Clean Eating Challenge: Day 4

It’s Day 4 of the challenge, and I’ll be honest: my enthusiasm is waning.

This is just about how long I lasted on my social media detox. Is there any scientific evidence that people only have enough willpower to deny themselves something for 5 days, or is this just a lame personal benchmark? Or is it that I need to make it over this hump, and then it’s smooth sailing?

But I have persevered. Yesterday I subsisted on leftovers from Tuesday (I ate those Crispy Quinoa and Bean Cakes with salad for both lunch AND dinner). Today, my refrigerator was depleted and I was feeling it. But I got to the grocery store this afternoon, and I’m hoping my provisions get me through the rest of the week.

But enough about that. Today, we’re going to hear from Holly from Desert Momma.


Holly is a mom of twins plus one living in Las Vegas. She loves the desert – hence the title of her blog. (Though I have to tell you, I keep typing “dessert” momma, which I think says something about how my subconscious feels about this challenge.)

Holly has recently gone vegan, which means she is taking this challenge to a whole other level. One of her recipes here includes “nutritional yeast,” which people say provides a great flavor, but I am still scared of. Oh, and she had the guts to go out to eat during the challenge, too, which would be too much of a temptation for me. As I think you’ll see from her post, below, she nailed it.


Ok, so I would just like to begin by saying that this has been harder than I thought it would be. I’ve definitely learned some things along the way though…like…

1. I must learn how to make my own tortillas. I love tortillas. They are so great for so many things (breakfast burritos, salad wraps, etc, etc). But the ones on the grocery store shelf have things in them I don’t like. For example, mono- and diglycerides, which I have no way of knowing whether or not have come from animal or plant sources. :( This very much saddens my newly vegan self. Also, I just know I should be able to enjoy the soft goodness of tortillas without extra processed crap I don’t need in them.

2. Oats and fruit are my friends. Oh, how we have grown closer this week. :)

3. Bread…UGH…bread is going to be the death of me. I LOVE bread. I miss bread. I want to make my own bread, but I don’t want to make my own bread. Everything is so processed and hard to tell if it is vegan-friendly at a typical grocery store. But I don’t know if we can afford a bread machine…or simply the time to make our own sandwich bread every week. Sigh…

4. It’s really interesting to see all the differing perspectives on what is and what is not considered “clean eating” on the interwebs. I wasn’t super sure about almond milk, but considering how often I use it since I don’t consume dairy anymore, I left it in this week. I do purchase unsweetened organic almond milk. I was really questioning my use of a commercially sold Vegetable Broth, but decided it was reasonable considering the fact that I could easily identify/understand the ingredients on the label and it was USDA Certified Organic. Also, dried fruit is another contentious one – personally, I feel like as long as there is no added sugar, it is fine. I definitely had some dried granny smith apple slices and pineapple slices from our Nature Boxsnacks this week (both products list only one ingredient each – dried apples or dried pineapples, respectively).

Anywho, on to the important stuff! What did I eat today?!

Clean Eating Breakfast

I told you oats and fruit have been my friends lately! I made a simple and delicious Cinnamon Blueberry Oatmeal topped with fresh berries. I also had a wonderfully comforting caffeine-free hot Raspberry Tea to accompany it.

Cinnamon Blueberry Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp agave sweetener
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Cook oats according to package directions. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave. Fold in blueberries. Serve warm and top with fresh strawberries. Easy and yummy!

Clean Eating Morning Snack

Fruit Salad. Did I mention that I love fruit? Honestly, I just cut up a whole bunch of fruits we had in the house and tossed them with 1/4 cup of organic apple juice. Use whatever fruits you want, but just for your inventory, I used 6 kiwis, 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 mango, about a 1/2 cup of blackberries and 1 cup of red seedless grapes. I just loved all the colors! Pretty and delicious!

Clean Eating Lunch

I have truly learned to love cooking with quinoa over the last couple of months. I had been missing out on this fantastic and healthy rice/pasta alternative for too many years! So for lunch I made a simple quinoa with vegetables that even the kids loved – score!

Garlic Vegetable Quinoa

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 tsp minced garlic
1 large zucchini, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head fresh broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook 2-4 minutes, until onions are soft. Add in vegetables and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

2. Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in sea salt and nutritional yeast. Allow to stand for 10-15 more minutes, then serve warm in bowls.

Clean Eating Afternoon Snack

A banana and a 1/4 cup raw cashews. Sometimes short and sweet is the way to go. I’ve been in the kitchen an awful lot this week and even though I enjoy cooking now, I was pleased to just grab something quick and easy! Added bonus – this really did fill me up until dinner time.

Clean Eating Dinner

I had a dinner date planned with an old friend all week at one of the restaurants in town that caters to vegans so I was very excited to go enjoy some great company and healthy vegan food out and about (and to get a little break from the kids, who all happened to be wide awake by 6:00 this morning). We met at the local Red Velvet Cafe and below is what I ordered. I did my best to choose healthy, clean options from their menu.

The chicken is replaced with seitan in the vegan version of this dish. I also requested they go light on the teriyaki sauce, which is made in-house. :)
This was my appetizer, which I definitely did not finish even though it was delicious.
This was my amazing dinner! No, I most certainly did not eat it all – I am so looking forward to tomorrow’s leftovers! Also, I chose this dish because it seemed like one I could easily replicate at home. I would just have to find a good homemade teriyaki sauce recipe.

In closing, I didn’t have much trouble staying away from coffee or even my beloved wine today, and I drank a ton of water, but I really can’t lie – I could not give up my Diet Coke. It’s my one big vice and I couldn’t let it go. Oh, well. Overall, I feel pretty good that I have been a part of this challenge so far and hopefully this will lead to some more permanent changes for me in the long run. I know I wasn’t perfect – the vegetable broth and teriyaki sauce are both questionable, not to mention my bad Diet Coke addiction, but I also know I ate plenty of fruits, veggies, and healthy grains so I feel great about that. :)

So what do you think? Do you think I did well overall? Tips, questions, suggestions, support? Let me know! And join us on Twitter with hashtag #cleaneatingchallenge!