Thursday, February 14, 2013

How is the Six Ingredient Challenge going?

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: How is the Six Ingredient Challenge going for you so far?

You can see all the responses to this question today at this link-up post at Hobo Mama and Anktangle. If you're a blogger who's published a response, please post the URL in the linky below so we can visit to read. If you don't have a blog or haven't published a response, feel free to provide your answer in the comments on this post on either Hobo Mama or Anktangle.

Next week's writing prompt is at the end of this post along with posting instructions.

To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!

My answer:

I'm going to answer as if I'm back in time, one week into my first foray into the world of Six Ingredients. (I have a time machine, so this is totally legit.)

I've found that eating the Six Ingredients way is mostly just dandy, which is great. There are a lot of substitutes for things we used to eat that had more ingredients, and I really like the way we're cleaning up our food sources. I also love that Mikko's gotten into the program and understands that we're shopping a new way.

Downsides and challenges, though:

For one, Sam (he's our family's cook) is spending a lot more time in the kitchen. We haven't been TV-dinner sorts for a long while, and we stopped eating fast food a few years back, and yet this challenge has required us to get rid of so many of our convenience foods. Where before he might have been able to toss some fresh and whole ingredients into something that was otherwise boxed, dried, frozen, jarred, or the like (think a box of pasta spiced up with a selection of fresh veggies and a jar of sauce), now we find he has to cook pretty much the whole meal from scratch. Is this good? Oh, sure, in a virtuous, healthifying sense. But it's taking away from other things we (he) used to do, so there's a tradeoff there for sure.

We haven't found substitutes for all our condiments yet, and this is proving somewhat daunting. They pretty much all should be excluded under the challenge, except for my favorite salsa (phew!) and our ketchup. Sam likes the idea of trying out homemade versions of all the condiments, but he hasn't had the time yet to experiment (see above paragraph). We've also found that bread and grain products in particular are really super hard to find with small ingredients lists, so store-bought breads have gone away, to be replaced by Sam's homemade options. (Again, see above on the increased kitchen time.) {Update from the Future/Present Me — spoooooky how I travel through time so fast, isn't it?: We've recently decided to cut out grains; I'm not sure why it didn't occur to us when we were having so many troubles finding grain products that fit under six ingredients or fewer, but it's certainly solved that problem now!}

I've had some trouble transitioning over my treats and keep forgetting (on purpose?) to check if they're six ingredients or fewer. We did find one brand of soda I can drink — Safeway brand Diet Lemon Lime. {Future Me would like you to know that she recently discovered a natural stevia-sweetened soda called Zevia with a Ginger Ale that fits the criteria.} I love diet soda, preferably cola, but I'll take what I can get as long as it's fizzy and sweet. We've also found a brand of tortilla chips with only a few ingredients, and completely valid ones at that (whole corn, oil, salt), and I'm super happy with those. {Another update from the future: We've stopped buying chips. But not soda.}

But sometimes I'll come back from an outing with candy or a cupcake and Sam will say, "Hold on, does that really have six ingredients?" And I'll be like, "La la la, can't hear you" as I stuff it in my face. We were supposed to have a rule that any foods with more than six ingredients had to stay outside the house; in other words, I could have a cupcake at a cupcake place but not bring it home or buy some at the store to have in the snack drawer. I find I keep breaking this rule because I love to eat my treats leisurely, at night, in peace, after the kids have gone to bed.

The good news is, I have resisted the urge to find just any treat that fits the criteria: Since I now obsessively check and count ingredients labels everywhere we go, I happened to discover that circus peanuts (you know, those orange marshmallowy atrocities that I secretly love?) have six ingredients. This gave me a huge laugh as I imagined buying bags and bags and just bingeing on them for weeks. But, see, I knew that circus peanuts followed the letter of the Six Ingredient law but not the spirit and didn't buy even one bag. Since I didn't really want any.

{Final word from Future Me: I still allow myself treats and have forgone the rule that they have to be eaten outside the home, since it really just wasn't working well for me. Rules that restrict the time or opportunity I have to eat tend to make me choose to eat even when I wouldn't otherwise want to (and eat more than I would have), and that's not in line with my intuitive eating style. I have greatly reduced my sugar consumption, though, so these treats now are only occasional and I just don't worry myself about them, honestly. And that's all I can remember from Past Me. Er … I mean, that was all the opportunity I had to interview myself in the past. With my time machine. I'm still saying that totally exists.}

We hope you'll join us by blogging or journaling about the writing prompt each week. We'll introduce the prompt each Thursday and host a link-up for the answers the following week.

Start formulating your answers to Writing Prompt #3

What new foods or recipes have you tried or discovered?

Writing prompt #3 guidelines:

  • You have till next week to think of a response to the prompt. Post your response on your blog anytime by next Thursday.
  • Next week's post (2/21) will have a writing prompt linky where you can link up your response.
  • If you don't have a blog, you can leave your response in the comments on next week's post (2/21).
  • Copy and paste the header below into your post to tag it as part of the challenge.
  • Responding to the writing prompts is optional and just a fun extra way to play along! We encourage you to at least think out a response.

Header code for your writing prompt #3:

Simply copy the code in the box and paste it into the html box of your blogging software to appear at the top of your response post.

This linky list is now closed.


Unknown said...

I can't access the links from my phone but my post is up here:
I'm with you on the soda...I'll take cold and fizzy over hot beverage any time...when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes I couldn't drink any soda. I drank sparkling water. There are flavored kinds, my favorites were the lemon lime Perrier and Seagrams versions!

Lauren Wayne said...

@MJ R. Donis: I added in your link!

I know one of our problems with soda is also with budgeting. I hate how expensive the "better" versions are, sigh… And yet, I persist in drinking it! I won a soda machine, so we can make our own sparkling water at home and mix it with flavors (juice, etc.). I wish I liked the taste of straight seltzer, but I just can't handle it plain. Sam will drink that, though — natural and cheap!

Luschka said...

I haven't been following along, per se, but have been reading with interest because I started this 'real food' journey about a year ago. Now I'm staying with my parents I find not having the right equipment to do the job is just a pain in the butt and makes everything take SO MUCH longer. I make date balls often at home, for example, and here they take forever as I have to divide the batter into five and individually pulp most of the ingredients in a tiny nut chopper. I can't wait to have the 'right' equipment again! So my 'advice' is to take a look at your equipment and see if you have what you need to make your process conducive to your real food journey.

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