Well, there are SO many different versions out there and we can take many approaches, however, keeping things simple and not over complicating will keep us on the right track. Some basic considerations in maintaining clean & balanced eating habits are below.
1) Eating Whole Foods: Whole foods are foods that haven’t been tampered with, in the lab or the manufacturing plant. They are straight from the farm: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds.
2) Avoiding Processed Foods: Processed foods are any food that has a label. A label means that more than one ingredient was used to make that food. General rule: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on a label, don’t put that food in your basket and not in your body.
3) Eliminating Refined Sugar: Refined sugar provides nothing but calories. Other natural sweeteners can be used, but, with all the good foods you add to your daily food intake, refined sugar really has very little place in the eating clean lifestyle.
4) Adding More Color. (Not the artificial kind, either) Fruits and veggies come in great colors and perfect options. Perhaps, try a new fruit or veggie that you never tried before.
5) Cooking Your Own Meals. Instead of buying your meals in a pre-made box, waiting in line at a drive through or having it delivered, try cooking more meals at home. This way, you know exactly what you are eating, and, you can properly meal prep in advance, so you don’t find yourself starving and exhausted midweek and then make a bad choice.
6) Not Depriving Yourself. If you want that dessert or even that slice of pizza, don’t deprive yourself. Have it in moderation, and don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty after. Create a healthy lifestyle, that is 80% of your time. Plus, there are clean dessert options and healthier versions of pizza that you could have and make.
7) Be Prepared. Meal Prepping can seem like such a hassle. There is nothing better than having meals planned and available during the week. When you are hungry and you have no time to
cook or worse, you have no food to cook. That’s when you are apt to make poor
decisions and get something fast and usually, it’s not the best option.
8) Make it a Fun Game. If you are like me and love a challenge; make this your ultimate goal. Trying to win against those cravings, downtimes or situations where it’s easier to choose the “not so healthy” option. Ask yourself questions, like: Why am I eating this? Am I even hungry? Are there other options? How is this going to make me feel after I eat it? If I indulge now, will this put me in a downward spiral or can I easily put it behind me and get back on track to my clean eating lifestyle?
My Truth: Keep in mind these are basic guidelines and not rules. By the way, if they were rules, I have broken every single one of them. Intellectually, we know what’s right and wrong or good and bad for us; and yet we still maintain these unhealthy habits. There are a million reasons why we do this, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that we feel our best. Eating clean, being prepared and having fun will help us get on that path. One thing I have gotten really good at is finding that 80/20 balance. I have identified the path I want to be on, and if I gear off track, it’s ok. I don’t spiral out of control or beat myself up. I accept it, and find my way back. I find the hardest part is starting. It can seem difficult and time consuming. Honestly, you will find that in less than one week, your body starts to respond in such a positive way. It becomes easier and easier, and it truly does becomes fun.