30 Jan Kick in the Whole 2.0: February Challenge
I’ve gotten quite a few requests to get this bad boy up and running again, as some people are in need of a good old fashioned kick in the proverbial (myself included). Last October, I set a challenge called Wild Healthy’s Kick in the Whole, which was a simple yet focused effort to get us crowding our plates with whole foods, and pushing out the refined and processed stuff. It was brilliant! The response was fantastic, particularly on Instagram, with people posting the most amazing array of nourishing foods. Below is probably my favourite collection, as it was Autumn, and everyone was eating so seasonally:
Seriously yummy stuff! So now that Spring is here (February is Spring, right?) it’s time to kick things up a notch, and leave Winter 2014/15 behind (frankly, it’s been one of the more challenging winters, but maybe I say that every year). Thank you so much to everyone who took part last time; it would be great to see you back again. And for those that took part from afar, well done. You know who you are, ya shy things. What follows is the original post from October where I outline some guidelines about eating Whole Foods. This challenge is from Feb 1st to March 1st, which is technically 29 days, but don’t be a math tyrant.
Even if you haven’t declared publicly that you want to take up the challenge of eating whole foods, I do hope that you’ll dip in and out as suits you. Indeed, there will be people committing to all levels, depending on their specific needs: to one meal a day, all meals a day, 5 days out of 7, 21 days instead of 30 days, and there are a range of dietary requirements from coeliacs, to vegans, to vegetarians, to pescatarians, to paleos.
This post is all about stocking a Whole Foods cupboard. Again, we’re all on different paths with different needs, budgets, numbers to cook for, and external demands, so this is all massively sweeping. Just take from it what you need, and leave what doesn’t apply.
Quinoa, short grain brown rice, brown basmati rice, buckwheat, millet, oats. These complex carbohydrates are the foundation of a whole foods diet, adding b vitamins, soluble and insoluble fibre, and low glycemic yet essential fuel for the body.
Vegetables and Greens
Half your plate should always be covered by an array of vibrant veggies. Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, rocket, spinach, squash/pumpkin, onions, garlic and mushrooms, and you get the idea. Remember what your granny told you; eat your veggies, ya pup.
Depending on your personal ethics, take and leave what you need from this list.
Legumes are a wonderful plant-based source of protein and buying tinned legumes is a life-saver if you are stuck for time or resources. Tinned kidney beans, chickpeas and butterbeans are handy to have on the shelves for throwing into stews or making hummus. Tempeh is also fantastic, and can be bought frozen or vacuum packed.
Fresh, unbattered fish with minimal preparation other than de-boning. Tins of sardine, mackerel, and anchovies are handy and a great source of omega 3. Buy brined only. No sauces or marinades.
Lean, organic meats. No bacon, sausage, pudding, kievs, fish fingers, pies, chicken wings. These foods are poor quality meats, have more filler than protein, may contain some other animal such as horse or pigeon, and do not contribute to the health of the planet. Stick with small, lean cuts, from your local butcher if possible.
Low glycemic fruits such as berries, cherries, plums, pears; citrus such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes; high glycemic fruits such as banana, pineapple, mango for the occasional treat. Apples – all day every day. Need a snack, eat an apple.
Nut butters. Buy organic, where possible, and the ones with no added sugar, oil, or salt. Meridian is a great brand in Ireland and the UK. Almond, hazelnut, cashew, and peanut. Granted they are technically ‘processed’, but minimally so. The nuts are merely ground until their natural oils are released and nothing is added.
Tinned tomatoes. A life saver for creating healthy stews and casseroles from scratch. Season with herbs to make a hearty base for veggies and or proteins.
Water. 35ml/kg a day, or the more general 2 litres. Hydrate those cells, flush out those toxins, get your kidneys and urethra moving, and make your pee clear.
If and where possible, remove refined sugars, refined oils, caffeine and alcohol. For me, I’m starting with sugar. I’m removing all refined sugar for 30 days. With caffeine, I’m removing my 2nd cup of coffee from my afternoon routine and swapping it with herbal tea, but I’m not removing my morning coffee. That’s as far as I’m pushing myself, for the first 7-14 days, anyway. If you think about where you have room to improve, take action there. Ultimately this challenge is not about removing but about focusing on adding whole foods to your plate as much as possible. It’s not Whole30. It’s not a programme I’m selling, and there are no guarantees for the end of the 30 days. If we all just make the effort to incorporate unprocessed, life-giving food for the month, based on the above staples and a little flare in the kitchen, we should feel a little better, look a little brighter, and have made a little stand in our own empowered way.
P.S. The above is the epitome of a kick in the hole. It’s not new information, we all know about these foods and about how we should be eating. What exactly are we waiting for? Let’s get on with it.
to your very good health.