Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amazing Almonds & an Almond Butter Recipe

Almonds are amazing.  The fact that I've written that, alone, shows how far I've come on this journey.  I used to hate almonds.  All nuts actually.  And now I eat almonds daily and in so many forms that mostly, I don't even know I'm eating almonds!  I always crack up when I serve my husband something and he says "I wish you'd put nuts in this.  It would taste better."  Little does he know that the main ingredients ARE nuts!  Almonds usually. (although I do do a lot with walnuts and pecans too)

Here's one example:

These brownies are my kids' favorite dessert.  They are flour-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and taste absolutely fabulous.  Hard to believe, isn't it?

So what's the fuss with Almonds?  Almonds are full of folic acid and fiber (which means they're a great choice if you're pregnant!), vitamins and minerals...and they're cholesterol-free.  They help fight heart disease and help get your blood pressure and cholesterol back to normal.  There's even research now showing how almonds help with cancer prevention.  Yes, there's fat in them...but it's the GOOD kind of fat.  (Of course, everything in moderation, including almonds.)

The things I make with almonds...
  • Brownies (as seen above)
  • Chocolate (I just made an amazing dark chocolate candy bar that's was made of 5 ingredients...cacao, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and ALMONDS! So much healthier and more delicious than grabbing a Hershey's bar.)
  • Cookies, Bars, Oatmeal, Muffins, Pancakes ...  I grind the almonds in my mini-food processor so that it makes a powder.  It's called Almond Flour and makes a great addition to most foods.
  • Almond Butter.  (Lately I've swapped out the peanut butter in my kids' lunches for almond butter.  They eat the sandwiches without a problem and don't even notice the difference.)
So while I'm on the topic of Almond Butter...that's actually the motivation for this post.  The friend I mentioned two posts ago who gave me the Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter as a Christmas gift sent me the recipe below.  (Thank You!!)  Dark Chocolate Almond Butter.  Who could pass that up?  I just HAD to make it!  And it turned out AMAZING!!  So I'm going to share the recipe and the link to where it originated.  It is not my recipe...I'm am simply delivering it to you to try out.  Healthy food that tastes good...That's the way to eat!

 4-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

(This reminds me a little of Nutella. It's the smoothest almond butter I've ever had!)

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate (I used organic dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (another oil may work too)
  • 1/8th-1/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste
Directions: Place 2 cups of raw, whole almonds into a food processor. Process for about 15 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute or as necessary. It is a long process, but you don’t want to stop until you have released all the oils in the almonds and the mixture is very smooth and buttery! This took me a good 14-15 minutes.

Just before your almond butter is ready, add the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp of coconut oil to a small pot. Melt on low. You want to remove the pot from heat when there are still some chocolate chip clumps remaining. Don’t worry they will melt as you stir the mixture. I always take it off the heat a bit early to avoid burning the chocolate.

Add the melted chocolate to the almond butter (still in the processor) and process for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add your kosher salt to taste and process more. Scoop into a container and store in the fridge. Makes 1 & 1/4 cups, 20 one-tbsp servings, or enough to fill a 250 ml jar. Refrigerate.

Note that the almond butter firms up in the fridge. Allow it to sit at room temperature to soften before using.

Nutritional Info: (per tbsp, approx 20 servings per batch): 104 kcals, 9 grams fat (1 gram sat fat), 6 grams carbs, 2 grams fibre, 3 grams sugar, 3 grams protein.

Here's her link:

My notes on this recipe:

Definitely view her link because it shows detailed photos that helped me a lot in making this.  In fact, I would have given up long before if I hadn't seen her photos.  It took double the time she says it takes.  Scraping the bowl takes a long time and a lot of physical strength.  I thought it would never turn into butter then then suddenly it happened.  It was fascinating to watch.  It also yields 2x what she says it will.  I filled up a jar that was 410 ml (a coconut oil jar).

I used 72% cacao but if you want something a little sweeter, I'd recommend adding 1 TBSP or more maple syrup to the melted chocolate.  I think I might try that next time.

I have to say it took a lot of time and work to get one jar of almond butter.  But it tasted so amazing that it was worth it.  At first I'd thought this would make a great Christmas gift to give out to friends next year, but after all the time to get one jar...IF anyone gets this as a gift from me they're going to know I love them VERY much.  :-)

P.S.  This chocolate almond butter is a great substitute for hot fudge on ice cream.  Yes...I cheated (but it was Haagen Daz so it was as close to clean-eating as ice cream can get!)   Also, the recipe I posted here for the Raw Maple Sweet Potatoes turned out wonderful!  The family ate it up at Christmas dinner.  I was a little disappointed there weren't any leftovers.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Adoration (and a recipe)

Merry Christmas!  I titled this post Adoration because, for our family, that's what Christmas is about.  It's about Christ, his birth and the amazing circumstances surrounding the Baby Jesus.  Just the thought of Baby Jesus makes me smile. 

I am so thankful that my parents raised me to celebrate Jesus on Christmas.  There was Santa (more of the feeling and fun of Santa, I never actually believed he existed) and gifts and lights.  But more important was Jesus.  And I always knew that Jesus was the TRUE reason that we have a reason to celebrate.  I want my kids to know that too.  So we've made decisions for our family that help us make Christ the center.  No TV for one.  We have A TV and we watch DVD's but the television itself isn't hooked up to anything else.  No TV = NO commercials!! And it's amazing how that alone eliminates the greedy "I wants".  People ask my kids all the time what Santa is bringing them for Christmas...and in return all they get is a blank look.  Ask them about Baby Jesus, though, and you're going to get an earful!

Yes, there are gifts (as my kids remind me constantly...the 2nd best part of Christmas is the PRESENTS!).  But we do everything we can to create an atmosphere of ADORATION during the holiday season.  (One thing we started this year is called "7 Nights Before Christmas".  Each evening we light a candle and I read from the grown-up Bible part of the story of Christmas...after prayer the kids get to open one small gift.  They loved it!!)  Jesus was a babe in the cradle so he could become a Savior on the cross...and now he wears a crown and sits on the throne of our hearts.  How I want you to know the true meaning of Christmas this year!  If you haven't already, please consider giving Him authority over your life so that you may know the true peace and meaning of Christmas.

