Ten Days for our family of real food. It is possible. It is doable. With the exception of a short planned break for one of my girls at a birthday party, we all nailed it.  No mess ups {other than that mint my husband ate without thinking and the bunny puff that belonged to my baby that I put in my own mouth without thinking}.

About 15 years ago, I was at a conference with a friend of mine. She leaned over and whispered “Let’s go get something sweet at the cart outside”. You don’t have to tell me twice. As I picked up my jaw off the floor (she was my healthy eating friend) and followed her outside, I would have never guessed the outcome of this. I waited behind her in line to see her gaze at all the candy and deliciousness and then reach out and pick up a nutrigrain bar. I said, “I thought you were getting some junk food.” She replied, “I did.” Yes, I felt stupid.

I have spent my life in middle ground with our eating choices. I regularly see people who eat “worse” than we do. I regularly see people who eat “not worse” than we do. I suppose, on some level, everyone could say the same thing.

We have had an overhaul on our food and for the first time it makes sense to me. It’s not to incorporate a powder, or a bar. It isn’t to trick our body into behaving a certain way. It’s to eat REAL FOOD. Our ten day challenge taught me so much.

*watermelon~ I think God’s version of Krispy Kreme. It’s a great dessert and it was just that on day 4, 5, and 7.

Some questions I regularly have had….


UM YES, yes, and yes. It is more expensive. No way around that. There are definitely ways to stretch the dollar. However, it is more expensive. 


UM YES, chopping and cleaning vegetables and making tortillas from scratch is definitely more time consuming than ripping open a Totinos Pizza Box and slinging it in the oven.


Yes, but only because it is a total overhaul in what we eat. In time, it will be no harder, I believe, than how we were eating before.

*Roasted Butternut Squash with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Steamed Cauliflower with Parmesan, Baked Potatoes with a little real Butter and pepper, and Salad with sliced Cucumbers and Balsamic. Dinner~day 3.

The 10 day challenge was different then just trying to eat better because it forces you to read all the labels for ten days. Everything. I was shocked. I still am shocked. The things that I THOUGHT I was doing “good” or “better” than other choices…not so much. Such as marshmallows have blue food dye in them? Are you serious?

I read articles and researched and learned. I am learning new foods. Like Kale. Uh huh. It’s on my menu. I am learning new tricks like unsweetened cocoa powder and 100% maple syrup make a nice chocolate sauce that rivals Hersheys, not a fake nasty diet chocolate.

* Whole Wheat Crepes with Chocolate Sauce. Dessert~day 2.

I felt so happy with the food I was feeding my family. I was not constantly saying NO to the junk, but yes to snacks of cauliflower and carrots and apples and almonds. I was feeding them nutritious meals. It made this mama happy.

The biggest shockers of the whole thing were~

1. I expected to grin and bare it and muscle my way through some mind numbingly horrible diet tasting food for 10 days. 🙂 Instead I found immediately that real food tastes better. I don’t mean slightly better, I mean my kids were asking for seconds and thirds better.

2. My 13 year old woke up on day 7 and announced that he felt like a fog had been lifted. (I did not put those thoughts in his head ahead of time).

3. There is sugar in everything and I mean everything. EVERYTHING. Soy sauce to rotisserie chicken to mayonnaise and beyond.

4. There is also food dye in everything. My children’s vitamins, canned vegetables, throat lozenges, and everything in between.

5. My kids were 1000% on board. All of them. They even passed up donuts, candy, lollipops, and Cheez its (all offered at church).


Yes, this has changed us. More than I thought possible. I read articles like this and this and it has made my husband and I think long and hard about our budget and our food. We are making adjustments. We are finding our own balance.

I will not be found on an intersection in a sandwich board shouting for the end of processed food. Not by a long shot. I am not turning my blog into a health food blog. There are plenty of brilliant ones out there like this one and this one. I will not be condemning anyone who does not think like me and if you invite me over for dinner, I am going to eat what you fix me, I promise.

*Chicken stir fry with brown rice, pineapple, apricot all fruit spread, and liquid aminos. Whole wheat bread, salad with peppers and balsamic, and corn with a little real butter and sea salt and pepper. School lunch on day 9.

