Lisa Leake and her family took on quite a challenge: They were going to go 100 days without eating processed food. That wasn’t so hard while at home. But, it’s summer. How does anyone avoid processed food on the road?
Answer: Planning. And lots of it.
In an article for the Miami Herald, Leake described the challenges, writing “Why is it that real, wholesome, organic, local, whole food is suddenly the minority in our society?”
This probably sounds like an applaudable, but totally impossible feat for some. I mean, how can you by-pass the local ice cream shop? And how can you not try the local delicacy … even if it’s deep-fat fried?
Well, she and her family of four managed. It sounds like it involved a lot of questions for each server that approached their dinner table, but they found one or two items on the menu that suited their goal.
What surprised me – though, if I had thought about it, it shouldn’t have – was that the entire kid’s menu at each restaurant was immediately off limits. I guess I’d never thought about all the junk set aside for kids, but maybe it takes a challenge like this to shine some light on it.
Think about it, though. Leake points out, “Chicken fingers had been deep-fried in oil, pasta was made with white flour, hot dogs were surely not made from locally raised meat and french fries were completely out of the question.”
I’m all for avoiding processed food, but I know my family’s limitations at this moment. I can imagine the fits of rage if I take away my son’s beloved Boca chik’n patties. I feel guilty feeding such a heavily processed thing to him, but he loves them. When he’s a little older, maybe I can reason with him. Until then, I don’t think my family can survive a 100-day challenge like this.
As a side note, Leake’s website, 100 Days of Real Food, is a very interesting – if a little intimidating – site to check out. You can read more about her travels while on the challenge, but perhaps a little more beneficial to us homebound people, how to get real food into everyday situations. Recently, she blogged about party favors for a preschooler that didn’t involve sugary candies.
She also issues mini-pledges: Manageable (but still hard) weeklong challenges to cut out certain processed foods. One week, it’s “No Sweeteners” (eek); another, it’s “Eat Local Foods.” If you find yourself following this blog, let me know if you take up any of her challenges.