Clean Eating

If you’re a regular around here, you may remember that I joined a Biggest Loser contest and had a successful several weeks that helped me lose eight pounds. And then, life happened, and the next thing I knew those eight pounds were back, which is so unfortunate because the only thing worse than losing pounds, is having to lose the same pounds over again.

So when my Biggest Loser organizer friend Tracy posted on Facebook that she was starting up a Clean Eating group challenge and asking if anyone would be interested in joining the group, I was all like, what the heck is clean eating.

As I researched it a little further, I was happy to find out that this clean eating program required no supplements, no products, or exercise out of the home. All it required was commitment.

The 16 of us are in the third and final week of the clean eating challenge. We each paid $35. to join the group – which is headed up by a certified personal trainer – and at the end of the challenge any of us losing eight inches or three percent of their body weight will split a percentage of the fees.

Since sharing that I started a clean eating challenge, I’ve had several [read: LOTS] of messages asking if I’d share how to eat clean. So, instead of typing the info over and over, I thought it might be easiest to share the details here. Although it is so much better for you to eat “clean” it does require more time planning, prepping and cooking meals. Participants in our group were encouraged to pick a day and prep all of the food for the week, or at the very least, have a meal plan in mind for the week.

To kick things off, this is what I bought my first week.

If it is impossible, to purchase a large amount of food at once, try choosing three or four each week. My motto is if you can’t eat CLEAN, at least eat CLEANER.

“Clean eating” is not a new concept; it has actually been around for a long time. If you are not accustomed to “eating clean” it may take some time and practice to get 100% “clean”.  Unprocessed, natural state foods have a different taste than frozen and processed foods, meaning that it will take some willpower to stick with the program.

The premise of this lifestyle change is pretty simple. (Notice, I said lifestyle change, and not DIET.)

CLEAN EATING – Don’t Wait DO THESE EIGHT!

1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh. (I love that the Steamer bags of veggies (the ones without the cheese sauces) that I’ve been buying for years are also okay.)

2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice and quinoa (pronounced kin-wa). Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Include *some* protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically easily include carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially during breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help in curbing your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it helps us to feel full longer. Pay close attention to the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein.

4. Eat fewer ingredients.
Try not to purchase foods that have more than 4-6 ingredients in the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body. (Just because a food is labeled as whole grain, you will need to look at the ingredients list. Packaging can be misleading, ingredients lists are not.)

5. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
THIS RIGHT HERE IS MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS because oh my word, I love the bread. And the sweets. And the Mexican food. Once you’ve cut out processed foods, this will be a little easier than you might think. Processed foods are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in ALL of these ingredients.

6. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
Typically, this might mean eating three main meals and two or three clean snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so there’s also that! (In addition to my three meals, I try to eat a handful or almonds, a cheese stick or a handful of grapes at various times throughout the day.)

7. Steer clean of  high-calorie drinks.
High calorie drinks like fancy coffees and soft drinks - on average – tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water when at all possible. Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk, almond milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water. (I am happy to report that after a long, loving relationship, I have given up my beloved Coca-Cola classic, and now drink mostly water or unsweet tea during meals.)

8. Get up and move.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong. (My favorite ‘get up and move’ is riding my exercise bike or dancing around the house while I do daily chores like laundry, tidying up or vacuuming.)

Here are a few pictures from my first week of eating clean to give you an idea of what to eat.

Tomorrow, I’ll provide a list that you can use to do your CLEAN grocery shopping, so stay tuned for that.

That’s what I learned this week.

How about you?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy as 1-2-3.



What I Learned This Week

So, it’s Monday night. That means it’s time for another version of What I Learned This Week.

Here’s the hodge-podge list of what I learned this week.

1. Before slicing a fresh pineapple, place it upside down in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the sugar to run from the bottom back to the “top”.

2. To test a pineapples freshness, the middle leaf should pull out with a gentle tug.

3. I would really miss baseball if my boys decided not to play.

4. Clean eating takes some work, but it is so worth it.

5. My favorite Big Brother characters are Donnie and Caleb.

6. My boys enjoy shooting BB Guns.

7. But they enjoy riding 4-wheelers even more.

8. One of the biggest aggravations in my life is a dead phone battery.

9. When my phone is dead, I feel lost.

10. Be careful what you pray for.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



What I Learned This Week

Each week, I come here and tell you all about my plans to get back to a regular bloggy regimen and each week, I discover that I have failed, yet again.

