Whole Life Challenge: Week 5

5 Challenge Foods That Saved My Ass
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Whole Life Challenge

We’re more than halfway through the Whole Life Challenge! Anyone else lost a little steam? I have. And so have my teammates. A handful has completely jumped ship, and the level of enthusiasm on the comment stream has noticeably dipped. I’ll admit I’ve gotten just a little too comfortable with allowing myself dietary cheat points … and sometimes abandoning the nutrition category all together in the spirit of “eh, screw it.” 

I’m not giving up, though. Early on in the challenge I identified a handful of foods that quickly became my go-tos for getting through the day without succumbing to a plateful of nachos. Each of these satisfied one of my cravings (or came close enough) while keeping me within WLC compliance. It’s time to get back to these go-to items and leave the cheese, wine and cake behind. (So long, lovelies!) 

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is my new, spicier ketchup, which I have loved since I was old enough to glob it onto my Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. By subbing hot sauce, I get the vinegary tang without the sugar. Frank’s Red, Tabasco, Cholula … I’ve been putting this stuff on everything from eggs to avocado to sweet potatoes. 

Larabars

Most flavors of Larabars use only dates, nuts and fruit, so I don’t have to worry about the added sugars and grains that are found in many prepackaged bars. I bought a combo pack off Amazon and tear into one when I NEED a cookie. They’re not quite the same thing, but they feel more dessert-y than, say, an apple. 

Cauliflower “Rice”

I miss comfort food, which for me is pasta, rice, mashed potatoes and every other starchy item in the “no” column of the WLC guidelines. Cauliflower “rice,” when made right, is a fair approximation. You can make it a number of different ways, but I first “rice” it in the food processor and then saute with olive oil, onions, garlic and Old Bay seasoning. 

Brown Rice Cakes

If you’re doing the “performance” level of the WLC, this won’t help you. But brown rice cakes have made a nearly daily appearance in my meal plan, especially at breakfast time. They’re a great vessel for nut butter, avocado or salsa. 

Terra “Sweets and Beets” Chips

I have a bad habit of grazing. (I’m famous for snacking on handfuls of tortilla chips while thinking about which healthy meal I should cook for dinner.) The WLC food restrictions have cut down on this practice quite a bit, but I still have the urge to snack. These “chips” made from sweet potatoes and beets probably don’t pass muster with challenge purists, but something’s gotta give. Please — let me have my sweets and beets. 

Lifestyle

This week’s lifestyle practice was spending 10 minutes each day doing something you love. I found myself counting 10 minutes of uninterrupted viewing of Broad City and Downton Abbey. Probably not what the challenge makers had in mind. To help make up for my half-assed efforts, I scheduled a midweek acupuncture session, something I enjoy immensely but don’t do enough. It helped relax my tight shoulders and get my chi in order. 

Exercise and Mobility

I’ve been good about foam rolling after WODs … but have I been doing it all wrong? According to this article, focusing on my IT bands may not actually be helping all that much. I should be zeroing in on the tensor fascia lata and gluteus medius. Also, I’ve always opted for the smooth foam roller vs. the scary, spikey one that looks like a medieval torture device. Perhaps I need to step up my self-myofascial release game. 

Water and Supplements

Multivitamins and H2O all day, every day. 

Next Week:

Say it with me, folks: “No more mindless cheats!” Also, will I reach new levels of productivity with the 1-2-3 To-Do challenge?