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Get Real: January Recap

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

We thought it would be nice for us to ask someone in the Get Real community to share with you their experience each month with the challenge! Someone different than our blog partners, someone who is in the trenches with you and doing this right with you! This month (and perhaps more to come) Annette Davis of Fit Moms Fit Kids Club has recapped her month. Please comment a recap of yours or link up a blog post recap if you have one! We want to hear about YOURS too! And make sure you are pledged as you will be getting an email on February first to find out if you are continuing on the this journey with us.

Hi Everyone. I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Annett Davis. I’m what one reporter called a slash. I’m an Olympian/ pastors wife/ homeschooling mom of 2/ entrepreneur/ blogger/ speaker/ and there are probably some other things I can’t think of right now. Even though I still play professional beach volleyball you may be surprised to know that I’m probably a lot like most of you. I don’t have it all together. I don’t like working out. I don’t like eating right all the time. I love to bake. I love to eat (I’m a self proclaimed foodie). Most importantly like you, I don’t have a lot of time. Okay so now you know my secrets. Why am I here? Because I know I can do better.

Long story short my dad was also a pro athlete (he played in the NBA) who died a few years ago due to his third heart attack. He suffered from type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, and lots of other things. Everything that happened to my dad was preventable. He only had to make a choice to do two things… eat right, and exercise. Unfortunately, he made his choice to do better too late. After the sadness and anger wore off, reality set in for me. Even though I am a professional athlete, I had been living the same unhealthy life as my dad. If I didn’t change my choices my life would mirror his. Over the past two years I’ve been taking baby steps to get real. I was so excited to hear about the Get Real Series, and knew that I needed to participate in order to continue to get rid of the very things that took my dads life. So, here I am. I’m taking this journey with you, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly with you. We can do this ladies!

Week one we were to clean out our pantries. I can’t tell you how many prepackaged processed foods were in my pantry, but let’s just say I can’t count them on both my fingers and toes. I thought I was doing pretty good until I read Lisa’s Real Food Rules! The good thing is I’ve learned that old habits can die, and I am determined to kill them. :) The biggest issue in our pantry are the snacks. Being on a budget I wanted to use up what we have. I’ve been doing that so I’ll have a “real food” pantry by next month. I can’t wait until all the junk is out.

Week two was great for me. I had some Aha moments. I think I’m turning into one of those “food label freaks”. You know the kind that looks at every label in the store. I LOVE it! It shows that I’m now thinking more about my food choices. I don’t want a cereal with 20 ingredients in it, half of which I cannot pronounce. My favorite part of week two was when Lisa talked about one of her food rules, “If you want junk food, make it yourself.” I’ve taken this to heart. I’ve been making muffins, zucchini and pumpkin bread from scratch. I know it doesn’t sound like “junk”, but it is a sweet treat for me. Don’t worry I’ll make my own cookies, and cake and it it too! If I have a craving for something sweet I’ve decided that I need to make it myself to cut down on eating too many processed treats, or sweets period. But, I have to admit I did have a few slip ups. My husband likes to bring me a candy bar and cookies from our local bakery sometimes to show he loves me (and satisfy his sweet tooth at the same time without feeling guilty). This is one area where we’ll need to tighten up.


source: Amazon.com

On to movie week. Food Inc. is probably my favorite movie about food. I had seen it before, but for this series I watched it again. I was just as fired up as I was the first time. Learning that cows and fish are being fed things that by nature they should not be eating was upsetting. The fact that regulatory agencies were involved with food organizations they are supposed to scrutinize was disturbing. It made me wonder what they are protecting more, us (our health) or their wallets? The illusion of diversity in the grocery store made me wonder about the products I buy and which companies really makes them. Chicken breasts being “designed” by food scientists to be twice as big, and birds raised in half the time as they used to was scary to see. All of this, and a lot more made me yell “What the Heck is going on?!?” I truly believe like the film says that when we buy things we are voting for what we want in our markets. I’m sure I will watch this about once a year to remind me why I’m making these choices.

