Back in January 2013 I saw a flyer for a 30-day challenge at my Pilates studio. 30-day challenges are contagious, especially around New Year’s.
The challenge involved planks, push-ups, teasers, and sticking to a real food diet. The first three I could handle (kind of) but real food - I had NO CLUE what that meant. I signed up anyway.
When I got home, I googled real food and found Lisa Leake’s awesome website, 100 Days of Real Food. I spent hours reading the articles and recipes. I immediately downloaded one of her real food meal plans and made a grocery list.
The first month was tough, but I stuck to it. I had a few slip-ups but I was able to recover, and I have been a “real foodie” ever since. I enjoy non-real food items in moderation as best I can.
The newest development - not related to real food - is that in January I reverted back to pescatarian. I was a pescatarian for a few years but quit because I was not getting enough protein. This time it has been completely different - primarily because of my real-food skills. Giving up red meat and pork was no problem (I haven’t eaten those since I was in high school) and I am turned off by turkey and chicken as well, so it was the right move. I am learning new ways to make quinoa, lentils, brown rice, veggies, and a ton of other new things.
A few months ago she posted a blog about her morning routine — hot lemon water and cayenne pepper. It seemed simple enough, so I decided to try it.
First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach:
(1) Fill a mug 1/2 full of hot water
(2) Fill the mug with room temperature water
(3) Add freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon on top
(4) Add a few shakes of cayenne pepper
(5) Drink through a straw
(6) Follow with about 8 oz water
I’ve been doing this for about 6 months. Honestly, I am not sure that it has made a difference as far as weight loss, but I think it has definitely helped me detox.
I try to eat a salad every day. It is pretty easy for me because I love salads. I usually eat it as a snack in the afternoon or with lunch.
My typical salad has romaine, carrots, green peppers, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, and olives. All ingredients are organic, except for the olives - I am addicted to Mario green and black olives and I haven’t found an organic/”real food” option that makes me as happy. :)
I buy carrots in bulk and shred them myself in my food processor. Baby carrots or pre-shredded carrots, even organic ones, are often washed with chlorine and have a weird film on them.
I also make my own Italian dressing. I mix together 1/4 cup balsamic or apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil, with 2 tbs of water and 2 tbs of the following mix:
1 tbs garlic salt
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs organic white sugar**
2 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbs dried parsley
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 tbs celtic sea salt
**I avoid sugar as much as possible in my diet, and I have tried this mix with and without sugar. I cannot tell a difference, so I leave it out.
If I have extra bread I make these amazing croutons. For the Italian Seasoning, I use the dressing mix above.
Jenn, my amazing Wellness Coach, gave me this awesome idea for my daily salad - mason jars!
Such a good idea. Alternatively, I also use these containers from U-Konserve (for salads and other meals). They are environmentally friendly and do not leak.