It’s Time For A Super Awesome Giveaway!

In honor of our internet being turned on, we’re doing a giveaway!

Crochet Bow Bracelet

We’re giving away one of our super cute mustard crochet bow cuff bracelets AND a custom chevron recipe template!  You can choose any color your heart can dream up.

Chevron Recipe Template

To enter, just click the button below.  You can also get a bonus entry by liking us on Facebook!  Be sure to tell all of your buddies so no one misses out!

The giveaway starts on Tuesday, 8/27 at midnight and will end on Friday, 8/30 at midnight (Central Standard Time).

You can also check out the shop and take 15% off any purchase with code INTERNET15.  Can you tell that we’re happy about having the internet back?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 6

Last week I talked all about running.  I’m waiting for this crazy-hot Texas weather to cool down so I can begin running every night.  It’s still pushing 100 degrees at 7:30 in the evening.  No bueno.

 The Scacchi House: Adding Bodyweight Exercise

Once I made running part of my healthy lifestyle and regular routine, I started to feel like I needed to do more.  I could see what the good food and running were doing for my body, but I wanted to see my muscles!

I’ve never had much muscle definition.  Even when I played sports in high school (cheerleading, tennis, and golf), I had just an average body.  Remember, I’m actually thinner and more fit than I was in high school.

I mentioned here that after we run, Ava and I stop off to play at our neighborhood park.  Well, not only does our park have a playground (and volleyball courts, soccer fields, and a 1/3 mile gravel track), it also has some awesome fitness equipment.

When I first noticed the equipment, I was a little shy to try them out.  So for the first few days, I just casual read the signs trying to figure out how to use each one and what muscle groups it would work out.  Then I started using them.

At first, I did what I could.  I could handle the sit-ups and maybe a couple of push-ups.  Pull-ups (not the kind your toddler wears) whooped my butt.  I’ve never been able to do pull-ups, even in elementary school.  Fitness was never high on my priority list.  That has seriously changed.  Here is all the equipment I have available at my park.

The Scacchi House: Exercise Without The Gym

 My first bit of advice: Don’t be afraid to workout because someone might be watching.  You’re working out, they’re not.  That’s all I need to say about that.

My second bit of advice: Do what you can.  When I started, I couldn’t even do one pull-up.  I can now do four.  Pathetic, I know, but I can only improve.

So what can you do if your park doesn’t have any fitness equipment?

I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercise.  My baby sister introduced me to bodyweight exercise.  She thinned out and toned up by working out in bed while watching TV.  For real!  She did crunches, leg lifts, and slew of other things.  Not sure what bodyweight exercises you could/should be doing?  Check out YouTube!  There are so many helpful workout videos to be found.  I was also able to find a handful of free apps for my iPhone that have a workout circuit.  I also like the playground workout over at Nerd Fitness.

After a few weeks of regular exercise, you will find yourself looking at every object as fitness equipment.  A table can be used for push-ups, etc.  I have also become obsessed with walking.  Walking can be done for fitness too!

I started walking when we lived in Alaska.  Even when it was 9 degrees outside with 3 feet of snow on the ground, I would regularly walk to the grocery store.  Once you strap a baby to your front (in the Ergobaby), you’ve got a decent workout.  So it was only natural that I started walking everywhere I could once we got to Texas.  For me, anything within one mile (one way) is fair game.  We are lucky that there are many options within a mile.  Even if it’s 103 degrees out, there’s no excuse.

Since I’ve added additional exercises to my running, I have noticed a significant difference in my body.  I’ve got less arm flab for one!

The Scacchi House: No More Arm Flab

I’m starting to see muscle tone all over.  Once I started to see a change, I was curious about my body fat percentage (don’t confuse this with body mass index).  Although I haven’t actually measured, I’m estimating my current body fat percentage to be around 23-24%, based on pictures.  My goal is to be somewhere between 18-20%.

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to try out their fancy scales that supposedly measure body fat percentage.  Don’t waste your money (or time).  The most expensive scale said that my body fat percentage was 36%, which is ridiculously high for my body.  The Weight Watchers brand scale said I was 14%.  I’m no bodybuilder!  I’ll just stick with my estimate.

