21 Days: Day 7

By October 9, 2011Experiments

If you hadn’t noticed already, I’m a fan of life experiments and challenges.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to eat completely healthy.  Would it really make a difference?  Would I feel better?  Would a 6-pack (more like 4-pack) finally show through?

With the help of 2 friends, I have embarked on this journey.  21 days.  7 rules.  2 freebies a week.  $25 gift card penalty every time someone breaks the regulations.

The Rules:

  1. No sugar
  2. No white flour or white rice
  3. No processed food
  4. No alcohol
  5. No dairy
  6. No red meat
  7. No caffeine
Notices & Challenges:
I’m officially a week into this heath food experiment.  It’s not easy.  It’s been surprising how difficult it is to find food (even in San Francisco) outside the grocery store.  Lunch hour is tough.  Those food trucks I love so much: a faded memory.  I’m saving money by not buying a latte every day and by not purchasing alcohol, but I’m limited to $15 organic fish tacos, a $12 salad, or  $10 coconut chicken for options near the office.  I may need to buckle down and find food I can take to work that will fit in my messenger bag.
Fresh Veggies!

Fresh Veggies!

It has, however, helped me realize that I eat excess food.  I love eggs benedict, but I’m pretty neutral on English muffins, so why do I eat them?  I also realized I can be social without drinking.  I’ve been to bars and nightclubs and drank water.  I had just as much fun and left more hydrated.  It was painful to watch my roommate drink Brother Thelonius right in front of me while I munched on wild rice, but I’m making it.
I’ve noticed slight weight loss and in general I feel leaner, but hungry.  Meal time has turned into a challenge in and of itself.  As a total foodie, turning mealtime into sustenance, rather than an enjoyable ritual has been difficult.  I’m trying to make it all taste good and not get repetitive, but I’m just not that good of a cook.
The stakes are high.  I really can’t afford to fund my friend’s wardrobe with Anthropologie gift cards, so I’m going to stick to it.  I would be very appreciative of anyone’s suggestions, tips, or recipes if you have them!

Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • littlesundog says:

    Eating clean is really difficult. My husband and I started nearly the same type of healthy diet as you described about 6 years ago. We were very strict the first 6 weeks and it was agony. In a way, it’s like going into rehab. The body rebels the change… but then in time something miraculous happens and one gets past the cravings.

    I spent a lot of time researching recipes online. I learned to cook with spices that I’d never used or even heard of. Most of the time, being adventurous was the key to a great new recipe.

    Once you wean yourself from unhealthy choices, you’ll discover you no longer feel good eating or drinking like you used to. You’ll feel better and look great. Be positive and visualize yourself healthy… and remember to SMILE!

  • Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for the tips! I like the creative spices idea. I will be sure to visualize healthiness and to stay smiling! 🙂

  • Linda says:

    If I could look like that in two weeks I would give it a serious try. Although I have serious cravings and I am hungry a lot. I don’t eat red meat so that is the only rule I already follow. this blog, ticklepea has a lot of vegan recipes and ideas.

    Good luck!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks for the blog recommendation, Linda! Much appreciated. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on my results. I’ve been going to bootcamp for the past couple of months, so maybe my abs really will start looking like that. Haha. ::Crosses fingers::

  • Hello Jacqueline,
    My English is bad! Yet with a translator I enjoyed your article! It is a very difficult regime to adopt! However beneficial! Following a serious cardiac event, this is exactly the system required .. Very suitable for the balance of cholesterol, more important than weight loss! One can very well get used to eating salads, fruits and fish, I add some quinoa! And now! Sometimes I crack a little ..

  • ashkitty says:

    Loved this post…was quite a inspiration since I am trying to motivate myself back into a healthy life. Keep me posted if you did manage a glowing skin in 21 days…probably that will all the motivation I need! for now, I am just off to the gym reading this…:)

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and encouragement! So far, I have noticed that my skin is clearing up, so maybe it will glow by the end. I will definitely keep you and everyone else updated. 🙂

  • john says:

    15 bucks for a taco??!!! I’m in the wrong business.

  • Currie Rose says:

    Good for you! Here’s what I’m having for dinner tonight…. though it’s pretty starchy… Roasted sweet potatoes, carrots and red potatoes with leeks and scallions on a bed of quinoa. Take all of the potatoes and cut them into one inch cubes… then finely chop the leeks and onions toss with about a tablespoon or a little more of olive oil bake for about 55 minutes at 375 and serve with lightly sauteed and finely chopped laticino kale mixed in on a bed of quinoa… or no quinoa… it’s your pref. Another good snack is roasted cauliflower tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. YUM…. or curly kale with olive oil and salt and pepper andput in the oven for 10-15 minutes. wonderful replacement for potato chips…. 🙂 Have fun!

  • Dounia says:

    Good luck – I’m kind of going through the same situation (not as strict as you, but getting there!), just to get healthier and lose those extra superfluous pounds!