This is not a normal blog post for me.  I've worked hard to transform my physical body but just couldn't let Christmas Day go by without sharing a tiny bit about how to make a spiritual transformation as well.  It's so simple...confess to God your sins, repent of your sins and ask for His forgiveness.  And ask that Jesus come into your life and transform you from the inside out.  And if you choose to do that, WELCOME to the family of God!

Here's my annual photo with my daughter, who is turning 7 in a few weeks.  We do this exact pose in front of a Christmas tree every year.  I just love seeing the hairstyle changes and facial changes from year to year.  I don't know if you can tell but the bottom photo from last year was me at my heaviest (I tried to hide it with hair and angle) and this year's (on top) is me at 43 lbs lighter.  This has been such a year of transformation for me in so many ways!  (more before/after photos to come on New Years!).  You can see it's been a year of transformation for my daughter too! 

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2010

Is it just me or do we both look healthier?

And here's a recipe to close out the holiday season.  This is a new one I'm very eager to try for our Christmas dinner this year.  I love sweet potatoes but have not known if it was possible to eat them raw.  Now I can give it a try!  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Herb-Infused Maple & Pecan
Sweet Potatoes by Russell James, The Raw Chef

4 cups sweet potato, peeled

½ cup pine nuts

1 cup pecans

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon garlic powder

4 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 Tablespoon light miso

3 Tablespoons organic maple syrup

1 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, minced


1. First make a thick pecan cream by blending the pecans, pine nuts and water. Add a little more water if necessary, to get it to blend.

2. In a food processor, grind the sweet potato into small pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, except the fresh parsley and thyme. Stir thoroughly.

3. Blend mixture in small batches in a high speed blender until creamy.

4. Stir in the fresh herbs by hand.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Accountability really is such a huge key to success.  It doesn't matter what it is you're attempting, whether it's a work-at-home situation, improvement in parenting or weight-loss/eating healthier.  (I chose those three since I'm very familiar with the need for accountability in all of them!)  Choosing the right accountability partner can either make you...or break you.

Accountability is what started me on this journey...a dear friend who said "will you do this with me"...and my life has not been the same since!  Because of her I learned how to exercise and the ins and outs of weight-training.  I kept going because I knew we'd be there doing it together.  Now that she has moved away I miss my exercise accountability partner!

In this holiday season it can be hard to "be good".  Everywhere you go candy is being handed out, party platters are filled to the brim with choice goodies that are too good to pass up, and friends are giving gifts of Christmas cookies, fudge and other traditional holiday delights.

Tonight I was serving at church in the pre-school department for the first of our 7 Christmas services.  I walked into the Volunteer Central room for some bottles of water and was greeted by holiday temptation!  The most alluring cupcakes surrounded by cake pops filled serving trays throughout the room.  No one was around and it was SO TEMPTING not to "just have a taste".  But I have this type of accountability now that most people don't have the blessing of's called "Blog Followers".  And while I don't have a huge following, yet, the ones that I have pop up in the craziest places.  Tonight for instance, several people (none I'd expected!) came up to me and told me they were keeping up with me by following my blog, thanked me for writing it because it encouraged them, etc...  That always surprises me to hear but encourages me so much.  Tonight this happened several times and I was very thankful I hadn't caved to the temptation because, well, can you imagine how embarrassing it would have been if they'd seen me with a mouth full of cupcake!  I do cave to temptation, more often than I'd like.  But knowing people are watching me really helps me to walk the straight and narrow.  Accountability helps me to "keep it clean".

So, have you ever been blessed?  Like really really blessed by something someone did for you that you knew was a sacrifice and a true gift of love?  That happened to me tonight too.  A beautiful friend (both inside and out!) researched out clean-eating recipes and made me the most amazing Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter as a Christmas gift.  I can not tell you how that blessed me to the very core! (If you read this ~ THANK YOU!!)  I had to dig in as soon as I got home and let me tell you...AMAZING!  I may now have a new addiction (which is, thankfully, healthy!).

Spread on Sprouted Flaxseed Bread

Accountability...I'm telling you, it works! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Super Salads (and a Recipe)

Did you eat your salad today?  Believe it or not, this should be your primary food question every day!  In fact, according to a leading doctor in health and wellness, Dr. Fuhrman, we should all have the slogan "Salad is the MAIN Food" on our refrigerators so we see it

I personally have a problem with that.  My problem is that I don't really LIKE to eat salads.  They are tedious.  They take soooo long to chew... (there's a reason for that, actually).  And if you make it properly, they take too long to prepare.  It boils down to this: I just don't really WANT to eat salad, and especially not everyday! Boooring!

Over Thanksgiving I was channel-surfing and came across a PBS special by Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat To Live.  He was sharing the science behind the type of eating that I encourage on this blog: no processed foods, no sugars and lots of whole foods.  Absolutely fascinating!  (I wished I had the $185 necessary to purchase the full 8 cd-set of his teachings.)  A salad in it's purest form is 100% whole foods and, according to Dr Fuhrman, should be "nutrient dense".  So nutrient dense that even the salad dressing is good enough to eat with a spoon.  In other words, Ranch just isn't going to cut it! 

The dressing is another problem for me with salads.  The dressing itself should be nutrient dense and not full of fats, preservative, sugars and natural flavors.  (All I can say about the "natural flavors" is EW!  Natural but naturally WHAT?  Beaver anal gland anyone??)  I have such a hard time finding a decent salad dressing that I've given up eating salad completely.  Dr. Fuhrman to the rescue!  He shared a salad dressing recipe that I have included for you below.  It's different but a good kind of different.

For me, the idea of eating Raw appeals so much because I don't enjoy eating salads on a regular basis.  Raw foods open up a whole new slew of options for me that are exactly the same nutrient-wise but are easier to chew than a salad and are vastly more interesting.  The Raw Green Smoothies I drink 1-2x a day are equal to a salad-in-a-glass.  Strawberry Swirl Cheezkake...Kale Crisps...Walnut Pate...  There are just so many other ways to get my greens and/or nutrients than the traditional salad.  (In fact I just pulled 2 trays of Kale Crisps from the oven and I've already eaten 1/2 of one tray!  LOVE those and SUPER healthy!  A great salad alternative!  Recipe to come in future blog.)

