What Is Clean Eating?

“What is clean eating?” —I get this question a lot.

Basically to sum up clean eating in one sentence it is this:

Clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.

That means eating foods that are whole foods!!  Food that grows out of the ground.  A tomato, a handful of green beans.. those are whole foods.

Whole foods are single ingredients. So if you pick up a box and read the ingredient label, it should say things like:

WATER, DICED TOMATOES, DICED ONION, LIME JUICE.

Not things like:

SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), PALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLIN – AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CHOCOLATE.CONTAINS WHEAT, SOY.

The above is actually the ingredients of an Oreo cookie.

If you cannot grow cornstarch in your backyard, pick it, bring it inside to rinse off and eat it just like that… then it is not a whole food and shouldn’t be eaten.

Boxed or ‘made’ items that have as few whole food ingredients are best. Think ‘One Ingredient’ foods! Eat an apple or some carrots.

If you are hungry, eat a vegetable. If you can’t eat a vegetable then you are not really hungry.

 

So when you go grocery shopping, try to stick to this plan:

  •  Nothing white. No sugar, no white flour (bread, pasta, etc), no white rice. This includes enriched wheat flour. That is just another way of saying white flour that has had some brown added back in to make it look healthier. If it’s white, and it’s not a vegetable, I don’t eat it. (This requires lots of ingredients list reading!) If I eat bread I eat sprouted grain bread.
  • No Alcohol. Just a small amount of red wine every once in awhile is ok.
  • Healthy Sources of Fats. Be sure that all fats you are consuming are from healthy sources. Fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and nut oils are wonderful.
  • Lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. If you really think about it, this is a HUGE variety of foods. You should NEVER feel hungry or deprived while eating clean. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll constantly be satisfied, and after a couple of weeks, you won’t get all those bothersome cravings that you used to get. (Although, occasionally a treat is perfectly okay.)

Simply add lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats such as chicken breasts and fish to your fridge. Also consider frozen fruits and vegetables, just be sure to read the ingredients. Some frozen produce (especially fruit) will sometimes have added sugar. It’s great to stock your freezer with lots of clean eating foods so you’re not constantly having to run to the store for the fresh stuff.

 

I get so many people who want to eat clean but don’t know where to start.  “How many servings a day!”  “What is a complex carb, is Corn a vegetable?”  So hopefully this will clear the air just a bit!

Tosca Reno the author of the Eat Clean Diet calls her meal plans, cooler plans!  She has different cooler plans based on the type of results you want to get.  So today I am focusing on Cooler plan #2, which is for steady weight loss and maintenance once you goal weight is reached.  So this is basically the plan I stick to year round at this point!  This will give you a good idea of what to eat and when!

What is it?  This IS EATING CLEAN!  Do this year round for steady, healthy weight loss.  But this plan can also be used for maintenance.  Here’s why:  when your body begins to approaching its set point (its genetically predetermined healthy weight) you will find that weight loss will stop or slow.

The occasional treat (glass of wine, piece of chocolate, ect) is permitted in limited amounts.  Unhealthy sugars and fats are not recommended.

How it works:
Follow the eat clean principles as listed below
What to do:

  • Eat more- eat six small meals each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of rising.
  • Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal
  • Eat sufficient (two to three servings) healthy fats every day.
  • Carry a cooler packed with clean foods each day.
  • Depend on fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber, vitamins, nutrients and enzymes.
  • Adhere to proper portion sizes.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid all over-processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar.
  • Avoid all chemically charge foods.
  • Avoid foods containing preservatives.
  • Avoid artificial sugars.
  • Avoid artificial foods such as processed cheese slices.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats.
  • Avoid sugar loaded beverages, including colas and juices.
  • Avoid or do your best to limit alcohol intake.
  • Avoid all calorie dense foods containing little or no nutritional value. I call these anti-foods.
  • Avoid super sizing your meals.


Complex Carbohydrates from Fruit and Vegetables:
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cupped handful or a piece of fruit such as berries, grapefruit, melon, apples and mangoes.
  • 2 cupped handfuls of vegetables including broth based/vegetable puree soups.

Complex Carbohydrates from whole grains and starchy carbohydrates: 
2-4 portions each day.

A portion is:
1 scant handful of high-protein, sugar-free cold cereals, such as clean muesli or granola.
1 handful of cooked cereal
1 piece of whole grain bread or wrap (Sante Fe tortilla wraps from Costco are a great option)
1 handful sized serving of sweet potato, yam, banana, corn, carrots or squash

Lean Protein
6 portions each day.  A portion is:

  • 1 cup or handful of dairy products such as low fat soy, almond, hemp, rice, or skim milk, cottage cheese, kefir, yogurt cheese or plain fat free sugar free yogurt.
  • Shakeology has great sources of lean protein
  • 1 scant handful of raw, unsalted nuts (also a healthy fat)
  • 2 tablespoons of all natural nut butters such as almond or peanut butter (also a healthy fat).
  • 1 palm sized portion of lean meats
  • good quality, sugar- and chemical- free protein powder (hemp, soy or whey).

