Saturday, February 22, 2014

Clean Eating for Life

Clean Eating is Not a Fad Diet, It's a Lifestyle Change

How do you see clean eating? Do you see it as just another fad diet; something to do for 30 days to try to lose 100 pounds, get discouraged, then move on (disappointed) in your attempts to find that magic weight loss bullet? Or, maybe you see clean eating as the be-all-end-all feel good diet? You think eating everything green, "green," expensive, and organic will have you putting your hair in dreadlocks, changing your name to Rainbows N Butterflies, wearing rose-colored glasses, and saving the earth (and your own health). Well, take the rose-colored glasses off, or keep them on, if you need them to see; clean eating isn't all about eating everything, green, "green," expensive, or organic! It can actually be pretty inexpensive, when you think of all the junk food and eating out that you'll come to realize was actually more expensive (both for your health and your pocketbook)!

Clean eating is not a fad diet that has rules to make you feel deprived or starved by the end of the day; clean eating is a lifestyle change. You can take a pill, use a wrap, have a surgery, but do those results last? Do you have to work hard to get those results? If the answer is 'no,' then what's to keep you from taking those results for granted? What keeps you from getting comfortable with those results, and not feeling like you have to work to maintain them? The truth is, is that often the things that you work hardest for are the things you'll work hardest to keep. However, once you've developed those habits to get you to your results, you may still become comfortable, but another truth is, is that habits are often done with little thought. So, with little effort, you're liable to keep practicing those healthy habits that got you your results in the first place! It will just take time to develop those habits, to begin with!

Just remember, there's not one thing that, by itself, will give you healthy weight loss (or maintained weight), a fit body, and overall good health. Unless, of course, that one thing is a healthy lifestyle. Clean eating, in my opinion, is part of a healthy lifestyle. The food that you eat can really make a difference in so many factors of your life! I don't put much emphasis on calories, as I do on the types of food that I eat. Over time, I've been able to train myself to make healthier choices in life, and in the foods that I choose to buy, and it may take time for you, as well; if you are willing and ready to begin cutting out the junk that you may have been knowingly, or unknowingly, feeding yourself. You may have known what certain foods were doing to you, but for many reasons you have continued to consume them.

Are you wondering where to begin your journey to developing those healthy habits of clean eating? That is one of the reasons I've decided to blog a little each day, for the next 30 days, about clean eating. Today, a great way to begin, would be to prepare for the coming week! You can start planning out healthy meals for the week and preparing your snacks, to help you stay on track. To begin prepping, grab your trash can, trash bag, or bucket, & start chucking, throwing, dumping, and getting rid of the junk. If you think it's junk food, it probably is! Foods with artificial flavoring, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), food dye, nitrates/nitrites, BHT, and loads of sugar! Get rid of the white bread, and T.V. dinners, both of which are loaded with a lot of sodium and other preservatives.

Here are a few items for your shopping list to help get you started to eating clean for the rest of the weekend and for the coming week:

For meat: fish such as tilapia, halibut, or salmon, and other meat like boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ground turkey, turkey bacon, nitrate/nitrite-free lunch meat (Boar's Head or Natural Hormel area a few examples)

For dairy: low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, and egg whites, low-fat or skim milk

Almond milk, soy milk (carrageenan free)

For produce: spinach, kale, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, green onions, white/red onions, avocado, bananas, blueberries, lemon, apples. To help with prep, wash and prepare the bulk of your produce. You can wash your leafy greens, & sending them through a salad spinner. Pre-wash/-slice your cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and fruits.

Whole wheat/grain bread (without HFCS), low-carb tortillas, brown rice, quinoa, old-fashioned rolled oats

Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, chia, flax, hemp seeds

Almond butter, peanut butter (I recently tried powdered peanut butter called PB2, & it was actually pretty amazing, with 85% less fat/oils), or other seed/nut butters

Hummus, salsa

Olive oil, nonstick cooking spray, cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper, cocoa powder

With the above ingredients, you can come up with a few different combinations to add variety to your meals. Here are a few ideas for clean eats breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert:

For breakfast, you can go for the bacon...turkey bacon that is, and eggs with basil cooked in a pan coated w/nonstick spray or about 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Or try some almond butter, raisins, and old-fashioned rolled oats cooked together for some delicious oatmeal.

For lunch, you can make an easy sandwich using either whole wheat bread or low-carb. tortillas, the nitrate/nitrite-free lunch meat, a few slices tomato, a handful of baby spinach or kale, 1/8 sliced avocado (you can use the slices or mash them to use as a spread), onion (although, sometimes I'm careful about this one if I'm going to be around people for the rest of the day :) ). Most days, I have Shakeology, my meal replacement shake, for lunch. You can make yourself a protein smoothie with a substitute protein powder.

For a snack, you can dip some carrots in hummus, and/or munch an apple (you can prep ahead, by per-slicing & spritzing w/lemon juice to help prevent browning). You can grab a handful of walnuts,  pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.

For dinner, you can cook up some lemon salmon, or tilapia w/ cooked kale or fresh baby spinach, and a side of quinoa topped with salsa.

For dessert, mix a tsp. or two of cocoa powder with 1/2 a cup of yogurt topped with almond slices.

What kinds of clean eats do you like? I would love to hear how you began (or are beginning) to make healthy changes in your life!

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