We had our “graduation” from AJ’s Unprocessed challenge this past Sunday, and the results were simply amazing. I’ve seen and read about how dramatically transformational making this lifestyle change can be, and yet every time I see the results first-hand, I’m astounded. We had one participant who lost 20 pounds and the lion’s share of the other contestants lost 16 to 19 pounds…in 30 days! However, weight loss was not the ultimate goal of the challenge. The challenge is designed to give people a kickstart in battling food addiction, but 30 days isn’t really enough. It takes at least 90 days to get over our addictions to salt, sugar, and fat (oil) – in the grand scheme of our lives, can’t we take that minuscule period of time to reset our digestive systems? I have the feeling that the “challenge” isn’t over for most of my fellow participants, and soon it won’t really be a challenge – it’ll just be their way of life. If you want to create your own challenge, I highly suggest buying a copy of Chef AJ’s Unprocessed and just start making recipes. If you’re in Los Angeles, visit her website and take one of her classes. Take it one day at a time and I can assure you that you’ll notice a tremendous difference.
Even though I didn’t experience a radical change – just a bit of a tweak to my eating style – I learned a tremendous amount from being a part of the challenge. Two of the biggest things I took away are the importance of planning and that it’s possible to eat unprocessed while travelling. Like AJ says, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and it’s really true. What I didn’t realize is how EASY eating becomes with planning. Just taking an hour or so, 1 day a week, to prep foods and put together a bit of a meal plan makes an enormous difference. It definitely takes practice and your food prep won’t be perfect every week, but you’ll get better at it the more consistent you are. The same concept plays into the idea of travel. When I used to go on the road for work or vacation, I’d tend to do the best I could with what was available to me and I always felt nutritionally depleted when I got back home. But a little bit of planning – packing some oatmeal, chia seeds, barley grass powder, vegan protein powder, etc. – makes travelling much much easier. I have a more in-depth post coming up about this in the next week or so, so stay tuned.