Beverages:

  • 2-3 liters per day of fresh water with no sodium
  • Clear herbal tea (unsweetened)
  • Black coffee in moderation
  • Green/Black tea

Sweeteners:  Use in moderation.  Avoid Artificial Sweeteners.

  • Agave Nectar 
  • Maple Sugar Flakes
  • Rapadura Sugar

 

 

If you would like even more support please head over to my site and sign up and I’d be glad to provide you with daily motivation and support to help you accomplish your health and weight loss goals!  I have lost 30 lbs to date with clean eating and regular exercise.  No starvation just healthy whole meals.  As you can see above this picture is an idea of some of the foods that I enjoy on a regular basis!!!  I would be glad to add you to my weekly newsletter!!!

Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted grain bread is better not only because it uses the whole grain, but the process sprouted grains go through actually breaks down the proteins and carbohydrates in the grain, increasing vitamin content to the consumer.

The sprouted grain process involves soaking the grains in water until they begin to grow a sprout. The growing environment is highly controlled, including the water temp, air temp, and the time grains are allowed to sprout. Once the grains sprout, they are drained and mixed together to be ground up and used. Before the sprouted grain is used, it is a living food. Enzymes are released during the sprouting process, which break down proteins and carbohydrates. This process helps make sprouted grain food low glycemic and easier to digest. Traditional grain breads are harder to digest, and the body loses a good portion of the nutrients because it is unable to digest them. Sprouted grain breads provide the body with grain that has already been broken down due to the enzymes that exist in the living sprouted grain. Nutrients are absorbed immediately into the body, and are not lost in the digestive process.

The Significance of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Breads to Healthy Living
The sprouted grain bread concept is not new. Food for Life began sprouting grains over 60 years ago to use in breads. Eating grains is mentioned in the Bible in Ezekiel 4:9, and seeds and herbs in Genesis 1:29. Food for Life has taken these recipes from the Bible and brought it to modern day health food by sprouting them to make them even more healthful. These recipes provide the body with essential amino acids needed for healthy living.

Sprouted grain breads truly unlock the vital benefits our bodies need from grains. Some of the known benefits include: increased digestibility, increased absorption of minerals, increased antioxidants, and increased vitamin C and vitamin B.

I choose to eat sprouted grain breads and sprouted grain products such as tortillas and hotdog buns. You can find sprouted grain breads in most health food stores and in many standard grocery stores.

The brand I love is Ezekiel Bread (mentioned above). You can find Ezekiel Bread products frozen in the health section of Kroger and Publix in the Atlanta area.

Healthy Kitchen Makeover

Hi y’all!
Today I want to share with you how to reorganize your kitchen, pantry and fridge so that success is not just simple and convenient but visually enticing!
Let’s do a healthy kitchen makeover!!
After reorganizing your kitchen, the next step will be to clean up your grocery list and the food you keep in your kitchen.

So let’s get started.

The right tools in the right places!
Each tool that you use on a daily and even mealtime basis should be kept close to the area where you prep your food.  I suggest having the following all in one drawer, plastic container, or cupboard for quick and easy access:

  • Paring knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Measuring cup
  • Food Scale
  • Snack size plastic bags
  • Plastic 1 cup size reusable containers

Warning:  Open bags can lead to saddlebags.  You and I both know we are going to keep reaching into that bag of snacks or treats and eat well beyond an individual portion.  Here’s what I do:  Repackage bulk snacks-say, raw almonds into baggies of 14 almonds.  RIGHT when you come home from food shopping take the time to divvy up food by serving sizes.  Use plastic bags or storage containers to organize your food into the right portions.  For example, a portion size of pretzel sticks is 10.  Put 10 in a little bag and put them in the pantry at eye level.  This makes it simple for grab and go snacking!!!

A recent Cornell University Study found that we consume 90 percent of our food mindlessly. We simply eat because it is placed in front of us or because we’ve placed it in front of ourselves.  It’s time to get conscious about what-and how much- we consume.

My suggestion is to open up your fridge and pantry.  Then dump or donate anything that a well-tuned athlete wouldn’t eat.  If that box of lucky charms for your kids is constantly calling your name, ditch it.  Stepping into your kitchen shouldn’t be anxiety producing!  Make it easier on yourself to make health choices by eliminating the temptation of poor choices.

Merchandise your food!
Food marketers play into our impulsive choices by paying millions of dollars every year to have name brand products placed on the right shelf at the right level.  Why do you think all the sugary cereals are placed at your chest level on the shelves at the grocery store?  It’s because that happens to be the eye line of a child sitting in a shopping cart.  Clever!!!

So now let’s talk about placement!!!  You can do this too with the same techniques in your pantry or fridge.
When we stand in front of the fridge, we tend to grab whatever food takes the least amount of time to prepare and that “looks good.”  The healthy stuff, like fresh produce, we hid in the drawer that’s difficult to get to and even easier to forget!  So when you get home I suggest that you unload your groceries, clean and display your fruit in clear plastic containers or bowls.  Place berries and raw veggies at eye level.  You can even buy pre cut veggies if you don’t have time!!!
Arrange your greek yogurt near the berries and veggies. Place healthy whole foods at eye level near the front of the shelf.

When you are building muscle, hard-cooked egg whites are a great source of lean protein, and they’re easy to prep so they’re ready to go!  Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night, then peel and place them in a large storage bag.  Now, all you have to do is just eat your egg whites on the go whole!

Other fast protein sources to be stored at eye level include prepackaged tuna packets.  Though they store well in the pantry, I keep them in the refrigerator.  Who wants a warm tuna sandwich?

Now when you find yourself staring mindlessly into your fridge, you’ll see the stuff you should be eating!  It’s washed, cut, enticing and ready to go!!

Replace this with that– Look in your refrigerator for regular staples.  Now, do some soul searching and ask yourself if you’re willing to try a healthier alternative.  Do you make the kids PB&J every week?  Would they notice if you picked up sugar free or low sugar jam or jelly?  If you don’t say anything…probably not!  I love cheese but instead of buying a brick of it you can stock up on individually packaged string cheese!  They are portion controlled and appropriately sized.  I don’t have the time to look at the packaging to figure out how many ounces is a single serving.

What about trying lower sugar or organic version of many of your regular condiments?  Ketchup now comes in all natural with no high fructose corn syrup, dijon mustard you can buy with no added sugar.  I substitute sour cream with greek yogurt all the time.  I also never ever cook with butter!  Instead I use coconut oil cooking spray or olive oil in a spritzer bottle!

If you are not sure which brand or version is better choice wise then use an app like Fooducate which allows you to scan the bar codes of two products and do a side by side self comparison. Each item is given a grade based on its nutritional content, which makes it convenient for quick decisions.

Pantry Makeover
Most of the healthiest foods will be perishable and stored in the refrigerator.  Once you have that in order, it’s time to tackle your pantry!
First, let’s decide what you would go to the pantry instead of your fridge for!  Well, often we go for carbs, something fast, something crunchy, something sweet.
That’s fine, but let’s create healthier temptations!

Those foods that are lower on the good for you hierarchy can go in the hard to reach spaces!!!  Way up high where you would need a step stool!
I use the eye and chest level shelves to place the healthiest nonperishable items.  Nothing bought in bulk ever stays in its original container.  I open, repackage, and display those items in inexpensive containers like wicker baskets or square plastic storage bins.  It keeps everything organized and makes choosing healthy so dummy proof that the foods almost jump into my hand.
So here is what you can find on my shelves:

  • Brown Rice Unsalted rice cakes
  • Unsalted Raw Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts
  • Instant rolled Oats
  • Shakeology
  • Canned Low Sodium black beans
  • Canned low sodium diced tomatoes
  • Organic medium salsa
  • Dried Fruit such as craisins, raisins, cherries
  • High quality protein bars like Kind Bars or Chia Bars

Lastly, put things where people know to look for them.  I basically stock the same stuff all the time.  I maintain a list and check off what i need.  But there is no mystery.  No one is opening the pantry and expecting a sudden influx of cookies or chips.  Boring?  YES!!!!  Intentionally!!!  You see, if you never knew what you might get when you opened the pantry, you’d go there first!!!  I don’t want my family to eat from the pantry.  The pantry is where emergency foods live.  Let’s face it, with few exceptions, just about everything in your pantry is processed!  The healthy stuff is in the fridge!!!

Good luck!  Don’t hesitate to message me for additional information or tips to help you get started with your own kitchen makeover!!!

Things to do right now to get started!!!

  1. Remove high sugar and highly processed packaged food temptations from the kitchen.
  2. Survey the refrigerator for frequently consumed foods that can be swapped out for less processed healthier alternatives.
  3. Stock up on small plastic food bags, snack containers, and clear plastic fruit bowls for display.
  4. Arrange prep tools in an easy to reach place.  The fewer steps, the better!
  5. Spring clean your fridge, make room for the fresh stuff.
  6. Divide snacks into individual servings and arrange in the front and center of the pantry!