Take the “Mama Wellness” Health Challenge!

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Are you struggling to make all the changes you know you should make for your health?

Looking for answers to improve your health but don’t know where to start? Just need some encouragement in your health journey?

Welcome to the 30 Day Mama Wellness Health Challenge!

At the request of several of my readers, and to make your transition easier than mine was, I have put together a 30-day challenge to offer you support, recipes and giveaways! If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to try going grain free or ditching the sugar, now is your chance. Please join me for 30 days, to try living grain free. Your health will thank you, and if you don’t like it, you can always go back to the old way of eating. What have you got to lose? To help make the transition easier and to make sure we address all aspects of health, I’ve broken the challenge into Mini Challenges.

Build a Solid Nutritional Foundation

Anyone surprised? Many of you may already be solid in this area, but I know that this is a huge struggle for many people! If your diet is already iron-clad, please offer some advice and encouragement for those who are struggling to make the change in the comments below.

Nutrition Basics

Nutrition can have a tremendous impact on overall health and will be a large part of the focus of the challenge. If you’ve been a Wellness Mama reader for a while, you know that I’m not a fan of grainssugars and starches and recommend removing them from your diet. Of course, only if you are making sure to get adequate nutrition from proteinsfats and vegetables. Some foods, like beans, are of questionable nature, so for the duration of the challenge, I’d suggest removing them too! Others, like vegetable oils, margarine, and other frankenfats are toxic and should be avoided completely, challenge or not!

Mini Challenge #1 Cut out the grains, sugars, potatoes, beans and all processed foods from your diet and focus on getting maximum nutrition from meats, vegetables, healthy fats (coconut, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, tallow, lard, butter, unprocessed cream, etc) and fruits.

Everyone is entering the challenge for different reasons, but if one of your goals is to lose weight or improve your physique, consider drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake. If weight loss is a serious goal, this will mean that that morning bowl of oatmeal or potato salad at lunch is out. To keep it simple, just get your carbs from vegetables (minus potatoes) and you’ll be fine! One exception, if you struggle from low-thyroid, don’t drop your carbs too low for too long, as this can stress the thyroid, just make sure to get your carbs from healthy foods like sweet potatoes, winter squash, fruit, and grain-free baked goods! [Note: Some people experience a “carb flu” as their body adjusts to not having a constantly available stream of glucose. This is temporary, but can be uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks. Check out these two posts by Dr. Michael Eades to help make the transition easier Tips for Starting Low Carb Part I and Tips for Starting Low Carb Part II ]

We’ll be addressing some specifics that can help with your individual goals in the next few weeks (supplements, what type of exercise, etc) but nutrition is the single most important factor and all the other factor’s can’t fix a poor diet!

Are you In?

I challenge you to make these small steps for the next 30 days! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress.

This challenge is designed to help you improve your health and stay motivated for 30 days. I’m not going to police the guidelines or do anything to ensure that you are following them… you are on the honor system.

More resources to help you during the Challenge are available on my Resources and Wellness 101 pages.

So… are you up for a challenge? Drop in and introduce yourself in the comments below and let us know what your specific goals are.

Ever struggle to stick to a healthy way of eating and living even though you know you should?

Fall to cookie-dough-and-potato-chip-binge temptations despite resolving to eat healthier?

Know you should stop using toxic chemicals but don’t know where to start?

Understand the benefits of exercise but have trouble actually doing it?

Need to start cooking and living healthier with your family but just don’t know where to begin?

The Mama Wellness Challenge is for YOU!

Making lifestyle changes can be overwhelming! My Wellness Challenge is here to help you improve your family’s lifestyle.

The Mini Challenges

Each of these mini challenges can be a focus for the week as you go through this challenge. I’ve tried to design the challenges to help you take baby steps to a healthier lifestyle without breaking the bank.

  1. Eat Real Food – Start consuming a nutrient dense diet if you aren’t already and avoid processed foods.
  2. Drink and Use Clean Water – Avoid chemicals in drinking water with a quality water filter and neutralize chemicals in bath or shower water.
  3. Breathe Clean Air
  4. Exercise
  5. Reduce Stress
  6. Sleep
  7. Avoid Toxins

Get Started Now!

Commit right now to living a healthier life for the next 30 days. The Wellness Lifestyle is designed to be a healthy lifestyle that is actually doable, even with kids, traveling or health challenges.

Start right now by committing to improving your family’s health for the next month. Don’t wait until Monday morning, don’t wait until you finish the Doritos in the cabinet… start now!

