Clean Food Challenge

June 21, 2011 9 Comments

I decided to join Emilie, my amazing friend, and co-editor of Sparrow Magazine, on her second Clean Food Challenge. Basically, I’m starting a one week cleansing diet. For any of your nutrition experts out there, please understand that Emilie made this up, with the intention that everyone can do what is best for them. That is what I love about the Clean Food Challenge: you can tailor it to work just right for YOU!

Emilie’s basic rules are this:

  • no sugar
  • no gluten
  • no dairy
  • no alcohol
  • no meat
  • only 1 cup of coffee
  • 1 gallon of water per day

Pretty simple, right? So what does my Clean Food Challenge look like?

Here’s how I have adapted the Clean Food Challenge to meet my current needs. I am following the basic plan, plus going totally vegan and NO coffee (yikes!). Every morning I’ll have warm water with lemon, sometimes with the addition of flax meal and maybe a bonus pinch of cayenne. I’ll have Green Smoothies for breakfast every morning, and only liquids until lunch. Another big goal for the week is to try and eat as many raw foods as possible.

I kick off the CFC on Tuesday June 21 and I’m super excited! I think it is a great way to celebrate the official start of summer….to clean my body from the inside out!! All the luscious foods coming into the Farmer’s Markets makes eating fresh, raw fruits and veggies even easier.

You might be wondering why I feel like I need to do a cleanse diet. First and foremost, I want to push the ‘ole restart button on my diet. I’ve fallen back into some not-so-great eating habits (late night snacking, many cups of coffee, lots of yummy summer beers, way too much sugar) and I can feel the difference. Not only are my clothes feeling a bit tighter, but my energy is low, I get tired more easily, my moods are swinging high and low, my hands and feet are swollen. Simply put, I just don’t feel like my body is running optimally.

The other reason I’m doing the CFC is because I’ve been doing some reading about the benefits of raw foods, along with some of the negative effects from animal based diets. Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet is one book I’ve been working my way through.

I’m curious. I want to know how I will feel if I change the way I eat. I was a vegetarian for years, gave up dairy for almost a year, and wonder sometimes if my body functions better on a plant based diet. Hence, my Clean Food Challenge experiment!

Curiosity + Behavior Change = Experiment

I will update this post daily to let you know how it is all going. Then at the end of the week look for a new post with all my CFC conclusions.

Are you ready to jump on board the Clean Food Challenge? Let me know in the Comments.

Have you made any recent changes to your diet? What did you change? What benefits did you reap? What challenges did you face? Share with all of us in the Comments.

UPDATE 6/21/11

I have to admit Day 1 has been a little rough. I’ve been hungry, achey and have a nagging headache. While not great, it tells me that I really did need the cleanse. I’ve been craving sugar like crazy, as well as dairy. I’m sticking to it, because I know it will get easier and I know that my body will thank me for this.

Here’s what I had for dinner tonight:

quinoa and black bean saladA big green salad and this delicious Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

I am looking forward to Day 2, mostly because I know my body will be adjusting to the changes better.

UPDATE 6/22/11

Day 2 was MUCH better. No headache! What did I do differently? Not much. But I did eat a lot less nuts, had a great lunch of leftover Quinoa and Black Bean Salad. Dinner was an amazing array of grilled veggies: potatoes, zucchinni, portobellos, and a big green salad. Serious YUM! I haven’t felt any energy increases yet, but I feel good with no coffee or sugar, which is something.

UPDATE 6/23/11

Today I made one modification. I decided to have oatmeal, with maple syrup and cinnamon, for breakfast instead of a green smoothie. I did this for two reasons: Ellery, my 2 year old daughter LOVES smoothies, but her little digestive tract has trouble with all the greens. So, I didn’t feel right making one and not sharing with her. The second reason is I think my gut is struggling a bit with all the veggies. The oatmeal was wonderful, as was the rest of the day, in spite of some seriously crazy-over booked-running all over town-being late-stress inducing moments. On to day 4!

UPDATE 6/24/11

The energy increase is buzzing away! It seriously amazes me that after only a couple days I can feel so great, have so much energy, and all without any coffee I feel well fed, nourished, and really clear headed. I’m excited to report another member of the Clean Food Challenge team. Check out Ashli’s blog and see how she is doing (and check out her amazing design work while you’re there too). Anyone else in?

UPDATE 6/25/11

Everything was going great until….we went out to dinner with another family from my son’s school, at the very un-Clean Food Challenge friendly Johnny Rockets. For whatever reason I didn’t want to make a big deal of what I ate (which is definitely a topic for another post) with people I’m just getting to know. I remained as “clean” as I could and ordered the “vegetarian” burger and a side salad. I have to admit the bun was a wonderful treat. I do miss bread something fierce. Despite the little bump in the road, I remain committed to the CFC and am by not means throwing in the towel. Two more full days of clean eating ahead of me!

UPDATE 6/26/11

Another awesome day! I wish I could accurately describe how this clean eating feels. I feel more alive, but at the same time simply the way that I’m supposed to be. My mind is so much more clear. I can focus more easily. My usual leaning towards procrastination is somehow gone. It’s pretty empowering, really. It is crazy that I could feel so different just from a change in my diet. But I really do. Good stuff!

UPDATE 6/27/11

Finished! Another great day on the Clean Food Challenge. I think that my conclusions are worthy of a separate post. I’ve got some ideas about some aspects of the CFC diet that I would like to adopt as my normal. The biggest current debate is, do I have a cup of coffee tomorrow?

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  1. Clean Food Challenge Starts April 1 : Perched To Fly | March 28, 2012
  1. Emilie says:

    I love the color change! Looks so good! Hope the CFC is going well for you… I think I’ll call you later so we can touch base on some loose ends. xo

  2. Ashli Nixon says:

    Between this site, Sparrow and Twitter– I feel like I’m stalking your life… but I secretly love it, because your ideas and posts are amazing. 🙂 I am definitely going to try this! I’ve been wanting to do a cleanse/raw food diet for awhile, but I’m scared because I know how crazy-addicted I am to sugar, caffeine, meat, dairy… and pretty much anything unhealthy and delicious. 🙂 But, consider me on board! Going grocery shopping tonight to get prepared!

    • kelly says:

      Aw, thanks Ashli! I’d love to hear how the cleanse goes. You might want to think about easing into it. I slowly decreased my coffee to one cup before going coffee free. I also decreased my sugar and tried to eat better before the cleanse. I think that made the transition a bit easier. Can’t wait to hear about it!

  3. Danielle says:

    I had a bad headache the first two days, too. Finishing day 4…feeling a bit better. I definitely miss sugar!

  4. Brooke says:

    I will be using that black bean quinoa recipe on Friday, thanks! Love the new blog.

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