In my quest to uncover the secrets to clean eating, I've discovered a new hobby and love for shopping for clean foods. I use to absolutely detest grocery shopping. Now my kitchen has been transformed to a colorful kitchen full of fresh produce, spices, farm fresh food and natural and organic selections. So this week for work I had to travel a couple days to neighboring counties and I decided to explore what some smaller more rural farm communities had to offer. Nothing in this post constitutes medical advice. Always consult your doctor or health care professional.
Clean Eating Basics:
- No white sugar or white flour, limited sodium especially no table salt
- No preservatives
- Minimally processed food, as close to the "source" as possible
- Limit dairy to organic, lots of raw nuts, fruits and veggies
- Healthy oils and fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocados
- No GMOs (Genetically Modified), Limited Gluten, Limited/no MSG, Limited/no "natural flavors" which are really chemically created in a lab. Nothing natural about that!!
- Purchase foods with the least amount of ingredients and ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize. If you buy oats for oatmeal, there should be one ingredient: oats! No more than 5 ingredients, or up to 10 ingredients depending on how strict you want to be
It got me thinking as well, how CLEAN is clean eating (pondering in part as I was carefully washing dirt off my very expensive morel mushrooms without them breaking), and how close to the source do we actually have to go? What health benefits and risks are there to seeking out the rawest form possible of each food (specifically foods like honey and milk)? And so for this Fitness Friday, I bring you my week in Clean Shopping!
I was confused looking at the honey in a food cooperative in Viroqua, WI. Selections included pure honey, raw honey, a jar of honey with regular looking honey and a honeycomb in the jar and this, a honeycomb! What the heck do you do with this? When I read about the health benefits of honey, is this what they're talking about? Have I been eating the wrong honey all along? Honey is my sugar substitute of choice. And so my exploration began.
- Besides going up to a honeycomb with bees still in it and licking it, I think this is the rawest cleanest way to buy honey-in a raw form, still in the honeycomb.
- By "clean" I mean, its the least processed, most natural version of the food possible. I don't literally mean clean as it may contain wings and body parts of unhatched larvae. Yup, that's right! Extra protein right?!
- You can actually cut off a piece of the comb and eat it. The comb is apparently chew-able but you can eat the honey out and spit out the actual comb. Some believe the comb itself has health benefits When you cut it, honey will start to come out. You can also cut off a section and just put it in your tea.
- This is suppose to be the most delicious form of honey possible and certainly the cleanest except for errrr ummm some bee wings and little legs. Crunch crunch!
- I didn't buy this as I wanted to research more and I think it was a little more expensive. I found it at a local co-op. They may also be available at farmer's markets.
- This may be a great option for allergy suffers, like me! I already eat local honey to help with my allergies to local plants, but this may be an even more effective product. I've also been exploring if I should start purchasing bee pollen. You can see little round balls of it refrigerated at a natural foods store. It is suppose to help greatly with allergies. I'm allergic to trees, grass and weeds among other things.
You've probably heard that organic milk (and meat) is best from grass fed cows who aren't given antibiotics. Should we be drinking milk nearly straight from the cow? What are pasteurized and homogenized and is milk safe if it isn't pasteurized? Being around farm communities (or being friends with those who are from farm communities), I've actually known of families that do drink milk from the cow--not straight off, I assume there's a pitcher involved!
"Our traditionally pasteurized organic milk contains all the wholesome goodness you expect from Organic Valley. It comes from the pastured cows of our cooperative's family farms. The milk is traditionally pasteurized by heating to 161° for 15.5 seconds. Many people appreciate the local flavor of our traditionally pasteurized milk, along with the knowledge that they're supporting family farms that care for the animals and the land. Organic Valley pasture-raised milk is homogenized and ultra pasteurized—a modern flash-heating and cooling technology that keeps milk fresh, safe and nutritious for a longer time than does traditional pasteurization." http://www.organicvalley.coop/
This increases the shelf life of milk, making it easier to mass-market, but it may also destroy some of the nutritive value of cow's milk (conflicting opinions on this one) as well as beneficial bacteria and it inactivates certain enzymes. Did you know that almond milk actually has twice as much calcium as cow's milk? I will probably stick mainly with almond milk on this one as I'm kind of torn believing alternative sites that promote raw milk and government sites warning against it. Raw milk is not legal to sell in some states. Which side are you on/Who do you believe?
