|Learning a new language is hard. Eating good food is not.|
We want to get a few of the things that people have found difficult about the challenge out there early so that as you plan for the start, you can take them into account. We have found through time that they are not so much difficulties as differences. The way you look at food, the way you shop, how much you spend, how you cook, how much you clean, all of these things become much different and could possibly derail your efforts if not addressed.
The way you look at food - We all love food! Food and eating has evolved into a part of our social fabric in such a way that it is emotionally connected to us. We derive a great deal of pleasure out of food . We eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat to meet, reconnect, maintain friendships, etc. The list goes on, but for the next 30 days we want you to peel all the emotional attachment away from food and look at it as fuel for your body. Your body needs three macro-nutrients to function optimally, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We want you to be able to look at your plate and identify a protein source, a carbohydrate source, and a fat source with each meal. Over time, if you stick with it, you will reconnect with food in a much more intimate way(sounds strange, but it happens.) However, for the next 30 days, you need to look at food as a means to nourish you, not to entertain you.
The way you shop - This one will probably change the most and until you get a grasp of the quantities of these new foods that you need to sustain you for a week, it will mean multiple trips to the store. Real food goes bad. The convenience of having food that can be stored for years in your pantry has serious negative impacts on your health. Most of us are used to buying a few vegetables and placing them in that bottom drawer in the fridge, until they resemble some sort of moldy science experiment. This is usually followed by a silent battle of wills until someone can't stand the smell, breaks and cleans out the drawer(that is how it used to go in our house). Food quality is a huge factor and we will address it later on in the 30 days, but for starting out you can find everything you need at your local grocery store. Check this link for shopping tips. For the purposes of this post we just want you to understand that you will be making several trips to the store to keep up your supply of fresh real foods.
How much you spend - Our biggest expense in our budget is our food bill. We think it is money well spent. If you are used to running into the store and buying a few things and getting out for under $50, your first, clean eating, shopping trip will be a surprise. However if you factor in all the money that is spent eating out either at fast food or real restaurants along with the positive health benefits of eating this way we feel like it all evens out. Just know initially you will be spending more money at the grocery store.
How you cook - This one is unavoidable and is a bit of a soapbox one for me. You will have to get your hands dirty and actually prepare your meals. If you are so busy that you don't have 30 minutes to prepare quality meals for yourself, than you have other lifestyle issues that are going to prevent you from reaching your health goals. You make time for what is important and preparing quality meals is important. I enjoy cooking, Dawn does not. We both cook. This is not one of those plans where you get all your meals sent to you in a box and you can pop them in the microwave. I am willing to bet many of you have tried them in the past, we have. They usually work initially, but are not sustainable over the long term. Learning a few tricks in the kitchen will go along way to, not only helping you in these next 30 days, but also being a better person. Suck it up buttercup and cook!
p.s. this is where the community of the challenge has come in handy in the past. Our best recipes have come from challenge participants
How much you clean - This is another common complaint we hear and one we struggle with ourselves. It seems like we always have a sink full of dishes. Like learning to cook, it is one of those unavoidable aspects of eating real, healthy foods. There is not much we can do to avoid it, but we want you to know going in so you are not surprised by it. We have also found that cleaning as you go makes things much easier, than letting things pile up until the end of the day.
You can be sure there will be other challenges along the way but these were some of the bigger issues that have come up in the past. Knowing what you are getting into and having a strategy going in can help when these things pop up. In our next post, we hope to answer any lingering questions you may have.