No, it's not a diet. It's a challenge put on by Chile Chews to be more conscious of how our eating habits have ramifications that extend much farther than just our own bodies.
This article had a good point about the typical American diet: "The problem is that American diets are larded in animals and in junk food. Both use more energy to produce than healthful staples like potatoes, rice, fruits, and veggies."
Plus, we eat more of that kind of stuff than pretty much any other country.
VegSource.com shows in this section of their website that per year, an average American eats:
- 586 pounds of milk and dairy products
- 394 pounds of vegetables
- 199 pounds of meat, and
- 193 pounds of products containing flour and cereal
- 121 pounds of fresh fruit.
As Chile describes it:
Discretionary eating is the amount of an individual's food consumption that is eaten after basic caloric and nutritional needs have been met.
That pretty much describes 90% of what I eat. Yikes! (I'd love to think that ice cream meets my basic caloric and nutritional needs, but I think I'd be stretching it.)
So when she issued the Discretionary Eating Challenge for August, I thought this would be a good time to start thinking more about what I eat.
I have to admit, I'm a little embarrassed to do this challenge alongside the others who signed up. Most of them grow and cook most of their own food, and rarely go out to eat. Plus, a lot are vegan, or at least vegetarian. My family probably eats more meat in a week than these guys do in a year.
Sigh... I just have to remember: Everyone has to start somewhere, at their own pace. I need to concentrate on my own successes, however little they may be.
Chile has a few categories from which to pick, which include cutting down on eating out at restaurants, and cutting down on refined foods, sugar and sweets, and stimulants. She also recommends eating seconds only when hungry, and going vegan.
Of those categories, I don't really have to worry about restaurants, as it's too expensive for us to go out very often. And going vegan in my household would mean I'd be eating a very lonely dinner-for-one every night. They might even ban me from the kitchen completely. (Hmmm... at least I'd get out of cooking...)
I can and should definitely cut down on my refined foods, as well as my sugars and sweets.
Funny story: A while ago, my family dentist told me I should cut down on my sugar intake by maybe putting a little less sugar in my coffee. I laughed and told him that wasn't even the tip of the ice berg. (Seriously, you could actually sink the Titanic from the sheer weight of all the sugar I consume.) He actually punched me in the arm he was so mad at me. Not very hard, don't worry.
And I completely failed the sugar-addict test.
Okay, so cut back 50% (it's either 50% or 100% for the challenge; let's not get crazy here) on refined foods and sugars, and I might as well cut back on the stimulants as well. So less coffee and chocolate. I might as well try to go 100% on that since I have such bad insomnia.
And while I'm at it, I'll cut down on seconds, too.
So let's see:
50% REFINED FOODS (code word: LITE)
50% SUGAR/SWEETS (SUGAR)
100% STIMULANTS (BUZZ)
100% SECONDS ONLY WHEN HUNGRY (SOW)
We'll see how long I last; I'm not known for my will power. But having others in the challenge gives me a sense of needing to be accountable. Anyone else want to join? Head on over to Chile's blog and sign up!