When I tell people that I "eat clean", I usually get a deer in headlights look, or I'm asked how long I plan to be on my "diet". It's clear that there are so many misconceptions and different ideas of what eating clean actually entails. First off, it's a lifestyle for me, not a "diet".
So, why eat clean? From a fitness perspective, you will not see results if you run 1,000,000 miles on the treadmill per day and then go wolf down some McDonalds (I learned this the hard way). Eating clean, whole foods provides boundless energy for exercise and fuels your body to change.
Here's a breakdown of what clean eating entails, as well as what I eat everyday:
-Plants: As in straight from the ground, not in a can or processed in any other way.
Some of my favorite plants include kale, arugula, eggplant, and zucchini.
-Meat: Buy whole meats. There are so many chemicals and gross things that are added to many pre-packaged meats. I am really weird about meat, which I'm sure I've mentioned here before. I do not eat red meat, I eat bacon sometimes, and big chunks of chicken (i.e. chicken breasts) really gross me out. Meats I cook with regularly include farmed shrimp (purchased raw), salmon, and ground turkey (purchased from the butcher at Whole Foods). Meats with some fat on them are good for you--an idea that many are not singing to the tune of. For example, most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.
-Grains: I'm very careful with grains because 1. I've found that eating a lot of grains does not result in the best outcome for me fitness wise, and 2. consuming many kinds of grains results in a spike in blood sugar and lends to other health problems. For these reasons, I completely avoid wheat and white/refined bread and rice. My favorite grains to cook with in moderation include quionua, brown rice, and brown rice pasta.
-Fats & Carbs: Raw almond butter is my all time favorite snack. This means only ground almonds, no other ingredients. At night, I eat a big spoonful with a granny smith apple, and during the day I eat a brown rice cake topped with almond butter. Sweet Potatoes have become my favorite carb since I transitioned to eating clean. I'm continually discovering new ways to prepare them, but some of my favorites are making them mashed with cinnamon, as well as sweet potato has browns.
Another super important practice to abide by is to read labels when you do buy something in a package. Just the other day, I bought coconut yogurt (dairy and soy free), but neglected to read the label when I was at the store. As I was about to use the yogurt, I glanced at the nutrition label to see that there were 20g of sugar per serving!! In the trash it went. Just another reminder to my usual label conscious self to continue to check nutrition facts!
Check out my Dinner Pinterest board for some clean eating ideas, but please note that they're not all "clean". I pin some recipes with the intent to "clean" them up myself =)
How many of you practice a clean eating lifestyle? What are your favorite recipes?