Groceries & Vitamins: Eating Clean

Thank each of you SO much for receiving yesterday's post on being healthy, not skinny, in a positive manner!
I always try to write from the heart, but you never know how others will perceive your thoughts and words.
Now, let's move onto the details!
My lifestyle for eating is eating clean.
I don't do strict Paleo, gluten or yeast free, Advocare, wraps, or any other diet.
I use common sense and try to eat only fresh or whole ingredients.
-No processed or prepackaged food or meals.
-You should be able to read and understand every ingredient in everything you eat.
-Basically everything I cook or bake is from scratch. 
-No boxed or bagged cake or bread mixes.
-No prepackaged box dinners (Mac & Cheese, Hamburger Helper type stuff, frozen meals, etc.)
-No fast food at all. Except Chick-Fil-A. Once or twice a month.
-No cokes, caffeine, coffee, or alcohol except on rare occasions-this one is the hardest for most people.
-Try to cook at home as much as possible so that you know what exactly you're eating.
-Obviously, absolutely no drugs or tobacco use!!

I started seriously enforcing these rules in my life a year ago after doing my own research. 
I wasn't overweight by any means, but I lost 10 lbs. within 3 months and have kept it off even through slip ups, exercise slumps, and the holidays.
I feel better. I have more energy, I'm happier, I just feel lighter. 
My hair has grown a ton, my skin is in better condition, my clothes fit better. 
I didn't really have to change a whole lot since I already ate pretty healthy.
I drink alcohol/caffeine maybe once every few months if that-and only one drink when I do.
I haven't bought or drank a coke (here in the South that means all carbonated drinks) since I was in 10th grade.   
I've never bought potato chips, Little Debbie snacks, or other cookies and junk.
What I had to cut out was the Southern Homecooked staples I grew up on.
My husband loves it and so do I, and I'm pretty darn good at cooking it!
But, I don't like how I feel after I eat. So, on very rare occasions do I cook that way anymore.
Once every few months or so I will cook a Southern meal for my man to please him and to make sure that I don't get rusty on my skills-it is an art, you know!
Then, when I do go to a family event or something, I eat everything I want in moderation- no seconds, and I never gain extra weight from it. 
It's okay to splurge every now and then. 
But make sure it's on something really worth it-like a good meal and not fast food. 
That stuff is a bunch of chemicals and who knows what.
Listen, sugar isn't bad, fat isn't bad...
as long as it's coming from healthy and natural sources, i.e. sugar in fruit and fats in fish and avocados.
I seriously eat every 2 hours. If you're eating healthy, it keeps your metabolism and your energy up.
Aside from nutrition, I am a firm believer in drinking at least 64 oz. of water a day.
As crazy as it sounds, the best way for me to accomplish this is by keeping a 32 oz. Chick-Fil-A cup with a straw and lid. I refill the cup usually 3 times a day.
I only drink out of a straw because I can't stand the way liquid feels on my teeth and my upper lip. 
I know, I know, I'm nuts. 
I also believe in getting your beauty rest!! At least 8 hours, ladies and gentlemen!
Please don't judge me when I tell you I average 10 hrs. per night. 
By the way, there is this awesome app called Sleep Cycle that monitors you throughout the night and tells you when you sleep the lightest and the deepest, your average and exact times, and provides sleep music-it's amazing!! 
These are the vitamins I'm currently taking:
Zinc, Stress B-Complex, Calcium, Evening Primrose Oil, Magnesium and Biotin.
There are other very necessary vitamins as well, but I get plenty of those naturally in the foods I consume, so there is no need to overdose!
Magnesium is a wonder vitamin.  
I have some personal gynecological issues, and this helps tremendously with reducing cramps.
For years I have suffered from migraines associated with my monthly cycles. 
Since I started taking Magnesium, they've been almost completely eliminated!! 
Plus, I've heard it works miracles with labor and delivery if taken throughout pregnancy.
Stress B-Complex also helps me with PMS and other symptoms as it helps maintain a healthy nervous system.
It also helps convert food into energy, boosts the immune system, and protects against damaging free radicals.
Though there is not a tremendous amount of research available, it has been suggested that Evening Primrose Oil has a wide range of benefits, so I'm giving it a shot. 
When it comes to vitamins I always try to take a gel cap if at all possible. They are much easier on the digestive system and better absorbed.

