Whole Foods Hooray!

Whole Foods Hooray!

Today marks week 2 of my 30 Days Clean Challenge. My dear friends, Ben, Nicholas and Kate  have created this challenge for the members of their yoga-fitness studio, in Paddington Sydney, Flow Athletic. 

The rules are simple, though not always easy to stick to.

  • Eat whole foods only.
  • Drink lots of water & herbal tea.
  • Train 5 x per week, with a 1:1 ratio of yoga, fitness and strength.
  • Keep a food and training diary daily.
  • No added sugar.
  • No alcohol.
  • No caffeine.
  • No processed foods.

Bonus suggestions.

  • Read an inspirational book each week.
  • Go 8 hours without tech gadgets and screens on the weekend and get outside.
  • Raise money for a worthy cause.

Tighten up and stick to the plan.

None of these rules are new to me, and I already live by them 85% of the time anyway, so it wasn’t a big stretch. For me this challenge was about tightening up my nutrition, and getting inspired and excited about my exercise program again. I had become a bit bored and needed to shake things up. The alcohol and caffeine were easy rules to stick to, because I rarely drink alcohol, and have weaned myself off caffeine through my pregnancy and after having a baby, my social life is more about breakfasts and lunches than drinks and parties, so check, and check!

The sugar again was ok for me, because my only processed foods like muesli, or yoghurt, usually have less than 10% sugar anyway. Except (ahem) the odd Chocolate Digestive, which up until now, I have been fooling myself into believing they were kind-of-healthy; which of course they are not! Out Digestives. Out.

There were little exceptions to the no processed foods rule were full fat natural yoghurt and full fat milk and stevia (for desperate situations) allowed. Other than that it was only actual foods, one ingredient foods, that don’t come in a box or jar, or packet.


Tyler Bonus.

I had a bonus of seeing Tyler Tolman speak halfway through the first week, which was awesome, he’s like the Jim Carrey of health expert speakers! Bounding full of energy, lean as a whippet, and glowing with health, he extolled the virtues of juice fasting and whole foods to eliminate toxins and cancer risk in our modern lives. He went into a lot of detail about how processed foods are linked (i.e very likely cause) cancer, which was a big wake-up call to not be lax about the few processed foods that are left in my cupboards.  Check out my interview with him from the other week.

muffins_371_x_555My biggest challenge on this week was the call of cacao, and oh-so-delicious sourdough bread. I have to admit I caved and ate my last one of these cacao quinoa beetroot muffins the other night, Thankfully there are no more left. So I had a little rice malt syrup and cacao, (I switched it from the coconut sugar in the recipe for a no fructose alternative,)  so still no sugar, and outside this challenge I consider them healthy sweet treats,  but they are processed and outside the rules of the challenge. I also had two hot cacao stevia drinks, which were delicious on the colder nights, when my sweet tooth called.


I restrained from the yummy fresh sourdough bread, which is so good with peanut butter. I was strong on this, I had some peanut butter on the spoon instead. I was staring at it, thinking about how yummy and crunchy it was when I remembered the famous marshmallow experiment. You know the one; kids in a room alone with a marshmallow, if they wait, they get two, if they eat it, that’s it. The key to the ones that managed to wait was distraction. So I put the bread away and went to do something else. It worked a treat.

Challenge challenges…

Where I fell down was in the food diary. I easily planned and brought my whole foods with me each day, but I didn’t correctly track what I ate. So this week, that is my focus. Track it all. Just to see what effect that has. You probably know that studies have shown that tracking your food has many benefits for weight loss and health, because it makes us conscious of our little grazing habits, and tells us where we can change things for better health. There is an optional section to track cals too, but I’m not a huge fan of that for me, it tends to make me a bit obsessive, so I’m skipping that bit.

Results baby!

I have noticed a difference in my body just from the few changes, ( probably eliminating the digestive biscuits and cacao balls made the biggest difference ). My waist is whittling down more and I’ve shed a cm all over. Which is awesome. It will be interesting to see the change over the 30 days.

ab77d41a8e0711e3a8361295d7aa257a_5It has made me much more focussed on food prep and eating simple healthy meals. I’m taking pics of some on my if you’re interested. Yummy baked sweet potato, kale sautéed in coconut oil, and poached chicken was my favourite meal.  Green smoothies with spinach, coconut water, cucumber, lemon and raspberries have been featuring heavily on my plan, and of course, eggs. Mmm… eggs.

4b5870508d7911e3b231121be1a27614_6It’s been so great to see the changes in the other participants who do drink caffeine and alcohol  and eat sugar regularly, after they went through their yucky headachy detox for a few days, they are all feeling amazing too. The challenge has amazing support and super participation from the members.

Community spirit.

I gave a motivation and mindset talk on Saturday morning at 7am in the yoga studio, and 50 people were there! 7am on a Saturday, that shows you the dedication and community spirit in this team. It’s super inspiring and a joy to be a part of.

I’ll give you an update later on in the challenge how I’m going. Maybe you’d like to join me and give yourself your own 30 day or even 14 or 7 day challenge. The key to the challenge is really focussing on why you want to do it, (see below) and what the benefits will be for you to incorporate these principles into your daily habits, and tracking your progress. Simply marking it in a calendar is an easy way to see your effort over time. I love this challenge because it is totally focused on the daily habits. The benefits that come from doing it; weight-loss, increased energy, better sleep and mood, are all bonuses. The focus is always on the things that you have control over which affect your outcomes; your daily actions.

Higher purpose, higher commitment.

In order to bump up my commitment to 100% and give me a higher cause to do this for, I have taken up the bonus suggestion to do it for a cause. Here’s my fundraising page for FEBFAST – I’m fasting from alcohol, sugar & caffeine. If you’d like to sponsor me, or join me, please do! We’re raising money for teenagers struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. As someone who did struggle with drugs and alcohol in my teens and early 20’s, it is inspiring to know that my little challenge can go towards helping someone who is really struggling now. Watch this to find out how important it is to support our kids with this really dangerous issue.

If you’re in Sydney you can find FLOW ATHLETIC here. 

PS – This is not a sponsored post, they’re just my mates doing awesome stuff.

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