Real Food Challenge – Week #10

For 14 weeks, the family and I are undertaking a Real Food Challenge (put forth by the awesome 100 Days of Real Food blog). I’m hoping to check in about any struggles and successes along the way each week. Our ultimate goal is to cut down on our dependence on processed foods and start using some cleaner fuels to energize our bodies. And stuff.

So, here’s how it works. I’ll get an email every Thursday for the next 14 weeks (the actual eating challenge will start on Sunday or Monday for 7 days, so there are a couple of days of grocery prep built in). Each email outlines the “rules” for that particular week. It’s up to each participant as to whether or not they’d like to try each week independently or build on top of the prior week. In other words, continuing doing the prior weeks while attempting the new weeks, if that makes sense. There’s also a very active Facebook group (I’ve actually joined an offshoot that’s super supportive and far more focused) that’s there to share, answer and support.

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Review of Week #9: This week has been the week of “no refined sugars, only maple syrup and honey.” (Some people on our message board were getting scared about the lactose in milk, but as I see it, it’s naturally occurring…just like the fructose in fruit. We’ll let those rest.) For the most part, we’ve done well. But, I won’t lie: We inadvertently cheated a couple of times. Hadley baked some goodies with his grandma the other day, which were loaded with traditional sugar (she sent some home, but I put it in the freezer to enjoy at a later date). Dave ate some crackers that had some sneaky sugar in them. Our croutons had hidden sugar…dang it. But, mine was probably the worst. I had a kid bring me a cupcake after a very long, stressful day, and I gulped it down without even thinking about the challenge. Oops!!!

Plus, I’ve got plans this weekend that pretty much demand that I eat “out”. Pretty sure even a wrap or sandwich of some sort will include some hidden sugar (wrap your head around THAT one!); and dessert will be a must, so there goes that. I suck.

Otherwise, our meals and snacks have been either devoid of any sweeteners or made with maple syrup. I baked some of Lisa’s carrot applesauce muffins with maple syrup and learned FAST to freeze a majority and store the ones I hoped to eat within a day in the fridge. Seriously. I felt awful when I had baked them, tossed them in bags, and sat down to enjoy mine Monday afternoon for a snack…only to find bits of green forming all over the top. INSANE. So, there’s my tip of the day: all-natural = refrigerate the darn things. That said, they were super moist and I might have packaged them too soon before cooling, so it’s probably part user error.

My other trick of the week involved my coffee. I’m trying to cut back, but my energy has been low (trying to kickstart my at-home yoga sessions again!). So, when I do drink the stuff, I found that the syrup was too heavy tasting and had a definite depth from the maple. So, I tried raw honey, which I usually loathe, but it gave the perfect light sweetened taste without that “bee puke” aftertaste. Plus, it’s FULL of antioxidants (the coffee was far from boiling, so they were left intact). Win-win!!


Week #10 Challenge: Next week seems suspiciously easy, so I know it’ll be a greater challenge than I expect: No refined oils. So, the only oils we’re allowed for the week are: butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. (To be specific, the butter should be at the very least organic from pastured cows, the olive oil should be extra virgin, cold-pressed and unfiltered, and the coconut oil should be organic, unrefined and centrifuged if possible.)

Now, this isn’t very different from our norm, except that I have been buying just plain ol’ store-brand (or Cabot; VT, woot!) butter. Our CO & EVOO are fine, though. The Dorky Daddy has been teasing me for awhile about the “GMO butter” I’ve been buying, but the other stuff that our store offers is a) super expensive, b) salted and c) from an organic brand that we don’t support. I’ve swallowed my pride, looked away at the checkout line, and hooked the family up with some Horizon (ugh) butter as well as a package of Kerrygold, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. 😉

There are sneaky issues here, though. Firstly, we won’t be able to eat out AT ALL. (We haven’t in awhile, but still. Knowing that you can’t sucks.) Secondly, much like with the sugar last week, things are hidden. Our favorite organic cereal bars undoubtedly have some sort of organic vegetable oil in them. Crackers? The same. Pretty much anything we might like to munch one, it’s there.

So, my strategy for the week is to once again be proactive. I hope to make some more muffins or a homemade granola bar of some sort, maybe a french toast bake that can stretch a couple of breakfasts, and hopefully some tortillas if I have the time. Plus, even though he’s busy with rehearsals (which tosses an extra challenge into dinners), the hubby will probably be called into his stellar popcorn-making service a couple times (he’ll make a HUGE batch during the weekend that lasts us about half the week). He usually douses it with a scant amount of butter and a teensy bit of salt, which will suffice. (Side note: Totally impossible to walk by that bowl and not grab a handful here and there. I dare you. Impossible.)

It’s looking like a lot of cooking for me this week, though. Eep!

Here are my meal ideas for the week…fingers crossed!

  

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