#fiveorless Challenge

As you all know, I take my health pretty seriously. About two years ago, I started focusing a lot more on what I ate and my workout routine. I eat a vegetarian, high fruit/vegetable diet with a good balance of healthy fats, and I'm working on my proteins. I work out 5-6 times a week with a combo of pilates, running and spinning.

However, as I mentioned in this post, I've noticed my energy depleting. In addition, and I don't think I've discussed this on the blog before, but I have some not-so-fabulous stomach issues. I've seen doctors and had tests but no one has been able to figure it out. I've done elimination diets too but I haven't been able to isolate just one thing as the cause of the problem. What works best (still not 100%) is my current diet, but of course, I can't always resist sweets or special Lay's.

I recently saw the documentary Fed Up and I got to thinking - what if processed foods are the problem? It's not like I eat a ton of processed food anyways but more than I think probably sneak their way into my diet. I chatted with my good friend and total inspiration Kat from The Fit Girl's Kitchen and she said she noticed a huge difference after ingesting processed food versus eating clean. After chatting, we decided we would try to make it one whole month without eating processed food!!! I know it's crazy, but I'm always looking for ways to feel better, so I thought I'd give it a try!

Processed Food
So how do you define 'processed food?' There are varying interpretations, but Kat and I are focusing on this one: Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that had more then 5 ingredients listed on the label. Each ingredient should be a 'real' food, meaning no chemicals, preservatives or something that you couldn't buy individually.

Now, of course, there are some grey areas - like if an ingredient is something like "kale powder." Theoretically, with the right tools and instructions, one could powder kale, so we let a thing like that slide. Mainly because, if something has an ingredient like "kale powder," there probably aren't preservatives in it anyway.

And so, as we embark on this quest, we invite you all to do the sale, because well, isn't everything more fun with your friends? Here are the details for our challenge:

The #fiveorless Challenge

Our Goal
  • To promote the eating non processed foods, local foods or foods with five ingredients or less

How it Works

Each week of the challenge will have a new theme:
  • Week 1 - Mind your labels
  • Week 2 - Pantry purge
  • Week 3 - Cook
  • Week 4 - Find your balance

How to Participate
  • Check the @fitgirlskitchen and @tartanandsequins Instagram and Facebook accounts every Monday for more on that week’s theme and how to participate in the challenge.
  • Share pictures of how you are incorporating the theme into your week by using the tag #fiveorless. At the end of each week, we will select one winner (At the end of it all, you will all be winners because you should be feeling pretttttty amazing ;)) and share how they best completed that week’s theme.

So to get started, let’s tackle Week 1.

Week 1 - Mind Your Labels. 
Start paying attention to foods you buy frequently or eat repeatedly during the week. What are you REALLY putting into your body?

  • Do: Start to slowly eliminate or find substitutes for foods you eat frequently (e.g. switch to natural or freshly ground peanut butter instead of your normal Jif, try a sprouted bread instead of your normal go-to)
  • Share: Show us your most shocking foods that you thought were healthy (also any scary food label) or a smart substitute* you are making for something you eat frequently. 

*General rule of thumb is you should be able to pronounce everything on the label and purchase each ingredient outright if you wanted to. (Do you know where to buy monosodium glutamate or red40? Neither do we.)

Best of luck and happy eating!

Xo J and K


  1. Good luck with your challenge! I am a chip addict so that would be totally hard for me, but I am rooting for you and who knows maybe you will inspire me to try it out!

    1. Haha I love chips too so I am looking for other stuff to munch on!

  2. Julia, this is fantastic! Eating whole foods is such a worthy goal, and this month-long challenge seems like an achievable and inspiring way to do it. Good luck, I'm looking forward to hearing about your experience!

  3. As someone who went to nearly a dozen different doctors trying to diagnose my stomach issues last year-- I finally got relief when diagnosed with SIBO and going through the proper treatment. Its a relatively new issue that my doctor said is primarily in young normally healthy women. Check it out if you haven't been tested for it already. Changed my life!


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