"Raw organic milk is not safe. Pasteurized organic milk is available in many places, including supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and dairies." -CDC
One of my favorite brands of yogurt, Kalona SuperNatural is non-homogenized
"We start with organic, grass-fed, non-homogenized milk from small, sustainable farms in the upper Midwest. Next, we gently heat the milk and add live cultures and flavors (unless of course, you are eating our plain yogurt). Non-homogenized. You will notice a cream top on your yogurt. Go ahead and stir that in or scoop it out and enjoy with granola. No additives. There are no artificial stabilizers, colors, or other unnecessary ingredients."-Kalona SuperNatural, http://www.kalonasupernatural.com/So what to do? I will be doing more research on this as well. My overall thoughts are to do what is best for you and your family but by pursuing Clean Eating, be sure you are also staying safe and you aren't always going too raw. There are people who are much more susceptible to allergies, bacteria, etc and who probably would get sick from non pasteurized non homogenized milk, but I've also know of others that are just fine and may have been raised on a farm where this is common. Heck I've been around people that eat raw ground beef, yes, raw beef. ICK! And they don't get sick! (German custom). Again, just make the safest healthiest choice for you and yours!
Other interesting foods
1. Black Garlic
Photo credit: newasiancuisine.com
I saw this at a food co-op and although I've heard of black garlic before (introduced about 5 years ago in Korean markets), I hadn't seen it before and I wasn't sure how to use it or if I even wanted to buy it since it looked so unfamiliar. But after researching more, I will definitely be picking some up. This is an even healthier option than regular garlic cloves (which I use all the time), and may be a great option for those that don't like the "garlic breath" after effects. It offers nearly TWICE the antioxidants of regular garlic. Black garlic is made black through fermentation.
Health benefits of black garlic: cancer protection, lower cholesterol, protection against infection and disease (and of course those pesky vamps). The taste of black garlic has been compared to that of a dried fruit, smoky, sweet and slightly chewy, according to the Antioxidants-guide.com
2. Pink Himalayan Salt
Photo Credit: organiceyourlife.com
This week was a lot of research and looking, but I did end up purchasing Pink Himalayan Salt as I had already read so many amazing things about it and I've been incorporating it into my dishes below. This is a great alternative to regular table salt which is horrible for you and actually may contain sugar as well. In addition, this pink salt has health benefits for allergies and you can buy an infuser where you draw air through the inhaler which has salt in the middle and it can help with allergies and other sinus issues. This is also apparently great for smokers as a way to clean out their lungs!
See Doctor Oz video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1tpCrTENsU
This is pure and untouched by pollution as it was formed by fossil deposits 250 million years ago and is found in salt caves! Contains full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements required to support human life, whereas table salt which is highly processed is lacking 80 minerals. Run, don't walk to pick this up!
Where I shopped!
In pure heaven! Food Co-op in Viroqua, WI
I bought some Quinoa and Chia Seeds. I'm debating starting to make my own breads and crusts and may look into wheat flowers and millet in the future.
Oils, Syrups and even soap and detergent!
Row of Spices at Valley Market. I also bought fresh asparagus here. They have a lot of handmade and Amish food options, as well as declicious looking candies which I resisted. :)
Local Meat Locker in Westby, WI
I made boneless butterfly porkchops with chops I had just bought from Westby Meat Locker, I cooked these in a pan with some olive oil, white onions, garlic, pink Himalayan salt and black pepper. I boiled two organic red potatoes in a pot and then put them in the pan with the pork chop for about five minutes. I cooked carrots for 25 minutes at 350 degrees with olive oil, honey, cinnamon, walnuts and black pepper and placed them over a bed of spinach.
Butterfly pork chops (simmered in olive oil, honey, mustard and fresh ground peanut butter & assorted seasonings). Asparagus cooked in olive oil with garlic, pink Himalayan salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice) and topped with tomato garlic sheep's cheese. Side of quinoa with wilted spinach, tomatoes and caramelized onions.
NOT PICTURED: Jolivette Family Farms (I got yelled at from across the store & shamed out of the store for taking a photo, no promotion for you Jolivette Farms. I also called later to clear things up and I was hung up on.) I went to Woodman's Food Market instead where I was treated kindly. Thanks to all the other wonderful places where I shopped this week!
This week's food from my shopping trips:
Peppered chicken burgers with caramelized onions and a walnut spinach side salad.
Peanut Butter Banana Greek Yogurt, Peanut Butter blended fresh from co-op
Grilled Chicken Quinoa Tortilla with White corn side
Black bean tostada with white corn, avocados and red pepper
Grilled chicken over quinoa salad with spinach and red peppers.
Yummy turkey sandwich on ezekiel bread with organic egg, avocado spread, mustard, spinach & tomatoes.
**And remember just because something is natural or organic or in the health food section, it doesn't mean that its necessarily healthy. Be sure to read labels! I scan food with an app called Fooducate and it really helps keep me on track, it alerts me to foods that are highly processed, high in fat or sodium, contain GMOs or gluten, etc.
I sincerely invite you to join me in clean eating, even if you start out making small changes. I'm down 11 pounds total in roughly two months and I've seen my body reforming and looking different as well as feeling better and actually being excited about food and cooking! Don't forget to follow me on instagram @intrubeauty with #fit2bfab where I post my recipes first!
Nothing in this post constitutes medical advice. Always consult your doctor or health care professional.