I will tell you this, my biggest lesson came on day 11 and lingers even today on day 12. We officially stopped the challenge after day 10. As planned and promised, we made chocolate chip cookies at lunch time and ordered our favorite pizza for delivery for dinner. After a couple licks of dough and one cookie, I had my first noticeable sugar rush of my life. I only noticed it because I had been living in a continual one for as long as I can remember, but it took the true absence of sugar for 10 solid days to show me just what I was dealing with. We went ahead with dinner plans and 2 slices of pepperoni pizza later, I was less then enchanted. The grease and sluggishness~ yuck. My seven year old said it was gross and didn’t finish it (it was the same pizza she loved 10 days prior) and my eleven year old complained of a stomach ache after dinner.

I am not going to lie, there is a part of me that is irritated. Irritated that my old familiar recipes and ways of eating around here have been all messed up. I sometimes want to live in a world where driving through Taco Bell and eating that fourth late night meal of the day is fun and delicious and yes even nutritious. However, even as I type that I find that to be a fairly odd statement to even make on many levels.

God made our bodies and He made such incredible food for them. Getting as close to eating what He created to nourish the body He created ~ it just makes sense. We are committed to to do our best to continue on this path, for the long haul.









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20 Responses to WE DID IT!
  1. Laura
    March 29, 2012 | 12:02 am

    SOOO proud of you and the family! I’ve been eating well, but I’m still feeding my kids pizza and it occurred to me after watching my toddler eat leftovers for two days that if it makes me feel like garbage, what am I doing to his little body?? Bad mama!

    Try homemade pizza…it can be better than most (although I still think Round Table is the best). You can get dough that is ready to spread and throw toppings on at Winco or Trader Joes (and they both have wheat versions too) :). It takes some practice to spread it out right, but it’s worth it!

    I also suggest agave nectar…you can also find a big gallon of it at Winco for about 40 bucks. It lasted us 2-3 months last time and you can use it for everything. It’s cheaper than maple syrup and also makes great chocolate!

    • CKitson
      April 2, 2012 | 11:04 am

      Not to be a drag, but agave nectar is really no less processed or real than corn syrup is. I was shocked, but a little research on the subject will tell you a LOT. Even the organic kind.

  2. Amy G
    March 29, 2012 | 6:26 am

    Yeah!!! So proud of you! What an accomplishment and SO FUN all the things you learned! I am seriously impressed my friend!

  3. Rikki
    March 29, 2012 | 7:03 am

    Love reading about your experience. It’s inspiring!

  4. Ashley
    March 29, 2012 | 1:00 pm

    I like this topic 🙂

    Do you have netflix? There are some FASCINATING food documentaries on there. They are horrifying when you see where our food really comes from. One little tidbit that stayed with me that I still think about, is that of any developed country, Americans spend significantly less on food, and more on health care, really makes you think. Good for you guys! I loved hearing about the effects it’s had on your family in such a short time. I think cooking real foods at home, from scratch, also makes us look at our time priorities as busy Americans. When I was in Europe for a month with my BFF and parents at 18, it was amazing the connection they have to their foods. Meals are SO SO SO long. Like hours long, and something to be enjoyed and relished with people you love and a little table wine (weak wine that even the kids drink!) I know I may have mentioned it before, but Azure Standards co-op is definitely worth looking into for price, ease, and quality of mostly organic foods. Also have you heard of the book Nourishing Traditions? It was pretty overwhelming, but really really incredible. She writes about traditional-culture foods research and it’s effects on long term health in each population and she writes a lot about fermented and cultured foods and that so many legitimate modern food allergies (gluten and casein) are a result of chronically not eating those foods the way they were intended to be prepared.

    Really it is all so so far removed from our culture and thus incredibly overwhelming for most anyone. Something I think is more of a journey, and about taking steps, and looking at your priorities, and doing the best you can with what you have at the moment.

  5. Cara Yeh
    March 29, 2012 | 8:49 pm

    WOW! Very impressed… very inspired…very challenged! My brain is going a mile a minute; I have lots to think about. Thank you so much for this! I am certainly looking at our choices more carefully!

