Chelsey S. is a fabulous 20-something and self-proclaimed foodie and health enthusiast who created the blog Clean Eating Chelsey. After graduating from Illinois State University, she began to experience health problems: stomachaches, migraines, joint pain, low energy, mood swings, and more. Soon thereafter, this classy co-ed learned that she was gluten and corn intolerant and probably lactose intolerant as well. No wonder she felt so sick! So, she eliminated these products from her diet and is now back with a healthy glow and a new food philosophy. Put simply: “If it comes from a box, I most likely will not be eating it.”
CL: How long have you been blogging for? What got you started?
Chelsey: I have been blogging since June 2010. I originally began blogging because I really and truly love blogs! I had been reading for a while, but I knew I had to reach out to others to share my story. After being diagnosed with multiple food intolerances in October/November 2009, I had a very difficult transition period that I knew many others could identify with. Now, I can’t imagine my life without blogging!
CL: What is “clean eating”? What about it appeals to you?
Chelsey: Everyone has their own personal definition of clean eating. To me, clean eating is eating whole, unprocessed foods devoid of artificial ingredients or preservatives. Knowing that what I am eating is safe for my husband and me puts my mind at ease. With so many chemicals, processed foods, and genetically modified foods out on the market, I know I don’t want them in my body.
CL: What would be your advice to someone who wants to start eating “cleaner”?
Chelsey: Clean eating isn’t all that hard – and it really is not boring. In fact, my blog’s tagline is “where clean eating is anything but commonplace”. My main advice though is to start slow. Think about cleaning up your food choices as a lifestyle change, not as a diet to lose weight, but to feel better all around. For example, if you eat instant oatmeal for breakfast every morning, try eating bulk oats instead. If you usually buy prepared salads for lunch, try making your own at home with organic and fresh ingredients. If you are craving Thai takeout for dinner, look up a recipe to make your own stir-fry. Obviously time is always an issue, so plan ahead! Most meals that I make take less than 30 minutes on a weeknight.
CL: You have a full-time job, a blog, are married, AND run half-marathons, how do you find the time to fit in family, fun, work, and fitness?
Chelsey: Wow, I do sound busy, don’t I? In life, it is all about balance. I have always been good at managing my time, and that really helped me transition into the “real world” when I got married, bought a house, and took on a job. There is always something to be done, but living life always comes first. Sometimes the dishes can stay in the sink for a few hours a night. Sometimes the blog can wait until the next day because I have a family obligation. By planning ahead (key!) and really zoning in on my priorities, I have found what works for me.
CL: What does a regular week look like for you in terms of working out?
Chelsey: Most mornings I will exercise before school (I am an elementary school teacher). I get up around 4:15 (yes, I am a little bit crazy), get to the gym by 4:30, and am done with my workout by 5:15 every morning. I have so many other obligations after school between work, my family, and my other job (blogging!) that exercising in the morning works much better for me. On the weekends, I usually take a hot yoga class or complete longer runs when I have more time. Sundays are always rest days for me!
CL: What was your college experience like? What advice would to give to co-eds?
Chelsey: College was a blast. There is nothing I would change about my experience except for getting more involved with different organizations on campus, especially my first semester away from home. Any sort of change can be scary and stressful, so having a “home base” organization like a club or a sport can be very helpful to help ground you and keep you busy! Obviously staying healthy in college is difficult, so I would really urge college students to find exercise they enjoy, healthy snacks and food to keep their brains on top of it all, and to keep drinking at a reasonable level.
CL: Can you share your favorite healthy recipe with us?
Chelsey: Asking a food blogger to share her favorite recipe is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. You do realize this, don’t you? I suppose I am a rule breaker, so I am going to share one sweet and one savory recipe. One of my favorite snacks is granola – I usually eat a bowl of it every night as a snack. My favorite granola recipe is Trail Mix Granola – I could eat this by the tubful. One of my favorite healthy and savory dishes is Creamy Pasta Primavera.
Check out Chelsey’s “How I Do ‘It’” series! She covers topics all of us CL girls worry about: time management, healthy eating, self-worth, and exercise.
Ellen Ratliff is a Health Writer at College Lifestyles ™. She is a junior at Michigan State University, majoring in Dietetics with a specialization in Health Promotions. She tries to eat “clean” as much as possible, but still enjoys her Enjoy Life Allergen-Free Dark Chocolate bars from time to time.