Clean Eating Challenge: Day 14

Finally.  Like all good things, this too must end.  (In case you are just now joining me, I have been doing Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge, and this is the final day.)

Some things about this plan overall:
1. It's not so "clean..."  Eggs?  I love them, but many people have food sensitivities to them.
2. Yogurt and Cheese?  Ever heard of lactose intolerance? Tons of people have it.  Not "clean!"
3. So much meat and fish.  Way too much if you ask me.

I get it, this was supposed to be for people who maybe have never tried to eat healthy in any way before.  This is not really for people, like myself, who have read pretty extensively about nutrition and eating right, are obsessed with their health, and have watched every single food documentary that exists.  But, this is a much healthier way to eat if you are someone who looks at the recipes and thinks "I would never think of that" or "what's bok choy/fennel/overnight oats?" or something along those lines.  It's also really handy that the plan gives you everything to eat/buy/cook daily.  That was the main reason that I did it to begin with.

Breakfast: Scallion Omelet
Same as one day last week sans goat cheese…because SOMEBODY ate all my goat cheese (Danny!)
Still good without the cheese.

Lunch: Portobello Mushrooms with Tomato and Mint
Surprisingly tasty and filling.

Snack 1: ??
I think that I had a pear with almond butter…but I can't be certain because I didn't take a picture, I am writing this two days later, and everything went downhill after this….

Dinner: Not was I was supposed to have at all
I got to the end and I just could not bring myself to finish it.  Danny asked what was for dinner.  I grumpily told him it was the last day of the eating plan.  I proceeded to pull out the snap peas, mushrooms, and tofu from the fridge.  I looked at it and it made me feel depressed.  So we went to Fickle for Happy Hour instead.  It was amazing.  I was so over this plan.

farmer's crostini

heirloom tomato salad (with burrata)

black cod with summer squash agnoloti

Snack 2: Pinkberry
Whoops.  Total fail on my final day.  Oh well.  Ce la vie.


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 13

Wow.  This Slate article is a bit intense.  I think making an analogy between people who like to eat "clean" and religious zealots who declare that promiscuous women are like a "stick of dirty gum" really misses the point entirely and just tries to incite more anger from average eating people toward people who treat food as an important aspect of life.

I do agree that the term "clean food" has no true meaning.  I was introduced to Clean Food via the Terry Walters cookbook of the same title.  Nowhere on it does it say vegan, but when you start looking through the recipes, you see that they all are.  Therefore, I always took clean eating to be plant-based and home-cooking from fresh, local, seasonal produce.  I still stick by this claim for what I consider to be "clean eating," especially the all homemade part.

That said, I am more than ready to be done with this challenge.  I'm drifting away from it slowly every day.  See below for my transgressions.

(In Case you are just now joining me.  I am doing Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge, and this is Day 13.

Breakfast: Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats
YUM!  This was so good, I ate it while walking to school and it was all gone before I got there (I live two blocks from school)  I did not use yogurt and prove that it is not needed. Just put 1 cup of almond milk instead.  I will be eating this again.

Lunch: Snap Pea, Mint, Arugula Salad
I didn't have any leftover quinoa since I didn't make the dinner that required it a few days ago (that was my wine tasting night on Day 9)  So in place of quinoa I used chickpeas.  Yum.

Snack 1: Half of a lavender strawberry Pocket Pie and a coffee from Pie Hole
Transgression #1.
I was sitting at my computer, hard at work, dreaming of a pocket pie and a coffee.  Moments later, with perfect timing, as usual, Danny gchats me "wanna get a snack somewhere?"  My response?  Not so responsible.  "YESSSSSSSS.  Pie Hole.  Now!!!"
I tried to eat the carrots later, but they were pretty stale anyway, so there it is.

Dinner: Tofu Lettuce "wraps"
I don't eat shrimp, so I replaced that with tofu.  These were really good, or I was really hungry.  Either way.
Transgression #2: I had a little beer with dinner

Snack 2….and 3: Apple with Honey… 
and some freaking amazing nuts from Hawaii.  Just like, 1 or 2 or 3…..


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 12

The finish line is in sight!  I am not following this thing to a tee anymore.  Truthfully, I wasn't originally going to do the second week, but I enjoyed the first one so much, I thought I would give it a try.  Plus some things carried over anyway, so why not?  In case you are just joining me, I am doing Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge and this is Day 12.

