By Guest Blogger, Lisa Leake, www.foodillusion.com and www.100daysofrealfood.com
Part 1 of a 3-part series
Earlier this year our family ate just like most other Charlotte area families. We tried to stockpile big grocery store coupon deals, we bought lots of pre-packaged convenience foods like cereal, crackers, and fruit snacks, and we even ate fast food on occasion. Then came along an Oprah show about where your food comes from, featuring author Michael Pollan. I was so intrigued that it left me wanting to learn more. Not exactly sure of what I was getting myself into, I decided to read Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. As it turns out, Pollan doesn’t even think that a lot of the so-called processed “foods” we were buying from the grocery store even deserve to be called food. He calls them “food-like substances” and dedicated his entire book to explaining why we should think again before eating them.
After finishing the book we started making a lot of changes. Our initial transition to cut out 80 – 90% of processed foods was very difficult at first, but got much easier over time. Some friends were interested in what we were doing so I decided to start a blog called The Food Illusion (foodillusion.com), which would not only serve as sort of the “Cliff Notes” for the book, but also provide details on how to realistically implement these changes into your lifestyle. Then after a few months of blogging I decided it was time to do something big, something bold, and something that would get as many people as possible to not only read about eating real foods, but to also make a first-hand commitment to this important change. This is why we launched 100daysofrealfood.com:
Our thought was if our family of four (that has two young children, does not live on a farm, and a husband that travels frequently) can go 100 days without a single ounce of highly processed food then maybe we could convince readers to take a pledge to go only 10 days without eating processed food. We aren’t suggesting that people never eat a single processed food ever again (moderation is always key), but our hope is that if people go without these foods for 10 days then they will have an eye opening experience that will lead to some positive long-term changes. If we can follow the rules for 100 days then surely anyone can do it for only 10 days!
We are on day 43 and going strong. Here are some excerpts from our journey as it is being chronicled on 100daysofrealfood.com…
So far, everyone seems to be fine and not missing a thing, except for me. I have never been on much of a diet in my life so I am new at having to restrict myself from certain foods. I am managing, but often thinking of how I might be able to get my chocolate and mocha fix. My husband said that he’s heard of people trying to replace one addiction with another. That sounded a little familiar when the other day I actually contemplated a glass of red wine after LUNCH to fulfill my need for some chocolate! I think a mom drinking in the middle of the day is probably worse than eating processed food, so I had no other choice than just to push through…Click to Read More
This morning we had to stop at a brickyard with the kids and one of their little friends. As soon as we pulled up the kids immediately noticed that people seemed to be coming in and out of the little trailer building in the middle of the brickyard with donuts. It was as if they spotted the delectable treat from a mile away. After fielding lots of questions about if they sell donuts there or not and if I have money to buy one I finally distracted all three of them with the little fish pond outside the building. Then the lovely man that works there walked out and said “hey, do you kids want a donut?” Just what I needed! So my 5-year-old had a little breakdown when I said “no” she couldn’t have one. I started to feel really bad, but let’s just say I only said “no” because we were about to eat, and I didn’t want her to spoil her lunch (it was right before noon). I wouldn’t have given in to her fit by giving her the donut in that situation anyway. I was feeling lots of guilt though. I started second-guessing involving our kids in this whole 100 days thing. Later I asked my husband if he thought we were making a mistake and he flatly said “no, kids shouldn’t be eating donuts anyway.” (If you think I am hard-core about eating healthy you should meet him!)…Click to Read More
I think I just broke a personal record. In a single 24-hour period I managed to buy food from Earthfare, our local Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Great Harvest Bread Company, Poplar Ridge Farm (where we pick up our CSA box), and Harris Teeter. This was unusual for me to go to so many places in such a short period of time, but it was definitely a reminder of how buying our food used to be so simple. In our old processed food life, I used to plan out our dinners for the week, order the necessary groceries online from Harris Teeter, and pick them up every Monday morning. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. There is no question that was convenient.
A lot of people have asked me lately if I am running around to different places to buy food, if I am spending more money on it, and if I am cooking more in the kitchen…and the answer to all of that is yes, yes, and yes! Think about this though. If you are going to buy a new car, computer, or even a new couch, do you shop around and do some research? Or do you just buy the easiest, cheapest, and most convenient option without really knowing much about it? I am sure you know the answer to this question, and we have just personally decided to follow this same thought process when it comes to something as important as the food that we put into our bodies. They happen to be the only bodies we will ever be lucky enough to have…Click to Read More…
Stay tuned for more excerpts, ten reasons why you should consider cutting out processed foods, and some easy ways to cut back on your family’s intake of highly processed foods.