Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Real Food Challenge

This year, I turned 38 and my sweet babies presented Mummy with this lovely heart-shaped cake:

Celebrating my birthday with my two little ones got me thinking seriously about our health. Why?

More and more people are dying young from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. I don't want to be part of the statistics - I want to be alive to watch my kids grow up.

Thus, I started looking at our daily diet. We all know that we need to eat a healthy diet i.e. chemical-free, organic foods that are in their original forms i.e. "real food".

Unfortunately, eating a healthy diet isn't easy because real food is expensive and difficult to find. 

Processed food? You'll find them anywhere and everywhere - bread, candy, cookies, junk food and even "health food" loaded with sugar and preservatives disguised in brightly coloured packaging.

Furthermore, fast food restaurants are EVERYWHERE and they do an excellent job marketing their products and keeping their dining area clean.

Like I said, it's a challenge for us to eat healthy or "real" food but some people can do it.

For instance, I am inspired by this mom who came up with '14 Steps to Cut Out Processed Foods':

Week 1 : Two fruits and/or vegetables per meal – Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

Week 2: “Real” beverages – 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).

Week 3: 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.

Week 4: No fast food or deep-fried foods – No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Week 5: Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Week 6: No low-fat, lite or nonfat food products – Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Week 7: 100% Whole grain – All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.

Week 8: Stop eating when you feel full – Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.

Week 9: No refined sweeteners – No refined or artificial sweeteners including (but not limited to): white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice. Foods and beverages can only be sweetened with a moderate amount of honey or maple syrup.

Week 10: No refined oils – No refined or hydrogenated oils including (but not limited to): vegetable oil, organic vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, organic canola oil, margarine, and grape seed oil.

Week 11: Eat local foods – Eat at least 1 locally grown or raised food at each meal. This includes, but is not limited to: fruits, vegetables, eggs, grains, nuts, meats, and sweeteners like honey.

Week 12: No sweeteners – Avoid all added sweeteners including, but not limited to: white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, date sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, splenda, stevia, agave, fruit juice concentrate, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and cane juice.

Week 13: Nothing artificial – Avoid all artificial ingredients including, but not limited to: sweeteners, flavors and colors.

Week 14: No more than 5-ingredients – Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients

Can we do it? We're gonna try. Wanna join me on this challenge? :)

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