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    Copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore

    Photographs copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott

    All rights reserved.

    Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.



    Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

    Photograph on this page by Megan Gilmore.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file with the publisher.

    Trade Paperback ISBN 9780399579028

    Ebook ISBN 978039957035














    measurement conversion charts


    nutrition facts





    In our busy world, it’s not always easy to eat healthy. Even though healthful foods are more abundant and more accessible than ever before, everyday triggers such as stress, finances, social events, and an overall lack of time often get in the way when it comes to making good food choices. But not anymore. In this book, I’ll share solutions to help you combat those everyday excuses and make healthy eating easier than ever.

    How will this help you detox? Not only will you be ridding yourself of the excuses that hold you back but you’ll also reduce your exposure to toxins when you make better eating choices. As you may know, we are exposed to a host of environmental toxins on a daily basis, including pollution, mold, phthalates, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), heavy metals, and more. While we can’t always control our exposure to these environmental pollutants, what we can control is how much additional work we pile on to our body’s natural detoxification system by avoiding foods that contain chemical dyes, preservatives, and toxic packaging.

    If you’re familiar with my first book, Everyday Detox, you know that my approach to detoxing is different from most. Instead of taking drastic measures for thirty days or less, you will enjoy delicious and satisfying meals made from whole foods all year long. When you increase your consumption of organic, fresh foods and reduce your intake of the refined and processed variety, you’ll reduce the load placed on your crucial detox organs so they can function at their peak. No gimmicky cleanses required.

    In fact, many of those popular short-term cleanses and detox programs may be holding you back because you’re avoiding the real task at hand—making lasting lifestyle changes. While juice fasts and other cleanses may have their benefits, it’s far more important to learn how to feed yourself well on a regular basis. That’s what is so special about this no-excuse approach to detoxing. There’s no need to wait for the perfect time to cleanse. You won’t need to isolate yourself from social situations or fear forbidden food temptations because eating this way won’t disrupt your daily life. No matter what your schedule or excuse, you can always find a way to eat healthful food in real-life situations. (Of course, whether you always “want to” is another story…just don’t use it as an excuse.)

    The recipes in this book have all been developed with speed, convenience, and cost in mind to make healthy eating as easy as possible. While I do enjoy cooking, I’m also a busy working mom and don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen—and I know you don’t either. My family members will only eat meals that taste really good (in other words, they can’t taste too “healthy”), and, like most families, we also need to stick to a budget. So, rest assured that all of your concerns will be addressed in the following chapters, and that eating real food in real-life situations is totally doable, even with a crazy schedule.

    Despite the ease of this approach, I know how tempting it can be to put it off for one more day, so let’s tackle your excuses right away. Because let’s be honest, most of the things that hold us back are just that—excuses!

    While I can’t do the work for you, I will do my best to provide realistic solutions to help you make the changes necessary to succeed. In the recipe chapters, we’ll tackle the logistical side of things so you can experience firsthand that preparing healthy food can be quick, affordable, and delicious. But first, let’s discuss the mental roadblocks that may be keeping you from consistently sticking to your healthy living goals.

    Tuscan Bean Soup


    To get started, let’s focus on the top five most common excuses I hear from my readers and nutrition clients when it comes to not eating well on a regular basis. Many of them might sound familiar to you, too.

    * * *


    Not having enough time is by far the most common excuse out there, and with good reason. As a society, we are busier than ever, and cooking healthful meals from scratch can certainly be more time-consuming than picking up a prepared meal on the way home from work or heating up a frozen pizza. However, I’m guessing that most of you reading this book do have at least thirty minutes to spare if you’re willing to make healthy eating a priority. Perhaps you could prep your meals for the week while watching a thirty-minute show on Netflix? That’s multitasking at its finest.

    Here are a few easy tips to squeeze healthy eating into your busy schedule.

    Seek out speedy recipes. Many of the recipes in this book are labeled with a Thirty-Minute Recipe icon to help you locate dishes that are ready from start-to-finish in just, you guessed it, thirty minutes. Other recipes require just fifteen minutes of hands-on preparation so you can be productive doing other things around the house while your meal bakes to perfection in the oven. If you can’t find fifteen minutes to spare for yourself each night, you may need to reorganize your priorities a bit to make that possible.

    Make good use of your freezer. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Cook once, enjoy twice”? It should be the motto of every busy home cook. Make the most of your hands-on time by preparing double batches of your favorite recipes and freezing the extras for fast and easy future meals. Keep an eye out throughout this book for the Freezer-Friendly label denoting recipes that freeze well.

    Take advantage of healthful convenience foods. Most grocery stores now offer a wide variety of prewashed and prechopped packaged vegetables, so if you don’t have time to prep your own veggies, they are still incredibly easy to come by. When possible, be sure to look for ingredients, such as tomato paste, that come packaged in glass jars. This will help you avoid any chemicals potentially found in metal can linings. Also, be sure to check out your grocer’s freezer section. Many now offer cooked grains frozen into individual serving sizes, sliced stir-fry vegetables, and precooked meats, so a healthier freezer meal is only minutes away when you’re crunched for time.

