Just 21 days and the results will speak for themselves.
21 days without some of your favorite foods, having to explain to others why you are doing it. This might seem hard, but for most it is easy after the first couple of days if you recognise that you will heal your body; you will learn new things about how, why and what you eat; and you will ultimately feel so much better than you do right now.
It’s not hard if your mindset is on the benefits! Here are some benefits that you are likely to find on your 21 day journey:
- You will enjoy more consistent energy
- You will sleep better
- You will wake up feeling more alert
- You will have improved clarity of thought throughout the day
- You will have less digestive stress
- Relief from auto immune symptoms
- You will have a taste bud revival and enjoy food more
- You will feel the difference between emotional appetite and real hunger
- Your skin will be brighter
- People will comment on the way you look!
- You will work out what works for you, stop dieting and just eat!
Gut health is essential to healthy living. It is essentially a system which uses bacteria to break down food into nutrients which can be absorbed as vitamins, minerals and macro nutrients. Without a diverse range of bacteria or a rich diversity of food intake, our energy and health will be compromised.
Poor choice of food which irritate the gut can also lead to poor health as they can lead to a “leaky gut” where bacteria and toxins escape our digestive system and simply poison us. Common symptoms include constant headaches, unexplained aches and pains, bloating. Leaky gut has been identified as a cause for many auto-immune illnesses.
- Avoid excessive and constant carbohydrate, especially processed simple carbs.
- Avoid or minimise foods which are known irritants of gut distress like processed sugar, grain flour, dairy if lactose intolerant.
- Ensure regular intake of prebiotics and probiotics to assist in building healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Periodise carbs by having periods (daily, weekly and monthly) when glucagon is created and your body can burn fat. If you have not done this before it may take a couple of weeks before your body re-learns to burn fat efficiently.
- Ensure you have calm periods in your life to regulate cortisol, again daily, weekly, monthly and annually. Limit white light (Screen time) especially in the lead-up to sleep.
- Embrace good stress leading to learning and growth, avoid bad stress related to “what if”, worry and uncontrollable events. Be at cause, not at effect!
- Participate in a sustainable exercise regime at a minimum of 2.5 hours per week. Ensure 80% of this exercise is at aerobic intensity, at a heart rate of “180 – your age” or at a level where you can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth with relative ease. The remaining 20% can be high intensity intervals in sessions less than 45 min in duration.
“Nutrition, gut, hormone and stress health are essential to a healthy life style. Take care of a balanced life in nutrition, stress and exercise and your weight will take care of itself with a lot less will power than habitual dieting!”
The 21 Day Reset Rules
- Eat real food.
- General Guidelines: 80% of body composition success is determined by your way of eating. Limit processed carbohydrate intake (hence, insulin production), and obtain sufficient health fat and protein to fuel and rebuild.
- Focus on Vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, fruit, nuts and seeds, high quality fats
- A moderate intake of high-fat dairy products (if you’re lactose tolerant)
- Supplemental carbs (for heavy exerciser and growing youth), and occasional sensible indulgences such as red wine and dark chocolate.
- Avoid sugar, grains, unhealthy fats, beans/legumes.
- Grains, sugars, sweetened beverages: Processed carbohydrates drive excess insulin production, which can lead to lifelong insidious weight gain. Even if you don’t have excess body fat concerns, a high insulin-producing diet promotes systemic inflammation, fatigue, and burnout. Grains might be the most offensive foods in your diet because they also contain “anti-nutrients” that may cause health problems beyond just gaining weight. Sweeteners are worse than sugar, the body’s insulin response is the same as sugar, however with nothing to process it leads to an irrepressible hunger which leads to gluttonous eating eventually.
- Industrial and polyunsaturated oils: Trans and partially hydrogenated fats (from heavily processed snack or frozen foods); deep-fried menu items (from fast-food joints), assorted packaged snacks and baked goods (chips, crackers, cookies, etc.), margarine-type spreads, and bottled vegetable oils (canola, corn, safflower, etc.) promote oxidation and inflammation, setting the stage for cancer and heart disease.
- Beans and other legumes: Beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soy products contain anti-nutrients that compromise digestion, immune function, and general health. The highly touted fiber in beans is problematic, and the carbohydrate content in all legumes is high enough to warrant cutting or eliminating them in the interest of moderating insulin production.
- Dairy: Most commercial dairy products are unhealthy for everyone – laden with hormones and other impurities. Butter and heavy cream are the preferred forms of dairy, should you be lactose tolerant.
- Align your carbohydrate intake with your weight goals and activity levels.
- Protein: Average 0.8 – 1.8 gram per kilogram of lean body mass/day – depending on activity levels (more at times is fine). Lean body mass is your weight in kilograms less body fat percentage (Weight – (weight / 100 * body fat percentage)
- Carbs: 50 grams/day (or less) = accelerated fat loss. 50-100 grams/day = effortless weight maintenance. A heavy exerciser can increase carbohydrate intake as needed to replace glycogen stores on big training days.
- Fat: Enjoy freely but sensibly for balance of caloric needs and high dietary satisfaction levels.
- Calculate your baseline requirements here.
- No Alcohol.
- 21 days of no alcohol is a big commitment for some, the bigger the commitment required, the more you need to do this!
- Alcohol is a toxin and is prioritised by our digestive system to process ahead of vitamins, minerals, other macro nutrinents in order to get it out of the system first.
- When alcohol is in the system, all other macro-nutrients consumed are stored as fat
- Adequate sleep is essential for health, helping us solidify memories and learn new skills, allowing muscles to grow and fat to burn, and maintaining the circadian rhythms that govern our immune system and metabolism.
- Commit to at least 8 hours a night. Limit artificial light at night to avoid disruption of your sleep cycle.
- Try these tips to ensure the best sleep possible.
- Take a quite 10 minutes, soon after waking, to shut out the world, be calm, think of the world as it should be for a moment.
- After 5 minutes consider what you will not react to during the day, and how you will simplify and “quieten” your world for you and your associates.
- This is your protected time to see the world as it should be, then go out and fill that space.
Post Challenge Assessment
After the 21 day reset I have no doubt you will be feeling on top of the world and replaced the “How do I motivate myself?” question with “How do I avoid burn-out as I have too much to do?”
Living with the 21 day plan is possible and very healthy for all, but difficult in the modern-day social environment. My recommendation is to identify the factors that are impacting your life the most and managing these closely. To do this we reintroduce elements in stages and monitor the reaction. If you were strict in the 21 days you may intuitively know the culprits. For me it was alcohol!
- Day 22 – Reintroduce non-gluten grains (Rice, Quinoa, Oats, Corn). These are not essential, but if you are a grain fan these are the best choices!
- Day 26 –Reintroduce Alcohol if favored . Keep to social only, two standard drinks per day maximum.
- Day 30 – Decision time! reflect how you felt on day 21. Decide what you need back and monitor. If your vitality slips, jump on it and adjust while it is fresh!
Some sample meals
21 day Challenge shopping list
||All other fruits
100% Full Fat Cream