The 5 Ingredients Challenge


Any one who knows Twyla and I at all know we love food. We love making food, we love eating good food, we love serving food, and we love food adventures. Our food adventures are not always adventurous (in type of food), but I like to think we are willing to try different ways of trying/preparing food. This bring me to the reason for this post.

Starting this MONDAY (September 16) and running to Thanksgiving Sunday (Oct 13). Twyla and I are going to try to eat food that contains no more than 5 ingredients. Recently I had come across a food blog ( and a new cook book that challenged the idea that if you can’t say the name of the ingredients in the food your eating, then you probably should’t be putting it into your body. Personally I was also looking for a new challenge. When you eat the same thing all the time I find it can become stale and boring, when that happens I tend to push the boundaries in food quality to get some food excitement. Often that means food that’s not good for me, more fast food, or just simply way to much snacking. That’s why I pitched this idea to Twyla. I wanted to reenergize what I was eating, and challenge myself to go outside of my food comfort.

The other reason for this post today is to maybe challenge some of you to join me in this process. Before I do that I feel I need to make the disclaimer that the rules outlined below are simple what Twyla and I came up with one day in preparation for this challenge. It in no way is an “official” plan or guide, but rather two foodies who just want to try something new. If you don’t like my rules, change them. If you feel I’m cheating the system, you can tell me but I’ll probably ignore you. Like my previous food posts (HERE) and challenges this is for Twyla and I. We hope you join in this process or are challenged by the posts, but ultimately were not forcing anyone to come along and don’t guarantee anything to you.


  1. Food with an ingredients label cannot contain more than 5 INGREDIENTS
  2. If the ingredients label has more than 5 INGREDIENTS
    1. The extra ingredients need to be food products and not some word you can’t pronounce
  3. You may make all the homemade food products (Bread, soups, muffins, ect) that you want and use more than 5 INGREDIENTS.
    1. However the individual ingredients that make up the products (Pudding powder) still need to be less then 5 INGREDIENTS and follow the ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES and WHAT YOU CAN EAT guide.
  4. Keep an eye on your seasonings.


  1. Some refined grains such as white flour or white rice. The preference will be for “WHOLE wheat/grains.
  2. Some refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
  3. No deep-fried foods
  4. No “fast foods”


  1. Many fruits and vegetables
  2. Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  3. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains
  4. Seafood
  5. Pork, beef, and chicken in moderation
  6. Drinks limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea
  7. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  8. All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation


Twyla and I are excited for the challenge but also want to be realistic over the month of the challenge. So we have agreed to the following additions.

  • 1 Starbucks per week (per person)
  • 4 Meals outs (Per person)
  • 3 Cans of Pop per week (Per person)
  • Youth Ministry Pass (Jesse Only)

CHALLENGE: From September 16 to October 13 I will eat food that contains no more than 5 Ingredients. I will follow the BASIC RULES and ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES during my challenge and potentially take advantage of the EXTRAS.

So that’s the plan and the challenge is simple. If you want to join in I would love to know, and no matter what check back here a few times a week to see how were doing, what we are eating, and how the challenge is going.


Jesse Criss


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