Friday, November 5, 2010

Step 3 to eating clean. Absolutes and consistency keep me on track.

There's no such thing as willpower.  At least there isn't for me.  What works for me is a no-fail environment.  In order to create that no-fail environment, I had to decide a few things in my head.  Goals, resolves, absolutes, rules, aspirations, or whatever you want to call them, I had to decide them.  I like to call them absolutes.  Since I'm a bit of a freak it was easy for me to do this.  (Remember I'm the person who sorts their laundry according to color, meaning one pile for purple, one pile for red, one pile for pink, one pile for orange, one pile for blue, one pile of brown, one pile for cold whites, one pile for hot whites, you get the idea).  Anxiety was on my side in this instance.  So here are my absolutes.  You will notice there is always an exception to an absolute, lol.
Absolute number one.  Absolutely no fast food. 
Exceptions--when it is somebody's birthday and that's what they want.  (See previous post for explanation).  Also, if we are out of town, which is rare, and can't find a grocery store.  Also if we are completely starving and going to die then it is okay.  (You'd be surprised how many times you are actually not going to die, but will make it home alive and in one piece).  So far every person knows where he or she want to eat out on their birthday and they're looking forward to it. 
About this absolute--You will be tempted.  Especially if you are anything like I was and stopped for fast food because it was calling you and it was so convenient and sometimes you are so hungry or thirsty.  But I will guarantee you something, it will get easier.  There were a few times I wanted to stop so badly.  I was so hungry or so thirsty or so craving it, but because I had made it an absolute, I didn't.  And you know what, I survived.  And the next time I was tempted it was so much easier to just keep driving because I'd done it before.  Now those temptations aren't as strong and my desire to eat there is less and less and my ability to overcome the temptation is greater.  We really can adapt better than we think we can.  And if I ever mess up, that's okay; I start again the next day.  But I don't ever quit my absolutes.
Number 2.  Absolutely no bad stuff in the grocery cart
The exception--when it's someone's birthday, of course, and when John requests something that he will eat some place other than home.  I'm not his boss or his mother so if he needs me to buy him some groceries for work or a tailgate party, I will.  However, I'm to the point now where I refuse to buy him any diet cokes for work.  They certainly aren't allowed in the house.  No willpower, remember, and I'm a recovering DC addict.   Not only that, but I’m learning how absolutely toxic that stuff is for you and I can't with good conscience knowingly let my husband drink that stuff.  So he does it behind my back and that's fine.  One day he'll die from it and I'll tell him I told you so.
About this absolute--Thanks to the reading I'd done, (see earlier post on education) Jillian and Tosca have taught me how to decipher between the good stuff and the bad stuff.   It can be tricky at times.  Usually I'm only buying products they recommend, like real, whole foods.  If there's a question on something I do look for ingredients and if I see something in it that sounds like an "anti-food" I put it back.  I don't bother with the calories and all that crap.  It's what is in the food that counts the most.  Otherwise you might be buying something that's not really food, just a bunch of chemicals that add up to empty calories and bad nutrition.  Or you might be buying a "protein bar" that has high fructose corn syrup in it.  (Don't even get me started).  I have to laugh at the manufacturers sometimes. They will make an organic product that is completely not good for you. So don't be fooled.  If organic sugar is one of the top ingredients than it's not good for you. Lately, I don't even bother with labels because I don't need to anymore. Everything I was curious about I've checked into so I know what to buy and what not to buy. It's very fun and exciting to look in my cart and only see good stuff and know that what I'm buying is perfectly good for my family and me. It's quite a thrill actually.
Number 3.  Absolutely no popcorn and soda at the movies Exception--birthday.  Or birthday week in Bella's case.  That's it.
About this absolute--This one was really hard the first time, especially at Overland Park Cinemas where everyone, and I'm not kidding you, every person there had a popcorn and soda in their lap. Just the smell of popcorn, the rustling of fingers going into bags, and our memories of previous times with their delicious, caramel popcorn was enough to drive us crazy.  It definitely makes me not want to go there again.  Some rich entrepreneur needs to start a movie theatre chain that sells only water and healthy snacks without the popcorn smell.......Eric?????
 About this absolute.  Chemical-laden popcorn is bad for you.  So is soda pop. You can survive the movie with a cup of water in your lap. 
Number 4.  Absolutely must eat a breakfast that includes lean protein and complex carbs. 
Exception--it's only okay to skip breakfast if I am fasting, which I'm trying to do once a month, and when I need extra help from the Lord, or when I am praying for someone who needs help.
About this absolute--Before I made this an absolute I used to dawdle around in the mornings.  I never insisted my kids eat breakfast.  I fed them breakfast most of the time (a disastrous breakfast consisting of frozen mini pancakes or frozen French toast sticks with sugar-free, aka, aspartame-poison syrup) but if someone missed it I really didn't care or notice.  I figured they'd let me know when they were hungry.  How bad is that? Terrible!  Now I absolutely insist that every child and myself eat a hearty breakfast.  It's more work for me, especially since the boxes of cereal that used to be in the lazy susan are long gone, but that's what my husband is for.  He's in charge of making breakfast for everybody every morning.  Hey, it's says "feminist" on this blog, doesn't it? 
Number 5.  Absolutely must drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water.
Exception--no exceptions for the kids and the only exception for me is when I'm trying to fast.  The key word for me and fasting is "trying."
About this absolute--Tosca recommends drinking 16 oz as soon as you wake up.  I had never paid attention to how much water I was drinking or how much my kids were drinking.  Now I not only pay attention to how much they're drinking, I teach them the vital importance of it.  I have felt a big difference in my health when I get plenty of water.  Honestly, most days I don't, but when I do, I feel it, and it feels fantastic.  Of course I have to pee all the time so that's not fun, but feeling good is.  Now my kids are tired of hearing me say, "Everybody go get a drink of water.  It's important to drink lots of water everyday."  
Number 6.  Absolutely must eat at least 3 meals a day consisting of protein and complex carbs and healthy fats.
More on that later.....

