Hey guys, I hope everyone is having a great week so far and having a great Fat Tuesday! Okay, now I am going to be totally honest with you. The first few days of clean eating haven’t been the most fun days in my life. I didn’t wake up after eating clean and feel like a whole new girl. In fact, I felt a little funky for the first two days. I did my research, and I am pretty sure this is just my body getting used to eating all of this clean, healthy food. It misses its processed junk food, but it will get used to my new diet eventually. However, I feel much better today and hopefully will feel even better and more energetic in the coming days. Now with that disclaimer out of the way, I have some tips on how I have planned to eat clean while on a budget.

One of the biggest reasons that I have put off eating clean and healthy for so long is because I thought it would be too costly and time consuming. While it can be a bit time consuming, I did not spend any more than I usually do at the grocery store this week. Something that has been really helpful for me has been to take advantage of deals. Two for one bags of baby spinach? Yes, please. Two for $5 containers of strawberries? HerbsYes again. While these deals won’t be available every week, there will always be something new on sale. I plan on taking advantage of those deals as much as possible. Another little way to save some cash is to plant your own herb garden. Fresh herbs can get a little pricey when you are buying them every week, so I started a little makeshift herb garden on my balcony with basil, rosemary and thyme to help with those costs. Hopefully I can keep them alive in this ever-changing Atlanta weather!

One of the budget benefits I have found from eating clean is that since I have my meals and snacks planned for the week, I have an exact grocery list to shop from. I don’t go to the grocery store and get distracted by the gourmet cheeses or the goodies in the bakery anymore. I know what I am in there for, and that is all I get. Meal planning has all but eliminated my impulse shopping, at least in the grocery store.

Another way that I have found to eat clean on a budget is to make big batches of things I will eat throughout the week. This weekend, I spent a few hours making homemade applesauce, hummus, beans and soups that I can eat throughout the week. Also, making these things on your own instead of buying them will save you some money. A bag of dried beans is very inexpensive and makes a ton of food. White Beans I made White Beans with Rosemary and they will be a great side dish or small snack to have all week long. On the subject of hummus, a can of chickpeas is less than a dollar, and making your own hummus ensures you know exactly what is going in to it. I love hummus because there are endless combinations of flavors you can make. This week I made spicy hummus with cumin and parsley, and next week I might make garlic hummus or red pepper hummus. It is a great way to keep your snack game fresh so you won’t get bored.

Another thing to consider is the cost of eating out versus cooking your own meals. It is too early in my 30 days to tell, but I think that cooking all my meals will eventually end up saving me some serious cash. While pizza and drive-thru restaurants seem cheap at the time, they can add up over a month.

So those are a few of my tips for eating clean on a budget, and I am proof that it is possible not to break the bank in order to eat a clean and healthy diet.

Last but not least here are a few of the things I have made so far and loved:

Greek Chicken from He and She Eat Clean - I loved this recipe. I served it with a spinach salad with garlic and olives.

Salsa Chicken from He and She Eat Clean - I love a good crock pot recipe. They are another way to make weeknight cooking easy.

Carrot Soup from Myrecipes.com - If you love carrots, this is the soup for you.

Lentil and Kale Soup - This makes a huge batch and will last at least a week!

Homemade Apple Sauce - I have been eating this for a sweet treat after dinner.

Homemade Spicy Hummus- This recipe is super versatile. You can add any of your favorite flavors.

White Beans with Rosemary - This also makes a ton of food, and I can snack on them all week.

Tonight I am making Quinoa Jambalaya in honor of Mardi Gras! Check back in later this week for more recipes and clean eating info!

-Lizzy Stroud

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Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean 

Yields: 12 servings 

Lentil and Kale Soup

Kale and Lentil Soup


  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 lb bag of dried brown lentils, rinsed and checked for stones
  • 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 TB. fresh basil, chopped


  1. Heat olive oil in a 4-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrot. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add lentils, chicken stock, and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Add kale, tomato, pepper, salt, lemon zest and basil. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.

