Who: Jess Chamberlain, contributing editorI’m giving up: Processed and prepared foods (anything packaged or not made from scratch)I cho...
Sunset Eat Fresh Challenge, Day 1: Sorry, I’ve been in the kitchen

Who: Jess Chamberlain, contributing editor

I’m giving up: Processed and prepared foods (anything packaged or not made from scratch)

I chose this because: I’m curious. Will I feel better? Will I save money? Do I know how to turn on my oven? (Kidding, mostly.) I’d say my diet is generally very healthy (cereal and fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, pasta or fish for dinner, whole grains and organic everything whenever possible), but a lot of it is prepared foods (albeit from Whole Foods) and dining out (out for coffee, out for lunch, out to dinner, out to drinks). I always feel best when I bring my lunch to the office (knowing exactly who made it and what’s in it) or make dinner with fresh produce during farmers market season, but the pace of my urban 30-something schedule—especially during the week—often means I dine out, grab something to go, or, gulp, skip a meal. (And, to be honest, as someone who lives solo, I’m not convinced of the cost savings of cooking for myself. Doesn’t the hour I lose preparing dinner negate the ten bucks I saved preparing it?) 

My biggest challenge: Dinner. I’ve said no to all social dining/imbibing engagements this week (save for two dinners at homes of friends who have assured me they’re cooking recipes from scratch) and have allowed for time to grocery shop and follow some recipes. When I commit to something I’m diehard about it. This means if I get home late (on the days I’m to cook my own dinner) and don’t have groceries—or time or energy—to make dinner (or lunch for the next day), it’s likely I’ll just go hungry. 

My biggest temptation to cheat: The afternoon latte. When I’m home for a visit my mom jokes that my day is scheduled around my next coffee stop. (It may or may not be true that when my twin sister and I go on runs we typically choose a cafe as our destination.) Coffee is my vice, my drug of choice, my twice daily ritual. This week I’m still drinking coffee, but it’s prepared by me in my kitchen each morning and brought to the office in a thermos (Blue Star‘s Morning Roast with Organic Valley whole milk, if you’re curious.) Good thing there’s a monetary motivation to stick with this: I’m saving five bucks a day by handcrafting my own joe.

Coping mechanisms: I love fresh, whole, foods. Eating them is not a challenge. The key here is having them readily available. I’m a big snacker, so am bringing nuts and fruit (apples and oranges) to the office to stave off any temptations. Alternatively, I’ll read Johanna Silver’s musings on this #SunsetEatFresh challenge, and laugh so hard I’ll forget I’m hungry. 

Today I feel: Like there are a lot of dishes in the sink. (Breakfast was scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado, lunch was spinach salad with tuna and almonds and carrots, snack was an orange, dinner was chicken salad on a bed of romaine.) I miss bread (it’d be a miracle if I found time to bake bread this week) and white wine. Oh, and I cheated. I had two raw chocolate macaroons that were taunting me in the fridge. (But they’re raw, and I can pronounce all the ingredients on the package, so I don’t consider this too far out of line.)

Learn more about my espresso addiction, cold-pressed juice obsession, and upcoming attempts to use my oven on Twitter @jessedit and #SunsetEatFresh.


(photos by Annabelle Breakey and Yuhnee Kim)

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