?
Nope. Not even close. This is usually a humor blog, if I’m lucky. It’s about everything, and will continue to be. But every day of our lives includes food that fuels us, or not, so it seems relevant. And anytime we join together and support one another, it’s easier, more fun, and we’re accountable.
What’s In It For Me?
A healthier lifestyle. Being in touch with what you’re eating. Maybe losing some weight. Maybe not. You can still get fat on too much good, healthy food even though your body is better nourished. Trust me. I’ve gotten fat any way possible. (Considering portions is a good idea whatever you’re eating. And I’ve considered them. I just haven’t considered limiting them nearly often enough.) But this isn’t about changing EVERYthing. This is about changing a couple of things, making it doable, and taking first steps. When we end up evaluating ourselves at the end of 30 Days, we, our family, will continue on, adding more healthy habits in the aforementioned 30 Day increments.
You can come with us. In a year, we’ll be more aware, healthier, leaner, and we’ll even save a BOAT LOAD of garbage. (Think of how much we throw away with every fast food visit.) So it’s even a green idea.
Where Does The $100 Amazon Gift Card Come In?
If we do it, I truly believe we’ll all win. But one person, on October 1st, 2009, will win a $100 Amazon gift card. How you might ask? So glad you did.
1. Sign up to follow AND leave a comment saying you did. That’s a must. I’ll collect names everyday during our 30 Day Throw Down! and add them to the drawing. All you have to write is: “I’m following and I’ll do it!” Feel free to write more if you’re inspired. (The follow button is to the right – over the photos of other followers, and the comment button appears at the end of this post. Just click on it to comment. Sorry if that’s highly detailed but I’ve had people who truly didn’t realize how they CAN comment and I don’t want anyone left out.)
2. If you already follow, THANK YOU!! But you still need to leave a comment letting me know, “I’ll do it!”
3. If you BLOG about it on your site and link your readers back to this article by using this code http://robynnsravings.blogspot.com/2009/08/30-day-throw-down.html - leave me a comment with a link to your post and, I'll enter you again! (I hope you deem this worthy of sharing with your readers.)
THE WINNER OF THE GIFT CARD WILL BE INTERVIEWED HERE ON THEIR MONTH-LONG JOURNEY AND HAVE A POST DEDICATED TO THEM. (Privacy and identifying details will be respected unless you love the limelight! Then, I’ll link everyone to your blog, if you have one.)
That’s it. Let’s THROWDOWN!! For 30-DAYS!
Copyright 2009 - 30-Day Throw Down! Copyright 2009