The Challenge

You might be wondering what constitutes eating real food. While I won’t list every suggestion from In Defense of Food, I will cover the basics and what I intend to do for the next few months. 

  • Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food
  • Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting
  • Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup
  • Avoid food products that make health claims
  • Get out of the supermarket whenever possible
  • Do all your eating at a table
  • Don’t get fuel from the same place your car does
  • Try not to eat alone
  • Consult your gut
  • Cook, and if you can, plant a garden

In addition to these suggestions, I intend to stay away from refined foods, fried foods, and sugar. Honey and maple syrup are okay. 

Will this be difficult? Yes. Very. 

What will I miss most? Hmm. 

I have often called myself an equal opportunist snacker. I enjoy salty (hello, Salt & Vinegar chips) about the same as sweet (chocolate, sour jube jubes, donuts). If you find it odd that I included sour jube jubes in a short list of examples, then you don’t know about the time I went to the grocery store during a thunderstorm for the sole purpose of buying ‘the jubes’. While a dozen or so sane patrons waited calmly inside the doors for the downpour to ease off, I sprinted past them in my raincoat on a mission. And donuts? Well, I don’t think I’ll even get started on my love of donuts. 

Do I enjoy cooking? Debatable. 

For most of my 20’s, I would question whether I actually cooked at all. It would be more accurate to describe what I did as ‘heating up’. My version of a fancy meal was plain baked salmon (from a box) with a spoonful of salsa on top. I wish I were joking. I also didn’t really know what garlic’s flavour was. Not sure you follow? Well, when someone would say, “this meal is very garlicy”, I would nod politely having no clue what they meant. I knew I enjoyed garlic (caesar salad has a special place in my heart), but if it did have a lot of garlic, I just thought it was more intense than other versions of the same meal. It wasn’t until I started cooking that I was enlightened. I may even comment on garlic more now to overcompensate for years of ignorance. 

These days, I do cook more, and sometimes it turns out alright. I’m not even ashamed to say that I have licked my plate after a particularly delicious peanut butter pad thai dish. But, do I enjoy cooking? Well, I think I’m about to find out for sure. 

Am I ready for this? I sure hope so. 

I doubt there really is a great time to start this kind of undertaking. Given the next few weeks for me are going to be the busiest of the year, I may even be a little mad. But, I’m sure I could think of many reasons why it’s not a good time right now and then never do it. Instead I would just continue to complain about stomach pains and how uncomfortable I feel all the time. And, if anything, I owe it to the people around me to stop being such a downer. 

For those of you who thought to yourselves, “hold on, might she actually be more of a downer without donuts, salt & vinegar chips, and sour jube jubes?”, well, you are astute. This is possible. Hence the answer to my first question. So, to all the people who will be interacting with me over the next 100 days, “Sorry in advance”. 



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