There are a few things I have learned about eating a clean diet over the years.
- You need to be committed to your goals.
You have to decide do I love ice cream more than I love ripped abs. It is definitely a commitment to fitness and health when you decide to eat clean. In some ways, I have been forced to eat clean, because I am unable to eat any wheat and gluten. The plus side to that is most junk food is off limits to me. Given how sick I get from ingesting wheat, not having those foods, like pizza, cookies, cakes or muffins are not a sacrifices. But there are still may things I could eat that I chose not to eat, because it would derail my progress. Eating clean is a do or don’t endeavor. If you want to be lean you have to do it. With each moment of weakness or craving you must stop and say is this worth setting my progress back?
- You need to be creative so eating does not become boring.
When all you are eating is lean protein, complex carbs, veggies and some fruit you must learn to be creative in how you prepare your foods. I have learn I love having mashed sweet potato. I prepare them in my food processor with some coconut oil. It is so good. I have learned to turn boring green beans into an Asian treat with peanut butter, ginger, and garlic. Preparing chicken with many different kinds of herbs and spices keeps it from being dull. Use stevia to sweeten foods. I have been able to take some of my favorite dishes and make them lean. Being creative in the kitchen will keep eating lean enjoyable and keep you on track.
- Eating is not a hobby.
I am just like the next guy, I love to eat. I grew up in an ethnic family. We ate for everything. We ate if we were happy, sad, upset, or just bored. I had to reprogram my view of food and eating over the years. Food is meant to nourish my body to keep it healthy. Food was never meant to be a source of joy or comfort. With that said, it doesn’t mean I can’t prepare foods in delicious way so I enjoy the experience of eating. It simply means if I have a bad day a box of thin mints is not the answer to healing my wounded soul.
- You need to be patient.
If you are patient you will actually develop a taste for whole foods. I was amazed at how eliminating refine sugar from my diet changed how sugar tasted to me. It use to be four cookies would be needed to calm that sweet tooth of mine. Now a bite of chocolate does the trick. Over time, and actually quite quickly, you learn to not crave sugar or simple carbs. You will find that what was once your favorite treat or junk food just doesn’t taste the same. It might taste too sweet now. In some case, I actually found some food to taste like plastic if it is over processed. You begin to like the taste of whatever you eat. If you are patient your taste buds adapt to the taste of foods from nature. This was one of the most surprising discoveries for me. It became a relief to know not only did I not want to eat that Snicker bar, but it tasted bad to me.
- What foods are considered clean foods
The rule of thumb is a clean food looks like it did growing in nature. Yes, I said growing in nature. So anything you can’t pick off a plant or pull from the ground is not really a clean food. You want to look for minimal processing of your foods. There is another whole blog entry about the reasons why you want to say away from over processed foods. I will keep that for another day.
- Why should I eat clean?
Eating clean is the best thing you can do for your body. There is simply no other reason. Your body will just perform better for you with the right fuel. It doesn’t matter if you are a fitness nut like me or not. If you want to be disease free and have quality of life the best medicine is eating clean.
I hope this is helpful in understanding why and how to approach a better way of eating. I feel, even so called health foods are full of unhealthy ingredients. Anyone can do this. If you are suffering from any kind of illness or allegries taking this route will do nothing but improve your health.
For the fitness nuts, if you are not eating clean most of the time you are wasting your efforts in the gym. It is say 30% is what you do in the gym, 70% is what you eat. Abs are made in the kitchen. There is simply no way around it!