A few days ago, I announced I was taking on the Real Food Challenge like hundreds of other fellow bloggers. I have taken a few days to think about the perimeters I will use, rules that will make the month "challenging" but doable. So the first thing I needed to decide on is really why I am doing this and what is my goal. The whys are dealing with my "digestion", Clean foods have no preservatives and additives that are not good for my cancer. Eating real food is better for the environment because of less packaging, less processing, less travel, etc. So for these reasons, I am taking on the challenge and very excited to be doing so. The goal is a little more convoluted. For the month, I am not going to make it easy on myself, but afterwards, I will want to continue most of the perimeters but know I may not remain as restrictive. The goal for the month is to jump start my already commitment of eating healthy, more local, and greener. But in the past, I have been very wishy washy, and know myself well enough that the very strict month of March will force me to find creative ways to cook and eat.
So with the whys and goals answered, I have also been thinking on what MY rules and perimeters will be and what I need to do to prepare for them. I am still fleshing this out. But here is what I am thinking so far.....In keeping with my elimination diet, the foods I will eat will be foods without any preservatives and additives. This is a no brainer but harder to do than you may imagine. This means if something is prepackaged, I will read the labels and for the most part it will need to be one ingredient only. For example, Oatmeal is prepackaged but has only one ingredient. Canned foods will be home canned only, because I know every ingredient in it. Like my spaghetti sauce. Meat, if I even decide to eat any, will be fresh without salt etc. injected in them. Uncle Leo's ground beef I know isn't hormone filled so if I do eat ground beef, it will be his. I will choose fruits and vegetables that are as local and organic as I can find. So I need to decide if bananas and citrus are off limits, I am still deciding on that one.
So here is where I think I will be the most challenged. Pasta, because even the healthiest premade pasta is not really clean of processed crud. Condiments! While being on the elimination diet for the last several days, I have diagnosed myself of having a real weakness and love for premade condiments. They are convenient and tasty, but are filled with things like sugar, corn syrup, colorings, preservatives. So I am needing to figure out how to live without premade mayo, ketchup, sauces, creamers, etc. Already I have replaced my normal premade salad dressing with cold-pressed olive oil, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. I really love oil and vinegar but have yet to investigate the labels on my vinegars.
So that's where I am at with my preparing for the challenge. This will be an interesting month. But my body and digestion will thank me I think.