Clean Eating While Traveling.. It can be done, y’all!!

11 Jul

 Planning on going on vacay?  Travel a lot for work?  Don’t have a fridge/microwave at the office?

Never fear!  Here are some practical ideas to survive being away from home.


First of all: GET A COOLER!  An insulated lunch kit cooler is just not big enough.  I LOVE this size.  I bought it at Wally World for $19.95.  Great investment in your health.

This week a group of teachers from our math department traveled to San Antonio, TX for a math teacher convention.  It’s two days of traveling (there and back) and three days in a hotel.  This means LOTS of eating out.  Oh jeez.  You clean eaters out there know how hard it is to find ‘clean’ things to eat out AND even harder impossible to exercise self control!

Here is my menu:

Breakfast – water w/ 1/2 lemon’s juice
– oatmeal w/ PB2 and greek yogurt & pineapple

Snack – almonds & quest bar

Lunch – tuna salad w/ chopped apples and greek yogurt & nut thins

Snack – apple slices w/ almond butter OR Sabra Hummus Togo w/ pretzels

Dinner – Eat out.. Eek!!  Since the conference is a do your own thing and attend class at your leisure type of thing, I am free to eat when/how I want all day.. UNTIL dinner.  Dinner everyone plans to go out together, SO I try to do the best I can wherever we go.  Mexican?  Grilled fajitas and veggies.  American? Grilled chicken salad. (easy on the dressing!) You get the picture.  It’s ok to splurge every now and then, but every night for 4 nights can totally mess up your system!!

Snack (IF hungry) – Chobani Flip in Key Lime Pie for protein before bed (and something sweet if needed!)

Get specific! Here’s what is actually in my cooler:

5 apples, 2 lemons
sandwich-size ziplocs of: almonds, nut thins, oatmeal (1/4cup per day)
snack-size ziploc each with: 1T PB2, 1t wheat germ, 1t bee pollen, and 1T flaxseed (i mix this in my oatmeal along with a dollop of greek yogurt!)
tiny tupperwares of: plain greek yogurt, cut up pineapple
quest protein bars
Sabra Hummus and Pretzels Togo
Almond Butter
Chobani Flips Key Lime Pie- for something sweet
Individual Tuna Packets in water per day
dieter’s tea bags to um.. help the digestion situation with eating out a lot

Tools in cooler: mini cutting board, knife, apple slicer, hand lemon juicer – All of this can be rinsed in sink and reused. Oh! and plasticware.

Also in the car, but not in cooler: 12 pack water bottles and 6 pack Lipton sugar-free diet citrus green tea (love this stuff!)

There you have it!!  Remember- If you do not bring anything to eat that aligns with your healthy eating goals, you sure won’t find it at fast food joints or convenience stores or restaurants.

The packing of the cooler is something I do EVERY night before work.  I need 2 healthy snack and a lunch while I’m at school. Sometimes I need a post-workout shake too if I go right after school.  You’ve got to have it with you!  Then you will not be forced to grab something unhealthy.

Packing a cooler for a few days away from home is just a little more food and a little more planning.  It’s totally do-able!!

A Day in the Life of a Clean Eater – A Practical Guide

1 Jul

When people learn that I am a ‘clean eater’ the first thing they ask is what it means to ‘eat clean.’ After I get that out of the way, they want to know HOW I eat, WHEN I eat, and WHAT I eat.  The HOW and the WHEN is pretty standard, but the WHAT changes a lot.  I can’t stand to eat the same thing over and over!

HOW I Eat:

The basis of clean eating is preservative-free, all-natural food.  At each meal you should be eating a complex carbohydrate and a protein.  Each day you should be eating about 2 servings of healthy fats and 2 servings of fruits and veggies.  I say heavier on the veggies because of the sugar, but that’s me.  Now, hey! Write that down.

CARBS: Not all carbs are created equal!  Complex carbs contain sugars that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  They do not cause a spike in blood sugar and help you feel full for longer.  These are your body’s fuel!  Some examples: Brown rice, quinoa, sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel 4:9), beans, brussels sprouts, etc.  Simple carbs are made of refined sugar (think: white sugar/white flour) and contain little to no nutritional value.  Stay away from simple carbs!  Examples include: candy, cookies, cake, jelly, soda, most cereals, etc.

