Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{clean} Chick-fil-A Sandwich

We love Chick-fil-A! Or should I say, we used to love Chick-fil-A.  We don't go there anymore. Every since I ate a sandwich about a year ago, came home and looked  at the ingredients I stopped. 

Chick-fil-A Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Ingredients: Chicken (100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached flour {bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, whole powdered egg and nonfat milk solids], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added]), bun (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: liquid yeast, soybean oil, nonfat milk, salt, wheat gluten, soy flour, dough conditioners [may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylates, calcium peroxide], soy flour, amylase, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate], calcium propionate added to retard spoilage, soy lecithin, cornstarch, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), pickle (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, lactic acid, calcium chloride, alum, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate [preservatives], natural flavors, polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1).

After seeing a post on Food Babe regarding a clean version of Chick-fil-A, I was beyond excited!  I had never attempted it before because I didn't have cooling rack to use to make them crispy in the oven.  BUT, I do now! Here's what I bought: Wilton Three Tier Cooling Rack. They are great and make baked fries extra crispy too! WHY did I wait so long??? And they were only $9.99!  A must have in your kitchen.

This recipe is awesome! Beyond awesome. I will be making it again and again. It turned out so crispy in the oven on the racks.
AND it does taste like 

Chick-fil-A Sandwich

  • 2 chicken breasts equaling about 1 pound
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 12 pickle slices
  • 3 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 cup flour of your choice (I used spelt)
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 sprouted whole wheat hamburger buns or buns of your choice
  • 1 tbsp butter
***All ingredients organic, except breadsmith buns shown below***



About 4 hours before or the day before – Cut chicken breasts in half making 4 similar size pieces
With a meat tenderizer or small hammer pound the chicken to ½ inch thick
Sprinkle salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp paprika to both sides of chicken
Place chicken in 1 cup pickle juice and let marinate for at least 4 hours to one day prior to baking

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Place pickle slices in vinegar and let marinate while you prep the chicken
  3. In a bowl, combine and stir flours, sugar, baking soda, 1 tsp paprika, dry mustard and set aside
  4. In another bowl, whisk egg and almond milk together
  5. Remove chicken from marinade and dredge one piece of chicken at a time in egg bath, ensuring each side is wet and dredge in flour mixture coating each side. Place each flour coated chicken piece on a wire rack with pan on bottom
  6. Spray each piece liberally with olive oil covering both sides
  7. Place tray of chicken in oven
  8. After 12 mins, turn each piece of chicken over mid way through baking
  9. After about 25 mins – 30 mins, chicken should be completely cooked and crispy
  10. Take out of the oven and let rest at least 5 mins
  11. While chicken is resting, butter buns and place in oven for 3-5 mins
  12. Take buns out of oven, place 3 pickles on bottom bun and chicken on top and ENJOY!
For detailed pictures go to: Chick-fil-A: Now open on Sunday

CF NOTES:  I get my pickles at Trader Joe's and slice the mini pickles into slices or at Earth Fare. It's not easy finding clean pickles!  We also added Tabasco sauce to our sandwiches before eating them.  I used "rolls" from Earth Fare and decided to make mini sandwiches. I was running out of time and figured these had to be better than the stuff I would find full of trans fats in the other grocery store aisles. We may just splurge on these rolls for this recipe each time we make it! You could easily make this recipe as chicken nuggets, chicken strips, or maybe even fish! Make sure you get every inch of the chicken sprayed with olive oil spray.  Also, I took cane sugar in the vitamix and within seconds I had powdered sugar. I do not marinate my pickles.

Monday, January 28, 2013

{clean} Quick Super Spaghetti Sauce

My family enjoyed this sauce so much that I decided to create a blog entry for it.  Pureeing vegetables is a great way to sneak in vegetables to sauces and soups.  

Carrots are great because they are so sweet! Plus, carrots are packed with vitamin A and a host of health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention, and anti-aging. 

Sauce from Costco

  • 1 40 oz jar of White Linen Collection Marinara Sauce
  • 1 6 oz can no sodium added tomato paste (I get organic at Costco)
  • 5-6 large carrots, peeled
These directions are for a vitamix. I am not sure how well a regular blender will puree the carrots without cooking them down first. 


