7 Ways Clean Eating Changed Me

I’m wrapping up my 28 days of clean eating detox. I loved it, and am definitely adapting that way of eating into my life. Over the course of the last four weeks, I learned quite a bit:

  1. Cooking isn’t so hard. I didn’t really like to cook, which is what made processed food so appealing: open freezer, take out box, microwave it, eat it. Every time I stuck something in the microwave I chided myself for not serving myself and my family something healthier. In the last month, I only used the microwave to heat up homemade leftovers! My family ate about 80% of my clean meals; they occasionally ate processed food. I did try to provide as healthy as possible processed options.
  2. My only beverage was water. I’m not a coffee drinker, and if it had been winter I may have opted for herbal tea (no sugar or milk) on occasion.  I used to drink fruit juice and maybe some soda 2-3 times a week. Didn’t miss any of that at all. Drank bottled spring water at home and water with lemon when eating out.
  3. I missed pizza the most. The good kind of pizza, from the pizzeria, not frozen pizza. We’re lucky to have a great little pizza place in our tiny little town. I reintroduced gluten and dairy by having a couple of slices. I missed pizza more than sugar.
  4. I didn’t miss sugar. My meals were so satisfying and my body was getting the nutrients it needed. The only sugar I ate was a few grams (less than 5!) in the 2-3 pieces of Panda Soft Licorice I ate a few days a week. It’s all natural with only 4 ingredients (molasses [sugar], wheat flour [gluten], licorice extract, natural flavor [aniseed oil]). The other source of sugar was in the 70% dark chocolate bar a sometimes ate a segment of. Serving size is 1/2 a bar – which is 9 segments. A couple of times I had 2 segments, but otherwise 1 was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. [Amazon sells them, but only in bulk – check your local grocery store in health food or gourmet food sections. This one is my favorite.]
  5. My family’s attitude towards eating changed as well. While there weren’t on board with ALL my meal choices, they starting eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, and trying new things.
  6. I feel amazing! I have a ton more energy. I lost about 2 pounds (weight loss was not a goal). My thighs are less jiggly and my stomach is (and feels) flatter. The clean eating got rid of (or at least reduced) the fat around my internal organs; my workouts built up some muscle!
  7. This way of eating – clean, healthy, and plant-based – has inspired be to get my health coach certification!
  8. I’m going to keep going! While I will be reintroducing some of the food types that were banned (like dairy, gluten, soy, and corn), I am staying away from processed food completely – or as much as I can.

Are you interested in eating more healthily? Not sure if you can make a 28-day commitment? I know where you’re coming from! Three months ago I would have scoffed at the notion of taking on this challenge, but my desire to feel better and be healthier trumped my laziness and reliance on processed foods.

It’s really not hard if you are committed and keep the reason you are doing this forefront in your mind. If you want to take the plunge, contact me, and we’ll talk about a plan for you. If you’d like to ease into it slowly, then I recommend switching your beverage to water – as much as you can. If you still need that morning cup of joe, fine; but start cutting back and then eliminating soda. That, in combination with movement, will make a world of difference. So drink water and take some long walks!

[Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but I will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me spread my message!]

5 Things I’ve Learned on My 30 Day Clean Eating Detox

glass-of-waterToday I am half way through my Clean Eating Detox, and it’s going well. I’ve surprised myself at being able to stick with it this long without any major cravings or cheats. And I’ve learned a few things:

1. Water is your friend

I was already a water drinker, but when I would dine out it was easy to choose something else – usually sweet tea or soda. I found that many places had terrible tasting water, so I would just opt for a tastier option. Lemon solved that. There’s bound to be a wedge of lemon somewhere in the restaurant. Squeezed into a tall glass of not so wonderful tap water, it made the water not only drinkable, but quite refreshing. I ask for lemon even when the water is delightful on its own.

