The three easy steps below will be the main guidelines for you throughout the Clean Cuisine Challenge (below these steps is an overview of Week 1):
STEP ONE: Understand what it means to eat clean.
Because there are so many different definitions of what it means to “eat clean” these days we figured we had better give you a super simplified overview of Clean Cuisine’s definition:
Clean eating means choosing anti-inflammatory foods packaged in their most natural and nutrient-rich state with a heavy emphasis on plant-based nutrition.
If you are a visual person, the pyramid below provides a good guide as to which foods you will be eating more of on the Challenge and which foods you will be eating less of:
We realize that after reviewing the Clean Cuisine pyramid and seeing how heavily foods like fruits, vegetables and beans are emphasized you might be thinking the food on the Challenge is probably going to be pretty boring. Rest assured this absolutely will not be the case! In fact, we can guarantee that at the end of the Challenge you will actually enjoy your food more than you ever have before. A big component of the Challenge is going to be showing you how to make the world’s healthiest foods taste amazing!
STEP TWO: Plan for Success
Equip yourself: While you do not need to buy ANYTHING (with the exception of food) in order to complete the challenge, it is helpful to know that the challenge is based on our most recent book, Clean Cuisine: An 8-Week Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Program that Will Change the Way You Age, Look & Feel (Penguin-Berkley, 2013). We will refer to the book from time to time in case you want to read more on the science and research behind our recommendations. If you already purchased the book, the Challenge is the perfect companion as we will be providing additional tools, meal plans and recipes that are not included in the book.
Commit to the challenge everyday just by opening the challenge email: For the next 8-weeks on the Challenge you will get an email everyday (that will be 57 total emails!) and at the beginning of each week you will get a meal plan, a weekly focus, a daily inspiration, and three big changes we want you to concentrate on for that week. And of course you will get plenty of tips, tricks, and recipes for making the Clean Cuisine lifestyle work for you in the “real world.”
STEP THREE: Build Your Support Network (the most important step!)
- Use the hashtag: #CleanCuisineChallenge on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to post “before” pictures (yikes!), photos of your Clean Cuisine meals, and inspiring quotes to motivate yourself and others.
- Join our Clean Cuisine 8-Week Challenge Group Page on Facebook for help with recipes, products, and support throughout the challenge. We are all in this together!
- Leave a Reply on the daily Challenge articles to ask Ivy, Andy, or Ask Erin direct questions about the daily challenge.
Clean Cuisine Challenge-Week 1 Overview:
Clean Cuisine Meal Plan: Week 1
We are including meal plans with Clean Cuisine recipes as part of the 8-Week Challenge because we realize meal plans can be helpful guides when trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And of course it is always fun to get new recipes! However, you absolutely do not need to stick to the meal plans exactly. Instead, throughout the challenge we will be providing you with nutrition guidelines for how to create your own Clean Cuisine meals, which will allow you the flexibility to make the Clean Cuisine lifestyle realistic and doable.
Another Trip to the Grocery
From here on out you will need to go grocery shopping once a week while you are doing the Clean Cuisine Challenge. Although you have presumably already stocked your pantry with the Clean Cuisine staples previously sent to you in the Clean Cuisine Kitchen Shape Up, you will still need to get perishables weekly such as:
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Organic pastured eggs **
- Seafood **
- Limited amounts of pastured meat and chicken **
** Eggs, seafood, meat and chicken are eaten in small quantities on the Clean Cuisine program and are optional if you are vegan
Even if you do not intend to follow our Clean Cuisine meal plan exactly you should still set aside some time each week to plan your grocery list and decide what meals you will be eating at home. Right now is a good time to take a look at the Week 1 Meal Plan and recipes provided above in the downloadable PDF and decide which ones you will be making and then add the ingredients to your grocery shopping list.
If you are super time-crunched you might find it easiest to come up with a few standard breakfasts and lunches and then just rotate them until you get a better handle on eating Clean Cuisine.
Focus on Breakfast, Lunch & Your “SuperGreen Smoothie” Snack for Weeks 1 & 2:
We do not include a Clean Cuisine dinner meal plan for weeks 1 and 2 of the Challenge because we want you to focus on cleaning up your breakfast and lunch and also get in the habit of drinking a “SuperGreen Smoothie” daily (you’ll learn more about this in Week 1 of the Challenge.)
