We learned about this initiative from the girls at the office who are always doing something about their diets, or doing exercise like duck-walking to the toilets in between work tasks (because all girls in offices do some wacky shit when they're probably bored or when their work sucks lol).
Junk Free June is a not-for-profit organisation founded and 100% owned by the Cancer Society of New Zealand. Launched in 2015 with great success, the platform supports the Cancer Council in Australia while the NZ campaign continues to support the Cancer Society of NZ; for more information click here:
While not a fan of rah-rah movements that people tend to forget the moment it's done, I see the effect of consistently driving home the point because habits are hard to break. Like who would have thought that now, we all shudder at the sight of sugar? (well I do) . I personally have always avoided it from experience but at best, it was a half-informed one. Now, I've gone past merely avoiding it to actually reading and understanding the labels and being more discerning about what I avoid and what I can eat (like fruits with low glycemic indexes).
But while Facebook posts, cutesy lists and yes-you-can-do-it missives make it seem easy, it's not. First of all, look at what you're supposed to avoid for Junk Free June:
NO ice cream/ice blocks
NO fizzy drinks/soda
NO naughty spreads
NO processed foods
NO store bought juices
NO cakes, doughnuts or muffins
NO packet chips
Isn't it so convenient to name and shame the usual suspects (looking at you Deep South Rum & Raising ice-cream and the fun-time we had watching Coronation Street) and then lump everything else together under 'processed foods'.
Once you've gone past the fresh section of the supermarket, welcome to a world where everything is completely processed.
And it gets to be more confusing when processed foods proclaim themselves to be good.
Look, they call out, we're gluten free, fat free, refined-sugar free or with less sugar. We've added in more fibre, more protein, shed off some carbs. But can you trust these foods?
If you're used to a fast and easy breakfast of cereal or muesli with milk, what are you going to substitute it with? Then there's the issue of cost which health proponents always conveniently forget. By the time you round up almond milk, chia seeds and fancy free or frozen berries, you're already stressing from the deep burn in your wallet.
So common-sense and practicality should also be at play when making decisions to your daily diet; perhaps switch out to a 'healthier' cereal while only shelling out a dollar or two more; choosing generically branded or in-house almond/soy milk; add a banana into the mix.
On the 1st day of June, I walked into the supermarket intending to get something that was not on the least- and of course, everything was on the list. Raw ingredients don't count of course and who has the time to do a Masterchef moment on the office microwave and toaster?
So is it doable? Yes and only if you were super-realistic. If sugar shocks your body, complete deprivation will have the same effect. Here's my two-cents on the whole thing:
1. Plan. Don't do what I did, waltzing into the supermarket with no plan, no idea of what to buy. If you plan your outfits for the whole week, do the same for food.
2. Research. Food knowledge is power. And open your mind to other dietary trends. I like looking at Paleo daily eating plans because they're sustaining, easy and cheap to do. Subscribe to the little-small-meals a day thing- have small pieces of seasonal fruit and nuts you can buy cheaply in medium quantities and be able to spread out throughout the day and the rest of the week.
3. Stop buying things you think are little things. I've noticed people at the office buying pies and little pastries for tea, every-day of the week. They add up you know.
4. Substitute. Change out those pies to cut fruit (if you want a sugar-fix) or eggs (if you have a savoury craving).
5. Reward yourself. Yes, I plan to spend Sunday night watching The Handmaids Tale in bed and eating Italian gelato from Onehunga's Liky Liky.
And lastly, exercise, exercise, exercise. Don't stop moving.