Clean Eating, or Just Another Way of Saying “Real Food”

There is a lot of chatter about clean eating, and, to be honest, it’s just another way of saying “eat real food“. This is something I advocate on many levels — not only does it help with weight loss, but also helps to maintain a rich and satisfying gluten-free diet. With three obvious exceptions (wheat, rye, and barley…and any products made with these items), real foods are the cornerstone of a gluten-free diet.

While restaurants are getting into the clean-eating act — in Los Angeles, where I live, there is a strong trend toward vegetable, vegetarian, and vegan joints — it’s easy to maintain a real foods diet at home. Yes, it takes more time, but good meal planning and advance prep go a long way toward ensuring meals get on the table in the timely manner.

A lot of clean, or real, recipes place a heavy emphasis on vegetables, something else I applaud. I just spent a couple of hours going through all the food-related email newsletters I let pile up while I’ve been busy for the past couple of weeks, and I noticed a trend in the recipes I added to Plan to Eat: lots more vegetable-based dishes, fewer meat dishes.

(This doesn’t mean I’m giving up meat, but, as mentioned, I am moving it to the side of my plate more often.)

For example, since today is rainy, I’m eager to get a tomato-based lentil stew on the stove. I’ll top it with greens and maybe an egg. Or maybe I’ll serve it with crispy tofu, since I have some in the refrigerator that needs to be consumed. This is the kind of dish made for a day like this…and it hits all my buttons: lentils (!), hot and comforting, healthy, and, of course, gluten free.

Oh, and it’s fast: lentils take almost no time at all to cook.

For the rest of the week, my menu will feature sweet potatoes, turnips, chicken, lots of spinach, oranges, and pork chops with applesauce and cabbage. I’m excited about the prospect of making homemade applesauce. Oh, and I’m thinking of trying quick-fried crispy cauliflower since I have some oil left over from my husband’s foray into the kitchen last night — he made his famous chile rellenos.

If you’re looking for a bunch of diverse real foods recipes, I think this week’s worth of menus from PureWow.com is a great way to get a sense of the variety that is possible. Needless to say, I’m adding the Lemony Chickpea Tuna Salad to my menu stat!

Tip of the Week

Every weekend, I make a big batch of lentils or beans for weeknight meals and my lunches. While I keep canned beans in the cupboard for emergencies, it’s much cheaper to buy dried beans and cook them up.

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

Well, there I’ve gone and done it. I was certain this week’s meal would be the lentil dish, but now all I can do is think about those pork chops. Or, more properly, the applesauce part of the pork chop dish. And the cabbage. I do love my cabbage.

So I’ll save the lentils for another week — it will give me time to really perfect that recipe!

  • Pork Chops
  • Homemade Applesauce
  • Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lemon Sauce
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