But back to the salads...I don't mind adding them into my mealplan 1-2 times a week.  Here are some guidelines to live by when it comes to creating a Super Salad:
  • Use a variety of greens.  Arugula and spinach are two nutrient-dense greens.  Stay away from ice burg might as well drink a glass of water and save your jaw the effort.
  • Make your salad nutrient dense...that means having more "add-ins" than greens.
  • Good add-ins: avocados, bell-peppers, tomatoes, nuts, seeds (i.e. sunflower, chia, flax, pumpkin), dried cranberries or cherries, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, etc...
  • Bad add-ins: cheese, croutons, eggs (i.e. Cobb Salad), most dressings, bacon bits
  • The more colorful your salad, the better!
  • Use a dressing that is made with whole foods.
  • Chew each bite approx 45 times.  Less than that and you won't ingest as many nutrients.

Dr. Fuhrman's Orange Cashew Dressing/Dip
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 2 minutes

  • 3 oranges, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Blood Orange Vinegar (I found the equivalent at Sprout's)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth and creamy.
Add some orange juice to thin, if necessary.

More recipes can be found at .  This dressing does thicken over time (i.e. after about 24 hrs) and makes a great spread for sandwiches.  It doesn't last longer than a week in the fridge so making 1/2 recipe might be recommended.  It makes a lot!  This says it serves 4 but I filled 2 glass jars with this recipe.  Way too much for 4!
So...Did you eat your salad today?  Are you ready to now?  Despite my aversion to salad, I know the health benefits of eating whole, raw foods aer phenomenal and so worth eating.  I hope at the very least you'll add 1-2 more salads into your diet a week and take the next step towards health and wellness.
P.S.  Sorry for the lack of photos in this blog.  I took a whole bunch but can't find them.  Next time!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eating Well

Do any of you feel overwhelmed and like things spin out of control in the holiday season?  I really try to keep Christmas simple and not plan many extras.  But somehow the extras tend to plan themselves.  Two trips out of town (which were wonderful!!) plus Christmas decorating added into my regularly busy schedule have derailed me for the past few weeks.  So my blog has fallen by the wayside.  Despite that, friends keep telling me they're sharing my blog with others and my numbers soared to their highest ever on Dec 4.  I have no idea why!  But thank you!!

So...I have actually written several awesome blogs in my head.  Doesn't do you guys much good when it gets trapped in space and never makes it through my fingers and into Internet ink.  My apologies!  This morning I was reading the January/February 2011 issue of Experiencing Life magazine and came across this little side-column article that was titled simply: "How to eat simply and well".  I thought that would be a great article to share while I pull my thoughts and photos together for my next post.  I hope these tips will help you through the overwhelming season of parties, cookies, chocolate, hot coco and a million other temptations that are nearly impossible to resist. 

So now that I've tempted you with those luscious words, do I dare confess that my great plans and intentions regarding food have gotten tossed out along with the laundry and dishes, vacuuming and... (I'm afraid to even think what else has been derailed the past few weeks.)  I haven't totally gone back to my unhealthy eating but enough to feel really guilty and rather yuck around the tummy.  Then my littlest got sick with strep a week ago.  Before I knew it was strep I was slightly freaked by his swollen lymph nodes, which looked like someone had cut a golf ball in 1/2 and jammed it under his skin on both sides of his neck.  All I could think was Lymphoma and that THIS was why we were eating healthy.  Talk about a kick-in-the-pants!  Optimal Health!  Optimal Health!  Optimal Health!  If I were ever to get a tattoo, I would probably get those two words branded into the backs of my hands.  Whatever it takes to keep me on the straight-and-narrow!

So...Here are the 10 Tips/Reminders to help you through the Holiday Temptation Season and carry you into the New Year, compliments of Experience Life.

  1. Embrace a wide variety of whole foods.  All of them are good for you in balance and moderation.
  2. Aim to maximize your intake of brightly colored, high-fiber veggies.
  3. Don't eliminate whole foods rich in healthy fats, complex carbs and phytonutrients.
  4. Do moderate your intake of foods high in sugars (added or otherwise) and minimize your intake of processed flours, sugars, starches and fried foods.
  5. Replace some of the grains and starchy foods in your diet with leafy plants and legumes.
  6. When you do eat grains, substitute whole, intact grains for refined grains and flours.
  7. When possible, opt for locally and organically grown whole foods. 
  8. Drink plenty of water, less of most other beverages. 
  9. Emphasize quality over quantity, and invest the majority of your food budget in nutritious choices.
  10. Learn to cook well enough that you can prepare healthy, satisfying dishes you enjoy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Detox Sucks

Please forgive the crassness of my title - but really, could I have said anything more true?  I was going to title this "Detox = NO FUN" which is true too, but just plain sucks so why not get the truth, the whole true and nothin' but the truth right out there in the open? 

What is detox?  In my simplistic understanding of things, detox is getting the toxins (i.e. poisons) we've ingested into our bodies, out of our bodies.  We most commonly think of detox as being related to drugs.  We've probably seen it on TV shows with someone isolated in a white hospital room sweating and vomiting for 24 hrs, in total misery, trying to purge their bodies of the drugs.  That would be an extreme example.  What most people don't realize is that we ingest toxins and poisons everyday into our bodies simply by eating processed foods.  Our kidneys and liver do an incredible job of trying to clean up the mess we make, but they can only clean up so much.  Toxins get stored inside our cells, our organs...really, inside the entirety of our bodies.  Unless we do something to get rid of it, it just keeps building.  I believe (again, don't quote me) these stored toxins have a lot to do with the increase of cancer and other debilitating diseases (like diabetes) that are running rampant in our nation today.

When I first attended a class on eating raw foods, Living Raw by Grace's Haley Turney explained about detoxing and that no one should ever go raw overnight because the detox would be so intense you might not be able to endure it...and it would last up to 2 weeks.  I listened to her say that several different times but it basically went in one ear and out the other.  I'd been eating partially raw for a few months when my husband took a 2 week trip to Korea.  The day he left I got this brainchild AH~HA moment, thinking it was the perfect time to go 100% raw while he was gone...i.e. no one around to influence my eating in a negative way.  So I did.  3 days into eating raw and I literally thought I was going to die.  I was depressed, angry, snappy, impatient with the kids, horrible stomach pain, achy, lying in bed and wondering if I was going insane or dying or both. Oh - and we won't even mention the toilet.  We don't need that much truth!

