A 30 Day Challenge

I teased this post on Facebook earlier this week, and am excited to tell you all about it finally! For the month of September my popular Saturday Savings posts will be making a return (for those new to the blog, Saturday Savings used to happen weekly – I would post my grocery purchases for the week, with how much I spent), and I’m challenging myself with a semi-new way of eating!

Show of hands if you’ve heard of Clean Eating…

I understood the basic gist of it, but didn’t fully grasp it until I borrowed the book “Just the Rules” from the library a couple of weeks ago. The basic premise of Clean Eating is to eliminate all artificial ingredients and go back to eating 100% real food. Really though, it’s a bit more complex once you start looking into it. The book mentioned and linked above is a super easy read, and is small enough to bring with you to the store, which is nice.

Why I’m Doing This

  • I feel like I’m only semi-conscience about the amount of artificial stuff we eat. I already cook a lot from scratch, but we also have a lot of “convenience” snack, breakfast and lunch foods in the house.
  • I’ve struggled with the food budget for most of 2012, some due  to the rising food costs and the rising amount of food my 4 kids consume, and some due to my inattentiveness to meal planning and sales. I thought it would be interesting to see if a family of 6 could eat clean and stick to a tight budget.
  • I’ve spent most of the last 10 months playing with the same 3 pounds, which has been maddening. Now yesterday I finally busted through that plateau and hit my pre-Lily pregnancy weight! Woo! I figure a drastic shift in eating might help kick that metabolism into gear.

How This Will Work

  • For this month I’ll be bringing Saturday Savings back. This will enable you all to follow along to see how this works with a budget and will also encourage me to work really hard to stick to the budget! Our grocery budget is $360 a month, and includes all food, paper products, cleaning supplies, and toiletries (diapers are under a separate line item in our budget). Honestly, I expect we’ll be a little over on that, so I will be happy if I can keep it to under $400 for the month. I think a budget that size, for our family of 6, would be an accomplishment in itself!
  • I will be sharing some of our meal plans, what’s worked with the kids, etc.
  • I’ve already been pinning some blogs with CE recipes and ideas on them, and you’re more than welcome to follow along on that board!
  • I’ll, of course, be blogging thoughts on how things are going.


Please, Keep In Mind:

  • I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, nor do I play one on TV.
  • I’m new to the Clean Eating concept, so if you’re a CE’er and have a tip, please share it (nicely)!
  • I know that I am going to make mistakes along the way, and will make some poor purchases occasionally.
  • I am not focusing on eating organic right now. I know that my budget cannot handle a 100% organic diet right now, so instead am focusing on what my budget can handle.


I see a lot of extra prep work in my future, but I’m excited to see how this change works out with the family and our grocery budget! After I have a few CE related blog posts up, I’ll add a Clean Eating tab to the top of the blog so that all of the posts are easy to find. First Saturday Savings post and thoughts on my first CE shopping trip went, coming up!

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  • andrea

    If you’re interested in clean eating, and eating healthy, I highly recommend reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It’s an easy read, but has a lot of good info. His basic philosophy is, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He goes on to give more about what he means by that there. (Food being, if your great grandma (or great great grandma) wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it!) It gives some simple tips for eating better.

    We generally aim for what would be considered clean eating. We make most of our own food, and don’t buy much processed stuff. If it has more than 5 ingredients, or anything we wouldn’t regularly stock in our pantry, we don’t generally buy it. (We make a few exceptions, but overall, that’s a good rule of thumb.) If we can’t pronounce ingredients, we don’t buy it.

    Snacks are always hardest for me to figure out. We try to aim for fruits or veggies, or nuts. Apples with peanut butter are a frequent here. If you have questions, feel free to shoot them my way. I’ll do my best to answer.ReplyCancel

  • I’m rooting you on, Helen. As you know – we’ve been eating clean for a year now (in addition to the low-carb route). For a while it takes a little extra pre-planning because it is different than what you’ve been doing. But soon (although it may take more than a month) your clean eating will become the new normal and you won’t have to think as hard about it.ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Mom 🙂 If it goes as well as I hope it does (budget wise) then I plan to stick with it, obviously! I’ve already been stalking your blog recipes 😉ReplyCancel


    I also love Michael Pollen books. They are all really great and quick, easy reads. I recommend checking them out! I would let you borrow mine if you were local. I’m veru excited to see if you can do this, mostly because I want to and am way too lazy to do the leg work 😉

    GOOD LUCK!!ReplyCancel

  • I’m REALLY looking forward to following along! Thanks for posting all of this really helpful info out there for us! I’ve thought about doing clean eating before, but it just scares me. Maybe seeing how you do it, afford it, and what you eat, it will inspire me enough to try it on our end!ReplyCancel

  • Jamie

    I am so excited to know someone else is ‘clean’ eating!! Been working on this for about a week, and lost 5 lbs. trending after a friend who looks fab-u-lous!!! Looking forward to tracking what you do…we just got an Aldi, and I AM LOVIN’ IT!!!

    Keep the clean post coming…good luck!!ReplyCancel

  • […] veggies in their fruit smoothies were crazy. Smoothies and salads do not and should not mix! Then in September we gave Clean Eating a shot for the month, and my already creative cooking had to get a bit more […]ReplyCancel