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.
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?
Beans and Legumes:
Nuts And Seeds:
Oils, Condiments and Healthy Fats:
Herbs, Spices and Sweeteners:
What Can You Drink? Short Answer, not a lot.
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.
– 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.
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.