Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clean Eating Means Eating More Food

     I don't know about you - but personally, I'd rather have more than a day's worth of food versus 1 meal. Granted, this picture shows 1 item most Clean eaters don't eat - the chocolate chip cookie...and 1 item most Clean Eaters eat sparingly - and that is the chocolate bar ( some Clean Eaters eat minimal amounts of organic, simple, high quality chocolate ) but in the whole scheme of things, I'd rather be satisfied for the day knowing I ate in a really healthy manner than kicking myself for hours because I ate what was fast, convenient, and unfortunately - not nutritious or wholesome. 

( Also, I personally question whether the bottom picture actually has 59 grams of fat combined - but whatever. You get the point. Eating Clean foods provides more foods to eat overall than the fast food meal alone. )

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Newstand Alert: Clean Eating Magazine July 2012

 The July issue of Clean Eating magazine is hitting newstands now, and it's got several great recipes and articles in it.

First and foremost - my sincere condolences to Tosca Reno and her family on the passing of her husband, Clean Eating Publisher Robert Kennedy who passed away a few months ago ( but it was just announced now ). Your husband was a powerful motivator for me - through both Clean Eating magazine and Oxygen magazine - I get both magazines each month and they never fail to lift my motivation and resolve. Thank you.

This month's issue has some really awesome tips in it.

1. Page 23 - 3 things to do with leftover taco meat ( yeah, there is always some leftover! ) I don't use the prepackaged taco seasonings anymore- instead opting to mix my own. Healthier, and less sodium too. But I'd never thought to put a tablespoon or three of leftover taco meat in an omelet. Huh!

2. I personally don't feel that the hot dogs profiled in the "Supermarket Guide" are any more nutritious or Clean because they are "uncured" ( Check out this post I wrote in September 2011 about nitrates ) with celery juice powder, which has the exact same effect as a "cured" hot dog - except from a natural source, not a chemical one. In my opinion, these uncured hotdogs aren't Clean, and should be avoided.

3. I love bell peppers, and like the step by step tutorial on how to roast them on page 31.

4. Page 44 - the recipe and directions to make the kebabs shown on this month's front cover. YUM!

5. Best article this month hands down is the 9 recipes for simple summer side dishes that are Clean, light - and visually vibrant. Make one of these for your next cook out or the next tie you are asked to "bring a side" to a party.

6. And from the "You learn something new every day" file - a terrific explanation of why canola oil ISN'T Clean on page 93. ( I had no idea it was actually so heavily processed with chemicals! ) Check that short explanation out - I had no idea. Now I know.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quick Breakfast Ideas

Always vigilant for breakfast options, I saw this picture and knew it would make a great post. 

I've talked about thinking outside the box when it comes to breakfast- don't be stuck in the old "If it's before 11 am, I've got to have eggs / toast / oatmeal." Start thinking about some of your favorite Clean foods, and incorporate them into an early meal. Turkey on flat bread? Why not? Who said a turkey sandwich is only for lunch? Don't let ingrained behavior stop you from eating what you want, when you thing you should have it. Omelets for dinner are a-ok, as is yogurt with a toasted whole grain English muffin with a smear of peanut butter. 

One thing I’d like to point out in each breakfast idea permutation above is the presence of a Clean, lean protein.

Peanut butter
Cottage Cheese

Your body wants and needs protein in the morning to get the engines started. Always look to include a lean protein in your breakfast.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Only Eat Ingredients You Can Pronounce"

     I found the graphic above online last week, and it really sums up what Clean Eating is all about. Only eat ingredients you can pronounce ( and recognize ).

     If you are in the store and examining a product for Cleanliness, go for the product with the fewest ingredients - the product with ( hopefully ) no added sugar or salt, and without preservatives, chemicals, and questionable ingredients you can't pronounce. If you have problems pronouncing it, chances are it's a chemical preservative or a man made, unclean ingredient.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Here's Where The Story Ends. Sort Of.

This is my 623rd post since I started this blog back in 2010, chronicling my awakening and embracing of Clean Eating as a permanent, healthy life change. It is wonderful to know that the information I’ve published has helped some people to change their diets and become permanently aware of how what they are eating is damaging ( or enhancing! ) their nutrition, weight, and overall health. 

Last week I saw the picture above on Pinterest, and the thought has been dogging me ever since. 

Log off. Shut Down. Go Run.

