Category Archives: Clean Eating

Clean Eating Recipes and a Workout

Today I wanted to share some of my family’s favorite clean eating recipes.  If you are new to clean eating try not to stress about making clean meals everyday.  Like I said in one of the tips in the Clean Eating Tips post, “It is about taking baby steps to begin with. Start off by trying to branch out once or twice a week with a new recipe that uses whole foods to create a ”clean” or healthy meal. This way you don’t feel so much pressure in the beginning.”

Clean Egg Muffins

Clean Egg Muffins from Oxygen Magazine have become a favorite in our house.  The Clean Eating Geek got us hooked on these.  They are so simple to make and great for busy mornings.  We also add baby spinach to our egg muffins for extra nutrients.  Cooking tip:  I find that it is easier to remove the muffins if you use a silicone muffin pan.

Clean Eating Almond Lemon & Blueberry Waffles

One of my favorites are the Lemon & Blueberry Waffles from The Gracious Pantry.  They are so good and they are healthy too!

Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas from 100 Days of Real Food make for an easy and delicious dinner…according to my husband and son, and they fight over the leftovers the next day!

Here ya go moms!!  Homemade Chicken Nuggets from 100 Days of Real Food.

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Tomato Basil Orzo Salad is a big hit as a side dish for when we have guests over for a barbeque.  I will eat it nonstop in the summer too!  Please note…I use 100% whole wheat pasta to make this dish “clean”.

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Chipotle Salsa Turkey Burgers from Proceed with Caution are delicious.  Make sure you use ground turkey breast!

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Homemade Clean Oreos from Clean Eating in Texas.  My friend, Amy, in Florida has already made several batches of these and swears that they are amazing.  I haven’t had a chance to make them yet, but Amy swears that I have to share this recipe with you.  So, if you are looking to get your sweet tooth fix, here ya go!

These are just a few of our favorites.  I have a board on Pinterest that I will keep updated with clean recipes for you!  Also, hit the internet and see what clean recipes appeal to you, then share them with me!

Do you have a favorite clean recipe or do you have one you want to try?  Post the link in the comments section if you do!

I feel like I haven’t gotten as many workouts to you these past few weeks, so I  wanted to share a quick workout with you.  It is a full-body workout circuit that will hit every major body part.  Remember to stretch after your workout!
Hit it All Workout

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Tips for Eating Clean and Healthy

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Yesterday I wrote about what clean eating is.  Today I wanted to share with you my tips for making clean eating easier in your own house.

First off, since there is no definite definition of “clean eating” you need to figure out how you define “clean eating.”  I define it as taking anything processed, enriched, full of chemicals, or refined out of your diet.  Basically, I avoid feeding my family anything that is not natural (i.e. it must come from nature or animal).  I would also like to point out that I’m not a dietitian…Just a mom trying to keep her family healty.

Tip #1: Read the Ingredients

Avoid packaged foods containing ingredients you would not normally keep in your pantry.  Avoid any food that has high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list and the word hydrogenated.  Those two ingredients are beyond bad.  As for all those other crazy ingredients dipotassium, ethoxylated diglycerides, Ammonium sulfate, etc.…Don’t know what these ingredients are? Neither do I. That’s why I don’t eat them! Heck, I cannot even pronounce them!

Tip #2:  Eat healthy fruits, veggies, lean meats, and seafood.

I don’t think I need to list all of these for you.  They all go great when put together in a meal, so have a great time cooking and eating them.

Tip #3:  Take your time to sit down and plan your menu and grocery shopping list for the week. 

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This meal plan came from The Nourishing Home. Check out her site for meal plans by clicking on the meal plan above!

I know you are busy and it takes time to figure out what you will feed yourself and your family for the week. Sometimes you just swing by the store on the way home and grab something frozen to heat up. Please stop doing this. The ingredients in those frozen meals are slowly killing you.  By planning out your meals and snacks you will get a chance to look over the ingredients in your recipes and decide if they are “clean” or just processed/chemicalized junk.

