Come check out my NEW Babblin' Brooke blog. It's lots of fun! This blog will no longer be updated. Hope to see you soon at my new site!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've Moved!

Ok, it's official!  This blog has been retired but I would LOVE it if you would join me on my NEW blog...

I promise it's much more fun and there's lots more fun to come. 

Become a follower or subscribe to the feed so you don't miss anything.  It's going to be a blast! 

Join me at the new Babblin' Brooke!

You can see fun tutorials such as how to make Soda Can Hair Bows, Kool-Aid Play Dough or Lemon Bars {delicious!}. 

Clean Eating Challenge: Cookbook WINNER!!

Well, if I were smart enough to figure out how to get the random.org picture with the number on it, I would but since I'm not... I won't!  ;)

You'll just have to trust that the winner of the cookbook is commenter #1 on this post

So, LeShel, you WIN! 

E-mail me at babblinbrooke 22 {at} gmail {dot} com so we can discuss which book you would like. 

My recommendation would definitely be The Diet Rebel's Cookbook but you are welcome to choose any of the three. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 8 -- Keep it up!

And now we're all eating well, with only a set amount of cheating, drinking lots and lots of water, exercising regularly and feeling great, right?  Do you feel any different?  Does your body know when you've cheated? 
I hope you all answered yes. 

Well, this week (and from now on) we're just going to keep up with what we've been doing.  Next Monday we'll find a winner for the recipe book. 

It will get easier, I promise. 

After the winner is chosen, I will probably be switching to my Wordpress blog exclusively.  So, please join me over there. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

**Sigh**

Well, I'm still having issues with the other blog.  Grrr!  I have yet to figure out the header thing. 

But, no matter.  I'm focusing on this on for the moment. 

So, hello! 

I can't believe I haven't even blogged our 4th of July yet.  What a slacker!  For those of you that live in Utah, were you as amazed by the new Utah legal fireworks as I was?  Our whole neighborhood was lit up all weekend and into the first of the week.  My kids got all excited because they could see them from their beds.  C was especially excited!  He kept telling us "The fireworks in the trees, huh!" 

His excitement was contagious when he was able to actually sit outside and watch the fireworks.  My cousin that lives just around the corner from us invited us over with her family to watch some on Saturday night, then on Sunday a neighbor invited us over.  They do a pretty large display every year.  But C was so excited every time a loud one was lit (the fountains) and he'd stomp his feet and clap his hands really hard and fast. 

It was the funniest thing ever.  Of course it's one of those had-to-be-there moments so I'm sure you're not laughing, but we were.  I think it was his way of not being scared. 

And now I'm off, again, to mess with my ever so frustrating new blog.  Come by and visit!  And I'd even let you leave a comment or two.  Just so I feel better.  ;) 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Would you hate me if...

Don't ask me what the heck I was thinking when I decided last month to start a new blog.  That's right, friends, I did it.  "Everyone's doing it" was the thought process behind that one. 

All I have to say is... UGH!  And then a double UGH UGH!! 

I don't know anyone that I talk to on a regular basis that has a Wordpress blog.  Everyone I know has a Blogger blog.  But I kept hearing little birdies whispering that Wordpress was better.  And not just a wordpress.com blog but a self-hosted Wordpress blog. 

The buzz is that they're better, so what do I do?  I FELL FOR IT!! 

My little brain got all excited and I took the plunge. 

Imagine my surprise when I find out that Wordpress is ridiculously confusing for a simple minded Brooke like me.  Ummm, you want me to know CSS?  I've never even heard that term before. 

See, Blogger has it all mapped out for me all nice and easy.  If I want to add a new function, I simply click on that 'add a gadget' tool and they're all there... everything I could ever want!  Wordpress?  Not so much.  There are certain things I have change the coding for.  CHANGE THE CODING!  Ummm, hi!  That could change {not to mention ruin} my whole blog.  And then I'd have absolutely NO clue how to fix it.  Because once you mess with the CSS {apparently different than HTML}, there's no getting it back.  Scary, I tell you! 

