Clean eating

Recipe ideas for the 30 day Clean Eating Challenge

I have recently completed a 30 day Clean Eating Challenge set by Tom Burns, who owns and runs the brilliant Ludus Gym in Monmouth, and it has been a real game changer! Rather than leaving me yearning for all those delicious things that I haven’t been able to eat or drink for a month (such as cheese, bread, butter, chocolate, pasta and wine) it seems to have re-set my system and heavily reduced my addiction to them so that I no longer feel like I particularly want them – exactly what Tom had intended! My 30 days ended a week ago and I still haven’t had any dairy, bread, biscuits, pasta or caffeine. In fact, I think a couple of glasses of wine have been the only thing I’ve had this last week that I would have excluded from my diet during the challenge. (I have started taking Vitamin D and calcium supplements just to accommodate the fact that I am eating virtually no dairy at the moment.)

To adhere to the challenge, you must cut the following things from your diet for 30 days:

  • Processed foods
  • Gluten
  • Sugar (a small quantity of fruit is permitted)
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

For the first few days, I was craving every forbidden food – in fact, they were all I could think about! I was desperate for my normal granola and yoghurt for breakfast with a big cup of coffee. It was torturous making bread for my family and not being able to eat it myself. Looking on as my daughter baked cakes and biscuits with incredible smells wafting around the kitchen was agonising! But it soon wore off and I began relishing the challenge of satisfying my appetite using my newly restricted list of ingredients and tweaking the recipes I was making for my family so that I could eat them too. The results are that I feel lighter, healthier and more invigorated. I have such a spring in my step and even though weight loss wasn’t my main motivation for doing this, I am considerably lighter (by about 10 pounds), which is a great added bonus!

The recipes under the ‘clean eating’ menu heading are all suitable for inclusion on this challenge, most of which are old favourites that I have simply amended by removing or replacing forbidden ingredients.

I became more imaginative as the challenge went on whilst also settling into a helpful routine so that I wasn’t constantly having to think from scratch about what I’d eat. Breakfast has became a much more important meal since doing this because I am more hungry at the start of the day now possibly because I’m eating less the night before. So for breakfast, I have an egg with wilted spinach and tomatoes (raw or oven roasted with olive oil and herbs) and / or some avocado and finely chopped chorizo. For lunch, I have a big salad or homemade soup. (I have been making enormous vats of all different types of soup which I’ve been freezing in batches so that I can allow myself a generous couple of large bowls to fill me up instead of eating bread.) For supper, I’ve been eating some of the recipes in the list above or just adapting other recipes that I’m making for my family to ensure I only eat permitted ingredients – e.g. I’ll cook myself rice or quinoa instead of pasta, I’ll cook onions in olive oil instead of butter, I’ll make fish pie for my family and keep back some fish to bake for me – all small changes that seem to have a big cumulative effect.

Let me know if you decide to give it a go!

Please excuse the poorly styled food photos (!) but here are just a few of the things I’ve been eating. Very simple ingredients, organic vegetables, no processed foods and no limit on how much you can eat.