Friday, March 29, 2013

Eating Clean(ish) in 2013

Oh my goodness... I'm on Insanity Round II.... and I cannot begin to tell you how much more stamina I have this time around, and I place it partially on how much better I am eating!

Our 'Eating Clean(ish) in 2013' is going well...(I came up with that name yesterday....what do ya think? Corny?? Perfect!)    but let's be honest. I'm not a completely Clean Eater... and I probably never will be... I love mexican food, ice cream and chocolate just like everyone else and I'm not ready to give it up......... but I can live with that fun stuff in my diet, if it's in moderation and added to clean-ish meals....

Here's what I've learned in the few weeks that I've doing this....

1) Be honest with yourself. Don't buy crap food you're not willing to try or eat. Don't even pin, print or flag the recipe if you question your ability and desire to eat it. Don't waste the time and money.

2. Look at the ingredients. Here are some helpful hints.....
---If the 'ingredients list' consists of more than 5 ingredients and you cannot pronounce (or buy) the ingredients....don't get it!
---If it came from a plant.... eat it. If it's made IN a plant (factory) don't get it...
---If it has a commercial, don't get it.
---Think about if you would fill your belly with the item you're contemplating (that package of cookies, maybe??) If you wouldn't want to eat that and only that for a day, put it back.
---If your food can go bad, it's good for you. If doesn't go bad, it's bad for you.

3. Meal Plan. Just going to the store and buying fruits, vegetables and grains will cost you a lot of money and it stinks to just pitch them when they're rotten. Think about your schedule for the week, plan out your meals and buy the foods only for those meals and snacks.

4. Eat more than 3 times a day. Clean(ish) meals don't fill you up quite like Midwest meals (complete with gravy, cheese, sauce, etc) do and you're going to feel hungry more often.... Eating clean websites suggest eating 6 times a day to help with calorie intake and metabolism, but heck... I just eat more often because I'm hungrier eating these kinds of meals. Keep snacks with you! Onto number 5....

5. Make your own pre-packaged snacks. Buy containers of fruit, veggies, grains, etc and baggy (that is SO a verb!) them into snack size servings. Keep them together in a "snack spot." You're much more likely to choose a healthy snack if it's as convenient as a candy bar or bag of cookies. I do this every time that I come home from the store when my adrenaline is still pumping and the high hasn't worn down from the awesome food that I bought.

6. Do all your work in one night. Same as the snacks--- clean, chop and package food for the week in one evening. If you make smoothies, prepackage the fruit and freeze so it's quick and easy to grab. If you do crock-pot meals, baggy all the ingredients and freeze until you're ready to throw it in the crock-pot. I find it helpful just to clean and vegetables so that they are easy to grab for a snack or side dish.

7. Shop the perimeter of the store. Unless you're buying household items, seasonings or grains, stay to the perimeter of your grocery section. You'll find most of what you need out there... and won't be tempted to buy junk.  This is a huge one for me.... temptation makes it's hard!

8. There are a lot of people that eat 'clean(ish).' I'm not the only one. I was afraid I would seem weird for wanting to cut out parts of my diet but leave others (like eating out) but there are a lot of people in this world doing the same thing... Pinterest is full of "Eating Clean(ish)" boards that include ideas for incorporating grains, fruits and vegetables in with other foods. I can still use some 'store-bought' ingredients to make a healthier dish. I don't have to be a Martha Stewart or Paula Deen in the kitchen and know how to make every ingredient from scratch. It's doesn't all have to organic, natural and whole. I CAN clean up some areas and live with moderation of other things that I enjoy. I don't have to be a "hippie" to do this. I can make trade-offs and still be eating better. I love salads, but I love french or ranch dressings.....I've tried other dressings and they just don't satisfy me, but I've decided that it is better to indulge in the creamy dressing if it means eating more vegetables.

9. It's not as hard or gross as you may think. When I first started, I felt as though it would be a punishment for me... but it's really not been. My husband was very concerned about what this would change for him... and after a very healthy (and clean) meal, I asked what he thought. He said, "That was....whatever you call it...clean? That was really good!" Even men like it! :) When I started, I often ordered salads as sides, chicken for the main course and a fruit cup for dessert....but I'm learning to make better choices within what I already knew as 'healthy.' Chicken covered in cheese and bacon... yeah, not the best choice. Never ordering vegetables....bad. Processed foods... superbad. It's all about making yourself aware of what you're eating... what's in it, how it's made, and what it does for your body. 

10. There are so many resources for Eating Clean and Eating Clean(ish). Pinterest of course is my favorite because they are all in one spot.

If you're considering eating clean, I highly recommend it. It's really not that hard and it's definitely not a punishment. Feel free to follow me on my Pinterest board for Eating Clean(ish) or comment any questions you might have. I'm new to this, too.. so we can learn together! : )

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