For the next one hundred and twenty something days…until January 1 (midnight–New Year’s Eve) I will be adhering to this clean foods intervention that I designed for myself. Why? Here are a few of my reasons (in no particular order):
- It’s interesting, and I wanted something health-related to blog about on a regular basis.
- It’s a challenge; I love challenges. It will make me dig deep and find meaning and strength in God and myself as all good challenges do.
- I want to learn all about clean, whole foods and practice making meals that are comprised of these ingredients.
- Because I can. Having healthful foods accessible and being able to eat however I want is a privilege. I want to honor that privilege by eating well and being mindful of what I put in my body for a focused period of time.
My intervention strategy includes the following:
a dietary plan: clean, whole foods as defined in this book I have called “Clean Foods.” If the food or recipe is listed in that book, then I will consider it fair game. This isn’t monkish-type eating; it has all kinds of seasonal recipes even including some desserts made with whole, natural ingredients. For the first two weeks, I am not including any sweeteners. Just fruits, veggies, and foods from fruits and veggies (i.e., three grain tempeh, hemp protein, etc.). (Confession: I also include cacao (aka chocolate in it’s non-processed and/or non-sweetened form.)
a calorie range: I’ve determined a range for how many calories I should eat per day to meet my body’s needs without excess, and that’s how many I’m going to eat.
food journaling: I keep track of the food that goes into my body as I eat it. I use the “calorie count” app on my iPhone for this; it has a great database that logs my food and caloric values. It’s very helpful. Additionally, I will be blogging here about my progress, my struggles, my reflections, and my response in general to this who experiment.
There is a modification clause. That means this: if I am feeling out of my mind and like I need a certain food that isn’t on the clean foods dietary plan, then I can write it down in my journal the day before I consume it. So, this eliminates impulsivity but it also will hopefully keep me from burning out. So, if I’m ever just dying for a cup of coffee, for example, then maybe a Friday I’d write: I’m having a cup of coffee tomorrow morning and no one can stop me. And so, then Saturday, I’d have that but keep everything else clean as per usual.
And of course, I’m drinking my daily water quota (health professionals now recommend that you determine your water needs by dividing your weight in two and then having that many ounces. You’ll need more if you’re working out and sweating a lot, obviously.)
I’m also starting to work running into my routine again after a little hiatus due to everything and nothing in particular.
These guidelines are all part of my self-contract until New Year’s Eve. I do have a plan to extend my calorie limits on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas; I will still be eating clean foods as defined in “Clean Foods.”
So, that’s the general plan.
Now for an update:
I am doing well. It was really difficult that my blog was down all week, actually. I was kind of counting on this as a part of my social support, even if just perceived. I mean, even if no one reads…it’s still the idea that I publicly committed myself to this thing and I’m publicly accountable for an update. So, having my blog stop working all week was a bit dicey, but I hung on.
Confession. I DID have to use the modification clause (and by the way, I wrote the above guidelines before beginning and would have posted them at the beginning of the week had my blog been working).
My modification? Coffee. I got through til Friday without coffee. That might not sound like a lot, but listen: it is. Here’s what happened. Remember all my awesome reasons for drinking green tea vs. coffee? You don’t? Refresher: my kids sleep better, I sleep better, and I feel better. So, none of this happened. For some reason, Junesie didn’t sleep a wink all week while I was drinking green tea. Consequently neither did I. Consequently, I couldn’t think straight during the day. Consequently I burned my new teapot Collin got me for my birthday (I let it boil until all the water was gone for a very, very long time and it melted itself). And so on and so forth until finally, I just decided that this really wasn’t adding to the quality of my life. It’s just hot water strained through roasted berries. I’m not too worried about it.
So, black coffee really is going to have to become incorporated into my clean eating experiment. And, where this has in the past been a slippery slope (black coffee, then coffee with cream, then all hell breaks loose), the use of the modification clause sanctioned it so that it stayed very organized and planned. (Confession: actually, as evening approached, I casually mentioned that I might add a glass of wine to the end of my day; Collin laughed and said, “Oh, really?” and then I sheepishly realized I was headed down the slippery slope. I quickly collected my dignity and scrambled back up aforementioned slope.)
Well, that’s all for now, folks. Barring anymore technical blog failures, I shall resume my plan of posting twice per week.