If you are trying to change your lifestyle, try adding a little at a time.  With these little changes, you will begin to see your body change.  With body changes, your attitude toward exercise and fitness will change.  It will no longer seem like work, but rather an exciting challenge and hobby.

nopin

If you missed any of the previous posts, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

How I’m Saving on School Supplies

The Scacchi House: How I'm Saving Money on School Supplies

Happy Monday!

I mentioned here that our nephew Rylan has come to live with us for the school year.  This is my first experience enrolling a child in public school.  Along with public school comes a long list of school supplies.  Many of the school districts in our area offer a “one-stop-shop” option.  For $50-$80, the school will provide your child all the supplies your child will need for the year.  I personally think this is a rip off.

So, in the attempt to save a few bucks on school supplies, I’ve been watching the sale ads like crazy.  I also made this handy spreadsheet to show you what I’ve found so far.  Oh, and Rylan is going to be in the 4th grade, if you were wondering.

The Scacchi House: Saving on School Supplies

*Mechanical pencils were not on the official school list.  Rylan asked for mechanical pencils, so we compromised and bought one pack along with regular no. 2 pencils.

You see that I still have a few things to buy.  I’m about half way finished and I’ve only spent $8.61.  My goal is to come in under $30.00 for everything.  If you are wondering about a backpack, Tony’s dad offered to pick that up for us, so I didn’t include that in the list.

We don’t do “new school clothes”.  When Rylan needs something, we just pick it up as we go.  I’m not buying into all the hype that kids need an entire new wardrobe to start the school year.

I’m also not going to shy away from returning anything I find less expensive elsewhere.  We still have two weeks until school starts, so I will keep you updated.

nopin

 

Living in a Small Space

I’m in love with small (and tiny) houses.

My obsession began while living in Alaska.  Housing is very expensive in Alaska.  We definitely had sticker shock coming from Florida when we arrived in Anchorage.  It was definitely worth it though.

I haven’t shared much about our apartment in Alaska, but I will now.  The space was small for a family of three.  We lived in about 750 square feet.  This may not seem that tiny but it was a studio (sort of).  Let me diagram it for you.

The Scacchi House: Our Alaska Apartment

Our living, dining, and bedroom space were all shared.  We did have a separate kitchen and bathroom.  It was comfortable.  I didn’t have many complaints about our small living space.  Ava is still young, so she doesn’t take up much space.  I think my biggest complaint was that it was difficult to watch TV after Ava was asleep.

We talked about building or buying a house, which made the cost of living a little more reasonable.  After a lot of research, I found out that very small (under 600 sq ft) houses are fairly common in Alaska, especially once you get out of Anchorage.  Add a composting toilet and a wood stove and you’re a regular homesteader.  Okay, maybe not.

I researched all sorts of “alternative housing”.  You can check out a few of my Pinterest boards to see more inspiration.  We considered many forms of small housing.  Traditional stick built, conex (shipping containers), cob (earth), and even modular homes were discussed.  There are more options out there than you could ever believe.

Here’s a plan I sketched up (using floorplanner.com) for a house using two 40-foot shipping containers.  It has just enough space for our small family at 670 square feet.

The Scacchi House: Shipping Container House

But then we were transferred.  Here we are about to move into an 1,800 square foot townhouse.  I’m overwhelmed to say the least.  I’ve been so used to living in small spaces, this new house seems like too much.  Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas.  I’m sure we’ll get used to it too.

My dream would be to one day have a tiny cabin (under 500 sq ft) somewhere.  A place where our kids could play in the woods and catch fireflies.  Someday!  Who knows, may we will have a little vacation cabin in Alaska.

How do you feel about small houses?  Could you ever live small?

nopin

The Feeling of Healthy: Part 5

Like I’ve said before, 80% of your journey will be in the kitchen.  You will start losing weight and feeling better just by eating better.  You will get to a point where you are comfortable with your eating habits and you want more.  The “more” I’m talking about is exercise.

