A blog of helpful tips and techniques for surviving as a Clean Eater in a non Clean Eating world. I'm working towards a clean diet, and want to share what I've learned along the way. I also occasionally write about gun and 2nd Amendment issues, so indulge me. Welcome to my blog!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Cooking Vegetables - A Question
Q: Is it true that boiling vegetables removes the nutrients? What about microwaving?
A: After a little research, I've decided that any cooking method reduces the vitamin and nutrient levels in vegetables, as many vitamins are water soluble and heat sensitive. Longer cooking times, higher cooking temperatures, and contact with water all seem to work together to lower the inherent nutrients.
However...because microwaving uses less heat, less water, and requires shorter cooking times, it is less destructive on those sensitive nutrients than other methods like boiling or steaming. So - use the microwave to cook and heat vegetables whenever possible!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Prepare for the Zucchini Influx!
1. Make pickles
Zucchini pickles are every bit as delicious as their cucumber counterparts.
Combine 4 cups 1/8-inch zucchini slices, 1 cup slivered sweet onion, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves in a glass bowl. Bring 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil; pour over zucchini mixture. Cover and chill 24 hours.
Note: don't shy away from the sugar in this case. Remember, you aren't going to drink the pickling liquid ( hopefully! ) Most of the sugar will remain in the liquid.
2. Reinvent coleslaw
The neutral flavor and crisp texture of raw zucchini make it a great base for slaw. Try this savory-sweet version: Combine 1/4 cup organic canola mayonnaise , 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; toss with 4 cups shredded zucchini, 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup slivered red onion.
3. Moisten a lean meat loaf
Use the inherent moisture of shredded zucchini to make a juicy lower-fat meat loaf. Take your favorite beef-based meat loaf recipe, and substitute lean ground turkey breast for the beef. For every pound of meat, add 2 cups shredded zucchini. Bonus: Extra veggies in your dinner! Even in traditional beef meatloaf - added zucchini allows you to use a leaner beef mixture without the fat but with all the moisture.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Coffee Creamer
In direct response to La Creme Real Dairy Creamer, Coffee-Mate has just hit the shelves with their own version of a Clean Eating coffee creamer.
Serving Size 1 tbsp (15ml)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Not a significant source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
The label doesn't indicate anywhere that the milk used for this product is organic or not treated with hormones - so that definitely places it a rung below La Creme automatically.
The taste, however, is much more like that Coffee-Mate French Vanilla flavoring you are used to if you have a hard time getting rid of the "Bad Stuff" liquid Coffee-Mate - and a lot less heavy cream taste like La Creme has. The French vanilla flavor is well developed, too.
The down side? 5 grams of sugar per tablespoon, and 1.5 grams of fat in that tablespoon. Border food at the very least.
I like the taste, and the French vanilla flavor is more pleasing to me than La Creme - but honestly? The fact that it isn't organic is a thumbs down - as is the sugar. However, I can see people who dislike the strong cream note in La Creme to like Natural Bliss better. It is much more like the regular old Coffee-Mate liquid that I stopped putting in my coffee than I expected. If you aren't familiar with what exactly non-dairy creamer really is - read this.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Clean Eating Swap Outs : Granola Bars
Premade granola bars are loaded with unnecessary ingredients: fillers, stabilizers sugars, and preservatives. They are one of those foods that masquerades as a healthy snack to feed your kids - but in reality, are an Unclean nightmare!
Check out the ingredient list for Quaker Peanut Butter and Chocolate granola bars:
Granola, crisp rice, corn syrup, inulin, invert sugar, peanut butter (peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt), semisweet chocolate chunks, rolled oats, milled flaxseed, sugar, glycerin, peanut flavored chips (sugar, palm kernel and palm oil, partially defatted peanut flour, lactose, whey powder, dextrose, corn syrup solids, soy lecithin, salt, artificial flavor), bran strands (wheat bran, oat hull fiber, evaporated cane juice, oat bran, malted barley extract, sea salt, sodium bicarbonate, color), sunflower oil, hydrogenated palm kernel and palm oils, water, rolled whole wheat, brown sugar, cocoa, natural and artificial flavors, soybean oils, whole wheat flour, buttermilk, salt, molasses, soy lecithin, milk-fat, sodium bicarbonate, sorbitan monostearate, caramel color, polysorbate 60, BHT, skim milk powder.
