So sorry! My Saturday kind of got away from me. And this morning was church, then lunch, then family chats, and now we're watching a movie. Which means I can finally tell you what clean eating is!
But before I do, I am just curious..... who's doing the challenge with me? LeShel, you still in? It's not scary.
Tell you what, if you're planning to take the Clean Eating Challenge, leave a comment and at the end I want to do a give-away. But only if you really are going to try the challenge. Or, if you want to leave a comment anyway, how the heck am I going to know you're not taking the challenge? I mean, really, I can't check up on you. ;)
This is how the challenge will work:
Each Monday I will present a new step. Baby steps are what it's all about. Going cold turkey could be disastrous to your progress. It's true! I don't know what it is about baby steps. I just know that they work. So, check every Monday morning for the new step of the week. And what is it about Mondays? Every goal or diet or plan or whatnot always starts on Monday. I may not understand it but it seems to be the way to go so we're going with it.
Now time for the disclaimer:
Please remember that I am not a physician, physicians assistant, nurse, nutritionist, dietician, fitness expert or anything of the sort. I don't know what your particular diet needs are. I am only presenting this challenge because it is what has worked for my family and has really prepared us for a life of better health and increased energy. That is not to say that we will never encounter illnesses or physical ailments. I just know that we feel better, look better, and have way more energy than we did even just six short months ago. That said, we never realized how poor our diet was until discovering how to eat real, whole foods and eliminate highly processed foods and refined sugars. It was then that our diets took a major turn for the better and we can definitely tell when we've eaten something yucky. But more on that later...
Also, I am NOT an expert. I am a beginner and am definitely learning more about eating clean every day. My diet is FAR from perfect, just a work in progress. This challenge is a way for me to keep myself accountable.
Now on to the question you're all dying to know the answer to. I know you are! Well, maybe not but we're going to venture there anyway. What is clean eating? Here's the part where you are anticipating a clear, educated, extremely thought-out, detailed answer. And here's the part where I highly disappoint you by telling you that I can't answer that for you. It's a loaded question with more answers than I care to count. Why? Because it's different for every person.
Remember the three cookbooks I got for Mother's Day? They are all clean eating cookbooks but they all contradict each other. Sounds funny, I know. I was as surprised as you are. Or maybe you're not surprised at all but I sure was.
Here's an example of the contradictions. Let's use MILK! (The opinions and conclusions I've drawn from each of the following are my own. These are only my interpretations.)
The Diet Rebel's Cookbook: The authors of this book tend to believe that milk and all milk products should be in whole, raw form. Raw, meaning unpasteurized and not homogenized, milk straight from the source. That is not easy to find, mind you. I know that there's a store here in Utah called Real Foods Market that is the only licensed market here to carry raw milk. I personally have never been there since there isn't one in my area but I am hoping they open one up closer to me. I'm intrigued by this idea of raw milk. Are you? Here's a blog post I found about the benefits of raw milk.
These authors also believe that cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cheese, cream, butter etc. should be in it's whole, raw form. No skim, no lowfat, just whole and raw.
And a note on meats-- They like the lean cuts of beef, chicken, fish, turkey, pork, etc. All in moderation.
The Eat Clean Diet for Families and Kids: Tosca Reno, the author, tends to believe that dairy products should be lowfat and/or skim. Reduced fat cheeses (very minimal), skim milk, lowfat cottage cheese and yogurt, etc. This is not necessarily fact but I've gathered that she's not a fan of cream cheeses, butter, or sour cream. Too much fat maybe? I don't know for sure.
Meats-- Same as the book listed above but she also really likes Bison. It's leaner than beef. Ever tried it? I had a bison burger recently and didn't even know until Anthony told me. I thought it was beef with a slightly different texture than normal.
Clean Food: Terry Walters is the author of this one and she is VEGAN! I was really looking forward to this book for this reason. My family looooves meat. In fact, I don't really know how to make a dinner without it. I'm a steak and potatoes gal! Every meal I know how to make has meat as a main staple whether it's ground beef, chicken, turkey, or whatever else. Meat is a staple at our house. However, I've wanted to cut back on the amount of meats we eat. The Word of Wisdom says to eat meats sparingly and I feel that we have a long way to go before we can say we are following those guidelines.
Anyway, forgive the tangent above... I've learned from this book that along with all dairy products and eggs, even honey is out on a vegan diet. It's an animal product so I shouldn't have been surprised by that but I was. Did you realize that honey is un-vegan (not a word, I know!)?
I've also learned that there are a gazillion ingredients out there that I've never heard of and normal grocery stores apparently haven't either. So, it's back to Whole Foods again. They carry more of the not-so-normal ingredients. Hopefully they don't remember me from my last visit!
Well, we already know her take on meats... NONE!
Do you see why it's so frustrating to try and define exactly what clean eating is? **Sigh** All I can do is give you a few guidelines and you get to decide from there what's right for you and your family. I'll let you know what my family has been doing along the way. That will help define what clean eating is for US! It may differ from your idea of clean eating.
OH! That reminds me, another way they differ is on the subject of SOY! How do you feel about soy? My family has never really integrated soy into our diets so I tend to side with book number one above on this subject. They believe it to be too highly processed not good for our bodies anyway so they avoid all soy products. Book number two uses some soy, and book number three seems to LOVE it. There are still plenty of recipes without soy but as a whole, she seems to love it.
Another thing we'll discuss in the future is sprouting. I can honestly say that I have never sprouted anything. Not wheat, nuts, quinoa, buckwheat, nothin'. But I'm tellin' you, it seems to be the one common theme among all three of the books. So, that's a subject for later... perhaps MUCH later. We'll see how long it takes me to successfully sprout something. Then, and only then, we'll discuss. Have you ever sprouted anything? I could definitely use a pointer or two. Maybe ten.
The only basic definition of clean eating I can give you is that it means no processed foods, no refined sugars, eat what God gave you! Basically, if God made it, you can eat it. If man made it, DON'T! I realize that's vague but we'll figure it all out together. And hey, there are exceptions. There are ALWAYS exceptions... to everything.
Well, I guess that's it for our intro. Confused? Don't be. I'll help you out with the process as we get going. Check in tomorrow morning for Step 1 of The Clean Eating Challenge. See you then! I promise not to be a day late. It'll be up first thing in the morning. :)
Oh, and don't forget to comment and let me know that you'll be doing the challenge with us. LeShel, if you end up being the only one, I guess you win! ;) I'm going to give away one of the books listed above. The winner gets to choose which one is the most appealing to them. It doesn't matter when you decide to join... now, a week from now, three weeks in, whatever. Just let me know you are taking the challenge and at the end, a winner will be chosen!