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My Real Food Rules

I recently completed 30 Days of Real Food: a healthy, clean eating, non-processed foods diet, which I documented on Instagram. The diet is inspired by the 100 Days of Real Food Pledge, but customized to my lifestyle. I am no longer following these rules strictly as you can tell by a quick glance at my blog, but I can’t deny the difference in how much better I felt when I was. When a recipe is labeled “Real Food” on my website, these are the guidelines that were followed.

The Rules:

  • No fast food
  • No preservatives
  • No fried food
  • No processed foods/unpronounceable ingredients
  • No added sugar besides honey or maple syrup
  • No alcohol
  • 100% whole grains
  • All-natural meat (e.g. grass-fed beef) as an accompaniment, not the main entree
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Organic as much as possible, budget permitting
  • Oil: only cold-pressed, extra virgin olive or coconut oil
  • Home- or locally-grown ingredients when possible (e.g. locally raised eggs)

Here is the follow-up report I posted after the 30 days were complete:

So we finished our 30 days of real food. The food tasted great and we feel great! The goal of the diet was not to lose weight, but to move towards a healthier lifestyle. However, we both ended up losing weight, which is not surprising when you cut out fried foods and sugar.

The first week I had headaches, nausea and low blood sugar as my body adjusted. We always ate small portions, but I allowed myself to eat whenever I felt hungry. Usually I split my meals in two. I would have 2nd breakfast and 2nd dinner, very hobbit-like. Now we feel light and energized. Dad said the inner workings of his body feel more in balance and I would have to agree.

The cravings for things like Culver’s and sweets never went away, but I found that it’s easier to be successful at something like this if it’s food you actually want to eat. If I had to eat lettuce salad or eggplant or tofu burgers I would have failed the first week. Instead, I chose recipes that appealed to my tastes within the 30 day rules. I also discovered some great new foods like sunflower seed butter, 100% whole wheat pastry flour and quinoa. It also helps to have a partner in crime so thanks, dad, for doing it with me. Thank you Jesse and Emily for giving me the push I needed. And thank you to my other friends and family, near and far, who encouraged and ate some of this delicious food with me.

We’ve decided that we want to continue the diet, but we will not be as strict with the rules. (Icannot live without Culver’s.) Sugar is probably the hardest thing to avoid. Almost every store-bought product contains sugar, even at places like Whole Foods. But we will continue eating local eggs, additive-free, naturally raised meat and incorporating whole wheat in our baked goods.

Tonight we will be celebrating our 30 days with…you guessed it, dinner at Culver’s! We will probably get sick, but you’re all welcome to join the party. 🙂

Disclaimer: I am not a trained dietitian, nutritionist or chef. These are simply my rules and experiences for what works for me. Always consult your physician regarding any diet. 

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