Since I started really grocery shopping and cooking for myself as an adult, I’ve tried to eat clean. My definition of eating clean has certainly evolved from the age of 21 to 32. Christian coming into my life really helped reinforce all of my feelings and opinions about food. He too believes in clean eating, but his food preferences made me look like the simplest eater ever. Our two forces combining allowed us tackle food in our household with full force (and a lot of variety). I do the shopping. He cooks about 75% of our meals.We attempt to make food a priority in our household, but we are a busy family of 4 so we do have our moments of not so clean eating. The best way I know to eat clean is to shop clean. Stocking our house with good healthy foods makes cooking good healthy meals easy.
What does Eating Clean mean to our family?
- Avoiding Food Coloring. Why? Artificial colors are made from petroleum. I don’t know about you, but that was all I needed to know. I certainly don’t want that in my body or in my children’s bodies. If ingesting petroleum isn’t enough to scare you, all of the food dyes have caused tumors and cancer in lab mice. When you know better, you do better. The more I researched, the more I am disgusted by our food industry. Over the past year we have really become more focused on eliminating these foods from our diet. It is not easy. We still give in sometimes. I think it is okay to reward Cole with Slurpee after a hot day on the baseball field, but it is a reward and it is rare. (Read more here and here)
- Avoiding Eating out. We eat at home 90% of the time. If I cook it, I know what is in it.
- Avoiding High Fructose Sugars. It’s crack for kids.
- Eat mostly whole foods for meals – veggies. veggies. and more veggies. Lots of Chicken and Fish. Salmon and Mahi are a favorite in our house.
- We try not to eat foods from a package for our main meals. If you have to open it, it’s probably not the best option.
- Eating organic (for certain foods)
Snacks can be more challenging. A quick meal isn’t always easy, but it isn’t impossible. I’m on a mission to prove that two working parents with a new baby and an active 8-year-old can eat clean and healthy.
Our take on eating organic –
Yes. Buying organic can cost more. We don’t have an unlimited food budget in our house (If you are curious, we spend roughly $150 a week on food). We follow Dr. Oz’s rules for when to and when not to buy organic.
1. When the skin is thin. Fruits and vegetables with a thin skin that is difficult to remove or that you typically eat should definitely be organic. They have high levels of pesticides even after washing. Produce with thicker skins has a better barrier to pesticides, and when you throw the peel in the trash, the chemicals go with it. But be sure to give all fruits and veggies a good scrub down before eating or peeling them, because cutting them can bring any chemicals on the skin into the flesh.
Go Organic: Apples, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, pears, nectarines, peppers, celery, potatoes, and carrots
Save Your Cash: Avocados, eggplants, pineapples, bananas, corn, kiwi, mangoes, papaya, sweet peas, oranges, grapefruit, and squash
2. Go green with leafy greens. Can you imagine scrubbing every leaf of a head of romaine lettuce? It’s too difficult with leafy greens to make sure you remove all of the chemicals, and greens are particularly susceptible to pests, so they are often grown with high levels of pesticides. Fortunately, other vegetables, such as broccoli, either don’t retain pesticides very well or don’t need a lot to begin with, so it’s okay to go with conventionally grown varieties.
Go Organic: All lettuces and greens such as kale, collards, mustard, swiss chard, and spinach
Save Your Cash: Broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, melons, and sweet potatoes
3. Milk it! Although much of the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional milk production are washed out before we drink it, the process isn’t perfect and some make it through. Plus, there is evidence that organic milk has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep our hearts healthy
But be wary when you see fish touted as organic. Fish grow in the ocean, where it’s impossible to know what (if any) pesticides they’ve encountered, so the USDA has no guidelines for certifying organic seafood.
Go Organic: Milk, yogurt, and cheese
Save Your Cash: Fish and other seafood
Did you know that food dye is used to make oranges more orange? Red food dye is added to ground beef to make it look more like beef? It is! The more I research and the more I read, the more I want my own farm to feed my family.