Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back on the Clean Eating Wagon

Day 2 of subbing 5:30am classes. The fatigue is setting in. I enjoy helping out my fellow fitness instructors, but DAMN NO if I ever will take over an early morning class. It's a struggle to haul a** out of bed at 4am to make it across town to the gym on time!

I had my 4am coffee companion though:

Since it's apparently confession time, I may or may not have purchased the entire Fast and The Furious 6 album on iTunes. And I think I love every song. At first I thought, "Why does such a terrible movie have to have such a crazy good soundtrack?!?" Then I remembered Twilight's soundtrack had the same problem :) Wanting to add these two FATF6 songs to my Zumba class ASAP:

Los Bandaleros by Don Omar

Con Locura by Sua ft. Jiggy Drama

A redeeming quality: after a week of peanut butter pie and potato chips, I am back on the clean diet wagon.

What is clean eating?

Well, it means something different to everyone, depending on which nutritional/health/fitness professional you ask. Essentially, clean eating means cutting out artificial and refined foods. Sticking to nuts, fruits, veggies, and "naturally occurring" foods.

Author and expert, Anthony Colpo, explains it thus:
Around 150 years ago, our diet underwent another radical change. New technologies allowed for the wide-scale production of sugar, refined flours and extracted vegetable fats. This led to the proliferation of highly processed, calorie-rich but nutrient-poor “convenience” foods.

To top it all off, perfectly healthy animal foods such as meats and eggs were denounced by health “experts.” Cereal grains and other low-fat foods were promoted as the epitome of healthy eating.

The end result is that we humans now get the bulk of our calories from foods that were alien to the human digestive tract for 99.7 percent of its evolutionary history. The Food and Agriculture Organization has found that Americans now get over three-quarters of their calories from staples that were non-existent during the Paleolithic age. Cereal grains now account for 22 percent of calories. Potatoes make up 3 percent. The others: Sugar and other sweeteners (18 percent), vegetable oils (17 percent), dairy products (11 percent) and alcoholic beverages (4 percent). Nutrient-dense staples like meats, eggs, nuts, fruits, vegetables and seafood once furnished nearly all of our calories. They now provide a mere 20 percent of our daily energy intake.

In a peanut shell, we need to run our body on the right fuel by minimizing processed foods and sugar.

NOW, that being's 2013 people. We are busy. We are on the go. We don't have time to make a beautiful quinoa salad for every meal. And sometimes, we just crave a Caramel Pretzel Klondike bar.


Deprivation isn't necessary...the key words are minimize and maximize. Minimize processed foods, maximize whole, nutritious foods. Here's six easy ways to "clean up" your diet:

1. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies
Aim for a fruit AND veggie at every meal. Reach for fruits and veggies as snacks. Fresh is best, in order to avoid added sugars and salt (e.g. fruit cups, canned veggies). It's summer, so you can find a lot of in-season stuff for good prices. Fresh F&V are often cheaper than long as you eat them before they go bad.

2. Cut back on the saturated fats
That means, cut back on that butter, ice cream, and cheese (*tear*sniff*...I love cheese so cutting back means no more cheese and crackers). You can still have it in moderation, but stick to olive oil for flavoring and sauteing.

3. Tank up
Drink water like it's going out of style. All day. When your bottle/glass is empty refill it and continue sipping. You will have to pee like a racehorse every 30 minutes, but it's good for your body to flush out those toxins and lubricate your cells. Don't like regular water? Try naturally flavored water. Cut back on soda. I limit myself to one Diet Coke a day. There's no way in hell I'm giving it up because Diet Coke is my homie and yeah, I'm addicted. But I stick to ONE. And water.

4. Booze mindfully
Careful about alcohol. Wine is a good option, but it can be loaded with sugar. If you're gonna booze, stick to 1-2 drinks a day. Also, alcohol is tough on your liver, so if you are trying to detox your body, a toxic chemical is probably a bad choice. Make good choices :) I'm giving up my vino until after the Spartan Race (read: two weeks away), which is going to MAJORLY SUCK, but will hopefully help my performance.

5. If it comes in a box or can, is there a way to make it from scratch?
If it's in a box or can, it's probably processed. For soups and pastas--find a great recipe on Pinterest and make it from scratch.

6. WHOLE grains
Whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, cereal. Check the box carefully to make sure it's whole grain. Look at the ingredient list to make sure that it is whole grain, not just whole wheat. For pasta, semolina should not be the first ingredient. I adore this Cooking Light guide to whole wheat breads/crackers/cereals.

Here's some stuff I've been nomming during my clean-ish regime:

Stir fry veggies with sesame seeds on brown rice. I made a big batch of of this--fried in olive oil, soy sauce, red pepper and a dash of teryaki sauce. You can eat the leftover veggies as a snack!

Agave Lemonade--Sliced some lemons and muddled them with agave nectar in a pitcher. Added water and let it sit for 6 hours. It made a light, refreshing lemonade alternative. Tart and subtly sweet. 

Southwest breakfast sandwich. Scrambled egg whites, a slice of colby jack cheese, avocado, and salsa on whole wheat bread.

Egg whites scrambled with broccoli. Topped with a bit of triple cheddar. Side of of Bagel Thins (heart them!) 

Mixed greens topped with tomato, avocado, black bean burger, and triple cheddar. For the dressing, I mixed two tablespoons light sour cream, one table spoon ranch and three tablespoons salsa--Voila! Southwest Ranch Dressing!

If you're looking for clean eating inspiration, check out the blog Oh She Glows. Lots of amazing, clean-eating (and vegan) recipes on Angela's blog.

My garden flamingos say "Happy Wednesday!"

Question of the day: Are you a morning person? What have you cleaned up in your diet recently?

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