So, I started the blog, got really really frustrated with it (and ornery because I couldn't figure out my own dumb blog), started blogging there anyway, got more frustrated because it's still giving me crap, it's super ugly because I can't figure out how to beautify it, and I really just want to give up! 

Why don't I, you ask?  I'll tell you why, because I paid good money for that self-hosted piece of not-so-loveliness and DARNIT ALL, I'm gonna get my money's worth! 

**The above statement is my version of swearing.** 

So, in short, I'll still be updating this blog for the time being... once in a while (and we'll definitely finish out the Clean Eating Challenge here), but most of my blogging will occur over there.  I'll link you at the end of this post. 

But first, I need to ask you a favor.  Go to the other blog, check it out, then tell me what you think... Do you like the way it's laid out?  Does it need more or less of something? 

I made different categories so people can check out the ones that interest them.  But maybe you prefer it all on one page.  You'll be entering the "Welcome" page and I don't know if I like that or not.  Just tell me what you think.  I already know that I need a new header.  The default header there is just plain hideous but I haven't dared play with my CSS coding so...

I wanted to create a new blog to inspire ME to get out there and make more memories for my kids.  Sometimes I feel like we get into such a rut and I don't want my kids to remember that. 

Anyway, here's the link

Monday, July 4, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 7 -- Exercise

Now that you are eating clean while still eating your favorite junk food (in moderation, right?), it's time to start exercising. 

Maybe you already are and that's great! 

I would love to say that I know exactly what you should be doing for exercise but indeed, I do not!  I can tell you what I recommend, however.  Cardio at least 3 times per week and strength training 3 times per week.  They can be done together or on completely separate days.  But I can almost guarantee that if you are only doing one or the other, you won't get the results you want. 

As frustrating as that is, it's the truth.  With cardio only, you might see some weight loss (if that's what you're going for) but your shape will not change.  With strength training only, you might feel stronger but you may never see any weight loss.  And continuing to eat well will only aid in your results.  I promise.  Less cheating means for better results. 

So, get to it!  Simple enough, no?  And if you have any questions or anything about clean eating (or anything else) feel free to ask.  I can't promise to know the answer for sure but I promise to try and find out.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Post Cards Needed!

Hey, I was wondering if you could help me out.  My kids and I are trying to collect a post card from every state.  I've emailed all the friends and family that I can think of that live out of state but I'm nowhere NEAR covering all 50 states. 

Most of you probably know that we homeschool our kids so this is a project we'd like to do in order to teach them the names of the states.  We will be studying the states as we receive post cards.  Unless of course they all come at once.  Then we'll put them in our binder for later use.  In the end, we'd like to have a binder with a post card from each state. 

If you happen to live out of state or are traveling out of state and would be willing to send us a post card, please let me know.  The only requirement I have, unless I already know you, is that you must have a blog that I can check out just to make sure you aren't a crazy person.  I'm sure you're not, I just want to make sure before I send you my address.  ;)

Don't let your kids eat fruit!!

Are you confused by the title of this post?  Let me explain.

Now that my girls have started dance lessons, I'm at the dance studio three nights a week for an hour each night.  During that hour, I have tried to read the book I borrowed from the library because, well, when else do I get to read?  Unfortunately, I forget what I've just read almost instantly because of one of the moms at dance. 

Please don't get me wrong.  I'm sure she's a nice enough woman.  She's just very loud!  She and her posse sit in a circle (right under the window that parents can look through to see their kids... could you please move?) conversing.  

Well, one of the nights last week, she was telling another mom how frustrated she was that her 7-year-old daughter (who she thinks is too thin) wouldn't eat anything that she buys for her.  "She won't eat Cap'n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, nothin'!  She'll only eat the stuff I buy for me like Crispix and Chex."

To which the other mom asked, "Will she eat fruit or anything?"

"Oh yeah!  She eats fruit all the time but I can't get her to eat anything with calories!" 

Is it just me or is that just really odd?  I mean, Heaven forbid your child should want to eat something not sugar-laden or less processed. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Attitude!

Boy did I have an attitude last night!  I was fine up until it was time for our workout.  It was Plyo-X night.  Plyo is evil and I hate it!  It's Anthony's absolute favorite while it's my least favorite.  I just plain didn't want to do it.  I suggested trying Cardio X but Anthony was reluctant.  He wanted his Plyo. 

