Spiced Cilantro Shrimp
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a basic set of principles to live by. It goes beyond just telling you which foods to eat. I have compiled an idea of what CE means to me, just by browsing the internet and reading up on it. I have yet to read The Eat Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno, but that might be a good place to start if you are interested. The basic principle involves eating a wide variety of whole, unrefined and unprocessed foods in a form that’s as close as possible to how the foods appear in nature.
What to eat(just some examples):
- Complex carbohydrates: whole wheat flour/pasta/couscous, brown rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, etc. (For a great pasta, I recommend Barilla Plus - extra protein, omega-3s and fiber in a great tasting pasta!)
- Lean protein: poultry, seafood, egg whites
- Beans: black, red kidney, garbanzo, cannelini, navy, etc
- Natural sugar sources: honey, agave nectar
- Natural peanut butter
- Low fat cheese/ cottage cheese
- Low fat (Greek) yogurt
- Processed foods
- White flour
- Processed sugar (white, brown, etc)
- Foods high in saturated/trans fats
- Sugary drinks (fruit juice, soda/pop, etc)
- Artificial sweeteners
- 5 to 6 small meals a day
- Eat every 2 to 3 hours
- Combine complex carb and lean protein at every meal
Lots of water! I aim for 2 liters per day
Alcohol only sparingly
PLANNING AHEAD is key! It's so easy to fall off the wagon during a hectic week if you don't take the time on Sunday to get everything ready for the week ahead.
Whole Wheat Bagels
Why I'm choosing to eat clean.
For me, CE is becoming a way of life. It's a lifestyle change and not a diet, per se, though my initial motivation was weight loss. I've tried counting calories but that gets tedious and tiring. Since I do a lot of cooking and baking on my own, I have to figure all the calories and portions myself - I can't just turn the bag over and read them! I think my interest in cooking has made this an easy choice and an even easier lifestyle transition. I want to make my own bread! I already bake cupcakes and cookies, I want to make them better for me! Many aspects of our lifestyle already fit the mold: we don't eat beef or pork, so lean protein sources are already our staples; we already opt for smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals; we pack our own lunches and bring them to work; we rarely eat out at restaurants - maybe 4 or 5 times a year. I also happened to be blessed with a husband who is open to my experimenting with new ingredients. Oddly enough - even his coworkers were jealous of the quinoa dish I made!
Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
The benefits of CE.
I made my commitment to CE about 4 weeks ago, and I couldn't be happier about my decision. Of course, I am ecstatic that I have lost 10 pounds and over 3 inches off my waist - all without counting a single calorie. But to me, the greater gift is how I feel. My general disposition is happier than I've been in quite some time. My body just feels... different. It is so much more satisfying to be hungry and eat a wholesome, complex carb and protein filled snack. I feel full, satisfied and energized. It's a fabulous feeling.
This doesn't mean I've sworn off those items I'm supposed to avoid. Avoid does not mean eliminate! I am slowly learning, however, that the return on those treats may not always be worth the joy of eating them. Those amazing s'mores cupcakes I made? I definitely had a stomach ache after indulging. And that wasn't a fabulous feeling.
There are people out there who will say, hey - everything is fine in moderation, no need to go to this extreme. My commitment to eating clean is my way of moderating. I can still enjoy fancy desserts or other taboo items, but this commitment to feeling great and nourishing my body has, for the last four weeks, kept that urge to indulge in check.
Check out my Clean Eating tag for recipes that fit this lifestyle... there will be plenty more to come!
A few CE resources:
The Eat Clean Diet, by Tosca Reno
Eat Clean Diet
Clean Eating Magazine
Clean Eating Answers
Clean Eating Online
Evelyn's (and mine) Favorite Pasta