24 Hours Until My Resolution Hits the Road

Eyeing the leftover baguette in our bread basket today — just enough to toast up and pair with my morning tea — it occurred to me that as of tomorrow, such familiar favorites will be off limit. Twenty-four hours from now, it’s game on. I’ll launch myself, taking my family along for the ride, into 10 Days of Real Food.

I posted about this wholesome alternative to typical New Year’s diets last week. Have a peek here if you missed it.

I thought I’d share more detailed ground rules for those of you joining me on this journey. Below are the Dos and Don’ts according to Lisa Leake, the mom and blogger who inspired this “Real Food” resolution:

Eating Dos:

1. Any and all fresh, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables; seafood; meat and poultry; beans and legumes; nuts and seeds.
2. Other less processed wholesome foods such as whole grains (whole wheat bread, oats, and brown rice for example); dairy foods such as plain yogurt, milk, and cheese.
3. Beverages including water, unsweetened vegetable and fruit juice, unsweetened coconut water, coffee, and tea. Alcohol in moderation.
3. Minimally processed snack foods such as popcorn, nuts, and unsweetened dried fruits.
4. Honey and maple syrup in moderation for sweetness.

Eating Don’ts

1. Any food product that has more than five ingredients on the label.
2. Artificial ingredients such as Splenda or artificial colors or flavors.
3. Deep-fried food or fast food.
4. Sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, cane juice or other heavily processed sweeteners.
5. Refined grains such as white flour, white rice, and conventional pasta.

I plan to get my household ship shape by tomorrow morning by doing the following:

–Clearing the larder of snacks, cereals, and anything else that doesn’t meet the Real Food requirements. I’ll make some decisions as to what’s worth saving, composting, or donating to my local food pantry. I’ll pull out core ingredients such sugar, white flour, and chocolate chips and squirrel those away until the 10 days are over. I have no illusions about giving them up for the long haul, but a little consciousness raising around using them will be good for us.

–Heading to the market to stock up on wholesome, minimally processed foods so we’ll have plenty of choices within easy reach. This will be a good opportunity to tinker with new ingredients such as using amaranth flour in pancakes or dates to sweeten cookies.

–Gathering recipes to fill in for some of the snacks and sweets that sometimes stock our pantry. I’m curious to try my hand at making crackers, wonder about baking granola without any of the brown sugar that’s become my habit, and am thinking the ripe persimmons I threw in the freezer last month might make a naturally sweet quick bread.

–Bringing my children up to speed on the 10 Days game plan. My kids are old enough to notice there won’t be any pretzels, even whole grain ones, in the cupboard since they don’t meet the five ingredient limit. I can already hear the groaning. I’ll encourage them to stick with it even when they’re out from under my watch, but will ultimately leave it up them to make their own choices.

I’ll be posting regular updates, ideas, and challenges of 10 Days of Real Food on my Facebook Page. For those of you participating, I hope you’ll do the same, either on Facebook or in the comments section below.


01.07.2013 at8:33 AM #


My plan is to do this for the remainder of Jan!

01.07.2013 at8:33 AM #

Katie Morford

Louisa will love it.

01.07.2013 at9:36 AM #


I did this about 6 months ago and try my best to only cook according to the rules she established, but I do cheat sometimes.

I would recommend making her whole wheat flour banana pancakes. They are delicious and we haven’t used “other” pancake recipes ever since. I also use spelt flour because it is a little lighter than whole wheat.

I thought this challenge was totally doable, but I also don’t have children to get on board 🙂 Good luck!

01.07.2013 at9:36 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Megan. I am off to the market later this morning and will pick up some spelt flour. Great tip.

01.07.2013 at9:57 AM #


I’m excited to see how it goes – I’m not sure I can completely do what you are doing right now (with a 3 and 5 year old) but this is motivating!

01.07.2013 at9:57 AM #

Katie Morford

Christina, I think any part of this that you can tackle will be great. Even if you can’t manage the whole lot, it really is just about looking at our eating habits with a more critical eye and seeing where we can make some tweaks here and there.

01.07.2013 at10:21 AM #


I look forward to watching this, too! It’s not something I can completely commit to right now because we’re really trying to work with what we have and I’m not totally in a position to just bypass things I already have stocked up, but it’s great to be reminded to make more conscious decisions and to maybe only allow one thing a day that isn’t “real food.”

01.07.2013 at10:21 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Nicole. I agree that any steps in this direction are worth doing.

01.07.2013 at10:34 AM #


We are in— sounds like what we ought to be doing anyway! Glad to hear Tequila is ok —always in moderation of course!

