‘Clean Eating’ is the ‘new’ buzz word in the world of wellness and it’s not so difficult to do.
In a nutshell, clean eating is a simple concept that revolves less around the idea of ingesting specific food or focusing on fewer calories or more protein, it’s more about the idea of being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate. In simple terms, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or as I like to put it ‘real’ food! This is all about consuming minimal processed, refined, and handled food, making them as close to their natural form as possible. The challenge is that modern food production has become so sophisticated that simply eating whole foods can be a challenging proposition, but let me share how I took this path and have not looked back.
The first thing to point out is that my approach is most definitely NOT a ‘quick fix’, so you won’t find any reference to fad diets or crazy exercise routines. My wellness journey evolved over 12 – 18 months as I made significant shifts in my diet that over time have given me rewarding results. I have lost over 2 stone (24lb) (13kg) and I’ve gone down from a size 14 to a size 10 as the fat has just melted away!
The first step on my ‘wellness’ journey was to face up and acknowledge that what I was consuming was not delivering the nutrients or fuel that my body needed for optimum health.
Until you just wake up and admit that what you are eating and drinking is not supporting your health, you will never jump aboard the wellness train. You will simply remain in denial, feeling under par, OVERWEIGHT, tired, moody and frustrated.
If you read my introduction ‘Wellness in Action starts here‘, you will see that I simply took ACTION on the information I was researching and followed through. I didn’t give up on the concept of clean eating when the going got tough, (and it did) I was too determined to ‘clean up my act‘ and as I’ve already said the results have been totally worth it.
But it’s not about me because this is YOUR journey to a healthier life, but I hope I might inspire you to take action and follow through to a healthier you before your health starts to bear down on you.
Clean eating is not so hard
To be honest, what I’m going to share with you is not rocket science, but I think you know that. We have been fed so many lies about what is good and bad for us for so many years, that it’s no wonder so many of us have ended up overweight, suffering various addictions, and feeling under par. The Western food industry has hoodwinked us into believing so much false information and here are just a few marketing lies that have led us to be FAT and potentially drive us into an early grave.
- Eating CEREAL is a ‘healthy’ option – NO, breakfast cereals are processed foods containing GMO’s and are full of sugar.
- FAST FOOD is healthy and convenient – Fast food is highly processed, full of trans fats, calories and sodium.
- ALCOHOL makes you happy and relaxes you – Alcohol is a depressant when over consumed and full of toxins.
- Zero sugar SODA drinks are ‘healthier’ for you – NO, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose is still sugar and bad for you.
- LOW-FAT foods will support ‘weight loss’ – NO, generally they are loaded with refined carbs and sugar.
It is a minefield out there, and what’s alarming is obesity is on the rise in both adults and more seriously in children. Fast food outlets market themselves as a fun and happy place to eat but it’s ‘trash’ to our bodies, low in nutrients, very high in fat and calories, and it’s cheap to buy making it a target for the youngsters.
On the flip side, when you get focused on how amazing your body is, you’ll find you won’t want to make bad food choices any longer. Simple, natural, wholesome food will begin to taste amazing, once you’ve eliminated the high fat, sugar and salty foods from your diet. Now I will be up front with you and acknowledge that there will be some food and drink that you are most likely addicted to, so be prepared for some discomfort as you wean yourself off them, but bust through to the other side and you will find the rest of this lifestyle shift a breeze, and you will love the new YOU.
There is a chance you might have a slight or serious addiction to sugar, salt and alcohol and weaning yourself off these highly addictive substances may not be easy. Wellness in action is about getting your life back, controlling what you put in your mouth and breaking these habits will liberate you and stop holding you back from being the best you can be.
Do you relate to any of these health challenges?
- Yo-yo dieting
- Year on year weight gain
- Bad quality sleep
- Depression and mood swings
- Aching joints
- Bad skin, hair, and nails
- Digestion issues
- Flatulence, loose and smelly stools
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol
- Bad breath
- Internal inflammation of organs and joints
- Reduced absorption of nutrients
You may not be suffering from all of the above but you may be thinking it’s ‘normal’ to feel the way you do. If you just take stock of your diet you could eliminate many of these unhealthy symptoms as most of the issues on the list are reversible through diet. So if you feel in the danger zone or already suffer from Diabetes or high blood pressure don’t rely on your doctor to fix you, take control of your body and give it a chance to heal itself. If you’ve done all you can, or you have some hereditary issues then by all means, turn to medicine to get things under control, but please HELP YOURSELF FIRST.
