Wednesday, June 26, 2013

clean eating: our rules and day 1

if you know me in real life, you have probably heard me say, "i'm weird about food" or listened to me talk your ear off about quinoa and steering clear of high fructose corn syrup like your life depends on it.

we have been trying to eat cleanly since we lived in hawaii. really, it was brought on by being exposed to so many fresh, healthy options all the time and trying to really get fit, but spurred on even more when we decided to start a family.

i became very passionate about feeding bella, and now cora, the healthiest way possible. some people gave me a hard time, some joking, others probably not so much, but i stuck to my guns pretty well and now, bella is a pretty good eater who will try almost anything and drinks only water and milk with very little protestations.

i've gotten a tiny bit more lax with her, now that she has a better understanding of what is good for her, and i occasionally let her have juice, but here the juice is a little different anyway-her favorite capri sonne is pure fruit juice mixed with spring water. (40% fruit juice/60% spring water)

when we were living in georgia, we had a pretty good thing going: my local kroger had a "whole foods" section, there was a quaint little farmers market a mile from our house and we had a deep freezer full of grass fed beef in our garage. bella was young enough to not know what she was missing and wasn't given any kind of sugar and very little processed foods unless we were with friends (i never want to be that weird lady who makes her kid feel left out).

but when we moved here, there were all new challenges. don't get me wrong, germany (and europe, in general) are notorious for less fast, less processed, more real food options and generally speaking, their junk food has less junk in it. and the learning curve has been relatively low-figuring out that "bio" meant the same as organic was pretty easy, for instance. but the language barrier and being in a new place have taken a little time to get used to.

i started following lisa leake, of the  "100 days of real food" blog, a few years ago, shortly after they started their challenge. i wanted to do it too, but was a little overwhelmed at the prospect at cutting every single ounce of "unreal" food. see, i like to eat cleanly, but let's be honest-i really like food. and i really like any excuse to eat. and a lot of times, that food is prepared by others and it's really yummy and really unreal, or full of sugar......i didn't want to cut out starbucks or chick-fil a or any of the other eat out places i loved, simply because you couldn't be totally sure. i just couldn't commit.

as bella has gotten older, i have been teaching her about ingredients and what's good for us and what is maybe not so good to eat a lot of times, and what we probably shouldn't eat at all. she has a pretty good grasp on it, and i like her being engaged in her food intake and knowing why i say no to certain things. so i signed out family up for a mini, 10 days of real food pledge.

i plan on documenting at least some of our process here, but along with lisa's rules, i have made some of my own to make eating real less of a challenge and more of a reality.

my rules for successfully eating real:

1-this isn't a diet. you may not lose weight. and you may. for us, losing weight isn't the goal. we want to eliminate any junk and eat cleanly so that our body can function properly. there are so many benefits to eating cleanly, other than weight loss.

2-keep it simple. in my search for real recipes, i find a lot that sound complicated and include ingredients i have never heard of, nor would i even know where to find them. but eating real shouldn't be complicated. if anything, it should be easier, once you wrap your mind around what is real.

3-i like where lisa says, "eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself". she makes a good point, that if there is a lot of work to it, you are less likely to do it as often as you would if it was readily available. i made my own whole wheat crackers and ate them all. bella thought they were cookies and was very disappointed when they weren't sweet, thus refusing to eat them. i only made about 2 dozen crackers, so that kept me from eating my weight in them.

4-it should still taste good! real food should actually taste better, once you have adjusted your mind and gotten used to it. because it's fresher, it should have more flavor. but if you are eating a highly processed diet, it will take some time to get used to.

5-we adopt a 90/10 moderation. meaning, 90% of the time, we follow the "rules" very strictly. but the 10% allows for things like eating out and being in social situations. eating real shouldn't make you a social pariah. we went to a birthday party this weekend and very much enjoyed the birthday cake. i didn't feel the need to ask what the ingredients were (although it was from a german bakery, so it was probably pretty real anyway).

6. planning is key. like my mom always says, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail". i plan my meals out a month at a time on a template that i made and then laminated. i do it in dry erase so i can adjust accordingly. i grocery shop once a week and go to the farmers market once or twice a week depending on my get-up-and-go (lately, i settle for store bought produce, much of which is locally grown anyway). we plan eat out occasions so that we don't succumb to whims when we smell really good schnitzel driving home from wherever we are. and i write out the recipes on index cards for the week, pin them to our cork board and if we like them, they go into the recipe box. if not, i toss them.



breakfast: eggs (dutch eggs), coffee for me (sweetened with raw sugar), almond milk for bella. 

lunch: (here we kind of used our 10%....we had a last second need to run out to meet someone right at lunch time, so we ate at the food court, which gives us tooons of options{blah....}....burger king, charley's, pizza hut, popeye's and sehne-a german bakery) i had a salad from the german bakery with a viniarete dressing and bella ate a panini with salami, mozarella and basil. 

dinner: zuchinni (local grown) boats stuffed with sausage (all natural) and a homemade tomato (local grown) sauce.

snacks (for bella): a squooshi pouch containing plain greek yogurt, almond milk, one whole kiwi a handful of strawberries (local grown, cleaned and frozen at home) and cherries (cascadian farm organic, bought frozen.), pureed. 


cora: (still nurses for most of her "meals" but she likes to eat with us, too!) 

breakfast: steel cut oats
lunch: whole peas
dinner: steamed bits of zuchinni (used a half of one of the zuchinni from dinner and steamed it on it's own while i prepped/cooked the rest of dinner) 



      i didn't like the coffee with just sugar. i need to find an alternative to coffee mate, and this may be my toughest challenge of the whole process. 

     i felt bad about eating out, especially since it was NOT planned, but i think we did alright for such poor choices. 

     dinner was really good and has become one of my favorite recipes to make. bella even ate it! in a sense (she ate the filling over whole grain pasta, since it's a little tricky to eat the "boats")....i will share the recipe soon.