1) Blend raw carrots until creamy.
2) Add sauce and tomato paste. Blend until combined well.
3) Continue on high until sauce is warmed in vitamix, pour into a stove top pan and heat, or microwave.

Serve over spaghetti squash, sautéed garlic spinach, and/or whole grain pasta. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

{clean} Power Brownies

I pulled this recipe out of Health magazine over 6 months ago to make and I just found it folded up in my spice cabinet. Wow, I'm SO organized.

I changed the recipe to fit my needs. These were originally called energy bars, but my daughter said they tasted like brownies! So, the name Power Brownie was born. 

{clean} Power Brownies

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbps organic coconut oil (I use Barlean's)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 Tbps hemp seed or flaxseed (more if you wish, I prefer flaxseed)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips, plus extra for drizzle (over 60% is best)
1/2 cup raw peanuts (I left them out b/c my kids don't like nuts whole in baked goods)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1)  Preheat oven to 350. Spray or coat with fingers a 13 x 9 baking dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. (Mine was a little smaller)
2)  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and hemp seed. In a large bowl, beat coconut sugar and peanut butter until well combined. Beat in eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Add oats and chocolate (and peanuts), stirring to combine.
3)  Spread evening in prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool completely in a pan on wire rack.
4)  In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup or less of chocolate chips and melt in microwave for approx 1 min. Or until melted completely. Do not overheat. Stir until smooth. With a fork, drizzle chocolate over bars. Refrigerate until set. 

NOTE:  I make my own peanut butter with 1 cup raw peanuts and 1 Tbps organic coconut oil in the vitamix. I also add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs on low in the vitamix after the peanut butter is smooth.  If you don't, I suggest you slightly heat coconut oil until it's liquid form before mixing.

Use organic products when available.

Use certified gluten free oats and oat flour if you need to completely avoid gluten.  After I am done with my oat flour I have on hand, I will be making my own in the vitamix.  It truly is the best kitchen appliance EVER! 

Also, I will play around with this recipe, I may up the peanut butter to one full cup since my kids don't like raw peanut chunks.  Maybe up the oats too. I will also try making this with honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I'll update when I do. Enjoy.

2013 UPDATE: I now make my oat flour in my Vitamix. You can sub out the coconut sugar for light brown sugar if in a pinch. Also, you could do half coconut sugar and half dates. If you want completely dairy free I suggest Enjoy Life brand chocolates.

{clean} Yogurt Pancakes

My kids love pancakes. they are easy to make large batches and save for the week ahead.  Morning time can really become stressful if you don't have something easy to feed the kids (or yourself). 

This recipe came from the side of Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry flour bag. I just tweaked it slightly.

{clean} Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Any whole grain fine flour will work)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-3 Tbps flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and flaxseed. (Sift if you want and have the time)
2)  Combine in another bowl the egg, milk, yogurt, and vanilla and whisk.
3) Pour liquid into flour mixture and stir until dry ingredients are blended well.
4) Cook on griddle. Approx 350 degrees.
5) Fold in frozen wild blueberries or a fruit of your choice right before cooking.

NOTE:  It's best to buy eggs and cow's milk items organic when possible. If you are attempting to avoid GMOs, then you will want to buy organic for everything. That isn't always the case in my house. BUT, I do make an effort now to avoid them when possible. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

{clean} Vanilla Almond Milk

I've always heard that making your own almond milk is simple. Wow! It really is simple. You just need to remember to plan to soak your almonds before hand. 

This is just a basic recipe. Feel free to adjust the honey and vanilla to your taste.

{clean} Vanilla Almond Milk

  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 4-5 cups filtered water
  • 1-2 tsp all natural vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbps honey or 5-6 pitted dates
1) Soak raw almonds (covered) in water for up to 6 hours. The longer you soak the more depth of flavor your milk will have. (At least that's what I've read) Drain almonds.
2) Blend soaked almonds, filtered water, honey, and vanilla in a high speed blender until smooth. When you see the frothy top, you can stop blending.
4) Strain the milk mixture through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag

Also try: Add 1 cup almond milk, 1 Tbps cocoa powder, 1 Tbps agave or honey and you have some tasty chocolate milk. I put it in the Vitamix for a few seconds.

