A January Challenge: Clean Eating to Kickoff the New Year – The Foodie Patootie

A January Challenge: Clean Eating to Kickoff the New Year

An oldie photo, but a goodie!

An oldie photo, but a goodie!

It’s officially 2015, which is a year that seemed to take so long to get here over the past 365 days. A lot of that – no, basically all of that – had to do with the food holiday project that I took on in 2014. Cooking through over 400 food holidays, all while working a full time job and still writing additional posts and maintaining a social life, was very difficult and stressful. More than anything, though, it caused me to eat a lot less healthy than I normally would. And then I was so busy, exercise took a backseat.

It was in the last couple of months of the food holiday project that I got excited for it to be over. More than just to get some sanity back, I also wanted to jump into clean eating right then and there. So the last months of the challenge was just me biding my time until I could start fresh.

I am so incredibly excited for 2015, you all have no idea. Joining me in January, and who knows, maybe beyond (!!), is my friend Karen (check out her intro below!). We decided to share this space for the month since we are both doing a restart and thought it would be fun to talk about the clean eating path each of us are taking.

For my part, I’m taking part in BuzzFeed’s Clean Eating Challenge. It’s a two-week detox that’s about eating right, with foods that’ll sustain your energy and make you feel great. I chose this plan because BuzzFeed just made it easy. They tell you when to make what meal (even telling you when to prep the night before), and included convenient PDF grocery lists. Plus, the meals and snacks sound really good. For me, that makes a huge difference.

I’ll be keeping you all up to date on how it’s going, recapping my experience every other day. If you are also doing the BuzzFeed Clean Eating Challenge, let me know in the comments below so we can encourage each other!


Hi there! I’m Karen and I will be joining my pal Jennifer on this clean eating adventure.

I am no stranger to hitting the restart button in January. Even though I maintain a fairly balanced diet and exercise regimen throughout the year, I just can’t resist the urge to overindulge when the holiday season hits. By January 1st (or 2nd, or 3rd), I am ready for some structure to get me back on track.

I considered doing the Clean Eating Challenge, but menu-based diets don’t usually work for me. First, I am vegetarian and most clean-eating diets focus heavily on lean meats. Second, the lack of flexibility doesn’t work for my husband and me. We love to plan and create meals at home that we both enjoy. For my guy, that usually means carbs have to be on the plate.

Based on previous experience, I’ve learned that a few hard and fast rules are all I need to recover from the holidays and feel great about what I’m eating. Here’s what I’ve come up with for this round:

  • No alcohol
  • No coffee
  • No dessert
  • Take it easy on the carbs
  • Count calories on My Fitness Pal

I also wear a FitBit, so I’ll check that to make sure I am averaging 10,000 steps a day/70,000 a week. That way, I won’t feel so guilty when I cave and eat a cookie at work (so much temptation!).

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress and what delicious things we’re cooking at home. Let me know what healthy meals you’re eating, too!

62 Responses to “A January Challenge: Clean Eating to Kickoff the New Year”

  1. Jennifer — January 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Good luck to you! Work is the tenth circle of Hell when you’re trying to eat cleanly. =(

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

      So true! 🙂 -Jennifer

  2. Stephanie Keeping — January 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    You can do it! We are making a lot of changes as well!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

      Thanks! I’m super excited about it. -Jennifer

  3. jenny at dapperhouse — January 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I envy you and look up to you for doing this challenge! I could maybe do no alcohol but I could not give up coffee in this freezing weather… I will look at the challenge though and maybe do it as many days in a row as I can 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

      It’s definitely not going to be easy! Karen and I were pretty sad about no caffeine and wine! -Jennifer

  4. Robin (Masshole Mommy) — January 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I try to eat clean in general. I have my cheat days, though, because life is no fun without treats.

