2013 Whole Living Challenge: Preparing for Week 4


The 2013 Whole Living Challenge is only 3 weeks long, but for the past two years I’ve been used to doing 4 week challenges so I’ve decided to add on my own extra week.  In light of falling off the wagon this weekend, I’ve been thinking about how I want to manage this upcoming week, and here’s what I’ve decided. I plan to primarily stick with Challenge-friendly recipes for my breakfasts and meals, but I’ll be adding gluten and dairy back in as I feel like eating them.  I’m also going to allow myself a glass of wine if I want one!

I see my Week 4 as being closer to how I strive to eat all the time (before I derailed myself over the holidays):  I call it my 80/20 plan – 80% of the time I eat whole, clean foods, and the other 20% of the time I allow my brain to override my body and indulge in what it wants.  I’ve discovered over the past two years (since first changing my eating habits for the better) that this kind of balance typically works well for me – a discovery that was certainly reinforced last weekend after nearly three weeks of being on the 100/0 plan.  My hope is that Week 4 will look a little more 90/10 as I ease myself from Challenge-mode to everyday mode.

I should also note that my Week 4 ends with a little family getaway we have planned with two other couples and all our kids!  We’ll be going up to Wisconsin Dells for a weekend of waterpark fun!  We’ve rented a huge cabin, and I look forward to stocking our kitchen with healthy snack options for us all to enjoy.  I plan to relax, eat and drink, and thoroughly enjoy our little family getaway, but I’m also hoping not to completely derail the progress I’ve made over the past three weeks in the process!

Here are some of the things I plan to continue enjoying during Week 4:

My Breakfast Options:
Roasted Red Pepper & Kale Frittata*
Steel Cut Oats w/Cinnamon*
Green Smoothie*
Green Machine Smoothie*
Ginger Orange Smoothie*
Mango Coconut Water Smoothie*
Blueberry Smoothie*
Fresh Fruit*

My Lunch Options:
Celery Root, Kale, Avocado Slaw
Detox Salad* (maybe eaten as a wrap, with hummus)
Broccoli & Chickpea Salad*

My Dinner Options:
Baked Sweet Potato with Greens
Spinach, Tofu, Brown Rice Bowl
Poached Egg w/Rice & Edamame
Grilled Salmon with Orange Avocado Salsa*
Roasted veggies (carrots, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower)*
Salads and slaws from my lunch list

My Snack Options:
Spicy Quinoa & Black Lentil Salad w/Avocado Vinaigrette* (eaten as a salsa with Blue Corn Flaxseed Tortilla chips)
Smoothies from my breakfast list*
Pumpkin Seed Zucchini Crackers*
Creamy Cashew Dip*
Oranges *
Apple slices*
Roasted Spiced Chickpeas*

*Things I’ve already tried that I know I’ll like.

Anyone else planning to stretch this year’s Challenge into a 4-weeker?  Good luck to all of us!

These, and other Challenge-friendly recipes can be found on my 2013 Whole Living Challenge Pinterest board. You can also follow along with me on my All Things G&D Facebook page and Instagram for daily Challenge updates!


  1. 1

    LOL, you just said in your other post that you do this challenge (aka “cleanse”) to potentially rule out allergens such as gluten, etc. if you’re going to add them back in your diet, you already know you’re not allergic or sensitive. Likewise years past, if you haven’t had a reaction to it (or dairy, etc.), you probably are safe to eat it all in the future.

    You also mention in your other post you don’t even like sweets, yet a lot of your past posts and things you love (those monthly posts) include sweets you like and have baked.

    Again, if you have binged to the point where you feel gross, disgusting, and fat, this diet challenge hasn’t made you progress (your words above). The progress you’ve made is just on paper. You and your body would fare much better sticking to your 80/20 way of eating year round.

    I think at this point you should just eat how you and what you want, lose the justifications to yourself and your readers, and just enjoy yourself.

