In May 2010, Lisa Leake and her family made a pledge to go 100 days eating only natural, healthy, unprocessed foods. Leake called these foods 'real foods' and decided on the change in her family's diet after watching an episode of the Oprah show featuring author Michael Pollan.
The Oprah show featured Pollan's book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" and reading the book changed the lives of the Leake family forever.
The pledge went well for the Leake family, despite some challenges along the way. Jason Leake was raised on a farm and exposed to real foods during his childhood. His wife Lisa had grown up eating many processed foods and had no farm experience.
Lisa Leake started a blog about her family's experience which has continued long past the original 100 days. Even if you don't plan to eliminate processed foods from your family's diet, you may benefit from reading information contained at Leake's website.
Five tips to healthier eating offered by Leake in a recent blog include reading ingredient labels, buying only whole grain products, switching to organic dairy products, eating more produce and providing your children with healthier food choices for meals and snacks.
Processed foods contain a high amount of sodium, used to preserve them longer. However, the sodium can lead to a host of medical problems including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Processed foods have been linked to ADHD and other behavioral problems in children. Eating processed foods may increase the risk of developing certain cancers. American Cancer Society information shows that eating more natural and less processed foods can also help improve your overall health..
The food types the Leake family cut from their diets include refined grains including white flour and rice, refined sweeteners including sugar and corn syrup, deep-fried foods, all fast foods and any packaged foods with more than five ingredients on the label.
The healthy foods you can eat include whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole-wheat grains, seafood, locally raised chicken, beef and pork, healthy snacks including dried fruits, seeds, nuts and popcorn, and all-natural sweeteners used in moderation.
Leake's website also includes information about taking a 10-day pledge to eat only real foods as well as many recipes and meal plans. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to eat healthier, maybe trying 100 days of real food is right for you and your family.