Holy Mackarel! Look at all the sugar and sugar sources!!!
Real granola bars are a simple mix of oatmeal, peanut butter, granola, nuts, and ( if you like ) chocolate chips. While a premade bar is hands down more convenient to grab & go...if you like granola bars or would like to include a healthy one as your mid morning / early afternoon "mini meal", try your hand at this no bake version which couldn't be easier. The ingredients are easily adaptable, and you can change or add ingredients as you like.
- 1 cup raw oatmeal
- 2 cups granola or trail mix ( check ingredient list to ensure it is clean!!! )
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts or almonds
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips ( organic if possible )
- 2 cups natural unsalted peanut butter (chunky type)
- Oil a 9x11 baking sheet.
- Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients and form into a firm paste. You may need to add more peanut butter or honey if the mixture is too dry.
- Press the mixture into the oiled container.
- Cover the pressed mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Cut into 36 bars and serve.
- Store extras in an airtight container or wrap individually in plastic and store in the refrigerator.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Athenos & Fage Yogurt "Honey Well" Trick
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Clean Eating Magazine Only $5.99 a Year - Again!
You'll see Clean Eating Magazine advertised for $24.95 at Tanga. Use discount code word "eating" to reduce the price from $24.95 to $5.99!
If you change the quantity from 1 to 2, you'll buy 2 years at $5.99 per year.
Friday, June 24, 2011
How to Use Wheatberry
How to Cook Wheat berries:
Follow directions on the package - some brands of wheat berries are partially pre-cooked, and can be cooked quickly in a pot of water - or...
- Measure 1 cup of wheat berries and place in a strainer. Wash the wheat berries thoroughly under running water, even if they were packaged.
- Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Cover and let them soak overnight.
- Drain the water in the morning and rinse the wheat berries once more.
- Add the 3 cups of water and salt to the wheat berries and bring to a vigorous boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, or until they split open and turn chewy.
- Eat them in the morning instead of oatmeal. For a power breakfast, add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of peanut butter.
- Make a healthy lunch salad with wheat berries, lentils, green onion, cumin and garlic vinaigrette dressing. Add celery or bell peppers for additional vitamins and antioxidants.
- Substitute wheat berries for rice in a pilaf for dinner. Or add them to soups instead of barley.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 Cheat Sheet
I found this wonderful little cheat sheet over at fooducate.com to clip out and stick in your purse or wallet. A great reminder while shopping which fruits and vegetables you should buy organic whenever possible, and which you can opt for the ( lower cost ) non-organic versions. Obviously, you should wash all food carefully before consuming - but those on the Dirty Dozen you need to be particularly careful with...they can contain much more pesticides per serving than anyone should be consuming, regardless of how clean a diet you are consuming!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Real vs Fake, Part VI - Salad Dressing
The salad dressing aisle in the grocery store is chock full of flavor variations and styles. Unfortunately, almost all are heavily salted, heavily sugared, and just plain Unclean. Even brands that promote themselves as fat free or "healthier" alternatives are just as bad.
The ingredients in Kraft Fat Free Italian Dressing:
water, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, contains less than 2% of parmesan cheese (part-skim milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), garlic, onion juice, whey, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and calcium disodium edta as preservatives, yeast extract, spice, red bell peppers, lemon juice concentrate, dried garlic, buttermilk, caramel color, sodium phosphate, enzymes, oleoresin paprika
Water, vinegar, sugar, sugar, salt. Yum ( not )!
Fake salad dressing comes in a bottle. There is no way around it; real salad dressing is made at home in small batches.
