Weekly Tip: Know The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Strawberries

Interested in reducing your pesticide intake? Make the most of your food budget by choosing organic fruits and vegetables wisely.

This month, the Environmental Working Group released the Guide to Pesticides in Produce for 2013. You have probably heard of the two lists that come out of this guide each year – The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen. The Dirty Dozen includes the fruits and vegetables found to be the most contaminated with pesticides. The Clean Fifteen includes the fruits and vegetables with the least pesticides found on them.

For those of us on a budget who wish to decrease our pesticide intake, these lists provide key information for where we may want to invest our money in organics fruits and vegetables.

Key Steps:

  1. Review The Dirty Dozen list and circle those items that your family consumes on a regular basis.
  2. Make an effort to look for organic options for those circled items highest on the list. For example, my family eats loads of apples, strawberries and celery, so I make my biggest effort to buy those foods organic.
  3. Move down the list as your budget allows. This year, I’m trying to find a reasonably priced organic grape distributor at the farmers market to add to our list, since grapes have moved up on The Dirty Dozen list and the kids love them.

It should be noted that pretty much every expert (including the Environmental Working Group) agrees that eating conventional fruits and veggies is better for your health than not eating them at all. Due to food access, budget limitations and a million other reasons many do not have the ability to purchase organic fruits and vegetables. Eat your fruits and veggies any way you can!!

THE DIRTY DOZEN

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines – imported
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Potatoes
  11. Cherry Tomatoes
  12. Hot Peppers

THE CLEAN FIFTEEN

  1. Corn
  2. Onions
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocados
  5. Cabbages
  6. Sweet Peas – frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Mangoes
  9. Asparagus
  10. Eggplant
  11. Kiwi
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Sweet Potatoes
  15. Mushrooms

If you don’t want to memorize this list and are lucky enough to have a smart phone, EWG has a phone app with the lists. Go to the App Store and search for Dirty Dozen.  Be sure to get the EWG app and not the dirty joke app. Or get both… whatever!

For lots more information on all this, check out: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews.

 

Food for Thought: A Tragic Love Story with Sugar

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**This post is part one of many posts to come regarding sugar.  It is my biggest “real food” challenge, and I’ve found that I am not alone. There is so much to talk about regarding the way sugar interacts with our lives. Let me be clear, I’m not telling anyone what to do.  I’m sharing my experiences, the information I’ve found to be helpful. I hope to build a community here at Lean.Green.Kitchen where we can all be supported in our real (good) food efforts.  No more, no less.  You get to play around with all this food out in the world to find what works best for your body and makes sense for your life.  You’ll find no judgement from me.

This blog post started out as a book review, but I realized that the whole point of the book was not to be reviewed, but to be used as knowledge in our quest for health. And it is time to start talking about sugar. So this is where I ended up…

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We all have that friend who doesn’t like sweets.  You know, the one who has no problem saying no to the cake at kids’ birthday parties, the box of Girl Scout Cookies they bought just to be supportive, the donuts in the break room.  Maybe you are that person, you lucky dog.  If so, you can stop reading, or maybe you should keep reading to better understand what is going on with the rest of us.

Most of us surrounded by the American diet can’t get enough sugar.  It’s the caregivers addiction, as we can continue to function in society while still consuming massive quantities of the stuff. Sugar is in everything and it’s cheap and convenient so we can go about our day and have no awareness of how much we have ingested from our morning meal through our late night snacks.  Many of us provide our children with a “small treat” after most meals and snacks (most of the meals and snacks are already fully loaded with added sugar!)

Some of us have heard the warnings, seen the infographics on Facebook, and watched the TV news show specials.  Maybe we’ve taken the big step of knocking soda out of our diet and cleaned up the kids’ after school snacks. Or even cut out the white stuff, finding substitutes of “natural” sweeteners like organic cane juice, agave, and honey.  Is it enough?

-MY TRAGIC LOVE STORY WITH SUGAR-

THE RELATIONSHIP - Sugar and I met early in life and I’m sure it was love at first bite. The first few decades of our relationship I had no concept of the problems brewing. I’ve always been super active and had access to healthy foods that, thinking back, probably provided some protection from the amounts of sugar I was consuming. At the same time, like others looking back at bad relationships, I wonder how that sugar load may have taken its toll without my even realizing it. Acne, allergies, lethargy, PMS, anxiety… would they have been such issues if I had found a clean lifestyle earlier? Over the past five years I have become fascinated with food and nutrients and the complexities of individual bodies and what fuels them. This has motivated me over the years to use myself as a guinea pig to tweak what I eat to see what happens. And to look sugar square in the eye.

