Join me! Eat Real!
I am sending out a plea and invitation for you guys to join me in a 50 day challenge. It is the beginning of January, after all, and it’s the time of year we are all thinking about restarting, resetting and recharging.
I can’t think of a better way to end the holiday gluttony and get a fresh start.
FOOD CHALLENGE DEFINED
This is my second round of this sort of thing. I did my first stint last summer. I actually survived 101 days eating only foods from my hands. Read all about it here. It was an amazing experience, filled with complaining, eating awful things (like turnips) and weight loss. I am pumped to get started on a second round and am making this super easy for you guys to join me.
First: I am only doing 50 days this time around. Whoo Hoo! This is going to be a walk in the park compared to the 101 days that nearly starved me. Just kidding.
Second: You can get your food anywhere you want to. The market, the butcher, the supermarket. Anything goes. I encourage you to eat only foods that you potentially “could” grow (in a perfect farm with a 2 acre garden & nothing else to do… Ha!).
Third: You will be so glad you did!
Let’s get a little more specific about this 50 day challenge to eat real foods.
This is not Paleo, Zone, Vegan or Adkins.
You won’t have to avoid bread (made with fresh milled flour), carbs or dairy.
This is “eat what you raise.” If you don’t have a place or desire to grow it yourself you can adapt this into, “Eat what you could raise.”
In my case, I am eating only foods from my own hands. Anything that I raised, picked, harvested, hunted, grew, found, foraged, milked, churned, canned, dried, froze or otherwise obtained from my hands is on the diet.
I may have canned or froze it last summer – or I may be growing it in my yard right now (kale, herbs & garlic). Either way – if my hands obtained it – it’s in.
If you are like me, and raise just about everything you put in your mouth, you can do it my way. If you purchase your foods – you can still join in the fun!
THROWBACK TO 1910
This challenge is more of a throwback to our great grandparents than it is a diet. They grew their own foods. They didn’t eat out. Most of them lived on family farms. They worked hard. They ate heartily. They lived long healthy lives. I want to be like them.
If you go back a few generations you’ll find people eating locally. You’ll also find people storing their own foods (canning, root cellars, ice houses, etc). There weren’t “supermarkets” as we know them, so if they didn’t want to starve, they had to “put up” food for winter consumption. Sure, there were retailers and small stores here and there, but most folks raised and saved their own foods.
When I read living history books (like Farmer Boy) I have noticed that most folks living at this time on family farms really did grow what they ate. They also grew what their animals ate. There were times of the year that they would supplement, trade and buy “splurge” items, but most of what they ate came from their farms. Not only did this give them sustenance to live – it gave them health and life.
People living 100 years ago did not have the diseases and illnesses we have today. I think our food is to blame for much of the health issues plaguing our country.
WHAT YOU CAN EAT ON THIS CHALLENGE
All you have to do is eat what you could potentially grow.
What I gather with my own hands around here:
- Dairy Anything – I have 2 jersey milk cows. They make me one of the happiest girls in the world. From their milk I can make just about any dairy product I want.
- Meat – We raise chickens, ducks, beef, hogs, rabbit and we hunt (this adds venison and more rabbit to the menu). The carnivore selection at my homestead is better than Kroger.
- Eggs – Thank you chickens!
- Syrup – Believe it or not, we have even tapped our own maple trees & made syrup. Crazy.
- Fat – Between the butter (I make from our cow’s milk) and the lard (I make from our hog fat) I have more cooking (and baking) oils that I can use. Other natural fats you may be able to easily obtain: tallow, bacon fat & bone broth grease.
- Vegetables & Fruit– I grow an unknown number of vegetables here on our farm. Really. Here is an attempted list of what I grow: potatoes, sweet potatoes, several varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, all sorts of pumpkins & gourds, all colors of peppers, several varieties spicy peppers, beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, asparagus, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, onions, garlic, beets, radishes, kale, corn, carrots, lots of lettuce varieties, turnips, oregano, mint, chives, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries (that was years ago), we even have fruit trees (the peach trees are mature & give me tons of food. The apple & pear are still baby trees & not fruiting yet).
Since it’s winter & these things don’t grow in winter in Kentucky I’ll be eating what I stored from last year: tomatoes, peaches, beans, turnips, turnip greens, spinach, berries, peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, sweet potatoes & a couple of giant squashes. “Squashes” is that a word?
EXCEPTIONS (so you don’t die)
Yes – you can make exceptions to the above list. This is your challenge. This is your health. Have fun! Make this your own!