The uproar

Here's what I did when my kids were freaking out about their favorite foods and snacks being completely gone from our house never to return.

You should have seen the uproar in the house after I gave away my kids' favorite foods and snacks. 
"I want some fishies.  I want some fishies," they would say.
"Nope.  They're not good for our bodies," I would reply.
"I want some chips, now," Roman would say.
"I want some french toast sticks.  What else am I going to eat for breakfast?" Bella would moan.
"We're going to figure something else out.  And you're going to love it." 

And on and on it went.  This is what got it to stop.  "When it's your birthday you can have whatever you want.  I will buy you a box of french toast sticks if that's what you want on your birthday."  This got them very excited and they stop hounding me about the foods like missed and got busy writing down what they wanted me to buy them for their birthday.  Bella came up with such a long list she started freaking out about having to choose only those things that would fit into one day.
"Can I have birthday week?" she asked.
"Okay, you may have birthday week."
Bella is always an exception to every rule.  So she will get birthday week and the rest of us will have birthday day.  Needless to say, all the kids are looking forward to their birthdays.  And whenever they complain about something I just say, "You can have it on your birthday" and that quiets them.  It really does work.  That way they don't feel deprived and it gives them something to look forward to.  Works like a charm.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2nd Step in Eating Clean -- go shopping

After giving away 3/4 of the kitchen, the cupboards felt oddly creepy so I got busy filling the kitchen with clean foods and cooking supplies. From the reading and research I'd done, I knew how to stock my kitchen.  So I went shopping.  On my list:  fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, spices, healthy oils.

