1) force ourselves to try out some new recipes that dramatically differ from our normal routine (new ingredients, different balance of foods, etc)
2) try to incorporate more vegetables and less meat and dairy into our regular diet
3) do a 'pseudo' fast to give our digestive system a break (cut out foods that are hard to digest, like wheat and dairy)
4) Check if I have any wheat or dairy allergies, something I have always wondered since I have allergies to a lot of other things
This means: no wheat, no dairy, almost all new recipes, and lots of veggies. We decided at the front that we would continue to eat eggs and fish, thank goodness.
Unfortunately, I cheated a bit - especially with the wheat. Wheat is INCREDIBLY hard to take out of your diet. I realized that I am terrible at actually thinking about what I'm eating before I've eaten it. For example, we had chocolate cake at work to celebrate someone's success and I had hoarked down half a piece before I even paused to think that it probably had dairy AND wheat in it. My vegan co-worker/friend who is clearly a more conscious eater than I am was laughing at me the whole rest of the day.
What's really bad is, I had another piece the next day (when it wasn't even fresh anymore).
But in general, over two weeks I did quite well... the only things I cheated with were the two pieces of cake and a butter-soaked hunk of corn-on-the-cob from my favorite restaurant (Paseo), which I couldn't turn down under any circumstances. In both cases I cheated with food that was given to me, so my co-workers were teasing me that I was on a strict eat-what-you-can-find diet.
Strangely, my physical therapist suggested today that I should really think about going off of wheat for a month to see if the persistent inflammation in my back eases up (mild wheat allergies can cause this). I told her I had been off wheat for the past two weeks, and she was really impressed. But then she figured out that I cheated, with the cake, and other foods (did you know that soy sauce and soup can have wheat?). I figured out that I had probably eaten some wheat at least every other day of my 'diet'. She encouraged me to try again, and try harder, and go for longer. So tonight I'm having some donuts to prepare, and tomorrow I will start again.
In terms of our other goals, the diet was a real success. If you're looking for an eating challenge that is good for both you and the environment, I recommend becoming a vegan or a wheat-free vegan for as long as you can take it. While you're at it, you may lose some weight and feel a little better, who knows?