Clean eating changed my life. I know. That’s overdramatic. And ridiculous. But it’s true. I am a different person and have been since June 2013 when I started taking this more seriously.
Eating clean is the only nutrition plan that doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. I eat certain foods many times throughout the day. I don’t feel starved or deprived. If I do feel truly hungry, I fuel myself with something from the earth. It’s so simple and basic, and I think that’s what I love most about it. Sure, you fall off the wagon from time to time. But there is always a Monday around the corner to get it back on track. And yesterday was just that.
I really wanted to try and eat 100% clean all day. To keep me motivated, I decided to take pictures throughout the day. (Btw, I don’t know how I ever had a food blog. It was incredibly difficult trying to remember to take pictures all day!) I couldn’t help but notice some trends: lots of greens and lots of orange. Most plates were pretty balanced in terms of portions. Honestly, it was a killer day, and I’m too proud not to share:
When something works, all you want to do is share it. So that’s what I’m doing here. I am truly feeling the effects of this nutrition plan: more energy, a maintained weight, better skin. I can’t believe how long I ate diet foods, complained about stomach aches, and wondered why I couldn’t seem to keep weight off. Now, it just seems like a no-brainer.
When I started adding in regimented fitness programs, things also started to take off for me. T25 has been my go-to for six months now. I consistently feel stronger each time I complete a workout. I’m now at the point where 25 minutes a day isn’t enough. Yesterday, I added in a set of 15 push-ups along with a quick 15-minute HIIT. It made me feel alive and energized.
I realize fitness and health isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s okay. You don’t need to be a health fanatic to feel good from just eating well and moving often. Some days, I can’t believe how simple this combination really is. I feel that too often, we get distracted, losing sight of how to live properly. I love days like this when I remember that all over again.
Clean eating is hard. It requires a lot of thought and planning. You have to carefully examine the foods you eat, especially the list of ingredients. Thankfully, many resources have already done this work for you. One of those is Clean and Green, an app I’ve been using to meal plan. This week I made a Sweet Potato and Zucchini Pie – large enough to feed a family for a week.
This recipe was time-intensive. You have to grate a medium-size zucchini as well as several sweet potatoes. After that, it’s pretty easy. You cook a bit of quinoa. Toss in some salt, peppers and eggs (as a binding ingredient). Bake it for 30 minutes at 360, and it makes a whole pan worth of clean-eating goodness.
One of my biggest struggles with clean eating is that I don’t feel full enough sometimes. And they can taste rather bland. This happened with this recipe. I suggested to M that we put them in wraps, and that seemed to help. He also added cheese and hot sauce to his portion. I find that adding in some random spices really brings these recipes to life.
While this recipe provided dinners for nearly a week, it wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped. A little spice (and cheese) helped. I’ll keep toying with the recipe until I figure it out!
I’m hoping to post an honest review of a Recipe for Week, like this one, every week. Look for these on Fridays!
Today launched the start of our newest clean-eating challenge group. I love being part of these groups because they keep me much more focused on my nutrition. While I am a regular exerciser, I tend to slack on my diet. Think: excessive crackers, chocolate and wine. Because 70% of your results come from nutrition, I definitely need to reign it in a bit. And on this plan (we’re following Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet), you don’t have to cut out your favorites completely. But you do have to moderate if you want those results.
Sundays are also known as meal-planning days. I seek out new recipes throughout the week, pin them and shop before the weekend. Then I get to cooking on Sunday afternoon/evening. I’ve been following this method for years, but I want to get more serious and strict now that I’m back in challenge-group mode. My breakfasts are covered (thank you, Shakeology!), and so really, I only have to juggle lunches and dinners. This week, I wanted to branch out from my normal turkey chili and start using some old cookbooks. I also utilized a Clean and Green app I bought on my iPhone.
This week’s lunches:
- Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili (Vegan Planet cookbook)
- Red Cabbage & Beetroot Salad (Clean and Green app) – featured on the top right of the photo
- Tuna and Red Cabbage Salad (Clean and Green app) – featured on the top left of the photo
This week’s dinners:
- Clean Chicken Curry (Clean and Green app)
- Zucchini and Sweet Potato Pie
As you can see, cabbage and quinoa are hot menu items for this week. The plan is to have 1 cup of the squash and black bean chili alongside 1 serving of a cabbage salad. I’m hoping this combination will keep me satiated throughout the day. I’m also emphasizing vegetables this week because I feel they’ve been lacking from my diet. I’m especially looking forward to a clean dinner of chicken curry!
How are you eating well this week? Share in the comments.