    • 2

      That’s correct, Liz – one of the reasons I do the Whole Living Challenge is to test my body for potential allergens. This is done by eliminating the potential allergen for a period of time and then reintroducing it back into the body. If I have a reaction to it once I start eating it again then I know that it’s something my body is sensitive to. Allergies and sensitivities can develop at any time, which is why it’s a good thing to test for each year.

      I enjoy sweets less than most people, and overall I’d rather have another slice of bread or a bag of chips than a cookie or a slice of cake. That’s what I mean when I say I don’t particularly care for sweets. That said, there are occasions when I find a recipe that I make for my family or other people that I really enjoy so I will share it on here.

      I think I’ve made wonderful progress in doing this year’s Challenge. I’ve tried a lot of great recipes that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise ventured to make, I’ve lost the few extra pounds I gained over the holidays, and I believe I will have an easier time moving forward and maintaining my 80/20 plan. Those were my goals and I’ve reached them. That’s progress in my book.

      You seem to have some pretty strong opinions and misconceptions about this Challenge and my choices. It’s quite alright if you don’t feel like any of this is right for you, but that doesn’t mean it is not right for me.

  2. 3

    @liz. Are you a nutritionist? A dietitian? I ask because you seem awfully opinionated regarding this cleanse and am wondering where this comes from. I ran this entire diet past my dietitian and she stated that she felt this was a great way to kickstart a better way of eating and living. That the daily meal plan is balanced enough to get nutrients without suppliments and that the elimination aspect of the diet is great to do yearly because you never know when an allergen can creep up. I think that everyone gets in to eating slumps once in a while, and to do something like this to restart your eating habits is a great way to get back on track. What I love about this and the last post is that Dusty recognized where she fell off, and was able to dust herself off, self reflect, and get right back on. What I like even more about these posts is that she showed a vulnerable side of herself to thousands of readers who experience the same things throughout their lives. I know that she helped me get back on track, and for that I am grateful.

    • 4

      Beth – take it easy. I did express my opinion, just as your dietitian has her own opinion. Believe me, dietitians all have their own opinions and thought processes, regardless of schooling. It does not make this way of eating necessarily right, or healthy. And honestly, I respect the fact that you have your own opinion…..until you started worshiping Dusty and the relevance of your statements become a moot point, since you are simply defending her as a friend. Which is understandable, but again it discredits what you are saying and simply seems defensive. Sorry.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say I have strong opinions about this challenge, but I do know it’s still deprivation and I think what you consider a strong opinion is me disagreeing with you. It isn’t a matter of whether it’s right for me personally, it’s standard science and a form of limiting and constricting what you eat. Some of the recipes are great and look wonderful. As a whole though, it’s simply a way to restrict calories. You will know at ANY point in a given year if and when you become sensitive/allergic to gluten, wheat, dairy, etc. Not just during the month you do the challenge, so that really makes no sense at all.

      If you feel it helps you, then keep on doing what you’re doing. I only pointed out that your body will rebel at some point and eating cleanly 80% of the time is more than healthy enough to keep your body in check. Good luck!

      • 5

        Liz, you are cute. So you stating your disagreement is okay in lizworld but I do it and I get a “take it easy?” You seem a bit self rightious. “You will know at ANY point in a given year if and when you become sensitive/allergic to gluten, wheat, dairy, etc. Not just during the month you do the challenge, so that really makes no sense at all.” This is laughable. Run this little gem past any allergist and see what they say. Elimination diets are used by every allergist I’ve ever worked with. I have researched food allergies at nauseum because both of my children and my husband are sufferers. And now I’m super curious. What are your credentials to be handing out dietary advice? The fact that you are taking the time to comment and point things out to me shows me that you do have strong opinions, which you seem to regard as fact.

        And actually, I was not so much defending Dusty, but defending my opinion on this challange. If I were defending her as a friend, I would not have been this civil.

    • 6

      Thanks Beth! It’s been great doing this Challenge together to celebrate the highs and get each other through the lows!

  3. 7

    Thanks for sharing Dusty. I did this with you last year but haven’t begun yet this year. I did it to detox and reset my body.

    You know what? It helped me try new things. It helped me eat more fruits and veggies.

    Thanks for sharing everything!

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