Thursday, March 1, 2012

The 30 Day Whole Food Challenge

Two weeks ago today, devastation altered the life of our family. In a split moment, my aunt lost the love of her life to a heart attack. Since then we have been trying to pick up her broken pieces, and striving to be as supportive to her and her daughter as we can be. Each day is a reminder to my aunt of all those little things he meant to her and how their lives, over the years, have become intertwined, making it all the more difficult to begin the journey of a new normal. If there will ever be a normal again.

Out of concern, my mother scheduled my father for a physical after... oh, 30 plus years. The results were not good. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Excess weight. Leaving him at risk for a heart attack. For some reason, the news of my father's declining health and the death of a loved one has left me feeling  - helpless. In North America, heart disease is the number one cause of death. Heart disease.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent heart disease. Including eating a well balanced diet.

That's where the challenge comes in. 

For the next 30 days, I am going to do my best to share healthy recipes that can be used to replace processed foods. 

Eliminating processed foods can make life a little less "convenient" but by planning ahead, having weekly meals and snack ideas written up or ready to eat, will help to curb those temptations of grabbing a bag of chips when a hunger pain strikes.

By processed free I mean: nothing that has ingredients you cannot read or does not closely resemble the way it originally looked.

Exceptions: whole grains and its byproducts such as bread. Especially if you can either make it or purchase it directly from a local baker. The less ingredients the better.

Milk products: yogurt, milk, cheese, real sour cream. As a busy mom, I know that making cheese and yogurt can be a timely process. Although I am looking into getting better at whipping them up at home.  When I figure that out, I'll share it.

Frozen fruits and vegetables: there is nothing wrong with purchasing vegetables and fruits that are frozen, especially during winter when fresh is not available.

Use your own discretion.

If you would consider it to be a whole food, that is healthy and nutritious, go for it. This is mostly to help us all become more aware of what we are eating, what we are picking up at the grocery store and feeding ourselves and our families.

Are you up for the challenge?

Remember, I will be sharing some homemade goodies recipes throughout the month. Not to mention there are more than a dozen recipes on the site. I am going to get my lazy bum motivated and archive the recipes better, divide them into sections to make them easier to find.

Leave a comment below to let me know if you are going to join in on this challenge. 30 days is not that long. Before you know it, April and spring will be here and the challenge will be over. Perhaps you'll find that there are new recipes that you enjoy making and eating in replace of the processed food.

I realize I do not know you all personally, but I do care. Especially about you and your families health and well being. And please feel comfortable to be yourself.

What will be the most difficult to give up? Are there any recipes that you would love to see?

Here's to good health and happy taste buds!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday


  1. I am sorry to hear of your uncle's passing and the ill health of your father.
    I won't be taking the challenge as I have some medical issues which make it impossible to eat a "normal" diet. But, I am going to love watching what you post.
    Good luck.

    1. Thanks for your sympathy. Hope you are doing well :)

  2. My thoughts are with you and your family. I too see the value in an unprocessed diet. I have followed several others who have done the same. My hold back? Convenience. Not a good excuse but the one thing that has kept me from it. I did notice on my last shopping trip that the only processed foods I had bought was those things that were going to be donated to a food pantry. Getting there but not there yet...

    I am excited to see your journey and gather from it things that work for us!

    1. The convenience part is hard!!! I find that if I make a lot of "treats" and big batches of food on the weekend, that when the hunger pain hits, I run to the fridge for a granola bar, macaroon, or an apple.

      Lots of encouragement for you and your family, sounds like you are on the right path :)

  3. I suppose I am a little late to get on board, but as of yesterday I coincidentally began an "unprocessed" diet as well, although, my motivation for doing so is to improve my skin health. I've had horrible eczema on my arms and legs and hands for two years now, and the only thing that has been able to keep it under control is the consistent use of betamethasone, a topical steroid cream. Long term use of such creams can have some undesirable side effects, so I'm really trying to figure out why my body is having this reaction in the form of eczema. After ruling out several possible causes with the naturopath, she suggested doing a "cleanse" that cut out processed foods, flours, and sugars. Well, I did it strictly for three weeks in January and, although it wasn't a major improvement, the eczema did decrease. So anyways, I've decided to try it again. And just today I came across your blog and am excited to see that other people do this diet too! I found it incredibly difficult in the third week, but myself and the other three members of our household had all caught a pretty bad cold and it was hard to feel motivated to make so much from scratch. On the positive side, when I was not sick with the cold, but still on the diet, I felt amazing. I had notably more energy than normal and I felt motivated to get up and do whatever. I'm looking forward to feeling that way again! Thank you for your blog. I just don't know how moms have time to write blogs, but I sure appreciate the ones that do. I'm looking forward to your future posts. And maybe I'll try out that granola bar recipe.

    1. Hi Liza, how exciting it is to try a new diet to heal your body! Good for you to take that initiative. Believe me when I say I know that challenge. I too have suffered from eczema for years. Leaving my hands scared, I have recently taken quite a bit out of my diet in hopes to continue the healing process. There are great days when it seems like it has gone away completely and days when I eat something that some how triggers it and I get a flare up. I have yet to see a naturopath for some guidance, mostly because of finances. Currently I am dairy free, gluten free, sugar free (except for honey and fruit) and have increased my veggie intake to about 80% of my diet. For some reason, I think red peppers are a trigger for me. I've been told that the nightshades can trigger reactions, so I'm keeping them out of my diet for now to see if that helps. Which leaves me feeling sometimes like the only thing I can eat is fruits, veggies and nuts! hah

  4. I've tried eliminating milk, then wheat, then eggs, then soy and had very little success. After all that I took an allergy test that revealed allergic reactions to lima beans, cranberries, pineapple, bananas, pecans, and most milk products, especially whey. So I cut all those out for six weeks and still had the eczema. Go figure. I am trying to avoid those foods a bit still though. I can't tell if it is helping or not.


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