Clean Eating

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goofy girl

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I have become very interested in starting a clean eating lifestyle, not necessarily for weight loss, but because I can feel the chemicals and icky stuff from the foods I usually eat really starting to build up and slow me down. Since I have been a convenience eater since, well, forever, I can't seem to get myself started. Does anyone have any recipes/ideas/suggestions?? I know for me the biggest thing is cooking everyday. I like to cook, but don't always feel like it. And as I mentioned, I'm such a convenience eater that this really seems overwhelming.

Thoughts??
 

MsGreenLantern

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I honestly don't think 'clean eating' is possible unless you grow your own produce and kill your own livestock. Organic foods are extra pricey, and you really need to research the guidelines enforced for them to use that label. Most veggies and fruits are waxed, and have fertilizers or pesticides on them. Some are genetically altered now, and meats often have dyes in them to look 'fresher'. Make sure you research the possibilities well!
 

goofy girl

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hmmmm. When I started researching the definition I found for it is "Consumption of food in it's most natural state, or as close as possible to it". My interpretation of that was fresh food with no additives, so I guess that's what I'm sort of looking for. I generally purchase organic produce from farmers markets anyway so that's not a huge deal, and decent organics are easy enough to find in grocery stores.

Maybe I should have said "cleaner eating" lol
 

TearInYourHand

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GG, I get what you mean. I try to eat as 'cleanly' as possible. That means making most of my foods myself, from scratch as much as possible. It doesn't always mean healthy haha...for example last night I made homemade eggplant parm from eggplant, homemade bread crumbs, organic eggs, olive oil, and sauce I made myself, cheese from the farmers market. It was delicious! And I much prefer to eat that then a Stouffer's version of the same thing. I consider that cleaner.

I think clean eating is eating foods close to the natural state, without addition of additives/chemicals.

I cook for enjoyment and relaxation, and that helps to 'eat clean', because you have to cook a lot to avoid the preservatives and additives (like corn syrup, stabilizers, coloring agents) that are in most of our pre-made food.
 

tinkerbell

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One suggestion that I have would be to cook more on the days you feel like cooking (as you said you enjoy cooking, but sometimes aren't in the mood to - and I totally get that feeling!!) and then divide out the rest into whatever size portions you want, and freeze it. That way on the days you dont feel like cooking, you can just pop something out of the freezer. Already made, and in the portions size you like.
 

Sugar

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If I have to cook for myself...it's fast food city. One thing I would suggest is maybe some Sunday cooking for the week?

Maybe making a big batch of fresh soup that you can take with you to work or eat on thru the week...same with any sort of casserole. That way you have the time to make it more of a whole food meal?

My favorite is a big batch of sausage and peppers, it freezes well and you can defrost it, throw in some fresh pasta and tada...warm fall food.
 

olwen

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Goofy, I guess a good place to start is to only buy as few items possible from cans and boxes since most of them are loaded with salt and soy. The only canned goods I buy are tomato sauces and tuna. The only frozen items I buy are fruit, veggies, ice cream, and occasionally french fries. Everything else I make is from scratch. So a really good cookbook is your friend. I don't recommend rachael ray either since most of the meals she makes come from cans and such. Only problem is if you are strapped for cash, (besides dry beans, rice, and tofu) cans, powders/boxes, and frozen items are the only affordable things and they go a long way.

Anyway, a favorite meal of mine is sausage spagetti. I buy organic italian sausages, place em in a skillet cook and cut, then throw in some diced italian peppers, button mushrooms, onion, scallion, about 1/2 cup white wine, various herbs (whatever is in the pantry), and a can of diced tomatoes. (A can of diced tomatoes is cheaper than two lbs of fresh tomatoes.) Using diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes makes for a thin sauce, but I like it that way. Then for the pasta, I boil up some rice noodles. I eat what I want then freeze the rest and eat it for lunch. It lasts for about three - five days depending upon whether or not I eat it for lunch and dinner.
 

