Well, Roman and I have been doing lots of talking...and we've decided we are going to jump on the wagon.
The clean eating wagon. Or at least.....try to jump.
After hours of research and reading over the past few months(on my part) and Roman listening to me re-tell all of the excruciating details I've been researching and reading, we have come to the conclusion that we are going to attempt the clean-eating thing.
No, this does not mean that we will now be growing our own chickens and raising our own cows (even though if we had the time we totally would just for "fun"). No, this does not mean that I will never ever eat chocolate again for the rest of my life (a.k.a. "impossible). And no, this does not mean that we will never ever go out to eat ever or refuse to eat dinner at friends and relatives houses.
It does mean that we're going to be eating a whole lot more fruits and veggies. It does mean that I'm going to do my best to buy all-natural and organic meats. It does mean that Hamburger Helper is being banished from our house (can't say I'm sorry). And it does mean that when we do go out to eat we will be ordering as healthy as possible.
But this will hopefully also mean that we sleep better, have more energy, and live a lot longer with a lot less sickness.
In America it seems like everyone knows someone with cancer (probably more than one person), diabetes, heart disease, or some other major disease. I can't help but wonder how much of our current sicknesses are caused by all of the junk we have in our food.
Hmmmm....let's try and put it this way. The daily recommended sodium intake for women is 2,300 mg according to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. One of my most favorite foods in the whole wide universe is Velveeta Shells n' Cheese. It has 870 mg of sodium per serving (not to mention 360 calories) and I will easily eat two servings for dinner. So with just one side I eat over half of my daily recommended amount of sodium and half of my daily recommended caloric intake!! I could provide a gazillion other examples....but I think you catch my drift.
Many people say that eating clean is way too expensive, so I'm going to be doing a little test for you guys. So far I have spent $27 in August on groceries (on clean items only I have bought some other non-clean groceries before we made our decision). This included all of the fruit that me and Roman will eat for the next two weeks (I cut it up and froze it last night so it will last). Today I spent another $18 on some vegetables and some other items like olive oil and sea salt (not something I would buy every trip). All I have left to get is some chicken and we will be set on groceries for the next week and a half-ish. So, I'm going to be tracking my grocery bill for this month and then I'll compare it to last month.
But honestly, I don't care if we spend a little bit more on groceries by eating clean. The health benefits far outweigh the cost in my book. I'm going to miss some foods like biscuits and fried chicken, but I'm going to be gaining so much more. And it's not like we can't go back to our old ways if things don't work out.
And seriously guys, please don't think me and Roman are going to be jumping off of a cliff here. I'm not going to be spending all of my time researching where Wal-Mart gets their fruits from so I can find out whether they use pesticides on their farm. I'm just going to wash the fruit really well and peel it before I eat it. And I won't be joining PETA. I will still enjoy my hormone/antibiotic/steroid-free chicken and beef, thank you.
So how does this whole thing work? It's actually pretty simple. The main rule is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you'll find the majority of the "good for you" stuff like fruits, veggies and meats. Of course, you'll have to go down some isles to find things like whole grain rice and olive oil and spices and such, but for the most part you shop the perimeter. The only other main rule is to read those labels! Basically if it comes in a box you can assume it's been processed and therefore contains harmful chemicals. Another basic rule of thumb is if it has more than three ingredients it's probably not good for you. For instance, my olive oil has this ingredient: olive oil. My plain Dannon yogurt has this ingredient: Cultured grade A milk. And my brown rice has this ingredient: Whole Grain Brown Rice.
My Velveeta Shells n' Cheese has these ingredients: Enriched Macaroni Product (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Cheese Sauce (Milk, Whey, Water, Canola Oil, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Sodium Alginate, Lactic Acid, Oleoresin Paprika [Color], Natural Flavor, Cheese Culture, Enzymes, Annatto [Color], Sorbic Acid as a Preservative). Contains: wheat, milk
That's a whole paragraph of stuff that's bad for you.....ouch.
Pretty simple, huh?
A few other things I've learned....
Don't buy anything that says "enriched whole wheat". This means it has had things added to it and taken away from it. It's not any good for you.
Eggs are your best friend. Seriously. They're low in calories, have good cholesterol, and are an excellent source of protein. Eat as many egg whites as you want, but don't consume more than 7 yolks in a week.
Because of how popular clean eating is becoming, there are like a trillion "clean" recipes out there. They even have one for "clean" macaroni n' cheese (hallelujah)!!
One of our other reasons for doing this goes along with the health benefits thing, but in a way that others may not agree with us. We humans have added a whole lot to God's creation. We've tried to determine when we're going to have kids by creating birth control. We've figured out how to preserve foods by adding preservatives and other chemicals. And we've added countless medicines to "fix" everything from depression to sleep trouble to allergies. I'm not saying all of this is necessarily bad (I love my allergy medicine!), but I do believe that when God created the earth He gave us everything we needed to live a healthy life.....and I would like to try living off of what He created and cut out what man has created (as much as possible). Because sometimes we just create stupid things....like chicken filled with antibiotics and steroids, and birth control, and anti-depressants. It's cool if you disagree with me, but this has been something that God has been leading me to for quite a while now, so when my husband brought the subject up again this past weekend we took the hint and are going to give it a try.
And my fridge/freezer was literally empty anyways....so why not give it a shot with the new groceries? It's not like I'm going to be throwing out a bunch of food in an attempt to get clean. We only have one container of leftovers that is not clean (and yes, we will eat it because I am not going to throw away food because I am a tightwad). Other than that, we will be making a clean start (pun intended).
So that's about it. I've got the ingredients to try two different clean recipes. One is for sweet potato tater tots (baked, not fried) and the other is for salsa chicken (cooked in a crock pot). And I've already had my "clean" fruit smoothie this morning using the frozen fruit I cut up yesterday. I will definitely be keeping you posted on how all of this works for us!
PS: a lot of stuff I've been talking about here was originally posted at http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/. This website is by two Christian couples that actually live in Georgia. They have tons of recipes and information if you want to learn more! :)
"The land produced vegetation-all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good." ~Genesis 1:12