Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What is it?

A lot of people ask me what I am doing to loose weight.  I tell people it's 20% exercise & 80% nutrition.  Yes, I 'check in' and log/brag about how many calories I burned at the gym, but all that wouldn't matter if I ate like crap.  This is where I got introduced to clean eating.  Instead of taking diet pills/shots and switching to a diet I knew I couldn't maintain, I did a little research about clean eating before I made the switch.  A friend of mine told me to check out The Gracious Pantry, and I am so glad that I did.  Her site is so amazing and the information she gives is a clear understanding that "Clean Eating" can be customized to your daily life. 

For me, Clean Eating, is cutting out all processed foods and take-out.  I actually read the labels on everything I buy and try to stick with organic foods where I can actually pronounce the names of ingredients that are in my food.  I also eat 5-6 times a day.  So instead of eating 3 big meals a day I eat 5-6 small meals that are jam packed with protein, grain, vegetables, & fruit.  I hardly eat at restaurants anymore.  I can't tell you how much better I feel physically, mentally, & financially. 

There are different Clean Eating Methods that she shares on her site and here are just a few:

There are many people simply looking to remove the chemicals from their diets and bodies, and therefore eat clean. Their focus is NOT on losing weight, but on general health.They avoid processed foods of all kinds, yet eat only when the need arises or three times per day.

(I believe this is the most common/popular method at the moment)
  1. Eat Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
  2. Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
  3. Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.
  4. Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.
  6. Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!
There is also another method of eating 3 regular meals and squeezing in 1 snack for a total of 4 meals. You eat every four hours instead of every 2-3. This concept is from Jillian Michaels and the theory behind it is that if you eat every 2-3 hours, your insulin stays continuously spiked and you end up with a higher chance of diabetes.

So if you are reading this and say "I do all this", then you are eating clean!!!  If you want to start eating clean, you can start off slow by replacing one meal a day to something totally clean.  Another thing The Gracious Pantry offers, is RECIPES :)

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