NOTE:  I plan on buying a nut milk bag in the future. I read about many techniques and I think the bag is the way to go. BUT, don't laugh...I got thrifty daughter had a brand new pair of tights that were too small and she was never going to use. I used them as cheese cloth and it worked fantastic. I cut the foot portion off (approx 6 inches), poured the milk into the "sock" and then squeezed the milk out. I washed it and will continue to use it until I get a true nut milk bag. 

Avoid Microwave Popcorn

We used to always buy bagged microwave popcorn and often. Never again. Once I found out how harmful it can truly be for my kids and family (and saw the list of ingredients), I stopped. For over a year now, we make all our popcorn on the stove top in a Whirley Popper. It works great, the popcorn taste great, and I have no paper bags to throw away. 

Most microwaved popcorn contains artificial colors, artificial flavors, loads of sodium, TBHQ, and many other {bad} things. You can easily make a large Whirley Popper full of {clean} popcorn for less than a $1. (And that is using organic butter and organic coconut oil)

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a long-chain perfluorinated chemical (LCPFC) that does not occur naturally in the environment.

Sounds lovely, huh? Well, it's in your microwave popcorn. Or at least it used to be. I am still not sure if it has been removed or not from microwaved popcorn since I started this journey. I know that we will NEVER buy bagged microwave popcorn again.

A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.” Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”

A second potential danger in microwave popcorn is diacetyl, an FDA-approved chemical found in the fake butter flavoring. There’s even a debilitating respiratory disease called “popcorn workers lung,” (the medical name of the condition is bronchiolitis obliterans) suffered by microwave popcorn factory workers caused by extended inhalation of the chemical’s fumes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (NIOSH) concluded that diacetyl needs further study so that workers in the flavorings and snack industry are no longer at risk.
The Food and Drug Administration continues to study whether consumers can develop lung disease from inhaling diacetyl. In response to the concerns regarding the risks of diacetyl exposure, a number of microwave popcorn manufacturers have discontinued using it in their products. (Source

Do you really want to spend time reading labels of microwaved popcorn when it's SO easy to make on the stove top? We use the Whirley-Pop, but you could easily use any pot with a lid.

My father in law has Alzheimer's Disease and it is a terrible disease to watch progress. We pray that my husband (and myself) never gets that diagnosis and are doing all we can to make that not happen.  Here's an article discussing the danger of diaetyl and it's link to Alzheimer's Disease:

You can take it a step further and buy all organic items for popping your corn and avoid most GMOs. What do I mean by "most"? See below.

100% Organic: Must contain 100 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that certifies a completely organic product AND completely GMO-free ingredients.

Certified Organic / USDA Organic / Organic: At least 95 percent of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). The <5% remaining ingredients must consist of substances approved on the USDA’s National List. GMOs are NOT on this list, so these products are also usually GMO-free.

Made with Organic: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label and are NOT typically GMO-free.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{clean} Black Bean Hummus

I made this hummus the same time I was making the Tex-Mex Polenta Pizza. I figured, why not use another chipotle pepper in something while I have them?! 

Call it a dip, call it a hummus, or just call it simple!  I didn't know what to call it. I love black beans and I love hummus. Instead of eating my chips or veggies by themselves this is a great dip to go with them. You can use this for black bean quesadillas too.

Kick up the heat a knotch and add more than one chipotle pepper.

{clean} Black Bean Hummus

  • 1 can {organic} low sodium black beans (I use Simple Truth at Kroger)
  • 1 cup carrots 
  • 1 Tbps {organic} extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 
  • 1 Tbps cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 

Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until creamy. 

Gluten Free {clean} Tex-Mex Polenta Pizza

I love Mexican food and I love pizza, so I was excited to give this recipe a try. Also, I had a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce waiting to be used (odd, I know).  

This recipe was very simple.  My husband and I both really enjoyed this recipe. I will be making it again in the future. Another recipe for Meatless Monday or any other meatless day of the week.

Gluten Free Tex-Mex Polenta Pizza

Recipe from :
Serves: 4-6 

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided (plus more for greasing pan)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (look for these in the ethnic section of your supermarket)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (to save time, buy bagged pre-shredded carrots)
  • Cumin, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded, low-fat organic mozzarella cheese (I prefer Chipotle Gouda, white cheddar, or Monterrey Jack instead)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly coat an 81⁄2-inch springform pan with extra virgin olive oil.
2)In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Whisking constantly, slowly add the cornmeal and 1 tablespoon oil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, 4–5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.
3)Remove from heat. Spread the polenta over the bottom of the prepared pan, using a spoon to form a raised edge. Set aside for 10 minutes to set.
4)Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, purée the black beans, remaining oil, and chipotle pepper until mixture is smooth and creamy. Using the back of a spoon, spread the chipotle–black bean hummus on top of the polenta. Layer the shredded carrots on top. Season carrots with cumin to taste. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the carrots.
5)Bake polenta pizza for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top. Return polenta pizza to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Allow polenta pizza to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the springform pan. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

NOTES:  I did things a little different than the recipe. My family doesn't like to see their carrots in random dishes so I pureed it all. I put the beans, oil, cumin (2 tsp), chipotle pepper and carrots into the Vitamix and created a one layer hummus spread. Then I topped with cheese. I only had mild cheddar on hand. We topped with lettuce, cilantro, and tomatoes.  
I like to steam my carrots first to make them sweeter. It's easier to hide them in the dishes. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Artificial Sweeteners {avoid them}

Here's a list of the top most dangerous artificial sweeteners, along with information about what's in them and the negative impact they can have on your health. 

1. Aspartame (Equal)-The worst artificial sweetener! 

What's in it: Phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol.

Reported side effects: Headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, neurological disorders, vision problems, brain tumors and weight gain.

Concerns: Phenylalanine and aspartic acid directly impact brain and central nervous system functions; evidence shows they play a role in mood disorders, memory problems and other neurological illnesses.

Methanol is converted into formaldehyde when metabolized.  Makers of aspartame say methanol and its byproducts are quickly excreted.  But research has found measurable amounts of formaldehyde in the livers, kidneys and brains of test subjects after ingestion of aspartame.

At high temperatures, phenylalnine breaks down into diketopiperazine (DPK), a known carcinogen. Phenylalnine is especially dangerous for people with the hereditary disease, phenylketonuria.

2. Aceslulfame-K (Sweet One)

What's in it: Acesulfame-K is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglemica. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

3. Sucralose (Splenda)

What's in it: Sucralose is a synthetic additive created by chlorinating sugar. Manufacturers say the chlorine in sucralose is no different from that in table salt. Fact: the chemical structure of the chlorine in sucralose is almost the same as that in the now-banned pesticide DDT.

Reported side effects: Head and muscle aches, stomach cramps and diarrhea, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness and inflammation.

Concerns: Research has shown sucralose can cause shrinking of the thymus gland, an important immune system regulator, and liver and kidney dysfunction. A recent study by Duke University found sucralose reduces healthy intestinal bacteria, which are needed for proper digestion and can impact the effectiveness of prescription and other drugs.

4. Saccharin (Sweet N'Low)

What's in it: Saccharin is a sulfa-based sweetener; its primary ingredient is benzoic sulfimide.

Reported side effects: For those with sulfa allergies, saccharin may cause nausea, diarrhea, skin problems or other allergy-related symptoms.

Concerns: Early safety studies of saccharin showed the sweetener caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA recently lifted the requirement that saccharin be labeled as a probable carcinogen on food packaging. 

The link between saccharin and bladder cancer has contributed to saccharin being the most investigated of all artificial sweeteners. To date, no connection between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans has been proven.

Switching out artificial sweeteners for all-natural, low-sugar substitutes is a smart option; you just might feel better.  


MORE to avoid: Sorbitol,Neotame, Cyclamate, Erythritol (I'll keep adding more when I find them)

By 2006, aspartame was found in over 6,000 products. YIKES! I can't imagine how many more now.

Say NO to all these pink, blue, and yellow packets for good!

A day of eating....{Clean Freak} style

I know many of you have expressed interest in what I eat on a daily basis. Since eating clean isn't about counting calories or fat, I really don't pay attention to what I eat (and when) because my kitchen is a safe zone and I can eat what's in it without reading labels.  

