Week 1 of Real Food Challenge (and quite possibly the last week)

Real vs. Processed_edited-1Week one, DONE! Rather than list everything I ate for the week I figured I would just give you a quick summary of the best things I ate, and what I avoided.

Breakfast is never an easy thing for me, but I do have breakfast every morning. My usual is Greek yogurt with berries. The only change I made to that this week was switching from Greek Honey  0% fat to Greek Plain full fat yogurt with berries and nuts (that same mixture of almonds, macademia, and hazelnut). Research has shown that full fat dairy products are the way to go, over low fat or non-fat dairy products. These versions are highly processed as they skim the cream off the milk, and add water to the milk. Full fat dairy contains more omega-3s which is an essential nutrient for one’s health.

Other days I ate eggs with thick slices of tomato and/or avocado and either a piece of fruit or a small smoothie. My new favorite smoothie is a chocolate smoothie made with almond milk, dates, cocoa powder, and 1/2 an AVOCADO! Crazy, huh? But oh so good! The recipe is from my new cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. Another new recipe I tried from this cookbook for breakfast was an almond milk, chia seed, berry parfait. Sounds weird, I know, but it was delicious.

And of course each morning started with my coffee with a little half and half and stevia! I tried black coffee one morning, and just couldn’t do it. You have to live a little!

Most mornings I needed a snack after working out, so I would grab a handful of nuts and that seemed to do the trick. 

Lunches consisted of big garden salads (with black beans or cashews as my protein), egg salad using a mashed avocado instead of mayo, or chickpea salad (another new favorite recipe from Oh She Glows). I ate fruit, leftover vegetables from the night before, or yogurt as a side. One day I picked up So Delicious Coconut Yogurt (vanilla flavored) to see what non dairy yogurt was like and I devoured it!

I always need a snack somewhere between lunch and dinner. A handful of nuts or Cherry Pie Larabar (the only pre packaged/processed food I ate this week) was the go to. A couple days I ate an apple or banana with almond butter.

Dinners were the trickiest because I didn’t want to have to make separate meals for the family. I was able to prepare most meals free of grains, sugars, dairy, and/or  processed foods. These were the dinners I made this week and they were all well received, including the two new recipes I tried out from Oh She Glows.

1. Crustless Vegetable Quiche Cups with Zucchini-Sweet Potato Hash (no cheese added to the quiche cups for myself or my husband….only for the kids!)

2. Taco Salad. I found 100% organic, grass fed beef at Trader Joe’s so I did use that in the taco salad. I left the cheese and tortilla chips out my salad and didn’t miss them at all. I was worried my stomach would hurt after eating the meat, but I felt totally fine. There is something to be said about organic, grass fed beef. I still won’t get into the habit of eating meat, since I still don’t know where the animals are being butchered. Those slaughter houses can be disgusting! I stopped eating meat on a regular basis after reading Eating Animals.

3. Black Bean and Lentil Chili (No one ate cheese with the chili, nor did they ask for it, but the kids and husband put sour cream on it)

4. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bowl (This is usually a burrito, but I skipped the tortillas for everyone.)

5. Broccoli Quinoa Burrito with Cashew Cream Sauce (Sounds strange, but it was excellent! Everyone loved it.I did use tortillas for this recipe as it was a new recipe and I knew the kids would definitely eat it if it was wrapped up that way.) This was also a recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

6. Chickpea Salad on Bibb Lettuce (Only I ate this. Everyone else was having leftover chili, hot dogs, or veggie burgers.) Kids tried the next day, but said no thank you! I thought it was scrumptious! Another new favorite from Oh She Glows!

7. Falafels and Roasted Red Potatoes (Falafels are way too labor intensive, but good).

So what did I cut out completely this week? Alcohol. Huge for me since I have a glass of wine every night. Sugar that didn’t occur naturally in fruits or the dates I used in the chocolate smoothie. Grains besides the one tortilla from the burrito dish, the slice of pumpkin bread before I went to the grocery store last Sunday, bread crumbs I used in the falafel, and the couple small slices of bread my husband made. I had to try it! Cheese. (I could say dairy, but I had that cream in my coffee every morning and Greek yogurt a few times.)

This week I have been feeling great. Not tired. No headaches. No stomachaches. My mind felt clear. And I thought I was quite calm for myself. (My husband and kids might say differently). There were a couple instances during the week I would normally have reached for that wine glass or bag of pretzels, but I didn’t feel the need. My mind and body seemed to process things a bit differently than usual.

While I love how I felt and how I ate this week, and will continue to eat like this for the most part, I will not continue to be so strict on all the things I gave up. If I want a glass of wine I will have it! If I want a few pretzel rods I will eat them! If everyone wants to go out for ice cream, you can bet I will be first in line!

Eating this way is definitely way more expensive, which I already knew. Processed foods is cheap and easy to grab and eat. But it is not healthy. Preparing foods from scratch is time consuming, labor intensive, and makes your kitchen a real disaster to clean up. Thank goodness for a husband who likes to eat good, healthy food, and was willing to do most of the clean up!

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