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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Take on Clean Eating

By now you have seen me mentioning my new favorite magazine, Clean Eating, adding a Clean Eating tag, and just randomly throwing out bits of information here and there. I figured it was time to expand on that and discuss what clean eating (CE) means to me!

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
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Natural sugar sources: honey, agave nectar
  • Nuts
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Low fat cheese/ cottage cheese
  • Low fat (Greek) yogurt
What not to eat:
  • Processed foods
  • White flour
  • Processed sugar (white, brown, etc)
  • Foods high in saturated/trans fats
  • Sugary drinks (fruit juice, soda/pop, etc)
  • Artificial sweeteners
How to eat it:
  • 5 to 6 small meals a day
  • Eat every 2 to 3 hours
  • Combine complex carb and lean protein at every meal
What to drink:
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!

Stuffed Zucchini

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


Jennifer said...

This sounds like something I would like to do also, I might even try to make my own bagels with your recipe this weekend. I can't wait to read your next CE post!

Molly Jean said...

WOW! You weren't kidding when you said August was a successful month for you too! 10 pounds... I am VERY impressed. I am looking forward to following your new direction of CE and I am finally going to tackle those bagels ;)

Rose said...

I <3 Tosca Reno & The Clean Eating diet. Great book, recipes, etc... It really changes your life! Eating real food, well balanced and eating what your body needs :D Great blog!

Anonymous said...

I have been very interested in the Clean Eating concept. This is a very imformative post! ::Off to browse your CE recipes::

Anonymous said...

Great post! I was happy to see a lot of my diet seems to fall in line with "clean". Thanks for sharing your clean (and sweet!) recipes on here,
~new blog follower

Wendy said...

Great post, I'm right there with you. I'm a huge fan of clean eating -- it's easy and inspiring when you find a clean eating groove!

Have you read the current issue of Clean Eating Magazine? The no-bake chocolate chips cookies with cacao and agave have been a huge hit with my family and my clients!

TPOX said...

Thanks everyone!

Wendy - Yes, I love those cookies! I keep them in the freezer because they otherwise don't stay together for me. I posted them here: http://tpox-proceedwithcaution.blogspot.com/2009/08/no-bake-chocolate-chip-cookies.html :-)

Tracey said...

What a great post! Thank you so much for explaining about Clean Eating. I've heard a lot about it but never really knew exactly what it meant. Kudos to you for making the commitment and congrats on your weight loss :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds really interesting. I try to eat clean, but I had no idea how much further this could go.

Is there many options for someone who doesn't eat seafood? I would love to try this, but being that I don't eat seafood, I would worry about being able to stick with it on a regular basis, given how many recipes are out due to seafood.

TPOX said...

togetherbetter - I think there are plenty of options for non-fish eaters. We rarely eat seafood, and when we do, it's a plain white fish like tilapia, or shrimp. I'm trying to incorporate them more, but it's really only once or twice a month now.

I'm not sure what the guidelines are for red meat, since we don't eat any in this house I just didn't bother with that. But I'm pretty sure there have been some red meat recipes in the Clean Eating books and sites I've been too. We're pretty much all poultry, all the time. :-)

Andi? said...

My husband and I have been trying something like this but we didn't have a name for it! Particularly with respect to avoiding processed foods, and eating more whole fruits and vegetables. It has been great, and we feel great.

Elizabeth Treusdell Brunetti said...

I LOVE Clean Eating magazine! I'm so glad to have found your blog - a great, realistic combination of clean eating and little indulgences here and there! Way to be healthy!

JanaLeigh said...

My family of seven recently switched to clean eating, and we are loving it. After four weeks, I am already down 5 lbs. and feel...HEALTHY! I'm go glad I found your blog! :) I too want to make good food for my family that also TASTES GOOD. Who says you can't enjoy food and eat GOOD FOR YOU food? :)

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