Tip #4: Nothing White

When it comes to food, white is synonymous with refined, processed, enriched, etc. That means all those good nutrients have been wiped out of your food item so that it looks pleasing to the eye. Again, read those ingredient lists.  You want flours and items made with flours to say unenriched or 100% whole wheat flour.  If it says enriched put it back.

Tip #5: No Alcohol (so some say)

This one is a bit different depending on what “clean eating authority” you subscribe to. Some say that some wines, hard liquors, and beers that are not chemicalized and don’t have sugars added to them are okay. Others say no alcohol at all. The jury is still out on this one, so all I can say is this…Alcohol is just empty calories, so drink wisely and with moderation. And yes, I still have a drink here and there.

Tip #6:  Your Clean Eating Budget

Somewhere along the lines produce was the cheapest thing to buy in the grocery store.  Sadly this is no longer the case.  Like you, I freak out when I see that a small pack of blueberries costs $5.97!  So, what to do…First, focus on eating produce that is “in season.” That is where your cheapest items will be.  Second, if available, shop at farmers markets.  There you will find fresh produce that costs so much less than the grocery store.  Third, buy in bulk if you can, because it is cheaper.  Then make large meals for the freezer.  Fourth, bake your own bread.  You will save a butt load of money by doing this.  I know you are rolling your eyes at me, and saying, “When do I have time for that!?!”.  There is time, and I know you will find it.  The cost of 100% whole wheat bread in stores is ridiculous!  I make our own for about $0.32 a loaf!  My bread maker paid for itself in less than 6 months.  Finally, as I said earlier, make your meals from scratch and plan them out for the week.

Tip #7: Take your time and be patient.

Take your time to adjust to this new style of eating.  It is about taking baby steps to begin with.  Start off by trying to branch out once or twice a week with a new recipe that uses whole foods to create a “clean” or healthy meal.  This way you don’t feel so much pressure to begin with.

Now, I know what it is like to pace the house at night wanting something sweet or salty that is totally bad for you.  Instead, when you feel like splurging look at your recipes or find some on Pinterest.  Most recipes can be converted into “clean eating” recipes.  That means you get to keep those special treats in your lives!  No one has taken my chocolate cake from me!  Instead, I make a “clean” version that tastes great and fills my sweet tooth (remember to eat in moderation).  I’ve also made clean baked doughnuts too! I’m still working on a “clean” watermelon martini recipe Winking smile

Tip #8:  Clean Eating = Nutrient Dense Foods

Your favorite grocery store is packed with all sorts of junk foods – some more obvious than others. Know that most often the simpler the list of ingredients, the better the food.  Make sure the simple foods you choose are also nutritious.  Remember, choose simple nutrient-rich, unprocessed ingredients.

There are a ton of great books, magazines, cook books, blogs, etc. all dedicated to clean eating. Please check them out and do your own research too. After all, it is your life and you are in control of it! Here are some of my favorite blogs on clean eating:

Workout Wednesday

It is still Wednesday, and that means Workout Wednesday!  Today’s workout is a 30 Minute Treadmill Interval I did last week.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I was sweating with this one in no time!  Remember to stretch afterwards!

30 Mintue Treadmill Interval

What is Clean Eating?

First, I would like to thank Danica, The Clean Eating Geek, for sharing her motivating story with us yesterday.  I cannot wait to have her come back and share more with us!

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What is Clean Eating?  Well, sadly there is not a definite definition for “clean eating”.   If you go to Wikipedia and type in “clean eating” you will get nothing.  I find it sad that there is not a direct definition of clean eating, because clean eating isn’t something new.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents were “clean eaters”, because processed foods were not around yet (well at least my grandparents were, and I know I’m dating myself here)  My favorite definition of clean eating comes from Clean Eating Magazine, the soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time.  Since there still isn’t a concrete definition out there, I’m going to tell you what I think clean eating is from the research I have done.  Also, I would like to point out that I’m not a dietitian.  I’m just a gal who has a passion for healthy eating.

When someone makes the choice to eat “clean” they are choosing to eliminate all processed foods and extra additives from their diet. Basically, you are choosing to eat whole, unrefined foods.  Now, I would like to point out that our family eats clean about 85-90% of the time…A girl has to have her chocolate cake (made with all natural ingredients)!  For my family, I like us to have foods that come from nature.  That means anything that can be made from what nature grows and animals provide….no chemicals, additives, or crazy ingredients I cannot pronounce the names of.