Real Italian dressing is olive oil, vinegar, perhaps a few herbs, and salt and pepper. Pretty simple and definitely made of stuff that’s good for you and that you can easily envision in its natural state. We all know that olive oil is a healthy oil and the rest of the ingredients don’t have any real drawbacks. The best part is that you can tailor this dressing to your own liking. Add minced garlic, or pepperoncini juice instead of salt.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Have you Tried: Dragon Fruit?
Dragon Fruit is a very odd looking fruit - a native of Central America, it is now common in Asiatic cooking and the sweet flesh is often used in desserts. It is a refreshing fruit, but for its exotic looks...it is quite mild and the flavor can be easily overwhelmed by more fragrant fruits like strawberries. Also, dragon fruit isn't inexpensive because it is difficult to get to market. A medium to large fruit can cost $4 - $6 a piece. However, if you have the chance to try this newcomer to the American fruit scene...try it! It is loaded with antioxidents and nutrients. Dragon Fruit is high in fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamins B1, 2, and 3.
To choose a ripe dragon fruit: look for bright, even-colored skin. Dragon fruit can be a pinkish red, as above, or a yellow color. If the fruit has a lot of blotches, it may be over-ripe (a few is normal). Another sign of over-ripe dragon fruit is a very dry, brittle brown stem, or brown on the tips of the "leaves". Hold the dragon fruit in your palm and try pressing the skin with your thumb or fingers - it should give a little (like a ripe kiwi), but shouldn't be too soft or mushy. If it's very firm, it will need to ripen for a few days.
Once you slice it open, you can separate the flesh from the skin with a spoon, as you would do to a kiwi fruit. The little black seeds that speckle it are entirely edible. The skin, however, is not edible. Remove any pink flesh that happens to cling to the creamy white inside.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Beware "Enhanced Chicken" - When Is Chicken Not Clean
Worse, it's 500% more sodium than is found naturally in untreated chicken. Yet the word "natural" can be used on the labels of these injected birds. USDA labeling policies give poultry companies a green light to label their enhanced products "100% natural" or "all natural," even though they've been injected with ingredients in concentrations that do not naturally occur in a chicken. (Like many foods, chicken contains trace amounts of sodium and other minerals.)
With injections totaling 15% or more of the meat's weight, a 7-pound enhanced chicken might net only 6 pounds of meat. Do the math: At $2.99 per pound, you've paid a premium of up to $0.45 per pound for added salt and water. This processing method is typically found in the "store brand" no-name trays of chicken breasts - but beware, it can also be found among some of the largest producers of chicken.
Processors are required to disclose the injections, but the lettering on the packaging can be small and inconspicuous. To know if you're picking up an enhanced product, squint at the fine print, which will list something like, "contains up to 15% chicken broth."
You can also check the ingredient list, and, of course, look for the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label. If the chicken is truly natural, the sodium content won't stray higher than 70mg per serving.
Either buy chicken labeled organic ( it will not be treated with plumping agents ) or inspect your chicken purchases carefully!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Edamame Salad with Crispy Steak Bits
- 3 cups frozen shelled edamame
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 cups chopped seeded English cucumber (about 1)
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces flank steak, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Cook edamame according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.
- 2. Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through sesame oil) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add edamame, tomatoes, cucumber, and onions; toss to coat.
- 3. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Combine steak, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat steak. Add steak mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes or until well browned and crisp, stirring frequently. Spoon 1 1/2 cups edamame mixture onto each of 4 plates; top evenly with steak.
Thank you myrecipes.com.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Clean Eating Lunch Prep
Weekends are the right time for getting next week's Clean Eating lunch routine in order. Remember - it takes a little bit of preparedness to eat unprocessed foods. Making them convenient is a snap! Here are a few tips if ( like me ), you work outside the home in an office where having something Clean to turn to will prevent you from straying off path at lunch time!
Every weekend, take some time to grill up ( on the grill outside, on the George Foreman, wherever! ) some chicken breasts, salmon or turkey burgers, or some vegetables are all excellent on the grill, and are perfect to freeze / refrigerate in individual "grab & go"lunch portions.