Here are a few free printables for quick reference:

You can also check out my Start Here page for a round-up of helpful articles and my Resources page for Real Food and natural living resources. If you’re up for it, also start a Wellness Journal with your goals, and take a “Before” picture to keep yourself accountable!

SPECIAL NOTE: The Wellness Mama Challenge focuses on avoiding grains, sugars, chemicals, food additives and pesticides for 30-days. If you are immune compromised or have an auto-immune disease, you may also consider giving up dairy, nightshades and eggs to test for reactions to these too. My 30-Day Autoimmune reset plan has details on this protocol.

Make the Commitment to Healthy Eating for 30-Days

Start now and give it a 100% effort for one month…. I’m here to help and there is a great community to back you up! What better incentive than improved health, more energy, increased libido, and weight loss is there?

Everyone needs some motivation to get healthy. That’s why I decided to create this 9 day challenge. It sill give you the motivation and steps to take to jumpstart your wellness journey.

Since everyone entering the challenge has different goals, the focus will be three fold: improving nutrition, exercising appropriately, and living more naturally by using natural cleaning and personal care products. You game? Here are the specifics!

Mama Wellness Challenge for Better Health

Nutrition can have a tremendous impact on overall health and will be a large part of the focus of the challenge. If you’ve been a Wellness Mama reader for a while, you know that I’m not a fan of grains, sugars and starches and recommend removing them from your diet. Of course, only if you are making sure to get adequate nutrition from proteins, fats and vegetables.

Some foods, like beans, are of questionable nature, so for the duration of the challenge, I’d suggest removing them too! Others, like vegetable oils, margarine, and other frankenfats are toxic and should be avoided completely, challenge or not!

Mini Challenge 1: Cut Out Processed Food

Cut out the grains, sugars, potatoes, beans and all processed foods from your diet and focus on getting maximum nutrition from meats, vegetables, healthy fats (coconut, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, tallow, lard, butter, unprocessed cream, etc.) and some fruits.

Everyone is entering the challenge for different reasons, but if one of your goals is to lose weight or improve your physique, consider drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake. This is especially important for those trying to lose a lot of weight or anyone suffering from insulin resistance or diabetes. If weight loss is a goal, aim for around 50 grams of carbs a day, and definitely keep it under 100 grams.

If weight loss is a serious goal, this will mean that that morning bowl of oatmeal or potato salad at lunch is out. To keep it simple, just get your carbs from vegetables (minus potatoes) and you’ll be fine!

(Note: Some people experience a “carb flu” as their body adjusts to not having a constantly available stream of glucose. This is temporary, but can be uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks. Check out these two posts by Dr. Michael Eades to help make the transition easier:

Tips for Starting Low Carb Part I and Tips for Starting Low Carb Part II )

Mini Challenge 2: Track Your Food

Track and Reduce Your Carb Intake

Keep a food diary to track what you eat and use a program like FitDay.com to give you an accurate idea of how much protein, fat and carbs you are actually eating. Every time I start to see my weight creep up, I enter a few days into FitDay and realize that I’m eating a lot more carbs than I realize! If you want measurable results, give yourself a measurable idea of your food intake!

It’s true that everyone needs different foods in different amounts, but there is one thing we all need and many of us are not getting enough of: water.

Mini Challenge 3: Water

Drink More Water! For this month, get rid of the soda, juice, teas, etc. and drink more water (and herbal teas).

An imbalance in gut bacteria can cause digestive problems, impaired immunity, skin issues, weight problems and more. Consuming probiotic rich foods and beverages can make a big difference, and many people also notice more energy and clearer thinking when they improve their gut bacteria through consuming fermented foods and drinks.

Mini Challenge 4: Probiotics

Consume Probiotic Rich Foods and Drinks! Fermenting food and making probiotic rich kefir or kombucha soda are easy ways to increase your probiotic consumption. During these 30-days try to add (or increase) fermented foods/drinks to your diet.

In a world where we are constantly surrounded by food and advertisements for food, we often eat three (or more) times a day just because those are the times that meals are normally eaten. In a society where food is seldom scarce, many forget or ignore the actual instinct of hunger (and many may not have felt actual hunger in years).

There is a growing amount of evidence that just not eating occasionally (also referred to as *gasp* fasting!) can improve insulin sensitivity, increase longevity, reduce risk of disease, improve sleep, help weight loss and more.

Mini Challenge 5: Fast a Little

Fast a little (but do it slowly!). Try skipping meals occasionally or at least only eating when you are truly hungry. Perhaps you might even go a whole day without eating! Fasting can really improve health, but do it slowly. Make sure you’ve adjusted to a healthier diet and are consuming enough protein and fat regularly before you start skipping meals.

So, whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, deal with diabetes or insulin resistance, increase your fertility, eat optimally while pregnant, or just have more energy and feel better…. a challenge awaits!

This way of eating doesn’t follow the old food pyramid (which gave King Tut heart disease) or the new My Plate recommendations, which will help you gain weight and get heart disease yourself, but they can help you improve your health and reach your goals. Try it for a month!

Now, if this seems unconventional to you, imagine how it might seem to your family/friends/coworkers when you tell them you aren’t eating their pasta/donuts/french fries/heart healthy wholegrains at their next event. Be prepared to defend your new way of eating!

Once you’ve got the nutrition under control, you can further improve your health by making sure you are getting optimal exercise and sleep and keeping stress under control. You can’t out exercise (or out supplement) a poor diet, so make sure you have that in order first, but if you do, focus on these other factors.

Mini Challenge 6: Exercise

Exercise! But Not Too Much! We’ve all heard the numerous ways that exercise can improve your health. Assuming you are eating a good diet and have the energy, add some exercise into the mix. It doesn’t have to be hours of cardio each day (and it shouldn’t be) but a few minutes of high intensity exercise will help you maintain optimal health.

There are so many things in today’s world that can contribute to stress! Poor diet, too little (or too much) exercise, lack of sleep, emotional struggles, long hours, a tough job, small kids… the list goes on. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, stress causes a hormonal reaction in the body that is not beneficial for optimal health.

Mini Challenge 7: Reduce Stress

RELAX! Just don’t add relaxation to your already long “to-do list.” Make it a point to take some time without deadlines, TV, stressful people, etc. to do things that are relaxing to you. Spend time with family & friends, pray, take a hike, go swimming… make time to do the things that help you relax.

Of course you can have a great diet, be exercising and keeping your stress under control, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your health will suffer. Lack of sleep can undo the progress made by a good diet and exercise plan and can even put you in a pre-diabetic state. Some people are even unable to lose weight if they don’t get enough sleep!

Mini Challenge 8: Sleep

Get Some Sleep! Most adults need between 7-9 hours and almost all of us don’t get it. To make sure you are getting the best sleep, get to bed by 10PM, sleep in complete darkness, and keep the temperature below 68 degrees. As the mom of a newborn, I understand that this is often easier said than done, but make it a priority and take naps if you need to.

Mini Challenge 9: Living Naturally

We are constantly bombarded by chemicals from our food supply, personal care products, cleaning products and more. During this challenge, I’ll be offering resources (and prizes) to help you transition to more natural cooking, cleaning and personal care products.

Check out the EWG cosmetic database to see what chemicals may be lurking in your household and beauty products. Then, check out the Wellness 101 Page to find some recipes for easy, natural alternatives to common household products.

If you don’t already have a community or network of friends and family to take the challenge with you, share the love and help those you love improve their health also!

In the comments, tell me three action steps you WILL take this month to change your health!

Are you in? What is going to be the toughest part of the challenge for you? The easiest?

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

491 responses to “Take the “Mama Wellness” Health Challenge!”

  1. Maia Avatar

    I’m married to Markus (commented above) and we are excited to climb on.  We’ve been trying to be grain-free/Paleo for sometime now, but find it can be difficult when pregnancy fatigue and nausea set in (I guess I influence the eating habits of the whole family!).  Really looking forward to support and motivation to keep forward momentum in healthy habits for all 4 (…FIVE!!!) of us!

  2. Holly Avatar

    I’m in! I am a 34-yo wife and mom of two boys aged 12 and 5. I’m also a full-time Kinesiology student, graduating in May, so I have a really full plate! I’m also a vegetarian, so this should be interesting ;). I’ve already given up grains, and am working on making all of our household cleaners and toiletries. My 5-yo and I will be making laundry detergent this afternoon (had to go to 4 stores before I found washing soda!). I recently made your shampoo also, and my hubby LOVES it! I’m looking forward to more natural solutions and better health!

  3. Ashley Avatar
    Ashley

    Hi I’m Ashley and I am so ready for this challenge!  I’ve been reading your blog for the last couple of months (after I stumbled upon the Paleo diet) and have been finding great ideas & suggestions for lifestyle changes I need to make.  It couldn’t have been better timing!

  4. Maryalice Avatar
    Maryalice

    I’m in too … have started already but still have areas to improve on!  Since I’m just reading your post, the coffee I had this morning will be my last for the month.

    Maryalice from CA

  5. Carol Avatar

    Hi, my name is Carol.  I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of 3 blessings my husband and I adopted in 2007.  I am also the primary caregiver for my mother-in-law.  I stumbled on this website and have been reading/learning as much as possible, (short on time), wanting to change the way we eat.  Today, I commit!  Even if the rest of the family won’t.  I need to do this for my health and show them that it’s a good thing.  They may make it harder, but, what will happen if I don’t change for the better and am not around any more to manage this household?

