Got a guest post from a friend of mine named Hunter Copeland. Some of you may know him from the popular band he plays in. Anyone ever seen the band Juice? You probably can't see anyone else because of the drummer's big head, but Hunter is one of the guys in the band.
What you might not know about Hunter is that he is a really smart dietitian. He is going to start helping out with boot camp by teaching the nutrition seminars and helping those who need individual nutrition programs.
As a way of introducing himself, Hunter wants to issue you his 30 Day Challenge he wrote on his blog recently. It's a long read, but it is worth printing off and holding on to. Try it out and let him know what you think!
When I started this blog I mentioned that one of my goals was to do whatever I can to get people back to eating more real food. I found that after leaving the processed foods out of my diet for a month, I felt better, slept better, exercised better, and in general everything just seemed better. It had a positive influence on my mental outlook and I noticed having less mood swings and in general I was a more positive person.Recently I have had a couple people send emails requesting more specific food/diet guidelines.
 I decided to work that information in to a 30-day food challenge. This isn’t an original idea and I know there are other programs that suggest a similar plan of action. However, I think it is a great idea and that is why I’m stealing it.
 I want to offer something that anyone can do if they so choose too.I want everyone else to feel the effects of eating a diet based on more whole foods. I believe if you can follow this plan for 30-days you will find that you feel better mentally and physically, and even if you don’t see any benefit, what have you lost by trying? So whether your goal is improved athletic performance or weight loss, I’m inviting you to give this a shot, starting today. You have nothing to lose, and lots to gain.
So what do I want in return? Nothing…well, almost nothing. All I really want from you is feedback. Feedback in the form of a post on this thread which I will keep on the website, or an email ( All I want is to hear how good you feel after giving your body a 30-day break from the garbage. Tell me about your health and any improvements you have noticed. If you don’t see any positive changes, tell me that too. However, if you follow it strictly for the next 30 days, you will see improvements and I’d love to hear about them. Also, if you have time, leave a beginning post letting us know that you are starting the challenge, and if you have any questions along the way, post those here also. Why 30 days? Like I said, I remember taking 30 days out of my life to give this thing a shot, and it worked. For me, and for many of my clients 30 days without sugar and other processed foods seems to be enough time to help people get over their cravings. I talked with a lady today who felt very invigorated by the fact that she could pass by a plate of cookies without wanting to eat them. She felt very free, but it took her 30 days without sugar to rid herself of those pesky cravings. Giving up what might be your favorite foods is tough. There are several studies that show starches and specifically grain-based starches act on the same brain receptor sites as some recreational drugs. So what does that mean to us? It means that giving up the bread, crackers, or cereal may be as tough as getting off of heroin. I have found that for some people it is easier to approach change if they can look at a 30-day model instead of the vastness of a lifetime. So if you decide to take this challenge, forget about giving things up for the rest of your life, and just focus on the next 30 days. For that matter, you can take it a week at a time, or even a day at a time. Focus on eating the right stuff for that one day, and then you can worry about the next day when it comes. Whatever it takes to get through the 30 days! And after 30 days, you can decide if you want to keep this new lifestyle, but during the 30 days, don’t worry about looking too far ahead. Isn’t this just another diet scheme? Any plan that asks you to give up certain foods or food groups is not healthy or sustainable; at least that is what most dietitians would tell you. That may be partly true. First, let me say I’m honestly not looking at this as something you do for a month and then stop. Some of you might choose to do just that, but I’m banking on the possibility that people will feel so good that they will want to continue the 30-day challenge forever! Let me also say this: long-term 100% compliance can be tough. In other words, it may be hard to follow this 100% all the time for the rest of your life. Guess what? You don’t have too. If we can get this thing right 80% of the time, we can still keep our health in check and not freak out when things go off the rails at a family function or we have a week when we have to eat out more. The point is we are striving for progression, not perfection and long-term we don’t have to get it perfect. However, there is one catch to the 80% rule. It doesn’t apply to your first 30 days. We need 30 days of strict compliance before we even consider letting some of the other stuff sneak back in occasionally. If you bought an expensive computer, would you put junky software on it? If you bought a fancy car, would you be more apt to spring for the higher-grade gas? Think of your body as that car or that expensive computer, and give it a better grade of fuel. Give it the fuel that it prefers and it will perform better than you ever thought it could. Try this new fuel for 30 days, and then decide if you want to go back to fueling it with the cheap stuff. What do I eat on this plan?
