Monday, December 31, 2012

Are you ready for 2013???



Another full calendar year of {clean eating} is behind me.

I have less anxiety. I have less digestive issues. I have less headaches. I have less sickness. I have less depression. I have less cramps. I have less chemicals in my body. I have reduced my risk of many diseases.   I have less hunger.

I have more energy. I have more inspiration. I have more strength.  I have more mental clarity. I have more micronutrients in my body to ward off illnesses in my body.  I have reached my ideal body weight. I have better skin.  I have better hair.  I sleep better.  I have more hope for good health in my future.  


If you struggle with your health you should really consider going "clean". FULLY CLEAN for 30 days. I want to be very clear about something, I want you to do this to be HEALTHIER, not thinner. If you are overweight by any amount, try it. Being overweight can lead to so many illnesses down the road. If you truly follow the eating clean principles and dive in head first, the rest will follow. Promise. 

Your ideal weight will start to emerge. In the first 3-4 more months you will feel frustrated, scared, empowered, and rich with reward.  You will soon, "get it". You will start to share it with everyone and anyone you care about. You will want them to realize what they are feeling isn't the BEST they can feel.  You will feel truly BLESSED and proud. You will realize you had it in you this whole time. 

If you are looking to make THE change and would like to completely overhaul your life and embark on a {clean eating} journey, here are some of the major things you will need to know.

Avoid all over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)

Avoid saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats (Margarine, Fast food, Frozen meals, Prepackaged Meats, store made baked goods, most chips and crackers, cereal bars, candy, cookies, toppings, dips, etc)

Avoid soda and other sugary juices and drinks (just stop drinking them FOR GOOD)

Avoid high-calorie, zero nutrient foods, (i.e., junk food)

 If you are still drinking soda or other sugary drinks you are in for quite the fight to detox off of those.  I'm here to prove that it can be done as I am 29 months "sober" off the Diet Coke. (and only crazy ex-addicts still count after the year (or two) mark)

Now, here are a few things you SHOULD do:

Drink Green Tea (and water). It's recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces daily of water. (ex. A person weighing 150 lbs. should drink 75 ounces.) If you are consuming green tea in your water you are only doing your body a favor. Read more about why here: Miracle Tea    

Exercise. Start with 2 hours a week. Walking counts. Heck, have you ever played Wii Just Dance game? That counts too! Yard work. Shoveling snow. Stretching. Get creative. Get OFF the sofa. 

Always eat breakfast. Always. Even if you aren't hungry. Eat within a hour of waking.  

Eat 5 to 6 small meals daily. That's 3 main meals and 2-3 {healthy} snacks.

Stick to these 8 "rules" and master them and you will see huge results.  I will say that I am not 100% {clean} and never claim to be. I strive for 90%+ each month.

Here's the book I bought and took with me to the grocery store over 2 years ago: Eat Clean Diet. I am now even further into this journey and have learned a lot this year about food additives, GMOs, and the food industry. Reinforcing why EATING CLEAN was the best decision I made for my family. 

I hope you have an awesome year ahead. I hope you choose to {clean up} your act and experience the rewards. Cheers to 2013. It's gonna be great!




Sunday, December 23, 2012

TBHQ {butane in your food}

If you have been reading labels you should know by now that abbreviations aren't good news. TBHQ is one to look out for and AVOID! If you aren't reading the ingredients, then I can assure you that you are consuming many chemicals and such.

Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ as it is more commonly referred to as, is in fact a chemical preservative which is a form of butane.  The risks and side-effects of this preservative product far outweigh the benefit of it being used as a highly unsafe preservative ingredient.  

Consuming high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and vomiting. There are also suggestions that it may lead to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. It may also further aggravate ADHD symptoms and cause restlessness. Long term, high doses of TBHQ in laboratory animals have shown a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in their stomachs, as well as cause DNA damage to them. It is also suggested that it may be responsible for affecting estrogen levels in women.

TBHQ can be found in McDonald's famous chicken nuggets, Kellogg's poptarts, Little Debbie snacks, Red Barron pizzas, Tastykakes, crackers...The list goes on and on...trust me!



Some of this information was taken from this site: Natural News



Friday, December 21, 2012

{clean} Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really can't believe I am baking. Little ol' me! The one that used to screw up everything I attempted to bake.  Has {clean eating} changed me in the baking department too? Maybe so....Anyway, on to the point...

