1. At least 7 hours sleep
2. At least 10,000 steps
3. No sugar
As I expected, the sleeping was the easiest challenge for me as I rarely get less than 8 hours but was quite surprising to see that many of my co-workers struggled to get the required hours at the beginning! This challenge has forced them (well, some of them) to make small steps towards shaking the bad habit of working into the night and making sleep a priority in their lives.
|Pictured: most of the ingredients|
Research shows that completing 10,000 steps a day dramatically reduces the risk of developing lifestyle illnesses such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
During our trials with our pedometers, a group of us measured less than 3,000 steps each during work hours and I only managed 6,500 when I took an hour long site visit. On average, about 10 minutes of physical activity equates to 1,000 steps so fulfilling this challenge was great motivation to get out off our butts! I've also used this as an opportunity to explore cycle ways around Auckland with Jason.
At the office, we've been having lunches away from the office (which is a nice incentive to try new places), trialing walking meetings and using the stairs instead of the elevators. I'm also more keen to get up to change the channel instead of asking Jason to pass me the remote (yes.. I'm very lazy sometimes).
By far the hardest challenge for everyone is the sugar ban. We were given a list of foods that needed to go, which includes the obvious things like sugar, honey, desserts but also dried fruit, certain sauces and dressings, fruit juice and "low-fat" products which contain a surprising amount of sugar when you check out the nutritional information. Any item with more than 10g sugar per 100g must go.
Most people have had to rethink their workplace snacks as museli bars and chocolate biscuits are no longer viable. Instead, I have seen them replaced with mixed nuts, rice crackers and, my favourite, cheese and crackers. I've been eating mandarins and grapes when I feel like a sweet hit.
This, so far, has been working for me but I would be lying if I said I hadn't used any of the 6 cheat days we are allowed (I allow myself dessert once a week when we visit Jason's parents). One of my poor Japanese co-workers can no longer make teriyaki chicken at home because of the amount of sugar contained in the sauce :(
My favourite part about this challenge, so far, is how much great discussion it creates around the workplace. I love hearing new ways people have managed to complete their 10,000 steps and the woes of no longer being able to have dessert after dinner.
Coming at a close second, is cooking without sugar at home. This recipe is something I actually made at the beginning of this year and have only just gotten around to posting. These Chicken and Sesame Cakes make for an incredibly easy and light lunch or a very yummy party snack.
Has anyone else tried to go sugar free? What about taking on a difficult challenge?
Chicken and Sesame Cakes (makes 16 patties)
500g chicken mince
1/2 cup fresh coriander (have some extra as garnish)
2 Tbs sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 red chili
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
1/2 Tbs white pepper (I used black pepper because I couldn't find white pepper..)
Oil for frying
1. Grate your zucchini and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Discard the liquid.
2. Put grated zucchini into a bowl with all the other ingredients and mix together with your hands. If the mixture is a too wet, add some breadcrumbs.
3. Divide the mixture into 16 balls and flatten them slightly to get a disc shape.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set the shape.
5. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the patties, frying for about 5 minutes on each side until they are golden on the outside and completely cooked through.
6. Serve with rice and a cool salad.
Note: the mixture can be divided up into smaller balls as a party snack with sweet chili sauce for dipping