Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Clean Eating...What I've Learned So Far

So I've just started my sixth week of eating clean full time and I thought I'd share how I've been going and what I've learnt so far. Also a little heads up...I'm no food photographer, that is an art in itself!! I've done my best so hope it passes ;-)

I'm writing this from a complete newbie's point of view - I'm not proclaiming to be an expert at all, I figured it'd be nice to look back on, down the track, at how I was going and the things I found easy or not easy. I also thought if you were thinking about cleaning up your diet then maybe this would be a good read for you too! :-)

Firstly though - what is eating clean?

For me, it means eating foods as close to its natural state as possible. Real, whole foods that aren't processed or full of chemicals. I do still cook my food (going raw would be a big, big thing and I don't think I am ready for that! Yet.) as well as snacking between meals and eating clean treats. 
I pretty much eat as much now as I always have, it's just different food! And I still get to have chocolate!

With clean eating, you can pretty much eat the same menu that you love, you just swap out ingredients that aren't clean, for more cleaner ones. That makes it sound easy, and once you get the hang of it, it is. You soon get introduced to ingredients that you've never heard of before!

FYI, I've lost 5 kgs in the five weeks I've been eating clean. Much slower than when I juiced, but I feel so much better! I'm not hungry and I feel fitter. (I didn't exercise when I was on the juice fast, now I'm excercising between 4 - 6 times a week.)

I definitely don't regret doing the juice fast, I learned a lot from that. Namely that I could actually lose weight. I think before that, I didn't believe I could because I'd tried and failed in the past. Now I know that anyone can if you have the right information! That's what I love about blogs and other social media, it's a place where we can all share what we know and learn from and support each other!
I also rebooted my system when I juiced for 30 days. This is a pretty big thing and what it means is that my taste buds and cravings changed during those 30 days. 
It lessened my sugar addiction and I started craving salads and veggies instead of chocolate and sugar fixes. 
If I went back in time to before I juiced and looked at what I was eating now, there's not a snowballs chance in hell that I would consider eating these types of foods. I would think it looked too diet-y and   I'd have quit before I'd even begun. 
What the juice fast did was rearrange or changed my reaction/attachment to food.
I needed that to be able to want to eat real food. 
After the juice fast, I ate quite clean for a while, even though I didn't know at the time that that was what it was called. But gradually old habits crept back.

Before the juice fast, my diet was pretty much toast and coffee for breakfast, another coffee mid-morning, maybe a toasted sandwich for lunch. More coffee in the afternoon with something sweet like cake or biscuits, and you know I didn't eat just one ;-) Then I'd have something casserole-ish for tea with sauce from a jar, white rice and maybe another coffee or a BBQ in summer with pasta salad and followed by ice cream. And I always had chocolate at night. I'd eat half a block most days, sometimes I'd eat the whole thing. 

So It was bad, not just because of how much I ate, but that most of it was highly processed, full of sugar or caffiene and low in nutrients.
And I felt crap. Most of the time. I only realise that I felt crap because I can compare it to how I feel now...which is awesome, by the way ;-) I have heaps of energy, I don't get that mid afternoon slump where I could sleep for a couple hours and I feel like excercising! I actually crave it and it annoys me if I can't get my excercise done like I planned for whatever reason. 

So what do I actually eat now?

Firstly let me say that I find lots of recipes online and especially on Instagram that are clean and healthy and I wouldn't be able to keep this up if people weren't so generous with sharing their recipes. I'm a creative person, but when it comes to cooking, I'm not quite! I need a recipe to follow a few times before I try adapting it myself. 

Most mornings I have eggs, spinach, mushrooms, tomato and avocado. Every now and then I'll have bacon with it too! About once a week I'll have oat/banana pancakes or porridge.

For lunch I'll eat a salad or leftovers or soup. I try out new things so I'm never bored. Tea is usually a meat/fish and lots of greens and other veggies.

I sautee a LOT!! I only use coconut oil to cook with, which you can get from coles in the health food section. It comes in a jar and you can eat it straight out of the jar! Turns out sugar is the bad, bad stuff for us - not fat! Although not all fat is created equal so do your research.

I've found I need to be organized because if I'm not...it'd be so easy to go and grab take away and I am so not heading down that path again! I am not a natural at being organized so its all learning for me. When I'm cooking, I make heaps extra so I can freeze some or have it for lunch the next day.