I was forced to endure the entire demonic workout pretty much by myself due to an injured calf Anthony is nursing.  Ummm, yeah, that was irritating... not the calf, just the fact that I had to do it by myself.  I really should have just done the cardio no matter what he said.  I knew he wouldn't be able to the Plyo, it's all about jumping.  Injured calf... HELLO!  No jumping!! 

Just a few minutes in, Anthony could see my irritation and suggested that I needed to find my Chi.  He's currently reading a book called Chi Running which explains all about having your chi in check and such.  Yada, yada, yada.  Can you imagine the surge of anger I felt as he is suggesting that I find my chi?  MAYBE IT'S ON VACATION, NOW HUSH!  I didn't say that, I just really wanted to.  Find my chi... pssshhhh! 

I think it's this darn weather.  No it's not raining, hailing, snowing, foggy, or even windy.  The problem?  It's so darn sunny! 

That's right, I've got a confession.  I do NOT love summer.  Sure, I love the activities, the laughter, the kids playing outdoors, the food (Summer means lots of yummy fruits and veggies in season, right?), the bbq's, the get-togethers and even the busy-ness.  **Would the real word be business?  Because I thought about putting that but then I thought you would read it as BIZ-ness.**

But that darn SUN!  It makes it so dang HOT!  Given the choice between hot or cold, I will take cold every time.  Anyone that knows me well knows that I don't do heat.  I HATE HEAT!!!!!  Hibernation for me comes during the summer time.  Or it would, if it would just slow down.  Summer is crazy around these here parts.  I'm sure that's normal for just about everyone.  Just venting for a moment.  Anyone else have the I'm-a-bear-in-the-heat syndrome?  Let's call it an allergy. 

Oh, and speaking of attitude, C is really beginning to have one as well.  Maybe he's allergic as well.  He's been walking around with his little 3-year-old attitude saying, "Kill you!" in a not so funny tone.  What do I do about that?  Actually, last night we put soap in his mouth.  In all fairness, we warned him several times and he kept saying it.  Probably just to see if we really meant what we said.  So, I grabbed the baby wash and Anthony pumped a small amount into his mouth (which he willingly held open).  Let's just say I don't think he'll be so willing the next time.  And yes, we rinsed it out right away. 

He's also been telling everyone to "Be a man!"  He picked that up from "Follow That Bird".  Have you seen that one?  If not, you really should.  It's a Sesame Street movie.  One of my favorites from my childhood.  Still love it.  Total nerd, I know.

Anyway, it started out with him telling H to "be a man" as they layed in their beds one night.  Now, he says it to anyone that's annoying him in any way.  At least he's polite about it.  "Please stop it, Mom.  Be a man!" 

When I retort with, "YOU be a man," he always says, "No, I can't. I'm a boy." 

Oh how I love that little boy.  He's great! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 6 -- Implement "The Cheat"

Well, how was your week?  Was it super hard not to cheat at all (other than maybe a food storage item here and there)? 

This week you get to cheat!  Woohoo for cheats! 

Alright, there are a few ways you can do this.  There's the 'cheat meal', the 'cheat day', and the 80/20 rule.  Let me explain...

Cheat Meal:  This is where you eat clean all the time except one meal per week.  A predesignated meal (maybe a Saturday lunch or something) that you decide you will eat whatever cheat meal you feel is necessary for you to get your 'fix' of junk food for the week.  Maybe you need a combo meal from McDonalds or something.  Or maybe your favorite pizza joint is calling your name.  Or maybe one of your snacks is going to be a decadant dessert of some sort.  Whatever floats your boat.  

The designated day could change depending on your weekly plans.  Maybe you have a party planned on Tuesday.  Make Tuesday your Cheat Meal day. 

Cheat Day:  This is a whole day during the week designated to eating whatever you want and not worrying about it.  Be careful with this one though.  If you are afraid that designating a whole day will throw your chi off with the clean eating, don't do it!  Stick with the Cheat Meal or the.....

