I love sweets. I have always loved junk food and tend to overindulge sometimes (okay, a lot). As the weather gets nicer, I’ve been struggling to get my eating under control. So when I saw BuzzFeed’s Clean Eating Challenge I was intrigued. This challenge has certainly picked up some interest with almost 2 million views and over 400 comments. You have your people that love the idea, and the rest who think it’s downright silly.
While I could never eat entirely clean all of the time (as I am realizing from the lack of carbs this week), I think that this challenge is a great way to start eating better for the long haul. I have always believed that moderation is the key, but since I personally have been challenged with that lately, I needed something a tad more drastic.
So if you haven’t heard about the BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge I’ll break it down for you. The challenge lasts for two weeks. BuzzFeed has been kind enough to provide a grocery list of everything you will need for each of the two weeks. They also provide recipes and instructions for each day, so you know exactly what you’ll be eating and how you’ll be cooking it. Each day you consume about 1,300 – 1,600 calories, dependent on the diet for that day. The food and recipes they use are based on providing enough food for one person. And here is the big one – no coffee or alcohol for the two weeks. I’m not sure which is harder to abide by.
I chose this challenge for the ease of it. You provide my grocery list and tell me how to cook? I’m in. So I kicked off the challenge this week with an air of excitement. That excitement dwindled slightly with my $150 shopping bill, but I was still riding high with the thought that I’d feel great and maybe drop a pound of two in the process.
So here is what I learned so far, after only four days of participating in the challenge. Some of the recipes are really great, and some of the recipes are not. Now what is important to note here, is that I don’t like some of the recipes because I don’t actually like the food that is included in them. Take for example the Greek Salad that I had yesterday, which called for a whole red pepper and half a seedless cucumber. I hate both of those vegetables, hence the reason it took me two hours to eat it. I figure I must be devoted to the challenge if I’m willing to eat food I hate.
I also have tried some food that I never even heard of before. Take for instance fennel. I may have heard the word before, but until I tried it I had no idea that it had a liquorice like taste. No thank you. Too bad I have another meal to eat it with later this week. I also have never tried a Mejdool date. It turns out they look like withered plums and are really sweet.
As someone who works out 5 days a week, I have found that 1,300-1,600 is not enough calories to keep me going. Therefore I have added hard boiled eggs (without the yolk) and other fruit when I find myself famished. Bananas with some almond butter after a workout are perfect. I have also determined that I will be reviewing the menus for each day next week to determine whether or not they fit in with the types of food I like to eat. While I am all about trying new things, I also want to enjoy the food that I am eating.
I would never tell someone whether or not they should participate in a challenge like this, nor do I think that BuzzFeed intended to do the same. They simply provided an option for people who might want to try to eat a little better. I think that everyone can benefit from being more aware of the food they consume. Whether you decide to partake or not and to what level is up to you. I’ll be sharing my experiences throughout the two weeks and sharing what I liked and didn’t like about the challenge.
Here are the best recipes from the challenge thus far (at least in my opinion). I’ll definitely be eating them again.
Sliced Tomatoes with Feta and Basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Can we say yum? I wouldn’t change a thing about this snack.
Scallion and Feta Omelet. As long as you like onion, this omelet is delicious! Tasty and filling.
Napa Cabbage Wraps, with tomatoes, mango, avocado and basil. I topped mine with tilapia rather than the recommended chicken.
Cauliflower Steaks with Lentils. The roasted cauliflower was so tasty and filling.