The shopping wasn't as easy as it sounds.  A lot of these items I had never even heard of.  I had to google them just to know what I was looking for and where I might possibly find them.  I made notes that agave nectar was a liquid low-glycemic sweetener, that Sucanat was a non-refined brown sugar, that pepitas were sunflower seeds, that chickpeas were the same thing as garbonzo beans, that quinoa was a grain (actually it's a seed but everyone refers to it as a grain), that cardamom is a ten dollar spice, that coconut oil is the same as coconut butter because it's solid at room temperature, that bulgur is not a person trying to break into your house but a whole grain, etc, etc, etc.  I knew I probably wouldn't be able to find everything I needed in one place so I started with Winco and tried to get as much as I could. 

Here's what I found at Winco:
organic skim milk yes,
almond milk yes, it's by the cans of evaporated milk
organic eggs yes,
organic butter no,
non-fat Greek yogurt, yes, but not organic
kefir no,
agave nectar yes, it's by the the peanut butter and honey
coconut oil no, they need to do something about that
pumpkin seed oil no,
quinoa yes,
steel cut oats, yes in the bulk section
organic rolled oats, yes in the bulk section
organic salad mix, yes
organic spinach, yes
organic carrots, yes
buckwheat flour, yes
spelt flour, yes
aluminum-free baking soda, yes
Dave's Killer bread, yes
Ezekiel bread, no
unprocessed peanut butter, yes
unprocessed almond butter, yes
low-sodium black beans, yes
organic, low-sodium chicken broth, yes
organic, low-sodium vegetable broth, yes
nitrate and nitrite free bacon, no
organic meat, no
ground turkey breast, yes but not organic
ground chicken breast, yes but not organic
low-sodium tamari, yes
small BPA free plastic containers for freezing or storing food, yes
I buy bananas from Winco because they don't need to be organic

At Costco I found:
organic apples
organic spinach
organic carrots
organic milk, it's 1% there so I get the organic skim from Winco
organic eggs (they are a little less expensive than Winco's organic eggs)
organic butter
organic peanut butter
organic almond butter
organic quinoa
organic wild rice
organic short brown rice
organic boneless, skinless chicken breast
bison steaks
grass-fed ground beef
Dave's Killer Bread
multi-grain sandwich thins
nitrate and nitrite free turkey bacon
protein powder
Trio Bars
pure maple syrup, they need to get organic pure maple syrup

Who would have known Costco would have so many organics?  Yay for Costco.  Now they just need to change some of their items such as the butter, broths, canned tomatoes, and black beans to low-sodium. 

Next was the Boise Co-op for hard to find items such as:
organic yogurts
virgin coconut oil
all kinds of healthy oils
organic ground turkey
organic ground chicken
local, organic, fruits, vegetables, and herbs
spices and spice blends
whole grains
their bulk section is awesome
organic mango chunks (a favorite of mine)
organic frozen berries
frozen acai berry
dehydrated fruits (the dried mangoes are killer)
non-fluoride toothpaste
non-aluminum deodorant
safe housecleaning products
seeds for sprouting

The Captial City Market is also a wonderful place to buy food.  However, I will save the market for another day.  It deserves its own post. 

Now I had the knowledge and motivation, I had the cookbooks, and I had the ingredients.  It was time to start cooking!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The first step to eating clean

Get rid of all your processed foods. That's what I did. I gave away boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of food. I wish I had before-and-after pictures so you could see the loads of food I gave away. As a compulsive food hoarder, my fridge, pantry, cupboards, and freezer were completely full.  Yo'know, just in case.   In one day, the kitchen went from totally full to completely empty.   Bye, bye, bad stuff.

P.S.  My kids practically cried on this day.  Oh well, they got over it.

These are just some of the items we gave away.  Can you imagine your kitchen and your life without these foods?   Yes, life goes on, even without French toast sticks.

