Clean Eating 101 – What you need to know


Once upon a time, people grew their own food with a backyard full of luscious fruits and vegetables. They knew that growing their own food enables them to know what they’re putting in their soil, how they treat their food, and if any chemicals are used. But as time grew and society purportedly progressed, so did our ability to find clean and healthy food in the markets.

So what exactly does clean eating mean? Is it as simple as washing your vegetables and fruit in clean water? Does it mean making sure your food doesn’t fall onto the ground thus making it clean? There seems to be much confusion to the true meaning of it. So simply put – clean food means food that is unprocessed, preservatives-free, and made with as few ingredients as possible. But many foods are processed and can be hard to avoid. The key is to avoid or limit overly processed foods as they are not considered clean due to the tremendous damage they can do to our health. And as always, choose organic whenever possible.

What’s the best way to start eating clean? Here are five easy steps to remember:

1- Buy fresh produce – organic and locally grown when possible. Fresh produce is the number one rule to eating clean and simple.

2- Buy whole grains and lean protein. Whole grains are still intact with all of their nutrients ensuring you’ll get all of the health benefits. Lean protein with little to no fat are not as taxing on your body when digesting and processing through your system.

3- Make meals and snacks from scratch at home. When you start with ingredients that you are in control of, you know what you’re putting in your food.

4- Use as few ingredients as possible. The risk of eating out or buying cooked food in stores is because of all the ingredients in there that companies need for flavor and preserving. When you make your own food, use just the basics – lean protein, vegetables, salt, pepper, light olive oil, etc.

5- Limit sugar or cut it out entirely. While cutting out sugar entirely might be hard to do, try eating more fruits and using fruit-based sweeteners to sweeten your food.

How can you teach children to eat clean? Try these tips:

1- Take your child to the grocery store with you. Let them start by learning about all the fresh produce that are available. If the stores have samples of the produce, encourage your child to try it out if it’s a fruit or vegetable that they typically don’t eat.

2- Depending on the age, have your child help you prepare the meals at home. Teach them and let them help you cut up from the fresh produce you just brought at the store. When children are involved in making meals from scratch, they feel a connection to the food they eat.

3- Serve up fresh fruits and cut them up in cute shapes if necessary. Mix it up once in awhile by including honey (for children over age 2) or plain yogurt for kids to dip their fruit in. Continue with this style of snacking so kids can learn to grab fresh fruits instead of an overly processed sugary snack.

4- Teach your kids to be mindful of what they eat. Don’t be distracted by the TV, tablet, or phone while you’re eating. Being mindful is an ancient practice to be more aware of what you are eating and how food should taste. It also helps with proper digestion of food.

5- Use simple recipes when it comes to teaching kids to eat clean. The less ingredients used, the more their taste buds can distinguish between processed food and food made with less ingredients. This delicious and healthy noodle dish is fun and healthy for both kids and adults:

6- Teach your kids to read labels. If your child likes a certain store bought food, let them read the ingredient label as well as the labels on the packaging. If it’s a snack that isn’t all too healthy, let them see how many unpronounceable words there are in the ingredients list. You’d be surprised at their reactions to all the ingredients that they don’t recognize.

So what happens when you’re eating out and not at home? Short of driving your server and the chefs crazy, here are some tips to make it smoother for everyone:

1- If you can choose the restaurant, then choose one you regularly frequent. This way you already know what’s on the menu and how the restaurant and staff works.

2- If you know the name of the restaurant you’re attending (but you didn’t choose it), look at the menu online so you can get an idea of what’s available.

3- Get to know your server. The servers at restaurants are usually very accommodating. Peruse the menu first and ask the server ahead of time if they allow changes or alterations to the menu items. If they do, then know ahead of time what you’d like to order. If they don’t then just stick with the basics, such as a fresh salad, dressing on the side, and a fruit plate if it’s available. Then if the server brought out your dish accurately, be sure to tip well as they usually have to be specific with the chefs and food preps.

