As we entered into 2016, I pretty much decided that this would be my year of 'yes'. Saying 'no' to things that scare me is something I'm trying to really conquer this year - unless, you know, it means death or something crazy. So, when my PIC at FitXBrit came across a 2 week Clean Eating Plan via PopSugar Fitness and nutritionist pros Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, I said yes. We're off to a good start with this yes thing, huh?
To be completely honest, one thing that really drew us to this clean eating plan was the diversity in the selections. Personally, I never thought I’d make my own curry or Soba Noodle anything but, I did and now it’s something I can say I can do. That, ladies and gents, is motivation in itself. Other perks? With all of the meals and snacks we would be consuming 1,600 calories per day so, yes - you actually get to eat. In addition, all the carbs consumed are high in fiber and minimally processed.
What about protein? Lean proteins and fats are included (you get your ground turkey, your chicken, and even tofu - yup...I cooked tofu. Swag.) but this plan finds it’s “meat” in the number of plants, veggies, and beans you consume. Bell peppers, kale, baby spinach, mushrooms, black beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cilantro - all of these and more made constant appearances throughout the 2 week fete. So, if you’re looking for something nutritious that a whole family can enjoy (if executed correctly) this might be a good bet for you.
Finally, let’s keep it really real. It’s January and many of us are consumed with getting healthier this year. I know I am. I also know some of you are looking at that 1,600 caloric intake and thinking.
While my fellow FitChick, FitXBrit, isn’t too fond of calorie counting due to the psychological effects it can have on many of us (she’s really been mighty vocal about my cal counting habits...and she totally deleted MyFitnessPal off of my phone) we both are definitely in agreement that seeing the nutritional information and knowing what’s going into your body is a definite plus.
What did we like? What didn’t we like? What absolutely sucked and we’d never do it again? We know you’re skeptical and we know you have questions so, we compiled a list of our personal pros and cons from these last two weeks on the PopSugar Clean Eating Plan. Take notes.
Pros - Britt
1. Format Is Everything
We absolutely loved the format of the plan. Eating clean is very time consuming and costly, so having each day transition with the other (Steph and Willow made sure to include notes on whether or not a portion of each meal would double as another meal the next day and/or how much to save for another meal) was a big plus! Plus, the shopping list that was included was very precise regarding the amount of food each recipe would yield. Winnnnnnnning.
2. Breakfast Had Us Like, “Heyyyy!”
Three words: Banana Smoothie Muffins. This awesome option was a fine way to introduce us to this plan because they were an absolute favorite of ours and something that will make a visit or two into the meal prep rotation. They were so filling and so moist! I mean, absolute perfection that really helped to keep my sweet tooth in check. The Quinoa Egg scramble was also something you could write home about.
Pros - Chan
1. I Made Curry You Guys!
I haven’t always been the biggest fan of trying new things - mostly because I hated wasted money on something I’d end up not liking, but I’ve learned that nothing is a waste if you get an experience - right? So, when I looked at the menu I instantly was like: what in the hell do I know about making curry!?! I knew nothing...then. Now, though - I’m hooked. While the prep can be a bit daunting for many of these dishes, the results have been amazingly eye-opening and have really shown me that straying from my comfort zone can be quite delicious.
2. Avocado Is King
Never in my life have I had avocado toast before this plan. BAYBAY. After I set my sights on Day 3 and the avocado toast with a fried egg and sauteed mushrooms, I haven’t looked back. It didn’t end there, either. Avocado (one of my favorite healthy meat substitutes, btw) was a present friend in this plan and found it’s way into a number of dishes which made my heart smile.
3. Hot Cocoa - The Healthy Way
I’m a fan of hot cocoa, but I haven’t had it in ages due to a little thing called sugar. So, when I saw the Almond Milk Hot Chocolate on Day 9 I was positively giddy. It was pretty darn scrumptious and at only 99 calories (I know we aren’t counting calories, but WHOOP!) it’s not a dessert that’ll require an extra hour in the gym.
Cons - Britt
1. Yea...I’m Still Hungry
After breakfast ended we both constantly found ourselves checking the clock for our next meal. While we made tons of great things, it would have been nice to have two small snacks included in the mix because by the time dinner rolled around we weren’t the nicest people to be around. Hungry is an understatement.
2. Give Me Some Flavor
There were a couple recipes that fell a little short in terms of satisfying the palate. The chia pudding and the roasted chickpeas were two of the things that I was most excited about but, they were both disappointing and lacked flavor. Left me with a case of the sads for sure.
Cons - Chan
1. Soba Noodle Salad = Definite Nah
First, when I tell you it took a prayer and about 20 minutes scouring the asian foods section at the grocery store to find these noodles - that’s how I knew this probably wouldn’t end well. All jokes aside, I was really excited to see what the Soba Noodles brought to the table, but the noodle salad lunch dish on Day 1 fell pretty flat. My leftovers (which I ate on Day 9) are still in the fridge only half finished because, it just wasn’t that good for me personally.
2. Prep Is a Killer
Something about making dinner fresh has always appealed to me so, when I prep my meals I typically only make my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks before hand leaving my dinners for me to prepare each day. Yea...you probably don’t want to do that with this one. On most nights, I spent an hour getting everything ready and didn’t sit down to eat before 8pm. No bueno. So, if you have a full-time job and can’t start cooking around 5:30 PM, it may be best to prepare before or at least prep the parts before work in the morning.
All in all, we enjoyed this plan and will definitely add more than a few recipes to our meal prep arsenal. Do you think you’ll give it a go? If so, let us know in the comments section! Enjoy!