Eating Clean (Part 1)

9 Jun

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to eat healthier and what is clean eating, so it seems like it might be time to blog about it.

In my opinion “Eating Clean” is the simplest and most effective change you can make to your diet.

Now when I say diet I don’t mean that tedious way of eating and tracking that requires you to give up delicious tasting food, to replace your meals with bland dishes, and that you can only stick with for a short period of time before throwing in the towel, bingeing on junk food, and putting on more weight than you were able to loose in the first place.

We’ve all been there, right? The problem with those diets is that they can’t be maintained over a lifetime.

When I say diet, what I mean is simply “the food that you eat.” For example, I eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I’m not eating this way until I achieve something, rather, this is a part of my lifestyle.  Think of it this way – I eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet in the same way that my friend Jeremy is Kosher.

See the difference?

It’s limiting and discouraging to think “I’m on the _____ diet” and frankly, it is ineffective over the long-term.

But, if you change your lifestyle then  you will be able to change your life!

So let’s get back to what it means to “Eat Clean.” For me, it’s very simple

EAT REAL FOOD!

For those of you who need more guidance than that, I am happy to oblige🙂

Eat foods that are as close to their original source as possible. 

Choose an apple over apple juice.

Why?

Because an apple is full of fiber, loaded with vitamin C, contains antioxidants and cancer-fighting polyphenols.

Take a look at a bottle of apple juice; you’ll probably see vitamin C in the ingredient list.  

Now ask yourself, if apples are loaded with vitamin C why does it need to be added to the juice? Because apple juice is a manufactured product – the process for extracting juice from the apple and making it suitable to sit on a shelf in the grocery store for months leaves the juice void of all of the great things that the apple had to offer in the first place – so the manufacturer needs to add it back in.

Crazy right?!

In this photo you can really see what manufacturing does.  

The freshly squeezed apple juice if dark and opaque whereas the supermarket apple juice is light and clear.

So what’s really going on here?

Well as we discussed earlier, the supermarket AJ is manufactured. The goal is to produce a clear, golden, shelf-stable liquid. In order to achieve this result the juice is “extracted” from the apple which leaves behind the skins, seeds, stems, and pulp. Of course we don’t want to eat or drink stems and seeds but the juicing process also “extracts” the nutrients contained in the skins and the fiber contained in the pulp.  In order to create a shelf-stable liquid (meaning it won’t go bad quickly) it must be pasteurized which ensures that any remaining nutrients are boiled out.

You didn’t actually think the 100 % All Natural Apple Juice was nutritious all on it’s own, did you? ;-)

If you think I am crazy, please watch this video  and see for yourself. You won’t hear them mention anything about adding in vitamin C, but if you check out Mott’s website you’ll see that they admit to adding it in because their process stripped it out.

Once the juice has been bottled, all you are really left with is apple flavored sugar (glucose) water with vitamin C added back in.

In contrast, the fresh AJ is made up of the entire apple. Can you believe it? It actually is as nutritious as nature intended… without the help of food scientists.

AMAZING!

This is just one illustration of why it’s important to eat food close to the source. 

  • An apple is an apple is an apple, there are different varieties and methods of growing, but at the end of the day it will always be an apple
  • Apple juice on the other hand can be anything
    • It can be fibrous and nutritious
    • It can be stripped of all its naturally occurring nutrients and loaded with ascorbic acid (vitamin C supplement)
    • It could even be a beverage that is loaded with artificial colors, flavors, and sugar

Rather than overwhelming you with a lot of rules and explanations about clean eating I have decided to end here. I will cover additional information in future posts and encourage you to take this first step to improve your diet until you hear from me again.

If you are interested in debating the topic of apple juice with your friends, might I suggest that you consider reading up on the topics of arsenic in apple juice (or organic versus conventional produce), the dangers of drinking unpasteurized apple juice, or why you should stop drinking juices and smoothies.

Who would have thought that apple juice could be such a heavy object?

It’s comical!

A word of caution: Be wary of what you read. Do your own reasearch and be sure to examine all sides of a topic. There is a lot of information out there that is inaccurate, incomplete, and/or promotes others’ agendas. Don’t forget to apply this advice to what you see on TV or the internet and even what I share with you. It is really important for you to educate yourself so that you can make thoughtful and healthful decisions for you and your family.

~ Happy & Healthy Eating 

Weekly Menu ~ June 2

2 Jun

Can you believe it’s June already?! Me neither. I also can’t believe that I shopped for a whole week worth of food when I am going to be away at a conference for several days. Whoops! I’ll definitely need to prepare meals in the order in which the ingredients will spoil first because much of these meals will spill over into the following week.

  • Tofu Teriyaki with Pineapple/Mango Salsa
  • Black Bean Salad with Cuban Rice and Salted Tomatoes
  • Dijon Broccoli and Rice
  • Millet Bowl Topped with Mushroom & Kale Gravy, Roasted Golden Beets
  • Potato & Onion Pizza
  • Raw Tomato Chili with Taco Meat
  • Broccoli & Cheese Soup
  • White Bean Veggie Dip

~Happy & Healthy Eating

Weekly Menu ~ May 28th

28 May

Keeping a photo diary of my daily food consumption really helped me get back on track with clean, vegan eating and allowed me the opportunity to see where I have to adjust my diet to ensure I am getting all the necessary nutrients.

This week I’ll been dining on a lot more greens and will continue with fruit consumption rather than relying on sweets.

