When I started The Kitchen Shed I was pretty specific about what I wanted the blog to be, an affordable, accessible, realistic and family friendly clean eating resource for people like me in the UK. I was inspired by blogs like The Gracious Pantry and 100 Days of Real Food and the things I learnt in Tosca Reno’s The Eat Clean Diet. I’d always been a very black & white personality type, so blogging about clean eating didn’t feel too difficult for me because all I had to do was keep to ‘the rules’ and only share recipes that fit the clean eating guidelines as I understood them. And that was that!
The only problem with that is that now I am no longer such a black & white personality type, (thank you years of therapy) having such a niche blog has given me very little room to grow or change or show any other side of me. I have always tried to talk about the 80/20 rule and mention that I don’t ALWAYS eat clean, but I’ve never actually shared what that looked like for me. Whilst I still want The Kitchen Shed to forever and always be a Clean Eating/Whole Foods/Healthy Family Friendly Recipe Blog, I would also like to be able to share how I honestly eat, not to encourage, discourage, promote, dismiss or boohoo any food, lifestyle or choices that YOU make, but to be honest and open and share the other sides of my life which will hopefully give everyone a much clearer, honest and real picture of the choices I make. So today I just wanted to share with you 5 ‘Non Clean’ foods that I eat all the time for no other reason than because I like them.
Warburtons Wholemeal Bread
One of the first switches I made when I found out about Clean Eating was swapping my white bread/pasta/rice for wholemeal versions. I didn’t really think about the other ingredients in bread, as long as it was brown I was good. Then when I started the blog and looked into all the other ingredients that made up a shop bought loaf of bread I decided to start making my own in my Breadmaker. The bread was really yummy, really clean, really healthy and really, a massive pain in the arse. It didn’t keep fresh for long, it stressed me out having to remember to make it every other day, having to make sure I was home to get it out of the breadmaker and heaven forbid something went wrong and it came out looking more like a brick than loaf of bread. Once the bread maker was no longer making me happy, I found some cleaner breads in the supermarket. Wairtrose and Ocado sell a brand called Cranks who do a pretty clean organic wholemeal bread and whilst I’d eat it because it was ‘healthy’ no one really enjoyed the taste of it so my search continued and a couple of years ago I found that a bakery not too far away sold real, clean bread which tasted amazing and I used to make special trips out to buy it but that also became such an inconvenience, the bread was small, didn’t last long and I had to go out every few days to buy it fresh. Somewhere along the road my happiness and sanity were more important than being able to eat the cleanest wholemeal bread in town and I went back to good old convenient supermarket wholemeal bread (Warburtons to be exact…. and not because I checked the ingredients and found it was the ‘cleanest’ but because I just like the taste of it). So there you go! This doesn’t mean that I would never make my own bread again or that I don’t get myself some ‘real’ bread whenever I am at the Bakery, it just means at this point in my life I am happy not stressing about whether my bread is 100% clean or not.
Does this even need an explanation? Everyone knows that white rice tastes better than brown rice! I have to say though, I am actually one of those strange people who really does enjoy the ‘brown’ stuff and the ‘green’ stuff. I like wholegrain rice, I like wholemeal pasta, I like kale and cabbage and salad but I also really like white basmati rice too. We still eat wholegrain rice at home, it just depends on what I’m cooking, who I’m cooking for (I think my dad would rather go hungry than eat his curry with brown rice) and how much time I have to get food on the table because incase you hadn’t noticed, not only does white basmati rice taste better, it also doesn’t take 100 hours to cook so even just for the convenience white basmati rice is a staple in our house.
Hellmans REAL Mayonnaise
Do you remember that time I posted a recipe for ‘Egg Sandwiches’ and switched out mayo for houmous? Or the time I made Tuna Pasta with vinegar and olive oil? Yeah, you probably should have unfollowed me for that. What is an egg and cress sandwich without mayonnaise? Not and egg and cress sandwich. What is Tuna Pasta without Mayo? Not Tuna Pasta. I did completely give up mayonnaise when I started blogging and I spent a lot of time trying to make healthier versions of meals that contained mayonnaise but that didn’t last for very long. I think I just decided one day that there are worse things in life than eating real mayonnaise and I just didn’t want to cut it out from my diet. Does this mean I put mayonnaise on everything? No, but I would if I wanted to. The interesting thing about me and mayonnaise is that rather than worrying about what ingredients are in it, the only thing that makes me mindful of it is if I have wight related goals that I am working towards. So for example, if I wanted to lose a few pounds then maybe instead of dipping a tablespoon into the jar and plonking it onto my plate, I might actually measure out a serving or at least be aware of how much I am eating.
Doritos & Salsa
Oh my goodness I love Doritos and Old El Paso Salsa! I usually only buy them for an occasion like a night in with the girls or if the family was getting together for a special evening but thats mostly because my mum always has her pantry stocked with them because she knows I love them! Whenever I pop over to see her, or collect the boys after a Zumba class they are there ready and waiting for me to enjoy! Lunchitos brand do a cleaner salsa that I really like but it’s sometimes a bit hard to get hold of and a little more expensive and I just really like the Old El Paso one. Similar to the mayonnaise though, if I am trying to be conscious of what I am eating with regards to losing weight, I try to measure out the Doritos because I could finish a bag by myself if I wanted to but then there comes the day when I look in the mirror and wonder why all this Zumba has caused me to put on the pounds?! (note to self: It’s not the Zumba!).
My sweet of choice. Makes me feel like a little old man but I really like them! I know I don’t have to justify why I eat anything, the truthful answer is because I want to, because I like it or because it makes me feel good. I don’t drink alcohol and avoid caffeine but have always noticed that in the world of clean eating people still make room for their glass of wine or their gin and tonic. People still enjoy their Starbucks coffee and maybe many more cups of coffee to get them through the day and that is because they want to, they like it or it makes them feel good. Thats how I feel about all of the ‘non clean’ foods I eat. Amongst all of the other healthier food choices I make throughout the day, week or month I make room for the foods that I like that might not look healthy, but definitely make MY food/life balance healthier and happier.
So there you have it! 5 ‘Non Clean’ foods that I eat all the time… along with the rest (I ate enough pork pies last year to make a New Years resolution not to eat any this year and cakes and biscuits will always be my favourite food). I think the most important thing is to be happy and since food is such a massive part of life it is important to find a way of eating that enhances your happiness. For me, being healthy is more than only ever eating clean. It has to be realistic, convenient and not stressful. It also means making the best choices when I can and also being mindful of what I am putting into my body. Im not here saying eat all the junk food, it will make you happy. Im saying find what makes you feel happy and healthy in all areas of your life right now and give yourself permission to do it your way.