Part of my job revolves around meetings: breakfast meetings, lunch meetings and dinner meetings, plus cocktail hours. I have the opportunity every day to eat too much and the wrong things. I had had enough recently and decided it was time for a change.

So my husband and I took on a challenge to eat unprocessed or minimally processed foods for 30 days. It’s always better to make significant life changes with a partner or friend. We had no dairy, no breads, no grains, no alcohol and no sugars or artificial sweeteners.

I want to caution that any elimination of food groups in your diet is not the best way to achieve lasting change. You must take a balanced approach, and you should consult your doctor before starting a diet, particularly if you take medication.

After 30 days of trying this new approach to eating, both of us experienced surprising results:

» Better sleep by Day 4

» No cravings by Day 5

» Fewer aches and pains

» No foggy head in the afternoon

» Finding joy in cooking

» Foods were more flavorful

» Clearer skin

» Lower food bills

» Better mood

I lost 8 pounds without restricting calories. I was never hungry, nor did I feel deprived of anything except milk in my coffee. Unsweetened almond milk was really just fine.

I went from an unhealthy desire for cheese at nearly every meal to not even missing it. This really blew me away.

We needed to simplify what we ate and cut out the junk — foods with high amounts of saturated fat, sweeteners and salt. We stuck to foods with fewer ingredients and avoided ingredients we couldn’t pronounce.

We are in the process of reintroducing foods to see what makes a difference and what does not. We both plan to continue to focus on eating whole foods as much as possible. But we will indulge in cake and pizza at celebrations and as a weekend treat.

There is probably a good reason to stay away from foods your grandparents and great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize. It feels like the right thing to do.

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