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May 2018

How to start clean eating

Eating clean is simply eating more natural, healthy, wholesome food, and less processed, nutrient-depleting, industrial food. Put like that, it sounds easy, doesn’t it? But how to start clean eating, for the majority of us out there, can be daunting. Processed food (anything with a packaging, really) is the norm, it’s what we grew up on and it’s the only food that’s (seemingly) available in the shops.

So do you start eating clean? Do you go T-total, or try a more gradual approach? It will depend on you and your circumstances, and I believe there are ways to go clean to suit everybody. I have listed few tried and tested methods below, from the most radical to more moderate approaches.

Option 1 – The Great Purge

This is the most radical approach to quickly purge your kitchen, pantry, fridge, and freezer and start from scratch. Not really suited to families though.

Market stall full of fruits and vegetablesSome folks out there go for a radical, uncompromising approach: they throw away all their foodstuff that isn’t considered clean and start with a clean slate. The idea is to purge your pantry and your fridge of all food that would detract you from eating clean, so you are not tempted to eat something processed or refined from there on.

The pros – it allows you to start from scratch and stick with your new clean diet quickly, simply by removing the temptation at home. This might work well for people that need to radically and suddenly change their diet, for serious health reasons, for example.

The cons – while the temptation might not be at home unless you know exactly what to eat and how to eat it, you will likely fall back on old habits the next time you shop or go out. So a fair amount of research must go in hand with the purge.

You might also get the dreaded detox flu as your body has to get rid of vast amounts of toxins in a short period of time.

The risk is also to end up removing a lot of junk food, but without knowing what clean food to add back into your diet, and not eating enough. Eating clean is not a restricting, short-term diet, it’s a lifestyle. Deprivation and calorie-counting do not belong in a clean eating diet.

It takes a good few weeks (some say 3, but evidence shows that even 21 days is not enough for massive changes like this) to set up habits, and unless you have a major reason to do this, this method is more likely to fail as you battle through your new way of eating.

Good for – the Adventurers, the Radicals and the Highly Motivated

Option 2 – The Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner approach

“Clean” one meal at a time, breakfast, then lunch, then dinner is a gentler approach. This is the one I personally followed, without realizing it.

Breakfast
How I did it

I started with the breakfast, which was giving me a lot of grief. Being French, I grew up on “tartines”, French bread smothered with butter and jam, or sugar-laden breakfast cereals, with a cup of hot chocolate as a child, then coffee or chicory as an adult.

And at 10 am, I would crash. I would get brain-fog and cranky at school. In my teens, the sugar crash would actually cause me to feel faint if I didn’t eat anything by 12. I actually passed out a couple time during my student years, because I had forgotten or hadn’t had the time to eat anything by lunch. Did I learn from my mistakes? Nope, I just carried on glucose tablets in my bag all the time!

Eggs on toast with saladI later alleviated the problem somewhat by switching to good old porridge oats in the morning, but I would still need a snack at 10. I only switched to a protein-based breakfast after the birth of my second daughter, when I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and had to forgo oats. The relief was immediate and immense. I could just have 2 eggs and a tomato and carry on with the same level of energy until 12. I stopped feeling faint, I didn’t need to permanently carry glucose tablets or snacks with me. and I lost the sugar-induced brain fog. My hunger signs became, well, normal “empty stomach” hunger signs, rather than crankiness and faintness.

Apologies for the long personal digression, but this was truly my turning point. And given that most people’s breakfast is sugar-laden, I’m guessing it might be the same for a lot of people out there.

Why start with changing your breakfast?

Breakfast is also an easy meal to turn clean first, because it usually happens at home, is quickly prepared and is by far a personal affair. So, you don’t have to find recipes to please a whole family. It’s just you, your taste buds and your appetite.

But being the first meal of the day, if you find the clean breakfast that works for you, it will make a huge difference in how comfortable and productive your mornings are. Basically, that’s half of your day sorted. There and then.

Lunch

…will naturally be next, again because it mainly involves you. It typically requires a little more prep at home, if you’re bringing your own lunch, or being savvier with your choice of bought-out lunch. But you only have to cater for yourself, and you, therefore, have a lot more options.

If you haven’t done so naturally by then, snacks should probably be your next target, to make sure you don’t ruin your clean day by snacking on the wrong kind of food after work or when in need of a pick-me-up.

Dinner

…will probably be the most challenging meal to swap to clean food. Not through lack of delicious options, but simply because it usually involves other people, their taste buds, and their culinary expectations. Serving a whole plateful of healthy, natural greens to your kids every evening is not likely to earn you any brownie points.

Chicken kebabs with vegetablesBut by then, you are likely to have a good idea of what foods are allowed in a clean eating kitchen and how to prep them. My honest advice here is to involve the rest of your household. There are plenty of recipes that allow you to replace the family favorites with cleaner versions. Your children are also more likely to try your new meals if they have chosen the recipe and some of the ingredients. Or, even better, if they have helped prepare it.

How long should it take you to change every single meal? As long as you need. Everybody is different. This is not a short-term fad diet, but a new way of eating. Set yourself realistic targets and stick to them. Remember the 80/20 rule. It might be that clean eating works for you during the working week, but that you need to relax it a bit at the weekend. Or all the time, apart from lunches with clients. My kids know that they’re allowed a “naughty” in their lunchboxes on Fridays.

Good for – the Inadvertent Clean Eaters, the Morning Slumpers

Option 3 – One food category at a time

Or how to swap one food category for a cleaner version at a time, starting with the worst offenders.

This is another stepped approach that can work well to change from a drastically processed diet. It consists of identifying the industrial food that needs to be removed from your diet. Then the clean food that needs to make its way into your diet. Then decide to make one change per week or per month.

Fresh clean water is bestFor example, the first change could be gradually cutting out sugary drinks and drinking more water. The second one, replacing refined starches with whole grain ones. The third one, adding an extra portion of vegetables per meal. Then replacing biscuits, cakes and sugary treats with fruits or clean snacks. Switching to cleaner protein sources. Cutting down/out shop-bought prepared meals and takeaways. Etc.

