The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.
Why 5 weeks? Why not 30 days or 7 days? Studies on how long to break or make habits vary anywhere from 18 days to 254 days! So we went for five weeks. It will be five individual steps to change, changing one thing per week.
A large percentage of failures don’t come from it being impossible, but from doing too much too fast. All I’m asking for is one thing, one significant thing each week. For one week change one habit or add one new habit and leave everything else as is. By the end of the five weeks, you should undergo significant enough change to lead to lasting health and wellness change. Do this journey together. Blog about each week as I do them; experiences, thoughts, outcomes, etc.
So let’s get started! I’ll list them week by week and give some examples and experiences I’ve had so you’ll know what to expect.
– Week 1: Add REAL fruits and vegetables to every meal
Bet you thought I was going to start all crazy at first like “give up your firstborn.” No. Why this? Why not something more dramatic? It starts simply enough to give you the best odds of making it stick. Truth is, most of us lack the basics. We eat plenty of starches and proteins (all the good stuff) but not the veggies and fruits. So for the first week, every meal and I literally mean Every Meal, you should include fruits and/or vegetables. Preferably both. This will start pumping in those much-needed nutrients and will also show you that change is possible.
– Week 2: No more fast food. We all have our favorites and we also probably make that choice more often than we should. The first week was simple, eat a salad with your Big Mac. Now I’m asking you to ditch it altogether. This might seem hard, but it becomes easier as the week progresses, especially if you’re a busy body. Where it gets hard is in one of two places. 1) Going out with friends or family or being a busy professional (this includes parents, that is the oldest full-time job) and needing something quick. This is where it becomes real. I’ve made it pretty far on this one only to be cut down by the dreaded blade of convenience. Some solutions I have are Meal prep the heck out of it. This is especially easy if your doing it just for you but is also completely possible with a busy life + busy family. My other solution is Crock Pot! Love me some crockpot meals. A cursory glance into Pinterest and you’ll find more crockpot recipes than you can shake a digital stick at. These are just a few examples, it’s completely achievable. The will is strong within you.
– Week 3: This one is going to be a tad bit harder. Hopefully, by this point, you’re accustomed to changing. Week by week making more sense now? This week we’re going to let go of Processed Bread and Grains. I think I heard the clicking of the exit. It makes sense though. Don’t take my word for it, Medical News Today says “The highly-processed flour and additives in white, packaged bread can make it unhealthy. Consuming too much white bread can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Buying bread with the word “whole” as the first ingredient still does not guarantee a healthful product.” Bread is a tough one but it can be done! This is especially useful if you have gluten allergies or just want to lose weight. Note: this also includes cereals. Give Ezekiel bread a try or any other sprouted bread. There are many alternatives out there but know that in the day and age we live, just because it says “natural” or is an alternative doesn’t mean it isn’t highly processed. Do your own research before indulging.
– Week 4: Substitute fruits and vegetables for snack foods.
“Every 10 percent dietary increase in packaged snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, and other highly processed foods boosts the risk for cancer by 12 percent, new research suggests. Breast cancer, in particular, was associated with greater consumption of mass-produced, ultra-processed foods, according to the study.” – WebMD. We all know they taste good but that comes with a price. Fact is these over-processed easy consumables take a toll on your body. The artificial flavors and colors are hard for your liver to process. Additional chemicals for flavor and shelf life are also hard-hitting. If you are a once in a while-er, probably means nothing, but if you are eating these on the daily, it’s time to cut the cord. One of the biggest reasons to make this sacrifice this week, the enhanced flavors (usually chemically enhanced at that) actually stimulate your dopamine receptors giving you that “ah yeah” feeling. Overstimulation means you have to feed it more to get that feeling. It also means physical withdrawals when not present! Not to mention, the explosive flavor meant to satisfy you makes real foods like fruit taste bland and “boring.” A reset in this area will do you some good.
There are foods not highly processed that will stimulate the dopamine receptors:
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken, and turkey.
- Omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and mackerel.
- Fruit and vegetables, in particular bananas.
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
- Dark chocolate. This is different from regular chocolate as it contains more of the real cocoa and less of a sugary mixture.
– Week 5: Let’s Go! Homestretch. If you made it this far, congratulations. The best and for some, the hardest is yet to come. Week 5 is one thing but has haunted people for decades. Although by now you’ve cut out and replaced so much, now it’s time to cut deep. Time to let go of Soda and other sugary/sweet-tasting drinks.
When you drink sugar is a liquid form, without any fiber to slow the absorption, it’s a straight shot to your liver, nearly instantly spiking blood sugar. If you are diabetic or have insulin resistance, this is a bad idea. If you think going diet is a good idea, think again. One article in U.S. News cited a study showing a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity and diabetes. There are alternatives like Zevia that use Stevia, a plant-based sweetener that doesn’t have an effect on blood sugar, but you would be just drawing it out. Best to try and cut them out. Honestly, the number of calories in soda alone will put most people in a deficit, leading to weight loss.
There you have it. It’s obviously not an exhaustive guide. The more in-depth look would start to explore making your body more alkaline, adding in supplements to help speed up the repair process and bring back a healthier gut. By and large, though, this is a great first step to repairing leaky gut, boosting your immune system, dispersing brain fog, bringing back natural energy. Can we talk about that? Wouldn’t you like to wake up and not have to mainline caffeine to get motivated. The Standard American Diet (SAD for short) has you in a funk. It’s time to take back control of your body. Please leave comments if you’re going to try this, have done it and what your experience was.
Thanks for reading.