March 25, 2014

Cleaner Eating

My first resolution for 2014 was "clean" - and that refers to everything.  One of the biggest things I wanted to clean up was our eating habits.

About 2 years ago, we stopped eating meat.  It was part of my 30 before 30 list to go vegetarian for 30 days.  Turns out, I didn't miss meat at all and my body just felt better.  Over time, we worked fish back into our diets mostly because it made life a little easier at restaurants - we don't ever eat it at home.  You can read more about it here.

The biggest problem left with eating was processed foods.  There are a million studies in the world that tell you a million different things, but with common sense, I have figured out that if you don't know what the ingredients are - it's probably not your best option.  But saying you'll cut out processed foods is not as easy as it sounds.

read article about most unhealthy processed foods
We still eat processed food often, but we've definitely cut back on the amount of things entering our bodies that we don't understand.  We will continue to make little changes and keep improving.  Here are some tips I'll give you from what I've learned in our last three months:

1.  Research is your friend and sometimes your enemy.  I say enemy because sometimes you don't want to know.  We have watched almost every documentary on food that is available on Netflix and Forks Over Knives is still definitely our favorite.  Learn about farming and where your food is coming from.

2.  Try something new and change things up a little bit.  Try Meatless Mondays or take a week off from meat.  Check into the Whole 30 that Kym @ Travel Babbles is doing.  I totally get that some people can't make total lifestyle changes.  I can only speak for my experience, but I can safely say that "trying out vegetarianism" was one of the best decisions I've ever made, but there are so many options out there to help you get introduced to new foods that are super good for you.

3.  Invest in a juicer.  I know they are a bit spendy, but we have definitely gotten our money's worth out of ours in the last 3 months.  This is such a good way to take in fruits & vegetables especially if you like a smoothie for breakfast.  I am currently drinking my favorite juice which is 4 carrots, 1 apple, 1 orange and 1 inch of ginger.  Let me know if you're looking for more juice recipes, we have a couple that are super tasty.

4.  Meal plan.  I always saw other people talk about planning their meals and I was jealous that they had the time and organization to do that.  Finally about 3 weeks ago, I sat down to make a plan.  I was such an idiot for not doing it sooner.  Not only did it take only a few minutes, I spent WAY less money at the grocery store, tried 3 new recipes and saved tons of time by prepping things on Sunday. Say goodbye to takeout 3 nights a week because everything was easy after work.  The queen of meal planning is Steph @ Life According to Steph and she has tons of awesome recipes.

We definitely have ice cream in our freezer along with a few Morningstar breakfast sandwiches for the mornings that we oversleep.  We have a candy stash and everything in it is filled with high fructose corn syrup.  There are a lot of mornings that I use the coffee creamer that pretty much is made of plastic.  We are on a first name basis with our pizza delivery guy still (and will always be.)  We will try just about any meat free food up and down the east coast and there's no stopping me with donuts.

BUT, I am proud of the changes we've made and I know that we are healthier and feel better because of them.  We have cut a ton of crap out of our diets.  We love so many foods that we didn't even know existed - most of them are new fruits & vegetables.  

What are your thoughts?  What changes have you made to your diet?  


  1. i've been eating clean for over 2yrs and i've seen amazing things happen to my body and my husband's. we always feed our daughter clean foods and restrict her junk food to almost zero (which she openly complains about) but my sleep has improved and my husband's pooping has improved (LOL, TMI but it's true).

    also follow the 90/10 rule: 90% clean, 10% whatever!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

  2. I finally got serious about being healthier about a year ago, and I can tell the difference, a 50 pound difference to be exact. And it's all because I ate cleaner and got more active. Can't complain about that!

  3. Meal planing is great! I mostly eat clean. I'm not working right now so I do al our cooking from scratch so we rarely eat processed foods. I try to stick to Trader Joes for frozen dinners for when we don't have time to cook since their ingredient lists are usual pretty simple looking. I've found I really miss sweets and candy so I made low sugar oatmeal cookies and they're great. We still get ice cream

  4. Meal planning is the only way we don't eat mexican food every night of the week ;) Once we sit down and make a plan for the next week or two, we stick to it! Also, we use our nutribullet for juices, even though it's not technically "juicing" it's an easy way to get a lot of veggies/fruit in one meal!

  5. Meal planning makes life so much easier although I don't think we are very good about eating clean. I will never be breaking up with my plastic coffee creamer!

  6. Tell me about your juice recipes please! My mom and I are doing that this weekend, we're going to make little baggies so they just wait in the freezer til I need one!

  7. I think you've made great changes.

    I am great about clean eating on some fronts and not good on others. I will make a lot of stuff from scratch, but not everything. There are things I won't give up, and I've made peace with that.

    Thanks for the shout out!

  8. I have been trying so hard to really clean up my eating over the past year. I am about 80/20 now...but I want to be more like 90/10. I think I have been putting off watching some documentaries because I dont even want to know! Yet, I feel I am finally ready now and it will be the push I need to be even cleaner! There is just SO MUCH to research and learn. I find it a trial and error process.

  9. I think small, manageable steps to cleaner eating (or whatever goal) is always better than expecting results overnight. I like that you are honest -- you want to be clean but aren't 100% yet and that's ok. I think we are also trying to cut out processed foods, especially for our 3yo since his snack time consists of crackers + juice (salt, sugar, yeck).

  10. This is great. I gave up sugar a few weeks ago with the intention of quitting for a whole year. I already feel better, and have started to eat a lot cleaner too!

  11. I have been much more conscious of this lately. The other day when we went grocery shopping, we didn't even go to the aisles at all... we stuck to the perimeter the whole time!

  12. I think just becoming more aware has helped a lot- although I'm currently eating Skittles from the vending machine, so a total hypocrite!

  13. Meal planning.....I 100% agree....unlike last night where both of us were staring at each other...."what do you want?" "I don't know what do you want?" ugh....naturally lead to not the best dinner choice!

  14. Hooray! It's so good to see other "real people" talking about this. I've been doing a lot of nutrition research lately and pretty much everything I knew was wrong. There's a nutrition article by the Harvard School of Public Health that has been immensely helpful for me, in terms of proportions and learning what different food groups actually do for your body.

    I'm certainly not as advanced as some of the folks here (no 90/10, 80/20 intake percentages), but I actually buy fresh produce now! And try to include it in most meals. My Significant is not a huge fan of fruits and vegetables, so it's a bit of an uphill battle, but we'll get there (to be more accurate, I'll get there, dragging him along behind me).

    P.S. I've been putting off meal planning for months, but if it's really as easy as you say...

  15. I'm horrible at planning meals, mostly because Aaron does 95% of the cooking.

    I'm not ready to give up meat but I do want to start eating cleaner. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Meal planning is truly a lifesaver. I admit I still rely on frozen vegetables a lot, but I'm trying to get better. I live with my parents and I'm almost 100% responsible for meals. If you think getting kids to eat differently is hard, trying imposing changes on your set-in-their-ways parents. It's been pretty tough to eat better, so I focus on eating really well for breakfast and lunch and decent for dinner.

  17. You completely inspire me to stick by a healthier lifestyle! Not only do you look better but it's more that you FEEL better! SO proud of you guys. I love my juicer too. I know you're ideally supposed to drink the goodness no later than 10-15 mins after juicing, but I've been filling up bottles the night before and bringing them to work--and I feel great! Not sure if you like spicy, but have you ever tried adding a jalepeno? Ever since I started doing that I actually crave the juice ha--kinda made it exciting again. Nerd alert :)


Thanks for reading my ramblings. It makes my heart happy.