Tag Archives: clean eating

Clean Eating – How I Do It

The first time I tried clean eating, I wasn’t very creative. I also didn’t do much looking around for different options or substitutes. I just ate mostly salads, veggies, grilled chicken or steaks with no sauces, and snacked on fresh fruit and nuts. That’s fine for a while, but when you have a craving, or want something a little different, or with more depth of flavor (we are self-proclaimed foodies at our house) you need to dig a little deeper and be a little more creative to get the flavor you want without the processed ingredients.

Clean eating is, in a simple definition from Melissa (my Stroller Strength guru), a lifestyle where anything you put into your body either came from the earth, or had a mother. There are a few exceptions, and a few specific dos and don’ts, but for the most part, that’s the easy way to look at it. The biggest way (I think) that I ran into problems was with sugar (obviously) and grains… there are a lot of processed grains that you typically buy instead of buying them in their natural forms (brown rice vs processed white rice, for example, or white flour vs whole wheat flour). Therefore, pasta and bread are pretty much out, too, unless you make your own. One accidental perk of eating clean is that it can easily become gluten free, so if you’re on the gluten free diet, it’s helpful for that also.

Anyway, since I’ve cleaned up my eating in general, and done several week or two-week bouts of completely clean eating, I’ve become a little more creative and done a lot more looking for yummy recipes or snack ideas. This weekend, during my “nearly perfect day” I did some digging (read: Googling) to find a new recipe, and made a recent favorite, and now we have breakfast (or snacks? or both?) made for the week.

That’s the other key to clean eating; it takes a little more planning. I find myself needing to visit the grocery store a little more, but because I’m buying produce and meat instead of pre-made items, I don’t spend quite as much. EK loves helping bake or cook, so I get her in on the fun too, and she’s learning how to be healthy without me even forcing it on her!

I want to share a few websites that I have used for recipes or meal ideas. BUT also know that I love southern-style, more savory cooking too! For example, The Pioneer Woman is my absolute favorite website for recipes, but obviously those are for flavor and not health, necessarily!

The Gracious Pantry – All clean eating recipes, tricks and tips for keeping it up. Home of the No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies of my clean eating dreams.

Hungry Healthy Girl – Healthy recipes, lots of them clean! (This is where I got the Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins from, and both my kids LOVED them! FYI don’t try to eat them hot… the stuck and fell apart. Patience is everything!)

Mama Natural – Where I found the clean Pumpkin Spice Latte. This website is in general a little crunchier than I am, but I like it all the same!

Against All Grain – This is more Paleo (and gluten-free) but it’s still awesome!

Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body – Home of the delicious Banana Bread that EK and Hubby love so dearly. Not all recipes are clean or even healthy, but there are some great dairy-free, vegan, and healthy recipes here.

Hope that these are good resources for you if you’re on a healthy journey! Do you have any websites that I should add to my list? Leave them in the comments!

A Nearly Perfect Day

Obviously, there is no such thing as the perfect day. There is no 24-hour time span that goes exactly how you’d like it to, or exactly as you planned. However, there are days, from wake up to bed time, that seem to go pretty darn well. This is one of those days.

When I got up this morning, it was to the sound of J fussing (he had probably started out talking, but I was too asleep to hear it) and EK running around (she’s taken to not visiting me before she visits her toys). Hubby had a gig last night, so I let him snooze. I fed the kids breakfast, while putting on my running gear one piece at a time in between bites… EK’s toast in the oven, one sock. A few bites of fruit for J, the other sock. Grapes washed and given to EK, the sports bra is on. You get the point. Finally, everyone was fed, packed in the stroller, and we were off for one of my favorite things: a long, cool, morning run. This 10-degree cool off in the weather has been a saving grace for my running skills. Ain’t nobody got time for an Indian summer.

Recently, I’ve been running to the grocery store in the mornings. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that it gives me a bathroom break. It gives EK a chance to get out and walk around, and there’s always at least one thing that I discover we are out of, or I am randomly craving. So we run to the grocery store. I usually take a 2-mile route to get there, shop it up for 15-20 minutes, and then run a (different) 2-mile route home. It’s a nice process, I think. Anyway…

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I can’t believe we forgot something… There’s no room for anything else!

We get home, and two of my girlfriends come over for homemade pumpkin spice lattes. I came across this amazing-sounding recipe (check it out here, from Mama Natural) and the girls said they wanted to try it. So we spent an hour and a half making our lattes and chatting. Super nice. During this time, J went down for a morning nap and Hubby woke up, so life continued in the Hsu house as normal.