THE BREAKUP – Reading Robert Lustig’s book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, gave me the information/motivation I needed for my love affair with sugar (that was already on the rocks) to go through a tragic breakup. The book makes it clear that fructose is a toxin that the body can’t handle over a certain dose (and it’s a very small dose especially when there’s no fiber around to help). And fructose includes even those unrefined (or less refined) sugars that I’d been playing with for a while. It’s a messy break-up (which makes sense, because it was a messy relationship in the first place) because we are still forced to see each other, and I still have feelings for sugar, and we still hang out a little… sometimes.

CAN WE STILL BE FRIENDS? – Today, I don’t stress too much about taking in a small amount of sugar a day. Lustig shares that 50g of fructose per day is the threshold for toxicity in the body.  That works out to a very small amount of maple syrup or honey each day to sweeten things up. Honey and maple syrup are my sweeteners of choice because they have minerals and micronutrients, and are truly unrefined. I also find I can eat them both and not be craving more and more sugar, like when I consume white sugar. A tiny handful of dark chocolate chips sometimes top my bowl of strawberries after dinner. And I also make my body work a little overtime for a “real” special treat every once in a while at social events or for a family fun night.

In order to not go over my daily maximum grams of sugar (I aim to keep it under 50g), I do not drink any soda or juice. Lustig shares that fruit without its fiber is processed by the body just like sugar – though with some nutrients along for the ride. And almost every processed food is out as well.  Check out some labels, they put sweeteners in practically every processed food.  And it is all those grams, day after day that are making our population sick.  Some people are getting really sick and need lots of extra care.  Other people are functioning, but nowhere near their best.  To me, that’s the real tragedy.  How much more tired, depressed, stressed, unhappy with our bodies, overly medicated we are because our bodies are constantly working overtime to process this toxic load? It’s not worth it anymore for me.

-BOOK CLUB-

You can read Robert Lustig’s book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease if you’d like.  In fact I think it should be required reading in every high school health class.  But let’s face it, most of us have a long list of books we’d like to read and if you add this to the list, you might get to it by the holidays.  And then this will not be the kind of book you want to read during the holidays and – boom – you aren’t reading it until next January.  That’s too long to wait for the simple (though possibly painful) and clear conclusions to Lustig’s work. So here’s the abridged version of what you could do today to make your life better and longer and healthier.

  1. Eat real food. Cut out as much processed food as you possibly can from your daily life.
  2. Consume the smallest amount of foods with added sweeteners (that includes all of them!) that you can.
  3. Consume foods that have fiber.
  4. Consume foods that have micronutrients.
  5. Exercise to build muscle.
  6. Eat/exercise for health, not for weight loss. Unhealthy people come in all body shapes and sizes.

There is so much more to this book, including:

  • a full explanation of Lustig’s motto of “a calorie is not a calorie.”
  • scientific details of the many different hormonal pathways that lead to obesity and chronic disease.
  • thoughtful testimony of how blaming obese people for their weight is really unfair and damaging and not accurate.
  • the reason he feels sugar should be seen as an addictive substance.

He ends the book with possible public health solutions to our nation’s obesity and related disease epidemic and then shares how unlikely it is that any of them will be implemented. His voice is like a good doctor’s (he’s a pediatric endocrinologist), full of compassion and expertise, with a strong commitment to empowering people’s real lives with his scientific research results.

You get the feeling Robert Lustig will do whatever it takes to get out this information and he’s especially fighting for today’s children.  I couldn’t appreciate it more. And I want to be a part of getting his word out. It just might change this tragic story that is unfolding across the United States right now. We could all do with clarifying our relationship with sugar.

