Clean Eating Step 3 : Swap refined sugar for natural sweeteners

Welcome to step 3 of our Clean Eating for Beginners series. 

clean eating natural sweeteners

[If you need to catch up, read step 1 and step 2.] 

This week we are learning about natural sweeteners.  

It can be super easy to tweak your baking recipes and substitute the refined white sugar for something else. 

But first, let’s talk about WHY you would want to do this.

1. Sugar is addictive.

2. Sugar can contribute to health problems like weight gain, diabetes and higher cholesterol levels.

3. Sugar makes your body feel sluggish and tired.

Once you cut out the white stuff, you will be amazed at how sweet real fruits and veggies taste and how good you feel!

There is SO much more information about sugar.  More than I could write about.  Just turn to Mr. Google if you want more facts. 

For this step, I want to focus on a few more natural and better choices we have when it comes to sweetening stuff. 

Here are a few that I recommend.

You can find these natural solutions at your local grocery store in the natural section or at places like Trader Joe’s (my favorite).

natural sweeteners

Raw Local Honey :

Honey is about 53 percent fructose2, but is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach.


Stevia :

Stevia is a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form).


Organic Sugar :


Sucralose (Splenda) is NOT a sugar, despite its sugar-like name and deceptive marketing slogan, “made from sugar.” It’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match.  It is completely ‘fake’ and should be avoided at all costs!

When buying food products and reading labels, is to eliminate all foods that have any of these sugars in the first 5 ingredients :

barley malt, cane juice, concentrated fruit juice, corn syrup, date sugar, dextrose, fructose, galactose, glycogen, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucrose, sugar, turbinato, washed cane crystals, xylitol. 

Not all of these sugars are ‘bad’ per say, but it may have too much in a product and therefore not the best choice.

With all this information, you may be feeling overwhelmed.  You might be saying ‘where do I start’? 

This is a clean eating for beginners series so let’s keep it simple.

1. Eliminating all artificial sweeteners is a great first step!  splenda, sweet n low, equal, etc.

2. Eliminate high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Check your food labels. 

3. Next swap ‘the white stuff’ for the natural.  Find local honey.  Find organic sugars.


Any other tips?  Share them in the comments or in our Healthy Mama group.

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I have always been blessed to be an at home mama with my 3 boys.  I LOVE being able to be there for them in that way. 

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They all seemed to come at a cost and took away time with my kids or family.

I wanted something for ME.  Not just wife to hubby or mom to my 3 boys.

More that just the cook, chauffeur, librarian, house keeper, etc.

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Ame Organic Body Care : review and give away

I am always on the lookout for organic and natural items so when I met my new friend, Sunayna, I was thrilled to find out she is another natural mama business owner.  She is a mama to 3 year old twin girls and is the founder and director of Ame Organic Body Care and she creates her products in her kitchen.  Love it!  How cool is that?


We hit it right off and we each agreed to try and review each others natural products.  She decided to go organic and natural with her home cleaning products and now proudly uses the Shaklee Get Clean line


Ame Organic Body Care offers body scrubs and bath salts.  When I shared with her that I was getting over a sinus cold and was using natural herbal remedies, she recommended I get the Detoxifying Organic Bath Crystals



Here is the official product description from the website:


The skin is the largest detoxification organ through which toxins can be drawn out. A detox bath assists body in eliminating toxins as well as absorbing the minerals and nutrients that are in the water, it stimulates lymph system and encourages increased oxygen and blood flow to body. Detox baths eliminate toxins and pollutants from body leaving you pure inside out. âme’s proprietary blend of salts, organic chamomile, organic honey, blend of healing oils and essential oils will leave your mind, body and soul renewed.


What I love about it! ::


*no preservatives or chemicals


*just breathing it clears my sinuses….smells good!


*paraben free


*it felt soothing to soak in




Now here’s the good news!…….


Ame Organic Body Care is offering a free product of your choice for one lucky winner.


There are SO many to choose from. Yummy smells like… candy cane, coffee, lavender, chocolate and more!


They also have a great special right now. 


10% off + FREE shipping on orders over $25.  Now through November 20. 


Go check it out.


And now…. for the give away!

Congratulations Leah!!!

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How to Survive the Holidays: Keep your Health and Balance

You do not want to miss this!  My friend and Project Dream business partner, Jaima will be hosting a free webinar on How to Survive the Holidays while maintaining your health and balance.


Here is what she says about the webinar….