That's when I suddenly remembered Haley saying "I don't recommend anyone going raw overnight."  UGH!  NOW I remember?  So immediately I contacted her on-line and told her what was going on.  She thought it was a rather extreme detox but said yes, that's probably what it was and as sugar was an addictive drug, I might want to add some back into my diet and go off it a little slower next time.  Lovely.  At least I knew the reason behind the horribleness, though.  I looked on-line and found this site called Natural Therapy and this is what it said (and I think I had all but 2):

Common Detox Symptoms

Detox can create a number of symptoms in your body as your body goes through the process of purifying itself and eliminating toxins.  Some common detox symptoms include:
  • headaches
  • lethargy
  • temporary muscle aches
  • mucus or other discharge
  • a coated, pasty tongue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • irritability
  • difficulty sleeping
  • weakness
  • cravings
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas
You may even find that the detoxing process causes you to suffer the old symptoms that you have had that the body has suppressed.  You may think that you are becoming ill but it is important that you continue with the detox and don’t take any medications to help with the symptoms.  The aim to flush chemicals from the body, not introduce more!

Since that initial horrible introduction into detoxing, I've gone through it a dozen more times at least, but none to the same degree.  It's funny that, still, I don't attribute how I'm feeling to detox.  Just last week I started a new therapy called FSM (or Frequency Specific Microcurrent) to help with my inflammation on a cellular level.  It basically cleans out your cells, getting rid of the toxins that have attached themselves to the cells and allows for healing to happen.  Later the day I started FSM I thought I had the flu.  I felt so horrible I laid my head on the kitchen table and cried.  My little boy said, "Where's my mommy?  What happened to you??" I felt terrible for making him feel sad.  I told my sister that I didn't think the therapy was working because now I was sick with the flu.  And she said "You're Detoxing Dummy!"  (minus the "dummy" part but it WAS implied!  lol).

So, I write all this for anyone who is starting to eat clean, go Raw or do a Cleanse.  You WILL experience detox and you might not know what's going on or may easily become discouraged.  Hopefully this will help you not be discouraged.  Know that this too will pass and you'll be a lot healthier for it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Is it easy?

Is (eating clean) easy?  I get asked this question a lot.  I actually don't understand why I get asked this question a lot.  If you're reading this, and you know me, you've probably asked it...come on, fess up!  The simple answer is NO!  Is it easy for a smoker to quit smoking?  Is it easy for drug addicts to walk away from their drug of choice?  No, it's not.  It's the same for a food addict...or more specifically, for a sugar addict.

I truly believe that sugar is a drug and that it's the most addictive and costly drug in America.  It's in most of our food supply.  Take a look at your Lawry's Garlic Salt...sugar.  Your spaghetti sauce. Your cereal.  Your whole wheat pita bread (which I was going to buy today until I read it...SUGAR!)  Your muffins.  Actually, muffins are the devil behind this moody post today.  My husband is not on board with Clean Eating.  He doesn't want to be limited by me and my "wierd" cooking habits.  He usually goes to Fry's and stocks up on bags of carbs and sugar for the week.  Honestly, none of that stuff tempts me because I think Fry's has the worst bakery known to man.  So it's easy to stay away from it.  But this week he wanted Costco muffins.  Have you ever had Costco muffins?  They're HUGE and moist and come in amazing flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon Crumble.  I bought him the muffins thinking no problem...until I opened the package for a "quicky" breakfast for the kids (knowing I shouldn't but that whole "time" issue was at play...) and that sweet smell wafted out to tickle my nose.  (Ok, I'm getting a little corny...I'm no novelist...).  I just had to have a tiny taste of a crumb ~  That's ALL (I told myself)...until suddenly the entire giant muffin had disappeared.  Do you know how good those taste?  THEN I picked up the packaging.  It was healthy, I told myself.  It's a PUMPKIN muffin.  Pumpkin is soooo healthy.  But pumpkin wasn't the #1 ingredient.  White processed flour wasn't even the main ingredient.  No...SUGAR was the main ingredient.  No wonder it tasted so good.  No wonder I wanted to eat more.

One irony about all these lifestyle changes I'm making is that people don't believe I'm a sugar addict!  I'll tell someone I've just met (i.e. yesterday) about how I eat and they'll say "Oh, that's great.  I could never do it.  I have too big of a sweet tooth."  Like I don't?  I'm here to say I still struggle with this - every single day!

One episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition really impacted me earlier this year when it was shown.  A largely obese woman was talking about her food addiction and how hard it was going to be to change her eating.  She said that for drug abusers, they can "just" stay away from drugs.  Smokers can stay away from cigarettes (not to say it isn't a battle daily for them - BUT it is possible for them to avoid the source).  But for a food addict, you can never stay away from the source.  All people must eat daily.  We have to have food, it's just not an option to not eat.  Making the choice to eat the right foods IS. VERY. HARD.  We can't drive down a main street in America without passing every sort of food temptation known to man.

I've read a lot of statistics over the past months and I'm terrible at remembering numbers, so I won't even attempt it.  But I will give a broad summarization of them.  Sugar addiction is the most costly and hardest-to-beat addiction in America.  I believe it's also the leading cause of death.  Whether it be death by diabetes or obesity or 1000 other health/weight related illnesses, including cancer.  Sugar (also known as glucose or fructose) is a cancer cells main foodsource.  Sugar is extremely costly.  People spend more on medications to fight sugar-related illnesses than is spent on the entire drug war.  And more people are dying of pharmaceutical drug overdose now than illegal drug overdose.  This is a sad state of affairs we Americans find ourselves in.  (please don't quote me - I am not a scientist or dr) 

Statistics alone won't help a person make a lifestyle change.  Watching one or two of the awesome videos out there (Food, Inc for one) isn't enough to make a lifestyle change stick.  It's a great motivating start for a lifestyle change but in the end, it's not enough.  There has to be a deeper reason to change a habit that has been built over decades.  There has to be something or Someone greater that will help us to make right decisions when faced with 1000 temptations.  And there has to be a whole lot of God's grace and help through the process.  Because enthusiasm dies.  And it's hard to press on despite the temptations.  I encourage you to dig deeper.  What's your reason?  Who are you doing it for and why?  Write it down - put it where you can see and remember.  I WILL eat clean because...

So - is it easy?  Is it easy for someone with a 30+ year addiction and 30+ years of bad habits to do a complete 180?  No, it's not easy.  But it IS worth it!  It's worth it to see the weight fall off.  It's worth it not to have trouble breathing. It's worth it to be able to bend over and pick up toys and trash off the living room floor without having to catch your breath in between bits and pieces.   It's worth it to be off of all prescription medications.  It's worth it to know (short of an accident of some sort) that I'm giving myself more time on the earth and for my kids.  It's worth knowing what healthy is so I can teach it to my children.  What an amazing legacy to pass on!  Attaining Optimal Health is definitely worth it. 