The Scacchi House: The Feeling of Health - My Cardio of Choice

Even though I haven’t always had the best diet, I’ve always loved to run.  And by always, I mean since college.  I remember in college calling up my mom and telling her I was going to run a 5k.  She laughed at me.  She said that women in our family are not runners.  I started running anyway.  Fast forward to 2011, my mom and I ran our first 5k together.  We’re both runners.  She was wrong.

The Scacchi House: My Cardio of Choice

My aunt Sue, mom, and me before our Ft. Lauderdale, FL run.

Since that first race, I’ve participated in quite a few more.  I ran my second race while pregnant and then another 8k two months postpartum.  That’s the farthest I’ve run to date (more on that in a minute).

The Scacchi House: Running Postpartum

Finishing my first postpartum race in Clearwater, FL.

I love to run.  I love the high I get.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love being outside.  I really hate running on a treadmill.  Put me on a treadmill and in a half mile I’m bored out of my mind.  I know it’s not like that for everyone.  I also run for my own mental health.  Running really is the best therapy.

You don’t need to join a gym or buy some fancy equipment to get a good workout.  I’ll talk more about this next week.  You run in your neighborhood, bike local trails, or swim in your backyard pool, all for free.  Just find something and do it!

I’ve never been a fast runner, but I’m working on that.  My fastest race time to date is 34:35 for a 5k.  Believe it of not, that was my time from my first race.  I’ve got to get my butt in gear.  I would actually like to place in my age category at some point.

Since arriving in Texas, I’ve been running more than ever.  I didn’t run AT ALL while we lived in Alaska.  To be honest, I was afraid.  No, I was not afraid of bears (although the thought of a moose lurking around every corner kept me on my toes), I was afraid of slipping on ice.  I did try to stay active by pulling Ava in her sled.  Walking through 4 feet of snow is a fairly good workout.  Shoveling snow isn’t easy either.

I try to run 3-4 times per week.  I don’t stress if it doesn’t happen.  I take Ava out in the stroller with me.  I run for 2-3 miles, then we stop off at the playground for some playtime.  I definitely use our running as mommy/daughter bonding time.  I hope Ava too has a love for running some day.

I do have a confession.  I injured my ankle the day I posted Part 1.  I’m not exactly sure what caused it.  I had just switched to my Vibram FiveFingers a month and a half before AND I had been working on increasing my speed.  I just think I over did it.  On a positive note, the day I injured myself I ran a 9:45 minute mile, which is a record for me.  I have been pain-free for about two weeks now, but I’m just getting over this nasty cold that’s been going around.  I have only been back out twice since then.  I did a half mile the first night, pain-free.  Last week I ran the half mile to the store, went shopping, then ran back.  The next morning I had a little stiffness, but nothing major.  I’m just trying to slowly get my ankles back into the swing of things.  I’m going to get back out there again this evening.

I so look up to my friend Brittany.  She is training for her second half marathon.  I wish I could run one with her.  Sadly, I don’t think I will ever be able to run any distance longer than 4-5 miles.  Why?  Well, my legs took a beating during pregnancy.  While pregnant with Ava, I developed a nasty varicose vein.  There, I said it.  I am 26 years old and I have a varicose vein.  They are genetic, so I was bound to get one at some point.

I honestly don’t care how it looks, that doesn’t bother me.  This. Sucker. HURTS!  When I do run 3 miles, by the time I’m finished, my leg is THROBBING.  This is what will hold me back from a half marathon.  To help the pain, I’m going to get a compression sleeve for my calf (the vein is on the back of my calf).  Hopefully this will help.  Let me know if you have any other recommendations.

Running is my choice of cardio.  Your choice may be something completely different.  Whatever your choice is, get out and do it.  Make time for yourself; you are important.  If you have time to watch TV, you have more than enough time to get out and exercise.  You really only need 30-45 minutes.  At the same time, don’t completely stress out about it.  Some days it’s extremely hot here.  I don’t know about you, but I do not love running when it’s 100 degrees out.  On those days, I give myself a pass.

Try adding some sort of cardio to your journey to health, you will be so glad you did.

nopin

If you’re interested in reading the rest of the series, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Finally… Some Space

I’m sitting here on our new sofa, that I got free, by the way. I’m patiently waiting for the 15th to roll around. Why the 15th you ask? We’re moving!

