Now I want to remind you that I’m incredibly picky when it comes to food, especially the healthy ones, so I never feel qualified in telling you what your exact balance of daily foods should be. I am a strong believer in having some sort of balance though, especially with the Glycemic Index, so you don’t rely too much on “healthy” foods that might work against you. (White potatoes are my favorite example of this since they fit the single ingredient criteria, but are high in starch and get processed by your body very quickly.) Plus, if you avoid relying on your favorites too much, then you might find some fruits, vegetables, meats, etc that you like just as much, giving you more variety down the road.
The attached worksheet for this blog lists areas you may find foods in a grocery store that fit with the challenge, so print one off to work on at home and start listing out your favorite things in the blocks. Don’t panic if you can’t think of many options in one area, they will come to you over time. Give yourself around fifteen minutes to list everything and then keep the sheet handy as things will pop in your head over the coming day or two.
After you’ve completed the first list, then put it somewhere safe and print out another copy. You’ll use that second copy to take with you on a quick field trip to the grocery store. Walk those areas and then the aisles, looking for options that fit into the criteria. Again, for this challenge, you are focusing on things in their single ingredient form as much as possible. There are certain arguments you will find yourself making at the grocery store to justify foods that may still fit the criteria, but aren’t the best choices. Here’s a couple:
“I should really buy a bag of corn chips, they’re made with corn so that should work right?”
Yes and no. While the ingredient list may match, the processing of those ingredients to make a chip also makes your body process it faster. Plus, I can’t recall ever sticking to a suggested portion of chips once I started on the bag, so the amount of calories consumed might work against you too. Try to avoid these during your month.
“I’m going to load up on yogurt because that’s healthy right?”
I will be the first to admit that I consider dairy a gray area in the realm of no sugar, since lactose in my mind isn’t the same as the processed or artificial sugars. I also need to admit that I don’t eat a lot of yogurt, so I haven’t done a lot of research on which ones are better. I’m guessing, the more plain a yogurt is, the better it might be, but I’m not an expert. I can say that most of the ones you mix with things in the packages often contain flour and sugar in the mixer portion. Just read the ingredients and determine what’s best for you and the challenge. I wouldn’t imagine that you’ll make yogurt your main meal item anyway, so use the balance approach like everything else.
We likely could do this question and answer portion all day long and still wouldn’t cover everything out there to eat in the world. In the end, just ask yourself if something is in its original state or not, and if that answer is no, then ask yourself if it will kill you to go a month without it. I have some more examples and thoughts in my book, so refer back to those chapters for more help.
Bonus tip: While it’s a little bit more work on your field trip day, I suggest making a note of the prices at your local store for the items you are listing. This will give you an idea of your grocery bill once you start doing your weekly meal planning. On my first exploratory trip to the grocery I took around 2 hours and didn’t buy anything, I just walked around recording food and prices. I did get some strange looks from the workers there while I was doing it, and then my wife did question my sanity when I arrived home, but it set me up nicely to plan the coming weeks.
All the best!