Learn why eating clean doesn't have to mean another tedious diet. Check out some helpful hints and a grocery store cheat sheet for your next shopping trip.
As an almost 40 year old female, I have seen an unbelievable number of diets (and I'm sure you have as well). You can't go on the Internet or turn on your TV without being inundated with diet programs on a daily basis. Someone is always trying to find their next customer pledging their diet is THE diet for you. With all the research and trial and errors done by yours truly, I finally came to the realization that diets are not sustainable. Weight loss does happen in the beginning, mostly because of how conscience you are and determined to stay the course of the new diet. Then life comes into play and one slip leads to two and so on. I actually think it's beneficial to try new ideas and see what sticks and works best each time a new diet is tried. But, what I despise more than anything is the terrible self talk that happens after. We beat ourselves up because we couldn't stick to the diet and that negative and useless conversation we have in our heads feeds the self doubt and perpetuating insecurities.
This is where clean eating comes into play! Clean eating is basically eating food as close to its natural form (before humans can mess it up) as possible. Eating as many meals and snacks as possible that were NOT processed. Clean eating is very individual based. Someone might incorporate eggs, meat, dairy, or grains as long as they were not processed. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, raw, juicing or any other variety of eater, you are still eating clean as long as the food is in a pure or close to pure state. So when you are shopping at the store or farmers' market stick to whole foods. Things that don't have added ingredients, just itself. Grab some fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, free range meats, healthy oils and so on. I'm sure you have all heard this rule of thumb: if you are going to get something processed only get things with ingredients you can pronounce and try to grab things with about five ingredients or less on the label. Trust me, after making a switch like this, your stomach, skin, and energy level will THANK you for it!
After your trip to the store, promise yourself you will prepare your snacks and meals with intention. That sounds silly I'm sure but the phycological effects of taking pride in your next meal will make it taste infinitely better. Find simple recipes with tons of herbs and spices to replace the mounds of salt and butter restaurants would use. Try to eat your meals around the same time to reduce blood sugar spikes as well as binge eating because you waited too long. Lastly, try to keep a balanced plate. Make sure you have protein, healthy carbs (think veggies and whole grains) and healthy fats. By having all three of these components, you will be putting amazing fuel in your body to keep you satisfied for hours. The more you prepare these types of meals, the easier they are to shop for. You instinctively know what is healthy AND tastes good to you. I usually make my breakfast every day but my lunch tends to be what I made for dinner the night before. Cooking once and eating twice is extremely helpful when eating clean. I make my dinner using a new recipe or a staple recipe and the frustration of what to eat or how to make it eventually dissipates.
I know buying organic whole foods can seem expensive and you worry about using it all up in time before they spoil but I assure you, the benefits out weigh the cost and time twofold. When you are eating clean you are getting in so many essential vitamins and minerals so you will eventually be saving on the cost of your supplements and doctor bills. The goodness in a wide range of whole foods are readily absorbed by your body as you are munching. You get one body, no upgrades, so feed it the nutrients it craves. When we sit down to eat junk our bodies don't let us know we should stop eating because it is still searching for those nutrients it craves so you end up eating way bigger portions than needed. When you sit down to a high nutrient dense meal, you will feel full sooner and have so many wonderful benefits for hours to come. I have put together some categories of whole foods as well as examples of foods to zero in on at the store.
Greens for salads Berries
Sweet potatoes Bananas
Proteins Nuts, seeds, and oils
Fish Coconut oil
Black beans and lentils Olive oil
Chicken Chia seeds
Tofu Flax seeds
Herbs and spices Condiments
Turmeric Apple cider vinegar
Basil Balsamic vinegar
Cinnamon Maple syrup
Sea salt and pepper Honey
Cumin Hot sauce
Now that you have examples of amazing clean food options, slowly start to replace your refrigerator and pantry with nutritious foods. Put on some fun music, get out a garbage bag and start finding new homes for unopened boxes of junk. It will feel so therapeutic and also make you have to start munching on your new CLEAN food!