Week 6 – Trying again

Wasn’t sure what to do this week.  Last week’s challenge was an utter fail.  Never did manage to try even one new whole food!  Sunday morning I was inspired and thought I might fit 2 new things in with dinner, but we had such a nice, relaxing day together as a family, we decided to go out for “Family Date Night” and had dinner at Chili’s instead.

I am trying to decide what to do for this week’s challenge.  I can redo last week’s and try to get the 2 new whole foods in.  Or I can try to do the challenge set up from 100daysofrealfood.com, which is:

Mini-Pledge Week 6: No Low-Fat, Lite or Nonfat Food Products

By 100 Days of Real Food, on April 15th, 2011
photo credit: zeer.com

Yes, you read that right. Next week’s mini-pledge is to avoid all low-fat, lite/light, and nonfat food products. And if my prediction is correct there are quite a few of you who need some explanation on why low-fat products are not considered to be “real food” or – yes, I am going to say it – ”healthy.” When I first learned that the whole low-fat campaign was pretty much a hoax I was absolutely shocked as well. For years I was right there on that bandwagon bingeing on everything from low-fat Snackwells cookies to fat-free flavored yogurt to low-fat ice cream. And as it turns out, according to Michael Pollan, “We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products.”

So here is next week’s pledge that officially starts on Monday:

Mini-Pledge Week 6: April 18 – April 24 – Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Here’s a direct quote from Pollan’s book Food Rules that explains it all:

The forty-year-old campaign to create low-fat and nonfat versions of traditional foods has been a failure: We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products. Why? Because removing the fat from foods doesn’t necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbohydrates can also make you fat, and many low- and nonfat foods boost the sugars to make up for the loss of flavor … You’re better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on “lite” food products packed with sugars and salt.

Another New York Times bestselling author, Mark Bittman, agrees in his book Food Matters. He says, “The low-fat craze caused millions, maybe tens of millions, of Americans actually to gain weight, because they were reaching for ‘low-fat’ but high-calorie carbs.” And right on cue directly from Pollan’s In Defense of Food:

At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, Hold on just a minute. Are you really saying the whole low-fat deal was bogus? But my supermarket is still packed with low-fat this and no-cholesterol that! My doctor is still on me about my cholesterol and telling me to switch to low-fat everything. I was flabbergasted at the news too, because no one in charge – not in government, not in the public health community – has dared to come out and announce: Um, you know everything we’ve been telling you for the last thirty years about the links between dietary fat and heart disease? And fat and cancer? And fat and fat? Well, this just in: It now appears that none of it was true. We sincerely regret the error.

So let’s put the low-fat craze behind us and move forward by embracing the right portions of real food and real food only. No more faked low-fat products where according to Pollan, “fats in things like sour cream and yogurt [are] replaced with hydrogenated oils” and “the cream in ‘whipped cream’ and ‘coffee creamer’ [are] replaced with corn starch.” And just to be clear this pledge applies to all reduced fat products including milk. When the fat is removed from dairy products likemilk some of the beneficial nutrients are lost with the fat as well. We just recently switched to whole milk ourselves, and I was honestly a little scared. I drank skim milk up until last year after all! But along with reducing our overall consumption of milk it has actually been a surprisingly smooth transition for us. And after learning the shocking truth behind what we’ve been told for so many years…I’ve never looked at another low-fat product the same again.

I find this challenge a worthwhile one, but I don’t think I am up for it this week.  I am making the change from 1% organic milk we’ve been buying at Costco to the raw, whole milk I can get from http://www.abundantharvestorganics.com, the farm group that provides my weekly produce box.  I bought one gallon of the raw milk this week, just to try it.  I am happy to say that everyone likes it and pretty much agrees that it tastes the same as what we are used to.  So, I have ordered more for next week.  We have less than half a gallon left of the raw milk, which would not be enough to last us the week.  Plus, we still have some of the Costco milk too.  I will definitely take on this challenge, but I’d like to have the chance to get set up for it first.

My original title for this post was “Taking a Break”.  I was going to simply not do a challenge this week.  But now I realize I should just try again with last week’s challenge.  I can’t just give up because I failed, right?  Must get it right!

So – this week’s challenge is a repeat of last week’s!  Hopefully, I will do better this week, especially since I have the 2 new foods I want to try in the fridge already!

(In case you missed it the first time around, last week’s challenge is below.)

Mini-Pledge Week 5: April 11 – April 17 – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

A whole food is something that has one ingredient and is not refined. Some examples that you’re hopefully familiar with are apples, potatoes, brown rice, whole-wheat flour and spinach. Some other whole foods that are a bit less common are as follows:

  • Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”)
  • Barley
  • Parsnips
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Steel cut oats
  • Papaya
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Bok choy
  • Swiss chard
  • Radicchio (pronounced “rah-DEE-kee-oh”)
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Watercress
  • Dates
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Pomegranate (and having the juice in a martini does not count!)
  • Fava beans
  • Lentils
  • Spelt
  • Pine nuts
  • Star fruit
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