I’m not ready

So, here we are. The 10th of May, right? Sigh.

I started a 30 day challenge on May 1st in order to eat as few processed foods as possible. While the organizer of the challenge said it shouldn’t be hard or impossible and if you need to “bend” it a bit you can, I still tried too hard to outdo myself.

Plus, I really miss hummus, chocolate chips, and pancakes. And organic ketchup, salad dressing and Smart Balance. I need to not overeat any of these things but I don’t want them out of my life totally either.

I was a little embarrassed to say this at first but to be totally truthful with you — I’m just not ready for this challenge!

May is a very busy month for me and I just came off of a week of Derby, birthday celebrations (mine), wedding, graduation parties and Mother’s day. These were challenges I realized ahead of time and I tried to plan around them but got a little overwhelmed too.

While the rest of the month won’t be quite as crazy as the past week, I just don’t think I am ready to take on this challenge fully. Perhaps in June? Or maybe never!

I just can’t handle the pressure of another challenge right now. I’m going to keep eating as few processed foods as possible and do a lot of reflecting on where I want to go next with my goals.

I learned quite a bit on this one week I participated in the challenge though:

  • I’ve been reading ingredients and labels like a mad woman! I should be doing this all the time.
  • I need to get back to meal planning so that I don’t get too repetitive and bored with what I make. I also need to keep trying new foods!
  • I need to check out restaurant menus ahead of time and see what vegan-friendly dishes seem the least processed and most nutritious for me.
  • I love fruit! I had been keeping fruit to a minimum due to sugar content but now I’m enjoying a few servings a day and getting more variety. Plus the natural sugars in fruit are so much better than those added in processed foods.
  • I can keep processed soy products (like tofu) to a minimum. I’ve really enjoyed focusing more on veggies and beans to bulk up my meals.
  • I won’t buy anything with ingredients I can’t pronounce or that should not be in a product (for instance, I just want “peanuts” in my peanut butter).
  • I want to make my own foods as much as possible (like homemade bread, nut butters, milks, salad dressing, etc).
  • I love drinking coffee and tea “black” or just using an unsweetened nut milk for “creamer” but I have a caffeine habit.
  • I don’t have to buy canned soup, frozen meals or burritos at all!

This one week of the challenge also helped me realize some goals I have as far as changes in my daily diet go. I think these are the changes I wanted to make originally and used the challenge to try and help me get there.

But let’s just take the challenge part out of it for a bit. Here are the Big 5:

  1. Break the caffeine addiction
    What started out as 1 cup of coffee a day at work has turned into 2 and that doesn’t count the weekends when I can have the equivalent of 4-6, thanks to the coffee maker and Starbucks iced coffee. I’m not sure how I’m going to do this yet.
  2. Eat 100% whole grain
    For me, this means oats, oat bran, brown rice, whole grain couscous, other whole grains, and only homemade whole wheat bread. I don’t even want to buy store bought bread anymore, it’s just not as satisfying. I also don’t miss whole grain pasta now that I’m back in spaghetti squash mode. So I think I’m done with that too.
  3. Limit to one alcoholic beverage per week
    Alcohol should be a treat and not a daily indulgence. We visited a winery over the weekend and I chose not to buy a bottle because I don’t enjoy it as much if it’s readily available to me all the time. For me, it should be a treat enjoyed only while out with friends or having a girl’s night potluck 🙂
  4. No diet soda, ever!
    The stuff makes me feel like crap, plus all those chemicals give me nightmares (not literally but just the thought of what they are doing to me). Why do I torture myself? I am working toward nipping this in the bud. Pom + Seltzer is helping 🙂
  5. Eat only the best foods
    Basically, I want to eat a healthy vegan diet, full of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes and whole grains. I still plan to keep processed foods to a minimum, but I can’t eliminate them totally yet. I will buy organic and local when I can and I’m hoping to try lots of new recipes soon. I want to eat what makes me feel good, only when I’m hungry and also be an environmentally-conscious consumer.

This is not a challenge and I have no time frame in mind, but I will be working hard toward achieving these goals every day.

I love Mondays! They make me feel so inspired and it’s a new day to work toward a new goal. I feel a little bad that I’m “quitting” this challenge but I’m still planning to keep it in mind as I make my own changes.

What changes do you hope to make in your diet?

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About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on May 10, 2010, in challenges, changes, diets and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You are so open and honest and that’s one of the things I love most about you and your blog. And it’s not like you didn’t discover valuable information with this challenge, whether you’re doing it or not! But knowing when something isn’t for you is a challenge in and of itself! And I’m proud of you for knowing yourself so well 🙂 Press on, sister!

  2. I love you. This so made me smile. Neither am I. I love hummus, arthurs thins, etc. Those are good foods – they aren’t bad for me.
    And I still haven’t had any soda (diet or otherwise) since March 1. Sometimes I crave it but just let it pass.
    Have a wonderful day friend!

  3. Do what you need to do!

  4. I think this is perfect. You are walking away from it with valuable information, and it takes a lot to recognize when you need to adjust or abandon to find what works for you. Honestly, I know there are all of these challenges around, and kudos to those who are doing them, but after trying a couple for myself, I feel like I’m one of those people who those are not so great for. I guess I feel like it’s better for me, personally, to focus on making smaller, sustainable changes than going 30 days with a perfect diet. Those goals are useful, but it’s what you do long term and those changes that are truly important. And your goals sound like wonderful ones to have, and maybe this challenge was a great springboard to those.

  5. I think the changes you’ve made thus far (reading labels, being super duper conscious of what goes in your body, sticking to a vegan diet) are HUGELY impressive, so kudos to you for that alone and I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much about the challenge.

    As someone who really enjoys a glass of wine (or five), I have to ask why you’d want to restrict yourself to just one drink a week? I don’t see any harm in having two glasses with dinner on a Saturday night or going to happy hour with girlfriends. I can understand cutting back — I have limited myself to no wine on weeknights unless it’s a special occasion — but on weekends, I go buck wild. I kid, I kid. On weekends, I drink wine with every dinner. The weekend starts on Friday night in my book, btw 🙂 I can understand the one drink rule if you have a family history of alcoholism or have diabetes concerns, though.

    • I think my original reasoning for the alcohol thing was that it’s more enjoyable if I only have a drink once in a while. I also can’t afford to drink much more than that, haha! And this past week, I had a drink Wednesday night, Thursday night, three on Friday night and then one on Saturday. That is way more than I would normally have, so I guess I felt like I needed to rein myself back in! Also, I do worry about consuming “empty” calories even though one glass of wine can have health benefits. One drink per week is typically my norm, so it’s not really restrictive for me. And if an occasion arises to have another glass of wine once in a while, I will enjoy that too.

      Thanks for the comment and question 🙂

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