At times life brings on change whether we are ready for it or not. It can be in the form of good transition, or bad and at times makes everything seem impossible to overcome. Over the last several months, my life has gone through transition in all phases but, the one thing that kept me balanced through it all was the dedication I held on to keeping myself healthy – mind, body and soul.
I live by the ideology; eat clean, stay fit and don't deprive. Eating clean is a term I am sure most of you have heard before, if not, to explain it is a healthy lifestyle in which you nourish your body by consuming food in it's purest form focused on the nutrients it thrives on. It is not about dieting, or restricting yourself from indulging, it is about focusing on feeding your body the best you can so that you can indulge, in moderation, without the worry. For me, the benefits alone out weigh any desire I have for junk food, or sweets. Almost immediately I noticed a huge increase in energy, I was able to better control my appetite, my complextion started to clear, and it catapulted the results of my fitness routine feeding my motivation to continue.
The principles are straight forward;
The principles are straight forward;
Increase water consumption; replace alcoholic beverages or those high in sugar with water and green tea, this helps aide in flushing impurities from your body, assists the body to better absorb nutrients, helps control hunger and as a bonus hydration promotes a healthy complexion.
Eliminate refined sugar and salt; instead opt to curb cravings with fresh fruit, and take advantages of herbs and spices to enhance flavor.
Choose whole or multi grains over refined when choosing bread, rice and pastas. Dark leafy greens and fresh vegetables are also excellent sources of unrefined carbohydrates.
Stop reaching for processed foods; this is one of the most important principles to follow when looking to lead a clean lifestyle. Processed foods, while convenient, are loaded with additives and sodium that work against your body’s fight to stay healthy.
Replace saturated and trans fats most commonly found refined foods, with unsaturated fats in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which can be found in nuts, vegetable oils such as olive, grapeseed, and flax, fish and avocados.
Last but, most certainly not least; eat smaller portions five to six times per day – this helps maintain blood sugar dips, keeps energy levels up and is also a great way to manage appetite control.
Is it easy to give up all things healthy that taste so good? No. But, for me I wanted change so, to make it happen I tackled it head on and after seeing continuous results haven’t looked back since.
Food prep is vital; not only making preparing meals through out the week less time consuming but, also to replace convenience foods with healthy options.
Buying fresh meat, fruits and vegetables requires grocery shopping more often so, to make it easier I have a staple grocery list which consists of items I always have on hand making trips to pick up additional items much quicker. Here is my staple grocery list;
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Cracked wheat or steel cut oats
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Protein - sirloin, fish, poultry, deli meat such as chicken or turkey breast- Raw almonds, cashews and/or walnuts
- Chia seeds
- Nonfat plain greek yogurt- Bananas
- Fresh garlic
- Mixed greens
- Bell peppers
- Swiss chard
- Low sodium stock
- Low sodium beans
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Vinegar - rice wine, red wine and balsamic
- Dark chocolate
- Tea - green, herbal
Now, what I have on my list may differ from what someone else eating clean has on theirs, or there may be items you don't like, prefer over others. What one person eats doesn't mean it is what another person should eat. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to customize a menu of foods that works with you, for your tastes while holding true to the basics.
While this journey started for me sometime ago, I will continue to share with you the recipes I love that support healthy eating but, do not cut out flavor in anyway. Good luck!