Eating Clean for us means no refined or processed foods. No white flour, no boxed food, no pre packaged food, nothing that has ingredients in it I can't pronounce. Exceptions to this are things in the frozen aisle that do not contain preservatives or other chemicals.
Eating Clean also means minimizing sugar, even less processed varieties. In baking I use sugar in the raw or honey. Lately I've been using sugar in the raw because I want to share my baked goods with the babies, who aren't old enough to eat honey yet. I don't use stevia because I don't like the taste. Things that are off limits are splenda, white sugar, and agave all of which are overly processed.
A key aspect for me is to pair protein with carbs. I am trying to limit my simple carbs like bread, but honestly that's the hardest part for me. I have specific health concerns (PCOS) which are better controlled by eating a low carb diet. I don't do anything too crazy, but basically I should be concentrating on complex carbs (read: veggies over fruits). I don't like vegetables and don't like a wide variety of them, but I am trying. I get HUGE sugar and carb cravings. It's really really difficult to not eat toast eight times a day. Theoretically, pairing a protein with a carb keeps your blood sugar from spiking too much which should help curb sugar cravings.
Eating clean means consuming healthy fats. "Low fat" anything is generally filled with sugar to make it taste better. Instead of getting low fat cheese, I get the full fat cheese but stick to a smaller serving. Tosca Reno says to limit dairy anyway, but honestly I have a difficult time doing that. I do buy skim milk and the greek yogurt I buy is generally made from 0% milk, but I focus on brands that do not add extra sugar. I'm loving the Chobani simply 100 lately, but I also really enjoy Siggi's Skyr. I cook almost exclusively with olive oil or coconut oil. I use real butter instead of butter substitute. Other sources of healthy fats are flax seed, nuts, avocado, whole eggs, fish (which I don't eat because I don't like it), and seeds (like pumpkin seeds). I know that dairy is kind of controversial these days. If I had the money I would likely buy organic dairy, but my budget doesn't allow for that. I also get freaked out by raw milk so that's a no go for me.
All this to say, I also allow some cheats here and there. I do believe eating clean has lots and lots of benefits, but drinking a pumpkin spice latte is not going to ruin all of my efforts. I just can't have treats all of the time. Treats should be just that-- occasional things I eat in small portions to enjoy.
I'll definitely be sharing some of my favorite recipes with you. I've read a couple of other eating clean blogs and I was struck by one who said that we need to get over eating for pleasure. I disagree. I should enjoy eating. Food shouldn't be boring or bland because it's healthy. There is nothing wrong with enjoying eating-- it's all about making healthy, cleaner choices. As always, feel free to ask questions because I like talking about this stuff!
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram! I'll be sharing about this journey using #fitmama and #mamaeatsclean. Tag me in your posts so I can keep up with your journey too!