Avoid all artificial ingredients including, but not limited to: sweeteners, flavors and colors.
Our kitchen is almost purged of all artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors. You’d be surprised at the number of BIG BRAND foods and snacks that contain them:
- oranges from Florida contain ARTIFICAL red dye coloring
- side effects from toxic food dyes
- US FDA allows artificial red dyes on oranges without labeling
I started the Real Food Challenge: 14 Weeks to Cut Out Processed Food in May, which is about 6 months ago!
I’ve not been able to do it in 14 weeks but I can positively tell you that our family’s taste buds have changed a lot since I got them on board this “healthy food challenge”.
What are the changes?
1. My son knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. As he has food allergies and food intolerance, he can tell when he has eaten anything he is allergic to. Previously, he would give in to his cravings but now, he avoids these foods on his own.
I was quite surprised when he told me he didn’t want any jam to go with his french toast – he likes it plain. Isn’t that amazing?
He also does not ask for candy or chocolates in the supermarket.
He also knows how to say “no” to them at school, which is a huge lesson because teachers offer them as rewards and friends offer them to him “Try it!”.
One of the older boys (who used to pick on him) now respects his decision when he broke out into hives again after accepting one of his snacks. Now, that boy asks him, “Can you eat this?” 😀
2. He has also learnt to read food labels. He’s interested in food and learning how to cook and he would happily follow either of us to the wet market or grocery store.
- Yummy Earth, Organic Pops, Assorted Flavors, 50+ Pops, 12.3 oz (349 g) – US$6.99 (for my son who is allergic to artificial food colouring)
When he picks up anything from the supermarket, he would ask, “Does this have colouring? (he’s allergic to one type) No sugar in here, Mommy!”
3. He’s teaching his sister about healthy and unhealthy foods. Definitely the *cutest* part of this challenge – I have to hide my smiles when I hear a little voice giving a lecture and the toddler nodding. They are so earnest! LOL.
The toddler loves simple carbs e.g. bread, candy, cookies and man tou, especially as she’s getting a lot of it at her preschool.
Unfortunately, the local Chinese preschool does not encourage packed food – “Our food’s not good enough for you?” -_-
Also, the toddler prefers to eat what her friends are eating or she’s pressured into it. No worries, I’ll pack food for her when she’s older.
4. The Hubs has also made a big switch in his eating patterns. Woo-hoo! I have been worried about his weight gain but now, we are all happy that he’s lost weight. He’s also choosing healthier foods on his own.
I was really happy to see this change in him without my having to lecture, nag or throwing him dirty looks. ^_^
5. I am healthier. This has to be the biggest bonus because I feel better, more energetic and in general, happier about life. That’s really important when you’re a mother to small kids.
I had an annoying rash a couple of months ago but that has gone away.
Later, I read up that a rash is a sign that your body’s detoxifying itself. I eat a lot of fast food and junk food during my school, college and working days – that’s at least 20 years’ worth of toxins. Our body needs time to adjust.
My skin has improved a lot – I don’t need moisturizers for the dry skin around my feet. My hands don’t peel during winter. Yay! I still get slightly chapped lips, which means that I need to up my veggie intake.
I’m really glad I joined this real food, no processed foods challenge. It’s opened up my eyes to health and nutrition and best of all, providing healthy, nutritious food for family and friends.
If you’re wondering if you should / could do it, give it a try. It’s taken us six months but it’s a journey for a life. Here’s the link to “Real Food Challenge: 14 Weeks to Cut Out Processed Food“. Just do it.