Taking the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge Again!

Now that my brother’s wedding is over and I’ve come down from all my high-carb, high-protein Tough Mudder/Mudderella eating frenzies, it’s time for a complete “detox” and realigning of my fitness priorities. Incredibly, I only packed on a mere two pounds over the last month, so it’s not as though I’ve undone a lifetime of hard work. I’m guessing that most of those two pounds is beer. Beer upon beer upon beer. Because I love nothing more than to celebrate anything in life with a slick porter or a rowdy stout. Mmmmm…

I’ve been sitting on the 2015 Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge for a couple of months because there was no way I was going to be able to successfully work this into May or June. I’m not an unreasonable person who thinks they can move mountains in the midst of chaos. I like to make sure my path to success is (reasonably) clear of things like major holidays, weddings, the occasional obstacle race…those sorts of things that entail consuming delicious things with reckless abandon, all in the spirit of celebrating…whatever it is I’ve decided needs celebrating.

This year’s challenge is the same as last year’s, just with different recipes. If you recall, I followed last year’s challenge to a T and was met with mixed results. (Thinking about those collard-wrapped meatballs still gives me the heebie-jeebies) This year, I’m giving myself a little wiggle room because I think it’s more important to embrace the overall concepts behind the challenge rather than forcing myself into starvation because I find some things to be a waste of energy to chew. For example, several recipes require that I continue the nonsensical charade that Portobello mushrooms are a good substitute for things like meat and bread. I would rather not eat a meal than have to force that down my gullet. Therefore I will either find alternatives to mushroom buns or I will forego buns entirely.

For those just joining us or who skimmed over stuff I’ve posted previously on clean eating, here is a decent article over at Fitness Magazine that talks about the basics of clean eating. While I try to adhere to clean eating concepts on a regular basis – I am a lover of cooking as much from scratch as possible, a trait likely inherited from the Italian and Portuguese parts of my lineage – I do find that trying to avoid consuming some of the items that are considered “processed” is not only a little mind-numbing, it also flies a bit in the face of other data that supports the use of processed foods. A good example of this would be data showing that fermented foods are good for digestion, as they help to replenish gut flora that has been lost to illness, poor food choices, or other common issues. Fermented foods are, by the definition of clean eating, highly processed. That’s cool and all, but I’ll give up my kimchee when you pry it from my cold dead hands. I know how to make it from scratch and I’m not giving that up for anyone!

There’s also something to be said about home-preservation of foods for later consumption. Jellies, jams, pickles, sauces, etc. are altered forms of whole foods that when done at home with careful attention paid to what’s being added to the jar, can provide wonderful future foods that are many times better for you than the processed versions sitting on grocery store shelves. So I would be hard-pressed to throw those items under the bus simply because the rules of clean eating say so. These are the areas in which I frequently waver, because I think that feeding your body has to come with some amount of common sense. Drawing hard lines in the concrete does nobody any favors.

Besides, I love my baked goods. I would shank a bitch for trying to take banana bread from me.

The Clean Eating Challenge is written for a Sunday through Saturday schedule, but being that this coming weekend is a holiday and I will be out of town until Sunday evening, I’m shifting everything back by a day. So keep that in mind as I share each day’s menu and results. No tomfoolery here, I promise.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, folks. Enjoy the weather (if it’s enjoyable), eat and drink however you see fit, and may you succeed in avoiding Lee Greenwood at all costs.