My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Eating Clean

I enjoyed reading your guesses as to why I cleaned out my cupboards and gave away all my food. (I cleaned the fridge too, but there wasn’t too much to clean out.)

I guess you could call the reason a major life change — I’m making a commitment to eating clean — only natural and organic foods. No processed crap, no preservatives.

I made a start a few weeks ago when I stopped drinking diet soda. And as of yesterday, I am drinking only one cup of coffee per day, water (and lots of it), and green tea.

After cleaning out my kitchen I went shopping. It’s a good thing I received my annual performance award a week ago, because that was a pricey proposition. Here’s what my kitchen looked like after I got home.


Now my cupboards are nicely restocked.


So’s the fridge.


I got only all natural stuff and organic where I could. No processed sugar, no white flour. I’ve been building up to this over the past couple of weeks, and jumped into it with both feet yesterday.

So far so good. The only drawback so far is the amount of time it takes to prepare everything. It’s a heckuva lot easier to pop a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.

If you google “eating clean” you can find a lot of good information online. This article is a very good summary of the concept of clean eating.

I got this book a couple of weeks ago. (It says it will be published in January, but it is available now.) While the book layout is kind of garish and makes it look like a fad diet book, it has sound ideas and principles. It’s rather poorly organized so that you have to flip back and forth alot, but I still recommend it.

In knitting news, I did very little over the weekend. I did manage to knit this sock.


Sorry for the lousy photo, but it is dark and I am tired.

It’s sportweight, so it went quickly. Knit from Fiesta Boomerang in the “White Zinfandel” colorway, on 2.75mm needles.

And I’m knitting the second sock. Excitement abounds!

Lucy exudes excitement.



  1. I applaud your effort to eat clean, we have a gluten free house so I know the work that goes into having a non-standard diet. Good luck.
    .-= Marge´s last blog ..Knitting to finish or knitting as a process =-.

  2. Good for you! We still use white flour, but it’s so I can bake all of our desserts myself. What can I say?

    And I love Bob’s Red Mill. Awesome specialty flours! If that’s a flax meal on the front, you might want to refrigerate it–it keeps better in the cold.

  3. Oh that Lucy! She can hardly contain herself!
    .-= Tamsie´s last blog ..Third Package from my Recession Swap Spoiler! =-.

  4. Oh wow! You have way more discipline than I do.
    .-= Muriel´s last blog ..I’m BACK!!!! =-.

  5. Organic and natural food tastes way better. What I do is fix extra meals and freeze then you can pop it in the microwave or oven. Way better than lean cuisine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy!

  6. I’m with Muriel on this one. I can’t wait to see your progress, you never know I could be inspired to do the same. No Diet Coke…. I have cut back a lot, maybe I have already started. Looks like I was more inspired then I thought. LOL
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..I’m BACK!!!! =-.

  7. I signed up for a health mentor thing at my work, I’ve done the initial health assessment and lab work, just waiting on the health mentor to contact me. I live in fear of the initial conversation impacting my caffeine intake. I have tried to start eating healthier though. Good for you jumping in like that. I am just biding my time…!

  8. Murphy wonders if this means you will continue to do unspeakable things to chicken! But good for you, change is hard but stick with it and you will be happy with the outcome. ๐Ÿ™‚
    .-= Mo´s last blog ..Shy with a side of turkey =-.

  9. You go girl! And you got some exercise cleaning out those cupboards too!

  10. Congrats on your new effort toward healthier living! I was sort of forced into some similar changes several years ago because of medical issues but I’ve slipped back into some bad habits. I hope you’ll keep us posted on your journey and share some things that end up working for you. I’ve been trying to clean up my eating again myself and it isn’t easy. Bravo to you!!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..That missing Thursday =-.

  11. Wendy, We have made similar changes around here. I would recommend getting a modern pressure cooker (not the scary kind my grandmother had). In a pressure cooker you can, for example make brown rice in about 20 mins. Risotto can be made in under 30mins, start to finish.

  12. Good luck, Wendy. We eased into this gradually and are really happy w/ the results. I am in awe of the cold turkey approach! I recommend this website: She’s keeping things as close to the earth as possible (she doesn’t use shampoo either!!).

  13. Denise in Kent, WA says:

    Kudos on your healthy lifestyle change! More work, perhaps, but definitely worthwhile – and tastier, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I think Lucy exudes “I have a cold nose.” LOL

  14. Wow, what a proposition! My spouse has been unemployed for the last couple months and loves to cook, so we’ve been moving more and more to unprocessed foods (just gave up boxed rice, our last big boxed item), but I do struggle with what to do for breakfasts and desserts. I also don’t know what’ll happen when he goes back to work!

  15. Wendy that is great! I haven’t made the whole committment to clean, but I cut out all soda in May and its amazing how much better I feel from that little change. And I think it aided in me losing 50 pounds so far.