PROTEIN: You know what I’m talking about here.  Lean cuts of any of the following: chicken breasts, steak (in moderation), pork, salmon, tilapia, bison, etc.  Whey protein counts too.

HEALTHY Fats (aka UNsaturated fat): Emphasis on the healthy part!  Healthy fat is essential to our body functioning properly.  Did you know that a huge portion of our brain is fat.  A great way to get healthy fats into you diet is to eat avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed or fishoil supplements, salmon (or other fish) with high Omega 3/6 Fatty Acids, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, and almond butter.


It is best to eat several small meals spread out every 2.5-3 hours with the largest meal around midday.  Now, let me have an honest moment here.. This is my goal.  Do I acheive it every day? No.  Do I sometimes have a large dinner? Yes.  But hey- I keep on keepin’ on!
Here is my daily schedule:
Meal 1 – ‘Breakfast’ – 7:30am
Meal 2 – ‘Snack 1’ – 10:30am
Meal 3 – ‘Lunch’ – 12:30pm
Meal 4 – ‘Snack 2’ – 4:00pm
Meal 5 – ‘Dinner’ – 7:00pm
Meal 6 – ‘Snack 3’ – 10:00pm

This is a template.  It should be adjusted for what works in your daily life.  I am a school teacher, so during the school year I really stick to this schedule without fail.  However, it’s summer time now, so I have been able to play around a little with my schedule.  It’s been nice.  Once you get used to eating this way- you body lets you know when its feeding time!


Remember, we are trying for a complex carb and protein every 2.5-3 hours.  Here is an example of a normal day of clean eating in my life:

Meal 1 –   1/2cup prepared oatmeal (complex carb)       *make this fun! add fruit, cinnamon, etc.
mix in 2T greek yogurt (protein)
1 teaspoon flaxseed on top (healthy fat)                 1/2 cup pineapple (fruit)

Meal 2 –  1/4cup almonds (healthy fat/protein)
carrots with Walden Farms zero cal ranch dip (veggie)
*Walden Farms is awesome.  It’s preservative-free, no calorie dressings and dips and syrup galore. Not a paid ad.

Meal 3 –  tuna salad lettuce wrap (protein/healthy fat/veggie)
salad: 3oz tuna, sliced almonds, 1/2 chopped apple, 1T chopped celery, enough greek yogurt to bring it together

Meal 4 –  1 apple sliced (fruit)                 almond butter for dipping (healthy fat)
*I’m headed to the gym, so I need this meal to give me energy.

Gym –     4:00-5:00
protein shake- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 80z water, 1T PB2 for funsies (protein)
*I don’t count this as a “meal.” We are trying to replenish our body and provide growth for our muscles.

Meal 5 –  chicken breast grilled in coconut oil and balsamic vinegar (protein/healthy fat)
quinoa or brown rice (complex carb)
brussels sprouts or asparagus (veggie)

Meal 6 –  chocolate chip cookie dough Quest Bar (protein)
*You don’t really need a complex carb here because your body won’t need it sleeping.
**Quest Bars are  They are clean protein bars, not glorified candy bars like so many others. Not a paid ad.

SO there you have it.  That is a very common menu for me.  People always make fun of me for breaking out a little snack at 10:30am, but I don’t care!  They are also thinking “hmm.. that must be why she is looking so great” too.  I’m good with that!

The biggest obstacle to starting to feed you body like this is planning.  PLANNING your week out on paper is the best thing for a beginner.  I did it every week for 2-3 months.  I still plan my week out on paper if it’s going to be hectic.  I like to do it Saturday or Sunday and then go to the grocery store Sunday afternoon.  Then I come home and break everything up into little containers or ziplocks so I can grab and go the rest of the week.

Another obstacle is dragging all this food around with you!  You need a COOLER.  Not a huge bring-to-the-beach-all-day sized cooler, but a slightly larger than regular lunch sized cooler.  Get some ice packs and pack that thing before you go to bed.  I never have an excess of time in the morning, so if I don’t do it before bed- it ain’t happenin’ sister.  Put a couple water bottles in there too if you won’t have access to good water.