“ Are you stressing about the holidays? Is it a busy time or calm time for you? It’s a little bit of both for me, since we lost my mom and brother at Christmas four years ago.
But let’s face it, the holidays (whether you celebrate or not), should be a chance for everyone to slow down, to savor the time with family, and make lasting memories. But for most of us, it’s a race against the clock to make sure all the gifts are bought, the cookies are baked, the party invitations are sent, memories are made, and there is little time to kick back by the fire and cuddle up with your family. But what if we could meet in the middle and create balance for the two?! 
If “meeting in the middle” sounds good to you, then join me Monday night, November 18th. I will be sharing my tips for surviving the holidays while maintaining balance and health! Sounds like a win-win to me!

You can register here:

I will be sharing how to plan ahead to reduce stress and create balance. How you can get a jump start on your New Year’s goal and maintain or even lose weight during the season. And how you can keep up your energy and hopefully prevent getting the seasonal colds and flus.


Can’t make it live?  Register to get the recording emailed to you.


Clean Eating {step 2} Swap Soda for Water

The next step I recommend for Clean Eating for Beginners is to drink water instead of soda or other sugary drinks.  You can do it!

[go here to check out step one]

clean eating step 2 swap soda for water

Two years ago I gave up all soda.  I was totally addicted and had to have it every day.  One day, I just decided that I needed to stop.  I knew it was full of chemicals and I just wanted to eliminate it from my diet.  It was another ‘get healthy’ step for me after my time with cancer. 

And I’m not gonna lie…. it was hard at first! 

But I stuck with it and after the first 3 days, the headaches went away.  After a week, I stopped craving it.  Six months later, it tasted terrible to me! 

It can take awhile to detox your body from the artificial sweeteners, flavors and chemicals in soda and pop and then you feel so.much.better.


7 effects of soda

Next take a look at your juices and sports drinks. Read the labels!  Most of them are chock full of sugar and chemicals.  You don’t need them.  Your kids don’t need them.  Really.  Pure water fuels them properly.  Think of the money you could save?!  If you have a sports or fitness champion in the family (or you) I recommend drinking a hydration drink that is artificial free.  They can be hard to find but I like this one to keep on hand.


I swapped the soda for water.  Water is SO good for you! 

Check these 5 advantages below.



Making your own natural flavor infused water is super easy too!

I got this pitcher at Target and can fill it with lemons, limes, cucumbers or strawberries and it tastes really refreshing. This one is 85 oz and I try to drink that much everyday! We are blessed with an RO water system in our house, but when we travel, especially road trips, I filter my water through this pitcher because it’s the only one that removes toxins AND lead.

A good rule to follow is to drink half of your body weight daily.


You can make your own lemonade too by squeezing fresh lemons and adding stevia, a natural sweeter.

I also swapped the nasty caffeine choice of soda for natural caffeine.  Green tea is a great choice!  Full of benefits and you don’t have a crash afterward.  My favorite is this one because I know it doesn’t have any artificial additives.  I drink it hot and iced.  My usual plan is one hot cup in the morning and one iced in the afternoon for a natural ‘pick me up’.

For more water tips read this post : Drink More Water

How much water do you drink daily?  Make the swap to water today and let me know how it goes for you in the comments 🙂

Get Clean Water Pitcher


Clean Eating {step 1} Add in more Fruits and Veggies

The easiest first step to clean eating is to simply add in more fruit and veggies to every meal and snack. When I grocery shop I try to hit the produce section first and load up.  A good goal is to add 2 –3 veggies to every dinner meal and eat one fruit and one veggie as a snack for each member of your family.  This will immediately add in nutrients to your diet.

What about organic?

This was a question I asked myself too.

Below is a list of fruits and veggies.  One side is called the Dirty Dozen and the other is the Clean 15. This list is from a report from EWG (Environmental Working Group)

The truth is….some fruits and veggies are safer at the grocery store than others because of pesticides added.

By choosing to buy organic from the Dirty Dozen list, you are choosing a more clean product.

The Clean 15 is considered safe and clean to purchase non-organic.

If this is overwhelming for you, remember that clean eating is a lifestyle.  You don’t have to change everything overnight! 

Focus this week on simply adding in more fruits and veggies to your meals and pick one or two from the dirty dozen side to swap out to organic.


clean eating add in more fruits and veggies

For more tips read this ::

Naturally Wash and Prepare Fruit and Veggies

Eat more Fruits + Veggies

Clean Eating for Beginners

Baked Zucchini Chips

healthy mama happy life

Clean Eating for Beginners: Tips for Success

Simply put, clean eating is eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks and base your food choices on whole foods and pure water.

clean eating tips for success

Here are a few Clean Eating tips for success::


1.  Develop a mindset that clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet.

Some of us can just flip a switch and immediately do a huge kitchen overhaul overnight and others of us will make changes more slowly.  Either way you do it, it’s important to start with the mindset of creating a healthy lifestyle.

