#fiveorless challenge Week 4 - Find Your Balance

by - 1:01 AM

We're coming to the end of the final week of the #fiveorless challenge with Tartan & Sequins, and this last chapter is all about creating balance.

If you have played around with switching up your shopping routine, you already know that it's not sustainable - or realistic - to eat 100% clean all of the time. The key is to find the balance that works for you and your body. I'm still figuring mine out!

Case in point, as I wrap up this weekend, I had a little bit of a food hangover today. I ate some stuff that I know my body doesn't tolerate (red onions, hummus, white bread, LOADS of sugar) and I basically spent most of Sunday feeling like garbage.

I put it in my body, I knew what was going to happen. But I enjoyed eating every morsel of that sourdough.

Noticing the Change

If you have REALLY stuck with the challenge, you will have noticed by now how absolutely freaking fantastic you feel NOT eating processed stuff - and how shitty you feel when you do eat it.

Despite how this may be received, I'm going to do an alcohol analogy here...

Basically, think of processed food as you would booze. Tasty going in, wicked waking up the next day. Because alcohol is toxic to the body. Your body doesn't know what to do with it, so your liver, stomach, organs, heart, brain, everything have to work overtime to rid the body of this foreign substance. It can't use it to nourish the body - because there is no nutritional content.

Processed food = same as alcohol

You know what a hangover feels like. You feel off. Fatigued. Foggy brain. This is how you will begin to feel when you eat clean all of the time and then overindulge in processed junk.

The alternative - feeling a little bit shitty every single day. Think about it - if you put a small but substantial amount of alcohol in your system every single day, you will always be a *little bit intoxicated*. You may not feel TERRIBLE, and you also may not even be aware that anything is wrong. This is just how you are - sometimes tired, a little cloudy, bloated sort of, but still operating on 90%.

If you were to remove alcohol completely from this scenario and allow the body to completely detox itself back to square one, you would notice the difference - Energy, clarity, lightness, operating 110%.

This is why people who do cleanses and detoxes talk about how freaking amazing they felt on them. Because you get a taste of what it feels like to not put shitty fuel in your gas tank.

The Fuel You Choose Matters

Our bodies are machines. Meat suits. They need top grade fuel to perform at 100%. You can cheap out and put the crappy gas in your car all you want, but just don't expect it to operate at the highest level.

When you eat food with chemicals and preservatives that have been added in to increase shelf life/make those soybeans taste more appealing, you are putting junk in your trunk.

I wasn't able to identify my intolerances to things like red onions or hummus (tahini, garlic, chickpeas are all my enemies right now) until I started eating real food all of the time. I was just always somewhat bloated and foggy in the morning. I had a "sensitive stomach."

When I removed the garbage, I was able to pinpoint VERY specific ingredients in things I ate and made for myself and how they affected my body. I can avoid them, when possible. Prepare to feel a little "hungover" when not possible.

But this is all a choice.

How to Begin

Ready to not feel sort of crappy all of the time? Follow the #fiveorless challenge. You didn't miss anything, here it is again:

I'm also here for support 1x1 as a health coach with any questions or guidance you may need. I've done this myself - it's a journey. Not an overnight fix. It's a lifestyle change but it's FREE - no points, no crazy cookbooks. Just eat real food.

My friend Heather has a beautiful blog - eatrealfoodnyc - completely dedicated to this topic, full of delicious recipes and other clean eating inspiration. Check it out and follow her on instagram for daily inspo.

(Pssst - the word is out. I'll be joining Heather in hosting a balanced lifestyle retreat at her newly renovated house in East Hampton in Spring 2015! For more information on The Treehouse, sign up for her newsletter here.)

Clean Eating Love

A huge thank you to my other blogger partner in crime for her help in making this campaign a reality. If you haven't read Julia's take on her month-long #fiveorless journey, check it out here on Tartan & Sequins.

We know it’s not realistic to eliminate all processed foods completely from your diet. So the question becomes, what is the ideal balance for YOUR body? You are the only one who can answer that.

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