grains

What is Clean Eating?

What is clean eating

You've probably already seen or heard the term 'clean eating' or 'eating clean.' But what does it mean? What is so great about it? I'd like to clarify what it means for those of you who are wondering and what it's benefits are. Clean eating is not a specific diet, it's a lifestyle choice.

First of all, there are many different definitions of clean eating, depending on what meal regimen one follows and recommends (paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc). For example, a vegan might say that a clean eating regimen is one that omits all animal products, someone that only eats a raw food diet might say that clean eating is an all raw-food diet, and so forth. I don't believe that one is better than the other, it is just a matter of finding what works for you.

My definition of  'clean eating' is to eliminate all refined and processed foods from your diet. Foods like white sugar, white rice, bleached flour, white flour, and enriched flour all are foods that have been refined in some way. When refined, their nutrients are removed resulting in ingredients that only provide empty calories (calories with no nutritional value) with a blood sugar spike.

A clean eating regimen consists of whole, unrefined foods in their most natural state. These foods are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Pasture-raised eggs and poultry
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Full-fat dairy products

Be sure to read labels when buying things in a package. Just because the box says "whole grain" or " natural" doesn't mean they really are. Read ingredients closely and choose grains that don't have additives. You'd be surprised what's in that box of "whole grain" cereal you love so much, not a whole lot of nutrition. Chicken that is labeled "all natural" is interesting to me. Shouldn't chicken be natural? Sadly it's almost always not the case; instead they are fed antibiotics and hormones. Labels are misleading and most of the time not true.

Talk to the butcher at the grocery store, ask questions, and read the ingredient list. Try buying products that have 5 or less ingredients. And make sure they are ingredients that you can pronounce and that are unrefined. Visit my post on reading labels for more information.

Benefits of a clean eating lifestyle:

  • Weight loss/fat loss
  • Increased energy
  • Better skin and hair
  • Better health
  • Increased mental focus
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood
  • Decreased cravings and sugar addiction

As you can see, eating clean is a great thing. It seems to have become more and more popular these days, when in reality, it has been around for a long time and just now people are starting to realize how important it is to make this lifestyle choice in order to be healthy and happy.

How to transition to a clean eating life:

  • Eat whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats,  and whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water each day
  • Eat 5-6 times a day to reduce cravings and keep blood sugar regulated - include protein in every meal
  • Avoid all processed and unrefined foods (sugar, candy, pastries, white flour, white rice, bread, cereals, packaged goods, etc.)
  • Avoid beverages that are packed with sugar (soda, juice, Gatorade, energy drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks)
  • Avoid trans fats

Clean eating is the lifestyle choice I made and what I preach every single day. I have never been happier and felt more comfortable in my skin. If you are just transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle, take it slow and make small changes every day. It takes time, but don't give up. Know that your body will love you for it and you won't regret the health benefits from it.

Trust the process.

Chai Spiced Quinoa Porridge

Chai spiced quinoa porridge_v2
Quinoa is a grain that can be used in sweet and savory cooking. I love making breakfast porridges with it. I always play with different flavorings and this one has been one of my favorites so far.
 
Ingredients
 
3/4 cup chai tea, strongly steeped 
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked for at least 1 hour
1 cup coconut milk (I used canned organic coconut milk)
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
 
Optional toppings:
Raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds Chopped nuts
Goji berries 
Shredded coconut
Chia seeds
Fresh fruit Coconut milk
 
Procedure
  1. Steep chai tea and place in a small pot. Drain and rinse quinoa until water runs clear and place in pot with tea. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until quinoa is cooked or liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Drain if quinoa cooks before liquid is absorbed.
  2. Place cooked quinoa back in pot and add 1 cup coconut milk, spices, and salt to your own taste (You might not need the extra spices if your tea was strong enough, I personally like the extra spice). Let milk warm through and transfer porridge to a bowl.
  3. Top with desired toppings and extra coconut milk.
Enjoy!

Whole Foods Pantry Essentials

7 easy ways to detox daily_v2

In order to cook healthy you need to have healthy ingredients to choose from. I've created a table to help. Eating a variety of these foods every day will ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Purchase foods organic when possible for the highest nutritional value. Organic unrefined ingredients might cost more, but investing in your health now will prevent having to invest in medical bills later.  All the ingredients I use in my recipes are found in this list. Feel free to print this out and keep it somewhere handy for when you go to the grocery store. Happy shopping!