Don’t try to do it all at once.  That’s the key to success, in my opinion.  Maybe do the breakfast and dinner as clean as possible because you do those at home.  Slowly work in the snacking and lunches as you feel more comfortable.  Just be ready!  As you eat smaller portions more often, your body will have to be fed. 

Got a question?  Leave a comment!  I’d be happy to answer.  Good luck and GET CLEAN!

What the heck is ‘Clean Eating’ anyway?

29 Jun

Clean eating has a few basic principles or ‘rules.’

  • No preservatives, DO eat food in its most natural state.
  • No added sugar, DO give your body hydration it needs in the form of water.
  • No white flour, DO eat whole wheat flour or other alternative.

Clean eating is feeding your body food that is in its most natural state.  (or get real- as close to it as possible)  This means no additives, preservatives, or crazy hard to pronounce words.  Where do you find what’s in that can of diced tomatoes?  The ingredient list!  When you get started, the ingredient list will tell you what you need to know.  It’s the best place to start. Can’t read it? Avoid it!

Another thing you need to know: NO white sugar and NO white flour.  Sometimes they are sneaky and call it one of the many nicknames for sugar like high fructose corn syrup- Just say no!  Our society is so obese, they just listed obesity as a ‘disease.’  It should come as no surprise- sugar seems to be added into almost everything we put in our mouths.  I have found sugar added in seemingly safe things like groud meat and frozen veggies.   We love sugar!  Things just don’t seem to taste the same without it, right? WRONG-O!  When you look at an ingredient list and see sugar as an ingredient, keep movin’ sister.  I’ll post more on sugar later.

What you drink counts too.  I try to drink drink 2 liters of water each day.  It helps wash away impurities, aides in digestion, and reduces bloat. (not to mention dozens of other awesome things water does for us)  Caffeine, sugar, and salt are found in almost every non-water beverage out there.  Even the ones whose labels try to tell you they are good for you.  If you are addicted to Coke or some other soda drink like that- it’s got to go.  That stuff is toxic.  Sometimes I don’t think we realize how beverages we drink with a meal can affect us.  It took almost a month for me to get off Coke.  I had withdrawl headaches and all that, but now that I am not drinking them at all- I feel great.  My digestion is better, my withdrawl headaches are non-existent, and I have tons of energy.  Ok crazy lady, what else do you suggest I drink?  Some alternatives are green tea, unsweet tea, or lemon-lime water.  Sometimes I use stevia to sweeten.

I will be posting some great recipes, snack ideas, and tips/tricks for busy people.  So stay tuned and get excited!


Clean Eating.. It will change your life.

25 Jun

Howdy all!

When I started this blog I had every intention of posting tons of ooey gooey butter and cream laden recipes from my southern upbringing, but today I can happily say I have not been cooking that way for several months now.

I started eating ‘clean’ and lifting weights around Eastertime this year.  I was totally new to the idea of clean eating and terrified of lifting weights, but I followed a very thorough plan by Jamie Eason at that eased me into it all.  I am a journaler and I journaled.  I journaled my weight and measurements each week, I journaled what I was eating (clean, but sometimes not), and I journaled how I felt.  The wildest thing that I discovered was that after a few weeks, I was experiencing less headaches.  This was such a big deal for me, because I am a migraine sufferer.  My mom gets them and so do I.  I was having a migraine every week or so, which was my norm, but entirely too much.  After cleaning up my diet, eating less preservatives, and getting off sugar I was going a week, then 10 days, then 2 weeks migraine-free.  Amazing.

Once I realized this preservative-free, no-sugar-added lifestyle was giving me less headaches, I had to know more.  I bought Tosca Reno’s book The Eat Clean Diet. It’s not really a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle change.  And it’s nothing if not a commitment!  Tosca’s book teaches you a little science behind the eat clean lifestyle and gives you tons of practical tidbits to help you make the change.  Tons of recipes are also included- which is a plus for this girl that loves to cook good food. I highly recommend her books!

