The title of my blog is Clean Leaning for a reason…because most blogs, books, articles about clean eating make it look, to the average person (of which I am one) too damned hard. My blog actually came out of a blog post I read. I was looking for a recipe and I found a GREAT one on another blog. I was reading the comments, because often people have modified or found issues. Someone who was new to clean eating asked a question about corn.
Call the clean eating police! The claws came out! Comment after comment attacked this poor soul, who is probably still sobbing into her corn cobs, that corn was NOT clean because of Monsanto and Devils and demons and she was surely going to Hell so she might as well just jump INTO the hand basket now. It was horrible!
Now I am willing to bet that not one of those women, and I am sorry to say that it is almost always women who do this, was born eating clean. So my blog is all about leaning into clean eating. That means our goal, my goal, everyone’s goal should be to do your darned best to make most of your diet as clean as possible, but if you want to eat cereal out of a box because you don’t own a grain mill that flakes your own grain, and you’re not into milking your own cows because your HOA won’t allow you to have a cow tied to your front porch, it’s okay!
Clean eating doesn’t have to be gluten free (I loves me some gluten, as you know by reading about my lovely bread I make), doesn’t have to be corn free (you will pry polenta from my cold, dead hands), and it doesn’t have to be all juice diet. You don’t have to drink smoothies or supplement with protien powders. I’m pescatarian for now, but maybe next year I won’t be. That’s okay. I’m where I am, you are where you are. It’s all about evolving based on where your personal journey is. Sometimes we are making strides, sometimes we are making baby steps, sometimes we are standing still or like the kitten in that poster from the 80s, we’re tying a knot at the bottom of the rope and just “hanging in there, baby”.
There is nothing wrong with going gluten free, or eating paleo, or vegan. Those are all great, and can be very nutritious. I strive to eat less out of boxes if I can but that doesn’t mean there aren’t boxes in my house (my husband has an unholy love affair with General Mills Cereal, and yes when I don’t feel good, I eat Lucky Charms). Sure I make my own ice cream, but sometimes I don’t and I eat ice cream from the store because it’s easier and faster to run down to Albertsons than it is to make it. Hmmm, maybe I should tell myself I’ll ONLY eat my homemade ice cream as a way to…never mind.
So don’t make it so hard. If you’re not to the point I am, don’t feel bad, just start where you are. When I started my journey I was 240 or so pounds and never passed a fast food restaurant. My house was full of boxes and cans. I started by exchanging candy bars for candy-like granola bars, and boxed food for single serve frozen foods. It was all a process. It was baby steps, and now the way I eat isn’t perfect and I still have days where I just want junk, but I’m choosy and more careful. I treat selectively–it has to be AMAZING to make it into my mouth (like a really GREAT cupcake from Trophy Cupcake after I run a marathon), but I still treat and I enjoy it without apology.
What I’m trying to say is don’t listen to the books, or Gwyneth Paltrow (gag), or even to me about us what clean eating should be. It’s just eating food that is healthy, whole, and tastes good and, for the most part, isn’t coming out of a box. If it is in a box or can or jar, the ingredients are very simple like corn flakes or bran flakes or marinara made with just tomatoes, spices, and a little sugar. Listen to what you need to do to lean into clean. Remind yourself it is a journey and you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be persistent.