Brandi

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Definitely buy what is in season!
right now I made my fall soups, which are squash, ww zero points soup, zucchini soup and I put them all in freezeable containers and they are in my freezer. I believe I have about 200 servings. These soups are definitely clean eating soups, freeze well....and are now ready to heat when I have my lazy days.
Will be making homemade apple sauce next weekend and will be freezing that for my muffins and breads. I freeze the applesauce in freezer bags though.
I also have frozen shredded carrots and zucchini for muffins. All premeasured so when I make my muffins/breads just have to pop it in the mix!
 

StarWitness

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So a really good cookbook is your friend. I don't recommend rachael ray either since most of the meals she makes come from cans and such.
Building off this: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It is my cooking bible. His philosophy of food is to keep things simple (he has a food column in the NY Times called The Minimalist) and use fresh ingredients. The book itself is humongous, and organized by main ingredient, along with a discussion of how to use that ingredient in general, different types of it, etc. Many of the basic recipes come with lists of suggestions for variations. It's worth an entire shelf of Rachel Rays.
 

Sugar

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Definitely buy what is in season!
right now I made my fall soups, which are squash, ww zero points soup, zucchini soup and I put them all in freezeable containers and they are in my freezer. I believe I have about 200 servings. These soups are definitely clean eating soups, freeze well....and are now ready to heat when I have my lazy days.
Will be making homemade apple sauce next weekend and will be freezing that for my muffins and breads. I freeze the applesauce in freezer bags though.
I also have frozen shredded carrots and zucchini for muffins. All premeasured so when I make my muffins/breads just have to pop it in the mix!
Something tells me your pantry looks like what I wish mine looked like lol.
 

HottiMegan

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A life saver for me when i want to eat box free is my rice cooker and frozen veggies. i throw brown rice in and whatever veggies of choice with some garlic and spices and it makes a quick easy meal. I usually add tofu or some sort of meat substitute too. Textured Veggie Protein is good and it is the same texture as brown rice if you want to cut teh carbs back. When i'm watching my carb intake i do a 50/50 mixture of rice and tvp.

I totally agree about freezing stuff, it adds to the convenience factor.
 

Sugar

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A life saver for me when i want to eat box free is my rice cooker and frozen veggies. i throw brown rice in and whatever veggies of choice with some garlic and spices and it makes a quick easy meal. I usually add tofu or some sort of meat substitute too. Textured Veggie Protein is good and it is the same texture as brown rice if you want to cut teh carbs back. When i'm watching my carb intake i do a 50/50 mixture of rice and tvp.

I totally agree about freezing stuff, it adds to the convenience factor.
Does a rice cooker cook regular brown rice as fast as white rice?
 

SparklingBBW

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Cleaner eating is one of my goals as well Goofy, and like you, I've always been a big convenience eater. For myself, what works is going slowly, not changing everything at once, and just being more aware at first. I get emotional when I think I can't have something I'm used to having, so I'm really, really taking this slowly, giving my tastebuds (literal and emotional) a chance to reconfigure themselves.

And my tastebuds are really changing, I'm becoming more sensitive to salt content and sweetness levels in certain products. I used to love biscuits and crescent rolls in a can...now too salty, can't stand 'em, so they are off the list, no problem. But six months ago, I couldn't imagine giving them up! Some before fav high-fat ice creams, now too fatty and too sweet and have just gone bad in my freezer. Believe me, this one is a shocker to me! But six months ago, if I had said to myself you can never have this again, I would've obsessed over it and ended up eating gallons and gallons in a month's time! lol

Same with adding in the cooking. I'm doing more than I was six months ago, but I don't cook every day or even cook every meal, but I'm gradually doing more andmore. And yes, soups and freezing things and cooking in bulk to last a few meals works for me too.

Bon Chance and Bon Appetite! :)
 

goofy girl

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Thanks everyone!! I think that avoiding boxes and cans is definitely a good way to start, as well as just being more aware of what I'm eating. I found some really great ideas/recipes on the Clean Eating magazine website that I'm going to try, and I checked out the website for the How To Cook Everything guy...fabulous!!
 

jcas50

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This may not be what you are thinking of, fellow New Englander, but a quick and fairly inclusive rule to avoid over processed foods is two two pronged approach ( and no, I do not mean that I speak with forked tongue)
Avoid anything with
A) high fructose corn syrup and
B) partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats)

Both are prevalent in the foods sold in supermarkets. Both are quite harmful, chemically altered versions of natural foods that do not react well to the human body. Trans fats take three times as long to break down in your body. If you avoid those 2 items, you eliminate a lot of crap sold today.

