I hesitate to use the term, but I’ve been doing my own form of clean eating for over a month now.
The phrase ‘clean eating’ seems to be getting somewhat of a bad rep in the press in recent weeks – but I’m not really sure why? To me, if someone wants to make a positive change by cutting out the bad bits of their diet, then why not?
I think the issue has been bloggers and their followers going to extremes. Recommending things which are unnecessary, like swapping to a gluten free diet when you aren’t diagnosed with gluten intolerance. For me, beginners clean eating has meant ditching all of the pre-made sauces and jars I was relying on for a quick fix and making my own meals from scratch.
I’m not going to lie – I’ve eaten some terrible meals in the past month. But I’ve also cooked from scratch some absolute corkers. Pinterest has been my lifesaver. My goals from the outset were to feel healthier, and to eat more protein in the form of meat and fish – part of me liked the idea of eating like a caveman, but don’t worry – I haven’t gone full cave man just yet!
To start with I altered my breakfast and lunch meals only slightly – dinners were my main target. For breakfast, I ditched Oatso Simple Porridge sachets for real porridge oats. I mix them with a nut milk, normally almond, cashew or hazelnut and towards the end of cooking time I stir in 65g of frozen berries so they ooze into my bowl. If I know I’m doing a lot of exercise that evening I’ll also add 15g of peanut or cashew butter.
At work for lunch, I’m pretty good at eating fruit and every day I would have a banana and an apple – but I’d accompany this with a half tub of pre-prepared, pre-cooked vegetable cous cous. These tubs were costing me £1.50 a pop and I was having to buy two a week. I swapped these out and experimented a little before I set myself into a regular routine.
To start with I rigidly stuck to salads with meat. First I had a chicken breast with lettuce leaves and a balsamic glaze, and this was nice. Next I tried a ‘BLT’ style salad, with lettuce, bacon and tomato. Suffice to say, I do not like tomatoes but only later on did I realise I didn’t have to force myself to eat them. Next up I tried tuna with avocado, onion, peppers, lettuce and a ton of tomatoes. This was my tomato breaking point.
Finally, I settled on meals that are slightly more attainable – perhaps not 100% clean though. I’ve been buying Warburtons Toastie Pitta Pockets and each evening before work I whip up a batch of either egg mayonnaise or tuna. In future, I would love to eat something a little more prepared from scratch, but I really don’t have a huge amount of time to worry about it and I’m enjoying taking a pitta for now.
Since I’ve tried a lot of meals during my little experiment, I’m just going to list my top three for you, in no particular order (there’s a full gallery below, though).
Greek Chicken Pittas
I’ve only had this once, and it was amazing, but incredibly calorific. I roasted potatoes, onion and garlic in the oven then served it with grilled chicken and greek yoghurt. I chucked it all in a pitta and it was heaven.
Again, I’ve only eaten this once but plan to have it again this week! I even cooked up a second serving so me and Liam could eat together (this is a rare occurrence in our household!). I fried onions, garlic and mushrooms and later on added passata, tons of chopped tomatoes and basil. After cooking my chicken on a George Foreman grill, I added it to the tomato mixture for 10 minutes. I served it with Italian grated cheese and tagliatelli. Nom.
I’m aware this doesn’t sound healthy. Trust me, it is! I love pancakes and have been trying ‘healthy’ versions for years – but this one really nailed it. One banana, one egg, and two tablespoons of plain flour. Perfect. I have it with all sorts of toppings for a Friday lunch treat, or, if I really can’t be bothered to cook dinner I make a double portion.
I never thought I’d be someone who was disciplined enough to meal prep, but my journey into my own form of clean eating has really opened the door for me to start this weekend – and I can’t wait! I’m inviting you to join me over at my new ‘side’ blog fleurgetfit.wordpress.com where I’ll be sharing more posts about my healthy eating and fitness regime.
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