So, the first thing I learned this week is that I need to stick to my word and get back to dishing out my daily dose of crazy here on the blog. So much crazy has happened, I’ve got enough crazy to fill the pages of this blog for months.

All I need, really, is time.

Here’s the short list of other things I’ve learned this week.

1. If you have a broken bone, they now make a camo cast.

2. When it was released in the 80′s, Dirty Dancing was a low budget film with major stars, but it became a huge success and the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video.

3. Steel cut oats are straight up nasty.

4. Hydrocodone is the single most prescribed drug in the world.

5. Having your carpets professionally cleaned will make your house smell so good.

6. Professional carpet cleaners can make your upholstered dining room chairs look brand new.

7. There are very specific lift points under the Saturn Sky. If the mechanic isn’t paying attention, he can crack the underside of the SKY body.

8. Bath & Body Malibu sunset smells wonderful.

9. The SMART car comes in a convertible.

10. In my opinion, the ice bucket challenge, the cold water challenge and all the other challenges on Facebook are goofy. Instead of participating in all that nonsense, how about just donating to the cause.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



What I Learned This Week

Well, we all survived the first day of school.

When asked if he had a good day, Alex replied, “You better believe it! It’s going to be a great year!”

After picking Stevie up, and asking him the same question, his response was, “Yes, the day just flew by!”

So, I’d call that a successful day.

But, here’s what you’ve been anxiously waiting to here….. Here’s what I learned this week.

1. When you don’t want to wrestle a queen size bed ruffle, use a fitted sheet over the box springs instead.

(Thanks for that little tidbit, Jean!)

2. Five Guys serves up a great burger.

3. The SKY is even more fun to drive after not driving it for weeks.

4. My very favoritist pair of black capris are in the trash thanks to a hole in the thigh area. [May they rest in peace.]

5. I never thought it would be a big deal to miss out on an entire week of The Young and The Restless. Apparently, I was wrong.

6. Y’all. Shemar Moore is going to be back on Y&R for two days in September. SQUEAL!

7. Power washing a wooden porch (after more than 10 years) will make it look entirely different.

8. Colorful Sharpies make me so happy.

9. You can actually purchase positive pregnancy tests on eBay. Or, if you live in Charleston, WV the local Facebook yard sale site has them for $10.

[What the heck is wrong with people?]

10. The reason our ceiling fan remote rarely ever controls both fans properly is because we were really supposed to have two remotes, one for each fan. I only learned this today, after ten L-O-N-G years of wondering why the remote didn’t work correctly.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



To My Sweet Boys

Dear Stevie,

Tomorrow, you will begin an incredible journey – Middle School. I know you are nervous because you are always nervous the night before school starts. Sweet boy, you are so incredibly bright, I know that you will do just fine in 6th grade.

SIXTH GRADE?

How is that possible?

It seems like just yesterday I was cuddling your eight-pound body and trying to figure out how I helped to make such a perfect little being.

And just days ago, you spiked your hair before your first Middle School Cross Country practice.

Son, these next few years will be ones you will never forget. You will hear things and see things that you are not used to hearing and seeing. You will encounter a lot of crazy. Please know that you can always come to me with any questions you might have. And believe me, there WILL be questions.

As you start down this Middle School path, I pray that you keep Jesus close to your heart. He cares about every detail of your life and will always lead you in the right direction.

You are a kind, compassionate child and I pray that you have a great year in Middle School.

Align yourself with good kids. Love like Jesus. And always do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

I love you sweet boy!

Mom

——–

Dear Alex,

It is the night before your first day of third grade. You are most looking forward to wearing your new Adidas Spring Blades tennis shoes. I love that shoes make you so happy. Tomorrow, you will meet a teacher that you have never met before. I hope that your new teacher enjoys your bright personality as much as we do. I have a feeling you will shine brightly in third grade.

You were kinda bummed to learn that none of your good buddies are in your class. Well, guess what? You will make new buddies. Buddies that will enjoy running around the playground with you and buddies that you will no doubt want to invite over for playdates. I have never been big on change, but thankfully, you are always ready to, in your words, to “make the best of it.”

I know that you will do wonderful in third grade. I know that because, you are great at anything you set your mind to. You work hard and you play hard. Thankfully, you still climb up on the couch beside me to cuddle.

I look forward to hearing all about the third grade. And your new friends. And your new teacher. And even, how much you loved wearing your new shoes. You are such a great kid and I am so glad that you are mine.

Remember – and you knew this was coming – always do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Love, Mommy