    I’m having to take things one step at a time though as I’m trying to change a lot of little things in my life to make life better and more fulfilling.
    .-= Rebekah´s last blog ..This Post Brought To You By the Letter P =-.

  16. Yay! It looks like you are really laying a great foundation for success with these changes.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Too Small Tuesday? =-.

  17. Congratulations on making big changes – I’ll bet you’ll feel better. We’ve been vegetarian for a while, and we also avoid processed foods whenever possible. It does take some time to cook properly, but it can actually be very satisfying.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Missing the Point on E. Coli =-.

  18. That’s a big decision, and I hope you’ll find eating natural foods coming easier to you as time passes. We buy and eat very little that is canned or prepared, except for the canned tomato products I use in my chili and pasta sauce and the occasional take-out. Otherwise, we cook and plan for leftovers, fresh or frozen in meal-sized quantities.

    If you have a farmers’ market nearby, I highly recommend that you make it your shopping place for fruits and veggies. The variety and freshness is wonderful.
    .-= CatBookMom´s last blog ..Time to Give =-.

  19. Congrats on the eating change. I don’t eat many process foods, so I’m OK there. I would love to buy organic, but it’s just too pricey for me right now. Thanks for the links!

  20. You’ll need to teach a class in the Portland(oregon) area so you can go over to Bob’s Red Mill Store in Milwaukie. It’s a great place to shop for all of their great items!

  21. Good for you on clean eating.
    Just a suggestion – organic and whole grains really draw bugs! (the critters seem to know whats better for you) I now store all flour and grains in the freezer.

  22. Good for you! I came to the same way of eating (mostly) but gradually over a long period of time. For me it’s about eating things that don’t have chemicals and preservatives as ingredients, and also eating (what I consider) ethically as much as I can afford to (free trade coffee, local non-factory farmed meats, etc.) Soon enough you’ll find that your former favorite junk food treat just tastes weird and greasy and if you do treat yourself you want something made with ingredients you have in your cupboard, not ones that come from a chem lab. I hope you come to enjoy the preparation process (I love to cook) but in the meantime my advice is, make a big pot of soup or something in the crockpot that will freeze well in small portions, so you can just take it out and heat it up on the days when you can’t stand to cook. Kinda like a lean cuisine only better in ten different ways. =)

  23. Wendy, Thank you so much for sharing changes to your life on your website. I am working on a research project on how to get individuals to become more sustainable. One of the big discussions is over food. I am pleased to see this. My family and I read all label and try our best to buy local food. Good luck. Enjoy the taste.

  24. Hi Wendy, I have been eating organic and natural foods for 40 years! I will be interested in learning if you find any health benefits down the road (say, one year from now). Good luck. It takes a little time, but I think you will find long term benefits from this sort of diet. Weight loss is not the number one issue. Overall health is!

  25. Go Wendy! I’d never heard of “clean eating” even though we eat that way. I’d add to prior comments that the pressure cooker (and Lorna Sass’s books on same) and a farmer’s market will help you get in the swing. Food tastes so much better when it’s real food. I’d also recommend Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food”; informative and a good read. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your life with all of us!

  26. i’m rooting for you. we were ovo lacto veg for over 30 yrs and last spring went vegan (with very few inadvertant exceptions). you’ll learn shortcuts and tactics to make it easier. slice and dice sundays, portion sizes of ingredients cooked from scratch stored in the freezer, unconventional “salads”…and on the flax seed–i buy whole seed, store in fridge and grind 1/2 c. or so at a time in your coffee grinder (you can wipe it clean (enough) of coffee or flax with a paper napkin) used to LOVE it with plain yogurt, fresh blueberries, and maple syrup. (i do miss yogurt) you’re gonna feel GOOOD!

  27. Don’t know whether you’re aware of MOM’s, in Arlandria/Chirilagua, but they can be cheaper than Whoe Foods, and their produce is all organic, plus it’s a local business.

  28. Tosca Reno is wonderful. It’s a diet that isn’t a diet. It’s a way to eat and live life without all of the processed stuff. Good for you. Does Lucy get to eat clean too???

  29. When I started Weight Watchers a couple of years ago, they had a program called “Core”. Core is very very similar to “clean eating”. Once I started eating that way, I stopped being sick. I used to get multiple colds every year (Sept-April), and would be coughing for weeks afterwards. Since then..I get one or two a year, and am sick for only a couple of days. It’s amazing! I started losing weight, too, but the health improvements were immediate. I had the whole family eating the same diet, since it was clearly healthy. My kids got healthier and were growing like weeds, on the same diet causing me to lose weight. It’s amazing.

  30. Congratulations on the kitchen overhaul! We get the magazine and it’s got delicious recipes.
    .-= Elysbeth´s last blog ..Seams to me =-.