 

Robert Lustig Resource Links:

Still Believe ‘A Calorie Is a Calorie?’ (Huffington Post Article)

Sugar: The Bitter Truth (90 minute You Tube video)

The Skinny on Obesity (Seven short You Tube videos)

Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (Book)

 

 

 

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken & Eggplant Parmigiana

Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Recipe

The secret of the crock pot is that you can basically throw stuff in it, add some spices and herbs, pour some liquid over the top, then leave. And dinner will ready for you in 4-8 hours.  I like to layer the ingredients of this Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana recipe into the crock pot so I can feel like I’m actually doing something culinaryish, but it’s not even necessary.

Here is a recipe adapted from a recipe I created for a paleo slow cooker competition last fall called Paleo Chicken and Eggplant No Parmigiana.  It was selected to be in the Fast Paleo Top 100 of 2012 – my first “publishing!” I’ve added some potatoes, leeks and spring peas, mostly because they are seasonal and I think the recipe can handle additional veggies. This is a great meal to showcase your family’s favorite marinara sauce.  I like to make a large batch and have spaghetti one night and use the rest up in this crock pot recipe.  If that’s just not happening, there are some great clean options for marinara sauce in the health food aisle of most grocery stores.  Look for sauces that have low sugar and salt, and ingredients you would use in your own kitchen – no strange chemicals!  Throw it all in and get on with your busy life.  Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs organic chicken (boneless breasts and/or thighs)
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 2 cups spicy marinara sauce (or your family favorite marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water
  • 4 small potatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup spring peas
  • 1 small leek, cleaned well and sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 cup mozzarella (optional)

PESTO

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • three handfuls of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in crock pot (chicken and potatoes on the bottom and veggies on top).
  2. Pour stock and marinara sauce over the top.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. During final 30 minutes in the crock pot, add mozzarella on top if desired.
  5. Right before serving blend olive oil, basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper to a pesto consistency (include shredded parmesan cheese if using).
  6. Place a dollop of pesto on each serving.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 4-8 hours

Number of servings (yield): 6

Chicken Eggplant Parm 2

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Weekly Tip: Plan Your Meals!

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Save time and money!

Decrease your stress!

Reduce your food waste!

Stay true to your food goals and eat (real) good food!

All you have to do is take a few minutes each week to PLAN YOUR MEALS!

Here are my thoughts on pulling together your meal plan:

  1. Decide what needs planning.  For my household, we can manage breakfast and lunch with some standard grocery list items and leftovers, but we always plan out our dinners a week at a time.
  2. Build meals around things you already have that need to be used.  Stick your head in your fridge and determine what needs to be incorporated into meals this week.
  3. Take notice of your schedule – what is going to impact meal prep timing.  Use the crock pot or grill for busy nights.  Both can be prepped the night before (which you will know to do because it was in the plan!!)
  4. Include input from family members.  Kids are MUCH more likely to eat meals they think they’ve been a part of designing.
  5. Try something new each week.  Really talk it up and make it exciting.
  6. Put together a weekly grocery list/farmers market list out of the meal plan.  We do our planning on Sunday mornings before heading off to the farmers market and after receiving our weekly farm box.
  7. Be flexible!  The world is going to conspire to sabotage your eating plan.  Go with the flow, make changes and substitutions as necessary, and figure out ways to squeeze your nutrient-rich meals (in whatever variation that works) into your busy schedule!

SAMPLE WEEKLY MEAL PLANS

Up top is a photo of a sample weekly meal plan – this week from our house. This plan has already been sabotaged, because we were invited to be a part of a last minute BBQ on Sunday night. So boom, every meal moves forward!

Tailor your meal plan template to whatever fits your lifestyle and personality type. Matthew (my very pragmatic husband) wonders why I don’t keep all these meal plans and just reuse them.  If he were the food boss around here, there would probably be a spreadsheet involved.  If that’s your style too… by all means do it!  My meal planning is a part of my mindful eating meditation and I like to be in the moment as I am figuring it out.  By that I mean, it’s a few moments where I can use my higher brain function and space out from the loud little people roaming about the house.

There are some really neat meal planning services out there that can be quite helpful if you’d like to eat more meals at home, but don’t want to think much about the planning.  Clean Eating magazine has a section in the back (and on the web-site) that plans out all meals and snacks and gives grocery lists.  Nourish Network (www.nourishnetwork.com) provides an amazing service that includes menus, grocery lists and how-to directions/timelines for beautiful dinners.  I think it costs approximately $5 a week for the on-line pdfs to be emailed to you.  I was lucky enough to be a part of their pilot when they were putting the program together.  It was SO nice!!  Nourish Network works seasonal produce into their menus, which I love.  100 Days of Real Food (www.100daysofrealfood.com) has five weeks worth of meal plans that you can access for free if you “like” them on Facebook.  They are very simple, family friendly, budget conscious, and dedicated to real food.  Love them.