Another thing this clean eating did was help me lose weight! Duh, right?  I got married in May 2012 and I was so excited to cook for my new hubby!  I was making mashed potatoes, buttermilk pie, fried chicken, and butter-covered yeast rolls all the time.  There ain’t a thing clean or healthy about that and we were putting on some pounds to prove it.  It had to go!  I have been eating clean, lifting weights, and doing cardio for 18 weeks last Sunday.  As of my last tally, I have lost about 7 pounds and 8 inches!  I was by no means fat, but I am looking better now than I did at our wedding!  It’s also important to remember that when you are weight training, you have to rely on progress pictures, the way your clothes fit, and loss in measurements, because the scale can definitely lie to you!  I’ll ought to post a before and after pic, but I’m always hesitant to do so because I’m really still a work in progress.

I plan to dedicate this portion of my blog to sharing recipes, tricks, time-saving techniques, and recipes I have picked up along my clean eating journey.  I am a real person with a fulltime job and home to maintain.  I need strategies to feed myself and my hubby that don’t take a ton of time.  I need time to get to the gym after work.  I am a regular girl, so hopefully the things I’ve learned can help other regular people like me out!  I hope for this to be a resource for people who are already eating clean and an encouragement for newbies to take the plunge.

You’ll feel great!  Get excited.

The Dresser- with Annie Sloan

2 Aug

So I’m recently married, right?  One of the totally fun things a new bride gets to do is decorate her very first home!  However, like most newlyweds, Shannon and I can’t afford to just go stark crazy buying new things. The solution?  Update what you already have!  It’s totally ‘in’ right now anyway.  The really neat-o thing about this particular piece is that it first belonged to Shannon’s grandmother, Virginia.  He calls her Mama (pronounced maw-maw).  They live a good day’s drive away in west Texas, so it’s nice to have a bit of Shan’s family in our home.

Before we begin, I have to use this opportunity to give a huge shout out to my mom.  She went to a painting class to learn how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and she has taught me everything she learned.  She also let me use her supplies.  Thanks Momma!

Here’s the piece.  Original hardward removed.

Oh, and let me also say.. my sweet husband helped this little project come to fruition.  He is a heck of a sander and his arms don’t get nearly as tired as mine!
We had fun working together.. don’t roll your eyes!  We’re newlyweds!


Here are a few of the Annie Sloan supplies.  Clear wax, dark wax, and chalk paint.  I used duck egg blue mixed with a little graphite for depth.


Here it is with a good base coat and then a very thin top coat.  The COOLEST thing about Annie Sloan’s paint is that there is NO stripping, priming, or any initial work.  You just grad a brush and get going with the fun part.  It covers practically anything and a little goes a longgggg way!


After the paint dries, you cover the piece in a thin layer of the clear wax. The wax protects the paint from what we are about to do to it.


Use a mixture of round, straight, wavy, back, and forth brush strokes to give texture.


After the wax dries, you get to beat it all up!  Use sandpaper blocks or just a sheet of sandpaper to imitate wear and tear where a piece of furniture would normally see it.  I like to hit the edges and corners first.  Then I like to add in a few larger places.  Now you are getting the chance to show the original finish of the piece through the fresh paint.



Now for the dark wax.  Gently take a brush with a small amount of dark wax to the piece.  Start small, then add until you like what you see.  If you add too much, just use clear wax on a soft cloth as an eraser.


Next is my favorite part.  This is gilding wax. It is magical.


Take a small paint brush and use the gilding wax to highlight the sanded corners and edges.  If your piece has some cool detail like mine, you may choose to add gilding wax to highlight it.  You can very easily get carried away- it’s just so pretty!  Like the dark wax, you can erase it with clear wax.


Here are some finish product pictures…  The pictures don’t do it justice, but you get the idea.




I hope you catch the Annie Sloan fever like I have.  I hope it brings joy to your home in a far-cheaper-than-buying-new kind of way!  It’s SO neat.  I want to Annie Sloan EVERYTHING.  Shannon tells me not to go crazy.  He keeps me grounded.

Now go and start a project!  If you have a sweet and willing hubby like I had, enlist his help!  Projects are fun to do together.

See y’all next time!

Find Annie Sloan near you.. today!: