Clean Food Challenge

By: Rora

Nov 28 2010

Category: Japan

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The above photo is a good example of something I will NOT be eating for the next seven days. Goodbye, Pikachu cornflakes. Hello, healthy eating!

Tomorrow I begin The Clean Food Challenge. This is the brainchild of Emilie Manhart, a former teacher of mine who is an avid blogger, runner, writer and promoter of all things healthy. Let’s do this!

Why? Because even though I am eating well here, I’m not doing well enough. There are so many new (and amaaazing) junk foods to try, and I haven’t exactly held back. My meals tend to be healthy overall, but could be better. With winter finally here, I want to make sure I’m being as healthy as possible. I’m susceptible to tons of new viruses (both because I work at a school AND because Asia has flues and colds that my body has never dealt with before) and I can’t go running (doctors orders, ugh). I want to challenge myself to eat something other than cereal for breakfast. And, after a big potluck dinner last night, I’m feeling ready for a week of eating as well as possible.

You can read about what I will eat / what I won’t eat in this post on Emilie’s blog.

Living in Japan will make some aspects of this easy. Rice and veggies are plentiful. Wheat and dairy are rare. Even convenient stores sell foods that fall into the limitations/guidelines of the cleanse, which is going to make this a lot easier for me! I’m already into a good lunch routine, and my kitchen is finally set up well enough to cook some quality dinners.

Living in Japan will make also some aspects of this quite difficult. Whole grains are nowhere to be found. Produce is expeennnnsive. Many food items that I would normally turn to are non-existant (almond milk, almond butter, beans). Tofu is going to be difficult to avoid, as are eggs.

I’m considering making some exceptions, or not being quite so strict about certain things. For instance, I don’t think it’s a smart idea for me to avoid citrus fruits. It’s mikan (clementine orange) season here and I desperately need the vitamin C. I also depend on eggs a lot for protein, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat a healthy breakfast otherwise. This weekend might also be challenging, but I don’t want to think about it yet- if I can survive adhering to the rules until Friday, I’ll be satisfied, and I can deal with the rest then.

I’m just going to keep my goals in mind, which are to eat less sugar and refined foods, and to make sure all of my meals contain nutritious elements. More vegetables, less fat and grease. No fried food, no mayonaise (both of which are surprisingly popular in Japan and hard to avoid sometimes!) No snacking on omiyage (gifts that coworkers or student’s parents give to us, usually cakes or candies, that get devoured in the breakroom).

Wish me luck! I’m gonna try to post daily updates on how it’s going.

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