Clean Eating

Now that the Christmas holidays are over, I am back from vacation in Ireland, and I have a few days off of blogger events, our focus has turned a little more to “clean” eating. I sometimes wonder, when I am writing a lot about wine, big meals, events, and baked goods, if people think I am just on one big unhealthy eating spree after another.

In reality, about 90% of our diet is pretty healthy, but there are definitely those times we overindulge and don’t feel great as a result. My renewed focus is on eating foods that provide us with tons of energy; I do have the Napa Marathon in less than a month, in addition to a few exciting work-related things keeping me busy.

For me, clean eating is not about choosing the foods lowest in fat or calories, but it is about adding as many nutrients as possible into what we eat for each meal while also making sure things taste delicious.

blueberry oatmeal

Most days, though I don’t photograph it Smile I eat oatmeal for breakfast. I have many variations, but it usually starts with a fantastic Trader Joe’s mix of barley, oats, and rye, mixed in with Silk Vanilla Almond Milk (the only almond milk I can drink on its own, SO good!) and topped with some sort of fruit and/or peanut butter. Part of my clean eating goals is adding antioxidant-rich foods into the mix, so we stocked up on frozen blueberries this week. Oh, how I long for fresh blueberry season!


Breakfast is usually a one-two punch. I follow my oatmeal, maybe an hour later, with a green smoothie. Depending on the day’s activities, I may or may not add almond butter and oats to the smoothie, but a typical day includes almond milk, banana, microwaved spinach, a little bit of water, and a glug of flax seed oil.

spinach smoothie

My favorite peanut butter is from Trader Joe’s. Their Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds is roasty and a little bit salty, making it perfect for my smoothies but also an AWESOME topping for vegetables, along with some sriracha.

Peanut Butter with Roasted Flax Seeds

And speaking of Trader Joe’s favorites, their Organic Flax Seed Oil is, as I have mentioned above, is not only a key ingredient in my smoothies for those Omega 3’s, but it has become my all time favorite moisturizer. My skin is AWFUL in the winter, extremely dry and dull, and putting this oil on twice daily, including on my face, has made my skin feel so much better. I swear by it.

organic flax oil

Lunch can be pretty random. In the case of yesterday, which is when I photographed all of these meals, I went for a 20 mile run. After I run, I am often nauseous, and eating can be difficult. Yesterday, all I wanted were nachos, so I whipped up some healthy ones using Trader Joe’s flaxseed tortilla chips (seeing a trend here with TJ’s and flax?!), a bit of shredded Kerrygold cheese, Greek yogurt, homemade salsa, jalapenos, and hot sauce. the nachos didn’t stand a chance and sadly did not make it into a photo Smile I was just happy to have an appetite after running for so long!

For dinner, I always try to have a good mix of vegetables and protein. I don’t always succeed; there are definitely nights where roasted potato wedges and ketchup are all I can muster. But with the warm weather we have been having, and inspired by all of the gorgeous salmon we ate in Ireland, last night’s dinner was a super energy salad, dubbed such because of all of the healthy fats in it.

super energy salad

This beauty featured baby spinach, avocado, red onion, and smoked salmon, topped with a lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt dressing.

super energy salad

It was delightful. When it is warm enough out, clean eating means lots of salads with great, varied toppings so they never get boring. I can not wait until salad season!

And what would a great, healthy dinner be without an antioxidant-packed glass of red wine? I love Pinot Noir with salmon, and a small glass of Michel-Schlumberger Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir was just the thing to pair with the meal.

Michel Schlumberger Pinot Noir

What is clean eating to you? Did you make any changes to your eating habits at the New Year, and have you continued them?

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Tags: antioxidants, blueberries, clean eating, flax, flaxseed oil, Food, green smoothies, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy recipes, oatmeal, Pinot Noir, recipes, salad, smoked salmon, spinach, Trader Joe's, wine

  1. Emily’s avatar

    I like that wine is part of your clean eating repertoire (it is in mine too!). After New Years, once finals were over, I have made an effort to eat more reasonable portions and exercise more. But, generally, what I eat is the same. Mostly healthy, some splurges :)


  2. GirlyGreenGirl’s avatar

    I LOVE flax seed oil and put it in my smoothie every morning. Another good oil for your skin is coconut oil (use sparingly, can be greasy.) It smells delicious! It’s funny your fall back meal is potato wedges and ketchup… mine too! Although since I’ve been pregnant I’ve been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every night for dinner. I’m a Whole Foods girl but only because there’s one right around the corner from me. I’m moving in April and I think TJ’s is going to be closer… can’t wait.

    ~ GGG


  3. Elizabeth’s avatar

    And we are glad that you don’t photograph your oatmeal everyday ;) I’ve been wanting to try that PB with flax seeds from trader joe’s. I definitely want to get it now.