I would have been better off to have taken a pictures of my grocery cart instead of having to stage everything when I got home, but hindsight is 20/20.
These are my morning and snack staples:

 Fage 0% Yogurt, Oats, Flax Seed, Bolthouse Blue and Green Goddess Smoothies, Fresh Fruit, Back to Nature Granola, and frozen fruit.
I either drink a 32 oz. smoothie or have granola and local honey in my Fage yogurt every single morning. 
I never measure my smoothies, I just eye ball.
I always use 1 banana, 1/2 cup Fage, 1/4 cup dry oats, handful of spinach, 8 oz. each of the blue and green goddess, 8 oz. water. 1 cup frozen tropical fruit, 1 cup frozen berries, and a handful of grapes if I have any on hand (measurements are approximates).
During the summer I use fresh fruit only and whatever is in season. 
Sometimes for a snack I'll have a smaller version of the smoothie or the granola yogurt mix-whichever I didn't have for breakfast. 

I would say these are our primary staples other than meat:

I love chips and salsa! Snyder's White Corn chips are actually pretty healthy (all natural) with very little fat and Jack's Special Salsa is the bomb. It's all natural and fresh. I don't do salsa in a jar because I think it tastes funny.
I eat a lot of hummus, too. I dip raw veggies in it for a snack.
I'm also obsessed with pasta. Forget about bread, rice, potatoes, etc. Give me the pasta!
I don't discriminate-I love all shapes and sizes! 
But, I don't like all that enriched white, regular pasta because it sticks to you.
Publix carries this amazing brand called Alma's and it's really not that expensive-around $1.20 a package. It's whole wheat and made in Italy with few ingredients and I can read and pronounce them all.
The pasta is super healthy and high in fiber and it tastes really yummy.
The best part is that it doesn't stick to you the way that enriched kind does.
We love a variety of pasta sauces, but we try to stick with red sauces because it's much healthier. 
We love pesto, too. We also add fresh basil, mushrooms and tomatoes to our sauces.
If I do cook a cream sauce, I make it homemade so that I know every single ingredient that goes it.
Never ever buy white sauce in a jar. It's loaded with all kinds of junk. 
We eat salad every single day. We use spinach, spring mix, arugala, and romaine.
 No iceberg. That stuff is pointless-it's all water with no nutrients. 
We always have cucumbers, avocados, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes if they are in season.
Dressings are what get you with salads, right?
Well, Bolthouse is amazing, and they make the most delicious and healthy dressing that you could ever dream of!
They are a little pricey ($3.50 each),  but they are all natural, with very few calories, and made from healthy and fresh quality ingredients. 
These dressings are found in the refrigerated section of the produce area. 
We also steam or sauté asparagus, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, and carrots regularly for side dishes.
Meats-we eat a lot of deer meat, which is awesome because I know exactly where it came from and it's very, very lean. 
Seafood is our favorite, so we eat a lot of fish, shrimp, and crab. 
Chicken is always in the freezer, too, since Brandon's dad works in the poultry industry.
Of course, being a mixed animal veterinarian, my man loves Beef.
We rarely ever buy ground beef, but usually steaks: flat iron, rib eyes, or filet's. 
 Y'all already saw these pictures of the fridge. 
I have a bad sweet tooth. I love dessert, but thankfully I love fruity desserts so it's easier to accommodate the taste for that in a healthy way. (Yogurt, smoothies, fruit granola, etc.)
Brandon is a chocolate man. If you can see the package that says Immaculate Chocolate Chunk...those are the best cookies!  
I can only find them at Publix, but they are all natural and low calorie-very healthy dessert option. 
There are few ingredients and I can pronounce them all!
They have other kinds of cookies, too. 
I do a lot of canning, freezing and preserving during the summertime, so our freezer is full of those fruits and veggies.
 We also have a deep freezer in the garage that we keep the extra veggies and meat in.
 Key Questions?
1. Is it expensive?
It depends. 
Buy what's in season, stock up when items go on sale, and try not to let anything rot or go to waste.
You will be replacing other junk with healthier options, and sometimes that can be a little pricey. 
Cutting out fast food and excessive eating out saves a lot of money, too.
But, here's some food for thought.
Neither Brandon nor I have had to go to the doctor due to illness since we've been married and living on our own.
That's 6 1/2 years of ZERO doctor bills due to being sick.
So to me, spending a little more at the checkout line is worth it when I consider how much I'm saving in medical bills.
Plus, I'm investing in a healthier future! 

