The 30-Day Throw Down! begins Tuesday, September 1, 2009.
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Our first objective: Say good-bye to fast food for 30-Days and get in touch with your inner healthy eater. Your body – MY body – longs to be fed. The fatter we are, the easier we get sick, or the less energy we have, the more likely it is we are starving ourselves. This may not be true in terms of food volume, but we are depriving ourselves of life-giving food filled with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (the stuff you get from all the gorgeous colors in fruits and veggies), enzymes, and trace elements that are essential to good health and well being. God created it without pesticides and chemicals and he created our bodies to extract every good thing possible. So with that in mind, let’s go.
One example of what not to eat:
THE MAIN THING:
MOST IMPORTANT – DROP FAST FOOD. Eat whole foods as often as possible. Make healthy choices when eating out.
ALSO IMPORTANT: Avoid HIGHLY (key word here) processed foods at the grocery store which are just fast foods, or convenience foods, we fool ourselves with by thinking they are healthy options or it doesn’t matter that much. We wink at the fact that they are full of chemicals, flavorings, additives, hydrogenated oils, dyes, emulsifiers, door knobs, and possibly, coat hangers. Okay. The last two were just to see if you were paying attention. For a more complete overview of how to make healthier choices at home and when EATING OUT, read THIS. In the next few days, I’ll be listing label examples of HIGHLY processed foods and the ingredients they include. I think it will be helpful.
DISCLAIMER; I DID NOT WANT TO DO A LONG “AVOID” LIST OF PROCESSED FOODS BECAUSE I DON’T WANT THIS TO SEEM OVERWHELMING. This is as short as I could get it:
Avoid products with MSG. In a different 30-Day period we’ll talk about why and all the different names for it but the BIGGIE is Monosodium Glutamate - MSG. Avoid sodium nitrates or nitrites (mostly found in processed lunch meats and some bacon), and trans fats/hydrogenated oils. Avoid foods that have long lists of ingredients, most of which you don’t understand. Buy organic – IF POSSIBLE and buy local – IF POSSIBLE. If not possible, make your BEST choices and feel good about it. These few changes will go a long way toward taking a load off your liver, or nervous system, and/or blood fats (bad cholesterol and triglycerides – those things the doctor is always on you about).
I have been asked, “What about flour? It’s processed.” And, “What about dairy? Same thing.” Or, “I just CAN’T give up my diet soda. Can I do this anyway?”
The answer to all these questions is, “I need a hair cut. I SERIOUSLY need a hair cut.” I scared myself this morning when I looked in the mirror.
But I’ll try not to think about it for a minute and address your concerns.
Here’s the deal: Remember the rules? “Do Your Best. No, REALLY, do your best.” That’s it. I told you that would be hard. Because your best won’t be perfection. Neither will mine and I’m not convinced they need to be. If we feed our bodies healthy, REAL food most of the time, they can stand up to the occasional assault of bad choices. Our problem, especially as Americans, is we often live the other way around. We eat pretty poorly, especially if we eat fast food a lot, and then think we can regain our health, or proper weight, if we throw in something healthy now and then.
What if I slip up and find myself at the drive through?
There are no cameras and no police to arrest you. YOU will be asking yourself, “Is this my best?” Only you can answer that. If you cave this time, keep trying! Did you know that research shows ONE MEAL can make a difference in your blood chemistry? For good or bad. Keep going and don’t let one bad meal make you quit. DON’T GIVE UP!
But, what if I can give up fast food and not my diet soda (or regular soda)? Do I even qualify to join you?
Of course! If you can give up fast food, you’re STILL way ahead of the game. Don’t count yourself out. After 30-Days of no fast food, you may find you have the willpower to say goodbye to soda, too. Keep the big picture in mind.
Okay, I gave up fast food but I’m not ready to worry about processed foods. Am I still in?
Again, YES! Because one good choice often leads to another and I’m betting you’ll start thinking more about what you’re feeding yourself.
But what about if I already eat well?
You’re WAY ahead of the game so start trying to find organic and locally grown as much as possible. And increase your veggies, especially raw. It’s where most of us are lacking even when we eat well.
And if I’m already doing all that?
Then start growing your own organic grains and grinding your own wheat and baking bread for the rest of us! And please ship us your grass-fed beef and free-range chickens! And weigh in here frequently and tell us how you do it all. Because you are much admired and I honestly have NO idea.
There are multi-levels and ways of doing this.
Will I buy flour? Yes. Mind you, I buy organic, and mostly whole-grain flour but I’m not growing and grinding my own. Don’t I think buying fresh, recently grown grains, and grinding them into the flour I will be using to bake our bread is the best way? Well ABSOLUTELY! It’s just that most of us will not live that way and don’t find it sustainable due to busy schedules and full, demanding lives. So then we quit in a puddle of failure, drive through “Diabetes R Us,” and give up. This isn’t “all or nothing.” This is a very healthy and balanced “SOMETHING.” And it is HUGE.
