Processed Food Free for 1 Year: Story and Results!

Hi everyone!

Back on April 23, 2012 (as I was preparing for the college semester to close within a few weeks), was my 1 Year anniversary of starting the No Processed Foods and Processed (Refined) Sugar Challenge, AKA The Real Food Challenge!

Partly in celebration of this, I recorded a video a few days ago explaining what personally led me to decide that I wanted to stop eating processed foods and refined sugar.  Closer to the end of the video I do also talk about the results I have seen since following this for a year! (I do want to clarify- I lost the 35 lbs. between April 2011 and November 2011.  I have not lost any more weight since then.)  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: If you are worried about starting this type of diet, or want to know whether it’s right for you, please consult your doctor.

5 Months of No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar!

I can hardly believe that it’s been 5 months since I started the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge (aka the Real Food Challenge) on April 23, 2011! It’s been a really interesting 5 months.

Here’s some updates on my four goals I wrote about from my first blog post on Day 1 of No Sugar and No Processed Foods Challenge with Sunny Mother Nature . To go to my first blog post, click here.

Update on my Energy Level

Honestly, my energy level has been really low recently. However, this has not been caused by what I’m eating but much more based on other things going on in my life: crazy long commuting times, lack of sleep, flooding scare, etc. So, my energy level probably won’t be going up really quickly anytime soon. I’ll just keep drinking the yerba mate with honey til then 🙂

Update on my Acne

From the middle of July until the middle of August I wasn’t home (No, I wasn’t on vacation) and so I just couldn’t be as strict with what I ate and didn’t eat. So, my acne did start showing up again.

What was awesome though is that once I was back home from the middle of August until now, I’ve been pretty consistent with what I have been eating (other than one day which I basically ate whatever and so I felt physically horrible for a couple days after).

So, my acne has really been improving. What’s interesting is that my acne really is related to what I’m eating. So, whenever I’m eating just real food, my skin begins to clear up.

This is a huge thing for me because I normally would have four pimples starting every week (if not more pimples). And, my acne was mostly cystic acne. The pimples were just so painful. Now, my acne isn’t nearly as painful, and most of the pimples come to a head (instead of maybe just slowly going away).

Except for the occasional pimple, I mostly have only scars on my face anymore. And since I am very fair (aka very pale) the red acne scars are noticable on my skin. However, even they are starting to fade away! So, this no processed foods and no sugar is really working for my skin. It’s just awesome. (I might put up before and after photos of my face~ let me know if you’re interested 🙂 ).

Update on Weight Loss

Photo from November 2010 (below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from September 2011 (below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one of my minor goals was to possibly lose about 10 pounds (that is the amount of weight that I typically gained during the winter).

I have actually lost 29 lbs since April 23rd, 2011. I went from being around 156 lbs. (This was my weight maybe a week or two into the challenge. I might have lost a couple pounds before this?) down to 127 lbs. in 5 months.

This is incredible. What was so interesting was that I kept thinking when I hit a weight that I would level off there: at 145 lbs, at 140 lbs, at 135 lbs, and even at 130 lbs. And yet, I kept losing weight. I honestly haven’t been 127 lbs. since I was around 12 years old. I was 135 lbs. at 13 years old and in 7th grade. The lowest I was in high school was 145 lbs. so I really thought I wouldn’t go lower than that.

Since I didn’t update during this time on my weight, here’s how it went:

beginning of August- 138 lbs

middle of August- 136 lbs

beginning of September- 130 lbs

on Sept 23- 127 lbs

And there were basically three things that I did: I stopped eating processed foods. I stopped eating sugar. And in June I started doing yoga daily.

I do really want to emphasize that I do not count calories. I believe that if you are eating healthy that you do not need to count them. I just eat until I’m full. I also just find it annoying to count calories. I have enough to look at on the label with ingredients, cholesterol, and saturated fat content. 🙂

Update on Feeling Healthy Goal

I have been feeling healthy (minus the lack of energy). I honestly just consistently feel better when I’m eating real foods and no processed foods or sugar.

I don’t believe I put this into any of my other posts, but I was told by my doctor in August 2010 that I have IBS (aka irritable bowel syndrome). It was probably the the worst summer ever for me because I literally felt so incredibly horrible all the time. There were very few days that I felt even just ok.

