I can’t help but be impressed and inspired by the family behind the 100 Days of Real Food blog.
After considering the extent to which our country (and to a lesser but still appreciable extent the rest of the world) is dependent on highly processed food, Lisa and Jason Leake, along with their then 3 and 5-year old daughters, vowed to go 100 days without those processed foods, eating “real food” instead.
Their original pledge said that what you can eat are
- Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
- Lots of fruits and vegetables (we recommend that you shop for these at your local farmers’ market)
- Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
- 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (find a local bakery for approved sandwich bread and check the Understanding Grains post for more info)
- Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
- Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation)
- Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine and beer!
- Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
- All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation
Then they said what you can’t eat are:
- No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
- No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
- Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
- No deep fried foods
- No “fast foods”
Wow, now that’s commitment.
On their blog they give plenty of guidance for how to achieve this monumental step away from the industrial food economy and its ill effects on human health. They also provide recipes, tips on how to eat real food on a budget, and a plan for going just ten days on real food to see if you’re up for it.
So why did they do it? According to their blog,
We decided to take this pledge so we could draw attention to how much our society has become dependent on processed food. And even though it wasn’t easy at times we wanted to prove that a typical suburban family didn’t have to rely on packaged factory-made convenience foods on a daily basis. We also wanted to experience what it would be like to seek out the real food in our processed food world…
They wrote about their experience throughout that time, leaving plenty of anecdotal evidence about how this process worked. And it did!
They’ve gone on to live a life of eating and enjoying real food, including while raising kids in suburbia all while inspiring countless others to do the same (their Facebook page has nearly 193,000 likes and plenty of activity — clearly their idea is resonating with people).
I think I can
And this got me to thinking that, well, maybe I could do it too? I don’t know for sure, but I am thinking about it.
Of course I already love locally grown and organic foods, and am already conscientious about nutrition labels. But no white sugar? No regular flour? No processed foods with more than five ingredients listed on the label? It’s not that I crave these foods, but I am mindful that in our society they are hard to avoid even when you want to.
I think I can do it but…do I really have the stamina, willpower, determination? Do you? Is there anyone in the reading audience (and my radio show’s listening audience) who would also like to do a 100 Days of Real Food pledge with me? A ten day pledge?
Let me know — if there’s enough interest, perhaps we can lead the charge here in Charlottesville — or over the radio waves. (After one last deliciously decadent serving of chocolate cake, of course.)
–Jennifer Till, Real Life with Jennifer Till