80/20 Rule:  This is where you make sure that you are eating clean at least 80 percent of the time.  The other 20 percent is whatever you want.... and sometimes 'whatever you want' turns out to be clean anyway.   

This is the 'cheat' that works for me the best because, although I started out trying the Cheat Meal plan, my life seems so out of control at times.  We frequently have friends over or are invited to a get together with family or friends and I know that the food options won't always be clean.  Anthony and I both try to eat mostly clean in those situations by filling up on fruits, vegetables, water, and whatever other clean options are available before diving into the nasties.  And often times, that is enough to keep us satisfied and we don't need the yucky stuff.  This coming from the girl who has a hard time saying no to food in general, let alone the sweets and processed crap. 

One thing that we hardly ever give in to these days is soda.  That's one thing that we have given up almost entirely whether we're cheating or not.  The only soda we've consumed at all since beginning our journey several months ago was in the form of a root beer float... twice. 

I try to keep it more on the 90/10 side.  Just please keep it at least 80/20 if this is the cheat plan you choose.  Don't go any less 80% clean. 

And always remember to eat only until satisfied no matter what you are eating.  The 5-6 meals rule also applies. 

Another important thing to TRY and do is make your cheats homemade.  If you can, try not to eat the processed foods.... ever!  It really is ok to have treats once in a while but if you make your own chocolate chip cookies rather than buying Chips Ahoy, you really are doing yourself a favor.  At least you know what went into it and you can name all the ingredients.  Every once in a while a processed treat is necessary, I get that.  Just try to keep it in check. 

Well, I hope this week goes well for you.  Keep me posted on your progress. 

In case you missed the past Clean Eating Challenge posts, click on the "Clean Eating Challenge" under the labels on the right. 

And if you wrote down or printed out the ranch dressing recipe, I hope you caught it after the correction.  Nothing major but there was a slight error. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Update:  I just corrected the amount of agave in this recipe.  It originally said "1 - 2 T." but it should be 1 - 2 tsp.  Sorry about that. 

This is yet another recipe that I expected not to fully love considering that I am admittedly addicted to anything sugary, processed, or full of MSG.  Or at least I was.  Now I just do my best to stay away from it... mostly, so as not to tempt myself too much with it.  Because although my tastebuds say they need it, my body does not love it once consumed. 

Here's the mix part of this recipe (store in an airtight container):
2/3 c. dried parsley flakes
3 1/2 T. dried dill weed
5 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. onion powder
1/4 c. sea salt



When you're ready to make your dressing:

Place 5 tsp. of dressing mix into small bowl and add the following
1 c. Vegenaise* (found in health food stores in the refrigerated section -- you can use mayonaisse in a pinch but try to find one made with olive oil or other heart healthy oil)
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 - 2 tsp. agave nectar (remember to buy raw)
1/2 - 1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar

Mix well with a whisk.  Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.  So yummy!  And it's thick like my favorite brands too. 


 Enjoy!

Recipe source:  The Diet Rebel's Cookbook

Taco Seasoning

When I first made this taco seasoning, I have to admit, I was expecting something sort of bland.  The packets you buy in the store are full of MSG which really helps enhance the flavor of certain foods.  Nevermind that it's absolutely horrible for our bodies. 

So, when I used it in my Taco Soup recipe, I was expecting to tell my family that it's just something we'll have to get used to... the bland taste. 

What I wasn't expecting was to actually like it MORE than the convenient little packets I have been using for years!  No joke, even my kids and Anthony said it was better.  So happy about that! 

So, here's the recipe... I'm positive you're going to LOVE it!

2/3 c. onion powder (or onion granules)
1 1/4 c. chili pepper powder
1 3/4 T. garlic powder
2/3 c. ground cumin
3 1/2 T. paprika
3 1/2 T. dried oregano
2 T. Sucanat (dehydrated cane juice)

Mix it all up and store in an airtight container. 

So easy, right?  And definitely yummy.  After a tiny bit of research (because I have never measured a packet of taco seasoning) I learned that 4 T. (1/4 cup) is the equivalent of one packet.  Now, go make yourself some tacos or something.

Recipe Source:  The Diet Rebel's Cookbook

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WELL, FINE THEN!!

