Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat (Clean Eating - Part 1/2)

Hey guys! I'm turning the blog over to my friend Nicole for a couple days. She's the one who challenged me to eat clean for 30 days to see what happens. I know many of you have questions and this girl has A LOT of answers for us regarding clean eating and Paleo; I know you'll love everything she has to say. Her husband, Elton, and son, Feenux, are also clean-eaters now and are doing great with this - proving that entire families can make the change!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment box below so we all can learn more! Nicole is happy to help. Clean eating has been going so well for me so far and I hope you're finding success, too! If you didn't start the 30 day clean eating challenge with us, it's never too late to hop on board! 


Nicole writes: 

July 16, 2012 was the day I made the decision to get healthy, not just to lose weight, but to really be healthy in my eating habits and life in general. This was going to be a complete overhaul of our lives (yes I mean Elton and Feenux too). I was very happy that Elton was on board with this and Feenux has taken to it really well too! I am not strict on Feenux with the foods, but he does mostly eat what we do and we do not keep sugary snacks in the house for him (typically). He now asks for fruits or something healthier for snacks.

Before telling my story I want to note that I started off on a Clean Eating lifestyle, but am now following a Paleo lifestyle. If you are not familiar with either of these lifestyles I will discuss them below and give you some reference information (at least info that helped me). Paleo is more strict than a clean eating lifestyle, but for good reason in my eyes. I believe as long as you follow a healthy lifestyle, sugar free and processed free, you can manage. Something to add, prior to this change I was eating horribly. I'm talking large meals, fried, sweets, ice cream...all of that throughout the day and I was eating late at night. I would have dinner then top it off just before bed with ice cream or something else unhealthy. This is one reason I believe I have seen such a drastic weight change.

Prior to July 16th I came across a pin on Pinterest. It was the He and She Eat Clean blog. I began reading it and started learning about Clean Eating. It really appealed to me and made sense as well. It wasn't about some crazy diet where you needed to cut out just carbs or only eat cookies for the rest of your life (though that would be a great life!). It was about eating healthy foods and mainly NOT eating sugar and processed foods. The blog had a few links to books about Clean Eating which led me to Tosca Reno. After researching clean eating Elton and I decided to begin our journey to a healthier lifestyle. We did begin our journey with a detox. We both felt this was going to be the jumpstart we need to get the sugar out of our systems. I am by no means recommending this, but it is what worked for us. Tosca Reno has a 7-day detox on her blog you can follow if you are interested. Your body does its own detox so it’s not really necessary to push your body into this mode. It helped us start off, but again this was something we decided to do and I am not recommending it for you to do unless you want to!

After the detox we began eating clean and I was better educating myself on nutrition (which I still have a lot to learn). So what is Clean Eating? It is pretty basic and common sense. Nothing complicated like counting how many calories are in this and that and making sure you burn so many to see weight loss.  Clean Eating Basics (this is a collection of clean eating basics w/some of my own input):
  1. Eat Lots of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way. So of course organic is better, but if your budget can afford that, by all means just eat it regardless of organic! Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, providing high-quality, unprocessed nutrition for a clean-eating diet. Yes I know fruits have sugar, but it’s natural so it’s ok!
  2. Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate. We buy from a local farmer, all grass-feed, but again if you can’t afford that just be aware of what you are buying. Choose lean proteins, including plenty of plant-based sources of protein. The Mayo Clinic notes that plant-based proteins are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat, providing numerous health benefits. Lean, plant-based proteins include beans, legumes, tofu and other soy-based products. Not only are these foods high in nutrients, but they are also free from the antibiotics and added hormones that many people are concerned about, making them especially appealing to clean eaters.
  3. Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains. (For a list of foods to stock your pantry with, check out this list.). Switch from processed grains to whole grains. Whole-grain foods include items such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, wheat germ, flaxseed, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur, quinoa, bran flakes cereal and popcorn. These foods are unprocessed, providing more fiber and protein than their processed counterparts. They are also low in saturated fat and provide numerous nutrients for good health.
  4. Read Labels - I don’t know how many types of bread you can picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when you take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients - Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body. Anything that sounds like it’s from a chemistry lab isn't good.
  6. And don't forget to drink lots of water! Most clean eating plans encourage substantial water intake, to keep body processes running smoothly and avoid unhealthy beverage choices such as soda, sugary juices and high-fat blended coffee drinks. Water is your best choice for a clean-eating lifestyle. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had something other than water or coffee/tea! Ok maybe a beer in the last few months, but that is it! Elton was a big soda drinker and I have been so amazed about how well he is doing with it. He has not had a single soda in the last 4 months either! Try lemon and fruits in your water if you get bored with it ;)
Stop back by the blog tomorrow for the rest of the story and to hear how our family ditched the junk and made clean eating the norm in our household! 


  1. Tess and/or Nicole- The links within your article are not working. I can't click on them because the arrow cursor becomes a text cursor when I hover over the text.

  2. Nicole Parrish10/4/12, 7:30 AM

    Don't forget to check out Tess's earlier post with more websites I've found to be useful! Especially the ones on Sugar! I hope you find them helpful as well!

    He and She Eat Clean

    Tosca Reno’s 7 Day Detox

    Clean Eating Basics

    Foods to Stock your Pantry w/ List


Have something to share? I'd love to hear it!