Clean Food Challenge (updated)

I’m taking the Clean Food Challenge! Never heard of it? That’s because I made it up.

I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to a one-week “cleanse” that wasn’t actually a traditional cleanse. What I mean is that I’d like to seriously “cut the crap” for a week but I cannot fast or drink those colon- cleansing concoctions that make your poop crazy because it pulls all of the toxins out of your body. (Have you heard about the crazy poop cleanses? People who do this take photos of their poop and post them online. I swear. Google it).

So, because I have my family (3) plus my students (112), that’s 115 people counting on me to have enough energy to maintain my life, and I cannot do the full cleanse with all of the expensive supplements that I’d like to do. If I lived alone on an island and could meditate all day, I’d do the crazy poop cleanse.

I’m taking this challenge with my friend Sarah, a super mom of three beautiful boys who lives in Grand Junction, CO. We’re going to both keep you updated on the blog on how our Clean Food Challenge is going and what we’re eating. Sarah was a big part of why I started running, and she inspires me greatly as a runner and a mom. She’s super fit and tough, runs trail and ultra marathons like it’s no big thing. Sarah and I have been great friends since high school and her brother Austin was my first boyfriend.   True story.

Here’s Sarah with her boys Luke, Henry and Oliver, and yep, that’s her backyard.

Sarah and I will be eating clean together and writing about the process.

Our plan:  For 7 days, we will eat no processed food, no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no wheat.   (I’m scared).

We will eat only:  vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, some lean proteins, fresh-pressed juices, green smoothies, and a gallon of water per day.

I know that typically I would also quit caffeine with a plan like this, but I’m going to allow myself one cup of coffee or green tea per day.  I’m up to three strong cups of coffee (yikes, but yum) a day right now, so stopping caffeine altogether would make this process really un-fun because of the headaches.  I don’t want to quit caffeine and then depend on ibuprofen to get me through the day, so I’m keeping one cup of caffeine per day.  That will get me down to a more healthy level of caffeine without killing me.

I’m using the book Clean Food that a friend let me borrow which is full of wonderful recipes and ideas that I’ll be sharing with you as well.

Here is an excerpt from the book about clean food:  “Clean food is minimally processed, so our bodies get the maximum nutritional value needed to fuel metabolism.  The more clean food we bring in, the cleaner and more efficiently our bodies function.  The results (of eating clean) are less mental and physical stress, more oxygen circulating through the body, more toxins eliminated, more strength and more efficiency of nearly every system. ”

Why do I want to do this?  I’ve become fairly deliberate about my eating over the past few years, but right now I’m in a cycle of not paying careful attention to what I’m taking in, lots of leaning up against the counter and smearing peanut butter on bread when I’m in a hurry, eating food off of my kids’ unfinished plates, handfuls of chocolate chips, sweets and baked goods, and not being as organized about dinners as I usually am,  so eating cereal at 8:00 a couple times a week.  It just makes me feel like this one part of my life lacks control, and I like to reign myself in once in a while.  I think this process will just feel energizing and bring awareness to what I’m putting in my body.  I’m curious to see how I feel after one week.

Why does Sarah want to do this?  (UPDATED in case you don’t read the comments)
A few reasons why I want to clean out my diet:
*I struggle with the after-the-kids-are-in-bed sweet tooth
*I find myself eating three bowls of cereal in a row after 7pm because I forgot to eat during the day.
*i have major mood swings when i’m hungry. i already have a busy life and i struggle with my moods in general (not in a worrisome way, but definitely in a “i’m a busy mom of three boys with a job in my family business and have a husband who travel half the month” way.)
*i eat the wrong things when i’m hungry (like 1/2 a box of cheddar bunnies, or a bag of Boulder chips)
*i don’t drink enough water.
even though i long-distance run and practice yoga and ski, i STILL have the gut from the 3rd baby (who is almost 4) that i keep blaming on my age (i’m 36). i secretly think the gut is there because i don’t eat enough well-rounded meals, then i’m hungry and eat the wrong things, or i binge out on sweets at night. anyone can relate to that????
  (um, YES!)

Also, for me the timing couldn’t be better.  We’re going to start the Monday after Thanksgiving and that will send me into the Christmas season with a good, clean start and will cause me to be deliberate and rational about all the party food and sweets that come my way during the holidays.  I have no races during this part of the year and can give myself more time to rest.

About drinking water:   I used to intend to drink much more water than I actually did.  But since I started drinking out of these camelbak water bottles, my water intake has probably tripled.  The bite valve that is attached to a straw just makes it so easy to sip all day.  There is no lid to unscrew.  I used to often spill water down the front of me when drinking out of a Nalgene in class (graceful!) and this design works much better for me.  There is something so comforting about it.  My friends and I all carry our bottles around and suck on them like they are our pacifiers.   Weird?  Maybe.  But try it.

I’ll have to fill this bottle more than 5 times to get up to a gallon.  Right now I drink at least 3 bottles full a day, so that’s a pretty good start.

Sarah and I are starting on Monday . That leaves me with one more question:  Anyone want to do it with us?

You can leave a comment here or on facebook if you want to join us, have advice, or just to want to make fun of us for all of this silliness. 

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