Hey guys! Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s post! Today I’m going to talk a little more about the project-it’s still a little rough and I haven’t figured out all the details. 

But here’s the plan. 

It seems the common denominator with obesity is highly processed food. A majority of the country has a damaged metabolism. So I’m going to go out and test this. 

For 4 weeks, my roommate and I are committing to eat only whole, unprocessed food.


This IS NOT a diet.

This IS NOT about weight loss.

This IS NOT a quick fix.

This IS NOT about calories. 

This IS about real food.

This IS about health. Long term health. 

And you know what? This IS possible. One of the main reasons I want to do this? To show that if two college students can do this, in the middle of midterms, with limited kitchen access can do it, then anyone can. 


But I’m a scientist, and I want cold, hard evidence. This is about transforming overall health. I’m going to take some data before and after the 4 weeks-but not just weight or body fat. I’m still working on what these will be-I would love to do a test of blood insulin levels, because that would be such a great indicator of metabolic health, and whether eating unprocessed WHOLE foods are a possible cure. However, I’m not sure how plausible it would be for us to get lab tests done twice in a month. 

We may try blood glucose tests-it should give a decent indicator of how our insulin is working (and if we are insulin resistant). We will probably do blood pressure tests as well. Another convenient test is that I have a 5k around the beginning of the 4 weeks, and another one around the end of the 4 weeks, so I’ll have somewhat of an athletic comparison as well.


So how are we defining WHOLE, UNPROCESSED food? 

(Some of this is a little arbitrary, but I need somewhere to draw the line.)

(Most of this is straight from “The Fat Chance Cookbook,” By Robert Lustig)

-no refined sugar

-no highly processed oils

-no weird ingredients

-whole foods 

-foods must resemble what they originally came from

-the fiber must not have been destroyed

-whole, non pulverized grains

-no restrictions on fruit, but less than 28 g (the daily recommend amount) of other added sugars, such as juices or dried fruit

-one special whole food dessert experience a week, with natural sweeteners, high quality ingredients, and still fitting into the daily sugar allowance

Why not Whole30? Doesn’t that cut our unprocessed foods as well?

The Whole30 seems like a great way to reset your body from junk, but the reality is, it’s just not doable for many people, especially those who are new to their health journey. If a person is just starting a healthier lifestyle change, cutting out all grains may backfire. By instead focusing on the least processed foods possible, we can get the nutrients and fiber necessary to restore health. 

*Note: I do consider myself an overall healthy person, yet I still eat a fairly processed diet, like almost everyone is our country. If cutting out processed food improves my health, it will almost certainly help the people who struggle even more with their health.

The goal of this 4 weeks is to prove that it is possible to improve health, without sacrificing life. We aren’t exactly cutting out foods or even drastically changing the way we eat-we are simply changing the quality of foods we will be putting in our body.

For example, take this morning’s overnight oats:


Blackberry chobani, chia seeds, almond milk, and instant plain oatmeal. How would I change this?

Quinoa stirred into chia seeds and plain yogurt, topped with some type of fruit mixture (we’re thinking frozen berries in a slow cooker-how amazing does that sound?)

Real food doesn’t have to be bland or taste bad. I intend on enjoying everything I will eat during the 4 weeks. 

This is also about the lost art of cooking-by making our own foods, we maintain a lot more fiber and nutrients (than processed), and can control exactly what we put into things. Plus, it is an experience. 

We are already brainstorming recipes, meal plans, and cooking schedules. I’m excited for this! 

During this time, I will also be discussing the biochemistry of food-what happens in our body as we break down food. If I’ve never heard of it, I probably shouldn’t be eating it. And it doesn’t count if the only place I’ve heard of it is in Chem lab!

I also realize that this won’t be easy. No more of this.


Or this.


(Yes, I did return to an amazing ice cream place.)

But back in the old days, people didn’t eat sweets every day, they were something for a special occasion-an experience. Hence why I’ve built in a weekly treat. We’re planning on making plenty and sharing with our friends. (Some ideas are homemade raw chocolate and a dense, nutrient and fiber packed banana chocolate chip bread.)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this-if you guys know of any other tests of general health, I would be interested in those as well (as long as the tests are within reason to do!)

And before I leave you, I want to share a few more snapshots from today.

This morning I ran 4 miles. I haven’t done much running lately that a)wasn’t intervals and b)wasn’t on the treadmill. Plus, I’ve been taking it very easy on the running front thanks to foot/heel pain. The good news is that my feet are starting to feel better, and my foot loosened up and felt ok pretty quickly. Another bonus-I swear I’ve gotten faster! I didn’t run with my watch so I can’t really say though. 

I also had my first Coupa cappuccino of the quarter.


It. Was. Perfect. 


I am still not sick of this lunch. The balsamic brussels are amazing. It’s amazing how much better flavored foods are!

In other news, I’m pretty sure I should not be eating Quest bars because they have nuts and my face is breaking out so much! I don’t know why I keep saying I should not eat them and don’t just stop. But to be fair, I’ve only had 2. Image

This was dinner. After Crossfit, I had to run to the store, so I decided to pick up dinner. I briefly considered just having ice cream, but then decided that that was a bad idea, so I grabbed this veggie and hummus wrap, before consuming the above ice cream.




13 comments on “The Project

  1. Bree

    I’m so excited to see your unprocessed lifestyle for the next month! Eating clean was my biggest new year’s resolution, and I’m finding it to be very difficult when i’m so dependent on the Caf, but I know it’ll be worth it.

  2. Christine@ Apple of My Eye

    Love this idea, especially because it’s actually ABOUT health and not about losing weight or a number on the scale. Hope it works out well for ya! Can’t wait for updates 😀

  3. Ashley @MilesonOats

    WHOOP WHOOP! I am so excited to support you on this journey and follow your experience. I am all about whole foods in their natural state. The only “processed” foods I allow are Stevia, healthy-ish condiments, whole grain wraps, and my Walden Farms products <by far the culprit of anything "unhealthy" in my lifestyle.

    Good luck girl! And feel free to share dinner recipes 😉 I'll be back on night classes starting March and can't seem to think of quick, healthy, balanced, lower carb dinners to grab and go and take to campus. Sighhh.

  4. Jessica Wuensch

    I can’t wait to see how this goes! As a fellow college student I know how tough it is. I am trying to eat less processed foods simply because I know they are better for my body. Feel free to share (especially college do-able) recipes 🙂

  5. Angela

    will you also be consuming cappuccinos as well?

  6. gorunnaked

    Being a scientist myself, I think this is TOTALLY awesome that you want to prove this experimentally… that will be sooo interesting and I hope you go through with it!

  7. Matt @ Runner Savvy

    Have you thought about Paleo? Look into the Whole30 program!

  8. smilemilegirl

    This sounds very interesting!! I’m so curious how it will affect your running. I also can’t wait to see what kinds of recipes you will make (: You’re lucky that you have a roommate to do this with. That will be a cool thing to do together (:

  9. Shawn @ Fruity 'N' Nutty

    Wow, this sounds like quite the experiment! Really impressed with you for coming up with this and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. And good luck on your midterms!

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