Every week, it seems there is a new crazy diet all your friends, co-workers, & celebrities swear you should try out for yourself.  Some of those trendy diets I have ventured to try include, but are not limited to, keto, paleo, juicing, etc. Of all the diets I have tried, one problem remains consistent:  restricting or eliminating food groups all together.  The restriction of certain food groups in a diet plan (most commonly carbs, I love me some carbs) leave me feeling unsatisfied and unable to maintain the diet.

Now you may be asking, what is clean eating?  A clean diet contains unprocessed, whole foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, carbohydrates, lean meats.  In addition, the unprocessed, whole food must have no artificial ingredients, preservatives, sugars, saturated fat, or trans-fat.  Listing everything that clean eating requires you to eliminate may sound like a daunting task.  Instead, focus on eating foods in their unprocessed, natural state and unrefined grains (wheat carbohydrates, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, etc).

To achieve the most success, I have adapted an 80/20 lifestyle for my diet.  I use the term lifestyle because it is easy to adapt into your every day without establishing a strict diet plan to follow. 80 percent, I stick to a healthy, clean eating lifestyle. 20 percent I indulge and go to my favorite Mexican place, have a glass of wine, or enjoy some French fries.  In the long term, this lifestyle has proven successful for me and I feel more energized and focused throughout my day.

One clean eating recipe I love to make for breakfast are Pumpkin-Pecan Breakfast Bars.  Not only are they vegan and gluten-free, the bars are packed with fiber and satisfy your appetite all morning long.  I have included the recipe below for y’all to try out.  Enjoy! – Natalia

Pumpkin-Pecan Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats      
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:    

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  
  • In a large bowl, stir together the oats, canned pumpkin, applesauce, pecans, cranberries, and vanilla; let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Drop the dough in 12 rounds onto the baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough mounds.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the bars stand for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a plate to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!