Take some time to boil a dozen eggs, and package an egg with a few strips of bell pepper, or carrots, and maybe a handful of raisins and almonds for another quick "grab and go" mini meal you can easily munch at your desk or while in the car.
While at the grocery store, keep your eye towards Clean Eating portion options - yogurts, string cheese ( keep it organic, please! ), canned tuna, marinated artichoke hearts, hummus - all are great options to pack for lunch.
The ingredients for an easy, filling, Clean pasta salad couldn't be easier - chopped leftover grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, and whole wheat pasta. Toss together with whatever CE dressing floats your boat, and you've got an easy portion of Clean to take to work!
Friday, June 17, 2011
How Much Water Do I Need?
As the weather gets hotter, one thing every person needs to keep in mind is staying hydrated. For Clean Eaters...this is usually not a problem. A core "tenet" of Clean Eating is water consumption. We drink a LOT of water. It is the "oil" your body's machinery needs. It is essential for the very fiber of your body's machine to function - on a cellular level. If you are new to Clean Eating, get yourself a water bottle. Now. If you aren't new to Clean Eating...it is always good for a reminder. Lately, I've found my daily consumption to be lower than I intend. I need to be more mindful of water!
This post first appeared on my blog just before Christmas last year - but not only does it bear repeating for my new readers...it is one of the biggest stumbling blocks new Clean Eaters face : consuming enough water. It is very, very important!
I was reading a small article in the December 2010 issue of Women's Journal of MD ( one of those freebie newspapers ) and spotted an interesting article on water consumption by Courtney Carpenter, who is a professional nutritionist.
Another tip:: Drink water before drinking any other beverage or before snacking. This way you know you are quenching you thirst and not creating it.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Clean Eating Watermelon Popsicles
To make real watermelon popsicles all you do is puree watermelon – because it’s mostly water it purees really well. Cut it into chunks and whiz it in the blender or food processor until smooth. Then pour it into popsicle molds, add some fresh fruit if you like (blueberries, halved grapes, chopped kiwi ) and freeze. If you don’t have popsicle molds, pour it into paper Dixie cups, cover the cups with plastic wrap (to hold the stick in place) and poke a stick through, then freeze.
Popsicle molds are definitely worth the investment. Check out the selection over at Amazon!
Popsicle Molds on Amazon.com
I own the Tovolo blue rocketship molds ( #8 on this list ) , and they are terrific.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Coming in 2012...Nutrition labels on Meat
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that it will be making important nutritional information readily available to consumers on 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry products. Under a new rule, packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry will feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. Additionally, whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry will also have nutrition facts panels either on their package labels or available for consumers at the point-of-purchase.
What you need to know:
About 40 different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry will be labeled. The label will list
- calories from fat
- saturated fat
- vitamins & minerals
The important thing to keep in mind is portion size vs. serving size.
Many of us eat portions that are 2 to 3 times the recommended serving size as defined by the USDA. Which means that a 250 calorie steak can easily balloon to 500-750 calories.
Remember, a serving size of meat is about the same size as a deck of playing cards, or the size of your palm ( Darnit! I've got such little hands!!! )
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Cold Chicken And Rice Salad
I would also use some Clean Eating salad dressings found HERE and HERE
( North, you have my permission to leave the olives out of the recipe. )
- 2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
- 12 green leaf lettuce leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops
- 4 lemon wedges
- 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
- 2. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven; bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan, and let stand for 5 minutes. Shred chicken, and chill for 30 minutes.
- 3. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Coat a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray. Spread rice in an even layer in pan; chill for 30 minutes.
- 4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, juice, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken, rice, cranberries, and next 5 ingredients (through lettuce) to juice mixture in bowl, and toss gently. Divide the rice mixture evenly among 4 plates, and sprinkle with green onion tops. Serve with lemon wedges.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Finally...Clean Eating Sandwich Buns!