But just because we don’t include dinner on the Week 1 Meal Plan does not mean you won’t be eating dinner! We still want you to try your best to eat healthy dinners. Use the Clean Cuisine Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid above as a visual guide to which foods to eat more of and which ones to eat less of at dinner (this means you should be sure dinner includes a hefty amount of vegetables and fruit for dessert.)
What About Portion Sizes?
We are not going to ask you to weigh or measure your food, count “points” or limit your portion sizes (except for dessert!) on the Clean Cuisine Challenge. Instead, we are going to teach you to eat intuitively in a way so that you can learn to trust your own appetite. Unlike other popular diets that put a lot of focus on all of the foods you should be limiting and avoiding, we are going to focus on adding more good foods (especially unrefined “whole” plant foods!)
We shift the focus away from “counting your food” in the form of calories, carbs, fat grams, etc. and instead encourage you to make your food count nutritionally. By the time you add in all of the good foods that we want you to eat, you will be so full and satisfied that you won’t have to worry about portion control ever again!
One Final Word
Keep in mind, all days for the Meal Plans are interchangeable. Feel free to repeat any days and refer to our website, book, superfood cookbook, and digital download of Clean Cuisine Dinners for more recipes.
The One Recipe You Must Make!
Clean Cuisine’s Italian Vegetable Soup Staple Recipe
Even if you hate to cook we ask that you do yourself one huge favor and make this staple vegetable soup recipe below. If you do nothing else, just incorporating a bowlful or two of this vegetable soup into your daily diet will do wonders for boosting health and energy.
If you are trying to lose weight, our vegetable soup staple recipes (we will be giving you additional ones in the weeks to come!) will be your new best friends.
Did you know soup is more filling and more slimming than salad? In a study published in the journal Obesity, a group of participants who enjoyed two servings of soup a day lost 50 percent more weight than those who stuck with solid food.
You can enjoy as much soup as you like, anytime you like! Eat it with breakfast or for breakfast. Have it as an afternoon snack, with dinner or along with your lunch. You can also substitute the soup for any soup recipe provided in the Clean Cuisine Challenge Meal Plans.
Although it takes about 45-minutes to make from start to finish, this recipe makes A LOT of vegetable soup, so you will have plenty of leftovers that should last at least most of the week. Store leftovers in a BPA-free container (we like Fridge-X Silicone Storage Containers by Ceramcor).Print
- 1 large bunch kale, trimmed and chopped (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 leeks, white and green part, sliced into thin rounds and rinsed well
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 6 carrots, chopped
- 6 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Juice from one whole lemon
- 1 large can (28-ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes with juices
- 4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Pacific Natural Foods)
- 2 cups frozen cut green beans
- Steam kale in a steamer basket for 2-3 minutes. Set aside
- Heat the oil in a large heavy non-toxic saucepan (we like 100% green Xtrema Cookware) over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks and garlic; sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Season with salt to taste. Stir in the Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning and almond flour.
- Add the carrots and celery to the saucepan. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until carrots and celery soften.
- Add the zucchini, thyme and crushed red pepper to the saucepan. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until zucchini softens. Season with salt to taste.
- Add the steamed kale and lemon juice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your clean hands as you go, vegetable broth, lemon juice and frozen green beans. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Serve chunky as-is or use a handheld stick blender, we like this Cuisinart, for example, and process until smooth and creamy. Serve warm.
Simple Stir-In Ideas for Your Vegetable Soup Recipe
A lot of times we eat our vegetable soup as-is sort of like a side dish. But sometimes we make it the main event (especially for lunch) simply by stirring in just 1 or 2 of the following ingredients and make it more like a minestrone:
• Frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
• Frozen organic petite peas, thawed
• Cooked quinoa
• Cooked black or brown rice (we like short grain brown rice in my soup)
• Boiled new potatoes
• Cooked barley
• Cooked millet
• Beans (all types, such as garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.)
• Organic edamame beans
GOOD LUCK and remember that we are here for you! #CleanCuisineChallenge