    A healthy and tasty snack I really like is roasted almonds – but roast them at home, so you’re sure there are no additives or salt overload. Just put them on an oven tray, sprinkle some water on them (so they don’t dry out too much) and put them in the oven. They shouldn’t take too long, and once they’re done it’s a crunchy, tasty, and more importantly, healthy snack! They also last longer when they’re roasted. You can just eat a handful for a snack, but they’re also delicious in salads or thrown onto chicken and veggies to give the meal a little extra something. Hope that’s a little trick that can help change it up! 🙂

    Oh, and something else that works great in salads, or even cooked with some olive oil and lemon juice, are chick peas. Or you can just make some hummus with them too – put them in a blender with some tahini (it’s sesame paste), some lemon juice, some crushed garlic; blend and use as a dip for raw veggies (carrots, cauliflower, celery, whatever you like!)

    If I think of something else, will let you know! 🙂

  • Luca Ricci says:

    I’d love to prepare a nice lunch for you, all veggies, whole grain pasta…but could you make an exception for a good and healthy glass of red wine?
    And coffee then, of course 😉

  • Adam says:

    Start juicing! You will be surprised how full you can get by juicing a pile of carrots, apples, ginger (small dose!), random green vegetables and anything else on your list! One of those in the morning will tide you over to lunch, only challenge is buying and cleaning that juicer.
    Trail mix! Make yourself some dried fruit and nuts combos to munch on all day long, will help you over your lunch time dilemma.
    You can do it!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Adam! I will be sure to keep that in mind. I remember all your juicing in Shanghai. I have been keeping cashews, herbal tea, and quinoa granola at work. It’s helped a lot. Thanks for commenting and for the encouragement. 😉

  • careohhlyn says:

    As a vegetarian I really find this challenge interesting, I really adore this blog I’ll make sure to follow.

  • Jacqueline–presumably, you are many years younger than I am. What does this mean? I’m not sure.
    I’ve struggled with a few addictions and trying eating healthy for much of my life.
    I hate being hungry–it’s a disastrous situation for me. I basically don’t allow it. It can lead to me shoving junk into my mouth. I have gone through periods of giving up different foods only to find that moderation is best for me. However, until hitting the hormonal changes of menopause, I couldn’t be moderate about many things. I have been ruled my hormones for a long long time. They aren’t too kind to me. I’m feeling freer than I have since I was a little girl. I am amazed that my hormones (I now realize) have caused a lot of my wanton food behavior! I’m being a bit funny, but it’s also somewhat true.
    In any case, several years ago, I gave up all sorts of foods and it was a great experiment in seeing how I react to so many things. I came to realize how I live for eating. I can see you describe this in this post.
    I think moderation is harder than being hard-core or extreme. Balance. It’s a life-long pursuit and one I didn’t even know I valued or craved until recently, but when I get it, whether how I eat or how I manage my emotions, I love it. I love balance. Yoga is my partner in this pursuit.
    Anyway, thanks for the food for thought (ha ha on the pun) and I wish you well with whatever you discover.

    • Jacqueline says:

      I can relate to the hate being hungry thing. I’ve learned a lot going through this 21-day healthy eating experiment, and I’ve also frequently found myself hungry. It’s even become a joke at bootcamp. “How’s it going, Jackie? Still hungry?” On the whole, it’s been great though because it’s allowed me to see what I put in my body that I really don’t need to and what I need to eat because I truly enjoy it. I enjoy a nice glass of wine. I miss chocolate and delicious lattes. I agree with you on moderation. I will definitely be cutting back on my social alcohol intake. Turns out water works just fine, and it’s cheaper! 😉

  • Also, wanted to say, you don’t need to have a six-pack. They are overrated. A new manifestation in slick photography and a culture in which we often strive for style over substance. People have a lot of time on their hands to hone their bodies, but this is fairly new. It’s probably only been in the last 30 years that anyone wanted a six-pack. That’s not much of human history and a six-pack in and of itself has no meaning.
    Feed the hungry and poor or a family and children and you may not care so much whether you look like that woman or not. I’m sure you are beautiful and perfect in your own ways.
    Just my opinion!

    • Jacqueline says:

      Haha. I appreciate you saying this, and it’s a very good point. I’m not really seeking a 6-pack. It was more of a joke about all the things people say if you eat super healthy. The max it would probably turn into at this point is a 4-pack. I spent many years being very concerned about how I looked, and now, I just don’t care that much. I’m healthy, I’m balanced, and I exercise and take care of my body. I think those are the most important aspects anyway. Part of enjoying life is to have balance and moderation, like you mentioned earlier. Thanks so much for all your comments and for sharing your thoughts! That’s what brought me to your blog in the first place. 😉

  • sounds brutal…but totally worth a try! seems like you’re getting into a groove now, so keep up the good work!