Breakfast: Blueberry Oats with Cacao nibs and honey
So….This is very different from a blackberry yogurt parfait.  Well, after trying to last week, I decided that my lactose-intolerance now includes yogurt too, which sucks, but it is what it is.  So I ran 5.5 miles this morning, pre-breakfast and I knew I needed something substantial, so I went for oatmeal.  Here's there recipe:

3/4 c almond milk
1/4 c water
pinch of salt
1/2 c oats
1/2 c blueberries
1 T cacao nibs
1 t honey
dash of vanilla

1. Bring the almond milk, water, and salt to a boil in a small pot.
2. Add oats and stir, reducing heat to low and simmer, covered, for 3-4 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
4. Top with blueberries, honey, and nibs and stir before devouring.

Easy Peasy Breezy

Lunch: Reheated Veggie Stew with Avocado
This was from last week and we put half in the freezer, remember?  It was not as good this time around.  I didn't have carrot like it told me to, and I replaced the yogurt with 1/2 of an avocado.  It definitely needs something cold like this in it if you don't do the yogurt.

Snack: Pear with Almond Butter
Is there anything in the world more delicious than a perfectly ripened pear when you are starving?  Try one topped with a tablespoon of almond butter.  Oh yeah!

I also had a little cheat with a special drink from Demitasse. Salted Rosemary Maple Latte.  It was only kind of worth it.

Dinner: Not-So-Asian-Style Dover Sole with Asparagus and Zucchini
Ok, so I have changed up most everything on today's menu.  For this one, I just really really hate bok choy.  I've tried to cook it every possible way, so many times, and every time I am disappointed, so I decided not to even try.  Luckily the asparagus and zucchini were perfect with this tender, light fish.  Another mistake occurred when I saw "tamari" and thought "tahini"  I was all ready to complain on here about the buzzfeed grocery list not including tahini, etc.  I decided to use the rest of my hummus in place of what I thought was supposed to be tahini.  Makes sense, right?  About half way through dinner it occurred to me that this fish was supposed to have a very different flavor!  However, the hummus sauce I made was just fine.  It was very tasty.  And I suppose I will be using the rest of it for my not-so-lettuce-cup's tomorrow night.  Haha.  Also, parchment paper is my new best friend.

Snack 2: Hot Chocolate


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 11

In case you are just joining me, this is Day 11 of Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge.  Today was not so hard.  Usually if I begin the day with an intense workout (in today's case, a fast 2 mile run) I will have a clementine about 30 minutes before so I can have a tiny bit of energy at least.

Breakfast: Kale Banana Smoothie
The same as last week. I am still loving this flavor, but more so, the intense green color!

Lunch: Healthy Tuna Salad
Let me begin with an anecdote.  Tuna salad used to be my favorite thing growing up.  I was one of the only kids I knew who willingly ate fish.  I was a pescetarian in the making for sure.  One time when I was quite young, I was home alone and couldn't find anything to eat, so I decided to make tuna salad!
No hard boiled eggs…hmm, that's ok, I can go without.
No mayonnaise.  Well, it just needs something wet to hold it all together.  Ok, ketchup!
No pickles or relish.  It just needs something chunky in it.  Cheese!
Yes.  I made myself a delicious tuna salad with ketchup and cheese.  I'm sure it was amazing and I ate it all.  My mom thought it was hilarious.

This tuna salad that buzz feed made me eat restored my faith in tuna salads.  You don't need mayonnaise!  The dijon and olive oil were enough, mixed with the soft texture of the egg.  In my case, I also added two scallions.  I can't remember what the lady at the farmer's market called this particular lettuce, but it wasn't exactly big enough or strong enough to make cups out of, so I ate it mostly with a fork and picked up the last remnants with the baby lettuce pieces.  As much as I try to stay away from canned foods and the fact that I haven't had tuna salad in years, I think I will add this to my lunch rotation, maybe once a month or so.

Snack 1: Banana Avocado "Pudding"
Ok.  First things first, This is more like a smoothie than a pudding.  Mine had no pudding consistency whatsoever.  I could have easily drank it through a straw.  That said, it did sort of taste like pudding, if that makes any sense.  I probably wouldn't make this again, but it wasn't bad.

