Monday, June 9, 2014

Tips For Getting Started Eating Clean

Remember this post from a little while back? You can read more on why I believe in clean eating {here}.

Everyone has a different level of "clean".  They *think* what they are eating is clean, but just because it's found on the health food isle, doesn't make it clean.  BUT, any step toward healthy is a good one... so no judgements here.
Clean eating (to me) is pretty much eating as much FRESH food as you can.  It's not a "clean eating diet".  It is how I live my life! I don't really even use the term "clean eating" anymore.  I think of it as NUTRIENT DENSE food.  It fuels me.  I want to put the best kind of food in my body because I only have one body.  If I had continued to eat Cheetos, Lean Cuisines, and candy bars every day like I did 2 years ago... I'm sure I'd be 350 and barely walking/breathing/living.  You have to make a change because it is your life! You want your life to be long so that you can be there for those you love and so that you can live a full, happy life.
With that said... do I still have a Snickers or donuts sometimes... YES! Is it on the daily though.... NO! I eat food that makes me feel good physically and mentally and sometimes a donut helps my mental well-being, but not my physical. I have to weigh the pros and cons for sure. :)

 Here are my top tips for getting started.

Ok, my upper-case letters were a little dramatic.  But...clean eating is all about ingredients.  And really, if it's truly "clean", it has one ingredient.  For instance, when I buy strawberries the only ingredient is strawberries. ;)  I know that's not possible to buy only fruit, veggies, and meat- so let me help you with ingredients.  Read the ingredients and if you can't pronounce them, consider not buying it or finding a different option for it.  Instead of buying spaghetti noodles, we buy spaghetti squash (it's yum!).  You won't want to do this with every little thing in your cupboard because it will be too overwhelming.

How about start with 2 staples that you use every week in your cooking?  Take those two items, read the ingredients and if they have crazy ingredients (can you pronounce them?), search for an alternative to that item.  My husband used to always eat macaroni and cheese as a side.  Holy ingredients list!  Now, he uses Annie's macaroni and cheese and it's delicious (made with mostly organic ingredients and NO artificial coloring).

Find some GREAT ideas here!

2. Clean out your fridge and pantry
This goes along with number 1. You don't have to throw everything away that has a huge ingredient list because remember, we are starting small.  But, I would consider getting rid of a few things at first. We started with canned soups (have you ever read the list on those bad about wordy).  We also got rid of all Crystal Light (so many artificial colors and sweeteners and ZERO nutrition). I know it'll hurt your heart to just throw it away, but just do it.  I threw mine away, went and bought some organic soup and donated those to the food bank because I felt so guilty.  I don't want anyone to have to eat that canned soup. EW. One last thing we got rid of in the beginning was cow's milk. We switched to almond milk and have never looked back! I'm hormone and anti-biotic free because of it. ;)

3. Shop on the perimeters of the grocery store as much as possible
You'll find eggs, cheese, fruits, veggies, and fresh meat there! It's where the cool people are anyway.

4. Plan out your meals!
If you aren't all planned out and you come to a day where you just can't think of anything to cook...guess what will happen? You'll eat out!  So, plan them out and make extra.  Those leftovers are perfect for your lunch the next day. Find out more {here}.

5.  Don't deprive
You can find an alternative to almost all junk food out there!  I used to love eating ice cream, but every time I ate it, I got really sick!  So, once I stopped eating dairy I still craved ice cream.  I started making vegan banana ice cream and I've never craved regular since.  It's all about those lateral shifts! Or maybe I just can't stop thinking about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  Well hell...I might just have one.  It's OK once in awhile or maybe I'll make {these}.  But for the ice cream, I'll stay away from it because it doesn't agree with my stomach.

Don't deprive yourself of flavor either! Clean eating isn't just chicken and asparagus. It's all about variations, spices, and color!  Be creative and use Pinterest.

6. Start Researching 
By researching I  Read about food! Read studies, blogs, articles, and books.  You only get ONE body so please TAKE CARE OF IT. Here are my favorite sites for clean eating (Now don't go and read their whole website at once because you will feel overwhelmed and probably cry. I recommend taking it all with a grain of salt. Take it slowly.)

Food Renegade
Whole 9
The Gracious Pantry
He and She Eats Clean
JJ Virgin
Food Inc.

7. Listen to your body
One minute the media will say a certain food is a SUPER FOOD and the next minute you see on the news it's the worst thing you can put into your body (hello, soy?). My advice to this is research AND listen to your body.  How do you feel after eating that certain food? When do you feel the best?

Take baby steps if you feel overwhelmed.  Or dive right in if you are just SICK and TIRED!  :)


  1. Love this! Planning to share on Wellness Witness facebook page :)

  2. I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide after spending one whole evening reading Food Babe's posts. Talk about food depression. I haven't ate fast food in the past 3 weeks (since reading)! Now that my husband is past the point of thinking I'm crazy...all is good! I just cleaned out our freezer yesterday. #onestepatatime

  3. You make it sound really manageable!! I am slowly cutting out dairy because it doesn't make me feel good either :( And Tom made spaghetti squash tonight, it was delish!! Thanks for helping us and motivating us! You are the best!

  4. I love this! I am going to begin eating clean and was somewhat overwhelmed. Small steps.

  5. You are truly inspiring! I love your story! I am proud to say I have been gluten free since January 1st! Now, I am working on eliminating all dairy. I only eat kefir yogurt for the probiotic. No ice cream. No cheese. Baby steps! Keep on inspiring!

  6. I've been wanting to eat healthier and you have inspired me to do so. Your story is so powerful. Thank you!

  7. Oh Rachel I have to make a confession. I always read this blog on my phone and have never seen this gorgeous blogger template! I am so in love with it, totally my style and just what my class will look like this year! Alright, gonna stop drooling now. :)
    Ms. K/1 ELL
    A Teacher's Plan

  8. The teacher blog world should totally have a "biggest loser" type contest for all of us who just can't seem to get motivated! #justsaying LOL I just started reading about your journey......can't wait to backtrack and read more!! Thanks for sharing.

    K is for Kinderrific