May 14, 2012

The DK Challenge: 40 days of Yoga and “Processed-Free” Eating

If you’ve been reading my scattered posts this month, you know I’ve been embarking on a 40 day processed free/daily yoga challenge. As the challenge comes to a close, I want to share my thoughts and where I will be going from here.

If your only just hearing about my challenge well, it’s probably because I’ve been either working, cooking, or down-dogging and therefore have not had much time to post, or sleep.  The idea from this challenge came from all the recent articles of food additives (pink slime anyone?) and me wanting to get back to a cleaner way of eating. Sure, I don’t eat pink slime but there are lots of funky ingrediants in processed foods that I was excited to get away from.

When I first started this challenge I was more nervous about the yoga than the eating part. I felt like I already ate mostly whole foods so this should have been a mild challenge. Well, let’s just say my ego was proven wrong.

First up, my “guidelines”: The fun part about making up your own challenge is that you also get to make up your own rules!

1. Processed free from most things: I made my own bread, granola, bars, tempeh, and the like. I also got to be discretionary where I wanted to be. Like pasta. I do have a full-time job, and pasta made it onto the short list of processed foods I am ok with.

2. Daily yoga- I tried to make it to my favorite studio- Zuda in Sacramento as much as possible. If I didn’t make it to actual class, I had to practice on my own.

3. Eating a lot cleaner. Mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, grains. You know, the way I pretend to eat the rest of the year.

4. Allowing breaks. Yes, this is a challenge but it’s MY challenge and I knew there would be days when this wasn’t going to happen. We took a few weekend trips during this time and I also hosted a birthday weekend, sometimes there is not enough time to get it all done.

What do you think? Would you ever try to give up processed foods? What processed food could you not give up?

I will post my concluding thoughts tomorrow and a easy bread recipe to go with it!

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.


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    1. Andra H.
      July 17, 2015 AT 8:19 am

      I think you “cheated”. I did an 8 week no sugar diet which meant giving up A LOT. And I did it without any “exceptions”. (What a difference – made me feel fabulous. It’s amazing to see how EVERYTHING has sugar in it and how addicted we, as a society, have become.) That’s the only way you can truly validate a challenge. I don’t care if there are birthday parties or weekend go away’s, you still stick to the plan you committed to. No pasta – plan ahead for other options. No breaks – it allows for falling back. Without giving a full commitment to the “plan”, you will NEVER have true results. and the “plan” means just that – plan ahead, if you know what you are doing, where you are going, it will all become easy to work with.
      And, yes, as a vegetarian, I DO NOT eat processed food AT ALL! It is everywhere, it tells us we can eat healthier this and that while being “processed” into a shape and into a air popped bag or box. No. No. No. Don’t fool yourself or let yourself be fooled by beautiful packaging and great marketing. It is what it is, don’t think you can change that.
      I challenge YOU to eat from the ground and see how much better you feel after 2 weeks. It is HARD, very HARD but once you get over the hump, it becomes a better way of life and easier to do until it just becomes your own natural way of eating. Let’s get rid of obesity in the US. It is bad . . .

      1. DK
        July 17, 2015 AT 10:57 am

        Hi Andrea, thanks for your comment. However, I disagree in thinking that things are all or nothing. As a Registered Dietitian with 10 years of experience working with clients and habit changes, I don’t think that you have to give up everything to see the results that you describe. In fact, I believe quite the opposite. I’m glad that you found a challenge that worked for you and your goals, as mine did the same for me. It was to create awareness on where sugar lies, not to banish it completely from the diet. Same with processed foods. I’m not fooled by packaging or marketing. As I mentioned, I teach nutrition and how to look at food completely, not just the front of package marketing. Glad that you understand it as well! Good luck on your journey.