21-day JERF Challenge: Just Eat Real Food !

featured JERF challenge
Written by Isabella Bazzara

Join MFS’s 21-day JERF Challenge

((Just Eat Real Food))

Ready to drop the “fake foods” & fuel your bod with some vibrant, nutrient-rich, non-processed stuff (also knows as real food)? Whether you want to boost your brain performance, shed off the excess winter weight, get healthier & more energized or simply feel plain-old AMAZING: eating real food will definitely allow you to THRIVE in your training, your relationships, your career…your entire LIFE!

Real food is optimally “configured” to “work” in perfect harmony with the way that our bodies function!

Real food is medicine, it regulates our mood, our brain function, it improves our body composition and so much more, so might as well provide your body with top quality fuel. Too many times I see people obsessing about macro-nutrients, fat percentages, protein intake, etc. and while that’s all cool & you should definitely educate yourself about nutrition & the effect that certain foods and food groups have on your body, many times we seem to forget that a “magic pill” or supplement containing the perfect ratio of macro-nutrients, mineral, calories and what not, isn’t nearly as effective in fueling our bodies compared to real food. Why? Because real food is optimally “configured” to “work” in perfect harmony with the way that our bodies function (digestion, absorption, repair, etc.). 21 day JERF Challenge - Just Eat Real Food benefits So if you are faced with 2 snack options; the first one being a fresh picked apple from a tree and the second one being a “super mega-nutritious” yet highly processed snack bar that appears to have “everything” you need for optimal health, pick the apple my friend. Think about how this apple grew, how the deep roots of it’s tree absorbed real LIFE ENERGY FORCE and the freshness and life that you are about to take into your body, that super-duper bar got nothin’ on the apple, pfff!

I’m not here to get all nerdy & scientific on you, the purpose of the challenge is to get back to the basics & stop overstressing your dietary choices, because let’s face it: unless you are training for some particular sporting event, undertaking nutritionist studies or excessively sick and/or obese, you shouldn’t have to overthink food that much anyway.

Why Eat Real Food?

Let me ask you this: why NOT eat real food? Do we fuel our cars with “gas-like” products and expect them to function in the same efficient  manner? Nope, it’s no different with us fellow humans, we cannot expect to “work” adequately if we are not fueling our bodies with what we were meant to eat. We literally are what we eat, the cells of our bodies continuously regenerate themselves with the food or “food-like products” that we consume. Eat Real Food: Feel Real Good, simple yet true!

And in case you need extra convincing, following are just a few additional benefits that come from eating real food:

  • Less processed food = less body fat
  • Better body composition & burn more calories
  • Boost brain function
  • Balance your hormones
  • Absorb more nutrients protecting you from disease
  • Increase energy level
  • Better mood
  • Better sleep
  • Quicker recovery and repair after training
  • More effective workouts & quicker results
  • Improves appearance and gives you that healthy “glow”
  • Increases overall health and longevity

What is Real Food Anyway?

What is JERF Just Eat Real Food Real food is simply food that you consume in it’s most natural unprocessed state, it is also free from any additives & artificial substances. Other terms, such as “whole foods”, “clean foods”, etc. can also be used to define “real food”. Plain and simple: a banana = real food, Fruit Loops cereals = NOT a real food!

JERF Food List

  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Whole Grains: amaranth, corn, barley, millet, quinoa, whole grain rice, steel cut oats, buckwheat, etc.
  • Meat & Fish: wild caught fish and seafood, beef, chicken, pork etc. (humanely raised).
  • Nuts & Seeds (raw & unseasoned)
  • Water, natural juices & smoothies, tea, homemade fruit water, etc.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, etc. (ideally bought dry – not from a can)
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese (limited quantities)
  • Natural Sugars: coconut sugar, honey, pure maple syrup (minimal quantities)

* In order to detox & cleanse your body (and also give your digestive system a break), you may like to remove dairy products from your diet entirely during this 21-day challenge! If you do however include them into your diet, limit your serving to a minimum & make sure you get your hands on the healthiest, less processed variants available.

** Depending on your diet, you can adjust the foods that you consume (ex. removing animal & dairy if you are Vegan or grains if you are following a Paleo diet). No matter what your eating habits might be, you should focus on Just Eating Real Food!

*** Buy organic, seasonal & local produce when possible!

Quick Daily Menu Example

(scroll down for the full 7-day JERF Meal Plan sample)

  • Meal 1) Homemade quinoa porridge with nuts and fruit
  • Meal 2) Green Smoothie
  • Meal 3) Large mixed greens salad with fish, raw veggies and seeds
  • Meal 4) Collard wrap with homemade hummus, carrots and sprouts
  • Meal 5) Grilled chicken with asparagus & sweet potato fries

21-day JERF Challenge Tips

Emotional Eaters: When we eat to suppress certain emotions, we aren’t doing ourselves any favor. While we indulge in our favorite comfort foods, it can feel like a relief for a few seconds or minutes but truly, we would be better off moving forward no matter how unpleasant a given situation can be. This is a great occasion to practice mindful eating and observe how often you turn to food when you are not actually physically hungry. It’s a great opportunity to journal your eating habits and perhaps learn how to deal with those unpleasant feelings that are inevitably part of life!