Don’t worry, we’re not moving 4,300 miles like last time. We’re moving to a townhouse not far from here.

For the past 4 months, we’ve been staying with Tony’s mom and her family. It’s been wonderful and all, but it’s time to go!

We’ve gone back and forth on whether we should buy or rent. Ultimately, we decided to rent for the next year and see where life takes us. Who knows, maybe Cabo? You never know. It’s easier to pack up and go when you don’t own a house.

Part of me is bummed about not buying, ya know, being all DIY. I want to paint, change light fixtures, and maybe wallpaper. (Yes, wallpaper!) I’ve decided to make the best of it and do what I can with what I have. There are still plenty of DIY projects I can tackle in a rental house.

So about our rental! It’s 1,800+ square feet, which is gigantic to us. After living in super small spaces for the last 10 months, an entire house is a little overwhelming. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms. Our oldest nephew Rylan has come to stay with us for the school year (he’s 9, BTW), so it’s just the right size. I am very much looking forward to having our own bathroom, with a tub that’s not filled with squeaky toys. Yay!

Don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting pictures as soon as we move in. Well, as soon as they hook up the Internet.

We are super excited to share our new home and adventures with you!

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 4

Last week I posted about sugar addiction.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  You may also want to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

This week is all about meat.  I’m not a big fan of meat, I haven’t been for a long time.  If you would have asked me two years ago if I could ever completely give up meat, the answer would have been “absolutely not!”  I loved bacon way too much.

The Scacchi House: Why I Limit Meat

After I began this clean eating journey, I started to notice how meat played into our daily meals.  My husband and I were both raised to think that we needed a big slab of steak on our plate, paired with a large helping of starch and maybe a small helping of a green vegetable.  THIS is where my meals were failing me.

I’m not saying that this is how everyone views meat or that you must follow this to perfection.  There are many people who eat clean on a daily basis who still eat meat.  And don’t get me wrong, I still eat meat on occasion.  I will explain.

If I center my meals around meat, I find myself falling back into old habits.  I do not want meat to be the center of my meal.  I want my meal to be centered around fresh veggies (and fruits) and whole grains.  I personally find this very difficult to do when meat is involved.

Eliminating (or drastically reducing) meat from my diet forces me to explore a broad range of vegetables.  I have also started experimenting with different whole grains.  (Have you tried bulgur?)

If you can’t completely give up meat, treat it more as a flavoring agent or a side dish.  Make a hearty vegetable soup with a very small amount of beef or chicken.  You will find that you are just as satisfied (if not more so) with the subtle flavor of beef, without having to eat a full on beef stew.

If you feel the need for a steak, have a 4oz steak, not a 16oz.  The key to eating clean is balance.  And while I don’t eat any meat the majority of the time, there are a few exceptions.  I will snag a slice of bacon (just a slice!) now and then.  I actually had a burger for dinner this week.  It was not just any burger. It was a mixture of wagyu beef and bison. Tony cooked it up for me here at the house.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a burger.  It was good, but I’ve had my fix for a while.

With my burger, I had a spinach and quinoa salad filled with veggies and topped with this dressing.  Again, it’s all about balance.

The second reason I’m not big into meat is because commercial meat is not raised in a way that I feel appropriate for my food (or any animal for that matter).  We should have more access to humanly raised, healthy (grass-fed and maybe organic) meats here soon.  (More about this in a bit.)

Another bonus reason to limit your meat consumption?  You will save money at the grocery store.  Who can complain about that?

Whether or not you choose to eat meat, explore your veggies.  Fruits and veggies are the key to health.  Have a diet full of both and you’ll surly succeed.

Next week we bridge into the fitness and exercise portion on this series!

If you missed any of the previous posts, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

nopin

 

The Feeling of Health: Part 3

The Feeling of Health - Beating the Sugar Addiction

Confession: I was once addicted to crack. Seriously. Go do a search on Pinterest for crack, I’ll wait. That’s right, crack brownies, chocolate crack cake, Christmas crack, you name it. (It actually annoys the heck out of me that they call all of this crack, addicting as they are. I highly doubt any if these housewives even know what crack looks like, myself included.)

I was addicted to sugar.

