So Far So Clean

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

After my lifestyle change post a few weeks back I thought I would give you an honest update on how I’ve been getting on, what I’ve liked, what I haven’t (!) and what I plan to do to keep things interesting.

So far I’ve genuinely been enjoying it, I’ve definitely had more energy and I think the very fact I’m fuelling my body with nutritious food rather than vast quantities of processed junk makes you feel….good.

I think I mentioned before, I’ve found a few fail safe breakfast and dinner options that I make sure I am stocked up on ingredients wise, as well as fresh fruits, nuts and seeds for snacking.

Two areas I have become immediately stuck, lunch options and actually how much I can eat. There are certain things which I obviously have in moderation such as bananas, peanut butter and honey but there doesn’t seem to be obvious guidelines for portion size or quantities. I could just be incredibly dense of course, and I have just received the James Duigan Clean & Lean Diet Cookbook from Amazon so I’m hoping this will improve my knowledge and understanding.

I find that I’m trying new things more, mixing up old favourites with fresher “cleaner” alternatives and combining all sorts of flavours to create different variations of regular staple recipes (I’m pleased to report there have been more hits than misses!). I actually find cooking relaxing (I know, who knew?) and a way to switch off from work. Plus it gives James the opportunity to spend time with Mabel whilst I’m faffing about in the kitchen.

I’m loving a bowl of gluten free oat porridge made with almond milk in the morning, I mix it up by adding a combination of ground cinnamon, honey, organic raisins, chia seeds, flax seeds and various fresh berries (not necessarily all of the aforementioned in one go but I bet it would be quite delicious). Now the weather is warmer I sometimes just have a bowl of fresh fruit topped with low fat organic greek yoghurt.

Evening meal wise I’m loving pan frying chicken in coconut oil, omelettes seasoned with lots of herbs and filled with spinach, roasted peppers filled with cherry tomatoes, chives and feta and various crunchy salads (I really need to be a bit more adventurous with the latter so any good-for-you dressing recommendations would be appreciated).

I’ve never been a big lunch person, preferring more of a later breakfast/brunch a late afternoon snack and dinner thus missing it out altogether. I’ve experimented with a few soups and I’m fond of oat cakes topped with peanut or almond butter but that’s as far as my repertoire goes I’m afraid, if you are following a clean eating regime what are you tucking into come 1pm ish?

I’ve not been particularly good at cutting out tea and coffee, although I am no longer adding sugar. I’m also not a fan of almond milk in either (it’s fine in food) so have been using regular semi-skimmed. And there are times when the temptation to have something that is anything but clean is just too great and I cave (we did a two day photoshoot in Shropshire this week and let’s just say there was the most SPECTACULAR pavlova….) but I guess that’s ok once in a while. Or ahem, once a week (at least).

I still can’t get on with broccoli no matter how beneficial it is for you. Or fish. Or rocket (I think I’m on my own here but it just tastes unpleasantly peppery and acidic) and I have been partaking in the odd glass of wine (or two).

The image above is some of the stuff I have been sharing on instagram, if you want any more details just let me know in the comments box below. I’ve included some of the bits and bobs I’m keeping in my cupboards and using frequently in the grey boxes to the right of this text, do let me know if there’s anything else I could do with adding/mixing into meals too spice things up a bit.

I’m keen to try this cauliflower rice thing out as well as bodyism pancakes (something to do with cottage cheese but sounds amazing) and actually baking more healthy treats. Talking of which, we’ve enlisted Charlotte from Buttercream and Dreams to share some of her healthiest recipes yet right here on Rock My Style. And no, this wasn’t purely for my personal benefit.

Ok, maybe a bit.

Staple Ingredients

Gluten Free Oats
Sweet Potato
Low Fat Greek Yoghurt (unsweetened)
Flax Seed
Chia Seeds
Almond Butter
Almond Milk
Chopped Almonds
Cherry Tomatoes
Iceberg Lettuce
Pine Nuts
Butternut Squash
Coconut Oil
Lean Turkey Mince
Split Red Lentils

Key Seasoning

Ground Cinnamon
Organic Honey
Fresh Chives
Fresh Chilli
Vanilla Extract
Fresh Lime Juice

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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38 thoughts on “So Far So Clean

  1. If you’re looking for something more summery for breakfast then you could try porridge whips. I’m addicted to making coconut ones at the moment. In a blender put oats (I normally use 70g), some Greek yoghurt, some coconut milk, a couple of handfuls of coconut shreds, some blueberries, cinamon and chia seeds. Then blend it all together and split between two jam jars. Pop them in the fridge overnight and then you have breakfast for two days. I take mine to work in the jar so they’re really easy to take around. And you can do loads of different things with the flavour combinations. Apparently soaking oats overnight is really good because it helps your body digest them.