A dead even tie... it's a conspiracy!  Well, since the recipe poll came out even, I guess I have no other choice but to give you BOTH recipes. 

You win! 

So, later today, I will post them.  Pics and all.  Not that you really need pics because we all know what taco seasoning and ranch dressing look like but I just want to be cool and post pics, okie dokie? 

By the way, the title of this post is kind of an inside joke.  I really should write it here and let you read about it.  Maybe one of these days.  So funny!  Or maybe it's just one of those "had to be there" things. 

Oh, and have I mentioned that my girls have started their dance classes?  No, I haven't... but now you know.  Dang it!  That reminds me, I still need to blog the lemonade stand.  I'm so behind. 

But that's only partly true... K and A have started, H starts tonight.  I have no doubt that she'll love it just as the other two have so far.  I know that one of my best pals from Jr. High has a daughter (on a competition team) that attends at that particular studio as well but I haven't bumped into her yet.  Where are you Hydie?  (Ok, it's really Heidi but she started spelling it Hydie way back when and pronouncing it a bit different, too.)  Just remember that if I run into you, and I haven't seen you for quite some time, my face is bound to turn beet red as soon as we bump into each other.  I don't know why, it just happens.  My face turns red quite often... it's one of my weak points.  How do I stop it?  I'm such a nerd!

Wow, this post has really gone off into left field.  Sorry about that.  I have lots of posts coming... WATCH OUT!!

Look what I got the other day...


Do you know what this means? 

Neither do I but I think it means good luck is headed my way.  I could sure use some good luck about now. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 5 -- Lunches and Dinners

I almost forgot to post this.  With Father's Day and the fact that my week/weekend kind went haywire on me, I just about spaced it.  But no worries!  I know you're thanking your lucky stars about now because whatever would you do without your next Clean Eating Challenge post? 

Ok, so I'm sure you'd all get along just fine.  Just let me pretend that I'm needed.  ;)

This week we're going to clean up the remainder of your meals.  THIS IS A NO CHEATING WEEK!  Let me repeat... there is to be NO CHEATING this week.  Got it?  Good!

Here's the part where I contradict myself...
If you're one of those 'crazy Mormons' like myself, and have a crazy, hair-brained idea such as food storage (or maybe you're not a Mormon but still have a crazy notion to have such a storage), you may have not-so-clean items in your storage that you're not willing to part with.  I hear ya!  That was money well spent to feed your family and I'm not telling you to get rid of it.  Some clean foodies (that's what we're calling them for the moment) will tell you to rid your home of all unclean foods.  

Ummm, sorry but I'm too cheap to throw it away and I am NOT willing to GIVE it all away either.  So, in our food storage, I had dirty items such as cream of ... (fill in the blank) soups, tomato soup, ketchup, bbq sauce, ranch dressing, taco seasoning packets, WHITE rice, WHITE pasta, etc.  That's a lot of food to get rid of.  Not that all canned foods are dirty, they're not.  Canned beans (watch for sugars though), tomato paste/sauce, fruit in its own juices, etc. are all great canned items.

So what are you supposed to do?  Well, at our house, I try to make all of our meals clean; breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Dinner is clean too, MOST nights.  In order to still use up what's down in our food storage, I try to make completely clean dinners five nights a week.  The other two nights, we make an old 'dirty' favorite with items from our food storage.  Just remember not to overindulge.  Eat just 'til satisfied, not full.  

Now here's the part that may scare you.  It scared me at first too because, how in the world would I make dinner without canned, boxed, or bottled dirtiness?  Are you ready for it?  Here it is:  ONCE IT'S GONE, IT'S GONE!  DON'T BUY IT AGAIN!  It is possible to make clean versions of those same foods.  Surprised?  I was. 

And guess what, it's not that hard.  I've had so much fun making homemade ranch dressing and homemade taco seasoning.  We don't even miss the MSG.  That stuff is in a lot of processed foods.  It's not good for you, stay away from it.  

Oh, but as I was saying, the ranch and taco seasoning are BETTER than the packaged stuff.  Hard to believe, eh?  I didn't think it was possible but it's true.  Maybe we just enjoy the flavors because we're excited to not be eating crap anymore.  At any rate, it's good stuff.  Both of those recipes come from The Diet Rebel's Cookbook.  I'm beginning to think that it's my very favorite of the three that I got for Mother's Day.  

