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}!


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

  • 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


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

  • 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)

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,  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


  • 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


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.