  31. Congratulations! It’s a great way to eat, although some times we all slip. Remember that you can buy organic and free-trade coffees–imho, some of the best coffee I’ve every had has been o & f-t. Someone mentioned getting a pressure cooker. I highly agree. I’ve had mine for more than 10 years (can’t remember when I bought it other than I was working in another town!) and couldn’t live without it. I also second the vote for Lorna Sass’ books.

    The other “tool” that I would not live without is a rice cooker. I’ve used the ka-ching rice cookers for years but this year I moved on up to a fancy-schmancy one and couldn’t be happier. You’d be amazed at what you can cook in a rice cooker & my “new” one is a rice/slow cooker combo. Definitely cook in bulk–even for a single personage, although for us, bulk is a relative word. I cook up soups, etc., and always freeze half.

    Good luck and have fun.

  32. You have my respect and admiration. Actually, I’m in awe. I had barely recovered from “no diet soda” (I could never) when you said you were down to one cup of coffee a day. I didn’t even get that low when I was pregnant! You clearly have a lot more discipline than I do!

  33. Good for you! I know you will feel better, both mentally and physically, when eating *real food*. I have been trying to eat local this year, which has some of the same elements — organic, whole food, requires a bit of planning and a bit more work. Keep us updated on your thoughts.
    .-= kmkat´s last blog ..Hannibal, the Fluffball of Doom. =-.

  34. From reading your posts for over a year and reading you on Plurk, I know how hard it must be for you to give up the DC w/lime. I look forward to following your new journey, and maybe learning something along the way.
    .-= JoAnn´s last blog ..Old and New Projects =-.

  35. Congratulations and good luck! That book looks worth reading, and the concept sounds much like “Sugar Busters,” which I’ve been following for about 4 months now. Has made a big difference, esp. once I got past the weekend of flu-like symptoms from going through caffeine withdrawal.

  36. Very cool. I start over every couple of years and went pretty close to the level you’ve gone, and have pretty much stuck with it. Its amazing the difference in my energy levels and the amazing thing is that when I left DC I was just becoming hypothyroid according to my blood tests – with three years of eating whole foods (I’ve focused on local rather than organic, but not processed) my blood tests are normal. And the food tastes better, too!
    .-= Shanti´s last blog ..Chilly Weekends =-.

  37. elizaduckie says:

    Congrats!!! I’ve dumped sugar (a major undertaking, thank g-d for Agave), white flour (no problem) lowered my caffeine intake significantly (had to do that years ago it doesn’t work for me) and try to buy & ingest organic whenever I can. I’m also going back to scratch cooking. I found that everything tastes SO much better that it really wasn’t so hard! Thank G-d for “Whole Foods, Inc” (they have a ton of recipes & video’s on their website) and my crock pot for short-of-time moments. A pressure cooker was suggested by another reader and it’s on my future purchases list.

    I raise a glass of iced Organic Bourbon Vanilla Roiibos Tea to you and your efforts!

  38. Great news! That should give you another years worth of material to write about ๐Ÿ™‚
    Still enjoying your blogs. Thank you.

  39. Pretty pink sock. I like the pattern. Is that a lacy top on the cuff? Or am I seeing it wrong?
    .-= annalilly´s last blog .."Ribbit" =-.

  40. Good for you, Wendy! It’s a hard life choice, but such a good one! Cooking from scratch with real ingredients is a pleasure … though, I can’t say that I exactly avoid white flour and sugar, but still…
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..Review: Mindful Knitting =-.

  41. Congratulations! I quit the Diet Coke in September! It was very hard! I was drinking around 6 per day! I’ve lost 20 pounds though!

    Good luck!


  42. Wow. Good for you. This is actually cool because I jumped in with both feet yesterday as well for being gluten free. My Mom and her side of the family are all celiacs, and I think I can attribute symptoms to it too, even though the tests don’t say I am. I’m also feeding my one-year-old son a gluten free diet. We’ll all do the hard stuff together. It’s more fun together!

  43. If you’re desperate for something that you can just pop in the microwave, check out the products from Amy’s Kitchen: Mostly organic, whole grain, vegetarian or vegan foods, with lots of ethnic choices that make Lean Cuisine seem pale and bland indeed!
    .-= Hissy Stitch´s last blog ..If anyone is having a blah day… =-.

  44. Debbie Goedtel says:

    I haven’t heard of clean eating before. I am going to check it out. I’ve been tossing around vegetarianism, veganism, etc for awhile. I also got scared of processed foods last year during the peanut thing. Maybe clean eating is what I’ve been looking for?? (I also need to lose weight!!) I wonder if there is a clean living discussion group anywhere? It would be nice to get inspiration and support on this journey.

    Since there are quite a few people on your blog talking about this, maybe we could start a group on Ravelry if there isn’t one there already?? We could toss in a little knitting talk too.


