Saturday, July 11, 2015

July Clean Eating 30-Day Health Challenge - Update

As my tradition was for my last 30-day challenge I would usually do a one week check-in at this point however I have some rather exciting news. Instead of the usual weekly check-in you're going to get a small check-in now as well as a mid-month check-in and a final monthly wrap up that I'll be guest posting onto another blog: Yippee!!

I'll be guest posting on the 'Shift Worker's Guide to Getting By'; due to the fact that I'm a shift worker and attempting to live a healthy life while doing so I'm going to be featured on this fantastic website. It's tough being a shift worker in general and even tougher to try to be a healthy shift worker. I'm looking forward to sharing my trails and tribulations of clean eating while working shifts on the Shift Worker's Guide. Look for that post midway through next week and to hold you over until then here's a quick rundown of how it's going so far.

So obviously I survived my first week of my July clean eating challenge and surprisingly it hasn't been as bad as I predicted. I did go through a bit of a detox (I'll spare you the gory details) and a caffeine withdrawal during the first 3-4 days in which I had a permanent headache but then as I emerged into day 5 I was feeling awesome and enthusiastic. I really think I can pull this off...what do you think?

I believe it seemed easier this time than previously times I've tried to eat clean because I already had a really good foundation going into this one from successfully completing the June green smoothie challenge. However, there were a couple of important points that were reinforced for me while doing this new challenge. The first being that planning and preparation are key, secondly the struggle is real when it comes to cravings and lastly that I can still eat the foods I love albeit in clean ways. Keep reading for some great online resources that I love and were super useful this week as well as a clean chocolate pudding recipe that helped me deal when a chocolate craving hit me hard on day 6.

Useful Online Resources:

Food Babe: a blog I've been reading for a while now and I think has a lot of great information and recipes for the label ignorant and nutrition uninformed. Food babe's way is a bit extreme; I've tried it before and I found it expensive, unrealistic and unsustainable, that is if you follow it to the letter. I think she has some great points and suggestions but you have to tailor it to your lifestyle and find what works for you. That's what I did!

Environment Working Group (EWG): When it comes to knowing which fruit and veg are worth buying organic check out the dirty dozen list and which ones you can get away with not buying organic check out the clean fifteen list.

Dawna Stone: her blog is all about the 'Healthy You Diet' and I'm currently following the free '14-Day Healthy You Challenge' on Facebook for access to great recipes and inspiration that's helping me through my clean eating journey.

Get Informed:

Another tidbit of advice for you: read labels, and read the back of packages and do your research because all companies (including the supposedly healthy/clean ones) are trying to pull the wool over your eyes and sell you the cheapest junk they can get away with. I've been interested in nutrition and the food industry for a long time and I've done for my own research for years and I've noticed many trends and changes as the general public has become more informed about what they're putting into their mouths. That is a subject for a separate post because there is a lot of information and I have some strong opinions concerning this area. In the meantime I'll say it again: read your labels and don't get tricked by the fancy language and packaging.

That's it for now, stay tuned for my guest post and for now I'll leave you with the recipe for my clean chocolate pudding and as always here's to your uncommonly wealthy life! :)

Clean Chocolate Pudding with Avocado:

1/2 Avocado, ripe 
1/2 Banana, ripe 
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, the all-natural just peanuts kind
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1 tbsp Honey**

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender (I used a Magic Bullet: love it!) Add extra cocoa or sweetness depending on your preference. Makes about 2 servings and for an extra treat top with a dollop of coconut whip cream: yum! Eat, enjoy and feel your cravings subside. Success! :)

**As a side note, I know I'm not doing sugar, however when I say sugar I mean the refined white sugar, but I'm also avoiding other refined and processed sweetener options like maple syrup, agave syrup and even some stevia. For the purpose of my clean diet I'm sticking to honey and certain pure stevia if needed. More research is needed on coconut sap/nectar.**