Bumps during the Real Eats Challenge

We are two weeks into our Real Eats Challenge!  I feel great, and I’m learning more about myself and my habits.  Too often, I was grabbing and going.  Despite the healthy nature of my grab and go foods (before the Challenge), it wasn’t serving me at all.  That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned:  PLAN AHEAD!  Of course, I knew this, as I preach it to my clients all the time and I’ve experienced it before, but never did the lesson make more sense to me than now, when it wasn’t a matter of eating well or eating not so well, but of eating or simply not eating (there are no not so well choices when you’re eating real foods).

And as well as it’s going and as good as I’m feeling, I thought it was time to share some bumps in the road. We both went into this with the idea of being as close to 100% whole real food, but also knowing that 100% was impossible, as long as we continued to live our everyday lives. Perhaps another time we can sincerely be 100%, though for a much shorter amount of time, say a week or two at the most. To do this, we’d need to plan and prepare well beforehand. We’d need to clear our calendars of any social gatherings which included food (which is almost all social gatherings). We’d need to make meal plans for the allotted time of the challenge, buying the foods and prepping the ingredients. It would be difficult, but it wouldn’t be impossible.


This is our first year. Perhaps we’ll try it again next year with the lessons learned. The biggest lesson is that it’s very difficult to be social beings and eat real 100% unless we are the hosts of the social gathering.

It came down to not wanting to insult the people preparing food. One example of this was this past weekend (Memorial Day weekend) visiting with my in-laws. My brother in-law graciously prepared a dinner for all of us: breaded chicken, broccoli, Caesar salad, and Rice-a-Roni (though it may not have been that specific brand). Seems innocuous, right? Two offerings of green vegetable, even. And, let me say before I go on, that the meal was delicious. However, here’s the breakdown:

Breaded chicken, with processed breadcrumbs with ingredients that may include MSG and GMOs. The chicken was, most likely, factory farmed, which also means it wasn’t humanely raised and was fed GMO grains.

Broccoli (not organic) was microwaved to heat it up (a controversial topic on its own, but not a part of our Real Eats itinerary).

Caesar salad with non-organic lettuce and croutons (processed from a package with ingredients similar to the breading from the chicken –see above). The dressing had Parmesan cheese (not a part of the Real Eats itinerary as it’s processed), as well as jarred (processed) mustard and a non-organic, factory farmed egg.

The rice was from a package, processed with ingredients that are probably very similar to the bread crumbs and croutons.

So, to put it plainly, if I were to keep to my Real Eats Challenge, I would not have eaten anything. And that would have been insulting to my host. So, I did what I could, by scraping off the breading, avoiding the croutons, and not having the rice.

What’s interesting is how this is a common occurrence in my everyday life outside of the Real Eats Challenge. I often just let go of my food rules in order to live peacefully. And I justify this by eating by my rules at home and when I can choose the place to eat, which is probably 85-90% of the time. And that’s good enough. Because, when it comes right down to it, being healthy isn’t only what you’re eating. There’s a lot more to it, and having peace of mind is a significant part of it all. So, I have to let go a little. It’s a balancing act between letting go a little or a lot and feeling good about what I’m doing, or being upset with myself. I have to go forward knowing there will be bumps in the road. And, to be honest, that makes the road a little more interesting.

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