Whether you’re just starting to eat more clean or you’re a seasoned pro, remember to have a plan on how you want to eat clean. Make grocery lists, search online for ideas and tips such as mine, and have self control over what you eat.

Here’s to clean eating! ūüôā

*photos courtesy of Martha Stewart Living and Delicious Living magazine.


Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on ‚ÄúHappymomblogger‚ÄĚ remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any¬†way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.




Thrive Market – Products Worth Reviewing


If you’re like me, you probably do all kinds of research on natural products whether online or in physical stores. I love walking down the aisles of natural food stores to see all the new and wonderful products that can help us live a healthier life. But I also love to shop online because I for one know that you can probably find a lot more unique brands that way.

If you like shopping at online boutiques that specializes in natural and organic products then you might want to check out the new online store called Thrive Market ( Selling only naturally derived and organic products on their site, Thrive Market makes it easier for everyone to buy natural products at affordable prices. In fact, Thrive Market’s whole theory is that one shouldn’t need to compromise good health with low quality products. With Thrive Market, you can afford to buy natural and organic products at a much lower price than you’d find in retail stores. I do shop both online and brick-and-mortar stores and I did notice some differences in the prices. If you like the convenience of shopping online, then Thrive Market is the perfect destination for you.

I was approached to try out the new Thrive Market and give my opinion on their site. After comparing Thrive Market with a couple other online natural and organic stores, I do have to admit that Thrive Market has some pretty good pricing. While I can’t name the other companies, it wouldn’t hurt to try out Thrive Market and see for yourself all the different natural and organic products available on their site. Shipping is free with $49 and over purchase but you can easily pick up a few stuff in their online store that will still end up saving you money and time.

One of the main reasons why Thrive Market started their company was for the purpose of offering affordable products to people of all income and status. They also donate an annual membership to a low-income family for every membership purchased.

Thrive Market also partners with many philanthropic, socially, and environmentally responsible companies who have the same determination and goal. They believe that in giving back to the community and the planet, the reward itself is in helping others live healthier and better lives. It’s admirable when a company can give back to others when in fact it doesn’t really take much at all. Certain companies that Thrive Market works with are the¬†Boys + Girls Club, LA Fund, and Common Threads. All are great charities and if you’re going to do some shopping online, why not help benefit others as well?

On Thrive Market, you’ll see many products from companies you’ve already heard of such as Garden of Life, Desert Essence, Clif Bars, Popchips, Earth Balance, Seventh Generation, and many more. Some of the prices are comparable to other online natural stores but mostly it is the convenience and the fact that you are also helping out others while you’re shopping. With each paid membership, Thrive Market will donate to another membership to those in need.

So check out Thrive Market ( and see for yourself how much you can save when shopping online. Right now Thrive Market is offering a 15% off discount for your first order. You can browse in their online store and if you decide to make a purchase, you’ll receive a 30-day membership trial. If you decide to stay with Thrive Market, you just pay a one time annual membership fee of $59.95 and Thrive Market will also donate a free membership to a low-income family.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

Overindulgence in America

Just the other day, when my son and I were at Target, we came upon a women and her 3 kids strolling through the store. The kids ranged from ages 2 to maybe 10 years old and they were all sitting in the cart while their mom was shopping. The mom was chomping on buttered popcorn while talking on the phone oblivious to what was around her as she crashed into other people’s carts ceremoniously. But that wasn’t what appalled me. It was the sight of her 3 kids sitting in the cart, eating and slurping on gooey candy and red, sure-to-stain-their shirts slurpees. The youngest baby, who looked to be about 2 years old was holding a red slurpee in his hands while mom was feeding him popcorn. His chubby face grinned excitedly each time he took a sip of that artificially flavored and colored drink, as some of it dripped down his chin. The 2 older girls in the cart each had a slurpee in their hands while one was munching on what looked like taffy candy and the other was stuffing nachos into her mouth. It wasn’t a pleasant sight to see, almost gluttonous to a point and as I watched the mom throw in bags of greasy potato chips and sodas, it makes me wonder what’s inside her pantry at home. But I don’t need to guess as I’m pretty sure it’s ladened with junk foods of all sorts. And unfortunately, those kids of hers won’t know any better unless they change their eating habits now.

