I have received quite a few questions about the cook books I shared last week, 100 Days of Clean Eating by Lisa Leake. In sharing this cook book with you, I also want to share our WHY. Prepare for overload in information in this post, but this is one of the major things we have tried to overhaul in our lives.
I have always eaten what I thought was “healthy food” and eaten with a mindset of moderation, we should be good right? No, we were not eating healthy, we were consumed by the marketing strategies of large corporations pushing their products on us. Eye rolls I am sure, but stay with me, it has changed our lives. I am still shocked at the volume of marketing that consumes us daily, for food products that are not nutritious in the least.
Three years ago I ordered a book off of amazon, Food Rules: An Eaters Manual by Michael Pollan, I highly recommend this book, it has sensible information and is a quick read. In his book, Pollan shares 64 rules/recommendations for eating, some are very short, and others give a bit more detail. Reading through his rules opened my eyes to a world of logical and practical ways of eating. This is not rocket science, it is food after all, but we are constantly being told what to eat by marketing companies and what will be the next fad diet. We are confused and don’t know what to eat. I will not share all the 64 rules with you but a couple that stick with me even now:
1) Would your great-great grandparents have eaten __ (enter said food here).
This was eye opening for me – I had to stop and think, what would they have eaten, did I even know that? Bacon, yes they would have eaten that, chicken yes….!!! We are rocking and rolling here, Doritos…..that is a big old no. My ah ha moment was with yogurt of all things, yogurt is not bad, our ancestors would have eaten yogurt, but it would not have been filled with hi-fructose corn syrup. I can’t even start to list out the number of commercials sharing all the health benefits of eating yogurt daily, this is something I didn’t even think was a place for improvement but was I wrong. Each morning I was feeding my daughter yogurt out of a tube, I thought I was making a smart decision, she was getting filled with protein, right? No, this yogurt tube was filled with sugary yogurt that was covered with her favorite Disney character. The amount of sugar I was feeding her in for the first meal of the day was shocking 22 grams of sugar, I had never stopped to read or think about it. Also, my ancestors didn’t eat things out of plastic tubes, this was eye opening for me.
2) Know where your food comes from, local is always better.
I did know this rule, but we would defer to less expensive food, due to budging money each week for our grocery bill. Understanding why we should know where our food comes from makes sense, we know where our clothes are made, cars (sometimes)…. etc. But our food? Do you pay attention to where your food comes from, how is grown, what hormones are used? I did not, and am embarrassed to say this, but the more you know the better decisions you can make. Visit a local farmers market, buy from local merchants at your grocery store, read the signs at the store and find great local shops that supply locally produced food. The less processed our food is, the more nutrients you get from your food, allowing you to eat less and saving money. Think quality over quantity! This helps your wallet as well as your waist line, win win win. I will admit fully we don’t always buy local, I mean my daughter loves strawberries and we don’t grow strawberries in North Carolina year-round, so it is something we try to do, but is not always practical. Just reading and knowing where your food comes from is a major step.
Check out Pollan’s book, it was a quick easy read and very insightful, making a few changes in how you eat can really change and is fun to do as a family. I keep reminding myself of the habits we create for our children will be passed down to their families and impact their health.
I am not sure how I came across Lisa Leake and her mission to clean up what her family was eating, but she is great. Check out Lisa’s site, she has great recipes, tips and wonderful shopping lists for cleaning up your meals and what you stock in your house. Where it start was the biggest hurdle for me, what is the most important foods to eat clean, what to eat organic and what can you sneak by with? It is all about moderation and balance for us, we are never going to be that family who doesn’t eat out or has to bring our own food to someone’s house, but we do want to educate ourselves to make smarter decisions for our family.
For mother’s day two years ago my husband gave me one of her cook books as a gift, I was over the moon excited. The book is great, I can’t say that enough, it provides great detail in what items you should be eating and what you should not be eating and why. The why is always important to me and helps me stay on track. Lisa is a mom of two girls, so she had a balancing act as well, her shopping tips are most helpful and what you can buy in bulk….etc. My goal was not to remove all processed food from our lives, but to remove a lot of it and make better decisions with our food choices. If you have been following along with my social media stories, you will see we do eat processed foods, but we also eat a large amount of fruit and veggies. Lisa Leake has many options to get started with cleaning up your eating and educating yourself, I continue to use her recipes each week. Check her site out and follow along with her social media, you will get hungry following her. Also great lunch ideas for kids, a huge bonus!
A few items that we have changed out in our house based on suggestions from Lisa Leaks – 100 Days of Clean Eating.
Sweeteners – I loved using Splenda in my coffee/tea, and bake with, a no calorie sweetener, yes sign me up, but we have switched to using local honey. It did take me a little while to get use to the honey, but now I am hooked. I did try Splenda recently as I was in a pinch and needed coffee, the artificial sweetened taste was so sweet, I was shocked. I had become so use to the natural sweetness of the honey that the Splenda tasted bad. I use honey and maple syrup to sweeten baked goods as well, this is a great tip for all of your families that have a sweet tooth.
Organic – a huge buzz word for sure, we don’t buy everything organic, but when we can we do. Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, fruit (berries especially) meat and veggies.
Whole Wheat Flour – I never bought this, nor did I know there was such a thing. My mom would make us eat whole wheat bread growing up and I hated it. I wanted the white bread, but I didn’t realize that all the nutrients have been processed out of the white flour and making it a very bad choice. Look for whole wheat as the first ingredient in your bread if you are buying bread, if it has white or processed wheat you are not getting the full nutrients from the wheat. I don’t bake a lot, but when I do, I use whole wheat flour. Most recipes call for white, but you can always substitute the wheat flour (for most things, I don’t bake a lot). Lisa Leake does have a lot of treat recipes as well in her cook books think cakes, breads, cookies and more!
One of the great things about meal prepping is stocking up your pantry, I laugh thinking back to our early married years and what we would have in our pantry. Nothing, honestly, we would have barely anything in there, but now we are prepped and can pull meals together much easier and knowing what we are eating. Lisa Leake has challenges you can take to clean up your eating, we have done any of those yet, but think they could work for a lot of people. Our goal was to never cut out 100% of processed foods, but to be more aware of what we are eating and where are food comes from. All my close friends and family know we eat pizza at least once a week and we eat out quite a bit, but our core food we have in our house is clean. I like to use 80/20 rule, 80% quality/clean food with a mix of 20% other.
If you read to the end, congrats! So much information on this subject and so many great resources, these are just two of the most impactful sources we have found helpful. I hope you enjoy, check them out!
Want to make sure to make it clear I am not a registered nutritionist, nor have any training, this is what works for our family and is my opinion. If you find this helpful, great and I am glad you are sharing in our journey. If you have tips on meal planning or clean eating, leave below in the comments, love new ideas and sharing what works!