Keeping it Clean has a new look and a new home! The url is the same - - I just wanted to devote this site entirely to nutrition and clean-eating and cooking. You can find my training blog at the new and improved

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Casey’s Journey

casey As I’ve mentioned, I want to include posts from friends, family, and blog readers who have had their own health and wellbeing experiences that are so amazing they have to be shared.  Casey is one of my best friends.  She is an amazing running partner, friend, and support system.  I’m so lucky to have her and her family in my life.  She is one of the most caring people I have ever known and her story is something that many of you will resonate with.  It’s beautiful and heart-breaking, hopeful and empowering.  Enjoy Casey’s story in her own words…
Casey’s Journey The journey started for me a time ago... I was always an athletic, in shape girl, who ate whatever I wanted, and even in those college years, I did gain those “freshman 15”, but when you go from 100 pounds to 115, of muscle, I actually looked better! I had my first baby when I was in my early 20’s and still did okay with my weight. I probably got with within 10 pounds of my goal after I had him and again, being in the 120’s was “more” than what I was used too. My real journey started after I had baby number 2.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Truth about Quality Carbohydrates and The Glycemic Index

apple Whew!  What the heck does that title mean?  Admittedly, that blog title is a mouthful but an important one and can help you choose what kinds of carbohydrates are the most effective and most nutritious for your system.  This post is going to put your brain to the test, there may be a little math (no calculators necessary), but hang in with me and I’ll give you some great tools and some basic take-aways so that this becomes an easy way to balance what carbs you are eating.  Regardless of your reasons for changing your diet and eating clean, this information will serve you well. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chasing the Dream…

Mountain stream
Recently, I spoke with a friend of mine who was nearing her  weight loss goals.  These goals were of significance as she has been battling excess weight most of her life.  Losing 40 plus pounds by walking and eating clean, she was a testament to adopting meaningful changes and making them work for yourself.  Becoming an active healthy example for her family she was invigorated in her life and a bubbling presence to be around these days (not to mention that her skin and hair looked amazing).  She and I met over egg whites and green tea one morning to talk about all her success.  I had not seen her in some time and she was down another 10 pounds.  She excitedly chatted about how often she walked, the way she was cooking for herself and her family, and her eyes lit up as she mentioned the kayaking trip she and her husband were planning for early summer.  I was thrilled to see her excitement and near the end of breakfast as she pushed the last of her omelet around her plate I told her how happy I was for her that she was so close to her goal, a goal that had eluded her all her life.  Her unicorn. That’s when she dropped the bombshell.  Sighing and visibly shrinking in her seat she said, “What will I do once I get there?  This goal has been in me for so long, I don’t know a life without it.  I’ve always wanted this… it’s so close but I’m afraid of what will happen when I get there.”

Others Eating Clean…

While I enjoy a clean lifestyle, I know that many voices and experiences will enrich that message for those of you who read these posts on a regular basis.  I wanted my aunt Jana to talk about her journey and she sent me a beautifully written post about her living clean experience that I had to share. 