(Here are 3 of my Why's...isn't that photo hilarious?  My fighters with their homemade pirates patches...they're definitely worth fighting for!)

It's not easy but YES it's worth it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

Many times in my blogs and on my resources page I've mentioned Haley Turney of Living Raw by Grace.  I've done some classes with her and have all of her cookbooks, regularly preparing, sharing and enjoying many of her recipes.  Last night she had a graduates potluck that I was very eager to attend.  I couldn't wait to see what other recipes people had come up with while eating some amazing and healthy food.  I also needed to go to "re-set" my brain and be reminded of why I've choosing to eat Clean and Raw.

Sometimes despite the knowledge gathered and the best of intentions, old habits are just too hard to slip back into.  A bite of this here, a piece of that there and then suddenly I can't claim to be eating Clean or Raw at all.  So attending last night was a great refresher of the health benefits to eating well (and I'll actually go here and say - eating right!).

We watched an incredible video called "Simply Raw - Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" .  If you have a family history of diabetes or have diabetes yourself, I highly recommend getting ahold of this video and taking an hour to watch.  The movie follows 6 people beginning with their lives at home, showing the types of food they eat and describes how bad their diabetes is.  It's so tragic to watch the hopelessness they live with on a daily basis.  Each of them replied to a Craig's List ad to reverse their diabetes in 30 days.  It was their last hope if they wanted to live...not just live a fantastic life...but to live!  They came to a farm in Patagonia, Arizona (I'm from here and had never heard of Patagonia before!) for 30 days of isolation, training, and medical care but most importantly - of eating raw food.  30 days later they had ALL lost a minimum of 25 lbs and were off of all medications and insulin.  They looked so healthy and happy - and hopeful.

It just amazes me that when we go back to the way God created the earth, with the foods He designed to be perfect for our bodies, the wonderful health benefits that are reaped.  This whole journey of food, with all of it's trials and errors, has left me profoundly amazed with the Creation story and the perfection of The Garden of Eden.  Prior to this year, I could never understand how Adam and Eve were supposed to survive in the garden with "just" whole fresh fruits and veggies to eat.  How boring!  But now unboring it truly was.  Leave it to a sinful people to see perfection as boring.  And now, with all of the master chefs in the world preparing incredible foods from whole, raw ingredients, we have no excuses not to be enjoying God's complete food gifts to their fullest extent.  (I write to myself - the Queen of Excuses!)

It's my hope that someday someone with diabetes will read this and that their life will be saved.  Truly this information is life-saving and it's not info that a doctor will ever give them (you).  Part of my journey to optimal health was to avoid diabetes.  Given how I was eating and my sugar addiction, I was on a path of intersection with the disease, especially since I have a family history of it.  "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food" has become my motto and according to the doctors, I'm doing it successfully!  I hope you will as well.  Here's the link to the Simply Raw site.  If you sign up for their newsletter you'll get some freebies to help kick-start your journey.  Good luck...and I wish you a future full of Hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheat Meals...Cheat Weeks

The past few weeks a very common topic on pretty much all of the blogs & Facebook clean-eating sites I follow has been about cheating on clean eating...what you do in xyz situation (i.e. parties, dinner out, travel, etc...).  I think this is a natural topic given the upcoming holidays and sugar-festivals (i.e. Halloween). 

When I began learning about Clean Eating I understood that this was a lifestyle change.  I was choosing to eat a certain way for health purposes, with the final goal being optimal health.  It was a hard transition but I finally made it to being mostly clean/raw and that lasted a few months - I was doing great, working out, losing weight, etc...  Then I started reading these articles about cheating.  I've long said if there's a way to cheat (on just about anything), I will find it.  So these discussions about cheating on Clean Eating planted seeds in my brain that "cheating is ok" and "as long as I'm doing well most of the week, a cheat meal is fine" and "cheating once doesn't ruin the whole day, it just ruins that meal... get back on-track with the next meal".  All of that is 100% true BUT those seeds planted in my head added to my sister's leaving the country for a week (she supplies me with a lot of my raw eating!) I started a really bad downward spiral.  A cheat meal turned into a cheat day which turned into a cheat week...   You get the picture.  Hence no blog posts for the past 2+ weeks.

That doesn't mean I've totally stopped eating properly.  It means I've eaten pizza, more pizza, Panda Express, hamburgers, and sugared coffee drinks occasionally through the last two weeks.  In comparison to how I used to eat, this is really nothing BUT I feel gross.  And I've gained 3 lbs (figures...right after posting my progress report).  And I know it's not right for my body.  So in essence, eating these things is sinning for me.  I know that God has made my body (A+ blood type) to eat a certain way and when I go against that, for me it's a sin.  Wow - that punches me below the belt (so to speak).

So today I sat down and re-evaluated what I've been doing wrong, what I was doing right that I've stopped doing, and what I need to change.  Then I got busy in the kitchen.  Step 1 for me to get back on the right track was to stock-up on the right foods so that I won't be as tempted to cheat.  Step 2 was to add back in 2 shakes a day.  I'd unthinkingly cut it back to 1 a day.  Here's what I prepared that will carry me through the next week:

Starting with the strawberries, going clock-wise, I made:

  • fruit dip (Greek yogurt, cream cheese, peanut butter, maple syrup and cinnamon)
  • walnut pate (walnuts, green onions, red bell peppers, celery, salt)
  • hummus (chick peas, garlic powder, tahini, salt, olive oil, lemon juice)
  • crunchies (i.e. granola...oats, chia, flax seeds, chocolate chips, honey, peanut butter)
  • peanut butter bars (granola, oats, honey, peanut butter)
  • Gingersnap Raw Cookie Dough Balls, middle item (almond butter, molasses, honey, ginger, coconut flour)
Color-wise, it's all monotonous.  But once I add other fruit, Kefir, chopped veggies and whole-grain tortilla chips to it, each item becomes a colorfest!  And they taste so different and are full of nutrition.  Now I'm stocked with my favorite foods and excited about the Clean Eating week to come!

