I am embarking on a mission to EAT CLEAN and I would love it if you joined me! The reason I am making this change is not to lose weight but simply to live a more healthy lifestyle. I often feel drained and low on energy which I know can be attributed to the foods I eat. Instead of eating mindlessly, I strive to be more conscious about what I’m using to fuel my mind and body. Are you interested in eating clean? Then keep on reading
Eating clean to me just means eating foods that are good for you and avoiding junk food or processed foods. This isn’t a diet but it can definitely help in weight loss if you pair it with an active lifestyle. The hardest part about making any type of lifestyle change is breaking habits. You are programmed to crave certain foods so I don’t suggest you cut out all bad foods instantly. For some this might work but I noticed that most people don’t do well with going completely cold-turkey. I suggest you gradually implement healthier choices and take it step by step by setting small, attainable goals (don’t drink soda for a week for instance) and then reward yourself when you reach those goals.
Here are some basic tips you can follow when trying to eat clean:
1) Keep a food journal
This is the start of your journey. You can’t change anything without first knowing which food habits you have. Are you someone who craves sweets or are you more drawn towards salty snacks? Do you eat because of emotional reasons or out of boredom? Write down what you eat and especially for snacks also why you chose to eat that. It will give you an idea of the dishes or ingredients you eat the most; you can then search for healthier alternatives. You could also use pictures if you don’t like writing or simply prefer a visual approach.
2) Drink up
Water has to become your best friend during this journey. It will leave you feeling fuller which will decrease your desire to snack. If you find unflavored water too bland you could always add some lemon or try different tea flavors. I used to drink quite a lot of soda but I have managed to pretty much cut it out of my diet. As I said previously, it’s okay to take baby steps and gradually lower the amount of soda you drink. Also try to limit the amount of juice you drink, especially if it’s purchased and not freshly made. Water is the best way to go
3) Read the labels
Know what you are eating! I’m by no means an expert on what’s good and what’s not good as far as ingredients go but I especially pay attention to the calories, sugar and sodium content. And if an item has too many ingredients I cannot pronounce or have no idea what they are, I don’t buy it either. You can go for organic if you would like but it’s not a prerequisite to eat clean in my opinion.
4) No fast fix
The hardest part about eating clean is saying no to a fast fix. I know it’s easy to have microwaveable meals on hand for those days when you don’t feel like cooking. But let’s face it; those meals are usually not the healthiest. Even if they are low in calories, they often have a high sodium or sugar content or are packed with preservatives. I do not expect you to cook with fresh ingredients every day but how about looking up some healthy recipes, cooking those when you have a day off and then storing them in the freezer? Make your own healthy and homemade microwaveable meals.
5) SWAP IT!
As a last tip I want to show you that you can often make small changes which can have a big impact. You could swap ingredients you use everyday for some healthier ones, for instance:
- coffee => tea
- butter => olive oil
- white (bread, rice, …) => brown (bread, rice, …)
- candy => fruit
- liquor => wine
- salt => herbs & spices
The easiest way to eat clean is to change the foods you purchase: keep healthy food accessible and unhealthy foods away. And prepare! Search online or buy some healthy cookbooks and plan your meals ahead of time. This will limit the amount of fast fixes (which usually consist of junk food) you eat. Purchase healthy snacks to carry with you to school or your workplace. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients you haven’t had before. Make this an exciting journey by discovering new foods.
I wrote this post to let you know what I am trying to change in my life and share some useful tips. By no means do I claim to be a nutritionist or have any professional knowledge on the matter. I am just a woman trying to live a more healthy lifestyle so feel free to tag along on my journey and give me your input as well!