jana “In 1970 I turned 15 years old and remember distinctly that Tab, the first sugar free soda had been introduced about 7 years earlier.  For a “dieter” like me Tab was like liquid gold, you could drink all you wanted, and it was good for you because it didn’t have calories.  When I attended my first Weight Watching meeting at 15, I was so glad because I really thought I was going to learn how to eat and not have to worry the rest of my life.  And here I am 41 years later realizing that an axiom that I have heard in 12 step meetings applies to the path I am on now.  It is said that “you can’t think your way into right living, but you can act your way into right thinking.”  What could that possibly have to do with this blog posting?  My niece Carrie asked me to be a guest writer for her blog.  At the end of last year I started reading her blog with intrigue.  I have a friend who is a Nutrition Coach as well and as I read Carrie’s blog and talked frequently with my friend I began to think maybe there was something to “eating clean”.  There has been a lot of illness in my genealogy, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, pulmonary lung disease, all happening in my immediate family.  Different than my family I am a perfect picture of health, low blood pressure, cholesterol good, bone density good, active (not like Carrie) but strong and healthy for a 55 year old woman.  I realized I want more of that.  And more for me was being mindful of what I was putting in my body as I prepare for the sunset of my career and life.  jana1
At the end of 2010, I sat down and asked what I wanted to be able to say that I did different in 2011, and the answer was eating in a way that I could be proud of, that I would know was good for my body, mind and soul.  On January 1, when many others were starting a diet I decided to eat more, except it would be more of the right things.  I decided to eat clean.  You know what I am most proud of?  I haven’t had a diet soda for 22 days, and for some of you that isn’t a big deal, but you see for me growing up on Tab it really is, it has been a mind shift for me.  As the axiom says I could think about all the things that I should be eating or not eating, but once I really acted on it I am thinking right.  I am taking the action to buy organic blueberries, have you ever noticed how different they look from the non-organic; I mean really how would they get them so big without something to make them grow.  I am thinking now about the things I buy and that is changing the way I act.  I don’t know if that makes any sense but it works.
I am also noticing that I am enjoying cooking again.  As a single woman I had gotten lazy, it was easier to buy the prepared dinners than to cook for myself.  As I write this I have a huge pot of soup in the crock pot that I will eat on all week.  I don’t think it is that I enjoy cooking but I enjoy nurturing my body with good things.  What results have I seen?  The biggest is in how I act, shop and respond to labels.  I have lost 4 pounds, and I would suspect some inches.  But once again for me the biggest gift is what I know I am doing in acting right for my body.  I enjoy being conscious in the food’s I buy, (or don’t buy) in the preparation eat tasty and filling food.  And I believe that at the end of the year I will look back and see a leaner version of me.”  -Jana Heckerman

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eating Clean and Mud Mafia Updates Podcast

I was lucky enough to be a guest on the latest Fitness Tech Podcast again (this makes the THIRD appearance for me) with Jamie Eikmeier and Jim Collison as hosts. Great to listen to on a snowy day!  I talk recipes, success stories, and the brand new runners on the Mud Mafia!!!  Welcome Liz Davis, Nick Liston, Lauren Ruby, Dan Svoboda, Carla Adams, Kat McKorkle, Dan Campolieta, Dave Hegner, Becki Klitzke, Nate Ferguson, Casey Sinz, Chad Bishoff, and Doug Snodgrass!

Jim included some funny outtakes from the beginning and end of the podcast, so be sure to listen all the way to the end.

The Fitness Tech Podcast #13 Eating Clean Revisited and Mud Mafia Success

You can contact the show at and follow Jim at!/jcollison or follow ME at twitter!/themudmafia

or Download the podcast

The Simple Power of a Clean Pizza

pizza A few weeks back I introduced my friend and favorite running partner (we did ten miles today by the way) Casey to my amazingly simple and clean pizza recipe!  Since that introduction, she has taken it home, served them for friends, family, and for her kids.  Recently, she sent me some pictures of her pizza1older son and his friend making the clean pizzas for a snack on a Saturday night.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing kiddos making healthy choices and with a great mom like Casey, they are bound to keep making them.  :-)  What an amazing and loving thing she is doing by teaching her kids the value of these kinds of healthier food choices… these are the kinds of pictures that really make me smile.  Way to go Case!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Clean Kid-Friendly Cooking!

chefsThis weekend has been ground zero of clean eating in my house!  With nearly non-stop snow, we’ve had to really have some fun indoors and the kitchen is a great place to do it!  In my house cooking is a family affair  and we had some big things we wanted to make!  My kiddos are very active participants in the process!   kneading doughIn my house we have three weekend food traditions – Friday nights we make our own pizzas and play Wii or watch a movie together, Saturdays we bake something clean and delicious that we can freeze and enjoy throughout the week, and Sunday mornings we make “kick you in the face pancakes”.  There is a great story about my younger daughter threatening to kick our family dog in the face if she tried to take her pancakes that earned them that name… check out that recipe here.  Friday nights we used to order pizza.  We obviously don’t do that anymore!!  Now we not only get to spend more quality time together but the girls get to customize their personal pizzas and learn about fresh ingredients!