On a side note, I've been having problems with my legs giving out on me as I walk.  I'm working out regularly and my muscles are getting strong so I was starting to worry a lot about this problem.  I finally went to the dr this week and she said it's compressed nerves.  So I followed up at the Chiropractor and he agreed - compressed nerves in my back.  He says after such a huge change in eating, exercise and weight loss, this is a very common side-effect.  So if someone is experiencing the same thing, don't worry - just get to the chiropractor!  He said, as you lose a lot of weight, your frame has to adjust to the different shape of your body and frequently nerves get caught in the process.  I'm going to add his office info into my Resources page, if you're in the West Valley of Arizona...great doctor!  Check him out (and if you go - please mention my name!  Amy I can participate in the referral program)!  (Avondale Health Center)

But the reason I mention this...both the doctor and the chiropractor said the way I've been eating is 100% correct and the way everyone should eat!  They said this nation eats WAY too much protein, processed foods, sugars and fast food.  And they both encouraged me to keep it up.  So...cheat meals will happen.  It's a fact of life.  But I'm not going to let a cheat meal turn into a cheat week again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Progress Report

I get asked a lot "So, is eating like this working for you?"  I think it's kind of a funny question because anyone who has known me longer than 10 months has seen the change in me physically.  So in a way it's a redundant question, mostly from sceptical people who don't want to have to do what I'm doing.  However, I am kind of excited to report today about some more milestones I've finally met. 

When working hard to be healthier and to lose weight, it's easy to get "stuck" and become discouraged.  You work and work and work and see no apparent those moments it's so hard to keep going.  It would be easier to give up and revert back to old (and bad) habits, and for years that's exactly what I would do.  But let me tell you...when you keep going and keep striving to attain those goals, it's so worth it in the end!  I'm not at the end YET but...It's still worth it! 

So the weather has turned cold(er)...if you can count 78 degrees as cold!  And yesterday I was beginning to wonder what on earth I'm going to wear when winter hits since ALL of my winter clothes are for a 40+ lb heavier me.  A few hours later a friend who is moving gave me a bag of pants and Capri's, most with tags still on (if you read this - THANK YOU!!).  They were size 10's (a BIG 10, she told me) but still...the number was 10.  The last 10 I fit into was my wedding dress 11 years ago!  And I bought it 6 months before my wedding and could hardly fit into it for my wedding.  I really didn't think I'd fit into these size 10 pants but thought they'd be a great motivation for me.  Last night I decided to see how much farther I had to go AND THEY FIT!!  Some were still a little tight but still THEY FIT!  I wore a pair to church today and could hardly believe my legs got into those things with room to spare!  THAT is a miracle!

Well, one of my big goals in this whole journey was to be able to wear my wedding ring again.  I "outgrew" it (if you know what I mean) during my first pregnancy 6 years ago and haven't been able to wear it since.  I tried it on 2 weeks ago and couldn't get it past my 2nd knuckle.  But yesterday I figured, what the heck...I got into size 10 pants, let's try on the ring.  AND IT FIT!!!!  I wore size 10 pants AND my wedding ring today!  Can you tell I'm excited?  And you want to know the craziest part?  I fell this week and sprained my foot and haven't been able to work out in 6 days.  It's funny how you work and work and see no results and then suddenly BAM they sneak up on you.

So if you've grown frustrated or discouraged, keep at it!  You can do this!  Keep your goals in sight.  Weight loss hasn't been my only goal attained.  I was digging through my bag today and found my inhaler.  10 months ago I was using it 2 times a day and, really, it wasn't helping at all.  I couldn't catch a breath for days on end, was seeing 3 specialists to figure out what was wrong, etc...  Now I can't remember the last time I used it.  Several months ago at least.  Clean/Raw eating has helped me overcome the asthma issues I struggled with for awhile.

So it's a pretty good progress report for this month! Share with me your progress for this month.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kids' Snacks

Autumn is totally in the air, and that's saying a lot for the Valley of the Sun.  Autumn around here is more like 2nd Spring.  Trees and bushes burst into bloom again, birds and ducks start flocking to the area and the weather cools to wonderful temps.  Strange things happen like, one day it's 104 as the high and the next it's 76.  Welcome to life in Phoenix!  So why am I not outside enjoying?  Honestly, all the great weather just makes me want to sleep!  So I'm doing the next best thing and that's catching up on my blog.

Kids' Snacks (I'm writing it in the plural since I have 3 of them!  Kids that is...)

This is a little harder topic than the "Snacks for Me" one.  I love trying new healthy things and then making a bunch and stocking my freezer so I can just pull something out on the fly and munch away.  (As I was just doing with my Muffin cookie slathered with clean icing!)  My kids are a LOT pickier and they generally don't like homemade foods.  This is my fault since I have spent most of their little lives stuffing them full of Jack In the Box, Taco Bell and various other processed and sugary foods.  Kids are no different than we are.  Their diet can't just be changed overnight.  If I've trained them to eat poorly that's my fault and it will take time to undo the damage I've caused.  They'll go through detox just like I did.  Step-by-step I continue to adjust their foods to be healthier.  It takes time and patience, both on their part and on mine.  My kids are slowly but surely getting there.  Foods that they used to call "Mommy Food" they now embrace as their own (i.e. oatmeal protein pancakes) and they've stopped asking me "What's in it?" every time I offer them something new.  BUT the battle isn't completely won, YET!

So finding snack food that they will eat and that is healthy and fast has become a huge mountain that I am bound and determined to overcome.  Here are some of the things we've found to date that are either organic and/or made with whole foods (no sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, preservatives, etc... this is what I look for...this is what I've found although I'm not totally positive on the preservatives and food coloring part).

Annie's...  We love just about anything that Annie's makes!  From their mac & cheese to the bunny fruit snacks, bunny crackers, bunny cereal.   Oh my goodness...if it has a bunny on the box my kids are ALL over it!  Costco used to stock Annie's products and that was the best price to get them at and in bulk, but recently I haven't seen them (such a bummer!).  I'm hoping that's a seasonal thing and that soon they'll be back on Costco shelves again.  Locally I can find Annie's products at Sprouts, Fresh & Easy and Fry's in the organic section.

Clif... Gotta love this guy!  Clif and Annie should seriously get married.  Imagine what kind of organic empire they could control!  I love the Clif Mojo bars, personally.  My son loves their chocolate chip bars so I'll often cut one in 1/2 and stick it in his school lunch.  But their Clif Kid Z Bar is just fabulous!  It doesn't matter what flavor, my kids will down them and they are very satisfying.  They also have a Kid Z Fruit Stick.  Easily portable, not too sticky, full of fruit.

