Wednesday, February 3, 2010

28-Day Real Food Challenge

Yesterday, without knowing entirely what I was signing up for, I joined the 28-Day Real Food Challenge hosted by Jenny at Nourished Kitchen. Doing so seemed like a good way to remain accountable right from the start of this exciting yet daunting process of getting my family off processed foods. The challenge is laid out like this:
Each day, for the entire month of February, you’ll receive an assignment that will help you learn about the principles of a nourishing diet including the importance of grass-finished and pastured meats, wholesome fats, sprouted and soured grains and probiotic foods.

That all sounded good, so I continued reading.
Learn how to stock your pantry, how to source wholesome foods, how to reduce costs, hot to mitigate antinutrients naturally present in certain foods and how to improve your diet step-by-step through nourishing, real food. Simple as it is, the 28-day challenge is designed to walk you through a transition into real food one step at a time.

Alrighty then! Where do I sign up?

Well, let me tell you... That first step is a doozy. Jenny has us boldly stepping right off the cliff and into the void. When I read the Day 1 instructions to "remove all processed foods and foods containing those ingredients from your kitchen" I thought of that commercial for some stop-smoking aid where the guy is inexplicably on top of a building contemplating stepping off the roof, and when he does take that step, the stop-smoking aid's manufacturer has kindly made available "invisible" steps that lead him safely to the more stable street level. I started to worry. Who is this Jenny anyway? How confident am I that she really has a series of sturdy invisible steps that will lead me safely back to solid ground? Jenny has clearly been studying corporate America and has mastered the concept of 'first get them hooked- then drop the whammy."

I'll be honest with you; even though my family has already been moving toward a diet free from processed foods, I broke out in a cold sweat before I even opened my cupboard cabinets. Realizing that this challenge has hundreds of other participants, I started surfing their blogs to see how closely they were adhering to this requirement. I found a really mixed bag. Some people are making allowances for spouses, parents, or other roommates.

For me, the issue boils down to two questions: Can I afford to summarily toss and replace these banned foods? and What the heck will we eat until I can replace the banned foods? (We're talking hungry teenagers here!) The answer to the first question is a resounding "No." And the answer to the second question is "I have no idea." So, I was happily surprised to log on this morning and find this advice from Terri at Simply Basic: “Just take baby steps and you will do just fine. Don’t try to change everything overnight.” And that is exactly what I plan to do. Thanks Terri, for the right advice at the right time!

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