What is clean eating and why do people do it?
Clean eating is all about eliminating processed foods and additives from our diet. You would be amazed at how many foods that are marketed as “healthy” aren’t actually practicing what they preach. The key behind clean eating is knowing what you’re putting into your body. This is very simple when you are eating raw foods and cooking your own meals. But when it comes to store-bought foods, things can become a bit tricky. A good rule of thumb to follow when reading nutritional labels is if you can’t pronounce it or you can’t buy it off a shelf at your local grocer, it’s probably not clean.
There are so many different eating trends out there and we tend to latch onto whatever is cool and trending at the time. Gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, high-fat: these are just a few of the eating lifestyles that are popular nowadays. However, sometimes we don’t really pay attention to what is the reasoning behind these trends. Too often, we don’t know why we eat the way we do, just that we’re told this is how we should eat.
It’s time to re-define our relationship with food. When we eat, we should take the time to notice what we’re putting into our bodies. One way that I do this is to prepare my meals so I know all of the ingredients. Once you begin eating, take slow and deliberate bites instead of shoveling it in. Take note of how you feel after eating certain things. You may notice that some things bring about different feelings and sensations. For example, I feel bloated after eating dairy, but have a more energetic feeling after eating vegetables.
Clean eating allows you to get to maximize the nutrients out of the foods you’re eating. When we process foods, it usually removes or destroys valuable nutrients. The two exceptions to this are fortified foods (ex. orange juice with added vitamin D) and preserved foods (i.e. anything canned and frozen). But when you choose mostly real foods, you don’t have to worry about a lack of nutrients!
Keep in mind what foods you must buy organic as they’ve been deemed “dirty”. This is largely due to the amount of pesticides that are sprayed on the crops and then stick with the fruits and vegetables that the plants bear. These toxic chemicals are still on the skin of the fruits/vegetables and have nowhere to go, so when we eat them, we injest them. Trust me – you don’t want to be adding these chemicals to your body. If you take anything away from today, please begin to pay attention what foods you are purchasing.
We all want to live a longer, healthier life. “You are what you eat” is such a simple mantra, yet we have such a hard time implementing it! Eating mostly real foods will help to decrease your chances of getting a debilitating chronic disease like stroke, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. This is largely due to the foods we are eating being nutrient-rich and free of any toxins or preservatives that aren’t supposed to be in your body!
I recently hosted a clean eating challenge and included a week-long meal plan. This plan included several options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. I found several recipes that I loved and plan to incorporate into my diet going forward. Here are just a few of my favorite recipes. If you would like to learn more about my next clean eating group, please contact me and I’ll add you to our list!
Sweet Potato Cakes
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 T coconut oil for greasing
- Combine sweet potato and egg in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add baking powder and flour. Pulse a few times until combined. If there isn’t room, move mixture to a bowl and mix with a spoon. Be careful not to over mix; it’s okay to have lumps!
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Pour 1/3 cup of pancake batter into skillet and cook 1-2 minutes, until the bottom turns golden brown. Carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.
- Repeat with remaining pancake batter. Serve with 100% maple syrup or eat alone!
Total Time: 10 minutes
1 T coconut oil
1 small zucchini, spiralized
Salt & pepper to taste
- Melt coconut oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute zoodles for 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully crack each of the eggs on top of zoodles. Season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan with a lid. Keep a close eye on them, just to be sure your zoodles don’t burn. Since zucchini has a lot of water, this will remain in the zoodles.
- For a soft yolk cook for approximately 4 minutes. I cooked mine this long and then flipped my eggs over to get them slightly browned.
- Serve as is or with a splash of hot sauce to kick things up a notch!
California Power Bowl
Total Time: 30 minutes
2 cups of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
2 T Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 T sriracha
1 T butter
2 T coconut milk
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups kale, steamed or sautéed
1 cup chickpeas, cooked
1 avocado, diced
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place cauliflower florets onto a greased baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, checking every 10-12 minutes and flipping so cauliflower cooked evenly.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, whisk together Frank’s Red Hot, sriracha, butter, and coconut milk over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and the sauce is hot, turn off heat and set aside.
- In a large skillet, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and add in diced onion. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until onion is translucent. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Using the same pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add kale and sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Add roasted cauliflower to the mixing bowl and pour the spicy sauce on top. Mix to coat all the cauliflower and onion in the sauce.
- Now it’s time to assemble! Place 1/2 cup of quinoa in the bottom of each bowl, followed by 1/2 cup of chickpeas. Next, place 1 cup of sautéed kale in each bowl. Split the spicy cauliflower between the two bowls and top with diced avocado.
Apple & Arugula Salad
Total Time: 15 minutes
1 small red potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 T pure maple syrup
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh arugula
1 large green apple, diced
1 T raw cashews
- Place potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain so it will cool.
- In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, maple syrup, oil, chili powder, sea salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl combine arugula, apples, and cashews. Add cooked potatoes and drizzle with dressing. Toss salad and serve immediately.
** To make this into a mason jar salad: Pour dressing in first, followed by diced apple, potato, and cashews. Top with arugula and seal shut. Eat within 2 days.
Black Bean Plantain Veggie Burgers
Total Time: 25 minutes
1 large ripe plantain
2 tsp coconut oil, divided
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 T tahini (or almond butter)
1 T lime juice
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 T finely parsley
1-2 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp chili powder
- First, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium0high heat. While this is heating, slice the plantains into thin rounds. Add the plantain rounds to the heated pan and cook 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly brown. If the pan gets too dry, add some water and cover with a lid.
- Remove plantains from pan and let cool. Measure out 1 cup of plantain and place in a food processor. Set the remaining rounds to the side to use as a side dish.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients to the food processor. Run the food processor until a mixture begins to form.
- Warm a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp oil.
- Take the patty mixture and form into round patties. Place each patty on the hot, oiled skillet. Continue until all the mixture is used up.
- Cook 4-5 minutes on each side to brown.
- To assemble, place a patty on a whole wheat bun and top with your favorite condiments and veggies!
*Serves: 4 burgers
Fall Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 cup kale, sautéed
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup cooked lentils
½ cup roasted brussels sprouts
½ cup roasted butternut squash
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- To assemble the bowl, start with your greens on the bottom of a bowl. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top, finishing with the sliced avocado.
Aren’t you hungry now? I know I am! So I won’t keep you here much longer. I just want to leave you with these three takeaways:
- Pay attention to the labels and if you can’t buy it out right on a shelf, you shouldn’t be eating it.
- Take the time to experience your foods and how they affect your body. Don’t just hop on the latest food bandwagon just because. All of our bodies are different.
- Pay attention of the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists that are issued yearly. Take the time to invest in organic items and avoid adding more toxic stress to your body.