I never understood why all of my dieting efforts never lasted long-term. I was always lured back to the dark side by my mom’s “Almost Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies”. I. Needed. Sugar! I was a lover of all thing sweet: Oreos, ice cream, cupcakes. I think you get the picture. I would try to swear them off only to have them call my name from the pantry. Just one more cookie. I was in a downward spiral.

It wasn’t until I watched the documentary Hungry for Change
(which I highly recommend) that I realized why I was so addicted to sugar and why I couldn’t beat it. Sugar is in EVERYTHING. No, I’m not exaggerating, it’s really in almost everything.

How I Beat the Sugar Addiction

Coffee creamer: SUGAR. Pasta sauce: SUGAR. Wheat bread: SUGAR! Everything we consume is laced with sugar. No wonder we’re all addicted.

So how did I beat the sugar addiction? It was actually easier than I would have ever imagined.

Once I decided to eat clean, I knew I needed to stay clear of sweets for a while. I wasn’t sure how long it would be until I allowed myself to indulge in a treat, but I knew it needed to be done.

I cleaned out our pantry, fridge, and freezer of ANYTHING containing added sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Obviously, sugar is naturally occurring in things like fruit. I’m talking about unnatural, added sugar. The only “sugar” I allowed in the house in the beginning was honey.

With no sugar in the house, the first few days flew by. If I wanted something sweet, I ate a pear or had a mug of green tea with some honey. When I fist started drinking green tea, I added a tablespoon or so of honey to the mug, I now drink is straight or occasionally with a small drizzle of honey. Huge change!

By the end of the first week, I was enjoying being creative with my food that I was no longer thinking about junk before bed. I began thinking up new and interesting things to make for dinner.

By the end of the second week, I was able to pass up a cookie. It honestly didn’t look that great. I had a pear and some cheese as a snack. I knew something had finally changed. The addiction was broken.

The key to ending the addiction was removing all the hidden sugars from my diet. I can stop buying ice cream, but if I’m sucking down bagels loaded with high fructose corn syrup, my body is continuously going to need that high. This is why you continue to crave the junk.

Don’t be fooled into thinking sugar-free is your ticket either. Artificial sweeteners also make your brain crave sugar (on top of a slew of other horrible things). This is also another reason to skip anything labeled “fat-free”. How do you think they make fat-free foods not taste like cardboard? They replace the fat (which your body needs) with sugar! You think you’re doing yourself right by eating that salad with fat-free dressing? You might as well eat a candy bar.

You have to quit, cold turkey. You will notice changes in that first week or two. You will feel better, have more energy, and probably drop a few pounds.

I now get to choose when I indulge and on what. I am no longer tempted by a box of donuts or a piece of cake. I know that it’s poison and to be completely honest, unless it’s its something really special (or homemade from scratch) it’s going to taste like garbage because it’s made of garbage.

I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I get to eat whatever I want, because I want and crave the good stuff. I eat great 95% of the time and indulge occasionally. And when I do indulge, it’s definitely not on something commercially made (with the exception of a dark chocolate bar). The thought of never dieting again is incredibly freeing.

Food doesn’t have to control you. Once you’re in charge of your food, you might be shocked by the choices you make. From scratch apple cinnamon oatmeal instead of a slimy glazed donut, Yes Please!

Do you feel addicted to sugar? What have you done to change it?

If you missed them, you can check out Part 1 and 2 here and here. Next week in Part 4: Why I Limit Meat

nopin

Super Simple Veggie and Wild Rice Soup

All three of us are sick.  We’re not sure where it came from, or where it’s going, but it’s not fun.  Luckily, I think it’s just a bad cold.

One thing that always makes me feel better is a good bowl of soup.  I love this soup and any variation of it for its simplicity and deliciousness.  It’s so simple that it really doesn’t require a recipe.  It’s also great for using up all those extra veggies you have in the fridge.  That being said, this is more of a “flavor guide” than a recipe.  You can make as much or little as you want.  I made just enough for Ava and myself because Tony was suffering at work.  I told him to go pick up some Pho as a consolation prize.

The Scacchi House: Veggie and Wild Rice Soup

So what’s in the soup?

