Confessions of a Clean Eating Convert
When I was a child, I was the pickiest eater around. You couldn’t pay me to put a fruit or vegetable to my lips. On Saturday nights when my parents would go out and we would have a babysitter, my dinner consisted of tacos from Taco Bell. I loved nachos, fries, chicken nuggets…. well you get the picture. When I think back to being able to put back four tacos in one sitting, it makes me grimace. I was never big or overweight. In fact, I was quite the opposite, I was always the shortest and smallest in my class. Every year I would cry at my yearly physical about being so small and my pediatrician would give me the same pep talk. I was always told, “good things come in small packages.”
When I went to college, I ate my fair share of late night Papa Johns and drank plenty of beer. I don’t know if I put on the “freshman 15,” but my body wasn’t a picture of health.
After college, I began cleaning up my eating habits. Fruits and vegetables were a part of my diet and I ate like a typical adult. However, I was concerned more about fat grams and calories then the actual ingredients. I really didn’t know any better. I’d often bring Lean Cuisines to work for lunch because it was easy and I thought they were good for you. It was probably over a year ago when I started reading and learning more about “Clean Eating.”
Image: Tomatoes via Shutterstock
Clean eating, in a nutshell, focuses on eating food in as close to its natural, unaltered state as possible—fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat—verses pre-packaged, processed food. The best part of clean eating is that anyone can do it. It doesn’t involve a point system, pills, or powders. It’s a lifestyle choice. It’s about putting only the healthiest foods into your body. This means processed foods are completely avoided. Basically, when looking at a food label if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
I also maintain an 80/20 lifestyle. This means 80% of the time I stick to eating clean and I also allow myself to cheat and indulge. No one can really be on 100% of the time. My guilty pleasures include a red wine, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and homemade baked goods!
In the last year or so, I’ve noticed how much better I feel when I eat clean. I have more energy, my workouts are better and my body feels better. It’s not so hard to eat clean. Basically, I try to meal plan and I use Sunday as a day for meal prep. I make a big batch of soup for the week for lunches or bake granola from scratch to add to my yogurt. There are so many great recipes that I have found on Pinterest, that eating clean has almost become mindless to me.
So, how do you get started?
I’ve included some great links from The Gracious Pantry that will get you started on the right food
Want to be apart of an online group? Check out this Facebook group where they're doing an awesome challenge throughout the month of January. I’ve also got the badge on my blog if you want to click on that for more information.
So do you eat clean? What works for you? Have you noticed a difference?