day 1 of clean eating challenge

Don’t worry – I’m not going to be posting my play by play of clean eating; I just wanted to share what day 1 looked like for me and how truly do-able it is to make small changes and incorporate healthy eating into your life without sacrificing flavor and still feeling satisfied.

Here’s what today looked like:

Breakfast:  A bowl of oatmeal with banana and milk and sprinkled with lots of cinnamon and a few splashes of vanilla extract (check your vanilla — most have high fructose corn syrup; again something I was surprised by!) I wish I could take awesome food photography – it’s a talent I just don’t have. This does not look as appetizing as it actually was; trust me.

I enjoyed my coffee with fat free milk and nothing else – no fake sugar or creamer to sweeten it like I normally would have.  I felt like quite a grown-up having just milk in my coffee and it wan’t too bad. It’ll take some time to get used to actually tasting the coffee and not the overly sweet way I used to make it —  i/e a little coffee with my sugar/creamer.

Morning snack:  (remember they suggest eating ever 2-3 hours) A bowl of fresh raspberries and a handful of almonds.

Lunch:  Split pea soup with turkey (I made a big pot last night from The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook to eat for lunches all week) and a spinach salad with strawberries, feta, almonds and my favorite Lucero Balsamic Vinegar & Basil Olive Oil.

Afternoon snack: Brown rice cakes (found them at Trader Joe’s and learned they are made locally in Richvale right outside of Chico – yeah for eating locally too!) and almond butter.

Dinner: Skillet turkey spaghetti, roasted broccoli & sliced strawberries

Winner, winner spaghetti dinner! This was such an easy spaghetti recipe and the fact it’s all cooked in one pot was the most amazing idea I’ve ever heard of! No boiling the noodles separate – they boil in the tomato sauce liquid. I’ve never heard of such a thing! Great flavor and the girls and hubby scarfed it up. Regardless of clean eating challenge I will make this again for sure. This recipe made a ton — there will be plenty of leftovers for snacks, lunches and another dinner for sure.

Dessert:  Honey Apple Crisp I think I was expecting this to taste exactly like my favorite apple crisp recipe and I should have  known better since the  topping is made with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, flax seed (I replaced wheat germ with this), honey and butter. And while it wasn’t nearly as sweet and buttery as my old recipe (with brown sugar, white sugar, white flour, and butter) it was surprisingly really good and definitely satisfied my sweet tooth I get in the evening. The homemade honey whipped cream was a delicious way to top it and gave it the creamy feeling of having ice cream on top with just a little dollop. The girls gobbled it up just as quickly as they would’ve gobbled up the old recipe which goes to show you that our kids will eat healthy foods that aren’t loaded with sugar.  I will definitely keep this recipe in my roation and will play around with some different variations — want to try pears next and peaches this summer! My pictures did not turn out of our yummy dessert; they were all out of focus and fuzzy for some reason. Oh well. If you check out the link you’ll see her awesome pictures and recipe.

I’d say Day 1 was a success and not that much different than I normally try to eat — a few tweaks here and there and a little more time looking at labels at the grocery store but all in all do-able.

Now on to Day 2. 🙂

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clean eating challenge

Hi. My name is Lindsay and I am a sugar/carb addict. Can anyone relate?

I’ve always considered myself a fairly healthy person and eater. We always have plenty of veggies and fruit around our house, I stick to low-fat milk  and I try to snack on yogurt or almonds during the day. Try would be the key word there; there are also days where I snack on a nice plate of homemade nachos or graham crackers with peanut butter dipped in a glass of milk, seriously yum but probably not the best on the waistline or my heart. Then if you take it one step further and  really look at the labels in many of the easy go-to products you’ll see the crazy amounts of hidden sugar and other additives to make them low-fat or last longer. Maybe this doesn’t matter to you and for the most part, I’ll admit it doesn’t matter that much to me, usually I’d rather just stick my fingers in my head and say, “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” and pretend that it’s not bad for me. Just looking at the box of graham crackers for example: the first ingredient listed (meaning it is the biggest one) is unbleached, enriched flour and farther down the list is the big no-no partially hydrogenated oil.  How they can say they are “whole grain” when the first ingredient listed is white four and farther down the list is whole grain wheat flour I don’t know.  So, I’ve decided I want to try to make a big change and see if I notice a difference in energy and overall health and go without the pre-packaged stuff and all the sugar. I am setting small goals first – 7 days of eating clean and then hoping to make it to 30. Baby steps, folks. If it seems to be working and fitting in our lifestyle then I hope to just continue.