Nutritional Facts: 188 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 14 g protein, 30 g carbs, 2 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g fiber, 236 mg sodium. Serving Size: 1 cup

Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean

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Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean 

Yields: 12 servings 

Homemade Baked Applesauce 

Baked Applesauce


  • 7 or 8 medium Fuji apples, peeled, cored and roughly sliced
  • 4 TB. water
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 2 TB. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl mix apples with water, cinnamon, lemon juice, honey, orange juice and vanilla until all pieces are coated.
  2. Pour into 13×9-inch roasting pan and spread evenly. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Take out of oven, uncover and stir. Cover tightly again and bake for another 45 minutes.
  3. When done, remove from oven. Let cool for a few minutes. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until chunky. Use a food processor for a smoother texture.
  4. Serve warm or cold. Will keep in fridge for 2 weeks.

Nutritional Facts: 73 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g protein, 19 g carbs, 15 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 1 mg sodium. Serving Size: 1/3 cup.

Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean.

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Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean. 

Yields: 14 servings 

White Beans with Rosemary 

White Beans with Rosemary


  • 1 lb. northern white beans, dry
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 rosemary stems
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper


  1. Rinse and sort the beans. Be sure to pick out any dirt or rocks. Soak overnight in 5 cups of water.
  2. The next day, drain beans. Put beans, 4 cups of water, garlic and bay leaves in a 4-quart sauce pot. Heat over medium-high heat until beans come to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to simmer and partially cover. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. After an hour, add rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook together for 20 or 30 minutes until beans are tender. Serve hot or store in the fridge.

Nutritional Facts: 110 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 7 g protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 88 mg sodium. Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean. 

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Recipe adapted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Eating Clean. 

Yields: 8 servings 

Homemade Spicy Hummus: 

Homemade Spicy Hummus


  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TB. unsalted, all-natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup packed parsley sprigs
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 3 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 TB. extra-virgin olive oil


1. Place chickpeas, almond butter, hot sauce, lemon juice, yogurt, garlic, black pepper, salt and olive oil in a food processor. Process on high speed. Stop every once in a while to scrape the sides of the bowl. Keep blending until smooth. It should take 2 or 3 minutes.

You can add more lemon juice or hot sauce to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional Facts: 135 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g protein, 14 g carbs, 3 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 62 mg sodium. Serving size: 1/4 cup

Recipe courtesy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean.

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The scoop on what’s new around Atlanta. 

Yoga for All

Evolation Yoga

Recently opened Evolation Yoga Atlanta offers a range of options for yogis of all ages and levels. Nineteen instructors certified in a wide variety of yoga traditions can guide you through hot yoga and room temperature yoga in Evolation’s Sun Room and Moon Room, while toddlers through teenagers alike can enjoy classes in the GROUNDED kids program. They also offer community events and teacher training with Evolation’s senior instructors.

Details: 950 W Peachtree St. NW, Ste. 210, Atlanta, GA, (404) 219-5228, www.evolationyogaatlanta.com 


Wheel Be Back 

Peachtree Bikes

Since 1969, Peachtree Bikes has been providing the cycling community with services and events to keep them pedaling. In December of last year, their Buckhead location was destroyed by a fire that consumed the store. Customers have been venturing to their Sandy Springs and Serenbe stores, but this month, they are making their return at a new Buckhead location. this spot is conveniently in the same area of town as the prior location.

Details: 2905 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA, www.peachtreebikes.com 


Challenge Yourself 

Lee Haney Fitness Challenge

Bring the kids out to Lee Haney’s Sports & Fitness Challenge on April 19, a yearly family event and fun competition that promotes the importance of exercise for all. The challenge has events for three age groups: The Fit Kid Challenge, Teen Challenge and Ultimate Fitness Challenge for adults. Each one takes participants through the paces of their fitness level with events like the Stone Lift, Farmers Walk and a Log Press. Kids ages 8 to 12 are free, and other age groups range in price from $35 to $140. A portion of proceeds will benefit Haney’s Harvest House Mentoring Program.