Dinner: Snap Pea, Radish, and Mint Salad
I put this over a bed of spinach because once it was all cooked, I realized that I didn't use quite enough snap peas.  Of course I used goat cheese instead of feta. (See my previous postings) The radishes are from the same lady from the Arts District Farmer's Market from whom I bought the little lettuce from lunch.  This salad was really good.

Snack 2: 1/2 cup of blackberries, 1/2 oz of chocolate, green tea
To make up for last night of not eating the 1 cup of blackberries, I ate them tonight.  But I didn't have a full cup.  So I just helped Danny finish off the rest of this delicious chocolate that we bought from Monoa Chocolates in Kailua, Hawaii.


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 10

In case you are just joining me, this is Day 10 of Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge.  I've been eating clean for over a week now. This is not a stretch from how I normally eat, as eating fresh, organic produce has been crucial to me for quite a few years now.  I just did this as a challenge to myself, and because it was laid out really simply with grocery lists and a day to day recipe guide.  Despite eating healthy before doing this, this plan is teaching me some new simple ways of cooking and some great snack ideas that I will keep with me when it's over.

Breakfast: Cauliflower Hash with Fried Eggs
The hot sauce is a must.  I use Frank's Buffalo Sauce because it's awesome.

Lunch: Roasted Chickpea and Eggplant Arugula Salad
A great tasting salad.  I like this because it uses the ingredients from the other day in a very different way.

Snack 1: Red Pepper slices with Hummus
I almost didn't eat this, but I'm glad I did.  It fulfilled the sweet that I was craving and filled me up until dinner.

Dinner: Mushroom, Tofu, and Kale Bowl
I don't eat shrimp.  When I was trying to decide what protein would take the place of the shrimp, I looked at the other ingredients and it was obvious.  This is similar to a typical bowl that you would find in a vegan joint.  Danny really liked this dish too.

Snack 2: Chocolate and Tea
We went to see "Cold in July" at Sundance Sunset Theater.  I brought what we had left of our Garden Island Mint and Cacao Nib Chocolate Bar.  I also ordered a lemon ginger tea.


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 9

If you are just joining me, this is Day 9 of Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge.  Warning: I did not complete today's challenge!

Breakfast: Apple Omelet
This sounds really weird, and despite the buzz feed writer's warning that it is good, I was still skeptical. But I think this is going to be a new favorite.  Again, vanilla is key to this tasting so good.   I had trouble with it holding together as an omelet though, as you can tell from the photo.

Lunch: Tempeh Ball Spinach Salad
I really switched this one up.  I didn't buy collard greens because last week they went bad and I think they are gross.  But I had spinach leftover from last week.  I broke up the tempeh balls and tossed them into the salad with the tomato and avocado.  For the dressing, I just added a tiny bit of olive oil to the mustard and drizzled it on.  It was a bit too mustardy, but other than that it was really delicious.

Snack 1: Raspberries and Pistachios
Yeah, I switched it up again.  I don't know why raspberries aren't on the plan, because they are my favorite fruit!  The blackberries last week were better mixed with the pistachios though, maybe raspberries just need to be on their own.

Dinner: Wine Tasting at the Los Angeles Athletic Club
Thanks to my friend Scotty who invited me to the wine tasting.  Of course I had a tasting of each of the six Argentinian wines that were available.  I also gorged myself full of sugar.  They had macarons, come on!  Here's what I cheated with:
1. tasting of Chardonney, Merlot, 2 Malbec's, and 2 Cabernet Sauvignons
2. 6 macarons (pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, and vanilla)
3. a bite of cheddar, gouda, and some other smokey white cheese
4. 2 veggie potstickers with a little soy ginger sauce
5. a veggie mini pizza
6. some of the best guacamole I've ever had with a few chips
7. A chocolate chip cookie

Not so bad, overall.  A ton of sugar, sure.  Low in nutrients, probably.  But totally worth it!
I'll probably make the Fried Quinoa Bowl sometime next week once this challenge is over.