Here you can see what I'm talking about with the Annie's and Clif Kid Z products:

Also pictured is the Bare Fruit dried apple chips and pre-packaged all-fruit leather.  Both I found at Costco.  I also get the freeze dried apple, pear and strawberry chips at Costco.  All pre-packaged and easy to grab on-the-go or pack in school lunches.

In the lower right corner of the photo are vegetable chips I buy at Sprout's.  They are cooked in oil but it's a decent kind of oil and the kids enjoy eating them.

Crunchies are also a snack my kids will never say no to.  I've posted the recipe before...basically it's homemade granola but I add extra honey to make it clump into bigger cookie-like pieces.  Someday I'll post the recipe on the watch!

My kids' have made the adjustment from Gogurt to Greek Yogurt.  Today we were in the store and my 6 yr old picked up the box of Gogurt and announced to everyone that we didn't eat it anymore because it has sugar in it.  Then she chose some honey Greek yogurt for her snack for later.

I can't end this blog on kids's snacks without mentioning fresh fruit and raw smoothies.  What healthier food is there than whole fruit...just whole fruit!  Bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries...either whole or blended in a smoothie.  It gets them the crunch they want, the sweet they want and satisfaction I want them to have.  My littlest (3 yrs old) guy's  new favorite snack is "blueberry milk".  Flavored Kefir in a cup with blueberries or raspberries floating inside.  He takes a spoon, digs the fruit out and drinks the rest.  SO good for his intestinal tract...and a combo of two "mega foods" in one snack.

I'm always on the look-out for other kid-friendly, healthy, clean (or almost clean), sugar-free snacks.  What have you found?  If it's a product or a recipe, I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Kind of Snacks

Snacks are my very favorite topic in the whole world... because they're my very favorite foods in the whole world!  Through October I'll be posting about what I feed my family for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks.  But to be quite honest, snacks are probably 75% of what we eat so I figure I'll go ahead and start there.  However, this is such a HUGE topic, I'm breaking it into two posts.  Snacks for ME and Snacks for the Kids.  Of course I'm going with the ME ones first! :-)

When I first started Weight Watchers, finding snacks that fit the points I could have was very difficult.  I'm a grazer.  I'll eat all day if I can.  A bite here, a spoon there, a donut now, and another one, and another one...  You get the picture.  Starting WW and learning the points system made me realize I was eating in one day the amount of points I was allotted for an entire week!  I had to drastically change something.  I've already mentioned before that I'm the world's biggest Sugaraholic.  Sugar is (WAS!) literally my drug.  Figuring out how to snack my way through life in a healthy way became a huge challenge for me.  One I have, mostly, conquered! 

BUT it wasn't until I began to learn how to Eat Clean, and more specifically, eat Raw, that I found the key to overcoming my sugar intake issues.  The first Raw Foods party I attended was a cookie event (big shocker there!).  When Haley (Living Raw by Grace) talked about how she was a grazer and ate all day long, and COULD eat all day long because of eating Raw, I thought "this is the perfect way for me to eat!".  And I've not been able to get her words out of my head since.  I literally CAN snack my life away when I'm snacking Raw, and if not Raw, then Clean.

So...what ARE my favorite snacks?  Oh!  I'm so excited to tell you...and in some cases, show you!

Typically on a Sunday or Monday I'm low on snacks so I make out my list for the week of what I want to be eating.  And then I make a few both days to last me through the week.  The very first recipe I found that I loved was from Skinny "Fatkids".  It was called No-Bake Banana Berry Oat Bars.  Click HERE for photos and recipe.  These were so filling and so yummy that I decided snacking clean was going to be awesome!  And I went in search of more recipes.

I fell in love with The Gracious Pantry and Chocolate Covered Katie.  (click on either name to visit their sites - but don't forget to come back!)  I found a huge variety of raw, gluten-free cookie recipes on both sites.  I've made most of them and just love them!  In fact, here's one I made for this week:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Balls

The recipe for those came from Chocolate Covered Katie but I make them with my own little twist.  She also has a fabulous sugar-free, dairy-free ice cream recipe that is so fast to make, I've now developed a new daily addiction!

When I need a salty, crunchy treat I go for Kale Crisps.

I love fruit in smoothies but I really don't like just eating whole fruit.  It's not a viable snack to me.  So I found a wonderful recipe in The Clean-Eating Magazine a few months ago that I just loved.  It was originally a filler for French Toast but I thought it was amazing enough to use as a fruit dip.  So that's what I do!  Apples and Fruit Dip. (but unfortunately I don't have a photo...yet)

I don't know about you but my all-time favorite desserts ever are cupcakes.  I could eat a whole plate of cupcakes by myself...and I'm really not exaggerating here.  So I had to come up with a substitute for that.  I found an awesome recipe for pumpkin muffins (can substitute zucchini too).  They're great served with dinner and then I freeze the extra for snacking.  So one day I decided to try the fruit dip on top of the muffin and woilla! I had a cupcake!  And it was healthy!!

Back to the photos...  These Candied Pecans are easy to pack up and take on-the-go.  And they're so popular I just filled 3 orders for them from friends!

Crunchies have become a mainstay in my house.  I pour Kefir over and add berries, eat as cereal with milk, eat on top of Greek Yogurt...or just eat by themselves!  My kids find them packed in school lunches at least 2 days a week.

Then there are Breakfast Cookies, which are actually good any time of the day:

Hummus...which I love with raw crackers, sliced bell peppers, whole-wheat pita bread, etc...

Guacamole (with chopped cilantro and tomatoes) is an awesome snack with chopped veggies, raw chips, whole wheat pita bread, etc...

Homemade Lara Bars....

Well, I hope you're getting the picture that there are so many snacks to be enjoyed while eating Clean/Raw.  And all of these are 100% sugar-free and made with whole, natural ingredients.  I (almost) never leave the house without having something in my bag.  Most of these snacks are easy to pack-up and take on-the-go.  Over the next few months I'll post recipes for some of these snacks so that you can enjoy them too!

Pre-packaged Snacks

Whether I like it or not, there are just days/weeks where I don't have the time or energy to cook and/or pack up homemade snacks.  So I've chosen some pre-packaged snacks that I keep at-the-ready in the cupboard.  I usually have one of these hidden in my bag for emergency situations.