The key here is to seriously take stock of what you are currently eating, and making a plan to stick to, with realistic timeframes for you and your family.

Good for – the Organised, the Reluctant Families

Option 4 – The Meal by Meal approach

Change one meal at a time: take each of your meals and try and go cleaner every time. In small baby steps.

This is a very gradual option: you consider each meal and replace it with its cleaner equivalent.

Breakfast bowl with granola and fruitsFor example, replacing your breakfast cereals with organic granola, or your morning toasts and jam by rye bread and plain peanut butter.

For lunch, you can just switch to wholegrain bread for your sandwiches, and choose chicken over salami. Or pick a quinoa salad, rather than your usual pasta salad. You could replace your usual chips with vegetable chips or plain corn or potato chips.

And instead of cheese macaroni at dinner time, try whole wheat pasta Bolognese for a healthier option. Soft drinks can be replaced by 100% fruit juices, then diluted juices, then water.

The idea is to constantly try and go cleaner and more natural. Until you reach a point where the vast majority of your food is untampered with and free of added sugar or additives. Hint – to get to that stage, you will have to buy whole products and prepare them from scratch.

The good thing about this technique is that the changes will be very gradual. You keep your favorite meals, just tweaking the recipe a bit. Sor it’s great if the rest of the family is initially not so keen on changing their eating habits. But it will take you much longer to arrive at a stage where you only feed your body whole natural ingredients.

Good for – the Hesitants, the Reluctant Families

Option 5 – The Cleaner Shopping option

Basically, you replace the content of fridge and pantry with cleaner ingredients as you go along.

This probably goes along the previous method. Every time you run out of something in the pantry or in the fridge, replace it with a cleaner version. Again, the changes are gradual and will allow you to eat the same food, to a certain extent, just cleaner.

On the plus side, there’s no wastage, as you get a chance to finish what you have at home before buying new cleaner groceries.

Grocery basketThis approach will still get you to look at cleaner options out there and checking out ingredients list, which is a good start.

But the risk is to only clean up your diet so far, as shop-bought options can only be that clean. Ultimately, you want to get rid of all processing, and this involves buying raw, unadulterated ingredients and cooking from scratch.

To avoid this, this approach is best combined with Option 6 below.

Good for – the No-Wasters, the Careful Shoppers

Option 6 – Change your Favorite Shop

Swap you main shopping haunt for another one offering more natural, whole products.

Make a point of buying food in shops or places that offer cleaner products. You’ll automatically end up discovering new ways of eating and trying more wholesome food.

Cleaner supermarkets

Whole Foods Market seems an obvious choice. Trader’s Joe comes up time and time again in clean eating food blogs. But there are other supermarkets out there that are just better stocked with fruits and vegetables, offer lesser processed foodstuff and more geared towards natural and organic products. Look out for them and try them.

Don’t forget to shop online too. Thrive Market allows you to buy clean, organic products at a fraction of their retail price.

Farmers’ markets

Fresh marketIf you are lucky to live near a farmer’s market, this could become your favorite place to stock up on fresh local food. We belong to those lucky ones. Since we have to cook everything from scratch, it makes sense for us to source the best and cheapest fresh products out there.

Farm-to-door boxes

Farm-to-door services are also a great solution to make you get fresh organic fruits and vegetables delivered regularly. Some cover an extensive area in the US, but I would favor local ones, simply to reduce the transport and storage.

Good for – the Undecisives, the Marketing Junkies

Whichever the option you decide to go for…

…education is key

Unless you know who the Bad Guys are and who the Good Guys are out there, there’s a high risk you will just end up piling up on junk food labeled “natural” or “healthy”, because their packaging (and their clever Marketing Managers) says so.

You can educate yourself about clean eating before starting, or as you go along, there isn’t any right or wrong method here. But read, read, read. Know what constitutes processing. How it affects the food and your environment. Know what your motivation for eating clean is. Learn how to read labels. Become addicted to shopping lists. Master your way around the different aisles of your supermarket.

Oh, and keep reading Simply Go Clean.

I have tried to cover various methods to embark on a clean eating journey, but please feel free to tell us how you have started and how it worked for you in the comments below.

And if you believe these tidbits could be useful to others, don’t forget to share! Oh, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips and hacks!

How to start clean eating
How to start clean eating
How to start clean eating

Clean Eating Food List – What’s on your Grocery List?

Eating clean means eating real food, as close to their natural form as possible, either unprocessed or with minimal processing. So what does that leave you with? Let’s go through a typical clean eating food list, to help you get started with your next shopping trip.

The list below is by all means not exhaustive but should be getting you well on your way. If you’re unsure about what kind of food are clean, and why, you check my grocery tips here. The foodstuffs are classed per category, like starches, proteins, drinks, etc. and explain what to look out for.

Need a shortcut? Scroll down for your free downloadable/printable Clean Eating Grocery List to stick on your fridge or take shopping!

Vegetables

Vegetable skewersAim for seasonal fruits and vegetables, preferably organic (especially the ones included in the Dirty Dozen list, like spinach). If you aim for the recommended intake of 5-a-day, this is 400g per person per day. 10-a-day would be 800g per person per day. So count how many meals you need vegetables for, and buy as many servings, allowing for a bit of shrinkage during cooking.

Smart tip – You don’t have to buy different vegetables for each meal (although a bit of variety is nice). Actually, vegetables are so versatile that it’s quite easy to cook them differently without meals getting boring. Think of carrots, for example, which can be eaten:

  • in soups, with other vegetables
  • as a salad, simply grated with chopped walnuts and mayonnaise
  • as a mash, by itself or teamed up with swede, with a dollop of butter
  • stewed or braised
  • baked in home-made carrot cake or other carrot muffins
  • juiced or blended to make delicious vegetable juices or smoothies
  • … just to mention a few recipes.

Another smart tip – buy in bulk, when in season. This saves on processing, as the out-of-season produce doesn’t need to be imported and stored. And it’s usually much cheaper. More tips on how to make the most of your fruits and vegetables here.

Ideally, your basic vegetable grocery list should include a mix of fresh produce that keeps well (like carrots, onions, potatoes, and squash), some vegetables that can be eaten raw, like salad stuff, and seasonal vegetable. So it could look like this:

  • Leafy greens, like kale, cabbage, spinach, preferably organic
  • Lettuces
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes and/or sweet potatoes
  • Squashes and/or pumpkin
  • Avocado, when in season
  • Tomatoes (plum, beef, grape, any kind)
  • Any other seasonal vegetables
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs – cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano etc.

Whole grains and pulses

Clean grains, such as brown rice and quinoaThese will probably find their way into most of your cooked meals. So choose the ones that suit your household best: do you need quick-cooking grains? Grains and pulses that can be used in salads for easy lunches? Beans that can be cooked in bulk at the weekend for use in various recipes?

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas

Proteins

Salmon dishCount how many portions you need before going shopping. As these can be expensive, especially if looking for grass-fed or organic, bulk-buying is a great option here. I’m of the view that less is more here. I tend to only allow for 100g of meat or fish per person. I will balance this out by buying good quality meat, organic or grass-fed, and full-fat so the flavors get imparted to the vegetables served with it. It saves money on our weekly shop and we’re doing our bit to reduce water consumption, as the water footprint of protein food is the highest.

  • Eggs, organic or pasture-raised preferably
  • Meat, organic, free-range whenever possible
  • Fish, if wild, aim for the Marine Stewardship Council label (MSC) label or another sustainable label,  if farmed, aim for organic, responsibly farmed, certified sustainable or other similar labels.
  • Tempeh
  • Cheese, organic
  • Plain, full-fat cottage cheese or yogurt

Nuts and seeds

Bowl of mixed nutsAll nuts and seeds, preferably raw (you can always roast them and flavor them at home).

  • Almonds
  • Pecan nuts
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseed

Oils and butter

I have left almond butter here, although it can fairly easily be made at home, as it’s possible to find some plain ones in the shops, with nothing added.

  • Butter, plain
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Unrefined safflower oil
  • Unrefined walnut oil
  • Unrefined Canola or rapeseed oil
  • Almond butter
  • Tahini
  • Peanut butter, no sugar added (a bit of salt is OK)

Condiments and spices

  • Spices jars on a shelfSalt, preferably a raw, unadulterated source, like raw sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Black pepper
  • Herbs and spices, non-irradiated
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper or another non-irradiated chili
  • Maple syrup
  • Raw honey
  • Stevia
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olives
  • Apple cider vinegar, unfiltered
Fruits are high in sugar, so you should try and stick to one or two servings per day.
  • Lemons
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Any other fruits, in season
  • Pure fruit juices, without preservatives
 Beverages
  • Water
  • Coconut water, no added sugar
  • Tea, herbal teas
  • Coffee
  • Raw milk, or organic, full-fat milk
  • Almond, brown rice, soy or hemp milk, unsweetened and GMO-free (for the soy milk)
  • Coconut milk or cream, the canned variety, as long as it’s BPA-free and doesn’t contain preservatives, emulsifiers, and other additives

Processed food

Healthy wholegrain breadSome processed foodstuffs will inevitably find their way into your trolley, so just read the ingredients list carefully and avoid anything that contains added sugar or additives. How to spot additives? They are basically the kind of ingredients that you would not have at home and would not cook with.

Each store will have different “clean” products, so once you’ve identified the cleanest bread in your go-to store, take a picture of the label or write the name down for future reference.

  • Bread – this is an example of the ingredients from a clean bread: Sprouted Organic Whole Wheat Berries, Filtered Water, Organic Wheat Gluten, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Dates, Organic Raisins, Yeast, Organic Cultured Wheat Flour, Organic Vinegar, Sea Salt, Organic Barley Malt, Organic Sunflower Oil.
    This one is also all organic, which is a big bonus.
  • Crackers and chips – try and find plain nacho chips or other plain snacks, preferably organic. Their ingredients list should look something like this: Corn, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Sunflower and/or Canola), Salt.
  • Steel-cut oats or plain rolled oats
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Canned food – these are processed by definition and should be kept to a minimum (I will confess to buying chopped tomatoes, for their sheer time-saving benefits). Also, make sure that they are BPA-free and don’t contain any added sugar and additives. After opening, they need to be decanted in a suitable container for storage.
  • Ketchup and other sauces. Clean versions are exceedingly hard to find, and I tend to just make my own.
  • Flours. Although processed items, you will need them for your clean baking. Aim for wholewheat flour, brown rice flour, or grain-free flours like almond flour or coconut flour. Gluten-free flours, however, are usually made with highly refined flours and are therefore not that clean.

That’s still a long clean eating food list…

If you were worried about not having anything left to eat when embarking on a clean diet, this should ease your mind a bit.

And to make your life even easier, I’ve created a nifty Clean Eating Grocery List, free for you to download!

To get it, simply fill in the form below and access your printable Clean Food Shopping list in PDF format.

In the meantime, feel free to add in the comments below which clean foodstuffs are essentials in your pantry and your fridge, and where you actually shop for them!

If you’re unsure about how to identify those clean foodstuffs in the supermarket, this post on clean shopping will send you in the right direction.

Or share more tips in the Comments below with your fellow clean eaters (sharing is caring)…

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more Clean Eating Hacks!

Great vegetable juice recipes

The vast majority of us fall way short of the recommended 5-a-day intake of fruits and vegetables. And juicing (or blending) seems like a convenient and easy way of increasing our daily intake of raw vegetables. To help you along, I have compiled a few great vegetable juice recipes, as well as tips on how to create your own.

Of the health benefits of vegetables

First, a quick recap of the reasons why we should eat (or drink) more fresh produce, and in particular vegetables. Although the recommended intake is 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day for adults (that’s 400g/day), their benefits really start kicking in when you hit a 10-a-day target (800g/day). According to a research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on February 22, 2017, this quantity is linked with a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 31% lower risk of premature death.

