31 Days Of Clean Eating Made Approachable and Affordable


31-Days of Clean Eating My first post in my first attempt at the 31 Days series, and I’ve already made a blunder, or two.  I’m starting this a day late, and I’m making the promise to make the series affordable.  Let me see if I can correct and clarify myself.

I’ve been writing for someone else, and receiving compensation for said writing, for over a year now.  To get paid for something I innately love to do, and can do from the comfort of my home is a blessing, one which I do not take for granted.  However, it slowly started to zap my energy for writing here.  It did not zap my creativity for topics, but the time and energy, mostly found at night, to write about said topics, it surely did.  I’ve fallen into bad habits, and I want to try to get back into writing consistently here in this space.  While the 31 Days series is terrifying to me, last night I decided to take the challenge to fall back in love with writing, and to commit myself to writing here on a daily basis for the next 31 days, on the same topic.

So why write on clean eating, and not on style or DIY?  While I still love style and crafts, as I said last week, this season in my life is calling me to the kitchen.  And being in the kitchen nourishes my family and me as a whole, much more so than clever crafts and cute clothes.  Don’t get me wrong, looking good and feeling good still go hand in hand for me, and I love expressing and fostering creativity with my kids through arts and crafts.  But I just can’t write about it for 31 days straight, while I have been focusing such a huge part of my time and energy into cultivating a new way of eating for me and my family.

This is my 31 Days landing page if you will, and I feel a bit of pressure to eloquently explain myself to those I’m welcoming to my space here for the first time.  I’ll try to do my best, in the form of a Q and A, so here goes.

How did Gwyneth get this all started?
You can read my very first post on how Gwyneth Made Me Do It here. Basically, one day on a whim I checked out her book It’s All Good from the library. I am not the biggest fan of Gwyneth, but I was curious, and ended up falling in love with it. I loved the simple approach to clean eating, and the recipes, of which I’ve tried over 50 now, were mostly all delicious and never left me feeling like I was sacrificing taste for health.

How does Instagram play into this?
I created the GMMDI Instagram account as a very tongue-in-cheek daily journal of my clean eating adventures, and misadventures, and documented my challenges and successes. In just 4 months the account has grown to over 3000 followers and has surpassed my personal IG account fourflights, which I’ve had for almost 2 years. I try not to take it personally that more people are interested in food inspired by Gwyneth than seeing pictures of my cute kids and style inspiration.

And what about Babble?
I had been applying to write for Babble in the style, beauty, craft and baby categories for over a year, and it turns out that the thing that lands me a gig on Babble is talking about my Gwyneth inspired clean eating journey. Who knew? You can read more about how I landed my Babble column here, and you can find all my Gwyneth Made Me Do It posts on Babble here.

Evolving past Gwyneth
It’s been 4 months now, and while I still cook many recipes from Gwyneth’s book, and in many ways, it changed my life as it relates to food, I’ve moved beyond it and have become much more comfortable cooking clean on my own, or have found other resources from which to pull inspiration from. I’ve also discovered that eating clean doesn’t have to break the bank, and have found many approaches to make it more affordable and cost-effective, while eating even higher quality foods, especially meats.

So what can you expect for the next 31 Days?
The beauty of clean eating is that it is highly flexible and adaptive to your own individual needs and desires. Initially I thought it meant eliminating gluten, dairy and other foods from my diet forever, but I’ve come to realize that the real basis of clean eating, and sticking with it for the long haul, is the emphasis on fresh and simple. Cooking many foods from scratch, using the most natural ingredients, and knowing where your food comes from as much as possible. For myself and my family, we probably push the notion of clean eating to the limits, and it is working wonderfully for us. I have no aspirations for 6 pack abs or a butt of a 20 year old. I just want to feel good and if my body benefits from it, then great.

We have eliminated refined sugars, processed and pre-packaged foods and snacks, ditched fast food, including those blasted chicken nuggets, and thrown Nutella and our beloved Coffee-Mate creamer into the trash. We have given up all meats from CAFO (factory farms) and have switched to only pastured, grass-fed, antibiotic free meats and eggs, and to save on costs, we’ve started eating vegetarian meals many days of the week. When we frequent restaurants, unless their policy states other wise, we do no eat meat, knowing that 99% of the meat in the US is from a factory farm.