Tell you what, I'll even give you one of the recipes.  Just vote in the poll telling which recipe you'd like and the one with the most votes will be posted in the next couple of days. 

Simple enough, right?  Clean food is yummy and there's a lot to choose from.  Everything from fruits/vegetables, lean cuts of meat, eggs, whole grains, to dairy products and more.

If you know of a recipe that your family loves, just tweaking a few of the ingredients could make it a clean meal.  Or you could ask my best friend Google for some insight.  Just type in something like "clean eating recipes" or even "healthy recipes".... something to that effect. 

A couple of sites I've been to are:
The Gracious Pantry
Clean Eating Mama

There are soooo many more though.  Just do some research.  You'll find your favorites. 

Next week, we'll talk about how and when to eat crap.  But remember, this week is a NO CHEATING week (except a dinner or two... only a little dirtiness, please! i.e. a can of cream soup)

Keep it clean, people!

In case you missed it:  (I'm too lazy to put all the links here right now -- I know, lame -- but if you go to my Labels on the sidebar and click 'Clean Eating Challenge'... all the past weeks challenges are there.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Going Nuts!

Taking a much needed break from my chaos at the moment. 

I'm pretty sure I'll be in a mental institution by Monday.  I know we all have way too much going on and now that summer is upon us, the way-too-much turns into more-than-I-can-handle.  Every year I tell myself I'm not going to let it get that way and every year I prove myself wrong. 

Not only have we been sick for the past couple of weeks but I've also volunteered for my girls' Liberty Girls Retreat (tomorrow) which will be super fun, but super chaotic as well.  The order for the looms I am putting together came in late (as in yesterday), I'm supposed to 'come up with' a hair bow out of coffee filters for the girls to make... didn't know about that until yesterday (can anyone point me in the right direction?), I've got more orders for soda can bows than I know what to do with (which I'm grateful for, just trying to find a moment...), my house is a disaster as a result of us all being sick (nothing ever gets done when we're all sick), we've got family coming in from out of town on Saturday, and the Father's Day party is scheduled to be at my home on Sunday. 

HOLY CRAP!  I have so much to do.  Did I mention I still need to go to the grocery store between all of this? 

OH!  And my girls are starting dance classes on Monday (K), Tuesday (A) and Wednesday (H)... why must they all choose a different style of dance?  Simplicity is not in their genes I suppose.  

Is it alright to scream yet?   So, if you see me, and my eyes are all bugged out, my hair a bit unkempt, and I have a cheesy perma-smile on, you can bet I've gone looney.  You may need to admit me. 

I'm just hoping I have time to shower a couple of times, maybe? 

And if I don't, well, I guess I'll just reek... for a week... and be a geek. 

You don't need to tell me what a great poet I am.  I really need to get this stuff published.  You're jealous, I know.  Deal with it!  ;)

And the next time I need a chaos break, you'll get to hear all about my awesome kids and how they earned their own way into dance lessons (with a little help ;). 

I hope your summer's as chaotic as mine is so far.  Not because chaos is fun but because it brings memories.  Hope they're good ones! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 4 -- The Right Amount

I've got to admit that this week was a terrible one for me as far as my eating goes.  Admitting that is not fun especially considering that I'm trying to help YOU eat better.  All I can say is that I'm really doing this more for myself than anyone else.  It's hard to eat clean when there are so many great tasting and convenient foods out there.  On the other hand, what is the goal here?  Mine is better overall health and knowing that I'm not putting foreign chemicals and other man made yuckies into my own body and the bodies of my precious family.  There's enough research out there to convince me that it does absolutely no good to eat that crap.  It only leads to more long-term diseases and other crap. 

That said, my whole family has been and actually still is sick.  We've had terrible colds, congestion, pink eye and who knows what else.  My weekly trip to the grocery store never had a chance so we've been feasting on whatever was already in the house and convenient due to lack of energy.  It just doesn't seem fair to be sick at the beginning of summer.  Colds in the summer?  It's preposterous!    

