The Benefits of a 4-Week Eating Challenge
It'd be safe to say we've all jumped on the bandwagon of an exercise challenge few times in our lifetime whether it be 10,000 steps a day or a local gym 8 week challenge. While we are quick to look to at bettering our relationship with exercise to achieve a goal weight or healthier lifestyle, our chances of having long term success really rely on bettering our relationship with food as well.
Our 4-week Winter Wellness Challenge has been specifically created to detox your body from highly processed, low nutrient foods and give you the chance to get back in tune with your body and better understand your relationship with food. This in turn should help you create some healthy new habits whilst also reaping heaps of health and wellbeing benefits.
In theory the 4-week challenge is very simple. All you have to do is commit yourself to achieving a few simple objectives each day and say hello to good health, and an improved body composition.
There is no counting calories, no weighing foods. Just cut out the crap and eat the food we were designed to eat. This means REAL, CLEAN, HEALTHY food made by us so you won't even mess up your kitchen.
Introducing J.E.R.F. (Just Eat Real Food)
Many of the foods and ingredients that are now common place in our diets are consumed by the majority without fully understanding the ramifications these so called ‘foods’ have on our health.
We are constantly mislead, manipulated and misinformed about nutrition and the truth behind the ingredients added to our foods.
Many of the lifestyle diseases we face today were not an issue for our ancestors. It is becoming more and more clear that since the introduction of the agricultural revolution our diet has declined and is a major contributor to the majority of modern day health problems.
In today’s modern world we rarely give a second thought to the food we eat, let alone how it was processed or where it came from.
The concept of J.E.R.F. (Just Eat Real Food) is based on the idea that the original human diet, consisting of foods that date all the way back to what our hunter-gatherers ate in the Stone Age, continues to be the most suitable diet for humans in the 21st Century.
J.E.R.F in its simplest form means eating in way that is based upon unprocessed whole foods and natural ingredients – foods that are as close to their natural form as possible – until you cook them.
While like the Paleo diet, J.E.R.F concept does not exclude any particular natural foods - just foods that are highly processed and are not actually ‘real foods'. Intuitive eating is highly encouraged by listening to your body and taking note of what your foods make you feel great and what foods leave you feeling not so much.
An Overview of Real Foods
|REAL FOODS||NOT REAL FOODS|
|High Quality Meat – preferably organic free-range poultry, grass fed meats.||Processed Meats & Seafood – hot dogs, supermarket sausages & burger patties, chicken nuggets, lunch meats, seafood sticks, fish fingers.|
|Sustainable Seafood||Fast Foods – McDonald’s, KFC, hot chips etc.|
|Eggs & Organic Dairy||Supermarket Condiments – tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, sweet chilli sauce, mayo, aioli etc.|
|Fruit & Vegetables||Snacks Foods & Confectionery – chocolate, lollies, cakes, cookies, sweets, potato chips, crackers, biscuits.|
|Nuts & Seeds||Processed Cereals – corn flakes, rice bubbles, fruit loops etc.|
|Wholegrains & Complex Carbohydrates||Supermarket Breads & Pastries – bread, bread rolls, crumpets, pikelets etc.|
|Natural Unprocessed Syrups – Honey, Maple Syrup||Processed Sugars - cane sugar, glucose, corn syrup, brown sugar, golden syrup.|
|Natural Unprocessed Oils – Olive Oil, Coconut Oil||Processed Oils – canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil|
|Water (you’d be surprised how many people forget this one)||Soft Drink, Energy Drinks, Sports Drinks.|
What's the best way to tell if it’s a real food or not?
READ. THE. LABEL.
If the food doesn’t have a label e.g. a fruit or vegetable – it’s a real food (that’s actually the law).
If the food does have a label – read it! If there is an ingredient that you do not recognize, you have no idea how to pronounce or involves any codes or numbers – it is not a real food.
Caffeine & Alcohol
Is coffee a real food? Yes. What about beer? No. When looking at caffeine and alcohol, both have a significant impact on the way our bodies function and we recommend avoiding both during your 4-week challenge. (It’s only 30 days! You can do it!). Water should be one of your best friends regardless of your eating choices. You should be drinking a minimum 2L of a water a day.
Adjusting to a new Diet.
Making a big change to the way you eat (even if it’s for the better) can be challenging to begin with, due to today’s diets having such a heavy reliance on processed foods.
Most people who embark on a 4-week challenge will experience some form detox symptoms that can range from a slight headache to a some pretty heavy food cravings in the first week. While you may not be feeling great, what is happening to your body is a good thing! Your body is ridding itself of toxins built up from processed foods and its dependency on those foods. Common symptoms will usually only last 3-5 days and can include:
- Fatigue and Lethargy
- Sugar & Caffeine Cravings
- Change to Bowel Movements
During this time, it’s important that you drink lots of water, practice self-care and most importantly KEEP GOING. Once you get through the first week, you’ll be surprised at how in tune with your body you become and you’ll naturally begin to eliminate foods that don’t agree with you. You’ll never go back to conventional eating once you experience:
- Reduced body fat
- More energy
- Normal blood sugars
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Healthier skin, hair, and nails
- Improved sleep
- Improved cognitive function
During your 4-week Challenge
The most important thing is to do your research on nutrition, don’t take our word or anyone else’s for that matter. A 4-week challenge is a very small period in the big scheme of things and is a great time to educate yourself while these initial changes are happening. The more you understand why and the benefits, the more likely you will be to stick to it and sustain your new eating habits on a regular basis.
The key to success - Be organised! It is especially important that you set time aside to place your Nourish Meals order and collect them on time so you are never without your delicious meals. This also applies to your own meal prep.
After your 4-week Challenge
We have yet to find someone who doesn’t feel like a new human after committing to this challenge properly. It’s a great starting point to create some new, healthier habits and learn a few things about the relationship with food and your body you may not have noticed before.
From here you should be confident enough to continue your new ways of eating by either ordering from our range of 45 freshly prepared meals or embark on some meal prep yourself.
The beauty of consistently eating real foods most of the time means your body will be much more forgiving if you have a glass of wine or an ice cream every now and again. Having a well-regulated digestive system and high functioning metabolism (all benefits of J.E.R.F) means you can enjoy a pizza night or a walk to the gelato shop with little repercussions in the long run.
Balance, consistency, and moderation should be the three words you think about when it comes to food and choosing what to eat over the course of your week.
Ready to take on our 4-Week Winter Wellness Challenge? ORDER HERE.