Bread is one of those items that can be wholesome and nutritious when manufactured with care and with whole grains. Most breads, however, are manufactured from processed white flour and high fructose corn syrup. Those are the two kickers that really negate most commercially available breads. Clean Eaters sometimes eat things that just lend themselves to a bun - like a salmon patty, turkey burger, or tuna fish.
Nature's Own brand has hamburger and hotdog size buns that are about as close to Clean as a commerically prepared bread can be. Admittedly, they aren't perfect - but they are head and shoulders better than anything else I've found that is readily available.
- No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
- No high fructose corn syrup
- 25 grams of whole grain per serving
- 4 grams of fiber per bun
- 6 grams of protein per serving
- No cholesterol
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, WHEAT GLUTEN, BROWN SUGAR, YEAST,
CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: DOUGH CONDITIONERS (CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, CALCIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, MONOGLYCERIDES AND/OR DIGLYCERIDES, CALCIUM PEROXIDE, CALCIUM IODATE, DATEM, ETHOXYLATED MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, ENZYMES, AZODICARBONAMIDE), SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, SALT, CULTURED WHEAT FLOUR, WHEAT STARCH, SOY LECITHIN, TOPPED WITH WHEAT BRAN
I can live with an ingredient list where the preservatives are in the 2% or less category...
Nature's Own is primarily distributed across the Southern US:
Nature's Pride is manufactured in Missouri and Texas, so you should be able to find it in the Plains and Central states.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Putting My Feet Up...
It's been a long, hard week and I'm really happy the weekend is here. After a little reflection, I realized I need some down time. Since I sit in front of a computer 45 hours a week in the HVAC mines...what is needed is some time not to be in front of a computer.
So, I'll be away from the keyboard this weekend - no new posts until Monday. I hope your weekend is just as relaxing. Enjoy your free time, enjoy your family, enjoy your improved health from your Clean Eating.
See you on Monday!
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I've voiced multiple times before that a big pet peeve of mine now is misleading nutritional advertising...and I saw one that literally had me picking my jaw up off my chest.
I saw a commercial last night extolling the virtues of Yoplait yogurt over other yogurts, because it has 2x the amount of calcium. Well, wow - isn't Yoplait awesome! 2x the amount of calcium over other yogurts. What they are failing to tell you is that otherwise, Yoplait yogurt gets a big fat F in almost all other nutritional requirements.
There is almost 170 calories in that 6 oz cup - which is comparable to most higher fat Greek yogurts. However, there are 26 grams of sugar in each 6 oz portion, too - that is a lot of sugar - in fact, 17% of this product is simply sugar. 63% of the calories in this yogurt are coming from the sugar content!
The four sources of sugar in this yogurt (by weight) are yogurt/milk (lactose), table sugar, the strawberries themselves, and high fructose corn syrup. Not good.
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
The front of the yogurt label boldy claims it is 99% fat-free, leading a person to expect a very low calorie yogurt. Instead, 170 calories. Not a lot, but not close to zero either.
I'm not thrilled with a sodium count of 85 mg for a 6 oz container, but Chobani vanilla is 65 mg, and Trader Joe's nonfat Greek yogurt is 70 mg...so I can't point my finger much there.
Google's Plus One Feature - You Can Help CE Eve!
At the bottom of every blog post, there is a new feature, called "Plus One." You may have seen it and not know what it is. It is a new program where blog readers can essentially recommend content to Google - and for an info blog like mine, Google ranking is important.
Here's where I'm asking for your help.
If you see a post you like - informative, pleasing - whatever...can you hit that Plus One button for me? Your Google "Plus Ones" are recorded, tallied, and they ultimately help the Google search engine direct more traffic to sites that have recommended content. It is, however, anonymous on the blog - so if you like content but have no comment, I would certainly appreciate your support by hitting that "Plus One" button. For personal blogs, Google ranking doesn't matter as much. For an info blog like mine...my Google ranking is essential to spreading the word about CE!
I now return you to our regularly scheduled Clean Eating...