Eat a good source of protein at every meal. -meat -fish -turkey -chicken -pork -egg
-spinach -broccoli -asparagus -mushrooms -green beans -cauliflower -lettuce -tomato -turnip/turnip greens -kale -cucumber -onion -peppers -cabbage -radish -celery -beets -zucchini -snow peas
  1. FAT
-olive oil -coconut oil -palm oil -butter -ghee -cream -avocado -nuts (except peanuts -they are actually a legume)
  1. Fruit
-blueberries -raspberries -strawberries -apple -pineapple -cantaloupe -cherries -grapefruit -raisins -peach -banana -prunes -plum -grapes -mango -orange -tangerine Play By The Rules: Ok, now you have a list of some foods, and you need to know how to use them over the next 30 days. First, let me say that if you have a question about a particular food, please email me and ask. I listed out a bunch of foods above, but there may be some I forgot. Also, I know it might not have been necessary to list out every fruit known to man, because everyone knows what foods are fruit. The same could possibly be said for some of the other food lists. However, I wanted a visual representation of how much food you can actually choose from on this plan. There is lots of stuff you can eat. Maybe we are sending a few foods out the door, but there are still a bunch of foods to choose from. Don’t forget that! If it helps, print this out and tape it to the fridge as a reminder. Yes, there are lots of foods you can still eat. They may be different than what you have been eating, but there are lots of choices. I mentioned some rules for your 30-day challenge, and here they are: 1. Don’t count calories! That’s right, you don’t need to worry about calories. There might be times when counting calories is helpful, but this isn’t the time. Even if one of your primary goals is to lose weight, don’t count calories. For the next 30 days focus on eating real food to give your body the best fuel that it prefers. No counting calories! 2. Don’t measure your food! Eat the right foods that we listed above and don’t worry about how much of them you eat. No food scales or measuring cups allowed! 3. Don’t let yourself stay hungry! Simple, if you are hungry, eat food, just make sure it’s good food (see the above list). 4. If you need a snack between meals, have one. If you don’t need a snack between meals, don’t have one. Again, it’s pretty simple. If you are hungry eat, if you are not hungry, don’t eat. What you eat is going to be more important than when you eat. And this is a perfect time to mention that there really isn’t any good research to prove there is any benefit to eating 6 small meals instead of 3 larger meals. Some of the literature actually shows the opposite may be true. 5. Listen to your body! I think this one is important and may be difficult for some. I meet lots of people who tell me they just can’t tell when they are hungry or when they are full. Others say they just feel hungry all the time. Either way, this is something we want to work on during your 30-day challenge. Notice, I used the words “work on.” Remember our goal is progression, not perfection. This is one of those things that take practice and experimentation. The payoff is that you can get better at recognizing the signals that your body sends you. Your body tells you when it is hungry and it tells you when it is full. The problem is that some of us are no longer able to recognize those signals. I believe most of us start out in life, and we are fairly good at recognizing these signals. Those of you have children may still see evidence of this phenomenon. I remember when we would give our girls a bottles. At one feeding they might drink two ounces and the next they might drink 10. The point is that they new exactly when they wanted to eat and when they wanted to stop eating. How did they know? Their bodies were telling them. Think of the child that eats a sandwich, finishes the sandwich, and then asks for another. You then make a second sandwich, but instead of finishing the second sandwich, little Johnny eats one bite of it and declares he is full. He wasted your second sandwich for a reason. His body told him exactly when to quit eating and he quit. All I’m saying is that our body gives us certain signals, but we have to practice becoming more in tuned to them. How do you do this? Some people have an easier time finding these signals during the 30 days because they are eating different foods. They are eating more protein that is more satiating and they seem to get a stronger signal. Giving up some of the processed carbs also seems to help promote fullness. So you might find just by changing what you eat, you also get better hunger/fullness signals. Isn’t that cool? Still, you can practice becoming more aware of these signals by decreasing the amount of distractions that are present during mealtimes. Turn off phones, televisions, and other electronics while eating. Make sure you sit down at a table while eating. If you can set a dinnertime so the whole family can eat together, that’s even better. Practice eating slower, chewing more, and putting the fork down between bites. Again, recognize the fact that I said “practice.” That implies we can get better at this stuff, but we still might mess it up. It’s ok if you mess it up. You might find that you let yourself get too hungry at times. You may find that you overeat at other times. Whatever happens, don’t freak out about it. It isn’t a big deal and you can work on it again tomorrow. The key is that you are sticking with the appropriate foods that we listed above. The rest we can continue to work on forever. 6. Don’t let others derail you! This is your 30 days, so claim them! Take these 30 days to give your body what it needs, and don’t let anyone else get in the way. This is your 30 days! Don’t let anyone else take your 30 days. They can get their own, if they choose too. Family can make this difficult. Not on purpose, but they just might not be ready to take this journey at the same time that you are, and that’s ok. You can’t make someone else get on this roller coaster with you. They have to get on when they are ready for the ride. Still, don’t let them end your ride before it’s over. It may mean making some tough decisions, but you can do it. I know you can because I did it. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Make it happen. Stay strong for 30 days, and then see where you want to take it from there. 7. Eat a protein food at all meals! Protein is important for many reasons. First, a majority of your body is made of protein, so it makes sense that your body would want some. Protein promotes muscle growth and having more muscle is a good thing. Muscle is a more metabolically active tissue. That can be helpful down the road. Also, protein is satiating. It makes you feel full. Again, that is a good thing. We want to feel full. Vegetables are very nutritious foods, and I want you to eat them, but above all get a protein food at all meals. 8. Eat a ton of vegetables! Ok, maybe not a ton unless you really want too! These foods are helpful, or at least not harmful. They contain fiber, which is another thing that may promote feelings of fullness. They also contain vitamins and minerals that may protect us from disease and that is always a good thing. Who wants disease? Also, the vegetables I listed above are low in calories and lower in carbohydrate. You won’t do crazy things to your blood sugar levels. Another good thing! Eat as many of these vegetables as you like! They are your friend. If you want to eat a vegetable at every meal, then do so. If you want to eat more than one vegetable at every meal, then do so. If you choose to, eat some vegetables with breakfast. Put some spinach in that omelet! It won’t hurt a thing. 9. Don’t be afraid to eat fat! I find this to be one of the hardest rules for some folks to follow. I would also fall in to that group. When I went to school to study nutrition, we were told over and over that fat is the worse thing you could ever put in your body. It causes heart disease and it makes you get fat. The problem is that neither of those statements is actually true. I’m not going to use this space to explain why those two things are false because it would take too much time. Just take my word for it. If you eat the right kinds of fat, your body will thank you. The “right” fats are listed above. If you have a question about one that is not listed, let me know. Just don’t be afraid of these foods like I was. When I gave myself permission to eat some fat with meals, it made it a lot easier to get off the processed grain-type foods. Fat was one of my fallbacks. In other words, I left off the bread with lunch, but instead put the meat on a ton of vegetables and included some olive oil and avocado on it. Those fats (olive oil/avocado), tasted great and eventually made it easier to say good-bye to Mr. Bread. You can do the same thing. Say good-by to Mr. Bread or bagel, or cracker or whomever your friend might be, and say hello to your new friend Mr. Fat. That Bread guy wasn't’t really your friend anyway! Ok, so I want you to close your eyes for a moment and repeat the following phrase 5 times: “fat is my friend.” Now, there are certain fats that you do want to avoid and it shouldn't’t be a surprise that man created most of them. Again, I don’t want to use this space to discuss the “why” to avoid, we can do that later in other posts. Just be sure to avoid the following harmful fats: * trans-fats (avoid anything that says “trans fat” or “partially hydrogenated” These fats are made by taking a liquid oil and turning it in to a solid oil. The powers that be are finally acknowledging that this type of fat may reek havoc in our bodies, even though it wasn't’t that many years ago that the American Dietetics Association was telling us they may not be so bad. All you need to know is that these foods are not your friend. *avoid these oils: vegetable oil, soy bean oil, safflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil/rapeseed oil Avoid these oils like you life depended on it! Funny thing, your life does depend on it. Over the past 50-60 years cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity have all increased, and I don’t think it is any coincidence that our intake of these highly processed seed oils has also dramatically increased during that time. These oils increase inflammation in the body and inflammation is not your friend! Now, many people tell me that they don’t cook with these oils and therefore don’t need to worry about this. However, the main reason for the increase of these oils in our diet is their inclusion in many of the foods that we eat. Most people get a tone of these oils daily, not because they are using them to fry a pork chop, but because they are eating chips, crackers, granola bars, protein bars, pretzels, bagels, pastries, doughnuts, and breads. There are a million other foods that fall in to this category, but you get the idea. If you want to avoid diabetes/obesity/heart