5 Unconventional Food Challenges to Try in 2017

Get healthier, discover surprising taste preferences, support your favourite food businesses, reconnect with your food, and try something new this year. Challenge yourself with one (or more!) of these 5 unconventional food challenges. Each can be done in a day or less, so no excuses. 

  1. Starve Yourself

    Go 24 hours without eating.

    Fasting is like restarting your cell phone. It gives your system a chance to rest, reset, and start fresh, better than ever. So take a break from stuffing your face, give your digestive system a long-overdue and much-deserved day off, and feel the benefits. And restart your phone too while you're at it.

    This challenge may also be a wake up call on your relationship with food. Humans are designed to make it through a day without food easily, so the amount of difficulties you face in doing so is proportional to the amount of unhealthy habits in your diet.

    Speaking of bad habits, good news! To get through your fast you can still drink coffee. Tea, water, and any calorie-free drink are fine too. But not Coke Zero.

    Pro Tip: One "easy" way to fast for 24 hours is to start right after an early dinner and not eat until a slightly later dinner the next evening.

  1. Kill Your Food

    If you eat meat, this year take on the challenge of slaughtering one of the animals yourself.

    This will give you a newfound—or maybe never-before-found—appreciation for where your meat comes from and what it looks like before it is skinned, cooked, and made to look tasty up on your plate.

    To find a place where you can "execute" this challenge, ask anyone selling meat at your local farmers market if you could visit, buy an animal (or part of one), and kill it yourself. They might give you a weird look, but because it's such an unusual question they're likely to agree.

  1. Go Blind

    Pick a food or drink you're particular about, invite some friends to each bring over a different brand and quality of it, and do a blind taste test to see if you can tell the difference.

    You will be surprised how much branding, price, and expectations influence your perception of taste. When those factors are concealed your "favourite" often becomes indistinguishable from another you'd never buy.

    Some ideas for foods to blind taste test are coffee, vodka, beer, chocolate ice cream, or hamburgers. Be creative. Last year we did one with Bolognese sauce and some unusual ingredients (click to read more).

    Pro Tip: Serve one of the items twice to see if each taster's grades are consistent or, as is more often the case, totally random.

Buggin' out at a Bolognese blind taste test.  Read about it here.  

Buggin' out at a Bolognese blind taste test. Read about it here. 

  1. Be an Unsolicited Advisor

    Write your favourite food company five ideas to improve their product or marketing.

    "But what do I know?" you may ask. You know a lot! As an avid consumer, you have the answers to the questions the people behind these products ask themselves daily about how to grow their businesses. Instead of letting them wrack their brains trying to find these answers, tell them!

    If everyone did this, our favourite products would be overwhelmed with great advice, encouraged by the support of their fans, and take off. Start the movement!

  1. Cook With Bugs

    Challenge your preconceptions of what's "yucky" and try to cook with some super sustainable, super nutritious insects as ingredients.

    You can keep it simple by buying a pre-made product like a cricket pasta from Bugsolutely or mealworm or cricket Bolognese from One Hop Kitchen. Or, if you're more hands-on, buy some cricket powder from Entomo Farms and use it to fortify your recipe. They have plenty of delicious recipe ideas on their site.

    And don't be selfish! Invite friends over to share the experience. It's up to you whether you tell them the food has insects in it or not!

Cooking with bugs can be delicious!

Cooking with bugs can be delicious!

Which Will You Try?

The idea(s) for how to defy convention I will try are:

Other Unconventional Ideas?

Let us know in the comments. 

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