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

      100% agree, Robin. Hehehehe love my baked pastas most of all!!! -Jennifer

  5. Clancy Harrison — January 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Good luck on your journey this 2015. I am sure you will do great. I have failed so many times with my cleanses and I will try your suggestions. Thanks!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

      Thanks, Clancy! Changing your diet is never an easy task, but the clean eating challenge that BuzzFeed came up with seems pretty easy compared to most. I’m really excited about it, which is a big change from other times I’ve tried to start anew. We’ll see how it goes. -Jennifer

  6. Dave — January 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Have fun with the new project!!!!!!

    Sorry, but I can’t get interested……..have enjoyed the recipes up to now.
    Good luck………

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

      Glad to know you’ve been following along with my recipes, thanks Dave! These new recipes I’ll have more of definitely isn’t for everyone, but hope you’ll tune in for the non-clean eating days. They’ll still be some of those throughout the year. 🙂 -Jennifer

  7. Catherine S — January 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Good luck with your eating clean challenge. I would have a hard time cutting out the coffee.

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

      I personally don’t drink coffee often at all. But I’ll miss red wine! -Jennifer

  8. Shell — January 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    This is a great goal for the new year. Good luck to you on eating clean!!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 6:59 pm

      Thanks, Shell! -Jennifer

  9. Chrystal @ YUM eating — January 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I am trying very hard to get back to clean eating and away from processed foods. It is hard sometimes.

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 6:59 pm

      It definitely is, due to cost and the time is takes to make all your meals. Thankfully, I have some gift cards to Whole Foods from Christmas. Will make the expense a little easier. 🙂 -Jennifer

  10. Kallee — January 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I love using My fitness pal. It was so easy to keep track of what I was eating

    • Karen — January 4th, 2015 @ 10:50 am

      I agree! You can’t escape from those cheats if you have to log everything. And I love having a community to check in with me.

  11. Mitch — January 2, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Change is so hard! But this time of year it is a good reminder to make some effort to improve one’s life!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

      You’re right about that, Mitch. I am planning on healthier eating to be a lifestyle change, with this being the beginning. -Jennifer

  12. Karen — January 2, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I will still be drinking hot tea for sure! And lot of sparkling water. 🙂

  13. Erica @ The Crumby Cupcake — January 2, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Absolutely rooting for you girls!! I don’t think I could give up coffee AND dessert, even for two weeks! The other stuff, sure, but not my coffee!!!

    • Jennifer — January 2nd, 2015 @ 6:57 pm

      Thanks, Erica! It’s certainly not going to be easy, but I hope we can stick with our plans. Stay tuned! 🙂 -Jennifer

  14. deb — January 2, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Good luck on your clean eating adventure. I wouldn’t survive the no alcohol, no coffee part, but I wish you all fantastic success!

  15. Velva — January 2, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Good luck to both of you! January provides new beginnings and inspiration to hit the “reset button”

    Happy New Year!


  16. Veronica — January 2, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Clean eating is the way to do it. I have been doing that for almost two years now and it feels good. Great way to start your year

  17. Jeanine — January 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I struggle so much eating clean but I feel like it’s a must now! Good luck I’m sure you will do great, can’t wait to read more!

  18. Debbie — January 2, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Good for you. Neat challenge and you will do great.

  19. Theresa — January 2, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Good luck on your clean eating journey. I am trying to eat a lot better myself these past few months, but really slacked off in December. It’s time to jump back on the healthy foods though and hopefully gain some of my energy back!

  20. Stacey- Travel Blogger — January 3, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Clean eating is always a great way to kick off a new year! Good luck!

  21. Natalie — January 3, 2015 at 1:08 am

    Without sounding like an alcoholic, I couldn’t do a “no alcohol or no coffee” I mean, I COULD, but.. yea, esp coffee, coffee keeps me awake and since sleep isn’t my friend, coffee keeps me functioning. However, best of luck to you both!

    • Karen — January 4th, 2015 @ 11:03 am

      Sober January is not easy for me, especially when I am out with friends. I like the challenge, though, and this will be my second year doing it. As for coffee, I’m trying to drink tea instead. We’ll see how long that one lasts. Haha.

