May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month (GEHFM) and to help recognize the efforts of getting {and keeping} employees happy, healthy and fit, SAS is hosting a 1 Day Clean Eating Challenge on Thursday, May 18th. (If you are participating in GEHFM activities, this counts as one point!)

Join us for one WHOLE day of #cleaneating and enjoy real, whole foods straight from nature-period! #saslife Click To TweetWhat is clean eating?

Simply stated, clean eating means eating real, whole foods straight from nature- period! Nothing from a box, bag or package (with a few cooking essential exceptions like dried herbs and spices, clean soy sauce, etc) and no alcohol, artificial sweeteners or added sugars.

Why should I take the pledge?

Who doesn’t appreciate a good challenge? Take this opportunity to try something new and really pay attention to ingredient lists on foods that you commonly eat. Know what you’re putting in your body. Many packaged items that are marketed to appear ‘healthy’ contain additives and you may be shocked to know what they really are…

  • Silicon dioxide is an anti-caking agent used in many processed foods. You might be more familiar with its common name, sand.
  • Cellulose, used to keep shredded cheese from clumping and some types of low fat ice cream seem creamier, is more commonly known as sawdust or wood pulp.
  • L-Cysteine is an amino acid often used as dough conditioners in breads.  About 80% of it is made from human hair, the rest from duck feathers. What a “quack!”
  • Sodium bisulfite, a common ingredient in most toilet bowl cleaners, is also used to extend the shelf life and bleach out the discoloration of potato chips.
  • Shellac, or confectioners glaze, is used in many shiny candies and is made from the secretions of the Kerria Lacca insect native to Thailand.

If that isn’t enough to make you want to eat real, whole foods we don’t know what will!

Hear what SAS employees have gained from successfully completing the 10 Day Clean Eating Challenge earlier this month:

"I've been wanting to cut out all processed food for a while now. This challenge is forcing me to finally do it and I am feeling every emotion in the book. I have ups and downs...but the best feeling is happy knowing I'm not putting all that crap in me anymore!"
-Karen Zollinger

“As a family, we have discovered a lot of new ingredients/meals as part of this process. We now love dates, veggie noodles (zucchini/carrot/squash), quinoa, steel cut oats, smoothies, and homemade energy balls/snacks. I even learned to make my own “clean” hot sauces. We will be continuing to incorporate these into our daily lives after the challenge. I really think my big takeaway from the challenge is an overall awareness of what/how we eat.”
-Mike T. Johnson

How do I participate?

On Thursday, May 18th your only job {well maybe not your ONLY job, you unfortunately don't get a pass from work!} is to Eat. Whole. Food. That's it! And here's how we'll help:

  • Review the Approved Foods List for ideas on what you CAN eat during this Challenge (and the Not Approved Foods List for what's not allowed).
  • Check out these Sample Meal and Snack Ideas for satisfying foods that provide loads of energy plus nutrients to fuel and repair your body.
  • If you're at SAS Headquarters in Cary, NC then stop by any of the cafes for "Clean Eating Approved" breakfast, lunch and snack options.  Look for the CE Plate Logo (shown below) while you're there for approved items and take a sneak peek of the menu options below. 
    • Building C:
      • Breakfast- steel cut oatmeal pop-up bar with assorted toppings
      • Chef's table- pork or tempeh al pastor with roasted pineapple, red onion and pinto beans over cilantro brown rice
      • Foods to go- several options that will all be clearly labeled
    • Building F:
      • Breakfast- steel cut oatmeal and other assorted items (will be clearly labeled)
      • Entree line- rainbow trout with brown rice and roasted asparagus
      • Deli/Grill- Moroccan eggplant spread
    • Building T:
      • Breakfast- steel cut oatmeal and other assorted items (will be clearly labeled)
      • Entree line- jerk pork tenderloin with fingerling sweet potatoes, black bean simmered with onions, peppers and Cuban spices and steamed green beans and carrots
    • Building R:
      • Classics station- coriander spiced black drum with mango salsa served with cilantro-lime brown rice, roasted red pepper grano and sauteed swiss chard with shallots or steamed broccoli
      • Snack- fresh air-popped popcorn (available during lunch service, 11:30am-1:00pm)
    • Building Q:
      • Global byte- roasted lyon farms zucchini, squash and onion with crimson dal laced with garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric
      • Global entrée- lemon and cracked pepper roasted chicken breast with olive oil and dill, mashed celery root and a side of broccoli, carrots and red bell peppers
      • Foods to go- plain yogurt and fresh berry parfaits, cottage cheese cups (plain or with berries), house-made bean hummus (black bean, white bean  or garbanzo), various composed salads, salmon salad (like tuna salad but with olive oil instead of mayo), house-roasted nuts

We hope you'll JOIN US Thursday, May 18th for one WHOLE day of clean eating and enjoy delicious foods while
eliminating all processed and packaged foods, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and added sugars!

You've got this!


About Author

Ashley Bailey, MS, RDN, LDN


Ashley is a Nutritionist at SAS Institute in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Biofeedback Instructor, and has a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending as much time as possible at the beach, running, cooking and crafting. Follow @abaileyRD on Twitter.


  1. Paul Mahoutchian on

    I have been on Clean Eating Challenge or Whole 30 diet for over a month with good results. The "challenge" is now a way of life and I love it.

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