  6. Lisa Leake
    March 30, 2012 | 7:24 am

    Hi there! It’s Lisa with 100 Days of Real Food. I sometimes get an email when people link back to my site, which is how I found your post. I absolutely love what you said about your “10 Days of Real Food” experience. Would you mind if I shared this link with my facebook followers? Thanks so much…also good for you for completing the pledge and gaining a new perspective about food! 🙂

  7. Christa @ BrownSugarToast
    April 2, 2012 | 8:56 am

    Wow. That’s awesome. Good for you!!! I haven’t done the whole “overhaul” yet, but have drastically changed what I offer to my 2 year old. You know what? She eats what I give her. Novel thought. 🙂

  8. Sarah
    April 2, 2012 | 9:20 am

    Do you have recipes for these delicious looking recipes?

  9. Judy
    April 2, 2012 | 9:27 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I are trying cut out the processed food but my 9 year old is such a picky eater I am not sure how we would pull this off with him. Funny how before I became a mom I was good at giving my siblings advice on how to get their kids to eat better (just keep the junk out of the house and if they are hungry enough they will what is put in front of them right?). But I find myself not liking those power struggles with my own son and I hate seeing him get upset so I give in. Still, you have inspired me to keep at it! I keep telling him he is missing out on such wonderful food because he wont even try anything.

  10. Steph
    April 2, 2012 | 9:34 am

    Congrats!!!! This is a wonderful post. I get irritated about this stuff ALL THE TIME. Why isn’t the regular food we eat just good for us??? BTW I LOVE this part of your post: “2. My 13 year old woke up on day 7 and announced that he felt like a fog had been lifted. (I did not put those thoughts in his head ahead of time).” My husband said that to me after he stopped eating deli meat. I loved hearing it!

  11. Julia
    April 2, 2012 | 11:06 am

    I found your blog through a Facebook friend. Love it! Good for you!

    I gave up sugar (including honey, and any other sweet additives, white flour, white rice and potatoes for Lent. See my post about my son’s change in behavior after reading labels here: http://secondhandyard.blogspot.com/

    Just eating whole grains, and fresh fruits & veggies for my sweet tooth. Frozen fruit (no sugar added) is a great dessert, and super yummy in the blender as a smoothie with some plain Greek yogurt or soft tofu for protein.

    Also using whole wheat Flat Out wraps (or whole wheat tortillas) as pizza crust is quicker and easier than rising pizza dough at home! I’ve tried it both ways. The wraps are sweetened with honey and my family loved adding their own veggie toppings and some turkey sausage.

    My 7-yr-old son is counting the days until I can have sugar again. He says he doesn’t like to eat things that I can’t eat. So…I may have him eating whole foods without even knowing it. I’m craving a good homemade banana bread…so that’ll be my re-entry to sugar this weekend on Easter. 🙂

  12. Samantha
    April 2, 2012 | 11:29 am

    Just found you via 100 Days of Real Food on facebook. What a great post- congrats on your dedication and success to nourishing your family. Life makes it so easy to eat poorly and basically poison our children. But with a little effort, it is possible to make good choices. Hope to have you as a new blog friend!
    🙂 Samantha

  13. Martha
    April 2, 2012 | 11:50 am

    I also found you through 100 Days of Real Food on Facebook. Thanks to the 100 days site, my husband and I have (most of the time) eliminated processed foods since August. Yes, it does take more time and it was more expensive intially, but I think that’s leveled off because we eat much less meat. Granted, we don’t have small children to complicate menus, but we feel so much better about ourselves. Good luck to you and your family. Check out Lisa’s recipes on 10 days – big help.

  14. Chris
    April 3, 2012 | 9:50 am

    I just found this site through 100 days of Real Food and so glad I did. I am new to this way of eating and appreciate all of the advice and support. Thanks so much and “keep it coming.”

  15. Karen in Tn
    September 12, 2012 | 3:36 pm

    Stumbled upon your website and wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying it. I have 5 children age 21 to 6, all at home. We are going on whole foods and this gives me hope. We, like your family, are somewhere in the middle. I have organic ketchup, but we just ordered Pizza Hut. I start my second round of chemo for breast cancer next week. Our prayer is that long before it ends in December, that we will only be eating real food. I have a HORRIBLY picky 8 year old. It’s going to be hard. I cut them off of all soda last week. So far, so good. They get 4 oz of juice a day and lots of filtered water! It’s a start. Thanks again and I’ll continue checking in! Karen in TN

    • Kassie
      November 22, 2014 | 8:03 pm

      Unlarapleled accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable importance!

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