I have listed below the most beneficial fruits and vegetables highlighted in the study, as well as their health benefits:

Green leafy vegetables and salads

Leafy greens and saladKale is high in iron, vitamin K, and vitamin A, and is loaded with antioxidants.

Spinach is loaded with vitamins (especially vitamin A and C) and minerals, as well as antioxidants.

Lettuce, preferably the Romaine or cos type, is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as omega 3 and potassium

Wheatgrass is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants and is particularly rich in proteins and amino-acids

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and potassium, as well as the prostate-cancer fighting antioxidant lycopene.

Cucumber is rich in vitamin K and polyphenols, and thanks to its 95% water, is a good way to increase the volume of your juice without the flavors too much.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetablesCabbage is packed with some of the most powerful antioxidants among cruciferous vegetables, as well as vitamin K and C.

Broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange, almost as much calcium as whole milk (whilst being better absorbed) and is rich in selenium and folic acid.

Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, as well as a lot of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Yellow and green vegetables

Yellow and green vegetablesPeppers are very high in vitamin C, as well as vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and copper

Carrots, which gave their name to beta-carotene, are extremely rich in vitamin A and contain also other useful nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Green beans contain large amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as vitamins A, C, and B, among other healthy nutrients.

Sweet potato is extremely rich in vitamin A, as well as vitamin K and B6. They also help regulate blood sugar.

A few beneficial fruits

Beneficial fruits for juicingApples are loaded with natural fiber, as well as vitamins C, A, B vitamins and other minerals.

Pears are beneficial all-rounders and contain a fair amount of all the nutrients your body needs, as well as loads of fibers. Most of those are in the skin though, so refrain from peeling them.

Berries are effective immune boosters and are rich in antioxidants, offering a good variety of nutrients. Try and pick different varieties when in season to make the most of them.

Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are renowned to be rich in vitamin C, as well as other nutrients.

On a side note, tinned fruits were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality, whereas cooked vegetables and potatoes were linked to lower risks.

How to create healthy fruit and vegetable juices?

Fruits, even beneficial, have a higher sugar content, so the idea is to create delicious juice recipes that include at least two of the above beneficial vegetables, plus one of the beneficial fruit. I use a slow juicer and can’t really handle the amount of fiber in smoothies. But feel free to compare both options and try blending and juicing.

Feel free to pick some of the fruits and vegetables listed above to create your own tasty juices or read on for a bit more inspiration. I have grouped a few recipes by color, to stimulate all the senses.

If you want to find out a bit more about the benefits of a specific fruit or vegetable, feel free to check the Mercola Food Facts here.

Most juicers have a fairly narrow chute and you’ll need to chop your fruits and vegetables roughly before loading them in. This is especially important for stringy vegetables, like leafy greens or celery. The easiest way to juice leafy greens is to mix them up with the rest of your ingredients.

When trying a new recipe, you can tweak it as you go along, by leaving the juice in the juicer chamber to mix all the ingredients well, and tasting your juice now and then. The juice yield will vary depending on the size of your fruits and vegetables and their freshness, so the quantities below are a guide only.

Green juices

Perhaps the most famous of healthy juices due to their high vegetable and high nutrient content. They usually involve some leafy green vegetables, and apples or some other sweet fruit, like grapes or pear, to take the bitterness away.

Green juice recipeTry this:

  • 1 cup of spinach or kale
  • 1 apple, cored

Use this as a base, then add another vegetable to taste:

  • ¼ cucumber, for a refreshing drink
  • ½ stalk of celery
  • ½ cup of sweet potatoes (the white type), for a more filling juice
  • lemon juice or a few pieces of ginger, peeled, to taste

Or check out those awesome juice recipes using wheatgrass as a base.

Yellow juices

Pineapple is a great way to sweeten your vegetables, while still adding plenty of nutrients to your juice. Try this:

  • 1 cup pineapple pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger

Or check the After-workout Hunger Buster from Health Ambition.

Orange juices

Carrot juiceI love carrot juice. By themselves or combined with other fruits and vegetables, carrots just hit the spot for me, with the right level of sweetness.

Try this:

  • 3 carrots, peeled or scrubbed
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled

Or this one:

  • 2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed
  • 2 cups of pumpkin
  • 1 apple, cored
  • cinnamon, ground
Red juices
  • 1 beet*
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 red apple, cored

* Juicing beets with their skin on will give a slight earthy taste. If you don’t care much for it, peel it first.

Or the old favorite, for a sober Bloody Mary:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • ½ celery
  • salt and Tabasco, to taste
Pink juices

Pink smoothieThose are firm favorites with kids, although you might have to add fruits to disguise the vegetable taste a bit more.

  • 1 beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 orange

Or this one:

  • 1 beet
  • 1 medium-size sweet potato
  • 1 pear, cored
Purple juices
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ pomegranate arils
  • ¼ lemon juice

Or check this Super Purple Juice from Nosh and Nourish

Found your perfect vegetable juice yet?

vegetable-juicesThere are loads (and I mean, loads) of juice and smoothie recipes on the Interweb, but I’ve found this website quite useful: https://juicerecipes.com/. You can create your own recipes and check out their nutrient content or look up specific recipes using ingredients you have at hand, and even save your creations to make sure you can enjoy them again.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my basic juice recipe (as recommended by my doctor, when I got started with juicing).

And please do share your favorite recipes in the comments below!

Great vegetable juice recipes
Great vegetable juice recipes

Hurom slow juicer review – Is the Hurom HH Elite right you?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please check my Affiliate Disclosure page.

Juicing is a great way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables with minimal effort. You basically load your 5-a-day in your juicer, and out comes your vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, in a ready-to-drink format. Sorted. I can even juice beetroot and carrots to make a pink juice that my kids actually drink [smug mummy smile here].