Food
Types
Servings
Nutritional Benefits
Healthy Fats/Oils and Nuts/Seeds (raw or dry roasted)
Walnuts
Pecans
Almonds
Hazelnuts
Brazil nuts
Cashews
Pistachios
Sesame seeds
Chia seeds
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds
Hemp seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Nut butters
Tahini
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Unrefined sesame oil
2-3 servings per day
A serving of nuts and seeds is 2 Tablespoons 
A serving of fats/oils is 1 Tablespoon
Nuts and seeds are good sources of essential fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6), vitamin E, protein, B vitamin, beta carotene, minerals, and folic acid
Soaking nuts and seeds helps digest them better and increases nutrient availability
Coconut oil reduces inflammation, aids digestion and metabolism, and decreases risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Whole Grains
Gluten-Free:
Quinoa
Millet
Amaranth
Buckwheat
Teff
Rice (Brown, Jasmine, Short grain, Long grain, Wild, black)
Contain Gluten:
Wheat
Rye
Spelt
Barley
Oats (oats don't contain gluten, but are usually always cross-contaminated with other gluten containing grains unless gluten-free certified)
1-3 servings per day
A serving is 1/2 cup cooked
Whole grains provide complex carbohydrates and fiber
Gluten-free grains are hypoallergenic and provide B vitamins and magnesium to help with digestion and balance blood sugar
Gluten-containing grains can be inflammatory and hard on digestion
Soaking or rinsing grains before cooking helps their digestion
Spices, Condiments, Supplements, and Natural Sweeteners
Unrefined sea salt
Peppercorns
Tamari, low salt
Vanilla, pure 
Miso
Nutritional yeast
Dijon Mustard
Apple Cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Sea Vegetables (Nori, Sea Palm, Dulse, Agar flakes, Kombu, Wakame, Hijiki, Arame)
Dried herb/spices:
Bay leaves
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Coriander
Cumin
Oregano
Pepper (Paprika, Cayenne) 
Turmeric
Fresh herbs:
Basil
Thyme
Cilantro
Dill
Ginger root
Parsley
Rosemary
Mint
Powders/Supplements:
Raw cacao powder
Maca powder
Spirulina powder
Chlorella powder
Protein powder (vegan, sugar-free)
Mesquite powder
Natural Sweeteners:
Raw honey
Grade B maple syrup
Coconut sugar
Maple sugar
2-4 servings per day
A serving is 1 teaspoon - 1 Tablespoon
Spices and herbs add flavor and boost metabolism
Sea vegetables provide amino acids (building blocks of protein), vitamin E, B vitamins, fiber, and minerals
Nutritional yeast provides B vitamins, amino acids, and minerals
Powders and supplements are ingredients that contain high nutrient value in small amounts
Natural sweeteners are unrefined and provide more nutrients than white sugar or artificial sweeteners, but should still be consumed in moderation
Dairy (Choose organic and grass-fed. Choose whole, low-, or non- fat without any additives)
Raw dairy
Yogurt
Goat cheese or yogurt 
Cottage cheese
Kefir
Mozzarella
Parmesan
Romano
Feta
 
1-2 servings per day
A serving of cheese is 1 ounce
A serving of yogurt is about 4-6 ounces
Dairy are a great source of protein and calcium
Calcium-rich foods help immune system, fat metabolism, and protect against bone damage and breast cancer
Dried Legumes and Soy (Choose soy products that are fermented and non-GMO)
Garbanzo beans
Black beans
Pinto beans
Adzuki beans
Mung beans
Kidney beans
Navy beans
Cannellini beans
Fava beans
Lima beans
Split peas
Lentils
Soy beans (Edamame)
Tempeh
Tofu
1-2 servings per day
A serving is 1/2 cup cooked
Legumes are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates
25% of their calories come from protein
Darker legumes contain antioxidants
Soak legumes overnight before cooking to reduce gas
Meats (Choose organic, pasture-raised [grass-fed, not grain-fed] lean meat and poultry; free of hormones, antibiotics, and nitrates)
Chicken
Turkey
Lamb
Beef
Eggs (organic and pasture-raised)
1-3 servings per week
A serving is 3-4 ounces
Animal foods are a very good source of protein and also provide some vitamins and minerals 
Eggs boost brain health, reduce inflammation, and provide heart health
Cold-Water Fish (Choose high in Omega-3, low mercury)
Salmon (wild caught)
Scallops
Tilapia
Ahi Tuna
Cod, Halibut
Sole
Tilapia (farmed in the U.S.)
Trout
1-3 servings per week
A serving is 3-4 ounces
Seafood is rich in protein, minerals, and essential fats (Omega-3)
Vegetables (Choose fresh, organic, seasonal, and locally grown)
Leafy:
Arugula
Bok choy
Kale
Collards
Napa cabbage
Cabbage, red/green
Broccoli sprouts
Brussels sprouts
Mustard greens
Chard, Swiss
Leaf lettuce
Spinach
Mesclun salad mix
Romaine lettuce
Watercress
Crunchy and Starchy:
Broccoli
Radish
Daikon
Cauliflower
Beets
Carrots
Pumpkin
Bell pepper, green/red/yellow
Cucumber
Celery
Zucchini
Summer squash
Green beans
Yam
Sweet potatoes
Mushrooms (button, crimini, enoki, maitake, oyster, portobello, shiitake)
Burdock
Asparagus 
Artichoke
Parsnip
Peas, sugar snap
Peas, green
Tomatoes
Fennel
Jicama
Onions, red/yellow
Garlic
Leeks
Scallions
5-6 servings per day
A serving is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked
 
Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that aid digestion, immune system, growth and development, and bone health
Vegetables with the highest pesticide contamination (should be purchased organic) are: Bell peppers
Celery
Spinach
Lettuce
Potatoes
Fruits (Choose fresh, ripe, organic, and in season)
Blueberries
Blackberries
Cherimoya
Cherries
Cranberries
Currants
Figs
Nectarines
Grape, dark skin
Plums
Pomegranate
Prunes
Raisins
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Apricot
Papaya
Cantaloupe
Kiwi
Mango
Nectarines
Peach
Persimmon
Watermelon
Oranges
Kumquat
Lemon
Lime
Grapefruit, pink
Tangerine
Apples
Banana
Pear
Pineapple
Plantain
Quince
2-3 servings per day
A serving is 1/2 cup or 1 medium piece of fruit
Fruits provide complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
Fruits with the highest pesticide contamination (should be purchased organic) are: Peaches
Apples
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Pears
Grapes
 
Beverages
Filtered water
Herbal tea
Green tea
Chai
Vegetable juice
Nut milk
Filtered water:
8-10 cups per day
 
Herbal tea:
2-4 cups per day
Beverages provide hydration and help detoxify 
 
Sources
 
Natural Chef Textbook, Bauman College
www.whfoods.com 

Quinoa stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa stuffed bell peppers_v2
Quinoa is actually a plant-based seed with a great nutritional profile that we consider to be a whole grain. It is a gluten-free complex carbohydrate and a great source of manganese, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber. Not only is it anti-inflammatory, helps balance blood sugar, and supports digestion, but it also contains all of the essential amino acids that other grains don't have. The serving size for quinoa is 1/2 cup cooked.
This vegan dish can be enjoyed as is, over a green salad, or accompanied with 3oz chicken or fish for a non-vegetarian meal. 
 
Ingredients
 
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups filtered water or vegetable broth for more flavor
1 Tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable broth for a healthier saute
1 red onion, chopped
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
7 bell peppers (Tops removed, cored and seeded. Reserve 6 and chop one up to add to the stuffing)
½ cup chopped parsley
1 cup spinach
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste
½ cup raw cashews
 
Procedure
 
Cooking Quinoa:
  1. Combine quinoa, a pinch of salt, and water or broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Quinoa grains will appear translucent when cooked. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
Making the Stuffing:
  1. In a large pan, heat coconut oil or broth over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes. Add carrots and chopped pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or until soft. Add parsley and spinach and let spinach wilt. Stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa and toss gently. Add cashews, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool until warm.
  2. While the stuffing is cooling, preheat oven to 350° F
  3. Take 6 remaining bell peppers and fill with the quinoa stuffing by gently packing it down with a spoon. Once filled, put reserved top on each pepper and set them upright in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour or until peppers are tender, check halfway through.
Servings: 6
 
Notes
 
Feel free to add your favorite vegetables to the stuffing and add some crushed red peppers or cayenne pepper if you want it to be a little spicy. I would personally omit the cinnamon if adding cayenne pepper. 
 
Sources
 

The World's Healthiest Foods by George Mateljan

Flavors of Health by Ed Bauman, Ph.D. and Lizette Marx, N.C.