I hope I can cut through the ‘noise’ and give you a starting point so you can begin your journey. I really don’t think it matters what order you embrace or attack the changes in, just start and be consistent and dedicated to YOU.
Just jump in the driving seat and stop being a passanger of your life!
Let’s get SUGAR licked
This might shock you but if you are consuming sugary drinks, snack food, baked goods, cereal and other processed food you could be consuming up to 22 spoonfuls of sugar a day, which is significantly higher than the recommended 6 – 9 teaspoons! So it’s a BIG problem and really important you wean yourself off it.
Focus on your Drinks
Ditch soda completely – 12 ounces of cola or orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and cranberry juice a whopping 12 teaspoons. Start the weaning process by replacing these sugar ladened drinks with plain water with a splash of lemon or lime if needed, or drink fresh herbal tea. If you can only reduce one sugary item at a time, then every week reduce your number of servings until the healthier options have completely replaced the sweetened drinks.
My partner, Neil just went ‘cold turkey’ on sugar and stopped putting it in his tea and coffee. Quite quickly he was enjoying herbal teas as his taste buds readjusted and now he can’t stand sugary drinks – so persevere!
Balance Your Blood Sugar
While you are moving towards your healthy diet just keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day because when it plummets your cravings for sugar will skyrocket. So eat regular meals and healthy snacks to supply your body with a steady stream of glucose, which is the fuel for your cells.
Whole food not processed
If the food you’ve been eating comes from a box or carton have a rethink. Even seemingly ‘healthy’ processed foods can be loaded with sugar and salt to enhance their taste. Ready-to-eat cereals, baked goods, granola and protein bars, fruit yoghurt and even frozen foods can come with significant amounts of added sugar and salt. A good tip is to steer your shopping trolley away from the centre aisles of the supermarket. This is where the processed foods are sitting, so load up on healthier whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and seeds. Commit to reducing the processed food you consume each week and begin to love FRESH tasty NATURAL FOOD.
Ditch sugary desserts as part of your clean eating focus
If you love something sweet after a meal start by cutting back on the number of times you indulge in your week. Substitute with fruit or dried fruit and ditch ice-cream for fresh fruit or sorbets. Instead of a chocolate bar or slice of chocolate cake, treat yourself to a serving of 70+ percent dark chocolate. (We love a piece of dark chocolate after a meal as it really hits the spot). Continue weaning until dessert is the exception rather than the rule. As you reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, you will reset your taste buds and lose your cravings for sweets.
I know plenty of people believe that moderate amounts of alcohol are not bad for our health but the reality is people tend to eat more when drinking alcohol and increasing alcohol consumption over time has been identified as a risk factor for long-term weight gain and disease. So my question to you is why do it? We think it makes us happier or relaxes us, but as someone who doesn’t consume alcohol anymore, I can tell you, NOT drinking sets you free! You will love the freedom of NOT being addicted, you’ll eat less salty snacks and consume fewer calories. You will love the feeling of not waking up with a hangover, experience better quality sleep and you’ll have more pennies in your pocket! For me, it was the ‘elephant in the room’ and a no-brainer to kick the drink, something I will champion every time. BUT if quitting is a step too far, just limit your alcohol consumption to a couple of nights a week.
Reduce your meat consumption or GO VEGGIE!
- It’s becoming apparent that a plant-based diet is healthier for you.
- Compassion for animals
But I’m not going to tell you what’s best for you, that really is for you to decide but honestly, I feel so much healthier now that I’ve cut meat and processed foods from my diet … end of.
My body and taste buds simply don’t crave fast or unhealthy foods. My mind is focused on a well-planned plant-based diet that I love, and I eat LOADS. Being vegetarian encourages me to avoid fast food and countless other convenient foods that are darn right unhealthy and always seem to be right under your nose!
In my mind, there is no question that a well-planned plant-based diet is healthier for you.
Saying all of that, if you lean more towards a whole-food diet with a lower intake of meat and processed foods, well that’s better than nothing. I just know that passing up on meat, sugar and processed food is way easier with a vegetarian focus and the fun of making your own ‘real’ food and enjoying more fruits and vegetables is something I love.
The results for me and my partner Neil are really amazing. Steady weight loss is the best approach along with exercise to suit your lifestyle. We live in a lovely area so choose to walk a minimum of 30 minutes every day, which is totally achievable for anyone who is focused on their health. If you prefer to do more then GREAT! I hope this article inspires you to start your journey and that it works for you too.
To your success