My Favorite Clean-Eating Foods, and What They're Teaching Me
If you were a blogger, what kind of blogger would you be?
This question came up last month when my cousin and one of my best friends asked me how blogging was going as we strolled the streets of New York City. Call me biased, but it was a fun one to answer! My friend Alexis said she would blog about either yoga or eating vegan, and my cousin Lisa opted to be a surfing blogger. As for me, I’m a faith and lifestyle blogger, and pouring my heart into this little corner of the interwebs is one of my favorite things in the world. But if I weren’t a faith and lifestyle blogger, I know exactly what I would be: a food blogger.
Thanks to inspiration from health food bloggers like Oh She Glows or my personal favorite, Inspiralized, lately I’ve been on a major clean-eating kick. You heard that right. Usually when I’m on a kick of some sort, it involves Chik-fil-A or dark chocolate walnut squares (bonus points if you know where to get these!) but lately, I can’t get enough of fruits and veggies.
The more I stare at colorful photos of exotic fruit displays or creative dishes filled with crisp green zucchini noodles, the more I scroll through recipes like vegan energy balls or homemade acai bowls, the more appealing all of those things sound. Seeing how much can be done with healthy foods, suddenly they become boring no longer, but rather whole worlds of adventure to be explored. I guess this goes to show that the things we surround ourselves with do influence us, whether or not we realize it. We become like what we behold.
Believe me, I used to roll my eyes at the girl who said she enjoyed snacking on fruits and vegetables. Like, homegirl please. Gimme dat Twinkie (jk, I actually don’t like Twinkies and would much rather have a candy bar or bag or chips). But the truth is, our tastes change based on the food habits we create. The more consistently I eat clean foods, the more I find myself craving them—and the less appeal junk foods tend to have. Not because they don’t sound good, but because they never make me feel as good as the alternative. The biggest thing is, I’m someone who requires a lot of sleep, and sometimes even with eight or nine hours I still feel tired. But I’ve found when I’m putting more good stuff in, this isn’t a problem—I have higher energy levels all day.
The past few weeks I’ve been pretty good about eating whole foods as a rule, but that’s not to say there aren’t exceptions. Earlier this month when I had a girls weekend with some of my closest friends on the coast, I scarfed down a plate of popcorn shrimp and fries, and the number of my friend Brittany’s homemade chocolate chip cookies I ate could barely fit on one hand. The point isn’t to be crazy about it or miss out on the community offered by a table of food surrounded by your favorite faces, but to have good habits overall.
Something that’s helped me in my clean eating endeavors is learning about why the good foods are good for me. To me, that’s the most interesting part. As I pour turmeric into my smoothie, it’s fun to know that it’s good a anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. As I sprinkle cacao nibs on my acai bowl (I swear, they taste just like chocolate!), it’s fun to know that they are the highest plant-based source of iron, and that they’re a natural mood elevator known to combat depression. As I slurp up the zucchini noodles swimming round in my spaghetti sauce, it’s fun to know they’re good for my heart, and help my blood cells function. I have loved learning about the health benefits of whole foods, because everything I’ve learned points me directly back to the hand of God! As our medical professionals search high and low for the antidotes to the illnesses that ail us, it shouldn’t surprise us to find the very foods God created are chalk full of them. The wrong foods hinder us, but the right foods heal us. Rather than feeling like I’m deprived when I don’t eat “bad” foods, I’m starting to see that I’m vitalized when I eat the good ones.
I think it’s similar when it comes to the moral rules God has set in place for our lives—you shall do this and you shall not do that. We tend to look at these and see God as some cosmic killjoy, looking to squash our fun and keep us from the good stuff. But what if He’s actually trying to maximize it?
My friend Kirsten, for example, refuses to gossip. It used to frustrate me, honestly, because it convicted me when I wanted to indulge and with grace, she simply wouldn’t go there. She wouldn't speak negatively about people. But over the years, I’ve become grateful for this quality of hers—because her resolve inspires me and shows me a better way. Not only that, the few times we’ve had conflict in our friendship, I’ve never had to worry about whether Kir is off trash-talking me with another friend. In fact, I was confident she wasn’t. Her refusal to gossip with me gave me full assurance that she wouldn’t gossip about me. It gave me incredible safety and security within our friendship, and you know what? Maybe that’s part of what God was after when He made that “silly little rule,” anyway. We think God tells us not to do things like gossip because He’s being nitpicky but really, I think He just knew it would poison our relationships. And that’s the point—God’s rules are never to take away our fun, they’re meant to guide us into a full life.
So other than sharing what I’ve been learning about clean-eating, simply because I find it fun, I guess my point is to say that maybe we should stop looking at the things that are good for us a boring or a damper. Instead of looking at the boundaries keeping us from “bad” things as taking away our fun, maybe we should look at them as invitations into a life that’s more full.
Food bloggers are famous for their “What I Eat In A Day” posts. Since I’m a wannabe food blogger today, here’s something similar—below are a few of my favorite clean-eating foods.
MY FAVORITE CLEAN-EATING FOODS
MY FAVORITE CLEAN-EATING BREAKFAST
Soft-boiled eggs, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, add half an avocado, plus a side of fruit. Add in a good 'ole cup of joe with my favorite Nutpods creamer (dairy free, vegan, Whole30 approved, and delicious), and I'm good to go. This is a ritual I look forward to every single morning.
MY FAVORITE CLEAN-EATING LUNCH
If you follow along on my Instagram Stories, it's no secret I'm obsessed with Vitality Bowl. There's one right by my work, and I go there more than I'd like to admit for lunch. To give my wallet I break, I recently started making them at home—basically, blend your favorite smoothie ingredients, throw them in a bowl and add toppings. My personal favorites? Banana slices, blueberries, sliced almonds, granola, honey, cacao nibs, chia seeds, and nut butter. YUM. Another lunch go-to is the Whole Foods hot bar across the street from my work—they always have a great selection of soups, veggies, and chicken!
Below are the non-fruit or vegetable ingredients I use for my vitality bowls.
MY FAVORITE CLEAN-EATING DINNER
Ya'll. Two words: zoodles, and marinara. Zoodles = zucchini noodles, in case you were wondering. They honestly take two minutes to make, heat up some sauce (sometimes I do pesto instead), and I didn't have any on hand when I took this photo, but I love to throw a handful of green olives on top (I'm obsessed with the tangy flavor!)—add a slice of sourdough to soak up the sauce, and voila! Even after two heaping helpings, I never feel lethargic like I would with normal pasta—just satisfied, and happy! P.S. Have you read the story about the rose in these photos that my dad picked from his garden? Find it here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this food post! I’ve been noticing in myself a growing interest in learning about health, and I’ve learned that when you sense those faint desires, it’s good to step into them because when you do, they often grow stronger, and you never know where they may lead. Stepping into the little desires of our hearts teach us more about God’s intended design for us, and in that sweet spot of living out who we were created to be, we experience joy and satisfaction.
Let me know if there’s anything else you would like to see me write on in the realm of health and wellness—and send over any interesting health information you think I might enjoy! Now, back to my original question—if you were a blogger, what kind of blogger would you be? It’s a fun one to think about and answer. Let me know yours in the comments. 😉