I actually own the Hurom HE but bought it a while back and it doesn’t seem to be sold anymore. So this Hurom slow juicer review will focus on my experience and will give you a more detailed review of a similar Hurom model, the Hurom HH Elite.

What are the benefits of a slow juicer?

Freshly prepared fruits and vegetablesIn the US, over 90% of adults don’t eat enough vegetables. That is, they don’t eat their 5 servings of vegetables per day. According to the Harvard School of Health:

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower the risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.

However, if we were to hit our 10-a-day target, we might lower our risk of cardiovascular disease by 28% and our risk of premature death by 31%. This is according to a research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on February 22, 2017.

According to that research, not all fruits and vegetables are beneficial to our health in the same way, and, because *every body* is different, every single one of us has got different needs. The most beneficial fruits and vegetables include:

  • green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, lettuce etc.),
  • cruciferous vegetables (that’s your cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower),
  • yellow and green vegetables (including peppers, carrots, and green beans), and
  • apples, pears, as well as oranges and the citrus fruit family.
These are the facts…

…but in reality, how many of us actually get around eating that much fruits and vegetables? This is around 5-6 cups of the stuff per day, 2 cups per meal. I can easily fit in my 3 cups of vegetables per day, but 6?

Healthy freshly pressed juicesThis is where juicing comes in. A juicer will allow you to take 3 cups of fruits and vegetables, extract their vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and cram them in a large glass of delicious juice. Like that.

You can also choose to blend them in. The resulting smoothie will be a lot more filling, but you’ll get all the fibers in, which play an essential part to stay healthy. If you’re not sure which method would suit you best, check my post regarding blending and juicing.

For me, it was a bit of a no-brainer. There was no way I could possibly eat that many fruits and vegetables per day, let alone get my kids to eat them. So, in came the Hurom slow juicer, which came recommended by my doctor.

How I use it

I don’t always have time to juice every day, and I admit to not always having the right fresh produce at hand to juice. But we try and fit in a juicing session whenever we can.

What I like about it
Hurom HE slow juicer

The fact that there are only 4 mobile parts is a big plus for me. Easy to assemble, easy to wash, easy to put back together.

I like the fact that I can just scrub the fruits and vegetables clean, chop them roughly (down to a quarter of an apple), and just pop them in.

If you add leafy greens, like spinach or wheatgrass, make sure you mix them with the rest of the fruits and vegetables. This dislodges the fibrous matter and makes the juicing easier. The reverse button comes in super-handy when some of the fibers get stuck. Just pop the juicer in reverse for a bit et voilà.

I also like the fact that it’s easy to clean (by my standards, compared with my old centrifugal juicer). When I’m done, I run a glass of water in the juicer, closing the juice cap, to remove any bits of fruits and vegetables left in the auger. Then I drop the washable parts in a bowl of water. No need for soap. The chute only needs rinsing, so only the auger, the strainer, and the bowl need a little wash down to remove any fibers still stuck there.

What I don’t like about it

The pulp it creates. It does create very little pulp, I must admit, but still. I do try to reuse most of it: vegetable pulp gets seasoned and covered with beaten eggs and cheese for an impromptu crust-less quiche. And the fruit pulp usually ends up in the worm farm or the chicken coop.

Now and then, I also have to give the washable parts a good scrub (with the brushes provided), to make sure all the residues are gone. Although apparently, you can use a baby-bottle cleaning solution to do that for you.

The price tag. It is a bit of an investment. The HH Elite model sells for around $300 on Amazon. Admittedly, this newer model is more versatile and combines juicer and blender in one. They have proven their reliability over the years and are juicing workhorses, but it is an investment in your health. On the plus side, it forces you to use it as often as possible to get the maximum ROI.

Hurom HE features, and new features in the HH model

Hurom HE juicer partsAccording to the Hurom website, both models offer the same basic features:

  1. Slow rotational speed -The HE turns at 80 rpm. This means that although the cells are broken down to release all the nutrients, there is no heat generated, and no subsequent loss of nutrients.
  2. 350-milliliter chamber capacity – That’s a beer glass, basically. But thanks to the juice cap, you can just empty your juice in the provided jug and carry on juicing.
  3. High-strength auger – Made of heavy-duty Ultem® resin. I wouldn’t try to pop frozen food in there, but it crushes through carrots like a breeze.
  4. Versatile juice cap for convenience
  5. Two types of fine and coarse strainers – You can change the strainer depending on the pulp content of your fruits. I hardly ever use the coarse strainer, which is more for pulpy fruits like mangoes, papaya or guava, or if you just want more fibers in your juice.
  6. Convenient handle – The HE doesn’t have a handle, but since it weighs around 6kg, it usually just sits nicely on my counter.
  7. Low-noise, low-vibration AC motor – The motor holds a 10-year warranty and is definitely very quiet compared to my old centrifugal juicer. It also only uses 150 Watts of energy.
Added HH features:

  1. A slow rotational speed of 43 rpm – Instead of the 80 rpm of the HE. Which means even less loss of nutrients. The slower speed is balanced by the improved auger.
  2. 500-milliliter chamber capacity – Meaning that you can really add all your ingredients before pouring the juice. Particularly useful since this model boasts being able to do smoothies and juices.
  3. Double-edged, high-strength auger
  4. Adjustable Control Lever to accommodate different ingredients – This is to allow more fibers to be left in your juice, thereby turning your juicer into a smoothie maker. The best of both world, if you ask me.

The Hurom website also states that the Hurom HH Elite juicer will juice soft and hard fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and wheatgrass, but also nuts and soy to make non-dairy milk or tofu.

Is this product right for you?

The Hurom HH slow juicer might be ideal for you if:

  • You want to eat more fruits and vegetables, but don’t know how to convince your family to eat more of them.
  • You buy high-quality fruits and vegetables and want to make sure you get all the goodness out, without destroying the nutrients through cooking or other methods of juicing.
  • You often buy loads of fruits and vegetables, but don’t always have the time to prepare them and loathe to see them going to waste.
  • Your kids are picky eaters and will not eat vegetables.
  • You just want to increase your health levels by eating more raw fruits and vegetables.
  • You want a steady, reliable juicer, quiet and easy to clean.