2. Is it difficult to follow?
It depends. 
How healthy to you want to be? How good do you want to feel?
For me, it's not difficult at all because it is a lifestyle, not a diet, and I love it!
I love the way I feel and having the peace of mind that 95% of the time I'm not filling my body full of chemicals, cholesterol, and other crap. 
The longer you go without eating the bad stuff the less you want it.
Chips, cokes, fast food, junk-it doesn't even tempt me anymore. It hasn't in 10 years.
I drive right past it and never even notice. 
I don't even push my buggy down those aisles in the grocery store. 
None of that stuff exists in my world.
I'm confident you can get to that point, too. 
And I promise you that it is completely and totally worth it.

3. How do you have time to cook?
It really doesn't take much longer. 
In the future I will share some healthy meal examples for you to use as a guide.
The bottom line is that, like anything else, you have to MAKE the time.
If it's important, you'll find a way.

I hope this helps at least one person out. 
It sounds more intense than it really is, I know.
But, don't let that deter you. You will feel a trillion times better.
We have been getting my mama to join us in this lifestyle and she lost 3 lbs. her first week.
That's without exercising at all-but fear not, that part comes next week! 
She will be hitting them gym with us and getting Operation Get Healthy in full gear!
Join her-you can do it! I know you can! 
More questions? Send them my way! 
If you are going to join us, then please keep us updated on your progress!
We are praying for your health and your success!

*Linked up at Kelly's Korner: Show Us Your Healthy Lifestyles/Workouts
ALL Get Healthy posts can be accessed by clicking here!

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20"


  1. I love this post! I am recently making a more conscious effort to cook healthier meals for me and my husband. Pinterest is a huge help for finding inspiring recipes and it has been fun to be in the kitchen. 2013 is the year of health! Go Cherish! Go Cherish’s mom!

    1. Thank you, Leah!! I'm so proud of you!! You are right, Pinterest is a tremendous asset to finding healthy recipes! :) GO LEAH!!! Whoop whoop!! :) xoxo

  2. I needed this post too - just like the last post about being Healthy not Skinny. I am just starting my complete lifestyle change - My Fiance and I want to begin our Healthy eating. He used to be a health nut and then fell off the train..I used to eat clean and workout because I was a dancer/gymnast. Then I feel of the train. So now that we are set to be married, we want to work hard to get to where we want for the wedding. It's the perfect motivation but I never know where to start when it comes to eating clean - especially when our families are huge food people. We love cooking - so finding a way to turn our favorite dishes into something healthy has been interesting. Thanks for the Tips and advice! :)

    -Ashlee Michelle

    1. It's okay, Ashlee, and it's never too late! Thank you for sharing and being so open! I love reading everyone's stories! Our families are huge food eaters, too, but when y'all are at your own home you can start your own way of life and make it healthy! We do the same thing when it comes to cooking and trying new things. You can almost always find a healthy way to substitute, and if not it's fun to come up with new recipes of your own! Plus, cooking together is a great way to bond. GO ASHLEE!! :) xoxo

  3. I'm getting married in May and I am so excited to cook for a husband! This helped me so much! I don't have to cook junk at all if I don't buy it. He hunts so I agree with deer meat! It tastes so much better. I wish I would have learned canning, but I plan to this summer when we have our garden. Thanks for the post and all the ideas you have given me!

    1. Congratulations, Hannah!! How exciting! You are going to be a beautiful bride and terrific wife! That's awesome you love deer meat, too! Some people think I'm crazy, but hey-it's pretty much free and it's lean, and I do like the taste! Canning isn't nearly as difficult as you may think! I've got some canning recipes and step-by-step instructions under my recipes tab, but the best thing you can do is buy the Ball Guide to Preserving. You can get them at most Walmarts and it's cheap. But, it basically has a ton of canning/freezing recipes with step-by step instructions and pictures. Great investment and highly recommend it for you starting out! Thank you for your words and for reading! Have a blessed day! xoxo

  4. I am enjoying these posts about healthy eating. My husband and I have slowly been transforming our eating habits over the five years we have been married, we eat a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables, hummus is a staple in our home, and at the end of the year we decided to become vegetarian (with the exception of special occasions, like the Jews in the bible).

