But before you think I didn't actually complete the challenge, let me assure you that I did! I finished it - with the exception of a small cheat day the day of Reaghan's party with some cake - and I lost 6 pounds! I was pretty happy with that.
Doing the clean eating challenge definitely made me more aware of what was in some of the food I had been buying. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sustain the no sugar, no dairy, no carbs thing for the long haul - but I think it did what I had hoped. It gave me a push to stop buying pre-packaged seasonings and realized I don't need to load my oatmeal up with butter and sugar! Putting fresh fruit it is almost just as tasty. ; )
Now that its over, I'm still trying to limit sugar, drinking mostly water and making more "clean" foods to avoid processed ingredients that I can't pronounce. I mean, like I said, we're not giving up everything all together or never eating fast food again, but its the little , every day choices that make a difference right? : )
I made some pretty yummy meals for dinner so thought I'd share some of them here!
Taco's with Homemade Seasoning:
I was really excited to make the tacos. Mark ate his on tortilla's but I just made a taco salad. I really missed putting cheese and sour cream on , but some avocado's on top helped :)
Here's the recipe I used:
Obviously no recipe here. But I ate eggs almost every morning for breakfast. I like eggs so I didn't mind. I tried to mix it up a little bit. Usually I would put cheese in my omelets or scrambled eggs but I learned that eggs are pretty good on the savory side as well by adding things like avocados, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and/or garlic powder. I've continue to to eat eggs this way and leave out the cheese since its just extra calories that I don't need.
Quinoa Garden Salad:
Recipe: (it also called for 2 teaspoons of sugar that I omitted). I actually took this to a work potluck and everyone really liked it!
- 1 cup plain Quinoa
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs wild-caught shrimp (it takes a couple pounds to feed our large group)
- 1 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
- whites of 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
Mix the coconut shavings and chili powder together, dip the shrimp in the eggs and then coat with the coconut mixture. Cook the shrimp in a skillet in coconut oil and viola coconut shrimp! Alot of the coconut shavings did fall off but I just scooped them out and used as toppings.
Sweet Potato Fries:
Don't judge this picture! Haha this was my first time trying to make them and I totally scorched them! But I figured it out and it became one of my (and Reaghan's) favorite snack!
Just slice the potatoes into fries, toss them in some olive oil and then bake them - at a low temp like 250 degrees so you don't burn them!
Lunch was always the hardest part for me. I like quick lunches, like a sandwich, and the clean eating challenge usually meant I had to do some chopping and assembling. But this tuna salad was filling and yummy, and another one that Reaghan really liked.
- 1 can of tuna
- 1 1/2 of avocado
- 1 chopped boiled egg
- Fresh salsa that had tomatoes, cilantro, chopped onions and peppers in it
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Recipe: Honestly there really isn't a recipe. You can use whatever meat/sauce you like! I used canned organic crushed tomatoes with basil and then added a some garlic and onion. This was my first time making something like this and I actually really liked it. I cooked the whole spaghetti squash in the crockpot while I was at work and pre-made the ground beef and spaghetti sauce. When I got home I cut open the squash, forked out the flesh and threw it all together.
- – 2 cans good quality tuna
- – 2 eggs
- – 2 Tbsp almond flour
- – 2 Tbsp coconut flour
- – 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- – 1 tsp mustard
- – 1 tsp garlic powder
- – 1 tsp onion powder
- – 2 pinches cayenne powder
- – salt and pepper to taste
- – oil for cooking (I used coconut oil, which did give it a slightly coconut-y taste.)
This recipe makes 4 tuna cakes. I didn't have any almond flour so I double the coconut flour and that made things a little dry. I much prefer almond flour to coconut flour! All you do is mix all the ingredients together, form them into cakes and then cook them in a skillet over medium heat. I topped it with fresh salsa and had some veggies on the side. :)
One night we were super busy and out late so when I got home I just threw together some quinoa (it takes like 5 minutes to make) some chicken that had already been cooked and some halved cherry tomatoes. I sprinkled with salt, garlic and onion powder and it was a quick easy meal. I'm loving quinoa now!
This one is another no brainer really. You just start with around 28oz of vegetable broth and then 14oz of crushed tomatoes - not drained. Bring that to a boil and then once it boils turn it down to a simmer and add in fresh or frozen veggies and allow it to simmer for a good 30-40 minutes. Season with garlic, thyme, pepper, and parsley to taste.
One thing I really missed during the challenge was something sweet at night. To help fight off temptations I looked up some yummy sweets.
Coconut Banana Ice Cream:
Recipe: 2 frozen banana's, about 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk. Put in the blender and mix! I put in a little too much coconut milk so I had to add in some frozen strawberries to thicken it up again and it was a great choice! haha I loved this stuff. SO GOOD.
Paleo Apple Crumble:
- 6 medium size apples, peeled and diced
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg