Joining The Real Food Experience Challenge is one of the best and easiest ways to learn to eat a healthier real food diet. With just a little bit of practice, it becomes a lifestyle that will stick for good. You are definitely not alone. There will be lots of help and support over at our Real Food Experience Challenge Facebook group . There you will find myself and lots of folks who have been through the program already and are ready to offer their insight and support. Have questions…….ask away. This is the perfect place to ask questions, discover new recipes, discuss issues as they arise, and so much more. We are making friends, having fun, and learning a healthy lifestyle that will really last this time.
Week 1 Challenge:
This week is our week to get organized and begin your food education. After the holidays my kitchen is a mess and I’ll be getting organized right along side of you. If you don’t cook on a regular basis, your kitchen is going to be going through some big changes. This week’s challenge has 3 parts:
It’s time to toss out or donate all of the processed food both in the cupboards and the refrigerator. If you think it’s not healthy, then it’s probably not. Look for ingredients that you are not familiar with and ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. Those are usually no good! You will also want to toss out all of the holiday leftovers. They are old now. There is no reason to keep that tiny piece of leftover turkey. You are going to want to make room for lots of real healthy food. Give the sink and counters a good scrub down, wipe down the cabinets, and organize your pots, pans, and cooking utensils.
Grocery Store Research
You are going to be changing the way you shop if you have been primarily buying processed food. Look at your local grocery stores and find out where you can do the bulk of your real food shopping. Are there stores in your area that carry bulk grains or stores that carry a wide variety of organic produce? Which store in town has the best prices on organic foods? My husband and I realized that one of our favorite stores for organic produce only carries “natural” tomato sauce in a can. The other store in town (with less organic produce) actually carries more canned organic items. Keep in mind that you will now be shopping primarily the perimeter of the store. There is no reason for you to dive into the processed food middle anymore. Make some notes to make your meal planning easier.
Label Reading 101
Start reading labels. Not the front of the package, but the back of the package. Look at ingredients. A rule I like to use is that if a packaged product has more than 5 ingredients, I usually don’t buy it. I try to avoid products that are full of ingredients that I don’t have at home to cook with and ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
There you go……..a quick overview of this week’s challenge. There is plenty to do no matter where you are on your real food journey. I’ll be back later during the challenge week with more information to help you with each of these challenges.
Good luck with this week’s challenge. I would love to see your progress. Share before and after pictures in the Facebook group and if you are on Twitter or Instagram use #RFEChallenge. Your pictures will certainly help and encourage us all to make healthier changes for our families. Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions or want to share your progress with us. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Good reminder about carefully checking any packaged food labels – however, I’m not sure if the one pictured is intended to be a good or bad example. 🙂 In our house we would not buy that item due to a. Wheat (non-celiac but avoiding gluten) and b. Soybean oil which is not healthy for human consumption and which we do our best to avoid. However, it does have a very short list of ingredients which at first glance would make it seem like a contender. I agree with your point that a packaged food should have a very short list of ingredients but wanted to clarify that for those of us pursuing optimal health and working to heal, it also matters greatly what those ingredients actually are. Maybe this goes without saying, but just in case I wanted to share it. Thanks!
Thank you for your thoughtful comments Sandra. It sounds like you have done quite a bit of research about food. I applaud you. I really and truly believe that everyone has the right to eat whatever they want, but that they should be informed consumers. I know for years and years, I had no idea that I was feeding my family foods with harmful ingredients. I never would have knowingly done that. Week 1 is about starting that education. The example shown is simply to show “where to look” to see ingredients. We haven’t talked about avoiding anything specific. I do enjoy my whole grains though. We do not have any allergies in our family.