For the last three months, I've been eating 98% clean. No refined/added sugars and as little packaged food as possible. I feel amazing as a result, which should come as no surprise, since I'm providing my body with the best possible fuel instead of eating too much but being somewhat undernourished at the same time due to nutritionally deficient food.
I'm loving food in a whole new way and enjoying flavors that I used to hate, which is so weird to me. My taste has changed and evolved so much over the last couple of months and I'm so very glad I've finally made healthy eating such a priority in my life. I've been going through the motions for years, know what was healthy and eating the healthy foods that I was comfortable with (not trying new things or eating anything I assumed I wouldn't like) but still eating way too much added/refined sugars. I was addicted to sugar and couldn't admit it.
I went cold turkey in the beginning of March and it was awful at first. I was so grouchy and thought about cookies and sugary chocolate a l l d a y l o n g. By the end of each day I was so crabby and on edge. It took about two weeks before I started to feel better, and the cravings subsided greatly from them on. The only sugar I was eating was natural sugars found in whole foods and once the withdrawal period was over, I started to feel better and better every day. And soon, food started to taste different as well.
Fruit tasted so much sweeter to me, and I felt like I was eating dessert whenever I'd enjoy juicy, ripe strawberries or crunchy, crisp apple slices. Avocado has become a favorite food. I add arugula and spinach to scrambled eggs now and actually enjoy it (rather than forcing it down whenever I'd choose to add it before because I knew it was good for me).
I eat more veggies at most meals than any other food group, like starch/grains or protein. I'm eating cashews, pecans, pistachios and walnuts now and loving them. Steve told me that I would never have believed I'd be eating this way now if somebody tried to tell the 'me' from even six months ago. And I've literally never felt better.
Steve's always been a very healthy eater, and I've often made him super healthy meals while skipping many of the whole-food ingredients for myself and keeping it simple (for example, he'd get a huge salad with 10 different kind of vegetables, a protein, some rice and a pile of roasted veggies on the side. I'd have a tiny salad with the two vegetable choices I preferred, protein, lots of rice with butter, and a small serving of the roasted veggies plus a piece of toast with butter).
I've made extra healthy snack foods for Riggs, while filling up on no-bakes and muddy buddy chex mix myself (I was using sweets to make me feel better when I was stressed or extra tired, which was more often than I realized, especially since becoming a mom of two).
Now that I'm also fully committed to eating whole foods and avoiding added sugars and most packaged foods, I don't keep anything packaged/processed that would be easy to grab in a bind and lead back to eating more sugary processed foods. And I'm not talking about snickers bars here. Even 'healthy' and 'organic' packaged granola bars at the store often have more sugar in one serving than an adult woman should eat in an entire day.
So now that we're not buying any packaged snack food, I've been on a mission to find snacks that are wholesome, satisfying, easy to make, and easy to bring along with us. I've been experimenting with recipes I've found on pinterest and instagram and a few especially good recipes have stood out and become instant favorites. Whenever I find something I love I want to share it, so here are some of the things we've been loving lately:
Have you seen/tried those chobani flips that come in a bunch of yummy flavors at the grocery store? I've tried them and while they're great tasting, the yogurt itself is flavored which means added sugars, and they're pretty expensive too if you're going to be eating them a few days a week. I've been experimenting with combinations of my own at home that are just as satisfying as the pre-packaged options, and much healthier and cost effective. My current favorite combination is plain greek yogurt diced strawberries, chopped pecans and coconut flakes (unsweetened). Another favorite is plain greek yogurt, raw cacoa nibs, unsweetened coconut flakes, and sliced almonds. There are so many different variations you could try out based on personal likes and dislikes, but I find that I'm a creature of habit and usually eat the same thing for a few weeks before moving on to try something else.
bulk breakfast burritos
These pictures are from when I made breakfast burritos in bulk for Steve's lunches. He prefers the typical flour tortilla shells; Riggs and I get sprouted whole wheat shells for ours, but all of them are packed full of fresh scrambled eggs from our chickens, roasted veggies, and avocado. I leave the sausage and cheese out of ours, but Steve loads up on both and also add hot sauce and sour cream. It is so easy to take an hour twice a month to make enough burritos for about two weeks and have an easy, fulfilling and somewhat quick (I say somewhat because we don't have a microwave and use the oven or skillet to reheat ours) meal to enjoy without having to do all the prep every time we want to eat a breakfast burrito.
There are so many different variations of snack balls to be found on the internet, and I've slowly been working my way through most of them. So far we have three favorites: chocolate bliss balls, cashew 'cookie dough' balls, and chocolate peanut butter balls (with black beans!). These are great for when you feel like having a treat, because these are sweet (using maple syrup or honey you can avoid unrefined sugars) but also wholesome. They tend to be high calorie/fat so if that's a concern you might want to be mindful of just how many you're eating as a serving. But for kids they're full of the healthy fats needed for brain development among other things.
muffins with veggies/no sugar
Many muffins are more lake cake, full of refined sugar and unhealthy fats. But there are also many muffin recipes that offer a truly wholesome alternative and make a great snack or meal to make ahead and enjoy for a few days. Sometimes I add mini-dark chocolate chips to them when we're enjoying them as dessert, often they're left plain or with just a dusting of cinnamon. Chocolate zucchini muffins, spinach veggie muffins (trust me, they're amazing!) and apple carrot muffins are some of our favorites.
What are your favorite 'clean' snacks? Please share! I love trying new recipes and finding even more go-to snacks to add to our list.