Our journey to a clean eating household has been a long, sometimes inconsistent and a never ending journey. Making a lifestyle changes takes a dedicated effort and conviction that you have had enough! You’re done with feeling poorly, lacking energy and ready for change.
The Case for Clean Eating
The reality is that we are bombarded with temptation in the form of advertising daily and if we aren’t careful we are leading future generations down the same path. In the name of convenience, we aren’t slowing down to ask enough questions, do enough research and frankly make better choices. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 30 years. Why? Why in the information age are we all looking at each other to with blank stares wondering how this could be? But there is more to the equation than packing on extra pounds. Mounting research supports evidence that there is such thing as ‘skinny fat’. ” When you’re eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods, it causes visceral fat storage, and that can lead to all sorts of risk factors,” says Dr. Mark Hyman author of, “The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.” Furthermore, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 1 in 4 skinny people have pre-diabetes and are considered “metabolically obese.” Simply said, Your body becomes like a car that is running on bad fuel. You lift up the hood and realize it may look good on the outside but the motor will eventually break down.
So why isn’t everyone eating better? I am familiar with the excuses mainly because I have used them myself. ” I am too busy to meal plan, exercise or cook.” Or “Buying healthy and/or organic food is too expensive”. Or maybe someone else is purchasing the “junk food”. These are called obstacles and you’re not alone because we all have them. The key is to help educate, create belief and to not make them excuses.
- Drinking more water: If you are “thirsty” chances are you are already dehydrated and it is estimated about 75% of Americans may be dehydrated. Lips dry? Bags under your eyes? Fuzzy mind? Drink Drink Drink! How much water should you drink? Take your body weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces per day.
- Planning out your meals and buying in bulk: It will take a little extra effort at first but get in the habit of planning out your meals. As a family, we do a month at a time but even a week or a few days planning to start is better than no plan at all. We have a Costco membership and buy this grass-fed beef and organic chicken in bulk. It is much more cost effective and helps planning ahead a much easier process when you have more supply on hand.
Clean eating really equates to eating foods closest to the earth with minimal processing. It is about awareness of how the food was grown and prepared.
- Find Your Inspiration: This will be a very personal piece but one of the most important. Your inspiration could be weight-loss but I encourage you to look deeper. Perhaps find mentors, follow healthy eating blogs (like us) or write out how you will feel once you have overhauled your diet and why you never want to go back. Use the power of visualization and get creative but be authentic to you.
- Invest in helpful tools: A good blender like a Vitamix, a quality Crock-pot and Pressure cooker are fabulous aids in family meal planning and this is a must have in my opinion.
- Learn variations of same base ingredients: The base of most of our meals are whole foods that we can change the way in which they are prepared or a few ingredients but in general, are the same staples. For example, we often will make a large batch of sprouted rice or quinoa. Then utilize them for various meals like cooking a protein and mixed vegetable stir-fry one evening and using the same ingredients in a stew another evening.
- Stop eating anything that came from a box: If it was processed in a factory, put it down and walk away.
- Watching television: Every year during the Superbowl advertisers pay top dollar to get your attention and guess what, they do the same thing the rest of the year too. Even worse, they are advertising to your kids as well. You can still watch TV but limit the daily amount especially around approaching meal times or even worse, at the dinner table.
- Shopping in the middle of the store: The stores today are mostly designed the same. The center of the store is the ‘danger zone’ full of processed foods, ingredients you can’t pronounce and marketing you can’t resist. Stay on the outer circle of the store with the fresh produce!
- Eating out: It is very difficult to control portion size and know the ingredients/source in our food when we didn’t prepare it ourselves. Eat out with limitations and save your money as it may just be easier to just stay home and prepare the meal.
- Being so hard on yourself: If you are making better choices today than you were yesterday than that is a win! We personally follow an 80/20 rule. I don’t believe in deprivation as you will eventually fall back into old habits. We must work to create a balance, create healthy habits and ongoing thirst for knowledge. If you slip up, pick up and start over because every day is a new day to create new habits. It will take some time to build new habits but don’t give up. You will receive push-back and you will have temptation so know what you will say, how you will stand your ground and know that you are making one of the best decisions in your family’s long term health.
Food in my mind is like preventative medicine and as you start to eat clean your body will respond with less illness, disease, improved energy, and mental clarity to name a few benefits.
Tell me about your experience. What has made you successful or what is holding you back?