A friend suggested I try this recipe. It's fabulous. It has NO processed flour in it! When I was making the recipe and added in the sugar (evaporated cane juice), my daughter kept saying "that's a LOT of sugar!". I couldn't help but laugh and say "Well, it's Christmas time! It's time to make special cookies." 

 This recipe is super simple.  I even made my own Almond Butter with 2 cups of raw almonds and a tsp of Barlean's Coconut Oil in the Vitamix.

{clean} Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 


Recipe from : www.cleaneatingmag.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 c unsalted almond butter, stirred well
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat (I used evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate (70% and greater is best), chips or broken into pieces
Directions:

1) Preaheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate.
2) Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.

TIP: After I was done baking I simply slid the parchment paper and cookies on to the top of the stove to cool.  I still don't own a wire rack! It's very important you don't move these cookies until they are completely cooled.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You're giving YOURSELF a headache!

Headaches! I hate headaches. I used to get them often before cleaning up my act. I used to live on Diet Coke and Tylenol. I remember taking Tylenol often.  I wish I would have known that eating clean would transform me {this} much because I would have done a video diary of my typical week prior to the transformation.  Oh well, what's done is done. I am a healthier person now...and more importantly, I have very few headaches.

If you are suffering from daily or weekly headaches, don't immediately go running to the medicine cabinet for pain relievers. Take a look at your daily food consumption.  Are you consuming artificial sweeteners? Are you consuming too much sugar daily? Do you feel like you "crash" at a certain time each day ? It could very well be your diet.



Sugar Dehydration 

Dehydration is a common way to get a headache. Eating too much sugar dehydrates your body in two ways:

Dilution: When you eat too much sugar, your body has to dilute that sugar to keep it from harming your body. 
Urination: One of the ways that your body has of getting rid of excess sugar is to dump it in your urine. This is especially true of diabetics, who have to go to the bathroom a lot.

Think this could be you??? Read more about sugar headaches in this article: www.olsonnd.com 

As for artificial sweeteners, there aren't many studies yet proving they cause headaches. There are a few stating they cause migraines which are so much worse than a true headache. I know they caused mine. With that said, there are still many reasons a person should cut out artificial sweeteners our of their daily life. 

Check out some here: Avoid Artificial Sweetners
  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

{eating clean} The proof is in the numbers

If you are just beginning this journey of {clean eating}, I strongly encourage you to have someone take your measurements. It may be embarrassing at first, but you will be glad you did. Trust me! Especially if you are are really dedicated to {eating clean} and changing your life.  I wish someone would have told me to take measurements at the beginning. I guess maybe I didn't because I was going into this with a little doubt that maybe I wouldn't see such great results.  I took my first measurements in September 2011. This was actually after I had lost the bulk of my weight. 


I finally had my Zumba instructor measure me today (11/29/12). It had been since July that she last measured me and I was ready to face the facts I probably gained an inch or so.  Not a huge deal, but I was ready.

 My son had emergency surgery in September and we were out of town a lot in October so I didn't make it in much for my 2 days a week Zumba. Those months weren't the best for me in regards to working out.  However, I continued to {eat clean} and clearly it pays off!

I lost another 5 inches since July. Wow. I'm shocked.  I haven't lost any weight in a while (which I'm not trying to do anyway), so I am shocked I keep losing inches. I didn't think I was building much muscle either. Anyway...

Since September 2011:

Bust: -2 inches
Waist: -2.5 inches
Bicep: -1 inch
Thigh: -3 inches!!!
Calf: -1/4 inch
Shoulders: -4.5 inches (goodbye back fat)
Hips: - 2 inches

For a total of 14.25 inches lost in the SECOND year of {eating clean}!

Amazing. 

The proof is in the numbers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Taste Buds

Taste buds...Wow...They sure do set the stage for what you enjoy.




It's no wonder people think I'm crazy when I rave about certain clean foods tasting so good when they don't enjoy them-at all. It's because their taste buds are programmed to enjoy highly processed, sugar/salt rich, "fake" foods.  My taste buds have been rebooted! 



Here's an example of a time when I knew it had really changed for me. It had been months since I had visited a Starbucks. I used to order a Skinny Sugar Free Vanilla Latte. I used to add one or two Sweet-n-Lows to the latte-No joke!  The first time back to Starbucks after a long time away and since going "clean", I ordered a grande coffee with reg vanilla added (I will avoid artificially sweeteners until the day I die) with a splash of half and half.   It was sweet, too sweet. I almost wonder what Sweet-n-Low tastes like now that I have been {clean} for over two years now, but I doubt I will try it.  If I do you can guarantee I will tell you first!

