"We're all just fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make." – Jerry Ellis

I hate the word “diet” because I am not very good at following one. Yet, I get freaked out when I think of trying to eat a certain way forever and ever and ever. I like the idea of taking something that’s difficult and breaking it into doable pieces, similar to my mindset for running longer distances. One mile at a time.

And, as much as I hate diets, I adore my father-in-law, Mike, whose recent heart health scare has caused some serious discussion between my husband Darrell and I about how we eat. Like many people, Mike has been advised by his doctor to change how he eats and get more active. So, in an effort to show some support, as well as to be a little more proactive in our health, Darrell and I are going to start a Healthy Eating 40 Day Challenge, beginning next week on Ash Wednesday. The Lenten season seemed like a great time to make a few soul searching changes.
I have been trying to decide what diet to follow for this. At first I thought I’d try Paleo again. I tried to do Paleo a few years back and only lasted about a month. In Paleo, there’s no dairy, no legumes and no grains. Your carbohydrates come from your vegetables, and the focus is on lean meat and vegetables. I did great with the meat part, but found I was mostly eating meat and filling in with vegetables instead of the other way around. It was very restrictive for me and I found myself thinking of food constantly.

I also considered going gluten/sugar free for the 40 days, but I want to do something in this challenge that I feel I could realistically maintain when it was over. My hope is that if I do something drastic-yet-doable, I will be able to feel the difference and therefore want to keep it up. I don’t mean drastic like all celery or grapefruit for the next month and a half, just really concentrating on getting in the most “good stuff” like fruits and veggies that I can.

So, after listening to what Mike has been told to avoid (white flour, potatoes, pasta, grains, etc) I think we’re going to go with a “Clean Living” approach, with as little of processed foods as possible, focusing on veggies and fruit, lean meat and no fast food (my big downfall). I’m in training for my half marathon, so I’m not looking to shave calories or even really to lose weight, although I’d love it if I did.

For a lot of people, a “Challenge” like this may seem like not much of one so here’s where I hang my dirty laundry: our family eats pretty bad right now, something I’m a little embarrassed by. We eat “on the run” a lot, grabbing a quick bite on the way to the next activity. So part of this challenge for us isn’t the “what” we are eating, but “how” we are living–dashing from place to place, grabbing a handful of Oreos on the way out the door. Not good, I know.

So we’re gearing up and getting ready for “Eating Clean in 2014” at our home. Want to join us? Post your comments and let’s see what progress we can make together.

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Comments on: "Eating Clean in 2014 Lenten Challenge" (4)

  1. Amy, good luck with this. Have you watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”? It is very inspiring and may be helpful to you at this time. wishing you all success in more healthful eating and living.

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  2. Michelle Culian said:

    I hope your challenge is going well! Timmy and I have to eat gluten free since we have celiac disease. I like incorporating fresh veggies, but get bored with what and how I cook them. I tend to use rice and potatoes since we tend to need substance, with the meal too. Have you come up with creative ways to prepare your veggies? I think I could eliminate the potatoes sometimes, which would be a start.

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  3. Thanks, Michelle. It’s been going pretty good…boringly so! I need to post an update. I’ve been trying to use veggies to fill in, since first 10 days was the detox. We’ve done some stir fries, mashed cauliflower like potatoes, made soups, salads and juiced. The carnivore in me loved crockpot veggie stew. It had onion, carrots, sweet potatoes (you can also use turnips), beef broth, garlic and tomato paste. I put in extra meat, figuring the family would mostly eat that, but the veggies cooked down wonderfully. I don’t think they realized the “sauce” was actually the veggies. The sweet potatoes did really well in the crockpot and had really good texture.

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