Sunday, March 10, 2013

Clean Eating

I'm really not sure how to explain how clean eating came about without getting negative. Realizing my weight was almost the same as it was the day I had Reagan wasn't fun. I'd lost about 20 of the 35 I gained with her in the first 3 weeks. But then breast feeding didn't work out, and dinner became fast food, take out, or Ryan cooking (and his idea of cooking is hamburger helper), and finding time to exercise was a JOKE.. And those 20lbs found their way back! The first 3-4 months with 2 kids was so nuts that I truly didn't realize how bad it had gotten. I barely had time to eat during the day, so how bad could it be, right? I should know better, because that's exactly how my weight problem started after I had my son.

The second, and biggest, catalyst that got us to jump on the clean eating band wagon was finding out my friend has ovarian cancer. It's stage 1 and the chemo will be more of a precaution, but it was a huge wake up call for a lot of us. She was told no sugar since it's pure fuel for cancer cells and to focus on fresh foods, so I Googled cancer diets. Talk about information overload..

She's not much older than I am, we're both dealing with obesity, and our diets are pretty similar. So in addition to trying to be supportive of my friend, I got a big wake up call.

I'm still not sure whether clean eating is the right name for it, but it'll do. It's been a slow transition over the last month. So far:

We went back to whole grains (read the labels.. Just because it says whole grain on the front does NOT mean it's whole grain). We checked with a local bakery and may start buying bread there soon. They use NO preservatives.

We swapped our meats out for grass fed, hormone/antibiotic free beef and cage/hormone/antibiotic free poultry and eggs. Wild caught seafood only.

Following the dirty dozen list for buying organic produce.

Nothing packaged with more than 5 ingredients or anything we don't understand. We try to avoid things with sugar mentioned in the first 2-3 ingredients.

No artificial dyes. This one has been a little harder because there are dyes in things that I never would have guessed.. Like pickles. Really??? Why do pickles need yellow #5 added? It's purely for aesthetic purposes.

Organic dairy products for the most part unless we can verify the company doesn't use growth hormones.

The biggest thing we're still working on is sugar. Ryan and Chris have been pretty resistant to this part, and I'm not going to force it on them. They've made a lot of changes in the last month, and if this takes a bit longer to embrace, okay. But we HAVE gotten rid of all the artificial sweeteners, switched to raw sugar, and started using a LOT less. Anything with HFCS in it got tossed except for Mr. D's chocolate syrup.. apparently he isn't ready to give that up just yet. Progress, though.

Another thing that is taking some getting used to is the no fat-free, low-fat, light, etc thing. I've been dieting on and off for so long that it feels like I'm breaking rules when I use real butter, whole milk, raw sugar.. But they're replacing the fat and sugar with SOMETHING. And most of the time- that something is worse for you than the fat and sugar. Like partially hydrogenated junk in my light margarine. So real butter it is, just a lot less of it.

The last month has been a huge learning process for my whole family. My husband thought I was being unusually neurotic until he tagged along on a grocery shopping trip and read some labels for himself. I don't think I'll ever forget his face when he read that his favorite salsa had HFCS in it! He's also discovered that the cleaner version of some of his favorite foods taste a lot better.

Even after just a few weeks, we've all noticed some changes. We're all sleeping better. We aren't craving some things like we used to (sodas, sweets). Everyone is more, ahem, regular (tmi, but a BIG deal for me). And we're interested to see how the removal of artificial dyes will affect Chris' ADHD, though that will be hard considering his after school care gives out snacks like cheetohs, cookies, and Rice Krispies.. Even when I send him other snacks.

So nap time is over, guess my time is up for today!


  1. Good luck with all the changes!

    It is crazy to see what is in our food!

  2. It really is!! I'd heard about GMOs, but until researching clean eating, I didn't realize exactly what they were. It really was an information overload for a few weeks, but we're finding what works for us. Hope you and the baby are doing well!!