disease/ you may need to avoid systemic inflammation, to avoid inflammation you need to avoid processed seed oils, and to avoid processed seed oils you need to avoid the processed grain-based foods that I just mentioned. Long story short: read your labels or it will be hard to avoid these foods. Eat some fat at every meal when you can, but make it the right fat. 10. Eat some fruit, if you want too, but leave off the fruit juice or any other sweetened beverages for that matter. Fruit contains some healthy nutrients and if you want some fruit, have at it. Can you eat too much fruit? I have seen some circumstances where people had trouble losing weight without pulling their fruit intake down somewhat. A serving of fruit has a good bit of carbohydrate, but it also has some fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. My suggestion for the next month, would be to use fruit when you need it. IF that sugar craving hits you, eat an apple. If you need some fruit, don’t be afraid to eat it. If you get more fruit than you need over the next month, but it helps you to get rid of all the sources of processed/refined foods in your diet, and it helps you get rid of the other sweets, it will have been worth it. For most people, I find that it is hard to get rid of certain foods without having some other options to go too. Remember, you do have those other options! We have already said that we will not measure food and we will eat until we are full. Doesn’t that feel great to not have to worry about restricting how much you eat? The only catch is to stick with the appropriate foods that will provide the most efficient source of fuel for your body. Those foods happen to be protein, vegetables, good fats, with some fruit. 11. Avoid starches that are processed or ones that contain gluten. Gluten is the protein in grain and it can have negative effects on various parts of the body. Celiac disease is the most well-known form of gluten sensitivity, but a larger portion of the population suffers from some type of gluten sensitivity. Also, this is something that oftentimes goes undiagnosed. Many doctors don’t know how common gluten sensitivity is so they don’t test for it. Also, in some cases people are gluten sensitive but not to the extent that it is detectable by clinical tests. Still, even in those situations gluten can be damaging to the body. There is much more to the gluten story, but we don’t have enough space to cover it here. Suffice to say, if you want to be healthy, you need to avoid gluten, and to avoid gluten you will have to avoid wheat, barley, and rye. Yes, that means bread and all its derivatives. Again, if you do the research, I don’t think you will find evidence of any past cultures that thrived on wheat, and actually the opposite is true. Avoid these foods that are either highly processed or are gluten-containing foods:
  • bread
  • crackers
  • chips
  • popcorn
  • pretzels
  • cereal
  • granola
  • granola bars, cereal bars, protein bars
  • rice cakes
  • bagels
  • pasta
I could fill up a page with many more foods that fall in this category, but I don’t think it is necessary. If it’s high in carbohydrate, contains wheat, and has more than one ingredient listed on the package, then avoid it. It’s that simple. Are there some safe starches? Your best bet would be to get your carbohydrate from the vegetables listed at the top of this post, fresh fruits, or starchy roots and tubers (sweet potato, yams, yucca root, summer squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, beans, peas –soak beans and peas overnight to decrease their level of anti-nutrients, or even better leave them off for the 30 days, and then see how you do with them). Also, if your main goal is weight loss, you should consider using only the vegetables listed on the first page of this post with minimal fruit for your daily carbohydrate intake. Normally if someone is obese, metabolic derangement is also present, and they don’t lose weight if the carbohydrate intake is too high. Your best bet is to focus on getting the largest amount of your daily calories from the protein foods listed above, the vegetables listed above, the fats listed above. That works! Above all else that works. 12. Avoid dairy. Yes, that means milk, yogurt, pudding, cheese, etc. I know that dairy foods contain some healthful nutrients, but they also contain some anti-nutrients that would take too long to discuss here. Milk is also a food that many people don’t tolerate well and some people don’t know that they don’t tolerate it. There is some research showing that raw milk is much more beneficial, but most states are not allowed to sell it. Anyway, leave the dairy off for a month and then add it back to test your tolerance. IF at that point it works for you, keep doing it, but for now leave it off. Ok, this is my challenge for you. I am inviting you to take 30 days to restart your body and give it a better source of fuel that it would prefer anyway. If you want to try it go ahead, if you don’t that’s just fine also. It works, if you do it. You can see that all it’s trying to get you to do is to eat real whole foods that we were meant to eat, while avoiding the highly processed foods that have a severe impact on our health. Stick to these rules for 30 days and see the difference. I believe that long-term, most people can benefit by following this type of plan 75-80% of the time, but for your 30 day challenge stick to in 100% and see what happens. Hunter