New This Month

Clean Slate Challenge: Making Health a Priority

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!

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When I was asked to participate in the Clean Slate Challenge, I was excited! I've done a lot of research over the years on my quest to becoming my most healthy self, and this seemed like a great opportunity to try some new recipes. As some of you may know, it's not easy to eat clean if you plan on having a life. But the risks of not doing it can be grave, so I try my best.

 

Clean eating has always been an interest of mine since I was a child. Growing up, I did not have many examples of good, healthy living to learn from. My mother had a triple bypass when I was 17. Her illness was most likely brought on by a combination of too many unhealthy habits and too little exercise. After seeing her go through that, I decided I wanted to live a long, healthy and happy life.  

The things that I practice (and seem to work), seem to boil down to about 5 basic rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water. It's great for your skin, increases energy, and aids weight loss.

  2. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep decreases stress levels and re-energizes your whole body.

  3. Eat balanced meals, often. Eating 4-6 smaller portioned healthy meals is better for your metabolism than eating three large meals.

  4. Exercise as a lifestyle, not a checklist item. Hitting up the gym for three hours per week and then sitting on the couch for every second of your down time? Be sure to incorporate your exercise as an intrinsic part of your lifestyle.

  5. See a specialist or doctor and create a list of vitamins or supplements for your body type and diet. 

Because I make healthy choices a priority, I was excited to start the challenge. The first meal of the challenge is the strawberry, grapefruit, and ginger smoothie. Warning! If you do not like grapefruit you will not like this breakfast shake. I enjoy the taste of grapefruit, so I thought it was delicious. The strawberries and apple balance the bitter taste but do not cover it entirely. It also keeps well overnight in the fridge which makes prep a breeze.

The beet, avocado, arugula salad was an amazing balance of color and taste! I will be eating this more often. I would recommend buying pre-shredded beats to save on time and clean up. Also, for the dressing I added a little olive oil, which is high in calories but a good part of any balanced diet.

 

For dinner, I found the carrot, spinach and green bean soup to be refreshing, but in need of some extra spices. I will be adding homemade chicken stock to it next time I make it. I also found the leftover soup to be a good on-the-go breakfast if needed.

 

Admittedly, I did not completely follow the rules of the challenge because my level of activity requires a higher caloric intake. But I think it's okay to tweak a meal plan to your own needs.  To round out my meals, I incorporated healthy snacks and protein shakes. Overall, the three days of eating clean really made me feel great. I will definitely be making these recipes again and again! Thank you, Martha & team!

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