Remember to try to keep your exceptions as “clean” as possible. The goal is to detox, clean out, revive and give your body a healthy diet.
I allow a handful of foods that I don’t grow: Coffee, honey, wine & whole wheat berries.
Why I’m not giving up wheat – I have 4 children and feel the incredible, nutritional content in fresh milled flour is not something I am willing to give up – even for 50 days. I do not eat any store bought flour or grains. The only flour we consume is fresh milled right in my kitchen. To read more about the goodness of fresh flour:
If you like a challenge, you’ll be doing a happy dance in your kitchen by the end of the first week.
Going on this sort of experiment can rejuvenate your kitchen. It has the ability to rekindle or even create a love for culinary exploration. I LOVE to cook. If I’m down, having a bad run, or just not myself – the kitchen is my answer. Planning what to cook is an adventure. Cooking new foods or old foods in new ways is exciting. Eating foods you raised, harvested or cooked into gloriousness is amazing.
The last time I survived this challenge I hit a point (a few weeks in) when I just didn’t know what to cook. I had cooked my meats and veggies all the ways I knew how & was ready for something different. Modern cookbooks use ingredients that I don’t grow so I needed different recipes. When I ran out of ideas and didn’t know what to cook I got my hands on some cookbooks from the 1900’s. 2 of my favorites are: The Boston Cooking School Cookbook & The Modern Family Cookbook. The Modern Family Cookbook is entering the age of supermarkets so you’ll have to avoid any pesky store-bought ingredients. Other than that, it is a great book. The picture she paints of her deteriorating food system is eye-opening and astounding. To think she, living in the early 1900’s, thought diets were lacking and insufficient. Imagine what she would say today!
Cooking genius. Almost everything in those books was on my farm. They didn’t have canned soups, boxed mixes or bagged snacks. Most of the recipes came down to simple ingredients that existed in kitchens and on family farms. And they are fabulous.
WHAT YOU’LL GET
At the end of this 50 day challenge you will be in awe. Promise.
This short challenge has the ability to :
- Make you feel better
- Look better
- Be healthier
- Have more energy
- Sleep great
- Break any sugar addictions
You’ll cleanse your body of processed foods, chemicals, additives and preservatives.
Another benefit that I never expected was that once I completed the 101 days was my aversion to sugar.
Once I was off the challenge – it was over – I could eat anything…. Sugar was a disappointment. It tasted too sweet. It tasted wrong. I didn’t want it. I couldn’t even eat my homemade, raw-milk ice cream. Nothing tasted right. It took me 2 months of “tasting” desserts before I actually ate one and could get the whole thing down. I have friends who did not have this same issue – they went off the clean diet & went straight for the desserts. That wasn’t the case for me.
I still rarely eat sweets. I’m a salty girl. If you’re passing around the dessert, I’ll probably ask you to pass me the mashed potatoes.
Speaking of sweets…
The first week of my 101 day challenge last year was one of the most miserable of my life. I was detoxing in horrid ways and didn’t know what on earth was making me so sick. Awful. After a week of walking around nauseous and with a splitting headache it finally stopped. The first week (this time around) of my challenge has been a different experience. I haven’t had the same withdrawals (yet) – which is GREAT because it means I am eating a lot healthier.
THE BEST PART
There are 3 things about this challenge that are my favorite:
NUMBER 1 is my health. Improved. Energized. Awakened.
NUMBER 2 is the change in menu. I love that when I am forced to eat only what grows, I am forced to figure out some new ways to cook. The new recipes, the new flavors, the new failures, the new successes. I like the exploration and changes in the kitchen.
NUMBER 3 is that you get to eat ALL. DAY. LONG. and you will still lose weight (at least I do). I don’t have any idea how this is possible. I eat muffins, scones, breads, baguettes, rolls, bacon, lard, butter, cream and all things fattening and I continue to shrink.
THE HARD PART
By far, the hardest part, for me, is preparing EVERYTHING I eat.
No, I don’t eat at restaurants. No, I don’t eat at my Mom’s house. No, I don’t eat at friend’s homes. I only eat foods from my very own hands. Nothing else. I do visit all these places, I just pack my own food so I can stay true to the challenge.
I think this is the only way to be sure you aren’t accidentally consuming anything processed or altered or exposed to some sort of toxin (herbicides, pesticides, chemicals).
BUT…. it’s only 50 days. You can do it!
When you get to the end you may want to keep going.
Let’s see if we can go 50 days only eating foods we raise (or could raise)… Who is with me?
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