The Secret Of Clean Eating That’s The Hardest To Overcome

gwyneth-made-me-do-it-logoprepping-juice-veggiesToday we set a record that we’ve never set before: We made it 1 whole week without eating out. We won’t count the 2 stops to get coffee, or the Friday night reward of fro-yo for a job well done at swim practice. Those don’t technically fall into the category of “eating” anyhow, right?

When we began moving over to eating an overall healthier diet, I thought the hardest thing would be eliminating many dairy products, like cheese, or drinking less coffee — slowly but surely. All I had read and heard tell of when it came to eating clean, was all the things you’d have to get used to giving up.

It turns out that the things I gave up weren’t all that challenging to overcome. Especially considering I had more of a flexible approach to eating clean. No calorie counting, no extreme forms of restriction. If I really wanted a piece of cheese, I allowed myself to have it because in the end I knew the harder I tried to restrict myself, the more I’d crave. This approach seemed to work — because weeks, and then months went by and I hadn’t even thought of cheese.

The most challenging part of eating healthier and eating clean has turned out to be the cooking. Because to truly control what goes in your diet, and your family’s mouths, you have to cook it yourself. Even more so, you have to cook from scratch and not take any shortcuts.

Luckily for me I enjoy cooking (although I despise the clean-up part), but I know plenty of friends and readers who don’t love to cook and feel overcome by the idea of creating pizza dough from scratch or juicing for themselves every day. Even with my enthusiastic attitude towards being in the kitchen, it is a lot of tiring work, I’m not going to lie, and it’s the biggest road-block to healthy eating success. Trying to eat clean food, which you don’t make yourself, ends up being quite expensive. Constantly reading labels is confusing and time-consuming, and ordering healthy foods from some of those home delivery places seems totally unrealistic in the long run.

Truly, the main way you’re going to be able to commit to eating clean, and doing it without spending your entire paycheck, is to eat out less, cook more at home, and make many items from scratch.

I started reading An Everlasting Meal this week, and I’ve already learned quite a few valuable cooking tips and shortcuts that can allow us to eat at home, eat well and responsibly, and eat affordably. I held my first marathon boiling session where, in a single one-hour cooking session, I cooked broccoli, green beans, potatoes, pasta noodles, and chicken stock. Every item was eaten this week, and made for easy dinner prep, and made a couple of really tasty lunches, too. I was tempted to grab a quick bite out when I was running errands yesterday, but I couldn’t justify stopping for take-out, when I knew an even better meal was waiting for me at home, which wouldn’t cost me a thing.

By eating out less, and making most of our foods at home, from scratch, including sauces, dressings, and stocks, I’ve freed up plenty of money in our grocery budget to afford quality, pastured meats which are more nutritious and responsibly raised, organic dairy products, and we’re eating really great food. I remind myself of this when I’m stuck in the kitchen for the third time in one day. My family is eating well, we’re eating responsibly, and we’re savoring our food more.

It’s been a surprising challenge to learn, and at times hard to overcome, but I think I’m finally getting over the psychological hump and am starting to look forward to preparing our next meal. Just as long as my husband does the dishes.

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