Since Nutrient Boot Camp (I’ve been abbreviating it NBCC!) is just getting opened to everyone, I figured I should do a post to go through some frequently asked questions I’ve gotten about it from the people I’ve had going through it behind the scenes.
As I get more questions, I’ll happily add to this post and the FAQ section of the Nutrient Boot Camp page.
So without any more chitchatting, here are the answers to your questions!
Q: What are the rules of Nutrient Boot Camp?
A: There are very few hard and fast rules of Nutrient Boot Camp. The point of the NBCC is to challenge yourself to eat 15, 20, or 25 (depending on the level you picked) different veggies, fruits, teas, and/or spices each day for 28 days as a way to increase nutrient diversity and density in your diet. There aren’t really any other rules, just to try to hit the goal each day. You can find the daily tracking sheets that will help you keep score each day on this page.
While I appreciate the idea of negative reinforcement, I prefer to focus on the positive…so there are no penalties for not reaching the goal every day. Instead, I hope that people will be motivated by improvements in health and by the support of their peers over at the Nutrient Boot Camp Challenge Facebook Page (you’ll get an invite to the group when you sign up for the challenge).
Q: I have to eat how many plants now?
A: There are 3 levels in Nutrient Boot Camp: 15 plants each day, 20 plants, or 25 plants. You can pick the level you want to tackle but can feel free to move between the levels as the challenge goes along. Those numbers for a lot of people seem crazy though. But because you count vegetables, fruits, all spices, and all teas, the numbers add up much more quickly than people expect. It does take effort though to switch over to this way of eating and drinking, which is why there are so many recipes and blends, daily emails, and ideas swirling around the Facebook group to make this transition easier.
Q: Why do spices count? Don’t you just use a bit in recipes?
A: Spices are just fairly nutrient dense herbs that have been dried. (This is similar to how kale chips are way smaller than fresh kale but retain a lot of the nutrients without the water.) Additionally, we’re looking at nutrient density and diversity in Nutrient Boot Camp but not necessarily quantity. This is because our lives are incredibly busy and it can be way too difficult to hit the metrics for getting a certain amount of plants. I actually tried this when I was developing the challenge but found it way constrictive. (Also, I found that I just got way too full trying to hit a certain amount.)
Q: Aren’t there other nutrient dense foods besides plants?
A: There most definitely are! And we’ll actually be talking about them throughout the challenge. However, I wanted this challenge to be available to anyone, regardless of their dietary preference.
Additionally, I polled a lot of people about their most frustrating food problems and I heard a lot of people say that eating enough diversity and quantity of fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs was their most prevalent issue, not so much all the other nutrient dense foods. And since that idea totally aligned with what I believe in in terms of the importance of nutrient diversity and density, naturally I wanted to set up a challenge that addressed this specifically.
I also thought it would be a really fun challenge because you can try new and exciting things at each and every meal, and fun should definitely play a role in food challenges!
Q: What if I don’t digest all vegetables well?
A: This is such an important topic that I chose to address this issue in the very first email I send at the start of the challenge. This is a very real issue and one that I have personally struggled with so I lay out an action plan that worked for me to get all the benefits of plant diversity without all the pain.
Q: What if I can’t eat FODMAPS?
A: The answer to this can be found in the Vegetable and Fruit Shopping List where you can see just how much variety there is out there. This might just be a good reason to branch out! And there’s nothing in the rules of Nutrient Boot Camp that will penalize you for limiting certain groups. (At NBCC, we don’t believe in penalizing for anything!)
Q: What makes this program unique? Aren’t there about a billion other food challenges out there?
A: This program is one of the few programs that asks you to focus on eating more food. This challenge isn’t about taking away anything. Instead, it’s all about adding in a bigger amount and variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs. What happens when you give your body the building blocks it needs is pretty amazing…all the processes in your body run more smoothly! And that usually translates to an amazing sense of well-being, something I believe we’re all striving for.
Q: Do I eat like this forever?
A: Ideally, this challenge will transform the way you shop, the food choices you make on a daily basis, and retrain your palate for a nutrient-rich, highly-varied diet. The 28 days will push you, so no: it’s not the goal to eat like this forever…but you’ll likely retain a lot of the benefits.
Q: Can I do the challenge more than once?
A: Absolutely! In fact, I think doing it more than once is a great idea. The reality of the situation is that it’s easy to get off track with any healthy habit you’re trying to upkeep…regardless whether you get off track because you get too busy, the holidays roll around, or the corner Dunkin Donuts starts calling your name, you can always come back to do another round of Nutrient Boot Camp to get yourself going again. There are also 3 different levels, so you can always start from the easier one and work your way up. Or maybe you’ll want to push yourself harder to try new vegetable, spices, or teas to get a bigger grand total at the end. Either way, you’re always welcome back!
Q: What happens if you don’t meet your goal for the day?
A: Nothing! This challenge isn’t about punishing yourself for any reason. If you don’t meet your requirement for the day, move on and start the next day fresh! Life can be stressful enough as it is, there’s no need to add more unnecessary stress to eating.
Q: Do I have to be Paleo to do this challenge?
A: Definitely not. While I eat predominantly paleo with lots of fruits/veggies, grass fed meats (with the occasional grass fed dairy), organ meats, bone broth, and wild caught fish, I don’t think it’s the only way to eat to be healthy. So regardless of your dietary plan, you can be part and get a lot out of this health challenge. The only this that’s required is the desire to optimize your diet and improve your health!
Q: Can I do other challenges/have other food goals during this challenge?
A: Sure! I think this challenge is a great complement to other food goals such as the Autoimmune Protocol or the Walhs Protocol. However, I strongly urge you to not make yourself crazy by attempting to do too much. Remember that emotional and mental stress is a powerful part of our overall health!
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