2. Doing your best is better than doing nothing

So many times in the past I had good intentions but would get overwhelmed and confused. Was this food item considered healthy or not? It has 27 ingredients, and I can pronounce all but 2 of them. This one has 4 ingredients, but 3 of them are poly-syllabic words that require five minutes each to sound out. I used to give up. Now, armed with the week’s grocery list plus my master sheet of “EAT vs AVOID” I’m ready for battle. Still, there are some things that just couldn’t be found: “clean” mustard (no sugar and no vinegar). Ultimately, I used a bit of fancy mustard I had in the fridge. No sugar, but it did have vinegar in it. Is my cleanse a bust? No. Is the teeny, tiny amount of sugar in the all natural soft licorice I ate throwing me out of the game? No. Those 2 (or maybe 3) little pieces of licorice still have less sugar than the handful of M&M’s I was munching every evening, with an occasional handful after lunch, and sometimes the small handful that I grabbed walking out the door when running errands. I can confidently say that I’ve been eating more than 90% clean, and probably closer to 95%. Pretty proud of myself.

3. Preparation is key

I have a grocery list that corresponds to the week’s menus. For some of you that is a no brainer; for the rest of us – this is crucial. The list and menu with recipes comes from a Clean Eating group I belong to. I didn’t have to do the math to calculate how many tomatoes I needed. I bought what was on the list (with a few substitutions), and voila! I had groceries for the week that actually corresponded to what I was going to prepare for meals.

The only thing I didn’t count on was what to easily pack if I was traveling for the day. Since my options for eating out were minimized, I had to plan ahead (which was a challenge for me). After one sad dinner consisting of a protein bar, an apple, and some rice crackers, I spent some time devising better snack and light meal options that could survive the summer heat in my car.

4. Trying new things isn’t so scary

Swiss chard was on my first week’s grocery list. I looked at it. I was scared. I didn’t buy any. I did, however, try kale. It was also on my list. I liked it. I didn’t love it, but it was quite yummy mixed with baby spinach as the base of a salad. I’d definitely buy some again, or better yet (as I hardly made a dent in the huge bag I had purchased), I will continue to grow some in my garden – and not consider it a decoration! We’ll see if I get a bit braver with the Swiss chard.

5. Little changes can make a big difference

If you’re not ready to go full throttle on a challenge like this, consider cutting back on the avoids: sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, coffee, and alcohol. There are more, but those are major ones. Drink more water. Eat an apple each day (green apples are healthier for detoxing). Add in more leafy greens. Small steps to healthier eating along with a change in mindset will make a huge difference in how you feel.


If you want more information on clean eating, including recipes and tips, join my Facebook group “Healthy and Happy.” It’s a closed group, just ask to join. There are no fees, just information and sharing of clean eating experiences. I’m not an expert, but I’m with you on this journey!


Small Steps to Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating is a Journey, Not a Vacation

Stop treating dieting like a vacation - try & then return "home;" start treating healthy eating as a final destination; the place you are going - for good!This time you are going to do it. You are going to eat healthier and loose weight. We have started on this road to healthy eating more than once, and somewhere along the way we turn around and head back to our processed food safety zone. It’s time to stop treating dieting like a vacation – where you go for a while and then come back “home,” and start treating healthy eating as a final destination; the place you are moving to – for good!

While I’m not personally trying to loose weight, I am actively trying to maintain a healthy weight; a task that is growing more difficult as I age. I am trying to instill healthy eating habits in my children. I am trying to help my husband to loose a few pounds. We are all wanting to feel more energetic and fit. This journey is not one that can be accomplished in a day, or a week, or even a month. It may take a year, or two. The good news is that each day you can move closer to your final destination one step at a time.

Step One: Choose water.

Humans are 75% water and therefore when we don't drink water we dehydrate (picture a prune, shriveled and dry). However when we do drink water there are many, many health benefits! Knowing when to drink water increases those benefits.Choose water over soda. Choose water over any sweetened beverage. If you don’t like the taste of water add a slice of lemon or lime -a particularly helpful trick to mask the taste of some tap water. While I could write an entire post on the difference between waters (tap vs. distilled vs. filtered vs. spring water – whew!), suffice it for now to say that you should just choose water.