Eating locally is also good. Best of luck in discovering the foods that work best for you.
 

HottiMegan

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Does a rice cooker cook regular brown rice as fast as white rice?
for me, it takes maybe 10 more minutes but it turns out perfectly cooked :) I used to hate brown rice but like the texture and flavor of brown much more now :)
 

Friday

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Does a rice cooker cook regular brown rice as fast as white rice?
Our old one timed things strictly by weight. When enough water evaporated your rice was done, not necessarily done well, but edible. We bought an Aroma rice cooker that has separate white/brown choices as well as quick/regular settings. The recommended setting for brown rice takes nearly two hours :eek: , but it is so worth it. It cooks up light, tender and fluffy and nukes very well, never gets sticky or crunchy. We make a big batch on Sunday and use it all week.

Frozen, preservative free veggies and chicken tenders (unbreaded) would be my choice for clean eating with minimal fuss. The tenders can thaw in the fridge all day if you get a few out in the morning or be nuke defrosted after work. They can be steamed, poached, fried, baked* or stir fried in minutes. Or dice them up and throw them in a pan with a can of organic chicken broth, a cup of vegetables and a handful of noodles, season to taste and have fresh chicken soup. All you need is good bread and fruit for dessert. And definitely buy a vegetable steamer. Makes life simple. Pour water in base, pour vegetable of choice in basket, set timer and walk away. A little butter or lemon juice, seasoning and you're set.

*One night I was feeling totally unmotivated and put nekid tenders in a pie plate, poured some salsa on them and stuck them in the oven at 350°. Just before they were done I scattered cheese over the top and let it brown a little. They were great on rice and now we sometimes have them 'on purpose'. :happy:
 

rainyday

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Friday, I know you get a lot at Costco. Do they carry tenders that aren't shot full of that "flavoring" solution so much frozen chicken has? I usually try to buy organic chicken (on sale) but it's only available as full breasts where I shop. It'd be nice to have some tenders on hand just for ease even if they weren't organic.

Aside from having crappy ingredients, that flavoring stuff makes chicken taste funky. I've seen some chicken brands that have as much as 15% of that junk by weight in it.
 

moniquessbbw

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I keep a food diary that way I can keep track of everything I eat. It is very easy for me to make bad food choices so this helps so much. I am done loosing weight but I don't want to gain it back either. I cook almost everyday. Today I poached a whole chicken then made chicken salad out of it, Now I have something full of protein and low fat that I can pull out anytime and make a wrap or sandwhich. Tuna and chicken salad I always have in my fridge. I also make hard boiled eggs and keep things like grapes and string cheese for healthy snacks.

Cooking your meals is the only way to control what goes into your body. If you ever want to know whats in your food I go to calorie king to look things up. When I do eat out I like to know ahead of time how many calories are involved. Portion control and cooking lots of lean proteins and fresh veggies will help your body feel better. I take multi-vitimans that also helps.
 

LillyBBBW

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I'm trying to do this as well. It's much better for me as well as being more economical. I usually buy stuff in bulk and prep it in advance in single portions. Then I stick them in a zip lock back and freeze them. It makes it easier to cook every day if all I have to do is take it out and put it in the oven/on the stove. Done in 25 minutes, throw the bag away. What I hate about this are the dirty dishes this lifestyle creates. I feel like it's a waste of time, water and soap. I spent hours scrubbing dishes this weekend, you would think I live in a diner with all the washing I had to do - and REWASHING if I want to eat again. It's one of the reasons I eventually give up. It's too much work.

Another helpful thing: I cut up onions and grate cheese every weekend. Don't know what for and have no intent at the time. It's just to have on hand. During the week I always think of something I want that requires these items. I can whip up my dinner lickety split because I already have the ingredients prepped and ready go. If you have high maintenence ingredients that you like to use I suggest having some prepared in advance if you're going to turn to clean living. Make sure you keep the phone number to New England House of Pizza on hand though just in case you're feelling a little dirty. It happens.
 
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