Details: www.leehaney.com/fitnesschallenge


Work Out Like a Star

Jillian Michaels for Curves

Skip the audition take for “The Biggest Loser”- now you can get Jillian Michaels’ famous training at your local Curves gym. The trainer and fitness center chain have partnered to bring you accessible, total body workouts designed for every fitness level. Michaels will lead the workouts on screen, guiding participants through conditioning exercises and strength training. New workouts will be introduced each month.

Details: Curves of Atlanta, 5071 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Atlanta, GA (678) 205-1369, www.curves.com


The Details about Diabetes 

Diabetes Education Class

March 25 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, so start educating yourself now. On March 7, Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna is offering a diabetes education and self-management class. Learn about the symptoms, monitoring, prevention, balanced diabetic meals and more. Cost is $25.

Details: (770) 801-4616, (770) 438-4373, www.emoryadventist.org 

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Yesterday was the big day! It is nothing but clean eating for me for the next 30 days. I could not be more excited about making this change in my lifestyle or about getting to share my experience with the readers of Best Self.

Fruit Bowl

My giant fruit bowl will be getting a lot of action this month.

I ate my last “dirty” meal Friday night, made my last stop at Sprinkles Cupcake ATM and drank my last glass of wine. I have my meals planned for the next week, and I have done my grocery shopping. Now I am ready to go! I will be sharing my recipes and photos of the meals I cook over the week and filling you in on my progress. This post is about how to get started eating clean and is full of information that has really helped prepare me for the next month. It will also be helpful  if any of you are planning a clean eating challenge for yourself!

The first step that I took to get ready to eat clean was to define what that meant for me. There are a few different ways that people eat clean: some simply cut out all processed food, while some cut out all dairy and wheat products.

Greek Yogurt

One of my breakfast favorites: 0% Fage Greek Yogurt with strawberries and honey

For my plan, I decided to cut back my dairy and wheat intake, but not cut it out completely. This girl loves her Greek yogurt and Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread too much for that.

For my plan, I decided to cut out all processed foods, cut down the dairy and wheat I eat, add a lot of colorful fruits and veggies to my diet, start using alternatives to sugar, like agave nectar and honey, and to eat only high-quality, organic meat and eggs. I also decided to cut out alcohol. I love a good glass of red wine with dinner, but it usually leads me to making less than healthy decisions once dessert time rolls round, so I decided to eliminate that risk all together. I will also be exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. I will be eating five to six small meals a day, so I will be eating every two or three hours. Also, I will never be skipping breakfast, which will be a small challenge for me. I often choose 10 more minutes of sleep over making myself breakfast in the morning.

Bad Food

This is an example of something I threw away. What is maltodextrin anyway?

The second step that I took to get ready for this challenge was to clean out anything processed from my kitchen. It will be a lot easier to eat healthy and clean when I don’t have to think about the Oreos that are hiding in the back of the pantry. I just tossed anything that had more than a few, easy-to-pronounce, healthy ingredients. If you have to Google what a crazy-sounding ingredient is, chances are it isn’t clean.

My third step was to plan out my meals for the week and use the plan to make up a grocery list. I am going to do this every week. I am hoping that planning my meals in advance, and knowing that I have all the ingredients I need, will make cooking much easier throughout the week. I am also going to take the time this weekend to make big batches of food that I can eat all week long, like soup and hummus. That way I know I will have an option if I don’t feel like cooking one night. This week, I found some of my dinner recipes from He and She Eat Clean and found the rest from my stash of clean eating cookbooks. This is my meal plan for the next week.

Menu Week 1

So after taking these steps and planning my meals, I think I am ready for the next 30 days! Check in a few days for recipes and to see how I am handling my new clean eating lifestyle. I will also have some tips about how to eat clean when you are on a budget, which I most definitely am.  If you have any clean eating recipes or tips for me, feel free to send them to me at bestselfatlantamag@gmail.com. Have a great rest of the weekend and see you in a few days!

- Lizzy Stroud

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Someone once said that anyone can do anything for thirty days—I am going to see if that is true. I have decided to eat 100 percent clean for the month of March and document my progress in a new Best Self blog series, 30 Days of Clean Eating. Clean EatingThroughout the month, I will be sharing my recipes, my meal plans, my shopping lists, my tips and my progress with you. Also, I welcome any recipes or advice that any Best Self readers may have for me!