  • Wild Rice
  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Kale
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Veggie Broth
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Half & Half (optional)

That’s it, really!

I had about 3/4 cup of left over veggie stock.  I added it to the pot along with a jar lid full (I told you, this is not an exact science, but it was about 1/3 cup) of wild rice.  I diced a carrot and a small potato; into the pot they went.  I added some water to cover everything.  You could use all stock, but I just used what I had.

Bring it all to a boil.  While its boiling, mince up a nice size chunk of fresh ginger and add it to the soup.  If it looks like your soups getting dry, just add more water.  No stress.

When the rice is about half-way done, finely chop your kale (rib removed) and add it to the soup.  Simmer the soup until your rice is cooked, about 30 minutes total, adding more water if needed.

Once your rice is tender, season with salt and pepper.  I also added a splash of organic half & half to make it creamy.

The Scacchi House: Veggie & Wild Rice Soup

This really is a perfect bowl of soup when you’re sick.  Pair it with a mug of green tea and honey and you’ll be on the road to recovery.  Oh, and it’s toddler approved!

Do you have a favorite go-to soup recipe?

nopin

The Feeling of Health: Part 2

The Scacchi House: The Feeling of Health - How to Eat Clean

Last week in Part 1 I outlined how I got to this point. Oh the many years of believing spray butter was healthy. I was so wrong.

I firmly believe that food is 80% of the battle.  You can exercise all you want, but if you eat garbage, that’s all your body will ever be. You are what you eat, right. If so, I wanted to be bright, colorful, and healthy, not fake and carcinogenic.

The Scacchi House: Intro to Clean Eating

Photo Credit

So what exactly is eating clean? I guess it could mean slightly different things to different people. To me, eating clean is basically eating real, whole, and natural foods. Your food shouldn’t come from a package or have ingredients that you can’t pronounce. That mean no more Oreos. Don’t freak out.

When I began this journey I simply stopped buying crap. I let Tony finish up the few “bad” things left in the house and began from scratch. I stopped shopping in the center aisles at the grocery store (with a few exceptions). I began viewing processed food as poison, because that’s what it is.

The Scacchi House: How to Eat Clean

So what do I buy? What do I eat? It’s very simple. So lets say your typical dinner plate consists of 50% meat, 30% carbohydrate, and 20% vegetables, my dinner plate looks drastically different. My plate typically consists of 70% vegetables and 30% carbohydrates. Remember, I don’t eat meat, only on a rare occasion. If you don’t think you can completely cut meat, change your ratios around. Vegetables should make up at least 50% of your meal. Your carb should be a whole grain. Try recipes that use meat more as a side dish or as a flavor enhancer. A lot of Asian and southwest dishes come to mind.

Take a look in your pantry. Make a list if your favorite things (or everything for that matter). You need to find replacements for them all or eliminate them from your diet. Read the back of every label. I guarantee that only a few things are worth eating.

The Scacchi House: Clean Eating Food Swaps

Swapping your food won’t be as difficult as you think.  Your peanut butter should be just that, peanuts (and maybe a little salt).  Take a look at your favorite coffee creamer.  I bet you will be shocked that it’s not cream at all.  Most likely, the first three ingredients are water, sugar, and partially hydrogenated oil.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “cream” my coffee with oil.  Swap it for some half and half.  Watch the non-organic kind though, sometimes they have emulsifiers and preservatives, both of which are a chemical-slurry-no-no.  As for butter, real is always better.  Margarine has absolutely no nutritional value, bugs won’t even eat it.  Stay away from the fake stuff (any butter replacement) and enjoy some butter.

Look to your veggies for inspiration. For the first few weeks, look for vegetarian recipes online. Try new things. If you don’t know where to start, check out my Pinterest food boards.  Get creative!  I can’t even begin to tell you how many fruits and veggies I had only had frozen from a can. Don’t be afraid.  Try to buy as much fresh fruits and veggies as possible.  I do not buy anything canned, with the exception of these two bad boys.

