Eat Clean Challenge: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of my challenge, and it’s been smooth sailing so far. I felt full and satisfied all day without cravings. I was offered chocolate chip cookie bars, gummy worms, and peanut m & m’s, but saying no didn’t feel traumatizing.
For breakfast, I made steel cut oats, which are really good. They are more chewy than regular rolled oats. Here’s a side-by-side comparison: 

On the left we have steel cut oats, and on the right quick-cooking rolled oats (I grabbed quick-cooking oats by mistake, and then I kicked myself about it every time I ate them–I prefer old-fashioned!). Steel cut oats are similar in appearance to bulgar. They take much longer to cook than rolled oats (about 30 minutes), so I made enough to eat for four days. I had the oats with a scoop of teddie’s unsalted peanut butter, honey, and unsweetened almond milk. I also had a smoothie with almond milk, half a banana, frozen strawberries, and spinach. Yes, spinach! Spinach blends into smoothies really well. It’s totally undetectable, flavor-wise. I’m sneaking spinach in as much as possible because it’s a good source of iron, and since I’m not eating meat, I want to make sure I get enough of it.
For lunch, I made an egg scramble with more spinach, garlic, and tomato. On the side I had some beets (I may need a beet intervention–I’m totally addicted) and a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 bread. I decided to include this because upon reading the label, I could identify every ingredient listed. Also, it’s a complex carb and a good source of protein. I really like how it tastes, and will continue to eat it after my challenge ends.
My snacks included yogurt with raspberries, and the other half of my banana, delicious style. It’s easy to make: cut the banana in half lengthwise, spread some peanut butter in the middle, add a sprinkle of cinnamon, put the halves together, wrap in tinfoil, and freeze for a few hours. Mmm, frozen bananas are like ice cream.

Dinner was a variation of this recipeNorth African Chickpea and Spinach Soup. Here’s my version on the recipe (based on what I had in my cabinets):

1 large onion, chopped
4  large carrots, sliced
Olive oil
Tons of garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Generous pinch turmeric
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1.5 cups cooked & drained chickpeas
8 cups water
1/2 of a 10oz bag of baby spinach

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot, cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown. While that’s going on, mix all of the dry spices, set aside. Once the carrot and onion begin to brown, add the garlic, cook for a minute more. Add your spices, stir to coat all of the vegetables. Add the chickpeas, then the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the spinach in, stir, and then cook until the carrots reach the desired softness.

It had a really interesting flavor with a unique mix of spices. I liked it a lot! It smelled strongly like Indian food, but had a much more delicate flavor that was decidedly not Indian. I had another piece of ezekiel bread on the side.

Well, I’m off to whip up some hummus! Then I have massive amounts of homework to do.

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