Clean Eating: Your gut will thank you

I have never been the type of person to try fad diets. I never did the Atkins (yes, I’m old enough to remember that), the South Beach (yep, old enough for that too), the honey/water/pickle juice only diet, or thethe only-eat-2-beets-and-a-piece-of-chicken diet. I currently live in Hippie Town, USA so there are lots of people out here that spew their only-organic/farmer’s market food in your face when they are trying to tell you what you should eat.

Alas, as my loving husband will tell you, these organic hipsters have gotten the best of me. I cloth diaper my child. I shop at Trader Joe’s and/or the farmer’s market when I can. I use a local CSA our neighborhood organized for organic eggs. I only by organic milk. We extended breastfed and we are extended rear facing E’s carseat. For frick’s sake, she wears an amber teething necklace aka the hippiest of all hippie baby stuff.

Hippie Baby 2

One thing my hippie self couldn’t latch onto like extended breastfeeders is the Paleo diet. Never heard of it? You aren’t crunchy enough, then. The Paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet. You basically don’t eat anything that the cavemen didn’t/couldn’t eat. So no processed foods, no dairy, no sugar, no salt. There are lots of things you can eat on the Paleo diet though. You can eat lots of meat. Eggs. Fruits and veggies. Anything that our ancestors could once hunt and gather is a-ok. Just don’t bring a spiked club to your local Safeway.

Another diet that seems to be pretty big ’round these parts is no so much a diet but a way of eating healthy. It’s known as “clean eating.” It is similiar to the Paleo diet in that you cut out processed foods and refined sugar and white flour, but you can eat ceratin breads (whole wheat only) and you can have dairy. If you would like to learn more about what you can and cannot eat in the clean eating method, click here.

I first became aware of the “clean eating” method via Pinterest. People kept pinning these recipes labeled “Clean Chicken Recipes” or whatever and I was intrigued. In doing some digging for my meal planning, I came across this website called 100 Days of Real Food. Lisa, the creator, and her family made a pledge that they would only eat “real food” for 100 days. They have since completed their pledge but they continue to eat as clean as possible, with an occasional treat here and there.

One of the reasons this website and healthy eating method caught my attention was its adaptability to the military lifestyle. As I mentioned before, I live in an area where organic and all-natural foods are pretty easy to find. Local farmer’s markets are year-round and there are several to choose from. But that isn’t the case with every place, especially some of the no-man’s land places Uncle Sam sometimes decides to send us. However, “clean foods” like fruits, veggies, and meats are found in every grocery store so even if you’re in Armpit, USA, you can eat clean. This method also seems to be budget friendly, as Lisa demonstrates by providing meal plans and weekly budgets that are under $125/week for a family of 4. And Lord knows us military folks like saving money. As a plus, there are more things you CAN eat with this “diet” as opposed to most diets where there are more things you CAN’T eat. Therefore, eating clean seems to be something that anyone can do (for the most part) no matter where you live.

I say SEEMS to be something anyone can do because I haven’t done it yet. But I’m planning to once we get all our sh*t moved across the country (I can’t drive some 3,000 miles without getting me some sugared coffee-water and McDonald’s. Unless you want to see a trail of dead bodies behind me Hanzel and Gretel style).

I’ll be honest with you though, people, I don’t know if I can do this. I have a few staples in my diet and I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to give them up. Of course, there is Starbucks and any coffee creamer I use here at home. And soda. Cookies. Crackers. Chips and guac (so guac’s ok, but not the chips). A bar of dark chocolate. HAMBURGERS. I’m getting the shakes just thinking about the withdrawal. The good news with all of this is that we are moving out to the boonies so the Starbucks and junk food will not be accessed as easily. I will also have more time on my hands to make things from scratch since I won’t be going out as much because WE LIVE IN THE BOONDOCKS.

Luckily, Lisa provides several different pledges for starting your clean eating transformation off slowly, so that’s how I plan to start. We will probably start off with the 10 Day Pledge and then go from there. And I will be honest again, because that’s how I roll- I don’t think I will ever become a 100% clean eater. Its just not in me. I will still drink my morning creamer with a splash of coffee. I will continue to buy our meat from the commissary. Not everything will be organic. I just can’t do it. I’m not that crunchy. I’m only like, part crunchy. Like this:

See, part crunchy/part normal. All-natural, not organic. This is me if I was peanut butter.

Either way, I still think trying to cut out as much processed foods as possible is a good idea. And I think as a military family, its one diet that is actually do-able for the most part because “clean” items are everywhere. Obviously, some refinements to the method have to be refined for those of us that travel to the buttends of the world and don’t have all organic stores and the locally raised meat is skinnier than Nicole Richie, but for the most part its possible.

But for now, I’m going to go enjoy my Coke and store-bought cookies while I begin to sort through all the crap the movers are going to have to pack up in about a week.

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I’m crunchy like organic granola

I never thought I’d be the hippie mom. I always thought I’d use disposable diapers, that I would be totally ok with my child crying it out, that I would feed her from store bought purees. But no, no, and no. I don’t do any of that.

Moms like myself are known as “crunchy.” You know, like granola. Because apparently hippies ate (eat?) alot of granola. However, I’m not super crunchy. I’m more like crunchy peanut butter crunchy- mix of hippie with a smooth blend of regular type of mom.

Crunchy Mom

We cloth diaper. And by we I mean me. And that isn’t just because James is gone. That’s because I’m pretty sure he won’t want to touch a poopy diaper that can’t just be thrown away. I think cloth diapering is the first all important step into crunchiness. Seriously, you aren’t a crunchy mama if you are still using ‘sposies (that’s the hippie term for disposables diapers). I have just started this journey into cloth diaper-hood and I plan to bring you along with me as I leave a trail of poop behind me instead of non-biodegradable diapers- meaning that I will be doing a cloth diaper review. Eventually. Woop, woop!

I can’t let her CIO (cry it out). I went into parenthood totally thinking that I would be able to let Evelyn cry during sleep training. Psh, in my life as a nanny I’ve let other kids cry it out. But nope, can’t do it with E. I feel too bad. I feel cruel. I know other moms do it with much success but I just can’t bring myself to do the same. I’m too mushy.

We are doing Baby Led Weaning and skipping purees. Ahh, this has even sparked some debate with our pediatrician who, by the way, told me that I should feed E rice cereal at night to “trick her belly” (her words, not mine) into being full so that she’ll sleep through the night. Say whaaa? I don’t think so Mrs. Old School. My baby is hungry at night, I’m going to feed her. But I digress- BLW is a form of introducing solids in which you skip traditional pureed “baby” foods entirely. Instead, starting at 6 months (this is critical- babies really shouldn’t have anything but breastmilk or formula for the first 6 months- their little bellies aren’t able to handle solids before then), you give your child…wait for it…actual food. Like chunks of whatever you’re eating. Again, I will be doing a review of BLW in a few weeks once we start. Lucky for my parents, I will be back home when we start. And its messy. My dad loves messes. This should be awesome.

I make my own cleaning products. Again, this is something I am just starting so there will be a post later on about how that all is going. We’ll see if my homemade stuff is as good as the store bought.

E wears an amber teething necklace.I’m pretty sure the first time I saw a child wearing this necklace I thought the parent was crazy. Red blinking lights were flashing, sirens were going off- it was like a dramatic scene from “ER” (too old of a reference? “Grey’s Anatomy” better for everyone?). All I could think was CHOKING HAZARD!!!!!!!! But alas, now E wears one. These necklaces are magical. No, they are not for the child to chew on to help with teething. They are little baby necklaces made from amber. When the amber is warmed by the body heat, it lets off a resin that goes into the skin and soothes the aches from teething. Yup, that’s about as crunchy as you can get.

Smooth Mom

We do not bedshare. I mean, I’m not all “sleeping with your baby is as dangerous as the baby sleeping with a butcher’s knife” crazy.

We still don’t really feel comfortable doing it more because we want E and the rest of our children to sleep in their own rooms. Mommy and daddy’s bed are for mommy and daddy. And the dog. How can we ever make a sibling for E if she’s always in our bed? I mean, it would probably help if James was here but he will be eventually and then its on (Sorry, family, just try and scrub that mental image from your mind).

I do not “wear” E. Now, I do use a BabyHawk for when we’re at the store or taking a walk. But I don’t wear her all the time like other crunchy moms. I’m all for developing some independence and I don’t think that a child being constantly attached to me helps with forming that independence.I know others in the Attachment Parenting world will disagree (Mayim Bialik) but hey, its just not for us.

I don’t use all organic food or products. I buy whatever is cheapest quite honestly, which organic is usually not. The commissary has like a quarter of an aisle with organic products and no organic produce or meat to speak of. I love me some Whole Foods but the closest one is 13 miles away. And that’s just not environmentally friendly, now is it (or, in Republican terms (i.e., my terms)- forget carbon emissions, there is no way in h3ll I’m driving 13 miles to a grocery store because gas is way too expensive. Bonus if its good for the environment). And I still use Johnson & Johnson. I know, I’m a monster.

I still use ‘sposies. *GASP* I know, how could I? Well, mostly because I’m not quite comfortable yet with using cloth overnight. And I don’t really have that many cloth diapers yet. And we have a crap ton of disposables still. So I don’t want to waste and I might as well use them while E still fits into them as I build up my cloth diaper stash. They are good for travel too because a crappy cloth diaper on the go is just kind of…well, crappy.

What can I say, I’m just a good blend of smooth and crunchy. Jif would be proud. And I have to give some props (because apparently I’m a gansta’ like that) to my friend H. Her husband is no longer in the Corps but she used to live right down the street from me and she was one of the first to find out we were pregnant. She, along with her little boy, introduced me into the world of crunchiness including cloth diapering, the amber teething necklace, and the BabyHawk. So without her I would still be buying diapers every week, E would be getting Tylenol every time she fussed over her teeth, and my arms would be as big as the Hulk from carrying E all the time. So thanks H, for a glimpse into your crunchy world. Without you I’d still be boring old smooth.

Here is my crunchy baby creation in her adorable cloth diaper: