Tosca Says...

"It is the food that we eat which is responsible for shaping such a vast array of body types. Yes, the food!" - Tosca Reno, Author of The Eat Clean Diet

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Treating or Cheating? And My Post-Holiday Hips.

Well, it's January and, as usual, my jeans are a leeeeeetle tighter than they were in November. This was my second holiday season as a Clean Eater and, well, let me just say that I still fall off the clean-eating wagon!  I mean, how can I turn down my grandma's strawberry rhubarb pie (a classic favorite I look forward to ALL year long) or those Christmas cookies my daughter so beautifully decorated just for me? I can't disappoint them and make all that hard work for naught, right!

Throughout the majority of my clean-eating journey I have done very well staying away from refined sugars, processed foods, white pastas, white flours etc etc and my tummy has thanked me! But this holiday season, little sporadic treats turned into bigger more regular cheats and, well, the snowball effect got the better of me.

Despite my venture off the wagon, however, I will say that I did not gain back nearly as many pounds as I thought I would! (This, proven by the fact that my daughter still claims my hips still don't "jiggle" anymore.) So while I may have internally paid for my relatively minor indulgences, the scale still shows a marked weight loss from when I started eating clean over a year ago. And the people cheered "Hooray!!"

I attribute this success to two things:
  1. Besides the actual holiday eating binges we all find ourselves succumbing to on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and the yummy leftovers, therein) I did spend the majority of the holiday stuck to the main principles of not eating processed foods or the five evil whites (white sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, iodized salt. (See previous post here.)
  2. Despite my tendency to overeat at holiday meals, I did a fairly good job at sticking to my clean-eating portion sizes (palm of your hand for proteins and less than the size of your fist for everything else. And we will just overlook the fact that there were about three times as many side items on my plate as there usually is. Hey, I stuck to the portion size!)
It's January 15th and I am still trying to wean myself off of all those naughty no-nos and back into a healthy mode of clean eating. It's not easy, but my tummy continues to remind me of why I started eating clean in the first place. But you're not here to hear about those fun details. So here are my thoughts on the difference between treating and cheating.

Treating - Eating clean does not necessarily mean everything you eat is low fat or good for you. There are plenty of foods that can be considered "clean" that aren't nutritious by any means. But some goodies are clean as far as ingredients go, and those I consider "treats." Case in Point - One of my favorite treats are these: 

Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Cups. I get these at Whole Foods and you can find details here. Ingredients are all, technically speaking, clean (and organic, fair trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certified to boot!) But that doesn't mean they are any more nutritious than a greasy processed potato chip. One package (two cups) of these dark chocolate beauties will set you back 200 calories and 16 grams of fat! Yowzers! At the end of the day, though, I feel much better about eating these than I do a regular Reese's PB Cup so I count that as a WIN!

Cheating - Everything else. Quite possibly, everything you used to eat. It's really as simple as that. All the processed junk you consumed before eating clean (or maybe still do from time to time) counts as a cheat. If you're eating clean to lose or maintain a certain weight, it's cheating that will slow or regress your weight loss progress the fastest. And I disagree with the phrase "anything in moderation." Portion sizes don't matter when what you're eating is toxic, and even the smallest of cheats can set your tummy on an anti-clean roller coaster that can last for days. Avoid cheating as much as possible. Your tummy (and your hips) will thank you!

What percentage of your clean-eating lifestyle is treating? What percentage is cheating?  What are your favorite treats?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kale Chips - The simplest snack you'll ever not fry.

For months, I kept hearing various people raving about kale chips. Apparently, it was a fad of sorts that I, as usual, was the last to know about. Like planking. Or being Vegan. Or shopping on Black Friday. I admit it. I'm slow to catch onto these things.

Luckily around the time I got a hankering to try making my own batch, a friend shared what she had heard about making them. So I found some courage and picked up some kale on my next rip to the grocery and gave it a shot.

WARNING: This method is so simple, you might think you've misread the instructions. You haven't.

SECOND WARNING: While these chips will stay fresh for several days in an airtight container, you'll be lucky to have leftovers to put in one.

DISCLAIMER: This is more a method than a recipe. I use all ingredients to my own taste and experiences. I encourage you to do the same, and think you'll figure out your own personal "recipe" after a time or two. 


Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Kale - As much as you care to bake. For a crisper chip, I recommend leaves with tightly bunched edges, like these: (A flatter leaf will yield a chewier leaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1: Wash and pat to dry. When dry, tear leaves from the stalk and into moderately-sized pieces and toss into large bowl.

Step 2: Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. I just toss with my hand until all pieces are completely coated. 

Step 3: Spread onto non-stick baking sheet or sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Step 4: Bake for about 10 minutes, give or take, until crispy. Watch them closely and remove from the oven as soon as the edges begin to brown. Once they become crisp, they will scorch quickly so keep watch.

Step 5: Enjoy!