How did the FIFteaN Challenge go?

So many people have been asking Brett and I how our food challenge, FIFteaN, has been going and we are loving our response- it's over! 

Yep, one whole month of eating the same fifteen foods came and went and we are.... a little bit lighter and a whole lot smarter. 

Funny stories: 

  • On the last week of our challenge we went over to my Grandparents house for their 65th Anniversary. My Yiayia looked at me and said, "Stacie, have you lost weight?" Truthfully? I hadn't. I've just maintained my weight...for the last two years. The challenge was about eating healthier, not losing weight. But doesn't that question make us all feel a little better on the inside whether or not we've lost weight? I responded, "No, I haven't." And thought the conversation was over. But what came next was, "Well, have you gained weight then?" Welp.... there goes the feeling flattered part. 
  • A few weeks ago, Brett came home later than usual, so I decided to whip up this soup we'd been excited to try. Baked sweet potatoes and baked apples blended together with fun spices to make a thick curry soup. We don't have a fancy Ninja or a food processor so I figured I could cheat the blending process... with my blender. Go figure! But after a few tries, I realized my blender was not going to do the job. So I started mashing the food in the blender with a wooden spoon and began a process- blend a little, mash a little. I was SO close to creamy, when I pressed that "Blend" button a little too prematurely, not having taken the wooden spoon out of the blender quite yet and...you can guess what happened. I debated whether I should tell Brett there were chunks of wooden spoon blended into that soup. I had quickly thrown the spoon away and, staring with hatred at my blender, almost burst into tears-- I'd spent a whole hour and a half on this soup, only to add a wooden spoon to it's unwelcomed ingredients list. Yeesh. Brett laughed when I told him what happened, and, in our attempt to eat that darn soup, we managed to pull out a few wooden chunks, accepting whatever chunks of spoon we digested would be "all natural" and "good" for us. 

There are a few things we loved about our challenge (amidst the countless [selfish] resentments we had towards it): 

  • Even though we had to eat more in quantity to stay filled, we felt energized and not bogged down by carbs. We had zero carbs. Our stomachs literally never felt bloated. That middle-of-the-day-post-lunch-food-coma we feel so often just didn't exist, which was really weird. Carbs were the majority of our diet pre-challenge, so we feel like our eyes have been opened to how tired they made us. So post-challenge, we will definitely be careful to not pack on lots of bread in our lunches or make spaghetti every other night just because "It's easy." We decided we need to really buckle down and start making crockpot recipes with all the yummies and healthies inside if we think we are going to need a quick dinner one night. 
  • It was difficult to over eat.  When I hit up cafeterias or eat out with co-workers, it's easy for me to over eat. I'm always given WAY larger portions than I actually need and if everybody gets dessert, then I definitely can't resist. This challenge really just proved I'm much more of a six meals a day hobbit sort, than a three meals a day human sort. My body LOVES me when I feed it full in smaller quantities more often through the day. It's good really have that confirmed through experience. It helps me be more sensitive to the portions I serve myself in cafeterias when I take a student to lunch--- I probably only need half a plate of healthy food. And that's it. Because two hours later, I'll be hungry for a small portion again. 
  • We "loved" finding out just how addicted to sugar we are. To be honest, we didn't even realize how much sugar we take in on a daily basis. I grew up eating cereal every day for breakfast. Sugary cereal. It was so good. I don't regret it. But lately I'd find myself eating sugary cereal, getting a really sugary coffee drink from Starbucks, then grabbing a cookie or piece of cake someone left at the front desk of my building. That's a TON of sugar in one day, but that literally was my norm. To go from three sugary things a day to none was really hard. We decided to gradually get back to sugar (as best we can) with honey. Honestly, we don't really want to get back to sugar. We just want to start using honey. My brother-in-law Grant said one of the benefits of eating local honey, is it's ability to make you more immune to local allergies. I'm totally down for that. 

So here we are, back to normal. But, not really. We're back to making decisions about the foods we eat- with a whole new (and improved) perspective. We've left last month happily and knowledgeably. That makes us two happy foodies. Thanks for cheering us on!

Have you ever done a food challenge? I'd love to hear how it went and what you learned! 

 

Stacie Stine

Design Jamboree, Denton, Texas, United States