Processed foods are frequently made primarily of refined grains, sweeteners, refined salt, low quality and artificial fat, and food additives. The labels are often lengthy, containing words that we cannot pronounce, or know what they are. Processed foods can contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. The list includes, but is not limited to, white and refined flours as in crackers and white pasta, cake and cookie mix, pizza mixes, frozen dinners, ravioli, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, cheese slices, most lunchmeat and kid’s cereals.
Replace these products with whole foods and whole-wheat grains such as whole-wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, fresh and frozen vegetables and fruit, whole grain cereals, fresh fish or low sodium canned tuna or salmon, eggs, chicken, and lean steak. A good rule of thumb is if it can be plucked, picked, shucked, fished or hunted – you can eat it. If it comes from a box – leave it alone.
Now, I am not saying you can never have a treat or sweet or a cracker; there is nothing wrong with the occasional treat! But for the sake of this challenge, try to reduce the amount you have to once or twice a week. The goal is not to have these items on a daily basis. If you can eliminate these foods from your regular diet, after a couple of weeks, you will feel a difference in your body. It will no longer feel sluggish or bloated.
Next – Do you eat breakfast?
It’s always a debate – will eating breakfast help you lose weight? Everyone is different. I cannot eat immediately upon awakening. I usually have coffee, first, then breakfast. I’m a creature of habit – my breakfast always consists of oatmeal with flaxseed and blueberries, along with a protein smoothie. Personally, I believe that if you eat breakfast, it helps you to keep from binging later in the day.
So this week, if you don’t usually eat breakfast, try having some yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast. Try these Blueberry Cottage Cheese Muffins!
Food Group Color: Blues and Purples
Foods that are blue-purple contain anthcyanins and phenolics, which fight against free radicals that cause aging. Purple skinned vegetables also contain nasunin, which can help fight against cancer.
Foods to try: Blueberries, blackberries, black currant, elderberries, plums and prunes, purple grapes, purple cabbage, purple eggplants, purple bell peppers, purple asparagus, purple sweet potatoes
Add a salad to your dinner at least two days this week, using a dressing that contains some good fat, such as olive oil, to make the nutrients more readily available for your body to absorb.
Beginners, add 2 days of resistance training to your workouts this week. This is in addition to walking 5 days per week. Begin with bodyweight only exercises, such as push-ups, squats, triceps’ dips, lunges and crunches. Do 10 reps of each exercise.
Advanced: Perform circuit training this week. Choose 1 exercise per body part, totaling 8-10 exercises. Perform 1 set of 8-12 reps of each exercise with no rest between exercises. Completing 1 set of all exercises equals 1 round. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds.
Here is this week’s challenge recap:
Eat breakfast at least 4 times this week, no – or very limited, sugary drinks, continue adding fresh fruit and vegetables to your meals, eat salads at least twice this week and begin eliminating processed foods from your kitchen.
Beginners Fitness: Add resistance training to your walking schedule, twice this week
Advanced Fitness: Perform circuit training 3 days this week, leaving 48 hours between sessions.