When eating clean is actually delicious… and when it’s not

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Look. In theory, I’d love to be a clean eater.

Raw, unprocessed, good, real good, food that will make your insides shine. And Kale. Kale seems to be the ‘thing’ these days.

Anyway.

There is so much about clean eating that sounds fabulous. Eliminating the crap. Choosing well. Eating more greens. Cutting out the evil stuff we all love. You know, ridding your life of flour! Rice! Butter! Sugar! Chocolate (replaced by Cacao… Errr)… and the list goes on.

For junk-food-worshipping, cupcake-loving, pizza-devouring, bread-baking, fast-food-craving humans everywhere, Clean Eating sounds like the ultimate nightmare. I mean, not only does it drastically limit your food on the run options (muesli bar? No. Quick vegemite toast? Nah) and shopping centre food court selections, but, I mean, who has the time?

And what do you eat when you want to be naughtyAre clean-eaters even allowed a break? Ice-cream? Chocolate (the real kind)? Dirty burger?

So not long ago, I read something somewhere about sugar intake being a cause of potential heart disease in little kids when they get bigger. And because I have little kids, I took note.

I have little kids that love freddo frogs. And nutella sandwiches. And killer pythons (the jelly kind). And ice-cream. Oh, how my biggest one would kill for ice-cream (no, really. Her obsession for it is scary)

And so I decided, that’s it! There would be no more sugar in this house! At least for 90% of the time. And that’s when I made it my mission to be able to whip up the most amazing and decadent delicacies using only good stuff. Cacao would replace Chocolate. Coconut oil would replace butter. Coconut flour or Almond meal would replace flour. And sugar would be eliminated or at the very least be replaced by honey or that rice malt syrup stuff.

So off I went, to my local organic shop! I bought the bare essentials and while it cost a small fortune, I was convinced I would turn us all into superfood, super-eating, cleany-clean individuals with beautiful pink insides that screamed out ‘the shit is out of our system! We are so healthy and amazing and we totally don’t miss those delicious, gooey, brownies Mamma bear used to make!

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And so it begun. I made recipe upon recipe in great hope my family would quickly forget the bad bad bad snacks/cakes/desserts I used to make on occasion.

This is how it all went down:

Cacao and coconut muffins

Husband: These are really very difficult to eat.
Kids: Spat out with fingers desperately reaching for every rogue crumb in their mouth that they refused to swallow. I do believe ‘yuck’ was uttered a few times.

Apple ‘health’ muffins

Husband: These are really very difficult to eat
Kids: It only took a whiff for them to realise they won’t be sampling, probably due to the trauma caused by aforementioned ‘Cacao and Coconut Muffins’

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Nut cookies

Husband: They are okay. On the bad side of okay. And still quite difficult to eat
Kids: A bite and they have disappeared. Not the cookies, but the kids. The very obvious linseeds gave the health bomb away

Almond Butter Bliss balls

Husband: These are amazing *accompanied by a loud, very loud, sigh of relief*
Kids: Thoroughly enjoyed the ‘peanut butter balls’

Protein Balls (with raw cacao)

Husband: Amazing
Kids: Devoured the ‘chocolate balls’, requesting another each #win

So it became clear soon enough that while my family didn’t completely despise everything healthy as a junk replacement, I would have to make a few adjustments to my clean-eating regime. And besides, surely depriving everyone of all things yummy wasn’t the answer but rather… more health, less junk, being the idea, yo.

But don’t get me wrong – and here comes the disclaimer of I’m a really good Mother I promise, don’t judge me - despite the fact that we occasionally love foods on the clean-eating banned list … we are generally a pretty healthy family. We all love our veggies (except Miss 4. She thinks they are the work of the devil) and we regularly eat good, wholesome and home-cooked meals.

And as for hubby and I, sometimes, eating clean is even better when you do it out. This, my friends, is the ultimate breakfast. And it involves Kale.

