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Introducing The Wild Food Challenge

The Top 10 Most Common Veggies, bought by Australian households on a weekly basis. Source: Veginsights Report

Are you bored with what you’re cooking in the kitchen and feel like you’re stuck in a culinary rut?

Are you wanting to look, feel & perform better but are finding it hard to get started?
Or maybe you’ve had some good results with diet and lifestyle changes, but have recently hit a plateau?

Does your shopping list like this? >>

Most people tend to do their grocery shopping on autopilot.  We buy the foods we are used to eating and are comfortable with preparing & cooking.
Our comfort foods.

Often, we rotate through just a handful (or two) of different vegetables.
If you have “gone Paleo” you have probably expanded your mental list of foods you are comfortable eating, maybe you are up to three or more handfuls of different veggies.

But still, the question you need to ask yourself is this: “Would I be getting all of the micronutrients my body needs, not just to survive, but to really thrive and be awesome?” 

Micronutrients?

Everyone is talking about the macronutrients, which are great. They’re important. It’s your fats, your carbs and your proteins. But one truth is that no matter what you’re eating in terms of your macronutrient ratio — you could be low-carb, you could be Paleo, you could be a low-fat dieter — the one truth is that regardless of what you’re eating in your macronutrients, you still have to get all those micronutrients in. That’s the one thing we all have in common”  ~  Jayson & Mira Calton, Real Food Summit (emphasis mine)

Yep, making sure you are getting enough micronutrients is probably more important to you than working out your macronutrient ratios.

Micronutrients are your essential vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids & accessory nutrients. They are often cofactors for enzymes and hormones, coenzymes, hormones themselves or antioxidants and they influence nearly every chemical signal or reaction in our bodies.  We cannot manufacture these.

The Problem

… according to the USDA, more than 90% of Americans are deficient in at least one of their essential micronutrients.  There are no statistics on how many of us are deficient in numerous micronutrients.  But 90%! That’s an immense amount of people! That’s 9 out of 10 people”  ~ Jayson & Mira Calton, Real Food Summit

Micronutrient deficiency is linked to many health conditions & chronic diseases, including:

  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Impaired immunity
  • And that is just to name the biggies…

It makes sense then, that your micronutrient status deeply affects how you look, feel and perform.

In Naked Calories, Jayson & Mira recommend focussing on total micronutrient sufficiency.
It can be pretty hit-and-miss if you’re just supplementing with the vitamins and minerals you think you might be lacking and you also run the risk of absorption issues due to micronutrient competition.

The Answer

The general, overarching recommendations are all pretty similar, right? … One of my teachers used to say:
“Your body needs everything, all the time”  ~  Diane Sanfilippo, Balanced Bites Podcast # 41

Makes sense…but WOW, that is a massive goal!
How on earth are we going to manage that?

Big problems and big goals are often better tackled with small solutions and bite-sized behavioural goals.

Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions. Instead they are most often solved by a sequence of small solutions, sometimes over weeks, sometimes over decades”  ~  Chip & Dan Heath, Switch 

This is where the Wild Food Challenge comes in.

The Solution = Wild Food Challenge

How would you eat a woolly mammoth? …One bite at a time

The Wild Food Challenge is a holistic approach to changing the way you think and eat …one bite at a time.

You will be encouraged to think and shop outside of your current supermarket basket and to try just one new food at a time.
Or just one new recipe or cooking method at a time.

To live a life a little less ordinary you have to think outside your current shopping basket”  ~ Crystal Fieldhouse Click to Tweet This

The idea’s underlying the Challenge come from research into:

  • The importance of micronutrients in the diet 
  • The psychology of happiness, and 
  • The neuroscience of brain and behaviour

Neuroscience is proving that indeed, when our brains are free from the basic animal needs of safety, what engages the most neural activity are: novelty, challenge, connection and expression. And many of the world’s largest happiness surveys are finding the same at a global level — we want to feel more engaged at work, and what makes us engaged are things like choice, contribution, and creative expression.”  ~  Brendon Burchard, The Charge

The Wild Food Challenge is all about nourishing your body more completely with a wider variety of whole foods, containing a wider array of micronutrients.
It is also about nourishing your mind more completely by continuously trying new things; challenging yourself to learn and adapt; expressing your creativity in the kitchen and sharing your nutrient dense meals with your family, friends & the Wild Food Challenge Community.
Ultimately, you will be bringing together all the necessary ingredients for good health &happiness, so you can love the life you live.

Variety is the spice of life. That gives it all its flavour” ~ William Cowper

The Red Hill Spice Girls spice range

It all starts with “taking a walk on the wild side” and opening your mind to tasting and experimenting with new foods and turning a few small behaviours into habits that can be sustained for life.

Interested?

Here is what some of the beta-testers in the Wild Food Challenge Facebook Group are saying about it:

So far it’s really good for me. I needed to get out of my comfort-zone with regards to cooking. I’m now deliberately looking for new ingredients and not avoiding them like I used to… I go shopping at markets once a week, thats when I look for my wild-food. I don’t plan what to get, I just look around for seasonal produce and pick something I haven’t tried before. So far I have done 1-2 wild meals a week… not knowing what or how to cook it until the very day I prepare it.”  ~  Ivy Thompson, Paleo in Melbourne

I am loving the challenge as I go through stages with a particular ingredient where I incorporate it into a heap of things. This is forcing me to try different things. Ohh… I shop for food once a week, with a menu plan for the week and list. I find it helps me save on money and I have no food wastage.  ~  Sarah Jenkins, Lady Homemade

I’m finding it very inspirational too! It’s amazing how many new foods there are out there, once you start looking for them! It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and cook with the same few ingredients over and over. I love that this is making me try new things… and exposing me to all sorts of different nutrient profiles! … I’m aiming for a minimum of one new food a week, but once you start looking they pop up all over the place so sometimes it’s more than once a week” ~  Christie Johnson

When I’m out shopping now I’m in ‘hunting mode’ looking for foods I haven’t tried. Its exciting coming home and researching a method of preparing it, and finding a recipe to cook with, that will complement my food choice. I’m probably getting a couple of wild foods a week although I usually only intended on doing one. I have also created a list of wild foods that I would like to try in the future. So far the wild food meals have been enjoyed by our family.  ~  Kathy Reid

I never plan my meals. For the challenge, I just get what looks interesting that I’ve never used. I am trying to get a wild food every time I shop which is at least every fortnight. I want this to be a spontaneous thing as it causes me to be more creative with my cooking :)  ~  Yasmin Maher

So, what do you think?
Are you keen to “take a walk on the wild side?”

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  1. How to Substitute Your Weekly Staple Veggies For Something Different | Eat. Sleep. Move. - Saturday 29 September, 2012

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