28 Sep October Challenge: 30 Day Kick in the Whole
I hate being the guy who says “you know, it’s only x days til Christmas”, months before Christmas, but I was that guy yesterday. I’m in the middle of some serious assignment and time management planning, so I inadvertently worked out that it is currently 12 weeks until Christmas. I mean that’s 3 months away. A quarter of the year still left to go. But when you characterise it in weeks, it suddenly feels so much shorter than it actually is. So, I’m sorry for being that guy.
That said, I’ve been doing a lot of analysis of my own diet lately, as it’s what I do for a living with others. I have plenty of room for improvement in the way I eat, and I’m determined to get back on track with certain tenets of Eating Well that I hold true for myself and for my clients. As a nutritionist, I don’t prescribe any one diet, as I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to food and nutrition. The one prescription I do dole out when getting people back on track with their food choices is to Eat Real Food. What I mean by this is that we must return to eating foods with as little processing, refining, and anonymous production as possible.
This topic is one that angers me when I get going, so Imma just rant a little first, if I may, and then get back to the point of this post. I get self-righteous and irritated about the state of ‘food-like-products’ on our shelves today, how they are incessantly forced into our eye level, making our day particularly difficult if you, like me, try really hard to avoid eating this junk. We are all trying to live our lives as best we can, but are pummelled by advertisers and food corporations every time we walk down the street, go to work, get some fresh air, buy our groceries, and get on with our days. Banksy has this wonderful quote that really sticks with me:
People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.
Banksy’s remit is graffiti, and it is a form of anti-establishmentism that is so artistically intelligent and subtle, that he just blows my mind. I dig this guy so much. And I feel that insipid leering of advertisers every day. All buses in Dublin sell advertising space on their sides, so that every vehicle in their fleet that passes you has a banner the length of the vehicle selling you something, and butting in to your life. Dublin Bikes, the fantastic scheme we share with other European cities, are now sponsored by Coke Zero. Their website states that over 8 million journeys have been made since the scheme started, so you can calculate how many times we’ve seen a Coke Zero ad whizzing past us as part of our day. How is that right?
ANYWAY! Ranting aside, we’re not all anti-establishment activists taking back our streets with artistic graffiti. What we are, however, is consumers. We buy products that we require to fuel our day. The small yet effective changes we can make are with our forks. We can choose not to eat these crappy foods that tempt us with their smart packaging and false health claims. It takes a lot of effort, and that is the part that bothers me the most, because we are not always strong and our wills are not always the louder voice in these struggles, but if we can somehow push through with that hard effort, we can refuse to purchase the swill they’re peddling.
So, with that, I’m initiating a campaign for October called Wild Healthy’s 30 Day Kick in the Whole. It is a jolt from your friendly neighbourhood nutritionist to get you thinking about the foods you are purchasing and consuming. It’s swapping a commercial cereal bar for an apple, some nuts and a piece of dark chocolate. It’s deciding what requirements you have for your beverages; if you need stimulation, use coffee, tea, or green tea; if it’s hydration use water. Other than that, cut out the fizzy drinks, the caffeinated soft drinks, the moccha-chocca-frappe-whatsits and the sports drinks. Even if it’s just one meal a day, it can and does make a massive difference. Eating Whole Foods is how our bodies are designed to eat. It is how we digest and absorb nutrients most efficiently. We’re damn fine machines, and we run run best with the right fuel source.
As regards the rules or criteria for this challenge, you are in charge. There are programmes out there which cut out all grains, all oils, all caffeine, all alcohol etc for a 30 day reset; it’s not exactly what I had in mind for myself, but you can take it to where you need to. Just have a think about what eating Whole Food means to you? How many ingredients should food-stuffs have? How will you take charge of your food preparation and consumption? Even if it is only one meal a day to start with, what does it look like when you remove processed food from your plate? I want you to tweet it, instagram it, Facebook it, or email it, every day. For 30 days. Tag a friend and see if they will go along with you. Share recipes and photos and challenges. Accountability is a powerful thing, and I have seen amazing results with people who have shared their journey publicly, and those who have gotten on board with them. I am available to answer any questions you have, and I’ll be sharing what I’m eating as well as some recipes if you need any extra inspiration. This is not a diet, and no harsh judgement is warranted, so leave that shit at the door. We’re all just gonna try and do our best in a society that will make it a challenge to do so, and budget and resources vary greatly between individuals. If you join this little challenge, bring your heart as well as your determination, and that’ll do nicely! I’ll run it from October 1st-31st, with a view to assessing how we all did on Hallowe’en. We know what we should be eating, so let’s give each other a gentle kick in the hole to get motivated to eat whole.
Twitter and Instagram Hashtag: 30daykickinthewhole Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And here’s a wee photo you can use for your own Facebook, twitter, or Instagram page to let people know what you’re up to, and why you’ve suddenly started taking photos of your lunch.