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This amazing 3-egg omelette is eaten once a week by Ma and Pa Caravella with a side of quinoa toast and green sauce which I am told is made of veggies, garlic, salt and pepper. Wowsers, indeed. And Newcastle peeps, the good news is that you too can eat this deliciousness at Goodness Me Organics in Adamstown (not sponsored, just totally and completely OBSESSED)

And today, I bought these lovely items (again, at a small fortune because these clean-eating individuals must be millionaires)

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And they are all delightful.

I suppose the moral of the story is there are some amazing, healthy things available to buy and eat and devour and you actually won’t miss the crap you think you will. But sometimes… when you feel like a chocolate bloody brownie… Have that chocolate bloody brownie!

So… What’s your verdict? Do you try to eat clean? Have you tried and given up? Or not bothered because ALL THE SUGAR!

All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x
  • michelle weaver

    I’m crazy stupid when it comes to food. I eat like a Spartan and have done for at least fifteen years. Wholemeal bread, salad, tuna, olive oil, cheese and vegetables. That’s it! I NEVER eat cakes, muffins, or anything sweet ever! I do partake in vego pizza occasionally but the thing is I’ve probably given myself a vitamin/mineral deficiency. I started to take iron tablets two months ago and suddenly feel like a new woman. My fingernails have turned pink. I think we are all being brainwashed by… well everyone. I’m thinking about eating dirty again. Delicious looking recipes Kat!

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      OMG Pinky! That is amazingly good of you – I would love not to have such a taste for cake and junk! I try to be healthy but sometimes I can’t fight the urge… Not sure the junk is good for vitamin intake anyway but I stock up on multi’s too! Would totally recommend eating dirty occasionally, nothing says ‘stuff the world’ like bad food does!

  • GG PETERSEN

    Agree your peanut butter balls are the best babe! Eating clean is hard but rewarding. I too had some 4 year olds spit out my “Pumpkin muffins made with Buckwheat”. I don’t think they ever stood a chance. Even the 35 yo god father also spat them out! Can’t wait for a Kat cooked meal again soon!!! : ) xxx

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Haha those balls are pretty good, hey? You are totally my favourite clean eating warrior! Can’t wait to cook you a meal soon (half-clean, half not!) xx

  • Laura

    The actual phrase ‘clean eating’ gets up my goat to be honest – what happened to just eating healthy? Michael Pollan summed things up nicely “Eat less, mostly plants”. Most of the so called “superfoods” are just a clever marketing excercise and I feel sad that lots of people are buying into it and spending ridiculous amounts of $$. Eating gluten free has become popular even for those who can tolerate it – ridiculous. This mad push for everything coconut drives me insane too – as does the whole paleo movement. Saw a recipe for ‘healthy paleo’ muffins (pfffft) which were made with coconut oil/flour & sugar – coz cavemen pressed oil and baked muffins in their spare time? If you just substitute white products for wholemeal ones, use less sugar etc. and don’t eat treats too often, you should be right. Oil, whether coconut or not, is still oil, so it’s practically %100 fat. As far as vitamins, I saw someone on twitter ask Dr Karl if taking a multi-vit while eating a generally healthy diet was ok and he replied that it could do harm.

    • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hi Laura – I hear you! I think in many ways, it’s ‘trendy’ to eat clean. A balanced diet is definitely the way to go. I think sometimes it’s nice to have a healthier alternative if you can find it though – for me, treats I can make for my kids without the crap are always handy.

      • Laura

        I just read back my original post and it seemed a bit ‘angry’ lol. I guess I was a bit – just hate the thought of people getting taken advantage of as I question how healthy some of these alternatives really are. I sometimes wonder why food has to be so ‘hard’. In my office, more than half the women are on diets which seem to have a shelf life of about 2 weeks and everyone seems to be looking for the latest ‘superfood’ to solve their problems. I really love reading about your children’s reactions to your food – it always makes me laugh (still remember your first attempt at healthy banana bread).

        • http://www.mammasvida.com.au/ Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

          Haha you weren’t angry at all – everyone is entitled to their opinion! And I agree -food has definitely become ‘hard’. I guess because the world has become so health conscious, we are always looking for new ways to enjoy things we love without the baddies. My attempt at healthy banana bread was definitely an epic fail but I think I found a happy medium which I may post one day! Thanks for reading :)

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