For the past several years, I’ve invited my friends and Instagram followers to join me in No-Sugar January. It’s a great time to be extra careful to avoid all the refined sugar that is offered to us everywhere.
Instead of only focusing on what NOT to eat this year, let’s focus on what TO eat! We’ll be so zoomed in on this list of delicious foods, there just won’t be as much room or desire for sugary foods that cause food addictions, cravings, over-eating, and headaches.
Ready for one really delicious month? Do the Daily Dozen Challenge!
The Daily Dozen is a list of twelve of the most nutritious foods we should aim to eat every day. It comes from extensive nutrition research by Michael Gregor, the founder of NutritionFacts.org and author of several books about evidence-based nutrition. No fad diets or money-making here, just pure evidence and science. Every penny he earns goes to charity, and no studies are funded by special interest groups, so you can be sure the information is not biased.
For an understanding of the daily dozen list, watch this 8-minute video. It’s all you need to know to get started!
So, what’s the challenge?
- Download the Daily Dozen App
- Check off what you eat each day. Even if you don’t eat very many on the list, just the act of recording makes you more aware.
- Try to get all 24 servings checked off even just ONE DAY this month!
You might be wondering if nutrients are as important to worry about as macronutrients (like carbs, for example), or calories. This video might help: Why you Should Care about Nutrition.
Doing a quick search about weight loss on NutritionFacts.org will also answer tons of your questions.
1. Won’t eating the Daily Dozen be expensive?
Thankfully, most of the healthiest foods are very cheap. Beans, whole grains, and water make up nearly half of the daily dozen list, and they are very cheap. The rest is not terribly expensive. Simply pick up a bag of frozen blueberries and add some to oatmeal or a smoothie each day. Buy your favorite cruciferous vegetable (brussel sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower, for example) either fresh or frozen and cook some as side dishes or add to whatever you’re already making. One package of flax seed will last a long time and isn’t very expensive. As you cut back on processed food, you’ll save money you can then put towards these healthier ingredients. You know what IS very expensive? All the health problems you’ll eventually have if you don’t incorporate these disease-preventing foods. I’d rather spend a little more at the grocery store each week than hundreds or thousdands of dollars on medical bills, prescriptions, medical devices, higher insurance, etc.
2. What if I don’t like a lot of these foods?
I suggest adding whatever it takes to help you like them! Don’t like any cruciferous veggies? If it takes a little cheese sauce to help you eat broccoli, so be it! If it takes a little honey or brown sugar to help you eat oatmeal or other whole grains, do what it takes! If you need your favorite salad dressing to help you eat greens, do it. Hate flaxseeds? Add some ground flaxseeds to some energy balls or your favorite granola, pancake or muffin recipe.
3. What if I don’t have time to keep track of everything I eat?
The nice thing is you don’t have to keep track of everything you eat! Just check the boxes you do eat, it literally takes 1 minute or less at the end of the day to quickly tap each food you ate. If you don’t want to use your phone, click the printable on this page and keep it on your fridge, and make checks on a post-it note each day or whatever method works for you.
4. Getting all of these foods in every day seems impossible. What if I don’t even eat that much?
It’s ok if you don’t eat all these things every day. Most days I don’t get more than 20 out of 24, but the point is the improvement and the awareness. Most of the servings are very small, so if you’re eating a normal amout of calories, it’s not unrealistic to eat all the servings listed. None of the healthiest foods are high-calorie. You won’t gain weight by eating the Daily Dozen, but you will feel full because they are high-volume foods.
5. What do I eat?
This is the fun part! I’ll be sharing recipes all month long that are rich in Daily Dozen foods. You could get your daily dozen with no recipes, however. A bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana, peanut butter toast, a stir-fry, vegetable bean soup, steamed broccoli, a salad with beans, seeds, fruit, and greens. Cook once and eat leftovers to save time cooking. To start, here are a few recipes to get you going:
Creamy Coconut Oatmeal (add berries and flaxseeds for extra “points”)
You don’t need lots of recipes–here is whole grains, greens, and seeds in the form of simple toast.
Are you in?! Let me know in the comments or a reply to this email, or on Instagram!