One of the first things to do when deciding to start “clean eating”, I read, is to define what clean eating means to you. The usual definition includes the following:
- No white stuff–this includes flour, sugar, and other highly processed things made out of white stuff.
- No alcohol.
- Eat mostly fruits and vegetables.
- Nothing high in fat.
- Whole grains. Some will say no gluten, but gluten actually has some great nutrients available and if you’re not intolerant or celiac, no reason to remove it from the diet.
- Lean meats without processed meats (i.e. lunch meat, bacon, etc.)
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day
- Read labels and choose foods with less than 5-6 ingredients. Be aware the “natural flavoring” may not be what you and I would consider natural.
- Clean your pantry so that you have only clean foods available.
Okay now my rules for LEANING into Clean.
- Limit white stuff. Bread is okay if I make it myself. Fortunately I’ve been doing this for quite awhile. I will finish up the white flour I have and find whole grain and organic resources.
- Wean off Splenda and learn to like Stevia and other less processed and natural sweeteners.
- Choose lean meats. This is easy because we already to lean meats. Lean ground can be made juicy by adding chopped up mushrooms and onion. You will not taste the mushrooms and the onion gives it a great flavor.
- Try new grains in a variety of ways. Enjoy the heck out of gluten because I like it, it doesn’t bother me, and I’ve yet to be convinced that eliminating gluten is healthier. However, I do like that there are new alternate flours on the market! I’ve long made cobbler with a combination of wheat flour and almond flour and it is to DIE for!
- Find reasonable substitutions that are cleaner and less processed.
- Read labels and not only use that to decide if something is “clean” but also find out what kind of company is behind it. Try to avoid companies with histories of false claims in their advertising.
- Eat 6 small meals per day. I already do this. I call it the Hobbit Diet. Basically I take what I might eat at three meals and spread it out. This avoids hunger and keeps my energy high.
- Pre-plan meals.
- Plan a cupcake every now and again. I can make a lot of alternatives, such as ice cream, in a clean way. I don’t know if I should learn how to make cupcakes because that opens up this sugar fiend frosting monster to binging. Nope! Cupcakes will be a treat ONLY if I’ve run at least a half marathon that day. (I’m a runner and run half/fulls frequently.)
- Plan a treat once a week that may not be clean, keeping in mind that I might find a better way to enjoy this! For example when I first started on WWers I would eat a DQ Banana Split every week. I saved my points and enjoyed it. After awhile I moved to No Pudge Brownie Sundaes with NP brownie and a half cup of lowfat ice cream and whipped topping. Finally I settled on a nightly snack of homemade yogurt and sweetened berries. Making subs that I enjoyed made it easier for me to move from unhealthy to healthy options.
- Learn from mistakes.
- Be patient with myself.
- Be patient with my husband. He is not nutritionally focused like I am, and that’s okay.
- Never ever ever make someone else feel small or less accomplished if they are not eating like I am.
So there we go! As I move into week one of the challenge I am feeling like “Okay, I can do this!” This morning I had french toast made with organic eggs, fresh bread I made myself, and organic milk. I realized, though, that I don’t have a good alternative for sugar free syrup. Maybe maple syrup in smaller doses. One of my first goals is to find a sweetener that is low in calories and doesn’t taste funky.
- Mmmm…french toast made out of Portuguese Sweet Bread that I made myself.