Do you meal plan? If yes, what are your best tips? If no, any thoughts on trying it?

Food for Thought: Food Rules

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Everyone has food rules.  This includes babies, toddlers (especially toddlers!), kids, and adults.  You may not know them consciously, but we all have guidelines that drive our food decision-making.  Think of your food rules as a group of statements that form your core food values. From how many times you eat, when you eat, your basic pantry, your comfort foods, foods you eat or don’t eat due to flavor (or texture), due to allergies, due to ethical/moral/religious issues, due to your paradigm of what you eat for health… it all adds up to your personal food rules.

For people who are working on eating consciously, having your food rules worked out can make day-to-day food decisions easier.  Otherwise, those daily decisions can be downright debilitating, as you struggle with “what do I eat?” every time you are hungry or someone offers you something to eat.

Can you take 20 minutes or so sometime over the next few days to brainstorm your food rules?  If you are contemplating making some changes in what you eat, this is a good place to solidify what you hope your eating will become.  In a matter of time your changes become a part of your routine and daily habits, but at first it takes some higher brain function!

5 QUICK STEPS TO GETTING DOWN YOUR FOOD RULES

  1. Brainstorm for five minutes a list of the guidelines that currently drive your eating decisions.  Be sure to include allergies, preferences, religious/moral/ethical choices you make.
  2. Brainstorm for five minutes a list of guidelines you are interested in adding into your eating.  Anything goes, write it all down.
  3. Edit the list. Put together ideas that are similar. Clarify statements so you can understand them later.
  4. Select the 10-20 rules that most clearly define what you are striving for over the next six months.  If something isn’t reasonable for that timeframe, don’t select it for your list right now.
  5. Make a clean copy of your list.  Show it to a few people close to you and get their feedback.  Does it represent the decisions you make or plan to make?  Keep the list somewhere that you can see it every day for the next few weeks.  Utilize it when meal planning and making food decisions. Become aware of what you are eating.

To get you started, here are mine.  Personalized for me and freeing me from obsessing (well mostly) over what to eat each day.

My Food Rules:

  1. I strive to not eat processed foods in my house.  *Future work: clean up condiments.
  2. I strive to not eat refined sugars and to keep unrefined sugars (honey and maple syrup) to under 50g a day.  *Note: once a week I enjoy a refined sugar treat guilt free.
  3. I strive to begin each morning with a tall glass of water with squeezed lemon juice and a real breakfast.
  4. I strive to eat at least one serving of a leafy green each day.
  5. I strive to always drink water and herbal or decaf unsweetened tea except for truly special occasions.
  6. I strive to eat a serving of organic kefir or greek yogurt each day. Future work: finding additional palatable fermented foods that I can enjoy.
  7. I strive to eat large quantities of fruits and vegetables (in season, local and organic whenever feasible).  Future work: eat more veggies with breakfast and lunch.
  8. I strive to eat small amounts of high quality, ethically raised meats, local free range eggs, and sustainable fish/seafood throughout the week.
  9. I strive to eat very small amounts of high quality full fat organic dairy throughout the week.
  10. I strive to eat as little refined white foods as possible, choosing the whole grain version whenever possible.
  11. I strive to eat quality fats including nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows.
  12. I strive to incorporate chia seeds and flax seed into my daily diet.
  13. I strive to make most of my food at home to provide my body with a strong base of nutritional excellence, allowing me to enjoy food consumed in other places without nutritional monitoring.
  14. I strive to maintain friendships with those who eat differently than I – some more stringent and others less consciously.  I strive to be open, accepting and easy-going regarding their choices.  I can enjoy meals and experiences without being militant regarding my “rules.”
  15. I strive to discuss eating (real) food whenever someone wants to talk with me about it.  I do not discuss it when it is not welcome.  Sales pitches, guilt trips and unwanted food debates are not in my nature.  Future work: connect further with clean-eating community to find positive ways to bring awareness/education to others in a safe and friendly manner.

