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Clean Slate Challenge: Forming New Habits

In celebration of our newest book, "Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide" (Clarkson Potter, 2014), the editors at Martha Stewart Living invited some of our contributors to take the three-day #CleanSlateChallenge! The mission? To eat nothing but whole foods. "Clean Slate" underscores the beneficial impact of whole foods, refreshing fruit and vegetable juices, satisfying snacks, and healthy desserts (yes, even desserts). Can we do it? We’ll be blogging about our progress. Stay tuned ... and join us!

Today, the last day of the challenge, I finally get the smoothie absolutely right. I used a type of grapefruit called oro blanco, which is a lovely light golden-green color -- the result of a cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit -- and a Macoun apple. After blending it for an additional minute or two, the texture is delightful. Robbie is particularly enthusiastic about the leftover smoothie this morning, and I agree it's extra tasty. 

 

I am really into the ease of my new morning routine, and vow to make premade salad toppings a regular part of my week. This challenge has inspired me to be more disciplined about making big batches of tabbouleh and shredded or roasted vegetables on Sundays. It's really rewarding that I can avoid wasting money on takeout without scrambling for time.

 

I thoroughly enjoy the smoothie and the salad, even though it's day three of eating the exact same meals. The freshness of the fruits and veggies is so flavorful and nutritious that I think my body just responds well to them. I don't really get bored with the lack of variety since there are so many ingredients in each dish. Each time I've eaten them, they've felt different enough to keep me interested. We are super busy wrapping up new features at SproutVideo HQ, so time flies as I put the finishing touches on social media and email campaigns. Thankfully, eating clean has kept me from getting hungry between meals.

 

I'm playing soccer tonight, so I know I'll need an extra snack. It doesn't help that it's outdoor soccer and all of 34 degrees outside. I eat just one serving of tortilla chips before the game. Any more than that will make me feel ill, but the low-fat carb is an easily digestible source of energy. My team plays really hard, but everyone seems to be a little rusty after a few holiday weeks off. We never really find our rhythm and are ultimately defeated 3-1. We trudge to a local bar after the game to drown our collective sorrows, and I have a Guinness, my first drink of the week.

clean-slate-carrot-spinach-soup-0115

Even though everyone's spirits are perking up and conversations are getting more lively, I excuse myself and head home before ordering another one. I mentally congratulate myself on exercising restraint! Since I spent roughly 40 minutes sprinting after a soccer ball in extremely cold weather, I don't hesitate to make some toast to accompany the last of the soup, which I thoroughly enjoy. I spend the rest of the evening relaxing on the couch with Obi and Robbie, catching up on Jon Stewart.

 

One of my major takeaways from the Clean Slate Challenge is that I am much more likely to change my routine and make healthier decisions when I take the time to prepare healthy foods in advance. Nothing will make you want to eat a bunch of vegetables like having a fridge full of prepared slaws and salad greens. To Robbie's delight and benefit, I am also really into the whole fruit smoothie thing, so I plan to keep making that a part of my day as well. I feel better as a result of this experiment, and that's reason enough to continue incorporating more whole foods on a regular basis. Thanks, Martha!

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