Did someone say The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge?! It was mentioned as I devoured a decadent slice of Pink Velvet Cake while sitting at a favorite Vegan options restaurant Bella Green (no Pink Velvet Cake is not vegan, what can I say. I am weak when it comes to sweets.) And while I may not have pumped my fist and given the idea a fullhearted cheer, I realized I can't turn down an invitation to join an effort to do something to better myself. (Do you want to join me?) The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge is a great opportunity for me to join a group of people who have the same goals so we can help keep each other stay accountable! I am already a vegan, but I think I will benefit most because I am weak when it comes to sugar.
So let's do The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge like Dr. Sara Gotfried would (find her book here) Her books have inspired me in my fitness and health journey and her book The Hormone Reset Diet is the model for this challenge. We will remove possible detrimental food groups from our diet, and eliminate a new item every 4 days. It is likely we will see the benefit of this food item being gone from our system by the third day, but we will maintain the elimination for the rest of the 30 days.
The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge Schedule
Day 1: Remove Meat. Chances are you do not know the rancher or farmer who provides you with your meat. Consider this elimination to not only rev up your digestion but to also avoid those unwanted hormones and antibiotics the FDA allows farmers and ranchers to inject into animals to help them grow faster and avoid sicknesses shared in close quarters with other animals.
Day 5: Remove Dairy and Eggs. These are also at risk of being pumped with unwanted hormones and antibiotics as they come from animals. And if that wasn't enough: according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine "Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy". Which includes me, and I think statistically probably means you too.
Day 9: During The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge you must remove Sugar (all sugar, refined, honey, maple, agave, stevia) I have gotten irrationally irate over eliminating this one in the past. I never wanted to be someone who could not have dessert a couple of times a day. I wanted it after every meal, and I wanted it to be a primary component of my breakfast. This one really should be obvious because sugar does not contribute to nutritional intake, we really can't deny that I just didn't want it to be detrimental to my health. I can't even pick a single link to prove this point because there are so many, just look it up.
Day 13: Remove Alcohol and Grain. I know most people won't argue that alcohol is healthy, but what most might dispute is grains. What many people know is grain is a Carbohydrate, and we know we need more than 50% of our daily intake of macronutrients to be Carbs. But, what we are failing to consider is vegetables are carbohydrates too! So, if we need to fill our plates with carbs it should not be with rolls and slices of bread it should be with broccoli and cauliflower and carrots and peas. So make that switch and see what you think!
Day 17: Remove Fruit. I know what you are thinking: "how can fruit be bad?" But if you look down to the midsection and find that to be your problem area, you may benefit from removing fruit high in fructose from your diet. Fructose is a sugar (remember sugar is bad) and what people, especially women may be experiencing is Insulin Resistance which is a precursor to diabetes. This includes dry fruit which actually has a more concentrated quantity of fructose.
Day 21: Remove Caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands so now you have adrenaline pumping, and blood redirecting away from the digestive system (not good) Then you start producing the hormone epinephrine which gives you that weak shaky hand symptom and if that was not enough you also are pumping out extra cortisol because your body thinks you need some to go with your adrenaline surge to deal with this (unbeknownst to your body) self-induced chemical stress. See how you feel after your chemical addiction subsides in 3 days and decide if you really need it.
Day 25: Endocrine Disrupters. Check your labels. Your lotions, shampoos, perfumes. Take it out of your routine at least for a bit. Watch out for BPA in plastics, and cans. Consider eliminating tofu and soy which have phytoestrogen. Steer clear of pesticides (no matter how safe the FDA say it is for you and your kids to be exposed to). Flame retardant substances, which are completely unavoidable but see what you can do.
Finishing Up The 30 Day Challenge
Day 31: If you plan to reintroduce any of the eliminated food groups back into your diet after The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge do so slowly. Take another 2-3 day before reintroducing another food group. If you find during those 2-3 days that your bloating returns or other unwanted symptoms resulting in weight gain or discomfort you should consider that particular food item be removed from your diet or consumed in limited quantities.
As you read this list I imagine you think you might starve on The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge. I suggest you eat those veggies! Aim for at least ONE POUND of VEGETABLES EVERY DAY (what else do you have left to eat?) On top of that aim to increase your fiber intake up to around 35-50 grams per day. Take it slow and work your way up to the higher side. On this subject, I also take this guidance from Dr. Gottfried's book The Hormone Reset Diet. Probably obvious: don't forget to drink your water, only water, and lots of it. There is a good chance that empty belly you notice is because you are thirsty and not hungry. Retrain your brain and your hormones and admire the results The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge! Let me know how it goes!
Best Health and good luck!