At this time of year, more than any other, people look at making positive changes in their diet and overall health. If you’re thinking of making the switch to a new healthy lifestyle, eating clean is a great place to start, but remember that it’s a commitment to change your overall lifestyle – it’s not just a diet.
Kickstart Fat Loss
The concept of eating clean is, at its core, a pretty simple one – reduce the consumption of foods that aren’t of any real benefit to you and replace them with foods that have high nutritional value.
The easiest way to kickstart fat loss is by eliminating foods from your diet that have low (or no) nutritional value.
This is really the most difficult part of eating clean. So many of us have been indulging in these “bad” foods for so long that it’s tough to just cut them out of our diet. This just reinforces the idea that this is not a temporary “diet”, this is a commitment to a lifestyle change. Get started by eliminating things like:
- Processed Foods – Processed Cheeses & Snacks, Frozen Prepared Foods
- Simple Carbs – Pasta, White Bread, Cookies, Sugary Cereals
- High Fat Foods – Chips, French Fries, Chicken Wings, Cream Sauces
By eliminating these foods completely, and replacing them with whole, healthy food sources, you will see immediate changes in body composition and start feeling better in a matter of days. Eating clean not only supports your health and well being, but it also fuels your workouts and helps you recover after a hard workout or cardio session.
Start At The Store
Keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy foods begins at the grocery store. This can sometimes be a challenge for those who are just getting started, or for those who aren’t used to reading labels.
Make sure to get your greens in! These vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts are loaded with nutrients that support overall health and maintain the pH balance in your body. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as red and yellow peppers are loaded with essential nutrients that can help reduce cholesterol, help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer, and support the health of internal organs.
A little known fact – although people often think of oranges when it comes to vitamin C, yellow bell peppers have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C out of any fruit or vegetable!
Variety is the key to establishing a diet which covers all of your body’s needs, so try new produce whenever you can.
Cereals & Grains
When talking about cereals, your best bet is to eliminate processed “cereal” all together. Stick with oats (unflavored porridge) and cream of wheat, and the occasional serving of All Bran if you’re feeling a little backed up. Granola cereals aren’t the worst choice, but they often contain a significant amount of sugar.
Shopping for grains goes far beyond your typical bread and bagels.
There are a plethora of whole grain options out there, when choosing a bread it’s important to read the label – make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat or whole grain.
Try to avoid products which are high in sugar or additives. One of the best bread choices is Ezekiel bread, which is gluten free and is a great source of fiber.
Protein options are almost endless. Whether you’re a meat-eater or not, there are a ton of good protein choices out there. Staples like chicken, beef and tuna are always available, but adding in some variety is always nice, low-fat ground turkey and bison are both delicious and nutritious. Pork tenderloin is another good one, it’s lean and can be simmered in a slow-cooker for an easy meal.
For those who don’t eat meat, options include tofu, eggs (or egg whites), tempeh, soybeans, legumes, cottage cheese, and yogurt. On top of this there is huge selection of seafood which contains easily digestible protein and omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, orange roughy, arctic char and tilapia.
Always Read the Label
Reading labels might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy. First look at the ingredients. Try to make sure the first few ingredients are healthy and clean. Try to avoid corn syrup, fructose, syrups, and artificial sweeteners. Second, look at the serving size, is it 1 cup or is it 1/4 cup? This may help you establish if the serving size is realistic or if you’re bound to eat 2 or 3 times the recommended amount. Look at the calories, fat, protein, sugar and fiber. Generally, you want to find a product that is low in fat (especially saturated and trans fats), low in sugar (less than 10 g/serving) and high in protein and fiber.
When moving to 4 or 5 smaller meals per day, supplementation can be a great addition to any meal plan. Getting in the recommended 1 g of protein per lb of body weight can sometimes be tricky – a protein shake is a great way to temporarily curb your appetite and also get in a good serving of protein. Some options you may want to consider are ISOFLEX, an ultra pure whey protein isolate, or, HEXAPRO, a delicious 6-protein-blend which provides a slower absorption rate, keeping you fuller, longer.
To maintain an optimal pH balance, and to provide your body with a series of anti-oxidants, try CYTOGREENS, it delivers chlorophyll-rich green superfoods like spirulina, cracked-cell chlorella and matcha green tea, with no fillers, no colors, and no artificial sweeteners.
Keeping it Clean
Planning out your meals, and making the most of your shopping trips will help keep you stay committed and on track to achieve that new body you’re working towards. It’s important to remember that while you’re eating clean it’s o.k. to slip once in a while, we’re only human after all. The important thing it to keep these “cheat” meals under control, and try and limit them to special occasions once a week. Alongside of this, try some of our healthy recipes to keep things interesting while you adapt to your new clean eating lifestyle. As they say, “variety is the spice of life”.