Clean Eating Reboot- Help a Hippie Out

There are two things I learned about clean eating the last time I tried it: it works, and it’s expensive.

It’s also time consuming, but I knew that going in. Not so much a learned thing.

How do you people do this and make ends meet? I need some suggestions from folks on a budget who are making this a lifestyle.

It’s the ‘because it works’ part that I’m going back in. I’m tired of being overweight and unhealthy and I’m tired of my teenage girls feeling the same way. Time for a reboot. Beginning again isn’t going to be easy. I remember how hard it was to give up all the things that made this south Louisiana girl’s heart and tummy happy. My challenge will be finding ways to make those things clean. This could be tough.

Baking is the other tough one. Not so much that I love to bake. I actually don’t like it at all. What I like are baked goods that someone else made. And raw cookie dough. Baking seems to be where the major expense comes in as far as clean eating goes (other than meats). I mean, I can grill some veggies pretty cheap, but if I want a clean baked thing, there’s all sorts of odd and expensive flours and sugars that you need. Let’s face it, coconut sugar and almond flour aren’t cheap like white sugar and white flour are. I know why that’s true, but it doesn’t make the fact or the cookies any easier to swallow.

We are the family that processed foods were made for and clean eating laughs in the face of. We are broke and busy. Why is it that I can buy frozen pizzas for a little over a dollar each, but to cook a healthy clean meal for 4 people it may as well be a restaurant sit down dinner someone else does the work and dishes for? Why is that the way of the American grocery industry? Sure, I could grow my own food, and I do to some extent, but it’s going to be a long time before this container garden is adding anything to our meals.

Don’t misunderstand this to be a rant against clean healthy eating. It’s not that at all. My reboot, and the numbers on my scale, have just brought glaringly to mind the problems with clean eating that shouldn’t exist, because they are really problems with the American processed food industry and the other parts of feeding the American people that make healthy food out of the budget of the majority of Americans. That’s so wrong. It makes me wonder what countries in Europe are doing that we aren’t, and how we follow their example. They don’t have the land and resources we do, and yet, they eat much better than us. Processed food is rare. I remember coming back from trips abroad and wanting to keep eating the way I did in Europe. But somewhere along the way, I slipped back into the rhythm of convenience with processed food. I felt worse, but less broke.

Meal prep is a big thing with clean eating, too, and I get that it’s a good way to save some time over the course of the week, but what do people whose weekends are as busy as their weeks? I don’t have an entire day to cook and, frankly, I don’t want to eat the same thing day after day. Too easy to say, “I’m sick of burrito bowls. I’m just going to pick up something on the way home.”

So, another suggestion I need is quick and easy weeknight meals that don’t require spending a weekend doing meal prepping when there are ballgames and rehearsals that must be done. And variety. That would be good. There are tons of variations on cilantro lime chicken. I got that one down.

Cheap and quick clean meal suggestions. On your mark, get set, GO! Help a hippie out, please!

Much love!

~Nola

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Clean Eating Summer Lunch Menu

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As you know, my back deck is my outdoor sanctuary, even in the middle of the day if I can stand the heat.  It stays shaded by the house for a lot of the day, which makes it the perfect spot for lunch.  This is one of my favorite clean lunch menu ideas.  Grilled summer squash and zucchini over quinoa, strawberry spinach salad, and fresh fruit.  Of course, a refreshing glass of ice water with lemon is perfect all the time.

For the grilled vegetables, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic, and a pinch of cayenne, then tossed them in olive oil.  Then, on my counter top grill made by the boxer guy who gave all his kids the same name, I cooked the veggies while the quinoa was bubbling away.  You could also do them on an outdoor grill, but I suggest long thicker slices that are easier to manipulate and keep from falling through the grill grates.

Quinoa is my new favorite thing!  So versatile and easy.  If you want to add a little savory-ness to this dish, sub out the water for chicken stock.

(I cook like my grandmother.  No measurements but my eyeballs.  Therefore, there won’t be much in the way of actual recipes here.)

The strawberry spinach salad is so refreshing and perfect for summer, but, to be honest, I eat it year round.  I tear up some baby spinach leaves, then top it with chopped strawberries, raw walnuts, feta cheese, and some raspberry vinaigrette.

Seriously, I could eat this for lunch every day.  It’s actually a great dinner with the addition of some grilled meat of your choice.  A deliciously simple clean meal menu.

I will keep sharing clean menu ideas that I make, and would love for you to share some of yours!

Please like, share, comment, and follow!

Much love and light!

~Nola