Although I was able to get my IBS under control by the end of August 2010, there still would be times from August until May 2011 where I would feel fine and then suddenly I would just feel horrible again. Just the pain itself was really bad, excluding the other symptoms.

Once I started eating no processed foods and no sugar though, I feel great most of the time. The times that I don’t feel good are when I’m not eating as consistently. This is probably the best result I’ve had from this challenge. I love that I can go out and do not have to wonder whether my IBS will make me feel absolutely horrible that day.

I hope that some of my positive results from the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge inspires you to eat healthy too!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Why I’ve Continued Eating No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar, aka Day 75

Hi!

The past couple of weeks have gone by so quickly for me. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging! I can hardly believe it’s July 6th already.

So, if I was still counting, (which I haven’t been, but I figured some of you would be curious to know how long I’ve been going without processed foods and sugar 🙂 ) today would be Day 75!

Honestly, it feels like I’ve been eating real foods and no processed foods or sugar for much, much longer than 2 1/2 months.

So, why am I still eating no processed foods and no processed sugars?

I just overall feel healthy now. That was one of my goals when I initially decided to eat this way. And this one change has led to two other changes in my life. After I started this challenge, I began to exercise, started yoga again, and even began to heal my two pulled hamstrings that had “made” me stop doing yoga two years ago (I thought that doing yoga was making them worse. So, I thought I would let them rest. Instead, my hamstrings got so bad on this plan that I would majorly pull them when I leaned over to wash my hands, or when I bent over to pick something off of the floor. They were that bad). The yoga and the walking have been making my hamstrings stronger. The other major change that I started was that I began to really look at how much plastic was in my life and how I could limit it to protect my health and the Earth’s health.

This challenge has even connected me more with my body. I am realizing when I am hungry and when I’m just rummaging around the kitchen because I’m bored, tired, anxious~ place any word you like there. And so, I go do yoga, or just get a glass of water. Anything to get out of the kitchen.

I also have clearer skin. Is it completely clear yet? No, but I know that there are still a lot of toxins in my body that my body is attempting to get out. And, I also know that my skin will never be 100% clear. But, it still is a lot clearer than before I started this challenge, and I’ve even stopped using any acne skincare products.

I am even down to 141 lbs. compared to 156 lbs. when I started this challenge, and this wasn’t even a goal of mine. However, it is a natural response the body has when it is being fed better.

Yet, the one thing that continually brings me back from a craving of chocolate, pizza, a cookie, etc. is that I am feeding my body and my mind right.

It is easy to say, “Oh, but that cookie, junk food, extra-huge portion of steak, or any kind of processed food and sugar tastes so good. I deserve it.”, or “I want it.”

But, do any of us truly deserve or want health problems? Being overweight? Obese? Heart Disease? Diabetes? etc.

No, we don’t! We don’t deserve that. No one does.

So, eat healthy! Eating actual food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains (brown rice, wheat pasta, etc.), milk, nuts, fish, chicken, and those in the right portions, help to nourish you and your body.

Healthy eating:

~ maintains a healthy body weight

~ helps lose weight if overweight

~ helps energize (and eliminates feeling sluggish and tired caused by unhealthy foods)

~ helps lower cholesterol

~ helps lower high blood pressure

~ lowers your risk of Heart Disease

~ lowers your risk for Diabetes, etc.

The list truly goes on and on!

While food-like substances and foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat (look for hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients EVEN if the package says “0 g. trans fat”), cholesterol, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, artifical sweetners, and sugar like ice cream, canned soups, crackers, bread, macaroni and cheese, jello, white pasta, white bread, white rice, cookies, chips, etc. only make you feel sluggish, tired, and can make you gain weight. And no one really wants that.

My goal here is to expose you to how much food is processed, and not actual food, around us! How much processed “food” we believe is food because the ads, companies, and our friends are telling us it is food!

Yet, is it food?

With so many processed foods “enriched” and “nutriously rich” are they really enriched naturally? Or, did companies have to add so many vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. to those “foods” because they were so processed that they barely even resembled food? They are really empty calories that companies sometimes attempt to make “seem” better.

Do you really want to eat foods that are instant? That don’t spoil? That are meant to have long shelf lives?

When it comes to processed foods:

Long shelf lives in the store= Long shelf lives in our bodies

I don’t. I don’t want to eat foods that have ingredients I can’t pronounce, or that have ingredients that I can’t buy or picture that ingredient in its natural form.

And that is why I am continuing to eat this way. I am willing to eat healthy because I know it will be good for me now and later on down the road.

And, it tastes good! 🙂

Anyone can say they will make a change, one day. Are you willing to be different and start making that change today?” ~Kim Maurer

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 27 of the No Processed Foods and No Processed Sugar Challenge aka the Real Food Challenge

Hi everyone!

Wow, so I started this challenge on April 23~ its almost been one month already!

I wanted to do another update on how this No Processed Foods/No Sugar/ Real Food Challenge has been going for me!

I probably have less negatives to mention this time around than any other time!  The only problem that I have been having since my last update (Day 19) was that I have been having trouble with leg cramps again.  However, I have, so far, not had any other full blown leg cramps, but I have felt that left calve muscle cramping up for the past couple of days.  This was especially true between Sunday and yesterday (Wednesday).  Tuesday driving home from my last final was the worst it felt.  It was so bad that I thought I would get a horrible leg cramp while driving.  Luckily, I didn’t.  Today my leg has been feeling a lot better though. 

Between various people I’ve talked to, we all came to the conclusion that my left calve muscle will tense up more when I’m stressed.  So, that could have been partly why I have been having so much trouble.  (Finals in college do not equal to low levels of stress 😉 ).

Basically leg cramps in calves can happen because of lack of sodium, potassium, or water.  So, whenever I have problems I try to get all three, which does help.  I do believe it gets aggravated with stress too.  Just something to keep in mind.

All the positives I have been having are much nicer though!

1. My acne has started to clear up again!  Right before Day 19, I had stopped using the Bareminerals Foundation in Fair again because I had started to break out so badly on my face and my neck (where I was using it).  And I wash my face twice a day (I do not sleep in makeup), so I knew it was not because I was not washing it. 

Once I stopped using the Bareminerals again, my face almost immediately started clearing up again!  And this was during my finals week, so there was no lack of stress.  I do like to mention when I have lots of stress just because some people will say to me that my acne might have gotten better or worse because of my stress levels, which is true

However, when I find that my acne is actually getting better when my stress levels are getting worse, that then is definitely saying something about this challenge and the positive effects that it is having on my body. 

So, anyone who is having trouble with acne definitely should consider trying to cut out processed foods and/or processed sugars from their food intake. 

I will keep you informed on how my skin is doing!

2. I have lost some weight.  I actually started following this because I was curious whether I was losing weight eating this way, and I found that I have.  At first, I do not believe I was, but I went from at the beginning weighing around 156 lbs. (I might have weighed a little more than that, I’m not sure, but I do know that I at least weighed that before I started this challenge.) to 150 lbs. now.  So, that’s at least 6 lbs. I’ve lost in almost a month without changes in exercise, or anything other than my food intake. 

(I do want to mention that I have never lost weight when I’m stressed.  When I am stressed I either stay the same weight, or I actually gain weight.)

My energy level is about the same though.  I do feel this is more from how much stress I was under from my finals and hopefully, it will begin to go up again once I have rested.

Here’s one tip on how to resist processed foods and processed sugars that has really helped me~

Read the ingredients on labels!  Every time I feel the urge to eat something processed, I read its ingredients and it immediately makes me not want to eat it! 🙂

Whenever I see high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol, Red 40, Blue 1, hydrogenated oil, interesterified oil, etc. and many other words that I will probably never be able to pronounce on my food ingredient labels, it makes me not want to eat them because I don’t want them in my body. 

Hopefully that will help you resist too!

And I do want to let you know that I did give myself three days before my Day 1 of this challenge to allow my body a little time to adjust.  Basically I switched over to the stuff that I was going to eat during the challenge, but I was still eating yogurt during this time because I wanted to eat it up before I officially started the challenge.  So, I was still getting a little bit of sugar before I cut it out completely.

And, I did not really eat a whole lot of sugar to begin with before my challenge, so I did not personally have some of the major withdrawal symptoms that some people do have while cutting out sugar. 

If cutting out processed foods, or processed sugars is too much for you to do, or if they are so immersed in your daily food intake that you don’t know how your body would react if you cut them out completely, take small steps. 

Cut one thing out from your food intake.  For example, you could cut out high fructose corn syrup, or all hydrogenated oils and interesterified oils (Interesterified oils I just found out about yesterday.  Oils that are interesterified are what companies are now using instead of hydrogenated oils because hydrogenated oils have been labelled as bad for one’s health.  However, interesterified oils are just as bad). 

Cutting out these ingredients may seem like something a little bit too small, but you may be surprised to find how often these ingredients are in food products. 

And be proud of yourself that you are taking a tiny step for your health!  I personally do not believe that any step towards better health is too small, as long as you keep taking more and more small steps. 🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Day 19 of the No Processed Food and No Sugar Challenge

Hello!

I hope everyone is healthy and doing well 🙂

I’m sorry it’s been about a week since I last posted a blog.  This past week was the last days of classes.  I just finished writing my final paper for my one class that’s due tomorrow, and I just have Monday and Tuesday, with two final exams, two essays, and a presentation, and I’m done with this college semester! 🙂

So, how has it been going with this challenge, for me?

It’s been going really well!  Basically I had two days last week (Thursday and Saturday) where I did end up eating not so great foods for one meal, each day.  Thursday was actually my Award Ceremony~ I received an Honors Program Graduate Award from my college.  I was expecting more people to receive it, but there were only two of us! (the guy besides me didn’t show).  But, I did end up eating a bowl of really good soup from Panera Bread.  I honestly haven’t been to a Panera Bread in years so I couldn’t resist! 😉

Then on Saturday, my parents and I went out to celebrate my mom’s birthday (which was on mother’s day this year) and mother’s day!  We ended up choosing Chipotle because it seemed like it would have the healthiest food that my mom could eat.  It was awesome!  I loved the food there!  Sadly, the food was SOOO spicy!  My mouth was on fire! ~ Luckily they had organic milk there.  But we all enjoyed ourselves, my mom, I think, especially 🙂

At this point in the challenge, I don’t think I’ve been having any mood swings because of the lack of sugar or processed food (I have been moody, but I think it’s stress related).  Also, I haven’t been having any cravings for anything.  The only craving I’ve had is the one when I was at Panera Bread, for Broccoli Cheese soup.

Sadly, my acne, and the tiny little bumps I get on my face, has flared up again.  I do think this is partly due to stress though, and I did start using my Bareminerals Fair foundation again.  So, I stopped using that foundation to see if that was partly it.  So far, my face does seem to be slowly clearing up again.  I don’t know what I think about that. 

And, just because I was curious, I did decide to weigh myself either on Day 12, or the day after, to see how much I weighed.  At that time I weighed 156 lbs.  I’ve weighed myself yesterday and today, and I now seem to weigh 152 lbs.   I do weigh myself around the same time every day, and for my height, this is considered in the normal range.  So, if you are considering doing this challenge for weight loss, it is a definite possibility.  Like I said in other posts, I normally gain 10 lbs. over the winter and so that is the weight that I don’t mind losing by summer.  🙂  However, I do think how much you could lose with this type of challenge depends on how much processed food and sugar you normally intake on a daily basis.  If it wasn’t too much (like me), then I don’t feel that there is going to be as big of a weight loss.  But if you do consume more, then you could lose much more weight than I probably will.  Just to keep that in mind 🙂

I do still feel like I have some more energy than I did starting this challenge.  However, I think since this is my last little bit of time in this semester, I am having a little bit more difficulty focusing.  (It probably didn’t help that the project I needed to finish first was the one I really didn’t want to work on 😉 )

So far, I also have not had anymore leg cramps!  I am really happy about this!  But I have been trying to make sure that I do get enough sodium.  There was one day where my left calve did feel a little off (like it was possibly starting to get a leg cramp), but luckily it went away.

Overall, I have been feeling really happy that I did take the plunge and start this challenge because I feel that it has been very beneficial.  I know that Mother Nature would approve 😉

 Once my finals are done, I have tons of blog posts that I want to write, so come back soon!  🙂

Have a sunny day!

~Kim