01.07.2013 at11:21 AM #


We were on a road trip over the holidays to pas the time we listened to Born to Run (husband, wife, 13 yr old & 10 yr old). The book has inspired me to start running which I have always hated but today I went for a short run and felt great afterwards. Apparently our bodies are made to run, who would have thought?

Also, my daughter Sofia (10 year old) and I decided to try something the author suggested, eating salads for breakfast. This morning I was energized as I made a huge bowl of salad. The vibrant colors of green, yellow, and orange infused a sense of health and well being that I had not gotten from my gray mushy oatmeal. I have to admit, it was hard to munch on cold greens rather than a warm bowl of oatmeal.

At 10am as a snack I had a handful of almonds and dates. Let’s see how this goes but it sounds like a fun idea. Another great inspiration after listening to the book is that my husband and older daughter have agreed to a menu of less meat and more vegetarian dishes. In the past tried less meat in our meals but I got push back from my family. Wish us luck.

01.07.2013 at11:21 AM #

Katie Morford

How did that salad go with your cup of coffee?

01.07.2013 at12:36 PM #


We are in and looking forward to it. I am not concerned about breakfast or dinners but I really struggle with quick, healthy lunches so any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for getting us started on this plan.

01.07.2013 at12:36 PM #

Katie Morford

I’m thinking a Thermos may come in handy for lunch filled with leftovers….soups, beans and rice, etc. Look for whole grain bread from a bakery for sandwiches…that way it won’t likely have more than 5 ingredients. Whole grain bagels with wholesome toppings would also work. For snacks, fresh fruits and veggies, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, DIY trail mix, popcorn, homemade granola bars. You may want to peruse the 100 Days of Real Food website for more inspiration. I’ll post ideas on my FB page throughout the 10 days.

01.08.2013 at4:50 AM #


About 7 years ago my doctor told me he didn’t care what I ate as long as I avoided processed foods. My goal was to have 70% (or more) fresh ingredients and 30% (or less) ready-made products. This is just the opposite of Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade (I refer to what I do as “Mostly Homemade”). I think I’m about 85% real, fresh ingredients and 15% ready-made. It probably varies some day-to-day and week-to-week., but I don’t think gets below 80% real, fresh food.

Here are the big differences:

I don’t pay a lot of attention to the “5-ingredient rule” in purchasing products as long as the ingredients are real food. I don’t purposely pay a lot of attention to it in cooking, though I find many of the recipes I use have 5-7 ingredients.

I didn’t give up refined grains as an ingredient, though I rarely buy products made with refined grains. Pasta is an exception to that.

There are several reasons for this. With the exception of bread (which I make), I don’t eat a lot of grains. As much as I love Italian food, I rarely eat pasta — not even weekly. Whole grains, even brown rice, upset my digestive system (gas, bloating and so on); refined grains do not. Finally, most whole grains taste incredibly, unpleasantly bitter to me. Of my total grain consumption, I’d say 25%-50% is whole grains and 50%-75% is refined grains. It depends on the day.

While I do use both honey and maple syrup, I still use sugar.

There were some surprises for me:

1. How easy it was to make the change. My daughters were living with me at the time and I didn’t tell them.

2. The above was probably easy because the food tasted good — better than it had when using more processed foods.

3. Dairy consumption went to full fat almost immediately, because most reduced fat products have stabilizers and other ingredients to get the “right” taste and texture. Cheese is the one thing that I often look at ingredients lists often. I buy more locally produced cheeses because they don’t have unnecessary ingredients.

4. Like Michael Pollan says, I “pay more, eat less.” This doesn’t feel like deprivation because the food is far more satisfying.

5. While it does require some planning, especially initially, it isn’t more expensive overall and doesn’t take a lot more time.

I’m a senior, retired and on a limited income. I don’t spend more money and give just a little more time to cooking. I have made a few other changes, but they’re more personal decisions.

01.08.2013 at4:50 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks for that informative comment. Good for you for getting on the whole foods bandwagon years ago. Good point about the low fat dairy products…something that I realized yesterday when I went to buy low fat cottage cheese and realized it had more than five ingredients.

01.16.2013 at12:45 PM #

Pam H

I’m contemplating doing this starting next week (after a visit from my parents, where sugar and indulgences come in handy!). Can you use agave as a sweetener when needed? How does it stack up nutritionally?

And I made quinoa for breakfast earlier this week and loved it!

01.16.2013 at12:45 PM #

Katie Morford

Probably smart to wait until your company is heading home….will be easier to get your crew on board wtihout the temptation of grandparents bearing treats. As for agave …it has a bit of a “health halo” that is largely undeserved. Agave syrup is essentially fructose and most of it on the market is heavily processed. For the 10 days, it’s honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

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