Nutrition 21 Day Whole Food Challenge

This is the 21 day whole food challenge. Three weeks of eating real food, with real results. No counting calories. No weighing food. No cookie-cutter crap. Eat the foods you love and watch the weight melt away. More importantly, this challenge will create a healthier you by giving your body the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

21 Day Whole Food Challenge

So, what is a Whole Food Challenge?

Well, It doesn’t mean you have to shop at Whole Foods for the next 21 days. That’s a different challenge where you try not going broke in 21 days. No, this is your opportunity to eat foods that haven’t been changed in any way, still in their natural form. The definition of a whole food is “a food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances”. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a “whole food” at a fast food joint.

Benefits Of Eating Whole Food

1.  Phytochemicals. Whole food is rich in phytochemicals, which is the general name for natural compounds in plants. These compounds produce powerful nutrients that protect us from disease. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer.

2.  Nutrients. Compared to processed food, whole food is loaded with fiber, beneficial fats, and vitamins and minerals.

3.  Fiber. Fiber has been shown to aid in weight loss among obese people because fiber increases feelings of fullness. Other benefits of fiber include blood sugar control, heart health, skin health, and decrease risk of stroke.

4.  Cost. Whole food is remarkably cheaper than their processed counterparts. Get healthy AND save money.

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Processed Food

1.  Manufactures process food for a multitude of reasons. Mainly to make things taste better by adding salt, sugar, oil, and other preservatives.

2.  Many processed foods contain PHOs or, “partially hydrogenated oils.” PHOs are the main source of trans fats in processed food. Trans fats are deadly to say the least. They increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes when consumed.

3.  Aside from PHO, Butylated Hydroyanisole “BHA” and Diacetyl have been known to cause cancer and can consistently be found in processed food.

4. Weird stuff finding it’s way to your dinner table. Like Titanium Dioxide, which can be found in things like sunscreen and paint. It can also be found in coffee creamer, energy drinks, salad dressing, and many more foods.

5.  It’s directly associated with weight gain. High-calorie, low-fiber processed foods can cause overeating because you don’t feel full as quickly as with high-fiber whole foods.

What Can You Eat?

Most whole foods are easily identifiable. Here’s a list of some acceptable whole foods.

Protein:

Grilled Skinless Chicken Breast
Grilled Skinless Turkey breast
Lean Ground Turkey {90% or leaner}
Lean Ground Beef  {90% or leaner}
Bison
Lamb
Tofu
Eggs
Egg Whites
Fish
Non-Fat or Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, Plain
Cottage Cheese
Whey Protein
21 Day Whole Food Challenge

Produce:

Apples
Bananas
Carrots
Pears
Papaya
Cherry
Mango
Guava
Orange
Grapefruit
Tomatoes
Berries
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables like Kale and Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Peppers
Garlic
Onions
Cauliflower
Squash
Cucumbers
Zucchini
Eggplant
Broccoli
Corn
Asparagus
Celery
Shiitake and Crimini Mushrooms

Grains:

Quinoa
Brown Rice
Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Barley
Millet
Rye

Canned/Jarred Food:

Low-Sodium Chicken, Beef or Vegetable Broth
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Jarred Bell Peppers
Pickles
Jalapenos

Beans and Legumes:

 

Black Beans
Green Beans
Lentils
Chickpeas
Snow Peas
Soybeans
Dried Peas
Garbanzo Beans
Kidney Beans
Lima Beans
Navy Beans
Pinto Beans

Nuts And Seeds:

Almonds

Walnuts
Chia Seeds
Flax Seeds

Oils, Condiments and Healthy Fats:

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Walnut Oil
Avocado Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red Wine Vinegar
Rice Vinegar
Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
Hot Sauce
Chalula
Reduced Sodium Teriyaki Sauce
Salsa
Fresh Pico
No-Sugar-Added Mustard
Naturally Sweetened Ketchup
Avocados
Tomato Sauce

Herbs, Spices and Sweeteners:

Basil

Oregano
Parsley
Sage
Thyme
Turmeric
Cinnamon
Rosemary
Natural Honey
Natural Maple Syrup
Coconut Palm Sugar
Pepper
Salt
Chili Powder
Cilantro
Coriander
Cumin
Dill
Ginger
Mustard Seeds

What Can You Drink? Short Answer, not a lot.

Water
Black Coffee
Green Tea
Homemade Smoothies
Protein Shakes
Almond Milk
Soy Milk

Make sure to limit your empty calories. No soda, bottled juice, Fancy coffee drinks, flavored water, sports drinks, energy drinks and alcohol. I know this sounds hard but it’s not. Doing math is hard. Spelling claustrophobic is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking water instead of soda is not hard. It’s only 21 days. You can do it.

Most Whole foods will be found on the Perimeter of your grocery store. But some whole foods are hidden in enemy territory.
Take Oatmeal for example:

–  Steel Cut Oats have 1 ingredient. Oats.

– “Processed Oatmeal” can have up to 19 ingredients.

One of these things is not like the other. Both of these items will be in the same section of your grocery store. Be aware, for the middle of the grocery store can be dangerously unhealthy place.

Another example would be Sweet Potato Fries:

– Frozen Premade Sweet Potato Fries can have up to 30 ingredients.

– Buying a Sweet Potato to make your fries. One ingredient.

I encourage you to do your own research. These are just some of my favorite whole foods. I assure you that there are more out there. Just make sure to read the labels. Make sure there are no additives and that they are not processed in any way. Whole foods typically have one ingredient, usually the name of the food itself.

When it comes to fruit, grains, and nuts…go easy. Especially when eating nuts. Nuts are calorically dense and easy to over eat. Don’t consume more than a palm full a day. Eating 4 to 5 small meals per day will slave off overeating and keep your metabolism fired up. Remember to eat until you’re satisfied, but not until you’re full.

The objective of this challenge is to have a greater understanding of what should and shouldn’t be on your dinner plate. Being able to identify these foods will help you live a longer, and happier life. Incorporating daily exercise will only enhance the effects of your newfound lifestyle.

 

Do this for 21 days. That’s it.

After you have completed this challenge I’m positive you will see that it was worth it. And hopefully, it will change the way you look at food. I’m not telling you to never eat a candy bar again. I’m not telling you to never have a soda or beer. I just want you to be mindful of what you put into your body. You only get one. You better start treating it right.

 

What do you think?