I was invited to join a three-week clean eating challenge to jumpstart my healthy eating this spring by fellow blogger and holistic health coach Laura Pfeiffer. I’ve never done any formal ‘reset’ of my eating before, and in the past tended to avoid cutting out specific food groups because of my history with food restriction. Now I’m in a really good place with food, though – we’re pretty much best buds. I thought taking part in the clean eating challenge would be a great way to allow me to learn why my body craves certain foods at different times, and to try ‘resetting’ my natural sweet tooth by eliminating sugar. I’m not totally cutting it, of course. But I’m going to avoid all artificial sweeteners, and limit natural sweeteners to those found in my favorite snacks like whole fruits. I don’t typically rely on sweeteners anyway – in fact, I can generally taste the sweet notes in baby carrots and cooked broccoli – but I think it’ll be a great refresher for my palate.
The first week of the challenge involves eliminating the following:
- Fatty or processed meat
- Cow’s milk
- Processed foods
It won’t mean much in the way of changes for me other than sugar and milk. I don’t eat meat anyway (only fish and poultry) and I’m allergic to wheat! I eat a lot of yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, so that will definitely be tough. During the second week, dairy can be added back in. By the third week, the focus will be on making good choices most of the time while acknowledging cravings from time to time.
I’m really looking forward to resetting my mind and spirit as well, which is key to the challenge. I think it’ll be interesting to journal my experiences – which I’ll be doing in posts from time to time right here – and figure out how to be more at peace with the way I eat. I’ve come a long way, and I enjoy cooking and eating healthfully, but my biggest struggle continues to be feeling like I need to defend myself to anyone who casts a critical eye on my lifestyle. Whether it’s a salad and a stranger telling me to go eat some cake, or a big bowl of ice cream and an acquaintance saying it’s “too much dairy”, I tend to internalize comments even though I know I shouldn’t. I’ve expressed my thoughts on the place of food in our culture and why we should learn to mind our own business when it comes to meals. Now it’s time to reflect while taking a step onto a new path in my own healthy living journey.
A few weeks ago, I went to see Cinderella with my best friend. We both absolutely loved the movie, and not just because Lily James has an amazing voice and presence or Richard Madden is so dreamy. It was the general message to ‘have courage and be kind.’ I think that applies to everything in life, including the choices we make. We should feel empowered to do what works for us, no matter what anyone else says, and to accept the choices others make without judging them in turn. I’ll be thinking about this in the days and weeks to come!
Have you ever done a reset or other clean eating challenge? How did it change your approach to healthy living?
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