Week Four, Sugars. Out of all of the weeks this one has been the toughest! I realized one day that whenever I say I cannot do something, that there’s an underlying issue stopping me. One day I said, I can’t give up sweets. Right then and there I realized I was addicted to sugar! This month I lead my readers on a juice cleanse which helped me to reduce my sugar intake drastically. If I hadn’t done this I know my sugar intake would have been through the roof. I eat less sugar now, but my sweet tooth isn’t completely gone. Because of this series I have read about sucanat, and will buy some this week. I’m also going to take my kids on a field trip to a honey farm to buy some raw honey. My sweet tooth usually cries out to me after I put the kids down for bed. Usually I have a cup of tea and a sweet treat. I’m going to keep drinking my tea, and (I can’t believe I’m going to type this) only eat sweets on the weekend! 8 teaspoons or less of sugar a day??? I can do it, right?? I’ll let you know.

Happy to “Get Real” with you! Until next time, blessings!

Annett Davis is an Olympian, happy wife, and homeschooling mom of 2. She blogs over at Fit Moms Fit Kids Club which is all about informing, inspiring, and empowering moms to make fitness and good health a way of life for themselves and their families.

January Week Five Action Item:

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you start this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
  1. Write a summary of how you are doing with the challenge thus far (post in comments, link to a blog post, or post on the FB Fan Page). You can cover any of all of our focus areas for the month:

January Get Real:

Please take a moment to thank our guest authors and sponsors by clicking over to their sites and/or liking them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Guest Author – Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food
Sponsor: ZipListOne pledged Get Real participant will be winning a $200 Visa Gift Card to help them restock their pantry!

17 Responses to “Get Real: January Recap”

  1. Jenn Minardi says:

    I have to say for the most part it was a really great month!

    The first week, we purged and found that we didn’t really have much purging – yeehaw. We do have two cereals that I can’t change or my kids like to much but I’m happy with the Rice Crispies and Plain Cheerios so all in all they are pretty decent choices.

    The second week was good. I had a few oh moments and actually didn’t do any of the normal starbucks coffee that I’ve done in the past. I brewed a lot of coffee this week just to make sure it was always around. I cleaned out my coffee cup and used that all the time.

    The movie week was a eye opener. My husband and I watched the movie, and although we can’t commit to doing local, free range etc etc every day we will be slowly coming over to that side with a goal of 2013 Jan to be completely local/sustainable. A few parts of that movie (ok probably most of that movie made me gag) and I was very happy that my kids and I don’t do fast food. The chicken who couldn’t walk because it grew too fast really made an impact on me and that is our first no more at the grocery store purchase. I found a farmer that I believe I trust and we will go from there.

    The 4th week was a moderate week for me. I realized I’m pretty good with sugar. I don’t add it to my coffee/tea/drink. I don’t believe in better sugar – sugar is sugar no matter the name. But I do like an occasional treat and we will be doing the treat on Sat?Sun only. So far so good!

    Thank you for these challenges.

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks for taking the time to do a recap. It is great for us (and readers) to see. So encouraged by your story and think that your year long goal is a healthy one to make. Sometimes these changes take time. Keep up the good work!

  2. Natalie says:

    I just found your site, and so did not do your week by week challenges for the month. However, I have been on my own little whole foods path this month. I can recap that for you. :)

    Jan 4th I finished reading the book “Wheat Belly” and decided to go grain free, cold turkey. In the last 15 days, I have lost 11 pounds doing really nothing else. In that time, I also noticed that I have naturally (without meaning to) limited both a coffee/latte and soda habit of excess . . . now I have 1 coffee or 1 soda a day instead of several of both all day long. My hunger is mostly gone, as is my interest in sugar (except of course chocolate).

    Our consumption of veggies easily doubled, because when you take out all grains (and potatoes and rice) your main option is veggies. I have also set a goal for us to go organic starting Jan 1, so have been trying new veggies and new veg dishes and searching out new sources for veggies . . . Janruary has def been veg month in our house!

    Two weeks into my no grains diet, I realized that my cronic, severe, nearly debilitating joint pain in my feet and knees was just gone, and had been gone for a while . . . like since I went grain free! This was huge, as it had me nearly crippled and contemplating major surgery and/or extensive therapy just looking for some relief.

    Somewhere in week 2 grainfree I decided to order a Vitamix, so I could make green smoothies and other fresh sauces and get further yet away from processed food. It arrived this week, and we have doubled our fruit consumption and increased again our greens consumption.