Now I’m not saying that we don’t all fall prey to the occassional gooey, sticky candy, or artificial food coloring in our snacks. But we as humans should have more self control and common sense.¬† And especially as parents, we should be setting good examples for our children so that they can help change the world into a better place by learning to live healthier and to protect the environment in their choices. Sounds too farfetched? By far means it is not. We are already learning that toxins exposed to us on a daily basis through foods and products are not only harming our own bodies, but the environment as well. How we choose to purchase food and products that are better for us all is entirely up to us. Foods made with artificial ingredients such as colors and flavors take a toll on our body’s immune system as well as destroy the natural immune system of our ecosystem. All the toxins that these chemicals produce in making artificial colors and flavors are emitting into the precious air that we breathe. The packaging that contains dangerous phthlates and PVC are leaking into our foods and into our bodies and environment. It’s as Seventh Generation proudly states as their motto, ” In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

Overindulgence of everything is so normal in the United States. In other countries, food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy are so scarce and rare to come by. But here in the United States, most of us take for granted what people in other countries would jump for joy to get. There are too many things wasted and the uber rich folks, celebrities or not, indulge on wasting their money and good fortune of “blinging” out their cars – thus using up more resources from our planet, or supporting the wrong causes. Overindulgence isn’t a new word in our vocabulary but many people don’t understand the meaning or the ramifications of it. Overindulging on anything can lead to something we’ll inevitably regret later on. But it’s not too late to make a change – for ourselves, for our children, and for our future generations.

One good way to start is possibly looking in your refrigerator and pantry. What do you really need in there? And what ingredients are filling up those things you have in there? Are there foods in there that may taste great now but you’ll end up regretting eating them later? Are there enough plastics to fill up an entire landfill all on your own? True, eliminating everything bad may be impossible because we are subjects of what the world gives us. But we can start by eliminating things we don’t really need. Like those $100,000 diamond-encrusted rims you want to put on your sports car. Okay, to take it down a notch, how about eliminating food packaged in unrecyclable materials? Or food that is overladened with harmful ingredients? Even if you eliminated just one of those things that are bad for you and the environment, then you’re already taking a step towards something good. And most importantly, buy, use, and eat foods that are as fresh as possible and as close to your home as possible. Yes, the global economy could be affected if we don’t do business overseas, but that’s another story. What we need to accomplish here, in our own homes and lives, is improving our health and the health of our planet.

Buy organic, grow your own food, reduce use of products that are not readily recyclable or sustainable. I’m pretty sure in every household in America, we all have something that are geared towards a healthier life and planet. Now multiply that by 100 and you’ll have eliminated most of the bad things we know all to well of but can’t let go of. We don’t have to overindulge as human beings and we can teach our children the same thing too, so that they can teach their future generations the same philosophy. If you need resources on how to live healthier and help the planet as well, there are many great companies who can help you. Even if you type in the word “environment”, or “organic”, you’ll find an abundance of resources on those topics.

Here are my top 10 suggestions for not overindulging:

1- Buy only what you need and if you need it, buy more of it. If you don’t need it, then think 3 times about it before you purchase it.

2 – Eat as if you’re a newborn; you become very careful of what you put in your delicate new body.

3 – Donate items in your home that can benefit others. You’ll feel better at doing so.

4 – Don’t waste too much money on plastic. Yes, some plastic are important in our lives, but others, like toys, are not necessarily so.

5- Make a shopping list each and every time you go grocery shopping. And make sure you stick to that list!

6 – Portion out your food so that you don’t become gluttonous. It’ll help you maintain a healthy weight too.

7 – Don’t eat and buy foods just because they’re sitting there at the checkout counter. Companies do that to tempt you to buy.