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First off, eating clean is a very easy thing to do.  All you are doing is cooking meals made with real food!  This is a bit more time consuming, since you are not opening a box, a can, or a prepared frozen meal.  However, the benefits of eating clean are worth those extra minutes in the kitchen!  The form of breast cancer I had was brought about from changes in my hormones from the chemicals in food, so I can honestly say there are major payoffs in eating clean.  Here are some examples of the benefits:

  • Lose Weight and Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Increased Energy
  • Healthy Skin and Hair
  • Not Prone to Illnesses and Bad Health
  • Sleep Better

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Here are some basics of clean eating (I have put together a clean eating list for your pantry bottom of this post).  These are the types of foods you want to eat:

  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables: They are from nature (except for the altered ones, and they are in every grocery store)
  • Eating whole grains:  These are grains that have not been broken down or “refined”.  Look for the word “unrefined” in the ingredients section of your food item and flours.  If it says “refined”/”enriched”, put it back.  Some examples are: 100% whole wheat products and brown rice.
  • Lean proteins – Eat lean proteins that come from the butcher, you have prepared yourself, or you know the meat has not been altered.  If you are buying ground turkey, make sure it is ground turkey breast! 
  • Unprocessed Dairy Items
  • Cheese seems to still be debatable among “clean eating” experts. Some say no cheese at all, and others say unprocessed cheeses. I’ll let you decide for yourself. As for me, I always have organic butter and unprocessed cheeses in my fridge.
  • READ THE INGREDIENTS!!  The fewer the ingredients the better the item is for you.  Also, if you cannot pronounce what the ingredient is, DO NOT BUY IT.  Basically, if nature did not create the ingredient do not eat it.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid ALL processed and/or refined foods (sugar, baked goods, candies, white flour, white rice, etc)
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats
  • Avoid sodas, high calorie juices and other drinks that give your body no nutritional value and lots of unnecessary (unwanted) calories
  • Avoid high calorie, non nutritious foods (i.e. junk food)
  • Avoid all “unnatural” ingredients

As I mentioned above, “clean eating” is not a new, it has been around for a long time, and I suggest you give it a try!  Also, I would like to note that “Clean Eating” is not the same as the “Paleo Diet.” (which has a definition on Wikipedia)

The following list is from my “clean eating” pantry:
Clean Pantry

A Motivating and Uplifting Story from The Clean Eating Geek

This week I’m dedicating to Clean Eating! So, I’ll have a ton of great recipes that I cook for my own family and links to other recipes that are favorites.  I’ll also have a few workouts posted for ya still too Smile

Today’s guest post comes to us from an amazing woman, The Clean Eating Geek.  She has kindly shared her moving and uplifting story about finding fitness and clean eating with us.  I know you will take a lot away from her story just like I have.  Also, today is her Birthday, so Happy Birthday Danica!!!

393094_461717823865105_525620897_n[1]Hello, my name is Danica, otherwise known as The Clean Eating Geek. I’m Australian and I have fallen in love with the fit, clean eating lifestyle. Andrea very kindly asked me to write a guest post, so here I am ready to share my story. I guess it’s always best to start at the beginning, I have been overweight my whole life. I was always the heaviest and the biggest (I’m now 5’10”) – even compared with the boys. There is a photo of me, aged 4, towering over 6 and 7 year olds. It’s the story of my life, always being the biggest, forever the ‘fat kid’. I copped the usual teasing and bullying of course, I think we’ve all been there.

Skip ahead to my teenage years and things certainly didn’t get any better! I have an anxiety disorder called Social Phobia and it well and truly reared its ugly head when I was 13, in my first year of high school. Being at school was torture for me and I was absent more than I was present. I ended up leaving school at the end of Year 9 and did Year 10 at home via correspondence. My Social Phobia and depression caused me to hit absolute rock bottom at this time, aged 15. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a truly horrible time. Thankfully my love of horses pulled me through, but only just.