My weeks are full of work, taking care of my family and home – and in the remaining time, taking care of myself. I put my foot down
( quite literally ) a month or two ago, and began to get out of the house in the evenings to exercise. Time just for me to take better care of myself. My weekends are full, too – everything above, plus errands and other commitments.  I can’t tell you the last time I went out with a friend for coffee. I just don’t have time.

Weekends have also been blog time for me. Time for me to gather more Clean Eating recipes, search for new motivational pictures, and write blog posts. It takes time. Lots of time. Time I’m not sure I have any longer. Time I think I want to devote to other things. 

I really don’t want to hear my son’s voice in the living room asking “Where’s Mom?” and my husband answering dryly “Where do you THINK she’s at?” – referring to my office, to me being in front of my computer.

Log Off. Shut Down. Go Run.

Last night I was in the park, walking / jogging / walking as I make my way up to more jogging than walking, on my way eventually to running. I made myself a playlist on my Ipod – and a song I’ve heard multiple times in the last few weeks made me stop dead in my tracks. I stopped, and I listened.

I've seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I'm on my way.
I've seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I'm on my way.

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.
Make the white queen run so fast she hasn't got time to make you a wife.

'Cause it's time, it's time in time with your time and it's news is captured
For the queen to use.
Move me on to any black square, use me any time you want,
Just remember that the goal is for us to capture all we want, (move me on), yea, yea, yea, yea, yea (to any black square)

Don't surround yourself with yourself, move on back two squares,
Send an instant karma to me, initial it with loving care

Ok, God. You’ve got my attention. Move me on to any black square.

This blog has helped people, and I hope the previous 622 posts help someone Googling “Clean Eating” and discover “Yes. I CAN do this. I can turn my back on processed foods and actually survive.” In that spirit, I’m not going to delete what I’ve posted, though I’ve been contemplating it. That’s just unnecessary and a knee jerk reaction. I promise to continue this blog, and post future items as they come up. However, the posts will no longer be daily. The “Recipe of the Day” will become something of a Clean recipe highlight, as will the Motivational picture.

I’m logging off. I’m shutting the computer down. I’m going running.

But I’ll still be here, eating Cleanly and occasionally sharing it with you. 

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homemade Garlic Powder

Over the weekend, I came across this post for homemade garlic powder over at The Burlap Bag,  a funky little DIY blog I peek at every now and again.

Why on EARTH would anyone go to the trouble of making their own garlic powder. Are you serious? I've got better things to do with my time than make garlic powder when I can buy perfectly good garlic powder from the grocery store. Her post talks about all the preservatives in garlic powder.


So I went to my pantry, and looked at my container of garlic powder. Mine happened to be Safeway brand. I couldn't find ANY listing of ingredients on the jar ( Um, isn't that a legal requirement for labeling? ) but what I DID see startled the snot out of me.

Made in China. 

In the trash bin my garlic powder went. Do not pass go, Do not collect $200.

From wikipedia on garlic:

 Garlic is grown globally, but China is by far the largest producer of garlic, with approximately 10.5 million tonnes (23 billion pounds) grown annually, accounting for over 77% of world output. India (4.1%) and South Korea (2%) follow, with Egypt and Russia (1.6%) tied in fourth place and the United States (where garlic is grown in every state except for Alaska) in sixth place (1.4%).[16] This leaves 16% of global garlic production in countries that each produce less than 2% of global output. Much of the garlic production in the United States is centered in Gilroy, California, which calls itself the "garlic capital of the world".[17]
When I was at a different grocery store, I specifically looked at the garlic cloves packed 4 in a mesh sleeve - Product of China.  I looked at the minced garlic in jars - no indication of country of manufacture. I'm going to need to research that further.

Homemade Garlic Powder ( courtesy of The Burlap Bag )

-Getcha garlic. Lots and lots of garlic ( Maura's Note: Look for garlic in the store labeled "organic" OR grown in California. If it is organic, it couldn't have been grown in China. If it is grown in the US, you're on the right track )
-Peel them all.

-Cut them into thin, uniform slices.

-Stick them in the oven at the lowest temperature yours will go (mine goes to 150). OR a dehydrator! But we don’t have one of those.

-Leave it in there for forever. (ok, a couple of hours. your oven is barely on) But they need to be VERY VERY DRY. Brittle. If they are a little “wet” still and you do the next step, they will jam everything. (i know from experience with a few fatter garlic pieces. oooooops)

-Then stick them in a coffee grinder. OR a mortar & pestle if you like a good arm workout. 30 seconds in a coffee grinder and you will have garlic powder EXACTLY like the kind you’d buy at the store. Except without the preservatives that some of the store ones have. Yuck, preservatives! Yay, all natural garlic powder!