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 8

Welcome back.  Now begins week 2 of Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge.  In case you are just now joining me, take a look back at the past week to see what I ate and what I thought about it.  Or don't…

Breakfast: Blackberry Smoothie
Yes, I changed this one up quite a lot.  I tried last week, but I just can't eat yogurt anymore :(  I have been lactose-intolerant for many years now and avoid dairy milk and ice-cream, but yogurt used to be fine.  Not anymore.  So sad.  I love Greek yogurt, I used to put it on everything!  Oh well.  I used blackberries because there were no organic blueberries at Trader Joe's and I won't eat non-organic berries.  To add a little protein and creaminess that was missing since I didn't use yogurt, I put in a tablespoon of almond butter.  This smoothie was quite lovely.  The little touch of sweetness from the honey and the hint of vanilla are crucial.

Lunch: Shakshuka
This is the first time I have ever had this dish.  I almost made it with only one egg, because I also wonder if I might have problems with eggs too….  I probably just should have done an elimination diet to be certain…Oh well.  But in the end, I was starving and knew that one egg wouldn't tide me over.  The dish was really tasty, but The eggs overcooked really quickly, so be careful with that.  I didn't get the yummy runny yolks that I like.

Snack 1: Pear Slices with Almond Butter
I changed this one up from strawberries to pear.  Again, I won't buy non-organic berries, so I am waiting to get strawberries from the farmer's market tomorrow.  I also tried out the new tiny coffee place in my hood called Blacktop.  It is brainchild of one of Handsome's previous owners.  But I got green tea, since no coffee is allowed on this eating plan.  I did take a sip of my friend's coffee and while pricey (and comical at how long the barista took to make a pour-over) it was really damn good.  I will be back for a cup of my own whenever this challenge is complete.

Dinner: Roasted Eggplant with Hummus Chickpeas and Cauliflower
This was really tasty.  Again, no yogurt.  For Danny I gave him less eggplant and added some chicken and yogurt.  I was really shocked by the deliciousness of simply roasting the chickpeas and cauliflower then tossing with hummus and lemon juice.

Snack 2: Two Dates and Two Almonds
Gotta love these joke snacks.  When I go back to eating normal, I'll probably have a joke snack every now and then.


Clean Eating Challenge: Day "I took a break today"

Last week we found out that Danny was chosen for a Fellowship he has been wanting to apply for since he started his Ph.D.  He was out of town at the time and I was just beginning the clean eating challenge.  So we set aside tonight to celebrate his accomplishment with sushi from our favorite sushi chef at Hama.  It worked out perfectly because I was needing a break from all the eggs and steamed vegetables, as well as needing time to get to Trader Joe's.  So tomorrow will be Day 8 and I'll go from there.  In the meantime, here's what I ate on my day off.

Breakfast: Strawberry Smoothie
Normally I would have a strawberry banana smoothie, but all the bananas I have in the freezer are reserved for the next week of the challenge.  So I thought I would give a plain strawberry smoothie a try.  It was pretty good.  I put in a tablespoon of almond butter and a tablespoon of chia seed.  Nothing fancy, just simple, good food.

Lunch: Curry Pot Pie, a few bites of Raspberry Coconut Cream Pie, a tiny bite of Mexican Chocolate Pie, and about 1/3 a cup of black coffee from The Pie Hole
This was so good.  I savored every bite of it, saving most of the sweet pie for my night time snack.  The reason I got all of this was because it was FREE!!  That's right, thanks to Belly and the fact that Pie Hole is right between my home and my school, I racked up enough points for a free piece of savory and sweet pie and a coffee.  Score!

Snack 1: Raspberries.  Plain and simple.

Dinner: Hama Sushi
This is the best sushi place ever, especially because they discourage phone use and don't allow pictures. As much as I love taking pictures of my food, I appreciate situations like this more.  Here's what I had:
-albacore sashimi plate
-2 salmon
-1 eel
-1 halibut
-1 red snapper
-1 mackeral
-1 yellowtail
-about 1/2 a glass of Sapporo
-1 cups of green tea

Snack 2: 1/2 of the Coconut Raspberry Pie and a bite of Mexican Chocolate Pie
Thanks Scotty for the leftover piece of your pie!


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 7. End of Week 1

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit tired of this whole challenge thing….but I must see it through to the end!  Though, I will admit that tomorrow I am taking one day off to celebrate Danny's fellowship with dinner at Hama sushi.  In case you are just now joining me, I have been doing Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge and this is Day 7.

