Monday, May 06, 2013

How To Eat Clean & Meal Plan

A lot has been going around about "clean eating", non-processed foods, gluten free, paleo etc. Luckily eating non-processed foods is not just another trend, its actually proven time and time again to be healthy for you and logically makes sense for your life. It's been easier for me to eat clean rather than just eat to lose weight...and I find I am at least maintaining my weight this way. Whenever I add exercise and cut out some of the heavier foods that are still clean but just too carby for me, then I lose weight too! Everyone is different though, so maybe carbs aren't your enemy like they are mine.

Growing up in Southern California means we are OBSESSED with our weight, health plans, being skinny, exercise, etc. Whenever I go back to the south with my love I am so happily surprised that my size 14 hour glass body is not just considered normal there, but I am smokin hot! However, whenever we try and tell his family and friends about how we normally eat they simply do not get it. They think we eat "organic" and that means we don't have meat and only raw vegetables. Its pretty hilarious. But really, what is clean eating? This really just means I know what all of the ingredients are that I am putting into my body, and I know that I am not eating a bunch of hidden sugar, hydrogenated oils, msg, and other weird junk my body cant process and serve NO nutritional value. I try and take it a step further and have organic when I can afford it so I am also avoiding all of the pesticides that sneak into our meat, dairy, fruits, and veggies too. Plus organic meat and dairy means the animals are treated more humanly, which is turn means I am not eating something that's been living in its own poop and eating grains, antibiotics, and junk its not supposed to. ALL of that goes into your body when you eat this kind of meat! I dont need to go on about this, there are plenty of documentaries (like Forks Over Knives which was a recent success), books, and blogs serving up this kind of information and safe alternatives.

Assuming you already subscribe to this, and are a working single woman or almost momma like me (21 days until we are home with our little buddy now!)...good luck trying to eat this way without help. I am so busy I don't have time to sit and make up recipes and crap. I hardly have time to even cook! I read about some of these women or recipes and laugh and how time consuming and hard to find the ingredients are. So that means I have had to get into a great routine in shopping and meal planning, its been working for months now and is so easy and now FUN I am excited to share. I was barely cooking for months because I was so burnt out, these last few weeks have been so fun getting back into the kitchen for real.

Steps To Clean Eating Success (for real people):

  1. Spend 15min/week pinning recipes
    1. I only get snippets to do this, 5min here and there. I have them all in one MAKE board.
    2. I also have a few blogs and websites with recipes I scour when I have a few free minutes, I pin the recipes I like to the same board so they are all in one spot when I am ready to plan
  2. Spend your 15min break at work choosing 4 clean and under 30min dinners from your pinterest, 1 freezer dinner, and 1 soup
    1. For example, a quick view of my pinterest board has been choosing:
      • Monday taco night
      • Tuesday whole wheat spaghetti with a sugar free marinara with sauteed portobello mushrooms and zucchini 
      • Wednesday: shrimp and roasted asparagus
      • Thursday: salmon and roasted tomatoes
      • Friday: Something fun! (see below)
      • Saturday: frozen chicken for a chicken bake
      • Sunday: wonton soup
    2. I put all of the ingredients I need into a standing grocery list I have in my phone. The staples are already in there, so I just have to delete last weeks recipe section and add the new things from this weeks menu. I also write what the names of my dishes are just like I have in #1
    3. The first 4 meals you obviously make the first 4 nights after the store when everything is still fresh. Fresh is best! 
    4. Frozen chicken serves great in many meals you could do over the weekend
    5. Soup is EASY and a great Sunday meal when I am feeling lazy, plus the leftovers = lunch on Monday
    6. Fridays are my favorite, I add cheese/sausage/wine to my list so on Friday I get a break from cooking and we have a little date at home (more on this amazing tradition another time!)
    1. See? Clean eating is easy when you just do incremental planning during the week. As I find great recipes I have this amazing repository of them just sitting there waiting for me to cook. It also makes trying new things mixed with old favorites easy. This week I am going to try and make my own bread for our Friday night tradition. 
It helps if you have a Trader Joe's, Sprouts/Henry's, or other all natural store nearby. I am obsessed with Trader Joe's but even all of their products aren't particularly clean or organic, but they do make it easy for me to whip up meals where I know all of the ingredients at least.

Other options are emeals where you can get a menu with a grocery list emailed to you every week, I did that for awhile but then decided I like choosing my own meals. Find what works for you, clean eating doesnt have to be difficult, time consuming, or icky. We eat delicious food every night of the week!

Good luck!



Friday, May 03, 2013

The Gift of Time.

As I get older and birthdays, Christmas, weddings, or even just Mothers Day get togethers become genuinely special because we so rarely force ourselves to get together (and I just LOVE my friends and family too much for words). I think especially after my momma was sick, every year we have to celebrate with her has become even more precious. 

As these events call for gifts to the person being celebrated or just to each other in general (e.g. Christmas) I realized lately I have been changing my gift giving style and methods. No longer do I spend time rushing around on the way to the event trying to find something suitable, unique, something they'll actually use instead of just putting on another shelf or in another drawer. Something they'll love and think of how much I love them when they see it. These are all well and good, and sometimes I do still find myself seeing something so perfect for someone on Etsy or at a vintage store I can't help but tie a bow on it and give it to them. But we already have so much stuff. There is no reason I need to continue to add to someones piles. Besides, what is it we really value anyway? Time. 

It started with my parents. They are so difficult to buy for because they already have so much stuff, and the new stuff they want is too expensive for a single gift. Plus, I know finances are tight so they never get to do fun things anymore like dinner out, the movies, etc. So I started buying Groupons for them as presents. Wine tasting on a yacht around Dana Point! Dinner out anywhere! Movie Tickets! Then I noticed my aunt and uncle never go out and do anything because of their kids, so my family started giving them dinner/movie certificates which included free babysitting from one of us. Now as boyfriends birthday comes up, I already started saving for premium seats at a Padres vs. Braves game (he LOVES the Braves). For people who don't ever get time together, and when they do its busy running errands or doing chores...time doing something fun together even as simple as a dinner out, can be such a treat. 

As our little bear prepares to arrive I haven't bought him a single toy. All of them were given to us (or borrowed. Besides second hand books, you can never have too many books. But even those you can get free from the library!). Even when I thought I'd have to buy him some toys I was going to just get a train set, cars and car mat, and blocks before calling it a day. That is PLENTY to keep a toddler entertained in the evenings. You know what we are spending our money on instead? Fun things together the week he is first here. Nothing too fancy and all activities we get a military discount on, the zoo, children's museum, and the kids area for a $3 baseball game downtown being most notable. Otherwise the beach, my parents backyard, and our pool seem like a perfect way to spend time together without overwhelming the little buddy. We just want to BE together outside...even a hike around the lagoon by our house would be sufficient. 

It's amazing how when you take your "I NEED MORE STUFF" glasses off, how much the world opens up. You are free not to care about all that junk anymore, and instead dig for the cool things we can fill our time with that are free in our neighborhood. We all work so much, sadly boyfriend can't help it and I will be cutting my hours once little buddy comes...but still. It makes time together even doing simple things, all the more precious.

So as Mother's Day comes up, I'd encourage you to think outside the box and find something to DO that you know she would love. My Momma doesn't even care what we do together, she just misses me all the time so something as simple as a coffee date would be good enough. And our mother's day event? A free picnic outside drinking and eating snacks in the sunshine with each other. 

Enjoy your friends and family.