Canned Goods

I love cooking with coconut milk.  I made a vegetarian curry just last night.  I tried it with bulgur instead of rice… AMAZING!  I use San Marzano tomatoes to make pasta and pizza sauce.  I just add a few herbs and spices, drop it in the blender and it’s ready to go.  Canned veggies are better than none, but avoid them if you can.  The cans are lined with BPA, which is no bueno (and another post all together).

As for frozen, I like to have corn, peas, and maybe pearl onions on hand for soups.  That being said, I ONLY buy organic frozen veggies.  TWICE I have found metal shards in conventional frozen corn, but never in organic.  I’m not taking a chance with my family.  Fresh fruits and veggies are not that expensive. Try everything, you will be pleasantly surprised when you find new favorites. In the first few weeks of eating clean, cooking and eating became an adventure. I was experiencing flavors and combinations I had never had before.

So you want specifics? This post could go on forever.  I’ll give you a few examples.

At breakfast you eat a bowl of fruity pebbles (or insert any other commercial cereal here). Put them down. You are killing yourself with overly processed grains, sugar, and artificial colors and flavors. Instead, make a bowl of 6-grain oatmeal. Yes, the kind you actually have to cook. Food should never be fast or cheap, that’s my motto. Top it with fresh fruit and maybe even some chia seeds. If you are missing the sweetness, drizzle a small bit of raw, unfiltered local honey or REAL maple syrup in top. A little goes a long way.

Swap everything for the REAL version. Yep, I’ve lost 20 pounds eating butter, no joke. I’m giving you permission. If it’s not real, it has no business being in your kitchen. If it says low-fat or fat-free, it doesn’t belong (with a few exceptions). I buy full fat dairy. Cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc. I do buy 2% organic milk and my yogurt and cottage cheese are reduced-fat/fat-free of some sort, but that’s just how they come. Fat free translates to “full of sugar.” We don’t want any of that.

The Scacchi House: How to Eat Clean

I love love love plain Greek yogurt.  I put it on everything.  I use it like sour cream.  You can make it sweet (with fruit and honey) or savory (add fresh herbs and spices).  Get creative!

Stay away from sugar-free, no sugar added, and artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are fake and don’t belong in your body. If you need sugar for something, use organic raw cane sugar. I use hardly any sugar anymore. In fact, I only buy it by the half-pint (Our local bulk store lets me bring my own jar!).  Once you wean your body off of it (in about 2 weeks), you will no longer crave it.  Seriously!

The Scacchi House: Eating Clean

If you are going to eat meat, try to find 100% grass-fed and organic if possible. Your body can’t handle all those hormones and antibiotics (this is why 9-year-old girls have boobs).  All seafood should be wild caught, never farmed and definitely not from China.

So what are some of my new favorite foods?

  • Avocado – Full of healthy fats, this fruit goes with everything. If you’re not sure about it, try it several ways.  I use it in salads, wraps, pasta and rice dishes, pretty much everywhere.  It’s Ava’s favorite food. She eats it straight from the skin.
  • Quinoa – This is sort of new on the scene. It’s actually a seed, not a grain. It cooks up just like rice. It is a complete protein, which is great for vegetarians. It has a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Chia seeds – These are the same seeds from everyone’s favorite chia pet. They don’t taste like anything, so they are a great addition to just about anything.  They are high in omega-3 and fiber.
  • Beets – Really!  I use them in tacos or slice them up and grill them for a beet slider.  Top them with some homemade green goddess and you’re ready to go.
  • Sprouts – I never liked sprouts because I thought they were all from mung beans.  You can sprout just about anything.  I love broccoli sprouts and I have some quinoa sprouts growing.  They are great to top salads, sandwiches, or soups.

Eating clean isn’t difficult.  Once you get through the initial week or two and you’re no longer addicted to sugar, you will look at cakes, donuts, and candy as toxic waste.  I’m not going to lie and tell you I’m perfect.  I did have ice cream last night and I occasionally indulge in an 85% dark chocolate bar (eaten over a few nights).  You will not get it right 100% of the time, but you can try your best.  Eat fresh, real foods and cook from scratch, that’s my best advice.

If you have any specific questions about eating clean or any recipes, leave me a comment or email me at scacchihouse@yahoo.com.

Here’s Part 1 if you missed it.  Stick around for Part 3: Beating the Sugar Addiction.

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