Also, it is worth noting that I have quite a few things leftover, possibly because my portioning was a little off at times, possibly because I had to buy a little more than was expected since I shopped at Trader Joes and things like the greens are sold in packages, not necessarily by the bunch….Anyway, I have the following leftover:
-Over half a thing of asparagus
-An entire bag of spinach
-almost half of a container of Greek yogurt
-The whole bag of collard greens (which went bad and I didn't even use, by the way)
-The lime vinaigrette from day 2
-about 1/2 cup roasted cauliflower
-a few scallions
-cucumbers and zucchini (because I had to buy more than just the one it called for)

Additionally, I may have cheated a little bit.  My friend brought me 3 starbursts: red, yellow, and orange.  I thought I would just sit them on my desk and have them in a little over a week.  Then I thought, "I'll just eat the red one since it's the best." Then I ate them all. Additionally, I may have had a tiny plate of vegetables at a talk at UCLA.  Very, very tiny, and I did not get a glass of wine, so I'm feeling pretty good about not giving in!

Breakfast: Poached Eggs and Asparagus
I like both of these things, and I like them together.  But it just seemed like a weird breakfast item to me.  Look at how weird one of my eggs turned out. When I tried to take it out of the water, the yolk just slipped through the slotted spoon, completely staying intact!  Also, I think I am terrible at poaching eggs…

Lunch: Black Bean Kale Salad
This was so yummy!  It reminded me of Veggie Grill's All Hale Kail Salad.  I could eat this quite often for lunch.  I subbed lemon for lime because I thought I was out of lime.  Turns out I have half a lime in the fridge.  I keep messing up on this whole thing.  Oh well, lemon and lime in this case are totally interchangeable!

Snack 1: One Clementine and two tablespoons of Almonds

Dinner: Tempeh Balls with Tomato Sauce over sautéed Kale and Spinach
I made a few changes here, obviously, given the title of the dish.  I don't eat meat, so instead of turkey, I used tempeh. They turned out rather nice, albeit dry.  Which would happen with the turkey too, I'm sure.  The tomato sauce helps, but it was still a bit tough to eat.  The collard greens had gone bad, but luckily I had kale and spinach leftover and sautéed those up for a lovely bed to place the balls and sauce on.

Snack 2: CHOCOLATE!!!
I love chocolate.  Since my chocolate farm tour and tasting, I can only eat good, dark chocolate.  Koa and Angela even recommended a few places to me for buying chocolate on the mainland: Taza from Boston and Askinosie from my home state of Missouri, both stone ground.  They also said that Trader Joe's has a good bar. Well, what do you think I had for my snack tonight?  That's right, Trader Joe's 85% cocoa Colombian bean bar.  My birthday is coming up, and I dropped a few hints to Danny as to what to get me (all of the above) as well as to finally go to Chocovivo and do their tasting and have hot chocolate.  I'm not obsessed or anything…


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 6

If you are just joining me, I am doing Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge and this is Day 6. Check out my other days below.

Breakfast: Mango Chia Pudding
This has to be prepared the night before.  I am actually a pretty big fan of chia puddings.  I started making them last year and tend to make a chocolate one when I'm craving something super chocolatey but want to be healthy.  This one was particularly tasty to me after a 5 mile run.  My first 5 mile run ever by myself, and my first one in 5 years.

Lunch: Mustardy Salmon Salad
Three cups of arugula is a little ridiculous.  That said, this salad is one of my favorite things from this eating plan so far.  I also still don't like the crunchy, almost raw, green beans, but still, this salad was amazing.  I was going to complain about the plan being wrong again because I didn't have half a lemon left, so I used my lime.  Turns out I did have lemon leftover though, in the fridge.  Whoops.  Anyway, the dressing tasted delicious and gave the salmon a nice Scandinavian flavor which worked well with the arugula too.

Snack 1: Carrots and Cucumber with hummus

Dinner: Vegetable Chili with Spicy Yogurt and Sautéed Zucchini
I didn't think I would like this since it doesn't have any chili powder and it looked a smelled like a boring vegetable stew.  But everything mixed together was amazing.  You have to have the yogurt with paprika in it on top of the chili, as well as the zucchini, because these two things make the dish what it is.  As far as making a full batch of the yogurt and freezing it?  That's dumb. It takes all of 20 seconds to whip up, just make it beforehand.

Snack 2: Pistachios and Blackberries
YUM!  What a great snack.  I will be eating more and more of this in the future.  Pre-shucked pistachios are a dream come true!