In which I end our Whole Food Challenge with a giveaway

We are finished with our Whole Food Challenge! 12 weeks went very quickly.

Our eating habits have been completely transformed.
We have gone from eating fast food to cooking almost every meal.
We’ve gone from edible food-like substances to real, whole food.
I can pronounce every single ingredient.
There is hardly anything in my house that my great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.
We eat vegetables at last. And whole grains. And a lot less meat.
My children are eating better and we all have more energy.

We are even starting our own garden.

It has not been a particularly easy road. There has been the occasional cheat – Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bars are my undoing! – but overall, we’ve been very consistent. I’ve learned so much….and still have so much to learn.

This week, I’ll be summarising everything from budget to convenience to weight loss as it relates to our journey of eating fresh, local, organic, sustainable food.

Tuesday: Physical/body changes and Budget (also known as “how do I do this without going broke?”)

Wednesday: Time and Convenience – Making it work for your schedule

Thursday: Best finds for books, links, recipes and resources

Friday: Where do we go from here as a family? And the spiritual aspects of eating (because you know me – I find Jesus everywhere, even in my food. Can’t help it!)

And a fun giveaway, of course.

What’s the fun of ending this whole thing without giving something away?

I’ll be giving away three prizes to three readers! So spread the word and enter to win:

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals

or one lb of ONEbean coffee (organic and fair trade)
or a custom made recipe box by Gifts and Talents.

Simply leave a comment related to the whole food challenge (a favourite recipe? favourite cookbook? writing about it on your blog? any changes you’ve made over the past 12 weeks? got a question? think I’m nuts?) and you’ll be entered. Only shipping addresses in Canada and the USA, please.

I’ll draw the winner randomly on Saturday night and post the winner shortly afterwards with the final round up post.

EDITED TO ADD: The contest is over now. No further comments will be entered to win. Thanks! (2 May 2010)

post signature

Note: Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. All prizes are purchased by myself.

  • *nnie

    I’m dipping my toe into the whole foods world ever so carefully. It’s been pretty fun to watch your journey. I don’t think I’m ready to just throw myself into it wholeheartedly like you did though. I have too much Russell Stover chocolate that shouldn’t be wasted.

  • thepilotswife

    I’ve loved hearing about this Sarah! We watched Food, Inc. and joined a local CSA after reading about your challenge. Would love to win Jamie Oliver’s book!

  • abbiekampman

    Hello lovely. You know I just have to comment- not merely to be in the running for Jamie’s book (or those other two fabulous prizes) but because I adore whole food- in its entirety. My new absolute favorite cookbook is Harvest Cooking. It includes recipes by season with ingredients that are appropriate for that time of year. My favorites right now are Herb-seared tenderloin, sauteed cabbage and/or cabbage slaw, and the mushroom risotto. Oh my, these recipes are uber simple at best and use fresh, wholesome ingredients.

    I love your challenge and enjoy hearing all about it! Keep us posted :)

  • Mary @ Parenthood

    I’ve very much enjoyed reading this series. And sort of followed along, except for chocolate which I couldn’t seem to get out of the house. Also we were extremely ill in the middle and kind of survived on ginger ale and jello…

    The thing I found the hardest was deciding what counted as a whole food.

  • Kristin Fickes

    Congratulations! 12 weeks does go fast! Your whole foods courage has started us on our own journey and it has been surprisingly refreshing (I don’t feel like we’re losing much). AND, most surprisingly, my hubby is completely on board (I thought he would lament the loss of Cheez Its forever).

    On a side note, I’ve been meaning to ask you- what do you think of cottage cheese? I always thought it was a classic “good” food. But I’m surprised by the number of ingredients. Maybe (hopefully?) I’m just ignorant of what those ingredients are and it really is ok…hmmm…

  • beth

    We’ve been doing a clean diet since the 2nd week in January and included counting calories. I feel so much better. We cut out sugar and white flour. After the initial shock, my body craves healthy food now and I’ve lost 3 dress sizes! :)

    I would love the Jamie Oliver book.