  22. Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club — January 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

    This sounds like a very neat challenge. I didn’t realize Buzzfeed had those types of challenges and the fact they create a grocery list, prep instructions AND the recipe for clean eating – sounds like a win all around. GOOD LUCK!

  23. Kendra — January 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I love this plan for clean eating and your built in support system. I need something similar in my life. I printed out the BuzzFeed one and I’m going to see if we can make it happen. 🙂

  24. Christin @ Blue Crab Martini — January 3, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I am the same way- by late December I am TOTALLY ready to hit restart and get back to healthy eating!

  25. Rosey — January 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    How fun that you’re sharing space! Good luck to you both with your clean eating goals for 2015!

    • Karen — January 4th, 2015 @ 11:01 am

      Thanks! Stay tuned to see how we do. 🙂

  26. Stephanie Pass — January 3, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    This looks like a great challenge. Good luck to you!!

  27. Kim Croisant — January 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Those items are so hard to give up…but you can do it. Good luck with your goals.

  28. Mary O'Malley — January 4, 2015 at 3:14 am

    Good luck with your clean eating goals. The one thing I’m giving up in January is soda pop. It’s going to take a lot of will power, but I’m trying. We can both do it!

    • Karen — January 4th, 2015 @ 10:49 am

      Hi Mary! I gave up soda by switching to those Le Croix sparkling waters. They sell them by the case at Costco and they are a nice substitute for something fizzy. The orange one tastes wonderful! I haven’t had one of my beloved Diet Cokes in almost 4 months. Good luck!

  29. Krystal — January 4, 2015 at 11:22 am

    La Croix saved my life! They are SO SO good. I am trying to ditch soda too and swear by them. There are other brands with natural sparkling flavored waters too that are amazing. I’m taste testing a bunch! 😉

    • Jennifer — January 5th, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

      Orange is my favorite. I keep it at my desk at work. YUM!!

  30. April Decheine — January 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Sounds like you will be off to a great start, I love MyFitness Pal. It is truly a good community!

    • Karen — January 5th, 2015 @ 11:16 am

      I agree! It’s been so helpful to me.

  31. Demetrice — January 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing!!

  32. lisa — January 4, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I’m hearing a lot of people going with clean eating this month. Great practice to follow!

  33. Tonia — January 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

    We’re clean eating this year and I’m so excited. My husband lost a lot of weight over the past year.

    • Karen — January 5th, 2015 @ 11:17 am

      Glad he had a successful experience! Good luck.

  34. Ann BAcciaglia — January 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I really need to start eating clean. I am now 47 and it is not as easy to stay in shape and not gain weight/

    • Jennifer — January 5th, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

      You can definitely do it, Ann!

  35. Emily — January 5, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Oh I will have to look into this! I love clean eating – and I’m always up for challenge!

    • Jennifer — January 6th, 2015 @ 8:33 am

      Well, I’ve written about my experience in Day 1 and 2 (I’m on day 3 now). It’s been pretty good!

  36. Ronni — January 9, 2015 at 6:18 am

    I love stumbling into these food challenges!
    I’ll have to drop back in and keep up with how you’re doing!

    • Karen — January 9th, 2015 @ 9:24 am

      Please do!

  37. val — January 9, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Good luck with the clean eating challenge!
    I love my carbs too much to commit to this 😉

    • Karen — January 9th, 2015 @ 9:23 am

      You’d be surprised at how well you can do if you can find other things to eat that are satisfying. That said, I really really want to treat myself for a week-well-done with a bowl of noodles today. So tempting!

  38. Stacie — January 9, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Oh this food challenge is going to take some serious dedication!
    Good luck to you!!!

    • Karen — January 9th, 2015 @ 9:22 am

      I think we’re both doing a great job so far! 🙂 Thanks!


  1. Pingback: Day 0: Preparing for the Start of the Clean Eating Challenge

Leave a Comment