Because anything worth doing….
Hello out there!
It’s a new chapter for the Chubby Housewife and family… we’ve made the switch to clean eating!
“But Tara!,” you say, “You are a self-proclaimed germaphobe! Does this mean you were eating dirty food?!?!”
No no, my friends, as I am learning, clean eating is all about getting the crap out of your food. Nothing processed, chemically altered, modified, artificial-ized, you know, basically 90% of what was in my pantry. It’s about eating real, whole foods in a state that is as close to their natural form as possible. It’s about taking raw (clean) ingredients and making stuff yourself, only without the preservatives, chemicals and crap.
“But you have 2 little kids, and are already running around like crazy, WHY would you do this to yourself?!?!?” You may ask.
To which I would reply: “Because I have two little kids and I am already running around like crazy.”
“Yeah. You’ve lost it.”
Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up… 🙂
We have recently realized that Anthony has a bad (read: evil, tantrum Dr Jeckyl/Mr Hyde style) reaction to certain food additives. Apparently red #40 is the main culprit. (That is a long story, that I will share soon, but not right now.) Because of this, I started looking at my labels a little more closely. I’ve been trying to do the whole grain/ no high fructose corn syrup thing for a while, but I was more of a front of the box label reader. As in “Hey, these fruit loops say made with whole grains and no corn syrup!”
I started reading ALL of the ingredients, initially looking for that little Red 40, but I quickly realized that there was a LOT of long, hard to pronounce words in my food, and a lot of STUFF in there that I didn’t even know what the hell it was. I have often heard “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” and “Try to eat as cleanly as possible”. But every time I had started to look up “clean eating” or “paleo” I would get totally overwhelmed, shut down the laptop and go eat a highly processed cookie covered in frosting and sprinkles and wash it down with a crystal lite.
Fortunately(?), this time around a few of my friends had just started paleo diets, so I was able to grill them with questions. They sent me to some awesome websites, including this one . Yes, those cinnamon, chocolate chip muffins were the first thing I saw. I said “I’m in!” Check the Clean Eating Resources section on the bottom of my homepage to see the other sites I have been using to help me gather info. They are all very helpful, and NOT judgmental. (That’s right, no one is saying I need to buy a goat, and milk it myself.)
You know how sometimes the universe gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction? Well the morning after I tentatively made the decision to do this, I woke up to 4 different emails about clean eating, why you should eat clean, HOW to eat clean. All from different email subscriptions I belong to. One of them was even from “eat this not that” which normally send me emails about which bacon cheese burger is the least likely to give you a heart attack.
So Saturday morning, I mention the idea to my husband. He agrees. I start the shopping lists. I had a wrap party here that morning, but once Jack went in to nap, I hit the pantry.
Many of the articles I read on “how to start eating clean” encouraged small steps. Replacing a few things at a time. You know, everything in moderation. Well, that’s not how we roll in my family. Our motto is “Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing.” (I’m thinking of having t-shirts made). 45 min later, I had pulled every single “non clean” food item from the pantry, fridge, freezer, hidden snack in my husband’s nightstand, etc. and stacked them on the counter. It was astonishing. I filled 3 boxes and 2 bags (not including the stuff I just threw out)!
Obviously, there was no turning back at this point. I started pulling recipes and made the official shopping list and menu plan for the week. I then decided to bring Anthony to the grocery store with me, because A. What could be more exciting for a 7 year old boy than a trip to Wegmans at 8:00 on a Saturday night, and B. I wanted him to be involved in this process from the start to help him with the transition. When we rolled back into the driveway at 11:00 PM two grocery stores later… (Now accepting mother of the year nominations) he went up to bed and I began rearranging, restocking and relearning my pantry.
2:00 in the morning: My new pantry was now done. There were neatly organized rows of things like chia seeds, almond flour and coconut oil. I went to bed thinking “what the hell is a chia seed?” (PS I’m still not entirely sure, but I’ll know by the time I get through this weeks recipes!)
Day 1- Curtis wake up to make breakfast. He cooks the scrambled eggs for the kids using a coconut oil spray…. I wait anxiously to hear “WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE EGGS?!?” The first bite goes in…. silence. Second bite…. nada… They cleared their plates! YAY! Later on when I asked Curtis about using the coconut oil, (which, btw, did NOT change the taste of the eggs at all) he said “It was awesome. It smells like… vacation! It’s like making breakfast on an island!”
Sweet, sweet victory.
So there’s been a bit of an adjustment, the texture of some things is just different, things aren’t as smooth, think wonderbread vs a hearty whole grain wheat bread. But we are loving the tastes. I’ve had to use a bit of fancy wording here and there to get Anthony to try some things. For example the “Chicken, asparagus and Mashed” that we had for dinner last night, he naturally assumed was mashed potato. It was mashed cauliflower (which I made with roasted garlic and a little greek yogurt for creaminess thanks to tips from my friends) and it was AWESOME. And I generally hate cauliflower.
And there are some changes that I need to learn, for example, when a strawberry oatmeal muffin recipe calls for old fashoned oats, don’t try to use steel cut. Unless, of course, you need to re-brick your patio, then by all means….
Other changes have been insanely simple and totally delish. I made homemade ketchup yesterday morning while getting Anthony’s breakfast and lunch ready for the day. It was so easy and we were literally eating it with spoons when it was done. SO GOOD!
I will be sharing recipes and recipes that I have loved on here and will definitely be keeping you posted on the craziness as it unfolds.
If you have ANY tips, websites, etc that you like, PLEASE share them! I need all the help I can get!!
Here’s to the next adventure!
PS- 3 days in and I really do feel good and the roasted chicken I made last night? Best I’ve ever made. Hands down. Recipe to follow. 🙂