Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is Eating Clean?

What a better time to be introduced to clean eating then a time of the year where every one is setting new goals for themselves. Being healthier is always a great goal to set. I know I say this statement a lot and maybe many of you are asking what exactly I mean when I say to "eat clean". The definition of eating clean may have different variations but I follow Tosca Reno's version of clean eating (eatcleandiet.com). Eating cleanly is all about fueling your body with what it needs and craves to help you perform your day to day tasks with vibrant energy. You eat with a conscience.  This means you listen to your body signals and are constantly aware of what you are eating and how your body reacts to the food. So how do you eat clean?
  • You eat 5-6 meals a day
  • You eat every 2-3 hours
  • You do not eat processed, chemical enhanced, or artificially sweetened foods
  • You stay away from the white stuff (sugar, flour, salt)
  • You eat as organically as possible
  • You watch your portion sizes
  • Drink a lot of water (at least 2-3 liters)
So what do you eat?
In a day I try to follow a 40, 40. 20 principle where 40 percent is Carbohydrates and Proteins and 20 percent is from fat. Ideally each of your meals should contain a protein and a carbohydrate. This is because carbohydrates are used in the body for quicker energy and so paired with protein this combination has a more long lasting energy effect and helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. You should eat your carbohydrates from whole grains (oatmeal, wheat bread/wraps, brown rice), fruit, and vegetables. Proteins need to be as lean as possible meaning as little fat as possible. Fat from animal fats are saturated and this is bad! Too much of this fat is what you find around your arteries etc. You want unsaturated/ hydrogenated fats which aren't solid at room temperature. So lean proteins include chicken, pork loin, lean beef, sea food, egg whites, protein powder, and even beans. Good fats are nuts, oils (olive, coconut, sunflower,etc), nut butters, avocados.

Most people I talk to are intimated by eating 5 or more meals a day every 2 to 3 hours. Yes, this is a lot of eating, but its so important to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 mid-size meals...or worse one big whopper at the end of the day. Eating throughout the day not only stabilizes your blood sugar for long-lasting energy, but it also revs up your metabolism so you are burning more calories during the day.  It may also be hard to believe but you will lose more weight eating more food! Clean food is REAL food. It is perfect food you can actually eat more of because of its lower calorie, salt, and fat content. This is a way lifestyle not simply a diet to lose weight quickly. Yet, it does take some planning and organization to get it engraved into your days. For example, I typically plan out a few meals to cook for the week that I can munch on often. Then, I will usually pick a day to get it all done. I will do the grocery shopping, cut up and wash fruit and veggies for quick grabbing, and prepare some meals in one day. Once you get the hang of a routine like this you will be amazed with how easy this all becomes.  I hope this helps with some questions on clean eating and maybe this will inspire a few of you to try this out. If you have any questions or simply help with a head start please contact me!

A typical meal plan for me:
meal 1 (6:30/ 7am)- 1/2c oatmeal (or oat bran), 2 tbsp ground flax, 2 tbsp wheat germ, 1/2c berries, 1 c milk (or scoop of protein powder), green tea with lemon

meal 2 (9am) - 3 egg whites, spinach, tomato, 1 small apple

meal 3  (12/1pm)- veggie soup (low sodium) broth based, 4oz grilled chicken

meal 4 (3)- 1 Ezekial bread slice, 1 tbsp peanut (or almond) butter, cucumber

meal 5 (6)- 4 oz salmon with spices and lemon, veggies, small sweet potato with cinnamon

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