100 day whole food challenge

Trying to find a good balance of healthy eating has always been a struggle for me. Although I think that I cook pretty healthy, I have a sweet tooth. It is hard for me to go a day without treating myself to some sort of treat… usually a high carb baked good. I am addicted to sugar. This past summer I lost 8 pounds, but I have gained 4 back, because I just struggle with that battle to resist the sweets. I don’t want to be one of those people who is on a diet my whole life, because those people obviously don’t have success if they have to attempt diets for most of their adult lives.

Now that I am in my early 30s, I am starting to feel like it is a lot easier for me to gain weight. I used to only gain weight if I just totally let go (like on vacations or holidays), but now I find myself starting to gain weight simply when I slip up a little bit. I hear that it just gets worse and worse. So, why do I tell you all of this? Well, because I really want to model good health to my kids but model it without obsessing about my weight all of the time. I want to be in good shape so that I can chase my kids around and incorporate being active into our lifestyle.

I have decided to take a plunge and do the 100 day whole food challenge with my family. For more details, you can visit the site here. The gist of it is that my family will commit to eat whole foods for 100 days (and I am hoping for a life time). No processed foods with more than 5 ingredients. No fast food at all. No refined sugar. No white flour or grains. Because I am seeking balance, there will be exceptions made, especially for my kids.Here are some of the exceptions that we will make:

  • Sofia and Gabe both have fall birthdays. On their birthdays, they are welcome to choose any kind of sugar filled cake and whatever they want for dinner. It is their day, so they can have things as they would like.
  • When my kids go to other people’s houses, I am not going to be crazy about controlling what they eat. I don’t want to make other people uncomfortable or make my kids feel like they are deprived and feel resentful.
  • On Thanksgiving and Christmas day, I will drop the rules. Yes, I will be making a pumpkin cheesecake on Thanksgiving.
  • The kids will be allowed to trick or treat and choose 15 pieces of candy to keep and eat.
  • We will be cheating a little for the next couple of weeks here and there so that we can eat some of the food that we already have (like yogurt with sugar in it). I can’t afford to waste the food that we have. However, I will not from this time forward not buy anything that breaks the rules (with 95% accuracy).
  • On the rule sheet, it says that meat should be organic or at least grass fed. We have grass fed beef, but I won’t be buy ing organic chicken. It is too spendy. I just buy the foster farms frozen chicken breasts from Costco.

This actually isn’t going to be too traumatic for our family as we usually eat mostly whole foods. I can still bake, but with honey, so my sweet eating will have to be more intentional and not just out of bad habits. And because it will have to be more intentional, it will happen less often. I also have some yummy treats that are healthy that pass as dessert. Last night I mixed some frozen bananas and mangos with some filtered coconut milk from tj’s.

Does anyone else want to do the challenge at the same time?

I would love to share some of our successes and struggles as we do this. I would also love to hear tips and your experiences!

Annalise - September 19, 2012 - 7:55 am

I recommend eating a large breakfast of just fruit! You won’t crave sugar if you give your body the natural sweetness its looking for. We are primates and we’re made to eat large quantities of fruit. :)

Kelsey - September 19, 2012 - 4:33 pm

Sounds kind of fun. I mainly like the goal of not eating processed foods with more than 5 ingredients. I’m not willing to take the challenge because when I commit to something I try really hard to do it, and right now, I don’t want one more thing I have to keep on top of (I have a very addictive personality when it comes to health related things, which can sometimes be bad). I’ll do it as its convenient, maybe later on I’ll take the challenge. I’m interested to see Some of the new recipes and ideas you get from it. Please share them!!

Elisabeth@SimplyParkers - September 19, 2012 - 5:12 pm

I love the 100 Days of Real Food blog and like to try her recipes. The one recipe I have made MANY times is her crockpot refried beans (http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/08/29/recipe-easy-slow-cooker-refried-beans/) – I mostly use it to make black beans (just dice the whole onion instead of halving it for more flavor, use only about 5 cups of water, and don’t mash the beans afterwards). Good luck to you! As challenged as I am in the kitchen, I’m afraid if I limited myself to 100% whole foods 100% of the time my family might starve. Baby steps for me. I think we’re closer to 50/50 right now (whole to processed), okay probably more like 60/40?? I would count 75/25 a huge success for us, something to strive for :)

Jenna - September 19, 2012 - 10:47 pm

Scott and I have been following a very strict Diabetic and low cholesterol diet since last month, due to my diabetes labs coming back pretty bad and Scott’s cholesterol being elevated. It is very similar to the whole foods diet. At first it was hard, but now is becoming a lifestyle and is pretty easy. You just have to make it through the first 2 weeks and then it becomes much easier. I know you and your family can do it. Let me know if you want any recipes. I make a lot of desserts without using sugar, or artificial sweeteners.

Kim - September 21, 2012 - 11:50 am

So, I did the sugar fast for a few months to lose weight as that is my weakness too. But when I get back on I lose control again. My new health plan is that I am eating only whole grains (break, rice, pasta….), Sweets only on weekend (I eat sweetened yogurt whenever though) and not eating after 7:00. And I get three exceptions to these each week. So far it is easy, I have lost 1 pound a week and am trying to form better habits so when I get to ideal weight I don’t slip into bad habits but try to maintain these habits for the most part.

Kara - September 21, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Annalise, do you guys do a raw foods diet?
So far it hasn’t been hard. I’m guessing that will change as the holidays approach, though :).
We do crockpot beans once a week usually. I bet that you could do it. It in some ways actually makes cooking easier. I will spread some hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, throw a carrot and fruit on the plate and call it a meal :).
I would love recipe ideas, especially for fall treats.
I am going to have to call you to get more details. Way to go though, it sounds like you have found something that is working for you.

juliette - September 22, 2012 - 11:35 am

That’s super interesting. My family eats waaaay too much sugar.
What do you pack in Sofia’s lunchbox?

Kara - September 25, 2012 - 9:16 pm

Yes, we were sugar junkies as well. I am stoked, because we are cutting back on sugar, and I am finding cool recipes using honey for when we do want treats. I am going to make popcorn balls this week with a little honey, butter, and vanilla melted.
For lunches… we still have some stonyfield organic yogurt tubes that I bought a long time ago, so she still is occasionally getting one of those. Today she had a slice of great harvest whole wheat bread with butter and honey on it, carrots, string cheese, and some homemade trail mix. Costco has this natural nitrate free turkey breast, so she will often get a slice of meat, fruit, and trail mix and maybe some hummus. I have rolled up whole wheat tortillas with hummus. We keep her lunches pretty simple, because I just don’t have time or energy to put an insane amount of effort. When payday comes, I want to invest in one of those really nice thermos cups so that I can sent her with leftover soup since that is what we live off of during the winter.

Kacie Wahl - September 26, 2012 - 6:11 pm

Yahoo for grass fed beef!

adrienne w - October 2, 2012 - 12:08 pm

What do you put in your homemade trail mix? We can’t send any nuts to school so I figured that ruled out any trail mix.
I’m not sure that I could do this completely, but we are definitely trying to implement some changes a little at a time and are much more conscious of how “whole” the foods we’re eating are.