I have had some requests to talk about converting to a Clean Eating lifestyle, so I thought I would give it a shot with a series Clean Eating 101. Here are some things you need to know about me as we go forward:
1. I have been eating a whole foods diet (aka clean eating) for almost 6 years.
2. I have a certificate in Nutrition.
3. When my husband and I made the decision, we did not have children.
I am going to go ahead and jump right in……
So, you want to clean up your diet and perhaps the diet of your family. Where on earth do you start? Do you just take a trash bag and just toss out the junk? Do you have to shop at Whole Foods and spend a ton of money on it? Is it expensive? Will your friends shun you? Mock you?
In short: decide a why, NO, NO, NO, Hope not. Maybe.
Okay, series done!
1. Know Your Why. I want you to really think about why you are taking this on. If you are going to commit to this, you need a compelling reason. And just losing weight is probably not strong enough. Do you want a healthier life? Think about what a healthier life will give you. More time with kids? Less money on medication? Will you feel better?
2. Immerse yourself in Clean Eating EVERYTHING. This is kind of an obnoxious stage, but it’s important. And this will help you cement your WHY if you are having trouble. Read books. A LOT of books (I will give you a list in a second). Watch documentaries. Search the internet for Clean Eating blogs and read their stories. Become obnoxious. In graduate school we talked about being an expert. You don’t have to know EVERYTHING. You just have to know more than 95% of the population in a very specific field. Read everything you can. Become disgusted with our society and their diet. Read labels at the store. Seriously, read labels and then wonder what the heck those ingredients really are.
Here are my favorite books:
Wheat Belly (I don’t subscribe to EVERYTHING in this book, but I think it has good points)
My favorite movie is probably way old and not trendy, but it’s Food, Inc. I know there are more, but I have kids now so movie watching is rare.
Here are some of my favorite blogs:
So this whole immerse-yourself-thing is super important. And I am going to warn you, it’s super obnoxious. As you delve into the world of clean eating, you are going to find a major flaw: it’s obsessive. And don’t worry, I have a way out (it’s the next step). But it’s really important that you read what is out there and as you will, you are going to find what could be your biggest hang up: no matter how clean you eat, there will be someone telling you that it’s not clean enough.
It’s annoying as hell.
When I started reading labels and getting into that, I discovered those who made everything from scratch. EVERYTHING. I even wrote a book about how to make everything from scratch. But here’s the thing, when I made my own bread from scratch, then I came across groups of people who thought you had to grind your own flour. Then if that’s not enough, you better be growing your own damn wheat.
If you can’t tell from my slip into bad language, it really irked me. No, actually it drove me freaking nuts. It almost made me want to quit. It made me hate the community who was never quite satisfied. This is why you can’t stop here unless you want to live a life of desperate obsession.
3. Decide what works for you and let the rest go. If you want to be all judgey, then you should know: we don’t eat as clean as we used to. I used to make a TON of food from scratch. If I kept that up now, all I would do is cook. Decide where you want to be. Do you want to be a faithful label reader? Are there certain ingredients that are deal breakers (cough, cough, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP)? Are there certain things you just don’t like making?
To reap the benefits of clean eating, I would encourage you to do a 3 week stint of all whole foods. Nothing processed. Nothing you couldn’t make yourself at home. No cereals, crackers, dressings, etc. Why? Because then your taste buds will reset. You can’t really appreciate it until you go an extended period of time without those things. There are so many processed foods that I can’t even eat anymore because they taste so overly sweet to me. I don’t bake my own cakes and cookies simply because I love to bake, I can’t eat the store bought ones anymore. They are disgusting to me.
After that stint, find what works for you.
I still read labels faithfully. I won’t buy anything with high fructose corn syrup or chemicals I don’t recognize (I have done some research on common ones). Basically, I’m looking for the shortest list of ingredients as possible.
I don’t make everything from scratch anymore on a day to day basis. I have soft spot for store bought Italian dressing as a marinade. I have found brands I love (hello Simply Target!) and some that I steer away from (Tyson Chicken).
In my upcoming posts, I will talk about the following:
-Kids and Clean Eating
-Favorite brands and stores (spoiler alert, I rarely go to Whole Foods, like once or twice a year and it’s not to stock up. I really like their salad bar and play area. )
-Maintaining a Clean Eating/Whole Foods lifestyle
What else would you like to hear about? Any questions so far?