    For salads, I always make sure I have a batch of cold roasted vegetables in the fridge. Courgette and red onion are my favourites. I add these to leaves, cucumber, feta and houmous for lunch and it’s really filling.

    But it is the only salad I really make so if anyone has more interesting combinations then I’d love to hear them too!

    Your banana split looks really cute. I saw it on Instagram! Xx

    1. Jennifer Coconut whips sound fab! I didn’t know that about oats either, I’ll make an effort to soak them in future.

      I do a lot of roasted vegetables for dinner, I should just make extra in that case and save for my salads, super tip – thanks!

      The banana split was delicious, just maybe not something I should have every night πŸ™‚ x

  2. The Deliciously Ella app has some great lunchtime options. Salad type meals that you can make a batch in advance. We’ve tried a few and they’ve been really delicious. The kale crisps and sweet potato wedges are also amazing, as are lots of the juices and smoothies! We had cauliflower rice last night… It was actually quite nice and really easy. Since having Amelie I’ve been trying to eat “cleaner” and definitely feel better for eat. I agree though that lunchtimes are the hardest to cater for, as a sandwich or toast is just so easy!

    1. Have just downloaded! Thanks Sarah, looks really good, I’m not very good at apps, all I use is instagram and Vsco! I really want to get into making some smoothies, I used to make them quite often using frozen raspberries etc x

  3. Ohh, loving Jennifer’s coconut idea above, will certainly be trying that.
    I’m also loving these posts as clean eating inspiration, the stock cupboard list is so useful.
    The clean and lean books are great for recipes and learning the concept of what to avoid but I’d really be careful with portion sizes (most are serve 4 but would your husband really appreciate half an aubergine as his dinner..?!) they’re very small.
    Also new mums – if you’re breast feeding, we gotta eat and drink a lot of water and calories. There is a serious distinction because I got so told off by two medical professionals for not eating enough, you need serious calories to make milk (I think I read 2,500). So eat clean but eat up.
    I usually have 1/2 avocado with cherry tomatoes on toast for breakky, sometimes boiled eggs or fruit and porridge. Then I carb load at lunch ; ) with fresh pasta or some rice dish then try to do clean again for dinner with soup or salad. Roast butternut squash is awesome in salads.
    It will take longer to lose all my weight but I know I’ve gotta do it. Xxx

    1. Good point Sophie, it is important to make sure you are having enough calories for BF. Mabel is 100% bottle fed now but I do recall feeling quite weak and lethargic as I simply wasn’t consuming enough.

      I tend to make more for James than me, he’s 6ft 1 so definitely needs at least 2 aubergines πŸ™‚ x

    2. That’s such a good point Sophie, I am BF and I really want to eat clean but my body is craving sweet things all the time and I feel like clean eat doesn’t load me up with calories… xx

  4. My favourite dressing ever is one my Mum used to make a lot when I was a kid – it’s two thirds walnut oil and one third sherry vinegar – either with or without a dash of wholegrain or english mustard to bind it together. I think it’s pretty healthy but I’m not expert – it’s v yummy though!

    Also, if you’re struggling with almond milk, maybe investigate the lactofree stuff ( My sis in law found out she was lactose intolerant last year so she’s started drinking it – it has no gluten and less sugar than normal milk. But the best thing is it honestly tastes just like regular milk – my SiL doesn’t have ‘normal’ milk in her house anymore so I used it in my cereal/tea and it tastes the same.

    Is your hubby doing the clean eating thing too? What I’d struggle with is I know my fiance wouldn’t want to do this because he’s a massive foodie and wouldn’t want to cut back – so he’d have to make something and I’d make something else…and I know his would look tempting! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Kate

      Thanks for the dressing tip! I’m sure if you just used a bit it would be just fine calorie wise.

      James is quite enjoying my experimenting but as I mentioned in the comment above, I do make sure he has extra. Plus I often do some extra protein for him – say if I’m happy with a stuffed pepper and sweet potato fries I’ll do him some chicken too x

      1. Sweet potato fries are the future! They’re my absolute favourite thing about following a sugar free lifestlye – no one says they must be banned!

        Apparently cooking them in a bit of coconut oil is a good idea, so I am going to give it a go this weekend. What a geeky thing to be so excited about..

        I love these posts – they’re great for inspiration. Xx

        1. I’ll give that a go too Jennifer! not tried them in coconut oil yet.

          Thanks for the feedback, it’s the only way we know what folks enjoy x

  5. Hi Charlotte, very interesting post, I have the Abel & Cole cookbook and ALL the recipes are incredible and particularly the cauliflower couscous one! Their website is great too for recipes, it’s a shame their fruits and veg are so expensive, I got a box from them a couple of times and the quality of their products is incredible. Which leads to my question : Where do you buy your fruits and veg ? I buy mine at the supermarket as it’s so cheap but it doesn’t taste as good as whoolefoods or abel and cole. xxx

    1. I actually have a M&S food near me and find their fruit and veg much better quality than say Tesco or Sainsburys. Perhaps not quite the standard of Whole Foods but not far off (not as expensive either and they often have offers which I take advantage of and helps me to mix up the weeks recipes!)

      My sister swears by Aldi for fruit and veg – there isn’t one near me unfortunately x

      1. Thanks Charlotte, good point I’ll look at M&S, it seems like a good compromise between the expensive whole foods and the poor quality sainsburys!

        1. I use Abel & Cole and honestly I really don’t think they’re that expensive when you compare them with the cost of the same quality in the shops. If I bought everything that I get from A&C from M&S instead, I’d be spending way more. Plus I think you get a much wider selection from a veg box that from the supermarkets (also once you’ve got something you wouldn’t normally buy, you have to figure out a way to use it or its a waste!)

          I don’t work for Abel & Cole I promise! I just really like their veg and think its good value for money πŸ™‚

          The meat is also amazing, so much tastier than supermarket meat (and yes I would use a local butcher if I had a good one but sadly, I don’t)

  6. I am getting bored now with the restrictions on paleo lol! Three days left! I think the concept of it is good but there is so many things off bounds that are essentially healthy and part of everyday nutrition such as dairy for calcium and anything with wheat or grains. It’s hard! I’m going to take from it keeping sugar as low as poss, eating much less processed stuff and also not overdoing carbs. I have found that I am only eating about 700/800 Cals a day and when doing 12 hr shifts that are very busy I am feeling tired a lot. Plus daily workouts. It’s not deliberate it’s just I struggle to get food that’s good to go on the spur of the moment! Xx

    1. Paleo sounds really tough Alex, and 800 calories is not enough!!!! especially if you are doing workouts young lady.

      It’s easier for me now I’m working from home to eat healthier, when we go to meetings though it’s much more difficult, grabbing something on the go is rarely good for you! x

  7. Interesting stuff! I’m not fully doing the “clean eating” (yet), but am making a bit of an effort to eat healthier – mainly by cutting back on booze which I can feel having a big impact already. How annoying!

    In terms of salads, I don’t know where this would sit on the clean eating spectrum, but I like green leaves (spinach is good) mixed with roasted red peppers (jar or home made, if you have time!), sliced orange segments and avocado. Topped with a grilled chicken breast (or salmon fillet, if you eat fish) and you’ve got a pretty filling (and easy!) meal.

    For dressings, I really like olive oil mixed with lemon and freshly ground pepper. Simple but really tasty.

    Red magazine (I think it was Red) in their June issue did a brilliant “salad in a kilner jar” which basically showed you how to layer a salad that was great for packed lunches. I pinned it here (excuse the dodgy picture):

    K x

      1. Of course! It is brilliant – I tend to make the salad and keep the dressing seperate which also works well.

        K x

    1. Ohh orange segments, that sounds lush! I’ll try the lemon and pepper dressing too, thanks for the tip x

  8. I’m not sure which Clean & Lean book you bought, but I have both of them and can highly recommend the Clean & Lean Diet Cookbook: With a 14-day Menu Plan, I use this a lot more than the original book and there are much more recipes to choose from.
    By the way the clean and lean pancakes are amazing! Just be sure to have them with some berries and a drizzle of honey.

    1. Hi Candice! Yes it’s the diet cookbook I have, I’ve flicked through and the food looks lovely, can’t wait to try some recipes! x

  9. @Jennifer how much yoghurt and coconut milk do you put in? ot you just use little cartons of coconut milk?

    oooh and Charlotte what gluten free porridge do you recommend? I tried one once but thought it was horrid so went back to normal oats.

    For lunch when I’m being clean and need something quick and easy I tend to buy cooked salmon fillets (usually 3 for Β£10 from M&S!) and flake up a fillet in a bowl, add half an avocado and a squeeze of lemon juice, mash together with some black pepper and munch on ricecakes/crackers etc. Or if I’m really not in a lunch mood then making a juice or a smoothie is a great alternative, i love Jason Vale’s juice books

    Great posts….looking forward to eating cleaner when my little lady arrives, at the moment she definitely demands more carbs than I was used to before!!

