As someone who works from home and also cares for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, I know how tough it can be to make the time to eat healthy, even though I know it’s the best option. Slowly but surely I’ve started taking baby steps and instead of eating something I shouldn’t eat for breakfast, I’ll have Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, and I’ve even started using cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I never knew how filling, delicious and easy it could to make something this great! I’ve so desperately wanted to add other healthy, easy and delicious recipes to my daily routine, and I was so excited when I was asked to interview food enthusiast and award-winning journalist Wendy Bazilian about the new book she co-wrote with the editors of Prevention called “Eat Clean, Stay Lean”. It’s an absolutely beautiful, easy to follow book with tons of valuable information on eating clean and delicious recipes that are amazing.
Yesterday I was joined by Wendy Bazilian to talk about “Eat Clean, Stay Lean”. She dished on simple ways those of us who are busy or on the go can eat healthy, how to know the difference between clean food and its imposters, how to eat clean at holiday parties or dining at our favorite restaurant and so much more!
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about your new book “Eat Clean, Stay Lean”?
Wendy Bazilian: “In the book I did with the editors at Prevention, you have over 300 foods into 50 different categories, 150 recipes, a lot of numbers to represent a very approachable road map to eating a little bit better than you were eating before for your good health because eating clean is really about really favoring and focusing on the real whole foods. It’s really simple in its idea and there’s a lot of tips to navigate it. At the same time, we’re unprocessing ourselves, we’re really focusing on slashing the preservatives, really removing the artificial ingredients, the colors by number. Color by number shouldn’t exist in our diet, as well as the artificial sweeteners. It’s really about bumping up the positive, reducing a few of the negatives so that we can have a really delicious diet that favors our good health.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for those of us who are busy and never seem to have enough time to have a healthy meal?
Wendy Bazilian: “Yes, we are time strapped, that’s for certain! Flavor is actually what guides all of our choices around food. Year after year, inside and out we can learn about the information about healthy eating, but if it doesn’t taste good than we’re not probably going to eat it again and again. When we are going into the grocery store and navigating the bazillions of choices that we have to choose from, shopping the perimeter is a really good idea as a starting place because that’s where a lot of the whole wholesome ingredients are starting from, like the produce section for example. When you look at an apple or you look at a banana, the ingredient list would say apple on the side plain and simple (of course there isn’t an ingredient list on a piece of fruit) but the idea is that the ingredients really speak to the quality. Then when we dip inside those aisles in the grocery store, that’s a real opportunity – instead of focusing on the front of the package, focus on the back where that ingredient list is. That’s where we can see the recipe, the story of that food and really start cleaning.
In the book that’s what it’s all about, trying to guide you toward the better choices when you’re overwhelmed. Convenience is a piece and when we’re time strapped it can seem challenging, but even with convenience food you can do a little bit better.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice on how to recognize the difference between clean food and its impersonators?
Wendy Bazilian: “That ingredient list is – I’m going to come back to that because it’s really important and the number of ingredients they’re recognizable and pronounceable is key. But you know when you’re shopping let’s say for herbs and spices for example, you want the aroma to be your guiding factor.
I have this cauliflower crusted pizza (please see video above for details), this is a recipe that’s right from the book – it’s a delicious one! It has a store bought marinara sauce, so we’ll start there and then we’ll look at the herbs and spices on top of it. You can make a homemade marinara sauce, but you or me on a busy night, we might not be making it so we look at the store bought sauce. When we’re buying a store bought sauce, we want to make sure that it says tomatoes as the first ingredient, that seems logical. We want to maybe see some seasoning, like we might see oregano, thyme or some of those Italian herbs there. What we don’t want to see are really high levels of sugar and salt. What we don’t want to see are names that we can’t recognize like acronyms or symbols or preservatives. We want to see even in our jarred tomato sauce simple ingredients.
With our herbs and spices you really want to be guided by pure flavorful high quality herbs and spices. A recent study of the U.K. showed that some oreganos have up to 30 to 70% of fillers, so other kinds of leaves in there filling up and making the balance. You want your oregano to come from a good source and to be that pizza aroma. You want it to be earthy and like oregano is supposed to smell, and then you can sprinkle it like a mini salad because they’re fruits and vegetables these herbs and spices, so I call them a mini salad onto your pizza in a variety of ways. They’re guiding you toward healthy quality and away from those natural imposters really plain and simple. It really comes down to looking at the ingredients list and asking a few questions.”
Candace Rose: With holiday party season nearly upon us do you have any tips on how we can eat clean on the go at parties and at restaurants?
Wendy Bazilian: “Well, if you’re going to a party, I have a couple tips here. At a party keep your eyes out for recipes that people have brought to showcase or maybe they’ve brought something special and maybe they’re making it with good, great ingredients even. Very often I identify some of the foods that come out of the packages and you might question those. You might say I’m going to pass on those and save some room for some of these kind of special treats.
At a party you can bring something, so what a great gift for you to bring. It doesn’t have to be 100% low calorie or it doesn’t have to be just the vegetables spread, you can make a recipe from the book or you can make a lot of different things to bring to a party so that you can actually contribute a little bit of clean eating philosophy to a beautiful party spread.
At a restaurant it really boils down to asking a lot of questions, not being annoying – chefs love the questions! Ask for something that’s local or seasonal. Ask what the seasonal vegetables are. Ask for the nice fresh fish of the day and really make use of what a chef does, which is put beautiful clean ingredients together at their best. Focus on the flavor, of course!”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Wendy! Where can we go for more information and to purchase “Eat Clean, Stay Lean”?
Wendy Bazilian: “You can go to EatClean.com for lots of other strategies and tips. You can find out about the book, and I encourage you to go there and find information and have a clean eating day. Baby steps make a difference! Every step counts and we’re the cumulative effect of what we put into our bodies for our good health.”