Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Dirty on Eating Clean

Honestly, if you asked me if I would ever blog about this topic a year ago, my answer probably would have been no. Why? I love me some potato chips. Particularly cheddar and sour cream Lays, Cheetos, and Pringles. I've always eaten fairly healthy. My mom always made well balanced meals and taught me to eat my fruits and veggies. On the other hand, we could also put down a huge pizza and entire pints of ice cream. I guess you could say we appreciate food. 

College is hard on anyone in the food department. Freshman year you are given a magic card that you can swipe and get all the food you want. It is your first time away from home and no one is telling you what to eat. Freshman 15 anyone? After freshman year, you live on your own with a kitchen. You and only you are in responsible for your meals. On top of that, you are super busy. Ramen noodles, frozen meals; anything easy and fast is usually the norm. 

This summer I lived with my parents while Jake was at training. My parents have been on a major healthy eating kick due to health reasons and because they like to try new things. They have tried all the trends; gluten free, vegetarian, Atkins, you name it. I was bored this summer and decided to jump on this clean eating thing. 

I started reading about things that companies put in food products. I became grossed out with the chemicals and the crap that just doesn't belong in food. I researched what different things do to your body and why they aren't good for you. I started this crazy habit of looking at labels of everything I was eating to see what was in it. There were times I wanted to throw up thinking about the kinds of stuff I had been putting in my body. I found that even products that are advertised as healthy might not be that great for you and still contain chemicals. I learned the best way to ensure quality food is to eat products as close to nature as possible.

I learned how to feed myself with all natural products. I learned how to make healthy, flavorful dishes and to satisfy my hunger without sacrificing quality, such as the avocado tomato quinoa bowl. My entire relationship with food changed. I learned to listen to my stomach instead of my head and only ate when I was actually hungry. I began craving foods that were good for me. Along the way, something weird happened. I stopped enjoying the foods that I use to love. The thought of putting a Cheeto in my mouth made me gag. I sincerely wanted to eat things that were good for me, especially fresh pressed vegetable juice. 

So here's how it happened. I:
-Drank green smoothies for breakfast every morning
-Eliminated all processed food
-Added in as many fresh fruits and veggies I could possibly fit in
-Ate protein in different sources (quinoa, eggs, chicken, beans, yogurt)
-Made smarter choices when eating out
-Cut out most gluten-heavy foods

During my period of eating entirely clean, I was feeling great, had lots of energy, and lost weight. I will say that my goal was NOT weight loss, hence why I don't have before and after pictures. My goal was to have a different relationship with food, and that is what happened. Am I happy I lost weight in the process? Yes, who wouldn't be. Throughout the time I was eating completely clean, I lost 14 pounds. Losing weight has never been easy for me, so this was a complete shock. 

Eating clean is a lifestyle, but I will say it is really hard to keep up with. Through our vacation time and our move, it was almost impossible to eat clean. We lived in a hotel for over a week and take-out food was inevitable. Since we've moved into our house, it has still been hard. Jake enjoys comfort food and I like to cook things he likes, especially being so far away from home. I still try make smart choices. For example, I have a side salad with my pizza instead of eating extra pieces. Or, if I cook something not as healthy, I do it is naturally as possible. I don't use ready-made products with preservatives, I make it from scratch. Jake also likes to snack, which means we sometimes have some very processed foods lying around. Sometimes I do eat them, but it isn't the same. I don't enjoy the processed food as much as I did before I started eating clean. I get sick to my stomach if I eat something highly processed. I crave food that is good for me and feel great when I have a "clean" day. 

Is eating clean hard? Yes, it really is. It can get expensive, especially if you are drinking juice. Do I still struggle? Yes, sometimes I just really want dessert or can't stop eating the baked ruffles. Is it doable? Yes, if you commit. Is it worth it? 100%. If you are considering a clean eating lifestyle, I encourage you to try it! I can't wait to share more clean eating tips and I would love to answer any questions you have!


  1. This is a great post...I go on and off with eating clean. I feel soo much better when I'm being good, but I don't like deprive myself so I like to indulge in something naughty every so often. Unfortunately, sometimes that leads down a dangerous road of forming bad habits all over again. It's a constant struggle! If I'm not eating clean, weight just seems to cling to me.

  2. Good for you girl! I definitely wouldn't say I eat clean but I try and make balanced meals. My weakness is dessert - I allow myself to indulge probably a little too often (I just love baking!). Thanks for sharing those tips - they are a great way to slowly incorporate this change into your diet.

  3. Great post! I try to eat clean too but it's so hard as you know. My biggest thing is I keep trying to drink green smoothies everyday for breakfast but then I ride by Chick Fil A on my way home from working the night before and a chicken biscuit just sounds so much better! I've always had acne issues and gave up dairy a while back because I heard it can cause acne in some people. It was amazing how my face cleared up and I was great about not eating dairy for awhile but lately I've been bad and my face shows :( These are great tips though!

  4. Interesting post! I was getting into organic/non-GMO/generally chemical free stuff before we left the States, and it's been really hard to continue that in the Netherlands (partly a language issue, partly an unfamiliarity with brands). But I will say that since I'm not working full time anymore, it's easier for me to use more fresh ingredients which I'm very happy about. I agree with you - stuff from scratch is really good, and now the processed stuff just tastes disgusting.

  5. This is a great post. I've considered trying to eat more clean due to some health reasons but am really concerned as I don't want to loose weight (I'm fairly petite to begin with). I think doing baby steps will really help me and hey, one green smoothie is better than no green smoothies a day!

  6. Thanks for sharing this! I've thought a lot about cleaning eating, but it always seems so difficult to balance with things like eating out or traveling. You are totally right that it is scary what things end up in processed foods, and I do think it is great to try and cut down on the processed products!

  7. Great post! Love it! Sounds like we have similar food journeys, and I agree that eating clean can be really expensive. It's one of those things I think is really important so we have budgeted accordingly. It's so important to set these examples for babies and kids, too. When I think about some of the crap I used to eat it grosses me out! (That doesn't mean from time to time I still fall off the wagon....) ;-) -Andrea

  8. This is great - thank you for acknowledging that it IS more expensive!

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  9. I'm better about making sure the kids "eat clean" than for myself... it just seems that night shift nurses only get certain options from the cafeteria, so if I have a crazy week and forget to pack ahead, it's definitely not a "clean" meal. I have, however, managed to make it 27 weeks into this pregnancy with minimal weight gain (but a perfectly growing, happy little boy ready to meet us in January). I splurged yesterday with some ice cream... and then woke up after a nap with a severe hemiplegic migraine that landed me in the ER. Might be a coincidence, but I'm definitely going to be "ice cream averse" for a while....

  10. I wanted to start this clean-eating-thing sooo many times ....i bought books over books...but the problem is that my hubby loves comfort food too. And so i am standing in the kitchen every night making casseroles and pizzas and spaghetti with meatballs. I love fresh and healthy food but my dh is the total opposite.

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