Imagine if you made just ONE clean eating food swap a week?  That is 52 changes in one year.  I would call that success!

2.  Keep a journal on what you eat.

This will allow you to see the changes you have made and the ones to keep working on.

3.  Menu Plan

Planning out what you will eat will ensure success.  This will save you money and time too.  I like to plan and shop weekly. 

4. Food Prep

After I grocery shop, I wash and chop up the veggies and fruit for the week.  Huge time saver!

5. Read your labels

Get in the habit of reading food labels before you buy.  A good rule is 5 ingredients or less listed.  Also, make sure you can pronounce the ingredients.  Avoid food with MSG and corn syrup added.

6.  Allow yourself to ‘fail’

Got busy one night and ordered pizza?  Let it go.  If you are a clean eating beginner, all of this can be overwhelming!  I know for us, we have ate certain ‘bad’ foods for almost 20 years.  It’s going to take awhile to change all of that. And that is ok.  Another way to look at it is follow an 80/20 rule.  Strive to eat clean for at least 80% of the time and let the other stuff change more slowly.


7.  Find a buddy

Accountability is the best way to ensure success plus it’s way more fun!  Grab some friends and make one change a week together.  You can also join us on our private Healthy Mama facebook group and have several hundred buddies.

You can do this!  I am learning right along with you and I hope you will join me on the journey.

If you have tips to add to this list, please share in the comments below!



Clean Eating for Beginners

I have been learning so much personally about clean eating and have been making baby steps, so to speak, about food choices in our pantry and fridge.  Clean eating is a lifestyle that can lead to preventing diseases, remove icky toxins from your body, lose weight and just feel better. The biggest challenge is just getting started and knowing what to replace with food items you have always used.


Simply put, clean eating is eliminating processed foods and sugary drinks and base your food choices on whole foods and pure water.

clean eating for beginners


Sounds simple right?


Uhhh…actually, it can be a hard switch if this is opposite of what you’ve always done.


For me, many questions came up like…

Do I buy only organic?”

Can I still eat dessert?”

What about baking?”

How do I start?”

Will it be expensive?”

How do I get my kids (even teenagers) to like it?”

How do I meal plan?”


Maybe you have asked these questions as well?


I invite you join me on the journey to clean eating.  Let’s grocery shop together.  Let’s make healthy food swaps together.  Let’s learn to budget and save money together.  Let’s meal plan together.  And let’s be leaders in our home with healthy food choices.

Step 1: Add in more fruit and veggies

Step 2: Swap soda for water

Step 3: Swap refined sugar for natural sweeteners

Step 4: Swap seasonings, oils + salt

Step 5: Swap white for wheat

Step 6: Protein (plant + animal)

Step 7: Whole Food Supplements

Step 8: Dairy (and non-dairy)

Here are a few ways to join me and to make sure you get all my current updates ::

Subscribe to my newsletter

Join our Healthy Mama. Happy Life. private page.


Happy Eating!


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My Favorite Healthy Mama Snacks

I have an afternoon snack around 2 or 3 pm.  Something with protein, for sure, to keep my hunger in control and give me the right nutrients.

A group of us mamas were talking the other day on our private Healthy Mama. Happy Living facebook forum about healthy snack choices.  In the moment of hunger is when it’s the hardest to make a healthy choice.  So it is a good idea to have several ideas ready when hunger strikes.  Especially ones that you can take with you.

Here are my top favorite healthy mama snacks:

my favorite healthy snacks

1.  Apple Slices + Peanut Butter

My favorite apple is the Fuji.  Crisp and sweet.  I use organic peanut butter, but my favorite splurge is Justin’s Honey Almond Organic Peanut Butter.  SO good.

2.  Hard Boiled Eggs

I have an egg cooker and it cooks 7 in under 15 mins.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and yum!

3.  Hummus and sliced cucumber

To help me with portion control, I buy the individual serving cups of hummus. 

4. 180 Chocolate protein snack bar.

Tons of protein, no artificial sugars or flavors and …did I mention chocolate?  I keep one in my purse at all times to avoid grabbing an unhealthy snack while I’m out.

5.  Almonds

I love the Emerald 100 calorie packs.  I keep one of these in my purse too.  Again, for me, it helps with portion control and it’s easy to grab for on the go.


What’s your favorite healthy snack?


Sharing here ::

Peas and Crayons

Depression and Your Health : You are Not Alone!

I was recently asked by my friend Erin if I would share my story with a group of other women through an online webinar.  Erin is the founder of Simple Health Swaps, an online community for women to share and encourage healthy lifestyle changes one step at a time. 

depression and health

It already happened BUT you can email me to get the recording.

It is my desire that this helps another mom out there!



Click to join our Healthy Mama. Happy Living. private community