    I was telling my husband, I need a different kind of fridge, a fridge for just lots and lots of produce.

    I am now working on converting my husband to a grain free diet.

    We are feeling very healthy and empowered. I made our own berry syrup (sugar free) for our grain free pancakes in our Vitamix, and tomorrow I am making our own marinara from fresh tomatoes, and my goal is to one by one replace all my store bought jars and bottles of sauces as that is the last real hold out for artifical and processed crud in our diet. It’s a fun project.

    Interestingly, I thought it would be ALOT more expensive. I was a hardcore coupon shopper, stockpile rockbottom prices and freezer cook meals to keep our cost per meal as low as possible. How could all this real food and organic food NOT cost more?

    This is not what we are finding. We are paying more for some things, but we are buying overall less food, because we are eating less . . . our hunger cravings and 2 hour hunger cycles are gone. We also found we eat less of the organic food than the equivalent non-organic food . . . the organic food seems more satisfying and filling . . . so we just need less. Plus we are eating out less, which leaves us a lot more money for our grocery budget.

    I am going to look through your weekly challenges and see what type of motivation and inspiration I can find. :)

    • Tricia says:

      What a great testimony and reflection for the month. I am sure this is going to help others as well. It really is interesting to see the ways your budget changes and doesn’t end up being overly expensive. I often think that is a myth we want to believe in order to give ourselves a good excuse to not act. I am interested to see if other readers feel the same way you do.

  3. Beckie W says:

    Since I just found this challenge last night, we will be a bit behind for a while. I have to overlap some things to get caught up! My husband is on board but we are sugar lovers here (we do eat quite a bit of whole, healthy food too…)
    This is just the change we need. I’ve been trying to teach our 6 yr old about better nutrition, and I think this an help!

    • Tricia says:

      Welcome! And there is plenty of time to catch up, we are purposely taking things slow and steady. You can weave January’s challenge into February as we start with breads.

  4. Helena says:

    I have to say that there wasn’t much I had to do this month. I started my real foods journey about a year and a half ago and so my pantry was pretty clean. The one thing that we have to work on is sugar. Me and my girls love sweets. I do limit them in our diet by not making them often and making sure to use natural unrefined sugars. I would have to say though that we generally stay below the 8 teaspoons but we also have high days and low days.
    I am looking forward to the rest of the year and the new tips and ideas.

  5. Summer says:

    I just found this site and it is awesome!! Love reading the personal stories. I would like to add one encouragement about our food. I have watched the ‘Food, Inc.’ also and thought it was very good. BUT, I don’t know if it is completely accurate because of this: My husband works in the food industry at a popular chicken production plant. I have toured the facility and learned all about how they grow their chickens, etc. What they say about the chickens in my husband’s plant is not completely accurate. Yes, they do grow chickens faster and bigger, but not with any unnatural things. They have scientists that concoct a diet that is super healthy with all the correct amounts of what they need. Their are no added unnatural chemicals, or weird things added to their diets. This is why they grow bigger and better and faster. It would be just like a human who eats right, you will grow bigger and better!! I was so impressed by the way they did this!! Their facilities were super clean also. I also heard a comment on ‘Food, Inc.’ that said that there was no government regulation in these places. Absolutely not true!! All of these types of food plants have on site government regulators and they are watching for any infractions of strict government guidelines.

    So, all that to say this. Sometimes when these types of programs are made they may have certain agendas. I’m not saying that some of the things they said were not true, but I would definitely take it with a grain of salt.

    • Tricia says:

      I am so glad you felt like you could share your experience here. It is always good to temper ideas, movies, whatever with both sides of the story, or at least, a story. I also love that you presented your experience so thoughtfully! Thank you so much for sharing and giving us something else to consider.

  6. Rebecca C says:

    I have been making changes too. I haven’t perfectly followed every challenge to the letter, but here are some of the things I have been doing. I have purchased and used sucanat a few times, and using other natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. I don’t eat too much sugar or bake very many sweets. I do have a lot of white sugar in food storage though, not sure what to do there. I have also switched to raw milk from a local farm. I have stopped buying cream soups and will be making them now to avoid the msg and other chemicals. I am inspecting labels and staying away from ingredients that I have no idea what they are and would not be found in a normal person’s pantry. I have also switched the types of fats and oils I use, but I don’t believe that has been discussed yet in any challenges.

