Seven-Day Eat At Home Challenge

Three sets of feet and legs in bright colored trail shoes, standing on dirt and leaves. Photo by Imei.
The Sensible Celiac loves to trail run, but hates a Grumpy Tummy. Join MAA’s 7-Day Cook At Home/Eat In Challenge, and see if it puts you on the trail towards better health. Photo courtesy of Imei.

Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?

Do you suspect that the way you eat affects how you feel on a daily basis?

Do you have food allergies or intolerances, or have you recently learned you have a medical condition requiring a change in nutrition and eating habits?

Are you ready to try a food challenge that can help you change the way you think about food forever?

Imei the Sensible Celiac just finished a 3.5 hour trail running race and guess what? My Grumpy Tummy of the past was nowhere to be seen! Wahoo! Wanna see if you can ban the grumpy tummy days and weird fatigue stuff and the sick and tireds?

*drum roll

My Allergy Advocate’s 7-Day Cook At Home/Eat In Challenge!!!!!!

I am super excited to share a simple but no-hold’s bar war against your fatigue, grumpy tummy, and food allergy or sensitivities issues. There are several  layers to a more radical transformation in the way you eat and feel,  so the  7-Day version starts with the most impactful changes you can make to heal your body and fuel yourself, and *drum roll*  none of them involve measuring food, weighing food on a scale, or counting calories*.

For seven days, you will cook your food at home from simple, non-inflammatory ingredients, and you will not eat out in restaurants, other people’s homes, or supplement your food from packages, boxes, cartons, buffets, or the deli. Not one bite. The purpose is to see if there is a strong connection between how you feel (energy, vitality, mood, symptoms) and what you eat. While I’d love for you to consider a 14-day challenge, a 7-day challenge is just long enough to get you over the most profound change: an elimination in  sugar.

What To Eliminate (in a Nutshell):

For the simple version of the 7-Day challenge, everyone who participates, regardless of medical condition,  removes these foods:

  • processed sugars
  • processed foods that contain more than single ingredients, such as bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, and crackers (don’t panic!)
  • alcoholic beverages (it’s seven days, so suck it up, buttercup)
  • top eight allergens (shellfish, cod, soy, corn, eggs, wheat, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts)
  • all grains (yep, this Chinese girl didn’t even have rice for 30 days!)
  • all flours, including substitute flours that do not contain gluten
  • seeds (uh huh, no chia or quinoa, but see below if you’re vegan)
  • corn, canola, and nut oils
  • emulsifiers and gums

Additionally, those of you who already know you have an identified food allergy or intolerance, or a  medical condition that removes additional foods:

  • any additional foods that you noticed your tummy or skin has had a reaction
  • any additional foods you know you have a reaction of any kind to
  • any additional foods that you suspect you have a reaction to

For example, I don’t eat bell peppers, but they never showed up on my ELISA test for allergies. They hurt my tummy. That’s enough for me to eliminate it.

But, What What WHAT Can I Eat?

To give you some idea of what you can eat, in case you are panicking and thinking, “Oh my God, what am I gonna eat? And how is this possible?”, here are some ideas:

  • lean meats like chicken, fish, beef, and lamb
  • coconut and olive oil
  • vegetables (as much as you like) and fruits (limit to a small serving)
  • water
  • limit caffeine

Example: lamb chop with tamarind sauce, sweet potato, two servings of cooked leafy greens.

The most challenged eater  will be those who are exclusively vegan, as some of your plant-based proteins will be eliminated in this challenge. In example, if you are reliant on quinoa as a plant-based long chain protein and you have no known problems with anemia, you may want to keep quinoa during your challenge.

For the rest of you, the challenge only works as well as you are careful to eliminate all of the possible foods that cause problems, and all at the same time. Removing one food while maintaining a steady flow of sugar, for example, won’t do your Candida or Leaky Gut Syndrome much good.

Don’t worry. I’ll be your Food Betch for the duration. You’ll get tips and tricks for staying on track.

How Do I Cook at Home for a Week?

