Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New challenge: Clean eating

Ok. I am going to get this all out before I crash from a 12 hour shift at work. 

So this week at weigh-in our nutritionist offered up a challenge for this next week. It is voluntary to participate, but the winner gets a $100 gift card to the mall here. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well the challenge this week is eating clean. Everything we eat this week is supposed to be foods that are as close to the source as possible. Nuts, seeds, grains, fruits and veggies (fresh, frozen, or canned). Nothing processed or refined. No meat. No cheese or dairy. For any of you who know me, I am a carnivore. I love meat. I love my cheese and milk. So this is a big challenge for me. I didn't think that it would be that big of a deal really. I like trying new foods and some of the stuff I can eat are things I have been wanting to try, so this seems like as good a time as any to try them out.

Here are the details of the contest:

Everything we eat is on a points scale. The closer to being a "whole food" the fewer points. We want to be as close to 0 at the end of the week as possible. Here are some examples (this is straight from the email we got later in the night):

You will receive 0 points for food that are whole and not processed, other than blending or mashing.
You will receive 1 point for minimally processed foods.
You will receive 2 points for processed food with additives.
You will receive 3 points for rebellious foods.  (foods that you cant even identify the source at all)

0 Point Foods
Fresh or frozen fruits
Fresh or frozen vegetables
Nuts and nut butters with no sweeteners
Whole grains - steel cut oats, barley, amaranth, quinoa,, brown rice and any other whole grain in its original form.
Good fats - cold pressed oils including olive oil, grape seed oil
Protein powder, no additives and only sweetened with fruit sweeteners (technically this minimally processed, but I will allow for 0 points)
Vegetable broth
Canned vegetables with no additives or sweeteners.
Almond, coconut or rice milk

1 Point Foods - Minimally processed
Sweeteners - honey, stevia, maple syrup, molasses, agave
Whole grain bread, not enriched - wheat, rice, teff, sprouted grains
Whole grain tortillas, not enriched - wheat, rice, teff, sprouted grains, corn
Whole grain pasta, not enriched - wheat, rice, sprouted
Meat & fish- whole cuts, not processed and lean
Dried, unsweetened fruit
Juice made at home with no added sweeteners

2 Point Foods
Ground meats
Prepared, frozen foods
Health Bars, protein or meal replacement
Cheese, low fat
Milk - cow
Sour cream
Sweeteners - brown sugar, raw sugar
Dark chocolate

3 Point Foods
Sweet breads
White breads and pastas
Little Debbie anything
Anything from a gas station
I think you get the idea.....

The exception to this is our meal from Chick-fil-a. That does not count against us in this contest. So basically the only meat I will have this next week is in a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, if I don't go get breakfast after work. And after 7 weeks of eating Chick-fil-a 6 days a week, I am more than a little tired of chicken!!! I foresee a LONG week.

Last night wasn't so bad. I found out I was able to get Amy's Organic brand of frozen burritos (they are minimally processed) and take those with me for dinner. I also got some chocolate almond milk. Both were surprisingly good. The problems came when I got up last night to get ready for work. I wasn't able to shop Tuesday morning after work because I trained with my trainer for an hour. After that I was dead and just wanted to sleep. I had all kinds of issues last night wandering the grocery store.

1)  Eating this way is EXPENSIVE. For any vegans/vegetarians/health nuts out there, I am glad you make enough money to feed yourselves this way. For example. I couldn't find quinoa at King Soopers so I figured I would try another grain, Amaranth. I left it there. A 2 cup bag of whole organic amaranth costs $9!!! No way in hell am I going to try and work that into my food budget this week! Where I just found out about this Monday night I had no opportunity to look at ads and see who has the best deal. I am hoping to get to Sprouts later this week and buy some grains from their bulk area.

2) Eating this way takes a lot of preparation. Buying veggies and cutting them up when you get home so they are all prepared and ready for eating/cooking. Making a crockpot of steel cut oats so you don't have to boil them for 30 minutes. Meal planning so you can plan what you need at the store and how much prep time you need. Grains take time to cook. Where I work four 10 hr. shifts on the night shift I am pretty dead all week long. This means my first chance to prep for this week is Saturday! That doesn't work so well when I need to get through Tuesday-Friday!!

3) Eggs are going to be my friend and go to protein in this. I know there are sources of protein, but eggs are easy. I think tofu is disgusting (yes I have tried it, and no i don't like it.). I do want to try quinoa. As for beans and legumes, well Beano was created for a reason!

I am frustrated right now too. I tried doing some research on this last night and all the clean eating stuff I could find had recipes containing MEAT and CHEESE!! What the hell?!?!? I feel like I am being cheated.

And with that I am going to go to bed. I am making the choice her to go get some precious sleep instead of bitching about my challenge that feels like a diet punishment.

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