Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days to a Cleaner Diet {1}: Food for Thought

Hey everybody!  (And if you’re new here, welcome!)

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What better way to kick off the most beautiful month of the year than with a series about food? :)  I’m so glad you’re here and I hope that over the next 31 days you will find inspiration, motivation, and practical tips to get you started on the clean foods journey – or keep you going in the right direction if you’ve already begun. 

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{Delicious Parmesan Broccoli – I promise you won’t miss the Velveeta!}

A quick recap in case you’re new to my site – in March of 2010 I decided that enough was enough and I was going to start “cleaning up” our diet.  Our son, Luke, was starting to eat real food, and my eyes had finally been opened to all the junk that is in our food supply.  (I always thought I was a healthy eater; now I look back and shudder at some of the things I routinely ate.  Splenda, anyone?!)  I began researching and studying and reading and experimenting like a crazy woman. ;)  Over the last 19 months I have learned a lot about what to eat and why, and I consistently have friends (and blog readers!) tell me that they want to eat better but….

Yup, there’s almost always a “but.”  Budget constraints, lack of knowledge, lack of time…..the list goes on. 

I am here to show you that clean eating is affordable, attainable, and a worthwhile goal for your family.

Two quick things I want you to know:  I will only be posting on weekdays (today is an exception), and I really want this series to be interactive.  If you have a question or opinion, let me know about it in the comments!  I want to you help you eat better, and I can’t know what you’re struggling with if you don’t tell me! :)

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{Best-ever Cinnamon Whole-Wheat Pancakes – no more Bisquick! :)}

Before we get into the meaty stuff of the next month, I’m going to just start out with two quotes I want you to read – and really think about:

Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes…Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents.” {Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma}


“Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is a literal shame, but most of us can: Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food, less than the citizens of any other nation.” {Michael Pollan, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual}


It’s no coincidence that the “food should be cheap or I won’t buy it” mentality has also seen a rise in numerous health problems.  I read a quote once (not sure who wrote it, unfortunately), that with your health and diet choices, “You either pay now or pay later…but either way you pay.” 

Is it worth it to budget the heck out of your food bill, getting the cheapest groceries you can, only to be putting dozens of toxins, pesticides, chemicals and antibiotics in your body?  Treating our bodies like garbage does not come without a price. 

Think about it. 

I don’t think anyone is going to get to the end of their life and think, “Gosh, I really wish I had put more processed food and preservatives into my body!  What was I thinking?” 

There is nothing to regret about making better food choices.  It’s one of those rare instances in life where any choice you make on the side of clean eating is automatically a good choice.  I like those kinds of decisions. :)

If you are on the fence about clean eating, I encourage you to think about making at least one change.  Some truly can’t.  I get that.  But I am willing to bet that, unless you are below the poverty line (which is a tragedy in and of itself), you have some money, somewhere in your budget, to squeeze out for better food.  Everyone in the middle class (and above), even those on super-tight budgets like me, can find some wiggle room if it matters enough to you. 

Clothes don’t go inside your body.  The internet doesn’t go inside your body.  Vacations, earrings, new shoes, new magazines…none of those go inside your body. 

Only food does.  Only food touches your veins, your bones, your heart, your brain, your eyes, and all the rest.  Yet ironically it’s the area of our life and budgets we often try to scrimp the most on.  It’s a flexible area – mortgages are fixed, school loans are fixed, food budgets aren’t.  I understand.  But it doesn’t mean we need to make cheap and poor choices. 

Before I finish, I just want to encourage you in one more way: if you’ve never watched Food, Inc.,  I strongly encourage you to do so (my local library had it, and I know friends have watched it on Netflix).  There is something so powerful about seeing images of our American food industry at work rather than just hearing me talk about it!  I can’t encourage you to watch this movie enough! 

Here’s the trailer:

Hopefully something I’ve said here today has encouraged you to start making positive changes in your life and diet. 

Be back Monday! :)

Link up here for everyone else participating in the “31 Days” series!

{Also, click here for all of my clean eating posts so far.} 


  1. Just ran into your blog but what timing! I started a clean eating challenge today and it's been a rough day letting go of my addiction to pop and sweets. Looking forward to your posts encouraging me on my way!!

  2. I agree with a lot of this -- eating healthier changes your entire person and it's not as hard as many people would believe!! I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say over the next month :)

  3. This is great! I look forward to following along. I can always use a refresher course :)

    Suz from WelltoDo

  4. Hi there! I found you in the comments at Life in Grace. :) I'm a fellow 31 dayer and am so excited to read your blog series. Sounds like we have similar stories...I also thought Splenda/Equal were healthy. I have had high cholesterol since I was 7 {it's way hereditary}. I've been on a lowfat diet my whole life {meaning I ate processed/marketed/diet everything} and my cholesterol still raged out of control. This year my husband and I started making everything we eat from scratch...and low and behold my cholesterol is lower than it has ever been in my whole life! I'm hooked. :) Can't wait to see what you share on Monday!

  5. Can't wait to get more ideas here. We eat pretty clean here but I would still love to get rid of all of the processed foods (crackers, cereal, etc.) Thanks for the info.

  6. Excited about this series Jess! I like to think we eat pretty well, but I know it's still easy for me to take shortcuts... And of course ignorance plays into a lot of poor choices as well! Looking forward to the inspiration to make positive changes for me and my family!

  7. This is an EXCELLENT topic and I can't wait to read more of what you have to say. I definitely try to eat healthy and clean, although I did just buy 3 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for my kids today--ugh! I make changes here and there, but it will be wonderful to read through your thoughts and have someone tell me what to do :) Glad you came by my blog so I could find you!

  8. I'm a bit behind in my reading, but I'm excited you are doing this series. I really love the idea of clean eating. While I am not 100% there yet, we make changes here and there as we go. For example I completely switched from white sugar to Organic cane sugar and agave nectar. I've started purchasing eggs from a friend of mine. Yes, it has impacted our budget but I just make changes slowly. I would love to be able to purchase all my produce and organic but I'm not quite there yet. I'm so excited next year to have a garden again.

  9. Thank you for posting this video! It is so sad to see how the food industry giants have sacrificed quality and health for profit. Education is sincerely the key to change, however affordability must also play a role as well.

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I'd love to hear from you! Comments make my day! :) I generally respond to comments right here on my blog. If you have a more specific question for me, you are always welcome to e-mail me at blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com.