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I spent 2001, aged 16, at home doing nothing. No school or any other kind of study. I was still miserable and overwhelmed by hopelessness. I used to wake up at lunchtime and then I would spend the rest of the day eating everything in sight and drinking Pepsi Max (which developed into an emotional crutch that I still use today). My only salvation was my weekly riding lesson and more often than not that was the only time I would leave the house. Needless to say my weight got to the highest it had ever been by that point in my life.

Things took a turn for the better the following year. I went back to school to do Year 11, this time at a senior college, and everything changed dramatically! I made some new friends, I was actually enjoying being a school and I gained some independence. The biggest change was that I lost almost 20 kilos! I didn’t set out to lose weight; it happened on its own thanks to me being more active every day (no deliberate exercise) and eating a far more sensible amount of food that was healthier than what I had been eating. I wish weight loss was still that easy! I think being 17 helped in that respect, but changing your lifestyle and making better choices really does work.

My next health milestone was when I joined a gym for the first time at the end of 2005, aged 20. I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to join but I’m glad I did! It was a HUGE leap out of my comfort zone. A big part of Social Phobia is this overwhelming feeling that people are judging you for every little thing that you do and possibly hating you for it, so to go to a gym with other people knowing I might embarrass myself was a big deal. Thankfully the staff members were wonderful and they made up a workout plan for me and showed me how to do everything. This was my first experience with gym equipment and using weights. I went fairly consistently up until late 2008 when I switched gyms. I don’t recall what my weight was at the time but I remember feeling strong and fit and losing tons of centimeters all over my body.

In 2008 I got into a relationship and the gym gradually became less of a priority. At some point I switched to my now ex-boyfriend’s gym so we could go together but it wasn’t a very regular thing. Like a lot of women I stacked on the ‘love weight’ and ended up the heaviest I have ever been. Towards the end of our relationship I was definitely turning to food for comfort (as I always have) but a large part of that was trying to deal with my Dad having terminal cancer. Needless to say that was an incredibly tough time.

Dad passed away on November 28th 2009. I am an only child and I was Daddy’s little girl. I lost my protector and it’s a loss I still feel every day. I started eating everything in sight and I returned to my soft drink addiction (after going without for some time) – trying desperately to fill a void that can never be filled. I was physically and emotionally uncomfortable and there was no denying that something had to change!

In February 2010 my relationship ended. It was mutual and we are still friends but of course it was still heartbreaking. It was time to start turning my life around. I wasn’t working at the time (my job was given away while I was grieving for my Dad but that’s a whole other story), so I threw myself into working out at the gym. I finally had the freedom to go whenever I wanted, so I did! I got brave and started doing group classes which I totally fell in love with. The weight started to come off and that spurred me on even more.

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Things really took off in January 2011 when I could finally afford to move out of home. For the first time I had complete control over the food that came into the house and how it was prepared – it was life changing! Every decision was my own and I got to take full responsibility for them, either way. If I bought ice-creams or potato chips it was totally on me – I couldn’t blame anyone else so I had to own it! It was actually quite liberating. I was doing a few classes a week at a gym and I started bootcamp. My weight continued to drop. Towards the end of the year I had become a total cardio queen – bootcamp twice a week and running twice a week. It was exhausting and I was getting shin splints because I was pushing myself so hard, but then the universe stepped in!

On December 27th 2011 I broke my foot. I walked around with a swollen mess of an ankle for 2 weeks before seeing a doctor (yes I am silly). I figured I would go ‘just in case’ it was broken because it wasn’t getting any better. Turns out I had fractured the top of my heel bone. They put me in a cast for a week so I spent the entire time in my apartment (couldn’t get down the stairs), sitting on my butt. I had nothing to do but eat and go on the internet. I started comfort eating big time because I was thoroughly miserable about not being able to work out. I couldn’t understand why I would be struck down while I was working so hard. My recovery was slow and after 3 weeks of hobbling around in a ‘moon boot’, I started going for walks again because I was desperate to exercise. I didn’t weigh myself during this time because I just didn’t want to know – everything was so toxic, I felt terrible about myself.

I couldn’t do much exercise so I looked into alternative ways to lose weight. I decided that maybe I should try and cut back on my sugar intake, so I started researching the benefits. While I was doing that I came across people talking about cutting out processed foods and of course – clean eating! I spent hours reading about it and looking at people’s transformations – it’s like I was struck by lightning! I believe everything happens for a reason and I swear I broke my foot because I needed to realize that you CAN NOT out exercise a bad diet (as I had always figured was the case). Weight loss is mostly about nutrition and I really hadn’t come around to that until I found clean eating. I figured that if I burnt 700 calories that morning on my run that eating some chips at lunch time would be fine – it’s not!

So in late February/early March 2012 I started making the switch. I did a massive clear out of my fridge and pantry – some food I gave away some I just threw away. It wasn’t a smooth process by any means. The toughest part for me was trying to work out how to start eating 6 or so small meals a day and to figure out when to eat and what to eat. It requires trial and error and I am still tweaking what I eat and when. It’s okay to ease yourself into it, it’s a lot to wrap your head around.

Sometime in April I weighed myself for the first time since before Christmas 2011. Based on those figures I had lost 5kg but that doesn’t account for the fact that I probably put on about 4 kgs when I had my broken foot, so it could have been as much as 9 or 10kg! I was completely blown away. I felt amazing and I was at the lowest weight I had been for at least 6 years!

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At no point have I been eating 100% clean, 100% of the time apart from a week or two here and there. For this reason I still have a long way to go because one of the hardest things is balancing out clean eating with treats (or cheats as some people call them) because it can be really hard when PMS hits or you have social occasions to attend. This is something I find very difficult (I am prone to emotional eating and bingeing) and it is one of my goals this year to get it sorted out so that life is a lot calmer and simpler. However, since I first started I have continued to prep myself clean food every week without fail and I guess that has been my saving grace. I would like to get my fittest body ever by the end of this year.

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In September 2012 I made a commitment to myself to start doing weights at the gym. After months of reading people’s stories, following fitness models on Facebook and reading articles I finally conceded that doing weights would NOT make me bulky. I had been scared of this for years (even with my own past experience!) so I decided it was time to let go of the fear. I found a basic beginner’s program online and I have been following that ever since. I do strength training 4 days a week and I have barely missed a workout in that time. I was scared and nervous at first but now I love it! My weight has gone up considerably since then, mostly due to muscle gain. I rarely weigh myself now because even though I know why the number is going up it’s still really hard to see it going in the opposite direction of my ‘magic’ number. I am learning to let go of the number I want to see on the scale because it’s just silly. It’s far better to base your progress on for you feel on the inside and how your clothes fit etc.

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In October 2012 I started my Facebook page The Clean Eating Geek. I had been considering it for a while but I was never quite brave enough to do it. Even though I’m still on a journey to my fittest body ever I hope that sharing the steps I’m taking every day to live a better life is helping people. I’m not perfect by any means but I acknowledge my set-backs and try to grow from them. No journey is easy but I plan on living a full life and there is plenty of time to figure it all out. My path to success is not a straight line but a swirly hot mess! Life has ups and downs, strength comes from picking yourself up each time you fall. I truly can’t believe how far I have come in my 28 years. I have hit the lowest of the lows a number of times and clawed my way back up. It’s never fast or easy, sometimes you just have to wait these things out, but when you get to the other side it’s all worth it. It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point. A point where my life is predominantly happy and positive. I spent far too long being bogged down by negativity and depression and it still plagues me at times but I know the light will return. Working out, eating clean and living a healthy, fit life has helped me immensely. Working towards a healthy lifestyle might just help you too.

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To all of the wonderful supporters on my page and all of the new friends I might make after this blog, thank you. I appreciate every one of you. Thanks also for taking the time to read about my story. This is really only a slice of everything I have been through in my life so far. If sharing some of the more personal aspects of my struggle has helped even one of you understand that there is hope out there, then it was totally worthwhile. I understand what a relief it is to know that you aren’t crazy and that you aren’t the only one going through something. Whatever you may be dealing with right now, you are not alone. I wish you all much health and happiness.