    The next time you think you’re “too busy” to eat well, what you’re really saying is that healthy eating isn’t a priority for you at that moment. If you think about it, it would probably take you at least twenty minutes to get in the car and return home with food from a drive-thru window, so there’s no reason why you can’t use that time more wisely to whip up a healthy and satisfying dinner that won’t weigh you down. With all of the healthy and convenient options available, not having enough time is no longer a good excuse to sacrifice eating well.

    * * *


    It’s true that fresh organic produce is more expensive than the conventionally grown variety and that pasture-raised animal products are more expensive than factory-farmed animal products. However, that doesn’t mean that healthy eating has to break the bank.

    In the recipe chapters, I share plenty of budget-friendly meal ideas (along with the price per serving, so you can budget accordingly), so don’t be surprised if your grocery bill goes down simply by preparing more whole-food meals at home. Many packaged foods, such as potato chips, sodas, and cookies—especially those with a brand name or a “healthy” marketing label—are more expensive than simply choosing whole foods in the first place.

    Here are a few more ways you can save money while eating well.

    Stick to a meal plan. I’ve included three complete weeks of meal plans and shopping lists (starting on this page) to help you stay on track and on budget. When you shop for only the items you need each week, you’ll avoid making expensive impulse purchases, and you won’t need to dine out when you find yourself hungry and unprepared. Preparation is key, so take twenty minutes out of your weekend to plan your meals for the week along with a corresponding grocery list.

    Eat fewer animal products. Animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, tend to be the priciest items in a shopping cart, so by reducing your weekly consumption you can easily shave dollars off your grocery bill while also potentially increasing your life span.1 If your family relies heavily on meat-centered dishes, try serving a little less meat at each meal and then make up the difference by adding extra veggies to your plates. Or, simply aim to eat “meatless” one day a week and try a new vegetarian meal instead. You’ll save money while expanding your palate.

    Keep it simple. In my experience, healthful eating is often the most expensive when people are first starting out because they want to dive in headfirst, trying exotic ingredients and packaged convenience foods that are reminiscent of their old favorites. In many cases, these packaged foods aren’t much healthier than their processed counterparts, and you certainly don’t need a bunch of exotic ingredients to make truly delicious, healthy food. Instead, shop for simple whole foods, such as fresh produce, raw nuts and seeds, and bulk grains, and then use them to make your own salad dressings, dips, snack bars, and puddings for healthier and cheaper alternatives to pricey packaged snacks. This book is loaded with easy recipes for you to do just that.

    Shop seasonally. You’ve probably heard that it’s better to eat seasonally and locally, and one of the best benefits of this practice is that it saves you money. When produce is in season, its supply is at its peak—making it easier and cheaper for farmers to distribute to your local store. Those savings get passed on to you, and, as added perks, your food tastes better and is more nutritious. When your favorite produce isn’t in season, you can save money by buying it frozen, which is almost always cheaper than fresh.

    Know the Dirty Dozen. If you can’t afford to buy organic produce all the time, but you want to reduce your exposure to pesticides, familiarize yourself with the “Dirty Dozen” list produced by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research organization. Each year they create this free resource to let consumers know the top twelve fruits and vegetables that are most heavily sprayed with pesticides. They also share a “Clean 15” list, which includes the fifteen items that are least exposed to pesticides. Using these lists as your guide, you can save money by buying organic only when shopping for highly sprayed produce. Visit www.ewg.org to print your own copy. If you don’t have the Dirty Dozen list on hand when shopping for produce, a good way to determine if choosing organic is worth the extra money is to think about how you will eat it. If you’re going to eat the skin, such as an apple or a bell pepper, buy organic. If you need to peel the fruit or vegetable, such as a squash or an avocado, conventional produce is just fine, since you’ll be discarding the peel and a majority of the pesticide residue along with it.

    When you start to make healthful eating a priority, you will most likely cut back on some other expensive habits, such as dining out often, buying triple-shot skinny-mocha lattes with whipped cream, eating greasy popcorn at the movie theater, or sipping overpriced cocktails. Improving your health now will likely mean fewer costly doctor visits for you in the future, too. Consider that even more reason to banish this “too expensive” excuse for good.

    * * *


    Even if you’re the only person in your home who wants to eat healthier, you shouldn’t have to become a short-order cook. It may take time for everyone in your household to make the transition, but gradually introducing higher-quality foods and trying a new recipe each week is a great way to help your family establish healthier eating habits while expanding their palates. Make it a priority!

    Try some of these easy ways to get started. The more consistent you are, the faster you’ll see positive results!

    Sneak in some green. Add a handful of fresh baby spinach to your family’s favorite fruit smoothie. You’ll benefit from the added nutrients, and you won’t be able to taste the greens at all. If you or your family members are leery of green drinks, include frozen blueberries or raw cacao powder to completely mask the color. (Be sure to try the Frosty Chocolate Shake.)