If you currently don’t drink much or any water, drink a glass with your lunch or dinner. After several days of doing this, drink a glass with lunch AND dinner. Then start drinking water between meals. Work up to half your body weight in ounces. If you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day. Yes, you will pee a lot. And many, many toxins will leave your body. So just do it!

Step Two: Smaller Portions

This was one of my husband’s biggest complaints: the smaller portions were not as satisfying and didn’t fill him up. I sometimes felt the same. Thankfully, we hung in there and after a couple of weeks we were feeling more satisfied with our meals. This came from several factors:

  1. I dished the meal out onto smaller plates or bowl. Silly as that may sound, if the small plate was heaped with food our psyche’s tricked us into thinking we were getting a full meal. Same amount of food on a large plate looked like we were getting a skimpy serving.
  2. Waiting 15 minutes after finishing a serving to see if we were still hungry. Sometimes it really wasn’t enough food (more on that below), but usually it was and it just took a few minutes for our stomach to get the message to our brains. Instead of having seconds and then feeling stuffed, we stopped at one serving and felt fulfilled – it just took a few minutes to make that realization.
  3. Healthy snack instead of seconds. If we were still hungry after waiting 15 minutes, then instead of seconds we ate some raw veggies and hummus, or peanut (or almond) butter and an apple. Sometimes we had a small handful of almonds or walnuts. If part of the meal involved a salad, then we’d have seconds on the salad.
  4. We kept reminding ourselves what the goal was. In that moment when you’re still hungry it is easy to succumb to the desire to eat more. But we reminded ourselves (and each other) how great we were feeling – and in my husband’s case, how much weight he was loosing. The motivation to stay on track with our goals often kept us from having seconds.
  5. Indulged every once in a while. There were some meals though that were just so awesome that we couldn’t resist a second helping, but we kept it small (not a full second serving). Allowing ourselves a little more once in a while of a healthy meal felt like a reward that wouldn’t jeopardize our progress. We were careful to save indulgences like this for healthy meals – and not pizza night!

Step Three: Start Where You Are

We were starting from a 90% prepackaged or processed meal point. Breakfast was frozen waffles or sugary cereal. Lunch was a heat and serve package or maybe a sandwich (white bread!), and dinner was an entree from the freezer or maybe pizza or other carryout. I don’t like to cook, but I really wanted my family to eat better. So we started with breakfast.

No more frozen waffles. We started drinking protein shakes made from vegan chocolate protein powder, frozen strawberries, spinach or kale, a banana, and almond milk. Whirl all that in a blender (I use a VitaMix), and yummy! Six mornings a week we have that. I tried a few different recipes in the beginning, but the family consensus was they liked this recipe the best. Makes my morning super easy and my shopping list is consistent (at least that part of it) as well. From there we switched out white bread for whole wheat at lunch for sandwiches and added salads to the mix. Our goal was to have most of our lunches be healthier than they had been.

Lastly, we tackled dinner. At first I wanted to make all the meals healthy, but that was unrealistic coming from a once a month healthy dinner start point. So we aimed for once a week in the beginning. Once that was a system, I began adding another dinner each week. I’m still not up to seven awesome dinners a week, because I honestly find the whole meal planning and prepping and making thing exhausting. (Did I mention that I don’t like to cook?).

You Got This!

The point is not to go from zero to sixty in a week. Remember that in order to make healthy eating be a lifestyle, you have to make it a journey. Your tastes will change over time. Your skills will improve. Your willingness to try new things will also be tested.

Don’t get caught in the “it’s not enough” cycle. I started making healthier meals, then I’d get wrapped up in “should I buy organic?” or “fresh versus frozen” for veggies or some other argument (with myself) that sometimes stopped me from making anything and resorting to old processed meal habits. Broccoli (fresh, frozen, organic or not) and chicken (fresh, frozen, organic or not) is better than a processed chicken and broccoli meal from the freezer section of the grocery store. Steam the broccoli, saute the chicken, and call it a meal. You can always make improvements over time. Remind yourself that making it yourself is better than relying on processed, so you’re already heading in the right direction even if you’re not using all organic, non-GMO, whatever-the-current-hype-about-food-is ingredients. You got this!

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