In this recent survey, one of the biggest responses to “What is the #1 challenge or frustration in your life?” was “food”. The words varied; weight loss, diet, meal planning, sugar, but it all came down to food.
I struggle with food too, especially this time of year. I’m not good with moderation, and notice that I’m much happier when I have less to choose from, and when I remove temptation completely. One purse? yes. One pair of heels? sure. Just one cookie or potato chip? not happening.
Since I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, or in any way qualified to tell you what to eat, I can only help by offering what I know best.
Simplicity. The answer is less.
Capsule wardrobe challenge Project 333 continues to solve the “I have nothing to wear” problem for thousands of people around the world. It has saved countless hours, dollars, and the mental angst of closet overwhelm, and now we are taking it to the kitchen.
A Project 333 Capsule Kitchen Challenge: 3 months. 33 ingredients.
This is a challenge and experiment to see if limiting your food choices offers health and lifestyle benefits. There is only one way to find out.
1. Choose 33 ingredients counting food and drink. (water doesn’t count) Choose mostly whole foods for a variety of recipes and meals. (more how-to tips coming soon)
2. Add spices, condiments, and anything you like to pump up the flavor (less than 1 tablespoon at a time) and don’t count them in your 33.
3. Be specific when choosing your ingredients. “crackers” is not specific, Triscuits is specific. beans = not specific. lentils = specific. cheese/meat/veggies = not specific. swiss/chicken/asparagus = specific. pasta = not specific. whole wheat penne = specific.
4. This is not a project in suffering. If you need a cheat day once a month, take it. If you need to redo your list because you can’t make a meal from yours, change it. If you spend a week in Paris, eat a macaroon. Don’t let one excuse derail the entire challenge. Work around it.
5. Eliminate a crutch or trigger food for 3 months. Examples may include sugar, flour, salt, alcohol, meat, dairy, animal products.
Support your 3 month commitment with …
Join the Facebook Group (coming soon) and we can chat about challenges and successes. We can exchange ideas and support each other. Use hashtag #capsulekitchen on Twitter and Instagram.
Build a team
Ask your family, friends or co-workers to join you.
Write it down
For a good picture of what you are really eating and for extra accountability, keep a food journal. Write down what you eat and how you feel.
What to expect
I’ll know more after the first 3 months, but based on what I’ve learned from a capsule wardrobe, I’m expecting the following from the capsule kitchen challenge.
- more time: No wandering aimlessly through the grocery store or eyes glazing over at a 20 page menu. You already know what you will and won’t eat.
- more mental energy: This challenge eliminates “what’s for dinner?” You don’t have to think about what you are eating or watch out for trigger foods. Decision fatigue will be a thing of the past when it comes to food.
- more money: When you are eating the same limited number of ingredients there will be less waste. You can also expect to spend less dining out. Some of your go to restaurants might be off-limits depending on your list.
- better health: This isn’t a diet or proven weight loss plan, but I’ll be surprised if I don’t drop weight. If your list is made of mostly whole foods that are good for you, then the majority of your meals will be healthy. For instance, I don’t have room on my list for coffee shop pastries or other goodies so I won’t be ordering “coffee and …” when I meet friends or work in a coffee shop.
What you can look forward to
- my 33 ingredients: find them here.
- recipes based on my 33 items from my favorite food bloggers
- free live webinar – with my friend and Foodiecrush founder, Heidi Larsen. (end of January)
- free Facebook group (I’ll be looking for a few moderators so if you are participating, and interested, please let me know)
- tips on choosing your 33
Is this a weight loss plan?
It might be depending on the foods you eat, but it’s designed as a challenge to see what happens when you stop thinking about endless food choices and thoughtfully choose ingredients to fuel a happy, healthy body.
Great! When do we start?
January 2, 2015 is the official start date, but start anytime. If you like the challenge, change out your ingredients every 3 months to include your seasonal favorites.
Why don’t condiments count towards your 33?
Because I said so. If you want to count them, you can, but I think the variety will help.
Will I get bored?
You might, but working with fewer ingredients might allow you to be more creative in the kitchen. Ask friends and food bloggers for help and make fun dishes with your 33. It might also be interesting to get bored and see how that impacts other areas of your life. Eat the same breakfast and lunch everyday for the first month, or the same lunch and dinner. Have fun with this and experiment.
How can I connect with others who are taking the challenge?
Join the Facebook group (invitation coming soon). Use hashtag #capsulekitchen when tweeting or sharing images on Instagram.
When can I see your list?
Here it is! You can create your own list or use mine.
How long does the challenge last?
3 months, but you can create seasonal capsule kitchens for a full year and change your ingredients every quarter.
What if I have more questions?
Great. Leave a comment and I’ll answer your question. Comments are moderated and don’t post immediately, but I will answer your questions.
When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
What: 33 items including food & drinks
What not: spice and sauce: anything you would use to pump up the flavor of your meal – oil, vinegar, spices, condiments. It’s in this category if you use a tablespoon or less in your recipe.
How: Choose your 33 items and create meals for 3 months with those ingredients. Be specific.
What else: When in Rome: If you are traveling or in a situation where sticking with your 33 ingredients is too stressful, put a hold on the challenge and get back to it when you can.
Be brave, daring, and curious
When I launched capsule wardrobe challenge Project 333, people thought it was crazy and extreme. It isn’t. You might think this sounds crazy. Use that as motivation to see for yourself.
If you treat “crazy” as a challenge instead of an excuse, life is more fun and fulfilling.