Day 47: Health Benefits

The other night I had a dream that my hair was suddenly thicker and longer than it has ever been before. And of course according to my subconscious it was all thanks to my healthy eating. I woke up disappointed to see that the reality of my hair was still the same, but I will say that we have noticed some other positive physical changes since starting our new diet.

Before I dive into our list note that we began to experience the majority of these changes back in March when we first cut out 80 – 90% of processed foods. We do not believe that we (or anyone) has to be hard core about the rules 100% of the time to experience health benefits. We are only following these strict rules at the moment to draw attention to our little project in the hopes that we can convince people to take the 10-day pledge. The pledge provides others with the perspective they need to make at least a few positive changes for life. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here are the changes we have personally experienced so far…

Real Food Health Benefits

  • My husband, Jason, has lost two inches off his waist and about 10 pounds since March. He was not overweight by any means, and now wears pants/shorts with a size 32 waist.  I don’t think I have personally experienced any weight loss, although I do not weigh myself regularly and have always consistently been in my target weight zone (check out an updated post on my weight loss here). I will say though that if you have a few extra pounds you want to lose all you have to do is be in close proximity to us to do it! When we were at my parent’s house for a week my mom didn’t even do a 10 Days of Real Food pledge, but just from eating with us she had a great deal of “real food” in place of processed stuff and lost 5 pounds in the one week we were there!
  • Not to embarrass our 3-year-old or anything, but for as long as I can remember she used to experience some fairly unpleasant constipation issues. On average, she would go about once every other day, and that was after I gave her a huge cup of prune juice every morning. Only about a week after we initially changed our diets I stopped the prune juice because all on her own she started having bowel movements, on average, twice a day, every day! Read more on this little “constipation cure.”
  • This isn’t exactly my favorite topic, but while we are on the subject I will say that all four of us have actually been very regular these last few months!
  • I personally have experienced a need for much less sleep. I used to only feel rested if I got at least 8 – 9 hours of sleep, and I was very grumpy at night if I felt it was “past my bedtime”, if you know what I mean. Now I am much less tired in the evenings and feel completely fine getting somewhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep. And if I have some bad nights of sleep in a row (with a sick child or the like) then I am somehow able to function the next day without a problem. When I got really bad sleep in the old days I used to feel like I was so tired I just had to survive “getting through the day”.
  • Based simply on our own personal observation, our 3-year-old (who has a mild case of asthma) coincidentally has not had a single case of wheezing since we initially changed our diets. She was tested for seasonal allergies a while back (and is not allergic to anything), and would experience wheezing solely triggered by respiratory colds. It seemed as though every time she had a cold with a cough she would wheeze. Since March she has had several colds with a cough (including one last week) and never once experienced any wheezing. We wondered if there could be a cause and effect here and then we saw a recent study that showed diet can have an effect on the severity of a child’s asthma/wheezing.

Other Changes

  • We need to eat less to fill up, and even while regularly exercising our food holds us off nicely until the next meal. I remember often experiencing spikes in hunger in-between meals in the old days, but that feeling is far and few between now. Many times we have waited until 1:30 or 2:00 to eat lunch simply because no one is hungry yet. And we have also reduced our portion size as well. Real food is filling!
  • Our palates have changed…and in our opinion for the better. We seem to be much more sensitive to salty things and need less sweetener added for something to taste “sweet” to us. We have also developed a greater appreciation for the natural flavors of real food as opposed to anything highly processed (and therefore full of added oil, salt, and sugars).
  • I may never be 100% sure if it is due to the diet specifically or just the time that has passed, but our children seem to care less and less about getting (or not getting) highly processed treats. There was recently an instance when they were mistakenly offered a sucker and then it had to be taken away; it didn’t phase either of them. I cannot imagine that happening a few months ago since this whole 100 days experience of ours started off with the donut incident.
  • In addition to these obvious changes, we’d like to think we are experiencing other, less quantifiable and long term health benefits like prevention of diseases (such as certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease).

 

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  3. Kathy

    My son and I both have asthma. We eat fairly clean lots of fruits and vegetables. I have decided to go completely real food which means giving up my diet Pepsi. How long did it take you to see less asthma symptoms in your child? I know it may not work in stopping our symptoms but figured it was worth a try and I think the real food lifestyle is better anyway. Please let me know.
    Thanks!

    • Lisa

      It’s hard to say an exact time frame, but within a few months we noticed she had not had any wheezing in a while (which was a long stretch) and then we ended up going a full year before she had any more wheezing again.

  4. Ann

    I am so excited to find this. A friend of mine told me about this site right after my son was diagnosed with syncope. The Ped. Cardiologist said he has to stop eating processed food and start eating high protein, whole grain, “real food”. It has been a little over a week and we are doing pretty good. I am having a hard time with finding recipes and deciphering exactly what we should be eating. I am really committed to this for my son but especially for my whole family. I had no idea how much I started relying on processed food. it becomes so easy that you don’t think twice. When you are making 4 lunches in the am, it’s much easier to throw bags of whatever in their lunch bags instead of making things yourself. Nothing is 100%, but I am doing my best to be as close as I can! Thanks for all of this!!!

  5. heidi

    I know this is an “old” post but wanted to add to your dream interpretation. Hair symbolizes thoughts and ideas coming from you head. The fact that it was long, thick ie: strong and healthy or lots of ideas since it was long could be your inner self affirming the healthy changes you are making and encouraging you to keep going with these good ideas!

  6. gina mullins

    I have been eating this way for a while now ( i do cheat sometimes) but you do start noticing all the salt taste in all the foods you used to eat… I think its great and I hope more people do decide to make a lifestyle change…

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Yes, you do…just recently my husband ordered oysters and said they were way too salty. Come to find out no salt was even added to them it was just the natural ocean flavor that tasted a little overpowering to him!

  7. electicdeb

    Thank you for the report! I’m going to be cleaning out the pantry this weekend…..we’ll see how close I can get to “real food”.

  8. Cheryl Mitchell

    Congratulations! Take pictures, and compare things like skin, hair, & nails overtime,and maybe even some measurements. You might not lose scale weight rather you might be changing the proportion of your body.

  9. Lisa

    LOVE this post! I should take a thorough inventory of changes in my life as well! I love reading this blog and your other one.

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