    My question is how do you handle lunches during the work week? I commute about 30 minutes to work each day and its so much easier go run to subway or togo's and buy a sandwich on my break. Could you do a post about packing lunches? Thanks!

    1. Great to hear, Michelle!! I will address the lunch question in a post next week! :) You are so welcome! Have a blessed weekend!! xoxo

  5. Great post!!! That is an AWESOME thing to hear about magnesium!! I have terrible cramps every month so I need to start taking magnesium.
    I am SO with you about the store-bought salsa from the jar! I make my own fresh salsa and can it and it is SO much better than the store bought!!
    And southern homecookin' is SO hard to avoid eating/cooking! Especially when you and everyone else in your family can cook GOOD!

    What do you for your workouts?! I have been done several things over the years-P90X, my own workout routines (which tend to work best), and going to the gym. I HATE going to the gym though so I've been just making up my own workout routine. P90X is a little too hard-core for me. haha! I would like to try Zumba, but haven't gotten to it yet!
    Looking forward to another post!! :)

    1. Thank you, Amanda!! Yes, Magnesium is magnificent!! I love to make canned salsa with fresh ingredients, too! We always make a big run of it over Labor Day weekend, but we've already run out because we eat it so much!
      I'm planning on doing a post for workouts, so stay tuned! :) Have a fabulous weekend! xoxo

  6. I just started taking evening primrose oil! It apparently has many benefits!! I've also heard magnesium s good but have never tried it!! Your healthy plans sound great!!

    1. Ashley-you should totally try magnesium!! I've read amazing articles about how it helped women with infertility, too. It's not expensive at all, and well worth every cent! Have a wonderful weekend! :) xoxo

  7. I'm so encouraged by this Cherish! As we are just weeks away from the wedding I'm constantly thinking about what we will buy, cook, eat, etc. and I want us to have a healthy lifestyle that we can pass on to our children. You definitely DO NOT have to answer this, but I was interested in a rough estimate of how much you spend on food. Do y'all eat out at all, or are you strictly at home eaters unless its a special occasion? We are about to sit down with our pastor and talk about budgets, so I think now would be a good time to add in a little more money for healthier foods and try to figure out where we can cut back somewhere else.

    1. That is so wonderful, Nicole!! I will be happy to answer your questions and I'm putting together another post to do so! :) That's awesome that y'all are going to meet with your pastor to discuss budgets!! Have a blessed weekend! xoxo

  8. Thank you so much for this post. You have inspired and motivated me, I need to lose weight and be healthier. I think this makes sense and is doable because when I eat a lot of carbs I feel so drained. I also drink way to many sodas and buy to much junk food\ prepackaged\processed food. Seeing the food pictures helped. I have never made a smoothie but I am going to give it a try. Just curious what do you order when you go to chick fil a?


    1. Cara! You are SO welcome! Thank youf or reading and commenting! You CAN do this!! I'm going to start hosting a link-up so that we can all be accountable and encourage one another! Even if you don't have a blog you can still participate-just write what you'd like to share in the comments section of the link-up post! I usually get a grilled chicken sandwhich at CFA, but sometimes I just go with it and get a Spicy Chicken because I'm so in love with them. I never order a meal, but my hubby always does so I usually steal a few fries from him. I get a large water, too, because I love their cups. Sometimes I get a cookie, too because they are the bomb. I'm also pretty obsessed with CFA sauce, too. :) Have a blessed weekend! xoxo

  9. Thanks so much for this post! You have inspired me! :-) Publix just opened close to where we live, and I love it! I am going to look for some of these foods on my next grocery trip Tuesday! I really want to try the Bolthouse Smoothies & that pasta!

