Monday, September 9, 2013

Clean Eating: Or "why I'm going to be unbearable when it comes to feeding my child"

Total steps yesterday:  13,341
Exercise plans for today:  long Zoe walk, strength training if time permits

Big news!  I actually averaged 10,000 steps per day this weekend.  I consider that quite an achievement given my general lackluster attitude toward weekend workouts lately.

The other weekend development, which I would have considered both a logical and scientific impossibility before Saturday night, is that I think I  might have overdosed on frozen yogurt.  James and I went out for a cup on Saturday night, and after a few bites both of us were like, "Um, we need a froyo break".   It was still delicious, but apparently 6 visits to Sweet Frog in one week is too much.  It's good to know your limits sometimes.

The final big news from the weekend is that I found my favorite type of peanut butter at the grocery store.  I've been able to find this brand but not this specific flavor, and it was a great and happy discovery:

This is a particularly happy development because I'm apparently going to start being a lot hungrier in the next few weeks.  I thought the pregnant hungries had already kicked in, but apparently I was wrong.  If today is any indication, I'm well on my way to adding an 8th meal to my day.  And I believe that 8th meal will be reintroducing peanut butter toast.

For about the last year I've eaten peanut butter toast for approximately 80% of my breakfasts.  It was my favorite pre-long run fuel during half marathon training.  It's a great and easy breakfast that takes just a few minutes to prepare, has a good serving of carbs, protein, and fat, and you can take it and run out the door if you're running late.  I'd frequently add a banana to the mix and that would power me through the entire morning.  Or, right now, through the entire two hours until I eat again.

Peanut butter is hard, though.  The cheap store brand versions are packed with preservatives that aren't very good for you, and if you're not careful with serving size you can get easily eat way more fatty calories than you want to.  The first few times I made peanut butter toast, I measured out two tablespoons of peanut butter.  Since then I can more or less eyeball it.  The most simple peanut butters are the best for you - the ingredients list ideally will just have peanuts, or peanuts and salt. The best kinds will also have cinnamon and raisins.

Peanut butter is one of those areas where the idea of clean eating really becomes clear.  The basic idea is that we don't need the various preservatives, chemicals, and overly processed foods found in most of our grocery store items.  You should be able to read the ingredients list and recognize everything on it.  If you wouldn't buy partially hydrogenated corn oil to put in the cake you were baking from scratch, then there's no reason to get it in your peanut butter.

The book "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle provides a really good introduction to navigating our complicated grocery stores and bizarre nutritional labels.  I highly recommend it to anyone trying to figure out how to eat better without just eating organic quinoa from Whole Foods.

I've been trying to eat relatively clean for about a year now, and would say I do pretty well about 80% of the time.  James isn't always on board with all the clean eating stuff, and it can be hard to do when eating out, so I'm not too fanatic about it, but try to do my best.

This is going to sound really silly considering I talk and write daily about being pregnant, but I frequently don't think about the fact that there's going to be a living, breathing, hungry child at the end of this that I have to take care of.  It's really only been in the last few days that I've started thinking about life after pregnancy, as opposed to just pregnancy.  And this article about homemade baby food made me realize that one thing to start thinking about is how clean eating will work when feeding my child.  I figured I would probably try my hand at making baby foods just for fun, but as I read the article, I'm thinking I might have to be a bit more serious about it.

I'm planning on breast feeding and hoping that I'm able to, but I'm not opposed to supplementing with formula when needed or easier.  I think I'll be the same way once we start transitioning to solid foods.  But it's also exhausting sometimes to check labels and nutrition facts when I'm deciding what to buy for myself.  I can't imagine how much more complicated I'll make it when it's for a baby.  So I have to decide which will be easier for James and me:  taking the time out to make baby food at home, or double and triple checking labels and stressing over what I'm putting in my baby.  I'd like to think that Lil W will automatically love all the foods I love, and happily eat mango and avocado and tikka masala and never want anything processed, but that's probably too much to ask.  Oh well.  Baby steps, right?


  1. Oh man, I LOVE that brand of peanut butter! So many flavors, mmmmm.

    I've recently started to give more hairy eyeball at foods that have ingredients in them that I can't pronounce. If I don't know how to say or what it is, why would I eat it..? Awesome post!

  2. I loved making my own purees the first time around. The thing that ultimately made me stop was the existence of these obnoxiously convenient "squeezies" they make for kids now (which are actually probably not that "good" overall). You may have seen them - fruit and veggie pouches with screw-on tops that kids can basically just suck the purees out of (or yogurt or whatever). So much more convenient that hauling around a couple of ice cubes worth of your own puree and containers to heat them up in and spoons.

    BUT, now they have systems to fill your own squeezies (I got one at my shower) and I am SO excited about it. Also, the Beaba Babycook. I borrowed one last time, but bought one this time around.