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Newstand Alert: Eating Well magazine
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Trader's Joe's Spotlight: Aioli Garlic Mustard
Monday, June 6, 2011
I have a long stretch of azaleas that line my driveway - easily 75 feet of old growth, large azaleas about 5' tall. Every year, they bloom magnificently, Whoever planted them over 50 years ago did a magnificent job mixing colors and different azalea strains together. We get a continuous blooming for several weeks from the different varieties.
This year, however - the blooming was muted. Not as copious, not as spectacular. I walk by these bushes every day, without noticing. But this time, this year - I looked carefully at the azaleas, where I hadn't, previously. The azaleas are choked with an invasive vine we Southerners refer to as a chokeweed. They are devastating to plant life they overwhelm. They weave in and out, until they are hard to discern from the plant they are living upon. It is kudzu like in its tenacity, but luckily doesn't grow as fast.
I spent this weekend, elbow deep in the azaleas - pulling, snipping, pruning. I removed all of the chokeweed, and discovered some alien vines covered in thorns in there, too. I was mosquito bitten, scratched, and I groused bitterly the entire time I was working in the azaleas. I removed bags of yard trim, and my back and shoulders are warning me of the work I accomplished.
As I bent over to clean the front walk of the remaining debris - I realized the deep parallel between what I had just experienced and accomplished, and Clean Eating.
My inattention to my diet and nutrition led to a point in my life where I was unhealthy and was starting to feel the effects. My inattention to the azaleas caused them to start to not be as healthy, too. Processed food was my chokeweed. Removing the processed food was hard - really hard - just as removing the chokeweed was really a pain in the butt. I groused bitterly those first few weeks, and was definitely questioning the wisdom and ease at changing my lifestyle so drastically.
But when I was done - when I turned and looked at the fruits of my labor...I realized it was all worth while. I realized that hard work got me where I needed to be, both with the azaleas and with my health.
I hadn't realized how I had shied away from doing what needed to be done for the betterment of myself. For the betterment of my azaleas.
I see it, now.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Changing to a Clean Eating Pantry
If you've recently begun to eat less processed foods, or are thinking about doing so, looking into your pantry filled with less than healthy items might seem daunting. You might have lots of processed foods in there!
The journey to changing your nutrition can be done in two ways : quick or slow - your choice, depending on how you want to get it accomplished.
1. Quick: Take an honest look at your pantry, and immediately pull out the 10-20 items you know without even thinking about it have to go. Pop*Tarts. White Rice.Hot dogs. Cookies. Items like cans of Chef Boyardee pasta, Vienna sausages, and Froot Loops.
Pull these items out. Anything opened? Old? Pitch them. If the idea of throwing it away bothers you, take the canned foods to work and leave them on the lunch table with a "Free to a Good Home" sign. The stuff will be gone in minutes. Or, you can donate fresh but unopened items to a food kitchen or food drive.
Take an inventory of the items you've removed, and go to the grocery store and replace them with Clean.
White rice, bread, spaghetti out? Buy brown rice, whole grain bread without high fructose corn syrups, whole grain spaghetti.
Sauces gone? Replace them with their clean and organic counterparts.
Feeling braver? Get rid of 10 or more items in your pantry that have suspiciously long ingredient lists, or are processed and not fresh.
This way works best if you live alone, or don't have to feed other non CE folks.
2. Slow: This is accomplished over a period of time, where as you use up that last jar of "regular" spaghetti sauce and its time for more to go on the shopping list, you buy the Clean version, instead of your normal brand. Or, you start learning how to make spaghetti sauce yourself from base ingredients.
This way works best if rapid change isn't your thing, and/or you have a family you are also feeding who might need some time to adjust to a lack of Pop*Tarts in the morning.
Whichever path you take to stocking your home with healthier options - don't forget to upgrade your spice cabinet selection of Clean condiments , More clean condiments, sea salt instead of regular table salt, and sugar alternatives.
Don't forget your Clean Eating grocery list to help point the way towards appropriate foods.
How did you accomplish your CE pantry? Fast or Slow - or is it still a work in progress?