I've also found lots of chocolate/snacky recipes so I always have a clean treat on hand for the times I really need it! The girls don't love my clean treats that much...ok, not at all. But it means it lasts longer when its only me and Tony eating them. They do eat the cheesecake in the top picture (it has honey in it) but the most of the treat isn't sweet enough for them. I have gotten my girls addicted to sugar like I was (and I feel guilty everyday for it) so it's going to be a slow process to wean them off it. It's amazing when you start reading labels how much sugar is in everything! If you're curious about learning more about sugar and why it's so bad, I highly recommend reading the book I Quit Sugar here or find out more about the author Sarah Wilson and her blog here.

Basically I've done and am still doing lots of research as well as experimenting what works for me and my body. I'm mostly gluten free (except for those oats some mornings) and I'm mostly dairy free. I use almond milk now, which I buy from coles. I know you can make it yourself and hopefully I'll venture into that territory in the near future. :-)
I still drink coffee - I'm keeping one vice - but I only have one a day. The rest of the time I have water (lots of water!) and herbal tea.

So that is a basic idea of what I've been doing/eating for the last little while. If you have any tips/questions, please shoot me an email - apprenticeextrovert@gmail.com I'd love to connect!

The last two weeks have been school holidays here so I haven't done too much on the work front.
I did get back into it today and I mucked up what I was doing so maybe it doesn't pay for me to take a break! It's fixable, just time consuming and it's going to be awesome - I cannot wait to show you this one!! It'll just be a while longer now ;-)

Take care!!

Courts xx


Alison @ Rubylicious Bespoke said...

Wow, you're going great guns! You're right on the organisation front, it's so easy to slip back when you don't have everything you need. X

Queen of Chairs said...

For never photograping food before, you are making me pretty hungry :)I will take one piece of clean peanut butter pie...looks so yummy

Rachelle said...

Way to go taking on the clean eating challenge. I say challenge because I know how easy it is to reach for convince food even when knowing its not the healthiest option. I've been eating clean ( also no dairy or wheat) for over a year now and when i stick with it I feel better. The biggest thing I've found is making sure to plan a head when shopping and asking for substitutes or leaving ingredients out when at restaurants. I have a few cheats here and there though (ice cream!). Do you have the recipe for the chicken zucchini btw? Looks yum! (Sorry for the long comment lol)

Courtney said...

Here's the chicken and zucchini balls recipe -
1/2 a zucchini, grated
500gms/1 pound chicken mince
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp Italian herbs or whatever herbs you like
A little Himalayan salt
Quinoa flakes if needed*
Chia/sesame seeds, optional*

Preheat oven to 180/350 degrees.
Grate zucchini and squeeze off excess juice with your hands. Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine well with a fork. *Add some quinoa flakes if the mix is too wet. Roll into balls (about a dessert spoon size) and place onto a baking tray. *Optional - sprinkle top with chia/sesame seeds.
Bake for around 20 mins. You can turn them half way through, I usually forget and they turn out fine!
Serve with some greens. Enjoy!

This makes enough for our little family of four with a few leftover for lunch the next day.

Sue SA said...

Good for you. Why isn't milk clean, I assumed it was a raw product?

Betty Bake said...

Hi C

thats so great! Its lovely to see other people eating healthily and trying out new recipes. sounds like you are doing so well - congrats!

Betty Bake

Clair McDonald said...

Love this Courts!!!!
Did you know you can get coconut oil spray?! It's in the olive oil section at coles! saves scooping out coconut oil from the jar :)
You should get onto the smoothie band wagon for break- mix it up a bit. Pip loves the sweetness of the smoothie- I sneak in spinach too and she still drinks it ;) Your girls might like them as they're naturally sweet (banana, mango and almond milk is awesome)

Catherine said...

WOW Courts I'm so impressed.

I fit right into your before description. I'm exhausted in the afternoon, I eat the most ridiculous things, and I just don't know how to loose weight or to eat well.

I'm working on getting into the head space... love your posts on this :)

Courtney said...

Well hello Clair! Welcome to blog land! I'll pop over for a read ASAP, and follow :-)
Yep I use the coconut oil spray, just wasn't sure if the whole spray thing is considered clean. I do not understand how that works with aerosol.
I have tried a smoothie or two this week, it was not bad! I need to experiment a bit more with ingredients but I got one girl to drink it...even with spinach in it so that's a bonus!

Bianca (ivylovesjack) said...

Wow, you're hardcore! It's certainly working for you anyway! I think I'm in the middle of your before and after, probably closer to the before, but I'm big on making everything from scratch and using fresh ingredients. Wish I could get motivated to exercise, any tips?

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