So there you are…

I haven’t tried any other juicers and can’t compare. So far though, the upright Hurom slow juicer is doing the job just fine for us. It’s easy to use, extracts a lot of juice, leaving very little pulp, and is quick to clean and pack away. And it’s great for those bowls of fruits or bulk purchases of vegetables that are threatening to go past their prime…

I hope this post answers some of the questions you might have had about this juicer and will have convinced you further of the benefits of juicing (or blending). You can find my basic juice recipe in this post if you need something to get started.

Feel free to ask any questions regarding this juicer, I’ll do my very best to answer. And please share with us which juicer or blender you use, and what you like (or dislike) about them.

Clean eating dinner ideas

For most households, dinner is the time when everybody stops running around and slows down. It’s expected to be a safe and satisfying moment, for the stomach as well as the soul. The last thing we want is kids complaining they don’t like vegetables. Or adults moaning that the food is not rich enough. Or the family cook exhausted from having slaved over hot stove all evening.

So I’ve come up with some easy-peasy clean eating dinner ideas to satisfy everybody’s taste buds and give the cook a breather. Eating clean just means eating whole food, with the least amount of processing. So let’s keep it whole, with the least amount of processing in the kitchen too.

How to prepare a clean dinner at home

Make it family-friendly

Family cooking togetherFirst of all, don’t reinvent the wheel. Take stock of your family’s favorites. Stick with what you usually eat and just tweak it to make it cleaner. Fancy recipes and new flavors can wait. If your children (or your other half) don’t entertain vegetables, don’t start loading their plates with the green stuff.

Most kids don’t like green vegetables, especially the leafy ones, but will tolerate sweeter ones, like carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkin. Or “funky” ones, like peas, cherry tomatoes, or vegetables cut in chips, sticks or spaghetti. Roll with it. Pick their favorite (or least disliked) ones, and cook them.

Roasted vegetables are always a hit at home. Our current chill-beater is sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions cut into chunks. Sprinkled with Italian herbs and baked for around 1 hour with a little olive oil. And if you want a super easy meal, cover this with lamb chops, chicken pieces (preferably with the skin on, to avoid drying) or a piece of beef to roast. If preferring fish, you’ll need to add it 30 minutes in, so it doesn’t dry out too much.

If the texture is an issue, try mash or soups. My mum used to make funky mashes of various colors:

  • yellow (potatoes with a hint of mustard),
  • orange (carrots and nutmeg),
  • green (broccoli and cheese)
  • and even pink (cauliflower with tomato and paprika).

It’s a bit more processing, but still better than turning every dinner into a fight.

Easy-to-prepare works best

Salads are always easy, and they don’t have to be just “rabbit food” (my husband’s term). You can sneak in some raw food (perfect clean food, no processing involved, full nutrients guaranteed). Then load them up with more wholesome garnish. Some examples:

Full salad with potatoesStart with a starchy base: potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains. Then add on:

  • You can add spring greens, hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise for a classic potato salad.
  • Tuna, hard-boiled eggs, tomato slices, pepper strips and olives for a French-style salad.
  • Or even cooked chicken breast, carrots, petit pois, gherkins, and mayonnaise for a Russian twist.
  • I recently found a Portuguese recipe involving roasted sweet potatoes and onions. Loaded, still warm, onto a plate of baby spinach, peppers, fresh cheese, and almonds, drizzled with orange juice. It is delish.
  • Quinoa tabbouleh (with tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and olive oil) is the ‘in’ thing for a hearty vegetarian salad. Just add chicken for meat eaters.

OK, enough with the salads (did I tell you I love salads?). If you need a warm cooked meal, pick a whole grain starch or a tuber, a source of protein and some vegetables to suit the family. Cook it all together or separately, but prefer products that are quick to prepare and to cook. If you need ideas or recipes, look out for Paleo or primal recipes out there, and add some whole grains.

When shopping for vegetables, whole grains, and protein, try and choose, by and far, the ones that need the least amount of preparation. If buying food that will take a little while to prepare, make sure that this is part of your weekend menu.

How to eat out, but still eat clean

You know, deep down, that preparing your food from scratch is the best way to know what you put inside your body. But there will be days where it will just feel like too much. Or nights where the fridge is looking too bare to bear. Or other celebratory nights. It’s fine, it’s part of life.

So here are a few pointers to eat as clean as possible when out and about or to pick the cleanest takeaway.

In restaurants

Grilled salmon in a plateFocus on food that will be as unprocessed as can be. Forgo breaded or fried chicken, but opt for roast chicken or chicken breast. Fish fingers are out, but grilled (not fried) or steamed fish is in. A burger might not be on the cards, but a steak is.

Ask for vegetables instead of the usual starchy side. Even better, ask for a salad, so you know exactly what’s on your plate.

Most puddings will be loaded with sugar and refined starches. If you do have the willpower to resist the rest of the dessert menu, check it out. Aim for sorbets, smoothies (no added ice cream and sauces) or other fruit-based option. And if there’s nothing of the sort on that menu and you absolutely need something sweet to round up the meal, go for a cappuccino or flavored coffee.

Takeaways and other fast food

This is where it gets tricky, as most takeaways are full of refined, highly processed starch, fat, and sugar. In all cases, swap your fries for a salad on the side. Then, aim for real food, the one that looks as close to its natural state as possible. Let’s go through a few popular choices:

Burgers

Look out for lettuce-wrapped options, like the one offered by In-N-Out. If no such option is available, have your burger without the bun. And check that the patties are 100% beef. Skip the bacon and the creamy sauce too.

Pizzas

Healthy pizzaThis is a tough one as the base *is* made of refined wheat flour. Look out for Paleo options, which will use flaxseed and other lesser-processed ingredients. Otherwise, opt for the thinnest base possible, for a bit of damage limitation.