    Bulk up your plate with veggies. Replace half of your pasta with zucchini “noodles” (try the Rainbow Lo Mein) or steamed vegetables to boost the fiber and nutrients in your meal, while still indulging in a hearty pasta dish. Eventually, you might be surprised that you prefer a higher ratio of vegetables to pasta on your plate. The same technique may also be used with rice dishes—replace half of the white or brown rice with cauliflower “rice” for an easy vegetable boost that doesn’t significantly change the overall taste or texture of your family’s favorite meals.

    Keep healthful snacks in sight. Arrange fresh fruit on the counter and sliced veggies with dip in your refrigerator as easy-to-grab snack options. Keep your fridge filled with healthy foods at eye level so they are the first option you see when you open the door. I do this for my toddler by keeping a batch of prepared smoothies, applesauce pouches, and sliced fruit in our fridge door at his eye level so he can “independently” choose a healthy snack. It’s empowering to give everyone the choice.

    Make new and “kid-friendly” recipes. I have several kid-friendly options labeled throughout this book—and they’re adult-approved, too. Butternut Mac ’n’ Cheese is a creamy and tasty alternative to the boxed neon-orange kind and packs some veggies into each bite. It’s also hard to resist a serving of delicious Philly Cheesesteak–Stuffed Spaghetti Squash, my Chocolate Sweet Potato Buttercream with a sneaky vegetable base, or Creamy “Peanut” Dressing—it always has everyone reaching for more veggies to dip into it. Try new recipes often because you never know what new dish your family might enjoy until you try it.

    Keep meals flexible. I refuse to be a short-order cook, but I have no problem modifying a dish I’m already making to accommodate my family members. For example, my husband prefers to eat meat more often than I do, so I will add a precooked chicken breast to his portion to help him feel satisfied, while keeping my portion vegetarian. Or if he feels the need for more bulk when I’m serving a dish made with cauliflower rice, I’ll use an individual portion of frozen cooked rice from our freezer to add to his plate. It’s not much extra work on my part, and he’s still getting a mostly vegetable-centric meal without feeling overwhelmed by drastic diet changes. There’s no need to prepare an entirely different meal.

    * * *


    If you have to travel often for work, feel as if you’re always in your car, or simply aren’t around your kitchen much, you can still eat well on the go—as long as you make it a priority. Sticking to your healthy eating goals is more important than ever when you’re on the go because your immune system is closely tied to your gut health. When you eat nutrient-rich foods, you’ll give your immune system a much-needed boost and help reduce your chances of catching a cold, even if you’re exposed to more germs than usual in a crowded dance studio, child’s soccer game, or busy airport. (Be sure to get plenty of sleep, too.)

    Here are a few on-the-go tips to help you stay well and on track.

    Choose healthful portable snacks. Fresh fruit is nature’s ultimate “fast food” since it’s already packed for you in an easily portable skin. Apples, bananas, pears, and oranges are all widely available—even at gas stations and coffee chains—and can be stored at room temperature for days. There’s no reason why you can’t pack several pieces in your suitcase, purse, or car to enjoy a nutrient-rich snack anytime. (If you’re worried about the sugar naturally found in fruit, be sure to see my note on this page.) Raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are also easy portable options, and you can usually find them available in airport kiosks and vending machines for a quick and easy snack.

    Make your own snacks. My Date Energy Bites and Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars are a breeze to prepare and pack well on the go. They also happen to taste like dessert, so you won’t feel deprived while you’re out. If you’re craving something salty, try the Easy Party Mix for a more satiating alternative to chips.

    Dine out wisely. It’s likely that you’ll need to dine out while traveling or going to a post-game celebration, but luckily for you, there are still plenty of restaurants and fast-food chains that offer healthier choices. Common real-food options include steamed or grilled veggies, leafy green salads, broth-based vegetable or lentil soups, black beans, guacamole, salsa, plain baked potatoes, vegetable omelets, and more. If you don’t see what you want on the menu, don’t be afraid to ask. Many places are happy to accommodate your needs if you ask them nicely enough.

    Traveling for a Vacation?

    Now that’s a different story. I think it’s reasonable to assume that most of us vacation only once or twice a year, and in that case, I encourage you to indulge in the local fare and create once-in-a-lifetime memories with your friends and loved ones without worrying about your diet. There’s no need to be a perfectionist while on vacation. It’s what you do consistently in the long run that counts.

    If you find yourself traveling often or dining out several times a week, those daily indulgences can quickly start to take their toll on your energy levels and overall quality of life. However, when you start to take care of yourself by using the previous tips, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll want to stick to your healthy eating plan. Start building up your momentum now because it does get easier the more you practice.

    * * *


    Whether you’re on a diet or not, it’s totally natural to crave a sweet treat or salty snack every now and then. However, if your cravings feel out of control or start to occur more frequently, there could be a valid reason why.

    The following issues might help you get to the bottom of your cravings.

    You’re not eating enough. Many dieters are chronically undernourished after attempting a calorie-restricted regimen because they’re simply not eating enough food to get the nutrients they need in the first place. Calorie counting is a flawed approach becau


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