  • Lara Bars (I prefer the chocolate ones!)
  • Mojo Cliff Bars (or just about any Cliff Bar!)
  • Raw-Revolution bars

You can also see my Resources page for links to places that will make amazing snacks and ship them directly to your home.  Shops like Twin-Cakes Bakery (what I wouldn't do to get my hands on some of their recipes!) and Brad's Raw Foods (great raw crackers).

Share: What is your favorite healthy snack?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Started

I've received a few emails from people lately asking me great questions.  So I've decided to take the next few posts to answer those questions.  Things like "If I eat clean, what does that look like on a daily basis?" "How have your kids adjusted to this?" "What do you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks...etc...?" "Where do you shop?" "How do you begin?"  Whew!  As you can see that's way too much to attempt to answer in just one post.  The questions overwhelm me when someone comes up to me and starts asking them in person.  Hence the blog and all the answers in one tidy spot.

So for today I'll start with:
  • How do you begin?
  • Where do you shop?
  • What does a day of eating clean look like?
Most of my answers will come from The Eat Clean Diet Recharged! by Tosca Reno.

I just love that book and have recommended it to so many people!  Reading this is the perfect way to start because it will teach you WHY you want to Eat Clean! And then it will give you steps to follow that are simple but encouraging.  You do not have to go Clean overnight.  Just cut out one bad thing from your diet this week.  Add in something healthy this week.  Do it again next week.  Go through your cupboards and pack up all the processed foods and deliver it to a local food bank.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the need for that will be huge!  So you're serving your community AND getting healthy!  For me, I did 2 trips.  The first time with all the stuff I didn't mind getting rid of.  The 2nd trip was a month later with the stuff I'd clung to "just in case" and finally was willing to clean out.

The other first step I'd recommend is to add 1-2 daily Raw Green Smoothies to your diet.  I don't recommend either going 100% Clean or 100% Raw overnight.  I did that and hardly lived to tell the story of detox.  I've already posted about Raw Green Smoothies...if you haven't had a chance to read that yet, click here.

Where do I shop?

I shop in 4 main locations, currently.  This will, of course, change based on where you live in the US (or out of the US). 
  1. Locally we have a small market called Fresh & Easy.  They are a little pricier than the regular grocery but they have foods that do not contain added preservatives, food dyes, corn syrups, etc... and you can understand every ingredient they use.  I buy cereals for the kids, yogurt, milk, etc... here.  Also cookies (for the kids' splurge) and sprouted whole-wheat bread.
  2. Sprouts...I buy a lot of my fresh produce here.  I also buy coconut oil, kefir, seeds (like chia, hemp, flax), chocolate chips and foods that I can get in bulk out of the bins like wheat germ, steel cut oats, etc... 
  3. Whole Foods...I've never actually been to Whole Foods as it's quite far away.  But my sister goes monthly so I just tack my order onto hers.  I buy things here that I can't find anywhere else like coconut butter, fresh ground almond butter, coconut flour, cocoa butter, cacao powder and cacao nibs.  And someday I'll remember to buy Sucanat.
  4. Costco...Costco has a great selection of healthy snacks for kids.  I'll talk more about those when I do my post on snacks.  I buy a lot of my nuts here.  Walnuts, pecans, almonds.  They come in huge bags and this is pretty much the lowest price you'll find them for.  I also get my oatmeal, maple syrup, coconut water and some of my fruits here.
What does a day of eating clean look like?

A day of eating clean starts out by drinking 2-3 glasses of water before eating any food.  That's tough to do!  I keep a 22 oz Tervis cup next to my bed at night so first thing I do when I wake up is drink it down with a straw.  I also drink an 8 oz glass of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon and 1-2 tsp maple syrup and water + ice each morning.  This is great for a morning cleanse and to helps with alkalizing your blood. (no, I have no idea...yet...what that means, although my sister is on the phone with me right now trying to explain it!) 

According to the "Rules of Clean-Eating" you should eat within an hour of waking up.  Breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day!  Since I am also doing Raw with my clean-eating, I drink a Raw Green Smoothie for my breakfast most mornings.  More on that when I do my breakfast post! (If you drink 2 smoothies a day, it does count as two mini-meals as shown below.)

Then you'll want to eat 5-6 small meals a day.  Time-wise, this reminds me a lot of when I was nursing my babies.  Here's a sample timeline:

  7 a.m.    meal #1   or   breakfast
10 a.m.    meal #2   or   mid morning snack
  1 p.m.    meal #3   or   lunch
  4 p.m.    meal #4   or   mid afternoon snack
  7 p.m.    meal #5   or   dinner
10 p.m.    meal #6   or   evening snack

Of course you'll adjust the times to work for your schedule.  At first I was having to watch the clock a lot but now I just naturally am ready to eat something around those times.  And I NEED to eat!  My body tells me...get food NOW.  This timeline might vary depending on how active you are too...i.e. eat every 2 1/2 hrs instead of 3.

And...What should you be eating during each of those light meals/snacks?

  • 6 servings of lean protein a day (this includes tofu, chia seeds, quinoa, hemp seeds in addition to meats and dairy.  I love Greek Yogurt and Kefir for the protein too.  With the raw diet, I get most of my protein from these sources.)
  • 2-4 servings of complex carbs (this includes whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, wheat germ, lentils, bananas, carrots, chickpeas, beans, sweet potatoes, yams and SO much more!  A complex carb is NOT a simple card so unfortunately donuts and cupcakes don't count.)
  • 4-6 servings of fresh produce (if you do the raw smoothies this will be no problem!)
  • 2-3 servings of healthy fats (i.e. fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, oils such as olive, coconut, flax)
  • 10 cups or 2-3 liters of water a day
My list is very minimal and mostly covers the items in my own personal diet but hopefully it'll give you a good idea of what is considered clean and healthy.

And finally, a good day of Clean-Eating should also include exercise!  I try to go to the gym 4-5 times a week (although with school starting and our new life schedule having recently changed, that's been hard to work into my life...I'm getting there!)

According to Tosca, to have a beautiful healthy body the equation is:

80% nutrition + 10% training (exercise) + 10% genetics

So...hopefully that breaks it down for you a little bit and you have some good places to get started.  Any more questions related to getting started that I didn't answer?  Feel free to leave them in the comments section!

And as always...thank you so much for reading.  I'm humbled that you chose to visit my blog.  Here's to a Clean-Eating week!