Food rules are always changing (just ask a toddler!)  I work on mine several times a year as I learn new things and experiment with new foods and health concepts.  I find that having them written down is very helpful, especially after holidays and birthday months when I may need to get back on track!

Do you see any value in having your food rules written down?

Recipe: Spring Veggie Polenta Pizza

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I love pizza. I really love eating pizza when it’s guilt free and crammed with lots of veggies. It’s an added bonus when I see my kids chowing down delicious, healthy, clean food. So goodbye refined flour crust and hello herbed polenta. Here’s how to whip yours up.

Recipe: Spring Veggie Polenta Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta or cornmeal
  • 1.5 cup milk (I use organic whole milk, but you can use any kind, including soy or rice or coconut milk)
  • 1.5 cup stock (veggie or chicken) or water
  • 1 T butter or olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 t Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup pesto or pizza sauce (your personal preference)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings (your choice of course, but here’s a spring option):

  • 4-6 asparagus spears, chopped in 1.5 inch pieces and sliced in half
  • 1 leek, cleaned well and sliced in very thin rounds
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped in thin ribbons
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • small handful of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: 1 cup cooked chicken, diced or shredded

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan heat milk, stock (or water), butter/olive oil and a pinch of salt just to boiling.
  2. Turn heat to low and add polenta and spices while stirring constantly to thoroughly mix.
  3. Once it begins to thicken (takes less than a minute), turn off heat and pour into a greased pan of your choice. I use an 11′ round stone pie dish, but any casserole dish or cake pan will work (the depth of the polenta will vary depending on the size of your dish).
  4. Preheat oven for 450 degrees
  5. Place the polenta in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  6. Brush polenta top with a little olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and top the pizza: sauce, cheese, selected toppings.
  8. Bake for 8-10 more minutes.
  9. Top with a little Parmesan cheese and serve warm.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

IMG_3746  Polenta “Crust” IMG_3739  Spring Toppers IMG_3806  Piece of Pie!

This recipe is so versatile.  You can adapt the pizza to whatever you have available for toppings.  If you are looking for a lovely vegan version, check out www.sweetnsavorylife.com, where the inspiration for this recipe originated.

Weekly Tip: Eat dark leafy greens every day.

Kale bowl

What’s a clean eater to do if dark leafy greens aren’t in your current eating plan?  This was my predicament when I started hearing more and more about their nutritional excellence. Romaine and spinach I could do, I love salads.  But kale, chard, beet tops, collards and mustard greens – they were not in my comfort zone.

So here’s what I did.

  • Bought one bunch of kale at the farmers market (after asking which green was which!)
  • Came home, washed it and trimmed the ends a little.
  • Stuck it in the food processor and chopped it into little pieces.
  • Stored it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge with a paper towel in it to absorb moisture.
  • All week, every day I’d take out my baggie of kale and use a few small handfuls in various meals I made.

Not one person in my family noticed they were eating kale. It easily went into: soups, sauces, salads, spreads (humus, pesto, etc.), smoothies, quiche, enchiladas (any casserole, really), meatloaf and even muffins.

I’ve since learned to appreciate the taste of greens, especially when lightly sautéed with garlic and used as a bed for meats or roasted veggies.  But it was truly a process to get there.  And I still chop and hide kale into dishes on a regular basis because the little people are not as on board with the sautéed greens as the adults in this house.

Would you like to increase your consumption of leafy greens?  What are some ways you get them into your diet?

Farmers Market Find: Asparagus

Asparagus is one of those signature spring finds at the Farmers Market here in Northern California.  It shows up sometime in March and hangs out for a few months at its peak. Around our house, we celebrate its arrival and then try to keep up with the quantities we receive in our weekly farm boxes for the rest of the spring!  We sauté it, roast it, puree it, broil it, wrap it, chop it, stir fry it, egg it.. you get the picture.  Asparagus is so fresh and full of flavor, it really doesn’t need much.  Here’s a recipe to turn asparagus into a veggie side dish or a salad topper in just minutes — a true fast food!  Grab some today and jazz up your spring meals instantly.

