Secrets To Eating Clean

When I was 12 years old food ruled the world. When we were eating breakfast I’d be asking about lunch or dinner. I love food. I always have and probably always will.

How was I to give up all of these meals that I grew up with to live healthier and feel better?

It’s simple. I’ll tell you my secret and how I successfully transitioned my mindset on food and still get to eat delicious food.

The first thing I had to do was learn about what kind of foods my body needs, what allergies I have, and how to substitute my favorite foods to healthy foods.

First up is the knowledge aspect. Since I’ve really become passionate about nutrition, I’ve really dug deep into it and know more than most people, but when I started there were some basic principles I followed, which I’ll list below.

Drink half your body weight in ounces of water EACH DAY. The key: EACH DAY. If you aren’t consistently drinking water it doesn’t work. It has to be a habit you create.  
Eliminate as many processed foods as you can. Keep improving and trying to do better each day, week, month. Processed foods are defined as anything with a label.
Eat clean foods; my definition of eating clean is eating non-GMO, organic foods that are grown in nature.
Eat less sugar. If you’re going to use sugar in cooking use real sugar, honey, stevia, agave. Never eat/drink any kind of artificial sugar. These are mostly found in diet sodas or any food that says sugar free or fat free. Aspartame, sucralose, there are lists of 100’s of names of artificial sugars that you can Google to learn the names to avoid.
Don’t buy anything that is FAT FREE, SUGAR FREE, or anything where they try to market to you that it’s healthy. Natural is a word that can be slapped on any food and isn’t regulated. Here’s the deal: When you take the fat out of a food, you have to make it taste good so that people will buy it, so they add sugar. If they say sugar free, it has artificial sugar.
Use spices. Himalayan salt (I don’t use table salt, it’s processed), black pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, turmeric, Mrs. Dashes seasonings, or even better, MAKE YOUR OWN!  There are some great recipes for seasonings in the nutrition guides provided in any Beachbody Challenge pack you buy.
Use real butter; never use vegetable oil, (EVER) extra virgin olive oil, or my favorite, coconut oil.
Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup like it’s the plague.
If you must buy processed foods, try to make sure you know what all of the ingredients on the label.
10. Make sure there is less than 10 g or less of sugar per serving of anything you buy. 

These are probably the TOP 10 things you need to know about when it comes to nutrition if you are a newbie. My suggestion, don’t try to change everything all at once. If you struggle with one thing focus on it for a week and make a positive change.

When it comes to knowing what allergies you have, there is 1 sure fire way to figure it out. I’ll tell you how, but first, I want to explain why this step is important.

Over 50% of Americans have an allergy to dairy, gluten, or soy and don’t even know it. Start paying attention when you are eating, what you eat and how you feel after you eat it. Does your stomach hurt? Are you lethargic? Does your energy level rise and then fall or do you just not have any energy? Are you constantly getting headaches? Is your face oily or do you have a lot of acne? Are you bloated? 

These are not normal symptoms that you should feel after you eat food or on a regular basis and most of them can be caused by the foods that you eat.

If you have these symptoms, I highly encourage you to do what’s called an elimination diet.

How it works, you eliminate all forms of dairy, gluten, and soy from your diet for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, one week you add back in dairy and pay attention to how you feel, the next week gluten, and so on and so forth. You’ll be able to tell what foods you are allergic to.

The third thing I want to teach you today is about substituting. This takes a real mindset shift. Here are some examples of what I do.

Figure out your favorite part of a meal you’re planning on making. For example, my favorite part of spaghetti is the sauce, so instead of eating the noodles with sauce, I put sauce on spinach. (BONUS tip: Eat raw foods at least once a day) 

If your favorite part of the spaghetti is the noodles, try substituting spaghetti squash, black bean noodles, etc.

If you’re looking to start a healthy lifestyle and aren’t sure where to start this should be a good resource for you to refer back to or print out. Discuss with the other decision makers in the household or whoever buys groceries or cooks and be sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to your goals on living and eating healthier. Good luck on your journey, and please feel free to reach out to me at anytime with any questions on Facebook.