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My 30 day journey of navigating the nutrition minefield


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I switched to a mostly Paleo diet last May. The primary reason for doing this challenge is to clean my diet back up. More off plan items have crept back into my pantry and refrigerator than I realized. Avoiding off plan items is like navigating a minefield.

I'm starting my Whole 30 challenge on October 1. I have started preparing by reading all labels and isolating or disposing of any items with an off plan ingredient. My goodness, they are everywhere. From soy lecithin or rice starch in my vitamins to carrageenan in almond milk. I became quite relaxed with soy and over reliant an Stevia. For the past two days I have eliminated Stevia. I knew eliminating even this natural sweetener would be one of the hardest parts of this challenge for me which is why I started prior to 10/1.

I'm scouring several sources to find some great new recipes to add to my weekly meal plans, some of the ones I've found look absolutely amazing. I'm ready mentally, and with the meal planning preparation, I'm hoping for a successful challenge.

'He who fails to plan is planning to fail.' Winston Churchill

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I'm three days away from starting this challenge and I can't believe what I'm finding during my preparation. Soy lecithin in my tea, and magnesium stearate in almost all of my 'healthy' vitamin supplements???

I was also disappointed in not being able to find bacon at Whole Foods that did not contain sugar. Not even the uncured kind.

This challenge is a real eye opener. I thought I was pretty good at reading labels. I'm now convinced that anything in a bag, box, jar, bottle, or wrapper can, and probably does, contain off plan ingredients. That's what the challenge is for right? Teaching us how to avoid processed foods.

I'll be looking through my spices and seasonings today. I'm sure many of those will be banished to the 'off plan' cabinet.

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My daily eating plan. I'm probably going to keep my menu simple and familiar for the first week to ensure no slip ups happen. :)

10-12 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (I'm trying to include 8 ounces of organ meat per week as well)

2 cups of green leafy vegetables

1-2 cups of sulphur rich vegetables

1 cup of berries (usually strawberries or/and blackberries)

1 cup of colorful veggies- usually peppers or squash but I'm trying to branch out more

2 servings of fermented foods daily (sauerkraut or bubbies pickles)

8 ounces of coconut water

Lots of healthy fat:

2-3 ounces of seeds and nuts

Avocado, MCT oil, ghee, olive and coconut oil, and coconut milk

Vitamin/supplements (daily unless noted otherwise): fish oil, cod liver oil, CoQ10, kelp, Iron and B12 (3x a week)

I use iodized sea salt and dried sea vegetables to season my steamed vegetables.

On days that I do my heavy weightlifting I will eat 1-2 servings of starchy vegetables- I love sweet potatoes so this will feel like a treat to me.

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I just found a discussion on this board about coconut water. I'm not going to use it as an all day beverage, but finding one that is pure coconut water seems better to me than using some fruit juice or even fruit (which is allowed) to sweeten my water. Besides, I'm drinking it for the potassium and magnesium and not for the taste. I guess I'm confused why people get upset about coconut water that has less than 1% of natural fruit sugar, but fruit juice as a sweetener is still allowed.

I'll be running to the store later today to buy a few more things but I think I have everything in order to start tomorrow. I'm glad I tackled my stevia dependence already, that frees my efforts up to watch other sneaky things like seasonings. I'm actually a little excited to learn how to season my food with just fresh or dried herbs, sea salt, and other real food items.

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It's here, start day!

I enjoyed my morning coffee with ghee. Meals are planned as followed:

Breakfast- veggie (red, orange, and poblano peppers, portobello mushroom, and sliced sweet potato) and egg scramble. Cooked in coconut oil. Served with sliced flank steak and guacamole.

Lunch: large salad (4 cups) with 4-5 ounces grilled chicken, approved salsa, 1/2 an avocado, and 1 ounce of sunflower seeds. 1 cup of blackberries, 3 bubbies pickles. 8 ounces of coconut water.

Dinner: Pan seared cod (in coconut oil) served over zucchini noodles with mustard lemon sauce (ghee). I cup of steamed broccoli with ghee and seasoned with sea salt and dried sea vegetables, 1 ounce of slivered almonds, and 1/4 cup of sauerkraut.

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