Why is your January going to rule?

January 1, 2011 10:52 am
Posted in: Happening Now
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Happy new year, everyone! I’m so excited for 2011, it’s almost embarrassing.

A few days ago I threw down A Challenge for January: Follow my three eating rules for the month (plus a cheat meal) and see how it goes.

Many of you accepted the challenge, and I’m thrilled to see how this is going to go for all of us. (I’m doing it too!)

Several friends have also agreed to share some of their experiences publicly throughout the month.  To get things started today, I asked them each a simple question:

What are you hoping to accomplish from this January challenge?

Jayne Rivera-Lynch

Jayne’s an Eating Rules reader who participated in October Unprocessed. A few weeks ago she sent me a tweet (@jaynerly) about wanting to refocus her eating habits once again (and I had to admit I needed to do the same). So when I decided to throw down the challenge, Jayne was the first person I asked to join in. She eagerly decided to make A Clean Start for 2011.

Jayne’s Answer:

I guess I just want/need to get back to a healthier diet — I  like how eating healthier makes me feel, both mentally and physically! Is that enough?!

(I think that’s totally enough, Jayne!)

Rene Lynch

Rene is an editor for the Los Angeles Times and the voice behind @LATimesfood and @renelynch.  Yesterday she wrote a terrific article about this challenge on their Daily Dish Blog. Rene and I have decided to start exploring some of LA’s most popular restaurants, and I’m very much looking forward to meeting up with her soon at Umami Burger for an insanely good cheat meal.

Rene’s Answer:

Before October Unprocessed I would have looked you straight in the eye and told you that I rarely eat “processed” foods. The reality? I eat lots of processed foods: white flour, sugar, diet soda, etc. They certainly don’t make up the bulk of my diet. But it wasn’t until October Unprocessed that I realized how often I mindlessly reach for a Diet Coke or a handful of M&Ms in the office candy bowl. I’m doing several races this year, and I know that one way to better my race times is to cut out the junk (and hopefully lose some junk in the trunk). So, I’m just looking for a fun way to continue to build that awareness.

Kimberly Morales

Kimberly is better known as the original “Poor Girl” from the popular blog, Poor Girl Eats Well. She’s got a full heart but an empty wallet. I love that for her “eating well” means eating healthfully and gloriously — even on a minuscule budget.

Kimberly’s Answer:

I feel I already follow these rules for the most part, particularly the whole grains bit, which I feature heavily on my blog. But sometimes when I check out the labels on some of the more questionable products I purchase, I’m horrified to find that they’re not as “healthy” and innocent as they try to appear through their clever labeling. I’m hoping this challenge will help me be even more conscious about carefully reading ingredient listings before I buy or ingest certain foods. If I already have something at home and it doesn’t meet the rules criteria, I’ll set it aside for local shelters to give to the needy so it won’t go to waste.  But in general, I believe these 3 rules are easy for anyone to follow with a little effort.

Ame Schneider

Ame is a personal friend from before I started blogging, and we often find ourselves chatting about ways to make healthful eating easier. She’s also the one I scoffed at awhile back when she said (correctly) that Chick-fil-A is one of the healthier fast food options out there (more accurately: it’s less unhealthy).

Ame’s Answer:

I am hoping to accomplish a sense of freedom and responsibility from this upcoming January challenge.  Freedom from unhealthy living and eating, and discipline to use a healthy “ruler” by which to measure my progress.

Nimisha Ambati

Nimisha is the founder of Club Dine In! She focuses not only on the foods we eat, but also the environment in which we eat them. I feel like she and I are kindred spirits in the world of healthy foodies.

Nimisha’s Answer:

My husband and I are in two start-ups, oftentimes working around the clock. In the middle of the night, when we are brainstorming, it’s so easy to dig into a bag of chips or tub of ice-cream. Though, we have consciously made eating unprocessed food and keeping ourselves active a top priority.  Eating whole foods and slowly eliminating processed food is not very difficult when you start by following a few simple rules like those outlined in January Rules. These rules are going to give me the start that I need to achieve my new year’s health resolutions and hopefully inspire others along the way!

Michelle Stern

Michelle is the founder of Whats Cooking With Kids, a certified-green company that offers healthy and seasonal cooking classes to kids in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her first book, The Whole Family Cookbook, is due out in April.  (I’ve had the opportunity to preview it, and it’s awesome!  If you’ve got kids and want them to learn how to cook and be helpful in the kitchen, I highly recommend it.)

