Eating Clean

My friend Michelle mentioned that she and her family were attempting to eat clean, which I thought was a bizarre term. Who the hell eats dirty? I mean, besides crazy people and hoarders. I just sort of smiled and nodded and pretended I knew what eating clean was, because it sounded very progressive and smart.

Then I decided to look it up and it’s actually really simple: Don’t eat shit. Don’t fill your body with garbage.

I’ve been having stomach issues for about two weeks now and I think it largely has to do with my diet. I don’t gorge myself on junk; during the day I eat pretty much the same thing for lunch (turkey sandwich on wheat, bowl of soup, apple, orange. Wash, rinse, repeat). But for dinner it’s usually whatever is fast and tastes decent. Frozen pizza, fried potatoes, leftover chicken nuggets that the kid didn’t want.. Crap, crap, crap.

In my attempt to learn about clean eating, I came across a blog (another Michelle suggestion) called The Gracious Pantry.  I clicked on her “Clean Eating 101” tab and started reading. Clean eating is really very simple: don’t eat processed things. Don’t eat things with ingredients you can’t pronounce. A general rule of thumb is if what you’re about to eat has more than 3-4 ingredients in it (and those ingredients you can’t pronounce), it’s not clean. TGP has developed a plethora of tips and trick for eating clean, plus recipes galore. The idea of clean eating has burrowed its’ way into my brain and has been snuggling in for a few days. I’m intimidated, and worried that I won’t do it “right”. I’m worried people will think I’m silly. I’m worried it will be too expensive. I’m worried that I don’t have the time to prepare and cook things that are clean.

But, I’m going to do my best. As TGP suggests, I’m laying down a few ground rules for myself:

  • Limit white sugar with the goal of eliminating it completely. Also limit artificial sweeteners.
  • Limit amount of food with ingredients that sound artificial/processed.
  • Eat at least 1 fruit and 1 veggie a day.
  • No fast food. Ever. Period.

Those may seem like really small steps but I can’t make big leaps. I’m not that kind of person. The sugar/sweetener thing is going to be hard enough, because I loves me some Splenda with my coffee. Instead of focusing on the things I’m not going to be able to nom anymore, I’m going to set my sights on some recipes I’m excited to try:

Mexican Crock Pot Chicken


Chicken & Rice Soup


Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


So… All of this looks and sounds really good. I don’t look at these images and feel sad and like I’m going to be deprived. That chicken and rice soup looks so good I can hardly stand it. I’m not expecting to be able to do this all at once, and I know that I will break sometimes (hi, Thanksgiving and Christmas) but I think that small steps can lead to big ones. Let’s see where this takes me!

P.S. Thanks to the Gracious Pantry for the lovely pics & recipes!


  1. Roses Daughter says:

    I love the idea of eating this way. But I love me some sugar and “processed” foods. *hangs head in shame* but I’ll be following along!
    Roses Daughter recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Daddy’s Home

  2. OMG, that pumpkin pie oatmeal looks tantalizing. I’ll be trying some of that thank you.

  3. Good Luck. Small steps are a great place to start. Keep us posted on this!

  4. I did this a few years ago. I didn’t call it “eating clean,” I just decided not to eat processed foods anymore.

    It worked great when I lived alone. I’ve found that the best way to keep me from eating crap is to not bring it into the house. No chips, no cereal, no processed foods at all. I made my own chicken nuggets (and tofu nuggets. Those were pretty good), and pretty much everything from scratch.

    Though I did totally have sugar in both my oatmeal and coffee.

    But then things changed. It’s really hard to not eat super-processed chicken nuggets when you’ve just come home and you’re STARVING and you’re hungry NAO. Or the boyfriend orders pizza at 10 o’clock, and you’re just going to have “a couple of pieces.”

    I’m starting to pull myself out of it. The key is little changes. Baby steps.

    But the kicker is when I get home. SO. HUNGRY.

    One thing I keep meaning to do is cook a bunch, and make a bunch of freezer meals. I may do that this weekend, now that it’s cold and I don’t feel bad about using the stove all day long.

    And those oatmeal recipes – OMG! Thank you so much for posting those!!

    • And also, experiment with recipes. If it looks good, and it’s healthy, try that recipe.

      Do not take a recipe that you already have that isn’t that healthy, and try to “health it up.” Every single time I’ve tried that, it’s ended up gross.
      Megan B. recently posted..September 14 Knitting

  5. So excited you found The Gracious Panty. All her recipes that I have tried are amazing! The crock pot chicken will blow your mind. Ryan and I are starting the 17 Day Diet tomorrow- it is basically clean eating and limiting carbs/sugars. I am really excited about it because all the food looks delicious and you can eat as many veggies and lean protein as you want- no counting calories! I have absolutely loved eating this way… and I feel so much better- when I do splurge and have pizza and ice cream at Mr. T’s (like last night)… it is good and I enjoy it more because I am not indulging all the time but also.. I feel like a sack of crap the next day and it reminds me why I am choosing to eat better. Share recipes with me, okay? :)

  6. I went off sugar for two years in college. It’s hard…really hard. Cravings are BAD. I recommend small amounts or moderation (like not eating two donuts for breakfast like I did this morning).

    Best of luck with your stomach issues. I feel for ya.
    shasta recently posted..Tomayto, Tomahto

  7. Mmmmm these all look good. We’ve cut down on a lot of processed foods in the house. We don’t buy any frozen items or really any canned food either. We go out to eat like twice a week which sort of defeats the purpose but I have to say that over the last year we’ve changed a lot. I have to say that once we stopped shopping at Walmart, we started eating a lot better.
    Rachel recently posted..Just when I thought it was over…

  8. We just watched a really interesting movie called “Fat Head”. It’s a documentary, and is a follow up to Supersize me. It is really really interesting, and you’d probably enjoy it given your new outlook on food 😉

  9. Hey, I’ve been eating clean for several years now. And although it’s hard at the start after a while, you just don’t want to eat any garbage anymore. Now whenever I eat garbage my body immediately reacts, I just can’t continue eating.
    Allen recently posted..An Overview of The Most Popular Browsers

  10. I’m kinda obese now and thinking of losing weight but thinking of it? I have this negative thoughts of why should I deprive myself of eating what I want.
    But for some reason I always convince myself that this is for my health reason. Thanks for sharing this, this will be a huge help for me.
    Kathy recently posted..Quickest Way To Get Pregnant


  1. […] a thing by subscribing to my RSS feed. 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 […]

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