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. Ana Robin Avatar

    Hi, there. My name is Ana. My husband and I have been primal off and on now for over 2 years. We both lost a substantial amount of weight doing this but seem to be in a bit of a rut. So, I have decided to do this challenge and I will suggest it to DH as well!!!

  2. Sara Avatar

    Hiya I’m Sara! I am so in!! I have been eating organically (mostly) for about 2 months but looking for some more ideas and motivation 🙂 Can’t Wait!!

  3. Becky Avatar

    I am in! I have been battling hashimoto’s, hormone imbalance and general stress for the last few years. I went full on gluten free a year ago and have been a spotty follower of paleo and ketogenic lifestyles since then. I am starting to feel better but my body just will not let go of the fat (30 lbs in my estimation) not can I get cravings (driven by hormones) under control. I am looking forward to managing my health more consistently, burning off this darn fat and feeling better all around. The inspiration and community are just what I need! Thank you!

  4. Nancy Avatar

    I’m Nancy & I am trying to live a better, healthier life! I am diabetic, type 2, & ADHD… my son, 9 yrs old is also ADHD.. I hate man made meds & am on insulin & my son on adderall. My health goals are to keep my sugars at bay, regulate them & to get my son off of the meds, if possible. Im am starting to buy all organic, natural foods & am making my own natural body care products using your recipes . I look forward to this challenge & being a better me inside & out!!!
    Thank you!

  5. Courtney Avatar

    I am so ready for a healthier lifestyle for myself and family. i have been adapting a few things slowly to make it easier for my boys and husband to change without them realizing it.. i am so ready for these changes.. i am a thyroid cancer survivor and have been readin about all the toxins and what they are doing to my body im loosing… so its time to get this momma and her family healthier.. i will be throwing out all cleaners and toxins i can find in house in am.. and making home made natural cleaners to start , adding whole foods more and more and cutting out processed foods… caffine i will do slowly b/c i will admit im addicted to high amounts.. but i am ready…

  6. Mary Beth Avatar

    I’m in. I have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but get little support and even some resistance from my family. It will be so helpful to have a support network. I have several health issues, some potentially life threatening, so this isn’t just a whim. I am a vegetarian, so I’m hoping I can adapt your program accordingly. Sugar and gluten are my big downfall. I’ve gotten off coffee, dairy, soy, and other harmful “foods,” but those two have been so difficult — sugar, because I’m addicted, and gluten because it seems to be in almost everything.

  7. Landon Avatar

    I’m Landon. I’ve been living some version of a healthy lifestyle for as long as I can remember. My friends refer to me as their hippie granola friend, though I haven’t resorted to dread locks, armpit hair or the like 🙂 Just your normal, average day gal looking to improve her and her family’s life.

    I can always stand to learn (or just be reminded) something new about health, and your website is one of my go-to resources. So, although I already do much of what I assume I’ll see on this challenge, I figure a recap, some inspiration, and a good ole kick in the pants every now and again can’t hurt! I look forward to seeing what you offer ;-). Ciao!

  8. Ashley Avatar

    Hello, my name is Ashley. My goals with the wellness challenge is to actually gain weight and to cut out all the unhealthy foods that are full of chemicals. First let me tell you how i found wellness mama, my 2 yr old has eczema and i have tried many different creams, ointments and lotions that the doctor has told me to try none of them really worked. it would help for a few hrs then the digging started again. it has gotten so bad she has caused open soars. a lady in my community started making homemade soaps and and she has one with coconut oil that is good for eczema. so i started researching about coconut oil. Well that lead me to here and reading about all the unhealthy foods and things in food we are consuming. with that i diabetes and heart problems run in my family. so with all at this is how i ended up here. i am very excited to start this new chapter and challenge to my life and my family.

    1. Sonja Avatar

      Hello Ashley,
      I just have to write this because your text sounds so much like me. I’d also like to gain a few pounds, and I have a 2-year-old son suffering from eczema. So far I’ve started to change our diet and begun doing the 3-minutes-workouts on this site a few times a day and I already feel better, though I’m admittedly overwhelmed with the extreme diet change that goes with cutting out grains. But I’m actually writing to recommend a book I just read today (it’s short enough although I’m a busy mom); it’s called “The Death of Eczema/A dad’s story” by Gregory Lawrence. It sort of sums up a lot of the information I found on leaky gut and eczema (both are obviously connected but I hadn’t found any book with this special focus yet), and it makes getting rid of them both for good seem possible & doable. Obviously I haven’t tried his system yet, but I’m absolutely going to. Just thought I’d share this.

  9. Jenn Avatar

    Hi

    I found you through the women’s weightloss online seminar and loved your two interviews with Neely Quinn.

    I’ve been a believer in the primal/paleo lifestyle for a few years now. We lived it for a while and then got back into a rut of unhealthy eating. I recently gave birth to a 2 lb 2 oz very premature baby. I really have a desire to establish a healthy lifestyle for our whole family. It’s hard to make these changes and I’m hoping to gain motivation to make healthy habits. I’m hoping with new healthy habits, this will all become second nature. I think the hard part is just starting and being consistent.