This Saturday we had an epic day of baking and cooking including some delicious and amazingly clean cinnamon rolls, corn tortilla chicken and cheese enchiladas, and a delicious white chicken chili.  IMAG0044I love letting my daughters get involved in the process and they are learning how to cook with wholesome ingredients, prepare clean food, and enjoy the process of spending time in the kitchen. 

The cinnamon rolls were old school, so with the three hour long rounds of letting the yeast rise it took about four hours total but with all the blustery snow outside and the breaks for Wii Dance Party it was fun.  Taylor had a friend over, Kennedy, who helped and the girls not only made the cinnamon rolls, but their own enchiladas!   The cinnamon rolls were delicious and the chili hit the spot.  Here are the recipes we used for our fun day at home in the kitchen.   Gracious Pantry is where we found the cinnamon roll recipe, my head is where the chili recipe came from.  :-)

Clean Eating Cinnamon Buns
(Makes approximately 15 rolls)

Note: This recipe will require 3 hours of total rising time. So plan accordingly.

Cinnamon Roll Ingredients
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. honey
1/8 cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees F)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil + a little extra on reserve
1 egg
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Cinnamon Filling Ingredients
1 cup honey
1 tbsp. molasses
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp. cinnamon

IMAG0049Topping Ingredients (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans


(This will all be done in one large mixing bowl)

Step 1 – Pour the yeast into the bowl and mix in the warm water and the 1/2 tsp. honey. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Step 2 – Now, add the almond milk, 1/4 cup honey, salt olive oil and eggs to the yeast mixture. Whisk gently until combined.

Step 3 – Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. When it’s partially mixed and too thick to mix with the spoon any longer, begin kneading by hand. This will be very sticky at first, but you’ll find that the more you knead, the more the gluten starts to pull everything together. In the end, you’ll have a fairly firm ball of dough. So keep kneading (about 10-15 minutes).dough

Step 4 – Coat the ball of dough in a thin layer of olive oil and set back in the bowl. Cover with a towel and let stand for 1 hour to rise.

Step 5 – Punch down the dough, and cover again. Let it sit for another hour.

Step 6 – Punch down the dough one last time, cover and let sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Step 7 – In a medium mixing bowl, blend all your filling ingredients together. You should have a nice, thick, molasses-like filling when you are done mixing.

IMAG0047Step 8 – On a generously floured surface, roll out your dough. Again, be generous with the flour. If you are not, the dough will stick to your counter making the rolling process a real chore.  Roll the dough into a rectangle. Cut with a knife if necessary and place the cut offs in the center of the dough to be rolled back in with the rolling pin (no wasting good dough here!) In fact, if you look closely at the photo above, you can see the lines in the dough where I rolled my cut-offs back in.

Step 9 – Pour the honey mixture onto the middle of your rolled dough.

Step 10 – Smear on your filling. Make sure it only touches 3 of the four sides of your rectangle.

Step 11 – Roll the dough, starting with the side that has the honey mixture up to the edge.

IMAG0048Step 12 – When you get it rolled almost all the way, use your fingers to “paint” some water onto the edge of the dough that does not have any honey mixture on it. Give the dough one final roll so the dough will be “glued shut” by the water.
Note: If you get to this point and feel like you should just throw the whole thing in the trash, you’re probably doing it right.

Step 13 – Cut the roll into approximately 1 inch strips, and place each strip in an oiled baking pan or casserole dish. You want the dish to be too big for all your rolls as they will still need room for rising and baking.

Step 14 – Cover the dish with a towel and let the dough rise, one last time, for 1 hour.

Step 15 – Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 16 – If using the pecans, sprinkle them on now. Place rolls in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.

IMAG0050Step 15 – Allow to cool and squeeze some honey over the top of the rolls.

Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content
1 serving = 1 roll

Calories: 188
Total Fat: 4 gm
Saturated Fats: 1 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Sodium: 60 mg
Carbohydrates: 35 gm
Dietary fiber: 5 gm
Sugars: 6 gm
Protein: 7 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 18


White Chicken Chili


1 lb ground chicken

1 can garbanzo beans

1 can whole kernal corn

1 can Rotel Chili

3 cups organic chicken stock

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 TBSP fresh basil

2 TBSP fresh garlic minced

Brown chicken and add all ingredients to a crock pot.  Simmer on low for several hours.  Serve hot (and with the cinnamon rolls!). 

Happy Clean Eating!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Party Pleaser

Mexican5LayerDipnew_article I am a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan and this weekend they are playing for the NFC Championship.  I am going to a friend’s house and want to bring something clean but classic football Sunday!  I have a new take on an old classic that will delight even the biggest guys in the group! 

Mexican 5-Layer Dip

Finally! A guilt-free 5-layer party dip! Have a fiesta with fresh flavors that won’t make you hesitate to dip your chip again and again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clean Comfort Food

casseroleOne of the great things about cooking and eating clean is all the things you can start to make when you let your creative juices flow. It started snowing outside again and the bitter cold weather made me long for a warm, comfort food kind of meal.  I decided to throw together a breakfast casserole with what I had on hand.  It came out bubbly and smelling delicious!  This casserole will give me four servings!  Yum!
Here is what I put together:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Time! The Clean Version!

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are a favorite in my house…when you are eating on the run and need protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates this is the PERFECT and DELICIOUS way to do it for you and your hungry kiddos!  This is the version I serve up to my girls.  Sometimes, I’ll add a little honey or I’ll use Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter.  Another famous version of this sandwich would incorporate bananas instead of berries.   

pgj Ingredients

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread or wrap (I use Ezekiel bread… gluten free bread would be a great substitute here too)
  • 2 TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh or unsweetened frozen strawberries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or bananas work here too)
  • optional: 1 teaspoon honey



- Put peanut butter on top of bread
- Slice or smash berries and spread on top


Tips & Bonus Information

Around 275 calories!  (check your bread calories and your PB.  This is with Ezekiel bread at 80 calories a slice and 180 calories for the 2 TBSP of peanut butter.  Berries and/or fruit is around 25 calories)  I like eating this with a cup of organic skim milk!  Great snack or meal on the go!

Yield: 1 servings
Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Spotlight Super food: Quinoa!

One of my favorite foods in the whole grains family is Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah).  I use it in lots of recipes because not only is it high in protein, fiber, and amino acids (vegans pay attention) but it’s quite delicious as well!  As a rice or noodle substitute and even as a substitute for oatmeal in the morning! 
Quinoa is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in SouthQuinoa%20Grain%20crop%20027 American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the "mother grain" and revered it as sacred. Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel! Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as "war balls." Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, there was a 400-year decline in the production of quinoa. It became a minor crop at that time and was grown only by peasants in remote areas for local consumption.
Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food stores throughout the year.
Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain" once considered "the gold of the Incas."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Transforming your body...

One should eat to live, not live to eat.  ~Cicero, Rhetoricorum LV
I am asked questions all the time.  Friends, family, emails from blog readers, and at the gym when I train.  I was even stopped by an elderly woman in the locker room at a gym yesterday about arm workouts when we were in the steam room!  People ask me what eating clean means, what I do to workout, how to eat clean, recipes, and most frequently how it will help them achieve weight loss goals.  I try to downplay that because eating clean is about finding a lifestyle and I want the focus to be on long term change instead of short term weight loss goals BUT I think it's time to talk about body transformation.  I don’t want this blog post to sound like an infomercial and I think it’s important to think of losing weight with Eating Clean as a byproduct of giving your body the nutrition and nourishment it needs and it deserves but Eating Clean is the healthiest and most dramatic way to transform your body’s appearance. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Table for One!

Okay, so at the sake of totally calling myself out, even when I cook for my family I am also a single mom and regularly cook single meals for myself as well.  The problem is, I don’t want a ton of leftovers in my fridge and I never want to throw anything away or waste something just because  the package contained more than I could eat?
If you usually cook for one or two people — or if members of your family rarely have time to eat together — you probably face such frustrations. But small-quantity cooking can be made easier and more interesting. Here's how: