A friend made me laugh the other day. When I mentioned my upcoming clean eating challenge, he responded with “I eat clean, I wash all my food before I eat it”. This made me chuckle, as I know he knows about what clean eating is, but it also reminded me of a few things. I have a great group of people that decided to do this challenge. There are some people that have done a challenge before, but for the most part there are a lot of first timers. I love this, because I know I can teach them SO much, but it also makes me realize that I often times take my knowledge for granted, and that not everyone knows as much about this stuff as I do (thats cause I’m freakin’ awesome, haha). No, but seriously, I need to remember that everyone that does my challenges starts from a different place, and that the concept of clean eating is a foreign thing to some of them.
So, for today’s blog post I am going to shove a shit ton of information down your throat. The cool thing is you can read it all at once, read bit by bit or come back to it as a reference. I don’t want any of this to overwhelm you, remember progress is progress, not matter how small!
First off, our biggest concern when we are trying to eat clean is the QUALITY of our food. We want to eat food as close to its natural form as possible. This means we either 1) Cook our own food or 2) Read all ingredient labels on any food that comes from a package.
Some people are unsure what I am talking about when I talk about ingredients labels and reading labels in general. So here are some examples of what we are looking for.
Here we have Mott’s Apple Sauce. Applesauce, a healthy option for a sweet snack. Yeah, but not this one. The second ingredient in this apple sauce is high fructose corn syrup. Apple sauce doesn’t need that and neither do you. Look for a label that just has apples and maybe some cinnamon.
A lot of people have been asking me about yogurt. First off, when buying yogurt look for WHOLE fat yogurt, nothing should be low fat or sugar free. That means its laden with chemicals and SHIT!!! Fage is an awesome brand, but you need to get their Total (blue container) that is full fat. This one is low fat. 😦 Ingredients should look like this:
Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei) Now that is clean eating yogurt. Slap some berries and honey and cinnamon on top on your good to gooooo.
Ezekiel bread products are the only bread/cereal options allowed on my clean eating challenges. Ezekiel bread is different from other wheat bread because it is sprouted live grains, which are way easier for your body to digest because your body digests them like a vegetable instead of a grain. Be sure to store the bread in the fridge and toast it before you eat it. Trust me, its good.
Other clean eating labels should look like this.
Next step for clean eating is to always be prepared. You don’t want to find yourself hungry without food, this is when I end up face down ass up in the Ben and Jerry’s case at Wegmans. I’ll give you a minute to process that vision in your head. It’s not pretty. So how do we avoid this…PREP YO’ SHIT!!! Making a meal plan ahead of time and a shopping list to go along with the plan will keep you on track and saving money. Once you have all the stuff you need, take some time and prepare some meals and snacks ahead of time so you have them on hand when you need them.
Speaking of snacks…let’s take a minute and redefine what a snack is. Train your brain to think of snacks as “small meals”. Often times I eat a small ground beef burger or chicken and sweet potatoes as a snack, just a smaller portion than I would for a meal. A snack doesnt automatically mean protein bar, cookie, cracker, etc. A good plan when it comes to snacks should be start with protein and veggies and work from there. Think apple and almond butter, yogurt, hard boiled egg, veggies and hummus or guac. NOT a box of crackers.
So I dont overwhelm my readers I will stop there for today. Leave this post with these things in mind:
1) focus on quality of food
2) read your ingredient lists on packaged foods – and know what everything is in the food you are eating
3) cook your own food and have it ready ahead of time
4) re-think snacks – get creative!
Until next time, stay clean my friends.