  10. Becky Avatar

    Hi, my name is Becky and I am looking to change my lifestyle to help my husband and I conceive. We have been trying for 2 years and have been on fertility meds. I would like to stop the meds and do it naturally. Making this lifestyle change is overwhelming and I am hoping this will help me to jump start this new life.

  11. Amanda Avatar

    I am Amanda. Busy Mom of 4 boys. I work out and live as fit of a lifestyle as I can. I encourage my children as much as I can. But I cannot seem to give up the caffeine or the impulsive chips. We are a gluten free home as we have 3 Celiacs.

    I am doing this to encourage my children and myself to make better choices. I want to lead by example.

    Here goes.. 🙂

  12. Sonja Avatar

    I want to stop eating refined sugar and grains, exercise more and feel more vibrant and alive again. I am glad to have found your website.

  13. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    I’m in my late 40s and need to lose about 40kgs – i lost 12 last year on paleo but fell off the paleo wagon, put on 15kgs and have struggled to get back into the way of eating, despite knowing that it works for me and that I feel great on it.

  14. Jennie Avatar

    I’m Jennie. I lost 70+ lbs last year. I’m 19 weeks pregnant and I’m struggling to eat healthy. I don’t want to use my pregnancy as an excuse to eat for two. So I’m looking to use this to have a healthy pregnancy.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I certainly understand the sentiment, but remember that at the end of the day, you ARE eating for two, whether you are eating MORE or not. I think your best friends are your nutrient dense foods. Your growing baby needs as many high quality building blocks as you can give him or her. Eating real foods (and the most nutrient rich ones possible) will really help you get the good stuff without overdoing it on calories.

  15. Angie Avatar

    I’m ready to take the challenge! I am excited to spend more time reading through your blog resources. I have experienced a 60 lb weight gain over the past 2 years and believe I am hypothyroid. I am planning for major diet changes to help my thyroid, weight and mood – looks like Paleo is the way to go! I am also focusing on stress-reduction and want to be more present for my 3 kids. Looking forward to the encouraging emails in the days ahead. Thank you!

  16. Joss Avatar

    Hi & thanks so much for all of the helpful information you post on your blog. My husband and I started a real foods diet about a month ago and we both feel amazing… we already ate well, so the change in our eating habits basically meant cutting out bread, most other grains, reducing coffee and beer to about once a week and increasing our healthy fats intake by a ton. I’m a PhD student (always under high stress!) and have had chronic migraines for over 12 years… yikes! nothing has helped as much as this switch to a high healthy fats diet. My favorite part is eating the foods I love like bacon, pork roasts and tons of local greens and actually losing 5 pounds in a month …. how is that possible?! (I didn’t have any weight loss goals, but am still intrigued by this…). Hoping the 30-day challenge will cover more bases and help reduce my headaches even more. *thank you!*

  17. Rachel Avatar

    Hi I’m Rachel. I’m a 32 year old mother of 5. Two girls and three boys. My 2nd youngest son died from SIDS at 3 weeks old. I’m battling depression and hopelessness, although I try to be the best I can for my living children. They deserve me at my best. I know I can be better. I found your website through searching for relief from severe pms symptoms. I tired of feeling sick all the time. Through studying about SIDS we have found the terrifying reality of toxins in the things we use everyday. We have been slowly switching to all natural. I’m ready to plunge into a true lifestyle change, for myself and for my family. Thank you for this opportunity!

  18. Sharron Avatar

    I have been following your blog for a while ever since I found it when googling for natural shampoo recipes. Alas, I have never got around to taking any action as such – I have merely been researching and listening to various podcasts and reading online articles. However my digestive health has worsened over the past year and I feel that I need to start somewhere and very soon, Where do I start and how without causing further problems?

    I have downloaded the articles on the challenge and I have noticed that certain fruits should only be eaten in moderation – I wondered why that was? I absolutely love fruit and could graze on it all day long. I also noticed that you recommend avoiding anything labelled as fat-free/low in fat. Why is this? My dietitian recommends eating these type of yogurts particularly with probiotics in them to help with digestive problems.

    Very very new to this type of lifestyle and being from UK – it’s difficult to find some of the brands you advertise here but I am very keen to take baby steps.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Welcome! The basic idea behind eating fruits in moderation is that the amount of sugar they contain can overload your insulin response. Fat-free/low-fat foods come with a host of problems, honestly. Many of them contain vegetable oils to replace saturated fats, which is a terrible problem, or they add a massive amount of sugar or salt (not the good kind) to make up for the lack of flavor, or they don’t have nasty additives but are void of taste, and who whats to eat tasteless fluff when fat is actually good for you? Probiotics are excellent, by the way, so totally keep doing that 😉

      If you want a quick jump start, maybe check this post out: https://wellnessmama.com/4320/implement-nutrition-changes/

  19. Christina Avatar
    Christina

    I’ve been reading this encouraging blog and just now noticed the challenge. Looking forward to the first email but also wondering if it is actually going to be feasible to make the drastic changes I’m expecting. We are a mostly chemical free house in terms of cleaning; use essential oils for a host of things, and diet is plant-heavy and lactose-free out of necessity. Living in AK, groceries are super expensive and the options can be limited… well, here goes!

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