Michelle’s Answer:

As a busy mom, life can get in the way of making good food choices.  Add alarmist news stories to the mix, and some parents can become paralyzed and simply stray into old eating habits.  What I love about this new challenge is that it gives me a few simple guidelines for my shopping expeditions this month.  The rules are simple, they aren’t scary, and they will help my family eat more “real food.”  The best part is that I’ll hopefully be able inspire others to do the same. Fingers crossed that this brings a healthy start to the new year!

So What’s Your Reason?

Now it’s your turn. Share with us in the comments what you’re hoping to accomplish this January, and why!

Also: I’ve started using the Twitter hashtag #januaryrules — so let’s keep the conversation and support going there.

Photo by Jen Watson.

9 Comments on "Why is your January going to rule?"
  1. Comment left on:
    January 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    Annie says:

    Andrew -

    You should know that the fries at Umami are not very good. Not worth cheating with those fries! But the burgers are good.

    Just some friendly advice.

    - Annie

    • Comment left on:
      January 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm
      Andrew says:

      Ha! Thanks for the heads up, Annie!

  2. Comment left on:
    January 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm
    Natasha says:

    I’ve gained about 17 pounds since the October:Unprocessed challenge. When I went off the challenge and on vacation everything just went downhill. I feel terrible and look as bad if not worse. I felt so great during the October challenge. I want that back.

    • Comment left on:
      January 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm
      Andrew says:

      Sorry to hear it’s been downhill after October. I hope my three eating rules are helpful for you as you move forward. I think they’re a bit easier to follow than unprocessed (though they can certainly go hand-in-hand), and hope nearly as effective! Definitely keep us posted throughout the month on how it’s going!

  3. Comment left on:
    January 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm
    Renee says:

    I need to get the feeling back that I had during October: Unprocessed. I loved being so aware of my eating and learning about new foods! Having the holidays on the tail of that challenge really made for a fast slide backwards. I’m on board with #januaryrules and hope to learn some new recipes using grains and beans as well as learn how to use my spices.

    • Comment left on:
      January 6, 2011 at 11:42 am
      Andrew says:

      I had the same problem with the holidays… which is definitely a large part of the reason I’m trying to lead the charge in January! How are you doing so far?

      Also, I’m definitely planning on sharing more recipes throughout the month.. more than one a week, at least.

      And as for spices, you might want to check out The Flavor Bible. It’s a very cool reference book that recommends various flavor combinations, in a way that encourages rather than stifles creativity. :)

  4. Comment left on:
    January 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Andrew, I just read your story and love what you’re doing. I’ve been a huge advocate of fitness/health/wellness for a couple decades. The difference it makes in nearly every facet of life is well worth the “effort” of keeping on track. This month, I’m trying to incorporate a much broader variety of vegetables into my diet. Not always easy to do, but I’ve found juicing and getting creative with smoothies is an excellent way to accomplish my goals.

    I recently contributed to a detox January program hosted by Nicola of http://gfreemom.com/. Your readers may be interested in some of the recipes she’s posted for a little extra #januaryrules inspiration!

    • Comment left on:
      January 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm
      Andrew says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for your kind words. Juicing is a great way to mix it up, provided that you stay creative with the smoothies! Have you seen my smoothie flowchart? :)

  5. Comment left on:
    January 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    Amy MacKay says:

    Andrew, October Unprocessed changed our lives, and we are still going strong. My family of 6 still follows all the rules. I have not cheated once. Not even on the holidays. My husband may have, but not to bad. I feel amazing and wow I lost almost 20 pounds, I didn’t realize that would be a side effect, but nice bonus! I also learned I have an intolerance to Carmel coloring. I have learned so much about what I eat, and what we were doing to our bodies, friends are even pushing for a food blog from ME! It’s in the works. That’s one challenge, so people can see a regular working mom of four can do it!
    My real challenge for January is to make a change at my children’s school. Candy and junk food are used daily, almost hourly as a reward. I am pushing full force to get a wellness policy in place that will eliminate candy as rewards as well as put limits on what is allowed at class celebrations and fundraisers. Yes I’m that Mom, but so far I’m winning. I will present to the board next month, and I have high hopes there will be change for the better.
    Thank you again for opening this new lifestyle to us! You do make a difference!
    -Amy MacKay

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