Combine “Real Food” with a regular exercise routine to amp up the “awesomeness” of this challenge! Remember that you can achieve great results in both health and body composition with your DIET only. However, participating in regular physical activity or simply being active and moving your body daily will get you feeling like a million bucks even faster! On top of that it will trigger you to CRAVE EVEN MORE REAL FOOD in return. That’s a definite win-win in my book! You can find our free monthly workout programs HERE & MFS’s workout database HERE.

Change your mindset; change your results! It is estimated that two-thirds of women have disordered eating. Instead of perceiving this challenge as another restrictive diet, view it as an opportunity to fuel your body aka your temple bountifully! AND remember that no food is off limit, if you want that gooey fudgy chocolate cake, you sure can have it darling but simply be aware and accept how these foods affect your overall well-being.

Do you need to eat 100% real food during this 21-day challenge? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Truly, it all depends on where you’re coming from; are you used to eating a lot of real food in your day-to-day life, do you have a habit of eating processed fast food regularly, or perhaps you find yourself somewhere in between? The goal isn’t to eat 100% real food unless you feel like you are totally ready for it. So if you prefer adding one “JERF” meal into your day, go for it! On the other hand, if you are ready to eat mostly real food, then opt for 90-100% real food in your diet for example. Whatever works for you, no one-size fits all.

Follow the Jerf: Just Eat Real Food 21-day Challenge on Pinterest! I’ll be sharing new JERF recipes regularly on my “21-day JERF Challenge – Just Eat Real Food” board on Pinterest! Come snoop around for some yummy recipes & meal ideas!

30-day Complete Eating Guide: If you’re ready to jump off the endless dieting cycle for good, I suggest you grab yourself a copy of my gal Bree’s “Body Fuel System“, a complete “real food” guide to eating for peak health, ultimate performance & ideal body composition which includes all of the necessary tools that you’ll need to create life-long healthy eating habits!

Your Diet: Whether prefer eating a paleo, raw food, vegan, vegetarian, low carb, low-fat or a IIFYM based diet, including more real foods into your everyday meals will benefit you in many ways. The 21-day JERF challenge can fit into any diet, as long as your staple food is real food!

Load up on those VEGGIES! As a rule of thumbs, I would recommend that at least 50% of your diet consists of vegetable (mostly) & fruits as well! The remaining should consist of nuts & seeds, whole grains and meat & fish.

And finally… RELAX! Don’t overthink it, enjoy your food and enjoy cooking from scratch and trying out new recipes!

The 21-day JERF Challenge – Meal Plan Sample!

JERF Meal Plan Sample - Just Eat Real Food preview80

Click HERE to “Like” MFS’s official Facebook page & Grab your free 7-day JERF Meal Plan sample!

JERF Meal Plan Sample Guidelines

  • I’ve put together this meal plan to serve you as a guide. You don’t have to follow it by the letter, if you love your morning oats, you can have them every single morning (I’ve included a variety of real food meals to give you options and ideas).
  • Portion size: Eating real food is freackin’ awesome BUT if you stuff your face with fatty burgers every meal of every day, you won’t reap the full benefits of this lifestyle so make sure you include tons of veggies into your diet and stick to a healthy portion size that suits your own needs (no starving yourself allowed here). You can get a basic idea of how many calories you should consume per day depending on your specific goals and lifestyle using this calorie calculator.
  • What to drink? Drink real liquid as well: water, tea, homemade fruity water, smoothies, juices, etc.
  • Toppings & Seasoning: you may add flavor to your meals with vinegar, lemon and lime juice, extra virgin olive oil and season your JERF meals with your favorite spices making sure you don’t use too much salt (this can cause bloating and water retention)

*** I want to see your JERF meals!

Post your Real Food pics on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr & Pinterest) using the hashtag #jerf21 & don’t forget to share your journey with the rest of the community in the comment section below!

This challenge was inspired by Sean Croxton who coined the term JERF himself! Make sure you check out his kickass blog & grab his free JERF cookbook HERE!

MFS Suggests…

30 day shredding meal planThe Betty Rocker Body Fuel System

A 30-day Eating Guide to Your Best Body Ever!

Discover the best-kept secret in the food marketing industry and uncover the strategies that will effortlessly shed pounds off your body. The Body Fuel System comes with a 30-day customized weekly eating plan, a weekly shopping guide, a weekly food-prep guide, healthy fitness recipes, Betty Rocker’s top 5 ab-shredding moves, additional tips & tricks to keep you lean and much more. Click HERE for more details.

Isabella Bazzara
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Isabella Bazzara

Isabella is the founder of My Fit Station. Her mission is to spread a healthy, balanced and FUN approach to mind/body health & fitness, one that encourages growth, empowerment and a lavish dose of self-loving!
Isabella Bazzara
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