Saturday, June 4, 2011
This recipe is from Clean Eating magazine April/May 2011
6 tsp olive oil, divided
2 leeks, trimmed, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 cups frozen green peas
3/4 cup low-fat milk, plus additional if needed
1 lb sea scallops
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh mint
1/2 tsp raw honey
1) Heat a skillet on medium-low. Add 1 tsp oil and swirl to coat skillet. Add leeks and 1/8 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened and just starting to brown. Add thyme, peas, and milk. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat.
2) Scrape pea-milk mixture into a blender and puree until smooth, adding a bit more milk to thin, if necessary.
3) heat a large clean skillet on medium-high. Add 1 tsp oil and swirl to coat pan. Add scallops, leaving a bit of space between each to prevent steaming. Sear scallops for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and barely firm to the touch. Transfer scallops to a plate.
4) In a small bowl, whisk together remain 5 tsp oil, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 tsp water, mint, honey and remaining 1/8 tsp salt.
5) To serve spoon 1/2 cup pea puree onto each of 4 plates and top with scallops. Spoon 2 tsp vinagrette over top of scallops and serve.
Review: I quite liked this recipe! I changed a little, though. I had 4 leeks rather than 2 so I just fried up that much more and added it as if the recipe called for 4. My wife wasn't sure what to pick up for scallops, so she grabbed the little ones rather then the jumbo scallops. The jumbo may have been better, but the little ones were fine.
My wife is not a big fan of scallops, but she really liked this recipe. My teenage son saw that there were peas in the puree and didn't want any. I served the plate that I photographed to him, so he had no choice but to try the 'green stuff'. He not only liked what I served, he dished himself some more.
I modified the sauce a little bit, too. I added a little ground cayenne pepper and fresh black pepper to give it a little zing.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Clean Eating Prepared Salsa
You'll find it in the fresh vegetable section of your grocery store, in the area where they keep refrigerated items. I've found this under multiple different generic grocery store brand names in different super markets - so look for packaging that essentially looks like the container above. It's all made by the same company for "private label" grocery store branding.
The sodium level per serving is tolerable - 55mg for 2 tablespoons. I find it delicious on Wasa bread crisps, or in addition to meals like chicken or pork. I've also enjoyed a tablespoon on top of my turkey burgers. The "regular" kind isn't spicy at all, but they do have a hot version. My husband doesn't care for this as he says he tastes the cucumber in it, and he is NOT a fan of cucumbers ( odd man... ) so just be aware, if cucumbers aren't your thing you might want to keep looking.
Tomato, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Red Onion, Cilantro, Lime Juice, Tomato Juice, Garlic, Poblano Pepper, Serrano Pepper, Salt.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
How to Read Salt Labels
1. "No Salt Added" or "Unsalted" - No salt is added during processing or packaging. This does not always mean the food is sodium free, some foods contain sodium naturally. However, you can be assured that sodium content is as occurs naturally.
For example: Land O' Lakes Unsalted butter has 0 mg sodium per tablespoon. Land O' Lakes salted butter has 95 mg per tablespoon.
2. "Reduced" or "Less Sodium" - Must contain at least 25% less sodium than the original food, a competitor's equivalent product, or another reference. Make sure to determine exactly what it is lower than! They must provide a reference item, or the claim is worthless.
For example: Kikkoman Less Sodium soy sauce has 575 mg per tablespoon. Kikkoman Regular Soy Sauce has 920 mg per tablespoon.
3. "Light in Sodium" or "Lightly Salted" - Must contain 50% less sodium than the original food, a competitor's equivalent product, or another reference. Again, make sure to determine exactly what it is lower than!
For example: Lay's Lightly Salted potato chips have 85 mg per 1 ounce serving. Lay's Classic Regular potato chips have 180 mg per serving.
4. - "Low sodium" - This is the most stringent reduced sodium label. Each food can have only 140 mg or less sodium per serving.
For example: Wheat Thins Hint of Salt low sodium crackers have 60 mg per 16 cracker serving. Wheat Thins Original crackers have 230 mg per 16 cracker serving.