Clean Eating Challenge: Day 5 – Almost There!

Happy Friday! Today is the last day we’ll be sharing all the details of our Clean Eating Challenge.

Our fearless leader Allison is posting again today. It’s a good thing it’s her and not me. I’m almost veered off the wagon yesterday. While I was tracking with this handy timeline (sort of the “5 stages of loss” for food – thanks for sharing, Ginny!) and wanting to “kill all the things,” Allison had jumped right ahead to “tiger blood.”

And I’m glad she did. Because her post reminded me that I did have more energy than usual for my Cardio Kick class Wednesday night. And that maybe the reason I wanted to “kill all the things” yesterday wasn’t because I wanted an Oreo cookie, but, oh, I don’t know, maybe because that mom at the playground told me how brave I am for having a third kid. I’m not pregnant. If any comment warrants a drink and a giant bowl of ice cream, it’s that one.

But I held tight. I dropped the comment into my mental “F#ck it Bucket” (this week, it did not contain candy) and got on with the day. Okay, and maybe ate like three of those Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls.

But let’s hear about Allison’s great day. This one really might inspire you to give this clean eating thing a try.

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It is our clean eating challenge final day. While the team is committed to munching cleanly until Sunday (when we will each share our wrap up thoughts) this will be our last day of menus and recipes.

I hope you have found it useful and inspiring.  Because while it has been hard and we’ve all complained about the messy kitchen, the requirement to be creative, and the multiple trips to the grocery store (just me?) here’s the thing: TODAY IT MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Friends, today is the first day in a long time where I woke up feeling great and didn’t crave a nap more than anything in the world. My run at the gym felt fantastic – I powered easily throught 3.25 miles and felt like I had more in me (as you know, I am NOT a runner so that never happens).  This is the flattest my stomach has been since baby 2 arrived. I am down a couple of pounds. It has to be this diet.

Is this sustainable? I dunno. More on that on Sunday but here is how today went for me…

Clean Eating Breakfast

Eat within 1 hour of waking up? Check!
Limited amount of coffee with unsweetened soy milk? Check! (I even like this now!)

I made apple cinnamon oatmeal with steel cut oats. The recipe was inspired by The Gracious Pantry.

  • 1/2 c. steel cut oats
  • 1/2 apple diced
  • 2 c water
  • ~1 TBLS cinnamon
  • ~1 tsp ground cloves

Bring to a boil over the stove top and allow to be at a strong simmer for at least 30 minutes.   Add more water as necessary.

clean eating apple cinnamon oatmeal

If you haven’t ever worked with steel cut oats before you need to know that they take forever to cook but they are delicious once you do.  If I were to make this again I would probably take advantage of the tip to soak the oats overnight.

This dish made my house smell delicious, I am up early enough where 30 minutes of cooking before preschool drop off for breakfast is not a problem, and I have plenty of leftovers for Friday’s clean breakfast.

Clean Eating Morning Snack

The Bug and I were on our way to the gym so I needed something to eat in-car.  I found these absolutely delicious freeze-dried soybeans from Target, of all places! Even my toddler gobbles them up and, clearly, I am pretty excited about these as well.

clean eating morning snack

Clean Eating Lunch

A “cleaned-up” tuna salad:

  • bed of organic lettuce greens
  • tuna (packed in water) drained and placed on top
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • unsalted sunflower seeds
  • a drizzle of olive oil, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper
  • a few rice crackers (gluten free)

This was FANTASTIC.  I wanted more of this salad. My cat just wanted my tuna.

clean eating tuna salad lunch

Clean Eating Afternoon Snack (1)

I had some of my gluten free energy balls (see Day Two for that recipe) as well as decaf green tea with some agave nectar.

clean eating green tea

Clean Eating Afternoon Snack (2)

I got REALLY hungry. Maybe it was my run, maybe it was my “fat burning” water, but so hungry.

While I made the boys their dinner I snacked on some homemade kale chips (see below) and eventually got out my fresh deli salsa and organic chips.  I exercised portion control, promise, but I was also honoring my body and the fact that if I waited any longer to eat it was going to be a pig-out-fest.

Clean Eating Dinner

Understanding that we are all tired of cleaning our kitchens this week I tried to think smarter. And I thought “crock pot!” (P.S. Please never tell my 20 year old self I will say those words excitedly in my life. She would be crushed.)

Again, I turned to The Gracious Pantry for inspiration.  Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon the following went in the slow cooker:

Italian Meatballs:
I took 1 lb lean, organic, farm-raised ground turkey meat and mixed in: garlic salt, onion salt, dried thyme, parsely, and oregano.
I rolled the meat in to meatballs and placed in a layer on the bottom of my crock pot.
I then poured 2 cans of organic tomato sauce over top (just sauce, no additives) and sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
Cooked on high for 4 hours.

On the side we had kale chips (which my boys are also huge fans of).

Kale chips:
Preheat the oven to 275.
Cut kale in to generous bite-sized pieces, removing stalky center.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake on low heat for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them!

clean eating dinner italian meatballs

The hubs got to have a generous helping of noodles with his meatballs but I exercised restraint (get behind me devil!).  It was HARD not to pile up those noodles but once I started eating I did not miss them.

I cheated again for dessert, though, and had a teeny piece of that phenomenal chocolate.

Fat Burning Water

For my water today, I put in more effort.  I made a version of Allie’s Sassy Water.  Everyone is always writing that cucumbers, lemons, and mint in water makes you burn fat and while I just don’t believe it (what is the science behind that?) I decided to give it a try.

clean eating fat burning water

It made the water go down much easier. Bonus tip: I felt like I was at a spa every time I drank it, even with my minions munchkins screaming at my feet.

Give the water a good day in the fridge to “steep” for maximum tastiness but deliciousness.

So we’ll be silent tomorrow on the Interwebs about our clean eating challenge, but still going.  Feel free to offer us continued support (hashtag that #cleaneatingchallenge), hang in there if you are joining, too, and we’re almost there!

Say it with me: Almost There!

THEClean eatingCHALLENGE