Salt, that's a huge player in the taste buds. There is so much salt in processed foods. I'm not just talking about the food sitting on the shelves in cans or boxes. I'm also speaking of the food you are get at all these chain restaurants around town. It's down right depressing once you read the facts. If I do eat something I used to "love" prior to {eating clean}, I often react with a shocked expression followed by "Holy Salt, Batman!" Then never eat it again.



Here's a great example of sodium in chain restaurants. Olive Garden's Tour of Italy has 3830mg of sodium & 74 grams of fat. Add another 370mg for ONE breadstick. But, who eats just one(+370mg)? Oh, and I'm sure you indulged in salad, add on 760mg for ONE serving of salad. So that's a grand total without dipping sauce to 5330mg of sodium. THREE days worth in one meal.  If you ever dare go there again, order from the Lighter Fare menu. It's not healthy but it's "healthier" than the others. I suggest finding a new favorite place to go. WOW!

If you are just starting out on this journey of {clean eating} and have been used to eating processed foods for some time, don't fret if many vegetables don't taste good to you. Also, don't be concerned if there is only ONE you can tolerate as long as you've been alive.  Stay consistent and you will notice that ALL the foods will start to taste different to you. I am shocked at the amounts(types) of vegetables I enjoy now. My taste buds for sure have changed. A LOT! 

Here's a great article with a similar success as mine when it comes to the changes that happen after eating clean for a while...Retrain Your Taste Buds 


Monday, November 26, 2012

{clean} Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

I LOVE soup. I LOVE soup during the winter months especially. Soup makes great leftovers and it's easy to make large amounts to freeze. 

This recipe is so simple my 8 year old could make it. Seriously! Next time I will prove it. I was inspired to make this after a visit to Trader Joe's. They had a soup sample going on using their Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (the one with approx 3000 mg of sodium in the box-gasp!). It was for a creamy chicken soup that was loaded with cream cheese and sodium.  This recipe takes the sodium and dairy down, way down and removes the chicken. I added in black beans to mine for protein and fiber. I didn't even bother noting the beans in the title of this soup because you don't even really notice they're in there. A secret ingredient!

You will need only 4 ingredients! I'm not kidding.



{clean} Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients:
  • 32 ounces TJ Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
  • 2 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 can Fire Roasted Diced Green Chile (regular if you can't find fire roasted)
  • 1 can Black Beans (low sodium), rinsed

Directions:

1) Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
2) Pour into stove top pan and heat until perfect temp. (OR if you have a vitamix you can cook it in the Vitamix for super easy clean up)
3) Serve.  

NOTE: If you aren't watching your dairy intake you could top with dollop of Greek yogurt, sour cream, or grated cheese.

We served this along side Chipotle Gouda grilled cheeses (and fresh fruit).  I highly recommend you try the Boar's Head Chipotle Gouda cheese.  It's amazing. If you do not have a Trader Joe's near you for the soup, look for the Pacific Natural Foods brand of soup in the all natural section of your grocery store.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rao's Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

My friend, Ivy, has been raving about this spaghetti sauce for as long as I've known her.  She posted recently that she had the most AMAZING meal at Rao's Restaurant in Vegas.  It peaked my interested again and I was on a mission to taste this wonderful sauce.


 I've been making most of my sauces from scratch lately but there are days that I just don't want to cook.  I've tried many jarred spaghetti sauces and many of them taste watered down and down right nasty. My kid's palate is now advanced enough to know a good quality sauce over....well...uh....salt and water in a jar. Ok, maybe it doesn't have to be that advanced for spaghetti taste testing. You get my point.

Ivy didn't disappoint. This is hands down the best jarred marinara sauce I have had.  It is full of flavor. It is all natural. It has imported Italian tomatoes. It's the bomb. Right out of the jar it is perfect. I can't wait to try this on spaghetti squash. 


You may be thinking...why don't I know about this sauce? Is it really on the shelves of the local grocery store?  Yes, it is. I found this at Kroger.  The thing is folks, it doesn't come cheap.  It was reg $8.99 at Kroger and $1 off at the time.  If you are wanting to make delicious Italian meal and don't want to fuss with making your own sauce, give Rao's a try. They have many different flavors and I am betting that they are all just as good as the Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce we had. 

sautéed orange and yellow peppers (what I had on hand) to add to the sauce and served it on gluten free pasta. It was awesome! I will be buying this again. It is worth the extra money if you don't want to sacrifice taste and quality.

