Adventures in Eating Clean

About two weeks ago, I posted about how I wanted to start eating clean. I went to Chicago pretty soon after that, and needless to say clean eating was shot in the butt for those five days I was up North. There was a lot of food, wine, and beer and I enjoyed all of it. When I got back and went to the grocery store, I was ready. I collected a few recipes, made a menu plan and off I went.

I’ve tried five clean eating recipes so far, all from The Gracious Pantry.

  • Clean Eating Stir Fry: O.M.G. Amazing. AMAZING. This clean stir fry is loaded with flavor. Brown rice, bok choy, cabbage, onion & garlic powder and eggs make this delicious and packed with goodies.
  • Clean Eating Chicken & Rice Soup: This turned out…… Okay. But it was all my fault, not the recipe’s. I put WAY too much brown rice and not enough chicken. It was very bland, but with a little salt it ended up being okay. Also, this recipe calls for parsnips and I’d never had a parsnip before. I’m not sure that I’m a huge fan. I can’t really decide if I like the flavor again. I will try this recipe a 2nd time, keeping in mind to put more chicken and less rice. Because mine came out kind of mushy.
  • Clean Eating Breakfast Pita: Yum. Yum. Yum! Eggs (the recipe calls for whites; I used whole eggs), spinach, and red pepper plus garlic & onion powder make this delicious. I felt full after just one! This was super easy to make and very tasty.
  • Clean Eating Quick Pizza: This was good! The recipe calls for cottage cheese.. But cottage cheese makes me wanna yarf, so at the suggestion of my clean-eating friend Michelle I tried ricotta cheese instead. I made this at my office and almost everyone was craning their necks to see what my yummy-smelling lunch concoction was!
  • Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: More yuminess. I didn’t stay 100% true to the recipe, mostly because I couldn’t find any damn pumpkin pie spice. I found it at my local organic grocery (for almost $5!! OMG) so I just kind of winged it. I put in the pumpkin puree and sweetened it with Stevia and it was really good and filling! I didn’t put walnuts on top of it either, because walnuts are expensive like whoa.

I’m really enjoying clean eating so far. I do not feel deprived; not even a little bit! I’m looking at ingredients in a whole new way. When I see a pre-packaged cereal bar or dessert cake now, I cringe thinking about the artificial junk in it. I have run into some roadblocks, mainly the availability of whole food at a reasonable price. We are on a budget, and I’ve had to settle for some less than clean items. I have actually been shocked at how even some “organic” brands are packed with sodium, and have added sugar (something I’m trying to stay away from).

I bought low sodium chicken broth that was about the cleanest I could find at my normal grocery store. I stopped by a local organic grocery store today and bought some from them. When I got home, my jaw dropped at the comparison: what I thought was a pretty clean chicken broth ended up having 540mg of sodium where my organic chicken broth had 140mg. That’s a huge difference. Pita bread has been another hard-to-come-by item. I managed to find some whole wheat pita bread but again: added sugar. Yeast. Gluten. Blech. I peeked at the whole wheat pitas at the organic grocery, and they were really clean! I picked up some clean peanut butter (finally) and browsed around the organic grocery store to do some pricing to see what items were within my budget. I cannot shop there exclusively, but I was surprised to see that there were many comparable prices to my normal grocery store.

On next week’s menu I’ll be trying two new recipes: butternut squash lasagna and pumpkin chili! Stay tuned for more adventures in eating clean :)