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.

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December 29, 2010 12:01 pm

Back in August I started my own 100 day food challenge where I really cleaned up the foods I consumed. The idea was to focus on eliminating chemicals and preservatives that are rampant in our foods today. The main 3 rules I follow are 1.Would my great grandmother recognize it as food? If not, don’t eat it. 2. Anything you buy in the store must have 5 ingredients or less. This narrows down a ton of things you buy! 3. Don’t eat anything that has an ingredient in it that a third grader couldn’t pronounce. I’ve always looked at labels but this challenge has taken me in a completely different direction in looking at the chemicals and preservatives. I have learned SO much about what our food is made of and what I’ve learned is disturbing to say the least. My blog is http://www.100daychallenge-realfoodjourney.blogspot.com if you’d like to take a… Read more »

December 28, 2010 6:47 am

“Unprocessed” proved beyond me, so we’ll see! But I’m in.

December 27, 2010 5:04 pm

SHOULD be able to manage this challenge:
~ Already follow Rule 2
~ Rarely transgress Rule 3
~ And prefer whole grains, Rule 1…..but unbleached flour is a pretty sneaky ingredient. Don’t change up my grains enough though.
~ Eat plenty of good organic fruits and veggies.

It’s the OTHER stuff that’s ‘my’ challenge. Like some daily sweets (organic raw turbinado sugar in black tea mainly) and don’t exercise daily. So the whole grains & exercise seem like excellent goals.

December 27, 2010 1:38 pm

I’m so looking forward to this. I can not
believe how unhealthy my December has been! (she says having just eaten Christmas pudding!) These are such good rules to follow- for everyone! I also will be incorporating the gym with my healthy eating!

Tina H.
December 27, 2010 12:33 pm

Excellent rules to follow – I would say I am mostly on board with this. Although like Stephanie said, I make my own bread and I use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 unbleached bread flour…just gives it a better texture. But even compared to the 100% whole wheat bread from the store that is in my freezer with a list of ingredients a mile long, having 1/2 whole wheat bread with just 4 ingredients (flour, water, yeast, salt) I think is pretty good! I avoid HFCS in general anyway, and deep fried shouldn’t be TOO hard to avoid. No deep fried means an excuse not to cave and buy chips I don’t need 🙂 So I guess I am joining you! Yeah!

December 27, 2010 12:11 pm

Your three rules are definitely a part of my every day eating. Cheating once in a while is a must, especially when traveling and/or eating out. I will absolutely try to continue to follow these three rules. Looking forward to the New Year.

December 27, 2010 12:08 pm

I’m going to try. I have no problems with the last 2 rules, but rule #1 is tough-I love bread! And although I make my own bread, I have to admit that I often use all-purpose flour, especially in my new favorite French bread recipe! But, I love the challenge, so let’s give it a try!!

Liz the Chef
December 27, 2010 11:57 am

I’m going to cut back on meat and dairy. Trying to emulate Mark Bittman re his “vegan until 6:00”.

December 27, 2010 11:57 am

Definitely got to get my diet cleaned back up. After my trip to Disneyworld it’s been very junky. I feel terrible and can’t wait to start feeling like I did during the October unprocessed challenge.

Michelle (Whats Cooking with Kids)
December 27, 2010 11:54 am

Thanks for the invitation to participate! I am on a label reading rampage and am working on getting better at meal planning so that I don’t slip into old habits. Whole grains are on the agenda, for sure, along with more homemade bread so that we are in control of our ingredients.

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