8 – Reuse what you can and keep reusing it until it’s done with. Unless it’s hazardous to your health and the environment.

9 – Buy bulk when possible to reduce packaging waste and fuel emissions and put them in containers to use later.

10 – Most importantly: set good examples and your children will follow suit.

Some good resources to start on: Book, ‘Unjunk Your Junk Food’ ( Seventh Generation products ( Environment and Health organizations ( ( (

Follow Your Heart – Products Worth Reviewing and Giveaway

Being a vegetarian isn’t always easy but it is very rewarding. I feel better knowing that eating a diet rich in plant proteins and vitamins and minerals is better for my health and not being part of eating innocent animals is better for my soul and conscience. For many vegetarians whom I’ve come to know throughout the years, they’ve told me that sometimes finding a balance between eating the right kind of vegetarian foods and eating enough foods to sustain good health can be hard when a lot of food companies and restaurants do not cater to vegetarians as readily. I’ve learned that there are true healthy vegetarians and “junk” vegetarians who dine on junk food to sustain their health although they live a meat-free life. Well, I believe that the “junk”vegetarians don’t truly know what to eat in order to stay as healthy vegetarians – and that means buying the right products and cooking them to be delicious and satisfying.

When I’m looking for something to enhance my vegetarian dishes I usually look to companies who make products specifically for vegetarians and vegans. Many years ago, there were hardly any kind of this company but as vegetarians and vegans have become widely acknowledged (strange that this even has to be the case), companies who make food solely for vegetarians and vegans are popping every day. One of these companies is Follow Your Heart ( Follow Your Heart makes extremely delicious food products designed for vegans and vegetarians in mind. But don’t worry if you’re not a vegetarian – Follow Your Heart’s products are so tasty that you would hardly notice the difference. In fact, I buy only Follow Your Heart Vegenaise for our sandwiches and salads and my husband has not commented on¬†the difference between his¬†“traditional” mayonnaise and Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise. Even before I discovered Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise, I really didn’t enjoy the taste of traditional mayonnaise made with low quality ingredients. And because Follow Your Heart is made using simple and natural ingredients, I feel good about using their products pretty generously.

Follow Your Heart really chose a perfect name for their company. Not only are their products better for your health, they are also giving you the opportunity to enjoy food that do not contain animal by-products. At least that’s where I think the “Follow Your Heart” moniker truly means – to follow your heart’s instincts on eating more of a plant-based protein diet than animal-based. But regardless of what your taste buds will tell you, once you’ve tasted Follow Your Hearts Vegenaise and Salad Dressings, you’ll probably wonder why you didn’t discover them earlier. And then you’ll understand why Follow Your Heart’s products are so popular among vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We keep at least a few bottles of their Veganaise and dressings in our fridge so that I won’t get nervous when we run out. Because I truly don’t want to go back to eating traditional mayonnaise. Not that there’s anything too wrong with them besides the fact that they contain a lot of fillers and unhealthy ingredients.

Besides Vegenaise and salad dressings, Follow Your Heart also produces dairy alternatives such as dairy-free cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese. My son really enjoys their Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese and with tofu as the main ingredient, it’s really quite filling as well. He likes to eat the cheese as is and sometimes I’ll make grilled cheese sandwiches with the Vegan Cheddar Cheese. Follow Your Heart also produces sauces and marinades and veggie meat alternative patties. They also make an Organic Vegenaise using 100% organic ingredients and a touch of lemon juice which really makes their vegenaise stand out from other traditional mayonnaise. I prefer using their Vegenaise mixed into salads but they also make extraordinary dressings specifically designed for salads and dips. I made a yummy potato salad using their Organic Vegenaise and we polished the salad off in one meal.

