Clean Eating for Dirty Bodies

By Cathy Thurber

I follow a lot of serious fitness people on Instagram.  One thing I’ve noticed is that so many of them talk about “clean eating.”  Being as I need to really shed some pounds myself, I’ve decided to look into it.  The main idea behind clean eating is that you’re trying to get rid of any added sugars, hydrogenated fats, trans-fats, and basically anything that is unnatural.  From what I understand, not only will you lose weight, eating like this will give you much more energy.  I’m all about that!  If you’re thinking about trying to take all those unnecessary ingredients out of your diet, here are a few tips:

–     Eat more – but smaller – meals a day.  Six meals, to be exact: breakfast, lunch, dinner and three snacks.  You’re trying to eat every few hours so that your metabolism remains high and you are continually burning calories at an even pace.  Not only that, you probably will curb your hunger with the meals spaced out evenly.
–     Cut down on the amount of sugar you eat.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of added sugars that Americans consume (I read that it’s an extra 30 teaspoons a day!).  If you skip the processed foods that hide all the hidden added sugars you’ll be in good shape.  Not to mention all the sugar (and chemicals) in that pop you’re drinking.  Instead, reach for a piece of fruit which is loaded with natural sugar and just might help your sweet tooth.
–     All that junk food you love?  Sugar and calorie filled….not to mention just not nutritional at all.  Of course, we all knew that – we just have specific things we love (or have an addiction to) that we really don’t want to give up.  I never said this would be easy!  Try keeping as many fresh fruits and vegetables around as you can.  This way you can add one serving in to every meal.
–     Watch your salt intake!  I know I need to watch this, since heart disease runs in my family.  Restaurant , prepared, and processed foods tend to be very high in sodium.  So, what’s the solution?  Cook at home and use fresh ingredients! Try not to use extra salt, but add your flavor through herbs and spices.  For me, this means I have to develop a meal plan ahead of time and work it around my crazy schedule. This way, I know what I’m going to make instead of coming home at 8:30pm and standing in front of the refrigerator for 10 minutes before I run back out to buy a pizza.
–     Choose whole grains – and remember, just because it’s wheat bread doesn’t mean it’s whole grain!  You’ll want to look for breads, rice and pasta that aren’t just brown but are made with 100% whole grains.  Also, whole grain pastas taste much better these days – so if you only remember the horrible taste from a few years ago, give the pastas another try.
Only healthy, unsaturated fats, please!  This means cut down on the fat that’s in your butter, milk, cheese & meats.  Try to get your fat from olive oil, avocados and nuts.  Look for lean meats, chicken and fish to add into your diet.
–     Drink Water!  This is the hardest one for me…I NEVER get enough water.  In fact, I need people to remind me to drink!  Drinking those 8 glasses a day will really help your body.  Think about it – your body is basically 60% water and it’s necessary for our organs to function.  It can only make you feel better.  If you’re like me and you can only drink so much water in a day….add a squirt of lemon or lime to your glass so that you get a different taste.

Good luck on putting those whole, natural & fresh foods into your diet.   Just remember  –  stay calm and eat clean!

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