Wednesday, March 18, 2015

{TPM Kitchen} CLEANer EATING: What To Eat When You Want To Eat Clean

Turning 28 (for the 12th time) was when I started to notice changes in my body. The deepening of facial lines, the slight loosening of the neck, a few white strands of hair.... AND, the time my daughter made me realize that she is closer to being 20 than I am... Eeeep!!!

Teka lang! How did that happen? Something doesn’t add up there. Seems like I just graduated from college a few years back, eh! Then I think of my mom and dad who are in their 70’s, do they feel like they are middle-aged like I still see myself as in my 20s? Then my son answered me, “Your hands are beginning to look like ah-ma’s (his grandmother) hands,” he says as he tugs at the loose skin at the back of my hand. Ugh! Can he be any more rude, impolite, insolent, disrespectful, offensive… and truthful? Hahaha!

I also started to realize and admit to myself that I wasn’t invincible… that it’s ok to get tired and exhausted. A few years ago I was proud of the fact that I could handle being that mom who could cheer all-day for my daughter’s soccer championship match, enjoy a dinner out with the husband and some friends at night, then wake up the next day for another all-day swim meet with the kids. Sadly, nowadays, all I want after spending all-day cheering for my kids by the poolside is to have a quick dinner and be in bed by 9pm with a good book or catching up on my fave TV series. Hello, Harvey Specter!

My friends and I have started discussing vitamin supplements, the required annual medical exams for people “our age,” and when someone we know ends up in a hospital it is more about a sad and scary illness than the happy news of a birth announcement. #tandersmoment

A few months ago, I also took a Food Intolerance Test which provided the gain in momentum for me to go all the way into a lifestyle which I was trying out since two years ago. Since 2013, I was already into food substitution and trying to eat more of fresh and unprocessed foods, and less of the processed and refined foods. Realizing that I am not getting any younger, and knowing more about food intolerance made me shift my gear, and really learn more about Clean Eating.

Healthy Ideas & Yummy Recipes tested in the TPM Kitchen
What To Eat When You Want To Eat Clean

I will be introducing a new section in the blog, called CLEANer EATING.  It will be all about sharing ideas and recipes that I have tested in the TPM Kitchen as I prepare meals for my family and get them to enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins instead of canned and packaged fruits, white rice, fatty cuts of meat.

As I researched for Clean Eating, I realized that the lifestyle is primarily based on the idea that the best way to eat is to abundantly enjoy a variety of whole foods -- that is, foods as close to their natural state. No counting calories here, thoughts on turning vegan or vegetarian not entertained also, but the focus here is on good quality & healthy food. Which is essentially my kind of lifestyle.

I cannot promise to totally eliminate processed foods from my diet, but the primary principle of getting more nutrition from the food we eat appealed to me. Hence, CLEANer EATING... because I can't promise to say no to the occasional spoonful of dulce de leche or cookie butter! Teehee!

5 Simple Steps to CLEANer EATING:

1. Eat Whole Foods, Avoid Processed Foods.

Whole foods are foods that did not come from a manufacturing plant. The foods you eat on this plan are straight from the farm: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds.

Processed foods are any food that has a label with a long ingredient list. You don’t have to eliminate all processed foods (like whole grain pasta or natural cheeses), but if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on a label, don’t put that food in your grocery cart.

A photo posted by The Phenomenal Mama (@thephenomenalmama) on

A photo posted by The Phenomenal Mama (@thephenomenalmama) on

A photo posted by The Phenomenal Mama (@thephenomenalmama) on

2. Do-it-yourself.

One of the aspects I really love about Clean Eating is making my own homemade versions. For example, when I make Beef Bulgogi for the kids' lunch baon, instead of buying a pre-made sauce, laden with sodium, sugar and preservatives, I whisk together a little of organic coconut sap sugar, liquid aminos or soy sauce, minced garlic, and fresh grated ginger. 

I also enjoy making granola bars from scratch. I share my easy recipe for Superfood Granola Bars.

My granola bars are made with raw nuts, ground flaxseeds, organic quinoa, black chia seeds among others. Sweetened by raw honey and organic coconut sap sugar.
Get the recipe here.

I share my DIY pancake mix here. It is very versatile as people who need to control their sugar intake can easily just omit adding sugar in the mix.  Taking out the sugar can also make this pancake mix into a refined sugar free pancake mix!

3. Eat five or six small meals a day. 

Eating clean also means that meals are taken throughout the day, three meals and two snacks. This can help reduce the chances of snacking and overeating on unhealthy processed foods because you never get hungry on this lifestyle. 

Expect to prepare meals at home often and to carry snacks with you so you always have access to CLEAN foods. I prepare a variety of salads for my kids recess baon about once to twice a week. Nothing planned, usually it is just a mix of whatever is in the fridge that day.  Some days, they have fresh fruits naman.

A photo posted by The Phenomenal Mama (@thephenomenalmama) on

4. Un-Sweeten Your Diet.

Everyone in my family has a sweet tooth! I admit this part is where we are having struggles with. Yes, we already accept defeat! hahaha! While I acknowledge that we cannot totally eliminate sweets from our diet, we are trying to eliminate refined sugar/white sugar.  We use alternative sweeteners instead like raw honey and organic coconut sap sugar.

I help my family cut down on added sugars by limiting baking. Buhuhu! But, I have already tried several recipes where I switched white sugar to organic coconut sap sugar in the recipe.  Wait for future posts where I share my tweaked and adjusted recipes.

5. Choose Whole Grains

If your family is anything like mine, it is a struggle to get them to eat anything whole grain. Last year, I decided to come up with my own mix of grains, which made my family tolerate eating brown, black and red rice.

Whole grains include more nutrients than refined grains because the bran and germ are not removed. Look for the word “whole” with the first ingredient in breads and pastas—for example, make sure it says “whole wheat,” not just “wheat.” Outside of whole wheat, choose whole grains like quinoa, oats and brown rice.

Another bonus to eating whole grains: a study found that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains have lower body mass indexes and less belly fat than people who eat fewer.  Goodbye to mommy-belly na ba ito?:)

To make Clean Eating a sustainable part of my family's life, I have encouraged them to view food as preventive medicine. "You are what you eat" is literally true as the nutrients the food we take in form the foundation on how well our bodies function.  Our bodies are in a continuous state of maintenance and repair so it is only logical that we choose the best foods to make sure that evey bone, muscle, organ of our body is is tip-top condition... dahil mahal magkasakit!