It is important to eat 6 small meals a day. Never skip breakfast and eat it within a hour of waking. Always be prepared by packing snacks to work or on the go. Always have water or green tea with you so you don't get dehydrated.

Let's begin.

Breakfast (around 7:30am):

I never used to eat breakfast. It was a huge accomplishment to master eating in the mornings. I have one of the follow with a cup of coffee (and a small amount of water). 99% of my breakfasts contain no meat and no dairy.
  • A cup of clean oatmeal (recipe)
  • 1-2 slices of Ezekiel toast with {all natural} Peanut Butter or Barlean's Coconut Oil
  • Green juice/Slice of Bread
  • Raw nuts and banana
  • 2 No-Bake Energy Bites/Green juice
  • Homemade muffin
Mid-Morning Snack (usually around 10-11am):

It really just depends on how hungry I am or what I am doing as to how much I eat at this time. I always leave the house with a 20 oz glass of iced green tea with all natural stevia.

  • Banana
  • Raw nut mix
  • Veggies and dip
  • Apple
  • Cuties
  • No-Bake Energy Bites
This picture is for after zumba.  I usually eat more right afterward zumba than if I wasn't working out.

Lunch (between 12-1:30pm):

Lunch varies greatly. If I am home, I often heat up some leftovers. If I am on the go it's very basic. I would eat one of the items below. Most all lunches contain no meat and no dairy either. Water.
  • Garlic green beans or any other side vegetable from dinner (leftovers)
  • Salad with no cheese and little amount of vinaigrette dressing.
  • Black bean soup (leftovers)
  • Veggie soup (leftovers)
  • Hummus with WAY BETTER sprouted chips
  • Raw veggies with hummus
  • Black bean dip with sprouted chips
  • Green Juice
Mid-Day Snack (around 4pm):

This may or may not happen depending on if I am hungry or not. More water or another green tea(maybe).

  • 2 No-Bake energy bites (recipe)
  • raw nut mix (recipe)
  • roasted 50% less salt almonds
  • apple, pear, or banana
Dinner (around 6pm):

Dinner varies greatly too. We eat poultry 2-3 times a week. Fish usually 1-2. The rest are vegetarian days. Dinner is where I will eat cheese (dairy) if it's needed for the recipe.  I try to serve 2 vegetables with each meal or a vegetable and bean.  I don't always have fruit with dinner, but the kids typically do.  (I'll do a whole other post for the kids). Water.

  • Veggie soup with grilled cheese (recipe)
  • Chicken and Black bean tacos, chips/guacamole, corn
  • Grilled Chicken, baked potato, and green beans
  • Wanna be Spaghetti (recipe), fresh baked bread, salad
  • Black bean/cheese quesadillas, salad, and corn (chips and salsa)
  • Vegetable pizza, salad
  • Fish, sweet potato fries(recipe), and vegetable

Super quick Chipotle Cheese Quesadillas (corn tortillas), corn, beans, lettuce and salsa. Added Chipotle hot sauce too.

Veggie Panini (tomato, cheese, spinach, and olive tapenade) on whole grain, sweet potato fries, broccoli and fresh pineapple

Crockpot chicken(recipe), no egg noodles with carrots, peas, mashed potatoes, and roll. 

Late Night Snack (9pm-10pm):

This all depends on if I am even hungry. More water.

  • apple
  • chips and salsa
  • pistachios
  • homemade "ice cream" from fruit
  • homemade cookie
  • no-bake energy bites
  • nut mix
In the end I typically drink 80+ ounces of water/green tea a day. It is recommended you drink half your body weight in ounces a day.  Before starting this journey I drank NO water. Ok, maybe a sip, but that's it! My old lifestyle left me feeling hungry all the time. Now, I rarely feel hungry. If I do, it's my own fault for not eating my snack or meal on time. It takes a few months for your body to get used to clean eating. Artificial sweeteners,  processed foods, and chemicals cause us to feel hungry often. 

NOTE: I don't eat raw nuts more than twice a day. I don't eat more than 3-4 energy bites a day. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Green Juice {by the batch}

Many of you are jumping on the green juice bandwagon. Congrats! Your body and mind will thank you.