Although I try to eat as healthy as I can in my day-to-day life, I, like a lot of people in Atlanta, love my Chik-Fil-A, and I often find it a lot easier to order a pizza after a long day then to whip something up in the kitchen. Another one of my nutrition issues is my particularly large sweet tooth. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a sugar fiend.

clean eating

Me as a child, obviously guarding that cake.

My Halloween and Easter candy was always gone days before my brother and sister’s was, and I have always like to end the day on a sweet note with a sugary treat before bed. But with a family history that includes diabetes, clogged arteries and obesity, I have realized that my eating habits need to change as soon as possible…call it maturity.  And I feel that eating clean, whole foods is going to be the best way to kick start my healthy new lifestyle.

Having recently graduated from college and become an actual working woman, finding the time to plan meals, shop for healthy ingredients and cook every night has been a bit of a challenge. But that is all going to change on Saturday. No more last-minute dinner decisions that end in Chinese takeout or picking up some fast food. No more brownies or cookies before bed (I am in the process of looking for clean dessert recipes, so if you have any you love, send them my way!). No more Coke and no more Cheez-Its (another one of my snack food weaknesses).


Me on the left, all grown up. Still loving cake.

I will be cooking everything I eat or eating raw, whole foods. I will be cutting out white foods (like sugar, butter, and white flour) alcohol, cheese, anything processed, cutting down how much meat I eat and eating five to six small meals throughout the day.  I will be eating as many fruits and vegetables as I can and eating healthy grains, like brown rice and quinoa.  It should be interesting to see what happens, and I have heard a few warnings about how hard it will be, but I am up for the challenge and can’t wait to see how my health and life benefit from this.

Come back Saturday to see my plan in detail and to see my meal plan for the first week of my clean eating. And, again, any advice, recipes or tips are very welcome at bestselfatlantamag@gmail.com! Now I am going to go clean all the junk food out of my kitchen. See you Saturday!

- Lizzy Stroud

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As the stars take the red carpet for the Oscars this year on March 2, you can feel like a celebrity yourself at the Red Carpet Gala held at Cobb Galleria Centre. Red Carpet Gala This glamorous event, which benefits the Center for Family Resources, will include a live and silent auction, dancing, games, a live performance by the Male Vocalist and Crooner of the year, Douglas Cameron and – of course – a viewing of the 86th annual Academy Awards. Single Tickets are $150.

Details: www.cfrredcarpetgala.com

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With spring almost here, and summer not far behind, the idea of fresh seasonal veggies and fruit is enticing to foodies throughout Georgia. EAT GA, the brainchild of Taste of Atlanta and the Georgia Restaurant Association, will offer Georgians just that, fresh and seasonal flavors from local farms that are prepared by local chefs. EATGA

EAT GA, or the Edible Agriculture Tour, is a state wide dining series funded by a grant from the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program. It was created in an effort to offer dining events throughout Georgia that will feature the best local and seasonal produce that Georgia has to offer and will feature many of Georgia’s top chefs. Taste of Atlanta and the GRA are hoping to educate the people of Georgia about local farms and produce that are Georgia Grown.

Taste of Atlanta founder and president, Dale Gordon DeSena, explains, “EAT GA will bring together the men and women growing exceptional product and the Georgia chefs and families who want to buy, cook and eat local produce. We believe these grassroots dining events are a natural way to grow business across the state.”

The EAT GA tour will get its start on March 11 at the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Supper Club event at Table & Main in Roswell. There are also events planned for Atlanta, Marietta, Athens, Savannah, St. Simons Island, North Georgia, Thomasville and Augusta. A portion of the proceeds from each event will benefit the community food bank in the area where the event is held. Georgia fruit

“We see this as a natural extension of our Georgia Grown Restaurant Program,’ says GRA Director Karen Bremer. ‘We are proud to highlight the talented restaurant chefs who make an effort to showcase locally grown produce and goods. Partnering with Taste of Atlanta to create EAT GA allows us the opportunity to better promote Georgia farms and educate consumers on what is available in their area.”

Details: www.EATGA.com, www.facebook.com/EATGA

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