Thanks to The Burlap Bag for the pictures, too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Perfectly Centered Yolks in Hard Boiled Eggs

     Clean Eaters love hard boiled eggs - perfect portions of natural protein, vitamins, and minerals. If you're working Clean Eating effectively, undoubtedly you are boiling a dozen eggs each weekend in preparation for the coming week.

 You've learned my tricks for perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs.  You've also learned how to decode and read the stamped information on an egg carton  so you aren't buying the freshest eggs in the case.

But what about off centered eggs? Do your eggs look like this after cooking?

Credit where credit is due - thank you to country music star turned Food Network chef, Trisha Yearwood. My husband was watching her show Trisha's Southern Kitchen  on Saturday, and she gave a tip to something that has flummoxed me in the past - off center cooked yolks in hard boiled eggs..

She noted that the best hard boiled eggs are made from ones that have been in the fridge for a week or two ( we know that! ) . Over that time of sitting and waiting, the yolk has time to settle to the bottom of the egg white within the egg. It sinks to the bottom - slowly.

At least 4-6 hours before you plan on boiling your eggs, take them out of the fridge and flip every single egg upside down and return it back to its cardboard resting place. This time for the yolk to migrate to the center of the egg is the secret to perfectly centered yolks each and every time.

Clever, Clever!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another Salmon Burger To Recommend: Whole Foods

     I'm always happy when I can find another salmon burger to recommend to my readers. I found this offering at Whole Foods last week, and am really pleased with the taste, ingredients, and the sourcing.

From the Whole Foods website:

Sourced from the waters of Alaska, our salmon is MSC ( Marine Stewardship Council ) -certified and carefully selected to make only the best quality burgers. Each patty is flaky, moist and lightly seasoned for a mild but delectable flavor. A great addition to your next cookout, they're also ready to bake or pan-fry for a convenient dinner. Serve on a fresh roll with grilled sun-dried tomatoes and basil mayo for a salmon burger with pizzazz. Don't rule out traditional fixings–everyone loves the classic lettuce, tomato,onion.

Sold by: 4 - 3.2 OZ (91g) BURGERS NET WT 12.8 OZ (363g)

Ingredients: Pink and/or chum salmon, water, expeller pressed canola oil, contains 2% or less of: lemon juice (from concentrate), ground onion, garlic powder, white pepper, sea salt, natural smoke flavor, potato extract, natural flavor, mustard flour, rosemary flavor. Parfried in expeller pressed canola oil.

( I had to look up exactly what "chum salmon" is - I had an idea that because of the word chum, it might be leftover salmon bits from other processing methods. I was wrong.  The chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is a Pacific salmon, and may also be known as dog salmon or Keta salmon, and is often marketed under the name Silverbrite salmon. )

With each burger offering 140 calories, 7 grams of fat ( that's partially from the canola oil... ) and 320 mg of sodium, these burgers are ok for the Clean Eater. Have them every night? No, at 320 mg of sodium for one burger, it's probably best to have these once or twice a week.  But they are wild caught, processed and packed in the USA, and are really tasty. They get the CE thumbs up.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Think Eating Clean Is Expensive? Think Again, Part 2...

( Please keep in mind Clean Eaters consider Morningstar meatless  products to be Border Food - a food that is ok for occasional consumption ( a few times a month ) but not Clean enough for several servings per week use. )

Thanks for the pictures, Sparkpeople!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Larabar Report: Carrot Cake and Ginger Snap

I had the good fortune to stumble upon 2 "new to me" flavors of Larabar at Whole Foods Market last week, and I'm really glad I tried them!

Larabar Carrot Cake

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge carrot cake ( the real stuff, with cream cheese frosting ) , but as my ability to sample the entire Larabar spectrum is limited because of my cashew nut allergy...I had to accept the 2 flavors I could eat - one of them being carrot cake. 

Carrot Cake Larabar ingredients: Dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple, unsweetened coconut, carrots, cinnamon, extra virgin coconut oil.

