Monday, February 18, 2013

Eating Clean...

It's no lie that eating right is the hardest part for me to live a better life. I love breaking a sweat, I love running long distances and I love feeling more muscle on my body.....but I also love chocolate, and sugar, and everything sweet and yummy....and cheap. We live on a very minimalistic income... we're basically a one-income household trying to get by month to month with huge bills that we weren't expecting (oil leaks in my car, leaky roof, water lines bust in our yard...the list could go on and on... we can never get ahead... also treading water) ANYWAY.... The point is, we have to watch what money we spend....and sometimes, getting a $3 dinner from McDonalds' dollar menu sounds better because it's cheaper than buying the ingredients to make a dinner....  I know fast food isn't healthy, and we don't eat it all the time, but we are so guilty of not eating right pretty often.....

but then I read this today...
And it hit me like a ton of bricks.... 
I eat the cheapest crap on the menu....always, just because I feel as though we cannot afford the higher priced items....

So I've been researching how to eat clean and I found these ten things:

1. Cut back on alcohol.
Easy. I don't drink.

2. Cut back on sugar.
On average, Americans consume 475 extra calories every day from the added sugars we eat. One of the biggest contibuters: processed foods. We should skip the sweet stuff and head straight to the fruit. 

3. Cut down on salt.
One idea to cut back: Try eating out less and cooking more at home using fresh ingredients instead. And try boosting flavor with herbs and spices rather than salt.
I add salt to potatoes and not much else. I like salt, but I don't have to white cap my food, so that's good. I'd like to learn more about spices to help the flavor of food that I cook.

4.  Cut down on saturated fats.
Saturated fat—the kind of fat that’s found in whole milk, cheese, butter and meat—raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can damage arteries. One idea to cut back: Avoid animal fats and swap them for healthier unsaturated fats from plant foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
I love cheese and milk... This is going to be hard to change...but I'm willing to try. I found out recently that I could possibly have a milk allergy that causes a skin rash on my arms... so I should try to cut it out more anyway.

5. Cut down on refrined grains.
Refined grains—white flour, white rice—are stripped of beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals. So while they add calories, they’re not really providing much in the way of nutrients. And since they’re low in fiber, they’re less satisfying than whole grains. One idea to cut back: Check the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” describes the grains in the product—if it just says “wheat flour,” for example, that’s not whole-wheat, so make another choice.
We do it 'whole grain pasta' at our house, so that's one healthy switch we've made! We also eat "whole wheat bread."

6. Cut out processed foods.
We shouldn't be eating anything with loads of ingredients. One idea to cut back: Go through your cabinets and see which of your foods come in boxes and think of alternatives. Two ideas to get started: Swap crackers or chips for crunchy veggies, and if you rely on prepared meals like mac and cheese or canned soup, find an easy recipe to make your favorites from scratch.
This is where I get into the most trouble. I don't know how to cook... at all.... so box meals like hamburget helped, mac and cheese or soups are sometimes my life saver. I know that they are full of sodiums, MSGs and other bad chemicals, so I have to learn to cook. I do own cook books and of course, I have a ton of Pinterest recipes... I just need to learn what I'm doing to make them taste good!

7. Eat for Fruits and Vegetables
One idea to get more: When figuring out what to make for dinner, make vegetables the main event—start with the vegetables you have on hand or what looks good to you at the market. From there, figure out what else (protein, starch) would go well with it.
I need to learn to like the taste of vegetables... My momma says that I didn't even like them as a baby, but I need to make myself eat more of them. I eat them raw, but do not like the taste of them warmed/cooked. I've never experimented with many vegetables, but need to take a chance!

8. Drink more water.
I order water often at meals and haven't had soda/pop/soda pop since January 2005. Tea is my weakness, but I've cut back on that as well!

9. Drink Green Tea.
Suggestion: Swap one of your cups of coffee for green tea.
I don't know about this one. I don't like warm beverages all that much and green tea has never been something that I enjoyed drinking......

10. Eat more whole grains.
One idea to get more: Try eating one new-to-you grain, such as quinoa or wild rice, each week.
I need to buy and try more grains. Rice is not something I eat--- it's a texture thing, but I could find others that I like.

Source: Eating Well

Okay.. those these ten tips are super helpful, but still not easy for a one income household.... Then I found THIS.... Doesn't that go right along with that thing way up there.... (eating stuff that only cost a dollar.) There are 'good for you' foods that are cheap. No, it's not a whole meal, but they can be added to a meal or eaten as a snack instead of "three chocolate chip cookies" that I'm guilty of getting after a bad day of work. And.. another thing--- if we don't spend our money on junk like candy, pre-packaged snacks, quick processed foods, etc.... then we have more money for the pricier fruits and vegetables... and workout classes! (I've cut out my $1 sweet teas every day to pay for my Zumba class every week.... I think it's a pretty good swap.)

I guess like all things in life, I've created a habit of eating junk... I have to override that habit and make new ones! I have to fight against the habits (yet again) of the midwest... We are so used to greasy food, vegetables covered in oils and junk, and chocolately desserts.... But I cannot do it any longer...
How many of you eat clean? What are your favorite dishes or snacks?? Any tips for the newbie??
HELP! I'm new to this!

Ok... do you feel like this post went in about 1000 directions? Me too. I'm sorry!
Thanks for making it to the end!
Be sure to comment with your suggestions!
Until Next Time...

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