The toppings should be as unprocessed as possible. Meat pieces, rather than salami or bacon, loads of fresh vegetables and as little cheese and sauce as possible.

Mexican

Again, the wraps, burritos, and fajitas will be highly processed, although the rest of the ingredients might not be. Beans, meat and fresh vegetables are all good to go. Forget about anything fried and/or crunchy and opt for a soft tortilla instead. And don’t go near any dip that isn’t salsa.

Chicken

Anything fried, crumbed or otherwise reformed is off limits. But there might be a roast chicken or whole chicken pieces on the menu, so look out for those, with a salad on the side.

Sandwiches

At the deli, start by choosing whole grain slices of bread. Then select food as unrefined as possible: salad vegetables, of course, chicken or beef slices, eggs, and other natural-looking ingredients. Avoid cold meat, which is loaded with added salt and preservatives, and stay away from creamy sauces, preferring olive oil and vinegar.

Entertaining with clean food

Between kiddies’ parties and friends get-togethers, it might be hard to stay away from convenience food when you have to cater for a larger crowd with probably not-so-healthy expectations. Although this might not be an evening thing, it still involves pleasing the crowds and can be a challenge. My personal strategy is to divide to conquer. I split the whole meal into several manageable and clean dishes.

Starting with… salads and raw vegetable finger food
Make-your-own-salad, easy and fun

Whether these end up as my starters, on the party buffet table, or as a make-your-own side salad option, they’re here. Think cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber or baby marrows in sticks, baby corns, mange-tout, pepper strips, and even grapes and apple slices.

Team them with yummy clean dips, either home-made or shop-bought (if available). If chips *have* to be somewhere in the picture, aim for plain corn or potato chips.

Or go for a large Cobb salad in the middle of the table. Go easy on the bacon, though, and prefer clean jerky.

For kids parties, I usually offer one hearty, filling option, in case the critters haven’t been fed before coming to my house. I make one large batch of grain-free savory muffins or mini-quiches. Or enroll my kids in making mini- kebabs with cheese/pickled onions/tomato/chicken/grapes/etc.

All-in-one dish…

For more grown-up or sit-down parties, one single dish with your vegetables and your protein is a good option. It can be prepared a couple of hours ahead of time and doesn’t need any further work. Depending on the number of guests (or your oven size), the starch component of your meal might have to be cooked and served separately.

Paella dishSome ideas:

  • a pot roast (in a crock or in the oven),
  • chili con carne,
  • jambalaya (with brown rice),
  • or even lasagna, replacing the pasta with strips of zucchini.
… or separates?

If you feel ready for a little bit more preparation (or, like me, you are limited by the size of your oven), you can separate your protein, vegetables, and starches. This takes usually a little longer, but it gives your guests more flexibility. They can then happily skip the vegetables without being rude, for example. Or avoid the meat or fish if they’re vegetarian.

It also gives you more leeway, as you can create a whole meal based on what you have at hand, instead of following a set recipe. To create some sense of unity, use similar flavors and spices. For example,

  • lemon chicken in the oven,
  • served with steamed veggies with a drizzle of olive oil and Italian herbs,
  • and brown rice cooked with chopped tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf on the side.

Clean puddings to round it all up

I’m not much of a baker but over the years, I have gathered a few clean recipes that are easy to make, involve simple ingredients. Oh, and are always a big hit (meaning: I don’t have to find new recipes all the time). Such as coconut brownies, Portuguese almond cake or Italian orange cake. Or the old favorite, chocolate mousse.

Fruits saladsBut I’ve also found that after a rich meal, sometimes the simplest and the most welcome dessert is a colorful fruit salad, drenched in fresh juice.

And you? What’s your favorite clean dinner? Please give us your family’s go-to healthy meals in the Comments below.

Check out my clean breakfast, lunch and snacks recipes for more ideas. And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for the widest choice of Clean Eating recipes!

Clean eating dinner ideas
Clean eating dinner ideas

Blender vs Juicer – The best way to get your juice in

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According to recent data from 2017 published by the CDC, over 90% of American adults do not eat enough vegetables, while 87% don’t eat enough fruits. Fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies are a great way to quickly and easily add whole fresh goodness to our bodies. They should definitely be part of your new clean eating diet.

But here comes the dilemma: which one is best: clean juices or creamy smoothies? Blender vs juicer? To help you choose which equipment would suit you and your family best, we’ve compared blender vs juicer and highlighted the pros and cons for each.

Difference between blenders and juicers

Basically, a juicer will separate the fibers, while the blender keeps everything.

The preparation is the same, although some vegetables and fruits lend themselves more to one type of juice than the other. But in both cases, you have to wash your produce and chop it into smaller pieces that will fit nicely into your equipment. Preferably right at the last minute, to preserve the freshness.

The benefits of juicing
Fresh fruit juices
  • You’ll end up with just the water, flavor and nutrients. Without the fibers, and provided you have your juice on an empty stomach, those will be quickly absorbed for a quick health fix.
    You can pack more fruits and vegetables in your glass. So if you just need to cram your 5-a-day quickly, this is an easy option. I find I can more easily “hide” some vegetables in my kids’ juices than in a smoothie.
  • As fibers accelerate gastrointestinal transit, too much of it can cause diarrhea. Which means your body won’t have the time to absorb your precious nutrients. By removing the fibers, the vitamins and minerals stand a chance to be fully absorbed.
    For that reason, I, for one, would not be able to have my basic juice recipe in one sitting if I was blending the ingredients. I would have to spread my intake of raw food over the course of the day.
  • You don’t have to peel every fruit and vegetable you put in, as it will break the cells and extract the nutrients for you. Great for making the most of the vitamins and minerals contained in your fresh produce and saving time in prepping.
  • You can basically juice any hard fruit or vegetable, even leafy ones. Cheaper blenders might battle to give you a smooth texture with hard vegetables or leafy ones.
The benefits of blending
  • Rich berry smoothie
    Fibers play a positive role in your digestive system. By feeding the good bacteria in your gut and keeping you full longer (soluble fibers). And by bulking up, flushing toxins and keeping you regular (insoluble fibers).
  • Even though too many fibers can accelerate your transit, the right amount of it will slow it just enough to ensure the nutrients are absorbed. It helps in particular with the absorption of minerals, like calcium.
  • They have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
    You end up with less wasted products at the end, as most of your fruits and vegetables are being used.
  • They keep you full, so if you combine fruits and vegetables with some healthy source of protein or fat, you can turn your juice or smoothie into a full meal.
  • They are easier to clean than juicers, which will require you to dismantle and rinse various parts every time. With blenders, you usually only need to rinse the jug.
  • They take less space. Juicers tend to be bulkier and will take more space on your countertop.
    They are cheaper. You can find some affordable juicers, but a good reliable juicer will set you back $100. Whereas a decent blender costs half that price.

