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Clean Eating, ParentingAces Style

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What we put into our bodies definitely impacts what we can expect to get out of them. If we fuel ourselves mainly with processed foods, hormone-filled meats and dairy products, and genetically-modified fruits and veggies, then we are setting ourselves up for health issues, low energy, and reduced productivity. If, on the other hand, we commit to eat "clean" foods -- if even that only means starting with one clean meal per week -- we can expect to feel more energetic, have an easier time maintaining our ideal weight and body composition (fat to muscle ratio), and find ourselves being more productive day to day. The effects of clean eating are cumulative and may take several days to kick in. For me, the first few days of the Challenge left me feeling a big sluggish, but by the end of the 1st week, I had enough energy to power through my workouts, tennis practices, and whatever else life threw at me.

After calculating our before-Challenge and during-Challenge food spending, it looks like we saved about 30 percent in total food costs eating cleanly. And that includes several shopping trips at pricier markets like Whole Foods and Fresh Market. I think the difference is mostly due to the fact that we typically eat out at least twice per week (my husband eats lunch out almost every weekday), and during the Challenge that really wasn't an option.

In terms of body changes, here's what we experienced:

My husband, Matthew, lost a total of 2 1/4 inches overall, including a 1 1/4 inch gain in his thigh which is a desirable outcome. I suspect had he been working out consistently throughout the 3 weeks of the Challenge, he might have seen more dramatic changes, especially since he wasn't working out at all before the Challenge. I lost a total of 2 1/2 inches and my daughter, Emma, lost a total of 1 1/2 inches. That may not seem like much, but understand that our exercise habits didn't change during the Challenge -- we were already doing ClassPass and working out at least once per day. The major change for the two of us had to do with cutting sugar and, to a lesser extent, alcohol. While weight- and inch-loss wasn't really our goal here, it is definitely a beneficial perk of clean eating!

For those of you who want to give it a try, here is our 21-Day Challenge (modified from the Chef V 21-Day Challenge), complete with daily posts, menus, recipes, and workouts! Try it for one day, one week, or clean up your eating habits long-term. I'm not going to lie... having the Queen of the Kitchen here to do all our menu planning and most of our meal prep made this Challenge much simpler than if I had had to do all those things by myself. It takes a lot more work to eat cleanly, for sure. And it takes a commitment from the entire household. But, the long-term results are definitely worth the short-term inconveniences, especially if they mean lower food and healthcare bills over time!

for Chef V's website

Click here for the Queen of the Kitchen website

Click here for a Google list of Green Juice recipes