I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray
peanut butter
jams and jellies
frozen waffles
frozen mini pancakes
frozen French toast sticks
frozen tater tots and french fries
icecream bars and icecream sundaes
Hershey's chocolate sauce
apple cider packets
hot chocolate packets
tubs of frosting
boxes of brownies
Slim Fast shakes
granola bars
oatmeal packets
granola cereal
all cereal, yes, all
Classic Bread's white bread
Classic Bread's cinnamon swirl bread.....still miss this one  :(
mango salsa
au gratin potatoes
gravy mixes
Hamburger Helper
A-1 steak sauce
Fruit by the Foot
fruit snacks
Peppridge Farms fish crackers
wheat thin
potato chips
tortilla chips
barbecue sauce
Jello pudding
Jello gelatin ( a lot of these)
hot dogs
All marinating sauces and mixes

I know there's more, but I can't remember everything, it seems like so long ago.  Basically, I dispensed of any item containing sugar, corn syrup, high frutose corn syrup, artifical coloring, additives, chemicals, too much sodium, nitrites, nitrates, gelatin, and other perservatives.

The benefits of giving away all this crap:
If I just gave ten boxes of macaroni and cheese away I'm not going to feel like buying more the next time I'm at the store.  See how that works?  I've been motivated because I made an investment.  I gave away hundreds of dollars of food and I am not going to ruin that by buying that crap again. 
Secondly, I'm forced to start now.  There's no procrastinating.  This "eat clean" thing begins now or we starve to death.  Better buy some produce, beans, organic lean meats, and learn how to cook asap.    That's step two.  More on that later......

Build a Foundation, Find Your Motivation

The knowledge I gained from reading and research gave me the foundation I needed to begin my jouney.  I wanted to not only look better, but to feel better, and have better health and longevity.  More than that I wanted to give my children a chance at a good life.  I didn't want to be the reason they suffered from depression, disease, fatigue, learning disabilities, ADHD, obesity, low self-esteem, infertility, miscarriage, cancer, low sex drive, etc.  I was motivated to nourish my children to give them the best fighting chance.  I wanted to teach them what it meant to eat and nourish the body with real, whole foods, the foods God intended them to eat.  So that's what got me going.  And here's how I did it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Starting the journey

How it all began
Okay folks, you're in for a real treat.  I have somewhat of an announcement to make.  Here it is......making dinner doesn't much.  You may wonder what has brought on this sudden change when making dinner has sucked for me ever since I began cooking 13 years ago.  Well let me just tell you that I have turned over a new leaf.  In fact I feel like a totally different person.  I do things completely different than I used to. 

Let me explain how it all started.  It all began four months ago, the first week of June 2010, when I was at home minding my own business when I suddenly felt compelled to go to Costco and buy a book.  I was reading an article about Tosca Reno in the Costco Connection magazine when it suddenly dawn on me that I needed her new book called Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Cookbook.   Call it divine inspiration (that's what I call it) or call it whatever you like, but I went to Costco and made one purchase.  It wasn't Tosca Reno's cookbook (they didn't have it in stock yet) but I didn't want to walk out empty-handed since I had felt prompted to go.  I picked up Jillian Michael's book called "Master Your Metabolism."  I'd never heard of it, but what the heck,  I'd never heard of Tosca Reno either and never heard the term "eating clean."  I was completely oblivious (probably because I don't watch Oprah or any TV or read magazines).  I just had a feeling I needed that book.

Little did I know the book I was buying would change my life and the life of my family.  Everything I read in her book just made sense to me.  Even though it all made sense to me it was all completely NEW to me.  The concepts and principles about how our body functions on hormones and WHY healthy nutrition is so important and HOW it is bad for us was unlike anything I had ever read or heard before.  I usually don't do anything unless I know WHY I have to do it.    This is why geometry was so difficulty for me in high school.  Now WHY do I need to know this?  How is this supposed to help me in life??  Because my teacher never provided me with an answer, I continued to struggle.

Jillian taught me, thoroughly taught me, why it is so important to be free of additives, free of preservatives, free of artificial flavors and colors, free of chemicals, free of pesticides, etc.  It's not a good idea just because it's a good idea.  It's vitally important to our physical health and mental health.  It's vital to our well-being.  That stuff will absolutely kill us.  And before we die from it first it makes us sick.  Jillian explains how that happens in her book.   How and why it leads to various cancers, autoimmune diseases, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, chronic fatigue, etc, etc, etc.  Who wants all that crap and who doesn't want to be well?  Who doesn't want their children to be well?