  • Molly

    Ooh, I would so love any of those prizes! BUT the real reason I’m here is that you were one of the couple-or-so reasons I’ve fallen head-over-heels into the local, organic, whole food world myself, and I am OH SO VERY GLAD I DID! I’m having a time trying to figure out how exactly to do it while working full time outside of the home (think I’ve got a couple of blog posts on that topic whirling around in my head!) but the difference is that, on nights when I didn’t plan ahead or didn’t have time to cook we are eating eggs, salad and homemade bread instead of cold cereal and frozen dinners.

    I could keep writing for days but just want to say “thanks” for being a steady online partner and influence for me. We don’t know each other much at all but it’s great to see your progress unfold. And your white bean/kale soup is now one of my stand-by recipes. :)

    Thank you, Sarah!

  • melaniecurry

    i’ve enjoyed reading your updates. Over the past year we have tried to transform our eating habits as well. still have a way to go.

  • Mary

    That went fast! I’d love to do this…it’s just hard when a box of Mac & Cheese is $.50 and your husband is out of work and you can’t make ends meet. Blah! But I am interested to hear how you can do this cheaply. Steven will not be out of work forever and I’d love to implement this once we have our bills caught up and not beating the cut off guy on the way to our house.

  • mundanemusings

    We’re getting ready to embark on our own whole foods challenge. We’re already mainly whole foods, but we’re going to jump in all the way starting on May 10th and continue through the summer. I must say, you’ve inspired me to take the steps and just go for it! Thanks, Sarah!

  • Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)

    I’m sorry that I found you so late into the game on your Whole Food Challenge. I’ve just been re-reading a lot of your old posts and found the one from Week 8/9 on chicken. I’ve often been almost swayed by the low price of frozen chicken but I haven’t done it yet. Now that I’ve read your opinion on the taste (or lack thereof) I’m glad I haven’t bought any.

    I think this challenge is a really interesting idea. I am already growing my own veggies as well as buying my eggs and even more veggies from a local organic farm, but now I think I should investigate local meat as well.

  • Lalania

    Hi Sarah, thanks for your openness and sharing on this. I actually found it a bit shocking really, to find out that you didn’t eat fruits and vegetables very often before this challenge – especially since you had kids. Then I had to remember that not everyone grew up like I did – with a mom who was totally health conscious and it was a way of life growing up.

    I do my best in my household to eat mostly whole foods, the price is the kicker on a lot of items.

    Since we do eat mostly whole foods, I didn’t have a lot to change (as I am doing it gradually, as the money permits), but I am trying to get most of the dairy out and so switched to coconut milk in my coffee. Tastes pretty good, but looks really bad (looks like curdled milk when mixed in).

    Thanks again!

  • Gina

    You. Rock. I’m as stoked for you as one can be in a non-patronizing sort of way. Seriously looking forward to this week’s posts. Hurray!

    Next Life Goal? Stopping *nnie from eating R*ssell St*ver “chocolate”. Blyack!

  • Lin

    I like the whole foods idea, and it’s good to know that it doesn’t take as long as one might think to make meals that way; but it also sounds like a fair amount of extra work and effort when I’m already tired! :S But perhaps with little baby steps to make the changes we’ll get there eventually… :)

  • joannawang

    I heard about your blog from Abbie K and am thoroughly enjoying it. I’m contemplating doing my own whole foods challenge at some point and have been sincerely impressed by the lessons you have learned. Thanks for sharing with us!
    I’m a foodie myself and if I may, suggest adding herbs to your little garden as herbs can be somewhat rewarding to grow (since some of them grow like weeds) so you’ll be encouraged!! I personally love rosemary, mint and basil. Thanks again for keeping us informed!

  • Carla

    I really appreciate all that you have blogged about this week. It has been interesting to see how your journey has encompassed not just what goes in your mouth but your entire being.

  • limedaisy17

    Hi Sarah, have loved reading about your challenge. I attempt this all the time, but my resolve fades with the love of baking and being a subscriber to Martha’s cookie of the day emails. I do meal plan though as I also love looking through my gazillion cookbooks – mostly healthy choice ones. I’ll send you my absolute favourite Lentil Pie recipe – there isn’t any actual pie crust though. We farmer’s market most saturday mornings and always grocery shop together. I’ll be in Canada in July if I’m a winner! We’ll have a houseful so will be sure to impress with some great healthy cooking! And yes, I think you are nuts, but nothing to do with the wholefood challenge, just from having the pleasure of working with you a few years back. Love A.x