Which juicer to choose?

There are a lot of juicers out there, with prices ranging from $35 to $800. Why such a big difference? While all juicers remove the bulk of the pulp, some do a better job at it than others, meaning that you’ll get more juice for your produce.

Some juicers also do a better job of preserving the nutrients than others. The centrifugal ones will heat the produce up slightly as it works, destroying a fair amount of nutrients in the process, for example.
The higher end juicers are more quiet, more powerful, last longer and are more versatile. You can, for example, use them to make nut milk or nut butter.

Centrifugal Juicers
Centrifugal juicer, the level-entry contestant for juicing
Ideal if you’re just starting with juicing or have a limited budget.

The juice is extracted through centrifugal force. These are among the cheapest on the market, but as the internal blade spins to separate the juice from the fibers, it destroys some of the nutrients.

They’re good level-entry juicers but might not be ideal if you’re aiming at juicing for optimum health benefits.

Masticating Juicers
Slow juicer to make your clean, nutrient-loaded juices
This is my current type of juicer. Compact, powerful and easy to clean.

Also called slow juicers or cold press juicers. The fruit or vegetable is slowly squeezed to release the juice and separate the pulp, so there’s less loss of nutrients. You end up with almost pure juice, and each glass is guaranteed to be loaded with whatever vitamins and minerals.

They’re the ones to aim for if you need to juice for maximum health benefits. This is the one I have. I bought an Hurom HE series a few years back and have never had any issues with it. It’s a bit of an investment, but I wouldn’t (nor would my kids) be able to stomach the same amount of raw fibers in one go. You can read my review here.

You can also find twin-gear juicers, which are the Rolls Royce of the family. They extract far more produce and release more nutrients that the single gear version.

At the other end of the scale, you have hand crank juicers. They are like a bike. They’re cheap, and they will only take you so far: they’re usually specialized in one type of fruit, like citrus, or vegetable, like wheatgrass. But they can have their place in your kitchen. If you only want to juice that specific fresh produce, or if you need something portable and energy-saving.

Which blender to choose?

The blender’s job is basically to liquidize everything you put in the bowl. If you don’t want to taste some of the peels, like peaches or carrots, you might want to peel them off first.

The price tag for blenders is not as high as for juicers. The most expensive ones will give you a much smoother consistency, last longer, tackle most food and have some nifty features.

Jug Blenders
Jug blender to make quick and easy smoothies
Whether it be for smoothies, soups, or purees, every kitchen needs a blender.

These are your standard blenders. They’re affordable and a bit of a must in most families, for blending soups and pureeing. An entry model might not be able to tackle harder fruits and vegetables, like carrots, dried fruits or even nuts. They will accommodate soft fruits, yogurt, nut butter without issues.

A sturdier model will allow you to blend virtually anything, including seeds and nuts. The larger jug makes it the perfect blender for a family or blending in larger quantities at a time.

Single-serving Blenders
Nutribullet blender for portable smoothies
The NutriBullet, aka the Superfood Nutrients Extractor

These have appeared in recent years and offer a quick and portable solution.  The Nutribullet is the market leader. The bowl is smaller and will usually only blend one serving at a time. A nifty system of tight lids means you can just blend, add the lids and go. Perfect for a takeaway smoothie.

These are great to turn your smoothies into a whole meal, adding proteins or fats to make them more filling. Some are even battery-operated, so you can blend your smoothie at the last minute at work.

So…?

Which one would win this contest in your house: blender vs juicer? Which contains the most nutrients, a cold-pressed juice or a smoothie? Which option is best, with the fibers, or without? This could go on forever but is not particularly useful.

Forget the debates about blender vs juicer, just load up on juices and smoothies

It is far more useful to remember this:

  • If drinking juices or smoothies allow you to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, in their raw state, just do it. We don’t consume enough of the stuff anyway, and when we do, it’s mostly in processed form, at least for most vegetables. Get some great vegetable juice recipes here.
  • If you do mind creating more waste, and your digestive system can stomach it, blend it. We have to go for juicing and find clever ways to use the leftover pulp. I make mini-quiches with it when juicing vegetables, and the fruit pulp goes straight to our worm farm.
  • If the price is an issue, go for a blender, as expensive as you can afford. They are a useful tool in the kitchen for a variety of other dishes, so you won’t feel like it’s wasted money if you don’t do smoothies for a while.
  • Fruits and vegetables are the only foodstuffs that can be consumed with no or minimal processing. They’re the perfect clean food and allow you to save energy along the way. They also have the lowest water footprint, so any way to increase your intake is good.

Almost forgot, my easy peasy juice recipe is super easy and takes care of most of my 5-a-day of raw fruits and vegetables.

I don’t need to peel anything, just to wash them and chop them to fit. To get this awesome, super simple but super tasty recipe, just sign up below to access my Resource Library.

I even added the nutritional table for the juice, so you’ll know exactly how much goodness you’re getting in, isn’t that nifty?

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If this recipe doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, feel free to check my other vegetable juice recipes.

What’s your favorite juice/smoothie recipe? Please share in the comments below!

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more delicious juice and smoothie recipes, selected just for you.