Here's a picture diary of a batch of green juice I made. I hope the pictures help you out as you begin your green juice journey. You basically want to make sure you are keeping your juices "green" with the majority leafy greens and watery vegetables (like celery and cucumber). Make sure you don't add too many fruits (or carrots) or it will contain too much natural sugar. Think ratio 4:1.

The sweetness & water (cucumber)

 About 8-10 leaves of kale

  Approx 8-10 ounces of baby spinach

The finished product: Just about 2 qt of green juice. 
This will keep in the fridge for no more than 24 hours in a sealed container. 

If you don't know much about Kale, check this out:

Juice on! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Natural" foods {don't be fooled}

The word Natural on a package really doesn't mean a damn thing.  Depressing I know. This was something I was shocked to hear when I began clean eating.  You want to trust if something says "natural" that it means it's all "natural" and good for you. It just isn't going to be that easy folks. 

Natural has no regulatory meaning.  The FDA merely says (note obfuscating double negatives):
From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.
That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. (source)

Who can use "Natural"??? Anyone can put the term “natural” (or “all natural”) on most foods, since the Food and Drug Administration has no formal definition of the term and doesn’t regulate it or really police it. So far, according to the agency, it has “not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.” The one exception: meats and poultry, which are regulated by a different organization, the US Department of Agriculture. (source)

And then, there are those people that sue over the misuse of the word "natural" on foods. Read more here: Natural on Food Labels 

I think we have a bigger issue here than the word "natural" being misused. I think the big issue is making it a law to have all GMO foods labeled. All food information available for everyone if they desire to read it. Will this ever happen in my lifetime? I will remain hopeful.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Consuming Margarine {it is dangerous to your health}

Stop using margarine and fake butter. FOR GOOD. It raises your cholesterol, causes heart disease, and many other things.  There is a reason it is so much cheaper compared to's NOT real food.

Are bodies are NOT meant to consume or breakdown margarine. They contain added chemicals and additives. The book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan discusses margarine among many other "non-foods" and how they came to be on our store shelves.  It's very interesting. 

"Don’t eat anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Imagine how baffled your ancestors would be in a modern supermarket: the epoxy-like tubes of Go-Gurt, the preternaturally fresh Twinkies, the vaguely pharmaceutical Vitamin Water. Those aren’t foods, quite; they’re food products. History suggests you might want to wait a few decades or so before adding such novelties to your diet, the substitution of margarine for butter being the classic case in point. My mother used to predict “they” would eventually discover that butter was better for you. She was right: the trans-fatty margarine is killing us. Eat food, not food products."-Michael Pollan

I found this chart. I have not idea where it came from, or if it's 100% fact, but I am guessing it's not that far from the truth. 

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter:
Vegetable Oil Blend (Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Canola Oil), Water, Sweet Cream Buttermilk*, Salt, Mono And Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor (Milk), (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Disodium Edta) Used to Protect Quality, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color). *Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount of Cholesterol.

Land of Lakes Margarine Stick:

Liquid Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Buttermilk, Contains Less Than 2% Of Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Vegetable Mono And Diglycerides, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored with Beta Carotene (Provitamin A). 

Even these ants know what is real "food" and what isn't. WOW! 

Oils and Fats to Avoid:

Vegetable Oils and their fats should be avoided completely. There are much healthier alternatives and there is no reason or need to consume these types of fats. The main culprits to watch out for are:

Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Soybean Oil
“Vegetable” oil
Peanut Oil
Sunflower Oil
Safflower Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Grapeseed Oil
I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter (You better believe it!)
Smart Balance (Not a Smart idea!)
Any fake butter or vegetable oils products

Need more convincing, follow this link: WellnessMama

Friday, January 4, 2013

Processed Drinks {you should avoid them}

This is going to touch on just the liquid consumption of sugar...

Many people don't realize how much sugar they are drinking on a daily basis. Many want to live in denial, but they want the extra pounds to just magically go away. Many people doesn't realize their energy level is low because of over consuming sugar.  Sugar IS a drug. Seriously. Many people believe that if sugar was introduced today it would have a hard time getting approval from the FDA. That's food for thought. Here's a great link discussing the fact that Sugar is a Drug,

From here on out, you will not be in that group of "many" people. Why you ask? That's because I have spelled it all out for you in this blog entry.

 It's time to get educated on the world of PROCESSED {sugary} DRINKS. If you are reading this, you now will know.  That only leaves two options for you... 1) you can ignore the fact that consuming sugary drinks/chemical drinks are causing you to feel poorly and is stopping you from reaching your optimal health... or 2) YOU can make a massive CHANGE. Starting today! That will impact your tomorrows.

Here's a list of MANY sugary drinks I see people consuming on a daily basis. Many of them being consumed by children not old enough to even understand what a gram of sugar even means and how sugar affects their bodies. That fault goes back on the parent. I was there once, I can admit that.  However, life is different now that I know the facts and how sugar negatively affects our moods and overall health.

Capri Sun Roarin' Waters

You are reading that correctly, it does contain water...BUT, it also contains HFCS and artificial sweeteners. Let's come to terms with the fact that Natural Flavor really isn't natural at all. I used to give this to my kids thinking it was just flavored water. WOW! When I started reading labels this NEVER came back into my house again.  

Capri Sun 25% less sugar Fruit Punch

This has 16g of sugar even after it makes you think it's the better choice. It's hard to say how much sugar a child is supposed to consume because of the large age range of children. A good rule of thumb is to stay under 15 grams of sugar a day (for a child 10 or under). This drink is mainly water and HFCS and concentrated juices (processed juice). Read what Food Babe has to say about it:Capri Sun 

Sunny D
This drink contains 11g of sugar per 6.75 ounces. That isn't even the worst part of this beverage. Look at the ingredients! Water, High Fructose, Corn Syrup and 2% or less of EACH of the following: Concentrated juices (orange, tangerine, apple, lime, grapefruit). Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Natural Flavors, Food starch-modified, canola oil, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate to protect flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow # 6
YUCK! And they advertise it that it will give you a "boatload of energy"? WOW. Do NOT believe commercials or labeling. 

Danimal Smoothies
My kids used to suck these down 2-3 a day.  I will say they have changed the ingredient profile a little bit since 2010, but it's still mainly milk and sugar. 14 grams in each TINY little smoothie container. The ingredients at the end of the list are preservatives and food additives. 

Orange Juice
There is approximately 22 grams of sugar (30 grams in the not from concentrate types) in 8 ounces of concentrated orange juice. It is VERY important to give up processed sugary drinks if you really want to have more energy, lose weight, and eat clean!

Let's do a little exercise, shall we...a pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.
If you drank ONE glass of OJ a day that would be 22 grams of sugar (8,030 grams a year). Convert that to calories. There is roughly 4 calories in one gram of sugar. That's 32,120 calories you could drop in one year by giving up ONE 8 ounce glass of OJ in the morning. That's over 9 pounds of calories. If you aren't very active, I'm guessing that 9 pounds is sitting somewhere on you right now.

Coke: 20 ounce bottle: 65 grams of sugar
94,900 calories a year from one 20 ounce bottle a day.
25 lbs of calories a year.
Mt. Dew: 20 ounce bottle: 77 grams of sugar
Sprite: 20 ounce bottle: 64 grams of sugar
Here's a great link that shows the sugar in many popular sugary drinks:

Just in case you are someone that doesn't consume ANY of the sugary drinks above, there is still a huge issue in drinking diet drinks...

I've touched on this many times. Stop drinking diet drinks. Period. Need reasons to quit?, read this: Diet Coke {rehab}

I get asked many times, WHERE do I begin this eating clean journey? I say, start with what you drink.  Drink only water, coffee (1-2 cup a day), brewed Green Tea (a must), and/or any other brewed {all natural} teas that are sweetened with {all natural} Stevia. You can make fresh lemonade with Stevia as well.

 If you are paying close attention you will notice that I didn't mention milk. There are plenty of other ways to get calcium in your diet besides drinking milk. Cheese, yogurt, almonds, flaxseeds, and green leafy vegetables to name a few.  Leaving out milk will also help with reducing inflammation.

There you have it folks, my run down on why I feel it's VERY important to overhaul what you drink. I think I'll go have a glass of water now.