But this is a new week which means I get to try again and do everything I can to get back on track.  The grocery store is calling my name and I can't wait to get myself some yummy food with actual nutritional value.  I think it will help us all recover quicker also.  

So this week, we're going to focus on the amount of food you are taking in.  If you've read my blog long, you know that I've already said that when you're eating clean, you don't need to count calories.  And now here I am telling you to watch the amount of food you eat.  

Just know that from here on out, I may sound like a walking contradiction due to the fact that eating clean really is a personal thing and it all depends on what your goals are and how far you want to run with it.  

We know that calorie intake really plays a huge factor in our weight.  Eating clean really is more about better health and eating whole foods.  However, often times, with that comes weight loss.  But that really depends on whether you have weight to lose and it is still possible to gain weight while eating clean if you're not careful.  

Maybe you're thinking, why the heck would you say that I don't need to count calories then?  Well, here's the deal:

When we eat only 3 or 4 meals a day (which many people do), we are so hungry by the time that we eat that we over indulge.  So, what you need to do is eat 5 or 6 times per day.  Sound like too much?  It's not.  This tells your metabolism to speed up because it's going to be getting more fuel within the next few hours.  Your body now knows that it doesn't need to hold on to the food from the last meal because it will be fed again shortly.  

Does that make any sense?  I hope so.  

Well, now that you are eating breakfast (you are eating breakfast, right?), and making sure it's a good one (you're not eating Trix or something equally nasty are you?) we just need to make sure you eat a snack between breakfast and lunch.  Here's your new eating plan, unless of course you're doing this already.  In that case it's not new...

  • Breakfast - shortly after waking up
  • snack
  • Lunch
  • snack
  • Dinner 
  • Snack (if hungry and not too soon before bed)

Sound good?  Alright, let's chat.  Your meals, including your snacks, should be 2-3 hours apart.  Make sure you are drinking your water between meals and with your meals.  At the 2-3 hour mark you should be hungry again.  Not starving, just hungry.  Make sure you eat until satisfied, not full.  If you get full, you've eaten too much. 

This may take a few days to get used to the feeling of being just satisfied but be patient.  You'll start to recognize when you've eaten too much or not enough. 

In general, your breakfasts, lunches and dinners should be around 300-400 calories.  Your snacks should be around 200 calories.  But like I said, everyone is different and you don't have to count.  That's just a general idea if you want to count calories just to see how much you are eating each day.  To be honest, I started out not counting the calories but decided to count for a few days just for informational purposes. 

I figured out that I was eating around 1800 calories per day which made sense for me.  That was the perfect amount for me to maintain my weight at that time.  I also incorporated some pretty vigorous (vigorous to me anyway) exercise too which helped me to actually lose a few pounds at the 1800 calories a day.  I would recommend not dipping below 1500 calories even if you are trying to lose weight but that's just me.  You have to do what's right for you. 

Make sure you're not eating too soon before bed also.  I recommend eating your last meal at least 2 hours before going to bed. 

Don't be freaked out that we're not changing the content of the meals we haven't discussed yet.  We've already discussed breakfast and snacks.... keep 'em clean!  Now just make sure you're eating enough for what your goals are and only eating until satisfied.  I think we, as Americans, think that a portion is as big as Rhode Island.  Think smaller, people! 


In case you missed it...

Introduction
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 3 update

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just one question...

Why didn't I think of this first?  I could be sooo stinkin' rich!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update to Step 3 of Clean Eating Challenge

I decided to do this as a separate post because I know some of you taking part in the Clean Eating Challenge have already read Step 3 and I want to make sure you see this one too. 

After proof-reading my last post (Step 3), I realize that I wasn't very specific at all about the best way to go about eliminating junk food snacks. 

Are you ready for this?  GET RID OF IT!  That's right, either throw it away, give it away, or make your kids eat it all right now so you won't have the chance.  If you're anything like me you'll eat it if it's around no matter how hard you try not to.  It calls your name and you can't resist.  It's evil!   

