I used to think group "challenges" were silly. For one thing, why do I need a designated challenge artificially set up by someone else to make a change in my life?  And secondly, why would I do something for a short duration of time when I know I'll return to my old ways once its over?

Now that I'm older and wiser, I can tell you why.

  1. Sometimes it takes a push from someone else to get going on a change that you otherwise would not self-initiate;
  2. Being accountable to a group is motivating;
  3. The whole idea is that you create some changes that will sustain themselves after the duration of the challenge;
  4. and #4, which is perhaps my favorite: you establish a new set point. It's a trial period of something  that you know you can return to when you find that you need to do it again. Kind of like a seasonal cleaning of the closet. Do something once, and you know you can do it again. It doesn't remain some elusive goal.

What am I even talking about?

Evolve Well's 5-Food Challenge!

You can do it with me or you can follow along. I started out doing this for myself, and then decided to blog about it so that I could potentially inspire someone else to do it, too. 


THE CHALLENGE: Incorporate 5 Key Foods into your diet every single day for 7 days.

Note: Nutella does not count. But I like the way you think.

Why, you ask? (Prepare for backstory)...

This started out as a personal endeavor because I recently had my micronutrient levels tested (I do this to help manage my Lyme symptoms) and a few key vitamins are still too low because my body has trouble absorbing them. This malabsorption is thought to be a byproduct of the Lyme Disease process, so I have to megadose on these nutrients to reach adequate levels in my body. 

The very same day that I got my results back, I coincidentally (not coincidentally! Nothing happens by accident!) hosted an event with the founder of Trimona Yogurt at our local Whole Foods where Dr. Phil Domenico spoke about the importance of full-fat dairy in our diets and why (only when properly sourced!) it is actually a powerful "superfood" (to use the trendy term).

Now I'll admit right here and now (she said with her tail between her legs) that I have fallen prey to the "I'm going to eliminate dairy" syndrome running so rampant in the nutrition world right now. And yes, for many people, dairy is causing problems (for a myriad of reasons I won't get into today). But I have never had a problem with dairy, and in fact, my body has given me signs that it NEEDS dairy over the past several years (organic and pasture-raised, she said over and over again!) but I sort of ignored it.

During this talk, however, one slide hit me like a ton of full-fat dairy bricks: the fat found in dairy products (like whole milk and whole yogurt and whole kefir) are RICH in the very same micronutrients in which I happen to be deficient.

I have been eating some of these nutrients in other foods, but every food is absorbed by our bodies differently (think animal vs plant heme-iron). You know when something makes sense to you on a primal level and you're like, "yes!! that's why that felt right!"? 

Yeah. That's what happened.



So I have made the decision to bring back dairy. I'm bringing it back in the highest quality versions available (because to eat conventional dairy is going to cause bigger problems than micronutrient deficiencies), but I'm bringing it back. I am listening to my body.

I also decided that I needed to incorporate more EVOO back into my diet because I had started eating less of it as I moved toward coconut and high-heat avocado oil (which are lovely, but EVOO still reigns King). 

And while I was at it, I decided that I wanted to get blueberries back in there too, as they had fallen by the wayside during my rounds of 21DSD.

So I made a list of the 5 foods I wanted to increase my intake of (I mean, of which I want to increase my intake), based on the results of this test and a general gut feeling that I need them back, and I need to make a conscious effort to do so instead of reaching for the jar of peanut butter instead, which I am wont to do.

Here is my list, and I am sticking to it:

1. Whole Milk yogurt (1 cup/day): CLAs, Omega-3s, iodine, and B12 are just a few of the reasons

2. Wild Blueberries (1 cup/day)

3. Walnuts (1/8 cup/day)

4. Avocado (1/3/day)

5. EVOO (2T/day or equivalent whole olives)

By no means should your list be the same as mine, because you and I are different people with different goals/needs. You might need some arugula. 

Your job is to come up with a list of 5 (or more, or less!) healthy foods that YOU want to incorporate into your life on a regular basis, and eat those foods every single day for 7 days. 

(Not JUST those foods, silly. You can have your regularly-scheduled-programming foods, too. You just have to incorporate these in there somewhere, everyday). 

That's it! That's the whole thing. 

I'd love it if you wrote on my Facebook page to let me know how you're doing. But you don't have to. This can just be for you. To evolve a step further.

We begin on MONDAY APRIL 4 and go through SUNDAY APRIL 10.

Ready Set Go!

As you can see, I need to stock up on walnuts before Monday. I soak and dehydrate them once every few months and we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

As you can see, I need to stock up on walnuts before Monday. I soak and dehydrate them once every few months and we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here.