I eat all my meals, including my lunch and snacks at work, from food I prepare at home. What you will need:

  • 6-8 large BPA plastic or glass containers for food storage
  • A lunch box, bento box, or plastic containers that fit in a lunch bag or tote
  • Room in your refrigerator and/or freezer
  • 20 minutes to plan your grocery shopping list and 30 minutes to shop
  • Two batch cooking sessions that will happen in one 2.5 hour session and a second session under one hour later in the week. I will send you a batch cooking tip list on how to pull this off that is both fun and speedy for producing about eight day’s worth of meals.

Still In It to Win It?

Picture of various root vegetables in clear bags, turnips, beets, large parsnips, bag of carrots, a lemon, and a container of Earth Balance coconut butter spread, along with a container of rosemary stalks and a lemon, sitting on a kitchen counter space.
Are you ready? My Allergy Advocate will help you with your 7-Day Challenge. All you have to do is say, “Yes please!”

If you are still with me (and haven’t fainted from exasperation!), and if you are not throwing knives at effigies of Imei the Sensible Celiac,  here’s what you’ll want to do next:

  1. Select the week that you want to conduct your 7 Day Challenge by taking the MAA poll (scroll to the bottom of the post “Why I Don’t Feel Sorry For Myself”).  I will announce a week that most people want, but you are welcome to do this at any time; just contact me and I’ll give you a week’s worth of support via email and resource sheets to help answer your questions, such as general serving sizes you can eyeball, and suggestions on fruit allowances.
  2. Shop for the food you need. For ideas, check out my post Adventures in Batch Cooking for the eight foods I cooked.
  3. Cook and Eat for a week using batch cooking. Keep a digital journal of responses to the food (energy levels, presence or absence of rashes or reactivity, tummy responses, sleep patterns after Day 3, etc).
  4. If you struggle with weight loss or weight gain, be sure to record your weight and energy level before the start of the 7-Day Challenge, and again at the end of the challenge. Please resist weighing yourself in between and adjust by the numbers. Part of the process is to be mindful about your eating and how you relate to food, while noticing your body’s response.
  5. I encourage building in one treat on the last day of the 7-Day Challenge. It can be very simple, such as a piece of dark soy free chocolate, or some fresh cranberries  sweetened with pure orange juice. I don’t call these rewards, as food should neither be reward nor punishment. Think of it as a way to mark the completion of the 7-Day Challenge, and a time to evaluate the benefits you may be experiencing. If you end up have a bad reaction to your treat, you might want to consider how a more lengthy elimination of those ingredients may improve your health for the long haul. 
  6. Keep a journal recording (manual or digital) of responses to food over each day. If you don’t like writing, try an audio recording or a video recording. You can also use your smartphone camera and snap pictures of your food so you can easily keep track of what you ate. Things to record: what you ate, degree of satiation, how long before you wanted to eat again, energy levels, and any changes to bowel movements, cravings, and sleep patterns.

I’ll have a special acknowledgement for anyone who completes My Allergy Advocate’s 7-Day Challenge, so be sure to come back here, claim your acknowledgement, and find out more about what you can do to heal your body with the medicine of food, and fuel yourself for the adventures of a lifetime.

Don’t forget to dial in your week by using the MAA poll at the bottom of the post. That helps me track who’s in and wants to receive support for the 7-Day Cook at Home/Eat In Challenge!

Here’s to having a ton of fun while healing your body and improving your health!

Everything will be OK! Here’s a tummy rub for you!

——————————

*if you have a medical condition, such as Type II Diabetes, involving a medication that you take that is stringently matched to the amount of carbohydrates that you consume, you will still need to count calories. Please refer to your medical practitioner or Registered Dietician before embarking on a change in your eating patterns. Those who struggle with hypoglycemia may find that a reversal of the order of eating, i.e. eat fat and protein first, followed by carbs found in fruits and vegetables, helps with controlling blood sugar drops.

DISCLAIMER: This Challenge is not providing medical advice, nor is it monitored by a physician, dietician, or nutritional counselor. It is not a replacement for medical advice, and it is not a diagnostic tool for disease or any other medical condition.

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