  45. When you learn that Dick Cheney, who was then working at Searle, was behind pushing Nutrasweet through the FDA with very unethical “research” to prove its safety, it’s a lot easier to pass on the Diet soda! There is a good documentary about this, I just can’t recall the name–something with “sweet” in the title. It’s low-budget, but very effective.
    Nicole (new commenter)

  46. Bonnie H. says:

    I suggest you buy a Foodsaver or other brand of vaccuum food sealer. My husband I do major cooking sometimes on the weekends (spaghetti sauce, grilled meats, stews and soups, chicken enchiladas, etc.) and portion out the food, seal it and freeze it. Then for a quick supper during the week I can pop something in a bag into a large pot of boiling water to heat (or in the case of the enchiladas, slip the pan into the oven sans the bag). It has cut down on our eating out so much.

  47. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the extra food prep time. Took me a while myself but now I’ve got some routine down and it’s no big deal.

  48. After lecturing a friend about the evils of chemical-laden soft drinks, I had a “practice what you preach” moment and gave up Diet Coke on the spot. I still crave it after a couple of months, but when it’s really hasn’t been difficult to stay away from it. The same with any diet or life style choice. When the time is right, you figure out how to do it. BTW, many people would have postponed a change like this for the new year. Good for you for not waiting!

  49. anne marie in philly says:

    wait a minute…where’s all the beer? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. So proud of you! You’ll feel so good, and become so much healthier. Wish more people would give this lifestyle a try!

  51. I stopped drinking most diet sodas in February. Now it is just the occasional diet gingerale or root beer. I’m not sure I could summon up the discipline to remove coffee or tea from my diet or most sweets. I have a very mixed diet for a vegetarian!
    .-= Seanna Lea´s last blog ..sleep is a crutch for the weak =-.

  52. Red Mill Scottish Porridge is my favorite! I followed a vegan diet for six months four years ago – it was a tremendous amount of work (chopping, soaking, etc.). A pressure cooker helped a lot. Good thing you have Whole (paycheck) Foods handy! Does this mean unprocessed knitting fibers too?
    .-= Michele In Maine´s last blog ..Pink Flower Accessory Case =-.

  53. Thank you for sharing. I have been complating this change as well and would love to know how it works out for you.

  54. You might also want to get a Vita-Mix machine. I have had one for about 5 years now and I use it every day. I make wonderful fruit-veg drinks and great soups from my fresh produce (most from my large garden, but all local). I also have a dry blade with mine so I can make my own flour from whole grains. It was not cheap but I decided we and our health were worth it and now even my husband can’t imagine what we would do without it. I don’t want to sound like a commercial but it’s made such a difference in our lives. I also support the pressure cooker suggestion. Good luck with your new way of eating. It takes time to get used to it but is oh so worth it.

  55. CONGRATS! It’s a big step and best wishes to you on your journey to whole living.

    If you find it hard-going to cook everything, rather than backslide, I suggest you pick up a few Amy’s Organics, which is whole, organic Lean Cuisine-type frozen meals. “Amy” also makes boxed foods (macaroni & cheese, for example), but imho they’re not tasty. The point is to enjoy your life more through better health, right?

    I’m with Bonnie re: a vacuum sealer; so useful. Whole foods take longer to cook, so big batches stored in meal-size portions help so much. I make 1 or 2 slow cooker pots of beans each month and use them to augment meals. (Salad, soup, easy sandwich spreads, “instant” side dish). You can do the same for whole grains if you find yourself relying on one in particular. I’m all about quinoa, these days. And you can vacuum seal your own “Wendy Cuisine” meals. (Check out the Tilia video on their website for ideas.)

    Take care & I bet Lucy benefits too (all the high end pet foods tout their whole food ingredients.)

  56. I was interested to read about your new food life; I will look forward to many more reports.

  57. Congrats on starting a new healthy eating lifestyle! I do mostly what they say, but do buy processed food some to. It feels so good when you don’t crave sugar! I’m going to check out the Ravelry group. It is always good to have a little help and encouragement!

    My suggestions, as one who is lazy about cooking…….Cook two or three things on the weekend – I have newly discovered the crock pot, then I cook something for lunch, and something for dinner. I always make extra (easy to do when cooking for 1) and freeze the extras for lunch and dinner during the week.
    Second, I really like the Sonoma Diet Cookbook. Yeah, says diet, but really it is about eating whole, fresh foods too. See if you library has a copy of the diet book which has a lot of recipes, or the cookbook. What I really like is that most meals are easy to prepare, don’t require weird ingredients and have Great flavor combinations – yum!
    See you on Ravelry…..

  58. Wendy there is a fabulous magazine called Clean Eating. Easy to prepare meals & very tasty plus there’s a lot of good articles!