For the MOST part we eat clean at my house. Note that I said :FOR THE MOST PART...so don't call me out when you see me stuffing a juicy burger in my face. Ha! Yes, people have called me out when they have seen me eating, gasp, junk food! Everything in moderation is what I say. Our day to day eating is pretty much 'clean eating', but we will celebrate too. I actually celebrated from Thanksgiving until January 3rd by filling my body with anything that was offered, many trips to Starbucks, and a nightly martini. It was fun, but my belly, intestines, skin, and mood paid for it too.
What is clean eating???? I could be totally wrong, but I will tell you what it means to me:
To me, clean eating is eating as close to nature as possible. Fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meats, non-processed foods, very little fats, and eating as much made from scratch as possible. If I cannot pronounce an ingredient, we try our best to avoid it. This is not to say that we NEVER eat Blue Bell Ice Cream or Taco Cabana, just not regularly. I do not use all organic foods either, but eat organically where we can afford it. Honestly, we cannot afford the $7.99 chicken at whole foods to feed 5 very hungry people, but we do the best we can. A huge part of this is growing vegetables in my small garden and eating what I am growing each season.
Clean eating did not happen overnight for us. It was a process that happened naturally and took place over a few years. It started simply with just trying to cook everything from scratch. Then it was baby steps: replacing white pasta with whole wheat pasta, switching from white potatoes to sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower, adding almond milk slowly to our diet, making air popped popcorn instead microwaved, using olive and coconut oils for cooking, slowly eliminating sugar from my morning coffee.
I started to get to a point where I was getting very frustrated. I did strength training, cardio, and yoga regularly and I was eating what I thought was a good diet, but I was not seeing any results. How irritating it was to work SO hard and not see any changes. How frustrating it was to run a race and have stomach cramps and no energy at the end. How disappointing to try to strength train, but never see any muscle tone.
I was ready to give up and just go back to our old way of eating, but instead I walked up to the intimidating, strong, and beautiful fitness competitors, elite athletes, and fitness models at the gym and asked them for advice.So picture the awkward and dorky me walking up to these fitness goddesses "Uh...Um...I noticed you are in great shape and stuff...uh...so, what are you eating?" (insert a dork-tastic voice). I heard the same thing over and over :
1) The way you eat is 80% related to your physical performance, endurance, and they way your body looks.
2) I was not eating enough!!! (Stunned silent at this one)
3) Eat more fats (what the????)
I took what they said to heart and made some bigger changes. I cut out all alcohol. I cut out refined sugars. I replaced anything white (flour, rice, pasta, bread) with brown and whole. I added healthy fats in the forms of avocado, almonds, walnuts, olive oil, salmon, and soy and almond milk. (And NO...soy milk will not give your sons BOOBS). I started cooking most of our foods using recipes from Clean Eating Mag. I also ate more! I ate MUCH more!
I did not change my workout routine, but friends starting commenting within weeks about how more lean and toned I looked. They kept asking me what my secret was and if I was taking fat burners (NO WAY WILL THOSE EVER ENTER MY BODY). No secrets, just clean eating, no alcohol, and avoiding refined sugars and flours. (Except, you know, the way I ate everything over the holidays). An added bonus was what clean eating has done for my kids. They are sleeping well, eating well, and doing better in school. I have seen a huge turn around in their attention spans and the teachers have even commented on the improvement.
I'm not going to lie to you. This is hard and takes discipline, but I think that making it a slow process and allowing myself some "bad foods" sometimes is what worked for me.
This is how I started our clean eating journey: Before I shop I plan a 2 week menu using Clean Eating Magazine and make my list from there. When I come home from grocery shopping, I wash, chop, and prep all of my fruits and veggies. It is a lot of work, but it is so much easier just to be able to grab a handful of veggies and throw them into my eggs in the morning or throw some chopped fruit into my kids lunchboxes.
Although I am a photographer , you will probably see a lot of iPhone pics on here. I had to take this one from my Instagram account:
I have gotten requests to show what I eat in a day, so I will get to that in the next blog post.
Is there any interest in seeing an example of my menu and grocery list?
Until the next post, THANK YOU so much for all of the kind words and encouragement. YOU will all motivate me and keep me in check. I hope that in return, you can take away a little something from this blog.