Well, it’s over.
The official 101 days of eating only foods I gathered with my own hands ended 10 days ago.
I have yet to “go back” to my old ways. Which, by the way, were not necessarily all “bad.” Since making the jump to country life, we have steadily been taking back control of our food. On a homestead this (typically) means you are regularly adding more pastures, gardens and fences. It also means you have new neighbors, like chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits and cows.
My diet has been relatively clean and real and somewhat organic for years.
Really. We were pretty healthy.
We were raising MOST of our food.
We were doing things that most people would never consider doing:
- like milking our own cows every morning
- like making lard & butter
- like raising pigs, beef, chicken and ducks for our table
- like growing, canning and cooking foods from our land
- like grinding wheat berries & making things from scratch
I know there are many of you who are doing these things along with me, but most of the world isn’t. Especially in America.
The bottom line is that my diet wasn’t THAT bad. At least, I didn’t think so.
I went on this Challenge to raise all my food for 101 days & some pretty impressive things happened.
It was quite eye opening.
Let’s just talk weightloss for a minute.
I lost over 10 pounds. The majority of our family also lost weight.
Together we lost over 30 pounds in 101 days – Without dieting. Without trying. Without depriving. Without exercising.
(Other than all the work it took to grow what we ate).
Don’t worry, the 2 little ones (ages 9 & 11) didn’t lose any weight. And… those of us who lost weight had a little pudge that could go.
None of us were fat.
Additionally, we ate all the time.
All the time.
When you are eating things like whole wheat muffins and green beans you need to eat A LOT and often.
We ate HUGE breakfasts that included:
- Blackberry pancakes
- Western 3-egg omelettes
- Strawberry & blackberry muffins
- Egg sandwiches (on fresh-milled, whole-wheat, slider buns)
- Fresh whipped cream & wild blackberries
We ate great lunches:
- Benedictine BLT’s
- Chutney dip with bacon and homemade crackers
- Ham steak sandwiches (on fresh-milled, whole-wheat buns)
- Handmade pizzas with homegrown pizza sauce
Dinners were spectacular:
- Duck, chicken, venison, ribeye steaks, ham steaks, Pork chops, burgers, Spanish sausage – really, we ate everything.
- Sides: potatoes, beans, broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, greens, salads, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, beets, carrots and eggplant.
We ate fruit:
- Strawberries, blackberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, peaches.
I made dozens of fresh baked goods from whole wheat berries that I ground into flour in my kitchen:
We really ate like kings.
So, how on earth did we lose over 30 pounds eating all this food all day long?
I really don’t have a good answer for this. Here’s my thoughts & be sure to add yours in the comment section:
- Fresh milled flour is not flour. It just isn’t. It should be called, “meat” or “protein.” It is a rich food, full of essential nutrients & does not make you fat. It doesn’t spike your sugar. It isn’t “empty calories.” Every reason you’ve ever heard to avoid “bread” is not the case with fresh-milled whole-wheat flour. It is high in protein. It contains 40 of the 44 known essential vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain life (more on that here). You can’t buy it at a store. You can’t duplicate it’s goodness or nutrition. We have been eating homemade breads made with fresh ground flour by the loaf and loosing weight.
- Preservatives. Additives. Chemicals. Pesticides. Herbicides. Etc. Now, I have no idea if all these extra things that are put into our foods have a way to “keep weight on.” I don’t know if they have any effect on weight loss. I just know that I haven’t had any of these things for over 3 months and they could be playing a part. Eliminating these is nothing short of amazing.
- SUGAR. This has to be a major factor. No sugar for 101 days. This one’s hard. Coming off the sugar the first week was painful. Staying off the sugar the first 6 weeks was sooooooo hard. The cravings don’t stop. The desires never fade. I would have to leave rooms that had desserts in them so the temptation would be out of sight. It was miserable, at best. Once I got past the first 6 weeks, it was easier – but I still couldn’t be left unsupervised with a pie. There is a positive if you can make it to the end of 3 months. Sugar is nearly inedible for me now. What!?! It’s true. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this Christmas when it’s time to bake because right now, sweets are just too……. sweet. Gack. They’re terrible. Some sweets I’ve tasted this week: Derby Pie, Bananas Foster, Homemade Ice-Cream, Starbucks Coffee. All too sweet. I can’t eat them. They hurt my teeth. The taste like straight sugar. It’s totally whack. I keep asking DH if they taste right to him? I keep asking my little ones to taste it for me and tell me if they taste normal. Because they are not tasting normal to me.
Way too sweet.
While I’m on the sugar subject, I wanted to point out that I did consume maple syrup, some honey and plenty of wine during the 101 days. I know these products have a “sugar content” in them. From a real food perspective, the sugar in these foods is not the same as “white sugar.” Real maple syrup is just tree sap that is reduced – a natural food that comes from nature. Raw, wild honey is arguably a miracle food. It has been proven to lower cholesterol, improve allergies and provide multiple health benefits. Wine is fermented grapes, a whole, natural food. When these foods enter our bodies, they do not cause the glycemic problems that white table sugar (or corn syrup) does. Our bodies can receive maple syrup, honey and wine and know what to do with them. They can be nurturing foods.
Other Health Benefits from the 101 Day Homesteaders Food Challenge:
- I feel fabulous.
- I’m sleeping great.
- I wake up early and energized.
- I am not tired during the day.
- I don’t have lumps or pains in weird places anymore.
- My back feels better.
- I feel healthier.
What about that big burrito celebration?
Well, I ate the burrito. And it was very good.
I will confess that the tortilla chips tasted like rancid oil to me, so I couldn’t eat any chips & salsa. Everyone else at the table said the chips tasted fine – it was just me.
Am I assimilating back into normalcy? No.
Am I going back to eating desserts and sweets. No.
Have I eaten any Nutella? No.
I’m planning to stay the course. I’m not going to be quite as legalistic, however, I want to continue to eat as clean as possible. Winter is approaching, which means, I won’t be growing everything I’m eating anymore.
BUT I still can eat “What Grows.”
I can purchase whole foods that grow here in my country to feed my family. I can make meals from scratch that align with the rules of the challenge. I can substitute all the fresh veggies from our garden with fresh veggies from the local market or store. I can keep milling wheat and making my bread products here at home.
What about restaurants?
YES! I am eating at restaurants. I suppose this is where I’ll get my share of additives, preservatives and chemicals – ugh. I’m done packing a lunchbox around town. That was zero fun.
For now, the adventure continues.
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Stay Healthy Everyone!