Coral is doing this both to be more healthy and to live more sustainably. Much of her inspiration in proposing this challenge came from The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. She’s got a few extra restrictions for her own version of the challenge, including not using factory-farmed meat and [ideally] only using “simple foods”–basically, anything without high fructose corn syrup, phosphates, -glycerides, or other multi-syllable industrial terms for “processing.” Her goal is to increase the proportion of whole foods in her diet and to stop craving junk foods and sweeteners. That said, she’s still waffling on whether Häagen-Dazs’s “Five” ice creams are allowed, or whether she has to make her own, so we’ll see how that sugar craving thing goes.

Rowan is taking on the super lightweight version of this challenge, known as the Home-Cooked Fifty-Two.  She’s working full-time, taking fourteen credits of school, and volunteers at her local crisis line, so she eats at restaurants more than she’s really comfortable with.  This challenge offers her a chance to reconnect with both her food and body, as well as to rediscover the pleasure she once had in the textures and smells of her kitchen.

Laura is doing this in an effort to get back to the roots of simple, healthful, frugal living. Although she’s very much a novice in the kitchen and would almost always rather eat food that someone else has prepared, she’s making the conscious decision to improve in this area of the domestic arts. Both she and her partner prefer to eat real foods with minimal processing, and she was inspired to join this challenge after reading Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. (“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”) She’s aiming for home-cooked meals 6 days a week, using inexpensive staples and a balanced approach to nutrition.

Warren likes to treat cooking like a game in which the goal is to make nutritious, tasty meals for as little money as possible.  He does all the cooking in his home except for omelets.  He pretty much only goes to restaurants when his wife makes him, which is often enough that this project will probably be 6/7 days.  Cooking is a very mindful activity that captivates one’s senses and attention, and allows us to directly enjoy the fruits of our labor and share them with the people we love.  It is an intrinsically, neurologically, and relationally satisfying activity.  Warren is a huge food snob, likes to experiment, and has no money, but lots of time.

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