We have made huge changes in our diets, and we have, for lack of a better word, forced the kids along on the ride. It some ways it’s been hard as hell and many fights have ensued, but over time they have adjusted, and very rarely ask to go to McDonald’s anymore.

For the next 31 days I will discuss these changes with you, and share the honest struggles and successes we have had with these changes. I will share some general details on how much these changes cost, and while we have been able to make adjustments that make it more financially affordable for us, I cannot promise it will be affordable for all. Everyone’s needs, budgets, and even geographic location will mean a different view of affordability, so allow some grace in that area please.

I’m also tracking our daily meals and at the end of each week, will post our meals including breakfast lunch and dinner for you all, to hopefully glean some inspiration from.

So have all these changes been worth it? I can undoubtedly say yes, and I hope we can sustain these changes for the rest of our lives. In a nutshell, I feel lighter. Constantly plagued with cramps and indigestion, those have all been eliminated. I have more energy, I overall rest better at night (when I can go to bed at decent time), and I just feel better. I’ve also come to approach food in a completely different way, and have much more of an appreciation for it than I ever had before.

weight While weight loss isn’t a priority in all of this, I did want to mention that for the first time in 2 years, I am below 140 pounds, at 5’10”. My husband is also under 180 for the first time in over a year as well. I’m still breastfeeding, so essentially holding onto extra calories, and I have made no dramatic changes in exercise routines, nor have I counted a calorie or portioned my eating in any way whatsoever. Additionally, my husband has been suffering from an injured knee so has been more sedentary than ever before. With all this in consideration, we are still losing weight, little bits at a time. I tell you all this because while how I feel internally is impossible to measure and prove, the number on the scale is undeniable for skeptics.

I still plan to get a style post in here at least once a week in October, so some days I will double up my posts for 31 days to allow for a style post, or any other earth shattering thoughts I may have. In reality though it’s going to be quite the stretch to post every day so I’m just hoping I can rise to that challenge.

I hope my readers who have been here long before Gwyneth, will appreciate and learn something from my posts over the next 30 days. If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s been the realization that many women would like to be inspired to shop their closet or wear an item they didn’t think they could pull off, but most women want to feed their family well, and garner a huge sense of accomplishment when they’re able to do that. So while some of you may have come here for style and crafts, I hope you stick around for the food, at least for the month. You can always come back and see me in November when I’m no longer shoving food down your face. 😉

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • Kristina says:

    I am so excited about this! Your GMMDI account inspired me to buy the book. I’ve cooked a few recipes from it and all have been great, but I’m still at the point of being completely overwhelmed by it. I feel like I can do dinners, but breakfast and lunch is a little more challenging for me. I’m excited to see your meals each day for some ideas.

  • Madeline says:

    I love both of your accounts, GMMDI and For the Love of! You have a unique approach to life, style, and food Andrea which is both relatable, approachable, and admirable. I look forward to this challenge you’re sharing!

  • Jessica says:

    I just found you via 31 Days and am excited to read along. I’ve been very interested in healthy eating and have been curious about GP’s books. I’m doing my #31days on mindful eating 🙂

  • SO excited about this series!!!

  • I love both your IG accounts and have been pretty intrigued by the clean eating “trend,” so I’ve been reading your Babble writings too. I can’t wait to learn how you’re making it affordable…and along with that I think accessible seems close by!

  • nicole says:

    Looking forward to reading your daily tips and weekly meal recaps.

  • I found you via 31 Days; I was hoping to find some great new blogs to read!

    I have another Gwyneth book that I should dig back out again. It’s something about her father. Since I’m doing the October Unprocessed Challenge this month, I’m on the hunt for fresh inspiration and new recipes.

    I’m looking forward to following your Clean Eating journey.

  • Lisa says:

    I heard about her book and wanted to read it, I also taking part in this 31 day challenge and I am doing take pause. I am a clean eater but always like to look at daily tips and other’s meals.

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