Also, stock up on your fruits and vegetables for the week.  And once you are home with all your groceries, prepare them to be eaten.  It may seem like a lot of work but it's so much easier to grab a couple celery sticks and/or carrot sticks if they're already cut and ready to eat.  If I have to grab a knife or a peeler every time I want a vegetable, I'm much more likely to grab something out of the cupboard that's more convenient.  Granola bar, anyone?  So, whatever day you do your shopping, plan to come home and wash all your produce (although there is some produce that shouldn't be washed until you are ready to eat it because it spoils quicker) and cut it up so it's ready for the whole week. 

You might be surprised.  Your kids might even grab something healthy if it's readily available. 

The things I like to have cut up and ready include celery, carrots, green/red peppers (we like it on our sandwiches), prewashed spinach (we use in place of lettuce on our sandwiches, also in smoothies), sliced cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. 

And on that note, let me just say that iceberg lettuce, as wonderful as you may think it is, has little to no nutritional value.  Choose dark leafy green vegetables instead.  That is why we use the spinach instead of lettuce on our sandwiches.  If you like the crunch that lettuce adds to your sandwiches, use sliced cucumbers along with the spinach and even green peppers.  HOLY LOADED SANDWICH!!  Trust me, it's good!

Instead of iceberg lettuce salads, use romaine, butter leaf, red leaf or green leaf lettuces.  They have nutritional value!

Anyway, sorry for the poor explanation in the last post.  Hope this helps with a few things.

Clean Eating Challenge: Step 3 -- Replace Your Snacks

Are you still eating your breakfast every morning?  And what about water, are you still drinking more than you ever thought you could? 

This week we're going to focus on your snacks.  I don't know what you usually eat for snacks... potato chips, candy bars, cookies, crackers, ice cream, microwave popcorn, candy, etc.  That's just a very short list of the 'foods' that used to be part of my days as snacks. 

What ever happened to good ol' fruits and veggies?  Do people even know what they are anymore?  And no, fruit snacks don't count as fruit, and corn chips don't count as veggies.  So sorry! 

So for this week, along with drinking plenty of water and eating a good, healthy breakfast, you now need to replace your snacks with fruits and vegetables.  Don't worry about your lunch and dinner at this point.  Eat them, obviously but don't fret about the contents yet.  We'll be getting to that soon... VERY soon.  For now just focus on your snacks and eat what you normally would for lunches and dinners.  

This week's step is easier said than done.  It may not sound hard but if you have a sweet tooth like me, or a junk-food-in-general tooth (also like me), this week could prove to be pretty challenging.  

Ideally, you will consume more vegetables than fruits but replacing your junk food snacks with either one is better than not changing them at all.  So, if you would normally eat a salty snack, replace it with a vegetable.  If you would normally eat a sweet snack, grab a fruit.  

Here's the trick, try and remember to pair these new snacks with a protein.  Don't overindulge here.  A snack is a snack, after all.  Not a full course meal.  

I happen to like celery as a carb with peanut butter as my protein, and healthy source of fat as well (a brand that contains ONLY peanuts--possibly salt... ~look at the ingredients~ we like Adam's brand).  Another great pairing is an apple with peanut butter. 

You could also use string cheese, a small handful of almonds (or other nuts), plain yogurt (sweetened with honey if needed), or cottage cheese as a protein.  Some will argue that string cheese is not clean.  Like I've said before, there are some instances in which you have to be the judge about whether something is clean or not.  And there are tons of other options as well. 

There are many combinations you could use here.  Or even a green smoothie is a great choice.  I'm telling you, they are good and soooo filling!  Throw in some flax seed or chia seeds for a healthy source of fat and some yogurt for protein.  That is truly the only way I get enough vegetable servings in a day.  Not all at once of course but helps me get there. 

The 'recipe' I've linked you to makes a large batch.  Hopefully you have people willing to help you out with that amount or you can just scale it down quite a bit for a personal serving.  I'm always making it for my whole family of seven.  Well, only six drink it but soon it will be seven.  B just takes sips of mine at this point. 

I don't really care what fruits or vegetables you eat.  Just eat them.  I hope this week is a great one for you.  I'm sure you're doing great.  Keep it up! 

In case you missed it, here's Week One and Week Two.
And here's the Intro.