It’s now a few days into August, and time to report on my progress with the July challenge. To recap, here were the rules we set up:
Americans eat about 40% of their meals outside of the home, and the French eat about 20% of their meals outside of the home, so our goal was to eat 10% of our meals outside of the home. For the 93 meals we would be eating, we gave ourselves 9 cheat meals.
Most of the cheat meals took place on a weekend when I was out of town and my fiance was in a race. Even with those, we ended up using 6 cheat meals out of 9, and were well under our goal.
Now, not every day was perfect. Sometimes we had to resort to frozen or semi-prepared things from the grocery store. However, those days were few and far between. If we count them, I think we got to 8 out of 9. Still under!
We ended up making a lot of things at home that we would normally just buy from the store. After the success we had making peanut butter and hummus, I don’t think I’m allowed to buy them any more.
Having a thriving garden is also helping quite a bit. We currently have an abundance of kale, spinach, lettuce, and lots of tasty beans, with untold amounts of cucumbers and tomatoes on the way.
So, after the July challenge, did we go out and buy food right away? Yes and no. We picked up some bagels for breakfast and had food truck meals for dinner, but during the weekend, I made cherry pie filling (more on that in a future post), banana bread, steel-cut oats (a new recipe coming soon!) and lots of other homemade goodies. I also picked up blueberries with plans to preserve them in a week or so.
Needless to say, the practices adopted in the challenge aren’t going anywhere. We learned that high-yield, low-maintenance foods ruled when you had a lot to do (veggie burgers, large batches of soup, and vegan wellingtons FTW) and grilling is also super easy when you’re trying to figure out what to make. We also saved a ton of money and spent more time prepping food together, which made my fiance happy for more than one reason.
We had so much fun with the challenge that we’re looking forward to doing more. Not sure where to turn next, I looked at 100 Days of Real Food to get some inspiration. She’s got 100 days of mini-pledges where you can pledge to take 14 different steps towards eating whole, with a new one every week. I’m looking forward to taking all of them on (and I think he’ll be taking on almost all of them.
We’re doing the challenges slightly out of order to best take advantage of peak produce season, so here’s my order:
- Week 1 (8.11) – Eat 2 fruits or vegetables per meal
- Week 2 (8.18) – Eat local foods
- Week 3 (8.25) – Eat locally-raised meat (minimal consumption)
- Week 4 (9.1) – Drink “real” beverages
- Week 5 (9.8) – No fast food or deep-fried foods
- Week 6 (9.15) – Try two new whole foods
- Week 7 (9.22) – No low-fat, lite, or nonfat products
- Week 8 (9.29) – 100% whole grain
- Week 9 (10.6) – Stop eating when you feel full
- Week 10 (10.13) – No refined sweeteners
- Week 11 (10.20) – No refined oils
- Week 12 (10.27) – No sweeteners
- Week 13 (11.3) – Nothing artificial
- Week 14 (11.10) – No more than 5 ingredients
This blog post got a little long-winded, but I’ll post a recap of upcoming challenges next week as I prepare for week 1 and then after each week with the results of each challenge. I hope you follow along with me, at least for a week or two.
Which challenge seems the hardest to you? Which seems the easiest?