Will there be days where it doesn’t happen perfectly? Absolutely. That is part of life and I think looking at everything I’ve read about Clean Eating is that it’s a lifestyle rather than a diet (I hate that word anyway) and the goal is more to eat clean 80% of the time and then leave 20% of the time for goodies that aren’t necessarily “clean”. I bought two new books to help me in this process:” “The Idiots Guide to Clean Eating” (the highest reviews on Amazon.com for Clean Eating cookbooks) and “The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook” by Tosca Reno. So far I’m impressed with both – very easy to read, lots of valuable information on why Clean Eating is so good for your body, and the recipes look fantastic! Between those two books I’ll have plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner inspiration. I’ve also found thegraciouspantry.com as another online resource.

There is so much information out there that it’s hard to decide what’s right/wrong and good/bad and I went back and forth between trying a Paleo Challenge or a Clean-Eating Challenge. In the end I decided I liked that Clean-Eating has whole-grains and dairy included in it and thought it will be an easier transition to just work on cutting out the over-processed and refined foods (white sugar, white flour, white rice) at first and then if we want to cut the others out we always could. For the most part my kids are going to eat clean right along with when it works. I am not going to throw out all the graham crackers and gold fish (thank you, Costco) just yet but as we finish them I might look for alternatives from Trader Joe’s.

These are the Clean-Eating Principles:

  • Eat a small meal every two to three hours (5 to 6 small meals per day total) to keep blood sugar level and prevent hunger
  • Combine both protein and complex carbs at every meal (*Proteins are meats, cheese, beans, legumes, and nuts. Complex carbs are fruit, veggies, breads and grains)
  • Avoid ALL over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)
  • Avoid saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats (like avocados and olive oil)
  • Avoid ALL sodas and other sugary juices and drinks
  • Choose organic food whenever possible
  • Avoid high-calorie, zero nutrient foods (i.e., junk food)
  • Eat meals with proper portion sizes
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water every day

I’ve seen alcohol as something to stay away from while eating clean and I’ve also seen the occasional glass of red-wine as ok (antioxidants and all I guess). These seem doable to me. Now, keep in mind I read my “Complete Idiots Guide to Clean Eating” with the leftover bag of candy from Powells Candy Shop this afternoon — can you say oxymoron? So, I have a feeling it will be easier said than done but I like the principles. I liked reading all the recipes and knowing everything in them and thinking how fresh and delicious they sounded. And I’m interested to give it an honest shot and see if I feel a difference in energy and mood, according to many of the blogs I’ve read they do and that’s why they continue to eat clean. I know right now I will not be making a huge effort to purchase everything organic. If the price seems decent I will, but I am not going to break the bank to buy all our produce and meat organic.

Take a look at this . . .

This is the amount of food I should throw out/donate since it does not meet the Clean Eating requirements. The doors on my fridge look empty.

And this is from the pantry:

I couldn’t stomach the idea of throwing out that much food (and my husband would probably kill me) so I made a pile of canned goods I could donate and got rid of things that were almost gone and that we really hardly ate (all the salad dressings, syrups etc.) and the rest I’ll keep and we’ll use here and there. Does any of it surprise you? It was interesting reading the labels — did you know horseradish has high fructose corn syrup? I did not. I’ll admit this kinda felt good – my shelves are a little emptier and my fridge isn’t loaded with all those condiments taking up space.

Meal planning and grocery shopping this weekend and my goal is to start my challenge Monday. Here are some great ideas for what a day of clean eating might look like.

Anybody want to join me?