What is clean eating? Doesn’t that just sound like a loaded question?
Clean eating: Eating whole, “real” foods that are found in their natural form. Minimizing the processed, refined, and handled foods as much as possible.
Clean eating shouldn’t be overwhelming or scary, and let me explain why. Throughout the years, I’ve “committed” to eating clean and the next week or two, you could have found me sneaking a cookie (my weakness) or frustrated that I had no time to meal prep and was then starving.. So drive thru window here I came. It wasn’t until recently that I have been able to find a balance and really love clean eating without any of the unwanted side effects or ‘hanger’ pains.
Lucky for you, I have some great news! Clean eating is not all or nothing. It takes time to build! You don’t need to jump in with both feet, but you do need to commit. Take small steps to ensure the best potential and strongest commitment. Slow and steady will win the race! The best way to think about this commitment, is to treat it like a relationship. Meeting someone is equivalent to deciding to eat clean. Then you date, another words, working on new habits and overcoming undesired patterns. Last but definitely not least, marriage. Making the commitment to new way of life and before you know it you have EMRGEd! Given some time, the foods you used to rely heavily upon will no longer be a thought or apart of your diet. This has been experienced and proven by my personal life, with family/friends, and even complete strangers. It can work for you too!
Step 1: Pick fresh food whenever possible. By picking raw foods, you are providing your body with more nutrients that is so highly desired. One step above fresh raw foods, is picking organic when available. Organic foods are free from toxins and chemicals that come from pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Fortunately, foods with the 100% Organic seal have been highly regulated and inspected by the FDA to guarantee that the foods are free from contaminants. These toxins are detrimental to our normal physiology, hormone regulation, cell formation, and causes unwanted symptoms. Once you feel the ease of fresh foods in your diet, then I think you are ready to take the next step!
Step 2: Discontinue processed foods. With all of these fresh foods now in your diet, there is no need to continue to eat processed junk foods. Look around your kitchen and see what is packaged in a bag, can, or box. Rank each item from 1-4 on how much the food attributes to your weekly food regimen (1= less than 2 times a week. 4=more than once per day). Begin to remove all items that ranked a 1. Over time, try to make all items rank less and less until they are removed entirely. Fresh foods will take place of what used to be processed and you will notice a shift in your energy and cravings. (Find out why here). This step can be the hardest due to eating out, holiday gatherings, and sometimes we just fall down. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP! Never fall off the horse and not get back up. I have faith in you! Your family, friends, coworkers, or even someone you’ve never met, has faith in you! You are capable of more than you realize and I am here to support you at any point in your journey. Together, we can EMRGE into our healthiest selves! Take each day as a new fresh clean slate and begin again. Don’t wait for Monday, it takes too many days to come back around. Begin again! and your effort will be worth it.
Pause, look back, and see how far you have come! Can I just say how impressed I am with your commitment to this relationship between you and your health. You are EMRGing into the healthiest version of you and you should be so proud! Keep up the good work.
Step 3: Eat complete meals. You are ready! Each meal, and snack even, needs to be as complete as possible. Make sure you are getting your vegetables, protein, fats, and fruits onto your plate so you can provide your body with all of the nutrients it desires. The breakdown will be different for each person since we are not all clones of each other, but the ‘blueprint’ to follow (and then make personal adjustments) is:
- Vegetables: ½ of your plate. Or 2 times the amount of protein
- Protein: Size of your palm
- Fats: ½ an avocado, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter
- Fruits: Size of a small apple, or 1 cup grapes
How simple is that? Sometime it can be a tad complex but Boy! do I have some tricks in my apron. (Sorry, that was super cheesy!) When planning your meals, write out exactly what you want to eat for the week. (Read this meal planning article for in depth information) Once you have decided what to eat, modify/add to each meal to make it more nutritious. For example; Monday you want steak and potatoes. Protein and vegetables (high in carbohydrates). To make this delicious meal more complete, lets add a salad. Throw some fruit on it with some nuts and dress it with an oil. Cook your steak in full fat butter can also add some extra fat to the meal (don’t be afraid of fats). Write all needed ingredients down, and then shop for what is specifically on your list. By not straying, you are avoiding any potential stumbles and making sure your meals are jam packed with deliciousness!
That is it! Those three simple steps will help you EMRGE into clean eating. This transformation should be fun and enjoyable. Don’t think of all the food you can no longer eat, but think of all the new possibilities that await you. New recipes are always being created, posted, and enjoyed by millions of people. Having the internet at the tips of our fingers, provides us with endless opportunities of ways we can fill our plates and satisfy any hunger. Keep in touch and send me your clean eating transformation stories (firstname.lastname@example.org). You amaze me and I appreciate your willingness to amaze yourself!