Everyone and their grannies seem to be talking about Clean Eating, Eating Clean, Clean Foods, a Clean Diet, etc.
What is all this about? I can wash my veggies, is that clean enough? I shower before I cook dinner, does that count?
When I refer to Clean Eating or Eating Clean or following a Clean diet, I am referring specifically to Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet. Tosca created this “diet” (it’s not really a diet, it’s more like a way of life) as she was once overweight and unhappy, as a way to change her eating habits to get in shape and be the healthiest she can be.
Eating Clean has to many benefits. I mean, for one, it is NOT a diet, so you aren’t counting calories or restricting your body from anything, but instead you are fueling it with healthy nutrients it needs!
Once you begin Eating Clean you may notice:
- Your clothes fit you better or you lose weight
- Your skin clears up
- Your digestive system begins to work correctly
- You are sick less frequently
- You have a ton more energy
Honestly, there’s so many benefits, these are just a few. But what I REALLY want to talk about are the FIRST SIX baby steps you can take to begin Eating Clean!
1. Read Labels. Honestly, most clean foods are found on the outskirts of the grocery stores – your meats and produce. But for the items you will need to purchase in the aisles like oils, oats, etc, you need to know what you are buying. So a quick rule of thumb – if you don’t know how to pronounce a word on the label, chances are it is man-made and thus not clean!
2. Prepare. If you are like me you don’t enjoy eating salads day in and day out. When you go out for lunch or dinner chances are you are getting who knows what in your foods. So I prepare and cook all 6 meals I eat each day. Sure, it is time consuming at first, but that is how I stay lean. Once you get the hang of it, you will know what foods you will need for the week and you will be able to prepare them in no time. But you have to plan ahead by getting everything you need at the store each week.
3. Pack a cooler. Yep – bring your own clean foods!! Clean food items that I find easy to put into tupperware are: batch-cooked chicken, frozen veggies, oatmeal with peanut butter and flax, pre-made smoothies, batch-cooked sweet potato, fruit, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, turkey burgers, protein pancakes, etc.
4. Batch cook. It’s a life saver! Every Sunday I batch cook enough chicken for the week. I cut off the fat, bake it with seasoning, and measure 3.5 ounces of it and put that much into a container with some mustard and frozen veggies, so I can grab one a day to bring to work. I also batch cook sweet potato chips too. Then I take the time to divvy up 1/4 cup of oats, 1 T natural peanut butter, 1 T ground flax, a pinch of protein powder and cinnamon to sweeten, so that way when I’m a zombie in the morning, all I need to do is add water and microwave.
5. Pair a carbohydrate with a lean protein. A protein is pretty self-explanatory – a food that’s calories primarily come from protein (fish, meat, dairy.) A carbohydrate may be a starchy carb (wheat, grains, legumes, beans, potatoes), a fruit or a vegetable. If you pair a protein with a carb you are less likely to have a spike in your insulin levels and the protein based food will also keep you full longer because your body takes longer to digest it.
6. Eat 5 – 6 times a day. Eating Clean is meant to keep your metabolism roaring all day long. If you go longer than 3 hours, most likely you have digested all of your food and your metabolism has slowed down. Now do you get why you need to have a lean protein at each meal? Tosca talks in great detail about serving sizes in her books, but generally your meals are much smaller now. So you should not feel stuffed at the end of a meal, so trust me, you will want to eat again in a few hours!
I hope this helps make this lifestyle change to Clean Eating far less intimidating. Honestly, Eating Clean changed my life and I hope it changes yours! If you need help with this or putting together a meal plan, please email me! firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you!