For the next one hundred and twenty something days…until January 1 (midnight–New Yearâ€™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):
- Itâ€™s interesting, and I wanted something health-related to blog about on a regular basis.
- Itâ€™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 IÂ 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 â€œClean Foods.â€ If the food or recipe is listed in that book, then I will consider it fair game. This isnâ€™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 itâ€™s non-processed and/or non-sweetened form.)
aÂ calorie range: Iâ€™ve determined a range for how many calories I should eat per day to meet my bodyâ€™s needs without excess, and thatâ€™s how many Iâ€™m going to eat.
food journaling: I keep track of the food that goes into my body as I eat it. I use the â€œcalorie countâ€ app on my iPhone for this; it has a great database that logs my food and caloric values. Itâ€™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 aÂ modification clause.Â That means this: if I am feeling out of my mind and like I need a certain food that isnâ€™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 Iâ€™m ever just dying for a cup of coffee, for example, then maybe a Friday Iâ€™d write: Iâ€™m having a cup of coffee tomorrow morning and no one can stop me. And so, then Saturday, Iâ€™d have that but keep everything else clean as per usual.
And of course, Iâ€™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. Youâ€™ll need more if youâ€™re working out and sweating a lot, obviously.)
Iâ€™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 Yearâ€™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 â€œClean Foods.â€
So, thatâ€™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…itâ€™s still the idea that I publicly committed myself to this thing and Iâ€™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. Hereâ€™s what happened. Remember all my awesome reasons for drinking green tea vs. coffee? You donâ€™t? Refresher: my kids sleep better, I sleep better, and I feel better. So, none of this happened. For some reason, Junesie didnâ€™t sleep a wink all week while I was drinking green tea. Consequently neither did I. Consequently, I couldnâ€™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 wasnâ€™t adding to the quality of my life. Itâ€™s just hot water strained through roasted berries. Iâ€™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, â€œOh, really?â€ and then I sheepishly realized I was headed down the slippery slope. I quickly collected my dignity and scrambled back up aforementioned slope.)
Well, thatâ€™s all for now, folks. Barring anymore technical blog failures, I shall resume my plan of posting twice per week.