I was impressed upon opening it, there were small strands of orange shot through the bar - real carrots! The bar itself was moist, with a nice chew to it. I particularly liked the cinnamon pineapple combination in this bar. For someone who isn't fond of carrot cake - I'd buy this bar again.
Larabar Ginger Snap

The Ginger Snap flavor of Larabar is one I've been looking for - I love the taste of ginger cookies / ginger bread. The Larabar didn't disappoint - the ginger flavor was pronounced, and the addition of pecans to the bar I thought made it really delicious. One thing - I think I was expecting the same "snap" mouthfeel you get from a true gingersnap cookie - a crispy crunch, combined with that ginger taste. You don't get that in a soft bar of dates, perhaps I was a little let down. But upon reflection, the taste was really good.

Ginger Snap  Larabar ingredients: Dates, almonds, pecans, ginger, cinnamon, cloves.

Both bars are very good, though I think I preferred the carrot cake to the ginger snap. I'll definitely buy both again.

While I was in the aisle at the store, a woman came along and put 6 of the Key Lime Pie flavor Larabars in her basket. One I'd love to try, but it contains cashews. I asked her how that one is, and she told me it is her favorite of all the bars. I think I whimpered a bit!

What is your favorite Larabar flavor?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Awesome Find - Liquid Stevia


      I discovered liquid stevia drops by accident the other day, when I was at Whole Foods bumming around waiting for my cell phone to be diagnosed. I'm kinda picky when it comes to stevia; there are only a few brands of stevia I like ( Like Trader's Joe's and Truvia, dislike Pure Via a lot! ) so the thought of spending almost $10 for a bottle of liquid stevia froze my couponer's frugal heart for a few minutes. However, when I noticed the bottle actually contained several hundred servings - I did the math in my head, steeled a smile on my face, and put the bottle in my basket.

     I bought stevia with vanilla flavoring in it, thinking it might be good for my coffee - and I WAS RIGHT! It is wonderful, and I'm so thrilled with it. I'm using less sweetener, and it flavors my coffee with a natural vanilla. I really like it.

You can find liquid stevia in your local local Whole Foods, or buy it online from Amazon:

Liquid Stevia at

While looking for a picture of  liquid stevia online, I found this handy dandy stevia conversion chart: 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Spicy Black Bean Mexican Casserole

     I found this recipe a few weeks ago online, and set it aside for safe keeping. I like Clean recipes with Mexican flavors, recipes that use black beans, and recipes that can be made quickly in the evenings. This recipe fills all my parameters.

Even my fussy son liked it.

Spicy Black Bean Mexican Casserole

  • 2 large organic yellow onions, diced
  • 1 heaping Tbsp sweet chili powder or other chili, as desired
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 cups cooked organic brown rice
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, thoroughly rinsed if using canned
  • 2 green organic bell peppers (or other vegetable), chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced green or Kalamata olives
  • 2 cups fresh organic salsa ( in your grocery store's fresh veggie section )
  • 1/2 cup shredded organic Monterey Jack or other cheese


Heat oven to 375 F.
Sauté onion in a large skillet with some olive oil.  Add chili powder to onion while it is cooking, stirring to coat.  Once translucent, remove onions from skillet, setting them aside in a small bowl.  Place black beans, green pepper and olives in the same skillet used for the onion.  Add 3/4 cup of salsa to the beans mixture and stir to integrate over low heat. 

Meanwhile, spread brown rice out along base of an oven safe casserole dish such that it forms the bottom layer. Top rice with remaining 1 + 1/4 cup of salsa to form second layer.  Spread onion mixture over salsa.  Add black bean/bell pepper/olive mixture over onions and top with shredded cheese.

Place casserole in oven uncovered and allow it to cook for approximately 30-45 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown along the edges.

Monday, June 4, 2012

400 Calories

     Sometimes when people find out I eat Clean, inevitably the question comes up "Do you count calories?"

     No, I don't. I'm aware of them - but I don't meticulously calculate my daily caloric intake. If I've eaten Clean, I know it. I feel good, I have energy. I try to eat nutrient dense foods  that will fill me up and make me not crave unhealthy foods. 

     If you look at the graphic above, you'll see very clearly that the choices you make will have a direct impact on your satiety. 400 calories of fatty, oily food is a very small amount. 400 calories of a lean meat is a lot more food, but still less than 400 calories of vegetables. If you try to make your meals vegetable and fruit-centric with meats and grains used as a "side" item, you'll fill your stomach with nutrient dense foods and be able to eat a lot of food in the process. This plays a mental trick on your mind, making it think "Wow, I've eaten a lot!" while the calorie load is still light. The end result? A full body that has received the vitamins, nutrients, and energy it needs to run properly, a full mind that isn't craving more fatty, sugary foods to replace the ones it just processed in your body, and ultimately - weight loss.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Whole Living Magazine Only $3.99 For 1 Year Subscription

     Today's Tanga magazine subscription of the day is Whole Living magazine, devoted to a holistic healthy lifestyle - which includes Clean Eating.

