I had to stuff fifty eggs this morning for our church’s annual Egg Hunt on Saturday, which means I ate a few pieces of chocolate myself.  Easter candy is a weakness and one that I’ll have to be careful of if I don’t want to blow the “clean eating” plan I’ve been on for the past few weeks. 

My friend Emilie came up with the Clean Food Challenge and she regularly recruits people to join her for 10 days of clean eating, which means no meat, no dairy, no wheat, no alcohol.  She does, however, allow herself one cup of coffee because, hey, you have to draw the line somewhere.  I like this because she makes an effort to eat for better health and energy but has the good sense (of humor) to not restrict coffee completely (the only reason I’m finding it possible to get up in the morning lately– I have to go to bed earlier!). 

My friend Kelly has been trying it out as well and has gotten a whole gang of people to join her at her website, Perched to Fly.  I admire both of them.

I’m not following this whole clean eating thing to the extent that Kelly and Emilie are, but I have been trying to eat better and LESS for a little while.  It’s really helped with my energy levels and my digestion.  I was having a lot of upset stomach for a while, but I can always tell a marked difference in how I feel when I cut out processed foods and add in  more of the fruits and veggies I love. 

It’s easy to slip into bad eating habits when we’re pressed for time and out and about more than we’d like, but healthy eating really doesn’t have to be that time consuming.  Rob’s training for the 24-Hour Burn at the end of May, and he plans to drop a few pounds between now and then.  Even a few pounds makes a difference when you’re hauling it around and up and down a trail for a whole day and night.  For the same reason, I’d like to lose a few myself.  I’m planning to run my first 12-hour race at the beginning of June. 

Rob’s never been a huge fan of supper anyway, and the kids prefer light and easy meals, so I’ve actually cut back on my nighttime cooking, and we’re going pretty low maintenance, which seems to be making a difference.  Instead, I’m making bigger lunches for Rob and the kids, and I get to eat all the weird, experimental stuff I enjoy for my own lunch.  Everyone’s happier, I think.

My new favorite thing is collard wraps, which are insanely simple to make and surprisingly good.  Being a good Southern girl, I’ve always cooked the hell out of my collards and then fried them in bacon grease, but this style is a lot healthier.  My favorite stuffing is hummus with a variety of chopped veggies, like tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumbers and olives.  I also like to mash up part of an avocado and add a little pesto with a variety of veggies.  Quick, simple, and super healthy.

Personally, I love dairy and I’m a pretty big fan of bread too.  And coffee?  Well, forget it if you think I’m giving up my coffee.  I even like the occasional glass of wine.  I’ve never been too fond of diets that restrict entire food groups though I can certainly see the benefits of cutting them out for a few days here and there, maybe once every season, just to give your system a boost, but for the long haul, I’m mostly interested in eating a semi-clean diet, one that includes collards, quinoa, tofu AND a Cadbury Creme Egg every once in a while. 

But don’t count me out yet.  Garden season is almost upon us, and I’ll have finished off the Easter basket– I mean, the kids will have finished off the Easter basket– by the end of next week, so I may go crazy and cut out dairy, meat, and wheat for a week just as an experiment.  But even if there’s nothing else, there will be coffee– just so you know.  I’ll keep you posted.

What’s growing in your garden this year?