- No dairy
- No gluten
- No alcohol
- No sugar
- No processed foods
- No meat (this is optional - I haven't decided what I will do about this yet)
- Drink 120 oz. of water a day
I can tell that this challenge is going to be more difficult than the last one. I had a rough first and second day and feel grumpier than I did last time. I think it is because my diet has been worse for the past couple of months, so I have more to detox from. I'm preparing myself for a bumpy ride, but I know in the end I'll feel much better for having done it.
The most striking part of the past two days was how badly I wanted sugar. I don't think I really understood how much sugar I was eating over the past couple of months until I removed it from my diet. I tend to need something sweet to finish off a meal. I think it is left over from the days when I used to smoke and needed a cigarette after a meal. My go to sweet is chocolate. I keep dark chocolate bars and chocolate chips around for times when I need a little something sweet. But, unlike others who can eat a little piece of chocolate and be done, I tend to eat chocolate steadily throughout the night after I finish my evening meal. I'm fine during the day, but once I finish dinner, it's as if the chocolate has a magnet attached to it. First, I eat a piece of the chocolate bar. Then, as I'm walking through the back of my kitchen to put things away, I grab a handful of chocolate chips out of the bag of chocolate chips. I didn't typically stop there. This cycle often continues throughout the evening. I just can't seem to break it. Add in all of the other sweet treats that I have indulged in over the summer, and you have a full-fledged sugar addiction. So, the past two days I have been eating dried fruit (no added sugar) and fresh fruit to quell my sugar cravings. I think it's helping, but I have to make sure I don't just replace sugar with tons of dried fruit.
This is what my desk looked liked the past two days:
The other thing that I noticed is how much I mindlessly snack. I am a snacker by nature, which I actually think is healthy. However, the amount I have been snacking, and the things I have been eating recently, haven't been that healthy. The past two days, I caught myself almost finishing the last of the kids' PB & J, or eating a handful of Annie's Bunny Snack Mix as I filled their lunchboxes, or popping a few pieces of cheese into my mouth as I cut up cheese and crackers for them. I made granola tonight to have for the week, and noticed how I automatically went to eat chunks of it off the pan. Now, granola is fine, but I wasn't even hungry and if I didn't notice, I would have ended up eating an entire serving of granola without meaning to. These things add up. I'm still snacking, but since I have to pay attention to what I'm eating, I'm not mindlessly snacking, and that is making a difference.
Overall, I'm really excited to be doing the challenge again. I know it's going to be tough...it's called a challenge for a reason. But, it will be so worth it in the end. After reading through this, I'm sure you're wondering what I actually could/did eat since I have so many limitations. Suprisingly, I had a variety of delicious foods.
Breakfast: Overnight oats with almond milk and frozen blueberries
Lunch: Salad with shredded carrots, shredded beets, shredded apples (I'm getting a lot of use out of my new mandolin), avocado, sunflower seeds and pepitas. I made a balsamic-tahini vinaigrette to put on it
Dinner: Vegetables with hummus, homemade corn and black bean salad, sweet potato (I ate combinations of these items each night, not all of them at the same time)
Snacks: Dried mango and papaya, apples with almond butter, almonds, raisins, veggies with hummus
Beverages: I didn't get in all 120 oz. of water each day, but I came close. I also had one cup of coffee each day with coconut milk, and I drank detox tea throughout the day.
So...two days down, eight to go. I know I can make it through and I am excited to get myself back on track. Unfortunately, along with having poor eating habits this summer, I also slacked on my exercise regimen. I typically exercise 5 - 6 days a week, with at least three of the days as running days. Over the past few weeks, my schedule has made it difficult for me to get in as much exercise time. As I go through the Clean Food Challenge, I'm going to make sure I get back on track with exercise. Stay tuned for that plan...