January Rules


I’m not hugely into “New Year’s Resolutions,” but as the calendar flips, I can’t help but reflect upon how things have been going, and how I’d like them to go in the future.

In the past few months, I’ve sort of drifted away from my three eating rules (which also happen to be the foundation of this site).  I’ve become a bit lax about following them myself, and it’s time to re-invigorate.

For a quick refresher, here are my rules (also, please check out my “Start Here” section for further explanation):

  1. When you eat grains, eat only 100% whole grains.
  2. Don’t eat high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Don’t eat hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or anything that’s been deep-fried.

There’s also an important corollary: Once a week, go ahead and “cheat.” Eat anything you want.  (If you’re trying to lose weight, I suggest limiting it to one weekly cheat meal. If you’re trying to maintain your weight and health, you may choose to have a cheat day. It’s up to you.)

These rules aren’t perfect, of course, but I think they give you a lot of “bang for your buck” in terms of having only three absolute rules to follow. It’s simple and effective. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is important, too, of course, as is limiting other added sugars (not just HFCS).  They also don’t address the need for physical activity, the other half of the health equation.  Even so, I believe that everyone who follows these three rules will be far healthier, leaner, and happier.

Quite a few folks have asked me what challenge I’m going to issue for January, so here’s what I’m thinking:  Come January 1st, I’m going to start following my eating rules again, absolutely, for the entire month (and beyond)… and I want you to join me.

(I’m also pledging to get back to the gym… cliché, perhaps, but important nonetheless!)

I’ve asked a few friends to participate publically — Michelle, Jayne, Kimberly, and Rene — and they’ll be sharing their experiences in a few guest posts throughout the month.

I invite you to join in! Just leave a comment below, and commit to following my three rules (plus the cheat meal, of course), for the month.  It’s that simple.

I’m optimistic that these rules will be helpful for you — and I’m hoping by the end of the month you’ll have some good feedback about how it all worked out. Will you want to continue eating this way? Would you change anything about the rules?  So let’s try this experiment together, and see how it goes. Cool?

(I’m also looking for a few more guest posts to share throughout the month, so if you’d be interested in writing about it, please let me know.)

Photo by bubbo-tubbo.

44 Responses to January Rules

  1. Bex December 23, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    I’m in! I’ve been doing my best to eat clean for the past two weeks and this is just another motivator! 🙂

  2. Kim January 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Does anyone know where I can get a very easy whole wheat bread recipie? I can cook but baking isn’t really something I do often so I need something fool proof.

  3. kendall tardy January 3, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    if it wasn’t for me finding this food blog in october i would still be eating processed junk. i’ve been unprocessed for three months now with my one cheat a week. i didn’t even realize it till i started looking at what i wanted for the new year. who knew a food blog could change your life? i sure didn’t expect it.

    thanks for putting the knowledge out there.

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      Wow. Thanks Kendall for this comment! I’m thrilled to hear you’re doing so well and that my blog has had such a positive effect. Keep up the great work, and please keep us all posted!

  4. Rebecca January 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Sweet. I’m in. Flabtacular. Looking forward to exercise rules!

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      I’m going to assume that “flabtacular” is a good thing… 🙂

      Welcome aboard, and congrats on your book!

  5. Cristina January 2, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    I’m already missing two days, but I am on board as of Monday.

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      Great! Don’t sweat those first two days… Keep us posted on how it goes!

  6. Annette January 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I’m in. Missed today as I just got back on ‘Eating Rules’, but really didn’t do bad today. But tomorrow. . . full force January challenge.

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

      Woohoo! Hope it’s been going well so far!

  7. Kim December 31, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    I’m in! I did your last challenge and was almost 100% in it! My goal is to be 100% (except for that cheat meal!) in January!

    Happy New Year!

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Happy new year to you, too! The cheat meal is totally key. It’s important both for your mental and physical well-being… so enjoy it! 🙂

  8. Kim December 31, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I’m in! I already try to stick with 100% whole grains, avoid HFCS and avoid trans fats and the like. I’m gonna add sticking to my minimum 3-day a week gym goal (which is tough with 4 kids). Also we are gonna continue “meatless Monday’s” and try to add more fruits & veggies!

    • Andrew January 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      Terrific! Three days a week at the gym is tough to do, even without four kids! Bravo!


  1. Vegetable Medley Soup with Hearty Grain Biscuits - February 6, 2011
  2. Simple Rules for Eating Better in January (+ a Scone Recipe) | What's Cooking With Kids - January 26, 2011
  3. January Rules | Club Dine In! - January 3, 2011

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