  4. Samantha’s avatar

    I’m totally obsessed with frozen blueberries, and actually prefer them to fresh! I have a bowl almost every morning for breakfast, sprinkled heavily with walnuts and drizzled with raw honey. Just wait for 20 minutes for them to defrost a tiny bit and they are the most refreshing crunchy and squishy consistency! And I love that the bags at TJ’s are just $1.99 – great considering I go through at least two a week. Only problem is they turn your tongue blue so be careful not to eat too many at work ;)

    Curious as to why you go the extra step to microwave your spinach when I’ve always just thrown it into smoothies raw – does it taste different? Better?


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      I have read/heard that cooking greens actually activates a lot of the nutrients and is better for you than raw spinach, so I usually cook it until it is wilted. It makes the spinach or kale disappear into the smoothie a lot better as well, especially for the kale.


      1. Samantha’s avatar

        Good to know! I’ll try that next time.


      2. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

        I eat very similar meals – meals that are also often unpictured on my blog :) Clean eating to me is eating food that is least processed, and yes, food that is high in nutrients. I eat a lot of greens during dinner at home (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussell sprouts) and fruit throughout the day. I am actually working on a similar blog post about my favorite simple, healthy dinners, Oh and I like TJ’s Valencia peanut butter too!


      3. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

        Very healthy and very delicious! I try to eat a 90% clean 10% splurge diet as well. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but I think as long as I’m eating “good” most of the time, my body will remain healthy.


      4. Michelle’s avatar

        Clean eating for me is watching what I eat in terms of portion size and very strangely, to snack all day long with nuts, cheese, fruits and veggies so I don’t eat grossly large breakfasts, lunches, dinners and feel terrible afterwards.


      5. Megan’s avatar

        I love that salad! Hmm… I go about a day of “clean eating,” and then I give up. It’s kind of sad really. I definitely feel better when I start my day with oatmeal or a healthy cereal but I don’t always have time. I wish I worked from home every day because I know I’d eat much better if I did.


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          Yes, I should have mentioned that my eating is different now because I am at home. When I did work in the office, I soaked my oats overnight and then just microwaved them and ate them at my desk. It was nice, especially in the winter, to have a hot breakfast and made my office a little more bearable.


        2. Roxan’s avatar

          Am I reading this right? You eat veggies with peanut butter… topped with sriracha? Hm… sounds interesting. But like they say, don’t knock it until you try it. So I’ll give it a shot! I’ll let you know how it goes.


          1. traveleatlove’s avatar

            Yep! It basically just turns into a spicy peanut sauce over veggies (and noodles/rice) if you like!


          2. Erin @ Big Girl Feats’s avatar

            Oh yummy. I totally wish fresh blueberries weren’t 5 bucks right now. I feel like I eat cleanly about 80% of the time – more so the past few months, I’ve been closer to 90% and I feel so much better. I definitely notice after a vacation or holiday or time not eating cleanly, my body needs to revert back to it, which I’m really happy about.


          3. Megan’s avatar

            20 mile run? Wow! I can hardly do 3 right now! I haven’t made any changes to my diet since the year started, because I was eating pretty healthy before then. Like you, I have nights where I indulge and overeat, but they aren’t every night–and I try to stay healthy by working out almost every day.

            And that green smoothie looks intriguing!


          4. Daisy’s avatar

            I ate “wild blueberry muffin” instant oatmeal this morning. its just easier to eat when I’m at work on the go. does instant count as being healthy? I forgot to take a photo :(


          5. Jolene (’s avatar

            Clean eating to me means including as much veggies and fruits as I can, and eating little baked goods/ treats/ packaged foods.


          6. Renee {Eat.Live.Blog.}’s avatar

            Um, as soon as I read 20 miles I kindof couldn’t focus on anything else. BUT, I love the clean eating idea and think I need to adapt it in order to counter act all of these food events!


          7. Raija’s avatar

            Sriracha and peanut butter with veg? Such a great idea!!


          8. Mark’s avatar

            I made one major change in my morning breakfast routine. Instead of starting the day out with food and coffee, I now have hot lemon and honey water instead. It’s been terrific with helping with digestion and cold, dry skin.


            1. traveleatlove’s avatar

              I have actually started to have a pint of warm water when I wake up in the morning as well. It really helps with the dehydration from the constant heat running! I still do have my caffeine after though :)


            2. Mark’s avatar

              Everything that I’ve read says you need to allow at least 30 minutes after drinking the lemon water before eating or drinking other beverages to gain the benefits. I still get a coffee urge later in the day and look for other alternatives. Sunday is my fun coffee day! :)

              btw, forgot to say – LOVE that salad!!


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