What does clean eating, mean? At its simplest, clean eating is about eating whole foods, or “real” foods — those that are un- or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to their natural form as possible.
Please note the key here is whole foods and minimally processed. I know that It is very hard and inconvenient to stay with 100% unprocessed foods. Lets face it, it is much easier to open up a can of black beans, rinse and toss on top of your salad, than soaking dried beans overnight, cooking them for hours, let them cool down and then toss on your salad. So it is okay to use some processed foods as long as the process that they go through and the preservatives used are not taking away from its nutritional value or are not harmful to our bodies. In case of canned goods, be cautious of the amount of sodium added and if possible rinse them well before consuming. Also make sure the can lining is BPA free (BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure).
So how can we eat clean and don’t spend hours preparing and cooking our foods?
This is why I have created these serious of blog posts. For the next few weeks, I am going to go through a step by step clean eating journey with you guys and how make it easy and possible to do for your whole family.
Without further due, lets start with the first step:
The first step in eating clean is a clean environment.
Here is a step by step guide to prep your environment:
- First things first, you need to make sure you have a supportive environment. Nothing is worse than starting a journey and half way through you find yourself all alone with no support. Talk to your family and see who is with you in this journey. Or even better explain to them why they need to start eating clean and get on this journey with you. Find friends who support you and keep you accountable in your journey. If none of this is possible, use social media to your advantage and find like minded people on social media. I am thinking about creating a free clean eating group on Facebook, If that is something that interests you, please let me know, by leaving a comment below.
- Now that you got your support group all set, it is time to get rid of your temptations. Your goal should be to avoid processed junk foods as much as possible, In the next few weeks, I am going to go into details on how to shop for your food, but for now lets stick to general junk foods that we all are very familiar with. Get rid of those bags of chips, cookies, candies, pastries, anything with refined and processed sugar and flour. It is up to you what you want to do with them, but get them as far away from your access as possible. Here is the reason, if you have these junk foods available to you, you will consume them. No matter how good you are at self discipline, it will come the day that you crave that bag of chips and if it is in your pantry, you will reach for it and before you realize, you have eaten the whole thing. So don’t put yourself in that situation and get rid of them.
- Keep your environment clean. You are the boss of your health and the boss in your house now. Don’t let anyone buy and bring junk foods to your house. Here is what I do at my house, I always go grocery shopping with a list and avoid the aisles that have my trigger junk foods. If my husband is doing the grocery shopping I give him the list and since we are both in this journey together, he sticks to the list. One more reason to get your family involved in your journey.
- Plan ahead and be prepared. When you are hungry, it is too late to think about what you are going to eat. The chances that you will pick up unhealthy foods on an empty stomach is much higher than when you are full. If you work, pack your lunch and prep your breakfast the night before, so you are not leaving the house hungry. Please see my post on “4 steps closer to healthy meals all week“, to get some ideas on how to prep your meals for the week.
- Don’t get discouraged. This step is very important. We are all humans and from time to time we get cravings that are almost impossible to resist. In this case, satisfy your cravings, and immediately get back to your eating clean plan. The issue will arise, when you let that one incident becomes the stopping point of your journey. Here is an example, last weekend we were at the beach and my husband and I got hungry and were craving some fish and chips, so we went to a restaurant at the beach and had a supper greasy fish and chips and enjoyed it too :). I am not going to beat myself up for eating that fish and chips, but I am not going to do this every weekend either. Next time when we go to the beach, and we know we are going to stay there for all day, we are going to pack our food. See I did not let that one incident, stop me from continuing my journey, and I am not going to see that as a failure.
Eating clean is not a short term thing, it is a life style. On this journey, it is better to have a partner, someone who would support you and keeps you accountable.
Stay Happy and healthy