Monday, June 8, 2009

cleaner life month- day one

so, a few days ago, i read about heather's cleaner life month . recently i've been doing a lot to try and eat a more natural, less artificial diet, and incorporating more fruits and veggies on a daily basis.

so, i'm jumping on the cleaner life bandwagon! my goal is to follow heather's guidelines where i can, and try to eat as clean a diet as possible. i'm not necessarily going to eliminate all of the items on the "no-no" list, but where i can't or don't want to i will cut back on them.

i want to use this challenge to help me think more about the types of food i'm putting in my body, and to help me to make better choices.

here's the general idea behind the challenge:

the no-nos:
  • soy, tofu, soymilk, soy products
  • artificial sweeteners
  • non-organic dairy products (or dairy products in general)
  • non-organic produce
  • white flour
  • white sugar
  • pre-packaged or processed foods
  • coffee
the good list:
  • organic dairy or nut milk (i.e. almond milk)
  • natural sweeteners (honey, agave syrup)
  • whole wheat flour/grains
  • fresh fruit, fresh produce
  • tea
my goals:
  • eliminate artificial sweeteners and use honey, agave syrup or stevia ONLY
  • use almond milk instead of skim milk
  • buy organic dairy products, like greek yogurt and cheese; reduce my intake of these items
  • eat only whole wheat past and cous-cous- NO MORE WHITE PASTA!
  • eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • reduce my consumption of pre-packaged and processed foods, such as pretzels, certain granola bars, crackers, cookies, etc. (i definitely won't eliminate these items, i enjoy them, so i will try to eat less of them)
  • eat more natural snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts
  • drink more water! (this one wasn't on the list, but i've been slacking in the hydration department, and need to pay more attention to this)
  • start drinking more tea and less coffee; if i do drink coffee, no artificial sweeteners, and limit it to 1 cup a day
  • reduce my consumption of meat (this wasn't necessarily part of the challenge, but it's something i've been thinking about a lot lately, and i think it fits in nicely!); eat fish instead of meat, if anything
  • increase my consumption of legumes, and incorporate new healthy grains into my diet, such as qinoa and polenta
what i've done so far:
  • stopped using splenda and other artificial sweeteners
  • purchased honey and agave syrup to use instead
  • switched from skim milk to almond breeze
  • purchased organic greek yogurt
  • purchased lots of fruits and vegetables for the week, many of which were organic (although not everything was!)
  • haven't eaten meat since wednesday!
  • purchased whole grain cous cous and pasta
  • made quinoa for the first time last week!
wow, that seems like a lot and it's only day one, although i've been making the effort to do some of these things for the past few weeks anyway. that's why i was so excited to read about this challenge!

i'm definitely not perfect though - i bought non-organic cheese this week, and some non-organic produce, including strawberries and bananas (yes these fruits represent some of the dirty dozen). i also bought pretzels, some fig newman's cookies, and i still have some crackers from the past few weeks too.

but, that's ok! i'm happy with the progress i've made, and i'm sure i will make additional changes in the coming weeks.

i also need to remember that balance is important. even if some of my fruit and veggies aren't organic, they still may be a better choice than some other things. and, i don't want to deprive myself of the things i really enjoy, but i want to to try and enjoy them in moderation.

i just finished reading food matters by mark bittman, who is a chef and food columnist for the new york times. this book has helped to think about eating more cleanly and naturally, and it really goes along with the principles of the cleaner life month! look out for a review of the book coming soon!


  1. so glad you're joining the challenge!

  2. good luck! I've been reading people's blogs about this- I'm not doing it just because it wouldn't be healthy for *me* right now, but although not classing it as any formal 'challenge' am definitely working on cleaning up my diet a bit...any tips for giving up artifical sweetener? that's my biggest downfall :/

  3. Good luck with the challenge - you are off to a fantastic start. Clean eating rocks and I think you will see how much better you feel!

  4. Steph, this is a great post! I'm definitely inspired to eat a little cleaner now and I may even try to do this challenge for the full month myself. I have to say that soy being on the no-no list surprised me. I know soy is rather controversial but I never realized how much, and I never thought of it as processed, which I suppose is a little silly (tofu doesn't just pop out of the ground that way!). How is the almond milk? I am a HUGE soy milk devotee and can't imagine not having my Silk Vanilla in the fridge. Anyway, I applaud your commitment to this and will be interested to hear how it goes!

  5. thanks shivvy :) i think the almond milk is really great! a little sweet tasting but if you get the plain it's not so bad. i was never a huge soy milk drinker so i'm not sure how the two would compare, but the almond milk is good. so far i'm doing ok- i've still been eating dairy and tonight i had sushi with white rice, but hey nobody's perfect :)