Recipe: Delightful and Quick Broiled Asparagus

Ingredients

  • One bunch asparagus (in season and local if possible)
  • 2-3 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1-2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • Several “grinds” of pepper (or two pinches)
  • Chopped parsley and/or shredded Parmesan cheese for toppers

Instructions

  1. Now we aren’t baking bread here, so think of this as an art project more than a science project.
  2. Trim the bottoms of your asparagus (usually about an inch, but give your asparagus a once over and decide if the ends look green and edible or grey and fibrous.)
  3. Lay the asparagus out on a baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You’re the artist so you decide how much drizzle makes you happy.
  4. Dust the asparagus with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  5. Broil on high for 5-12 minutes. This is quite a time range, because as the artist you need to decide what you’d like your masterpiece to look like. If you have skinny asparagus, they’ll be finished near the early end of the time frame and the big guys need longer. If you like super soft asparagus, they take the extra minutes.
  6. Once they are done, plate and top with parsley and/or shredded Parmesan. Enjoy right away or chill for a salad topper.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5-12 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

IMG_3616  Prepped. IMG_3617  Drizzled. IMG_3636 About to be noshed!

 

Food for Thought: Is this blog for me?

 

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I am filled with gratitude for all of you stopping by this newbie blog, checking it out.  If I were you, I’d be asking myself the question: Is this blog for me?

If any of the following statements resonant with you, I think we’ll get along great and you should stick around:

  • I’m looking for motivation and inspiration for eating less processed foods and more whole foods.
  • I want to find ways to engage my family in eating real foods.
  • I need ideas for what to do with whole foods from the farmers market.
  • I wish for beautiful (do-able) recipes that are nutrient-rich and delicious to augment my (real) good food efforts.
  • I am searching for a friendly community to support my efforts of health and wellness.  People who will root me on, be understanding when I’m struggling, and appreciate my improvements however big or small.

This site is for anyone interested in eating (real) good food.  That includes self-described conscientious omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, paleo devotees, pescetarians, people with food allergies and people who (gasp!) don’t have a label for their eating.  All are welcome here for their commitment to being aware of what they eat.  It takes work not to eat all the processed food that is the American standard diet these days.  Depending on where you live and what your situation/restrictions are, eating well can be filled with challenges and brick walls.  So each of us comes to this site from a different place and with different goals, all that are honored at the Lean.Green.Kitchen.  Here we celebrate whole foods together.

Maybe you are full of other questions too, like “who is this gal?”  or “what is this blog’s vibe going to be?”  Here’s what I know for sure.

I, Jenn, solemnly swear:

  • to be authentically myself.
  • to be fun and light-hearted (no one wants to read a boring blog).
  • to share my successes and failures (failures usually make the better stories anyway).
  • to engage in the clean eating community – local farms, farmers markets, food literacy advocates, food books/movies/blogs, etc.
  • to communicate my wee obsession with real food (and my determination to cram real food into my fast-paced family life).
  • to use my love of written words (and my loose interpretation of punctuation rules) to bring people together (life’s just easier that way).

I, Jenn, solemnly swear:

  • NOT to be a judgey-judgerson who thinks I have all the answers.
  • NOT to get mired down in other people’s food issues.
  • NOT to be overly sensitive regarding those who do not feel the need to read my written words and loose punctuation.
  • NOT to let my ego decide what to blog, but let my heart and soul (and belly) decide – always with an ear towards my readers.

I hope you’ll join me.  Please feel free to share what you are hoping to find here in the comments.  I’d love to hear it!

Launching the Lean.Green.Kitchen!

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Welcome to the Lean.Green.Kitchen blog launch!  If you are reading this, then you are a groundbreaking superstar who will be a part of the foundation of the Lean.Green.Kitchen community.  I hope this site grows into a happy place where people can find ideas, recipes, support and inspiration for clean eating in the real world.  Here we will eat and celebrate (real) good food together!

In honor of our fun beginning, let’s say “cheers” with a clean mocktail!

Recipe: Welcome to the Blog-O-Sphere Pom Orange Spritzer

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 cup sparkling water
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 orange (2 sliced wheels + the juice from the rest)

Instructions

  1. Combine first two ingredients and stir.
  2. Pour into two beautiful cups filled with the ice.
  3. Splash a little orange juice into each glass.
  4. Top with the orange wheel for garnish (and fiber!)

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Raise your glass (to us!) and enjoy.  See this bench?  We are enjoying our celebratory spritzers together right here while discussing our love of (real) good food.

pom spritzer