Follow Your Heart is truly a unique one-of-a-kind company. They were founded by four friends who started the Follow Your Heart restaurant and Market over 40 years ago and the market and restaurant still stands in Southern California today. In fact, they encourage you to visit their quaint market and restaurant tucked neatly inside the suburbs of Los Angeles. As their restaurant and market provided a growing need for their vegan and vegetarian community, Follow Your Heart later developed their own line of natural, simple, and delicious foods. You can find their all-natural food products in most natural grocery stores as well as ordering them from their online store ( Follow Your Heart’s facility is also 100% solar powered so besides feeling good about eating and purchasing their foods, you can feel good about helping the environment as well. And most of their products are gluten-free so they’re perfect for those on a gluten-free diet.

Currently Follow Your Heart produces the following products: Vegenaise, which comes in unique flavors such as Roasted Garlic Vegenaise Gourmet, Barbeque Vegenaise Gourmet, Pesto Vegenaise Gourmet and their other traditional Vegenaise flavors. They also make Dairy Alternatives which are dairy-free cheese, Salad Dressings in yummy flavors such as Vegan Lemon Herb, Organic Tamari Miso, Organic Bleu Cheese, Vegan Honey Mustard, and many other delicious flavors. They also make Thick & Creamy Dressings which are great as dips and marinades in flavors such as Organic Thick & Chunky Bleu Cheese and Organic Thick & Creamy Ranch. And their renowned sauces and marinades in unique flavors such as Mild Balsamic Barbeque Sauce and Spicy Balsamic Barbeque Sauce. And ofcourse, their famous Follow Your Heart Veggie Burger that’s incredibly juicy and very much “meat-like” for those non-vegetarians who has a hard time giving up meat.

Vegetarian foods are easy to come by and easy to make and if you have the right tools such as marinades and dressings from Follow Your Heart, it doesn’t have to be boring either. People imagine vegetarians eating grass and straw (and hey, maybe some of them do) but that’s really not the case. Vegetarian fare is all about eating what’s healthier and sustainable and in fact, with vegetarian food, you can really go all out with the ingredients. Imagine a traditional lettuce salad using fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a mixture of Follow Your Heart’s Barbeque Sauce and Dressings -flavor explosion! And if you’re wondering how to use their products, Follow Your Heart offers a great array of recipes on their website to enhance your culinary experience. Follow Your Heart knew that long time vegetarians like myself enjoy great-tasting vegetarian food so they had sent me several coupons to pick up any variety or flavors of my choice. They are also offering 2 LUCKY readers of Happymomblogger the opportunity to win their Vegan Made Easy Kit which is pictured below. So how do you win this ultra yummy prize? Read below to find out!

Here’s how to enter in the¬†Follow¬†Your Heart¬†giveaway:

(Please note, the rules have changed slightly. Please read carefully before entering)


#1 entry –¬†“Like”¬†Follow Your Heart on Facebook:¬†¬†¬†and write on their wall that you are entering the contest at Happymomblogger: Please put Happymomblogger as the heading.


#2 entry – Become a follower:¬†!/happymomblogger¬†and “Tweet” me @happymomblogger that you are entering the¬†Follow Your Heart¬†giveaway.

#3 entry РSubscribe to my Blog.

#4 entry – Enter in my other contests.

#5 entry – Vote for me at Top Mommy Blogs using the link provided below.

You can enter by telling me the 5 entries in the LEAVE A COMMENT box. Please be sure to give me your name and email address so that I may contact you if you win. Contest is open to residents of US only. 18 years and older please. Please be sure to provide a physical address and not a P.O. Box. Only 1 contestant per household please. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prize. Any violation of the rules will deem your entry as disqualified. Happymomblogger is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged prizes but will do the best to ensure your prize gets there. In  the event the winner can not be contacted within 3 days of email sent then another winner will be chosen. Contestants must not have won a Follow Your Heart contest/sweepstake/giveaway within 90 days of this post. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibed by law.

Contest Start Date: July 11, 2012

Contest End Date: July 18, 2012 –¬† Congratulations to Layne and Maryann for winning the prizes!

Only 2 winners will be chosen at random and I will post the winners names on my blog.


Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any¬†way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.¬†

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.