My #Whole30 Clean Eating Journey + 5 Tips To Help You Get Started

Food As Art || Clean Eating || Image Credit: Amber at @RawVeganBlonde || Friends of Messages of Hope, in today’s post, I’m going to start a series about clean eating, which will include a very personal story that I hope might help some of you, too. I’ve come to learn, through my own body’s experience, what a difference the right food, in the right quantities, can make in my internal health, the way I function, how I can function, how I feel, and how I look.

If being healthier internally, getting rid of that feeling of brain fog and lethargy, having glowing skin, growing hair, eyelashes and nails and losing weight – with just a slow walk for exercise- is something you think might be good for you, too, then this series will be one you will want to follow.

This journey is still new for me, friends.

I’m only 3 months into it and I’m still learning every day, but I am going to take you with me as I learn, so you can perhaps use this information I’m learning yourselves, and/or share it with others you know who might be helped by it, too.

I want to spread messages of hope about the connection between food and health and how you can, with some shifts in how you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat, improve your internal health, the overall quality of your life, and see visible {and wonderful and fast! } differences in your skin, hair, nails, teeth, eyelashes and weight.
Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 4.52.21 AM

I’ve come to realize, through my reading and research, that many of my own friends + millions of people really are in distress with health issues of one kind or another – cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, auto immune diseases, etc.

I’ve come to believe, through what I’ve experienced in my own body, that some of these diseases are preventable and reversible through our food choices and that some of the worse symptoms of those dis-eases that are too far gone to be reversible, can be helped through better food choices.

So, this series will share it all and I’m going to start today with the beginning of my own story + five tips for you if you decide to start it, too.



I started this journey because I was really, really unhealthy [I had elevated cholesterol to the point of being pre-diabetic] and I was fat, over 200 pounds at 5″6″ tall,  and every morning when I woke up, I felt like I could barely get up. 

My brain felt foggy, my joints ached, and I didn’t have much energy.

I realized I could not go on like this – and didn’t want to. I knew I needed to make a change… or die early.

So, when a friend of mine on Facebook asked her friends if they wanted to join a group about clean eating, I said YES. And there, in that Facebook Group,  I found women who were truly supporting each other, and helping each other learn how to make better choices about food. In that Group, I was introduced to a program called the #Whole30. {Thank you, Vitania!}

I had never heard of it, but I was willing to give anything a try. I’m an all or nothing kind of person, so I liked the idea that this program told me exactly what I could and could not eat for 30 days and why. I also liked that there were so many recipes online on the tag: #Whole30.

It made it easier for me to find information, fast.

So, I went on the #Whole30 program whose premise is to eliminate, for 30 days, all known inflammatory foods, and then, after the end of the 30 days, to add them back in, one by one and slowly to your now clean gut, so you can really feel what foods impact your own body negatively, and which ones it can tolerate.

This is the book that gives you the science behind why it works, the plan and the recipes.
Whole 30 ||
The Whole 30 program requires you, {for just 30 days -although I’ve chosen to keep eating this way because I feel so much better } to:

Eliminate all sugar {fructose} including all sugar substitutes like honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, stevia, truvia, aspartame, etc.

This means reading every label really carefully, as a lot of the organic foods we buy, or foods we think of as healthy like organic or non – GMO foods {and marketed to us as healthy } are full of added sugars. If you don’t know about this yet, see the article from the New York Times linked to at the end of this post. { Thank you, Faith, for the tip to this article. }

Eliminate all dairy. This means no cheese, no milk or milk products, no butter.

But, you can have ghee, which is clarified butter. It is so much more DELICIOUS than regular butter!
And, I’ve learned how to make a cheese substitute, with yeast flakes, which is delicious, too.

My favorite ghee brand EAT GOOD FAT ghee ||
Eliminate all wheat and gluten. Bye, bye pizza, bread {even Ezekiel -this one was hard for me! }, cereal, oats, etc. 

Eliminate all alcohol, including wine. The ethanol in alcohol wreaks the almost identical havoc on your metabolic system as fructose {sugar} does.



1. Be prepared to love grocery shopping again. It will take the place of your current retail store addiction pretty quickly :) . For me, it took the place of Sephora.

2. Get out your favorite dishes, prettiest silver and glasses and use them. Clean eating is all about eating pretty and creating a ritual around sitting down and being mindful about what you’re eating and why you’re eating.
Image Credit: Leslie Carothers ||

3. You will need to make time for the preparation, especially at first when you’re not used to it, but if you do the preparation for the week in a 2 or 3 hour stint, or break it up into tiny segments when TV commercials are on, it becomes really, really easy.

Just figure out how to prepare in a way that works for you. Who knows, maybe that’s the middle of the night for you? It’s all good, but you have to do it. Prep is key.

3. Be prepared to patronize your local farmer’s market and if you don’t have one, there are many places online now where you can buy and have fresh fruits and veggies delivered to you once a week. In Austin and Houston, does this, and to find a home delivery service in your city, Google *home delivery fresh fruits and vegetables in ____ [ put your city in the blank]* and you will find a local source for your city!
FarmhouseDelivery logo || || Houston, Austin

Fresh Veggies and Fruits Delivered To Your Door Weekly || ||

4. Be prepared to spend a little bit more money at first to buy the foods and spices you might not have in your pantry already but to spend a LOT LESS money later, because you won’t be eating out, unless you want to – or are travelling.

Bottom line for me? I’m saving at least $300.00 a month now, if not more, because I’m not eating out and I’m not patronizing Starbucks.

Lastly, be prepared to start a Pinterest board of food as art to keep you motivated, if you love beauty like I do.

And a good place to start is with the art of @rawveganblonde.

Amber, who started a clean eating journey of her own, has now created a brand called AMBA LIVING, where companies like Anthropologie are commissioning her for her unique works of art made from fresh vegetables and fruit – also available as prints in her online store.

See and be prepared to fall in love!

Isn’t this artwork of hers beautiful? {Hello Hermes scarf!}

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I hope this has been helpful for you, and if it has, please share it with your friends who may need some help getting started on a clean eating journey, too.

I will be sharing much more about clean eating and clean eating tips on The Hope Blog in the weeks and months ahead and invite you to leave your own stories in the comments.

You never know who may be helped or healed by reading your story or your own tips.

Lastly {and for real this time!}

Thank you to all of my own friends who may be reading this and have supported me so far in my own journey, especially Vitania, Robin, and Sarah.

You ladies #makeadifference.

And here’s the article in the NY Times, that I promised you in the opening paragraphs. Don’t miss reading this about the movie, THAT SUGAR FILM, about how many of the foods that are marketed to us as healthy and look healthy from the packaging are actually full of added sugars:

This is 40 teaspoons, the amount of sugar a lot of people put into their bodies, every day, without realizing it. The amount I put into MY BODY, or more, until I began clean eating.

Click the picture to watch the trailer for the movie.


Leslie Carothers


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