After I finished reading her book I got a little frustrated that I didn't know any of this information before reading her book.  Why didn't I know all of this before?   I think because the way I was raised and the world that I've always lived in has pushed me away to something unnatural without me even knowing it was unnatural for me.  Society led me to believe that the stuff you can buy from the grocery store is what you eat.  You buy it and take it home and eat it.  It was that simple.  What I didn't realize what that it was UNNATURAL, UNHEALTHY, and WRONG on so many levels.

I have many, many ideas why this has happened.  (Remember I always wonder why about everything.  That's part of why I am so annoying to be around).  I won't get into that now.  Maybe another post.   Once I had a foundation about why I should eat healthy foods I was motivated to make a change.    More about my journey later. . .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maybe I'm not cut out for steel cut oats

If you're thinking I'm a great cook now that I'm cooking more often you are dead wrong.  Actually it was me who was almost dead.  I nearly burned down the house with what happened last week.  I burned my steel cut oats on Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and yes, Monday morning.  Three days in a row.  Imagine.....thick smoke in the house, a blackend, ruined pan, a horrible smell that doesn't go away even with the windows open, and no breakfast. 

Why did you keep burning them day after day you wonder?  Because after I did it the first time I thought there was no way I could do that again.  And then after I did it a second time I thought now there's really no way I could possibly burn it two days in a row.  Then after I burned it the second time I thought surely there is no way I could possibly burn it three days in a row.  The third day was actually the worst. 

Why do you burn your oatmeal day after day you wonder?  Because oatmeal takes ten minutes to cook on the stove and I can't stand to be in the kitchen that long.  Besides, my kids have me running all over the house getting them clothes, socks, shoes, coats, backpacks, wiping their bottoms, and putting toothpaste on their toothbrushes.  So you see there's not time to watch oatmeal cook.  I always walk away.  And because I have absolutely no memory these days (seriously it's as bad as my sisters was when she was in the hospital, now that's saying something).  Anyway, being smart, well kinda smart, I set the timer on the third try so when I walked away from the oatmeal I would be reminded by the timer to take the oatmeal off the stove.  The problem is I set the time on the timer but forget to push start.

You can put me away now.  I'm ready to sign the papers.   Do you think they have oatmeal in the hospital?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just passing along for a friend of mine.  It's a  chance to earn free food credits from a new company called E Foods Global.  Check out the link if you're interested.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just say no to couponing

Have you ever noticed what you can buy with a coupon?  Crap.  That's what.
So just say no to couponing and don't do it.  Don't buy the crap that doesn't nourish your mind and body.  There's nothing in there but chemicals.  That's why they sell it to you for next to nothing.  It's not food.  Nobody planted it, grew it, or harvested it.  If it doesn't have a mother or come from the ground don't eat it.  Period.

Do you really need 20 boxes of brownies?

Caution : Major road changes ahead

This blog is about to undergo a major transformation.  Don't get me wrong, making dinner still sucks, that much is true.  It just sucks in a different way now that I've discovered healthy cooking.  When I cook dinner for my family now I feel a real satisfaction and joy that I have fed them something other than crap.  By "crap" I mean processed foods.  I call them all crap.  Some people all them "anti-foods" but I prefer the term "crap."  That's what I used to feed my family and I am ashamed.  So ashamed.  I cringe when I think of all the goldfish crackers I let my kids eat.  Ahhh!  Now that I know what that crap does to you I am freaked.

But like Dr. Phil always says, "When you know better you do better."  And I know better now.  But believe me the process of making dinner still sucks.  It takes forever and you have to be totally organized.  You have to make everything fresh and you have to meal plan and grocery shop like every other day.

Stay tuned and I'll try and keep you up to date on this crazy journey I'm on.