  • OMG Jacqueline! So glad you found me so I could find you, LOL! I started the Atkins way of eating a month ago and love everything about it. I have lost 10 pounds and 10 inches and haven’t missed a beat. Your challenge is much more challenging. I love meat so that wouldn’t work or me. Just make sure you get enough of what your body needs to function at its best. Stay the course. You can do it! What I liked about Atkins is I needed to get rid of the cravings for carbs (the unhealthy variety) and sweets. I am tall and carry my weight pretty well, but I know I needed to lose a few, about 15-20 and that was that. Didn’t want to gain 10 a year (I’m 55) and wind up…well you know what I’m saying. I’m also not hungry all the time. Whatever works! Yahoo!

    I love the concept of your blog. I’ll be back to follow your progress missy!

    Hugs, Margie

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks so much, Margie! I thoroughly enjoyed your comment and very much appreciate your “atta girl’s” and enthusiasm. 🙂 I’m also impressed with your results: 10 lbs / 10 inches: wow! I did this more as an experiment to see how I would feel. For me, yours seems even harder because you gave up carbs. I only gave up white flour, rice, and sugar, so I still eat brown rice, wild rice, etc. I’m in my final week now, and I really want a cupcake. I have noticed that I’ve slimmed down a bit, and although I don’t have a 6-pack, the bootcamp work has paid off! I’ll be sure to continue checking out your blog as well and update everyone at the end of the grand experiment. Thanks again and hugs to you too! 🙂

  • Aloha and encourage you to GO FOR IT!. It really is not that difficult to eat healthy and there are many many good sources of info. Making the changes is what is difficult. Once you start reading labels and find out about hormones and preservatives added to food it makes it much easier to turn away from much of the packaged and processed foods offered at the super.
    To your health! Dohn.

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Dohn! I’m in my 3rd week / day 18. I already ate pretty healthy, but this has taken it to a whole other level. It’s been a very good learning experience, which I will be sure to write about soon. Thanks for visiting and commenting! 🙂

  • dressupforme says:

    Here is what I suggest you could eat to feel less hungry and not to break the rules:
    – cottage cheese and curd (the less salty the better);
    – milk;
    – eggs (fried, boiled);
    – chiken;
    – seeds like sunflower and pumkin;
    – dreid or fresh fruits for some sugar replacement. Try banana, they are more filling then apples.

    That’s what I ate when I was in a similar challenge 🙂 Try to make a joke out of the moments when it gets so hard that you feel you hate it. A good laughter a day keeps teh doctor away! 😉

  • Great challenge! Sounds like an excellent cleanse, and a good time of year to do it. I am interested to read your followup post. I am enjoying your blog 🙂 Thanks for finding my lightheartedsoul blog.

  • lrntn says:

    I guess I shouldn’t be reading this when I just finished some Halloween candies ! In all seriousness, I think it’s great what you’re doing and experimenting. I mean wow… it’s amazing. Best of luck, and fun too! PS–many thanks for your kind words

  • viktoriablog says:

    Hi Jacqeline!
    I just wanted to tell you how much i love your blog! The idea behind it is so inspirational, and I look forward to following you:)
    I created a bucket list with a friend of mine, but we have to accomplish all the things on the list by the time we are 21, so I need to hurry up! hahaha:)
    And well done for being so healthy! I’m impressed:)

    greetings from Viktoria in london:)

    • Jacqueline says:

      Thanks Viktoria! I really enjoyed reading your blog too. What are some of the items that you and your friend have yet to accomplish and how long before you’re 21?

  • Ana Diego says:

    I started eating healthier in June because my check up didn’t go so hot with the doctor. I didn’t start working out like crazy, but I did become more active. I’ve dropped 33lbs since. I feel it’s partly 85% of my diet. Very similar to yours. I was grateful for the weight loss, but incorporating new healthier foods and cutting down on sugar, salt, processed foods as well as anything WHITE (flour, pasta, white rice), really has me feeling a lot better. I’m not so tired all the time and I don’t rely on coffee because of it! I used to be a caffine addict bc of my bartending schedule. Now I only really need one cup in the morning. Oh and turns out I was lactose intolerant SOO cutting out cheese has definitely made me feel better on a day to day. I don’t really miss it or crave it anymore…my body craves eggplant over pizza these days. I never in a million things thought I would say that.

    • Jacqueline says:

      33 lbs! Wow! That’s amazing. Way to go. Even though that’s impressive, I might be more blown away by the fact that you like eggplant more than pizza now. That is a feat in itself. I’m also lactose intolerant, but I love my lattes. 🙁 I’ve switched to cappicinos now to cut down on some of the milk, and I’ve definitely cut down on cheese for the most part (I say when I’m going to a cheese event tomorrow). At least I’m working out! haha.

  • A six-pack looks nice, but it it’s too time-consuming for me. I don’t like hanging out in the gym. Went to the gym for the last 3 years, but got bored of it..

    • Jacqueline says:

      I agree! I was a Varsity athlete in high school and a division one athlete for part of college–spent a lot of time in the gym, and it does get boring and repetitive. Now, I ride my bike everywhere and go to bootcamp in the park. Same benefits of the gym, but I love doing pushups in the grass and being outside. Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year! 🙂

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