Here's a link of a great way to "stretch" the marinara sauce a little further.... Clean Cuisine: Rao's Marinara 

Stop up on this when on sale. I have found it as low as $6.50 at Super Target.


Local friends: You can find it at Tasteful Times in Fishers, Indiana. Super local small businesses! 
  


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whole Wheat {clean} Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies!  This recipe is a healthier alternative to the typical chocolate chip cookie you find on store shelves. It has real butter, but half the amount called for in the original recipe (no trans fats).  I used unbleached all natural sugars, coconut oil in place of vegetable oils, and wheat flour in place of bleached flour. Oh, and believe it or not, half the amount of chocolate and still felt like there was plenty.  

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of organic unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3/4 c beet sugar
  • 3/4 c cane sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup Barlean's coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour (or you could use unbleached wheat or white)
  • 2 Tbps flaxseed (I used golden)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli)

Directions:
1) In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended well.
2) Add egg whites, vanilla, and coconut oil and beat.
3)Whisk flour, baking soda, flaxseed, and salt together in a separate bowl.
4) Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
5) Add chocolate chips to the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
6) Roll into 1 inch balls and bake 8 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees.
7) Let cookies cool completely.

NOTE:  Make sure not to get the coconut oil hot so it won't cook the eggs when mixing together. It takes very little time in the microwave to melt the oil. If you don't have beet sugar you could use all cane sugar.  If you don't care for the taste of wheat, I would opt for trying this with unbleached white flour. Cooking temps and times can vary depending on what products you use, so keep an eye on them the first time you make them.






Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Earth Fare {Noblesville Location}

The day is FINALLY here! I am beyond excited. Yes, over a supermarket!!! It will make my life so much easier having a healthy supermarket 2 miles away from my home!  You never know what food emergency you may run into or maybe you just aren't in the mood to cook and want to grab a quick bite. Earth Fare is the place for both.

I knew that going on the Grand Opening day would be crazy, but it was worth it to show my support in supermarkets like Earth Fare opening.  (And share a bit with you all) I looked around and took it all in. (And got my free whole chicken) Everyone was filled with excitement. Everyone was patient. The workers were ALL friendly and helpful.  The thing I loved most about my visit was the fact that I bet this is the FIRST time some of the shoppers have ever set foot in a healthy supermarket.  I hope they were blown away. 



The supermarket has pizza, a hot bar, made to order sandwiches, bakery, coffee, salad bar, and soup. 

 Hot Bar
 Salad Bar
 Salad Bar


 My 4 year old gives their pizza by the slice 2 thumbs up. This is one slice.  That's how they roll at Earth Fare. ($3.49)



Kids eat free with an Adult Purchase on Thursdays from 4-8 pm. I believe (I need to double check at our store) that you can get up to SIX kid's meals free with ONE adult meal.


For my chocolate lovers out there, I leave you with this image:
Chocolate Malt Balls!

Sorry my images aren't the greatest. It was crazy busy and I only had my iphone and a bunch of people staring at me in the process. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into Earth Fare. Now, go out and check it out for yourself. YAY to more Healthy Supermarkets!

Make sure you sign up for email coupons. Also, text EAT to 71700 and you will instantly get $5 your next visit. Score!

Stayed tuned for updates from inside Earth Fare...that's all for now!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

I don't know what it was about cooking a whole chicken that scared me, but it did. I finally decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it was super simple! Oh, and there were no giblets in my chicken. Whew, what a relief!



This recipe comes from an AWESOME blog, www.100daysofrealfood.com.  If anyone is going to be an inspiration in the clean eating world, Lisa Leake and family rank up at the top of the list. You will have to take some time and read where their journey began.



The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (red) pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken

Directions:

1) Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
2) Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
3) Remove any giblets from the chicken adn then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin of the breasts.
4) Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
5) Cook for 4-5 hours (for a 3 or 4 lb chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don't forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

{clean} Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It's our second Halloween to roast the pumpkin seeds after we carve our pumpkins. It's a new tradition and this recipe fills the house with a smell of awesomeness.

