Elimination diets are incredibly popular. It seems like every week a new “30 Day Elimination Diet Challenge” rolls out.
There are dozens of these 30 day challenges that eliminate grains, dairy, sugar, wheat, processed foods, fruit, or any combination of things.
To be blunt, I’m sick and tired of the “don’t eat this” and “take away” mindset that’s associated with many of these challenges. And I don’t know about you, but if I eliminate an entire food group, or heaven forbid one of my favorite foods, then I perseverate on those “off limit” foods.
Basically, if you tell me I can’t eat something I like, that’s all I’m going to want to eat. And in my experience, this mentality leads to disordered eating habits.
So I say let’s do away with Elimination Diets and opt instead for an ADDITION challenge. It’s really quite simple, and also very enjoyable.
Let’s examine the benefits of adopting the Addition mindset instead of the typical Elimination…
Benefits of Adding instead of Eliminating
It’s mostly a psychological shift because instead of thinking about the things you “can’t” have, you instead focus on what you CAN.
Simple, but important and powerful.
Not only that, but by focusing on the foods you’ll add to your diet you’ll increase the variety of your meals as well. As I explained in 20 Tips to Break Free from Binge Eating, this is a powerful tip for people who tend to binge eat or follow obsessive eating patterns.
Furthermore, by adding new foods or foods you don’t eat very often to your meals, you may discover some new favorites. Either way you look at it, an Addition challenge is a win-win.
The 30 Day ADDITION Diet Challenge
Are you ready for the challenge?
All you need to do is come up with a list of foods you will ADD to your diet over the next 30 days.
To make this easier, I suggest choosing an item from each category below and then including them in your meals or search for recipes with those ingredients.
And as you’ll notice, I suggest adding real, whole, natural foods.
Herbs and Spices
There’s an abundance of fresh and dried herbs and spices to choose from. Make a list of 1-3 you’d like to add to your 30 day challenge, and then find some recipes that use those.
I love eating fruits that are in season, and apples are incredibly plentiful this time of year. I’ve been enjoying a wide variety of apples and adding them to snacks or cutting them up and adding them into other dishes.
Find some in season fruits at your locals farmers market or grocery store that you haven’t enjoyed in a while and pick some up.
Great news — it’s winter time (at least it is here in the United States)! That means there are tons of amazing veggies in season such as root vegetables, various types of squash (butternut, acorn, etc), and other yummy goodies.
Choose some (preferably in season) veggies you haven’t had in a while, find some recipes that use them, and get to cookin’!
There are a lot of tasty meats out there. Some of my favorites are bison, venison, and elk.
Search around your area and try to find something local. Depending on where you live you can always make nice with a local hunter and buy some meat from them. I like to do this with venison, but you can also do it during duck, quail, and any other animal that happens to be in season.
Or, if you prefer, just browse your local grocery store or Whole Foods for some new meats or cuts you haven’t had.
This is where you can include any other food groups and items such as:
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut milk
- Dairy (goat milk, Greek yogurt, etc)
For example, last week I decided to try a new carb source, so I bought a bag of Jasmine rice. I put it together with some homemade chicken stock, salt, and peas, and it turned out delicious.
The lists above are not exhaustive, so pick the ones that sound best to you.
Additions Based on Your Goals
What if you’d rather add foods based on your performance and physique goals?
If your main goal is to lose body fat, then you could focus on adding protein rich foods during the 30 Day Addition Challenge. So you could choose some different meats and dairy products, just to name a couple.
If your main goal is to sculpt some sexy muscle, you could focus on adding protein rich foods and some new carb sources (different types of potatoes, rice, quinoa, beans, etc).
You can find some great sample protein-rich shake ideas here: Protein-Powder-Free Protein Shake Recipe Guide.
Your 30 Day ADDITION Guide
Bottom line: all you need to do is come up with a list of foods or ingredients you’re going to ADD to your diet over the next 30 days.
To ensure you succeed in this fun challenge, I suggest making a list of the foods/ingredients you’re going to add to your meals over the next 30 days. Then find some recipes you can make with those ingredients or make sure you have a plan to include them in your meals.
You can do this with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks and desserts. The possibilities are endless.
So, are YOU up to the challenge?
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