  • Homemade Veggie Burger with Coleslaw and Corn
  • Caesar Salad with “Bacon” Bits
  • Vegan Mac & Cheese with Broccoli
  • Kasha & Shells with Mushrooms and Zucchini Pancakes
  • Roasted Garlic, Chickpeas, and Broccoli with Quinoa and Sweet Potato
  • Pizza Quinoa with Garlicky Greens
  • Blueberry Almond Chia Squares

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

What I Ate Today ~ Friday

25 May

I must confess… I had a midnight snack last night. Thank goodness there isn’t any junk food in the house or things might have gotten ugly.

So I had fallen asleep on the couch and one of the pups woke me up to go outside. Before taking him outside I waltzed over to the kitchen and ate 5 dates and 1 flour tortilla. I proceeded to take him outside and return to bed.

Who does that?!

I’ll tell you who… the same person that woke up at 2am while living at home, thought to themself “I wonder if my dad picked up any cupcakes on his way home tonight,” went to the kitchen and low and behold there were delicious Hostess Cupcakes.  Ate them and went back to sleep.

Are you a victim of late night snacking? I’ve heard that sometimes individuals who take sleeping pills sometimes (unknowingly) snack (and do other things) while sleeping. I am not taking sleeping pills… I’m just weird.

Clearly I have a problem and must be studied!

Anyhow, this is what I ate today.

BREAKFAST sorry for the poor picture quality

Strawberries & Whole Wheat Couscous, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, fruit sweetened black raspberry jam

MORNING SNACK

Banana

      * Thank you google image search for this lovely photo of a banana, again!

LUNCH another poor photo (of leftovers)

1/2 Veggie Burrito: rice, black beans, onions, flour tortilla, peppers, onions, lettuce, green tomatillo sauce, and THE BEST EVER guacamole from El Tapatio’s

WAY TOO MANY chips and more guacamole

AFTERNOON SNACK (post workout)

1/2 cantaloupe

DINNER

Broccoli & Pepper Stir Fry with scallions, shiitake mushrooms, sugar peas, brown rice and 1 handful of black olives for the cook🙂

That’s all for now, hopefully I won’t have any midnight snacks tonight!

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

What I Ate Today ~ Thursday

24 May

BREAKFAST

Strawberries & Reese’s Breakfast Bowl: whole wheat cous cous,  all natural peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and drizzle of agave

SNACK

Banana

      * Thank you google image search for this lovely photo of a banana, again!

LUNCH

 

The Other Half of the Falafel Wrap: falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, taboule, hommus, hot peppers, sesame-tahini dressing, and pita wrap

AFTERNOON SNACK

Barley Salad: barley, black olives, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber, homemade lemon-herb dressing

   Evidently I was too hungry to be bothered with taking a photo that is in focus

DINNER

A Peach & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers w/o cheese (1/2 pepper): onion, celery, spices, spinach, tomatoes, black beans, quinoa, carrot, red peppers

What I Ate Today ~ Wednesday

24 May

My favorite part of today’s menu is all of the leftovers!

BREAKFAST

Whole wheat cous cous with a drizzle of maple syrup, dates, dried cranberries, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and strawberries

LUNCH

Pear & 1/2 Falafel Wrap: falafel, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, taboule, hommus, hot peppers, sesame-tahini dressing, and pita wrap

AFTERNOON SNACK

Sugar snap peas and stuffed pepper filling

DINNER

Mixed greens with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette

Qunioa Stuffed Peppers w/o cheese (1/2 pepper): onion, celery, spices, spinach, tomatoes, black beans, quinoa, carrot, red peppers

 

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

What I Ate Today ~ Tuesday

22 May

BREAKFAST

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes and Strawberries

MORNING SNACK


Banana

      * Thank you google image search for the lovely photo of a banana

LUNCH

“Tuna” salad wrap with lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes with cucumber and red pepper slices

AFTERNOON SNACK

Cheese pizza… I can’t talk about it. Well, I guess I can but only after I show you what I ate for dinner.

DINNER

Whole wheat toast with all natural peanut butter and 1/2 cantaloup

 

REFLECTION

First and foremost I need to be eating more greens. I will definitely need to do a better job planning my meals next week.

Now let’s address the slice of pizza… so this is what happened🙂 I needed to go to the pizza shop after work (my husband and I own one in case you didn’t know) and I had forgotten to take my afternoon snack with me, so by the time I got down there I was really cranky and hungry. I tried really hard to resist but then my loving husband asked if I wanted a piece, I couldn’t refuse. Why is that? I don’t want to eat animal products and I don’t want to eat food that will prevent me from achieving the goals, so why couldn’t I say know? I realize that being hungry had something to do with it, but honestly! Does anyone else have trouble with refusing tasty food?

What makes matters worse is that I know with 100% certainty that cheese will give me terrible stomach pains. This time was no different, within a couple of minutes my belly was ANGRY!

I felt sick all through my workout and even as I type this entry. I couldn’t possible make anything delicious for dinner… I didn’t even want to eat dinner but I can’t skip a meal after working out so I went for bland and easy.

I really need to get to the bottom of this issue. I know it’s psychological. What I don’t know is why it happens and how to overcome this challenge.

What foods can’t you resist even though you try? Have you had difficulty staying on track with your meals? Have you had any earth shattering food revelations that you can share with others?

Whatever your struggle has been, remember – it’s the days that you eat cheese pizza and post it on your vegan blog that you must remind yourself over and over again that it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.

~ Happy & Healthy Eating