It's actually very simple to do.  It's very important to use good quality coconut oil at all times in your recipes to get the best health benefits from the oil. Make sure it's cold pressed and extra virgin. Barlean's is the best I've ever tasted. I highly recommend you give them a try. Anyone that has tried this brand has been sold! I recommend ANY of their products with confidence. 

{clean} Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups rinsed and cleaned pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbps Barlean's Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbps Cane Sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Directions:
1)  Add oil to a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for about 20 seconds or until the oil begins to melt.
2) Add cane sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix well.
3) Add all seeds and mix until all are coated.
4) Spread out on an oven safe pan (I recommend putting foil down first to save on clean up)
5) Bake at 300 for 40-45 minutes.

NOTE: Let cool before handling. Store in an airtight container. I think next time I will give the beet sugar a try with this. Enjoy.




Monday, October 29, 2012

{clean} Halloween

I hope you Clean Freaks have a plan in place for Halloween Candy. This year we will not give out any candy. We are giving out glow bracelets and some plastic bugs (if they dare) to our guest instead of traditional candy.  This will be the case for all the years after this as well.




I will say, on a side note, we are NOT party poopers and go all out for Halloween. We decorate the outside of our house the day of Halloween, dress up, and make a big deal. All WITHOUT purchasing a single item with an added color this year.  Kids look forward to our house, not for the candy, but for the fun! I'm so much further ahead (on the clean journey) this year than I was last.  I went to open up the Halloween storage container and there was candy I bought on clearance last year. YES, it's still good. I decided to donate it elsewhere and move forward with my {cleaned up} version of Halloween.

I plan to donate most of the kid's candy to a local dentist office that is registered with Halloween Candy Buyback Program.  Check out this link, www.halloweencandybuyback.com, to find out more about this program and/or check out the video below.


Don't get me wrong, my kids will eat plenty of sugar on Halloween night and the few days following it. However, they will consume as little artificial colors, artificial flavors, and trans fats as possible!  Many may argue, "it's only one night a year, it's not that big of deal!" Well, I will push back to them and ask if they have consumed ANY Halloween candy any other day of the week this week? Or the weeks leading up to and after Halloween. I'm guessing they have overindulged on the trans fat candies!  



When a person begins to {eat clean} they start the education process and with each month or year that passes by they find themselves more motivated to stick to the goals of ridding their lives of things like artificial colors and trans fats! I am at that point. I am finding NEW junk food for the kids for special occasions like Halloween.

Before I let you go, let me touch on artificial colors...
There are many studies out there stating that certain colors are linked to causing cancer, ADHD, and allergic reactions. Also, do you suffer from migraines or anxiety? You may want to take a look at your added color intake! I suffer from an anxiety disorder and I can attest first hand that my anxiety has improved greatly since I am off the artificial colors and sweeteners.  If for one minute you think these colors are only found in candy....go to your kitchen now and start reading labels. 

Please, Please, Please read this article. Especially if you don't see the importance of elminating them from your life.



Friday, October 12, 2012

{clean} Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters

Are you someone that loves a sweet treat during the day??? Or maybe it's evening time you need a fix! Give this a try. They are fantastic!


{clean} Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters

Ingredients:
  • 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe's Pound Plus-6 pieces)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 1 tsp Barlean's Coconut Oil (or another cold pressed Coconut Oil)
  • 2 cups of raw nuts (I only had almonds on hand)
Directions:

1) Add dark chocolate, vanilla and oil to microwave save bowl.
2) Microwave on medium strength a minute at a time (stirring after each minute). Do NOT overcook the chocolate. Mine took less than 2 minutes.
3)Immediately mix in nuts and stir until all nuts are covered with chocolate.
4) Scoop out onto parchment/wax paper and let them set for 2 hours or move to refrigerator.

NOTE:  These would be great with a mix of nuts. Make sure you are getting dry roasted or raw nuts. Low sodium or no sodium or a mix of both. Get nuts with NO oils.  You could sprinkle with sea salt if your nuts have no sodium and you like the sweet and salty taste. I stored these in the refrigerator.






Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{clean} Black Bean Tostadas

I love all things Mexican when it comes to food.  It's taken me 2 years to get to this point next but, I no longer like super heavy, bad for you, Mexican food.  For some reason I find this upsetting because I used to LOVE it.  Last time I consumed a meal from my favorite local Mexican place I spent the remainder of the evening in bed with a "carb coma".  It was terrible. I was SO thirsty after the meal that I was convinced I had diabetes. Seriously, I have issues. My husband and kids are always saying, "I'm thirsty!!!". If you don't feel this way after eating out then you still have a ways to go, but I can assure you that day will come if you truly {clean} up your act completely.

