#129 Family Kicks the Junk Food Habit

Photo from USDA Agricultural Research Service

These days it seems everyone has an idea for turning some sort of life change or personal commitment into a blog and, if all goes well, a book, a speaking career and maybe even a movie. I have some favorites, including 37 Days365GiveJulie & Julia and 365 Grateful.

This one is a healthy addition to my growing list. “100 Days of Real Food: 1 family. 2 kids. 0 processed foods” was inspired, in part, by Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. For the Leake family from North Carolina, the book was a wake-up call. They decided to eat only “real, fresh, whole, organic, local, non-processed food.” They came up with ten reasons for cutting out processed foods and blogged their experiences.

One of the first things they had to do was define “real food.” Their list is a helpful guide for families considering taking the 10-Day pledge as a way of dipping toes into the real-food waters. The first 100 days led to a second 100 days so the website is loaded with recipes, tips for food shopping, health benefits and ideas for school lunches and snacks.

Along the way, the family shared their challenges, such as the doughnut temptation on Day 9, the birthday party on Day 10 and summer camp on Day 33. Their health improved. They felt more energetic, and the parents even lost a few pounds. They have received lots of media attention and have become a go-to resource for other families wanting to eat a healthier diet. Thanks to readers’ complaints, they figured out how to do it for less than what the USDA calls the average “low-cost” weekly budget of $155 for a family of four.

As concern mounts over the links between diet and disease, sites like this one will offer a helping hand to families wanting to choose a healthier, real-food diet. No processed foods, even those labeled “natural” or “organic” can match the taste (or nutrition) of a tomato fresh from the vine or a ripe watermelon on a sultry summer day.

Originally published on Care2.

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