    1. You are SO welcome!! Thank YOU!! Yay for Publix! I went today after church...shopping really is a pleasure there, lol! xoxo

  10. I love reading about you and your sweet family on your blog! You have such a humble, selfless spirit that just shines through! I'm from Virginia and this whole blogging thing has been really great in connecting people from all over the place. Your honesty and faith inspires me to live the life that God intended. Thank you for opening up your life to all your readers and for all your encouragement! You are truly a gift from God :)

    Love from Virginia <3

    1. Precious Laurel-your kind and thoughtful words have touched my heart and my tear ducts! You've brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for encouraging me-you've blessed me more than you know! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to write me. I hope you have a truly blessed weekend!! Lots of love from Georgia!! xoxo

  11. I'm so thankful for bloggers like you that open up and share these things. I tried several of the things you suggested and I can tell such a difference when I'm eating healthy. I used to think I hated greek yogurt, but adding a little honey makes it so good! I was also getting headaches around my "time of the month" and just got back with a prescription from the doctor for them, but I didn't want to take it, I'm so glad you suggested the magnesium, I've been taking it and so far, so good. I look forward to the Get Healthy Not Skinny posts and link ups. :)

    1. Thank you, Samantha! So sweet of you! I am thrilled that you are seeing a positive change with this lifestyle!! Magnesium is seriously a miracle worker! I seriously haven't had a severe migraine like I used to have since I started taking it. It's amazing! I'm glad you like the honey in the Greek yogurt, too. :) Thank you so much for participating and for sharing!! I'm proud of you! xoxo

  12. Just curious- what time of day do you take your vitamins and do you take them all at the same time? Thx!

    1. Hey Courtney! I take the magnesium and B Stress Complex immediately after breakfast on a full stomach. I wait about 30-45 min. to take the rest. If you take them on an empty stomach you will be either incredibly nauseous or sick. I've also experimented with taking them before bedtime, too, but I didn't care for that either. The main reason is because the vitamins give me a noticeable boost in energy, so I prefer to start my day off with them. Hope this helps! Have a great week! xoxo

  13. This is a great post. I'm in awe of your refrigerator.

    1. Thank you, Carol! You are sweet! :) Have a wonderful week! xoxo

  14. I love your blog, God's spirit truly shines through your post. I have struggled with weight for several years. Last year I slowly started replacing our food for more clean eating. I have a long way to go but I am encouraged to continue, I look forward to linking up with your blog and staying accountable. Many Blessings!

    1. Thank you so much, sweet lady! Your words are so sincere and thoughtful-you truly made my day! I am so proud of you for taking a step forward to becoming healthier and I am praying for your success! Love and blessings to you! xoxo

  15. Just found your blog through Kelly's Korner. Enjoyed both posts and will bookmark you...I want to check out your recipes also. Be blessed!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting! I'm so glad you enjoyed what you read! I hope you have a blessed weekend! xoxo

  16. Please please please post some of your recipes!!!

    1. Chey-Anne, I have several recipes under my recipes tab, but will add some healthy recipes as well very soon! Take care and have a great weekend! xoxo

  17. I am so glad you linked up! I love this post! I struggle with my weight. . .BUT i eat horrible! This post was so informative! I will keep checking back in with you! Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you, Tonia! I'm going to pray for you that you will gain the willpower to eat healthier and that you will ENJOY it! :) Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll come back soon! Have a great weekend! xoxo

  18. Thanks for the post! I'm just about to be done with undergrad school and am looking forward to changing my eating/exercise habits as I step into a new stage in life! How long would you say it took you to get to that point where you're not even tempted by junk food anymore?

    1. You are welcome! Congratulations on finishing undergrad! As far as a time frame goes, I would say at least a month. I consider junk food to be anything pre-packaged (chips, snack cakes, crackers, candy, cokes, etc.) But honestly, it's been over 10 years since I stopped eating all of that so I can't really remember. Dessert is my weakness, so when I eat it I make sure it's high quality and not just some junk from the grocery store. The first few weeks without sugar and caffeine are definitely the toughest, but I know you can do this!! Praying for your success!! xoxo

  19. I'm so glad to find your blog - LOVE it (even if I am a tad bit jealous about your decorating skills, long hair, southern charm, etc : ) ha) Thanks for this post - I had ZERO clue about the powers of Magnesium. I have horrible migraines and some "female" issues as well - I am going to give this a shot. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Hey Meagan! I am so glad you found me, too! Thank you so much for your sweet words!! Yes, magnesium is a wonder vitamin! Yes, give it a shot and let me know if it works for you, too! If I do get a migraine, I take 2 magnesium capsules along with ibuprofen and it helps a lot, too. Let me know if you have any other questions!! :) xoxo


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