This is something I like to make often:

{clean} Black Bean Tostadas 

Ingredients :

  • bag of black beans
  • minced garlic
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

1)Prepare beans according to bag. I do a quick soak of a hour. Boil water, cover and remove from heat and let it sit for a hour. Rinse, and begin cooking them.
2)Simmer them until they are very tender and then mash.
3)Heat tostadas in oven (approx. 400) until crispy.
4) Spread beans on tostadas (with or without cheese) then add lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and salsa. YUM!

NOTE: Play around with these ingredients. Start out with  2-3 tsps of cumin and chili powder. 4-6 cloves of garlic. Salt and Pepper to taste.  Also try Chipotle Hot Sauce sauce. It's yummy.

Tostadas come from Trader Joe's.









Tuesday, September 11, 2012

{clean} Leek and Potato Soup

This recipe is adapted from The Eat-Clean Diet (Expanded Edition) Book.  In the book it talks about how consuming onion is a great way to boost the immune system and fight disease.  If you don't know what a leek is, yes it's from the onion family.  I had no clue when I began this journey. YUM!


{clean} Leek and Potato Soup 

Ingredients:
  • Approx. 3 cups of leeks (whites only) coarsely chopped and rinsed thoroughly *
  • 4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks*
  • 1 Tbps extra virgin olive oil*
  • 3 tsp unsalted butter*
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion*
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 8 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth or homemade stock*
  • 1 tsp sea salt  
  • black pepper to taste

*use organic if possible

Directions:

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter. Add leeks, potatoes, onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until soft. Add stock to saucepan and bring to a boil. Once mixture has come to a full boil, reduce heat and cook for another 30 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Puree soup with blender or food processor. 

TIP: Dice leeks and emerge in water, drain and rinse again. Sand and dirt can easily get trapped between the leek leaves. 

NOTE: If you are looking for a rich potato soup this is not it. This is a low calorie option. 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Why in the WORLD would I drink GREEN JUICE???


The energy you get with drinking green juice is amazing!  If you are one that comes home from a busy day at work and is completely exhausted, you should try green juice. If you are spending a lot more time on the sofa instead of anything else, you should try green juice.  If you are wanting to reboot your life and have a fresh start (health-wise), you should try green juice.

 I truly believe after you do a week of green juicing you start to crave that "high" you get on it. I suppose similar to my addiction I had with Diet Coke, but with green juice I feel BETTER after it. Juice on!



Here are some reasons to Green Juice:


Green juice is a readily assimilated, easily digestible, unbelievably nutritious superfood.

 Drinking green juice fills your body with living enzymes, vitamins, oxygen, and phytonutrients.  Which boosts your body's natural ability to fight infection and heal chronic diseases.

 It adds enzymes to you body, and your body's aging process is indicative of how many enzymes are in your body. So by adding green juice to your diet, you may even add years to your life.

 Green juice helps your body return itself to a state of healthy alkalinity. The pH of human blood has a very narrow window of safety, from about 7.35 to 7.45.  If it gets much above or below those levels, you are probably sick. Many foods are acidic (the opposite of alkaline) causing the body to work hard 
to neutralize the affects of these foods on your blood. If the body is working like mad to keep your blood pH stable, it has less energy to fight assaults like cancer, chronic disease, and other infections.

 The Vitamin K in green juice regulates blood clotting, aids in the production of osteocalcin, a protein that stimulates bone growth, protects against osteoporosis, helps prevent diabetes, and protects against inflammatory diseases including arthritis.

 Studies have shown that green leafy vegetables significantly lower the risk of stomach, breast and skin cancer. 

 These same antioxidants have also been proven to decrease the risk of heart disease and prevent cataract and macticular degeneration in the eye.

Courtesy of www.letitflowyoga.com


If you are considering doing a green juice reboot, I highly recommend you watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead before you do. You can watch on Netflix or at www.jointhereboot.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paying it Forward {clean eating style}



I started my {clean eating} journey in the Fall of 2010. Eating clean isn't a sprint, but yet a new way of life. A new life. It's about learning new, exciting, and helpful things along this journey to better your overall health.

