|Clean Eating Cheesecake! Who would have thought?!|
Some of the reasons I like clean eating:
1) I sleep better. No. I sleep! I used to think that it was normal to sleep a few hours a night, usually in two or three chunks. No longer! It is now very unusual for me to be awake in the night. And, usually, if I am, it's just long enough to look at the clock to see I don't have to get up yet! That alone is reason enough to stick to clean eating for me!
2) I weigh less. I lost about 30 pounds just by changing how I eat. I also started walking, but let's not kid ourselves, I am not a workout queen!
3) I just feel better. That also is reason enough to stick with it, isn't it?
I get lots of questions from readers and friends about eating clean. Is it expensive? Is it hard? Will my family like it? So, as part of the 2014 Clean Eating Reboot, let me cover some of those questions for you. But first let me say, you can do this! I work 40+ hours a week and I commute 75 minutes each way. Sometimes my adult kids are here, and sometimes it's just two of us. I occasionally (very occasionally) buy them things I won't eat, but for the most part, I buy whole foods and we prepare everything.
First: Is it expensive? It can seem like it, especially at first. But the key to keeping it under control is to have a plan. A meal plan! I make a menu on Saturday morning. I make an effort to use things we already have on hand, especially if it's something that needs used up. If you follow my blog, you will notice a trend of beef roast one night, and vegetable beef soup another. This is all part of my plan! Repurpose! Don't waste! I also puree and freeze and produce that is not getting used up fast enough. We are also fortunate to have access to grass fed beef from a local farmer. We go in with another couple on a half cow in the summer. While that is a big expense up front, it works out to less than $6 per pound. That's a normal price for good quality hamburger. But it's a FABULOUS price for Porterhouse steak!
Second: Is it hard? Again, it may seem like it at first. You have to really think about what's for every meal and snacks. No foraging through the cupboards and eating a handful of gummy worms and six potato chips for breakfast any more! But you get used to the planning and, for me at least, it's fun to research some new recipes and try them out. Or find an old recipe favorite and see if you can clean it up! Typically, for breakfast MR makes a slow cooker of steel cut oats on Sunday and that is breakfast all week. Amazing stuff! I also make granola and that mixed with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt makes a fabulous snack. Lunch is usually leftovers from a previous supper. Supper is the standard lean protein and vegetables. We use the slow cooker when we can, but also have found some quick recipes that we can make after a long day at work. Some people do a lot of prep work on the weekends. If you have younger children especially that may be helpful.
Third: Will my family like it? All I can tell you is how it worked out in my family. MR had seen me go down the diet road many times and neither he nor the kids were interested in eating what I ate. I don't blame them, I wasn't much interested either. But when I started clean eating, it really was just going back to cooking from scratch. Something I had done quite a bit when our kids were young. Then tweaking it by using whole wheat flour and honey instead of white flour and sugar. MR jumped right in and does great at it. And he look mah-velous! #1 Son pretends to be a less willing participant, but he typically eats whatever I make without complaining. Baby Girl often calls me for help on making something clean, so I know she likes it! I would say that if you tell your family we are going to "CHANGE OUR DIET" they will complain. But if you just start cooking from scratch, which is really what this is, then they probably will enjoy it. I think it's worth a shot!
And I don't eat only fruits and vegetables. I make some great breads, cookies, and other taste treats, even candies. But, as with any type of eating, all things in moderation. Follow me on the Clean Eating (Reboot) Journey in 2014, and see where it takes you!
I'd love it if you would comment below to tell me what you hope Clean Eating will do for you!
- Eat Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
- Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
- Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.
- Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
- Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!