A very common conversation I've been having lately:
Me: "Oh, I'm doing this challenge. I'm not eating grains, soy, dairy or legumes."
"Poor child, what can you have?!"
It's kind of hilarious and a little sad how shocked people are when they hear someone can't have this, this or that - by choice. It's not a detox but still a challenge, and yes, we still have a lot of foods (meats, fruits, veggies and all the greens) to choose from! The whole point of For the Glow's 33 to Glow program is to omit these things from our diets for awhile, to see what the change in our bodies is like. As usual, we're two weeks in and I've seen and experienced a lot of other knowledge bombs along the way. There's a million flowery Pinterest images on facing your fears and insecurities, but let me tell you, all you have to do is join a For the Glow challenge (AND COMMIT TO IT) to actually, truly, honestly tackle them head-on.
One of my biggest insecurities is around cooking. I've just never considered myself a cook, which as I've gotten older seems more of a negative habit than anything. It's expensive eating out all the time, and it's probably a sign I'm too busy for my own good. Busy is not a badge of honor to me - it's a badge of "I can't get my shit together." But that's another blog post. Anywho, I love challenges like these because cooking at home is now the easiest and most economical option. Eating out is always a gamble, b/c even if I request no cheese & sauce on the side, there's no guarantee the waiter knows if my sauce was cooked with corn starch or not. Stuff like that. It's not difficult to eat out, but it's a lot easier to eat in.
I ordered the Seafood & Spinach salad at the new Agave restaurant in Queen Anne. No cheese, tossed in olive oil. Super delish!
I started cooking more last year during my first For the Glow challenges and programs, but a year obviously wasn't enough to get it into my system. I'm liable to let my cravings guide me in the moment, and we all know that when that happens, they'll guide you to pizza, tacos, donuts and whiskey. Things that are easy to obtain, not (seemingly) expensive, come in colors and presentations that are easy on the eyes and that put a stronghold on your tastebuds so you'll crave it again in two hours. You feel me? Making my own food means I'm sure about where everything came from and how it's prepared.
I am by no means a fancy cook. Anything beyond 5 ingredients that takes more than 10 steps to make and I'm out. Hand me a bag of chips instead please. Our For the Glow community has blossomed to include a lot of really fantastic chefs who produce some delicious-looking, delicious-sounding meals on the regular (Hi Madeline & Cara!) When I joined FTG, Jenn's diet was heavy leaning towards raw and superfood meals from simple, 5-ingredient-or-less recipes.
Jenn's also got a good rule of thumb as far as plate ratio goes. Hella greens, veggies and a protein about the size of a deck of cards. I'm with it. This is garlic chicken on top of cauliflower rice, sauteed mushrooms & onions with a simple steamed kale & red pepper salad.
The great thing about a raw diet is that you're barely using the oven/stove, if ever! You just cut shh up, throw it in a bowl with some greens and you're good! Easy for me to understand & implement no matter how busy I am. My fancy chef girls have encouraged and challenged me to expand my own recipe base this year, so that I'm eating more/similar meals I enjoy all the time, on-Challenge or off.
I still look for recipes that aren't super complicated, and I've actually been searching for Paleo recipes along with whatever ingredients I've bought for the week. "Paleo chicken & mushrooms" "Paleo cauliflower rice" etc. etc. One of the best things about 33 to Glow is it's super-Paleo friendly, so I can make meals for my boyfriend's MMA fighter diet too. The couple that eats healthy together, has more energy for fun stuff together! LOL
Homemade sweet potato fries, stir-fried veggies and Persian shirazi salad (thanks Natasha!)
I'm a creature of habit, and often make dishes that last me a couple of meals. Yes, even with a forever-hungry fighter boyfriend in the house. That gives me the ability to do food prep in 2-3 bulk sessions every week, rather than deciding what to cook, in the moment when I'm already hungry. Food prep does wonders for portion and craving control!
Changing your lifelong habits is a constant work in progress, and I've definitely had my share of 'falling off the wagon,' especially with the choices and time I make for food. But this is one of the things 33 to Glow is all about, right? Little, consistent steps forward to mindful, healthier eating habits.
If you have any favorite Paleo recipes, I'd love links/shares in the comments below! Thank you!
There are also deals on For the Glow class packages if you want to check us out!