    1. Ha ha ha Mabel seemed to want potatoes, ALL THE TIME!

      I like the Rude Health one – I bought it from Wholefoods, I also like their Oat and Spelt things with peanut butter on.

      REALLY wish I liked fish, I can’t even bear to look at it, and it can be so good for you x

      1. well this bubba likes toast, cheese and mayo – pref all at once πŸ™‚

        ooh forgot about your fish thing, ok this will sound odd – i used to hate all fish except cod. I did a juice detox for 7 days which completely cleansed my palate and weirdly afterwards i liked pretty much all fish and shellfish!! I have no idea why but it’s brilliant!

        the next time i did it I then ended up liking coffee…not so good! ha! but i find it really interesting how it makes different flavours suddenly appeal to me xx

        1. I have never done a juice detox, did you follow something on line or get something delivered? I wouldn’t know where to start?! I’d consider it if it made me like fish! x

          1. I bought a juicer from amazon, a Philips one, and the Jason vale 7lbs in 7 days book and turbo charge your life, inspiring! When not pregnant I generally do a detox about once every 4 months….sorts me out if I’ve gone through a tired and lazy phase!

            1. This sounds great, and I assume it must be recommended (i.e. 7lbs in 7 days sounds insane!)

              I have to say, I did feel I should have done a detox before starting my clean eating regime, to get rid of all the sugar/toxins and start a fresh. There is still time I guess! Is the Philips one easy to clean? that’s what made me give up on my smoothies/juices, the machine took forever to take apart, it seemed like too much hassle. x

              1. You do obviously lose some water weight when you just juice, and then if you stay eating clean afterwards it doesn’t all go back on. I usually lose about 4lbs but mainly love it for feeling like I’ve given myself an internal spring clean! It takes me about 5 mins to clean it, I fill the sink with soapy water before I start so then it’s easy, and just have a spatula to hand so I can whack the pulp straight into the bin xx

  10. Oh and look at the Green Kitchen – they have a lovely blog and FB page, i use their recipes all the time. My FAVE being the flour and sugar free banana pancakes! Amazeballs.

    and other tip is to check out the Medicinal Chef, both his books have loads of brilliant ideas xx

  11. You can make porridge using quiona if you want to have a change from oats – this is a tasty recipe that’s great for colder days I also love using courgette as a pasta replacement if I want a light supper, or peppers stuffed with cauli rice

    For a healthy sweet treat try blending frozen banana with a tiny bit of milk, honey and cinnamon for ice cream! You can also put in cocoa and peanut butter as extras – yum! x

    1. Ellie thanks so much for the recommendations! the ice-cream in particular sounds amazing and I’m determined to make cauliflower rice this weekend.

      In fact I’m off to the health food shop later today so will stock up on Quinoa xx

  12. I also love sweet potatoes, one of my fave things to do with them is roast in a little olive oil with crushed coriander seeds on top. The coriander seeds really add a little zing when you throw the potatoes through a mixed salad!
    I know I’ve said it before but following a little too much chocolate last week I opened up ‘Honestly Healthy’ and decided to do at least one new salad per week – they can become so dull otherwise.
    I did an aloe cleanse at the start of the year and lost 7lb in 9 days, one of the dinners I loved was quinoa, sugar snap peas, spring onion, Sainsbury’s chilli and coriander prawns and a squeeze of lime juice – it was so nutritious and ridiculously low cal.
    I love an omelette too – tonight’s was smoked salmon and spinach, the hubs was ham and lots of cheddar cheese – not quite so clean!!! Liz xxx

    1. Ha ha ha Mrs R that’s what I have to do with James’s omelettes sometimes – add ham and cheese!!!

      I actually genuinely prefer sweet potato fries to regular, so much tastier I think, I’ve been experimenting with chilli flakes (yum) and have also bought some maple syrup to roast them in, I’ll try and use only a bit obviously πŸ™‚

      1. Mmmm, maple syrup, now I need to give that a try! I was so inspired by the quinoa porridge Ellie shared a link to that I got up early to make it and clutched my little lunchbox for my entire tube journey feeling mighty virtuous!

  13. I’ve just started eating ‘clean’ too and have found the following blogs and books really helpful to keep me going: Honestly Healthy, Deliciously Ella, Hemsley and Hemsley and Madeleine Shaw.

    For lunch last week I roasted an array of Mediterranean vegetables with tomatoes and had that with spinach (kind of my own ratatouille). It’s quite versatile; you could add beans, quinoa, simple salad, lean meat etc to mix it up a little.

    Good luck with the ‘clean’ eating. x

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