  6. Tammy Avatar

    My name is Tammy and I live in Texas with my boys and husband.  I teach kindergarten.  I recently read The Eating Clean Diet and have begun to change out diet over the last several weeks.  I already am pretty good at using more evironmental friendly and health friendly products around my house.  Just thought this would be fun.

  7. Angie Avatar

    Hi!  I’m Angie.  I’ve been eating Paleo for a year and a half, and have just recently gotten to the point where I no longer want to cheat (my body won’t let me!).  I’m doing the challenge for the community aspect – my husband eats Paleo but all of our friends and family are not very health conscious – my mom is always telling me I need to eat more whole grains!  I also work in public health research for a university and everyone is still on the low-fat bandwagon….it’s frustrating.  I can also use some help with using natural methods for beauty and cleaning and learning about what supplements I should take.  Looking forward to the challenge!!

  8. Mark J Avatar
    Mark J

    My name is Markus, and my family and I are climbing aboard for the challenge.  I’m in to lose a few pounds, my wife is in to work on maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and my kids are along for the ride!  Looking forward to a healthy 30 days!

  9. Jessica West Avatar
    Jessica West

    I’m Jessica, a SAHM mom with a rambunctious 2 1/2 year old boy. I’ve been doing a grain-free diet off and on since last year, and Wellness Mama has been such a help. I’ve told so many friends about this blog. I was getting lazy about diet and starting to feel crappy again, so I actually got strict with myself about two weeks ago, with the intention of doing 30 days – but I will happily add another couple weeks in order to participate in this challenge! Thanks for hosting!!

  10. Amy V Avatar

    We have been eating Primal/Paleo sinceMarch of this year and love it. We both lost over 20 pounds but have plataughed. I started drinking coffee (with cream) recently after giving it up and notice pain in my hands as well as my Mom taking me for high tea yesterday and giving in to eating some of the bread with the sandwiches. I had already decided to start fresh again today so this is perfect. I’m excited to see more weight loss and my hand pain go away. I love how inclusive your blog is. Thank you for sharing so much!

  11. Kristen Avatar
    Kristen

    Hi, I’m Kristen.  I’m a wife and mother of three (11, 8, and 15mo). I’m making a commitment to the 30-day healthy eating challenge because I’m about 75% of the way “there” but still fall back on poor choices. I’m looking forward to the accountability as I continue to establish healthy habits for myself and my family.

  12. Nicole Avatar
    Nicole

    Hi, I’m Nikki. I have been off-and-on trying to loose weight for the past 4 years and am finally ready to put my health as a number-1 priority. I am happy to post it here and can’t wait to take this journey!

  13. Sara Avatar

    Hi I’m Sara. I started  out good a few months ago but have fallen off the boat of eating good things due to a very busy time of year. I’m eating Cheetos and cleaning my cabinet out, I’ll stop right now, eating the Cheetos that is!! I’m married, have a 4 year old and one due at the end of July. We’re in!!

  14. Melissa Shirley Avatar
    Melissa Shirley

    I’m all in, 100%! This dovetails nicely with my summer goal to improve my physical fitness and stop drinking, socially or otherwise, in a community (or is everywhere like this?) where people only gather in bars or around alcohol. Thanks, Wellness Mama, I’m stoked!

  15. Kaylene Avatar
    Kaylene

    I’m Kaylene, and I am in. I am a school teacher and want to make a habit of being much healthier before the school year begins again; it will be much easier to start healthy and continue from there!

  16. Karen Avatar

    I’m in!  I eat a primarily paleo diet, but still have those days where I give into chips, etc!  I love all your advice on homemade, healthy body and cleaning products too!  I’m ready to start the challenge!

  17. Jannette Avatar
    Jannette

    I’m so happy you’re running this! It’s been looooonely over in the Wellness Journal section!

    I’ve been Paleo for about 2 months because my baby has eczema and I suspect it’s food related.  I’m doing alright avoiding dairy and gluten, and even sugar for the most part, but I just can’t give up real chocolate!  I guess it’s time to go all the way. Sigh. I mean, WOOT!

  18. Michikin Avatar
    Michikin

    I’m in! I love to read your blog everyday;so many useful things! Thanks

  19. Jane Avatar

    I’m in!  My husband and I have been eating paleo for about a year now but I really need help getting into exercising.

  20. Dee Avatar

    I’m Dee.  I am really pumped about this challenge. *smile*

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