Hubby and I got to thinking about EK’s room, and how it’s oddly put together. When we put her in there, we weren’t sure how sleeping in a “big girl bed” was going to go. It’s a full size bed, and now she’s used to it, so we decided to make it look nicer (perk: deep clean the room in the process). We rearranged her furniture and vacuumed, dusted, etc. It’s adorable, functional, and she loves it. Win.

J woke up, and EK wanted to try out her new bed placement, so we swapped them out. While she was sleeping, we ate a stellar take out lunch (Vietnamese pho – a revelation), we ushered Hubby off to work with smooches and waves, and J let me take a shower without crying a lot (thanks, little guy!). I call that a productive two hours.

EK woke up, and J was ready to nap round 2. While he was asleep, EK and I got some quality time together baking. We made pumpkin muffins and banana bread (both clean recipes, check them out here and here). Both turned out well… muffins stuck to their cups a little but tasted delicious, and the banana bread was perfect, as usual. That recipe is bangarang.

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the baking fairy
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clean pumpkin muffins and banana bread – here’s to a healthy week!

When J woke up, I packed up my sweeties and headed downtown to meet some family and friends at the Texas Pete Culinary Arts Festival. For those of you not from around here, Texas Pete is our local hot sauce, and the festival invited all the best restaurants in town to have booths of Texas Pete-inspired dishes. Also there was beer, served especially by our sweet friend Aida. So basically, it was a great evening of yummy food and great friends, adults and babies alike. My sister-in-law Holly and her son Finley were there, as well as a long-time church friend Abby and her little girl, Elliott. Having time with girlfriends and their babies really is the best of both worlds.

When we headed home, there was a mini-meltdown moment, spurred on by the fact that I forgot I needed gas in my car (come on, Mom! Rookie mistake!) but we made it home, had a quick bath time, and both kids were out by 8:30. I call that a great day. Everyone got the play and the rest and the snuggles and the exercise they needed. There wasn’t a sacred Double Nap but there was one-on-one time for me with both kiddos, and sometimes that’s hard to come by.

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J and me with Abby and Elliott (they’re gonna get married)

So here’s your encouragement: despite the meltdowns, despite the fact you forgot something at the store yesterday, and despite the fact that you’re on your own with those beasts all day, make the best of it. Look for the fun and the good, and don’t worry that you didn’t do laundry or dishes. You had fun. So did they. No one missed anything. Praise the Lord.

Run Away.

Friends, this might be a long one. I’m going to tell you all about my fitness journey for the past couple of years. I’ll give you cliff notes today, and details in several posts coming up.

I haven’t really ever been someone who works out. I ran cross country in middle school, I played volleyball in high school, and I played beer pong and flip cup in college. (Can I get witness? Roommates? Hubby?) My journey to living a little more healthily started when I got pregnant with EK. It became a priority to me mostly because someone else relied on my healthy choices. If I ate healthy, so did the little peanut in my belly. I ate pretty healthily, did prenatal yoga (and LOVED it – Judi at the Yoga Gallery is my favorite) and took lots of walks – especially the last 11 days… past my due date. After she was born, I still tried to eat fairly healthy, but then I started thinking about getting my body back.

A friend of mine found this awesome group of ladies that worked out together, called Stroller Strength(find them on MeetUp.com in Winston-Salem and Jacksonville). You bring your kids and some toys and snacks, and the leader/trainer works your butt off for an hour. I loved this option because I had gone back to work, and I didn’t want to leave my daughter for another hour to go to the gym. I wanted to maximize my time with her. So naturally, I took to this group quickly and easily.

Twice a year, the group does a “challenge”, where we set goals, take measurements and starter statistics, and keep logs for an 8 week period. Right after I started attending was when the first challenge happened. I busted my butt for 8 weeks – ran, worked out even outside of class, did clean eating, and won the challenge! It was madness, and I have not been so proud of myself many times in my life. I have now had another kid, and done another challenge, and signed up for my third one, which started this past Monday. This challenge is all running-based. I’m running a 10k in late October, and I am terrified. But that’s what pushes you, right?

So anyway, I’m on an 8-week mission of running a lot, eating REALLY CLEAN (a la The Gracious Pantry) and doing some lifting to compliment my running. You will be updated!

Anyone else on a mission?