  7. Rebecca C says:

    Oh, I also want to add that I have been creating my own “pantry” of real foods to slowly replace my old processed foods, and that add nutrition like flax, chia, lentils and mung beans for sprouting, sunflower seeds for sprouting. The bulk section of the grocery is great for this! After sprouting lentils and mung beans for the first time, I feel like I could snack on them all day and proud that I could do it! Also making my own yogurt instead of store bought. That way I know what is in it and it tastes better anyway.

  8. Jodi says:

    So here is my January recap…

    Week 1. I visited whole foods for the first time. I was really surprised at the prices. I was there to replace most of my purged items in my pantry. I had a stockpile that I acquired using coupons and was overwhelmed by the high fructose corn syrup in everything. Sticker price was definitely something that I was going to have to get over. I really didn’t know where to start so I used the rules that I found on “100 days of real food pledge” and really tried to get items with only 5 ingredients or less.

    Week 2. We decided that visiting the “Indy Winter’s Market” was a little overwhelming. I have never really like veggies so I always have bought frozen and cooked them for my family. I usually skipped over the veggies. Anyway, I didn’t know what a lot of the stuff was so I did a lot of asking questions. I also bought some local flour, pancake mix and syrup, along with some veggies to experiment with.

    Week 3. I had already watched the movie over Christmas break. Since watching it, I have stopped buying any meat at Meijer and contacted a local farm where I can buy “meat packages”. So far we have used a whole chicken (which was amazing) and ground beef! We have some other meat on order…not sure what exactly is coming cause I told them that I wanted try different meats but have never cooked any of it. I know…I am very sheltered with food. I have never cooked a roast or ribs or anything else really (and I am almost 30 years old). We usually only do chicken, ground beef, ham and sausage :(. This is exciting to me!

    Week 4. I was sick all week so I really didn’t keep much track of sugar. But I will say that I made most everything from scratch and used honey for any recipes that called for sugar. Oh, and I cut out most of my soda consumption. I was drinking around 4 cans a day and have cut back to about 1 every other day!

    This is the program for me! I seemed to get overwhelmed if I try to do too much at once and I need a lot of directions! This is perfect! Thanks for making me see that this is totally doable. Hopefully by the time that the year is over, I will be a veggie eating machine :)

  9. Tricia says:

    Well, I might be the big cheese behind this blog but in the case of Get Real, I am right there going alongside of you. So here is my recap too.

    Week 1 – I did a bit of inventorying and was surprised at how many products still needed to be used up for me to be where i wanted to be, especially considering I knew this day was coming. :) But we have used up much of it and I have been excited to try making some new recipes for me. So far this month I have several new to me made from scratch items: enchilada sauce, tortillas, taco seasoning, cereal bars, and rolls.

    The HARDEST thing for me this month started in week 1 when Kelly told me that I should consider giving up my soda (when I was telling her it was the one thing I was going to use as a security blanket). Knowing, in my case, she was right, I went cold turkey. Not the best idea but I was convinced I wasn’t addicted. I would learn quickly I was wrong. I am happy to say that I am caffeine free after several stumbles along the way. It continues to be hard for me though.

    Week 2 – I felt this was pretty easy to tackle in our house.

    Week 3 – I had watched the movie last fall but I actually got my husband to watch it with me this time and it had the effect that I was hoping it would. So now we are more on board together. Of course, he is a few months behind me in his willingness and learning but we will get there.

    Week 4 – Oh sugar! I don’t like sweets really so I didn’t see this being much problem. We used up our processed sugars and started using organic sugar cane and sucanat and I have been pleasantly surprised. Sweet tea is my replacement for soda right now so it will be awhile before we cut back on sugar. Overall, I feel good about our consumption though.

    I am anxiously awaiting February to give my bread machine a workout!

  10. melinda says:

    Week one I did not have much to purge and that was 2 boxes of mac n cheese then the sugar purge was also easy my hubby is diabetic and we use splenda rarely and he drinks diet soda less now. overall things are great. We have been doing this whole foods thing for 14mo and I lost 83 pounds he lost 7 but he also has md so we are both happy about any weight loss for him. I’m truely happy I found your blog.

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