After about 3 months of {eating clean} I was armed with a new zest for life. I wanted to tell the world all about how great I felt. Actually, people could just tell I felt fabulous. I would get asked by friends, family, and strangers: "what are you doing to lose the weight?"  Well, let's face it, they didn't have the time to sit/stand and chat for hours on end to hear what all they needed to know to begin their journey. (and they were going to need a pencil to take notes) With that, the blog {CLEAN FREAK} was created in January 2011.  It was created to share my journey and to inspire others to make the change and feel terrific too!  Oh, what a blessing it has been to myself and others.  If you are taking the time to read this, you know.

Many people don't believe me. Many people want to be quick to judge. Many people don't want to do the work.  Many people don't give themselves enough credit. That's fine, they can continue to live the way they are if they find contentment in that.  I can't change others, but I can sure inspire them.





I have a good friend from college named Jen. We used to battle our weight for YEARS together. We attended LA Weight Loss "appointments" multiple times a week, tracked calories, took supplements, drank diet drinks and sadly, deprived ourselves of foods we loved (often). Over the past 10+ years we both got married, had two kids each, and ended up overweight in the end. Mainly, because we were doing it ALL wrong. 

Jen was one of those people that didn't believe my hype (maybe you feel the same way too, but something told you to keep reading this blog). Jen was one of the first people I told to try {eating clean}. We had struggled so much before with our weight. I was dropping inches EASILY.  I was just sticking to the rules and it was working. She HAD to try it. It may have taken her awhile to get on board, but like with anything...when you make your mind up it will get done! Jen is only 3 months into her journey but she is ON board. She finally gets all the hype. I couldn't be more proud of her. It's so rewarding to see a friend choose to {eat clean} for her family and what rewards that brings. 

Jen feels so passionate about {eating clean} now that she has created her own blog to share her journey with anyone and everyone that wants to listen! In THREE short months of {clean eating} and jogging, she has lost 30 lbs and 20 inches! I'm telling you people, this is NOT hype.

Please go to Jen's brand new site and congratulate her on her dedication to make a change and sharing it with us all! Also, you can read all about what she thought of me before she decided to dive into the world of {clean}!

UPDATE: December 2012: Jen is down 43 lbs and 28 inches. She hasn't even reached her year mark yet! If you click on the PHOTOS tab you can see before and progress pictures of Jen. WOW!

www.cleanandfitmama.com


Here's the book that started it all:



Monday, August 27, 2012

{clean} Cinnamon Banana Muffins

There is nothing I want more in the mornings than to feed my family a quick and nutritious breakfast.  These muffins do just that. Add a serving of fresh fruit and you are off to a great {clean} start!

{clean} Cinnamon Banana Muffins

(makes approximately 12 muffins)

Ingredients:
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c {all natural} applesauce
  • 2 egg whites (I actually used 1/3 cup egg white liquid)
  • 1/2 c evaporated cane juice (or any unbleached sugar that is similar)
  • 1 tsp {all natural} vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or I've used oat bran too)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbps ground flaxseed (or more if you dare)

Directions:

1) Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl.
2) Add all other ingredients to bowl.
3) Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
4) Spray muffin pan with extra virgin olive oil spray or wipe with extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking.
5) Scoop mix into muffin pan evenly.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


NOTE: These muffins are bland to me, BUT my kids keep eating them and eating them so I am not going to add anymore sugar until they complain they are bland. HA! So, if you want to add more sugar, feel free. Just wanted to give you a heads up. If you are used to standard muffins at the store, you will be disappointed. Also, you could add a smear of apple butter on them and they would be grand!

No-Bake Energy Bites

These little nuggets of love had me at NO-BAKE...These are super simple to make and the possibilities are endless. I just LOVE peanut butter!!! Heck, I LOVE all nut butters for that matter.  These make a great snack in school lunches or on the go, an after school snack to fuel up for homework, and even a great satisfying dessert!




No-Bake Energy Bites
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (I use untoasted)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (no added oils)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed 
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips-70% or greater is best (optional)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. {all natural} pure vanilla extract

Method:
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

NOTES: I typically make a double batch and use only a 1/2 cup of chocolate for the double batch. It all depends on how many of them you eat a day and how dark your chocolate is as to whether or not you should cut it back.

I make these also with dairy free Enjoy Life brand mini chips. They work great. I get my peanut butter in the cooler section of Costco and it has NO sugar in it. Parker Farms is the brand.  You can make this with almond butter as well. 


Visit this link for more detailed information on this recipe: www.smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com