February is a hard word to spell. It’s one of the words I constantly re-check to make sure I have correct, because it never looks right. February is also a tough month for people with new years resolutions that involve weight loss, toning up, slimming down, or any other euphemism for looking awesome. It’s hard to avoid snacking and eating a tower of cool ranch Doritos covered in a steaming pile of military grade cheese whiz during your neighborhood Superbowl party. Plus, who isn’t going to splurge at their leap year celebration fiesta? Also, valentines day? Carrots and chicken breast just don’t say ‘I love you” the way that chocolates and those little chalk flavored candys do.
So here’s the deal, I’m issuing a challenge to help keep you honest this February:
Eat nothing processed or man-made for one whole month.
This is a big challenge, and will take a little bit of planning, some hard work and determination. However, sticking to your goals, and making any sort of real change to your body is not just a small easy thing. This is an all out war, and should be treated as such. I say this not to scare or intimidate you, but to prepare you for the cost of making a positive life change. It’s like showing up to your first middle school sleepover and bringing your retainer and stuffed animal for comfort, because no one told you that sleepover = playing james bond on N64 and saying swear words late into the night. If you’re not prepared, you will be the butt of every joke for the next 6 years. Not that this happened to me. In middle school I was the peak of coolness…
…Like I said, I’m just looking out for you.
So put your whining on hold, buckle down, and let’s do this. Only 29 days of discipline. Easy.
Here are the rules:
1) Eat 100% perfect 90% of the time.
29 days in Feb at 3 meals per day = 87 meals. You’ll probably snack at least 3 times, so let’s round it to 90. That means that you have to eat at least 81 of those meals according to the guidelines. This buffer is great for those of you who have jobs that put you on the road, the oversights when you forget your lunch, and cheat meals. You get 9 of these in Feb. That’s a lot. I would say if you’re really craving something sweet, salty, etc, don’t immediately indulge. Give yourself a cheat meal on Friday night or Saturday where you dominate whatever food it was you were craving.
This is to make sure it’s not just a passing craving, which you can and will fight, and also gives you something to look forward too, which is a psychological boost when you’re doing something this hard.
***THE 90% RULE IS ALSO AWESOME FOR DAILY LIFE. USE IT, LOVE IT.***
2) No processed food, fast food, food in boxes/bags
This is the real deal. You make it, you cook it, and you bring it to work. I myself will be eating a lot of omelette. This means no bread, cheese, or sugar. These make up the brunt of what will be hard for most people. When I say most people, I am almost explicitly talking about myself.
The following foods are foods that I have decided to make an exception for in order to make sure this is actually doable for people.
Spices – use away. Especially cinnamon, which is great for you.
Salsa – make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, but otherwise, use with impunity.
Protein powder – not natural by any stretch, but can be used to augment a diet that is otherwise deficient in this essential nutrient.
oil and vinegar – stay away from Vegetable and Canola oil. Stick with Olive oil, or even better, macadamia nut oil. It’s a great substitute for butter.
Any other questions on other exceptions? post to comments, and I’ll update the list.
Here’s a sample day that’s not too hard to do, doesn’t take too much leg-work, and can be pretty tasty.
1/2 cup of steel-cut oats (not the packet of instant. That’s bad. Stop trying to cheat already!)
Add cinnamon to taste, milk, and apple slices into the oatmeal. Tasty, and really easy. Make it at night and put it in the fridge if you’re rushed in the morning.
This takes about 8 minutes to make, and can be cooked while you’re making lunch as well.
3 Scrambled Eggs with Salsa
1 small red potato.
You can prepare these at the same time in a frying pan. Cut up the potatoes and nuke them for 2-4 min, then finish them in the frying pan. Salt and pepper, and hot sauce to taste. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s very filling. Eat the whole egg, its good for you. Can also be made for dinner.
The great thing about both of these ingredients is that they can be prepped a multitude of different ways. My fave is cooking the yams in the oven with some olive oil and salt and pepper. It’s like yam home fries. I also like to cut up the chicken breast and cook it in the frying pan. Santee some onions, red peppers and spinach, and you’re rolling deep in some delicious foods.
I’ll post some new ideas for food as I eat them, or do more research.
Foods worth noting:
Quinoa – Can eat it like oatmeal for breakfast, or like cous cous for dinner. Quinoa is what all grains want to be when they grow up. Kind of like the love child of wheat and optimus prime.
Vegetables – I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them. Eat them, and you wont suck.
Meat – also delicious. Eat as much as you want of this. You probably don’t get enough as it is.
Brown Rice – for the carb lover in your family. It’s slower digesting than white rice ( read: better for you) and can be delicious with chicken and green beans.
So that’s it. Easy right? Some of you don’t think so, and will make excuses, so I preemptively destroy your bad excuses with logic and anger.
BAD EXCUSE #1
“I’m going to be at a party for the Superbowl/my aunt/my nephew/my scientology baptism!”
Don’t snack, don’t be weak, and don’t piss me off. If you’re in a place like this and you’re woefully unprepared, eat the burger or the chicken and leave the chips alone. Also, I’m sure they’ll have a veggie platter that no one is eating. Consider it your challenge to eat veggies until you throw up.
BAD EXCUSE #2
“But I’m going to be at a restaurant!”
Oh, good one. Now you’re just playing dumb. I bet the restaurant serves chicken, and I bet they serve brown rice. Order those things and stop whining. News Flash: restaurants serve weird crap all the time. You wont be blowing their minds by asking that they hold the bun on your burger.
BAD EXCUSE #3
“I don’t have time to cook!”
Yes you do.
BAD EXCUSE #4
“It’s hard/I can’t/My husband or wife doesn’t want to/I’m out-of-town/hectic week!”
Wow, must be really hard not being in charge of your own life. Good luck to you. If you ever decide that you do want to take control of one of the most basic human instincts that you possess and decide which food is allowed to pass your lips, let me know.
There you have it. A brief rundown of your challenge. It’s time to look and feel better. Go get it. Post thoughts to the comments.