So last week, I told you Why Your Diet Doesn’t Work, and all of the factors involved in changing your lifestyle versus the ‘quick fix’ of a fad diet. I wanted to delve deeper into that subject, as I’ve stated many times before, it’s not what you think it’s going to be.
First and foremost, I want to rectify a misconception of what "Clean Eating" might be - this IS NOT 'Paleo' or Whole30. There are similarities between them, but it doesn't exclude grains, legumes (beans, nuts, peas, etc), dairy products, natural sugars, sea salt or oils like the other diets do. You don't have to go raw, you don't have to go vegan or vegetarian. Depending on who you are, it really depends on what you prefer to eat in eating clean... You CAN go organic to avoid certain things, but don't have to. You CAN eat red meat, but if you prefer not to, you can choose which lean protein you prefer (like chicken or fish).
I posted a photo on Instagram about meal prepping that I thought was accurate for how I began my journey. I started four years ago while choosing what I thought would work - the points system diet. This meant (to me) that I could eat as crappy as I wanted, as long as I only ate 24 points a day.
Those misconceptions about eating within my portions, and the mindset I had all the times before this attempt to lose weight, were VERY misguided, looking back. I thought I could eat anything within a certain point allotment, and make progress! I was wrong, and I'm here to help anyone who will listen.
Are you a Victim of your Own Kitchen?
Sometimes, fast food salads are worse than the cheeseburger options when it comes to nutritional value simply because of what they include (i.e. THE DRESSING). There are a ton of misinterpretations when it comes to valuing the plate in front of you the 'correct' way, and you can tell the difference in your body and energy levels once you get it right.
1. Cut out as much processed food as possible
I mentioned that personally, I began eating things that weren’t processed or altered from their natural states (for the most part) including junk foods - chips, bread, cereals, any microwaveable meals, or sodas. This includes what I used to think were the healthier options, like Jamba Juice smoothies or acai bowls in large size, and even salads from any fast food chain. It’s more about being mindful of the content of what you’re ingesting versus, say, thinking you’re eating healthy by eating broccoli (great job!) but slathering it with half a jar of liquid cheese (BAD! but...I’ve been there)!
You have to clear out your cabinets of all temptation. At least, that’s what I did. It’s easier on those individuals without families, or those who have the same goals as their roommates/partner/living situation, mostly because you’re not faced with it daily or have poor choices readily available to you.
Like I said in How To Boost Your Metabolism, you have to eat healthy fats – this non-fat diet crap is misleading. Lean proteins, raw fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats.
2. Toss the Sugar!
Most of the items you eat nowadays with "low" or "non-fat" have sugars and other additives to it to make up for the label nonfat. Please READ YOUR LABELS. They're allowed to deceive you on the front packaging of the item you're buying, but if you read the back, they legally are not allowed to lie about what is in the product.
The only sugar you need will come from eating whole fruits since these are coupled with fiber, protein, and fat to help lessen the effects on your insulin levels. I mean whole fruits, too - not the kind in the little cups with juice in them in the can aisle of the grocery store, but fruits you cut/peeled/prepared yourself and found in the produce section. Not even the pre-cut sold in containers! If you didn’t do it yourself, it’s not beneficial to your waistline OR your wallet (no wonder whole foods is so pricey)!
FACT: The American Heart Association recommends no more than roughly 6 teaspoons per day for women and about 9 for men. The average American gets about 4 times that - 28 teaspoons per day.
It's also in more than just sodas and desserts—keep an eye on sugars added to healthier foods like yogurt (choose plain), tomato sauce and cereal. Look for foods without sugar as one of the main ingredients (top three). If you're unsure how to accomplish this, check out my post on How to Cut Out Sugar.
3. Watch your Sodium Intake
Just like with sugar, most of us are getting far more sodium than we should.
The Institute of Medicine recommends capping sodium at 2,300 milligrams daily, about one teaspoon of salt.
Watching how much food that goes into your body that has been processed will help you reduce both sugar and sodium intake as well, as they usually contain more than homemade versions. I flavor all of my dishes with herbs and spices – some from my own herb garden. Instead of garlic salt, I prefer garlic powder or simply minced garlic. Sea salt or coarse salt is better for you in terms of sodium intake compared to table salt.
What You CAN Eat
- Six small meals a day (3 meals & 3 snacks)
- Lean protein (Turkey, Salmon, Skinless Chicken, etc)
- Complex carbohydrates (Oats, Quinoa, Sweet Potato)
- Healthy fats (EVOO, Avocado, GF butter)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Properly portioned foods (depends on your weight and physical activity levels)
- Half your body weight in ounces of water DAILY
What to AVOID:
- Over processed foods, (white flour & sugar)
- Artificial sweetener (SweetN'Low, Equal, Nutrasweet - STEVIA/TRUVIA IS OKAY in small amounts
- Sugary drinks (soda & juice)
- Alcohol (Check out my post about this HERE)
- Chemical additives (food dyes & sodium nitrite)
- Artificial foods (cheese slices)
- Saturated fats and trans fats
Fill up on premium!
You have to go into this knowing that you're changing your lifestyle and way you cook and prepare your nourishment... You have to think of your body like a car, your stomach like a fuel tank, and your food as your gasoline. You're no longer allowing your little putt-putt car to accept sludge - fill that bitch up with PREMIUM and watch the performance enhancement as you drive.