Will I buy milk? Yes. But I will, and do, buy organic milk. If it costs more, we drink less. And I supplement with raw milk which is readily available in California. We’ve also been drinking raw milk for over three years. Luscious. If you have questions about this, I’ll be glad to do a posting and send links to great sites.
Will I buy bread or bake it?
Yes. The End. We need bread. But when I buy it, and I WILL, I will look for organic bread, preferably with sprouted grains. Costco carries organic bread and Trader Joe’s carries organic, sprouted grain breads. Also, Trader Joe’s has committed to trying not to buy foods that contain GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). They will not guarantee that it never happens as there can be cross-contamination but that is their desire and goal in all their foods.
Will I drink soda? No. Not diet or anything else. And we don’t use any artificial sweeteners.
Will I eat sugar or chocolate? If the world continues to revolve in 24 hour cycles and does not come to a complete halt, then the answer is yes. If not, then I’m getting off anyway. Now mind you, it will be only OCCASIONALLY and I will TRY to substitute raw honey, or rapadura (raw unprocessed cane sugar – sort of powdery) but it won’t always happen and I will not consider myself a failure. When I eat chocolate – oh, chocolate, have I told you lately how flat, dark, and handsome you are? – I will use or eat dark chocolate, and if possible, organic. In other words, REAL FOOD, not food made to SEEM real.
Will I buy canned goods? Yes. Because I’m not making a pot of beans everyday, or canning my own tomato sauce. If you do, WONDERFUL! but I can’t manage it. So I will be buying organic and made in the U.S.A. (check all labels for country of origin where standards might not be as high as ours and THAT’s saying a LOT…ahem….I’ll stop there). Again, I’ll be showing some label comparisons in a few days but look for SIMPLE, EASILY RECOGNIZABLE INGREDIENTS. NO MYSTERIES. Your food should not be worthy of a C.S.I. episode.
To repeat: This is about making HEALTHY CHANGES. A little at a time. Slowly. In 30-Day increments. This isn’t about thinking of your food 24 hours a day. You know why? I’ve thought about food 24 hours a day. I’ve taken our family down to eating 15 different kinds of food for eight weeks to find out what we are sensitive to. It was hard. It was amazingly informative. What it wasn’t was sustainable.
As a VERY wise 19th century newspaper editor named George Dennison Prentice once put it: “What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.” I know that to be true.
SO LET’S NOT COMPLICATE IT!
30-Days from now we will move on to the next 30-Day phase which will be exercise. We will look at ways to incorporate a little or a lot, depending on our individual abilities. But we’ll get moving. And we’ll commit to each other to “DO OUR BEST” if we want to continue on.
My vision for this is a year of 30-Day increments where we change habits a little at a time, slowly adding up to big, significant changes that can impact our health, the health of our families for years to come, and the way we grow our food. But I simply CAN’T do everything all at once. I’m thinking it might be hard for you, too. I’m positive we’ll all be an encouragement to each other. You are not obligated in ANY WAY to continue on, but I think you may want to. I quit fast food three weeks ago – and so did Grizzly, Bo, and The Wild Man. We all feel better for it. We’re all committed to continuing.
And there will be incentives to continue! Even now, I’m negotiating with sponsors who will be supporting our efforts through great giveaways. A big THANK YOU to Chipotle who wants to support our healthy efforts by offering giveaways! They will not be shaping or dictating what we do. They will be supporting what we’re already doing.
One last thing……
PLEASE DO THIS: Make a few tiny notes (or huge long paragraphs if you’re desperately compelled to do so like, uh, certain people I may or may not know and who may or may not author blogs known as Robynn’s Ravings) about any positive change you see. It’s EASY to forget GOOD THINGS and think nothing is different. I have already noticed changes in my skin and weight, and a slight increase in energy (even though I had the usual reaction to medicine which ALWAYS impacts my liver and leaves me in pain and with a liver that doesn’t want to show up for work.) Write it down and share it with us along the way as well as your own readers, if you blog.
And share this with a family member or friend. Don’t become an obnoxious food nazi. But when they ask why you’re packing your own lunch or why YOUR food looks SO much better than theirs, tell them. Gently. Don’t do what I did to a sweet friend who recently asked a bunch of us about all these ideas. I think we opened up a fire hose of information on her. She went away shell shocked. I'm grateful she’s still speaking to me. Use me as a terrible warning.
Time to gird our loins. Time to put on the gloves. Time to kick some serious fast food booty. Let’s THROW DOWN!
(The 30-Day Throw Down! will soon have its own blog so that information about what we’re doing is readily accessible and you won’t have to hunt for back articles.)