Note: This offer begins at 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Click this link to get a 1 year subscription to Whole Living magazine for $3.99 after using coupon code LIVING.

Whole Living is one of America’ most respected magazines covering holistic living. Each issue includes an exciting and thoughtful mix of features, columns, and departments that help readers explore new discoveries in natural healing.

Even if you aren't into things like yoga, this magazine has a strong focus on eating Clean for improved health. I've linked to several of their recipes in my "Clean Eating Recipe of the Day" box, and have gotten inspiration for posts from their website. This magazine is definitely one that Clean Eaters would find interesting and helpful on a monthly basis.

As always, if you are a current subscriber, you can add more years to your subscription with this purchase - and if you want to buy multiple years' subscriptions, just change the quantity of your purchase. Buying quantity 2 will get you a 2 year subscription at the low 1 year rate.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

[Satisfaction] I Jogged!!! [/Satisfaction]

     I've been walking for several weeks now, about 4-5 times a week after work and on the weekends. Just getting out, walking briskly in the park behind my house. This morning, I picked up my new cell phone at the store. On my way back to the car, I spied an athletic clothing store. I darted in - and yes, they sell sports bras - a piece of clothing I've never owned before, but needed if I was to advance in my exercise. These cans aren't going to support themselves.

It's like stuffing 5 pounds of boob into a 3 pound sack - but tolerably snug.

I walked a minute, I jogged a minute. I walked a minute, I jogged 30 seconds. I walked 2 minutes, I jogged a minute. And on and on I went, until I had been walking / jogging for a little over 30 minutes.

For someone who was so previously out of shape as I was a lightning moment.

I got back into my car to drive back to my house, and I sat in my car with a very self satisfied smile.

I'm on my way.

Friday, June 1, 2012

McDonald's Cherry Berry Chillers - Clean Eating or Another Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?

     Couponers love free stuff. A few weeks ago, there was a coupon ( above ) in the Sunday Parade magazine for a free McDonald's Cherry Berry Chiller. Of course, the couponers have been going nuts to get their hands on these things.

     Now, given what we know about raspberry flavoring,  I thought "Ha, Ha, beaver butt" and went looking online for the ingredients to show to one of the couponers I know who is trying to get as many of these coupons as she can.

Here are the ingredients I found online:

        Cherry Berry Flavored Juice Blend Base

Ingredients: Water, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor (botanical source), colored with fruit and vegetable juice, cherry puree, raspberry juice concentrate, citric acid, xanthan gum.

Wow - this drink might actually be Clean! water, fruit juices, real raspberry juice. Huh!

Then I saw the nutritional data. All you've got in there is frozen fruit juice and water. 200 calories? 49 grams of sugar? From where? The fruit juice may add some natural sugar...but NOT 49 grams worth.

 200  Calories  
1g Protein  
0g Fat (0%)
49g Carbs (16%)
25mg Sodium (1%) 

Calories from Fat 0 Dietary Fiber 0g (0%) Calcium 25mg (2%)
Saturated Fat 0g (0%) Sugars 49g Iron 0.5mg (2%)
Trans Fat 0g Vitamin A 0IU (0%) Vitamin C 0mg (0%)

Then I saw it. 

Ingredients: Water, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, natural flavor (botanical source), colored with fruit and vegetable juice, cherry puree, raspberry juice concentrate, citric acid, xanthan gum.

Sugar comes from a plant. It's a flavoring. It's natural. It's from a botanical souce. Those sneaky S.O.B.s hid the sugar under the guise of "natural flavorings." !!!

If you bothered to look at the ingredients in a Cherry Berry Chiller, you could be fooled into thinking this new drink was quite wholesome. Another example of Fast Food / Large Food Conglomos manipulating data and misrepresenting information to make their product appear healthier.

Drinking this is the equivalent to eating 49 packets of sugar. Gak!

McDonald's Cheery Berry Chiller is a wolf in sheep's clothing - and a great example for beginning Clean Eaters to start really thinking about their food - start examining and questioning the labels of what you are eating, and really understand what you are consuming.